The Veda (or Vedas) are the first group of ancient Hindu sacred books. Max Müller and most subsequent scholars date them to the 13th century BCE.
Ten in all, the Veda form a mandala (circle) of knowledge and are believed by some to represent directly revealed truth and therefore all that is necessary for spiritual liberation.¹
As hindu-blog points out, however, both the Veda and the Upanisads are based on a longstanding oral tradition which makes precise dating open to debate:
The Upanishads and Vedas were rendered orally and were passed on for generations before being written. Nobody is sure about the actual dates of these texts.²
The fact that the Vedas were passed on orally is noted in Wikipedia:
Transmission of texts in the Vedic period was by oral tradition alone, preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques. A literary tradition set in only in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period, perhaps earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE; however oral tradition predominated until c. 1000 CE.³
Recently, a Sanskrit rock band, “Shanti Shanti” has produced an album called “Veda.”
This CD titled “Veda”, produced by Ganesha Publishing BMI, contains shlokas (hymns) from all four Vedas-Rig-veda, Sama-veda, Atharva-veda, and Yajur-veda, some as old as 1,500 BCE. » Source
¹ From Wikipedia:
They are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti (“what is heard”), distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti (“what is remembered”). In Hindu tradition, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma. The Vedic texts or śruti are organized around four canonical collections of metrical material known as Saṃhitās, of which the first three are related to the performance of yajna (sacrifice) in historical Vedic religion:
- The Rigveda, containing hymns to be recited by the hotar, or presiding priest;
- The Yajurveda, containing formulas to be recited by the adhvaryu or officiating priest;
- The Samaveda, containing formulas to be sung by the udgatar or priest that chants;
- The Atharvaveda, a collection of spells and incantations, apotropaic charms and speculative hymns.
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