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A Critical And Comparative Study Of The Pratisakhyas
A Critical And Comparative Study Of The Pratisakhyas
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About the Book

As long as man continues to take an interest in the history of the human race, the Vedas will be of great importance. They were a body of lyrical poetry, created more than three thousand years ago. Since they were read orally and preserved by oral tradition only, extra care was needed to save them from any discrepency. Thus, the. six Vedãñgas or limbs of the Vedas gradually came into existence to aid the understanding and preservation of this extremely valued branch of knowledge. They were ika (Phonetics), Kalpa (Ritual), Vyakaraçia (Grammar), Nirukta (Etymology or the study of the origin and development of Vedic words), Chandas (Metres), and Jyotia or Jyoutia (Astronomy), These limbs were six subjects and not six books. Prãtiãkhyas form the main part of the siksã Vedãnga or phonetics.

The real objective of these books was not only to teach phonetics but also to preserve the Vedic texts with the help of various types of readings. The Vedas were read in eleven differentways, either in natural order (the prakçti pathas, namely the Sarhhita, Pada and Krama texts) or changed word-order (the vikrti pathas, namely, Jata, Mala, ikha, Lekha, Dhvaja, Dagda, Ratha, Ghana texts).

Though the name Pràtiakhya implies that there were as many Pratiakhyas as the Sakhas or branches of the Vedas, only four Pratiãkhyas are available now. The rarity of the texts and their neglect has meant that hardly any reliable edition is available now in English. Dr Banerjee (Bhattacharya) is the pioneer in this field. The present critical and comparative study of these four books should serve a much-felt need and be welcomed by all those who may know Sanskrit or may not, but who want to promote or patronise the cultivation of our heritage.

About the Author

Dr Banerjee (Bhattacharya) was born in a family of scholars. Her parents and grand-parents were all versatile scholars and proficient in Sanskrit. So were her other four siblings. Her love for learning in general and Sanskrit in particular was, obviously hereditary.

Dr. Banerjee’s schooling was in different cities of Bihar (Gaya 1946, Arrah 1948, Ranchi 1949, Chapra 1951) as her father Sri L. K. Banerjee was a District Judge and was transferred to different cities from time to time. Her college life was spent in Varanasi (Theosophical Society 1953, Banaras Hindu University 1955-1968). She was a university scholarship holder throughout her career and always secured position in the merit lists (Bihar Board, Allahabad Board and Banaras Hindu University). She is also a gold medalist from Banaras Hindu University.

At present, she is settled in Kolkata and associated with several academic institutions. With three doctors in the family (husband, daughter and son), she had little time to pursue her studies. Hence the delay in the publication of her thesis, which was completed in 1967.

As the Pratisakhyas are extremely important for the studies of Veda, and as not much work has been done on it in English, this book’s relevance and importance has not diminished. Therefore, in spite of this delay, the decision was taken to publish the thesis.

Foreword

Acritical and comparative study of the Pratisakhyas has ever been a desideratum, especially so some forty years ago. Till this date a comprehensive study of these exegetical treatises remains rather neglected. That may be said to be the raison. dare of the publication of this work which embodies the research dissection of Dr. Smt. Chhaya Bhattacharya (nee Banerji). Dr. Bhattacharya submitted the thesis at the Banaras Hindu University as far back as 1967, which was highly recommended by the adjudicators for the award of the degree of Ph.D.

Notwithstanding the interval of some 40 years, the work, in my opinion, is still valuable and useful for the study and proper assessment of the Vedic literature in general and the grammatical and phonetic achievement of the Vedic people in particular. That is why I feel happy to write this foreword.

The Prdtisakhyas, as is well known, belong to the first of the exegetic Vedañgas viz. Siksa or phonetic enquiry into the scriptural literature. Correct pronunciation of the Samhita text being essential for the recital and ceremonial application of the mantras, the Pratiskhyas deal with all the six subjects of the Siksdhyaya enumerated as varna (letters), Suara (intonation), matrã (syllabic measure), bala (volume), sama (melody), and santana (word combination). As the Prdtiidkhyas, etymologically, are associated with different and divergent mantras, typical to the different branches (sakhas) of the Vedic Samhitas, these embody a close and accurate enquiry into the grammatical texture of the Vedic language. If the ika aims at rendering the Samhitas, these embody a close and accurate enquiry into the grammatical texture of the Vedic language. If the Siksa aims at rendering the Samhita-patha into the Pada-patha, the Pratiidkhyas, lay down rules wherewith Pad a-patha can be restored to the Sathhit&p at ha. As such, the earliest rules regarding the letters, intonation and euphonic combinations are found framed and corroborated by examples of usage in these treaties.

The Pratisakhyas, rightly Observed Winternitz, contain Instructions on the pronunciation intonation euphonic changes of sounds in words combinations as well in the initial sound of words in a sentences, on elongation of words in a sentence, on elongation of vowels, in short: on the whole manner of recitation of the samhita (hil.vol. I p. 264, Delhi 1996). Thus on matters grammatical in general and phonetic in particular the intellect and prove beyond doubt that India played a pioneering role in the development of Scientific analysis of languages and linguistics.

Dr. Bhattacharya has taken up four Prastiskhya those of the R.g, the Yajus (both Black and White) and the Atharuan, for a minute and critical study of each of them in this work and her manner of exposition has been very satisfactory. She is one of the finest class academic record.

Important of the subject matter scholarly exposition critical evaluation and impartial ad lucid assessment of a subject matter that is highly technical and rather terse all have contributed a great importance to this study.

I congratulate the authoress on her decision though belated to publish the work in book form and sincerely believe that it would succeed in drawing appreciative attention of the Vedic world and prove to be valuable in the assessment of ancient Indian talent. I hop:

Preface

The Pratisakhya literature is vast, and may appear to be dry to many. But if one digs deep, one is sure to strike rich ores therein. These are the chief helps to the study of the Vedas, the earliest and most important language and literature of India. It is, keeping in view the great importance of this branch of exegetic treatises, hitherto neglected, that this work has been taken up. For want of a proper account of the subject, f are acquainted with the texts.

The present volume embodies my research made on the four existing Pratisakhyas belonging to the Rgveda Samhita, Taittiriya (or Krsna Yajurueda) Samhitã, Vajasaneyi (or Sukia Yajurveda) Sathhiia and Atharvaveda SathhilJ. The work was submitted as a thesis for Ph. D. degree in Banaras Hindu University, in the year 1967.

I am under deep debt to late Pt. A. M. Ramanatha Diksita, M.A., Vedacarya, Sahityasatracarya, Sahityasroomani, Head of the Department of Theology, Faculty of Oriental Learning & Theology, Banaras Hindu University, who laid the foundation of my research. A scholar and theologician of profound wisdom, unique in modesty and simplicity, Pt. Diksita had led the way through the intricacies of this ultra-technical subject matter.

My respected teacher Dr. Biswanath Bhattacharya, Retd. Professor of Sanskrit B. H. U. lately came forward with the suggestion of publishing the work. I am beholden to him for that.

Contents

List of abbreviations12
General Introduction13-21
Section One - The Rgveda Pratisakhya (Seven Chapter)23-110
Section Two – The Tattrriya Pratiskhya (Four Chapter)111-150
Section Three – The Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya (Five Chapter)151-202
Section Four – The Atharva Pratisakhya (Three Chapter)203-226
Section Five – The Comparative Study of the Pratisakhyas(Five Chapter)227-271
General Conclusion272
Bibliography273-275

A Critical And Comparative Study Of The Pratisakhyas

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Edition:
2009
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275
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About the Book

As long as man continues to take an interest in the history of the human race, the Vedas will be of great importance. They were a body of lyrical poetry, created more than three thousand years ago. Since they were read orally and preserved by oral tradition only, extra care was needed to save them from any discrepency. Thus, the. six Vedãñgas or limbs of the Vedas gradually came into existence to aid the understanding and preservation of this extremely valued branch of knowledge. They were ika (Phonetics), Kalpa (Ritual), Vyakaraçia (Grammar), Nirukta (Etymology or the study of the origin and development of Vedic words), Chandas (Metres), and Jyotia or Jyoutia (Astronomy), These limbs were six subjects and not six books. Prãtiãkhyas form the main part of the siksã Vedãnga or phonetics.

The real objective of these books was not only to teach phonetics but also to preserve the Vedic texts with the help of various types of readings. The Vedas were read in eleven differentways, either in natural order (the prakçti pathas, namely the Sarhhita, Pada and Krama texts) or changed word-order (the vikrti pathas, namely, Jata, Mala, ikha, Lekha, Dhvaja, Dagda, Ratha, Ghana texts).

Though the name Pràtiakhya implies that there were as many Pratiakhyas as the Sakhas or branches of the Vedas, only four Pratiãkhyas are available now. The rarity of the texts and their neglect has meant that hardly any reliable edition is available now in English. Dr Banerjee (Bhattacharya) is the pioneer in this field. The present critical and comparative study of these four books should serve a much-felt need and be welcomed by all those who may know Sanskrit or may not, but who want to promote or patronise the cultivation of our heritage.

About the Author

Dr Banerjee (Bhattacharya) was born in a family of scholars. Her parents and grand-parents were all versatile scholars and proficient in Sanskrit. So were her other four siblings. Her love for learning in general and Sanskrit in particular was, obviously hereditary.

Dr. Banerjee’s schooling was in different cities of Bihar (Gaya 1946, Arrah 1948, Ranchi 1949, Chapra 1951) as her father Sri L. K. Banerjee was a District Judge and was transferred to different cities from time to time. Her college life was spent in Varanasi (Theosophical Society 1953, Banaras Hindu University 1955-1968). She was a university scholarship holder throughout her career and always secured position in the merit lists (Bihar Board, Allahabad Board and Banaras Hindu University). She is also a gold medalist from Banaras Hindu University.

At present, she is settled in Kolkata and associated with several academic institutions. With three doctors in the family (husband, daughter and son), she had little time to pursue her studies. Hence the delay in the publication of her thesis, which was completed in 1967.

As the Pratisakhyas are extremely important for the studies of Veda, and as not much work has been done on it in English, this book’s relevance and importance has not diminished. Therefore, in spite of this delay, the decision was taken to publish the thesis.

Foreword

Acritical and comparative study of the Pratisakhyas has ever been a desideratum, especially so some forty years ago. Till this date a comprehensive study of these exegetical treatises remains rather neglected. That may be said to be the raison. dare of the publication of this work which embodies the research dissection of Dr. Smt. Chhaya Bhattacharya (nee Banerji). Dr. Bhattacharya submitted the thesis at the Banaras Hindu University as far back as 1967, which was highly recommended by the adjudicators for the award of the degree of Ph.D.

Notwithstanding the interval of some 40 years, the work, in my opinion, is still valuable and useful for the study and proper assessment of the Vedic literature in general and the grammatical and phonetic achievement of the Vedic people in particular. That is why I feel happy to write this foreword.

The Prdtisakhyas, as is well known, belong to the first of the exegetic Vedañgas viz. Siksa or phonetic enquiry into the scriptural literature. Correct pronunciation of the Samhita text being essential for the recital and ceremonial application of the mantras, the Pratiskhyas deal with all the six subjects of the Siksdhyaya enumerated as varna (letters), Suara (intonation), matrã (syllabic measure), bala (volume), sama (melody), and santana (word combination). As the Prdtiidkhyas, etymologically, are associated with different and divergent mantras, typical to the different branches (sakhas) of the Vedic Samhitas, these embody a close and accurate enquiry into the grammatical texture of the Vedic language. If the ika aims at rendering the Samhitas, these embody a close and accurate enquiry into the grammatical texture of the Vedic language. If the Siksa aims at rendering the Samhita-patha into the Pada-patha, the Pratiidkhyas, lay down rules wherewith Pad a-patha can be restored to the Sathhit&p at ha. As such, the earliest rules regarding the letters, intonation and euphonic combinations are found framed and corroborated by examples of usage in these treaties.

The Pratisakhyas, rightly Observed Winternitz, contain Instructions on the pronunciation intonation euphonic changes of sounds in words combinations as well in the initial sound of words in a sentences, on elongation of words in a sentence, on elongation of vowels, in short: on the whole manner of recitation of the samhita (hil.vol. I p. 264, Delhi 1996). Thus on matters grammatical in general and phonetic in particular the intellect and prove beyond doubt that India played a pioneering role in the development of Scientific analysis of languages and linguistics.

Dr. Bhattacharya has taken up four Prastiskhya those of the R.g, the Yajus (both Black and White) and the Atharuan, for a minute and critical study of each of them in this work and her manner of exposition has been very satisfactory. She is one of the finest class academic record.

Important of the subject matter scholarly exposition critical evaluation and impartial ad lucid assessment of a subject matter that is highly technical and rather terse all have contributed a great importance to this study.

I congratulate the authoress on her decision though belated to publish the work in book form and sincerely believe that it would succeed in drawing appreciative attention of the Vedic world and prove to be valuable in the assessment of ancient Indian talent. I hop:

Preface

The Pratisakhya literature is vast, and may appear to be dry to many. But if one digs deep, one is sure to strike rich ores therein. These are the chief helps to the study of the Vedas, the earliest and most important language and literature of India. It is, keeping in view the great importance of this branch of exegetic treatises, hitherto neglected, that this work has been taken up. For want of a proper account of the subject, f are acquainted with the texts.

The present volume embodies my research made on the four existing Pratisakhyas belonging to the Rgveda Samhita, Taittiriya (or Krsna Yajurueda) Samhitã, Vajasaneyi (or Sukia Yajurveda) Sathhiia and Atharvaveda SathhilJ. The work was submitted as a thesis for Ph. D. degree in Banaras Hindu University, in the year 1967.

I am under deep debt to late Pt. A. M. Ramanatha Diksita, M.A., Vedacarya, Sahityasatracarya, Sahityasroomani, Head of the Department of Theology, Faculty of Oriental Learning & Theology, Banaras Hindu University, who laid the foundation of my research. A scholar and theologician of profound wisdom, unique in modesty and simplicity, Pt. Diksita had led the way through the intricacies of this ultra-technical subject matter.

My respected teacher Dr. Biswanath Bhattacharya, Retd. Professor of Sanskrit B. H. U. lately came forward with the suggestion of publishing the work. I am beholden to him for that.

Contents

List of abbreviations12
General Introduction13-21
Section One - The Rgveda Pratisakhya (Seven Chapter)23-110
Section Two – The Tattrriya Pratiskhya (Four Chapter)111-150
Section Three – The Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya (Five Chapter)151-202
Section Four – The Atharva Pratisakhya (Three Chapter)203-226
Section Five – The Comparative Study of the Pratisakhyas(Five Chapter)227-271
General Conclusion272
Bibliography273-275
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