[Advaita-l] Mantrapushpam > Vedic Education

(Maitreya) Borayin Larios shrimaitreya at gmail.com
Tue May 10 10:31:49 CDT 2011

Dear List members,

I very recently joined the list. So I want to breifly introduce myself. My
name is Maitreya B. Larios. I am a PhD student in classical indology from
the University of Heidelberg, Germany. I'm currently doing my research on
the current state of the Vedic tradition in Maharashtra, particularly
looking at the Vedic schools (vedapāṭhaśālās) in this state. I visited
around 25 of these schools during my fieldwork in 2009 and have been working
on the subject since then.

If Subhanu Saxena is still active on this list? In a post he made some time
ago on Vedic learning, he described the method of recitation as per
theTaittirīyaśākhā, and wrote the following:

*Also to aid memorisation, there is usually a break every 50 words*, *where
there will be a pause in recitation as if it were the end of a sentence. At
the end of the section concerned, the phrases at the breaks are repeated,
and the phrase at the final break is then followed by the number of words
that exist till the end of the section.  Finally, at the end of a kanda, the
1st words of each anuvaka are repeated, as an aid to memorise the sequence
of anuvakas*

I have a technical question. If my memory doesn't fail me according to the
vaidikas I visited in Maharashtra, the "break" he is describing is
technically called "pañcāśat" (Skt for 50), but instead of "words", my
informants say it refers to 50 pādas (quarter of a verse) and not to words.
We must remember that in the saṁhitā text the words are joined by sandhi, so
that it becomes difficult for the pupil to count the individual
words.The pādas,
on the other hand, are relatively easy to count and are not dependent on the
break of sandhi. So my question is, whether the described "break" also
refers to the pañcāśat of pādas, or if he could elucidate how they count the
words if their are joined by sandhi?

I am very much interested in obtaining detailed descriptions from members of
the list who have learned the veda in the traditional method on how they
received instruction (or eventually teach themselves). For instance, I have
observed that the ṛgvedins initially repeat the pāda (or a fraction of
it)three times after the guru, instead of two like the yajurvedins.

If Subhanu Saxena is still active on the list, I would really appreciate if
he responded to this issue. Any other contributions on the topic are most

Thank you.
Maitreya Larios
विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम् ।
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं ततः सुखम् ॥

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