Vedic Literature

  • Vedas literally means knowledge. There are four vedas – Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda.
  • Each of these Vedas is comprised of four parts. (i) Samhitas (ii) Brahmanas (iii) Aranyakas (iv) Upanishads.
  • Samhitas and Brahmanas are designed as Karma-kanda (pertaining to rituals), Aranyakas are designated as upasana kanda (pertaining to meditation) and Upanishads as the gyana-kanda (pertaining to knowledge).
  • Samhitas are collections of sacred hymns composed in the form of verses and are dedicated to different gods and goddesses.
  • Brahmanas contain details of sacrificial rites (yajna) and are composed mostly in prose.
  • Aranyaks consist of mantras (sacred formulae) and are regarded as supplement to brahmanas.
  • Most Upanishads are chapters of aranyaks except the Isha Upanishad which forms the last chapter of Vajasaneyi Samhita of Shukla Yajurveda.
  • Entire Vedic corpus is considered to be direct revelations from God and hence regarded as apaurasheya or not of human origin.
  • Hindus believe that Vedas are considered to contain the ultimate knowledge and are called smriti (retaining by hearing) as these were passed down from generations through oral transmission. 


We find reference to six vedangas in Mundaka Upanishads. These include



  • Brahmana: Aaitreya, Kaushthiki
  • Aranyaka: Aaitreya, Kaushthiki
  • Upanishad: Aaitreya, Kaushthiki
  • Upveda: Ayurveda
  • Priest: Hotra


  • Brahmana: Jaimini
  • Aranyaka: Chandogya, Jaminiya
  • Upanishad: Chandogya, Jaminiya, Ken
  • Upveda: Gandharvaveda
  • Priest: Adharvyu

Shukla Yajurveda

  • Brahmana: Shatapatha
  • Aranyaka: Brihadaranyaka,Isha
  • Upanishad: Brihadaranyaka
  • Upveda: Dhanurveda
  • Priest: Udgata

Krishna Yajurveda

  • Brahmana: Taitriya
  • Aranyaka: Taitriya
  • Upanishad: Kathopnishad, Taitriya, Maitriyani, Shvetashvatar
  • Upveda: Dhanurveda
  • Priest: Udgata


  • Brahmana: Gopatha
  • Aranyaka: None
  • Upanishad: Mundaka, Mandukya
  • Upveda: Shilpaveda/Arthsastra
  • Priest: Brahma
  • Aaitreya Brahmana deals with duties of all 4 varnas.
  • Mundaka Upanishad mentions Satyameva Jayate.
  • Shatapata Brahmana talks about ploughing rituals and concept of rebirth.
  • Chandogya Upanishad mentions three ashramas of Varna ashrama dharma. It also talks about Itihasa purana tradition which is mentioned as Panchamveda.
  • Shukla Yajurveda talks about the Rajasuya yagya.
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