Contrary to the views of many modern scholars the Vedic animal sacrifice did not
encourage meat-eating or the mistreatment of animals. Rather
it taught the common people, who could not be expected to be
vegetarian at that more primitive state of society, the
sacred nature of the animal and that it should only be
killed as an offering to the Gods. Hence the animal sacrifice
instilled not only a reverence for the sacred but also a
respect for animal life, which was seen as belonging to the
Important Brahmanas are the
Aitareya, Shatapatha, Kaushitaki, Taittiriya and Chandogya.
They are longer, sometimes much longer than their respective
Upanishads. This is not because they were more important but
because their teaching was more complex. However, they
repeat a certain set ritual and so are all variations on the
same teaching. The rituals were aligned with the seasons and
the equinoxes and were the basis for the calendar the
Text : The Aranyakas
Between the Brahmanas and
Upanishads are a few secondary texts. These are called
Aranyakas or Forest texts to be used by those who left
society to reside in the forest to gain spiritual knowledge.
They combine ritual passages with philosophical texts and
some Upanishads are contained within them or appendices to
them. An important Aranyaka is the Taittiriya.