Showing posts with label Rig Veda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rig Veda. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Yajur Veda?


The Yajur Veda is a Hindu scripture.

The third of the four Vedas, according to tradition.

The Yajur Veda, like the Rg Veda and the Sama Veda, was linked with sacrificial rites, and the book itself is mostly composed of mantras to be recited while the sacrifice was being performed.

There are five primary recensions of the Yajur Veda, four of which are "black" and one of which is "white." Their variances are due to the placement of explanatory notes on the mantras and the significance of these annotations: The annotations are included in the text of the Black Yajur Veda recensions, but the White Yajur Veda collects them in an appendix known as a Brahmana—specifically, the Shatapatha Brahmana—and this Brahmana literature forms the next major layer of Vedic texts.

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Hinduism - What Is Yajna?


Yajna is a Sanskrit word that means “sacrifice”. 

The basic religious act in the oldest stratum of Indian religion was a fire sacrifice.

The Brahmana literature elaborates on this worship of sacrifice in considerable detail, portraying sacrifice as the mechanism by which the cosmos came into existence.

The sacrifice required highly skilled priestly technicians (rtvij), who were in charge of singing portions of the Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas, as well as creating and keeping the holy fire at the center of the sacrificial activity.

This sacrificial ritual was focused on burning items in a holy fire, which was thought to be the deity Agni, so that Agni might deliver the sacrifices to the other gods.

These ceremonies were so intricate and costly that they soon fell out of favor; by the turn of the common period, there was also a lot of skepticism regarding the animal sacrifices that were formerly a big element of many of these rites.

These old ceremonies are no longer practiced, but the term yajna may now be used to any ceremony involving the holy fire, especially one conducted by a brahmin for a patron.

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Hinduism - What Is Vrtra?


(“obstruction”) In one of the hymns from the Rig Veda (1.32), the earliest Hindu holy literature, the name of the demon slain by the storm-god Indra.

Vrtra is characterized in this hymn as a snake who obstructs the free flow of water, thus his name.

The action in this hymn is one of Indra's defining acts, in which he kills the snake, slices it up, and lets the rivers flow freely.

Some interpreters who view the Vedas as historical records have perceived in this song the approaching Aryans bursting the dams built by the Indus Valley civilization, however there is scant evidence that such an episode really occurred.

Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - What Is The Vikramorvashiya?


(“Urvashi won by valor”) Drama written by the poet Kalidasa, generally considered the greatest classical Sanskrit poet.

The Vikramorvashiya is a musical play in five acts, whose mythic theme is the liaison of King Pururavas and the celestial nymph Urvashi, a story mentioned both in Rig Veda 1.95 and in the Shatapatha Brahmana.

In both these earlier sources the story ends unhappily, with the separation of Urvashi and Pururavas, but in Kalidasa’s version the estranged lovers are finally happily reunited.

This change may have been prompted solely from the desire for a happy ending, which is one of the most characteristic features of Sanskrit

~Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - What Are The Veda?


A Sanskrit word that in its essence means "“knowledge”.  The earliest and most authoritative collection of Hindu holy scriptures, also known as shruti ("heard").

These words, according to legend, were not written by humans but rather by the original vibrations of the universe itself.

The ancient sages, whose perceptual powers had been refined by arduous religious practice, were able to "hear" and comprehend these vibrations, and they were able to transfer them to others in a lineage of learning.

On one level, the word veda appears in the titles of four separate texts: the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda, each with its own purpose and substance.

The Vedic hymns (samhitas), the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads all use the word veda to refer to the information found in these works or its appendices.

Although these four collections of writings are all deemed Vedic, their forms and characteristics are vastly diverse.

The samhitas are praise songs dedicated to certain deities, and they are mostly found in the Rig Veda and the Sama Veda.

The Brahmanas, on the other hand, are precise ritual manuals that outline how to conduct intricate sacrifice ceremonies; the Aranyakas and Upanishads, on the other hand, are theoretical musings on the nature of the world.

The Vedas were regarded so holy that they were not written down for 3,000 years, instead being passed down orally, a method of transmission that is still used today.

The Vedas' power derives not from their exact meaning, but from the sound of them, which is the same sound heard by the sages thousands of years ago.

To keep this tradition alive, Hindus devised a complex system of mnemonics to guarantee that the writings were not changed or damaged, keeping their power.

~Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - Who Is Varuna In The Hindu Pantheon?


Varuna with his consort Varunani

Who Is The Indo-Aryan Deity Varuna?

Statue of Varuna at the National Museum in Delhi

In the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative religious texts, Varuna is a deity associated with the sky, with waters, with justice, and with truth.

Statue of Varuna - Lord of knowledge

Varuna belongs to the earliest layer of the Indo-Aryan deities; this is clearly shown by comparisons with the Avesta, an ancient Iranian sacred text that shows many parallels with the Vedas, and with even older epigraphic sources.

As portrayed in the Vedas, however, Varuna’s influence has clearly declined—there are far fewer hymns addressed to him than to deities such as Indra, Agni, and Soma, and he seems to have played a far less important role than these other deities in Vedic religion.

In the Vedas, Varuna is portrayed as the guardian of rta, the cosmic order through which the world proceeds.

Varuna Riding Naga

As the deity associated with the high heaven, he also watches over the deeds of human beings and punishes them for any transgressions.

The best known hymn to Varuna, Rig Veda 7.86, shows Varuna’s connection with justice, moral order, and the waters.

The hymn is the lament of a person who has committed some offense against Varuna and whose sin has become visible through being afflicted with dropsy, in which the body retains its fluids and swells.

USS Varuna

The speaker begs Varuna to reveal the forbidden act, “committed under the influence of liquor, anger, or heedlessness,” so that Varuna may be propitiated and the sufferer healed.

Despite his virtual eclipse early in the tradition, in the later tradition, Varuna retains his association as the god presiding over the waters.

He is also considered to be one of the eight Guardians of the Directions, each of which is associated with one of eight points on the compass.

Varuna presides over the western direction.

~Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - Who Is Rudra? What Does Rudra Mean?


"Howler" is the literal meaning of Rudra.

A fearsome deity who emerges late in the Vedas, the earliest Hindu holy books, and is eventually linked to the god Shiva.

Rudra is mentioned in many hymns in the Rig Veda, where he is linked to the storm deity Indra and the fire god Agni.

The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, one of the later theoretical books known as the Upanishads, provides a more detailed portrayal of Rudra.

Rudra is designated as the universe's controlling force, as well as the genesis and origin of the gods themselves, in the third chapter (adhyaya) of this scripture.

Rudra's portrayal in this upanishad is ambiguous, referencing both his destructive arrows and urging him to manifest in a form that is auspicious (shivam) and tranquil.

This ambivalence may mirror the theological tensions surrounding Shiva, a god who originated outside of the Vedic sacrifice cult but was eventually integrated into established religion and is today one of the most important Hindu deities.

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Hinduism - What Is The Rig Veda?


Rg Veda is a Hindu scripture.

The most ancient and authoritative Hindu holy writings, and the oldest and most significant of the four Vedas.

The Rig Veda is a collection of 1,028 hymns in 10 books.

The hymns were definitely written over a lengthy period of time based on their substance, but the exact dates are a point of contention.

Traditional Hindus believe that the Vedas were not written by God or humans, but rather by ancient sages who heard them via their enhanced abilities of perception and passed them down orally from generation to generation.

The Vedas are therefore classified as shruti ("heard") holy scriptures because of their origin.

The Vedas were started in the early second millennium B.C.E., maybe 1800–1500 B.C.E., and ended towards the end of the second millennium B.C.E., perhaps 1200–900 B.C.E., according to scholarly agreement.

All of these dates are very speculative, since the hymns themselves have no internal evidence to support precise dating, which has instead been relied mostly on a comparative analysis of changes in the language of the Vedas.

Some hymns, for example, are regarded to have been written later than others, both because their vocabulary is less archaic and closer to classical Sanskrit, and because the places referenced in them cover a larger geographical range.

The Rig Veda's hymns are mostly devoted to a single god.

Indra, Agni, and Soma are the primary deities, however Varuna is mentioned in the oldest hymns.

The hymns were sung during sacrifices to summon these deities, according to popular belief.

According to the hymns, these sacrifices were massive public ceremonies that frequently included the murder of animals, which were then burnt on a sacrificial fire, as well as the preparation and consumption of the enigmatic beverage soma.

The Vedic hymns represent a corpus of holy knowledge that is only known to a restricted number of religious specialists in this environment.

Since a result, these songs were never intended for widespread public dissemination, as everyone save twice-born males were prohibited from hearing them.

The tenth and last book of the Rig Veda varies significantly from the others.

Its language is more akin to traditional Sanskrit, and its subject is significantly more speculative than the preceding volumes, implying a significant conceptual leap.

The renowned Creation Hymn (10.129) is included in this book, in which the poet speculates on how the universe came to be, only to conclude that even the creator may not know the answer.

The Purusha Sukta (10.90) is another famous hymn in this collection, which views both the world and human civilization as the result of a primal sacrifice.

The theological and cosmic speculation contained in the Upanishads is foreshadowed in the previous song.

The latter is distinguished as predicting later dharma literature because it provides the earliest known articulation of the four primary social groupings (varnas) and their symbolic purposes.

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Hinduism - What Is Purusha Sukta In The Rig Veda?

("Hymn to Primitive Man") The hymn in the Rig Veda (10.90) that recounts the formation of the material and social universe as the outcome of a primal sacrifice is known by this name.

According to the book, there was once a primal man who was sacrificed and mutilated.

The brahmins originated from the primeval man's lips, the kshatriyas from his shoulders, the vaishyas from his thighs (a popular euphemism for the genitals), and the shudras from his feet, as did the four traditional main social groupings (varnas).

This poem is thought to be one of the most recent hymns in the Rig Veda, since it clearly represents the sacrificial paradigm that was so fundamental to subsequent Brahmana literature.

It is also notable for articulating the four varnas for the first time, as well as the symbolic functions associated with each: speech and the authority of the sacred word for brahmins; protection and military valor for kshatriyas; generation and production for vaishyas; and service to others for shudras.

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Hinduism - What Is A Mantra?


Sacred sound in the most fundamental sense.

A mantra is a collection of phonemes that may or may not have grammatical meaning as real words, since its significance stems from the sounds themselves rather than the meaning of the utterances.

Those who have been granted the qualification (adhikara) to employ mantras are said to gain strength and other spiritual abilities.

The qualification comes from being handed the mantra by one's instructor, which is said to impart not just the mantra's tones but also its potency.

This live transmission is seen to be an important aspect of "possessing" the mantra; as a result, mantras learnt in other settings are thought to be ineffectual.

The Vedas, the earliest Hindu religious books, first mention mantra as a holy sound.

The Gayatri mantra is a passage from the Rig Veda and is one of the most popular mantras (3.62.10).

Tantra is a hidden ritual-based religious discipline that emphasizes the use of mantras.

See Arthur Avalon's (Sir John Woodroffe's) Shakti and Shakta, 1978; Swami Agehananda Bharati's The Tantric Tradition, 1977; and Douglas Renfrew Brooks' The Secret of the Three Cities, 1990 for further information.

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Hinduism - What Is The House of Clay In Hindu Theology? Why Do Wicked Souls Inhabit This House?

In a line from the Rg Veda (7.89), the oldest Hindu sacred literature, a realm of retribution is depicted.

The House of Clay, as stated in this passage, is a location where evildoers—particularly those who lie—will be sent by the deity Varuna, who is regarded the protector of righteousness and cosmic order (rta).

The House of Clay, as its name suggests, is a bleak and depressing place.

The absence of any idea of rebirth (samsara) in the original stanza is remarkable, since it eventually became a major Indian premise.

It was thought to be an unpleasant and permanent condition after death at the time. 

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