The word veda in sanskrt means knowledge. Teachings that was given in the Vedas represents original and complete knowledge about the spirit and matter. It is not an ordinary, collected knowledge. This knowledge comes from the spiritual world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, the Vedas are called apuruseya - or that what hasn't originated from man... So the Vedas are the oldest scriptures in the world and they were wtitten in sanskrt – the oldest language in the world. We consider Vedas to be a manual designed for usage of this material world with final goal – return of living beings to their real existance, the spiritual world.
Originally there was only one Veda and it wasn't necessary to read it because of good memory and inelligence of the people 5.000 years ago. When the age of degradation and materialism came great sage Srila Vyasadeva wrote it down and divided it for easy reference.
There were three Vedas: the Rig veda (speaks about recitation of hymns dedicated to various demigods), the Yajur veda (speaks about how to perform vedic sacrifices properly) and the Sama veda (speaks about correct metrical singing of hymns and it is used by priests during various rituals) and after that the Atharva veda was wtitten (speaks about various mystic subjects...). In the end the fifth Veda which includes Mahabharata, Ramayana and different Puranas came into existance...
The Vedas give us instructions how to insure good reactions or even better; how to get rid of this vicious circle... They tell us that spiritual actions are really the only efficient way of action because spiritual actions insure us freedom from the chains of karma. Spiritual action is the action in God's service and it's the essence of bhakti yoga. It awakes our love for Krishna by destroying our desire to enjoy separately from Him what is the root of our karmic bands.
The Vedas can be also devided like this:
1. Sruti (hearing) or the announcement which came into existence together with the world. These are the sounds of the Vedas; the natural principle. Four original Vedas; Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva together with their philosophical comments of Upanishada appertain to sruti.
2. Smrti – (memory) – Puranas and Itihasas (for example Srimad Bhagavatam). There are 18 Puranas and they explain learnings of the the four Vedas. They are called the fifth Veda. Mahabharata together with Bhagavad-gita belong here.
3. Nyaya – such as Vedanta-sutra, philosophical script which contains the essence of all Vedas intended for learned man and philosophers.
Categories of Vedic text can be devided into 4 divisions:
1. Samhita – the collection of metrical texts; mantras...
2. Brahmanas - prosaic text; speaks about different details in sacrifices and rituals...
3. Aranyaka - various mystic, "dangerous processes"
4. Upanishada – the great philosophical work; mainly dialogues; they mainly deal with spirituality...
Vedic literature is rich in different branches of knowledge; from material to spiritual (altogether 1130 branches of knowledge). The meaning of the Vedas applies to philosophical and religious field, to social, guiding-moral and to the field of mental and physical health. Thanks to such a diversified knowledge which comes in every "
pore" of life, an individual in Vedic society has been protected from adverse results of actions. The Vedas apply to the people of different levels of consciousness; from almost atheistic to those who worship personal aspect of the Apsolute. Therefore, the Vedas prescribe various activities which can gradually raise a doer to transcendental goal.
In India there are various schools which base their learnings on Vedic knowledge... Among numerous, different schools there are vaisnava's schools (sampradayas) and among all them Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya with its the most eminent representative, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is the most famous in the West. His work represents the real treasury of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture. Our temple in Karlovac is also a part of this Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya.