The Atharva Veda may be an ancient text, but its timeless wisdom is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. So whether you’re seeking spiritual guidance, healing solutions, or just some good old-fashioned spells to ward off evil spirits, this particular Veda has it all.
Known as the “language of the gods,” the Vedas are believed to have been channeled by the sages. And whoever aspires to comprehend them, the Atharva Veda included, can access their divine wisdom.
What Is the Atharva Veda?
The Atharva Veda is one of the four sacred texts of Hinduism, and it’s named after a group of priests called the Atharvan.
Just like the other three Vedas, it’s a source of knowledge and insight into the ancient Indian way of life as well as the history and evolution of Hinduism.
What’s different about the Atharva Veda is that its content is more diverse: it includes spells and incantations for healing and protection, hymns for weddings and other ceremonies, and philosophical and ethical teachings.
What Are the 4 Types of Vedas?
The Vedas are often compiled into a single book, the Chathurveda Samhitha, which contains four separate sacred texts:
- 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
All four texts are equally important parts of Hinduism’s spiritual and religious heritage.
Which is the oldest Veda?
The oldest Indian extant text is the Rig Veda, a collection of ten books organized into 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses. The books are all dedicated to the Rigvedic deities.
The Rigveda is one of the oldest religious texts in existence. It was composed between 1700 and 1100 BCE.
What does the Rig Veda talk about?
The Rig Veda contains ten books, also known as mandalas. While they are composed to praise the gods, they also address historical events, such as the struggle between the Aryans, the early Vedic people, and the Dasa.
According to Deborah King, spiritual teacher and trainer of Be a Modern Master Quest, like the Bible, the authorship of these sacred texts is believed to be divinely inspired.
She says, “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.”
Exploring the Atharva Veda
The Atharva Veda is the youngest of the Veda quartet. In fact, for many years, it wasn’t considered a Veda. This was due to the fact that it seemed to be embodied by a different kind of spirit.
Here’s what makes it stand out:
- 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.
- It contains a series of Atharva Veda spells, charms, and incantations, while other Vedas focus more on sacrifice and ritual. These Atharva Veda secrets 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.
- More than any other sacred text, it contains numerous hymns and mantras that are meant to be recited during meditation. These mantras are believed to have a profound effect on the mind and can help to calm the nerves, focus the mind, and promote relaxation.
Despite these hallmarks, the Atharva Veda is a guide on how to act auspiciously within the Hindu tradition.
Who composed the Atharva Veda?
Legend has it that two groups of rishis, the Atharvanas and the Angirasa, composed the Atharva Veda. In fact, that is where its oldest name, “Ātharvāṅgirasa,” comes from.
It is believed the rishis achieved eternal knowledge and supreme truth after a deep and committed meditation. After becoming enlightened, they composed their newfound sacred knowledge into hymns.
Another version is that it was written by Atharva. Who is Atharva? Another legend has it that he was the son of Vasistham, a hermit, and the son of Brahma.
Here are two examples of the different types of hymns contained within the first book of the Atharva Veda:
HYMN V: To the waters, for strength and power
- Ye, Waters, truly bring us bliss: so help ye us to strength and power
That we may look on great delight.
- Here grant to us a share of dew, that most auspicious dew of yours,
Like mothers in their longing love.
- For you we fain would go to him to whose abode ye send us forth,
And, Waters, give us procreant strength.
- I pray the Floods to send us balm, those who bear rule o’er precious things,
And have supreme control of men.
HYMN VI: To the waters, for health and wealth
- The Waters be to us for drink, Goddesses, for our aid and
- Let them stream health and wealth to us.
Within the Waters—Soma thus hath told me—dwell all balms
- And Agni, he who blesseth all.
O Waters, teem with medicine to keep my body safe from harm,
- So that I long may see the Sun.
The Waters bless us, all that rise in desert lands or marshy pools!
- Bless us the Waters dug from earth, bless us the Waters brought
in jars, bless us the Waters of the Rains!
Organization of the Atharva Veda
There are 731 hymns in the Atharva Veda, subdivided into 6,000 verses and organized into three 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 distinguished by “unity of the subject.”
At a later date, two more books were added—the “Shaunakiya” and “Paippalada” editions. However, they are not part of these three Grand Divisions.
Access the Divine Wisdom From Within
The Atharva Veda’s wisdom transcends time and space, as it contains something so extremely relevant to our modern lifestyle. It teaches how you can tap into your inner wisdom through regular meditation practice.
What the sages knew years ago is that you can gain greater control over your thoughts and emotions and develop a deeper connection to the divine. And this is something that you can learn today.
This is what The M Word Quest with Emily Fletcher can help you with. In only 32 days, you’ll learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine as well as consciously create the life you want.
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Images generated on Midjourney.