The Vedas

There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the primary texts of Hinduism. They also had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Traditionally the text of the Vedas was coeval with the universe. Scholars have determined that the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally committed to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C.

The Vedas contain hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India. Along with the Book of the Dead, the Enuma Elish, the I Ching, and the Avesta, they are among the most ancient religious texts still in existence. Besides their spiritual value, they also give a unique view of everyday life in India four thousand years ago. The Vedas are also the most ancient extensive texts in an Indo-European language, and as such are invaluable in the study of comparative linguistics.

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rig veda
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The Rig-Veda
translated by Ralph Griffith [1896]
A complete English translation of the Rig Veda.

Rig-Veda (Sanskrit)
The complete Rig Veda in Sanskrit, in Unicode Devanagari script and standard romanization.

sam ved
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The Sama-Veda
translated by Ralph Griffith [1895]
A collection of hymns used by the priests during the Soma sacrifice. Many of these duplicate in part or in whole hymns from the Rig Veda. This is a complete translation.

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yajur ved
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The Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Sanhita)
translated by Arthur Berriedale Keith [1914]. A complete translation
of the Black Yajur Veda. The Yajur Veda is a detailed manual of the Vedic
sacrificial rites.

The Texts of the White Yajurveda
translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith [1899]. A complete translation of the White Yajur Veda.
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The Atharva Veda also contains material from the Rig Veda, but of interest are the numerous incantations and metaphysical texts, which this anthology (part of the Sacred Books of the East series) collects and categorizes. The Atharva Veda was written down much later than the rest of the Vedas, about 200 B.C.; it may have been composed about 1000 B.C.

The Hymns of the Atharvaveda
translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith [1895-6]
The unabridged Atharva Veda translation by Ralph Griffith.
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