Vedic literature

  • There are four Vedas:
    • the Rigveda,
    • the Yajurveda,
    • the Samaveda and
    • the Atharvaveda
  • Each Veda has four subdivisions
    • the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions),
    • the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices),
    • the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices),
    • the Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).[


Vedas are called Maṛai (hidden, a secret, mystery) or Vaymoli in parts of South India

Vedic Period is from Iron Age India


Texts Composed in Vedic Sanskrit

  • Any text in vedas is Connected to Vedas or Supplementary of vedas
  • Collection of Vedic Text Includes
    • The Samhitas
    • The Brahmanas
    • Aranyakas
    • Mukhya Upanishads
  • Samhitas

    • Collection of Mantras

      • Four Types of Samhitas
        • Rigveda
        • Yajurveda
        • Sama-veda
        • Athrva-veda
      • Old Layer of Vedic Textxs
      • Composed Between
        • Circa 1500–1200 BCE (Rig Veda book 2–9)
        • Circa 1200–900 BCE for the other Samhitas


  • The Samhitas contain invocations (आमंत्रण, ఆహ్వానాలు) to deities ( देवी-देवताओं, దేవతలు)
    • Example: Indra and Agni,
    • “to secure their benediction for success in battles or for welfare of the clan.”
    • (लड़ाइयों में सफलता के लिए या कबीले के कल्याण के लिए उनका आशीर्वाद सुरक्षित करना।)
    • "యుద్ధాలలో విజయం కోసం లేదా వంశ సంక్షేమం కోసం వారి ఆశీర్వాదం పొందేందుకు."
      Leonard Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance (1907)
  • According to him, The complete corpus of Vedic mantras as collected in  consists of some 89,000 padas (metrical feet), of which 72,000 occur in the four Samhitas


  • The Brahmanas
    • Prose texts that comment and explain the solemn rituals as well as expound on their meaning and many connected themes
    • Each of the Brahmanas is associated with one of the Samhitas or its recensions
    • The oldest dated to about 900 BCE, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), were complete by about 700 BCE
    • The Brahmanas may either form separate texts or can be partly integrated into the text of the Samhitas.
    • They may also include the Aranyakas and Upanishads


  • Aranyakas
    • The Aranyakas, “wilderness texts” or “forest treaties”, were composed by people who meditated in the woods as recluses and are the third part of the Vedas
    • The texts contain discussions and interpretations of ceremonies, from ritualistic to symbolic meta-ritualistic points of view.
    • It is frequently read in secondary literature


  • Mukhya Upanishads
    • Older Mukhya Upanishads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chandogya, Kaṭha, Kena, Aitareya, and others), composed between 800 BCE and the end of the Vedic period.
    • The Upanishads are largely philosophical works, some in dialogue form.
    • They are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions.
    • Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are still influential in Hinduism.

The texts considered “Vedic” in the sense of “corollaries of the Vedas” are less clearly defined, and may include numerous post-Vedic texts such as the later Upanishads and the Sutra literature, such as Shrauta Sutras and Gryha Sutras, which are smriti texts

    • Together, the Vedas and these Sutras form part of the Vedic Sanskrit corpus.

While production of Brahmanas and Aranyakas ceased with the end of the Vedic period, additional Upanishads were composed after the end of the Vedic period.[48] The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, among other things, interpret and discuss the Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman), and the soul or the self (Atman), introducing Vedanta philosophy, one of the major trends of later Hinduism. In other parts, they show evolution of ideas, such as from actual sacrifice to symbolic sacrifice, and of spirituality in the Upanishads. This has inspired later Hindu scholars such as Adi Shankara to classify each Veda into karma-kanda (कर्म खण्ड, action/sacrificial ritual-related sections, the Samhitas and Brahmanas); and jnana-kanda (ज्ञान खण्ड, knowledge/spirituality-related sections, mainly the Upanishads’)


  • Vedas are śruti (“what is heard) hich are called smṛti (“what is remembered”)
  • he well-known smṛtis include Bhagvad Gita, Bhagavata Purana and the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, amongst others.
  • Hindus consider Vedas as “Apauruseya”
    • not a man, superhuman
    • Impersonal, authorless
  • In the Hindu Epic Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma.[The oldest part of the Rig Veda Samhita was orally composed in north-western India (Punjab) between c. 1500 and 1200 BC
    book 10 of the Rig Veda, and the other Samhitas were composed between 1200 and 900 BCE more eastward, between the Yamuna and the Ganges,
    the heartland of Aryavarta and the Kuru Kingdom (c. 1200 – c. 900 BCE).[56][2][57][58][59] The “circum-Vedic” texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000–500 BCE.

    The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts

    The bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region (Punjab) of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BC

    Other three Samhitas are considered to date from the time of the Kuru Kingdom, approximately c. 1200–900 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, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware).

    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 (Patañjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature,
    1200 BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda


Post-Vedic literature Questions


Sciences that focused on helping understand and interpret the Vedas

Around or after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE.

  • The six subjects of Vedanga
    • Phonetics (Siksa)
    • Poetic meter (Chandas)
    • Grammar (Vyākaraṇa)
    • Etymology
    • Linguistics (Nirukta)
    • Rituals and rites of passage (Kalpa)
    • Time keeping and astronomy (Jyotiṣa)

Parisista :

Details of ritual and elaborations of the texts logically and chronologically prior to them:
the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Sutras.

Parisista works exist for each of the four Vedas.

The Aśvalayana Gṛhya Parisista is a very late text associated with the Rigveda canon.

The Gobhila Gṛhya Parisista is a short metrical text of two chapters, with 113 and 95 verses respectively.

The Kātiya Parisistas, ascribed to Kātyāyana, consist of 18 works enumerated self-referentially in the fifth of the series (the Caraṇavyūha) and the Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra Parisista.

The Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda has 3 parisistas The Āpastamba Hautra Parisista, which is also found as the second praśna of the Satyasāḍha Śrauta Sūtra’, the Vārāha Śrauta Sūtra Parisista


  • Which of the below is correct related to Parisistas ?
    • For the Atharvaveda, there are 79 works, collected as 72 distinctly named parisistas


Charanavyuha is other name of

Shaunaka is the name applied to
None of these

Which of the below is related to Architecture in the Upavedas mentioned by Shaunaka ?

Shaunaka (Charanavyuha)mentions four Upavedas:

Archery (Dhanurveda), associated with the Yajurveda
Architecture (Sthapatyaveda), associated with the Rigveda.
Music and sacred dance (Gāndharvaveda), associated with the Samaveda
Medicine (Āyurveda), associated with the Atharvaveda.

Which of the below post vedic literature is related to applied knowledge and designate the subjects of certain technical works ?


Fifth” and other Vedas :

  • Refers Some post-Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata, the Natyasastra and certain Puranas


  • ___ is a term for canonical Tamil texts considered as Vernacular Veda by some South Indian Hindus
    • “Divya Prabandha”, for example Tiruvaymoli


  • Which of the below extended the term veda to include the Sanskrit Epics and Vaishnavite devotional texts
    • Gaudiya Vaishnavism
    • The Bhakti movement
    • Both
    • None of these


  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism is also known as ?
    • Chaitanya Vaishnavism


  • Who is the inspiration for Gaudiya Vaishnavism ?
    • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534)


  • Which of the below is Vaishnavite devotional texts
    • Pancaratra (3rd-century BCE)



  • Several of Puranas are named after which of the bewlo major Hindu deities
    • Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva
    • Vishnu, Shiva and Devi
    • Vishnu, Shiva and Venkateswara
    • None of these


  •  Which of the below is correct ?
    • There are 15 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 13 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 500,000 verses
    • There are 18 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 400,000 verses
    • There are 13 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 15 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 600,000 verses
    • There are 16 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 12 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 700,000 verses

Correct : B

  • Which of the below has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre
    • Ramayana
    • The Bhagavata Purana
    • The Mahanabharatha
    • None of these

Answer: B

  • Which of the below post vedic literature wove with Bakthi Movement
    • Parisista
    • Puranas
    • Upaveda
    • Vedangas

Bakthi Movement originated in South India during the seventh to eighth century CE)


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