The Aranyakas are the forest books, the texts that give philosophical interpretations of the rituals. After a man has finished all his worldly duties ( taking care of parents, marrying off children etc.) he proceeds to the forest to spend the rest of his days in solitude and meditation. The Aranyakas are intended for such people, hence the name. It explains the different kinds of rituals to be performed in forest by people, who go for Vanaprastha.
The Aranyakas are expositions on the inner meaning of the Vedic hymns and sacrifices. The hymns are interpreted symbolically to gain an insight into the reasons for performing yajnas and thus deal with higher metaphysical concepts.
Aranyakas of Rig-veda
There are two Rig-vedic Aranyakas.
1 Ithareya Aranyaka
2 Kausheethaki Aranyaka
Aranyakas of Yajur-veda
There are two Yajur-vedic Aranyakas.
1 Maithrayaneeya Aranyaka
2 Thaiththareeya Aranyaka
- There is no Aranyakas for Sama and Atharva vedas.