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Later Vedic Literature
Dr.Shashi Tiwari
Department of Sanskrit, Maitreyi College,
University of Delhi,
New Delhi-110021, India
[email protected]
Introduction
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Vedic literature has texts of four types
All are designated as 'Vedic'
First are Samhita texts
Each Samhita has corresponding:
1.Brahmanas,
2.Aranyakas, and
3. Upanishads
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Four Vedic Priests
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Vedic Priest is called Ritvij in a ritual
The Rigveda - Hota Ritvij - invokes
deities
Yajurveda – Adhvaryu Ritvij–
offers oblations in ritual fire
Samaveda- Udgata Ritvij- sings Samans
Atharvaveda- Brahma Ritvij –
overall in charge of ritual
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Two Categories- Later Literature
1. Vedic TextsBrahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads
2. Vedangas (six subjects)Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukta ,Chanda,
Jyotisha
= Phonetics, Rituals, Grammar, Etymology,
Metrics and Astronomy.
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Purpose of Later Vedic Literature
• “After the sacred and revealed Vedic
Mantra texts,
• there is another class of Vedic texts,
• which are closely connected with the
Vedic mantras,
• and are helpful for reading and
understanding them”.
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Classification of Vedic Texts
VEDA >SAMHITA > BRAHMANA
> ARANYAKA
> UPANISHAD
1.Rigveda- RigvedaSamhita > Aitareya-Brahmana> Aitareya Aranyaka
>Aitareya Upanishad
2.Samaveda -Sama Samhita> Pancavisha- Brahmana>
TalavakaraAranyaka >Chandogya-Upanishad
3.Yajurveda 1.Shukla-Yajurveda>Shatapatha-Brahaman>Brihdanyaka
> Ishavasya-Upanishad
2.Krishna-Yajurveda>Taittiriya-Brahaman > Taittiriya AranyakaTaittiriya Upanishad
4. Atharvaveda – Atharvaveda Samhita > Gopatha- Brahmana > X
>Mundaka Upanishad
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I. The Brahmanas (1)
'Veda' made up
of Mantra and
Brahmana
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Brahmanas - Meaning (2)
• The word in neuter gender means
Brahmana texts.
• "Which in tradition is not a hymn or a
Mantra is a Brahmana and which is not
Brahmana is a Mantra".- Sayana
• "Brahma Vai Mantrah"
-'that which relates to Brahman or the Veda'.
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Brahmanas- Ritual books (3)
A Yajna being performed on Vedic Alter
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Brahmanas -Contents (4)
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Used for the performance of sacrificial rites
Six topics given by Apastamba :
1. Vidhi - injunctions for the performance of rites
2. Arthavada- explanatory remarks
3. Ninda - criticism, refutation of views
4. Prashansha- eulogy, praise
5. Purakalpa - performance of former times
6. Parakriti- achievements of others
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Brahmanas -Contents (5)
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1.
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Hetu - reasons
Nirvacana - etymology
Ninda - censure
Prashansha - eulogy
Sanshaya - doubt
Vidhi - injunction
Parakriya - deeds/feats of others
Purakalpa - legendary background
Vyavadharana-Kalpana - managerial application
Upamana - illustration. = 10 topics By Shabara
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Brahmanas - Classification(6)
Sixteen Brahmanas available today
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Rigveda :
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Shukla-yajurveda : Shatapatha =1
Krishna-Yajurveda : Taittiriya =1
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Samaveda:
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Atharvaveda : Gopatha = 1
Aitareya/Kaushitaki. = 2
(5) Tandya etc. =11
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II. Aranyakas- Nature (1)
• The concluding portions of the several
Brahmanas,
• But distinct category of literature,
• Due to distinct character, contents and
language
• Aranyaka literature is rather small
• Deal with philosophical speculations
( Jnana-Kanda)
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Aranyakas - Meaning (2)
Derived from the word 'Aranya' (forest)
• The texts to be read in forest
Aranyadhyayanad-etad –aranyakamitiryate
- Sayana
• Brahmanas advocate sacrifices for
Grihastha
• Aranyakas describe rituals for
Vanprasthas
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Aranyakas-Contents (3)
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Main subjects :
Theosophy (Brahmavidya)/ Meditation
(Upasana) /Knowledge of breath (Pranavidya)
Secret meaning of the sacrifices
Stories & dialogues - Maitreyi &Yajnavalkya
Bridge between Karma-kanda (Br.)
& Jnana-kanda(Up.)
Give geographical, historical, cultural points
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Aranyakas- Classification(4)
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Seven Aranyakas available.
Rigveda : Aitareya/Kaushitaki -2
Samaveda : Talavakara/ Chandogya -2
Shukla Yajurveda : Brihadaranyaka -1
Krishna Yajurveda : Taittiriya -2
No Aranyaka of Atharvaveda
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III. Upanishads - Nature (1)
• Concluding part of the Veda
• Called 'Vedanta'. - Vedasya antah,
- the conclusion (Anta), or
- the goal (Anta) of Vedas
• Upanishads are the ripe fruits of Vedas
• Jnana-Kanda dealing with knowledge
• Most popular Vedic texts in world
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Upanishads -Meaning (2)
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Word derived from Upa+ Ni+ Sad (to sit)
means 'sitting very near to a teacher devotedly'.
secret teaching/ doctrine (Rahasya/ Guhya )
Constant association of Guru with Antevasin
High moral character of student
(Tapas/Yama/Niyama)
• High knowledge of Guru (Shrotriya &
Brahmanishtha)
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Upanishads - Number (3)
• Old Upanishads & Later Upanishads
• Samhita Upanishad – Ishavasya- YU 40th
• Later additions by religious sects for scriptural
authority
• Allah Upanishad, 16th A.D., time of Akbar
• Generally 108 Upanishads
• Ten -Principal Upaniashads- 'Dashopanishad' :
• Isha, Kena, Katha , Prashna , Munda ,
Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya and
Brihadaranyaka - states Muktikopanishad
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Upanishads - Division (4)
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Principal thirteen Upanishads:
Rigveda : Aitareya , Kaushitaki -2
Shukla-Yajur : Brihadaranyaka ,Isha -2
Krishna-Yajur : Taittiriya , Katha,
Shvetashvatara, Maitrayaniya -4
Samaveda: Chandogya, Kena
-2
Aharvaveda: Mundaka, Mandukya,
Prashna -3
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Upanishads - Theme (5)
Brahma-Vidya /Jyana- kanda
• Religious and philosophical treatises
• Represent knowledge of Brahman
• Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti ' -RV
• Mark the culmination of Vedic wisdom
• Basically Anti-ritualistic.
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Upanishads - Importance (6)
Unique place in Indian philosophy
Foundation of Vedanta philosophy
Adi Shankara, Commentator of Upanishads
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Upanishads - Importance (7)
Brahmavidya or the knowledge of Brahman
• Give importance to 'Knowledge' alone
• Any one with Jyana can be Guru or
Acarya, is GREAT
• Raikva instructed king Janashruti Chando.Up
• king Pravahana instructed to Gautama
• Ashvapati Kaikeya instructed to five
Brahmanas
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Upanishads - Great sayings (8)
Mahavakyas :
Establish the non-duality of Atman and
Brahman
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Prajnanam Brahma -Rigveda
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Aham Brahmasm
-Yajurveda
• Tattvamasi
- Samveda
• Ayamatma Brahma -Aharvaveda
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IV.Vedangas –Nature (1)
Vedangas: last treatises of Vedic Literature
Veda Purusha have six limbs as six Vedangas :
• Chandas are His two feet,
• Kalpas are His two arms,
• Jyotisha are His eyes,
• Nirukta is His ears,
• Shiksha is His nose &
• Vyakarana is His mouth. -Paniniya Shiksha (41-42)
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Vedangas –Purpose (2)
• (1)Shiksha or phonetics or
pronunciation
• (2)Kalpa or ritual
• (3)Vyakarana or grammar
• (4)Nirukta or etymology
• (5)Chandas or meter
• (6)Jyotisha or astronomy
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Vedangas –Shiksha (3)
Shiksha -Nose of Veda Purusha
• It means instruction: Instruction in reciting,
correct pronunciation, accents
• Shiksha-Sutras - texts on phonetics
• Phonetics is important for Vedic language
• Some Pratishakhyas are :
Rigveda-Pratishakhya /Taittiriya-Pratishakhya /
Aharvaveda-Pratishakhya
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Vedangas –Kalpa (4)
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Kalpa (ritual) - Arms of Veda Purusha
Systematic treatment or rituals, rules for
sacrifices
Four types of the Kalpasutras:—
Shrauta-sutras, dealing with Shrauta sacrifices
Grihya-sutras, dealing with domestic
ceremonies
Dharma-sutras, dealing religious, social laws
Shulba-sutras, dealing measurement of altars
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Vedangas –Vyakarana (5)
Grammar- mouth of Veda Purusha
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Discuss (Prakriti) and suffix (Pratyaya)
Old Vedanga-texts on Vyakarana are lost
Aranyakas give some technical terms
Ashtadhyayi of Panini( of later period), fourteen
Sutras called Maheswara Sutras, originated from
Nataraja's damuru sound
• Vararuci – Vartika, Patanjali- Bhashya
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Vedangas –Nirukta (6)
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Nirukta -ears of Veda Purusha
'Nirukta' means 'etymology'- helps to
know meaning of words
Only work survived is Nirukta of Yaska
Commentary on Nighantu - list of Vedic
words and name of Deities
Yaska mentioned his predecessors
Galava, Shakapuni, Katthakya
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Vedangas –Chandas (7)
Chandas - Feet of Veda Purusha
• Important to know Chandas of a Mantra, just as
Devata
• Term Chandas is derived from the root Chad
(to cover)
• Chandas covers the sense of the Mantra
• Some texts, dealing with Vedic meters:
Rikpratishakhya / Shankhayana Shrauta-sutra / Nidanasutra of Samaveda/ Chandas-sutras of Pingala
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Vedangas –Jyotish (8)
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Jyotisha - Eye, organ of sight of Veda Purusha
It is not to teach astronomy but to fix days and
time of sacrifices
It gives rules for calculating time for sacrifices
No work available of Vedic astronomy (Jyotisha)
Maharshi Lagadha is known as author Vedanga
Jyotisha
Later Bhaskaracharya, Varahamihira and
Aryabhatta are well known in Jyotish
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Conclusion
• The Anukramanis or systematic indices
and Prishishtas or appendices are the last
portion of Vedic Literature.
• Vedic Literature is compact in all sense.
• It presents varied and comprehensive
wisdom of Vedic seers.
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OM
Thank You
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