Note on Vedic shAkhAs

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 20 08:47:01 CDT 1999

Each Veda has a number of shAkhA's (branches or rescensions). There is not
 much difference between the mantra portions of shAkhAs of the same Veda.

 How many shAkhA's do the Vedas have?

 Patanjali says in his MahAbhAshhya:

  ekashatamadhvaryushAkhAH sahasravartmA sAmavedaH
  ekaviMshatidhA bAhvR^ichyaM navadhAtharvaNo vedaH

 The yajurveda has a hundred and one shAkhAs, the sAmaveda has a thousand
 shAkhAs, the R^ig Veda has twenty one shAkhAs and the atharva veda has nine

 Of these, only a few shAkhAs survive to this day. Many mantras occur in
 the shrauta sutras of BodhAyana, Apastamba, and others. But there is no
 way of knowing where some of the mantras of shrauta sUtras come from
 because such mantras cannot be traced to any of the extant Vedic texts.
 This shows that such mantras must be from shAkhAs that are not extant

 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

  It is interesting to note that the maitrAyaNIya shAkhA of the kR^ishhNa
  yajur veda has followers in Northern India while the taittirIya shAkhA
  is prevalent in the South. The kANva shAkhA of the shukla yajur veda
  has followers in the South whereas the mAdhyandina has following in the


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