While we have a page with some general information about the Vedas, we unfortunately don't have enough information to answer our reader's questions. So we have listed his questions here and hope that any scholars or anyone with an interest and knowledge of the Vedas please post your comments so that we may pass along the information. If you have an answer to any of the questions, just let us know (you don't have to answer them all).
Of course if you would prefer NOT to post your comments about the Vedas publicly, you can always contact us instead.
- When was Veda's born? How?
- Who first wrote Veda book? Which period?
- Was Veda originally one book and then divided into four parts later? Is it true? Why? When?
- Which is the oldest "veda books" available today? Which place is it? Who wrote it? When?
- Which is the world "oldest manuscripts" of Veda's? Which museum has it? Many people said it's in Britain, Germany, Pennsylvania, Southern India. Which place(s) is it exactly? Does anyone have list of official record of Veda's oldest manuscripts.
- How the initial version of Veda's got lost? When? Then, which version of Veda's are we following today? Who collected all the mantras and wrote the four Veda books again?
- Mostly we claimed Veda's are 5000-6000 years old (oldest book). Who authenticated this history? Where is evidence?
- It is read that during creation of earth, Veda's were raised from the sea during "Sagar Manthan". This means earth is million years old, how did Veda knowledge survived till today? Who protected Veda's?
- Which is "last ancient edition of Veda's" available today? Who wrote this version? When?
- Which organisation has official information about Veda's & its lost manuscripts?
- Where can I buy four Veda books? Which is the best-authenticated and non-translated form of Veda's books available today? The most trusted one.
- Which book contains information about Veda's such as manuscripts information and other important details?
- Today on what basis publishers print Veda books? Which author/version of Veda's do they mostly refer?
- Where can I buy Sanskrit-to-Hindi complete dictionary? Which is the best-authenticated and trusted one.
- What is Fifth Veda all about?
As far as the oldest survived Vedic writings go, the originals are said to have been written on leaves and probably not around anymore. It is said that a lot of the Brahmin priests still keep their oldest writings hidden away for safe keeping. There are efforts to conserve the Vedic texts through the Vrindavan Research Institute (VRI). You will have to contact them to see the microfilm archives.
There is an ancient tradition where the original Sanskrit and teachings are past down from one generation to the next, unchanged through an unbroken chain. This means no speculation is introduced and the original Sanskrit and messages are maintained. According to the Vedas, there are four bonafide sampradayas (traditions). One such tradition is called the Sri Brahma sampradaya and is maintained today in what is called Gaudiya Vaishnavism. One Gaudiya Vaishnava group is ISKCON or the Hare Krishna movement started by Srila Prabhupada from the instructions of his Guru.
Srila Prabhupada has given us the most spiritual teachings of the Vedas in his translated books which contain the original Sanskrit, Sanskrit pronunciations, word for word translations, full translations, and purport explanations for each sloka (verse).
As with any education, you must first understand the basics before moving on to higher knowledge. I have given a link to the books below. Keep in mind that ISKCON can answer any of your questions in a very clear and precise manner. The links I am giving don't have the Sanskrit, but you can get that in the books. Most of these books are published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) and can be found here:
http://vedabase.com/en/ - digital books
Bhagavad-gītā As It Is - http://vedabase.com/en/bg
The Bhagavad-gītā comes from the Mahābhārata and is considered to be the 'essence' of all the Vedas. The Bhagavad-gītā needs to both be understood before moving on to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa). The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is considered to be the cream of all the Vedas as this is Veda Vyas's final and conclusive writings about the highest knowledge (SB 1.5). The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam needs to be understood before moving on to the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta which is considered to be the postgraduate studies of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
There are many smaller books which are either extracts or original translations that may help you in your pursuit of knowledge.