The primary scripture for a non-professional Vedic learner, who goes to Veda class in the evenings after college or work, is the purusha sooktham.
This is one of the scriptures describing the Indian concepts of creation of universe. Let me try to put down a primer on what I find in that, in this post.
It states that the universe initiated from an all powerful source called the Purusha. This could be equated to the Vishwaroopa of SrimanNaryaana and to the Lingodbhavam of Prameshwara. The description of the purusha with thousands of eyes and feet, corresponds to the endless huuuge body of energy believed to be the source of the universe. [The Aum is believed to be the vibration resulting from the primordial energy].
“chandrama manasojathaha, saksho sooryo ajayatha,
mukhadindrascha agnischa, pranadh vayurajayacha,
Then the scriptures go on to describe that the sky are created, the moons created from the manas of Purusha, the Sun from his eyes, the air from his breath. The creation of seasons et al.
How did all of these get created?? Is it that, the concentration of energy creates matter, as much as splitting of matter to generate energy.
Yes, the sookta says, the creation happend when there there was a yagnya with Purusha. Though yagnya literally means sacrifice, it also means determination, concentration.
This scripture emphasises the theory of advaita. Understandably, stating that the whole of this universe is one, manifested in multiple forms.
Along with this there is an important social aspect to this. There is the verse which says,
“Brahmanosya mukhamaseeth, bahoo rajanya kruthaha,
Ooru thathasya yadh vaishyaha, padhyaghum shoodro ajayath.”
It means, Brahmins came from the face, Kshatriyas from the shoulders, Vaishyas from the thighs, and shoodras from the feet.
Vedic bashers, and self-proclaimed social equality champions, argue vehemently that, this is the proof that Veda splits the society, and puts the brahmanas as superior and shoodras as inferior.
I would look at these verses as
1. A great one to establish equality. Yes, it says all of us are born of the same father/parent.
2. The verse never mentions about superiority of one class and inferiority of the other.
3. The organ from which they were born perform the similar function to the body as they do to the society.
[Brahmins were supposed to take up education and brighten the society, as a face does, the kshatriyas are from shoulders which are the primary source of self defence, the vaishyas from thighs, where extra fat and nutrienst are deposited and used in time of need acting as bank/reserve, above all the shoodra is the one who carries the society though, like a feet does.] Thus each and every one of the varnas is equally important to the society as much as these organs are. Without any one of them the society is a crippled one.
There are a lot of literal translations in the net for this, which may sound a lot like a gradma's story, unless we use our discretion to think more on why it is said so.
Ps: The above views have come up purely out of my thought process, which is hence limited to the exposure I have to these scriptures.