[Advaita-l] Mantrapushpam > Vedic Education

(Maitreya) Borayin Larios shrimaitreya at gmail.com
Wed May 11 17:15:12 CDT 2011

Dear Sarmaji, dear Ramaji and dear list members,

I have some observations regarding your answers.

> The yajur veda does not have padas, being prose.

The yajurveda has also many verse sections which are recited according to
the given chandas and style. However there are larger prose parts as you
well notice which technically have no regular* pādas*.

> pa~ncaashat is actually 50 syllables. When teaching, the pa~caashat
> divisions are not
> followed. Neither are they followed during recitations. They are
> present to as en "error control" mechanism. The traditional grantha
> texts break the svara at the end of each pa~ncaashat, but during
> recitation it is continuous and the svara changes because of that.

In the example given by Subhanu Saxena on the Rudram he wrote:

*As an example, consider the 5th prasna of the 4th Kanda of Taittiriya
Samhita.  This is more commonly known as Sri Rudram, commencing with
"namaste rudra manyave...etc", and consists of 11 anuvaka's.

In the first anuvaka, the first break after 50 words or so is:

yAmishu'm girishanta haste' ; bibharshyasta've |  The ";" indicates where
the student will pause in the recitation

In samhita recitation, there would be no pause, and we would have:

yAmishu'm girishanta haste  bibharshyasta've |

Note how the "e" in "haste" now becomes anudatta.

The next breaks are at "ye chemagum rudrA abhito' dikshu ; shritAha.....",
then  "hasta isha'vaha ; parA tAha....", and "ubhAbhyA'm uta te namo' ...".
The ";" shows where the break occurs. Note how the break does not always
coincide with the start of a verse. It can happen in the middle of a

I have verified the breaks he gives for this passage and indeed the break
occurs after around 50 words (according to my counts 44 words). If we
counted the syllables as Ramaji suggests, then the break would not occur
where Subhanu Saxena has pointed out, but much earlier.

> The other thing is there are various levels of pratiika mantras. I
> believe this is the case in the braahmaNa and the aaraNyaka. Here the
> beginning and and end of each chapter are usually recited pratikena,
> there are also various levels of pratiikena mantras at the end of each
> anuvaaka. There are other types of useful mnemonic aids, especially in
> some chapters like the kaaThakam.

Could you please describe the mnemonic aids as well as what you mean by
pratiika mantras? Thank you.

> I have learned only very miniscule parts of the samhitaa. I don't remember
> it having these mnemonic aids. These are called "kovai" by Tamil speaking
> vedic reciters. Remember, the samhitaa has something much better, pada and
> krama texts. I'll check with my printed samhitaa later today and let you
> know.

Thank you for checking that. I would also be interested in the "kovai" you
mention here.
The complex permutations based on the padapāṭha (traditionally 8) are of
course the tool per excellence to fix the Vedic texts. Nonetheless, there
are many students who memorize only de samhita text (sometimes adding Brāhmaṇa
and Āraṇyaka). What I am looking for right now is more details on the
traditional instruction of the Saṁhitā (plus Brāhmaṇa and Āraṇyaka) from
different Vedic śākhās.

The same observations above apply to the kind suggestions of Sarmaji:

It is always "pada-s" (word) and NOT "paada-s" (quarter-of-a-verse.)
> The words are to be pronounced exactly as done in the pada-paatha (in case
> of a group of words, the last one will have the exact form as in
> padapaatha.) The swara also has certain rules when a sandhi is broken.

This would imply that the student has learned fist the padapāṭha before the
Saṁhitā recitation. Which is usually not the case (at least in Maharashtra).
One must also bear in mind that (as far as I know) there is no padapāṭha for
Brāhmaṇa or Āraṇyaka, but only for the Saṁhitā text.

> When a praSna (a chapter, with the mantra-s grouped as anuvaaka-s; for
> example, KY vEda taittirIya samhita first kaanDa has 8 praSna-s) is
> initiated, groups of pada-s are recited by the guru with proper breaks
> (following correct grammar rules for sandhi break and swara break.)

Can you please explain what you mean by rules of swara break? I am well
aware of sandhi rules, but here I would appreciate a more detailed

> After 10-12 such sessions the student will be able to recite the mantra-s
> with
> supervision from the guru, each group of 50 pada-s. Every such group of 50
> pada-s, is chanted 10 times under supervision by the guru. After 10-12 such
> sessions, he will be able to memorize the entire pancaaSat groupings
> correctly, as also the sequence for the entire praSna. The re-joining of
> 'phrases' broken for ease of recitation happens almost effortlessly. In
> case
> of any doubts, the teacher helps.
> In braahmaNam, instead of 50 pada-s, it will be 10 vaakya-s
> (phrase/sentence.) In the case of last grouping of the anuvaaka, the count
> of words may be sometimes less than 50, sometimes more.

Yes, the above description matches what I observed during my visits to the
Vedic schools of Maharashtra. Thank you for clarifications.

Maitreya Larios

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