What makes up the Vedic Knowledge basically
The Vedas are the oldest books in the library of man. The truths contained in all religions are derived from the Vedas and are ultimately traceable to the Vedas. The Vedas are the ultimate source to which all religious knowledge can be traced. Religion is of divine origin. It was revealed by God to man in the earliest times. It is embodied in the Vedas.
The Vedas are eternal. They are without beginning and end. An ignorant man may say how a book can be without beginning or end. By the Vedas, no books are meant. Vedas came out of the breath of the Lord. They are the words of God. The Vedas are not the utterances of persons. They are not the composition of any human mind. They were never written, never created. They are eternal and impersonal. The date of the Vedas has never been fixed. It can never be fixed. Vedas are eternal spiritual Truths. Vedas are an embodiment of divine knowledge. The books may be destroyed, but the knowledge cannot be destroyed. Knowledge is eternal. In that sense, the Vedas are eternal.
Shruti is vedas. Shruti is what was heard by the rishis, basically gods word and what was heard while in deep meditation. This is the vedic mantras. The revelation. The word as it was revealed. It was later that all the vedic knowledge was given the name shruti since it was passed from guru to disciple by recitation. The guru would recite a mantra to the disciple and then the disciple would recite the mantra and the mantra now belonged to the disciple. There were no books at that time. We are not so blessed to have access to this. The entire veda was given this way. In fact, some Brahmin families still have their family name connected to their lineage that stated the family’s title….. Chaturveda for example is a family last name that meant the members of that lineage, that family knew four vedas, Chaturpadyai… is the same. Trivedi is a family name that means they knew three of the vedas. Mukhapadyai, the foremost of the learned. The tradition was to memorize the Vedas as a Brahmin child. Their minds were not encumbered by so much of the stuff of modern life today.
Smriti is that what is recollected or remembered. The Bhagavad Gita is smriti.
There is Samhita which is the Hymns of the vedas.
Brahmanas are the texts that held the knowledge of the padoti or the systems of worship.
Aranyak is the stories of the rishis that lived in the forest or the Himalayas.
The Upanishad is the synthesis of the philosophy.
Each Veda had the four parts of Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. They all were separate works.
The Puranas all of these are collected together. They told the story of the Rishi who went off into the forest = Arnyak. Perform this puja = Bramana. In that Puja he sang this hymn = Samhita. Which then evolves into the discourse on the philosophy = Upanishad. The Purana was a collection of all of this in an attempt to translate all of the the Vedic knowledge for the common people of that era. The knowledge was collected together and put into one synthesis which had a story line and also taught the puja and taught the philosophy and it taught the hymns. The Puranas were written to popularise the knowledge of the Vedas. They contain the essence of the Vedas. The aim of them is to impress on the minds of the masses the teachings of the Vedas and to generate in them a higher devotion to God, through concrete examples, myths, stories, legends, lives of saints, kings and great men, allegories and chronicles of great historical events. The sages made use of these things to illustrate the eternal principles. The Puranas were meant, not for the scholars, but for the ordinary people who could not understand high philosophy and who could not study the Vedas. Neophytes in the spiritual path are puzzled when they go through Siva Purana and Vishnu Purana. In Siva Purana, Lord Siva is highly eulogised and an inferior position is given to Lord Vishnu. Sometimes Vishnu is belittled. In Vishnu Purana, Lord Hari (Vishnu) is highly eulogised and the inferior status is given to Lord Siva. Sometimes Lord Siva is belittled. This is only to increase the faith of the devotees in their particular Ishta Devata. Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one. The best among the Puranas are the Srimad Bhagavata and the Vishnu Purana. The most popular is the Srimad Bhagavata Purana. Next comes Vishnu Purana. A portion of the Markandeya Purana is well known to all Hindus as Chandi, or Devimahatmya. Worship of God as the Divine Mother is its theme. Chandi is read widely by the Hindus on sacred days and Navaratri (Durga Puja) days which just passed.
The Epics were another synthesis. They told the epic story that would have the characters that would be the archetypes with the lineage and their kingdom. Throughout it the characters would be met with , Rishis, Saints and wise men or even avatar and manifestations of God that would give the wisdom, the wisdom of the pujas, and the hymns and the philosophy that is connected. The entire genealogy of India is held in the Mahabharata. The cream of the Upanishads are in the Bhagavad Gita. You will find almost exact word for word verses of the Keno Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, and Chandogya Upanishad in the Bhagavad Gita. Cut and pasted.
The seven Rishis knew all the vedic knowledge. Veda vyasa later classified and categorized the vedic knowledge into Rig Veda the knowledge of hymns, Yajur Veda the knowledge of sacrifice, Sama Veda the knowledge of song, the Atharva Veda knowledge of the perfection of life. when they past the knowledge on to their disciples it was broken down into shakas or branches. These branches got smaller and smaller as they moved further from the root. They developed into Gotras or lineages which is the dispensing and evolution of vedic knowledge and its branches. Traditionally there was 51 Gotras and 49 shakas or branches (7 rishis with 7 Shakas). Each of the branches had a theme or philosophies from the gross philosophy to the most highest idealist philosophy which all were included in the Vedas.
The 6 philosophies:
Nyaya -logic, written by Sage Gautama. It consists of 537 Sutras in five chapters. It helps in obtaining an intimate knowledge of topics like Prameya, Pramana and other items of learning. It deals with the analysis of the mental process of knowing.
Vaiseshika – which is supplementary to Nyaya, was written by Sage Kanada and it consists of about 373 Sutras in twelve chapters. This science helps us to get a clear knowledge of the six-fold type of existing things like Dravya (money), Guna (Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas), Karma etc. The metaphysics and logic of both are more or less the same. This science recognises the scripture.,
Sankhya -attributed to Sage Kapila, explaining that the world is real, balanced by intelligence, activity and matter. The goal of life according to this Sastra is to get absolute freedom from the three kinds of miseries from the knowledge of the difference between Prakriti and Purusha.
Yoga – explains the practical side of Sankhya. Sage Patanjali is the author of the text on this branch and it consists of 194 Sutras in four parts. Control of character by control of body, mind, intellect etc., forms the subject matter of the eight-fold steps taught in this Sastra. It is also known as Raja Yoga.
Purva Mimansa, Uttar Mimansa – explains the Karma (or Purva) Mimamsa and Sharirika (or Uttara) Mimamsa or Vedanta. Sage Jaimini composed the first which consists of 12 chapters. Sage Jaimini has also written the Upasana Kanda in four chapters.
There are also four Upa-Vedas or subsidiary Vedas; Ayurveda (science of life and health), Dhanurveda (science of war), Gandharva Veda (science of music) and Arthasastra (science of polity).
and six Angas or explanatory limbs, to the Vedas;
Siksha of Maharshi Panini (Phonetics)…. because the treating of sound pitches, like Udatta, Anudatta, Swarita, Prachaya, Hraswa, Dirgha and Pluta of the vowels with the consonants appearing in the Vedic text. A knowledge of this science, especially in the context of the use of the Mantras, is said to be absolutely essential. Defective pronunciation will bring contrary or even harmful results. Kinda obvious, or this science in itself would not exist in the first place.
Vyakarana of Maharshi Panini (Sanskrit Grammar), Chhandas of Pingalacharya (Prosody metre), Nirukta of Yaska (Philosophy or etymology), Jyotisha of Garga (Astronomy and astrology), Kalpas (Srauta, Grihya, Dharma and Sulba) belonging to the authorship of various Rishis.
|Vedas||Rig Veda||Krishna Yajur Veda||Sukla Yajur Veda||Samaveda||Atharva Veda|
|Available Branches or Shakas||Shakala||Taitireeya
|Brahmanas||Aitaraya, Kaushitiki (or Shankhyayana)||Taittireeya (Samhita)
Everything is sanskrit is written in metres.
The Seven main Chandas (loosely translated as Metres) are;
- Gayatri: 3 padas of 8 syllables containing 24 syllables in each stanza.
- Ushnuk : 4 padas of 7 syllables containing 28 syllables in each stanza.
- Anustubh: 4 padas of 8 syllables containing 32 syllables in each stanza. This is the typical shloka of classical Sanskrit poetry
- Brihati : 4 padas (8 + 8 + 12 + 8) containing 36 syllables in each stanza.
- Pankti : 4 padas (sometimes 5 padas) containing 40 syllables in each stanza.
- Tristubh: 4 padas of 11 syllables containing 44 syllabes in each stanza
- Jagati: 4 padas of 12 syllables containing 48 syllables in each stanza.
There are also more which are multiplicities of these basically.
The main principle of Vedic meter is measurement by the number of syllables. The metrical unit of verse is the pada (“foot”), generally of eight, eleven, or twelve syllables; these are termed gayatri, tristubh and jagati respectively, after meters of the same name.
In Vedic sanskrit there are four criteria, The meaning, the metre, the rhyme, and the tonality (which is bhava and the length of each syllable)….. of every word. maybe you may get from this the depth and how sublime this is. There is vedic sanskrit of today which has only meaning metre and rhyme. Compared to modern poetry and writing?????? With all of this, you can see how the time of Kali yuga is upon us and that the intelligence is less that what it has been in the past.
This knowledge is exhaustive. It is deep. It goes in every nook and cranny you can think and nooks and crannies that you could not even think of. There is way more than what I have mentioned above. There are also texts of the Kalas. Some of them that are known are:
Akshara laksha. The authorship of this science is attributed to Sage Valmiki. All kinds (325 to be exact) of mathematics including modern geometry, algebra, trigonometry, physics or applied mathematics; minerology, hydels; the method of measuring air, heat and even electricity; geography etc., are said to have been treated. This work comprehends earlier discoveries by Sage Kashyapa, Ganapati, Soorya, Brihaspati, Jaimini, Hanuman and others. This work consists of 50 chapters. The first half deals with mathematics and the second half is about the Shaktis that make up the world.
The next science of importance is Sabda Sastra. One Kandika Rishi wrote this. It deals with sounds, echoes of moving and non-moving objects in creation. It also deals in five chapters with capturing or mechanically reproducing sounds, measuring their pitch, velocity, etc.
Sage Sakatayana is the author of Lakshana Sastra, or the science of determining the sex in animate and inanimate creation. Babhru Muni has written about Kanya-Lakshana in which 32 marks are indicated for chastity etc. Sage Garga has written on Sakuna Sastra, the determination of good and bad effects from the sounds of birds, words of human beings etc. (in other words, omens).
Shilpa Sastra is said to have been written by Sage Kashyapa and it consists of 22 chapters. 307 varieties of Shilpas including 11 types of constructions like temples, palaces, halls etc., are detailed. Earlier writers on this subject are Viswakarma, Maya, Maruti, Chayapurasha, etc., whose thoughts have been incorporated in the above.
Supa-Sastra deals with the science of cooking. One Sukesa is the first author of this science. 108 varieties of preparations, from condiments and pickles to sweetmeats, cakes, puddings, and 3032 kinds of dishes meant for people living in different parts of the world are mentioned.
Sage Rishyasringa is credited with writing a comprehensive treatise on the science called Malinee Sastra which consists of flower arrangements, making garlands, bouquets, hair-do’s in various styles for women, writing love messages on flower petals to convey to beloveds in codes. This work consists of 16 chapters.
The science of Kala or Time was written by Lord Karttikeya. Its division into definite periods, their classification into auspicious and inauspicious moments, the deities that preside over each are dealt with in this work.
Samudra Raja, or the Lord of the Ocean is the original author of Samudrika Sastra. He noted down the auspicious marks on the body of Lord Vishnu while the latter was resting on Aadisesha in the ocean. This science was later developed by Sages like Narada, Varaha and Mandavya and Lord Kartikeya. Palmistry belongs to this sastra.
Aswini Kumaras are credited with writing the science of Dhatuvada which, in 7 chapters treats of natural as well as artificial Dhatus or primary substances, their combinations and transmutations. Alchemy or converting copper into gold etc. is dealt with in this work.
The science of poisons or Visha Sastra is said to have been exhaustively written about by Aswini Kumaras. This treats of 32 kinds of poisons, their properties, their preparations, effects and antidotes.
Bhima is credited with having composed the science of fine arts called Chitrakarma Sastra. It consists of 12 chapters and expounds nearly 200 kinds of drawings. There is a section in which students are taught to recreate the figure of a person after seeing a single hair or nail or a bone of that person.
One Malla is said to have composed a comprehensive work on Malla Sastra which deals with 82 kinds of gymnastics and sports necessary for preservation of health and athletic activities and 24 kinds of infantry warfare where hand to hand combat is involved. This work consists of 3 parts.
The revered Valakhilyas are credited with writing the science on Parakaya Pravesha i.e., entering into one body from another body, and it teaches 32 kinds of Yogas and the eight-fold Siddhis (super-human capabilities), Anima, Mahima etc.
One Agnivarma has written exhaustively on the science of horses, their auspicious marks, their physiology, breeding, training etc. Similarly, one Kumaraswamy has written exhaustively on Gaja Sastra (about elephants). He has given 16 methods to test various marks on the bodies of elephants.
Sage Vatsyayana has composed a work on Ratna Pariksha or testing of gems (precious stones). His analysis shows 24 characteristics of gems or precious stones, natural and artificial ones; their forms, weights etc are discussed and classified into categories. 32 methods of testing them for genuineness are also described.
Veerabahu, the lieutenant of Lord Subramanya, is the author of a work on Mahendrajala or the science of magic. It teaches how illusions, like walking on the water, riding in the air etc., are made.
Sage Vyasa is said to have composed a work on Artha Sastra consisting of three chapters, in which he teaches 82 ways of earning money, even while leading a righteous life.
Sage Agastya is credited with the composing of Shakti Tantra consisting of eight chapters in which Mulaprakriti, Maya etc., and 64 kinds of external Shaktis of bodies like those of the Sun, Moon and Air, Fire etc., are explained and their particular applications are also given. Atomic fission or nuclear science appears to form part of this science.
Sage Matanga is credited with composing a science called Soudamini Kala by which all phenomena could be attracted through shadows and even ideas. Also taught is the science of photographing interiors of mountains, earth etc.
Authorship of the science which is about the clouds, is attributed to Sage Atri. This work deals with 12 kinds of clouds, their characteristics, 12 kinds of rains, 64 kinds of lightnings, 32 varieties of thunderbolts etc.
In a work on Yantras by Bharadwaja, he explains about 339 types of vehicles useful in travelling on land, 783 kinds of boats and ships to be used on water and 101 varieties of airships, by use of the Mantra, Tantra, and artificial means and those used by semi-divine beings like Gandharvas etc., are also explained.