40,000 LINES IN THE RIG VEDA! (Post No.5221)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 15 JULY 2018


Time uploaded in London – 20-46  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5221


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.


Some Interesting facts about the Oldest Book in the world


Rig Veda is the oldest of the four Hindu Vedas.

This is the oldest book; oldest anthology

It has 40, 000 lines

It is divided into TEN mandalas (books/divisions)

Another division is Eight Chapters

It has 1028 Hymns (suktas)

In those 1028 hymns we have 10,600 verses (mantras)

Significance of 432,000

The number of syllables in the Rig Veda is 432,000.

This number has a great significance in Hinduism

The total number of years in Kali Yuga is 432,000 years. Other Yugas have the multiple of this number.

Katyayana’s count of Verses in the RV is 10,662 (minus the appendix- 10,402)

The words in the RV – 1,53,826


Age of the Vedas

It is believed that they were composed around 6000 BCE or 4000 BCE. There are internal astronomical references to justify this date.

Others date it around 1800 BCE on the basis of external evidence of River Sarasvati’s disappearance and carbon dating of underground water.


The very fact no two scholars could agree on the date of the Vedas, the very fact that there is difference of opinion about the oldest part of the Veda show that it is very difficult to confirm the date of the Vedas.


Hindus believe that they are not compositions but that which is heard from the heaven. They consider them eternal. Like scientific laws, they are there whether you discover it or not.



Like any old literature it has repetitions; following are some facts about repetitions:

In the ancient world poets composed and spread their poems orally. Nothing much was written. Because of the rhythm and tune it was easy to remember and it was passed from one generation to another easily. Repeating lines or phrases or word blocks is an Important feature of oral poetry. We see such repetitions in the oldest book Rig Veda, Homers works Illiad and Odyssey and later Tamil Sangam literature.

Rig Vedic repetitions and Homeric repetitions have been studied for long With more modern tools deeper studies are done and new facts are revealed.
The Rig Veda claims accurate oral transmission of almost 40,000 lines in all.

Rig Vedic repetitions have been studied by Maurice Bloomfield, Prof. J Gonda, T G Mainkar and NilanJana Sikdar Datta.
They say
The Rig Veda itself asks the poets to compose long verses orally like the rain god pouring his showers; sing praises in the Gayatri metre( R V 1-38-14)

Tamil Tolkappiam and Sanskrit rhetorics condemn repetitions as a fault punaruktavadaabhasa ; in Tamil kuuriyathu kuural Kutram.

But in old oral literature it is common.


A line or word block or phrase becomes a part of tradition. A new poet picks it up and uses it in his composition, sometimes changing it slightly to suit his own needs.

In the Rig Veda ,we find a good deal of repetition, about 8000 paadas in about 40,100 paadas. Gonda regards it as natural to magic, for it is supposed to give power . Others considered repetition primitive. They are wrong. It is part of oral tradition. We see it in the Rig Veda and Sangam Tamil literature. There is a time gap of at least 2000 years between the two. Even in modern film songs the words and tunes are repeated.

A thorough analysis of Rig Vedic repetitions offers a glimpse into the mental makeup, the psychological disposition of the society of that period- the collective beliefs , assumptions, aims and objectives as also a record of their spiritual experiences.

When we compare Vedic repetitions with other repetitions in Homer or Sangam Tamil literature we must remember the time gap between those compositions and the fact that Vedas are religious and others are secular.



Animals in the Vedas
In the Rig Vedic repetitions, man’s nearest neighbours, the animals, both wild and tame figure prominently.
Quite a large number of repetitions are drawn from the relation between the cow and its calf.
“come to us as cows come to their stable 5-33-10

“Indra is involved to come to the sacrifice as a cow with her calf 1-32-9

“Indra drinks Soma as a bull 5-36-1

A common and frequent image is
O god come to partake of the sacrificial feed as cattle come to their fodder”

Indra is invoked to come and drink like a thirsty deer 1-8-8
Or as thirsty doves 1-30-4.
The Maruts are like fast running horses 7-56-16
Asvins are compared with a pair of deer, cows, or two birds or two swans 5-78-12, 8-35 , 7-9
Indra and Brhaspati are compared with two chariot horses 2-24-12

These show Vedic Hindus loved nature and lived one with nature. We see such imageries of nature throughout Sangam Tamil literature which came at least 2000 years after the Vedas

Scholars who did not study Tamil literature bluffed a lot about Aryan Dravidian differences. But the repetitions and natural imagery in both, though divided by a period of 2000 years, show they belonged to the same tradition.

Source book for Repetitions:– The RGVEDA AS ORAL LITERATURE by Nilanjana Sikdar Datta, Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1999.


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