Dhanurveda, or the Science of Archery is a Sanskrit work authored by Vaishta Ṛṣi and referenced in a number of ancient literatures. According to the Vishnu Pūrana it was one of the eighteen branches of knowledge taught by Bhṛgu Muni. The Mahābhārata mentions it along with the other Vedic śastras ennumerated there and specifically describes it as having a number of sutras. The Śukranīti-śastra mentions the Dhanur-Veda as an upaveda of the Yajur-veda. The Agnipurāna and Sāmrājya-Lakshmī-Pīthikā, a Shivaite Trantric literature also reference the Dhanur-Veda in describing the various positions and postures used by archers. According to the work itself, the Dhanur-Veda was introduced by the universal creator Brahmā and later taught by Śiva Mahādeva to Parashurama or "Ram of the Axe," the fiersome warrior-brahmana of ancient times. The written version is said to have been authored by Vasiṣṭha and taught to the kshatriya king Visvamitra.
The Dhanur-Veda is the Vedic Art of War. The original book of the Dhanur-veda is a samhita, one of the corollary texts in support of the original Vedas. Dhanur-Veda is a supplement to the Yajur-Veda, one of the oldest written books in the Sanskrit language and describes the code of war for kshatriyas or the warrior class. The word "dhanur" is derived from the word for bow, dhanisha, and means "martial arts" or the warrior's code where the word "Veda" means knowledge.
As a system of knowledge, the Vedas not only include philosophy as in ontology, metaphysics, and ethics as seen in the four Vedas and Upanishads, but also natural sciences such as medicine, as in the Ayur-Veda, and even the art of war as found in Dhanur Veda and even sex and the art of love as found in the Kama-Sutra. Where certain aspects of the Vedas tend toward spirituality and the goal of life, the Dhanur Veda concentrates on such practical aspects as self-defense and the defense of the State.