Note on Vedic shAkhAs

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 22 22:42:06 CDT 1999

Namaste All,

Anandji wrote:
>  The shAkhAs that have followers today are as follows:
>  R^ig Veda shAkhAs:
>      1) shAkhala
>      2) bAshhkala
>      3) sAMkhyAyana
>  shukla Yajur Veda shAkhAs:
>      1) kANva
>      2) mAdhyandina
>  kR^ishhNa yajur veda shAkhAs:
>      1) taittirIya
>      2) maitrAyaNIya
>      3) kAThaka
>  sAma veda shAkhAs:
>      1) jaimini
>      2) kauthuma
>      3) rANAyanIya
>      4) paiN^gi
>  atharva veda shAkhAs:
>      1) shaunaka
>      2) paippalAda

I have several questions. I hope you don't mind.

1. We are Brahmins from Western UP but have nothing remaining that tells of
our scriptural studies/Vedic Shakha etc. As far as I know, most of the
people from our community that I have come across only know their Gotras and
not much. A few elderly people say that during the Islamic period, most of
the relation to Vedic studies was lost. But there were people (Bhattas) who
used to come at the time of birth/death to make a record. Can anyone tell me
whether one can find out about one's Veda and Shakha etc. from these records
(I am presuming these records are still available in Kashi) ?

2. One of my friends is from Karnataka and knows his Veda to be RgVeda. But
he says his shikshan has been in Yajur Veda. Is this fairly common ?

3. Also, his Shakha is Shalivahan (he thinks but is not sure). Is there, or
was there ever was, a Shalivahan shakha, because it is not listed here in
this list that Anandji gave ?

4. As far as I remember, Adi Shaknaracharya had assigned one Veda to each of
the four Mathas. I think the one is Jyotirmath was assigned the RgVeda. Does
it mean that there were more RgVedins in the area, hence meaning chances are
my Veda is RgVeda ?

5. What exactly does a Shakha denote? Can there be a difference in the ways
various Shakhas recite the Mantras? My friend pointed out that one stuti for
Sri Ganesh recited by him differs a lot from the way its done in

6. Someone once pointed out to me that if the recitation (and hence
pronounciation) of the Mantras became unclear, or if the technique was lost,
one would go to Kashi to get the proper pronounciation. Is there only one
way in which a Mantra is to be recited ? If so, then why so many Shakhas ?


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