Historical Vedic religion
|Part of a series on|
|Part of a series on|
The religion of the Vedic period (also known as Vedism, ancient Hinduism, Brahmanism and Vedic Brahmanism[note 1]) was the religion of the Indo-Aryans of northern India. It is a historical predecessor of modern Hinduism, though significantly different from it.[note 2]
The Vedic liturgy is conserved in the mantra portion of the four Vedas, which are compiled in Sanskrit. The religious practices centered on a clergy administering rites. The complex Vedic rituals of Śrauta continue in coastal Andhra.
Scholars consider the Vedic religion to have been a composite of the religions of the Indo-Aryans, "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria–Margiana culture, and the remnants of the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Textual history
- 3 Characteristics
- 4 Probable beliefs and practices
- 5 Post-Vedic religions
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 links
The commonly proposed period of earlier Vedic age is dated back to 2nd millennium BCE. The Vedic religion was the religion of the Indo-Aryans,[note 3] and existed in northern India from c. 1750 to 500 BCE.[note 4] The Indo-Aryans were a branch of the Indo-European language family, which originated in the Kurgan culture of the Central Asian steppes.[note 6][note 7]
The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion, and the Indo-Iranian religion. According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran. It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements", which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices" from the Bactria–Margiana Culture. At least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma. According to Anthony,
Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.
The oldest inscriptions in Old Indic, the language of the Rig Veda, are found not in northwestern India and Pakistan, but in northern Syria, the location of the Mitanni kingdom. The Mitanni kings took Old Indic throne names, and Old Indic technical terms were used for horse-riding and chariot-driving. The Old Indic term r'ta, meaning "cosmic order and truth", the central concept of the Rig Veda, was also employed in the Mitanni kingdom. Old Indic gods, including Indra, were also known in the Mitanni kingdom.
The Vedic religion of the later Vedic period co-existed with local religions, such as the Yaksha cults,[web 1] and was itself the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations". David Gordon White cites three other mainstream scholars who "have emphatically demonstrated" that Vedic religion is partially derived from the Indus Valley Civilizations. The religion of the Indo-Aryans was further developed when they migrated into the Ganges Plain after c. 1100 BCE and became settled farmers, further syncretising with the native cultures of northern India.
Texts dating to the Vedic period, composed in Vedic Sanskrit, are mainly the four Vedic Samhitas, but the Brahmanas, Aranyakas and some of the older Upanishads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana) are also placed in this period. The Vedas record the liturgy connected with the rituals and sacrifices performed by the 16 or 17 Śrauta priests and the purohitas. According to traditional views, the hymns of the Rigveda and other Vedic hymns were divinely revealed to the rishis, who were considered to be seers or "hearers" (Śruti means "what is heard") of the Veda, rather than "authors". In addition the Vedas are said to be "apauraṣaya", a Sanskrit word meaning "uncreated by man" and which further reveals their eternal non-changing status.
The mode of worship was worship of the elements like fire and rivers, worship of heroic gods like Indra, chanting of hymns and performance of sacrifices. The priests performed the solemn rituals for the noblemen (Kshatriyas) and wealthy commoners Vaishyas. People prayed for abundance of children, rain, cattle (wealth), long life and an afterlife in the heavenly world of the ancestors. This mode of worship has been preserved even today in Hinduism, which involves recitations from the Vedas by a purohita (priest), for prosperity, wealth and general well-being. However, the primacy of Vedic deities has been seconded to the deities of Puranic literature.
Specific rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic religion include, among others:
- The Soma rituals, which involved the extraction, utility and consumption of Soma:
- The Agnistoma or Soma sacrifice
- Fire rituals involving oblations (havir):
- The royal consecration (Rajasuya) sacrifice
- The Ashvamedha or a Yajna dedicated to the glory, wellbeing and prosperity of the Rashtra the nation or empire
- The Purushamedha
- The rituals and charms referred to in the Atharvaveda are concerned with medicine and healing practices.
The Hindu rites of cremation are seen since the Rigvedic period; while they are attested from early times in the Cemetery H culture, there is a late Rigvedic reference invoking forefathers "both cremated (agnidagdhá-) and uncremated (ánagnidagdha-)".(RV 10.15.14)
Though a large number of devatas are named in the Rig Veda, only 33 devas are counted, eleven each of earth, space and heaven. The Vedic pantheon knows two classes, Devas and Asuras. The Devas (Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Bhaga, Amsa, etc.) are deities of cosmic and social order, from the universe and kingdoms down to the individual. The Rigveda is a collection of hymns to various deities, most notably heroic Indra, Agni the sacrificial fire and messenger of the gods, and Soma, the deified sacred drink of the Indo-Iranians. Also prominent is Varuna (often paired with Mitra) and the group of "All-gods", the Vishvadevas.
- See also philosophers of Vedic age
Vedic philosophy primarily begins with the later part of the Rigveda, which was compiled before 1100 BCE. Most of the philosophy of the Rigveda is contained in the sections Purusha sukta and Nasadiya sukta.
Ethics — satya and rta
Ethics in the Vedas are based on the concepts of satya and ṛta. Satya is the principle of integration rooted in the Absolute, whereas ṛta is the expression of satya, which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. Panikkar remarks:
Ṛta is the ultimate foundation of everything; it is "the supreme", although this is not to be understood in a static sense [...] It is the expression of the primordial dynamism that is inherent in everything...."
The term is inherited from the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, the religion of the Indo-Iranian peoples prior to the earliest Vedic (Indo-Aryan) and Zoroastrian (Iranian) scriptures. Asha[pronunciation?] (aša) is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic Sanskrit ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine.
Conformity with ṛta would enable progress whereas its violation would lead to punishment. The term Dharma was already used in Brahmanical thought, where it was conceived as an aspect of ṛta.
The concept of yajñā "sacrifice" is also enunciated in the Purusha Sukta, where reaching the Absolute itself is considered a transcendent sacrifice when viewed from the point of view of the individual.
Probable beliefs and practices
Another excerpt from the Rig Veda states (Book 10 Part 02, Hymn XVI):
- Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered. O Jatavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers... let thy fierce flame, thy glowing splendour, burn him With thine auspicious forms, o Jatavedas, bear this man to the region of the pious... Again, O Agni, to the Fathers send him who, offered in thee, goes with our oblations. Wearing new life let him increase his offspring: let him rejoin a body, Jatavedas.
Karma and renunciation
In Rig Veda (X. 167. 1) Indra is said to have gained Heaven by tapas (burning off karma). Worshipers of Indra too are said to have done austerities. "Yogakshema-vishayaih karma" is mentioned in the Rig Veda.
Rishabha the great mendicant venerated in Shaivisn, Vaishnavism and Jainism is believed to be mentioned in Rig Veda X.166:
But Risabha went on, unperturbed by anything till he became sin-free like a conch that takes no black dot, without obstruction ... which is the epithet of the First World-teacher, may become the destroyer of enemies.
The Vedic Samhitas contain references to ascetics, and ascetic practices known as (tapas) are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 BCE and 500 BCE), early commentaries on the Vedas. The Rig Veda, earliest of the Hindu scripture mentions the practice. Robert Schneider and Jeremy Fields write, "Yoga asanas were first prescribed by the ancient Vedic texts thousands of years ago and are said to directly enliven the body's inner intelligence." Descriptions of yoga such as these occur in verses such as Rig Veda 5.81.1 which reads "Seers of the vast illumined seer yogically [yunjante] control their minds and their intelligence." Certainly breath control and curbing the mind was practiced since the Vedic times. It is believed that yoga was fundamental to Vedic ritual, especially to chanting the sacred hymns
While the actual term "yoga" first occurs in the Katha Upanishad and later in the Shvetasvatara Upanishad, an early reference to meditation is made in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the earliest Upanishad (c. 900 BCE). Yoga is discussed quite frequently in the Upanishads, many of which predate Patanjali's Sutras. A Rig Vedic cosmogonic myth declares an ascetic with "folded legs, soles turned upwards" as per his name.
There is even a possibility that the Tantric notion of kundalinı, the multiply coiled spiritual energy, is present in Vedic times. In one hymn of the Rig-Veda (10.136.7) the expression kunamnama ̄is found, which means "she who is badly bent." Some scholars have regarded this as a hidden reference to the kundalini-shakti or serpent power, also called kubjika (crooked one) in some early Tantric schools. Like Tantric initiates, the Rig Vedic seers used mantras, sacrificial formulas, magical diagrams, and visualization in their rituals. Also like Tantrikas, the Rig Vedic seers were eager to acquire knowledge on hidden realities.
The term "tantra" is itself also used in all the Vedas. Rig Veda X.71.9 uses it for a loom (or device for weaving.) The Tandya Brahmana of the Sāmaveda uses it for essence (or "main part", perhaps to denote the quintessence of the Sastras.) The Atharvaveda, X.7.42, and Taittiriya Brahmana 18.104.22.168 of the Yajur Veda also use it for a loom.
According to Alexis Sanderson, a Tantric traditions expert, the formal difference between the Tantric and Vedic religious practices is found only in the mantras used.
The Vedic period is held to have ended around 500 BC. The period after the Vedic religion, between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, is the formative period for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. According to Michaels, the period between 500 BCE and 200 BCE is a time of "ascetic reformism".[note 8] Muesse discerns a longer period of change, namely between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, which he calls the "Classical Period":
...this was a time when traditional religious practices and beliefs were reassessed. The brahmins and the rituals they performed no longer enjoyed the same prestige they had in the Vedic period".
According to Muesse, some of the fundamental concepts of Hinduism, namely karma, reincarnation and "personal enlightenment and transformation", which did not exist in the Vedic religion, developed between 800 BCE and 200 BCE:[note 9]
Indian philosophers came to regard the human as an immortal soul encased in a perishable body and bound by action, or karma, to a cycle of endless existences.
The Vedic religion gradually metamorphosed into the various schools of Hinduism, which further evolved into Puranic Hinduism. However aspects of the historical Vedic religion survived in corners of the Indian subcontinent, such as Kerala where the Nambudiri Brahmins continue the ancient Śrauta rituals, which are considered extinct in all other parts.
According to Rajbali Pandey, the Hindu samskaras
...go back to a hoary antiquity. The Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Grhyasutras, the Dharmasutras, the Smritis and other treatises describe the rites, ceremonies and customs.
The worshipping rituals developed in such a way that
A formal distinction was maintained between Śrauta rites (rites using the Vedic hymns), which were necessarily performed by priests, and Griha ("domestic") rites, performed by the Aryan householder himself; but both the latter and the former were subject to priestly influence. Some domestic rites became almost indistinguishable from the priestly Śrauta sacrifices; and, even where older ceremonies were retained, they were usually interwoven with elements of the priestly ritual.
Vedic religion was followed by Upanishads which gradually evolved into Vedanta, which is regarded by some as the primary institution of Hinduism. Vedanta considers itself "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas." The philosophy of Vedanta (lit. “The end of the Vedas"), transformed the Vedic worldview to monistic one. This led to the development of tantric metaphysics and gave rise to new forms of yoga, such as jnana yoga and bhakti yoga. There are some conservative schools which continue portions of the historical Vedic religion largely unchanged. (see Śrauta, Nambudiri).
Of the continuation of the Vedic tradition in a newer sense, Jeaneane D. Fowler writes the following:
|“||Despite the radically different nature of the Upanishads in relation to the Vedas it has to be remembered that the material of both form the Veda or "knowledge" which is sruti literature. So the Upanishads develop the ideas of the Vedas beyond their ritual formalism and should not be seen as isolated from them. The fact that the Vedas that are more particularly emphasized in the Vedanta: the efficacy of the Vedic ritual is not rejected, it is just that there is a search for the Reality that informs it.||”|
According to German Professor Axel Michaels, the Vedic gods declined but did not disappear, and local cults were assimilated into the Vedic-brahmanic pantheon, which changed into the Hindu pantheon. Deities arose that were not mentioned or barely mentioned in the Vedas, especially Shiva and Vishnu, and gave rise to Shaivism and Vaishnavism.
Interpretations of Vedic Mantras in Hinduism
The various Hindu schools and traditions give various interpretations of the Vedic hymns.
Mīmāṃsā philosophers argue that there was no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there was no need for an author to compose the Vedas or a god to validate the rituals. Mīmāṃsā argues that the gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. To that regard, the power of the mantras is what is seen as the power of gods.
Adi Shankara, an 8th-century CE philosopher who unified and established the main currents of thought in Hinduism, interpreted Vedas as being nondualist or monist. However, the Arya Samaj New religious movement holds the view that the Vedic mantras tend to monotheism. Even the earlier Mandalas of Rig Veda (books 1 and 9) contains hymns which are thought to resemble monotheism. Often quoted isolated pada 1.164.46 of the Rig Veda states (trans. Griffith):
- Indraṃ mitraṃ varuṇamaghnimāhuratho divyaḥ sa suparṇo gharutmān,
- ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ
- "They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān.
- To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan".
- iyám vísṛṣṭiḥ yátaḥ ābabhūva / yádi vā dadhé yádi vā ná / yáḥ asya ádhyakṣaḥ paramé vyóman / sáḥ aṅgá veda yádi vā ná véda
- "He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not, He who surveys it all from his highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps even he does not"
The non-Vedic śramaṇa traditions existed alongside Brahmanism.[note 10][note 11][note 12] These were not direct outgrowths of Vedism, but movements with mutual influences with Brahmanical traditions, reflecting "the cosmology and anthropology of a much older, pre-Aryan upper class of northeastern India". Jainism and Buddhism evolved out of the Shramana tradition.
There are Jaina references to 22 prehistoric tirthankaras. In this view, Jainism peaked at the time of Mahavira (traditionally put in the 6th Century BCE). Buddhism, traditionally put from c. 500 BCE, declined in India over the 5th to 12th centuries in favor of Puranic Hinduism and Islam.
|40x40px||Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Brahmanism.|
- Iranian mythology
- Proto-Indo-Iranian religion
- Proto-Indo-European religion
- Rishikesh Complex of Ruru Kshetra – Vedic ritual site in Nepal
- A Vedic Word Concordance
- Vedic mythology
- Vedic period
- Vedic priesthood
- The term ancient Hinduism is also applied, but not appropriate. In the 19th century the term "Hinduism" was restricted to "living Hinduism", with its emphasis on Bhakti. Under the influence of the Neo-Hinduistic reform movements, which emphasised the Vedic heritage, and the growing awareness of the continuity of certain elements, the term "ancient Hinduism" has been applied by some to the Vedic period. Nevertheless, the period between 800 BCE and 200 BCE sees fundamental changes, which result in "Hinduism". Other incorrect terms are Brahmanism and Vedic Brahmanism. The Encyclopædia Britannica of 2005 uses all of "Vedism", "Vedic Brahmanism" and "Brahmanism", but reserves "Vedism" for the earliest stage, predating the Brahmana period, and defines "Brahmanism" as "religion of ancient India that evolved out of Vedism. It takes its name both from the predominant position of its priestly class, the Brahmans, and from the increasing speculation about, and importance given to, Brahman, the supreme power."
- Stephanie W. Jamison and Michael Witzel, Vedic Hinduism, 1992, "... to call this period Vedic Hinduism is a contradiction in terms since Vedic religion is very different from what we generally call Hindu religion – at least as much as Old Hebrew religion is from medieval and modern Christian religion. However, Vedic religion is treatable as a predecessor of Hinduism".
- Michaels: "They called themselves arya ("Aryans," literally "the hospitable," from the Vedic arya, "homey, the hospitable") but even in the Rgveda, arya denotes a cultural and linguistic boundary and not only a racial one."
- There is no exact dating possible for the beginning of the Vedic period. Witzel mentions a range between 1900 and 1400 BCE. Flood mentions 1500 BCE.
- The Aryan migration theory has been challenged by some researchers, due to a lack of archaeological evidence and signs of cultural continuity, hypothesizing instead a slow process of acculturation or transformation. Nevertheless, linguistic and archaeological data clearly show a cultural change after 1750 BCE, with the linguistic and religious data clearly showing links with Indo-European languages and religion. According to Singh, "The dominant view is that the Indo-Aryams came to the subcontinent as immigrants."
- The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization,[note 5] bringing with them their language and religion. They were closely related to the Indo-Aryans who founded Mitanni kingdom in northern Syria (ca.1500-1300 BCE). Both groups were rooted in the Andronovo-culture in the Bactria-Margiana era, in present northern Afghanistan, and related to the Indo-Iranians, from which they split-off around 1800-1600 BCE. Their roots go back further to the Sintashta culture, with funeral sacrifices which show close parallels to the sacrificial funeral rites of the Rig Veda.
The immigrations consisted probably of small groups of people. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer notes that "there is no archaeological or biological evidence for invasions or mass migrations into the Indus Valley between the end of the Harappan phase, about 1900 B.C. and the beginning of the Early Historic period around 600 B.C."
For an overview of the current relevant research, see:
- Michael Witzel (2001), "Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts", in Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS) 7-3, pp 1-93
- Shereen Ratnagar (2008), “The Aryan homeland debate in India”, in Kohl, PL, M Kozelsky and N Ben-Yehuda (Eds) Selective remembrances: archaeology in the construction, commemoration, and consecration of national pasts, pp 349-378
- Suraj Bhan (2002), “Aryanization of the Indus Civilization” in Panikkar, KN, Byres, TJ and Patnaik, U (Eds), The Making of History, pp 41-55.
- Anthony, David W. (2007), The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World, Princeton University Press
- Some writers and archaeologists have opposed the notion of a migration of Indo-Aryans into India. Edwin Bryant used the term "Indo-Aryan Controversy" for an oversight of the Indo-Aryan Migration theory, and some of its opponents. These ideas are outside the academic mainstream. Mallory and Adams note that two types of models "enjoy significant international currency," namely the Anatolian hypothesis, and a migration out of the Eurasian steppes. According to Upinder Singh, "The original homeland of the Indo-Europeans and Indo-Aryans is the subject of continuing debate among philologists, linguists, historians, archaeologists and others. The dominant view is that the Indo-Aryams came to the subcontinent as immigrants. Another view, advocated mainly by some Indian scholars, is that they were indigenous to the subcontinent."
An overview of the "Indigenist position" can be obtained from
* Bryant, Edwin F.; Patton, Laurie L., eds. (2005), The Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and inference in Indian history, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1463-4
See also Indigenous Aryans
- According to Michaels, the period between 200 BCE and 1100 CE is the time of "classical Hinduism", since there is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions".
- Although the concept of reincarnation originated during the time of the Shramanic reforms and the composition of the Upanishads, according to Georg Feuerstein the Rig-Vedic rishis believed in reincarnation and karma.
- Cromwell: "Alongside Brahmanism was the non-Aryan Shramanic culture with its roots going back to prehistoric times."
- Y. Masih (2000) In : A Comparative Study of Religions, Motilal Banarsidass Publ : Delhi, ISBN 81-208-0815-0 Page 18. "There is no evidence to show that Jainism and Buddhism ever subscribed to Vedic sacrifices, vedic deities or caste. They are parallel or native religions of India and have contributed to much to [sic] the growth of even classical Hinduism of the present times."
- P.S. Jaini, (1979), The Jaina Path to Purification, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, p. 169 "Jainas themselves have no memory of a time when they fell within the Vedic fold. Any theory that attempts to link the two traditions, moreover fails to appreciate rather distinctive and very non-Vedic character of Jaina cosmology, soul theory, karmic doctrine and atheism"
- Stietencron 2005, p. 231.
- Smart 2003.
- Michaels 2004.
- Muesse 2003.
- Samuel 2010.
- "The Four Vedas". About dot Com. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- Geoffrey Samuel. The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century. Cambridge University. p. 113.
- Knipe 2015, p. 1-50.
- Anthony 2007, p. 462.
- Beckwith 2009, p. 32.
- White, David Gordon (2003). Kiss of the Yogini. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-226-89483-5.
- Pletcher, Kenneth (2010). The History of India. Britannica Educational Publishing. p. 60.
- Singh 2008, p. 185.
- Michaels 2004, p. 33.
- Michaels 2004, p. 32-36.
- Witzel 1995, p. 3-4.
- Flood 1996, p. 21.
- Anthony 2007.
- Witzel 1995.
- Flood 1996, p. 30-35.
- Hiltebeitel 2007, p. 5.
- Singh 2008, p. 186.
- Flood 1996, p. 33.
- Samuel 2010, p. 53-56.
- Flood 1996, p. 30.
- Hiltebeitel 2007, p. 5-7.
- Anthony 2007, p. 454.
- Anthony 2007, p. 410-411.
- Anthony 2007, p. 408.
- Anthony 2007, p. 375, 408-411.
- Kenoyer, M., 1998. Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. 174 Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Bryant 2001.
- Bryant, Edwin. The Indo-Aryan Controversy. 342
- Bryant 2005.
- Mallory & Adams 2006, p. 460-461.
- B. S. Ahloowalia (2009). Invasion of the Genes Genetic Heritage of India. Strategic Book Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60860-691-7.
- Roger D. Woodard (18 August 2006). Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult. University of Illinois Press. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-0-252-09295-4.
- Beckwith 2009.
- Anthony 2007, p. 454-455.
- Anthony 2007, p. 49.
- Anthony 2007, p. 50.
- Flood 2008, p. 68.
- Melton & Baumann 2010, p. 1412.
- Basham 1989, p. 74-75.
- White 2006, p. 28.
- Samuel 2010, p. 48-51, 61-93.
- Hiltebeitel 2007, p. 8-10.
- Prasoon, (Prof.) Shrikant. Indian Scriptures. Pustak Mahal (11 August 2010). Ch.2, Vedang, Kalp. ISBN 978-81-223-1007-8.
- Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith, The Texts of the White Yajurveda. Translated with a Popular Commentary (1899), 1987 reprint: Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, ISBN 81-215-0047-8.
- Bloomfield Maurice. Hymns of the Atharva Veda. Kessinger Publishing (1 June 2004). P. 1-8. ISBN 1419125087.
- Singhal, K. C; Gupta, Roshan. The Ancient History of India, Vedic Period: A New Interpretation. Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. ISBN 8126902868. P. 150.
- "Botany of Haoma", from Encyclopædia Iranica. Accessed 15 June 2012
- Renou, Louis. L'Inde Classique, vol. 1, p. 328, Librairie d'Ameriqe et d'Orient. Paris 1947, reprinted 1985. ISBN 2-7200-1035-9.
- Oberlies (1998:155) gives an estimate of 1100 BC for the youngest hymns in book 10. Estimates for a terminus post quem of the earliest hymns are more uncertain. Oberlies (p. 158) based on 'cumulative evidence' sets wide range of 1700–1100
- Krishnananda. Swami. A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India, Divine Life Society. p. 18-19.
- P. 285 Indian sociology through Ghurye, a dictionary By S. Devadas Pillai
- Krishnananda. Swami. A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India, Divine Life Society. p. 21
- Holdrege (2004:215)
- Panikkar 2001:350–351
- Duchesne-Guillemin 1963, p. 46.
- Day, Terence P. (1982). The Conception of Punishment in Early Indian Literature. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. P. 42-45. ISBN 0-919812-15-5.
- The Purusha Sukta in Daily Invocations by Swami Krishnananda
- (Page 169) The Yoga Tradition By Georg Feuerstein, Ken Wilber
- P. 8 Rig-veda Sanhita: a collection of ancient Hindu hymns constituting, Volume 6 by Professor Wilson
- P. 219 Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization By David Frawley
- Provide reference(s) if this refers to rebirth?
- P. 45 Hindu Mysticism By S. N. Dasgupta
- P. 169 Rig-veda Sanhita: a collection of ancient Hindu hymns constituting, Volume 3 by H.H. Wilson
- Flood, p. 94.
- P. 51 The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yoga By Joan Budilovsky, Eve Adamson
- P. 170 Total Heart Health By Robert H. Schneider, Jeremy Z. Fields
- P. 25 Haṭha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory, and Practice By Mikel Burley
- P. 531 The Yoga Tradition By Georg Feuerstein
- P. 538 The Yoga Tradition By Georg Feuerstein
- Flood, p. 95.
- P. 99 The Wisdom of the Vedas By Jagadish Chandra Chatterji
- "...which states that, having become calm and concentrated, one perceives the self (atman), within oneself." Flood, pp. 94–95.
- P. 132 A Student's Guide to A2 Religious Studies for the OCR Specification By Michael Wilcockson
- P. 164 The Doctrine of the Upaniṣads and the Early Buddhism By Hermann Oldenberg, Shridhar B. Shrotri
- P. 15 Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy By Georg Feuerstein
- P. 15 Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy By Georg Feuerstein
- P. 15 Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy By Georg Feuerstein
- P. 89 Transcendent in America: Hindu-Inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion By Lola Williamson
- Flood 1996, p. 82, 224–49.
- Michaels 2004, p. 36.
- Michaels 2004, p. 38.
- Muesse 2011, p. 115.
- (Page 169) The Yoga Tradition By Georg Feuerstein
- Muesse 2003, p. 14.
- Swami Krishnananda, A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India, Divine Life Society. p. 42
- Pandey, Rajbali, "Hindu Samskaras" (Motilal Banarasidass Publ., 1969)
- Hopkins, Thomas J., The Hindu Religious Tradition (Belmont: Dickenson Publications, 1971), 15
- Robert E. Hume, Professor Emeritus of History of Religions at the Union Theological Seminary, wrote in Random House's The American College Dictionary (1966): "It [Vedānta] is concerned with the end of the Vedas, both chronologically and teleologically."
- "Patanjali’s Yoga Darsana – The Hatha Yoga Tradition," InfoRefuge.
- Kelkar, Siddharth. UNESCO’s leg-up for city Veda research. Express India. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- P. 46 Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism By Jeaneane D. Fowler
- Michaels 2004, p. 40.
- Neville, Robert. Religious ruth. p. 51.
- Coward, Harold. The perfectibility of human nature in eastern and western thought. p. 114.
- Johannes de Kruijf and Ajaya Sahoo (2014), Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora, ISBN 978-1-4724-1913-2, page 105, Quote: "In other words, according to Adi Shankara's argument, the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta stood over and above all other forms of Hinduism and encapsulated them. This then united Hinduism; (...) Another of Adi Shankara's important undertakings which contributed to the unification of Hinduism was his founding of a number of monastic centers."
- Sharma, Chandradhar (1962). "Chronological Summary of History of Indian Philosophy". Indian Philosophy: A Critical Survey. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. vi.
- Light of Truth by Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Chapter 7
- Macdonell, Arthur Anthony. Vedic Mythology. Forgotten Books (23 May 2012). P. 17. ISBN 1440094365.
- S. Cromwell Crawford, review of L. M. Joshi, Brahmanism, Buddhism and Hinduism, Philosophy East and West (1972)
- Dr. Kalghatgi, T. G. 1988 In: Study of Jainism, Prakrit Bharti Academy, Jaipur
- Zimmer 1989, p. 217.
- Svarghese, Alexander P. 2008. India : History, Religion, Vision And Contribution To The World. p. 259-60.
- Helmuth von Glasenapp, Shridhar B. Shrotri. 1999. Jainism: an Indian religion of salvation. P.24. "Thus not only nothing, from the philosophical and the historical point of view, comes in the way of the supposition that Jainism was established by Parsva around 800 BCE, but it is rather confirmed in everything that we know of the spiritual life of that period."
- Dundas, Paul. 2002. The Jains. P.17. "Jainism, then, was in origin merely one component of a north Indian ascetic culture that flourished in the Ganges basin from around the eighth or seventh centuries BCE."
- "Buddhism". (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 November 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition.
- P. 78 - 83 Freeing the Buddha: Diversity on a Sacred Path--large Scale Concerns By Brian Ruhe
- P. 110 A text book of the history of Theravāda Buddhism by K. T. S. Sarao, University of Delhi. Dept. of Buddhist Studies
- Published sources
- Anthony, David W. (2007), The Horse The Wheel And Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped The Modern World, Princeton University Press
- Basham, Arthur Llewellyn (1989), The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism, Oxford University Press
- Bryant, Edwin (2001), The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, oxford University Press
- Bryant, Edwin; Patton, Laurie, eds. (2005), Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History, Routledge
- Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press
- Flood, Gavin (2008), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, John Wiley & Sons
- Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture", Routledge
- Hiltebeitel, Alf (2007), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture". Digital printing 2007, Routledge
- Jamison, Stephanie W. (2006). "The Indo-Aryan controversy: Evidence and inference in Indian history (Book review)" (PDF). Journal of Indo-European Studies. 34: 255–261.
- Kak, Subhash (2005), "Vedic astronomy and early Indian chronology", in Bryant, Edwin; Patton, Laurie, Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History, Routledge
- King, Richard (1999), Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East", Routledge
- Knipe, David M. (2015), Vedic Voices: Intimate Narratives of a Living Andhra Tradition, Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Mallory; Adams (2006), The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World, Oxford University Press
- Melton, Gordon J.; Baumann, Martin (2010), Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (6 volumes), ABC-CLIO
- Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press
- Muesse, Mark William (2003), Great World Religions: Hinduism
- Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press
- Singh, Upinder (2008), A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, Pearson Education India, ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0
- Smart, Ninian (2003), Godsdiensten van de wereld (The World's religions), Kampen: Uitgeverij Kok
- Von Stietencron, Heinrich (2005), Hindu Myth, Hindu History: Religion, Art, and Politics, Orient Blackswan
- White, David Gordon (2006), Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in its South Asian Contexts, University of Chicago Press
- Witzel, Michael (1995), "Early Sanskritization: Origin and Development of the Kuru state" (PDF), EJVS, vol. 1 (no. 4 (1995)), archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2007
- Zimmer, Heinrich (1989), Pholosophies of India, Princeton University Press
- Web sources