Vedas and Upanishads : Know difference between them here !

Safalta expert Published by: Gitika Jangir Updated Wed, 11 May 2022 10:44 PM IST


Clear all your queries related to Vedas and Upanishads here with Safalta. Get to know the differences between Vedas and Upanishads and important questions related to it.

There are many ancient books and text scripts which give knowledge about religions, rituals, etc. They give an idea about the beliefs and cultural values of religion of the religion. They are often preserved so that the beliefs can be transferred to future generations as well. Two of such text scripts are Vedas and Upanishads which give much knowledge about Hinduism. The s differences covered here will help to provide a better picture of the Vedas vs Upanishads.  FREE GK EBook- Download Now.

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Difference between Vedas and Upanishads. 

The Vedas and Upanishads differ in that the Vedas were written to preserve information on religious customs, traditions, and philosophical thoughts, but the Upanishads are written philosophical thoughts of men and women that focus primarily on spiritual enlightenment.  The Vedas were written between 1200 and 400 B.C.E., while the Upanishads were written between 700 and 400 B.C.E.


The Vedas are Hindu scriptures in the form of text scripts. The term "Veda" comes from a Sanskrit word that signifies "knowledge." The Vedas provide essential knowledge regarding the origins of existence and one's reaction to it. The Vedas are regarded as one of the world's oldest texts. They are sometimes referred to be scripture since they include holy texts about the Divine's nature. It differs from other religions' scriptures in that it does not focus on the thoughts of a certain person at a specific moment. In truth, it has always existed and was eventually discovered by sages.The Vedas were first passed down to students in an oral form by their masters for generations. The children were required to memorise the words correctly and pronounce them correctly so that they could be passed on without error. Later, people began to write these down, and the Vedas are now available in written form. The Vedas were committed to writing during a time period known as the Vedic Period, which lasted from 1500 to 500 B.C.E.

1. Rig Veda : The Rig Veda is the oldest of the works, consisting of ten books (mandalas) including 1028 hymns with a total of 10600 verses. These words discuss religious attendance and practise, based on universal insights that the sages who first heard them comprehended.

2. Sama Veda :  The Sama Veda is a collection of liturgical melodies, chants, and scriptures that are used as song lyrics. The Sama Veda's material is substantially similar to the Rig Veda's. Some academics even claim that the Rig Veda's words are the lyrics to the Sama Veda's melodies. The Sama Veda is broken into two sections: gana and arcika, and it contains 1549 verses. Sama Veda's tunes inspire dancing, and its words uplift the spirit.

3. Yajur Veda :  The Yajur Veda is a collection of worship formulas, mantras, and chants used in rituals. Although the material of the Yajur Veda is drawn from the Rig Veda, the liturgy of religious observances is the primary emphasis of its 1,875 verses. It is divided into two parts: "dark Yajur Veda" and "bright Yajur Veda." Dark Yajur Veda refers to verses that are clear and well-organized, whereas light Yajur Veda refers to verses that are ambiguous and disorganised.

4. Atharva Veda : The Atharva Veda differs from the other three Vedas in that it focuses on magic spells that are employed on a daily basis to ward off evil spirits, danger, chants, hymns, prayers, marriages, and funerals. The name Atharva comes from the priest Atharvan, who was a religious innovator and healer.


The Upanishads are Hinduism's philosophical religious literature. The word Upanishads means "sit down closely," implying that the pupil must pay close attention to the teacher. Spiritual Enlightenment is the central theme of the Upanishads. The Upanishads deal with ceremonial observance and a person's place in the universe, and it is through this process that one learns the core concepts of the supreme over the soul, God (Brahman), and the Atman, whose purpose is to connect with Brahman. 

There are between 18 and 200 Upanishads, however the following are the most well-known Upanishads that contribute to the four Vedas:
  1. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
  2. Chandogya Upanishad
  3. Taittiriya Upanishad
  4. Aitereya Upanishad
  5. Kausitaki Upanishad
  6. Kena Upanishad
  7. Katha Upanishad
  8. Isha Upanishad
  9. Svetasvatara Upanishad
  10. Mundaka Upanishad
  11. Prashna Upanishad
  12. Maitri Upanishad
  13. Mandukya Upanishad

Many Upanishads have uncertain origins and composition dates. The first six, Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, Aitereya Upanishad, Kausitaki Upanishad, and Kena Upanishad, are generally dated between 800-500 B.C.E. The last seven Upanishads have later dates. Some are linked to a certain sage, while others are unrelated.

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Vedas vs Upanishads 

The table given below comprises of difference between Vedas and Upanishads.
Parameter of Comparison Vedas Upanishads
Composition Period Vedas were composed during the period of 1200 to 400 B.C.E. Upanishads were written over the time period of 700 to 400 B.C.E.
Main Focus The main focus of Vedas are rituals, traditions, and uses. The main focus of the Upanishads is Spiritual Enlightement. 
Meaning of name Vedas means knowledge in Sanskrit. Upanishads means sitting near the feet of the teacher.
Types There are 4 Vedas namely: Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda. There are 14 popular Upanishads: Katha, Kena, Isa, Mundaka, Prasna, Taittiriya, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Svetasvatara and Maitrayani.
General The Vedas are different from each other in the physical form. The Upanishads are a subcategory of Veda and are present in the last section of Veda.

Importance difference between Vedas and Upanishads :

  1. The Vedas were written between 1200 and 400 B.C.E., whereas the Upanishads were written between 700 and 400 B.C.E. 
  2. The Vedas are concerned with rites, customs, and applications, but the Upanishads are concerned with spiritual enlightenment. 
  3. In Sanskrit, Vedas means "knowledge," whereas Upanishads means "sitting near the feet of the teacher."
  4. Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda are the four Vedas. Katha, Kena, Isa, Mundaka, Prasna, Taittiriya, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Kaushitaki, Svetasvatara, and Maitrayani are the 14 most well-known or important Upanishads. 
  5. The Vedas are physically distinct from one another, however the Upanishads are a subclass of Veda and are found in the final section of Veda.

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Which is the oldest Veda among the four?

According to scholars and sages, Rig Veda is one of the oldest and perplexing literature ever written.

When was Vedas and Upanishads written ?

The Vedas were written between 1200 and 400 B.C.E., whereas the Upanishads were written between 700 and 400 B.C.E.

What does Vedas and Upanishads mean in sanskrit ?

 In Sanskrit, Vedas means "knowledge," whereas Upanishads means "sitting near the feet of the teacher."

How many Vedas are there ?

There are 4 Vedas which are Rig veda, Sama veda, Yajur veda and Atharva Veda .

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