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By Swami Harshananda

Āmnāya literally means ‘that which is committed to memory’.

The Vedas, the basic scriptures, are known by several other names :

  • Śruti - They are called ‘śruti’ since they are ‘heard’ (śru = to hear) by the disciples from the mouth of the teacher.
  • Āmnāya - They are known as ‘āmnāya’ since they are learnt by rote, committed to memory (mnā = to commit to memory, to repeat) and are handed down traditionally from the teacher to the disciple.
  • Trayī - They are ‘trayi,’ ‘a group of three’ since Rgveda, Yajurveda and Sāmaveda, the three earlier compilations were always considered together.

The word is sometimes used in the sense of kula or lineage and sariipradāya or tradition as also ācāra or custom.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore