Rig-Veda

  • Rig-Veda is known as the oldest religious text in the world. It is also known as “First testament” of mankind. It was composed around 1700 BC. Last hymns were composed between 1500-1200 BC. It’s a collection of hymns by a number of priest families. It is organized in 10 books which are called Mandalas.
  • The first and 10th Mandalas are the youngest and the longest books. Second to Seventh Mandalas are oldest parts of Rig-Veda but the shortest books. 8th and 9th books are of mixed ages.
  • The Famous Gayatri mantra is in Rig Veda Mandala 3
  • Each mandala consists of Suktas which are basically eulogies.
  • Rig-Veda has two recensions or Branches. The major surviving branch is Śākalya. Another branch is Bāskala or Vatkal.
  • The first word of Rig-Veda is Agni. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni.
  • The 10th mandala contains the purush Sukta which explains the 4 Varnas were born from the Mouth, arms, thighs and feet of the Brahma or Purusha. It is said to have been added later.
  • Mandala 9 is completely devoted to Soma.
  • Nasadiya Sukta which talks about the origin of the Universe is in 10th Mandala. It begins by paradoxically stating “not the non-existent existed, nor did the existent exist then” and has attracted large body of literature of commentaries both in Indian theology and in Western philology. The Above Information has been arranged in the following Table for your convenience.

Mandala

Hymns

Age and length

 

Mandala I

191

Youngest and Largest

First word first hymn Agni

Mandala II

43

Oldest and Shortest

 

Mandala III

62

Oldest and Shortest

Contains Gayatri mantra

Mandala IV

58

Oldest and Shortest

 

Mandala V

87

Oldest and Shortest

 

Mandala VI

75

Oldest and Shortest

 

Mandala VII

104

Oldest and Shortest

 

Mandala VIII

103

Mixed Ages

 

Mandala IX

114

Mixed Ages

Devoted to Soma

Mandala X

191

Youngest and largest

Contains Purush Sukta, Nasadiya Sukta

Total

1028

   

 

The Brahmans and Upanishads of Rig Veda are shown below:


Origin of the Varnas and the Rig-Veda
Varna system is of later Vedic origin. The tenth mandala, which was added later to the Rig-Veda, contains the famous Purushasukta which explains that the four Varnas (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) were born from the mouth, arms, thighs and feet of the primeval being Brahma (Purusa).
Some facts about Rig-Veda
• The Famous Gayatri mantra is in Rig Veda Mandala 3.
• Each mandala consists of Suktas which are basically eulogies.
• Rig-Veda has two recensions or Branches.
• The major surviving branch is Śākalya. Another branch is Bāskala or Vatkal.
• The first word of Rig-Veda is Agni. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni.
• Mandala 9 is completely devoted to Soma.
• Nasadiya Sukta which talks about the origin of the Universe is in 10th Mandala. It begins by paradoxically stating “not the non-existent existed, nor did the existent exist then” and has attracted large body of literature of commentaries both in Indian theology and in Western philology.

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