While grammar helps in the
understanding of words, nirukta provides a deeper interpretation that
is necessary to the study of the Vedas. In particular, nirukta
focuses on archaic words and phrases that have ancient usages but whose meanings have been lost in present day.
In general, the Vedangas provide insight
into not only the meaning of the Vedas but also the meters,
structure and language of the ancient text. They also provide
understanding of other post-Vedic texts and aspects of Hindu and yogic
In addition to nirukta, the Vedangas
- Shiksha - the study of phonology,
phonetics and pronunciation. This focuses on the letters of the
Sanskrit alphabet and the way words are combined and expressed in a
- Chhandas - the study of prosody,
which looks at poetic meter. This includes analyzing the number of
syllables per verse and any fixed patterns within them.
- Vyarkarana - the analysis of
grammar and linguistics in order to establish the precise way in
which words and sentences were constructed to express ideas.
- Kalpa - the focus on ritual
instructions, including for rites of passage. It also explores the
concepts of individual duty and proper conduct.
- Jyotisha - the study of
timekeeping. It deals with the astrological and astronomical aspects
of selecting the best dates and times to perform Vedic rituals and