Vedas and Saraswati culture

The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts in the

world dating from c. 1500-500BCE. Most Indologists

agree that an oral tradition existed long before a

literary tradition tentatively may have been set in

(in one shakha, Kanva) from about the 1st century BCE;

however it was again superseded by oral tradition

until c. 1000 CE.[14] Due to the ephemeral nature of

the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves),

surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few

hundred years.[15] The Benares Sanskrit University

has a Rigveda manuscript of the mid-14th century,

however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts

in Nepal belonging to the Vajasaneyi tradition that

are dated from the 11th century onwards.

The Vedic period lasts for about a millennium,

spanning the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

Gavin Flood[16] sums up mainstream estimates,

according to which the Rigveda was compiled from

as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries.

The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the

composition of the mantra texts, with the

establishment of the various shakhas all over

Northern India which annotated the mantra s

amhitas with Brahmana discussions of their

meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha

and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas

(archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware).

Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 BCE to

c. 500-400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to

the Mitanni material of ca. 1400 BCE as the only

epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan that may date to

the Rigvedic period. However Mitanni Indo-Aryan

is linguistically slightly older than the language of

the Rigveda, and the comparison thus still does not

allow for an absolute dating of any Vedic text.

He gives 150 BCE (Patanjali) as a terminus ante

quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200

BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem

for the Atharvaveda

Rgveda,vedas,saraswati cuture

Rgveda,vedas,saraswati cuture

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Published in: on September 21, 2008 at 6:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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