You may think of Veda as the records of an ancient culture of the Indus valley that spread east across the Ganges plain and the rest of modern India.
You may think of the Veda as a bunch of old books – some of them the oldest surviving texts. But those where written down to save the loss of a much older oral tradition.
You may think Veda is the yagyas (prescribed performances) you see the pandits performing. But those are performances from the Veda, not the Veda itself.
You may think Veda is Sanskrit chanting, enlivening the old verses. But this again is memorized verses, often passed down in the family of the original cognizers of the verses.
The core Vedic texts are compilations of key cognitions of some of histories greatest seers. The oral and written traditions are recordings of them in a language that mimics nature.
What then are Cognitions?
Fundamentally, cognitions are the direct experience of core memories (Smriti) in Divine mind. These experiences are far more comprehensive than typical sensory or inner experiences. They are like seeds of profound understanding.
Veda means knowledge. We could say cognitions are the unpacking of this knowledge into experience, enlivening it in creation. Primary cognitions bring new qualities into creation, furthering its evolution.
I explored the types of cognition and the way we can “replay” the recorded verses on the Ritam (bliss kosha) level in this article. While the seer is the one to unfold it, others can enliven it and many can replay it.
We could say the Vedic record is descriptions of the blueprint of creation but told in the context of the time and culture of the cognizer. The context is an ancient Indian culture that supported and sustained it but the actual Veda’s are not Indian or even human. In fact, there are memories for other creations altogether, nothing like our own.
This, and a language capable of covering the experience is why I formally studied the subject and lean on Sanskrit terminology. I know this adds a layer of complexity for those unfamiliar but once understood, it covers the territory so much better than English can.