Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
VEDIC PERIOD]
163
SANSKRIT


out as the Aitareyopanishad,[1] ascribed, like its Brāhmaṇa (and the first book), to Mahidāsa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the Saṃhitā-upanishad. As regards the Kaushītaki-āraṇyaka,[2] this work consists of fifteen adhyāyas, the first two (treating of the mahāvrata ceremony) and the seventh and eighth of which correspond to the first, fifth, and third books of the Aitareyāraṇyaka respectively, whilst the four adhyāyas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushītaki- (brāhmaṇa-) upanishad,[3] of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (9-15) of the Āraṇyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, &c., ending with the vaṃśa, or succession of teachers. Of Kalpa-sūtras, or manuals of sacrificial Sūtras of Ṛigveda. ceremonial,[4] composed for the use of the hotar priest, two different sets are in existence, the Āśvalāyana- and the Śānkhāyana-sūtra. Each of these works follows one of the two Brāhmaṇas of the Ṛik as its chief authority, viz. the Aitareya and Kaushītaka respectively. Both consist of a Srauta- and a Gṛihya-sūtra. Āśvalāyana seems to have lived about the same time as Pāṇini (? c. 400 B.C.)—his own teacher, Śaunaka, who completed the Ṛik-prātiśākhya, being probably intermediate between the great grammarian and Yāska, the author of the Nirukta. Śaunaka himself is said to have been the author of a Śrauta-sūtra (which was, however, more of the nature of a Brāhmaṇa) and to have destroyed it on seeing his pupil's work. A Gṛihya-sūtra is still quoted under his name by later writers. The Āśvalāyana Śrauta-sūtra[5] consists of twelve, the Gṛihya of four, adhyāyas.

Regarding Sānkhāyana still less is known; but he, too, was doubtless a comparatively modern writer, who, like Āśvalāyana, founded a new school of ritualists. Hence the Kaushītaki-brāhmaṇa, adopted (and perhaps improved) by him, also goes under his name, just as the Aitareya is sometimes called Āśvalāyana-brāhmaṇa. The Sānkhāyana Śrauta-sūtra consists of eighteen adhyāyas. The last two chapters of the work are, however, a later addition,[6] while the two preceding chapters, on the contrary, present a comparatively archaic, brāhmaṇa-like appearance. The Gṛihya-sūtra[7] consists of six chapters, the last two of which are likewise later appendages. The Sāmbavya Gṛihya-sūtra, of which a single MS. is at present known, seems to be closely connected with the preceding work. Professor Bühler also refers to the Ṛigveda the Vāsishṭha-dharmaśātra,[8] composed of mixed sūtras and couplets.

A few works remain to be noticed, bearing chiefly on the textual form and traditionary records of the Ṛik-saṃhitā. In our remarks on the Vedāngas, the Prātiśākhyas have already been referred to as the chief repositories of śikshā or Vedic phonetics. Among these works the Ṛik-prātiśākhya[9] occupies the first place. The original composition of this important work is ascribed to the same Śākalya from whom the vulgate recension of the (Śākala) Saṃhitā takes its name. He is also said to be the author of the existing Padapāṭha (i.e. the text-form in which each word is given unconnected with those that precede and follow it), which report may well be credited, since the pada-text was doubtless prepared with a view to an examination, such as is presented in the Prātiśākhya, of the phonetic modifications undergone by words in their syntactic combination. In the Prātiśākhya itself, Śākalya's father (or Śākalya the elder) is also several times referred to as an authority on phonetics, though the younger Śākalya is evidently regarded as having improved on his father's theories. Thus both father and son probably had a share in the formulation of the rules of pronunciation and modification of Vedic sounds. The completion or final arrangement of the Ṛik-prātiśākhya, in its present form, is ascribed to Śaunaka, the reputed teacher of Āśvalāyana. Śaunaka, however, is merely a family name (“descendant of Śunaka”), which is given even to the ṛishi Gṛitsamada, to whom nearly the whole of the second maṇḍala of the Ṛik is attributed. How long after Śākalya this particular Śaunaka lived we do not know; but some generations at all events would seem to lie between them, considering that in the meantime the Śākalas, owing doubtless to minor differences on phonetic points in the Saṃhitā text, had split into several branches, to one of which, the Śaiśira (or Śaiśiriya) school, Śaunaka belonged. While Śākalya is referred to both by Yāska and Pāṇini, neither of these writers mentions Śaunaka. It seems, nevertheless, likely, for several reasons, that Pāṇini was acquainted with Śaunaka's work, though the point has by no means been definitely settled. The Ṛik-prātiśākhya is composed in mixed ślokas, or couplets of various metres, a form of composition for which Śaunaka seems to have had a special predilection. Besides the Prātiśākhya, and the Gṛihya-sūtra mentioned above, eight other works are ascribed to Śaunaka, viz. the Bṛihaddevatā,[10] an account, in epic ślokas, of the deities of the hymns, which supplies much valuable mythological information; the Ṛig-vidhāna,[11] a treatise, likewise in epic metre, on the magic effects of Vedic hymns and verses; the Pāda-vidhāna, a similar treatise, apparently no longer in existence; and five different indexes or catalogues (anukramaṇī) of the ṛishis, metres, deities, sections (anuvāka) and hymns of the Ṛigveda. It is, however, doubtful whether the existing version of the Bṛihaddevatā is the original one; and the Ṛigvidhāna would seem to be much more modern than Śaunaka's time. As regards the Anukramaṇīs, they seem all to have been composed in mixed ślokas; but, with the exception of the Anuvākānukramaṇī, they are only known from quotations, having been superseded by the Sarvānukramaṇī,[12] or complete index, of Kātyāyana. Both these indexes have been commented upon by Shaḍguruśishya, towards the end of the 12th century of our era.

B. Sāma-veda.—The term sāman, of uncertain derivation, denotes a solemn tune or melody to be sung or chanted to a rich or verse. Sāmaveda-saṃhitā. The set chants (stotra) of the Soma sacrifice are as a rule performed in triplets, either actually consisting of three different verses, or of two verses which, by the repetition of certain parts, are made, as it were, to form three. The three verses are usually chanted to the same tune; but in certain cases two verses sung to the same tune had a different sāman enclosed between them. One and the same sāman or tune may thus be sung to many different verses; but, as in teaching and practising the tunes the same verse was invariably used for a certain tune, the term “sāman,” as well as the special technical names of sāmans, are not infrequently applied to the verses themselves with which they were ordinarily connected, just as one would quote the beginning of the text of an English hymn, when the tune usually sung to that hymn is meant. For a specimen of the way in which sāmans are sung, see Burnell, Ārsheyabrāhmaṇa, p. xlv. seq.

The Indian chant somewhat resembles the Gregorian or Plain Chant.[13] Each sāman is divided into five parts or phrases (prastāva, or prelude, &c.), the first four of which are distributed between the several chanters, while the finale (nidhana) is sung in unison by all of them.

In accordance with the distinction between ṛich or text and sāman or tune, the sāman-hymnal consists of two parts, viz. the Sāmaveda-saṃhitā, or collection of texts (ṛich) used for making up sāman-hymns, and the Gāna, or tune-books, song-books. The textual matter of the Saṃhitā consists of somewhat under 1600 different verses, selected from the Ṛik-saṃhitā, with the exception of some seventy-five verses, some of which have been taken from Khila hymns, whilst others which also occur in the Atharvan or Yajurveda, as well as such not otherwise found, may perhaps have formed part of some other recension of the Ṛik. The Sāmaveda-saṃhitā[14] is divided into two chief parts, the pūrva- (first) and the uttara- (second) ārchika. The second part contains the texts of the sāman-hymns, arranged in the order in which they are actually required for the stotras or chants of the various Soma sacrifices. The first part, on the other hand, contains the body of tune-verses, or verses used for practising the several sāmans or tunes upon—the tunes themselves being given in the Grāma-geya-gāna (i.e. songs to be sung in the village), the tune-book specially belonging to the Pūrvārchika. Hence the latter includes all the first verses of those triplets of the second part which had special tunes peculiar to them, besides the texts of detached sāmans occasionally used outside the regular ceremonial, as well as such as were perhaps


  1. Edited and translated by Dr Röer, in the Bibl. Ind. The last chapter of the second book, not being commented upon by Sāyaṇa, is probably a later addition.
  2. Translated by A. B. Keith (1908), who has also published (as an appendix to his ed. of the Aitareyāraṇyaka) the text of adhy. 7-15; whilst W. F. Friedländer edited adhy. 1 and 2 (1900). Cf. Keith, J.R.As.S. (1908), p. 363 sqq., where the date of the first and more original portion (adhy. 1-8) is tentatively fixed at 600-550 B.C.
  3. Text, commentary and translation published by E. B. Cowell, in the Bibl. Ind. Also a translation by F. Max Müller in S.B.E. vol. i.
  4. Cf. A. Hillebrandt, “Ritual-Litteratur,” in Bühler's Gruudriss 1897).
  5. Both works have been published with the commentary of Gārgya Nārāyaṇa, by native scholars. in the Bibl. Ind. Also the text of the Gṛihya, with a German translation, by A. Stenzler.
  6. See A. Weber's analysis, Ind. Studien, ii. 288 seq. The work was edited by Hillebrandt, in Bibl. Ind.
  7. Edited, with a German translation, by H. Oldenberg (Ind. Stud. vol. xv.), who also gives an account of the Sāmbavya Gṛihya. An English translation in S.B.E. vol. xxix. by the same scholar, who would assign the two sūtra works to Sarvajna Śānkhāyana, whilst the Brāhmaṇa (and Āraṇyaka) seem to him to have been imparted by Kahola Kaushītaki to Guṇakhya Śānkhāyana.
  8. Text with Kṛishṇapaṇḍita's commentary, published at Benares; also critically edited by A. A. Führer (Bombay, 1883); translation by G. Bühler in S.B.E. vol. xiv.
  9. Edited, with a French translation, by A. Regnier, in the Journal Asiatique (1856-1858); also, with a German translation, by M. Müller (1869).
  10. Edited, with translation, by A. A. Macdonell (2 vols.), in the Harvard Or. series (1904).
  11. Edited R. Meyer (Berlin, 1878).
  12. Edited, with commentary, by A. A. Macdonell (Oxford, 1886).
  13. Burnell, Ārsheyabrāhmaṇa, p. xli.
  14. Edited and translated by J. Stevenson (1843); a critical edition, with German translation and glossary, was published by Th. Benfey (1848); also an edition, with the Gānas and Sāyaṇa's commentary, by Satyavrata Sāmāśramī, in the Bibl. Ind. in 5 vols.; and Eng. trans. by R. H. T. Griffith (Benares, 1893).