Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 27 12:03:50 CST 1998

   Subhanu Saxena <Subhanu.Saxena at INTL.PEPSI.COM> wrote:

>All I can talk about is the traditional method used in my Sakha.  So, I
>briefly describe how I learnt, plus some other points.  Those who
belong to
>other Veda Sakhas in the list will be able to give a description of the
>salient points in their system.  For a general overview, the relevant
>section in the book "The Vedas"( published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan),
>Kanchi Paramacharya of revered memory, is an excellent reference, with
>discussion of different Veda recitation styles across the country.

 Excellent post by Subhanu.

 One of the important differences between R^ig Vedic chanting and
 kR^iShNa yajurvedic chanting styles is the how the svarita affects
 the syllable. In the R^ig Veda, the svarita has the effect of
 elongating the vowel, if it is a short vowel. If the vowel is
 dIrgha, then the svarita causes it to become a "dIrgha-svarita"
 (marked by a double vertical bar). Take, for example, the verse
 from the shrI rudram that also occurs in the R^ig Veda:

 stuhi shrutaM gartasadaM yuvAnaM mR^igaM na bhImamupahatnumugram.h |
 mR^iLA jaritre rudra stavAno .anyaM te asmanni vapantu senAH  ||

 The svarita for mu, for example,  in "bhImamupahatnumugram" makes it
 sound like "mU" (dIrgha) in R^ig Vedic style but it sounds like "mu"
 in kR^ishna Yajurvedic style. Again, the svarita for vA in yuvAnaM
 and in stavAno, are in the R^ig Veda, chanted as dIrgha-svarita,
 but ordinary svarita in the kR^iShNa yajur Veda.

 Personally, I feel the R^ig Vedic style adds a pleasing effect to
 the chanting and makes it more melodious. And the more melodious
 a chant is the more the probability that you will remember it!
 But this may be just  because I am used to chanting and hearing
 more of R^ig Veda than kR^iShNa yajur veda. When I started learning
 kR^iShNa yajur vedic portions, I had some difficulty in adjusting to
 the new style. I think the best way to become familiar with
 kR^iShNa yajur vedic chanting style is start with the taittirIya
 upaniShad. This introduces the student to the chanting style with
 (relatively) easy mantras.

 Curiously enough, the shukla yajur veda (at least the kANva shAkhA)
 follows a chanting style that is similar to R^ig Veda. For example,
 the  mantra "imA rudrAya tavase kapardine..." of the shrI Rudram is
 chanted _identically_ in both the R^ig and shukla Yajur Vedas.
 In that respect, I found chanting the shukla yajur vedic Rudram/
 chamakam easier to me at least.

> There are some who believe that  the Veda mantras should not all be
>recited in the style of ghanapATHa.  As you can see, in ghanapATHa
>recitation, the words are recited in reverse order. The concern amongst
>these scholars is that the sense of the mantra could be changed, hence
>should not be recited in ghanapATHa. I personally find ghanapATHa
>exhilerating to recite, particulalry in a group.

 The objections, I have heard, come from the mImAmsakas.
 But I find the ghanapATha a remarkable experience to listen to.
 I have not learnt this scheme but have only heard chants from others.

>4) Pattern recognition
>A student learning Veda can easily spot certain patterns or shapes to
>him memorise the mantras.  Some mantras appear to be deliberately
>in a way to help memorisation. Eg Bhrgu Valli in the Taittiriya
>has similar phrases and structures repeated, which make memorising
>mantras extremely easy.  Also, the swara and metre are an enormous
>Although initially it seems to students that having to learn the words
>swara is tough, it actully gives the mantra a structure that makes it
>to learn.   Unfortunately, a lot of the brahmana portions and prose
>have no easy structure, and learning them is not easy.  Some of these
>sentences go on for 2-3 minutes without a break or a repetition of
>Here, there is no substitute for hard work! I found learning some of
>samhita portions particularly difficult because of their long prose
>Well, there you have it.  Mantra cannot be learnt form just a book, as
>vocal nature of the mantra cannot be captured (I am also wary of
>errors), but by dedicated effort, regular study and the grace of one's
>Since the pronounciation requires shudha uccharana, or pure recitation,
>which is so important, depth is better than breadth. It is better to
>a few mantras to perfection rather than try and learn a vast number,
>recite them with poor swara or pronounciation. As we saw in the posting
>the mantra "gaurI mimAya", if you understand and have mastered one
>you can unfold all the mysteries of the universe from that mantra

 I completely agree that it is important to learn to chant even
 a little of a Veda correctly rather than do a poor job of learning
 large portions. In fact, the gAyatrI mantra of the daily sandhyA-
 vandana is all that one needs to chant perfectly to derive the
 benefit of learning all the Vedas! The taittirIya brAhmaNa
 states so. More about this later.
>Harihi Om. Sri krshNArpaNam astu
>mantrahInam kriyAhInam bhaktahInam janArdana |
>yat krtam tu mayA deva paripUrNam tadastu me ||


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