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Vedic Beliefs And Practices Through Arthavada (2 Volumes)

Vedic Beliefs And Practices Through Arthavada (2 Volumes)
Item Code: IDE199
Author: Dr. (Mrs.) Sindhu S. Dange
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8173052867
Pages: 663
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.8"
weight of the book: 1.230 kg
From the Jacket:

The Vedic ritual reasonings (arthavada-s) glorifying the Vedic rites and rituals and initially springing from the 'sacred' tradition, bring directly or indirectly with them the beliefs and practices prevalent in the then Vedic society. At times are indicated in them the 'avedic' beliefs and practices. The arthavada-s thus bear relation to the 'secular' or profane tradition. Even admitting that the 'sacred' and 'secular' traditions are complementary to each other, more weight age has to be given to the 'secular' or profane tradition, for it has provided much matter to the sacred tradition.


The present book (in two volumes) dealing with the Vedic beliefs and practices, enables the reader to have a peep in the Vedic society of the hoary past and is an aid to know the cultural history of ancient India.


About the Author:



Dr. (Mrs.) Sindhu Sadashiv Dange had been R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai (1984-1997). She has to her credit numerous research articles and 15 books (including the present one in 2 vols.) - 9 authored by her, a co-authored with Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange and 5 edited by her.

Wellknown in India for her contribution to the field of Sanskrit, she is particularly interested in Vedic myths and rituals and Puranic-Hindu customs and beliefs.

She was felicitated by the State Government of Maharashtra (1997), by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, through the Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan in the Sanskrit Year (2000) and by the Shriman Bastiramji Sarada Sadguru Shri Gangeshwaranandaji Pratishthan, Nasik by awarding her the prestigious Shri Guru Gangeshwaranand Veda-Vedanga Rashtriya Puraskar (2004), for her Vedic studies.


There have been studies of Vedic texts from the cultural point of view. These studies concern in great measure the Samhita texts and many times the Brahmana texts but their complex rites and rituals are left to the background. However the arthavada portions which occur in the Brahmana the arthavada portions which occur in the Brahmana texts as eulogizing the Vidhi-s (injuctions laying down rites and rituals) are helpful in presenting a picture of that age. Efforts though not many have been made in this direction. To name some of these Studies in Brahmanas by A.C. Banerjee (Delhi 1963) Kausitaki Brahmana Paryalcoama (Banaras 1961) and Aitareya Brahmana Paraylacoma (Banaras 1962) by Mangaldev Shastri and cultural gleanings fromt eh Brahmana literature by (Mrs.) Sunanda K. Tilak. (Mrs.) Tilak has collected various arthavada passages from the Brahmana literature and has classified them under different heads to present a picture of the civilization and culture in the Brahmana-s.

Arthavada-s in the Brahmana texts initially from the sacred tradition of the rites and rituals bringing directly or indirectly with them the beliefs and practices prevalent in the then society thus bearing their relation to the secular tradition have been a topic of my interest for the past some years and I was working on it. With so much material gathered on this topic my study opened a window for me to have a peep in the Vedic society of the hoary past some of the traces of which can be marked even in the present day Indian society.

It is my pleasant duty to put on record my thanks to the university Grants Commission for its aid to the project under the scheme of Support for Major research project (1991-94) the title of the project aided in that scheme was arthavada a study in Vedic Ritual reasoning taking into account the results arrived at the completion of my project the tile is now changed suitably as the work is about speech (the goddess Vac) in all its aspects formed a basis of my earlier book aspects of speech in Vedic Ritual.

My student Miss Alka Pamdi (Now Mrs. Alka Kukarni) who was the then research assistant of the Sanskrit department me in collecting information. She did her work with sincerity and devotion though her stay in the department was only for one year.

My sense of gratitude for the scholars whose works (Including translations) were of great help to me though I have differed from them at several places.

In entrusted the work of publication of this project to Shri Vikas Arya who has been publishing our books (mine and those of my husband (late) Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange) since 1994 with a sense of belonging. He has brought out this work also with the same feeling, I am thankful to him.

My son-in-Law Sanjay R. Shirgaonkar, Principal Pillai’s college of Architecture New Panvel Navi Mumbai has prepared the cover design. My thanks for his timely help as well as that of my little grandson Yash B. Jahagirdar who helped me in arranging the Index cards of these two volumes.

I shall feel happy if this endeavor of mine can be to some extent an aid to know the cultural history of the Indian society of the Vedic times.



The Veda as is well-known comprises mantra-s and brahmana-s. The mantra-s help to make the performer remember several topics or subjects (artha-s), which are invariably associated with the performance of any ritual.’ According to Jaimini, besides the mantra-s, the remaining bulk of the Vedic literature is called br#hmana.2 The Ap. S. S. explains the nature of the brahmana-portions by saying that the brahmana-s are injunctions for performing the (sacrificial) actions, i.e., rites.3 The Mhnanzsaparib1iaa explains that brahmana is a statement enjoining a particular act, i.e., vidhi.4 The instruction of such vidhi-s cannot be acquired from any other source except the brahmana.’ The last part of the brahmana-portion is termed artliavãda.6 Art havada is defined as a statement containing either praise (pras’astya) of the enjoined or condemnation (nindã) of the prohibited. Apastamba states arthavãda as having four types and so lays down with praise and condemnation, two more types of arthavãda viz. parakrti and purakal pa.8 The author of the ‘Jrttika points out that parakrti states what has been done n the past by a single person, while in the purakalpa occurs what has been done in the past by two or more persons.9 As these two types of arthavada stem from the sphere of sacrifice, it is obvious that the accounts which occur in them axe also from that context. Parakrti contains the accounts of the sacrificial performances of the celebrated ritualists and also of the gifts made by the kings to their priests. Here we have the accounts of success achieved by the sacrificers through their sacrifieces and gifts Purakala signifies the olden accounts of sacrificial rituals performed in former time by gods as well as men of antiquity. Parakrti and Purakalpa having a thin line of demarcation are pratically same. As these two verge either on praise or condemnation arthavãda is taken to have two broad types prasastya and ninda.

Sabarasvamin has added eight more types of arthavãda under the sutra thus totaling twelve. These twelve types stated by him are as follows
1. Abounding in the particle iti (Karanabahulam)
2. Having the Expression so they say (Apohanibaddham)
3. Legendary in Character (Akhyayikasvaritpam)
4. Stating a reason (Hetu)
5. Explaining through the means of etymology (Nirvacana)
6. Eulogising (Prasamsa)
7. Condemning (Ninda)
8. Expressing a doubt (Samsayah)
9. Injunctive (Vidhi)
10. Stating exploits of other (Parakrti)
11. Stating olden accounts (Purakalpa) and
12. Transpositional (Vyavadharnakalapana)

Sabarasvaming has stated these types with examples

Sabarasvamin’s classification of arthavãda-s is a detailed one. But there is another way in which the arthavãda-s are classified broadly under three types viz Gunavada Anuvada and Bhutarthavada arthavãda of the Gunavada types is one which is contrary to our means of perception such as direct perception. The examples is adityo, yupah in wich yupa is praised. The sacrificial post is the sun this statement is contrary to our direct perception and is nullified by it. Hence it is to be understood by indication. As both the sacrificial post and the sun are lustrous in appearance they are identified. Here the indication is based on the quality of luster. It is thus the Gunavada type of arthavãda, arthavãda of the anuvada type is one which simply confirms our knowledge acquired by the means such as direct perception. The example is agnishimasya bhesajam agni is a remedy against cold. Here the deity agni is praised. The quality of Agni namely opposition to cold is understood by us from direct perception. The statement under consideration simple confirms this and so it is anuvada type of conveys a matter free from contradiction with other means of knowledge. This other means of knowledge neither supports the mater under consideration nor contradicts it. This type simply embodies a statement of the real state of affaris. The example is indro vrtraya vadham udayacchat indra raised the weapon for striking Vrtra. This type of arthavãda describes an accomplished fact by past event.

The arthavãda portions in the Vedic ritual texts are not taken as expressing their meanings for their own sake. If taken so it may lead to an occasion of undersirable contingency of having irrelevant portions in the Veda which has ritual along in view. Whatever is no connected with any ritual will stand as irrelevant. And as the Vedic study is to be recited daily all the Vedic portions have to be not only meaningful but also relevant. And so the arthavãda are regarded as meaningful and relevant.

The meaning of an arthavãda is not to be taken by abhidha but by laksama. This becomes all the more patent when we take into account the Gunavada type of arthavãda. As noted earlier in this type of arthavãda two entities are brought together by a common quality giving rise to a metaphor. The Vedic ritual texts are replete with such metaphors. Even the Anuvada type of arthavãda can at time present such metaphors agnirhimasya bhesajam being one of them. In the bhutarthavada type of arthavãda there occur several mythical accounts hardly leaning any scope to the power of indication for such accounts are to be understood by the power of expression of the words or statements contained therein.

To come to the point of relevance and usefulness of the arthavãda-s to their respective vidhi-s. This has been discussed by the Mimamsakas at a great length. Sayana says that Jaimini has taken great pains to establish the authoritativeness of the arthavãda-s. the prima facie view states that as arthavãda-s are not injunctive they cannot have any meaning i.e. relevance for the Vedic texts are manily injuctive in charater. Thus the arthavãda-s stand anitya . the siddhantin states that though the arthavada-s are not which is directly injuctive laying down something to be down. After construing together the two parts it is seen that the arthavãda part serves the purpose of eulogizing and commending what is laid down in the injunctive part. Thus in the animal sacrifice the vidhi is laid down viz. ine desirous of prosperity should sacrifice a white (goat) to Vayu the arthavãda related to this is own share and he makes him acquire properity the arthavãda here by eulogizing Vayu serves to commend the act of sacrificing to the deity Vayu which is enjoined by the Vidhi in the Kamyapasukanda.

The propriety and status of the arthavãda portions of the Veda have been a point of discussion in the Mimamsa philosophy. The doctrine of ekavakyata propounded by the Mimamsakas has to be taken into account here when the exact status of arthavãda portions is to be decided. As pointed out by Navathe the doctrine of ekavakyata i.e. sysntactical unity originally introduced in the topic of the mantra-s by Jaimini has been very effectively used by the Mimmamsakas in respect of the following occasions:

1. There is syntactical connection between the injuctions of the subsidiaries and those of the principla vidhi and
2. There is syntactical unity between the arthavãda-s and their corresponding injunctions.




Preface vii
Abbreviations xi
Introduction xv
Volume I


1. Etymologies 1
2. Sun, Moon and Constellations 42
3. Quarters 84
4. Time and its Units 100
5. Water 120
6. Trees, Plants and Varieties of Grass 141
7. Animals and Birds 176
8. Complementary Numbers


Volume II


9. Sense-Organs and Body-Parts 259
10. Varna-System 289
11. Family-Life 310
12. Sacrifice's Code and His Immortality (!) 340
13. Arthavada-s on Varied Topics (Miscellanea) 374
14. Arthavada - A Pointer to Ritual Development 529
Illustrations 541
Bibliography 547
Index 559


Sample Pages




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