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सर्वे जनाः सुखिनो भवन्तु

सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर


The term upaveda (“applied knowledge”) is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works. There are four upavedas connected to four vedas. They are –

  1. aayurveda – Medicine. It is related to rugveda,
  2. dhanurveda – Archery. It is connected to yajurveda.
  3. gaandharvaveda – Music and dancing. It is related to saamaveda and
  4. sthaapatyaveda – Architecture or shilpashaastra. It is the upaveda of atharvanaveda.

This is given in shreemadbhaagavatam in the following verse –

आयुर्वेदं धनुर्वेदं गान्धर्वं वेदमात्मनः ।

स्थापत्यं चासृजद्वेदं क्रमात्पूर्वादिभिर्मुखैः ।। (भागवतम् स्कन्दः -3 अध्याय 12.)

aayurvedam dhanurvedam gaandharvam vedamaatmanah |

sthaapatyam chaasrujadvedam kramaatpoorvaadibhirmukhaih ||


  1. aayurvedam -. The meaning of ‘aayus; in samskrutam is health. veda means knowledge. aayurvedam deals with knowledge of increasing ‘the span of life’ i.e. taking care of health is aayurvedam. mahaavishnu in the form of dhanvantari is the lord of aayurveda in sanaatanadharma. During ksheerasaagaramathanam, dhanvantari arose with amruta kalasham in hands. ashvini devatas are the deva vaidyas  for ayurvedam. Even replacement of the main part of the body ‘head’ is mentioned in pauraanic history.That was the capacity of surgery in         sanaatanadharma. ashwani devatas once gave youth to an old rushi chyavana. That was the capacity of aayurveda medicne. Old King yayaati got exchanged youth with his young son puroorava. In kaliyuga charaka and shushruta were the expert aayurveda vaidyas. shushruta was an expert surgeon, who maintained more than 200 surgical instruments. He operated very sensitive parts of the body. Cataract operation was well known in bhaarateeya history. He maintained a surgical instrument that could cut even the hair vertically. Such was the precision exhibited in bhaarateeya aayurveda surgical history.

The books that can be followed for this shaastra are – 1. charaka samhita. 2. shusruta        samhita. 3.                bhaava prakaasha -1 & 2. 4.belasamhita etc.

  1. dhanurveda – Archery. It is the shaastra that explains about different shastras and astras. Primarily shaastra that is related to bows and arrows is called dhanurveda.. mahaadeva shiva is the lord of dhanurvidyaa. Great warriors of archery are known from itihaasas raamaayanam and mahaabhaarata. Every warrior from itihaasas were experts in archery. All ancient bhaarateeya kings particularly from both soorya vamsha and chandra vamsha were experts in dhanurvidya . mahaarushi parashuraama, guru dronacharya were the great masters of archery. vedic rushis were all masters of dhanurvidyaa and used to teach in gurukulas to all sections of warriors. kaarta veeryaarjuna,shree raama,indrajit,bheeshma, arjuna, karna and ekalavya were the best among archers of ancient bhaarat. shree raamachandra was a great dhanurdhaari, whose arrow, once shooted, certainly breaks the goal. durgaa maataa is great female warrior in the pauraanic history. In addition to bow and arrow there are many shastras used by devatas and warriors of sanaatana dharma and various heroes in the history of the mankind. Mace/gadaa, disc/chakra, sword/khadga, and many other related shastra’s names were in use during pauraanic history. shastras when used with mantras are called astras. astras are divine weapons, which are to be used with mantras. brahmaastra, paashupataastra, naaraayanaastra, shakti astra, aagneyaastra, vaarunaastra, naagaastra, garudaastra, vajra, sudarshana chakra etc several astraas are there. Chanting a mantra, even if a blade of grass is shot, turns into that powerful astra and hits the aim. Besides mahaabhaarata, we can get the details of archery, from agni puraana etc puraanas and prasthaanabhedi etc granthas. The lord of kaamashaastra and devata of reproduction is also expert in archery. His bow is made of sugar cane and his bows are made of various divine flowers. The diffraction theory of light is represented in sanaatana dharma as indra dhanus.

3.Gaandharvaveda – This is the Vidyaa known by gandharvaas specially. Maataa sarswatee is the goddess of knowledge in all arts, especially in music. Deva rushis naarada and tumbura are expert singers in deva loka. apsarasas in the court of Indra, are best dancers. oorvashi the apsaras born from the thighs of lord vishnu is the expert dancer in pauraanic history. Lord shiva and paarvati are the divine dancers in sanaatana dharma.

saamaveda is the mother of sapta svaras which became the base for the svaras ‘Sa , ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni’ used in sangeeta shaastra. raavanaasura is known for expertise in saamaveda , sangeeta shaastra and playing of musical instrument veena.

gandharvaas and kinneras are famous for their knowledge of music, dance, etc., and are being praised for their melodious voice in singing songs.

In present situation two major sangeeta shaastras are in parctice in bhaarat. One is hindustani and second is carnatic. Even today the expertise in bhaarateeya music and naatya is well known in world history.

The composers of music are called, vaaggeya kaaras. Famous vaaggeya kaaras in the current period of last 5 centuries are, raama das, tyaagaraja, muttuswamy deekshitaar, shyama shastry, naaraayana teertha, chaitanya prabhu, meeraabai, bhakta jayadeva, annamaacharya, m.s.subbalakshmi, mangalampalli baalamuralikrishna, ghantasaala Venkateswara rao, baala subrahmanyam etc,.There are many famous singers even in present times.

In the field of dance siddhendra yogi for kuchipudi dance was famous. kuchipudi, bharatanaatyam, kathaakali, manipuri, hindustani, and oddyssey are some of the famous dance systems in the history of bhaarat, and live even in present times too. There are many famous legends in the field of dance history of bhaarat, in the past and present too.

To study in detail about this shaastra, we can refer to the granthaas like – bharata muni’s naatya shaastra, rasamanjari, vishnu dharmottara puraana and vaatsyaayana maharshi’s kaamasootraas etc.

4.sthaapatyaveda – Architecture and shilpa shaastra: vishva karma is the devata for architecture and engineering in sanaatana dharma. mayaasura also is an expert in this field.

Famous temples such as, bruhadeeshwara temple of tanjavur, madhura meenaakshi temple, mysore hoyasala temple, anjanta ellora cave temples, kaasi vishwanatha temple, rameswaram, shree shailam, somanath, etc dwaadasha jyotirlinga temples , ashtaadasha shakti peetthas temples, 108 vaishnava divya kshetras  etc puri jagnnath, kedaranaath, badari naath, tirumala tirupati temples, mahaakaleswar, hampi, mahaabaleshwar, kailas mandir of ellora caves , latest lakshminaarayana temples , ayodhya raamlalayam, and many temples from south and north of bhaarat are known for sthaapathya kala prominence in bharateeya sthaapatya history. nepal-pasupati nath & muktinath mandirs too are prominent ancient dharmic mandirs.

The ancient cities, ayodhya, kaashi, kanchi, dwaaraka, puri, ujjaini etc have a long history and are ancient architectural marvels. In raamaayanam, ayodhya and lankaa nagara varnanas give the example for the presence of construction technology available since tretaa yuga in bhaarata varsha.

Architecture is the art and technique of designing temples, buildings, and skills associated with construction, etc,.

shilpa shaastra is the science of Arts, Crafts and sculpting and carving idols, and installing them. We know about great sthapatis even in present times. From south of bhaarat, shreei  ganapathy  sthapati from chennai and kanchi are well known by all of us in the 20eth century.

Each veda shaakhaa got an upanishat at its end. So, as many veda shaakhaas are there so many upanishats are there. Out of them 1008 upanishats are available now. Out of them 108 upanishats are important. Out of them 10 upanishats are very important in teaching brahmajnaana. Jagadguru shree aadi shankara bhagvatpaada wrote bhaashyam/commentaries for those ten upanishats.

In this section a few important upanishats will be taught which essentially form the fundamental blocks for the common man to understand the knowledge encrypted in the vedas.  The Knowledge of self-realization and the concepts of brahma and aatmaa will eventually lead to higher enlightenment and lead to moksha.

upanishats can be categorized into:

  1. vedaanta upanishats
  2. yoga upanishats
  3. shaiva upanishats
  4. vaishnava upanishats and
  5. shaakteya upanishats.

The vedanta upanishats have 11 important upanishats.

  1. eesha, 2. kena, 3. katha,4. prashna,5. mundaka,6. maandookya, 7. aitareeya,
  2. taittiriya 9. chaandogya, 10. brihadaaranyaka, 11. shvetaashvatara.

They are commented on, by various aacharyas starting with aadi shankaraachaarya.

Brief Note on all the above important upanishats, is given here under, including two more upanishats– namely kausheetakee upanishat and maitraayaneeya upanishat.