Consider the following mantra from Purusha Sukta 10.90.9

From that great general sacrifice Ṛcas and Sāma-hymns were born: Therefrom were spells and charms produced; the Yajus had its birth from it.

Rig veda was considered to be the oldest. Then how can it contain reference to Sama and Yajur vedas, which came later?

  • It is talking about three kinds of Vedic mantras getting born from that sacrifice viz- Rik, Yajus and Sama.
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 14:29
  • @Rickross:My doubt is at the time revelation of Purusha Sukta, did Yaju and Sama vedas come into existence? or came later? Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 14:33
  • It is not talking about birth of Vedas but birth of the 3 types of mantras of which all Vedas are composed. The mantra says that Rik, Sama, Yajus came one after another so at around the same time. If you are too particular then Yajus came last.
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 14:39
  • 1
    Atharva Veda is comprised of Rik and Yajus mantras only. This mantra is not talking about birth of the 4 Vedas but birth of the 3 kind of Vedic mantras.
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 14:48
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    Western Indologists believe that the Vedas were authored at different times. But as you pointed out, even the Rig Veda which is supposedly the oldest Veda has references to other Vedas. In reality, the Vedas are eternal according to Hindu scholars.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


Your query is , " Why did Purusha Sukta from Rig Veda contain mention about Yajur and Sama Vedas ? " i.e. How can Rig_Veda contain references to Sama and Yajur vedas, which came later? And in comment section you also enquired about Atharva- veda. And you have quoted following verse from Rig-Veda Purusha Sukta.

तस्माद्यज्ञात्सर्वहुत ऋचः सामानि जज्ञिरे ।
छन्दांसि जज्ञिरे तस्माद्यजुस्तस्मादजायत ॥10.90.9॥

Tasmaad-Yajnyaat-Sarvahuta Rcah Saamaani Jajnyire |
Chandaamsi Jajnyire Tasmaad-Yajus-Tasmaad-Ajaayata ||9||

From that victim , in whom the universal oblation was offered , the Richas and Samans were produced ; from him the meters were born ; from him the Yajush was born . (H.H.Wilson )

Your questions are exactly explained and answered in the book Purusha sukta By Kamesvara Aiyar, B. V. The author here is explaning this mantra -

The mention of Rik , Yajus and Saman in this verse has led many scholors to believe that the Rig Veda , the Yajur veda and the Sama veda were alone were in exsistence at first , and Atharava Veda came later on into existence . There is nothing in the verse to support this view . the words richas ,samaani and yajus cannot here mean the several compilations bearing these names.Such an interpretation presumes that this verse must have been written after three distinct compilations had been completed .

If so it has to be proved when and by whom , this verse came to be written and inserted in the body of one of them. But the meaning is plain and simple. At the time when many of the Hymns of Rig-Veda were sung (Composed not compiled) , the ceremonial of the sacrifice had been considerably developed ,And vedic songs and compositions had been classified into three distinct varieties. The fundamentum division being their subject matter , the sacrificial purpose they served and their metrical and musical peculiarities. Thus any Vedic verse or Passage must come under any of these three heads.

The author is explaining the fact that it is only in later times the three vedas were codified in three distinct books as per requirement. And Atharava Veda as a veda is made up of Ricks mantras only as your enquiry in comment section .(Page 50).

Thus atharva Veda also , as the song of this veda are ricks , though many of them are not to be met with ( and necessarily so ) in the Rig vedaic compilations. It was only at the later stage that these verses and texts were codified into distinct books.

In Summery - The Ricks , Samaani and yajus mentioned in this verse are three different kind of mantas , distinctive by their properties and not the Rig ,Yajus and Saam veda compositions. The vedas i.e. Rig Veda ,Yajur Veda ,Saam Veda contain these different kind of mantras each and were later compiled by Maharahsi Veda-Vyasa. But before this compilations the mantas were existed before in the memory of the people and were loose i.e. scattered. So There is no scope to the argument that this verse is later been inserted in the hymn as all the mantras of vedas were already present roughly around same time as of Rig Veda. But were not separated.

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