Atharva Veda

Carlos Lopez

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:
Atharva Veda


The Atharva Veda (or Atharvaveda, AV), the fourth Vedic collection and the second oldest Indian text, is distinguished from the trayī vidyā (threefold wisdom) contained in the Rig Veda (RV), Yajur Veda (YV), and Sama Veda (SV) primarily in terms of content. The Atharva Veda stands apart from the other three Vedas, because it does not treat śrauta (sacred) rituals as its main topic but represents in part the popular side of Vedic culture and religion. It contains spells for healing various illnesses, spells for removal of demons, love spells, and speculative hymns about particular forces of the cosmos, such as ucchiṣṭa (sacrificial remnant), odana (porridge), brahmacārin (the Vedic student), and the śataudana cow (the cow with one hundred odanas), as well as material relevant to gṛhya (domestic) rituals, such as marriage, initiation, and death. Although not primarily concerned with śrauta rituals, it contains material connected to royal ceremonies, including the rohita hymns, which identify the king with the victorious sun, and hymns found exclusively in the Paippalāda Saṃhitā (PS) about a royal consecration ceremony with a sava (unction) ceremony. Some of its content reflects an earlier tradition of Indo-European sorcery material, since many of the charms reflect a character shared by similar traditions of Indo-European-speaking peoples. The Rig Veda makes no reference to Atharvan mantric material. Indeed, atharvāṅgirasas, the oldest name used to refer to Atharvan material, is absent from the Rig Veda. When Atharvan material is referenced in post–Rig Vedic texts, it is generally mentioned after the other three Vedas (RV, SV, YV, and AV). Even in the Atharva Vedic texts this sequence is followed, and Atharvan texts are normally mentioned last on the list.

Article.  11447 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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