Vedas, the Aryan scriptures are regarded as the oldest literary works of human civilization. Vedas are no ordinary books but a vast stream of knowledge and light. In India, they are not considered as mere religious works but an epitome of philosophy of life. Vedas are not merely a collection of volumes on the principles of rites and rituals. The vast knowledge incorporated in the Vedas was propagated by the scholars in the interest of the entire mankind. The divine knowledge existed ever since this cosmic creation came into being and the ancient sages acquired it from God Almighty. This knowledge was later compiled into the Vedas. Thus, the Vedas are not original writings but a manifestation of divine knowledge. Knowledge of the Vedas is total, whole, eternal and perpetual, free from the bounds of Time. These compositions possess comprehensive knowledge from every field of life like medicine, surgery, weaponry, fine arts, architecture, Astrology and various other topics including proprieties and improprieties related to a man’s daily life have been elaborately discussed in the Vedas. There has been a traditional line of scholarly Brahmins engaged in the study of Vedas. They were called as ‘Vedagya’ or one who is a scholar of the Vedas. Vedic scholars used their knowledge towards the benefit and welfare of mankind.
There are four Vedas in all, namely
1. The Rig-Veda
2. The Yajur-Veda
3. The Sama-Veda
4. The Atharva-Veda.
There is also a supplement each to the four Vedas called the Ayurveda, The Dhanurveda, The Gandharva Veda and The Sthapatya Veda respectively.
Vedas have six sub-parts as:
1. Shiksha (Education)
2. Kalpa (a sacred performance, part of Vedic treatment of rituals)
3. Vyakarana (Grammar)
4. Nirukta (an exposition of Vedas)
5. Chhanda (Hymns)
6. Jyotisha (Astrology).
The various other religious books of knowledge are called Purana. Every Purana contains a detailed knowledge about one particular subject. The Purana are also known as the Pancham Veda (Fifth Veda)