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Many Paths to One God

The Rig Veda:
The Book of Mantra

The Rig Veda ("Wisdom of the Verses") is a collection of inspired songs or hymns. It contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C. - 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC - 4000 B.C.

The Rig-Veda consists of 1,028 hymns or 'suktas' dedicated to thirty three different gods, but mostly to Indra, Agni and Soma.The 10,589 verses of the Rigveda are divided into ten mandalas or books, of which books two to seven are the core of the work.

First mandala consists of 181 suktas and 2006 mantras
Second mandala consists of 43 suktas and 429 mantras
Third mandala consists of 62 suktas and 617 mantras
Fourth mandala consists of 58 suktas and 589 mantras
Fifth mandala consists of 87 suktas and 727 mantras
Sixth mandala consists of 75 suktas and 765 mantras
Seventh mandala consists of 104 suktas and 841 mantras
Eighth mandala consists of 103 suktas and 1716 mantras
Ninth mandala consists of 114 suktas and 1108 mantras
Tenth mandala consists of 181 suktas and 1754 mantras

The hymns are the work of many authors or seers called 'rishis' such as Atri, Kanwa,Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama and Bharadwaja. The books are arranged according to the number of hymns they possess. The main ritual referred to is sacrifice, the brahmin priests' main concern.

The religion of the Rig Veda is a polytheism consisting of divinities associated with the sky, the atmosphere and other natural forces. Many of the most important Vedic gods are almost forgotten today, Indra was the great war god of the Aryans but later became mainly a rain god. Varuna, the guardian of the cosmic order, is rarely remembered today, whereas Surya, the sun god, and Agni, the god of fire and sacrifice, are still honored.

Rgveda intones that let there be oneness in the aims, and let there be goodness in the hearts and thoughts. Since all are embodiments of the Divinity, all human beings are one. Human beings should trot the path of Satya and Rita- the truth.

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