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Chaturdasa Vidyas – Fourteen Branches Of Learning In Hinduism

Chaturdasa Vidyas, the fourteen branches of learning in Hinduism, include the four Vedas, the six accessory texts (Vedangas), Dharmashastra, Puranas, Mimamsa and Nyaya.

The four Vedas – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda – are well known as the foundation of Hindu culture, generally referred to as Sanatana Dharma.

The six accessory texts or studies of Vedas are Siksha (phonetics), kalpa (ordinances), vyakarana (grammar), nirkuta (etymology), chandas (metrical science), and jyotisha (astrology and astronomy).

Each of these auxiliary studies is recognized as having a practical utility in the performance of different Vedic rituals. Shiksha relates to the rules governing the recitation of Vedic mantras with their proper accent. The kalpa texts are divided into four groups, respectively governing household rites, the rites according to Vedic texts, and those governing codes of conduct in family and social life. Grammar helps us understand the structure of the Vedic language. Nirkuta enables us to understand the derivation of Vedic words. Chanda teaches the seven meters (Gayatri, Usnik, Anustubh, Brhati, Pankti, Trisrubh and Jagati) of the Vedic language. Jyotisha enables us to know the appropriate time for the performance of different rites.

Puranas, eighteen in number, explain Sanatana Dharma embedded in the Vedas.

Mimamsa, as a study of philosophical exegesis, lays down the method of interpreting Vedas and the performance of various sacrificial rites. Nyaya gave rise to a method of logical analysis of truth and reasoning.

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