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Scripture, Veda

āraṇyaka – The forest treatise


The āraṇyaka forms the penultimate section of the veda, in style it is similar to that of the brāhmaṇa, however the rituals mentioned seem to be much more secretive and practiced by certain individuals or taught by sages to initiated disciples in an isolated location.

Unlike the brāhmaṇa portion, the āraṇyakas are given over to secret explanations of the symbolic meaning of rituals and discussion of the internal, meditative meaning of sacrifice, as contrasted to its actual outward performance.

The āraṇyakas are a natural progression from brāhmaṇas in dealing with confidential rituals and symbolism, later writers see this as a leap into subtlety thus naming the āraṇyakas as rahasya brāhmaṇa, the brāhmaṇa of secrets.

The position of āraṇyakas in the vedas is very unique, as in a definitive place cannot be given. They frequently form part of either the brāhmaṇa portion or sometimes the upaniṣadic portion. A good example is the śukla yajur veda where no definitive section for āraṇyakas exist, moreover it forms both part of the brāhmaṇa and upaniṣadic portion of the veda.

The copyright of the article āraṇyaka – The forest treatise is owned by the Jigyasa Team. Permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


About Makwana

A student of Sanatan Vedic Dharma


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