Knowledge in Vedas and Hindu Scriptures: Amazing and Interesting

Knowledge in Vedas and Hindu Scriptures by ThePoemStory
Knowledge in Vedas and Hindu Scriptures by ThePoemStory
Keywords: Vedas, The Vedas, Hindu Scriptures, Puranas, Upanishads.

Introduction

India is known as Veda bumi, the land of knowledge, and for a very good cause. If we turn back the buried pages of history, India was one of the very few civilizations that had a very sophisticated educational system at that time, far before the Islamic invasions and the European colonization.

This is not what I’m saying. Before the Mughal invasions and the start of European colonization, or before the year 1000 A.D., travelers from Europe, Persia, and China used to travel to India to learn about the Vedic civilization.

If you read the books written by Megasthenes, al-Biruni, or Hiuen Tsang, you will get to know how advanced the Indian education system at that time was. The education system and knowledge of ancient India is one of the most comprehensive and complex education systems in the world.

In this article, we try to compile what the ancient Indian education system looks like. The heritage of the ancient Indian education and value system as we know it today has been largely preserved by the inscriptions on the temples, manuscripts, and verbally transmitted from a teacher to a student. The Vedic educational system has been preserved to this day and we thank mostly to these three sources. Now let us see what they are. For ease of understanding, we have put it in the following way.

6 Categories of Indian Scriptures

There are six broad categories of Indian scriptures which hold the entire knowledge system. They are as follows:

  1. Shruti
  2. Smriti
  3. Puranam or Puranas
  4. Itihasam or itihasa (History)
  5. Agamam (Rules)
  6. Siddhhantam (Principles)

These 6 scriptures cover a diverse set of fields of education like mathematics, physics, biology, philosophy, astronomy, health sciences, linguistics, and many other branches of science and technology besides theological concepts.

Shruti

Shruti is well known as the Vedas and there are four of them Rig Veda, Yazur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.

Rig Veda

Rig means praise, a form of expressing gratitude. It explains the various hymns praising the elements of nature and the cosmos.

Yazur Veda

The second one is Yazur Veda. Yazur means worship. It describes several practises for worshipping the natural world and the universe.

Saama Veda

The third one is Saama Veda. Saama means song. It provides the other Vedas with a canonical music-driven framework for simple recitation.

Atharva Veda

The fourth one is Atharva Veda. Atharva means a ‘stable mind‘. It establishes the guidelines for constant, obligatory daily tasks in Vedic culture.

All these four Vedas are not just like any other four ordinary books. Unless you are blessed with a guru who can explain to you what each of these means and who is highly qualified, you will not be able to comprehend a word of it.

Further down if we look into any of these four Vedas, it has four fundamental blocks, Aranyaka, Brahmana, Samahita, and Upanishad supported by six external blocks Siksha, Vyakarana, Chhandas, Niruktam, Jyotisha, and Kalpa.

We will keep it very simple not going to further details. the four internal blocks of Aranyaka, Brahmana, Samahita, and Upanishads describe the theosophical, philosophical, and physiological anatomy of the cosmos and nature and the fundamentals of human existence. In simple words, it describes Brahma, which means the ultimate and supreme power of existence.

The six external blocks Siksha, Vyakarana, Chhandas, Niruktam, Jyotisha, and Kalpa are called as Vendangas. They complement the knowledge framework of Vedas with different and intricate specializations. Each as you see here

  • Siksha is the study of Phonetics.
  • Vyakarana is the study of Grammar.
  • Chhandas is the study of Linguistic rhythm, and Prosody.
  • Niruktam is the study of Etymology.
  • Jyotisha is the study of Astronomy.
  • Kalpa is the study of Rituals.

All these six are called Vedangas and that is how the four Vedas are supported by the 6 Vedangas.

Parts of the Vedas by ThePoemStory
Parts of the Vedas by ThePoemStory

Moreover, that is not all. Each of the four Vedas have four Upavedas as an offspring.

  1. Ayurveda: A study of Life Sciences ascribing to Rig Veda.
  2. Gandharva Veda: A study of music art and dance, ascribing to Saama Veda
  3. Dhanurveda: A study of archery and warfare ascribing to Yazur Veda.
  4. Arthashastra: A study of Business Administration and Political Sciences ascribing to Atharva Veda.

Now this is the complete structure of what we simply call and know today as Vedas. One of the prime objectives of this article on ThePoemStory is to bring forward this entire knowledge system in a simple format that everybody can understand.

Smriti

The next one is smriti. Smriti is authored by the sages and saints who mastered Shruti which is the Vedas and brought in their experiences and revelations. It is much like a thesis that the sages on different branches of studies gave. Like Theology, Philosophy, Science etc. It completely sub-serves or ascribes to Shruti which is the final authority and there are 18 such smritis written by different rishis and they are as below.

  1. Atri Smriti
  2. Vishnu Smriti
  3. Harita Smriti
  4. Ausanasi Smriti
  5. Angirasa Smriti
  6. Yama Smriti
  7. Apastamba Smriti
  8. Samavartta Smriti
  9. Katyayana Smriti
  10. Brihaspati Smriti
  11. Parasara Smriti
  12. Vyasa Smriti
  13. Sankha Smriti
  14. Likhita Smriti
  15. Daksha Smriti
  16. Gautama Smriti
  17. Satatapa Smriti
  18. Vashistha Smriti

Puranam or Puranas

In very simple words Puranam is nothing but a historical document. Often Puranam is mistaken as a mythology but the fact of the matter is, it is a historical document that has a 10-dimensional feature.

The 10 dimensional features are:

  1. Sarga: The History of creation of cosmos.
  2. Visarga: The History of creation of the worlds.
  3. Vrutti: The History of evolution of the life.
  4. Raksha: The history of sustenance of life
  5. Antarani: The History of the time scale and how the time used to be measured in the past.
  6. Vamsa: The History of the lineage.
  7. Vamsanucharita: The History of the dynasties that ruled Bharat since times immemorial.
  8. Samstha: The History of the catastrophes and all the natural calamities that have occurred in the past.
  9. Hetu: The History of the prime causes of those catastrophes.
  10. Apasarayah: The History of the supreme being and the different incarnations of god.

There are 18 such puranas all written by just one rishi “Sri Veda Vyasa” and the 18 are

  1. Markandeya Purana
  2. Matsya Purana
  3. Bhagavata Purana
  4. Bhavishya Purana
  5. Brahmanda Purana
  6. Brahma Purana
  7. Brahmavaivarta Purana
  8. Vishnu Purana
  9. Varaha Purana
  10. Vaayu Purana
  11. Vamana Purana
  12. Agni Purana
  13. Narada Purana
  14. Padma Purana
  15. Linga Purana
  16. Garuda Purana
  17. Kurma Purana
  18. Skanda Purana

The amount of knowledge in these Puranas is just incredible. For instance, Agni Puranam explains different varieties of martial arts.

Itihasa

The next one in line is Itihasa. Itihasa (Literal meaning “iti” + “hasa” “This is how it happened”) means this is how it happened. Of all the scriptures, these are the ones that shaped the ethos of India as we know it today, and there are only two Itihasas “Sri Ramayana” and “Mahabharata”.

These two scriptures “Sri Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” are of the highest order which defined and drove human values in India for thousands of years. Bhagavad-Gita which is the epitome of all the sacred scriptures is an integral part of the grand epic of Mahabharata.

Keywords: Vedas, The Vedas, Hindu Scriptures, Puranas, Upanishads, Rigveda, Yazur Veda, Saama Veda, Atharva Veda, 4 Vedas, Four Vedas, The four Vedas.

Agamas

Agamas are treaties on Theology, Epistemology, and also describe the architectural principles of temple construction. Basically, they are the rule books of how a temple needs to be constructed and the rituals in the temple need to be organized.

With all the magnificent grandeur of the Indian temples and the exquisite carvings that we have on the Indian temples, the source code of all the beauty is from Agamas.

For instance, Shilpa Shastra, the branch of knowledge which deals with sculpting is from Agamas. There are 77 Shakti Agamas, 28 Shiva Agamas, and 108 Vishnu Agamas, so wide and so deep.

Keywords: Vedas, The Vedas, Hindu Scriptures, Puranas, Upanishads.

Siddhanta

Siddhanta means principles. A set of principles in different fields of science and technology. This is the most interesting part of the scriptures.

For instance in Astronomy itself we have 18 Siddhantas. These 18 Siddhantas talk about different details about Planetary motions, Geometrical principles, Trigonometry, Calculus. and a lot more.

We have a sizable collection of scriptures in this area. To name a few, these deal with science and technology.

  • Sushruta Samhita by Rishi Sushruta on surgery and medicine.
  • Aryabhatiyam by Aryabhatta on Astrophysics and Astronomy
  • Arthasashtra by Chanakya on commerce and Business Administration.
  • Pancho Dhanta by Varahamihira on treaties of Astronomy.
  • Rashindra Mangalam by Nagarjuna on the Science of Alchemy

The list goes on and on.

That was a very brief overview of the Vedas and other ancient Indian educational texts.

For ease of understanding, we tried to condense a lot. It is so wide, deep, and complex. At the same time, the backbone of this entire education system is the Sanskrit Language and if we don’t have the competence of Sanskrit Language, all this knowledge system is good for nothing.

Keywords: Vedas, The Vedas, Hindu Scriptures, Puranas, Upanishads, Rigveda, Yazur Veda, Saama Veda, Atharva Veda, 4 Vedas, Four Vedas, The four Vedas.

Role of Sanskrit Language in Understanding Indian Scriptures

Let me give you one example and you will understand it. Here is a Shlokam from Aryabhattiya written by Aryabhatta. The same man whom we celebrate that he invented zero.

Knowledge in Vedas and Hindu Scriptures: Amazing and Interesting, ThePoemStory - Poems and Stories, Poems and Stories

In this Shloka he gave two scenarios.

Scenario 1:

The first scenario is two bodies moving in opposite directions and the second scenario is two bodies moving in same direction.

He says that time elapsed for both the object to pass through or otherwise is equal to the distance by sum of their speeds.

If 2 objects are moving in opposite directions and are at a distance D. The speed of the object A is S1 and speed of the object B is S2. Then the time elapsed, when they will pass through each other will be:

               D (Distance)
Time Elapsed = --------------
                 S1 + S2

Scenario 2:

In the other scenario it is distance by difference of the speeds.

If 2 objects are moving in the same directions and are at a distance D. The speed of the object A is S1 and speed of the object B is S2. Then the time elapsed, when they will pass through each other will be:

               D (Distance)
Time Elapsed = --------------
                 S1 - S2 (Faster - Slower)

He provided the equation “speed equals distance divided by time” in simple words. This equation of speed is equal to distance by time is the foundation for kinematics. a branch of Physics that is the heart and soul of everything that moves in this world.

This equation is the foundation of the engineering of be it a car or a space shuttle. This equation is a revolutionary discovery but if we don’t know how to read Sanskrit, all this is good for nothing.

According to the documented history, Galileo Galilei in the year 1638, published a book called “Two New Sciences”. In this book he first gave the formula of speed is equal to distance by time.

Now don’t start judging Galileo. All of his work is original and if you read this book you’ll get to know he did not get inspired from Aryabhatta. The fact of the matter is something that was discovered by Aryabhatta in 510 C.E. and had to be re-discovered by Galileo in the year 1638.

In these thousand years, the speed is equal to the distance by time equation which is written in Sanskrit is locked up in Aryabhattiya for 1000 years. Imagine what could have been the impact if this was known earlier to the whole world. All we know about Aryabhatta is, he invented zero but he has left us a wealth of information. How many such equations and other scientific concepts are hidden in the Indian scriptures which are written in Sanskrit waiting to be decoded?

Well, I’m not arguing that Indians invented or found everything in the world, but many of the wonderful things done by Indians remain unknown to the rest of the world, which is why I’m writing this essay to bring these stories to light.

Conclusion

In this article, I have tried to bring a brief concept of Vedas and other Indian scriptures. Just imagine, none of these things relates to a particular religion. However, they relate and broadly deal with different aspects of life. From natural forces to Science and Technology, Social Structure, History, Mathematics, Astronomy, and the list goes on an on.

Many misinterpretations are made because of the lack of Sanskrit language and much knowledge is still hidden and may be cannot be discovered ever.

I am proud that I belong to a country of knowledge and I am trying to bring this to the world. Whatever I know, I have tried to put in this article.

This is not completely my self-exploration. However, I read through the scriptures and took references from YouTube Videos.

Thank you for reading.

Keywords: Vedas, The Vedas, Hindu Scriptures, Puranas, Upanishads, Rigveda, Yazur Veda, Saama Veda, Atharva Veda, 4 Vedas, Four Vedas, The four Vedas.

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