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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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who chants Saama veda to endure the grace of the Deities. The Saama veda had 1000 saakhas. 

Yajur Veda 
The word ‘yajus' is derived from the root ‘yaj' which means worship. The word stands for the step by step procedure to be adopted to perform Yagnya or (Worship of Deities through the medium of fire). This Veda therefore contains all the procedural details for performing the Yagnyas. It is a practical book that tells us how to use the Rig veda mantras to derive all possible necessary benefits in day to day life. This veda had 109 saakhas. 

Atharva Veda 
This veda got its name from from a rishi called Atharvan. It is he who brought the mantras in this veda to light. This veda contains many types of mantras designed to ward of evil and hardship and to destroy enemies. In Atharva veda are found many mantras which pertain to Deities not mentioned in the other vedas. This veda is the source of the Tantric scriptures. It also contains hymns dealing with creation. It had 50 saakhas. 

Parts of the Vedas 
Each veda when they were compiled and codified were arranged and divided into four parts for proper study and use. 

Samhita

Samhita means that which has been collected, compiled and systematically arranged. The samhitas consists of all the mantras that were collected and codified. This is the most important part of the Vedas. These mantras are the revealed or the discovered aspects of the Vedas. There were a total of 20,500 mantras. The first part or the samhita part of each veda contains these mantras. Of this the Rig veda samhita contains 10,170 mantras. 

Braahmana 
This part of the veda gives us the vedic karma or duties or yagnyas that has to be performed and how to do them. When the mantras in the veda samhita are converted into action called yagnya the braahamanas serve the purpose of a guidebook explaining how to use the mantras. 

Aaranyaka 
The word has been derived from ‘aranya' meaning forest. This portion of the vedas are meant to explain the inner meaning, the doctrine or the philosophy contained in the samhitas as mantras and the braahamanas as the karmas. Aaranyaka enlighten us about the obscure and distant imagery which the vedas contain. According to the aaranyakas it is important to understand the reasons why the yagnyas are required to be done and not merely their actual performance. 

Upanishads 
The word ‘upa-ni-shad' means to sit by the side. These were taught by making the disciples sit by the side of the teacher. This can also mean that which makes you reach the side of or near Brahman. The upanishads are sacred and secret personalized instructions to those who are fit to receive them. They contain the essence of the Vedas the highest wisdom therein. 

 

   
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