A Living Portrait of India
Atharvaveda means the Veda of the Wise and the Old. It is associated with the name of the ancient poet Atharvan (The Wise Old One). It is also called Atharva-Angirasa, being associated with the name of another rishi, Angiras. Although later in age, the Atharvaveda reveals a more primitive culture than the Rigveda. The custom is to enumerate Yajurveda and Samaveda after the Rigveda, and mention Atharvaveda last. Atharvaveda contains about 6 thousand verses forming 731 poems and a small portion in prose. About one seventh of the Atharvaveda text is common to the Rigveda.
Atharvaveda contains first class poetry coming from visionary poets,
much of it being glorification of the curative powers of herbs and waters.
Many poems relate to diseases like cough and jaundice, to male and female
demons that cause diseases, to sweet-smelling herbs and magic amulets,
which drive diseases away. There are poems relating to sins and their
atonement, errors in performing rituals and their expiatory acts, political
and philosophical issues, and a wonderful hymn to Prithvi or