The Vedas have three sections: (1) mantra or sanhita, (2) brahman and (3) aranyak. Mantras are the invocative sentences related to the propitiation of the celestial gods to be used in the fire ceremonies (yagya) or for general prayer. There are also some parts in the mantra section that relate to supreme God (like the Purush Sookt of the Rigved (10/90) and the Ishopnishad, the 40th chapter of the Yajurved). Brahman section describes the details of the actual performance of the yagyas. Some part of it tells about the description of the worship of various almighty forms of God. Aranyak is like the final essence and the knowledge of the Vedas. It tells about God, His devotion and His supremacy. These are called the Upnishads. There are four Vedas: Rigved, Yajurved, Samved and Atharvaved. All the four have 1,180 branches. Accordingly there are 1,180 branches of the brahman section, and there are 1,180 Upnishads also. Only some branches of mantra and brahman section are available nowadays, but there are about 200 Upnishads which are still available.
As regards Vedic grammar, it was elaborated and expanded by quite a few Sages and Rishis and there was another book, the Nirukt, which explained the meaning of Vedic words. Later on Sage Panini wrote his grammar called Ashtadhyayi. It has a section called unadi which explains the formation of the words of Vedic sanhita. Panini, from a few sounds (like aiun, rilrik etc.) given by God Shiv, created the entire Sanskrit grammar. These are all Divine happenings on the material plane and are beyond the limits of material reasonings. There is no genius in the world who could create a perfect grammar from a few sounds, and this feature itself is the sure evidence that Sanskrit is a Divine manifestation on the material plane.
Along with all the sections of the four Vedas, the Upvedas (the subsidiary Vedas: sociology, science of defense, music and medicine), and the Vedangas (affiliates of the Vedas), which include Sanskrit grammar, dictionary and astrology, were also revealed by Brahma to the Rishis in the very beginning. They were again reproduced by Ved Vyas about 5,000 years ago. He also produced the Mahabharat. He dictated and God Ganesh noted it down because it was a huge book and it needed a Divine mind to write it correctly. He also reproduced the Ramayan which was originally written by Sage Valmiki 18 million years ago during the descension period of Bhagwan Ram.
The aim of our scriptures is to guide a soul towards God realization. Thus, from a worldly person up to a highly evolved soul, they provide proper information for everyone and designate the form of devotion to God. It is a general axiom of the Divine world that any person of any class, kind or nature, if he selflessly surrenders to the supreme God with loving faith and determination, he receives His Grace; and, with His Grace, on the complete purification of the heart, the devotee receives God realization. To establish the greatness of loving devotion to God, called bhakti, Bhagwan Ram and Krishn descend on the earth planet from time to time. The pastimes of Bhagwan Ram and Krishn are described in the Ramayan and the Bhagwatam. Thus, we see that all of our scriptures from the Vedas upto the Bhagwatam are the Divine manifestations.
The personality of Ved Vyas
Ved Vyas is one of the twenty-four descensions of God and every descension of God is absolute and eternal.
However, in the practical life, most of them had a father and a mother who were Divine personalities. Accordingly, Ved Vyas was the son of Sage Parashar. He was born like a grown-up person and immediately he set out to jungles. Soon after that he started revealing the scriptures. He lived during the time of King Shantanu, the grandfather of the Pandavas. Krishn Dwaipayan was his first name and Ved Vyas was the title because he revealed and systematized the mantras of the Vedas. He was also called Vadrayan because he lived for some time in the jungles of vadari (jungle of berries) in the Himalayas near Badrikashram. All of these names are famous in the scriptures, but for speaking convenience Ved Vyas or Bhagwan Ved Vyas is commonly used for him.
These are all Divine happenings. For your understanding you must know that Bhagwan Ved Vyas, who had conceived all of the scriptures in his Divine mind, systematically revealed them one after another. First he revealed the Vedas including all 1,180 Upnishads and the affiliates and subsidiaries, then the 17 Puranas, then 18 Uppuranas etc., then the Mahabharat and the Ramayan, and at the end the Bhagwatam which is called the Maha Puran (the supreme Puran). Ved Vyas taught these scriptures to his God realized disciples who retained them in their Divine mind.
The significance of the history, religion and the path to God.
A worldly being, drowning in the ocean of hopes and disappointments and looking for an escape from the miserable world, or desiring a state of his desired happiness, wants to know only three things: (a) Out of curiosity he wants to know the history of the past and he also wants to know if someone has really found perfect happiness in this world, (b) he wants to know what to do (in terms of following a religion) to know more about God and (c) if he believes in God he wants to know what is the true path to God.
All these three knowledges are beyond the limits of human intelligence: (a) The history of India of billions of years that includes the history of the Saints also; (b) the true religion that could specify the social and family rules and the true form of the good deeds to improve the pious quality of mankind; and (c) the path to God. Thus, God Himself reveals all these knowledges, because it’s only He Who knows them. As explained earlier He reveals these knowledges through His eternal Rishis, Sages and other Divine personalities. These Divine revelations, in general, are called the scriptures. Specifically they are called, (a) the Puranas which tell the total history of India, (b) the Vedas (sanhita and brahman) which tell about the general religion of the human beings as how to become good and do good and they also tell how to worship celestial gods in order to obtain material luxuries, and (c) the Upnishads which tell about the path to God.
Swami Prakashanand Saraswati