Rig-Veda (Myths and Legends of the World)
One of the earliest and most important religious texts of ancient India, the Rig-Veda is the oldest of the four collections of hymns and other sacred texts known as the Vedas. These works are considered the "sacred knowledge" of the Aryans, a people who invaded India in about 1600 B.C. AS the Aryans settled in India, their beliefs developed into the Hindu religion, and the Rig-Veda and the other Vedas became the most sacred Hindu texts.
The Vedas were composed between 1500 and 1000 B.C. in Vedic Sanskrit, an ancient Indo-European language. Transmitted orally for hundreds of years, they were eventually written down. By about 300 B.C., the Vedas had taken on their current form.
The Rig-Veda contains 1,028 mantras, or hymns, directed to the gods and natural forces. The mantras are organized into ten books called mandalas, or circles. According to ancient Hindu tradition, the mantras were based on divine received by members of a particular family. Several families put the mantras together to form the different mandalas. Within each mandala, the mantras are organized according to the deitiesgod or goddess with whom they are associated.
Many of the mantras in the Rig-Veda are hymns to the gods, praising them for their help in battle and asking for such benefits as wealth, good health, long...
(The entire section is 449 words.)
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