New member introduction: shrI Subhanu Saxena

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Aug 12 13:14:31 CDT 1998

On Wed, 12 Aug 1998, Anand Hudli wrote:

>  Speaking for myself, my family is from the shAkala shAkhA of the
>  R^ig Veda. I learnt some R^ig Vedic sUktas from two different
>   brahmins back in India while growing up. I probably would have
>  learnt more of the R^ig Veda had I stayed in India.

Btw, I did not mean to imply that all South Indians are Krishnayajurvedis
only that all Krishnayajurvedis are South Indian.

>  I think the Krishna Yajur Vedins are more numerous than followers
>  of the other vedas. Especially in the South, one can easily locate
>  a Krishna Yajur Vedin, but other Vedins are relatively fewer. For
>  instance, about 95% of the Brahmins in Andhra Pradesh are Krishna
>  Yajur Vedins, and they are still the majority in Tamil Nadu, although
>  not an overwhelming majority as in Andhra. In Karnataka/Maharashtra,
>  where I come from, one does find a relatively higher percentage of
>  Rg Vedins, especially but not exclusively, among MAdhvas. The big
>  loser is the Atharva Veda which has hardly any followers left in
>  India. Shri Chandrasekhara Saraswati, former Swami of the Kanchi
>  Math, writes in his book on the Vedas how hard it was for him to
>  find an Atharva Veda scholar for the Vedic PAThashAla. He searched
>  and searched and finally found just one atharva vedin of the
>  Shaunaka shAkhA in Gujarat. The Swami then sent two young brahmin
>  boys to Gujarat so that they could learn the atharva veda. These
>  boys , now supposed to be middle-aged men,  are resident scholars
>  of atharva veda at the Tirupati devasthAnam. Hopefully, they will
>  propagate the atharva veda to many disciples!

Judging from the families I know, amongst Gujaratis it is about 80%
Shuklayajurveda (Madhyandina Shaka), 15% Samavedis (Kauthuma Shakha), 5%
Rgveda. I don't know of any who study Atharvaveda.  But the Bhagavata
Vidyapitha (a pathashala in Gujarat)  has trained students in Atharvaveda.
I think I read in one of their publications that they have several
shastris on staff who know it.

As to why Yajuraveda in all its forms is the most popular (it has the most
shakas too), I think because it most closely follows the order of the
Yajnas it is the most "practical".  But the fact the other Vedas are also
still prevalent today shows our ancestors were concerned with duty as well
as practicality.

> The Swami, in the same book, then goes on to formulate a theory
>  on how different Indian languages have different Vedic influences.
>  For example, in the languages Kannada and Marathi of Karnataka and
>  Maharashtra respectively, the letter "La" (not to be confuesd with
>  "la" appears) frequently. This, according to Shri Chandrasekhara
>  Saraswati, indicates the influence of the R^ig Veda on the languages.
>  The R^ig Veda has many followers in this geographical region.
>  It is well known "La" occurs commonly in the R^ig Veda, as in
>  "agnimILe", "mR^iLA", etc. In a similar fashion, the Swami says,
>  the frequent occurrence of "Da" in Telugu is due to the influence
>  of the Krishna Yajur Veda. For example, "mR^iLA" in R^Ig Veda becomes
>  "mR^iDA" in Krishna Yajur Veda. The Swami also gives explanations
>  for  occurrences of distinguishing syllables in other languages.
>  The occurrence of "ja", for example, in North Indian languages,
>  is due to the influence of the Shukla Yajur Veda.

This is an interesting theory and one which I believe has merit because
there are certaince small linguistic differences in Gujarati in
different parts of Gujarat wich coincides with the level of study of the
people there.

>  Most of the South Indian priests that one sees in temples in the US
>  are indeed Krishna Yajur vedins. I have learnt (and am still learning
>  ) portions of the taittirIya samhitA/ AraNyaka/ upanishad from a
>  priest, Krishna Bhat, in this country.
>  To make a long story short, if one wants to learn the Vedas and
>  approaches a priest/scholar, the probability is high that he will be
>  a Krishna Yajur Vedin.

Amongst South Indians.  Whereas amongst Gujaratis and North Indians
Shastris are almost invariably Shuklayajurvedis.

I was remarking to Subhanu that it is a duty to study ones own shakha.
But whether it is better to study the "wrong" Veda rather than no Veda I
don't know.  Let's hope we don't need to make such choices.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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