[Advaita-l] Svarita in RV and YV (was Re: SRI SUKTAM - Meaning)

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Fri Feb 27 15:49:16 CST 2009

>> dismiss a comparison completely is like throwing out all grammar
>> in favor of spoken language. It seems to me that grammar can
>> be a very good aid in learning to refine one's language usage,
>> but one should also learn the limits of the application of grammar.
>I think there is a misunderstanding of my position - by a number of
>The method of pronunciation and other rules are certainly dictated by
>grammar, but in the vedas they may or may not be adhered to. They do
>adhere to them _most_ of the time. 


I am not talking of grammar of classical Skt vis-a-vis vedic language.
I am making a generic comparison -

Grammar : spoken language :: prAtiSAkhya : actual vedic recitation.

The prAtiSAkhya rules were meant to capture specifics of vedic
recitation as the mantra-drashTA-s saw them and the pATha
constructions as they were handed down by oral recitation. In
the particular case of svarita, given that what is actually recited
differs from some of the rules handed down in the prAtiSAkhya,
we have one of three options:

1. The prAtiSAkhya text does a very imperfect job of describing
the nature of the svarita, although it goes into very minute details;


2. The nature of the actually recited svarita has changed, after the
prAtiSAkhya was written, which means the tradition has not been
all that faithfully handed down orally;


3. We could find a way to reconcile the perceived discrepancies
between the rules and the actual recitations.

We cannot say that the vedic recitation pattern adhered to the
rules laid out in the prAtiSAkhya most of the time and leave it at
that, because the prAtiSAkhya often takes great pains to list
exceptions and variant traditions (e.g. according to plaksha or
vAlmIkI, etc.)

I am not advocating that one should "correct" what one has learnt,
based on some notion of an "Ur-text" or "more genuine" recitation
pattern. However, the fact remains that today there are some who
were taught and who teach "candra(g)M rayiM" with svara-s as per
yajurveda, while there are others, of an equally respectable teaching
lineage, who were taught and teach "candraM rayiM", with svara-s
as per Rgveda.

For that matter, take the few Rk-s that are typically recited after the
rudra namaka chapter (tam u shTuhi ... SivAbhimarSanaH). These
are recited only as per Rgveda as far as I have heard them, never as
per yajurveda usage. Thus, there is dIrgha svarita usage in the words
yakshvAmahe, saumanasAya and namobhiH.

This does not stop with the svara tones. The padapATha that I have
learnt for these, from a yajurvedin expert, is also as per Rgveda, not
as per yajurveda. Thus, su-ishuH and su-dhanvA (never svishur iti su
ishuH or sudhanvA iti su dhanvA). This means that the other kinds
of pATha, like krama, jaTA and ghana are also as per Rgveda only,
not as per yajurveda. This is, in my opinion, an extremely good
indication that these verses are not part of the yajurveda samhitA
in the taittirIya branch. Now, if someone recites these verses in the
yajurveda style, using the regular svarita instead of the dIrgha
I for one, would have doubts about it, no matter who the reciter is!

In contrast, the mantra gaNAnAM tvA is found in both Rk and yajus
samhitA-s, so there is a Rgveda pattern of constructing pada, krama
etc and a distinct yajurveda pattern of constructing pada, krama etc.
One sees the differences specifically with the way the words A naH
and UtibhiH are parsed; everything else is the same between the two
veda traditions.


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