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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Veda, Vedanta and The Upanishads

Off late, I’m seeing many netizens writing incorrect interpretation of this topic. And thus I write here, a _brief_ dummy’s guide to Veda, Vedanta & Upanishads.

3000 years B.C, Every good preaching of wisdom was called a Veda.
Thus, “Anantavai Veda” = There are infinite Vedas.

Then came Sage Vyasa.
He collated all the Vedas and classified them into 4 Vedas and assigned a Sage each as the owner for theese vedas. They are: Rig Veda, Yajurveda, Sama Veda, Atharvana Veda

Next, Each Veda(m) has 3 major components.
They are: Samhita(m), Brahmana(m), Aranyaka(m)
Samhita is anthology of Hymns
Brahmana is the compilation of explanations to Hymns
Aranyaka preaches the way of life for Sages.

Over centuries, these Vedas have shaped the Hindu way of life and there were many a doubting Thomas who questioned almost everything in this way of life. There were intellectual debates where there were interesting explanations which came up.

These discussions take place at the Sage’s school, with the disciples sitting around the Sage. Upanishad = Sitting in the presence (of the Sage)

Our Sages composed all these discussions and added them as an appendix to Vedas. So, they are kept at the end of Veda. Thus Upanishads are Veda + Anth (End of Veda)

So, Vedas now have 4 major components - Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka & Upanishads

End of the Primer.
More in the next article.

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