Veda, aka: Vedā; 20 Definition(s)


Veda means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism


1) Veda (वेद).—The sun of the hermit Ayodhadhaumya. (For further details see under Ayodhadhaumya). (See full article at Story of Veda from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

2) Veda (वेद).—Introduction. The root 'Vid' in Sanskrit means 'to know'. The books composed of the knowledge of the Āryans, collected and compiled were called the Vedas.

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

The Vedas are groups of hymns and chants containing religious and spiritual insights of the ancient sages and seers. Each Veda consists of four parts:

  1. Mantras (or Samhitãs),
  2. Brãhmanas,
  3. Ãranyakas, and
  4. Upanishads.

1) Mantras are poetic compositions and hymns of supplication and incantation addressed to the deities, the symbolic representations of the Supreme Lord.

2) The Brãhmanas deal with rules and regulations for proper performance of religious rites, rituals and ceremonies.

3) The Ãranyakas (as forest books) provide the symbolic and spiritual basis for the Brãhmanas.

4) The Upanishads reveal the knowledge about Brahman and are known as Vedãnta, meaning "end of the Vedas." They are the concluding portions of the Vedas.

Whereas the Upanishads represent the essence of the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gîtã, the most popular scripture of Hindus, contains the essence of the Upanishads. The Vedas reflect the dawn of spiritual insight, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gîtã contain the full splendor of a spiritual vision.

(Source): Kashmiri Overseas Association: The Nīlamata Purāṇa

1a) Veda (वेद).—The science of Dharma together with the ācāra of those who know it.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 52. 7; 164. 16.

1b) First came nāda from the Supreme Brahman, then oṅkāra and then mantropaniṣad. Brahmā created Akṣaras, and out of his four mouths appeared the four Vedas, which were taught to his sons. This was handed down by tradition through the ages.1 Originally one, rearranged by Vyāsa into four Samhitās—Ṛg, Yajus, Sāman and Atharvan: distribution among his pupils done by Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana with the help of Paila, Jaimini, Sumantu, and Vaiśampāyana: growth of Śākhās. Lost in a deluge. Then Hari. taught them to Brahmā who taught in his turn to his sons. A three fold division of the Vedas conveys the truth of Brahman and Ātman. In these Hari manifests himself: its metres are Gāyatrī, Uṣṇik and so on.2 Symbolised by Garuḍa: do not shine in Kali.3 Personified: These with Upavedas came to see the Trivikrama form of Hari.4 Learnt by Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa.5 Twenty-eight Vedavyāsas rearranged them in the 28 periods: compiled into four by Parāśara's son, originally one;6 served as vessel for Bṛhaspati to milk the cow-earth;7 restored by Matsya after deluge.8

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 6. 36-46; III. 12. 36-37; IV. 24. 62; Matsya-purāṇa 2. 13; 3. 2; 4. 7; 285. 8.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 4. 19-23; XI. 14. 3-6; 21. 35-43; XII. 6. 49-50; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 3. 20; 4. 7-9.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 19; X. 20. 8.
  • 4) Ib. VIII. 21. 2; IX. 22. 37.
  • 5) Ib. X. 45. 33.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 34. 2, 12-30; 35. 116-26; III. 10. 69; IV. 1. 30; 6. 64; Matsya-purāṇa 14. 16.
  • 7) Ib. 10. 17.
  • 8) Ib. 53. 5; 83. 3; 172. 50.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Veda (लोक) refers to the “revealed text”. It is one of the three means of valid knowledge (pramāṇa). According to the Nāṭyaśāstra 25.120-121, “Drama (nāṭya) composed of veda and adhyātma is couched in words and metres, is testified by loka (actual life)”.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Veda (वेद).—The Veda does not necessarily contain history or science. The Veda is claimed to be ‘eternal’ in that the truths propounded in it have a perennial validity for all time. The Veda can thus, by definition neither deal with temporal evanescent events, nor can they provide empirical facts or scientific generalizations based on those events. The ethics taught in the Veda are the factors by which we advance spiritually, they are injunctions only, which can neither be proved nor disproved by logic.

Vedic literature is divided into four sections Saṃhita, Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka and Upaniṣads. The Saṃhitas are the core texts which consist of the revelations of the great sages (ṛṣis). They are presented in the form of hymns and poems (su-uktas = well said). The Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas are ritual texts based upon the practical application and usage of the Saṃhita portion in rituals (yajñas) and the Upaniṣads are the philosophical texts which concern us the most.

The is a variety of opinions among preceptors as to what exactly constitute Veda;

  1. That by which the means of obtaining the transcendental goal of life is known.
  2. The Veda is that which makes known the transcendental means of obtaining the desirable and avoiding the undesirable.
  3. The Vedas are the truly authoritative and valid texts which have no author and which propound Dharma and Brahman.
(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
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Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

Nyaya (school of philosophy)

Veda (वेद).—The Veda, for Nyāya, is inerrant and free from contradictions. If it were not the authentic Scripture, it could have neither established the institution of four castes and four stages of life, nor would it have been acceptable to generations of good men from immemorial times till now. Reasoning cannot give the entire truth; it cannot establish what is 'good' or 'bad'. Any inference opposed to perception or the Scripture is only an apparent inference. In the realm of Dharma, Nyāya holds, reason is useful only in protecting the truth revealed by Scripture from heresies, and has no positive role

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis (nyāya)
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Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.

Samkhya (school of philosophy)

Veda (वेद).—According to Kapila, the Veda is neither eternal, nor a product. No one could have produced it: for a person in bondage, lacking omniscience, could not have authored it, while a 'liberated’ person would not have a motive to do anything. The Veda itself says it is a product; so it cannot be eternal. The Veda came into existence spontaneously, like the grass and trees in a forest. Its validity is intrinsic and self-proved.

(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis (sāṃkhya)
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Samkhya (सांख्य, Sāṃkhya) is a dualistic school of Hindu philosophy (astika) and is closeley related to the Yoga school. Samkhya philosophy accepts three pramanas (‘proofs’) only as valid means of gaining knowledge. Another important concept is their theory of evolution, revolving around prakriti (matter) and purusha (consciousness).

Vaishnavism (Vaishava dharma)

Veda (वेद).—The Vedas are considered to have been spoken by the Supreme Lord. They were first realized by Brahmā, who is the first created being within the universe (tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye). Our process is to receive knowledge through the paramparā system, from Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, to Nārada, Vyāsa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the six Gosvāmīs. By disciplic succession, Lord Brahmā was enlightened from within by the original person, Kṛṣṇa.

(Source): Prabhupada Books: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta
Vaishnavism book cover
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Vaishnava (वैष्णव, vaiṣṇava) or vaishnavism (vaiṣṇavism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshipping Vishnu as the supreme Lord. Similar to the Shaktism and Shaivism traditions, Vaishnavism also developed as an individual movement, famous for its exposition of the dashavatara (‘ten avatars of Vishnu’).

Itihasa (narrative history)

Veda (वेद) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. ) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Veda) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

(Source): JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Veda (वेद) refers to a category of Apaurūṣeya texts, or “disciplines dealing with knowledge not contingent on individuals” (a type of Śāstra or ‘learned discipline’), all part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person.The Vedas also includes the Upaniṣads.

(Source): Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Veda (वेद) in the Atharvaveda and later denotes ‘sacred lore’. In the plural it more definitely refers to the Vedas of the Ṛc, Yajus, and Sāman. Cf. Vidyā.

(Source): Vedic index of Names and Subjects

1) Veda (वेद): Collectively refers to a corpus of ancient Indo-Aryan religious literature that are considered by adherents of Hinduism to be revealed knowledge. Many Hindus believe the Vedas existed since the beginning of creation.

2) The Vedas are identified with Brahman, the universal principle (ŚBM, Vāc "speech" is called the "mother of the Vedas" (ŚBM, The knowledge of the Vedas is endless, compared to them, human knowledge is like mere handfuls of dirt (TB The universe itself was originally encapsulated in the three Vedas (ŚBM has Prajapati reflecting that "truly, all beings are in the triple Veda").

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Veda is the highest authority in Hindu knowledge system and the authority of all other scriptures are based on the authority of the Veda. Vedas are four - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. Rigveda contains prayers to Gods (Riks are the mantras). Yajurveda has methods to use Riks for sacrifices (Yajus-Yajna). Sama Veda introduces musical notes. Atharva Veda gives ways to make life successful, and contains methods to fulfill what can be called material aspirations.

Each Veda has three sections - Samhita, Brahmana and Aranyaka.

1) Samhita has prayers or Suktas. Brahmana has sacrificial methods.

2) Aranyaka has Mantras and methods that are practiced in the forests (that is, not for grhasthas).

3) Upanishads normally appear in the last part of Aranyaka and deal with spiritual philosophy. Some Upanishads are exceptions and appear in Samhita and Brahmana too. Thus Upanishad, as it appears in the last part of the Veda, is called Vedanta. There are 108 Upanishads and 10 of them are famous. Since Upanishads mostly philosophical they are found in prose. But there are Upanishads like Taittireeya and Ganapathi Atharva Seersha that have svara.

(Source): Hindupedia: The Hindu Encyclopedia


Veda (वेद):—The Vedas form the fundamental basis of our religion. They are the words of Brahman and are said to be Brahman itself. These were littered by great ṛṣis (Seers). They are the oldest literary specimens of the world. Their language is an ancient form of Sanskrit.

The Vedas are four in number called the

  1. Ṛgveda,
  2. Yajurwda,
  3. Sāmaveda
  4. and Atharvaveda.

Each Veda comprises two parts, called the Karmabhāga and the Tattvabhāga—the portion that treats of action (karma) and the portion that treats of reality (tattva). The conduct to be followed by those who aspire to acquire puṇya or virtue is detailed in the former portion and the eternal truths of life are described in the latter portion.

(Source): Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

veda : (m.) religious feeling; knowledge; the brahmanic canon of authorised religious teaching.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Veda, (fr. vid, or more specifically ved as P. root) 1. (cp. vediyati & vedanā) (joyful) feeling, religious feeling, enthusiasm, awe, emotion, excitement (something like saṃvega) D. II, 210 (°paṭilābha+somanassa-paṭilābha); M. I, 465 (uḷāra); Sn. 1027 (=pīti SnA 585); J. II, 336; III, 266. attha-veda+dhamma-veda enthusiasm for the truth (for the letter & the spirit) of Buddha’s teaching M. I, 37; A. V, 329 sq. 333, 349, 352; veda here interpreted as “somanassaṃ” at MA. I, 173.—See also cpd. °jāta.—2. (cp. vedeti & vijjā) (higher) knowledge (as “Buddhist” antithesis to the authority of the “Veda”), insight, revelation, wisdom: that which Bdhgh at MA. I, 173 defines with “ñāṇa, ” and illustrates with vedagū of Sn. 1059; or refers to at DA. I, 139 with defn “vidanti etenā ti vedo. ” Thus at Sn. 529 & 792 (=vedā vuccanti catūsu maggesu ñāṇaṃ paññā Nd1 93), cp. SnA 403.—As adj. veda Ep. of the Buddha “the knower” or the possessor of revelation, at M. I, 386. See also vedagū.—3. the Veda(s), the brahmanic canon of authorized religious teaching (revelation) & practice; otherwise given as “ganthai.e. “text” at MA. I, 173, & illustrated with “tiṇṇaṃ vedānaṃ pāragū. ” The latter formula is frequent in stock phrase describing the accomplishments of a Brahmin, e.g. at D. I, 88; M. II, 133; Sn. 1019; A. I, 163; DhA. III, 361. In the older texts only the 3 Vedas (irubbeda=Rg; yaju° & sāma°) are referred to, whereas later (in the Commentaries) we find the 4 mentioned (athabbana added), e.g. the three at S. IV, 118; J. I, 168; II, 47; III, 537; Miln. 10; Vism. 384; the four at DA. I, 247; Miln. 178.—Unspecified (sg.): SnA 462. As adj. veda “knowing the Vedas” SnA 463 (ti°), cp. tevijja.—The Vedas in this connection are not often mentioned, they are almost identical with the Mantras (see manta) and are often (in Com.) mentioned either jointly with manta or promiscuously, e.g. Pv. II, 613 (the Vedas with the 6 aṅgas, i.e. vedāṅgas, called manta); SnA 293 (manta-pāragū+veda-pāragū), 322, 448.

—antagu “one who has reached the end of knowledge, ” i.e. one who has obtained perfection in wisdom Vin. I, 3; Sn. 463. —gū one who has attained to highest knowledge (said of the Buddha). Thus different from “tiṇṇaṃ vedānaṃ pāragū, ” which is brahmanic. The expln of vedagū is “catūsu maggesu ñāṇaṃ” Nd2 612, & see above 2.—S. I, 141, 168; IV, 83, 206; A II 6; IV, 340; Sn. 322, 458, 529, 749, 846, 947, 1049, 1060; Nd1 93, 204, 299, 431. A peculiar meaning of vedagū is that of “soul” (lit. attainer of wisdom) at Miln. 54 & 71. —jāta thrilled, filled with enthusiasm, overcome with awe, excited A. II, 63; Sn. 995, 1023; Kvu 554=Vv 3427 (=jāta-somanassa VvA. 156); J. I, 11; Miln. 297. —pāragū one who excels in the knowledge of the Vedas, perfected in the Veda SnA 293; cp. above 3. —bandhu one who is familiar with the Vedas SnA 192. (Page 647)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Marathi-English dictionary

vēḍa (वेड).—f A web woven with the fibrous roots of the wheat-stalks as they lie in the maṇḍaḷī or rick; to prevent the sheaves from being pulled out by thieves. 2 n f A ring in general (for a finger or a toe).

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vēḍa (वेड).—f (Properly īḍa) Lime-tree, Citrus lemonum. 2 n also vēḍalimbūṃ or -nimbūṃ n A lime.

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vēḍa (वेड).—n (viḍa S To rage, chafe, fume.) Madness. 2 Foolishness or folly : also a foolish act. 3 fig. A violent and unreasonable passion or desire after. vēḍa kāḍhaṇēṃ To bring on madness. 2 To take the conceit (wild haughtiness) out of. vēḍa ghēūna pēḍa- gāṃvāsa jāṇēṃ To feign madness or idiocy in order to accomplish some crafty purpose. vēḍa pikaṇēṃ, vēḍācā pāūsa paḍaṇēṃ Phrases expressive of wild excesses, riotous and extravagant proceedings, any general tumultuousness or uproar. vēḍa bharaṇēṃ in. con. To get mad. vēḍa bharaṇēṃ or bharaviṇēṃ To drive one mad or furious; to vex to madness. vēḍa lāvaṇēṃ To bring madness upon. Ex. vēḍa lāvalēṃ bhratārālā || nāhīṃ rāhilā laukika ||. vēḍīcēṃ sōṅga ghēṇēṃ To feign madness. Used esp. of a debtor feigning insolvency, of a man of service or work feigning incompetency &c.

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vēḍā (वेडा).—a (vēḍa) Mad. 2 Doltish, foolish, idiotlike. 3 Wild, frantic, incoherent--speech, acts. 4 with g. of o. Enamoured of, transported with, mad after.

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vēda (वेद).—m (S) A Veda, the generic term for the sacred writings of the Hindus; supposed to have been revealed by Brahma, and, after being preserved by tradition for a considerable period, to have been arranged in their present form by Vyasa. The principal Vedas are three, the ṛc, yajusa, & sāma; to these a fourth, the atharva, is added; and the Itihas and Puran̤s, or ancient history and mythology, are sometimes considered as a fifth. vēda pl haraṇēṃ g. of s. To be foiled in all one's schemings and plannings and clever contrivings; to be at one's wits' end. A phrase agreeing with tantra haraṇēṃ or tantra mantra haraṇēṃ.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

vēḍa (वेड).—n Madness; folly. n f A ring. vēḍa lāvaṇēṃ Bring madness upon. vēḍīcēṃ sōṅga ghēṇēṃ Feign madness.

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vēḍā (वेडा).—a Mad; foolish. Frantic. Enamour- ed of.

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vēda (वेद).—m The Hindu Scriptures.

(Source): DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Veḍa (वेड).—A kind of sandal.

Derivable forms: veḍam (वेडम्).

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Veḍā (वेडा).—A boat. (See beḍā).

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Veda (वेद).—[vid-ac ghañ vā]

1) Knowledge.

2) Sacred knowledge, holy learning, the scripture of the Hindus. (Originally there were only three Vedas :ṛgveda, yajurveda and sāmaveda, which are collectively called trayī 'the sacred triad'; but a fourth, the atharvaveda, was subsequently added to them. Each of the Vedas had two distinct parts, the Mantra or Samhitā and Brāhmaṇa. According to the strict orthodox faith of the Hindus the Vedas are a-pauruṣeya, 'not human compositions', being supposed to have been directly revealed by the Supreme Being, Brahman, and are called Śruti' i. e. 'what is heard or revealed', as distinguished from 'Smṛti', i. e. 'what is remembered or is the work of human origin'; see śruti, smṛti also; and the several sages, to whom the hymns of the Vedas are ascribed, are, therefore, called draṣṭāraḥ 'seers', and not kartāraḥ or sṛṣṭāraḥ 'composers'.)

3) A bundle of Kuśa grass; पद्माक्षमालामुत जन्तुमार्जनं वेदं च साक्षात्तप एव रूपिणौ (padmākṣamālāmuta jantumārjanaṃ vedaṃ ca sākṣāttapa eva rūpiṇau) Bhāg. 12.8.34; Ms.4.36.

4) Name of Viṣṇu.

5) A part of a sacrifice (yajñāṃga).

6) Exposition, comment, gloss.

7) A metre.

8) Acquisition, gain, wealth (Ved).

9) Name of the number 'four'.

1) The ritual (vedayatīti vedo vidhiḥ); Karma-kāṇda; वेदवादस्य विज्ञानं सत्याभासमिवानृतम् (vedavādasya vijñānaṃ satyābhāsamivānṛtam) Mb.12.1. 2 (see Nīlakaṇtha's commentary).

11) Smṛti literature; आम्नायेभ्यः पुनर्वेदाः प्रसृताः सर्वतोमुखाः (āmnāyebhyaḥ punarvedāḥ prasṛtāḥ sarvatomukhāḥ) Mb.12.26.9.

Derivable forms: vedaḥ (वेदः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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