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Vedas

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A dime a dozen
Scriptures
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Divine scribblings
The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic, three staves, and smearing oneself with ashes...these are but means of livelihood for those who have no manliness nor sense.
— Brahaspati, Sarva Darshan Sangraha

The Vedas are holy writings by the Aryan civilization (not the Nazis, but a big connection exists nonetheless[1]) from ancient India and are among the oldest sacred texts of any religion, dating from 1500 BCE.[2] They consist of readings, incantations, spells, hymns, and formulas for priests to read. According to Prof. John Muir the Vedas are nothing more the "natural expression of the personal hopes and feelings of those ancient bards of whom they were first recited". Muir says that the hymns are praising ancestral gods in order to "conciliate their goodwill" with them. There also seems to be ample demands for "health, wealth, long life, cattle, offspring, victory over their enemies, forgiveness of sin, and in some cases also celestial felicity".[3] In this respect, Vedas are not that different from other religious texts. However, another indigenous school of thought, that of the CharvakaWikipedia's W.svg, noted that Vedas are full of contradictions and lies. Though most of their literature is now lost, the parts that survive seem to be in direct opposition to the Vedas.

...the Veda is tainted by three faults of untruth, self-contradiction, and tautology; then again the impostors who call themselves Vaidic pundits are mutually destructive, as the authority of the Jnan-Kanda is overthrown by those who maintain the authority of the Karma-Kanda and those who maintain the authority of the Jnan-Kanda reject that of the Karma-Kanda; and lastly, the three Vedas themselves are only the incoherent rhapsodies of knaves.
— Charvaka, Sarva Darshan Sangraha[4]

You should probably resist the urge to say "Darth" in front of the name.

There are four main Vedic texts:

  • Rigveda
  • Yajurveda
  • Samaveda
  • Atharvaveda

The Rigveda is among the first known sources of agnostic writing. The Nasadiya Sukta[5] raises rational doubts concerning the philosophical problems with the notion of the Universe being created.

The Samaveda contains numerous religious hymns and music that mantras contained in the rigveda are meant to be set to. It is said that Indian classical music has its roots in this text.

The Yajurveda, also known as the Karma-Veda, contains mantras dealing with the nature and motivation behind human action and common religious sacrifices and rituals during the period it was written.

The Atharvaveda mainly consists of magical chants and remedies and a small number of curses to be used against enemies.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Figueira, Dorothy Matilda (2002), Aryans, Jews, Brahmins: Theorizing Authority Through Myths of Identity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791455326
  2. Compare with the Jewish Torah, which is generally dated to 600 BCE.
  3. Muir, John, Sanskrit Texts Vol. III'
  4. Sarva Darshan Sangraha, pp. 10
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta#Metre
  6. http://www.enlightengroup.org/the-four-vedas.html