Samarpan/Fountain of Hinduism-The Vedas

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Hinduism is based on the teachings of the Vedas. These sacred books are the most ancient preserved literature of the world, and it is difficult to say when exactly these works were composed. According to educated guess, these are more than seven to eight thousand years old, with the last additions made well before 1500 B.C.E.

The contents of these books are the records of the spiritual realization of the sages of that period. Some of the mantras of the Vedas, including the Gaytri mantra are quite popular and are recited regularly by millions. However, very few Hindus read the Vedas, and fewer still understand them. Yet, the Hindu view of existence is shaped wholly by these sacred books only.

The Vedas are also called Shruti(lit. heard), since they were passed down from the teacher to the disciple orally, and were considered too sacred to be written down. They are four in number: Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda, Atharva Veda. The Mahabharata mentions that earlier there used to be only one Veda, but Vyasa divided them into four for easy memorization. This division is based on poeticmetres: Rigveda is in rik metre (a particular Vedic metre), Samaveda can be sung, Yajurveda is in Yajusmetre, and Atharva Veda has composition both in prose and poetry.