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Vedic Literature

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Chapter Summary

The earliest known texts in which Sarasvatī appears are the Veda Saṃhitās, composed in an area covering modern-day Afghanistan, the Panjab and surroundings, and stretching eastwards with the later Saṃhitās over northern India. Between the old Vedic period represented by the Ṛg Veda and the late Vedic period of the late Brāhmaṇas and early Upaniṣads, considerable changes can be detected in the geographical area, political set-up, society, as well as texts and ritual. In terms of texts and ritual, in the Ṛg Veda period the gods are called on to attend sacrifices, where they are fed and praised by inspired poets who compose hymns, which are then collected by families and clans. The much more complex late-Vedic-period ritual is accompanied by these hymns of old, and literature that explains the sacrifices is composed.

Keywords: Ṛg Veda; Sarasvatī; vedic period

10.1163/ej.9789004158146.i-390.8
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