[Advaita-l] Rearrangement of Vedas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Oct 23 13:09:18 CDT 2005

On Sun, 23 Oct 2005, Krishnarao Lanka wrote:

> I am unable to 
> assimilate the analysis made about the Vedas with younger and older theory 
> and also the rearrangement of the veda mantras, to suit according to the 
> convenience of the purohits or priests theory.


> If the vEdas were written by human beings, how can they become vEdas for the 
> gods also?  I request sri Vyas to correct himself in this regard.

Sir, let me say I agree with everything you say about the apaurusheyatva 
of the Vedas.  I don't believe I've said anything that contradicts that.

The traditional account given in e.g. puranas and Mahabharata is that 
Rshis saw the mantras in satyayuga and they taught them in their families 
or to students independently. At the dawn of the Kaliyuga Maharshi Krshna 
Dvaipayana saw that mens intellects were diminishing so in order to 
preserve the Vedas, he divided them into four and taught them to four 
disciples, Rgveda to Shaunaka for the Hotr, Yajurveda to Vaishampayana for 
the Adhvaryu, Samaveda to Paila for the Udgatr and Atharvaveda to Sumantu 
for the Brahmana.  This is why he is known as Vedavyasa which literally 
means "arranger of the Vedas".  His four students in turn taught many 
students who are the founders of the shakhas.  Vaishampayanas' most 
celebrated student was Yajnavalkya.  Once Yajnavalkya had a big quarrel 
with his Guru and vomitted up all he had learnt and went away.  The other 
students of Vaishampayana took the form of birds called Tittiri 
(partridges or sparrows) and took it up again.  This is known as 
krshnayajurveda.  Yajnavalkya prayed to Vivasvat (the Sun) and was taught 
Yajurveda again which he passed on to his students.  This is known as 

None of this contradicts the idea that the Vedic revelation took place 
over time (several shakhas include a vamshabrahmana which shows the 
lineage for sometimes upto 60 generations.) or that the arrangement was 
made with the needs of the 4 main priests of a Shrauta yajna in mind. 
After all, yajna is the very purpose of the Vedic mantras.

Also I should clarify that it is only the arrangement of the mantras which 
is older or newer.  The text is not changed.  For instance the famous 
Gayatri mantra occurs in all four Vedas in exactly the same form.  In 
Shuklayajurveda, mantras of the purushasukta are the same as in the 
krshnayajurveda but the order is different.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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