Rigveda, Or Rig Veda, is an early ancient sacred Vedic religious text of Hinduism. It is composed of Hymns or Suktas in praise of gods. Rigveda is among the four ancient sacred religious canonical texts, or Veda, written in the early or later ancient Vedic period. These remaining Vedas are as follows – Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.
According to Michael Witzel, a German-American philologist and Indologist, the Rigveda was composed or codified between 1500-1000 BC in the later Vedic period by Kuru Kindom. Although some approximate its compilation somewhere between 1900-1200 BC.
The Ancient Vedic text of Rigveda consists of Samhita, Aranyakas (the ‘forest books’), Brahmanas (the commentaries on the hymns), and Upanishad. The Rigveda consists of a core text known as “Rigveda Samhita”; the oldest part of the Rigveda consists of hymns to deities. The Rigveda Samhita is a collection of 10 Books or “Mandalas.” Apart from this, it also consists of 1028 Hymns and more than 10,000 verses (Approximately 10,600) – (Ref – Wikipedia – Rigveda).
The Rigveda was the oldest Vedic text in the history of the Indo-European language. The Kanva and Angiras (the Rishi family) composed hymns as 25% and 35% of the Rigveda text, respectively.
The many verses and excerpts of the mantra of Rigveda are still practiced in Hindu rituals and prayers. For example, here is a verse and mantra from the Rigveda which is widely used in the Hindu marriage rituals –
According to the Rigveda, the universe is devised from Prajapati, the initial god. As evident from the text, there are many important deities, whom hymns were composed such as Indra, the chief deity; Varuna (the sky god); Agni (the fire god); Surya (the sun god) besides the Aryan deities.
Apart from the above god, there were references to the other Hindu gods like; Lord Shiva, whose origin was derived from the Rudra (the god of mountains and storms). Lord Vishnu, one of the Trimurti gods in the Hindu religion, was also a minor deity, as cited in the Rigveda.
FAQ of Rigveda
The Rigveda or Rigveda had been written in the 1500-1000 BCE.
There are total of 10 Mandals or books in the Rigveda or Rig Veda Samhita which are written in the Vedic Sanskrit text.
As per the Rig Veda, there are total of 1028 Hymns.