Yajurveda (यजुर्वेदः)

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Yajurveda (Samskrit: यजुर्वेदः) is one of the Chaturvedas (four Vedic texts); the other three being Rigveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda.[1] It has two chief branches namely, Shukla Yajurveda and Krishna Yajurveda. And consists of a collection of mantras relating to various Yajnas.[2][3]

Talk on Yajurveda

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Vishnu Purana states that in every Dvapara yuga, Vishnu in the form of Vyasa divides the Vedas into various branches. Accordingly, in the 28th Dvapara yuga, Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa (the son of Rishi Parashara) divided the Veda into four.[4]

द्वापरे द्वापरे विष्णुर्व्यासरूपी महामुने । वेदमेकं सुबहुधा कुरुते जगतो हितः॥५॥[5]

dvāpare dvāpare viṣṇurvyāsarūpī mahāmune । vedamekaṁ subahudhā kurute jagato hitaḥ॥5॥

आद्यो वेदश्चतुष्पादः शतसाहस्त्रसम्मितः ...।। १ ।। ततोऽत्र मत्सुतो व्यासो ह्यष्टाविंशतितमेऽन्तरे । वदमेकं चतुष्पादं चतुर्धा व्यभजत् प्रबुः ।। २ ।।[6]

ādyo vedaścatuṣpādaḥ śatasāhastrasammitaḥ ...।। 1 ।।

tato'tra matsuto vyāso hyaṣṭāviṁśatitame'ntare । vadamekaṁ catuṣpādaṁ caturdhā vyabhajat prabuḥ ।। 2 ।।

Thus, the Veda was divided into four texts ie. Rik, Yajus, Sama and Atharva by Veda Vyasa who then taught it to four of his disciples Paila, Vaishampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu respectively.[7][1]

ऋगुवेदश्वावकं पैलं जग्राह स महामुनिः । वैशम्पायननामानं यजूर्वेदस्य चाग्रहीत् ।। ८ ।। जैमिनि सामवेदस्य तथैवाथर्ववेदवित् ।[6][8]

r̥guvedaśvāvakaṁ pailaṁ jagrāha sa mahāmuniḥ । vaiśampāyananāmānaṁ yajūrvedasya cāgrahīt ।। 8 ।।

jaimini sāmavedasya tathaivātharvavedavit ।

Of the four, the Yajurveda is mostly in prose and contains mantra specifications and rules applicable in the performance of various yajnas. Meant to be used by the Adhvaryu (the Yajurvedic priest), it forms the foundation of Karmakanda.[7][9] It is said that there are special rules for the observance of homa performed towards fulfilment of specific desires. These rules for japa, homa etc. of the Yajurveda were taught to Vyasa by Agnideva. And that, if all the rules of the Yajurveda are correctly observed, all desires will be fulfilled.[1]Furthermore, Dhanurveda is the Upaveda of Yajurveda, Rudra is the prime deity, Bharadvaja is the prominent gotra and Trishtubh is the recurring metre.

यजुर्वेदस्य धनुर्वेद उपवेदः । यजुर्वेदस्य भारद्वाजगोत्रम् । रुद्रदैवत्यम् । त्रैष्टुभं छन्दः ।[10] yajurvedasya dhanurveda upavedaḥ । yajurvedasya bhāradvājagotram । rudradaivatyam । traiṣṭubhaṁ chandaḥ ।

व्युत्पत्तिः ॥ Etymology

It is said that Veda Vyasa compiled the Yajurveda with the mantras named 'Yajus'.[4]

यजूषि च यजुर्वेदं ... ।। १३ ।।[6][8] yajūṣi ca yajurvedaṁ ... ।। 13 ।।

Shabdakalpadruma also explains Yajurveda as

यजुरेव वेदः । यजुषां वेद इति वा ।[8] yajureva vedaḥ । yajuṣāṁ veda iti vā ।

Meaning: Yajurveda is a collection of Yajus.[9] The term 'Yajus' is derived from the root यज् (to worship) added with the Unadi affix उसि and refers to the mantras used in the performance of Yajnas.[11][12][9]

इज्यतेऽनेनेति यजुः ।[10] ijyate'neneti yajuḥ ।

The term Yajuh variegatedly explained as,[3][13]

  1. अनियताक्षरावसानो यजुः । aniyatākṣarāvasāno yajuḥ । ie. a mantra in verse having indefinite number of syllables.
  2. गद्यात्मको यजुः । gadyātmako yajuḥ । ie. That which is prosaic in nature.
  3. शेषे यजुः । śeṣe yajuḥ । ie. The remaining (ie. apart from rks and samans)

Thus, the mantras different from rks and samans that are prosaic in nature being devoid of metres are referred to by the term Yajuh.[13][9]

  1. शेषे वा यजुः शब्दः । शेषे ऋक्सामभिन्ने मन्त्रजाते ततश्च यन्मन्त्रजातं प्रश्लिष्य पठितं गानादिविच्छेदरहितं तत् यजुरिति ।[10] śeṣe vā yajuḥ śabdaḥ । śeṣe r̥ksāmabhinne mantrajāte tataśca yanmantrajātaṁ praśliṣya paṭhitaṁ gānādivicchedarahitaṁ tat yajuriti ।
  2. ऋकसामभिन्ने पदच्छेदरहितेमन्त्रभेदे अमरः । तल्लक्षणम् "वृत्तगीतिवर्जितत्वेनप्रश्लिष्टपठिता मन्त्रा यजूंषि” सा॰ भा॰ उक्तम्।[11] r̥kasāmabhinne padacchedarahitemantrabhede amaraḥ । tallakṣaṇam "vr̥ttagītivarjitatvenapraśliṣṭapaṭhitā mantrā yajūṁṣi" sā॰ bhā॰ uktam।

Therefore, Vachaspatyam defines Yajurveda as the collection of mantras different from rks and samans.

यजुषां ऋक्सामभिन्नानां मन्त्राणां प्रतिपादकोवेदः ।[14] yajuṣāṁ r̥ksāmabhinnānāṁ mantrāṇāṁ pratipādakovedaḥ ।

शाखावतरणम् ॥ Emergence of Shakhas

वेदभेदे स च शुक्लकृष्णभेदेन द्विधा ।[14] vedabhede sa ca śuklakr̥ṣṇabhedena dvidhā ।

The Yajurveda is seen in two forms viz.[2][7][12][13]

  1. Shukla Yajurveda: Also known as Vajasaneyi Samhita, it is attributed to Rishi Yajnavalkya to whom it was revealed by the sun, in the form of a horse.
  2. Krishna Yajurveda: Also known as Taittiriya Samhita, since the disciples of Vaishampayana (to whom Vyasa taught the Yajurveda) took the form of the Tittiri bird and picked up the text disgorged by Yajnavalkya.

It is said that Krishna Yajurveda or Taittiriya Samhita is the older text while the Shukla Yajurveda or Vajasaneyi Samhita is a later revelation to Maharshi Yajnavalkya from the resplendent Surya deva.[7] The story of how the two forms of the Yajurveda came into being is narrated in the Vishnu Purana.

As mentioned earlier, when Veda Vyas divided the Veda into four, he taught the Yajurveda to his disciple, Maharshi Vaishampayana. According to the Vishnu Purana, Vaishampayana made 27 branches of the Yajurveda and taught it to his disciples including Yajnavalkya (the son of Brahmarata).[1]

Once Vaishampayana asked his disciples to perform, on his behalf, a Vrata that repels the consequences of Brahmahatya. Yajnavalkya who was his disciple offered to do the vrata alone by himself that enraged Vaishampayana. He asked Yajnavalkya to abandon everything that he had learnt from him for disobeying his Guru's instructions. Yajnavalkya thus, ejected the texts of Yajurveda from his stomach that the other disciples of Vaishampayana picked up by transforming themselves into Tittiri birds thereby, giving it the name Taittiriya Samhita.[4][3]

यजूष्यथ विसृष्टानि याज्ञवल्क्येन वै द्रिज । जगृहुस्तित्तिरा भूत्वा तैत्तिरीयास्तु ते ततः ।। १२ ।।[15] yajūṣyatha visr̥ṣṭāni yājñavalkyena vai drija । jagr̥hustittirā bhūtvā taittirīyāstu te tataḥ ।। 12 ।।

On the other hand, Yajnavalkya propitiated Surya deva and asked to be conferred upon the knowledge of those Yajurveda texts hitherto unexplored. Thus, the Sun who appeared in the form of a horse, gave Yajnavalkya the texts of Yajurveda known as ayātayāma.[3] And since the knowledge was imparted by Surya deva in the form of a horse, those who studied this text are called Vajis.[4]

यजूषि यैरधीतानि तानि विप्रैर्द्रिजोत्तम । वाजिनस्ते समाख्याताः सूर्याश्वः सोऽभवद यतः ।। २८ ।।[15] yajūṣi yairadhītāni tāni viprairdrijottama । vājinaste samākhyātāḥ sūryāśvaḥ so'bhavada yataḥ ।। 28 ।।

According to the Vayu Purana, Yajnavalkya himself took the form of a horse and learnt the Shukla Yajurveda from the Sun.

अश्वरूपाय मार्तण्डो याज्ञवल्क्याय धीमते । aśvarūpāya mārtaṇḍo yājñavalkyāya dhīmate ।

According to Sayanacharya, 'vāja' means grain (anna). The Rishi who was liberal in grains was called 'Vājasani'. And being the son of a Vājasani, Maharshi Yajnavalkya was also called Vājasaneya.[3] Thereby, the Samhita he related ie. the Shukla Yajurveda, came to be referred to as Vajasaneyi Samhita. The Shatapatha Brahmana mentions that this Shukla Yajurveda thus narrated further by Maharshi Vajasaneya Yajnavalkya represents the Aditya Sampradaya, one of the two Sampradayas of the Vedas. The other one being the Brahma Sampradaya that is represented by the Krishna Yajurveda.[13]

आदित्यानीमानि शुक्लानि यजूंषि वाजसनेयेन याज्ञवल्क्येनाख्यायन्ते १४.९.४.३३[16] ādityānīmāni śuklāni yajūṁṣi vājasaneyena yājñavalkyenākhyāyante 14.9.4.33

Though both the Krishna and Shukla Yajurveda are chiefly in measured and poetical prose and their subject matter are rituals, mantras peculiar to them, etc.,[12] it is seen that the Shukla Yajurveda has a collection of only mantras essential for performing rituals like darshapurnamasa, etc. While the Krishna Yajurveda also includes the relevant brahmana portions therein.[3] Thus, the differentiation of the Yajurveda into Krishna and Shukla is to do with their content. Wherein, the combination of mantras and brahmanas defines the nature of Krishna Yajurveda and the unalloyed collection of mantras alone defines the nature of the Shukla Yajurveda; giving them their respective names.[13][17]

शाखाभेदाः ॥ Branches

It is said that the entire Veda together has 1180 branches including 21 of the Rigveda, 109 of the yajurveda, 1000 of the Samaveda and 50 of the Atharvaveda.[7] However, the number of Yajurveda shakhas mentioned across texts vary, between 24 to 109.

Yajurveda Shakhas
Number of Shakhas Text Reference

The Atharvan Caranavyuha is aware of 24 sakhas

तत्र यजुर्वेदस्य चतुर्विंशतिर्भेदा भवन्ति । Atharvan Parishishta 49 GSR

The Vishnu Purana (3.5.1 & 3.5.29) differs and according to it the number of the Sakhas of"the Yajur-Veda is 42. GSR

Shabdakalpadruma

यजुः

यजुर्व्वेदस्य षडशीतिर्भेदा भवन्ति । तत्र चरका नाम द्वादश भेदा भवन्ति । चरकाः १ आह्व- रकाः २ कठाः ३ प्राच्यकठाः ४ कपिष्ठलकठाः ५ औपमन्याः ६ आष्ठालकठाः ७ चाराय- णीयाः ८ वारायणीयाः ९ वार्त्तान्तवेयाः १० श्वेताश्वतराः ११ मैत्रायणीयाश्चेति १२ । तत्र मैत्रायणीया नाम सप्त भेदा भवन्ति । मानवाः १ दुन्दुभाः २ चैकेयाः ३ वाराहाः ४ हारिद्रवेयाः ५ श्यामाः ६ श्यामायनीया- श्चेति ७ । तेषामध्ययनमष्टौ शतम् । यजुः- महस्राण्यधीत्य शाखापारो भवति । तान्येव द्विगुणान्यधीत्य पदपारो भवति । तान्येव त्रिगु- णान्यधीत्य क्रमपारो भवति । षडङ्गान्यधीत्य षडङ्गविद्भवति । शिक्षा कल्पो व्याकरणं निरुक्तं च्छन्दो ज्योतिषमित्यङ्गानि । तत्र प्राच्योदीच्यां नैरृत्यां निरृत्यः । तत्र वाजसनेया नाम सप्त- दश भेदा भवन्ति । जाबालाः १ औधेघाः २ काण्वाः ३ माध्यन्दिनाः ४ शापीयाः ५ तापायनीयाः ६ कापालाः ७ पौण्ड्रवत्साः ८ आवटिकाः ९ पामावटिकाः १० पारा- शर्य्याः ११ वैधेयाः १२ वैनेयाः १३ औधेयाः १४ गालवाः १५ वैजवाः १६ कात्यायनीया- श्चेति १७ । प्रतिपदमनुपदं छन्दो भाषा धर्म्मो मीमांसा न्यायस्तर्क इत्युपाङ्गानि भवन्ति । उपज्योतिषम् १ साङ्गलक्षणम् २ प्रतिज्ञा ३ अनुवाक्यम् ४ परिसंख्या ५ चरणच्यूहम् ६ श्राद्धकल्पः ७ प्रवराध्यायश्च ८ शास्त्रम् ९ क्रतुः १० संख्या ११ अनुगमः १२ यज्ञम् १३ पाश्वानः १४ होत्रकम् १५ पशवः १५ उक्- थानि १७ कूर्म्मलक्षणम् १८ । इत्यष्टादशपरि- शिष्टानि । “द्बे सहस्रे शते न्यूने मन्त्रे वाजसनेयके । इत्युक्तं परिसंख्यातमेतत् सकलं सशुक्रियम् ॥ ग्रन्थांश्च परिसंख्यातं ब्राह्मणञ्च चतुर्गुणम् । आदावारभ्य वेदान्तं ब्रह्मव्याहृतिपूर्ब्बकम् । वेदमध्याय एतेषां होमान्ते तु समारभेत् ॥” तत्र तैत्तिरीयका नाम द्विभेदा भवन्ति । औख्याः खाण्डिकेयाश्चेति । तत्र खाण्डिकेया नाम पञ्च भेदा भवन्ति । आपस्तम्बी १ बौधा- यनी २ सत्याषाढी ३ हिरण्यकेशी ४ औधेया- श्चेति ५ । तत्र कठानान्तूपगानविशेषः । चतु- श्चत्वारिंशत्युपग्रन्थान् । “मन्त्रब्राह्मणयोर्वेदस्त्रिगुणं यत्र पठ्यते । यजुर्व्वेदः स विज्ञेयोऽन्ये शाखान्तराः स्मृताः ॥”

The Caranavyuha of Saunaka gives the number of the Yajurvedic schools as 86. GSR

Shabdakalpadruma

यजुर्व्वेदः एकविंशतिभेदेन ऋग्वेदं कृतवान् पुरा । शाखानान्तु शतेनाथ यजुर्व्वेदमथाकरोत् ॥ सामवेदं सहस्रेण शाखानाञ्च विभेदतः । अथर्व्वाणमथो वेदं बिभेद नवकेन तु ॥” इति कौर्म्म्ये ४९ अध्यायः ॥

GSR

Mahabharata narrates hundred and one Sakhas

षट् पञ्चाशतमष्टौ च सप्तत्रिंशतमित्युत । यस्मिन्शाखा यजुर्वेदे सोऽहमाध्वर्यवे स्मृतः ॥ Adi Parva 353.33

and it is Confirmed by Divyavadana

इतीयं ब्राह्मणाध्वर्यूणां शाखा । एकविंशत्यध्वर्यवो भूत्वा एकोत्तरं शतधा भिन्नम् । Avadana 33

and the Mahabhasya.

एकशतमध्वर्युशाखाः ।

The Ahirbudhnya Samhita is of the same view.

शतं चैका च शाखाः स्युर्यजुश्ःआमेकवर्त्मनाम् ॥ 12.9

The the Vayu-Purana gives same number

इत्येते वाजिनः प्रोक्ता दश पञ्च च संस्मृताः । शतमेकाधिकं कृत्स्नं यजुषां वै विकल्पकाः ॥ 61.26

which is supported by the Brahmanda-Purana

शतमेकाधिकं कृत्स्नं यजुषां वै विकल्पकाः ॥1.35.30

me Kurma-Purana speaks of hundred Sakhas.

शाखानां तु शतेनैव यजुर्वेदमथाकरोत् ॥ 1.52.19

According to the Muktikopanishad, the Yajurveda has 109 shakhas.[9][3]

नवाधिकशतं शाखा यजुषो मारुतात्मज ॥ १२॥[18] navādhikaśataṁ śākhā yajuṣo mārutātmaja ॥ 12॥

G.S.Rai

The number 101 however is favoured by most of the authorities and it is confirmed also by the colophon occuring in some MSS of the Kathaka-Sarhhita.

इत्येकोत्तरशतशाखाऽध्वर्युप्रभेदभिन्ने श्रीमद्यजुर्वेदे

Only two recensions of the Shukla Yajurveda have survived, Madhyandina and Kanva, and others are known by name only because they are mentioned in other texts. These two recensions are nearly the same, except for few differences. In contrast to Shukla Yajurveda, the four surviving recensions of Krishna Yajurveda are very different versions. The Krshna Yajurveda has survived in four recensions, while two recensions of Shukla Yajurveda have survived into the modern times.[19]

The lost recensions of White Yajurveda, mentioned in other texts of ancient India, include Jabala, Baudhya, Sapeyi, Tapaniya, Kapola, Paundravatsa, Avati, Paramavatika, Parasara, Vaineya, Vaidheya, Katyayana and Vaijayavapa.[3]

A total of eighty six recensions are mentioned to exist in Vayu Purana, however vast majority of them are believed to be lost.[17]

The Yajurveda text includes Shukla Yajurveda of which about 15/16 recensions are known, while the Krishna Yajurveda may have had as many as 86 recensions.[19]

Vishnu Purana

3.5 - Fifteen branches of this school sprang from Kaṇwa and other pupils of Yājñawalkya

Rtvik

Apte

अध्वर्युः. Any officiating priest, technically distinguished from होतृ, उद्रातृ and ब्रह्मन्. His duty was "to measure the ground, build the altar, prepare sacrificial vessels, to fetch wood and water, to light the fire, to bring the animal and immolate it," and while doing this to repeat the Yajurveda; होता प्रथमं शंसति तमध्वर्युः प्रोत्साहयति Sk. See अच्छावाक also.

The Yajurveda Samhita was compiled keeping in mind the procedural principles of Yajnas. And among the four rtviks imperative to the fulfilment of Yajna-karmas, the Adhvaryu is of prime importance as he fulfils the prime rituals of the Yajna. And it is to aid the fulfilment of his specific duties known as the Adhvaryava that the Yajurveda Samhitas are compiled within different shakhas. The adhvaryu recites the prosaic mantras or yajus and performs the rituals.

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

Vishnu Purana 3.4

There was but one Yajur-veda; but dividing this into four parts, Vyāsa instituted the sacrificial rite that is administered by four kinds of priests: in which it was the duty of the Adhwaryu to recite the prayers (Yajush) (or direct the ceremony); of the Hotri, to repeat the hymns (Ricas); of the Udgātri, to chaunt other hymns (Sāma); and of the Brahman, to pronounce the formulæ called Atharva.

एक आसीदू यजुर्वेदस्तं चतुर्धा व्यकल्पयत् ।

चातुर्होत्रमभूदू यस्मिस्तन यज्ञमथाकरोत् ।। ११ ।।

आध्वर्यवं यजुभिंस्तु ऋगूभिर्होत्रं तथा मुनिः ।

औदूगात्रं सामभिश्चक्र ब्रह्मत्वं चाप्यथर्वभिः ।। १२ ।।

Shabdakalpadruma

यजुर्व्वेदः,

एक आसीद्यजुर्व्वेदस्तञ्चतुर्धा व्यकल्पयत् । चातुर्होत्रमभूद्यस्मिंस्तेन यज्ञमथाकरोत् ॥ अध्वर्यवं यजुर्भिः स्यादृग्भिर्होत्रं द्विजोत्तमाः । उद्गात्रं सामभिश्चक्रे ब्रह्मत्वञ्चाप्यथर्व्वभिः ॥

Contents

All about Hinduism - Swami Sivananda

The Satapatha Brahmana belongs to the Sukla Yajur-Veda. The Krishna-Yajur-Veda has the Taittiriya and the Maitrayana Brahmanas. Each of the Brahmanas has got an Aranyaka.

There are as many Upanishads to each Veda as there are Sakhas, branches or recensions, i.e., 21, 109, 1000 and 50 respectively to the four Vedas, the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sama-Veda and the Atharva-Veda.

Among the Kalpa Sutras, The Katyayana and Paraskara belong to the Sukla Yajur-Veda. The Apastamba, Hiranyakesi, Bodhayana, Bharadvaja, Manava, Vaikhanasa and the Kathaka belong to the Krishna Yajur-Veda.[7]

Need Citation

Also, known as Adhvaryuveda. Has 18 Parishishtas. In the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, vi. 4, 33, there is a reference to the śuklāni Yajūṃṣi, ‘white or pure Yajus,’ as promulgated by Vājasaneya Yājñavalkya, whence the Vājasaneyi Saṃhītā is popularly known as the ‘White Yajurveda.’

Shukla Yajurveda

The samhita in the Shukla Yajurveda is called the Vajasaneyi Samhita. The name Vajasaneyi is derived from Vajasaneya, patronymic of sage Yajnavalkya, and the founder of the Vajasaneyi branch. There are two (nearly identical) surviving recensions of the Vajasaneyi Samhita (VS): Vajasaneyi Madhyandina and Vajasaneyi Kanva.[19]

Adhyayas Anuvakas No. of Verses Regional presence Reference
40 303 1975 Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, North India [3][21]
40 328 2086 Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu [3][22]

Krishna Yajurveda

The Katha school is referred to as a sub-school of Carakas (wanderers) in some ancient texts of India, because they did their scholarship as they wandered from place to place.[23]

No. of Sub-recensions[24] Kanda Prapathaka No. of Mantras Regional presence Reference
2 7 42 South India
6 4 54 Western India [25]
12 5 40 3093 Kashmir, North India, East India [24][26]
5 6 48 Haryana, Rajasthan [26][27]

The Maitrayani saṃhita is the oldest Yajurveda Samhita that has survived, and it differs largely in content from the Taittiriyas, as well as in some different arrangement of chapters, but is much more detailed.[28]

The Kāṭhaka saṃhitā or the Caraka-Kaṭha saṃhitā, according to tradition was compiled by Katha, a disciple of Vaisampayana.[28] Like the Maitrayani Samhita, it offers much more detailed discussion of some rituals than the younger Taittiriya samhita that frequently summarizes such accounts.[28] The Kapiṣṭhala saṃhitā or the Kapiṣṭhala-Kaṭha saṃhitā, named after the sage Kapisthala is extant only in some large fragments and edited without accent marks.[28] This text is practically a variant of the Kāṭhaka saṃhitā.

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

The Taittiriya shakha is the prime shakha of the Krshna Yajurveda.

GSRAI

The Katha literature includes the Kathaka Samhita consisting of five Khandas with a the total of 3093 mantras. The Kathaka-Brahmana is not available in its entirety. Only fragments of it have been edited and published. The existence of a Kathaka Aranyaka is also argued. It is probable that the Kathas may also have had their parallel Aranyaka which contained kindred matter. The well-known Katha-Upanisad belongs to this Sakha. The Kathaka Grhya-sutra is available. According to the Caranavyuha, the Katha Sakha had 4o or 44 Upagranthas. But at present we have no knowledge of these Upagranthas. The Caranavyuha while referring to the 44 Upagranthas of Kathas, remarks that there is nothing which is not contained in the Katha literature.8

Only the Samhita of the Katha Kapisthala Sakha is available and even that is not in its complete form. Even the available chapters are not complete. They have numerous gaps here and there. A manuscript of the Grhya-sutra of this Sakha is said to be preserved in Sarasvati Bhavana library of Sanskrit University, Varanasi.

The Maitrayaniya Samhita is available. A Maitrayaniya Brahmana is noticed in the Baudhayana Srauta Sutra (30.8). A Maitrayani-yopanisad is available. Many Kalpasutras are attached to this Sakha. These Grhya works bear the names of Manava, Varaha and Maitrayaniya. The Manavas and the Varahas and the Varahas are the subdivisions of the Maitrayaniyas.

The Samhita of the Taittiriyas is available and the oldest commentary on it is that of Bhattabhaskara Misra. The Taittiriya Brahmana is the only available Brahmana of the KYV. The last portion (III. 10-12} of this Brahmana is regarded as Kathakabhaga i. e. the Kathaka portion. The Taittiriya Aranyaka has 10 Prapathakas. The Taittiriyopanisad is a part of the Aranyaka. It begins from the seventh Prapathaka and ends with the 9th.[17]

Organization

Each regional edition (recension) of Yajurveda had Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyakas, Upanishads as part of the text, with Shrautasutras, Grhyasutras and Pratishakhya attached to the text. In Shukla Yajurveda, the text organization is same for both Madhayndina and Kanva shakhas.[19][3]

In Krishna Yajurveda, each of the recensions has or had their Brahmana text mixed into the Samhita text, thus creating a motley of the prose and verses, and making it unclear, disorganized.[28]

Samhitas

Structure of the mantras

The various ritual mantras in the Yajurveda Samhitas are typically set in a meter, and call on Vedic deities such as the Savita (Sun), Indra, Agni, Prajapati, Rudra and others. The Taittiriya Samhita in Book 4, for example, includes the following verses for the Agnicayana ritual recitation (abridged)

Ahilya Singh (2010), Pracheen bharat mein aarthik jeevan Prarambh se vaidik kaal tak Chapter 1.

Shakha Vibhaga

According to Muktikopanishad 109 shakhas

नवाधिकशतं शाखा यजुषो मारुतात्मज ॥ १२॥ Muktikopanishad

Currently, there are 5 Shakhas of Yajurveda viz.

  1. Taittiriya
  2. Katha-Kapishthala
  3. Maitrayani
  4. Vajasaneyi
  5. Kanva

Vajasaneyi Samhita

It belongs to the Shukla Yajurveda branch. This Samhita was obtained by Yajnavalkya from a Vajin. Hence, the name. It comprises of 40 Adhyayas, 303 anuvakas, 1975 Kandikas. The mantras are in both Gadya and Padya.

Kanva Samhita

It belongs to the Shukla Yajurveda branch and comprises of 40 Adhyayas.

Taittiriya Samhita

It represents the Krishna Yajurveda branch. It was revealed through Rishi Tittiri, the disciple of Rishi Vaishampayana. Hence, the name. It comprises of 7 Kandas, 44 Prapathakas, 631 anuvakas, 2198 kandikas.

Maitrayani Samhita

It consists of 4 Kandas, 54 Prapathakas and 3144 mantras.

Katha Samhita

Katha Kapishthala Samhita

This Samhita is not available in entirety.

Brahmanas

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

There are two major brahmana texts of the yajurveda that are available viz.

  1. Shatapatha Brahmana belonging to the Shukla Yajurveda.
  2. Taittiriya Brahmana belonging to the Krshna Yajurveda.

The Shatapatha brahmana is available in both the Madhyandina and Kanva shakhas of the Shukla Yajurveda. Though their subject-matter is the same, there are slight variations in the order of description of Yajnas and the number of adhyayas.

The Madhyandina Shatapatha brahmana consists of 14 Kandas, 100 adhyayas, 68 Prapathakas, 438 brahmanas and 7624 kandikas. While the Kanva shatapatha brahmana is organised into 17 kandas, 104 adhyayas, 435 brahmanas and 6806 kandikas.[3]

Both the Shatapatha as well as the Taittiriya brahmana are endowed with svaras suggesting their antiquity. And the pronunciation rules of the Shatapatha brahmana follow that of the Vajasaneyi Samhita (Shukla Yajurveda), the Madhyandina Samhita to be more specific which is natural given the brahmana belongs to the Madhyandina shakha of the Shukla Yajurveda.

The Taittiriya brahmana is the only available brahmana of the Krshna Yajurveda shakha. It consists of 3 Kandas (ashtakas), 28 adhyayas (prapathakas) that are further divided into anuvakas. It enlists the mantras pertinent to every ritual of which many are reiterated from the Rgveda. Interestingly, the brahmana also answers many questions posed in the rks of the Rgveda. The last 3 prapathakas (10-12) of the 3rd Kanda of the Taittiriya brahmana is termed as 'Kathaka' brahmana by the Yajurvedis leading to a conjecture that this portion probably belonged to the Kathaka brahmana and has been enjoined here with a specific purpose. The Taittiriya brahmana also has references to many tenets of Vaidik Jyotish thereby giving the text a prime importance.

The Kathaka brahmana is only known by its mention, not available as a text.

Aranyakas

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

There are two Aranyakas belonging to the Yajurveda viz.

  1. Brhadaranyaka belonging to the Shukla Yajurveda
  2. Taittiriya Aranyaka belonging to the Krshna Yajurveda

As the name suggests, Brhadaranyaka is an Aranyaka. However, due to a detailed discussion on the atmatattva, it is considered an Upanishad. That too an ancient and important one at that. It appears at the end of the Shatapatha Brahmana.

The Maitrayani shakha of the Krshna Yajurveda also has an Aranyaka that is known as Maitrayani Upanishad.

The Taittiriya Aranyaka consists of 10 Paricchedas or Prapathakas that are generally termed as Aranas and are named after the first word occuring in them. Accordingly, their names are,

  1. Bhadra
  2. Sahavai
  3. Chitti
  4. Yunjate
  5. Devavai
  6. Pare
  7. Shiksha
  8. Brahmavidya
  9. Bhrgu
  10. Narayaniya

Of these, the 7th, 8th and 9th Prapathakas together are termed as Taittiriya Upanishad and the 10th Prapathaka is known as the Mahanarayaniya Upanishad and is considered a Parishishta of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. The Prapathakas are further divided into Anuvakas numbering to 170 until the 9th Prapathaka. And the anuvakas are organised into dashakas. This Aranyaka has good number of rks quoted from the Rgveda.

Upanishads

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

According to the Muktikopanishad, the total number of Upanishads is 108 out of which 19 are related to the Shukla Yajurveda and 12 are related to the Krshna Yajurveda. However, the 10 Upanishads on which Shankaracharya wrote his commentary are considered ancient most and important. They include Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Munda, Mandukya, Tittiri, Aitareya, Chandogya and Brahadaranyaka. Apart from these, Kaushitaki, Shvetashvatara and Maitrayani are also considered ancient.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

It is key scripture of Hinduism that has influenced all schools of Hindu philosophy. The text is a treatise on Ātman (Soul, Self), with passages on metaphysics, ethics and a yearning for knowledge that influenced various Indian religions, ancient and medieval scholars.[29][30]

Isha Upanishad

The Isha Upanishad discusses the Atman (Soul, Self) theory of Hinduism, and is referenced by both Dvaita (dualism) and Advaita (non-dualism) sub-schools of Vedanta.[31][32]

Taittiriya Upanishad

It is the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of Taittiriya Aranyaka, which are also called, respectively, the Siksha Valli, the Ananda Valli and the Bhrigu Valli.[33]

Katha Upanishad

The detailed teachings of Katha Upanishad have been variously interpreted as Advaita (non-dualistic).[34]

Shvetashvatara Upanishad

Maitrayaniya Upanishad

Vedangas

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

Shiksha

Every Veda has its own Shiksha grantha that enumerates the rules of phonetics specific to that Veda. The Pratishakhya texts are the oldest available shiksha granthas. There are two Pratishakhya texts available in the Yajurveda tradition viz. Vajasaneyi Pratishakhya and Taittiriya Pratishakhya.

As the name suggests, the Vajasaneyi Pratishakhya is related to the Shukla Yajurveda and is written by Katyayana Muni who is different from the Vartikakara Katyayana (Vararuchi) and preceeds Panini. This Pratishakhya (also known as Katyayana Pratishakhya) texts consists of 8 adhyayas that includes a detailed discussion on Paribhasha, Svara and Samskara. It is for this reason that Katyayana is given the title स्वरसंस्कारप्रतिष्ठापयिता । (८.५४) A study of the text reveals that Panini has taken Paribhashika terms like Upadha, Udatta, Anudatta, Svarita, Amredita, Lopa, Aprkta, etc. for his Grammar from this Pratishakhya text. Many sutras have also been accepted by Panini verbatim.

There are two commentaries available on the Katyayana Pratishakhya by Uvvata and Ananta Bhatta. The one by Anantabhatta is known as Padartha Prakasha. There are also two other small texts related to the Katyayana Pratishakhya that are available along with their respective bhashyas. These are considered as the Parishishtas of the Katyayana Pratishakhya viz. Pratijna Sutra and Bhashika Sutra.

The Taittiriya Pratishakhya is divided into 2 Prashnas (Khandas) each consisting of 12 adhyayas each. All the examples quoted in this Pratishakhya are from the Taittiriya Samhita. There are 3 commentaries available on the Taittiriya Pratishakhya viz.

  1. Padakramasadana by Mahisheya
  2. Tribhashya Ratna by Somayaarya
  3. Vaidikabharana by Gopala Yajva (also known as Gopala Mishra)

The essence of the different subject-matters of the Pratishakhyas were condensed and presented in the form of a collection of Karikas that came to be known as shiksha granthas. They are related to the various branches of the four vedas. The Shiksha texts related to the Yajurveda are enumerated below:

Yajnavalkya Shiksha: It consists of 232 shlokas and is related to the Vajasaneyi Samhita (Madhyandina Samhita) of the Shukla Yajurveda. It elaborates with examples on Vadika Svaras. It also discusses concepts like lopa, agama, vikara and prakrti bhava. The nature, similarities and differences among letters have also been explained.

Vasishti Samhita: It is related to the Vajasaneyi Samhita of the Shukla Yajurveda. According to this shiksha, the number of rgveda mantras occuring in the shukla Yajurveda is 1467 while the total number of Yajus is 2823.

Mandavya Shiksha: It is related to the Shukla Yajurveda. In this shikshsa there is a collection of the Oshthya varnas featuring in the Vajasaneyi Samhita.

Keshavi Shiksha: It is written by Keshava Daivajna, the son of Gokula Daivajna belonging to the race of Astika Muni. It is available in 2 forms. One has a detailed description of the Paribhashas in the Madhyandina shakha and a commentary on the Pratijna sutras. While the other consists of 21 verses discussing the concept of Svara.

Avasana Nirnaya Shiksha: It was written by a scholar named Anantadeva and is related to the Shukla Yajurveda.

यजुर्वेदीयकल्पसूत्राणि ॥ Kalpa Sutras

Kalpa sutras are texts that enumerate the procedures involved in Vedic rituals in their designated order. They are of four types viz. Shrauta sutras (dealing with elaborate Yajnas), Grhya sutras (dealing with smaller Yagas and Samskaras), Dharma sutras (dealing with Varnashrama dharmas), Shulbasutras (dealing with construction of Yajna Vedis).

Shukla Yajurvedic Kalpa sutras:

There is only one Shrautasutra belonging to the Shukla Yajurveda viz. Katyayana Shrautasutra. Consisting of 26 adhyayas, it elaborates on the Yajnas described in the Shatapatha brahmana. Karkacharya's bhashya on this text is considered important.

The only Grhayasutra belonging to the Shukla Yajurveda is known as Paraskara Grhyasutra. Consisting of 3 Kandas, it describes the Samskaras in detail and is endowed with 5 commentaries by Karka, Jayarama, Harihara, Gadadhara and Vishvanatha.

The Katyayana Shraddha Sutra, also known as Katiya Shraddha Sutra, elaborates on shraddha and consists of 9 Kandikas. It is commented upon by Karkacharya, Gadadhara and Krishna Mishra. A commentary of Halayudha is mentioned in the beginning of shraddha Kashika by Krishna Mishra.

The Shulbasutras of Katyayana consist of 7 Kandikas and discusses about construction of Yajna Vedis, quadrilateral area, etc. reflecting Vedic geometry.

Krishna Yajurvedic Kalpa Sutras:

The Taittiriya Shakha has 5 Shrauta sutras viz. Baudhayana, Apastamba, Hiranyakeshi or Satyashadha, Vaikhanasa and Bharadvaja Shrauta sutra while the Maitrayani shakha has the Manava Shrauta sutra. Of these, the Baudhayana and Manava shrauta sutra are older as they are mentioned in the Apastamba shrauta sutra.

Infact the Baudhyana and Apastanba traditions have all the 4 types of Kalpa sutras viz. Shrauta, Grhya, Dharma and Shulba. They are so interconnected that it seems like they are 4 parts of the same text.

The Hiranyakeshi or Satyashadha, Bharadvaja and Manava traditions have shrauta and grhya sutra texts.

There is also a Kathaka Grhyasutra belonging to the Katha Shakha of the Krshna Yajurveda. It is also known as Laugakshi Grhya sutra. It is organised in two ways either as 73 kandikas or as 5 adhyayas. Due to the Panchadhyaya division, it is also known as Grha-Panchika and is endowed with three commentaries by Adityadarshana (the oldest), Brahmanabala (son of Madhavarya) and Devapala (son of Haripala).

There is also a small text by the name Varaha shrautasutra related to the Krshna Yajurveda that gives a simple enunciation of shrauta yagas.

The dharmasutras for Ashvalayana, shankhayana and Manava traditions are not available. The Baudhayana, Apastamba and Hiranyakeshi have their dharmasutra texts.

Shulba sutras:

Being one of the types of kalpasutras, theoritically, every Vedic tradition should have a Shulbasutra text of its own. However, that is not the case. Since it is closely associated with Karmakanda, shulbasutras are found only in the Yajurvedic traditions.

There is only one shulbasutra related to the Shukla Yajurveda viz. Katyayana Shulbasutra.

There are 6 Shulbasutras related to the Krishna Yajurveda viz. Baudhayana, Apastamba, Manava, Maitrayani, Varaha and Vadhula.

Apart from these, in the commentary of the Apastamba Shulbasutra, Karavindasvami mentions Yashaka and Hiranyakeshi shulbasutras. However, their texts are not available.

Vedanga Jyotish

Every element of time like Nakshatra, Tithi, Paksha, Masa, Rtu and Samvatsara are connected to the conjunctions of Vedic rituals. And in order to follow the vedic injuctions it is essential to have knowledge of Jyotish. There are two texts of Vedanga Jyotish available viz.

  1. Yajusha Jyotish related to the Yajurveda
  2. Acharya Jyotish related to the Rgveda

Yajusha Jyotish consists of 43 shlokas.

Yajusha Anukramani

Over time, a separate set of texts delineating the Rshi, Devata, Chanda, etc for each of the Vedas were created by the Acharyas that came to be known as Anukramanis. The Yajusha Anukramani is known as Shukla Yajuh Sarvanukrama Sutra written by Katyayana. It consists of 5 adhyayas and is endowed with the commentary of Mahayajnika Shrideva (son of Mahayajnika Prajapati). It describes the devata, rshi and Chanda of the Madhyandina Samhita.

पदकाराः ॥ Padapatha Authors

The padapatha of Yajurveda Samhitas are available though not all are published. While the padapatha of Madhyandina Samhita is published, the padapatha for Kanva Samhita is not published. However, there are no details available about their authors.

The author of the padapatha of Taittiriya Samhita is Atreya and this is mentioned by Bhatta Bhaskara in the beginning of his commentary on the Taittiriya Samhita.

उखश्चात्रेयाय ददौ येन पदविभागश्चक्रे ।

The Kandanukramani also mentions Atreya as the author of the Taittiriya padapatha.

यस्याः पदकृदात्रेयो वृत्तिकारस्तु कुण्डिनः ।

The Bodhayana Grhyasutra mentions tarpana for Padakara Atreya in the performance of Rishi tarpana c.f. आत्रेयाय पदकाराय ३.९.७

This Atreya is contemporary to the Rigveda Padakara Shakalya.

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

भाष्यकाराः ॥ Commentators

In the medieval times, the Vaidik scholars wrote commentaries on the Vaidik Samhitas in order to bring forth their meaning and make them more understandable. And they put to use knowledge of nirukta, grammar, puranas, itihasas, etc in this process of semantic pursuit.

The commentators of the Yajurveda Samhitas are as follows:

  1. Taittiriya Samhita - Bhavasvami, Guhadeva, Kshura and Bhatta Bhaskara Mishra.
  2. Madhyandina Samhita - Uvvata and Mahidhara

Swami Dayananda Saraswati has also written Samskrit commentaries on the Yajurveda.

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

Manuscripts and translations

Devi Chand published a re-interpreted translation of Yajurveda in 1965, reprinted as 3rd edition in 1980, wherein the translation incorporated Dayananda Saraswati's monotheistic interpretations of the Vedic text, and the translation liberally adds "O Lord" and "the Creator" to various verses, unlike other translators.[35]

Sripad Damodar Satavlekar published the Yajuevedic Samhita with an index. A hindi translation of the Yajurveda Samhita by Acharya Shriram Sharma is available.

Baldev Upadhyay (1955), Vaidik Sahitya, Kashi

More details

Ahilya Singh (2010), Pracheen bharat mein aarthik jeevan Prarambh se vaidik kaal tak Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

यजुर्वेदप्रवक्तारं वैशंपायनमेव च ।। ३४.१४ ।। Brahmanda Purana, Purvabhaga

Mahabharata Cultural Index

Gift of Āditya to Yājñavalkya: The sage Yājñavalkya told king Janaka that while he was practising the prescribed rite, (although) he was despised (? avamatena), he propitiated the god Sun with severe austerity; he then received from Āditya the yajuses (yathārṣeṇeha vidhinā caratāvamatena ha/mayādityād avāptāni yajūṁṣi mithilādhipa//mahatā tapasā devas tapiṣṭhaḥ sevito mayā) 12. 306. 2-3; when the pleased god Sūrya offered a boon to Yājñavalkya, the latter requested the god to grant him the yajuses which had not been used before (? yajūṁṣi nopayuktāni kṣipram icchāmi veditum) 12. 306. 4-5; the god agreed to Yājñavalkya's request; Sarasvatī then in the form of speech entered Yājñavalkya's mouth 12. 306. 6-7; the God said that as a result of that, the whole of Veda (i. e. the Yajurveda) together with its latter half and the khila would be established in him (Yājñavalkya) (pratiṣṭhāsyati te vedaḥ sottaraḥ sakhilo dvijā) 12. 306. 10 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 12. 318. 10: khilaṁ paraśākhīyaṁ svaśākhyāyām apekṣāvaśāt paṭhyate tat khilam ity ucyate/…sakhilam tatsahitam/ sottaraṁ sopaniṣatkam/); Yājñavalkya received fifteen yajuses from Arka (Sūrya) (daśa pañca ca prāptāni yajūṁṣy arkān mayānagha) 12. 306. 21; Sūrya gave the yajuses (to Yājñavalkya) in the east (atra (i. e. in the east) dattāni sūryeṇa yajūṁṣi) 5. 106. 11 (Nī on Bom. Ed. 5. 108. 11: yājñavalkyāyeti śeṣaḥ).

Shabdakalpadruma

यजुर्व्वेदः, पुं, तस्याधिपतिर्यथा, -- “ऋग्वेदाधिपतिर्जीवः सामवेदाधिपः कुजः । यजुर्व्वेदाधिपः शुक्रः शशिजोऽथर्व्ववेदराट् ॥” इति ज्योतिषम् ॥ अस्य वक्ता वैशम्पायनः ।

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