The term Veda, derived from the root vid, “to know,” means “knowledge.” The Veda functions in Hindu traditions as an authoritative category that is ascribed the status of transcendent knowledge and has both textual and supratextual dimensions. As a textual phenomenon, the Veda is revered in many Hindu traditions as the paradigmatic scripture that has historically provided a legitimating source of authority for later sacred texts and teachings up to the contemporary period. With approximately 1 billion Hindus in India and the diaspora, the Veda is thus a phenomenon with global reach whose authority continues to reverberate throughout the transnational network of Hindu communities and beyond.

The term Veda is used to designate a corpus of sacred texts in at least four different senses. (1) The ...

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