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RigvedaThe Rigveda (Sanskrit, a compound of r.c "praise, verse" and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to the gods (devas). It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (s'ruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas, and is revered by Hindus around the world. Its verses are recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions, putting it among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use.
Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the Sapta Sindhu (a land of seven great rivers), which is the region around present-day Punjab, roughly between 1700-1100 BCE (the early Vedic period). This makes it one of the oldest texts of any Indo-European language. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture of ca. 2000 BCE
ContentsThe chief gods of the Rigveda are Indra, a heroic god who is praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra, Agni, the sacrificial fire, and Soma, the sacred potion, or the plant it is made from. Other prominent gods are Mitra-Varuna and Ushas (the dawn). 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 (notably the Sapta 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 1 comprises 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. Hymns 1.154 to 1.156 are addressed to Vishnu.
* Mandala 2 comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi gr.tsamda s'aunohotra.
* Mandala 3 comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism as the Gayatri Mantra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vis'va-mitra ga-thinah.. * Mandala 4 consists of 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to va-madeva gautama.
* Mandala 5 comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvadevas (gods of the world), 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 6 comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the ba-rhaspatya family of Angirasas.
* Mandala 7 comprises 104 hymns, to Agni, Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, Mitra-Varuna, the Asvins, Ushas, Indra-Varuna, Varuna, Vayu (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu, and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vasis.t.ha maitravaurn.i.
* Mandala 8 comprises 103 hymns to different gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal valakhi-lya. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the ka-n.va family.
* Mandala 9 comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma Pavamana, the plant of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
* Mandala 10 comprises 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. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymns in the west, which deals with creation.
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