Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is the total number of the Vedas?

Every where we heard and read that there are four Vedas, being Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda. But there exists some verses in Upanishads and Smritis that say there are three Vedas. Lets explore the truth.  
Chandogya Upanishad- 4:17:1-2

"1. Prajapati brooded over the worlds, and from them thus brooded on he squeezed out the essences, Agni (fire) from the earth, Vayu (air) from the sky, Aditya (the sun) from heaven.

2. He brooded over these three deities, and from them thus brooded on he squeezed out the essences, the Rik verses from Agni, the Yagus verses from Vayu, the Saman verses from Aditya." 

ManuSmriti 1:23 

"But from fire, wind, and the sun he drew forth the threefold eternal Veda, called Rik, Yagus, and Saman, for the due performance of the sacrifice."

Even Swami Dayanand writes in Satyarth Prakash, Chapter 3, on the authority of Manu Smriti 3:1,
"Thus after joining the school at the age of 8 years, if a student studies the Vedas with their subsidiary subjects for 36 years, (i.e., he devotes 12 years to the study of each of the three Vedas), he completes his education at the age of 36+8=44."
Therefore, according to Swamiji and Manu Smriti, Vedas are only 3. Is Atharvaved really a genuine Veda?

This is really a very silly question to answer. In my previous blog, I gave reference regarding origin of Vedas. Let me quote the same here again - 

Tasmat= from Almighy God, Yajat=adorable, Sarvhutah= to whom everything is surrendered i.e., He is God. From this God Richah = Rig veda, Samamni= Saamveda, Jajire= are emanated. Tasmat= from the God, Chhandasi= Atharvaveda, Jajire= are emanated. Tasmat= from the God Yajuhu= Yajurveda, Ajayat=emanated.
Meaning – From Almighty God, to whom everything is surrendered, from this God, Rig Veda, Sam Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajurveda emanated

Giving some more reference regarding origin of Atharva Veda,

Rig Veda - 10:181:1

Meaning--- Anushtubhasya Yasya= anushtup ved vak i.e., Vedas' master Almighty God. So God's Yasya Havisha= Vedas and Vedas' Havihi special knowledge. Prathah sa prathah ch= disciple and Guru, Vasishtha= having the deepest knowledge of vedas called Brahma, Dhatuhu= i.e., from mantradrishta Agni, Dutanat= Vaayu Rishi, Savituhu= Aditya Rishi, Vishnoho= and Angira Rishi, Rathntaram Jabhara= the Brahma studied theVedas. 

Here Brahma means a man who took birth from parents, he studied Vedas from the said four Rishis.

On authority of above verses, we see that Atharva Veda has been originated from the same Lord in the same manner as the other three.  Hence there should  be no doubt on Atharva being a Veda or not. 

In Ch.Up. origin of other three vedas is mentioned, but Atharva Veda is not denied. Same is the case with the verse from Manusmriti.

And there is an obvious reason for the same. When we read the Sam Veda and yajur Veda, we find a number of hymns that are complement to the Rig Veda. In fact these three Vedas are complement to each other.  
"It is true that the Yajur & Sama Vedas do not borrow every hymn from the Rig Veda. But when it comes to the deeper meanings of sacrifices, the sacrificial formulae & rites of the Yajur Veda and the rythymic recension of Sama Veda, they tow the line of the Rig veda. "

Hence, in many places, origin of these three vedas are said at a place, and not about Atharva Veda. But as I have said earlier, all these four vedas are originated from the same source.

The final question that may be itching in your mind is, regarding the statement of Swami Dayananda Saraswati in Satyarth Prakash. It takes thirty six years to complete all Vedas (12 years for each veda). But if one has a limited knowledge of what Atharva Veda contains wont raise such a stupid question. Atharva veda is a practical Veda. When it is said that 12 years for each Veda, the practical aspect of the vedas is also considered. So dont worry for that.

Merit of this article goes to Mushafiq Sultan (IHI)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. ure it is three,but fourth samveda is essence and pshcological view.
    it is sang,by singing one may learn easily nd due to its small,nd lovely composition it may not take 12 yrs to master this veda.

    a book or religious thing may be written through mind(with blessing nd direction from god)or by watching things around u

    yagyavalakya rishi during debate recited 5th veda,bit he said this science is higher so it is not required to the people of this planet,4 are enough

  3. You write every blog post so well. Keep the hard work going and good luck.