The Atharvaveda is a sacred text of Hinduism and one of the four Vedas, often called the “fourth Veda”. According to tradition, the Atharvaveda was mainly composed by two groups of rishis known as the Atharvanas and the Angirasa, hence its oldest name is Ātharvāṅgirasa. In the Late Vedic Gopatha Brahmana, it is attributed to the Bhrigu and Angirasa. Additionally, tradition ascribes parts to other rishis, such as Kauśika, Vasiṣṭha and Kaśyapa. There are two surviving recensions (śākhās), known as Śaunakīya (AVS) and Paippalāda (AVP).
The Atharvaveda, while undoubtedly belonging to the core Vedic corpus, in some ways represents an independent parallel tradition to that of the Rigveda and Yajurveda.
The Atharvaveda is less predominant than other Vedas, as it is little used in solemn (Shrauta) ritual. The largely silent Brahmin priest observes the procedures of the ritual and “heals” it with two mantras and pouring of ghee when a mistake occurs. An early text, its status has been ambiguous due to its ritualistic character.
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