What are the four Vedas and why are they considered sacred?

       In Sanskrit, the word ‘Veda’ means knowledge. The Vedas are the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. The four main Vedas are the Rig Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda is a collection of inspired songs or hymns, and is the main source of information on the civilization of that time.

       The Rig Veda is considered the most precious gift that the Aryans have passed on to us. The Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda, and are ascribed to the Vedic period. The Sama Veda is purely a collection of melodies. The hymns in the Sama Veda, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Veda. Musical notes indicated how the verses should be chanted. In effect, it is a shortened and musical version of the Rig Veda.

       The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests. It contains hymns and rituals to be performed while chanting the verses. The Atharva Veda contains magic spells and chants to cure diseases, and ward off danger. If you have fever, or have been bitten by a snake, the Atharva Veda has a chant to cure it! According to Hinduism, the Vedas are of divine origin, and it is believed that all human knowledge is available in the Vedas in symbolic form.

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