Introduction to Atharva Veda

The Atharva veda is a book of knowledge compiled last in the series of chatur veda. It derives its name from Sanskrit word ‘Atharvaveda’ which means procedures for everyday life.

Introduction to Atharva Veda

There is an enormous collection of mantras in Atharvaveda.

Subsequently, they are divided into 20 books or kandas, having a total of 730 hymns or suktas or a total of 5,987 verses or mantras. most of the mantras are metrical; About 80 hymns are in prose.

About a hundred suktas have only one or two verses.They are all integrated to the descendants or disciples of the singularity of the seers, Atharvan and Angiras. There exist an approx twenty percent overlapping between Rigveda Samhita and Atharvaveda Samhita .

From the ancient Vedic times up to the present day, the Hindu thoughts are continuously showing the true path for knowledge . Many of the epigrams or subhashitas found in all Indian languages, not just Sanskrit, can be traced to the Atharvaveda Samhita. Some of them are in section “Epigrams”.Atharvaveda verses have considerable symbolism.

Below are the parenthesis with  the number of hymns in the Atharva veda :

1. Spiritual and Psychological Topics (90)
2. Various Devas like Agni, Indra, Sun etc and their psychological powers (100)
3. Stages of life: Brahmacharya, Wedding, Hospitality, Ascetic phase
4. Health and healing (153) and physiology (215)
5. Professions, caste, governance, nation and community welfare, openness of
society (52)
6. Mathematics, time (10)
7. Misc. topics like rituals, animals etc (40)
8. Hymn to Earth (1)

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We can find cures for various diseases and ailments in these books.

For example Book 1 contains cure for ‘Takman’ (Fever), headache, cough, jaundice, diarrhea, constipation, retention of urine, edema, leprosy, etc.

Book 2 gives knowledge to tackle excessive discharges from body, various hereditary diseases,  worms (in human body and even in cattle). It divines parameters for perfect health and ways to secure long life. Similarly, successive books contain various charms and spells to cure other diseases.

In Book 7 of Atharva veda we find a powerful verse for securing peace in this world.

Atharva Veda Education

There are ten hymns in Atharva Veda on this topic. Usually brahmacharya is translated as celibacy. But its literal meaning is “to move in Brahma” or “to move towards the supreme state of consciousness named as Brahman.”

Typically, it signifies the comprehensive education received by a young person in Vedic  times before he/she married and led his/her family life.

The education includes not only the study of the various subjects but also the spiritual initiation, diksha by special methods. Diksha even today is an important aspect of spiritual life.

There are a numbers of hymn in Atharvaveda. which are the earliest attempt to describe the process of diksha or initiation by a teacher or guru. The knowledge is imparted by an occult means. Modern spiritual biographies like “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” describes this process in some detail.

This hymn metaphorically describes the Rishi as keeping the disciple in his womb, imparting power to him and help him grow. This procedure is represented symbolically even today in the ceremony of sacred thread upanayanam by enclosing the disciple and the teacher, by a single cloth. The teacher gives the mantra to the disciple in his ear.

Introduction to Atharva Veda

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