A Devoted Disciple

Explaining the structure of the Four Vedas viz. Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda Mishraji first gives us the extent of the Veda Shastra or the entire extent of the branches of the Vedic knowledge. They are fourteen branches in total. The main four Vedas have six Vedangas or auxiliary texts : Shiksha (phonetics), Vyakarana (grammar), Chhands (meter), Nirukta (etymology), Kalpa (real life applications of rituals and rites) and Jyotisha (astronomy/ astrology). This makes it Ten so far. The Four Vedas are ‘shruti’ texts i.e. they precipitated as mantras into the minds of the meditating rishis and the rest that follow are all ‘smriti’ texts i.e. they were developed from the minds of the subsequent scholars and then committed to memory.

The balance four are Meemamsa (directs the practitioner in how to put the Vedic rituals into practice), Nyaya (logic), Puranas (metaphorical myths & ancient anthologies) and Dharmashastra (doctrine of duties & law of the land). Thus these are the fourteen branches of Indian tradition. [Mishraji outlines subsequent four more practical, everyday life Vidyas bringing this total to eighteen in all viz.: Ayurveda (the science of healthcare), Arthashastra (knowledge of political practices & economy), Dhanurveda (warfare) and Gandharva Veda (the practice of music).]