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What are Vedic Suktas or Vedic Hymns?

Each of the four Vedas, Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda, contain Samhitas. Samhita means a collection. So each Samhita is a collection of different hymns dedicated or addressed to various deities. These hymns are generally called Suktas, which literally means “very well spoken.” A sukta denotes a group of Vedic mantras (verses).

Suktas are found in the Samhitas of Rig Veda and Atharva Veda only.

Rig Veda Samhita is a collection of 1028 suktas divided into ten mandalas (books). These 1028 hymns include eleven valakhilya hymns, which are sometimes excluded from Rig Veda Samhita.

The number of verses, known as rks in a hymn, varies from one to fifty eight. The total hymns of Rig Veda are also divided into eight ashtakam (parts), which are themselves divided into adhyayas (chapters).

Yajur Veda having two versions, Krishna and Shukla, is divided differently. Shukla Yajur  Veda has forty adhyayas (chapters).

Sama Veda consists of two parts. Aruka and Uttaracika, which are further divided.

Atharva Veda Samhita, divided into twenty kinds (books), is a collection of 730 suktas or hymns, containing some 6,000 mantras.

Certain Vedic suktas are very popular for their important contents and unique style of presentation. These are Purusha Sukta, Nasadiya Sukta, Aksha Suktam, Vak Sukta, Manduka Sukta of Rig Veda Samhita and Balasukta, Bhumi Sukta, Samnana syasukta, and Vratya Sukta  of Atharva Veda Samhita.

Vedic Anukramani texts mention the names of seer or seers (rishis), deity or deities (devata) and chanda (meters) associated with every Vedic sukta.