Subhanu Saxena Subhanu.Saxena at INTL.PEPSI.COM
Wed Aug 19 00:43:45 CDT 1998

Sri Suktam is orginally a mantra from the Rig Veda tradition, and is
found in the so-called "Khila" Bhaaga, or ancilliary section.  This is a
collection of hymns (the hymn to Medha is another famous example, a
version of which appears in the Mahanarayana Upanishad, as well as a
couple of mantras of the Pradhana Homa of the Upanayanam ceremony
according to Apastamba Sutra) that are considered as attachments to the
Rig Veda corpus (sometimes found at the end of the 8th Mandala).
Although originally from the Rig Veda, there is a wide tradition of
scholars from many Sakhas reciting this beautiful hymn.   There is
general agreement on the core mantras from "Hiranyavarnaam harineem.."
to "Yasyaam hiryanyam prabhutam....".  There is however a wide range of
Swara recitations. For example, in the mantra "Jaatavedo ma aavaha" the
swarita accent (high pitch) is to be heard on both the "ta" in some
traditions, and on the "vedo" in others in the word Jaadavedaha.There is
simliar variation in swara in the mantra "Chandraam Prabhaasam." (As I
write this, I am realising the strength of our oral tradition. If we
were able to meet I would be able to recite you the different versions
and you would get a feel immediately) Also, there is inconsistent
application of the Yajur Veda anuswara Sandhi in those Yajur Veda
traditions that have adopted the Suktam. For example, in the mantra "Ni
cha devim maataram shriyam....", those who recite according to Yajur
Veda tradition should recite "maataraggashhriyam...", as they do when
reciting "Eeshwareegum sarvabhutanam" for "Eeshwareem sarvabhutaanaam".
However,I have heard both versions recited in temples and Veda
Paaraayanas I have been involved in. Finally, some versions have
"Taamihopahwaye", while others have "Twaamihopahwaye" "I invoke her" and
"I invoke thee" respectively.

The mantra "Yahshuchif prayato bhutwa" is a Stuti attributed to
Sayanaacharya and is not part of the original mantras.  The subsequent
mantras "Padmaanane padma-uru..." etc are again stuti stotras and I have
heard at least five different versions of these supplementary verses,
both in terms of content and order.

So, which is the correct version? Given the wealth of forms out there I
think this is an impossible question to answer, but I would suggest that
those who belong to the original Rig Veda tradition and have learnt the
mantra according to their tradition up to the Stuti mantras have the
best shot at reciting as the mantra may orginally have been "seen".
Typically, one learns the version as taught by one's Guru in the style
of their Veda tradition (as I did). Given that this fabulous Sukta has
been "adopted" by so many schools as their own, this seems to me to be a
highly appropriate approach.

Incidentally there is similar variation (though not as wide) in the
recitation of Ganapati Atharva Sheersha Upanishad.



> ----------
> From:         Chelluri at AOL.COM[SMTP:Chelluri at AOL.COM]
> Reply To:     List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
> Sent:         Wednesday, August 19, 1998 6:35 AM
> Subject:      Re: Purushasuktam-2
>                                       Om
> Thanks Subhanu for the wealth of information on subject.
> Now could you please tell us where "SriSuktam" came from.  Are there
> different
> versions?
>                                                               Nagy

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list