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What Are the Vedas?


This scene is from Andhra Pradesh, India.

Roadside sculptures from the Ramayana, one of the historic Vedas of India.

jeet_sen on Flickr.com

The Vedas are Hindu religious texts from ancient India. Written as long ago as 1500 BCE, some of the material in the Vedas likely was created even earlier and passed down by oral tradition.

The four classic texts are the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda. These works include hymns and incantations, as well as legends and illustrative stories.

In addition to the major cannon, dozens of additional vedic works have been written over the millennia.

The word veda comes from the Sanskrit root vid- meaning "knowledge or wisdom."

English translations of some of the Vedas: Rig Veda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Ramayana.

Pronunciation: "VEY-duhs"

"Two Vedic texts, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, are historical epics more than religious texts."

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