The present work is an attempt to fill that void, I have made the maximum use of the only available commentary known as "Aksepanuvidhi" of Somaditya, which has not been used so far by the modern scholars, in solving various problems raised about the Vaitana Srauta Sutra and Kausika-sutra (Samhita vidhi).
The work is divided in ten chapters with an exhaustive introduction, shedding a new light on various aspects of the Atharvan-literature. In chapter first, I have discussed the issue of Authorship and Date of the Vait.Sr.Su In seconds chapter I have discussed the position of the Vait.Sr.Su. in the literature of the Atharvaveda. The Relationship of the Vaitana.Sr.Su. with the ritualistic works of the other schools have been discussed in the Third Chapter. Chapters IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX are devoted to the comparative discussion of the Srauta-Sacrifices described in the Vait-Sr.Su. i.e. Darta-purnamasa; Agnyadheya, Agnihotra, Caturmasya and Pasubandha; Agnistoma; Ukthya, Sodasin, Atiratra, Vajapeya and Aptoryama; Agnicayana, Sautramani and Gavamyana; Rajasuya, Asvamedha, Pursamedha and Sarvamedha. The last chapter is a survey of the mantras cited in the Vait.Sr.Su.
I had the rare fortune of starting,work on this topic under the erudite guidance of the well-known,Vedic scholar Dr. Ramgopal at Panjab University, Chandigarh. It Was the inspiration of Dr. Ramgopal, that persuaded me to work on this topic. For about two years I worked beside him and it was during this period that the initial training of research was given to me by Dr Ramgopal and the main plan of this work was formulated Consequent on my appointment Lecturer,in the Deptt..of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit, M.D. University, Rohtak, I had to leave Chandigarh which resulted in depriving me of Dr. Ramgopal’s constant guidance, I had therefore to get registration for Ph.D. at M.D. University, Rohtak, under the guidance Dr. Ishwar Singh now Professor, Deptt. of Sanskrit Pali and Prakrit I can not say what would have been. the shape of this work had it been completed under Dr. Ramgopal. I am, however, happy that Dr. Ishwar Singh did not let me feel any handicap and it is due to his efforts that my work has been completed.
The base of my research work The Vaitana Srauta - Sutra", a manual of Srauta - Sacrifices to be observed by the followers of the Atharvaveda, also known as the Vaitana-kalpa, the Atharva Veda-vaitana-sutra, the Atharvana,sutra, the Atharva-sutra or simply the Vaitana-sutra is one of the five basic ritual texts related to the Atharvaveda samhita The western as well as Indian scholars and Indologists have done intensive labour in editing and translating the text and also by discussing and reviewing the subject-matter contained therein. First of all R. Garbe edited and translated the Vaitana Srauta Sutra in German. This edition of Garbe has since long gone out of print. W. Caland published a new German translation with critical notes and Garbe's text. Dr. Vishvabandhu in collaboration with Bhim Deva and Pitamber butt, edited the latest revised critical edition of the Vaitana srauta sutra with complete commentary of Somaditya, called Aksepanuvidhl and with the details of six original manuscripts. Only a few scholars, such as Bloomfield, W. Caland, A.B. Keith, Durgamohan Bhattacharya, S.N. Ghosal etc. have done some critical appreciation of this work. But their work is only of elementary nature pondering only on the matters such as its date, authorship etc. in a cursory way. Its subject-matter has not been dealt with in details by any scholar.
The present work is an attempt to fill that void, I have made the maximum use of the only available commentary known as `Aksepanuvidhi' of Somaditya, which has not been used so far by the modern scholars, in solving various problems raised about the Vaitana Srauta Sutra and Kausika-sutra (Samhita vidhi).
The work is divided in ten chapters with an exhaustive introduction, shedding a new light on various aspects of the Atharvan-literature. In chapter first, I have discussed the issue of Authorship and Date of the Vait.Sr.Su. In second chapter I have discussed the position of the Vait.Sr.Su. in the literature of the Atharvaveda. The Relationship of the Vaitana.Sr.Su. with the ritualistic works of the other schools have been discussed in the Third chapter. Chapters IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX are devoted to the comparative discussion of the Srauta-Sacrifices described in the Vait-Sr.Su. i.e. Darsapurnamasa; Agnyadheya, Agnihotra, Caturmasya and Pasubandha; Agnistoma; Ukthya, Sodasin, Atiratra, Vajapeya and Aptoryama; Agnicayana, Sautramani and Gavamyana; Rajasuya, Asvamedha, Purusamedha and Sarvamedha. The last chapter is a survey of the mantras cited in the Vait.Sr.SU. It is my rare privilege to express my heartiest gratitude and indebtedness to Dr. Ramgopal, who initiated me in this work and helped me in formulating the plan of this work. Further I express my joy over my fortune that I had Dr. Iswar Singh, Reader-Head, Deptt. of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrt, as my guide, in whose kind supervision I have been able to continue and complete my research according to the plan. It is my pleasant duty to thank Dr. Jaidev Vidyalankar, Professor (now retired) and former Head, Deptt. of Sanskrit Pali and Prakrt, M.D.U. Rohtak who as reverend teacher at Panjab University Chandigarh and later my senior-most colleague at M.D. University Rohtak, has always blessed me with his affection and benefited me with deep founded erudition. I have to make a special mention of Dr. Sudhikant Bhardwaj, Professor and former Head, Deptt. of Sanskrit Pali and Prakrt, M.D. University Rohtak, who has been kind enough to give me every possible help in my research-work, out of his valuable time. I owe a debt of gratitude to all my learned colleagues who extended full co-operation during my research period. I am thankful to the library staff of Panjab University Chandigarh and M.D. University Rohtak for their co-operation and help.
It is my sacred duty to thank my parents whose blessings have always been a source of inspiration for me. Lastly I would like to thank two persons specially who shared enormous responsibility and gave indirect help in the Publication of the present work. One is my elder brother Sh. Sugan Chand, District Manager, H.H.K.N., who discharged for me most of the social and other out door duties. The other one is my wife Mrs. Shashi Mehra who, while herself in her assignments as Lecturer in Pol-Science at Govt. College, Gohana, Sonepat bore the entire burden of household affairs and thus allowed me time to devote in studies.
It gives me pleasure and advantage to introduce to the world of scholarship Dr. Baldev Singh Mehra's interesting and panetrating ritualistic study of the Atharvaveda with reference to Srauta-sacrifices. Since the publication of the Atharva-Veda by Roth and Whitney in 1856, it has been subjected to various types of studies such as interpretative, cultural, religious, historical and grammetical, but a comprehensive study embracing all the important aspects of Sraut-sacrifices of the Atharva-Vedas has so far remained a desideratum. The author proclaims that the view of modern scholars that the Atharvaveda was not included in the Trayi vidya due to non-availability of the Srauta-sacrificial material in it, is not correct. It has the same material dealing with the Srauta-sacrifices i.e. Kausika grha sutra, Vaitana Srauta Sutra and Gopatha Brahmana as found in the other three schools of the Vedas. Dr. Mehra has displayed a systematic explanation on the basis of the Atharvan Srauta munual. Dr. Mehra's work is a detailed study of the Srauta-sacrifices of the Atharva-veda dealing with all the important aspects of the subject including authorship and date of the Vaitana Srauta Sutra, the position of the Vaitan Srauta sutra in the literature of the Atharva-veda, the relationship of the vaitan Srauta Sutra with the ritualistic works of the other schools, darsapurna sacrifices, agnyadheya, agnihotra, caturmasya, pasubandha, agnistoma-sacrifice, ukthya, sodasin atiratra, vajapeya, aptoryama, agnicayana sautramani, gavamayana, rajasuya, asvamedha, purumedha, sarvamedha, survey and study of the mantras cited in the vaitna Srauta sutra. Besides, it contains an exhaustive bibliography and introduction throwing a new light on the relationship of the Atharvan sacrificial literature amongst its own and with the ritualistic Works of the other schools.
Dr. Mehra gives fairly comprehensive account of Vedic rituals. In other srauta sutras, Brahma is a silent spectator, but here in Dr. Mehra's treatise he has a role to play. I have no doubt that Dr. Mehta's work will be of special interest and Utility to all students of the vedic rituals in particular and to those of the Vedas in general Our authors has done a greater service to the students of the ritualism. It never absents itself from facility and perspicacity. A seasoned teacher of vedic literature in the Department of Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit, M,D. University, Rohtak Dr. Mehra is not only gifted with a sense of proportion and balance but also with an unerring instinct for shifting the data at his disposal.
I have had occasions of watching the literary progress of Dr. Mehra at close quarters, both as student of. Ph.D. at panjab University, Chandigarh and now my colleague at M.D. University, Rohtak and I can confidently say, that he Must have 'scorned delights', and lived `laborious days' in order to produce ritualistic account of Atharvanic literature so accurate in detail, perspicious in style and discriminating in its critical judgements. Therefore, our learned author deserves our heartiest congratulations.
Indian tradition holds the Vedas in high esteems mainly from the two points of views-firstly the sacrificial-rituals i.e. Karmakanda and secondly the spiritual knowledge i.e. the Jnanakanda. The Brahmanas elaborate the karmakanda aspect of Vedas whereas the spiritual aspect of the Vedas, the Jnanakanda, has been dealt with in the Upanisads separately. The ritualistic application of the Vedas, as found in the Brahmanas, was too elaborate, scattered and unmanaged. It was in the kalpasutras and more specifically in the Srauta-Sutras that the subject of the ritualistic performances was dealt with succinctly and in a perfectly managed and systematic way.
Antiquity of the Atharvaveda
The Vedas have often been termed as 'Trayi' or `Vedatrayi', which had led some scholars to believe that the Atharva Veda was not accepted as a Veda proper, for a long period by the high priestly circle. Only the Rgveda, the Yajurveda and the Samaveda were originally designated as the Vedas.
The term trayi has been interpreted by modern scholars, mainly in two ways. The first view accepts the existence only of three Vedas in the beginning as, according to them, is evinced by several references in ancient Indian Literature.
In the Rgveda, according to the upholders of this view, there is a reference to only the three Vedas, the Atharvaveda being completely absent. The yajurveda also mentions the existence of three Vedas. Aitareya and Satpatha Brahmana speaks of the trayi that the three vedas were born from the three ancient Rsis, Rgveda from Agni, Yajurveda from Vayu and Samaveda from Aditya. The Taitt.Sam, Taitt.Bra. and Manusmrti etc. explain the trayi as representing the three Vedas only.
Another view, however, holds that in fact the samhitas are four in number from the very beginning. The name `trayi' has been given to them owing to the fact that all the Vedas contain three types of expressions called as, the Rk, the Yajus and the Saman. According to the Jaiminiya-sutra, the Rk is that mode of expression which is divided in to padas or in other words is in verse. The name Saman is assigned to the lyrical songs and the rest i.e. what is in prose is known as yajus.
On examination of various references in various contexts the second view appears more plausible. The very mantra of the Rgveda (10.90.9), which is often quoted as an authority for postulating that the Vedas were originally three, clearly mentions four kinds of mantras used in ritualistic activities i.e. the Rk, the Saman, the Chandansi and the Yajus. Since the names Rk, Yajus and Saman are commonly used for the Samhitas available with these names, it has been presumed that the references in above mantras has been made only for the three Vedas. The holders of this view ignored the fourth one i.e, the chandansi. Sayanacharya has interpreted this word for meters gayatri etc. the sense attached to this word at quite a later stage. It seems that the word `chandansi' has been used for general category of vedic mantras not coming specifically in the jurisdiction of the R.k, yajus and Saman. They were later collected in the form of a separate book, which came to be known as the Atharvaveda. Swami Dayananda maintains that by chandansi the Atharva Veda is meant.
The author of the A.V. is stated to be Atharva, the son of Angirasa. In the Rgveda itself we find several mantras, the authorship of which is assigned to Atharva In Taitt.Sam, Vaja-Sam, Taitt Bra and in the later literature, the name Atharvangirasa occurs, quite frequently, who was the first generator of the fire. It is therefore evident that the mantras of the Atharvaveda existed simultaneously with those of the other Samhitas. In the Brahmanic and Aupanisadic literature we find the names of four Vedas, as well. In the Satapatha Bra. the Atharva-Veda is enumerated alongwith other Vedas as the breath of the great almighty (Mahatobhutasya). In the Gopatha Bra. four Vedas are clearly mentioned as the Rgveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Brahmveda. The Brahmaveda obviously is the name used for Atharvaveda, as this veda is mainly the concern of Brahma in the ritualistic performances. In the Upanisads also. Such as Brahadaranyaka, Mundaka, Chandogya etc. mention of four Vedas has been clearly made. In the post vedic literature the mention of four vedas has been clearly made too.
It appears paradoxical in the literature, where four vedas have been named, the word 'trayi' is also found used in the context of the Vedas. It is not reconcilable how the Vedas were three and at the same time four in number. The theory, that originally there were three Vedas and later on became four, is also not tenable, particularly in the light of the above facts because if the Vedas had ultimately become four and recognised as such, the question of calling them as three would not have arisen.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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