[Advaita-l] SRI SUKTAM - Meaning

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Thu Feb 12 09:43:53 CST 2009

>Hari Om Shri Bhaskarji, Pranaams!
>The mantrapuShpam book of Ramakrishna Mission,
>shrIsUktam as per rk samhitA mentions as pashUnAM
>I do not know whether we can say as a rule w.r.t.
>chhAndasa but we generally see the anusvAra when
>followed by UShmavarna(sibilants) / mahAprANa(aspirate),
>changes to gm.
>I also await comments/confirmation from this group.
>In Shri Guru Smriti,
>Br. Pranipata Chaitanya 

Dear Sri Chaitanyaji,

Properly speaking, there is no SrI sUktaM in the kRshNa
yajurveda at all. Even in the Rgveda, it is considered a khila
hymn and is not found in the samhitA of the sAkala SAkhA.
Consequently, the svaras in use for chanting this hymn
show a greater grographic variation and greater deviation
from the rules traditionally established for these two veda-s.

In general, the use of glottal g in the anusvAra is seen only
in the case of ISvarI(g)M sarvabhUtAnAm ... It is not used
in the line paSUnAM rUpam annasya ...

In the yajurveda, although many chant the anusvAra as if
there is a full guttural 'ga' sound involved (gaM or guM), it
should only be what is called a glottal stop. It is prominently
used when the anusvAra is followed by h, r, S, sh or s
sounds. It changes to a stronger gg (without the nasal M)
when followed by a conjunct sound with leading h, r, S, sh
or s. The glottal sound involved in the anusvAra vanishes
when followed by a full vowel or y, v or l sounds. When
followed by a consonant sound, the anusvAra changes to
the corresponding nasal (anunAsika) sound. 

If one had to rigorously apply the yajurveda recitation rule,
there are many other places in the SrIsUktaM where the
glottal g might appear as part of anusvAra. 

hiraNyavarNA(g)M hariNI(g)M suvarNa-rajata ...
candrA(g)M hiraNmayIM 
... yasyA(g)M hiraNyaM ...
aSvapUrvA(g)M rathamadhyA(g)M hastinAda ...  etc
(including ... yaSasA jvalantIggSSriyaM ... ) !

However, we do NOT chant that way. Except for the verse
beginning gandhadvArAM, every recitation I have heard is
according to Rgveda pattern only. The reason for the
exception is that this verse is indeed in the yajurveda,
in the first anuvAka of the mahAnArAyaNopanishat, so it
is recited as per the yajurveda pattern. To my knowledge,
the only other mantra from the SrI sUktaM found in the
yajurveda is a variant of the verse kshutpipAsAm ... - this
is found in the virajAhoma mantras, also in the
mahAnArAyaNopanishat (last chapter of the taittirIya

Although many pUjA traditions predominantly use the
yajurveda, for a hymn uniquely from the Rgveda, it is
preferable to use Rgveda rule in recitation. There are a
few Rgveda mantra-s recited after the rudra namaka
chanting (tamushTuhi ... devam asuraM duvasya. ayaM
me hasto ... SivAbhimarSanaH). Here, most people
end the second verse as ... viSvabheshajoya(g)M

Only in a recent audio recording of the rudra chanting
produced at Sringeri have I heard it chanted as per the
Rgveda rules, without the glottal stop (i.e. ayam me
viSvabheshajoyaM SivAbhimarSanaH).

Similarly, in the composite navagraha sUktaM, the last
verse sacitra citraM ... is from Rgveda and should be
chanted as candraM rayiM puruvIraM ... and NOT as
candra(g) rayiM ...In this case, most people recite it

As a last note, for Bhaskar, svara-s do not change, per
se, between Rgveda and yajurveda. That is, an udAtta
sound is udAtta in both, an anudAtta sound is anudAtta
in both and a svarita is svarita in both vedas. What varies
is only the style of reciting the svarita in special cases
(with long vowels, or with visarga at the end of a sentence).
These are codified in the respective prAtiSAkhya texts
and maintained with fidelity by recitation experts.

Best regards,

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