Veda Vyasa split the Vedas into four and was the compiler of the four Vedas. Why does the Atharva Veda (Hymn 127 of Book 20) mention Parikshit to be the compiler of the Vedas then?

  • Can you give the reference. I am not able to find such a thing in the book
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 0:16
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    Since it is too long to write here, I am giving you a link to this answer: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/28698/… Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 4:28
  • Also, if the Mahabharata happened before the time of King Parikshit, why do the Vedas not even mention the war itself at any point of time? Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 4:29
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    There’s another fun fact. Janamejaya, son of Parikshit has Ashwamedha performed by Shaunaka (the person who listens to the Puranas from Sutaji). He finds mentions in the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Brahmana attached to the Vajasaneyi Samhita (Shukla Yajurveda)
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 5:18
  • Very interesting. But, then, why do the Vedas not mention the Mahabharata war anywhere? And, what about the reference to another Parikshit as being the great great great grandfather of Bhishma? Is that an interpolation to account for the genealogical inconsistencies? Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


First, any translation by Ralph T. Griffiths is highly suspect. He is a known Western Christian Orientalist of the 19th century and his knowledge of Sanskrit was limited. People keeping on referring to his various translations as they are the one most widely published on the internet - because they were available and free. He is not recognized as a Sanskrit scholar within India.

Some Puranas refer to Vyasa (the author of the Mahabharata) as the compiler of the vedas; and the vedas as generally organized, or compiled, by Vyasa are recognized by all modern day Hindus (followers of the Uttara Mimamsa, no matter what sect or school).

It should be remembered that the vedas are the revealed word of God, there is no human authorship. The Brahma Sutras 1.3.29-30 says: (https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/brahma-sutras/d/doc62930.html)

Sutra 1,3.29

अत एव च नित्यत्वम् ॥ २९ ॥

ata eva ca nityatvam || 29 ||

ata-eva—From this very reason; ca—also; nityatvam—the eternity.

  1. From this very reason also (results) the eternity (of the Vedas).

Since the objects are eternal, that is, gods etc. as types are eternal, the Vedic words are eternal. This establishes the eternal nature of the Vedas. The Vedas were not written by anybody. They are impersonal and eternal. The Rishis only discovered them but were not authors of the Vedic texts.

“By means of their past good deeds (the priests) attained the capacity to understand the Vedas; (then) they found them dwelling in the Rishis” (Rig-Veda 10.71.3), which shows that the Vedas are eternal.

Brahma-Sutra 1.3.30: Sanskrit text and English translation.

समाननामरूपत्वाच्चावृत्तावप्यविरोधो दर्शनात् स्मृतेश्च ॥ ३० ॥

samānanāmarūpatvāccāvṛttāvapyavirodho darśanāt smṛteśca || 30 ||

samāna-nāmarūpatvāt—Because of similar names and forms; ca—and; āvṛttau—in the revolving of the world cycles; api—even; avirodhaḥ—no contradiction; darśanāt—from the Sruti; smṛteḥ—from the Smriti; ca—and.

  1. And because of the sameness of names anid forms (in every fresh cycle) there is no contradiction (to the eternity of the Vedic words) even in the revolving of the world cycles, as is seen from the Sruti and the Smriti.

An objection is raised. Since at the end of a cycle everything is completely destroyed and creation begins afresh at the beginning of the next cycle, there is a break in the continuity of existence; so even as types the gods are not eternal. This upsets the eternal relation of Vedic words and the objects they represent, and consequently the eternity of the Vedas and their authority fall to the ground. This Sutra refutes it. Just as a person after waking from deep sleep finds no break in the continuity of existence, so also in the state of Pralaya (end of a cycle) the world is in a potential state—in seed form—in ignorance, and not completely destroyed; at the beginning of the next cycle it is again manifested into a gross form with all the previous variety of names and forms. As the world does nqt become absolutely non-existent, the eternity of the relation between Vedic words and their objects is not contradicted, and consequently the authoritativeness of the Vedas remains. This eternal existence of the world in gross and fine forms alternatively and the similarity of the names and forms are brought out by the Sruti and Smriti texts. “As formerly the Lord ordered the sun and the moon, heaven,, earth, the sky” etc. (Rig-Veda 10 . 190. 3).

And in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad II.iv.10 (https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/the-brihadaranyaka-upanishad/d/doc117950.html) it says:

Verse 2.4.10:

स यथार्द्रएधाग्नेरभ्याहितात्पृथग्धूमा विनिश्चरन्ति, एवं वा अरेऽस्य महतो भूतस्य निह्̣स्वसितमेतद्यदृग्वेदो यजुर्वेदह्̣ सामवेदोऽथर्वाङ्गिरस इतिहासह्̣ पुराणम् विद्या उपनिस्̣अदह्̣ श्लोकाह्̣ सूत्रान्यनुव्याख्यानानि व्याख्यानानि; अस्यैवैतानि निःश्वसितानि ॥ १० ॥

sa yathārdraedhāgnerabhyāhitātpṛthagdhūmā viniścaranti, evaṃ vā are'sya mahato bhūtasya niḥsvasitametadyadṛgvedo yajurvedaḥ sāmavedo'tharvāṅgirasa itihāsaḥ purāṇam vidyā upaniṣadaḥ ślokāḥ sūtrānyanuvyākhyānāni vyākhyānāni; asyaivaitāni niḥśvasitāni || 10 ||

  1. As from a fire kindled with wet faggot diverse kinds of smoke issue, even so, my dear, the Ṛg-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sāma-Veda, Atharvāṅgirasa, history, mythology, arts, Upaniṣads, verses, aphorisms, elucidations and explanations are (like) the breath of this infinite Reality. They are like the breath of this (Supreme Self).

Likewise it may be understood that the universe, at the time of its origin as also prior to it, is nothing but Brahman. As before the separation of the sparks, smoke, embers and flames, all these are nothing but fire, and therefore there is but one substance, fire, so it is reasonable to infer that this universe differentiated into names and forms is, before its origin, nothing but Pure Intelligence. This is expressed as follows: As from a fire kindled with wet faggot diverse kinds of smoke issue. The word ‘smoke’ is suggestive of sparks etc. as well—meaning smoke, sparks, etc., issue. Like this example, O Maitreyī, all this is like the breath of this infinite Reality, the Supreme Self that is being discussed. ‘Breath’ here means, like the breath. As a man breathes without the slightest effort, so do all these come out of It. What are those things that are spoken of as issuing from It as Its breath? The Ṛg-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sāma-Veda, Atharvāṅgirasa, i.e. the four kinds of Mantras. History, such as the dialogue between Urvaśī and Purūravas—‘The nymph Urvaśī,’ and so on (Ś. XI. iv. 4. 1); it is this Brāhmaṇa that is meant. Mythology, such as, ‘This universe was in the beginning unmanifest,’ etc. (Tai. II. 7). Arts, which treat of music, dancing, etc.—‘This is also Veda,’ etc. (Ś. XIII. iv. 3. 10-14). Upaniṣads, such as, ‘It should be meditated upon as. dear,’ etc. (IV. 1. 3). Verses, the Mantras occurring in the Brāhmaṇas, such as, ‘Regarding this there are the following verses’ (IV. iii. 11; IV. iv. 8). Aphorisms, those passages of the Vedas which present the truth in a nutshell, for example,. ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon’ (I. iv. 7). Elucidations —of the Mantras. Explanations, eulogistic passages. Or ‘elucidations’ may be of the ‘aphorisms’ above. As the passage, ‘The Self alone is to be meditated upon, or the passage, ‘He (who worships another god thinking), “He is one, and I am another,” does not know. He is like an animal (to the gods)’ (I. iv. 1o), has this concluding portion of the present chapter as its elucidation. And ‘explanations’ may be of the Mantras. Thus these are the eight divisions of the Brāhmaṇas.

So only the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas are meant.[5] It is the eternally composed and already existent Vedas that are manifested like a man’s breath—without any thought or effort on his part. Hence they are an authority as regards their meaning, independently of any other means of knowledge. Therefore those who aspire after well-being must accept the verdict of the Vedas on knowledge or on rites, as it is. The differentiation of forms invariably depends on the manifestation of their names.[6] Name and form are the limiting adjuncts of the Supreme Self, of which, when they are differentiated, it is impossible to tell whether they are identical with or different from It, as is the case with the foam of water. It is name and form in all their stages[7] that constitute relative existence. Hence name has been compared to breath. By this statement it is implied that form too is like breath. Or we may explain it differently: In the passage, ‘The Brāhmaṇa ousts one.... all this is the Self’ (II. iv. 6; IV. v. 7), the entire world of duality has been spoken of as the domain of ignorance. This may lead to a doubt about the authority of the Vedas. In order to remove this doubt it is said that since the Vedas issue without any effort like a man’s breath, they are an authority; they are not like other books.

To ask from a Western historical 'fact' methodology as to 'who' compiled the vedas is something that will lie eternally unanswered in the sands of time, and eternally subject to speculation and opinion. From a Hindu assertion, however, the vedas are the eternal Word of God revealed by God Himself.

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