In the Indian tradition, the esoteric wisdom of the universe is called veda, a word coming from the Sanskrit root vid, “knowledge.” India's holy books, which contain the essence of this ancient wisdom, are therefore known as the Vedas.
According to Vaishnava tradition the Vedas "emanate" from God himself. Their knowledge was then carefully passed down from master to disciple. The communities of learning formed by these chains of teachers and their students are called sampradayas.
Vedic teachers sought to maintain the integrity of their oral tradition. When properly received, therefore, in disciplic succession, the Vedas remained devoid of imperfection and interpolation--qualities invariably associated with secular literature.
The verses in each of the thousands of Vedic texts conform to strict rules of poetry and meter and contain information on a wide variety of topics, such as medicine, agriculture, yoga, meditation, nutrition, architecture, military science, chemistry, physics, and politics. The Vedas are also filled with lessons in etiquette, moral values, and history, and complex philosophy and theology.
Most importantly, the Vedas and the body of literature that grew up around them explain our relationship with God, how to realize that relationship through devotional service, and the ultimate fulfillment of the soul.