What's the Rig Veda? - Hinduism - Sanskrit Text
Quatr.us answers questions
Upgrade /Log in
Options /Log out
Print
About
Africa
Egypt
Mesopotamia
Early Europe
Greece
Rome
China
India
Central Asia
Medieval
Islamic Empire
Native Americans
S./Central America
American History
Biology
Chemistry
Geology
Math
Physics
Weather
Food
Judaism
Christianity
Home

What's the Rig Veda?

rig veda
Rig Veda in Sanskrit (1800s AD)

The Rig Veda is a group of poems that people in India first sang and recited maybe about 1500 BC, soon after the Indo-Europeans arrived in India. People passed down these poems by reciting them out loud for hundreds of years, adding some and forgetting some. By about 1000 BC, the Rig Veda reached its final form, and then people finally wrote it down in Sanskrit in the Guptan period, about 500 BC. The Rig Veda is one of the most sacred texts of Hinduism.


This is a video of women dancing to a chant from the Rig Veda.

The Rig Veda tells the story of Prajapati, the first god who created the world. Prajapati means "Lord of Creatures". Prajapati was sacrificed to himself by the younger gods Indra, Agni, and Varuna, and out of his body the whole universe was made. The Rig Veda says that each of Prajapati's other parts turned into a different group of people, so that Indian people thought of themselves as belonging to one of four castes, or groups. This idea of caste seems to be a Vedic idea.

Learn by doing: Hinduism
More about Hinduism

Bibliography and further reading about the Rig Veda:

Bhagavad Gita
More about Hinduism
More about Indian religion
More about India
Quatr.us home


Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support Quatr.us!

Quatr.us (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

Now that the weather's nice, try some of these outdoor activities! How about bicycle polo, or archery for a Medieval Islam day? Or kite flying or making a compass for a day in Medieval China? How about making a shaduf for a day in Ancient Egypt? Holding an Ancient Greek Olympic Games or a medieval European tournament? Building a Native American wickiup?