Rigveda is the oldest compilation of human wisdom. It is an amalgamation of four major components viz. the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aryankas and the Upanishads. The Samhitas are the texts involving the hymns to the deities and constitute the oldest section of the Rig Veda. The Brahmanas are the section pertaining to the commentaries for the hymns. The Aryankas are also known as the forest books and the Upanishads include other verses of religious text.
The main part of Rigveda belongs to Natural hymns, the hymns related with natural forces. In the hymns we find prayers for certain natural elements such as air, water, earth, sun, rain, dawn etc. The glorious brightness of the sun, the blaze of the sacrificial fire, the sweep of the rain-storm across the skies, the recurrence of the dawn, the steady currents of the winds, the violence of the tropical storm and other such natural energies, fundamental activities or aspects are glorified and personified as divinities (Devata). In Rigveda the names of major deities are, such as Agni, Indra, Vayu, Earth, Soma, Varuna, Vishnu, Aditya, Usha, Aditi, Parjanya, etc. Through Vedic symbolism we can understand the formation of Vedic deities.
Aim of Rigvedic Mantras:
Rigvedic Sanskrit mantras are built around a science of sound which comprehends the meaning and power of each letter. The ultimate aim of the mantras in Rigveda is to purify the human mind through knowledge. Darkness is symbol of lack of knowledge or illusionary living, which makes us devoid of justness and sagacity.
In the Rigveda-Samhita we find a unique prayer for social unity. It is called Samjnana sukta. The term 'Samjnana' gives the sense of unity in thoughts. The unanimity and harmony on mental and intellectual level among the people gathered is its purpose. Most aspects of Vedic science like the practice of yoga, meditation, mantra and Ayurveda can be found in the Rig Veda.
The devotee invokes the Lord of creation to inspire mankind with the feeling of love, and the Lord commands that all should be bound together with a common aim, common thought and common will.
Composition of Rigveda:
Symbolism in Rigveda:
Sri Aurobindo and Sri Kapali Shastry suggest that Vedas have at least two interpretations, the surface or the external interpretation and the internal or esoteric or symbolic interpretation.
The Vedic gods are described as children of Light, sons of Aditi, of infinity. Demons are opposite. They represent the struggle between the powers of the higher good and the lower desire. All the gods are conquerors and givers of Cow, the Horse and divine riches.
Internally, the Cow (go, gomati) is the symbol of consciousness in the form of knowledge, Light. Horse (asva, asvavati) is the symbol of consciousness in the form of force; usually asva signifies a horse which is a figure of the Prana, the nervous energy, the vital breath, the half-mental, half material dynamism. This links mind and matter. The prana moves in the vital or dynamic plane. He purifies the nervous life in man and lift upward its impulsions and desires. Light of dawn is the symbol of inner illumination. The night is the image of inner darkness, obscure consciousness, and full of ignorance. Dasyus are identified with the Darkness. Heaven in Veda was a symbol of the mind. All their details symbolised man’s effort and his means towards a greater end, the acquisition of immortality.