[Advaita-l] Query about a passage from taittirIya AranyakaM

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 17 11:00:24 CST 2015

The relevant Taittiriya text should be read along with the emphasis on svaadhyaaya elsewhere - तपश्च स्वाध्यायप्रवचने च, स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्यां मा प्रमदितव्यम् etc. The present text is meant to eulogise svaadhyaaya - therefore it is not only Veda standalone, but Veda along with angas, upavedas and upaangas - in effect all the Vidyasthaanas - that should be recited every day.  
The practice of reciting the first mantra from Vedas, the first sutra from Vedangas and Darsanas etc., the first sloka from Bhagavatam etc. in Brahmayajna or as a part (अवधारण) of some Pujas is symbolic of reciting all the Vidyas. It is also observed that if a particular pandit is available, say a Vaiyaakarana while doing Sivapuja, one or two paadas of that Sastra, in this case AshtadhyaayI, or even one entire chapter is recited, in the place of the first sutra of that Sastra, in this case वृद्धिरादैच्॥.
Coming to the question whether only the first mantra / sutra etc. is only intended, the answer is no. Any mantra / sutra etc. can be recited. There is a practical angle to this as well. Usually the practice is to recite everything that one knows at least once in one month (so that the text learnt stays in memory). That is, everyday one should recite 1/30th of what one knows by turn so that one completes an aavRtti in one month.
I am not too sure about the नाराशंसः but allow me to examine the relevant texts - These gaathas are defined in the Nirukta as - येन नराः प्रशंस्यन्ते स नाराशंसो मन्त्रः (9.9) and a Rk is quoted as an example immediately thereafter. That is those mantas by which humans are praised are called नाराशंसः. Durgacharya explains that ordinary humans are not praised and that praise of kings is meant there.
On the Taittiriya Brahmana text quoted by Sir Animesh, SaayaNabhaashya summarises the above - using almost the same words as Durgacharya - and reads as follows: ब्राह्मणो वेदस्य, शमलं मलिनभागम्, अपाघ्नन्नपनीतवन्तः। नराणां राजामात्यादीनामासमन्तात्प्रशंसनं नराशंसस्तद्विषया गीर्नाराशंसी। 
In this and the next text, it is said that the unclean part (मलिनभागम्) of Vedas is the NaaraSaMsee and that of anna (food) is sura (alcohol), and therefore one who takes something (as a daana) from a person singing the NaaraSaMsee or from one who is drunk (मत्तः), takes the unclean part.
The kAThakasaMhitA has a somewhat similar meaning.
Here the prohibition is not on reciting those mantras but from receiving from somebody reciting that mantra - तस्मात् गायतः (from one who is singing) च मत्तस्य च न प्रतिगृह्यम्। (तैत्तिरीयब्राह्मणम् १.३.२.७). So one should recite the nArASaMsaH as part of svaadhyaaya but should not recite them at the time of doing daana.
A complete prohibition of recitation of these mantras is not in congruence with what we observe. Generation after generation, scholars learn the Veda in full and remember it through out their lifetimes. Both learning and retaining involves svaadhyaaya, i.e. recitation of the Veda, including the nArASaMsaH. Therefore the correct interpretation of the texts would be that one should learn and practice but not recite them at the time of giving daana. One more aspect is that the same Tai. Br. text calls them a part of the Veda. Not a single syllable of the Veda can be avoided, so one has to arrive at the earlier conclusion itself.

RegardsN. Siva Senani
      From: Animesh via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
 To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org 
 Sent: Saturday, 17 January 2015 1:01 AM
 Subject: [Advaita-l] Query about a passage from taittirIya AranyakaM
SrI mAtre namaH , 

Namaste , 

While studying a vedic selection book ( named as 'Vedic Sanchayan' ) I came  across following passage of taittirIya AranyakaM ( 2nd prashna 10th anuvaka )
पञ्च॒ वा ए॒ते म॑हाय॒ज्ञास्स॑त॒ति .............॒ यथ्स्वाध्या॒यमधी॑यी॒तैका॑मप्यृ॒चय्यँजु॒- स्साम॑ वा॒ तद्ब्र॑ह्मय॒ज्ञस्सन्ति॑ष्ठते॒ यदृ॒चोऽधी॑ते॒ पय॑सः॒ कूल्या॑ अस्य पि॒तॄन्थ्स्व॒धा अ॒भिव॑हन्ति॒ यद्यजू॑षि घृ॒तस्य॑ कूल्या॒ यथ्सामा॑नि॒ सोम॑ एभ्यः पवते॒ यदथ॑र्वाङ्गि॒रसो॒ मधोः कूल्या॒ यद्ब्राह्म॒णानी॑तिहा॒सान्पु॑रा॒णानि॒ कल्पा॒न्गाथा॑ नाराश॒॒सीर्मेद॑सः॒ कूल्या॑ अस्य पि॒तॄन्थ्स्व॒धा अ॒भिव॑हन्ति॒ यदृ॒चोऽधी॑ते॒ पय॑आहुतिभिरे॒व तद्दे॒वास्त॑र्पयति॒ यद्यजू॑षि घृ॒ताहु॑तिभि॒र्यथ्सामा॑नि॒ सोमा॑हुतिभि॒र्यदथ॑र्वाङ्गि॒रसो॒ मध्वा॑हुतिभि॒र्यद्ब्राह्म॒णानी॑तिहा॒सान्पु॑रा॒णानि॒ कल्पा॒न्गाथा॑ नाराश॒॒सीर्मे॑दाहु॒तिभि॑रे॒व तद्दे॒वास्त॑र्पयति॒ त ए॑नन्तृ॒प्ता आयु॑षा॒ तेज॑सा॒ वर्च॑सा श्रि॒या यश॑सा ब्रह्मवर्च॒सेना॒न्नाद्ये॑न च तर्पयन्ति "

The translation was " If one studies one rik , one yaju , one sAma , one atharvangirasa mantra one's forefathers are benefited from rivers of  milk , ghee , soma and honey ...... "  

My question is do this one one rik , one yaju , one sAma , one atharvangirasa mantra means first mantra of rigveda , yajurveda , samaveda , atharvan veda or any mantra belonging to respective veda samhitas ?
Do this phrase ' one rik etc ' is Upalakshan for any mantra of respective samhitA or it conveys meaning 'of the first mantra of all vedas '.

( generally people recite the first mantra of four vedas in bramhayagyaM )

Another thing it also mentions  benefit  of studying ' brAhman , ItihAsa, purAna , kalpA , gAthA , nAramshasi gAthA '.

But generally there is restriction on chanting of nAramshas gAthAs .
 taittrIya brAhman mentions "यद् ब्राह्मणः शमलमासीत | सा गाथा  नारशंस्य भवत् | यद् अन्नस्य | सा सुरा || ( taittirIya brAhman )
Also kAThaka samhitA mentions "गाथा अनृतं नाराशंसी मत्तस्य न प्रतिगृह्य अनृतं हि मत्तो यदा हि .........." ( kAThaka samhitA 14.5 ) 

Please clarify .


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