The Vedas Facts, History and Information : Definition, Epic Works, Beliefs, Description

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The Vedas Definition

  • A huge body of hymns, prayers, and incantations composed over a long period of time and known collectively as the Four Vedas - Passed down by generations by oral traditions. They are also the sacred books.

  • One of the Vedas is Yajurveda, which is a manual of sacrifice for the officiating priest

  • Contain charms and spells to cure illnesses, arouse passions or destroy enemies.

  • Contain poems and tales of Aryan deities

Two epic works developed from the Vedas.. These epics became religious guides and were the only Vedas' books the people were allowed to read.

  • Mahabharata was composed about 4000 BC. It portrays life with mythology and history of the people. It is 7xs longer than the Iliad and Odyssey combined
  • Ramayana is much shorter than the Mahabharata and shows the social changes that occurred over time

Around 600 BC the Brahmanas were attached to the Vedas. They accord the priests supreme religious authority as well as special social, legal and economic privileges.

Challenges to the official religion came from other cults. Beliefs of these cults were assimilated into the mainstream religion.

The cow became a sacred animal. The god Varna became guardian of moral conduct and instilled fear into those who would violate ethical principles much like the God of the Hebrews.

Upanishads formed the final portion of the Beda. They taught the true knowledge satisfies the intellect and instills virtue. Evil is the fruit of ignorance. The main part of the teaching are:

  • Supreme reality of an absolute being
  • Impermanence and illusory character of the material world
  • There is a cycle of rebirth of individual souls
  • Serenity comes with escape from the cycle by union with the Absolute being after having true knowledge