WHAT IS IN THE ATHARVA VEDA?- Part 1 (Post No.3973)

Compiled by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 5 June 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 8-36

 

Post No. 3973

 

Pictures are taken from various sources such as Face book, Wikipedia and newspapers; thanks.

 

contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

 

 

Hindu Vedas are four in number: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva(na) Veda.

One sixth of the Atharva Veda is in prose. One sixth of the hymns are from the Rig Veda.

Atharvan was a seer of remote antiquity. He was credited with the discovery of Fire (Agni). Rig Veda says that Atharvan was the first priest ‘who rubbed Agni (fire) forth’ and who ‘first made the paths by sacrifices’.

 

The collected hymns are also called Atharvangiras or Bhrigvangiras. The meaning is it is a collection of the songs by Atharvan and Angirases and the Songs of Bhrigus and Angirases. From this we know that Angirases and Bhrigus were the families who revealed these hymns.

The Vedic prayers show that Vedic society was a highly developed society with great principles like Peace, Motherland, Mother tongue, Hospitality and general welfare. They pray for unity, general welfare, health, wealth and victory.

 

Since Veda Vyasa was the one who classified four Vedas, we know that it existed at that time 3102 BCE, the beginning of Kaliyuga. But T H Griffith who translated into English says it was a later addition to the vedic collection. Snce Sama Veda and Yajur Veda repeats what is in the Rig Veda, he believed that there are only two ‘original’ Vedas: Rig and Atharvana.

Prof. Whitney also said that it was later than Rig Veda. Prof. Weber and Prof.Max Muller also agree that it was later than the Rig Veda.

 

When Manu and others referred to Trayi Vedas (three Vedas), foreigners were misled and they believed it was not part of the original collection. But the fact of the matter is it is mostly about secular things such as warding off diseases, magical beliefs, using charms, talismans and describing earth, nature etc.

Hindus gave equal respect to Atharvana Veda on par with other three Vedas:

It is called the Brahmin Veda or the Veda of the Brahmin.

In the Gopata Brahmana we have a quote:

“Let a man elect a Hotri who knows the Rich (Rik,Rig), a Adhvarya who knows Yajush, an Udgatri, who knows the Saman and a Brahmin who knows the Atharvangiras.

BRAHMINS’ WEAPON!

 

Manu also says

“Let him use without hesitation the sacred texts revealed by Atharvan and by Angiras; speech indeed, is the weapon of the Brahmin, with it he may slay his enemies”- Manu 11-33

Epics and Puranas always speak of fourfold Vedas.

 

The Athrva Veda Samhita (Collection of Hymns) is divided into 20 Kandas (books or sections). It contains 6000 veses in 760 hymns.

Mystery: Many of the plants mentioned in the Vedas, are not identified. Though we can read about the miraculous properties of those plants, they are not available today, because we don’t know what they are!

BOOK 1

This book contains 35 hymns each averaging four verses. The first hymn is a prayer addressed to Vachaspati (Lord of Speech). Vashospati (Lord of Treasure) is also mentioned in the same hymn. Following prayers are available in this book:

Prayers for increasing one’s learning

Prayers for obtaining victory

Prayers for recovery from illness

Prayer for obtaining blessing from water

Prayer for spreading righteousness

Prayer for the granting of wishes

Prayer for pardoning sins

Prayer for destroying enemies.

 

BOOK 2

36 hymns, averaging five verses each in length. The hymns are of Miscellaneous character.

Prayer for Healing

Jangida Mani Charm made up from Jangida plant

Prayers to Supreme Deity, Agni, Indra

 

BOOK 3

It contains 31 hymns averaging six verses each. Hymn 16 is the morning prayer of great rishi (seer) Vasishtha. It is a verse from the Rig Veda with slight variations; the chief petitions are ‘give us wealth’, ‘may we be rich in men and heroes’.

Prayer for defeating enemies

Prayer for a coronation

Parna mani amulet

Prayer for Unity of the Kingdom

 

BOOK 4

In this book we have 40 hymns, averaging seven verses. Hymn 2 is a very interesting prayer to ‘Who’ (Kah in Sanskrit) It also means Brahma, Prajapati. Egyptians also used the  Kah glyph in Brahmi for God. The Christian Cross also might have been derived from it.

The knowledge of the Brahman

Prayer to Kah = Prajapati= Brahma= Kah(who)= Egyptian Letter for God= Christian Cross

Prayer for purging Poison

BOOK 5

This book contains 31 verses averaging 12 verses. There are some interesting verses here: A curious dialogue between Atharva and Varuna about possessing a wonderful cow. Another is about the abduction of a Brahmin’s wife; two hymns are on the wickedness of oppressing Brahmins. Two hymns are addressed to War Drums to secure success in battle.

Prayer for Victory

The herb Kushta, a medicinal herb

The herb Shilachi/Laksha, a medicinal herb

 

BOOK 6

It is a book about charms with prayers. 142 hymns are in the book with an average length of 3 verses.

Prayer to Savita, Indra.

Prayer for destroying enemies

Prayer for Protection

Prayer for sacrifice

PRAYER FOR PEACE

Prayer for PURGING Snake poison

The Revati herb, a medicinal herb

On wearing Bangles

 

BOOK 7

Book of charms; 118 hymns are in the book.

The Atman

THE MOTHERLAND

Prayer to Sarasvati

THE DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY (the Sabha)

THE MOTHER TONGUE

Prayer for a Long Life

Prayer for Marital harmony

A Wife’s Prayer about husband

Prayer to Sarasvati

 

BOOK 8

Though this book contains only 10 hymns, hey average 26 verses each. Health and charms are the subjects. The hymns are about using charms for the restoration of health.

Charm for the recovery of a man who is dying

Prayer to Goddess Virat/Viraj

Prayers for warding off Demons

Exorcism (to drive away the Ghosts)

GUESTS ARE GODS

BOOK 9

This book contains ten hymns on of which is entirely in prose. The longest verse is “ a glorification of the hospitable reception of guests regarded as identical with the sacrifice offered to the Gods. The most famous hymn of Dirgatamas in the Rig Veda 1-164 is repeated here in hymns 9 and 10. It has got enigmatical question. The verse is very famous because it says God is one; they call him with different names.

Famous Honey-lash of the Asvins

Consecration of new houses

Glorification of Cows and Bulls

Proper Reception of the Guests

 

BOOK 10

This book contains 10 hymns averaging 35 verses. One is a glorification of the Supreme deity, under the name of Skambha, considered the Pillar or Support of all existence. Another is in praise of sacred cow.

Famous Kena (from what) hymn

Prayers for fighting demons

Prayers for purging Poison

Prayers to Cows

Sukta describing Brahman

The Support of the Universe (SKAMBA)-AV 10-7

 

(In the second part of this article we will look at a summary of ten more books)

 

to be continued……………….

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