Introduction to Vedas People usually say some date for origin of Vedas. But, in fact, we don’t know the origin of Vedas at all. Even the creation of world is based on Vedas. Then how can one living in the world create Vedas. Even Veda Vyasa gave a clear picture of what exists already, but He Himself didn’t compose Vedas. Bramha does His creation work, with Vedas as basis. Once Madhu and Kaitaban, two Asuras stole these Vedas from the hands of Bramha and Lord Vishnu in the form of Hayagriva (Lord with the face of Horse and Human body & Gurudeva of Lordess Saraswathi as well) killed those Asuras, brought back Vedas from them and preached Bramha again, the basis of creation. So, Vedas had existence even before this. So, it is believed that God Himself formed Vedas first. Vyasa, a Rishi is called Veda Vyasa because he classified the Vedas, which remained unstructured, into different categories and gave a shape to them. We have four main Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas. It is believed that Vedas are divided into three main categories, namely, 1. Samhita: Praying various Devas 2. Bramhanam: Details of Yagas 3. Aranyam (Upanishads): Research about the Ultimate Reality (God) But, every thing we need can be obtained from Vedas. Here, Aranyas and Upanishads slightly differ though interconnected. Only four Vedas are known to us and hence we say Vedas are four in numbers. But, the fact is there are ‘n’ numbers of Vedas which we still don’t know at all. But, we shall make use of the available resources to reach God. Importance of Shanti Mantras Before going into Sukthas, we shall know the importance of Shanti Mantra. Plain meaning of Shanti is ‘peace’. When we go to a temple built as per Agama Sastras, we can’t see the Deity directly from street. We need to cross so many Gopuras and Prakaras before having Darshan. Do you know why? People should completely concentrate on the Deity while having Darshan, shall be free of other thoughts to have peace during Darshan. So, when one crosses different Prakaras, slowly he loses concentration on other lower valued things and gets matched with the temple atmosphere & frequency slowly and thereby starts concentrating on this. So, he starts to attain peace slowly and will be able to concentrate completely on the Deity inside, when he has Darshan finally. In the same way, concentration is more important while chanting Vedas, to understand the complete meaning of hymns. This Shanti mantra when chanted brings peace to the mind of chanter & listeners and hence allows them to concentrate on the complete meaning of hymns by giving peace to their minds. So, any Vedic hymn should be started with the respective Shanti mantra. Sukthas: Sukthas are none but extractions from Vedas and Upanishads. Let us first start with some Sukthas and their meaning. In the temples, you might have heard the priests singing some Sukthas during the Abhishek of the deity, especially in Vainavite Temples. Pancha (five) Maha Sukthas are sung in Vainavite temples during Abhishek. They are Purusha Sukta, Narayana Suktha, Vishnu Suktha, Sri Suktha, Boo Suktha and Neela Suktha. You may ask there are Six Sukthas listed but classified into Five Sukthas. Purusha Suktha and Narayana Suktha are combined to form one Suktha and hence there are five. Even in small Vaishnavite temples, Abhishek mantras contain Purusha Suktha + Narayana Suktha as a minimum and this is the one I like the most. So, I will start with those. Anyway, there are so many other Sukthas, which we will discuss in this thread.