spikereinhard
Greeting Jayaram and other friends. It has been a while since I have posted here. But I have a question that I hope somebody can shed some light on. Why exactly is it that scholars tend to organize and discuss the Vedas in so many different ways? I mean, in some books, the author will have the 4 Vedas (Samhitas), Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads organized chronologically. In others books, the author will say that each of the 4 Vedas has its own various and sundry Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. In addition, they will tend to discuss appendixes attached to these 4 Vedas. It seems quite strange to me that I have nowhere come across an explanation for these seemingly contradictory methods of organization. Any explanation on this would be helpful. Thank you in advance. Namaste.

Todd Reinhard
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SiteAdmin
As you know Hinduism is not an organized religion. So is the case with many of its scriptures. So I believe in the abscense of established traditions, different authors follow different methods of presenting the information. According to the popular tradition, the Vedas are organized into Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyak and Upanishad portions. The appendixes may be explanatory notes. In addition to the Vedas there are Vedangas, limbs of the Vedas, which are helpful in studying and interpreting the Vedas. May be a study of these will throw more light on the subject.

Incidentally, Todd, this board needs the active participation of its members. It was your idea that I should start a message board and I did it. I have even provided a separte domain name for it. I am seeing this board is not generating any interest whatsoever. I would appreciate if you invite some of your friends to take active interest. People seems to be more inclined to participate in film and political messages rather than religious subjects. That is a pity.

Jayaram V
Site Admin
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spikereinhard
Hi Jayaram and others. I believe I have found a suitable answer to my query. It seems as though Westerner scholars organize and speak of the Vedas differently than do many Hindus. According to a text book that I have recently checked out from our library, the term Veda has been used in Hindu tradtion to denote the whole corpus (samhitas, brahmanas, aranyakas, upanishads). Orientalists and Western Indologists, however, have often used the term Veda to apply ONLY to the samhitas of each collection.

Brother, I am sorry that your board is struggling. You have done a tremendous job with it, and I had hoped that a message board such as this would provide an effective networking tool for you to attract relatively like-minded seekers. I completely agree with you that it is a pity that people shun an earnest quest into spiritual matters. I would certainly invite people to participate--if I knew anybody who would be interested in doing so. As for me, religion, philosophy, and scholarship are everything. But because of that, I am pretty isolated from the large majority of this corporate America in which I live. This site is for those who seek and think deeply about ultimate matters...and therefore, it is not for the masses, who worship primarily money and sense pleasures. All we can do is plant seeds here and there and hope that some take root. Namaste.

Todd R.
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JayaramV
YES, the Vedas mean not just the samhita portion but also include the remaining parts, namely the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads. Some times people do tend to refer the Samhitas as the Vedas and the rest with their respective names. So when someone says the Vedas and the Upanishads as if they are two distinct things, which I also often do with the assumption that the readers will understand, people do get confused.

As for the board and the website thanks for reminding me the right attitude. I will do my part without expectation and let the things unfold themselves.

Jayaram V
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Shunya
Hi spikereinhard and JayaramV,
You started a thread that's not easy to write about. You both have already succinctly addressed about the 'order' of Vedas. Let's recognize that the Vedas were taught vocally (earlier than 5th century BCE or possibly as early as 1500BCE) way before paper was invented. Thus the 'structure', the 'order' or the 'organization' as you call it transcended traditionally from generation to generation of brahmin priests. The most plausible explanation (as I understand from what I read in one of the publications of Oxford University Press), of the continuing practice of external or visible sacrifice came about as an 'internalization' or 'introspection' in the form of supplements called Brahmanas and Aranyakas, culminating into the teachings found in Upanishads, called Vedanta (end of Veda).

So, the four Brahmanical lineages were preserved in four ritualistic manuals viz., Rg Veda; Sama Veda; Yajur Veda; and Atharva Veda. These lineages were supplemented by the vedic corpus of material known as Brahmanas and Aranyakas. The Upanishads then form the appendices to the earlier material.
Hope my two cents make sense.
Shunya
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