We all know that we have lost a huge volume of our Scriptures including the Vedas.A huge amount of Agama Texts are also lost.

For example ,AFAIK,Rig Veda itself originally contained 8 Shakhas but of them currently only one is extant(the Sakala Shakha).And,similarly for the other Vedas.

Is there any way to calculate precisely the amount of Vedas that has been lost?For example-30% of the Vedas has been lost -Can we conclude something like that?


2 Answers 2


Regarding loss of Shakha we can make calculation based on the no. of present Shakha. For instance Kurma Purana Purva Bhaga Chapter 52 gives this data;

एकविंशतिभेदेन ऋग्वेदं कृतवान् पुरा ।
शाखानान्तु शतेनैव यजुर्वेदमथाकरोत् ।।
सामवेदं सहस्रेण शाखानां प्रविभेद स ।
अथर्वाणमथोवेदं विभेद कुशकेतन ।।
भेदैर्ष्टादशैर्व्यासः पुराण कृतवान् प्रभुः ।
सोऽयमेकश्चतुष्पादो वेदः पूर्वं सनातन ।। (Kurma Purana 1.52)

Initially, the Rigveda was divided into twentyone branches, while the Yajurveda was divided into a hundred branches. Thereafter, Vyasa who dwelt in the house of Kus'a, distributed Samaveda into a thousand branches. Atharvaveda too was also distributed into nine branches. Besides this, Vyasa composed eighteen types of the Puranas. Thus in the ancient times there had been a single Veda, which was subsequently divided into four parts.

If we add the total Shakhas of Veda we come to know that originally there were about 1130 Shakhas. Now, as I discuss in my answer here only about 12 - 13 Shakhas of Vedas are surviving. If we calculate in percentage the loss of Shakha is about 98.94%. ie. It means about 98% Shakhas of Vedas are lost upto now.

Now, regarding loss of verses (Richas/Suktas), Samhitas of same Vedas do not differ so much wildly in content. For instance in my answer here I have presented variation of Sri Rudram Hymn in various Shakhas. And regarding content we can't be sure how much percentage of Vedas we have lost.


I have got one clue from Vishnu Purana! According to Vishnu Purana, before the division of single Veda into 4 (and further division of four Vedas into different Shakhas by Vyasa's chief disciplines), the total volume of Veda was 100000 (1 Lakh) verses

Quoting Vishnu Purana 3.4

पराशर उवाच ।
आद्यो वेदश्चतुष्पादः शतसाहस्त्रसम्मितः ।
ततो दशगुणः कृत्स्नो यज्ञोऽयं सर्वसामधुक् ।। १ ।।

English Translation by H.H.Wilson

Parāśara said:—

The original Veda, in four parts, consisted of one hundred thousand stanzas; and from it sacrifice of ten kinds[1], the accomplisher of all desires, proceeded.

And the volume of 4 Vedas found today is :

  • Rigveda - around 10,600 verses
  • Samaveda - around 1,700 verses
  • Yajurveda - around 3,000 verses
  • Atharvaveda - around 6,000 verses

Total of 21,300 verses (round figure) are surviving today.

So, as per this calculation, 21% of whole Veda of 10^5 is surviving today and 79% of Veda is lost.

  • Cool find. When you say RV has 10600 verses , is it just Samhitas or includes corresponding Aranyakas, Brahmanas and Upanishads ? Commented May 17, 2020 at 11:03
  • @Carmensandiego This is about Samhitas of Vedas
    – Pandya
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 11:05
  • Does it also mean that the 12 surviving shakhas are teaching only from 21% of the total verses that survived ? Commented May 19, 2020 at 8:43

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