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Rigveda
Four vedas
Four Vedas
Information
ReligionHinduism
LanguageVedic Sanskrit
Periodc. 1500–1200 BCE[note 1]
Chapters10 mandalas
Verses10,552 mantras[1]
Rigveda (padapatha) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction (śrīgaṇéśāyanamaAu3m), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a (agniṃ iḷe puraḥ-hitaṃ yajñasya devaṃ ṛtvijaṃ). The pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.

The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेदः ṛgvedaḥ, from ṛc "praise"[2] and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas.[3][4]

The Rigveda is the oldest known Vedic Sanskrit text.[5] Its early layers are one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language.[6][note 2] The sounds and texts of Rigveda have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE.[8][9][10] The philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE,[11][12][13] although a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BCE has also been given.[14][15][note 1]

The text is layered consisting of the Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.[note 3] The Rigveda Samhita is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books (

Sanskrit: ऋग्वेदः ṛgvedaḥ, from ṛc "praise"[2] and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas.[3][4]

The Rigveda is the oldest known Vedic Sanskrit text.[5] Its early layers are one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language.[6][note 2] The sounds and texts of Rigveda have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE.[8][9][10] The philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE,[11][12][13] although a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BCE has also been given.[14][15][note 1]

The text is layered consisting of the Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.[note 3] The Rigveda Samhita is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books (maṇḍalas) with 1,028 hymns (sūktas) in about 10,600 verses (called ṛc<

The Rigveda is the oldest known Vedic Sanskrit text.[5] Its early layers are one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language.[6][note 2] The sounds and texts of Rigveda have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE.[8][9][10] The philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BCE,[11][12][13] although a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BCE has also been given.[14][15][note 1]

The text is layered consisting of the Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads.[note 3] The Rigveda Samhita is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books (maṇḍalas) with 1,028 hymns (sūktas) in about 10,600 verses (called ṛc, eponymous of the name Rigveda). In the eight books – Books 2 through 9 – that were composed the earliest, the hymns predominantly discuss cosmology and praise deities.[16][17] The more recent books (Books 1 and 10) in part also deal with philosophical or speculative questions,[17] virtues such as dāna (charity) in society,[18] questions about the origin of the universe and the nature of the divine,[19][20] and other metaphysical issues in their hymns.[21]

Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu rites of passage celebrations (such as weddings) and prayers, making it probably the world's oldest religious text in continued use.[22][23]

According to Jamison and Brereton, in their 2014 translation of the Rigveda, the dating of this text "has been and is likely to remain a matter of contention and reconsideration". The dating proposals so far are all inferred from the style and the content within the hymns themselves.[24] Philological estimates tend to date the bulk of the text to the second half of the second millennium.[note 1] Being composed in an early Indo-Aryan language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BCE.[25] A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the Rigveda is that of the Mitanni documents of northern Syria and Iraq (c. 1450–1350 BCE), which also mention the Vedic gods such as Varuna, Mitra and Indra.[26][27] Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BCE.[28][29]

The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between c. 1500–1200 BCE.[note 1] According to Michael Witzel, the initial codification of the Rigveda took place at the end of the Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, in the early Kuru kingdom.[30] According to Asko Parpola, the Rigveda was systematized around 1000 BCE, at the time of the Kuru kingdom.[31]

Historical and societal context

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller and Rudolf Roth onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta,[32][33] deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times,[34] often associated with the early Andronovo culture (or rather, the Sintashta culture within the early Andronovo horizon) of c. 2000 BCE.[35]

The Rigveda offers no direct evidence of social or political system in Vedic era, whether ordinary or elite.[36] Only hints such as cattle raising and horse racing are discernible, and the text offers very general ideas about the ancient Indian society. There is no evidence, state Jamison and Brereton, of any elaborate, pervasive or structured caste system.[36] Social stratification seems embryonic, then and later a social ideal rather than a social reality.[36] The society was semi-nomadic and pastoral with evidence of agriculture since hymns mention plow and celebrate agricultural divinities.[37] There was division of labor, and complementary relationship between kings and poet-priests but no discussion of relative status of social classes.[36] Women in Rigveda appear disproportionately as speakers in dialogue hymns, both as mythical or divine Indrani, Apsaras Urvasi, or Yami, as well as Apāla Ātreyī (RV 8.91), Godhā (RV 10.134.6), Ghoṣā Kākṣīvatī (RV 10.39.40), Romaśā (RV 1.126.7), Lopāmudrā (RV 1.179.1–2), Viśvavārā Ātreyī (RV 5.28), Śacī Paulomī (RV 10.159), Śaśvatī Āṅgirasī (RV 8.1.34). The women of Rigveda are quite outspoken and appear more sexually confident than men, in the text.[36] Elaborate and esthetic hymns on wedding suggest rites of passage had developed during the Rigvedic period.[36] There is little evidence of dowry and no evidence of sati in it or related Vedic texts.[38]

The Rigvedic hymns mention rice and porridge, in hymns such as 8.83, 8.70, 8.77 and 1.61 in some versions of the text,[39] however there is no discussion of rice cultivation.[37] The term áyas (metal) occurs in the Rigveda, but it is unclear which metal it was.[40] Iron is not mentioned in Rigveda, something scholars have used to help date Rigveda to have been composed before 1000 BCE.[41] Hymn 5.63 mentions "metal cloaked in gold", suggesting metal working had progressed in the Vedic culture.[42]

Some of the names of gods and goddesses found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European religion, while most of the words used share common roots with words from other Indo-European languages.[43] However, about 300 words in the Rigveda are neither Indo-Aryan nor Indo-European, states the Sanskrit and Vedic literature scholar Frits Staal.[44]The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between c. 1500–1200 BCE.[note 1] According to Michael Witzel, the initial codification of the Rigveda took place at the end of the Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, in the early Kuru kingdom.[30] According to Asko Parpola, the Rigveda was systematized around 1000 BCE, at the time of the Kuru kingdom.[31]

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller and Rudolf Roth onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta,[32][33] deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times,[34] often associated with the early Andronovo culture (or rather, the Sintashta culture within the early Andronovo horizon) of c. 2000 BCE.[35]

The Rigveda offers no direct evidence of social or political system in Vedic era, whether ordinary or elite.<

The Rigveda offers no direct evidence of social or political system in Vedic era, whether ordinary or elite.[36] Only hints such as cattle raising and horse racing are discernible, and the text offers very general ideas about the ancient Indian society. There is no evidence, state Jamison and Brereton, of any elaborate, pervasive or structured caste system.[36] Social stratification seems embryonic, then and later a social ideal rather than a social reality.[36] The society was semi-nomadic and pastoral with evidence of agriculture since hymns mention plow and celebrate agricultural divinities.[37] There was division of labor, and complementary relationship between kings and poet-priests but no discussion of relative status of social classes.[36] Women in Rigveda appear disproportionately as speakers in dialogue hymns, both as mythical or divine Indrani, Apsaras Urvasi, or Yami, as well as Apāla Ātreyī (RV 8.91), Godhā (RV 10.134.6), Ghoṣā Kākṣīvatī (RV 10.39.40), Romaśā (RV 1.126.7), Lopāmudrā (RV 1.179.1–2), Viśvavārā Ātreyī (RV 5.28), Śacī Paulomī (RV 10.159), Śaśvatī Āṅgirasī (RV 8.1.34). The women of Rigveda are quite outspoken and appear more sexually confident than men, in the text.[36] Elaborate and esthetic hymns on wedding suggest rites of passage had developed during the Rigvedic period.[36] There is little evidence of dowry and no evidence of sati in it or related Vedic texts.[38]

The Rigvedic hymns mention rice and porridge, in hymns such as 8.83, 8.70, 8.77 and 1.61 in some versions of the text,[39] however there is no discussion of rice cultivation.[37] The term áyas (metal) occurs in the Rigveda, but it is unclear which metal it was.[40] Iron is not mentioned in Rigveda, something scholars have used to help date Rigveda to have been composed before 1000 BCE.[41] Hymn 5.63 mentions "metal cloaked in gold", suggesting metal working had progressed in the Vedic culture.[42]

Some of the names of gods and goddesses found in the Rigveda are found amongst other belief systems based on Proto-Indo-European religion, while most of the words used share common roots with words from other Indo-European languages.[43] However, about 300 words in the Rigveda are neither Indo-Aryan nor Indo-European, states the Sanskrit and Vedic literature scholar Frits Staal.[44] Of these 300, many – such as kapardin, kumara, kumari, kikata – come from Munda or proto-Munda languages found in the eastern and northeastern (Assamese) region of India, with roots in Austroasiatic languages. The others in the list of 300 – such as mleccha and nir – have Dravidian roots found in the southern region of India, or are of Tibeto-Burman origins. A few non-Indo-European words in the Rigveda – such as for camel, mustard and donkey – belong to a possibly lost Central Asian language.[44][45][note 4] The linguistic sharing provide clear indications, states Michael Witzel, that the people who spoke Rigvedic Sanskrit already knew and interacted with Munda and Dravidian speakers.[47]

The earliest text were composed in northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent, and the more philosophical later texts were most likely composed in or around the region that is the modern era state of Haryana.[41]

The "family books" (2–7) are associated with various clans and chieftains, containing hymns by members of the same clan in each book; but other clans are also represented in the Rigveda. The family books are associated with specific regions, and mention prominent Bharata and Pūru kings.[48]

Tradition associates a rishi (the composer) with each rishi (the composer) with each ṛc (verse) of the Rigveda.[49] Most sūktas are attributed to single composers; for each of them the Rigveda includes a lineage-specific āprī hymn (a special sūkta of rigidly formulaic structure, used for rituals). In all, 10 families of rishis account for more than 95 per cent of the ṛcs

The codification of the Rigveda took place late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, by members of the early Kuru tribe, when the center of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now Uttar Pradesh.[30] The Rigveda was codified by compiling the hymns, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas.[51] According to Witzel, the initial collection took place after the Bharata victory in the Battle of the Ten Kings, under king Sudās, over other Puru kings. This collection was an effort to reconcile various factions in the clans which were united in the Kuru kingdom under a Bharata king.[52][note 5] This collection was re-arranged and expanded in the Kuru Kingdom, reflecting the establishment of a new Bharata-Puru lineage and new srauta rituals.[53][note 6]

The fixing of the Vedic chant (by enforcing regular application of sandhi) and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period, in roughly the 6th century BCE.[55]

The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 27, ordered by author, deity and meter[56]) and a later redaction, coeval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the Vedic Sanskrit such as the regularization of sandhi (termed orthoepische Diaskeuase by Oldenberg, 1888).

Organisation

Mandalas

The text is organized in ten "books", or maṇḍalas ("circles"), of varying age and length.[57] The "family books", mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length (decreasing length of hymns per book) and account for 38% of the text.[58][59]

The hymns are arranged in collections each dealing with a particular deity: Agni comes first, Indra comes second, and so on. They are attributed and dedicated to a Vedic chant (by enforcing regular application of sandhi) and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period, in roughly the 6th century BCE.[55]

The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 27, ordered by author, deity and meter[56]) and a later redaction, coeval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the Vedic Sanskrit such as the regularization of sandhi (termed orthoepische Diaskeuase by Oldenberg, 1888).

The text is organized in ten "books", or maṇḍalas ("circles"), of varying age and length.[57] The "family books", mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length (decreasing length of hymns per book) and account for 38% of the text.[58][59]

The hymns are arranged in collections each dealing with a particular deity: Agni comes first, Indra comes second, and so o

The hymns are arranged in collections each dealing with a particular deity: Agni comes first, Indra comes second, and so on. They are attributed and dedicated to a rishi (sage) and his family of students.[60] Within each collection, the hymns are arranged in descending order of the number of stanzas per hymn. If two hymns in the same collection have equal numbers of stanzas then they are arranged so that the number of syllables in the metre are in descending order.[61][62] The second to seventh mandalas have a uniform format.[58]

The eighth and ninth mandalas, comprising hymns of mixed age, account for 15% and 9%, respectively. The ninth mandala is entirely dedicated to Soma and the Soma ritual. The hymns in the ninth mandala are arranged by both their prosody structure (chanda) and by their length.[58]

The first and the tenth mandalas are the youngest; they are also the longest books, of 191 suktas each, accounting for 37% of the text. Nevertheless, some of the hymns in mandalas 8, 1 and 10 may still belong to an earlier period and may be as old as the material in the family books.[63] The first mandala has a unique arrangement not found in the other nine mandalas. The first 84 hymns of the tenth mandala have a structure different than the remaining hymns in it.[58]

Each mandala consists of hymns or sūktas (su- + ukta, literally, "well recited, eulogy") intended for various rituals. The sūktas in turn consist of individual stanzas called ṛc ("praise", pl. ṛcas), which are further analysed into units of verse called pada ("foot" or step).

The hymns of the Rigveda are in different poetic metres in Vedic Sanskrit.

The hymns of the Rigveda are in different poetic metres in Vedic Sanskrit. The meters most used in the ṛcas are the gayatri (3 verses of 8 syllables), anushtubh (4×8), trishtubh (4×11) and jagati (4×12). The trishtubh meter (40%) and gayatri meter (25%) dominate in the Rigveda.[64][65][66]

As with the other Vedas, the redacted text has been handed down in several versions, including the Padapatha, in which each word is isolated in pausa form and is used for just one way of memorization; and the Samhitapatha, which combines words according to the rules of sandhi (the process being described in the Pratisakhya) and is the memorized text used for recitation.

The Padapatha and the Pratisakhya anchor the text's true meaning,[68] and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by oral tradition alone.[26] In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit compounds into stems and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of morphology and phonetics.

It is unclear as to when the Rigveda was first written down. The oldest surviving manuscripts have been discovered in Nepal and date to c. 1040 CE.[68] and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by oral tradition alone.[26] In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit compounds into stems and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of morphology and phonetics.

It is unclear as to when the Rigveda was first written down. The oldest surviving manuscripts have been discovered in Nepal and date to c. 1040 CE.[3][69] According to Witzel, the Paippalada Samhita tradition points to written manuscripts c. 800-1000 CE.[70] The Upanishads were likely in the written form earlier, about mid-1st millennium CE (Gupta Empire period).[26][71] Attempts to write the Vedas may have been made "towards the end of the 1st millennium BCE". The early attempts may have been unsuccessful given the Smriti rules that forbade the writing down the Vedas, states Witzel.[26] The oral tradition continued as a means of transmission until modern times.[72]

Several shakhas ("branches", i. e. recensions) of Rig Veda are known to have existed in the past. Of these, Śākala Shākha is the only one to have survived in its entirety. Another shakha that may have survived is the Bāṣkala, although this is uncertain.[73][74][75]

The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Śākala.[76] The Śākala recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 vālakhilya hymns[77] which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49–8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns.[78] The Bāṣkala recension includes eight of these vālakhilya hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025

The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Śākala.[76] The Śākala recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 vālakhilya hymns[77] which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49–8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns.[78] The Bāṣkala recension includes eight of these vālakhilya hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this śākhā.[79] In addition, the Bāṣkala recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the Khilani.[80]

In the 1877 edition of Aufrecht, the 1028 hymns of the Rigveda contain a total of 10,552 ṛcs, or 39,831 padas. The Shatapatha Brahmana gives the number of syllables to be 432,000,[81] while the metrical text of van Nooten and Holland (1994) has a total of 395,563 syllables (or an average of 9.93 syllables per pada); counting the number of syllables is not straightforward because of issues with sandhi and the post-Rigvedic pronunciation of syllables like súvar as svàr.

Three other shakhas are mentioned in Caraṇavyuha, a pariśiṣṭa (supplement) of Yajurveda: Māṇḍukāyana, Aśvalāyana and Śaṅkhāyana. The Atharvaveda lists two more shakhas. The differences between all these shakhas are very minor, limited to varying order of content and inclusion (or non-inclusion) of a few verses. The following information is known about the shakhas other than Śākala and Bāṣkala:[82]

The Rigveda hymns were composed and preserved by oral tradition. They were memorized and verbally transmitted with "unparalleled fidelity" across generations for many centuries.[26][83] According to Barbara West, it was probably first written down about the 3rd-century BCE.[84][85] The manuscripts were made from birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose and therefore were routinely copied over the generations to help preserve the text.

Versions

There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces etc. They were transferred to Deccan College, Pune, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of the Pune collection is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of Rigveda preserved at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune were added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007.[86]

Of these thirty manuscripts, nine contain the samhita text, five have the padapatha in addition. Thirteen contain Sayana's commentary. At least five manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the Rigveda. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by Max Müller for his edition of the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary.

Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five do

There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces etc. They were transferred to Deccan College, Pune, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of the Pune collection is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of Rigveda preserved at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune were added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007.[86]

Of these thirty manuscripts, nine contain the samhita text, fiv

Of these thirty manuscripts, nine contain the samhita text, five have the padapatha in addition. Thirteen contain Sayana's commentary. At least five manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the Rigveda. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by Max Müller for his edition of the Rigveda with Sayana's commentary.

Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five dozen manuscripts, but the editors of Pune Edition could not procure many manuscripts used by Müller and by the Bombay Edition, as well as from some other sources; hence the total number of extant manuscripts known then must surpass perhaps eighty at least.[87][full citation needed]

Rigveda manuscripts in paper, palm leaves and birch bark form, either in full or in portions, have been discovered in the following Indic scripts:

  • Devanagar

    The various Rigveda manuscripts discovered so far show some differences. Broadly, the most studied Śākala recension has 1017 hymns, includes an appendix of eleven valakhīlya hymns which are often counted with the eighth mandala, for a total of 1028 metrical hymns. The Bāṣakala version of Rigveda includes eight of these vālakhilya hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 hymns in the main text for this śākhā. The Bāṣakala text also has an appendix of 98 hymns, called the Khilani, bringing the total to 1,123 hymns. The manuscripts of Śākala recension of the Rigveda have about 10,600 verses, organized into ten Books (Mandalas).[97][98] Books 2 through 7 are internally homogeneous in style, while Books 1, 8 and 10 are compilation of verses of internally different styles suggesting that these books are likely a collection of compositions by many authors.[98]

    The first mandala is the largest, with 191 hymns and 2006 verses, and it was added to the text after Books 2 through 9. The last, or the 10th Book, also has 191 hymns but 1754 verses, making it the second largest. The language analytics suggest the 10th Book, chronologically, was composed and added last.[98] The content of the 10th Book also suggest that the authors knew and relied on the contents of the first nine books.[98]

    The Rigveda is the largest of the four Vedas, and many of its verses appear in the other Vedas.[99] Almost all of the 1875 verses found in Samaveda are taken from different parts of the Rigveda, either once or as repetition, and rewritten in a chant song form. Books 8 and 9 of the Rigveda are by far the largest source of verses for Sama Veda. Book 10 contributes the largest number of the 1350 verses of Rigveda found in Atharvaveda, or about one fifth of the 5987 verses in the Atharvaveda text.The first mandala is the largest, with 191 hymns and 2006 verses, and it was added to the text after Books 2 through 9. The last, or the 10th Book, also has 191 hymns but 1754 verses, making it the second largest. The language analytics suggest the 10th Book, chronologically, was composed and added last.[98] The content of the 10th Book also suggest that the authors knew and relied on the contents of the first nine books.[98]

    The Rigveda is the largest of the four Vedas, and many of its verses appear in the other Vedas.[99] Almost all of the 1875 verses found in Samaveda are taken from different parts of the Rigveda, either once or as repetition, and rewritten in a chant song form. Books 8 and 9 of the Rigveda are by far the largest source of verses for Sama Veda. Book 10 contributes the largest number of the 1350 verses of Rigveda found in Atharvaveda, or about one fifth of the 5987 verses in the Atharvaveda text.[98] A bulk of 1875 ritual-focussed verses of Yajurveda, in its numerous versions, also borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda.[99][100]

    Altogether the Rigveda consists of:

    • the SamhitaIn western usage, "Rigveda" usually refers to the Rigveda Samhita, while the Brahmanas are referred to as the "Rigveda Brahmanas" (etc.). Technically speaking, however, "the Rigveda" refers to the entire body of texts transmitted along with the Samhita portion. Different bodies of commentary were transmitted in the different shakhas or "schools". Only a small portion of these texts has been preserved: The texts of only two out of five shakhas mentioned by the Rigveda Pratishakhya have survived. The late (15th or 16th century) Shri Guru Charitra even claims the existence of twelve Rigvedic shakhas. The two surviving Rigvedic corpora are those of the Śākala and the Bāṣkala shakhas.

      Hymns

      The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various d

      The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni, the sacrificial fire; and Soma, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas or Asura gods MitraVaruna and Ushas (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr, Vishnu, Rudra, Pushan, Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita (the shining sky, Father Heaven), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya (the sun god), Vayu or Vata (the wind), Apas (the waters), Parjanya (the thunder and rain), Vac (the word), many rivers (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River). The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins, Maruts, Rbhus, and the Vishvadevas ("all-gods") as well as the "thirty-three gods" are the groups of deities mentioned.[citation needed]

      • Mandala 1 comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni, and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra, as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, S

        Of the Brahmanas that were handed down in the schools of the Bahvṛcas (i.e. "possessed of many verses"), as the followers of the Rigveda are called, two have come down to us, namely those of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins. The Aitareya-brahmana[103] and the Kaushitaki- (or Sankhayana-) brahmana evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them.[citation needed]

        Devi sukta, which highlights the goddess tradition of Hinduism is found in Rigveda hymns 10.125. It is cited in Devi Mahatmya and is recited every year during the Durga Puja festival.

        The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of 30 chapters (adhyaya); while the Aitareya has 40, divided into eight books (or pentads, pancaka), of five chapters each. The last 10 adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of Pāṇini (c. 5th century BCE), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of 30 and 40 adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of Shunahshepa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings.[citation needed]

        While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, etc., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.[citation needed]

        Rigveda Aranyakas and Upanishads

        Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka. The Aitareyaranyaka is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahavrata, or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareya Upanishad,[104] ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Samhita-upanishad. As regards the Kaushitaki-aranyaka, this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the first, fifth, and third books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (Brahmana-) Upanishad,[105] of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9–15) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the vamsha, or succession of teachers.

        Significance

        The text is a highly stylized poetical Vedic Sanskrit with praise addressed to the Vedic gods and chieftains. Most hymns, according to Witzel, were intended to be recited at the annual New Year Soma ritual.[106] The text also includes some nonritual poetry,[106] fragments of mythology, archaic formulas, and a number of hymns with early philosophical speculations.[107] Composed by the poets of different clans, including famed Vedic rishis (sages) such as Vishvamitra and Vasishtha, these signify the power of prestige therewith to vac (speech, sound), a tradition set in place.[106] The text introduced the prized concepts such as Rta (active realization of truth, cosmic harmony) which inspired the later Hindu concept of Dharma. The Rigvedic verses formulate this Rta as effected by Brahman, a significant and non-self-evident truth.[106] The text also contains hymns of "highly poetical value" – some in dialogue form, along with love stories that likely inspired later Epic and classical poets of Hinduism, states Witzel.[107]

        According to Nadkarni, several hymns of the Rigveda embed cherished virtues and ethical statements. For example, verses 5.82.7, 6.44.8, 9.113.4, 10.133.6 and 10.190.1 mention truthful speech, truthful action, self-discipline and righteousness.[108][109] Hymn 10.117 presents the significance of char

        The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of 30 chapters (adhyaya); while the Aitareya has 40, divided into eight books (or pentads, pancaka), of five chapters each. The last 10 adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of Pāṇini (c. 5th century BCE), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of 30 and 40 adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of Shunahshepa, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings.[citation needed]

        While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, etc., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.[citation needed]

        Rigveda Aranyakas and Upanishads

        Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka. T

        While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of haviryajna, or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, etc., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 7–10 contain the practical ceremonial and 11–30 the recitations (shastra) of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.[citation needed]

        Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or Aranyaka. The Aitareyaranyaka is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (aranyaka), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called mahavrata, or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the Aitareya Upanishad,[104] ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Samhita-upanishad. As regards the Kaushitaki-aranyaka, this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the first, fifth, and third books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (Brahmana-) Upanishad,[105] of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9–15) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the vamsha, or succession of teachers.

        Significance

        The text is a highly stylized poetical Vedic Sanskrit with praise addressed to the Vedic gods and chieftains. Most hymns, according to Witzel, were intended to be recited at the annual New Year Soma ritual.[106] The text also includes some nonritual poetry,[106] fragments of mythology, archaic formulas, and a number of hymns with early philosophical speculations.[107] Composed by the poets of different clans, including famed Vedic rishis (sages) such as Vishvamitra and Vasishtha, these signify the power of prestige therewith to vac (speech, sound), a tradition set in place.[106] The text introduced the prized concepts such as Rta (active realization of truth, cosmic harmony) which inspired the later Hindu concept of Dharma. The Rigvedic verses formulate this Rta as effected by Brahman, a significant and non-self-evident truth.[106] The text also contains hymns of "highly poetical value" – some in dialogue form, along with love stories that likely inspired later Epic and classical poets of Hinduism, states Witzel.[107]

        According to Nadkarni, several hymns of the Rigveda embed cheris

        According to Nadkarni, several hymns of the Rigveda embed cherished virtues and ethical statements. For example, verses 5.82.7, 6.44.8, 9.113.4, 10.133.6 and 10.190.1 mention truthful speech, truthful action, self-discipline and righteousness.[108][109] Hymn 10.117 presents the significance of charity and of generosity between human beings, how helping someone in need is ultimately in the self-interest of the helper, its importance to an individual and the society.[18][110] According to Jamison and Brereton, hymns 9.112 and 9.113 poetically state, "what everyone [humans and all living beings] really want is gain or an easy life", even a water drop has a goal – namely, "simply to seek Indra". These hymns present the imagery of being in heaven as "freedom, joy and satisfaction", a theme that appears in the Hindu Upanishads to characterize their teachings of self-realization.[111][112]

        While the older hymns of the Rigveda reflect sacrificial ritual typical of polytheism,[113] its younger parts, specifically mandalas 1 and 10, have been noted as containing monistic or henotheistic speculations.[113]

        Rigveda 10.129 (Abridged, Tr: Kramer / Christian)[19] This hymn is one of the roots of Hindu philosophy.[114]

        A widely cited example of such speculations is hymn 1.164.46: