The Vedas (which means 'wisdom, knowledge, or vision') are the sacred books of Hinduism. In the orthodox view of Hinduism, the Vedas and the Upanishads are the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity.
There are four Vedas:
- The Rigveda. It is a collection of songs and hymns. It includes 1,017 hymns, which covers around 10,600 stanzas. It is divided into eight astakas, each of them having eight adhayayas (chapters), which are then sub-dived into various groups.
- The Sama Veda. It is a collection of liturgical samans (melodies). The hymns contained in here are almost completely drawn from the Rigveda.
- The Yajur Veda. It is a liturgical book that was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. It served as a guidebook for priests who would execute sacrificial acts while muttering the prose prayers and yajus ('sacrificial formulae').
- The Atharva Veda. Consists of spells and charms which were prevalent at the time of its writing. Many scholars do not consider this to be part of the Vedas.
The Vedas can be read here: