The Vedas represent the most sacred heritage of the mankind.
The Vedas reflect the growth and development of human thought over a span of scores of centuries. They vividly present a picture of the transformation of a prakrit man into a sanskrit man.
The Vedas are regarded as divine in origin. They are referred to as apaurusheya. They are not produced by a couple of individuals. They are not composed by some poets or authors. The Vedas constitute the sublime knowledge revealed to our great ancestors while they were doing their penance. It is not an acquired knowledge. It is the sublime knowledge revealed to them in their meditation by the Supreme Divinity. The ancient sages, while doing their tapasya and sadhana, ‘heard’ the divine truths. Whatever was ‘heard’ or ‘revealed’ to the great sages was presented in the Vedas and the Upanishads.
The Vedas are eternal. They are timeless. They are without a beginning. They were not composed at a certain time. No doubt, they might have acquired the verbal form during certain period in history. They are timeless in the sense that they are beyond the confines of time. They are the eternal truths beyond the influence of time. Time or place can not affect the significance of the knowledge ‘contained’ in the Vedas.
The Vedas are divine and eternal. The Vedas are truly considered to be the boundless repository of “knowledge par excellence”.
The Vedas are known as the Shruti literature.
The Shruti is treated as the supreme and ultimate authority. The authentic Smriti literature has had its basis in the Shruti. Whenever a difference arises between the Shruti and the Smriti, the Shruti statement is accepted as the final word. Needless to say, the Smriti is to be interpreted in consonance with the Shruti. From time to time the Smriti might undergo modifications, but the Shruti can not be altered at all.
The ancient Rishis led a very pious life which was further sanctified by the austerity of penance. They could ‘hear’ the silence of the Divinity and could ‘see’ the Infinite. The Vedic Rishi is referred to as a drashta or a seer. The Vedic Rishis could ‘see’ even the transcendental truth as they were great ‘seers’. The ‘divine truths’ were revealed to them while they were in meditation on higher spiritual planes. The Vedas contain the ‘divine knowledge’ revealed to the great Rishis in their “Supra-normal Consciousness”, as Shri Aurobindo says.
The Vedas present the sublime form of knowledge. This knowledge is impersonal. It is divine. It is absolute, veritable and inviolable. It is eternal; it is timeless. It remains unaffected at all times, at all places, under all circumstances. Hence the Vedas are adjudged the Swatah Pramana or self-evident. That means their truths do not need any proof, support or elaboration.
The Vedas encompass the human life. They do not belong to a particular religion or a race or a country. They are the holy scriptures of Hinduism, but they equally belong to the human race. Dr. Radhakrishnan refers to the Vedas as "the earliest documents of the human mind."