Veda Studies and Knowledge

The Sanskrit word Véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know"

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Yajur Veda


    English pronunciation : véda / Vētā / Vētam / Vēdham āyvukaḷ / ñāṉam Vaḷarcci Peṟa / Rikvēdaṁ / Rik vētam / Yajūr vētam / Sāma vētam / Atarvaṉa vētam / Sanskrit संस्कृतम् : वेद / Tamil தமிழ் : வேதா / வேதம் ஆய்வுகள் / ஞானம் வளர்ச்சி பெற / ரிக் வேதம் / யஜூர் வேதம் / சாம வேதம் / அதர்வன வேதம்
    Bahasa Melayu : Rigvéda / Yajurveda / Sāmavéda / Atharvavéda / Malayalam : not_available / Telugu : రుగ్వేదం ( Rugvēdaṁ ) / యజుర్వేదం ( Yajurvēdaṁ) / సామవేదం ( Sāmavēdaṁ ) / అధర్వ వేదం ( Adharva vēdaṁ ) / Français : not_available

    vAjasaneyi Yajurveda

    Above Image : vAjasaneyi Yajurveda

    Yajurveda Sanskrit

    The Yajurveda, ( a tatpurusha compound of "sacrificial formula', + véda ) is the third of the 4 canonical texts of Hinduism, the Védas. By some, it is estimated to have been composed between 1400 and 1000 BC, the Yajurveda 'Saṃhitā', or 'compilation', contains the liturgy ( mantras ) needed to perform the sacrifices of the religion of the Védic period, and the added Brāhmaṃā and Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtra add information on the interpretation and on the details of their performance.

    The Yajurveda Saṃhitā consists of archaic prose mantras and also in part of verses borrowed and adapted from the Rigvéda. Its purpose was practical, in that each mantra must accompany an action in sacrifice but, unlike the Sāmavéda, it was compiled to apply to all sacrificial rites, not merely the Somayajna. There are two major groups of recensions of this véda, known as the "Black" ( Krishna ) and "White" ( Shukla ) Yajurveda ( Krishna and Shukla Yajurveda respectively ). While White Yajurveda separates the Saṃhitā from its Brāhmaṃā ( the Shatapatha Brāhmaṃā ), the e Black Yajurveda intersperses the Saṃhitā with Brāhmaṃā commentary. Of the Black Yajurveda 4 major recensions survive ( Maitrayani, Katha, Kapisthala-Katha, Taittiriya ).

    Recensions

    There are 2 primary versions or Saṃhitās of the Yajurveda: Shukla ( white ) and Krishna ( black ). Both contain the verses necessary for rituals, but the Krishna Yajurveda includes the Brāhmaṃā prose discussions mixed within the Saṃhitā, while the Shukla Yajurveda has separately a Brāhmaṃā text, the Shatapatha Brāhmaṃā.

    Shukla Yajurveda

    The Shukla Yajurveda is represented by the Vajasaneyi Saṃhitā. The name Vajasaneyi is derived from Vajasaneya, patronymic of sage Yajnavalkya, an authority and according to tradition, founder of the Vajasaneyi branch. The Vajasaneyi Saṃhitā has forty chapters or adhyayas, containing the formulas used with the following rituals :

    1.-2.: New and Full Moon sacrifices
    3.: Agnihotra
    4.-8.: Somayajna
    9.-10.: Vajapeya and Rajasuya, 2 modifications of the Soma sacrifice
    11.-18.: construction of altars and hearths, especially the Agnicayana
    19.-21.: Sautramani, a ritual originally counteracting the effects of excessive Soma-drinking
    22.-25.: āŚvamedha
    26.-29.: supplementary formulas for various rituals
    30.-31.: Purushamedha
    32.-34.: Sarvāmedha
    35.: Pitriyajna
    36.-39.: Pravargya
    40.: the final adhyaya is the famous Isha Upanishad or Upaniṣads

    There are 2 ( nearly identical ) shakhas or recensions of the Vajasaneyi Saṃhitā ( VS ) :

    • Vajasaneyi Madhyandina ( VSM ), originally of Mithila ( Bihar ), comprises 40 Adhyayas ( but 41 in the Orissa tradition ), 303 Anuvakas, 1975 verses
    • Vajasaneyi Kanva, originally of Kosala ( VSK ), found to be the first shakha of Shukla Yajurveda, according to the legends of the Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana. It comprises 40 Adhyayas, 328 Anuvakas, 2086 Verses. Thus have 111 verses more than the Madhyandiniya Saṃhitā.

    Both the Kanva and Madhyandina Saṃhitās have been transmitted with the common anudatta, udatta, and svarita accentuation ( unlike the two-tone bhasika accent of the Shatapatha Brāhmaṃā ).

    The Madhyandina Saṃhitā is popular in all over North India, Gujarat, parts of Mahārashtra ( north of Nashik ) and thus commands a numerous following. The Kanva Shakha is popular in parts of Mahārashtra ( south of Nashik ), Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu. SureshvarAchãrya, one of the four main disciples of Jagadguru Adi Shankara, is said to have followed the Kanva shakha. The Guru himself followed the Taittiriya Shakha with the Apastamba KalpaSũtra.

    The Védic rituals of the Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, the second biggest temple in India, are performed according to the Kanva shakha. The Jayakhya Saṃhitā of Pañcaratra says its followers are from Kanva shakha.

    The extant Āraṇyakas, Upanishad or Upaniṣads, Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtras, GṛhyaSũtras and Pratishakhyas are same for both Madhayndina and Kanva shakhas. The Shukla Yajurveda has two Upanishad or Upaniṣads associated with it : the Ishavasya, as the last part of te Saṃhitā, and the Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad or Upaniṣads, the last part of the Shatapatha Brāhmaṃā. The Brihadāraṇyaka Upanishad or Upaniṣads is the most voluminous of all Upanishad or Upaniṣads. Other texts are Kātyāyana Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtra, Paraskara GṛhyaSũtra and Shukla Yajurveda Pratishakhya. The Shukla Yajurvedins ( followers of the Shukla Yajurveda ) are sometimes called the Kātyāyanas.

    Krishna Yajurveda

    There are 4 recensions of the Krishna Yajurveda :

    • Taittirīya Saṃhitā ( TS ) originally of Panchala
    • Maitrayani Saṃhitā ( MS ) originally of the area south of Kurukshetra
    • Caraka-Kaṭha Saṃhitā ( KS ) originally of Madra and Kurukshetra
    • Kapiṣṭhala-Kaṭha Saṃhitā ( KapS ) of the southern Punjab and Bahika

    Each of the recensions has or had a Brāhmaṃā associated with it, and most of them also have associated Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtras, GṛhyaSũtras, Āraṇyakas, Upanishad or Upaniṣads and Pratishakhyas.

    The Taittiriya Shakha

    The best known and best preserved of these recensions is the Taittirīya Saṃhitā, named after Tittiri, a pupil of Yaska and an authority according to Panini., Tittiri in Sanskrit means partridge, and according to a legend, Yajnavalkya had quickly grasped a portion of the Yajurveda, but due to his arrogance, he was asked to eject out the portion by his teacher, who was incensed by his attitude. By his learned knowledge, he was able to retch out what he had studied. This regurgitated portion was swallowed by a covey of partridges and known as the TS.

    The Taittirīya Saṃhitā consists 7 books or Kāṇḍas, subdivided in chapters or prapathakas, further subdivided into individual sections ( anuvakas ). Some individual hymns in this Saṃhitā have gained particular importance in Hinduism; e.g. TS 4.5 and TS 4.7 constitute the Rudram Chamakam, while 1.8.6.i is the Shaivaite Tryambakam mantra. The beejas bhūr bhuvaḥ suvaḥ prefixed to the ( Rigvédic ) Savitur Gayatri mantra are also from the Yajurveda. The Taittiriya recension of the Black Yajurveda is the shakha now most prevalent in southern India. Among the followers of this Shakha, the Apastamba Sũtras are the common. The Taittiriya Shakha consists of Taittiriya Saṃhitā ( having 7 Kāṇḍas ), Taittiriya Brāhmaṃā ( having 3 Kāṇḍas ), Taittiriya āraṇyaka ( having 7 prashnas ) ( See āraṇyaka Literature ), Taittiriya Upanishad or Upaniṣads ( having 3 prashnas or vallis – Shiksha valli, Ananda valli and Bhrigu valli ) and the Mahānarayana Upanishad or Upaniṣads. The Taittiriya Upanishad or Upaniṣads and Mahānarayana Upanishad or Upaniṣads are considered to be the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth prashnas of the āraṇyaka. The words prapathaka and Kāṇḍa ( meaning sections ) are interchangeably used in Védic literature. Prashna and valli refer to sections of the āraṇyaka.

    7 schools of Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtras and GṛhyaSũtras are related to the Taittiriya Shakha. These are :

    1. Apastamba
    2. Agniveshya
    3. Baudhayana
    4. Hiraṇyakeshi
    5. Vaikhanasa
    6. Bharadvaja
    7. Vadhula

    There is another short tract apart from the above, commonly known as Ekagni Kāṇḍa, which mainly consists of mantra-s used in the marriage and other rituals.

    The Maitrayani Shakha

    Propounded by Sage Maitreya, the followers of this shakha reside in northern parts of Mahārastra and Gujarat. The Maitrayani Saṃhitā differs to some extent in content from the Taittiriyas, as well as in some different arrangement of chapters. Its Brāhmaṃā portions are mixed with the Mantra sections, like in the Taittiriya Saṃhitā. The well known Maitrayaniya Upanishad or Upaniṣads and Maitrayaniya āraṇyaka belong to this shakha.

    Two schools of the Shrauta (Śrauta)Sũtras, GṛhyaSũtras and Shulba Sũtras are related to this shakha :

    1. Manava
    2. Vārāha

    Other Shakhas

    The Caraka-Katha and Kapisthala shakhas are available with their texts. Previously Brāhmiṇs of Kashmir and Punjab were the followers of these shakhas; nowadays only the Kashmiris follow the Gṛhya rituals of the Katha Shakha.

    The Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā or the Caraka-Kaṭha Saṃhitā, according to tradition was compiled by Katha, a disciple of Vaisampayana. Its contents are less complete comparing to the Taittiriya Saṃhitā. It comprises 40 chapters, apparently originally arranged into 5 books. The Kapiṣṭhala Saṃhitā or the Kapiṣṭhala-Kaṭha Saṃhitā, named after sage Kapisthala is extant only in some large fragments. This text is practically a variant of the Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā.

    The well known Laugakshi GrihyaSũtra ( or Kathaka Gṛhya Sũtra ) is associated with the Kathaka Sakha and is used, in Paddhati form, by Kashmiri Brāhmiṇs.

    Data Arrangement, Technical Arrangement & Graphics
    • Master Murugan Chillayah - Silambam Academy
    References ( Yajurveda )
    • Dowson, John (1984) [1879]. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History. pg.319
    • Gonda, Jan1975. A History of Indian Literature: véda and Upanishad or Upaniṣads. Vol.I. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. pp. 326–7
    • Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith, The Texts of the White Yajurveda. Translated with a Popular Commentary (1899)
    • Devi Chand, The Yajurveda. Sanskrit text with English translation. Third thoroughly revised and enlarged edition (1980)
    • The Sanhitâ of the Black Yajurveda with the Commentary of Mâdhava ‘Achârya, Calcutta (10 volumes, 1854–1899)
    • Kumar, Pushpendra, Taittiriya Brāhmaṃām (Krsnam Yajurveda), 3 vols., Delhi (1998)

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