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Brahmanas (as “Companions” to the Veda)

In the academic book publishing world we have source books, dictionaries, and, if these do well in stores, their “companion” volumes. A companion usually elaborates on an original source book, thinker or theme (e.g. The Cambridge Companion to Jung or The Oxford Companion to the Bible).

We can draw an analogy between companions to original source books, on the one hand, and the relation between the Brahmanas and the Veda, on the other hand.

The somewhat voluminous Brahmanas offer detailed instructions and commentaries relating to the ancient Hindu Veda. They basically tell how to do the sacred rituals right, and add nuance to the myths and philosophical beliefs outlined in the Veda.

The Veda are still regarded by many Hindus as the quintessential source within Hinduism‘s exceedingly vast body of sacred scripture. For these believers, to say the word “Veda” has the same kind of ring of holy authority that the word “Bible” has for many Christians and Jews (i.e. Jewish Bible).


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