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Vedic Period (1750 - 400 BCE)

(7,499 words)

Author(s): Theodore Proferes
“Vedic period” refers to the epoch during which the corpus of liturgies, ritual commentaries, and speculative texts known as the Vedas was composed and then defined as a religious canon. More loosely, the application of the expression may be extended back in time to include the formative phase of vedic culture on the grounds that no cultural product springs, fully formed, into existence, and the earliest extant vedic texts must have had precursors that are not preserved. The common stock of myths, legends, rituals ( yajña s), and even turns of phrase found in the earliest vedic h…

Vedas and Brāhmaṇas

(10,399 words)

Author(s): Theodore Proferes
The Vedas constitute a corpus of orally composed religious texts that were produced by the priestly class of the earliest Sanskrit-speaking inhabitants of the South Asian subcontinent between approximately 1600 and 600 BCE. For centuries they were preserved by generation after generation through rote memorization before eventually being written down. The Vedas contain a diverse collection of material, including direct invocations of and appeal to divinities, ritual formulas designed to accompany…