The Vedas are the most holy and treasured texts of India. Thus Vedas are collection of prayers, hymns which were received by the rishis ( as shruti, divine revelation. As mantras and hymns, these works were actively recited out loud to praise and invoke the powers of the spiritual realms, and had been verbally passed on for many generations later which was written down on delicate palm leaves.
The Vedas provided philosophical foundations and spiritual core for the future development of both yoga and Hinduism.
There are four Vedas they are :
The oldest among all is Rig veda dating back to 1500 B.C. and is the most revered and important of the four. The Rig-Veda’s collection of hymns and mantras were used earlier to invoke courage, happiness, health, peace, prosperity, success, and wisdom etc. In the Rig-Veda we also learn the famous Gayatri mantra, which is still used today for its potent spiritual qualities.
There also we find the first use and definition of the word yoga. These verses are the foundation and material for the remaining Vedas.
The Sama Veda is a Veda purely a devotional collection of melodies (saman) which was used to elevate one’s consciousness. In Samantha Veda the hymns are combined with musical notes, and their content was heavily drawn from the Rig-Veda, providing no distinctive lessons of their own.
This use of combined music and with mantras formed the foundation for the Bhakti yoga practice of kirtan, devotional chanting.
The Yajur Veda is the Veda devoted entirely to the worship of the deities and the instruction for the technical aspects of ceremonies. The Yajur Veda for Vedic priests served as a handbook, who executed sacrificial acts through simultaneously chanting the mantras and hymns while following the sacrificial formula (yajus).
4. Atharva Veda
The Atharva Veda consists of charms and spells to dispel evil, misfortune and diseases. Atharva vedas hymns are of a more diverse character than the Rig-Veda and were composed of a simpler language making them more accessible to the general population.
The Vedas also expounded a diverse set of practices, concepts and ideas, among them was an primitive form of yoga as well as one of the world’s oldest, diverse and complex spiritual philosophies. Six main philosophy schools emerged from these teachings. These Darshanas are all systematically represent the core ideas illuminated in the Vedas.
All these philosophical systems draw from the same source, they are seen to complement rather than compete with each other. Over the period of time Vaisheshika, Nyaya, and Mimamsa have become somewhat obsolete and are not actively practiced.
Samkhya, Vedanta, and Yoga continue to have a strong importance and influence in Indian thought and many of the practices that evolved out of these Darshanas continue to be practiced today.