The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". Vedas are called śruti literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti; the Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, texts that have been more preserved since ancient times. In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma; the Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis, after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot. According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas. There are four Vedas: the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.
Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas, the Aranyakas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads. Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas; the various Indian philosophies and denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox". Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Ajivika and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" schools. Despite their differences, just like the texts of the śramaṇa traditions, the layers of texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts; the Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know", cognate to Greek εἶδος "aspect", "form"; this is not to be confused is the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek οἶδα oida "I know".
Root cognates are English wit, etc.. Latin videō "I see", etc; the Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge". The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property", while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire. A related word Vedena appears in hymn 8.19.5 of the Rigveda. It was translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith as "ritual lore", as "studying the Veda" by the 14th-century Indian scholar Sayana, as "bundle of grass" by Max Müller, as "with the Veda" by H. H. Wilson. Vedas are called Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai means "hidden, a secret, mystery", but Tamil Naanmarai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas. In some south Indian communities such as Iyengars, the word Veda includes the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints, such as Divya Prabandham, for example Tiruvaymoli; the Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts. The Samhitas date to 1700–1100 BCE, the "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c.
1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas. Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period, he gives 150 BCE as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, 1200 BCE as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda. Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE.
Witzel suggests the possibility of written Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE. Some scholars such as Jack Goody state that "the Vedas are not the product of an oral society", basing this view by comparing inconsistencies in the transmitted versions of literature from various oral societies such as the Greek and other cultures noting that the Vedic literature is too consistent and vast to have been composed and transmitted orally across generations, without being written down. However, adds Goody, the Vedic texts involved both a written and oral tradition, calling it a "parallel products of a literate society". Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material, surviving manuscripts surpass an age of a few hundred years; the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century. The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Ta
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is one of the Principal Upanishads and one of the oldest Upanishadic scriptures of Hinduism. A key scripture to various schools of Hinduism, the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad is tenth in the Muktikā or "canon of 108 Upanishads"; the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is estimated to have been composed about 700 BCE, excluding some parts estimated to have been composed after the Chandogya Upanishad. The Sanskrit language text is contained within the Shatapatha Brahmana, itself a part of the Shukla Yajur Veda; the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a treatise on Ātman, includes passages on metaphysics, ethics and a yearning for knowledge that influenced various Indian religions and medieval scholars, attracted secondary works such as those by Madhvacharya and Adi Shankara. The chronology of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, like other Upanishads, is uncertain and contested; the chronology is difficult to resolve because all opinions rest on scanty evidence, an analysis of archaism and repetitions across texts, driven by assumptions about evolution of ideas, on presumptions about which philosophy might have influenced which other Indian philosophies.
Patrick Olivelle states, "in spite of claims made by some, in reality, any dating of these documents that attempts a precision closer than a few centuries is as stable as a house of cards". The chronology and authorship of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, along with Chandogya and Kaushitaki Upanishads, is further complicated because they are compiled anthologies of literature that must have existed as independent texts before they became part of these Upanishads; the exact year, the century of the Upanishad composition is unknown. Scholars have offered different estimates ranging from 900 BCE to 600 BCE. Brihadaranyaka is one of the oldest Upanishads, along with that of Jaiminiya Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishads; the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad was in all likelihood composed in the earlier part of 1st millennium BCE, around 700 BCE, give or take a century or so, according to Patrick Olivelle. It is that the text was a living document and some verses were edited over a period of time before the 6th century BCE.
The title Brihadaranyaka Upanishad means "great wilderness or forest Upaniṣhad". It is credited to ancient sage Yajnavalkya, but refined by a number of ancient Vedic scholars; the Upanishad forms the last part, the fourteenth kānda of Śatapatha Brāhmana of "Śhukla Yajurveda". The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad has six adhyayas in total. There are two major recensions for the text - the Kanva recensions, it includes three sections: Muni kānda and Khila kānda. The first and second chapters of the Upanishad's Madhu kānda consists of six brahmanams each, with varying number of hymns per brahmanam; the first chapter of the Upanishad's Yajnavalkya kānda consists of nine brahmanams, while the second has six brahmanams. The Khila kānda of the Upanishad has fifteen brahmanams in its first chapter, five brahmanams in the second chapter; the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad starts by stating one of many Vedic theories of creation of the universe. It asserts that there was nothing before the universe started Prajapati created from this nothing the universe as a sacrifice to himself, imbued it with Prana to preserve it in the form of cosmic inert matter and individual psychic energy.
The world is more than matter and energy, asserts Brihadaranyaka, it is constituted of Atman or Brahman as well as Knowledge. The Brahmana 4 in the first chapter, announces the Upanishad's non-dual, monistic metaphysical premise that Atman and Brahman are identical Oneness, with the assertion that because the universe came out of nothingness when the only principle existent was "I am he", the universe after it came into existence continues as Aham brahma asmi. In the last brahmana of the first chapter, the Upanishad explains that the Atman inspires by being self-evident, through empowering forms, through action; the Soul, states Brihadaranyaka, is the imperishable one, invisible and concealed pervading all reality. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad starts the second chapter as a conversation between Ajatashatru and Balaki Gargya on theory of dreams, positing that human beings see dreams unto themselves because mind draws, in itself, the powers of sensory organs, which it releases in the waking state.
It asserts that this empirical fact about dreams suggests that human mind has the power to perceive the world as it is, as well as fabricate the world as it wants to perceive it. Mind is a means, prone to flaws; the struggle man faces, asserts Brihadaranyaka in brahmana 3, is in his attempt to realize the "true reality behind perceived reality". That is Atman-Brahman and blissfully existent, yet unknowable because it has no qualities, no characteristics, it is "neti, neti". In fourth brahmana, the Upanishad presents a dialogue between a husband and wife, as Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi, on nature of love and spirituality and how is Atman related to deep connection and bonds between human beings. Yajnavalkya states that one doesn't connect with and love forms, nor does one connect or love mind, rather one connects with the Self, the Soul of one's own and one's beloved. All love is for the sake of one's Self, the Oneness one rea
Brahma Vaivarta Purana
The Brahmavaivarta Purana is a voluminous Sanskrit text and a major Purana of Hinduism. It centers around Krishna and Radha, is a Vaishnavism text, is considered one of the modern era Purana. Although a version may have existed in late 1st millennium CE, its extant version was composed in the 15th or 16th-century in the Bengal region of Indian subcontinent. Another text, with a similar-sounding title, called Brahmakaivarta Purana exists, is related, but was revised somewhere in South India. Numerous versions of this Purana exist, in up to 274 or 276 chapters, all claiming to be either part of, or manuscripts of the Brahmavaivarta Purana or the Brahmakaivarta Purana; the text is notable for identifying Krishna as the supreme Reality and asserting that all gods such as Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesha are same, all are incarnations of Krishna. All goddesses such as Radha, Lakshmi, Savitri are asserted by the Brahmavaivarta Purana to be equivalent and all incarnations of Prakruti, with legends similar to those found in the Mahabharata and the Devi Mahatmya.
The text is notable for glorifying the feminine through Radha and its egalitarian views that all women are manifestations of the divine female, co-creators of the universe, that any insult to a woman is an insult to goddess Radha. The mythology and stories of Brahmavaivarta Purana, along with Bhagavata Purana, have been influential to the Krishna-related Hindu traditions, as well as to dance and performance arts such as the Rasa Lila; the extant versions of Brahmavaivarta Purana text are unusual because goddess Radha is not mentioned in most other major Puranas. Further, this text is legends, worship and drama during the life of Radha and Krishna, with discussion of ethics, four stages of life and festivals embedded as part of the plot; the specific details in this Purana show the influence or knowledge of events traced to mid 2nd-millennium CE developments associated with Tantra, Bhakti saints such as Caitanya and others. This text is unlike the encyclopedic style found in all other major Puranas, for these reasons, predominant portions of this Purana are to be a 15th or 16th century composition.
The text likely existed much earlier, the older version was complete in the 8th to 10th century period. A version existed by 700 CE, adds Hazra. However, in its history, this Hindu text underwent major revisions, over the centuries; this text was revised in the Bengal region of South Asia. Another related text, called Brahmakaivarta Purana relatively modern but traced to South India, exists in many versions. There are a few manuscripts titled Adi brahmavaivarta purana, of unclear date of composition, proposed as the older original Purana, but these are different than the Brahmavaivarta Purana text considered as one of the 18 Mahapuranas; the older version of the Brahmavaivarta Purana was once influential in its own way, because Nibandha authors of 15th and 16th century quoted nearly 1,500 lines in texts such as the Smriti Candrika, which they claimed is in this Purana. However, only 30 of these lines are found in the extant manuscripts of Brahmavaivarta Purana suggesting massive rewrite of the original Purana over its history, in or after the 15th or 16th century.
The text includes Smriti chapters that, states Hazra, were inserted into the text after the 16th century. This modern content includes chapters on "mixed castes, duties of women, duties of varna, duties of individuals during their Ashrama and glorification of Brahmins, theory of hell in after-life, religious gift giving for merit"; the only Smriti chapters in surviving manuscripts, that can be found in older versions of this text are two, namely 4.8 and 4.26. These relate to Vrata; the text has four Khandas. The third khanda is called Ganapati-khanda; the tradition and other Puranas assert. The actual manuscripts have more than 18,000 verses, unlike other Puranas where they fall short; the Padma Purana categorizes Brahma Vaivarta Purana as a Rajas Purana. Scholars consider the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is nothing in this text that justifies this classification; the text's title Brahmavaivarta means "metamorphosis of Brahman", identified with Krishna. This Purana takes a view on the creation where the Brahman as Krishna creates the universe and is the universe.
The evolution and the nature of the universe is presented through the legend of Radha and Krishna in this Purana. The seduction stories and legends of this text have attracted many scholarly studies; the first khanda presents the theme that Krishna is the primordial creator, universal soul and supreme reality concept called Brahman. The second part presents Prakriti or matter, which through mythology is equated to five goddesses – Radha, Lakshmi and Savitri. However, many other goddesses are introduced, but every goddess and feminine is asserted to be the same essence of Radha Prakriti; the third part presents Ganesha, the popular elephant headed god, his life story along with that of his family and brother, he is asserted to be an incarnation of Krishna as well. The last part of this Purana is all about Radha and Krishna, painted with erotic themes, hymns and mythology. Radha is presented as the power of Krishna, inseparable part; the Purana presents an egalitarian view towards women, wherein it asserts ideas such as, "all female beings have come forth out of the divine female" in chapter 4.13, that "every insult to a woman is an offence against divine Rädhä" in Prak
The Naradiya Purana or Narada Purana (Sanskrit: नारद पुराण, are two Sanskrit texts, one of, a major Purana of Hinduism, while the other is a minor Purana. Both are Vaishnavism texts, have been a cause of confusion in Purana-related scholarship. To prevent confusion, some scholars sometimes refer to the minor Purana as Brihannaradiya Purana. Unlike most Puranas that are encyclopedic, the Brihannaradiya text is focussed entirely on Vishnu worship, while the Naradiya text is a compilation of 41 chapters on Vishnu worship and rest of the chapters cover a wide range of topics including a large compilation of Mahatmya to temples and places along river Ganges, neighboring regions; the Naradiya Purana is notable for dedicating eighteen chapters on other Puranas, one entire chapter summarizing each major Purana. It is notable for its verses extolling Buddha in chapter 1.2. Manuscripts of nearly all the major Puranas acknowledge the existence of a major Purana named either Narada or Naradiya, suggesting it was an important text in Hindu history.
Yet, unlike other Puranas which either appear in the major Purana or minor Purana lists, the Narada text appears in both lists. This caused significant confusion to early 20th century Indologists; the confusion was compounded by the fact that the content of the text manuscripts they found seemed to follow similar scope and focus, except that the Brihannaradiya Purana text with about 3,500 verses was bigger than the other with about 3,000 verses. Discovered manuscripts and scholarship established that the Narada or Naradiya is the major Purana, Brihannaradiya is the Upapurana; the Naradiya Purana consists of two bhagas, with the first called Purvabhaga and second called Uttarabhaga. The Purvabhaga has four padas with the total of 125 chapters; the Uttarabhaga has 82 chapters. The Brihannarada Purana has no parts or padas, a total of 38 adhyayas; the Narada Purana texts, like other Puranas, exist in numerous versions, but with less variation than other Puranas. Wilson states that both texts are of recent composition 16th or 17th century, because the five manuscripts he reviewed had verses mentioning certain events after Islamic invasion and control of the Indian subcontinent.
The other unusual part of the manuscripts he examined, states Wilson, is that the descriptions of ritual worship of Vishnu in the text are "puerile inventions, wholly foreign to the more ancient" ideas in Purana genre of Hindu texts. Rajendra Hazra, in contrast, states that the core verses of the texts were first composed over various centuries, as follows: he dates the Vishnu bhakti focussed text Brihannarada Purana to the 9th-century; the Naradiya Purana, states Hazra, was composed after the Brihannarada Purana. It is unknown, adds Hazra, whether the extant manuscripts of the Narada Puranas are same as the 9th and 10th-century originals, but we know that the verses quoted in medieval Hindu Smriti texts with these texts cited as source, are missing from the surviving manuscripts. Rocher states. Dimmitt and van Buitenen state that it is difficult to ascertain when, why and by whom the major and minor Puranas were written: As they exist today, the Puranas are a stratified literature; each titled work consists of material that has grown by numerous accretions in successive historical eras.
Thus no Purana has a single date of composition. It is as if they were libraries to which new volumes have been continuously added, not at the end of the shelf, but randomly; the Padma Purana categorizes Naradiya Purana as a Sattva Purana. Scholars consider the Sattva-Rajas-Tamas classification as "entirely fanciful" and there is nothing in this text that justifies this classification; the Brihannaradiya Purana is focussed on the bhakti of Vishnu. It describes the festivals and ritual ceremonies of Vaishnavism. Many chapters of the text are part of Mahatmya glorifying river Ganges and travel centers such as Prayag and Banaras; the text includes chapters on ethics and duties of Varna and Ashramas and summaries on Sanskara. The Narada Purana follows the style of the Brihannaradiya Purana in the first 41 chapters of Purvabhaga, but the rest of the first part and second part are encyclopedic covering a diverse range of topics; the encyclopedic sections discuss subjects such as the six Vedangas, Dharma, Adhyatma-jnana, Pashupata philosophy, a secular guide with methods of worship of Ganesha, various avatars of Vishnu, Hanuman, goddesses such as Devi and Mahalakshmi, as well as Shiva.
The text glorifies Radha as the one whose love manifests as all Hindu goddesses. The text's secular description and verse of praises are not limited to different traditions of Hinduism, but other traditions. For example, chapter 1.2 extols Buddha. This contrasts with Kurma Purana, disdainful of Buddhism without mentioning Buddha, but similar to the praise of Buddha in other major Puranas such as chapter 49 of the Agni Purana, chapter 2.5.16 of the Shiva Purana, chapter 54 of the Matsya Purana and various minor Puranas. Chapters 92 through 109 of Purvabhaga are notable for summarizing the 18 major Puranas, one entire chapt
The Samaveda, is the Veda of melodies and chants. It is an ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, part of the scriptures of Hinduism. One of the four Vedas, it is a liturgical text. All but 75 verses have been taken from the Rigveda. Three recensions of the Samaveda have survived, variant manuscripts of the Veda have been found in various parts of India. While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as the Rigvedic period, the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, c. 1200 or 1000 BCE contemporary with the Atharvaveda and the Yajurveda. Embedded inside the Samaveda is the studied Chandogya Upanishad and Kena Upanishad, considered as primary Upanishads and as influential on the six schools of Hindu philosophy the Vedanta school; the classical Indian music and dance tradition considers the chants and melodies in Samaveda as one of its roots. It is referred to as Sama Veda; the Samaveda is the Veda of Chants, or "storehouse of knowledge of chants". According to Frits Staal, it is "the Rigveda set to music".
It is a fusion of the Rig verses. It has far fewer verses than Rigveda, but Samaveda is textually larger because it lists all the chant- and rituals-related score modifications of the verses; the Samaveda text contains notated melodies, these are the world's oldest surviving ones. The musical notation is written immediately above, sometimes within, the line of Samaveda text, either in syllabic or a numerical form depending on the Samavedic Sakha. R. T. H. Griffith says that there are three recensions of the text of the Samaveda Samhita: the Kauthuma recension is current in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and since a few decades in Darbhanga, the Rāṇāyanīya in the Maharashtra, Gokarna, few parts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and the Jaiminiya in the Carnatic, Tamil Nadu and Kerala The Samaveda comprises two major parts; the first part include four melody collections and the second part three verse "books". A melody in the song books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books; the Gana collection is subdivided into Gramageya and Aranyageya, while the Arcika portion is subdivided into Purvarcika and Uttararcika portions.
The Purvarcika portion of the text has 585 single stanza verses and is organized in order of deities, while Uttararcika text is ordered by rituals. The Gramageya melodies are those for public recitations, while Aranyageya melodies are for personal meditative use such as in the solitude of a forest; the Purvarcika collection were sung to melodies described in the Gramageya-Gānas index, the rules of how the verses mapped to verses is described in the Sanskrit texts such as the Puspasutra. Just like Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda begin with Agni and Indra hymns but shift to abstract speculations and philosophy, their meters too shifts in a descending order; the sections of the Samaveda, states Witzel, have least deviation from substance of hymns they derive from Rigveda into songs. The purpose of Samaveda was liturgical, they were the repertoire of the udgātṛ or "singer" priests; the Samaveda, like other Vedas, contains several layers of text, with Samhita being the oldest and the Upanishads the youngest layer.
The Samaveda consists of 1,549 unique verses, taken entirely from Rigveda, except for 75 verses. The largest number of verse come from Books 8 of the Rig Veda; some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated more than once. Including these repetitions, there are a total of 1,875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith. Samaveda samhita is not meant to be read as a text, it is like a musical score sheet that must be heard. Staal states that the melodies existed before the verses in ancient India, the words of the Rigveda verses were mapped into those pre-existing melodies, because some early words fit and flow, while words do not quite fit the melody in the same verse; the text uses creative structures, called Stobha, to help embellish, transform or play with the words so that they better fit into a desired musical harmony. Some verses add in meaningless sounds of a lullaby, for the same reason, remarks Staal, thus the contents of the Samaveda represent a tradition and a creative synthesis of music, sounds and spirituality, the text was not a sudden inspiration.
The portion of the first song of Samaveda illustrates the link and mapping of Rigvedic verses into a melodic chant: Two primary Upanishads of Hinduism are embedded inside the Samaveda – the Chandogya Upanishad and the Kena Upanishad. Both are notable for the lifting metric melodic structure, but it is Chandogya which has played a historic role in the evolution of various schools of Hindu philosophy; the embedded philosophical premises in Chandogya Upanishad have, for example, served as foundation for Vedanta school of Hinduism. It is one of the most cited texts in Bhasyas by scholars from the diverse schools of Hinduism. Adi Shankara, for example, cited Chandogya Upanishad 810 times in his Vedanta Sutra Bhasya, more than any other ancient text; the Chandogya Upanishad belongs to the Tandya school of the Samaveda. Like Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, the Chandogya Upanishad is an anthology of texts that must have pre-existed as separate texts, were edited into a larger text by one or more ancient Indian scholars.
The precise chronology of Chandogya Upanishad is uncertain, but it is the youngest layer of text in the Samaveda, it is variously dated to have been composed by 8th to 6th century BCE in India. The Chandogya text combines a metric, melodic structure with a wide range of specu
The Aranyakas constitutes the philosophy behind ritual sacrifice of the ancient Hindu sacred texts, the Vedas. They represent the sections of Vedas, are one of many layers of the Vedic texts; the other parts of Vedas are the Samhitas and the Upanishads. Aranyakas describe and discuss rituals from various perspectives, but some include philosophical speculations. For example, the Katha Aranyaka discusses rituals connected with the Pravargya; the Aitareya Aranyaka includes explanation of the Mahavrata ritual from ritualisitic to symbolic meta-ritualistic points of view. Aranyakas, neither are homogeneous in content nor in structure. Aranyakas are sometimes identified as karma-kanda /, ritualistic action/sacrifice section), while the Upanishads are identified as jnana-kanda knowledge/spirituality section). In an alternate classification, the early part of Vedas are called Samhitas and the ritualistic commentary on the mantras and rituals are called the Brahmanas which together are identified as the ceremonial karma-kanda, while Aranyakas and Upanishads are referred to as the jnana-kanda.
In the immense volume of ancient Indian Vedic literature, there is no absolute universally true distinction between Aranyakas and Brahmanas. There is no absolute distinction between Aranyakas and Upanishads, as some Upanishads are incorporated inside a few Aranyakas. Aranyakas, along with Brahmanas, represent the emerging transitions in Vedic religious practices; the transition completes with the blossoming of ancient Indian philosophy from external sacrificial rituals to internalized philosophical treatise of Upanishads. "Aranyaka" means "produced, relating to a forest " or rather, "belonging to the wilderness". It is derived from the word Araṇya, which means "wilderness". Several theories have been proposed on the origin of the word Aranyaka; as per Oldenberg, it meant (dangerous texts to be studied in the wilderness. A post-Vedic theory holds that these texts were meant to be studied in a forest, while the other holds that the name came from these being the manuals of allegorical interpretation of sacrifices, for those in Vanaprastha stage of their life, however the Vanaprastha Ashrama came into existence only well after that of the Sanyasin -- according to the historic age-based Ashrama system of human life.
Taittiriya Ar. 2 says, "from where one cannot see the roofs of the settlement", which does not indicate a forested area. Aranyakas are diverse in their structure. Jan Gonda summarizes, The structure of the Aranyakas is as little homogenous as their contents; some portions have the character of a Samhita, others of a Brahmana, others again of a Sutra, according to the material that, varying from Veda to Veda, from school to school, was collected in an Aranyaka corpus. Linguistically and stylistically these works form a transition between the Brahmanas proper and the speculative literature that follows them and develops part of the ideas and lines of thought which are characteristic of them. Many Aranyaka texts enumerate mantras, etymologies, discussions and symbolic interpretations, but a few such as by sage Arunaketu include hymns with deeper philosophical insights; the Aranyakas discuss sacrifices, in the language and style of the Brahmanas, thus are concerned with the proper performance of ritual.
The Aranyakas were restricted to a particular class of rituals that were included in the Vedic curriculum. The Aranyakas are associated with, named for, individual Vedic shakhas. Rigveda Aitareya Aranyaka belongs to the Aitareya Shakha of Rigveda Kaushitaki Aranyaka belongs to the Kaushitaki and Shankhayana Shakhas of Rigveda Yajurveda Taittiriya Aranyaka belongs to the Taittiriya Shakha of the Krishna Yajurveda Maitrayaniya Aranyaka belongs to the Maitrayaniya Shakha of the Krishna Yajurveda Katha Aranyaka belongs to the Katha Shakha of the Krishna Yajurveda Brihad Aranyaka in the Madhyandina and the Kanva versions of the Shukla Yajurveda; the Madhyandina version has 9 sections. Samaveda Talavakara Aranyaka or Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana belongs to the Talavakara or Jaiminiya Shakha of the Samaveda Aranyaka Samhita is not a typical Aranyaka text: rather the Purvarchika of the Samaveda Samhitas has a section of mantras, called the'Aranyaka Samhita', on which the Aranyagana Samans are sung.
The Atharvaveda has no surviving Aranyaka, though the Gopatha Brahmana is regarded as its Aranyaka, a remnant of a larger, lost Atharva Brahmana. There are five chapters each of, considered as a full Aranyaka; the first one deals with the regimen known as ‘Mahaa-vrata’. The explanations are both ritualistic as well as speculative; the second one has six chapters of which the first three are about ‘Praana-vidyaa’ – meaning, the Vital Air that constitutes the life-breath of a living body is the life-breath of all mantras, all vedas and all vedic declarations. It is in this portion of the Aranyaka that one finds specific statements about how one who follows the vedic injunctions and performs the sacrifices goes to become the God of Fire, or the Sun or Air and how one who transgresses the Vedic prescriptions is born into lower levels of being, namely, as birds and reptiles; the 4th, 5th and 6th chapters of this second Aranyaka constitute what is known as Aitareya Upanishad. The third Aranyaka in this chain of Aranyakas is known as ‘Samhitopanishad’.
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Dharmaśāstra is a genre of Sanskrit theological texts, refers to the treatises of Hinduism on dharma. There are many Dharmashastras, variously estimated to be 18 to about 100, with different and conflicting points of view; each of these texts exist in many different versions, each is rooted in Dharmasutra texts dated to 1st millennium BCE that emerged from Kalpa studies in the Vedic era. The textual corpus of Dharmaśāstra were composed in poetic verses, are part of the Hindu Smritis, constituting divergent commentaries and treatises on duties and ethics to oneself, to family and as a member of society; the texts include discussion of ashrama, purushartha, personal virtues and duties such as ahimsa against all living beings, rules of just war, other topics. Dharmaśāstra became influential in modern colonial India history, when they were formulated by early British colonial administrators to be the law of the land for all non-Muslims in India, after Sharia was accepted as the law for Muslims in colonial India.
The Dharmashastras are based on ancient Dharmasūtra texts, which themselves emerged from the literary tradition of the Vedas composed in 2nd millennium BCE to the early centuries of the 1st millennium BCE. These Vedic branches split into various other schools for a variety of reasons such as geography and disputes; each Veda is further divided into two categories namely the Saṃhitā, a collection of mantra verses and the Brahmanas which are prose texts that explain the meaning of the Samhita verses. The Brāhmaṇa layer expanded and some of the newer esoteric speculative layers of text were called Aranyakas while the mystical and philosophical sections came to be called the Upanishads; the Vedic basis of Dharma literature is found in the Brahmana layer of the Vedas. Towards the end of the vedic period, after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, the language of the Vedic texts composed centuries earlier grew too archaic to the people of that time; this led to the formation of Vedic Supplements called the Vedangas which means ‘limbs of the Veda’.
The Vedangas were ancillary sciences that focused on understanding and interpreting the Vedas composed many centuries earlier, included Shiksha, Vyakarana, Nirukta and Kalpa. The Kalpa Vedanga studies gave rise to the Dharma-sutras, which expanded into Dharma-shastras; the Dharmasutras were numerous. The most important of these texts are the sutras of Apastamba, Gautama and Vasistha; these extant texts cite writers and refer opinions of seventeen authorities, implying that a rich Dharmasutras tradition existed prior to when these texts were composed. The extant Dharmasutras are written in concise sutra format, with a terse incomplete sentence structure which are difficult to understand and leave much to the reader to interpret; the Dharmasastras are derivative works on the Dharmasutras, using a shloka, which are clearer. The Dharmasutras can be called the guidebooks of dharma as they contain guidelines for individual and social behavior, ethical norms, as well as personal and criminal law, they discuss the duties and rights of people at different stages of life like studenthood, householdership and renunciation.
These stages are called ashramas. They discuss the rites and duties of kings, judicial matters, personal law such as matters relating to marriage and inheritance. However, Dharmasutras did not deal with rituals and ceremonies, a topic, covered in the Shrautasutras and Grihyasutras texts of the Kalpa; the hymns of Ṛgveda are one of the earliest texts composed in verse. The Brāhmaṇa which belongs to the middle vedic period followed by the vedāṇga are composed in prose; the basic texts are composed in an aphoristic style known as the sutra which means thread on which each aphorism is strung like a pearl. The Dharmasūtras are composed in sutra style and were part of a larger compilation of texts, called the Kalpasūtras which give an aphoristic description of the rituals and proper procedures; the Kalpasutras contain three sections, namely the Śrautasūtras which deal with vedic ceremonies, Gṛhyasūtras which deal with rites of passage rituals and domestic matters, Dharmasūtras which deal with proper procedures in one's life.
The Dharmasūtras of Āpastamba and Baudhāyana form a part of larger Kalpasutra texts, all of which has survived into the modern era. The sūtra tradition ended around the beginning of the common era and was followed by the poetic octosyllable verse style called the śloka; the verse style was used to compose the Dharmaśāstras such as the Manusmriti, the Hindu epics, the Puranas. The age of Smṛtis that ended around the second half of the first millennium CE was followed by that of commentaries around the 9th century called nibandha; this legal tradition consisted of commentaries on earlier Smritis. About 20 Dharmasutras are known, some surviving into the modern era just as fragments of their original. Four Dharmasūtras have been translated into English, most remain in manuscripts. All carry the names of their authors, but it is still difficult to determine who these real authors were; the extant Dharmasūtra texts are listed below: Apastamba this Dharmasūtra forms a part of the larger Kalpasūtra of Apastamba.
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