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An Introduction to Rigveda

Rigveda is the largest among 4 Vedas, it is divided into 10 mandalas, 1028 Suktas and 10552* Mantras Each Mandala has several Suktas and each Sukta has several Mantras.

What is “Rik” is Rigveda ? Jaimini Rishi says –

यत्रार्थवशेन पादव्यवस्था सा ऋक् – The Mantras which are in arranged in “Padas” are called Rik (Poetry form) Rigveda, due to presence of mostly Rik mantras this Veda is called Rigveda.

There were 21 major branches of Rigveda, these were divided into 5 Major groups.

1. śākalāḥ 2. bāṣkalāḥ 3. āśvalāyanāḥ 4. śāńkhāyanāḥ 5. māṇḍūkeyāḥ

Brahmanas of Rigveda –

– Aitreya Brahmana – Kaushitaki Brahmana – Shankhayana Brahmana

Major upnishads of Rigveda – – Aitreya Upnishad – Kaushitaki Upnishad

Some Important Suktas of Rigveda –

Hiranyagarbha Sukta (10.121) –

Dedicated to “Ka” – Prajapati (Ishwar), the sukta starts with the word hiraṇyagarbhaḥ which names this sukta, here the greatness of creator is defined.

Nasadiya Sukta (10.129) –

This Sukta defines a time before creation and during creation, this is somewhat mysterious and understanding this sukta is difficult.

Aghamarshana Sukta (10.190) –

This sukta defines sequence of creation of various entities like sun, moon, earth etc

Purusha Sukta (10.90) –

This Sukta first describes the purusha and then metaphorically explains the creation of different entity and the quality of Purusha they reflect.

Sukta 1.164 – The sukta is more philosophical in nature and contains Para Vidya, Many Upnishadic concepts find their origin in this sukta, Mantra 1.164.20 is directly taken in Upnishads.

Western translators have mistranslated many verses of this Veda, for example Max Muller translated Hiranyagarbha as “Golden child” and so on

Considered oldest religious book byany scholars, Rigveda is truly a heritage and goldmine of knowledge

( *Number of mantras in Rigveda are counted differently by different people because some mantras are “dvipadā ṛcā “)

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