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The Atharva is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life". The text is the fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.

The Atharva (Sanskrit: अथर्ववेद, Atharvaveda from atharvāṇas and veda meaning "knowledge") is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life". The text is the fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.

The Atharvaveda is composed in Vedic Sanskrit, and it is a collection of 730 hymns with about 6,000 mantras, divided into 20 books. About a sixth of the Atharvaveda text adapts verses from the Rigveda, and except for Books 15 and 16, the text is in poem form deploying a diversity of Vedic meters. Two different recensions of the text – the Paippalāda and the Śaunakīya – have survived into modern times. Reliable manuscripts of the Paippalada edition were believed to have been lost, but a well-preserved version was discovered among a collection of palm leaf manuscripts in Odisha in 1957.

The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas", an epithet declared to be incorrect by other scholars. The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine. Many books of the Atharvaveda Samhita are dedicated to rituals without magic and to theosophy. The text, states Kenneth Zysk, is one of oldest surviving record of the evolutionary practices in religious medicine and reveals the "earliest forms of folk healing of Indo-European antiquity".

It was likely compiled as a Veda contemporaneously with Samaveda and Yajurveda, or about 1200 BC - 1000 BC. Along with the Samhita layer of text, the Atharvaveda includes a Brahmana text, and a final layer of the text that covers philosophical speculations. The latter layer of Atharvaveda text includes three primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy. These include the Mundaka Upanishad, the Mandukya Upanishad and the Prashna Upanishad.

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