Atharva Veda is also called Brahma Veda. The word Atharva can be etymologized as a-tharva and translated as no tharva. Tharva refers to violence, cunningness, hypocrisy etc.
This implies that Vedic knowledge can only be taught to those who are free from all the tharvas, especially because Atharva Veda mantras are so powerful that they can give immediate results.
The secrets of Atharva Veda are generally revealed to a seeker during sanyaas initiation. The mantras of Atharva Veda help the seeker to realize the self as Brahman and can ensure jivanmukti in one’s lifetime.
Atharva Veda should be learnt from competent teachers who have reached at least the state of self-realization. Many mantras of Atharva Veda are direct extract from other Vedas but the procedure of invocation of the mantra can give a completely different result if invoked correctly. For example: Gayatri mantra in Atharva Veda invokes the ‘brahma within’ whereas Gayatri mantra in the other 3 Vedas invokes the radiance of Savitr (Sun God) from outer space.
A major part of Atharva Veda deals with the problems and requirements of everyday life such as how to perform yajna, curing diseases, prolonging life, fulfilling one’s desires, building constructions, trade and commerce, statecraft, penances and proprietary rites etc.
Ayurveda originated from Atharva Veda. Atharva Veda also has mantras for avisar (miracles), vasikarana (hypnotizing), ayush (secrets of prolonging life), upachar (the right procedure for rituals) and prayashita (penance).
- Atharva Veda has a total of 5987 mantras
- Divided into 731 suktas in 20 chapters in 3 prakaranas or parts
- Main Shakhas: Shaunaka Paippalada
- Main Samhitas: Atharva
- Main Brahmanas: Gopatha
- Main Aranyakas: Gopatha
- Main Upanishads: Mandukya, Mundaka and Prasna