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An Introduction To The Vedic Sakhas


Author Dr. Ganga Sagar Rai
Publisher Ratna Publications
Language Sanskrit & English
Edition 1990
Pages 144
Cover Hard Cover
Size 14 x 2 x 22 (l x w x h)
Item Code RPV0002
Other Dispatched in 1-3 days

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An Introduction To The Vedic Sakhas According to the Puranas and other literary records originally there was only one Veda and later on it developed into many branches which were called as Śākhās. For the sake of convenience in learning and performance of sacrifices this one original Veda was arranged into four Vedas. Though the Vedic Sakhās originated first from the original Vedic Samhitäs but later on other Vedic literature (such as Brähmaņas, Sütras, etc.) also caused the beginning of a new Śākhā. For the word Säkhä other equivalents are Caraņa and Bheda.

The word Śākhā stands for various sacred traditions preser- ved in different families of the Brahmanas who are followers of those Śākhās. Šākhās originated from the original Vedas, Primarily the word Śākhā denoted a certain group of literary documents which formed the subject of study. That is why we frequently meet with the term šākhā-madhite, (he reads the Śākhā). In this light it may be said that within the Sakha the Samhitä and allied literature was admitted. Mahādeva, a com- mentator of Hiranyakeśin’s Gṛhya Sūtra, says that Śākhā means a part of Svādhyāya comprising of Mantras and Brāhmņas.

Besides the Samhitās, Brāhmaņas, Aranyakas and Upaniṣads, the Sakhä also includes within itself the Kalpasūtras, which were regarded as Vedangas. In this connection the commentator Mahādeva says that as Veda means Svādhyāya along with the Angas a Śākhā may include Angas and as such becomes different from another Śākhā owing to the difference in Angas. Here Mahādeva pleads that Angas are to be included in the fold of Vedas as well as of the Sākhās. But contrary to his view Angas are not included in the Vedas. Whatever may be the argument it is certain that the Sütras were included in the Sākhās.


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