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Vedas
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 Related Terms
Hinduism
Arya Samaj
Upanishads
Avesta

 

Definition: The Vedas are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, composed in Sanskrit and gathered into four collections: the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda and the Atharva-Veda. The Vedas are not a revelation from a person God like the scriptures in Western religions. They are, instead, understandings of the nature of life and existence derived from a communion with the general, impersonal spiritual forces of the cosmos.

The Vedas are written in a very early form of Sanskrit, a language closely related to the ancient Iranian language used in the Avesta, the holy text of Zoroastrianism. Indeed, there are a number of common words and concepts shared by the Avesta and the Vedas. In Sanskrit, vedas literally means "sacred lore, knoweldge."

The Rig-Veda is the most basic and it is upon it which Hindus believe that the other three are based. Most Hindus rely more upon the Upanishads than the Vedas, except for members of movements like the Arya-Samaj.

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Related Resources:

What is Theism?
What is the difference between monotheism and monolatry? Between pantheism and panentheism? How about between animism and shamanism? Or theism and deism? What the heck is henotheism? For that matter, what is and is not a religion?

What is Religion?
A system of human beliefs, ideals and practices which is harder to define than it may at first appear.

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