Glimpses of Vedic Literature

2

Rigveda

IN this brief introduction to the Veda, we may present a few verses from the Rigveda, which is the principal Veda.

First, let us take the most famous verse known as the Gayatri mantra. Actually, all the mantras in the Veda, which are in the poetic meter Gayatri, are Gayatri mantras. There are many meters and the system of these meters constitutes an elaborate science, which is known as Chhanda Shastra. Among these meters, one is called Gayatri. Gayatri has three parts, each of eight syllables, or alternatively it has four parts, each of six syllables. The total number of syllables is 24.

Among numerous Gayatri mantras in the Veda, the following has traditionally become most famous; and, generally, when one is asked to recite the Gayatri mantra, it is this one that is recited. Every youth who is given yajnopavita (sacred thread) is taught, first and foremost, this wantra. It was composed by one of the great Vedic Rishis,

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