Hindu Scriptures

The Samhitas

Samhitas are made of Mantras-sacred hymns written to meter and have to be read in the proper tune (`swara'). They mostly consist of invocations to the Early Gods of Sanathana Dharma- Indra, Varuna, Yama, Surya etc. These gods are relegated to second order in time , with Trimurties (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva who are responsible for the generation, operation and destruction as per Hindu mythology.

The Samhitas are totally five since Yajur Veda has two parts - Krshna Yajur samhita and Sukla Yajur samhita. These Samhitas consists of 20389 slokas ( Rig-10552, Sama-1875, Yajur or Vajasayina samhita-1975, Atharva - 5987)

Rig-Veda Samhita (c. 1200 BCE) is the oldest of the four vedas and consists of 1028 hymns in praise of thirty-three gods and refers to rituals associated with these gods.

Yajur-Veda Samhita is used as a handbook by priests performing the vedic sacrifices.

Sama-Veda Samhita sets the verses of the Rig Veda to music, to be sung during sacrificial rites.

Atharva-Veda Samhita (c. 900 BCE) preserves many traditions which pre-date the Aryan influence and consists of spells, charms and magical formulae.