Memorization of the Vedas

13 Nov

The Vedas are the ancient sacred texts of Hinduism. The texts were passed down orally long before they were committed to paper. Over the years, I have come across claims that the Vedas were preserved through memory with exceptional fidelity, but I was unable to find any evidence for this claim.

Last Sunday, I was in Raven’s Bookstore in Harvard Square and I found a copy of A. L. Basham‘s book The Origin and Development of Classical Hinduism.  On the plane back to Cleveland, I read this:

“When Europeans first began to take an interest in the religion of India, some of them were told of very ancient texts called Vedas which were rarely if ever written but were handed down orally from one generation of brahmans to another. It was only with great difficulty that a few brahmans in Calcutta were persuaded in the 1780s to divulge the oldest of these texts, the Rg-veda, but once the text was made public other brahmans from other parts of India followed them. When versions had been collected from all over the land it was found, to great surprise of Western scholars, that the texts as transmitted in Kashmir were scarcely different from that transmitted in Tamil Nadu. The Rg-Veda had been passed on orally for nearly three thousand years with hardly an error.”

Now, I would like to learn more about the techniques used to accomplish this impressive feat of memorization.

desc_head_vedas

One Response to “Memorization of the Vedas”

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  1. VEDIC ASTROLOGY: My Kundali shocked me!! | HalfEatenMind - February 14, 2015

    […] Memorization of the Vedas […]

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