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What Is the Vedic Religion? The Search for Hindu Origins

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What is the Vedic Religion?

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Summary: Explore what the mysterious Vedic Religion is, where and when it originated, and who founded and brought the Vedas to the Indian subcontinent.

India – the land of Vedas, the remarkable works contains not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all are known to the seers who founded the Vedas.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Vedics… It has quite a mysterious ring, doesn’t it?

This is for good reason.

Many of us have heard of the word Vedic, whether it was via the Vedic Era, the ancient text of The Vedas, or elsewhere. But what exactly does all of this Vedic talk stem from?

Who founded of this ancient religion? And what exactly was it about?

As one of the oldest, primeval religions on Earth, the basic concept of the Vedic religion is undoubtedly an unusual area of study.

It is a religion with an unknowable origin that contains texts of unknowable authors, yet has had an immense influence on major world religions of today; namely, Hinduism.

When researching the Vedic religion, one is likely to stumble upon many contradictory beliefs, speculations, and “probablys.” Oh, and assumptions.

In fact, the basis of the whole religion implies at least 3 assumptions:

  1. That there actually does exist a basic concept of Vedic religion.
  2. That something can be understood about that concept.
  3. That it is perhaps time we take a much grander and more general survey of this world-shaping religion.

What Religion Do the Vedas Belong To?

What we now refer to as the “Vedic religion” occurred in the region of ancient India during the Vedic time period — approximately 1,500 – 500 BCE.

The Aryans, referred to as “the noble ones,” were nomadic people from central Asia. And as they made their way into India (during the early Vedic time period), they brought with them their religion.

Their religion was based on the (oftentimes sacrificial) worship of many gods and goddesses. Their religion was based on a collection of oral poetry and prose, containing many chants, hymns, prayers, spells, mantras, and commentaries known as “Vedas.”

The word “Veda” means knowledge, wisdom, or vision.

These Vedas made up the basis of their religion.

The Vedas have never been attributed to any human author. They believe that the Vedas are the very breath of Paramātman: the “Primordial Self,” the “Self Beyond,” or the “Absolute Atman.”

They believed that it was the risis (the seers, the sages) that perceived the Vedas in space and shared them with the world. The risis do not claim to be the founders of the religion — they say that although they saw the Vedas, they did not compose them.

In modern language, we can say that these ancient sages channeled the information from “Source,” and this is why they claim that they didn’t come up with the information on their own. Hence, why the texts have no human author.

hindu origins

According to spiritual master and teacher, Deborah King (author of Mindvalley’s program, Be A Modern Master):

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.

These Vedas lived as a faithful word-of-mouth transmission from one generation to another, and weren’t recorded in any physical form until centuries later (well after the “Vedic Age”) — they are now known around the world as the “Vedic Texts,” or “The Vedas.”

What are the 4 main Vedas?

The Vedas are broken into 4 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

It is from The Vedas that the world religion of Hinduism emerges, and the Vedic religion lives on.

But many scholars still make a clear distinction between the two religions — after all, nothing remains the same after 5,000 years.

4 main vedas

Who are the Vedic Gods?

There are two main groups of Vedic gods: the Devas and the Asuras.

The Asuras, nature spirits, constantly battle with the Devas (heavenly, divine).

The most prominent Vedic god is Indra, slayer of Vritra, destroyer of Vala, liberator of the cows and the rivers.

Some of the other important Vedic gods are:

  1. Soma – the Moon deity;
  2. Ishwara – the Supreme soul and ruler;
  3. The Asvins – the twin gods of medicine;
  4. Varuna – the god of oceans;
  5. The Maruts – the storm deities;
  6. Mitra – the protectors of treaties and the guardian of Truth;
  7. Ushas – goddess of dawn;
  8. Vayu – the lord of the winds;
  9. Savitr – impeller, vivifying power of the Sun;
  10. The Rbhus – wind deity.

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