The Vedas as we see them today were recompiled in the holy Kurukṣetra. Śrī D.K.Hari has nicely listed the parts on which there is complete clarity –
- The Mahārāja: Person who commissioned its compilation – King Shantanu,
- The Veda-Vyāsa: Chief-Compiler and Guru of All (Brahma Tejas) – Rishi Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana
- The Kartā: Benefactor who administered and funded the project (Kṣatra Tejas) – Bhīśma
- The time frame when it was carried out – after the death of King Shantanu,
- The duration for which the compilation went on – 12 years,
- The geography for the assemblage of the vedic scholars who compiled it – Kurukṣetra,
- The purpose for this effort of compilation – structuring and preservation of the Veda.
The Viṣṇu Purāṇa teaches that Bhagavan takes avatāra in the end of every dvāpara yuga to divide the Vedas, which is always one mass of knowledge to enable its study as the intelligence of Human beings begins to decline. There were 27 Veda Vyāsa prior to him and Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana was the 28th Veda Vyāsa. Unlike previous occasions when the Veda was divided into three parts, this time the Veda Vyāsa divided it into four parts directly for the Kali Yuga.
In addition he also composed the Brahma Sūtra and taught the Upaniṣad, Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka etc., which were recorded by his successors. The Śrīmad Bhagavataṁ describes how Veda Vyāsa was overcome by frustration in spite of having accomplished so much and done such masterly service for the benefit of mankind. His heart was uneasy as he felt that the work was incomplete, as if missing an essential thread. He spent much time in reflecting and always arrived at the same uncomfortable ‘incomplete’ conclusion. At this juncture Nārada appeared and advised Vyāsa to sing the glory of Śrī Viṣṇu to overcome this depressive mood. The mantra that Veda Vyāsa Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana sang must be the one he has engraved as his signature mantra at the start of the Bhagavata Purāṇa –
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
Thereafter he wrote the Bhagavata Purāṇa and taught this to his son Sukadeva.
The Veda has six ‘body’ parts called vedāñga. The vedāṅga are six auxiliary disciplines traditionally associated with the Vedas to facilitate its study and understanding.
- Shiksha (śiksā): phonetics and phonology (sandhi),
- Kalpa (kalpa): ritual,
- Vyakarana (vyākarana): grammar,
- Nirukta (nirukta): etymology,
- Chandas (chandas): meter,
- Jyotisha (jyotiṣa): astronomy and astrology including calendar
Traditionally, vyākarana and nirukta are common to all four Vedas, while each veda has its own śiksā, chandas, kalpa and jyotisa texts. The Vedangas are first mentioned in the Mundaka Upanishad (1.1.5) as subjects for students of the Vedas. Later, they developed into independent disciplines, each with its own corpus of Sutras.