Post No. 9053

Date uploaded in London – –19 DECEMBER 2020      

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tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com


We have four Vedas now – Rik, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana. Vedas are the oldest and biggest collection of religious works in the ancient world. The scholarly world wonder about Vedas for two reasons:

All the hymns, over 20,000 in number, have been passed by mouth. This is unheard in any part of the world. Vedas clearly say it should not be written and must be heard and remembered. Until this day it is followed in traditional Vedic schools.

The second wonder is that there is no such bulk of literature in any part of the ancient world. Though we have some religious texts in Egypt and Babylonia, they are nowhere near the Vedas quantity wise or quality wise.

 I can add one another wonder; that if we draw a line in 800 BCE, we see a huge volume of literature in India and a very few in the other parts of the world.  This shows again two things:-

India is the land where civilization originated and spread to other parts of the world. Bhimpetka in Madhya Pradesh has 40,000 year old rock paintings which mean, in the centre most part of India, in the deepest forest, men lived in India.

Second thing is all Latin and Greek words can be traced back to Sanskrit and Tamil roots. So languages and script also migrated from India to other parts of the world. ( I have shown it in my 70 plus articles)

When we compare it with the lost portions of the Vedas, we have more wonders.

The oldest Grammar and Linguistics book in the world is Ashtadhyayi of Panini dated by Goldstucker around 800 BCE.

The grammar book and its commentary Mahabhasya give us some information about the lost portions of the Vedas.

Vedic schools = Charana in Sanskrit

Branch = Saakhaa in Sanskrit

Most of the Vedic charanas were founded by  rishis whose names were also used for Gotra/clan appellations




“The Vedas in their infinitude being like the expanse of an endless ocean, no one has been able to master them. Even so in the remote past there were individuals conversant with a large number of shakass.

Since the Krta yuga there has been a decline in the powers of man.

Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa knew all the 1180 recensions / shakass of the Vedas revealed to the world by various sages.

The Saama Veda had the highest number of shakaas/ branches/ recensions, 1000.

In the Rig Veda there were 21 .

In the Yajus 109 (Shukla/White Yajur Veda – 15 and Krsna/Black Yajur Veda- 94)

And in the Atharva Veda -50

Visnu Purana mentions   the number of Shaakaas to be 1180; another scholar says there were 1133  shaakaas.

During 5000 years or more since Veda Vyasa divided the Vedas, many Saakhaas have been lost. Out of the 1180, we are in the unfortunate position of only six or seven.

Rig Veda has only one Saakhaa now- Saakala Saakhaa or Aitareya shaakaa

Saama Veda 997 shakaas lost;

Shukla /White Yajur Veda – Maadhyandina  Saaskhaa and Kaanva saakhaa

Krsna/ Black Yajur Veda – only Taittiriya Brahmana is extant.

We should be guilty of a grave offence if the seven or eight Saakhaas of the 1180 that still survive become extinct because of our neglect.; there will be no expiation for the same.”

For full details in Tamil, please go to Deivathin Kural; for full details in English, please go to ‘Hindu Dharma- The Universal Way of Life’, Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Mumbai, 2000


Vedic literature

Thieme , tracing Panini’s (Paaninii) references to their original sources has shown that Panini derived his grammatical material  from the texts of the Rigveda , Maitraayanii Samhitaa , Kaathaka Samhitaa, Taittiriya Samhitaa and Atharva veda, probably also from the Saama veda. To these may also be added Saakalya pada paatha of the Rigveda which has supplied him with material for Suutras 1-1-16-18

P Thieme , Paanini and the Veda, p.63

Thieme further points out that some of the Vedic forms used by Paanini cannot be traced back to any extant Vedic works. Possibly they were derived from some text or saakhaa of the black Yajurveda which was known in his time but now lost to us . p 64 of the above book


Under Rigveda comes this paragraph in Agrawala’s boo


Paanini mentions the Aamnaaya and dharma of the Bahuvrcha school as Baahuvrichya 4-3-129

And refers to Bahuvricha as the name of Charana 5-4-154 .

That this school once enjoyed wide distribution, is shown by Patanjali speaking in terms of the Bahuvrichas while referring to the Rigveda recensions

Ekavimsadidhaa baahuvrichyam 1-9

The Bahuvrichas are referred to in the Satapatha Brahmana 11-5-1-10 and quoted a dozen times  in the Aapastamba  Srauta sutra. None of these citations can be traced to the two Rigveda brahmanas known to us , viz. Aitareya and Kaushiitakii and Keith was led to observe  that ‘it is perfectly certain that he  — Aapastamba – meant some definite work which he may have had before him and in all probability and all his quotations came from it .

Keith , Rigveda brahmanas, p.496


Panini mentions by name certain other Vedic schools , whose exact affiliations are not known. E.g.

Taitila – Kadru in sutra 6-2-42

It contains an allusion to the students of Aachaarya  Titilin, also mentioned in the aforesaid Vaarttika 6-4-144

Patanjali mentions Karudaah and Kaankataah as names of schools 4-2-66; 2-286

Of which the former appears to be students of Kraudi mentioned in the Kraudyaadi gana 4-1-80

The Kaankata Brahmana is referred to in the Aapastamba Srauta- suutra 14-2-4 along with other unknown texts- see Keith,  J R A S .1915, page 498

The schools of Karmanda and Krisaasva which are known only from panini 4-3-111 and those of  Kaasyapa and Kausika  4-3-103 were confined to their sutra works only, showing to what extent specialisation under the Vedic charanas had advanced . the Kausikas belonged to the Atharva Veda , but the affiliations of the other three are not known .

Pages 317 to 328 , India as known to panini, V S  Agrawala, university of Lucknow, 1953

Brahmanas, came after Samhitas and they are dated from 1000 BCE. Of all the lost brahmana works that of Saatyaayana has been quoted most frequently according to B K Ghosh (Fragments of Lost Brahmanas).

tags – Vedas, lost, 1180 Shakas, Charana


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