A Note on the Vedic Literature
The antiquity of the Veda has been a subject of discussion and dispute. According to the ancient Indian tradition it is impossible to determine the period of the composition of the Veda. It is, however, universally acknowledged by historians that the Veda is the earliest available collection of the most ancient body of knowledge. According to one of the Indian historians, Shri Avinash Chandra Das, Vedas could have been composed any time between 250th and 750th century B.C. According to Lokamanya Tilak, the estimated period would be any time between 45th and 50th century B.C. This coincides with the view of Professor Haug, Professor Ludwig and Professor Jacobi. Professor Whitney places this period any time between 15th and 20th century B.C., while Professor Weber places it any time between 12th and 15th century B.C. Professor Max Muller believes that the Veda was composed during the 13th century B.C.
According to Brihadāranyakopanishad, all the four Vedas, Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda, are the breath of the Supreme Lord.
अस्य महतो भूतस्य निःश्चसितम् एतद् यद् ऋग्वेदो
यजुर्वेदः सामवेदोऽ थर्वागिरसः।
According to Manu Smriti, the entire Veda is luminous with knowledge (सर्वज्ञानमयो हि सः) It is believed that in its original condition Veda was one, but it was Rishi Vyāsa who divided it into four parts. For this reason, Rishi Vyāsa is known as Vedavyāsa. The four Vedas have been divided in many ways under the categories of mandala, ashtaka, varga, sukta, anuvāk, khānda, prashna, chhanda, etc. Every word of the poetic and prose composition of the Veda has been counted and fixed. The entire collection of the mantras is called "Samhitā". According to one view, the word Veda is applicable to both the collection of the mantras (inevitable expressions of poetic inspiration and revelation) and Brāhmanas. Brāhmanas are supposed to be detailed analysis and commentary on the collection of the mantras. Brāhmanas again are divided into three parts, (i) Brāhmanas, (ii) Āranyakas and (iii) Upanishads. In