Vedas

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The Vedas (Skt. veda; Wyl. rig byed, meaning 'knowledge') are the ancient sacred scriptures of traditional Indian culture and the primary texts of Hinduism.

There are four collections (Skt. saṃhitā):

  • Rig Veda (Skt. ṛgveda; Wyl. nges brjod kyi rig byed), from ṛg meaning 'praise'.
  • Sama Veda (Skt. sāmaveda; Wyl. mchod sbyin gyi rig byed), from sāman meaning 'song'.
  • Yajur Veda (Skt. yajurveda; Wyl. snyan tshig gi rig byed), from yajus meaning 'prose mantra'.
  • Atharva Veda (Skt. atharvaveda; Wyl. srid srung gi rig byed), from atharvāṇas meaning knowledge.

The Rig Veda was likely composed in its final form around 1000 BCE, and in a few centuries after that the other three followed. The last Veda, the Atharva Veda, was only later accepted by orthodoxy, and therefore some Buddhist texts mention only three Vedas.