What Is The Atharva Veda? Spells For Health, Success, And Beyond

What is the Atharvaveda?

The Vedas have been absolutely fundamental in shaping the religious, societal, political, and even economic philosophies of ancient Hinduism. Within these ancient texts lives the very basis of Hinduism.

The Vedas are split into 4 separate sacred texts, but are often compiled into a single book, the Chathurveda Samhitha.

The Rig Veda: The Book of Mantra

The Sama Veda: The Book of Song

The Yajur Veda: The Book of Ritual

The Atharva Veda: The Book of Spell

The Vedas are among the oldest and most mysterious texts known to man — with no human author and no timeline of origin.

Originally, they were orally passed down from generation to generation by Aryan nomads (considered “the noble ones”) in ancient India during the Vedic Period (1,500 – 500 B.C.E.). It wasn’t until centuries later (long after the Vedic Period) that the Vedas were written into physical form, creating what we know today as the Vedic Texts.

The Vedas are a “language of the Gods” in comprehensible, human form. For this, there is no human author — rather, the information was channeled by the risis (the seers, the sages) from Paramātman: the “Absolute Atman.” For this, the risis claim that they saw the Vedas — they did not compose them.

As explained by spiritual teacher and master, Deborah King (author of Mindvalley’s program, Be a Modern Master: Unlocking the Spiritual Science of Ancient India):

Like the Bible, the authorship of these sacred texts is believed to be divinely inspired. The sages who recorded the Vedas had lived the teachings and used the sacred wisdom to awaken their own connections to the Divine, the created world, and their fellow beings.

In this article, our concern is with the black sheep of the Vedas, the Atharva Veda.

Exploring The Atharva Veda


atharvaveda_hindu

The Atharvaveda is the youngest of the Veda quartet. For a long time, it wasn’t even considered a Veda; this is due to the fact that it seems to be embodied by a different kind of spirit.

It’s written in a more understandable form and paints a much clearer picture of Vedic history; because of this, it is the second most important Veda in regard to history and sociology.

Mostly, however, the Atharvaveda is a guide on how to act auspiciously within the Hindu tradition. It is comprised of a series of magical spells, charms, and incantations — this also differentiates it from the other Vedas, which are focused much more upon sacrifice and ritual.

These spells promise to “fulfill all worldly desires of the human mind” and assist in everything from attracting lovers to protecting against disease, to calling upon the elements for strength.

Here are two examples of the different types of hymns contained within the 1st book of Atharvaveda:

HYMN V — To the waters, for strength and power

  1. Ye, Waters, truly bring us bliss: so help ye us to strength and power

 That we may look on great delight.

  1. Here grant to us a share of dew, that most auspicious dew of yours,

 Like mothers in their longing love.

  1. For you we fain would go to him to whose abode ye send us forth,

 And, Waters, give us procreant strength.

  1. I pray the Floods to send us balm, those who bear rule o’er precious things,

 And have supreme control of men.

HYMN III — A charm against constipation and suppression of urine

  1. We know the father of the shaft, Parjanya strong with hundred powers:

By this may I bring health unto thy body: let the channels pour their burthen freely as of old.

  1. We know the father of the shaft, Mitra, the Lord of hundred powers:

By this, etc.

  1. We know the father of the shaft, Varuna, strong with hundred powers:

By this, etc.

  1. We know the father of the shaft, the Moon endowed with hundred powers:

By this, etc.

  1. We know the father of the shaft, the Sun endowed with hundred powers:

By this may I bring health unto thy body: let the channels pour their burthen freely as of old.

  1. Whate’er hath gathered, as it flowed, in bowels, bladder, or in groins,

Thus let the conduit, free from check, pour all its burthen as of old.

  1. I lay the passage open as one cleaves the dam that bars the lake:

Thus let, etc.

  1. Now hath the portal been unclosed as, of the sea that holds the flood:

Thus let, etc.

  1. Even as the arrow flies away when loosened from the archer’s bow,

Thus let the burthen be discharged from channels that are checked

no more.

Organization Of The Atharvaveda


There are 731 hymns in the Atharva Veda, subdivided into 6,000 verses, and organized into 3 major divisions.

The First Grand Division (books 1-7)

This division is regarded as the most important part of the entire Atharva Veda and consists mainly of short charms and curses.

The Second Grand Division (books 8-12)

These hymns are longer than the first division and act as a guide on how to auspiciously perform priestly duties.

The Third Grand Division (books 13-18)

This division is made of books that are distinguished by “unity of subject.”

At a later date, two more books were added, but they are not a part of these 3 Grand Divisions.


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Natasha Wanderly

Natasha is a happy no-mad with a love for living lucidly, dancing with fire, and talking to strangers. From living with Shamans in the Amazon to studying hieroglyphs in Egypt, she is always on some type of adventure. Every day, she wakes up with two goals: 1.) Be here 2.) Be love.

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