Vedāṅgas

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vedangas, VedAGgas, Vedaangas


Vedāṅgas literally means ‘limbs or subsidiaries of Vedas’.

Features of Vedas

The Vedas are difficult to understand mainly due to two reasons:

  1. Their archaic language
  2. Their complicated ritual system

Evolution of Vedāṅgas

Consequently, the six Vedāṅgas were evolved from the ancient times to make them intelligible and practicable. Though the word ‘aṅga’ literally means a limb, in a more technical sense, it signifies a subsidiary field of knowledge that helps us to understand the main work. Hence, Vedāṅgas are the subsidiary sciences that help us to understand the Vedas.

Classification of Vedāṅgas

The six Vedāṅgas are:

  1. Śikṣā - phonetics
  2. Chandas - prosody
  3. Vyākaraṇa - grammar
  4. Nirukta - etymology
  5. Jyautiṣa - astronomy
  6. Kalpa - religious practice


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore