[Advaita-l] Reciting veda ghana pATaM

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Jun 12 22:57:10 CDT 2008

On Thu, 12 Jun 2008, Bhaskar YR wrote:

> praNAms
> Hare Krishna
> I've couple of questions...
> (a) I heard from someone that reciting veda ghanapATam is of no use...ghana
> is meant only to show our mastery over recitation of vEda maNtra-s in a
> prescribed order by following the proper saNdhi between the words but this
> ghana recitation does not give any meaningful meaning...

I make my livelihood programming in Perl and in the Perl community we have 
a recreational activity called "golfing" in which you try to write a 
program to do something in as few characters as possible.  On the face of 
it this useless (and actually counter-productive as such programs would be 
a nightmare to maintain) but it serves the purpose of honing skills.  In 
other "serious" fields too you often find some kind of "play" activity 
like this.  I imagine for learned vaidiks too, the vikrtis do not serve a 
"practical" purpose but as you said develop mastery.

> (b)  In chandi (durgA saptashati) svahAkAra during chandi yAga, why we say
> svahAkAra even to uvAcha-s...like agasthyA uvAcha svAhA...brahmOvAcha
> svAhA..etc. If everything in saptashati is like maNtra then why we dont say
> svAhAkAra to R^ishi, dEvata, chandas also??

The basic problem is that saptashati means 700 but there are considerably 
less (543 I think)  There are several possibilities.  Maybe 700 was not 
meant to be an exact figure or maybe there are some "lost" mantras.  But 
our tradition has taken the view that 700 mantras have to be taken out of 
the existing text.  The dominant view is that of Shri Bhaskararaya who in 
his guptavatI tika on chandipatha establishes the number 700 by including 
each uvAcha (and namaH in yA devI sarvabhUteShu...) as a mantra.   The 
prastAvanA of guptavatI gives his reasons for it.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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