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The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, from ṛc “praise, shine” and veda “knowledge”) is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is one of the four canonical sacred texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. The text is a collection of 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses, organized into ten books (Mandalas). A good deal of the language is still obscure and many hymns as a consequence are unintelligible.
The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities. For each deity series the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones; and the number of hymns per book increases. In the eight books that were composed the earliest, the hymns predominantly discuss cosmology and praise deities. Books 1 and 10, which were added last, deal with philosophical or speculative questions about the origin of the universe and the nature of god, the virtue of dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.
Rigveda is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BC-though a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BC has also been given. note The initial codification of the Rigveda took place during the early Kuru kingdom (c. 1200 – c. 900 BCE).
Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu rites of passage celebrations such as weddings and religious prayers, making it probably the world’s oldest religious text in continued use.