The injunctions in the Karma Kaanda (that portion which deals with Yagnyas) of the Vedas are also in the nature of temporary cures. But then it is not possible to convert one struggling desperately in "unrest" (Ashaanti), with a single stroke, as it were, into an Aatmaaraama, i.e., one who delights in the happiness of the Atma within. That is why the karmas which bring temporary benefits have been prescribed but, in the process they help develop purity of mind which is the basic prerequisite for lasting mental peace. Although Yagnyaa (sacrifices), Vrata (self-imposed restraints) and Poorta (public service) are prescribed with great elaboration, it does not regard any of these as the end or goal. These (karmas) have been designed to reduce the attachment to the body. By diverting the mind towards them, concentration is developed and the mind is cleansed of impurities. Thus, although various subjects are dealt with at great length by the Vedas, their aim is to lead to philosophical enquiry, an enquiry into the nature of our self and that of God.
Before the Vedas were codified by Veda Vyasa approximately 5000 years ago the wisdom of the Vedas were imparted orally and were passed on generation after generation by word of mouth from Guru to disciple. During this period the text of the Vedas were divided into many branches called Saakhas. Each saakha had the knowledge that was necessary for the spiritual growth and satisfaction of worldly needs of an individual and the masses as well. During Veda Vyasa's time there were at least 1180 such saakhas existing. Each saakha was maintained and passed on by guru disciple parampara.
Codification of the Vedas
Veda Vyasa collected all the vedic wisdom available during his time and codified them into four parts. His original name was Krishna. He was a contemporary of Lord Krishna. Since he was born in an island (Dweepa) he was called Krishna Dvaipaayana. He was also known as Baadaraayana because he meditated under a badari tree. He was learned in all the 1180 veda saakhas that had come into existence through the great Rishis and were existing during his time. For the benefit of the common man Veda Vyasa divided the saakhas into four major groups each with a number of saakhas. These four groups thereafter became known as the four Vedas. Since the numerous veda saakhas were classified and arranged subjectwise Krishna Dvaipaayana became Veda Vyasa.
The word ‘Rik' means a hymn in praise. The whole of Rig veda samhita is Riks or hymns praising different Devatas. Each Rik is a mantra. A number of Riks constitute a Sookta. The Rig veda contains 10,170 mantras. The Rig veda saakhas are conducive to worship and prayer. There were 21 saakhas in Rig veda.
The word ‘Saama' means that which creates peace. Many of the mantras of the Rig veda have been set to music in melodious hymns in Saama veda. The Saama veda has set the mantras to music with lengthened notes. Saama gaana is the basis and source of the seven swara or notes fundamental to Indian music. Saama gaana or singing of hymns pleases the Devatas. During Yagnyas in addition to offering oblations there is a priest called ‘udgaata'