[Advaita-l] Fragments of Katha Aranyaka (charak Aranyaka)

subhanu subhanu at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 26 12:23:56 CST 2014

Animesh wrote: I recently got an old book "fragments of Katha Aranyaka..."

Namaste Animesh, I was just curious as to whether you are aware of the work Michael Witzel of Harvard has done on Katha Aranyaka. He had access to the the most complete 1894 birch bark manuscript at Tübingen University (catalogued as Mal 396 fascile 10a and b). Your text seems to follow his text pretty much exactly including where you have indicated missing gaps. Was your source Witzel's book on Katha Aranyaka (Harvard Oriental Series 65- he has given the text available with German translation with extensive analysis. This publication is based on Witzel's original 1972 PhD thesis), or is it some other source? If you have access to some other hitherto unknown source then you may to connect with Witzel on this. If this is the case you can email me privately and I can connect you both. 

It is indeed a tragedy of our age that this Kāthaka Śākhā, once such an important sakha of the Krishna Yajur Veda (Patanjali in his Māhābhāshya commentary on Pāninī declared that this Śākhā flourished in every village: grāme grāme kāthakam kālāpakam cha procyate 4.3.101) is now in such a state of disrepair. However I have had this notion for a while that possibly with the help of modern methods and a collaboration between traditional pandits and western scholarship we may now be in a position to reconstruct the lost Brahmana and Aranyaka portions to give us a complete Śākhā (we already have the samitha text) . For example, the text in Animesh's blog describes the pravargya ritual which is well documented in Taittiriya Aranyaka and Satapatha Brahmana. Through the work of Witzel, Houben and our Vedic pandits I am sure we could reconstruct the Aranyaka missing fragments. We have portions of the Brahmana preserved in Taittiriya Śākhā , and there are other references and citations in the Srauta Sutras. If anybody is engaged in this work and they require help in any way then I would be grateful if they could be put in touch with me to see what assistance can be provided to fund such efforts .


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