Indian Calendars used manvantaras, yugas and other such durations, to date when things happened. The original calendars were of shorter durations and related to people and the later ones were longer and related to astronomy.
The manvantaras were originally as long as the period of a manu’s control.
If you read this article : The Manus – Lineage, you will see that the first manu was Dhruva’s grandfather, Uttanapada’s father and the next four were his cousins. (Swarochishta (Mark P.67.4), Uthama ( Mark.P 73.13), Taamasa (Mark.P 73.13), Raivatha (Mark.P 75,73,74)). Dhruva’s son Sishti, had a son called Ripu and a grandson called Cakshusha. Cakshusha married Pushkarini, the granddaughter of Varuna. (See : Adityas). Their son was Cakshusha Manu. So cakuSa manu was the great-great-grandson of Dhruva. The Avatars of Vishnu from Nara Narayana to Prithu, occured during the Cakshusha Manvantaram. Caksusha Manvantaram ended with the Matysa Avataram Flood, Matsya was the first avataram of the Vaivaswata Manvantaram.
Today, we say that there are 14 Manvantaras in a Kalpa. A manu or an Indra lives for 1 manvantara. 1 manvanatara is a 100 years of Indra. This is an astronomical number. But it does not mean that each of the manus were thus long lived! The earth is about 1 kalpa old. (4.32 billion years old).
The first yugas were just one year old.
In my article How many kinds of Yugas are there?, I have detailed how the definitions of Mahayugas (Carturyugas) grew in length from the 5 years of the Paitamaha siddhanta to the 4,320,000 years of Aryabhatta, as more celestial bodies were taken into consideration, for computing Yuga durations.
Since this article refers to astronomy and to the Vishnu Puranam and it requires people to learn a little mathematics, astronomy and sanskrit, people either skip the article or leave with awe/insults depending on their own nature and the beliefs gifted to them by their environment.
In this site whenever I say Vyasa or Veda Vyasa
, I always mean Krishna Dwaipayana, the son of Parasara
and Satyavati, the great grandson of Vasishtha
and the father of Suka
, Dhiritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura. However, it is written in the Devi Bhagavatham
, that every Dwapara Yuga
, had its own Veda Vyasa, the one who classified the Vedas. Devi Bhagavatham
gives us the following list of names as the Veda Vyasas, people who worked on classification of veda mantras over the yugAs.
“The present auspicious Manvantara is Vaivaswatha Manu; it is the seventh in due order; and the son of Satyavati, the best of the knowers of Dharma, is the Veda Vyâsa of the 28th Dvâpara Yuga of this seventh Manvantara. In the next Dvâpara, Yuga Asvatthama, the son of Drona will be the Veda Vyâsa. Twenty-seven Veda Vyâsas had expired and they duly compiled each their own Purâna Samhitas in their own Dvâpara Yugas.
- In the first Dvâpara, Brahmâ Himself divided the Vedas;
- In the second Dvâpara, the first Prajapati Vyâsa did the same;
- So S’akra, (Indra) in the third,
- Brihaspati, in the fourth,
- Surya in the fifth;
- Yama, in the sixth,
- Indra, in the seventh,
- Vasistha, in the eighth;
- Sarasvata Risi in the ninth,
- Tridhama, in the tenth;
- Trivrisa, in the eleventh,
- Bharadvâja, in the twelfth;
- Antariksa, in the thirteenth;
- Dharma, in the fourteenth;
- Evaruni in the fifteenth;
- Dhananjaya, in the sixteenth;
- Medhatithi in the seventeenth;
- Vrati, in the eighteenth;
- Atri, in the nineteenth;
- Gautama in the twentieth,
- Uttama, whose soul was fixed on Hari, in the twenty-first,
- Vâjasravâ Vena, in the twenty second;
- His family descendant Soma, In the twenty-third;
- Trinavindu, in the twenty-fourth;
- Bhârgava, in the twenty-fifth;
- Sakti, in the twenty-sixth,
- Jâtûkarnya in the twenty-seventh
- and Krisna Dvaipâyana became the twenty-eighth Veda Vyâsa in the Dvâpara Yugas.”
kRSNa dwaipAyana was of the 28th Dwapara Yuga, his grandfather Sakthi was of the 26th Dwapara Yuga, his great grandfather Vasishta was of the 8th Dwapara Yuga. In my article How many kinds of Yugas are there?, I have detailed how the definitions of Mahayugas (Carturyugas) grew in length from the 5 years of the Paitamaha siddhanta to the 4,320,000 years of Aryabhatta, as more celestial bodies were taken into consideration, for computing Yuga durations. Historical – Human RSi Achievement based dwApara yugAs must not be confused with astronomical dwApara yugAs.
- Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa is fifth generation from Brahma, but in the 28th Caturyuga.
- This would be about 140 years if we take 5 years as the duration for a Caturyuga.
- If we take it that each generation was born 15 years after the previous generation, we are looking at 75 years for 27 Caturyugas or about 3 years to a Caturyuga.
- If we take 12 years as the Caturyuga duration, we have 324 years between Brahma and our Vyasa. That is about 60 years between generations.
- What I am increasingly coming to believe is that first Caturyuga was 5 years old, the next was 12, then 60 and so on… The answer lies in finding the formula or equation that fits all the data points.
We have a systematically growing calendar and this is beautifully evidenced in the Vishnu Puranam. Please see : (See :Kaliyuga duration 360000 years, 1200 divine years, Vishnu Puranam. Tracking the growth of the Kaliyugam from 12 to 432000 years).
Brahma was the first Veda Vyasa and his mantras are found in the Atharva Veda.
The Atharva Veda Mantras differ from the Rg Veda Mantras, Sama Veda Mantras and Yajur Veda Mantras in the being less rigorous in chandas, but the mantras are mostly the same. As per the Bhagavatham Atharva Veda was The First Veda and is called The Brahma Veda. atharvan, angIrA and brahmA were among the rishis.
Three Vedas are referred to in Valmiki Ramayanam. (trEta yugam)
When Hanuman met Sri Rama for the first time. Rama praised Hanuman to Lakshmana, saying that Hanuman‘s excellent speech clearly indicated mastery over the Rg, Yajur and Sama Vedas. This is important also from the point of view that Valmiki referred to 3 vedas. Not one and not four. By the time of Sri Rama, there were 3 Vedas already.
- In the ValmikiRamayanam : kishkinda kAnDa : trtIyah sargah. Page 753, Gita Press 5th edition, we read this episode in which Hanuman meets Sri Rama : At Sugriva’s bidding, Hanuman approached Sri Rama and Lakshmana in a bhikshurUpam, (in the guise of a mendicant who lives on alms). He spoke in a soft and pleasing language. He praised the virtues of Sri Rama and Lakshman – their handsome forms, theri noble gait, their powerful bodies and their divine appearance and their divine weapons. He then introduced himself as Hanuman the minister of Sugriva and sought their friendship on his king’s behalf. Sri Rama then addressed Lakshmana and said, “Only a person who knows the meaning of the Rg Veda, knows the Yajur Veda by heart and knows the sAma vEda also can speak so beautifully like this. He has mastered grammar perfectly. Though he has spoken such a lot, he hasn’t made a single error, with his face, eyes, forehead, eyebrows or any other part of his body. His speech is clear, sweet and emanates correctly from the chest, throat and head.” (see Siksha Vedanga).
The Purusha (puruSa) Suktham (sUktam) tells of a yagnya from which the vEda mantrAs ie Rks (Rcah), sAmAs, chandAs and yajus were born. (trEta yugam)
- The taittirEya samhita says that a yagnya performed with Rks, is superior to that performed with sAmans and yajus.
The important thing about our Veda Vyasa, is that he classified the Vedas into 4 vedas and included (gave status) the Atharva Veda as the 4th Veda. And of course he also edited and compiled all the Puranas, which he received from his pUrvajAs (people born earlier to him). And as if this was not enough he authored the Mahabharatam and the Srimad Bhagavatham.
- Here is the description from the Srimad Bhagavatham on how Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa classified the vEdAs into four. (dwApara yugam)
- Source : 1.4.15 to 1.4.23 : Vyasadeva purified himself in the Sarasvati River and sat by her banks and meditated at sun-rise. He thought about the Dharma in the different Yugas. He observed the fall in Dharma, the decreased longevities and competencies of the people. He divided the Single Veda into 4 Vedas : ṛg-yajuḥ-sāma-atharva as well as the puranas and the itihasas and taught them as follows. The Sakas are branches of the Vedas grew as each student acquired disciples and grand-disciples of his own.
- Rig Veda to Paila
- Yajur Veda to Vaisampayana
- Sama Veda to Jaimini
- Atharva Veda to Angirasa also known as Sumanthu (1.4.22)
- Puranas and Itihasas to Romaharshana, the father of Ugrasrava.
- Kunda Guruji’s explanation : “While the mantras of the Atharva Veda were available at the time of Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa, he faced a lot of opposition when he wanted to add it to the Veda and create a division for it. However his decision prevailed and the Atharva Mantras were included into the veda and classified as Atharva Veda. The samhitas of Charaka, Sushruta and Vagbhata, Yoga and Tantra texts have origins in the Atharva Veda. The reason Tantriks have a negative image, is the use some of them put it to. There is nothing bad in the Atharva Veda itself”… this is what I learnt from my Veda Guru. (Atharva Veda : the origin of medicine, yoga and tantric texts).
So, did Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa make one vEda into four in the dwApara yuga? or did he make the count of vEdAs go from three to four?
My View :
I think that he is responsible for the ordering of the vEda mantrAs into manDalAs etc, that is for the organisation and preservation.
For eg the first manDala of the Rg vEda is not the oldest. Though vis’vAmitra is clearly younger than vasiSTha, viswamitra’s mantras are placed in third mandala and vasishtha’s in the seventh manDala. In some manDalAs the classification is by dEvata and in some it is by the RSi and his descendants.
His focus was on knowledge ordering and preservation.
So Yes, the Rg, sAma, yajur and atharva vEdAs existed prior to vEda vyAsa, as a body of mantrAs, differing in chandas (metre), swarAs (notes – 3 in Rg and 7 in sAma) and with gadya or prose portions in the yajur vEda, but it was kRSNa dwaipAyana vEda vyAsa who organised them into manDalas etc as we find them today.
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