Rig VedaRig Veda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to the gods (devas) in Hinduism. It is counted among the four Hindu canonical sacred texts known as the Vedas.
Based on philological and linguistic evidence, the Rigveda was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period) in the Sapta Sindhu region (a land of seven great rivers) which is the region around present-day Punjab, putting it among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use, as well as among the oldest texts of any language.
Today, this text is revered by Hindus around the world. Its verses are recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions.
The text in its surviving form was redacted in the Iron Age. The fixed text was preserved for more than a millennium by oral tradition alone and was probably not put in writing until the Gupta period. Considering its great age, the text is spectacularly well preserved and uncorrupted.
From the time of its redaction, the text has been handed down in two versions: The Samhitapatha has all Sanskrit rules of sandhi applied and is the text used for recitation. The Padapatha has each word isolated in its pausa form and is used for memorization. The Padapatha is, as it were, a commentary to the Samhitapatha. The original text as reconstructed on metrical grounds lies somewhere between the two, but closer to the Samhitapatha. <
The chief gods of the Rigveda are Indra, Agni, and Soma. Other prominent gods are Mitra-Varuna and Usha. Also invoked are Savitr, Vishnu, Rudra, Pushan, Brihaspati, Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita (the sky), Prithivi (the earth), Surya (the sun), Vayu (the wind), Apas (the waters), Parjanya (the rain), Vac (the word), many rivers (the Sindhu and the Sarasvati River).
Groups of deities are the Ashvins, the Maruts, the Adityas, the Rbhus, the Vishvadevas (the all-gods). It contains various further minor gods, persons, concepts, phenomena and items, and fragmentary references to possible historical events, notably the struggle between the early Vedic people (known as Vedic Aryans, a subgroup of the Indo-Aryans) and their enemies, the Dasa.
Mandala 1comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni, and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra.
Mandala 2comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra.
Mandala 3comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism as the Gayatri Mantra.
Mandala 4consists of 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vaamadeva gautama.
Mandala 5comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas (the dawn) and to Savitr. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the atri family.
Mandala 6comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the b?rhaspatya family of Angirasas.
Mandala 7comprises 104 hymns, to Agni, Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, Mitra-Varuna, the Asvins, Ushas, Indra-Varuna, Varuna, Vayu, two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu, and to others.
Mandala 8comprises 103 hymns to different gods. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the kaanva family.
Mandala 9comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma Pavamana, the plant of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
Mandala 10comprises 191 hymns, to Agni and other gods. It contains the Nadistuti sukta which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta which has significance in Hindu tradition.
Each hymn of the Rigveda is traditionally attributed to a specific rishi, and the "family books" are said to have been composed ("heard") by one family of rishis each. The main families, listed by the number of verses ascribed to them are:
There are 30 manuscripts of Rigveda at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, collected in the 19th century by Georg Bühler, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including Kashmir, Gujarat, the then Rajaputana, Central Provinces etc. They were transferred to Deccan College, Pune, in the late 19th century. They are in the Sharada and Devanagari scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of them is dated to 1464.