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सर्वे जनाः सुखिनो भवन्तु

सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर


“Brahma anati jaanaateeti braahmanam” By which brahma is being known that scripture is braahmanam. vaidika vaangmayam is in the form of poetry and prose too. “brahma vai mantraveda in the form of mantra is brahma. –shathapatha braahmanam says. The same is told by another form “yajna” The mantras that gives the procedures for performing the yajna yaaga etc. kratavas, associated with analysis in prose form is braahmanas.

Rushi is one who can perceive mantras and called also, as mantradrashta.

The braahmana granthas details the values of yajna yaaga kratavas w.r.t scientific and philosophic angle i.e. vaignaanika, aadhibhautika and aadhyaatmika angles.

braahmanas are considered as part of vedas.

As per aapastamba rushimantra braahmanaatmaako veda”-meaning that veda is combination of mantras and braahmanas.

This braahmana shall not be misunderstood with the varna braahmana.

yajno vai shreshtatamam karma” this veda vaakya/sentence stresses the mutual inseparable interlink between yaaga karma and vedamantra.

We can view braahmanas subject wise as:

1.vidhi: The details of karmakaanda are given here in the form of vidhi(instruction). The discussions on veda mantras w.r.t arthameemaasa (pramaanika analysis on meaning), vaidika pada nishpatti (the word interpretation) are given here in this part. Here which mantra, where with what view (uddeshya) and with what dravyas to be used is given.

  1. 2. arthavaada(praising): Instructions to be observed while performing yajna and the results by performing yajna are detailed here.
  2. upanishat: This part discusses brahma tatva. About chaitanyam and how to get that anubhooti.
  3. aakhyaana: In this part the rushis and their vamsha parmapara, kings and their dynasties, are detailed.

When bhakti cult took the front seat in the observation of sanaatanadharma, the vaidic rituals-based worship in temples, temple constructions, taken priority. In that process, vaikhaanasa aagamas of vaishnava cult, the construction of temple based homa and devataa pratishtha and devataarchana systems formed. Similarly other aagamas- shaiva, shaakteya, gaanaapatya, skanda prakriya, etc too were established in the same process and panchaayatana poojaa was introduced by aadi shankara bhgavatpaada.

saraswati riverbed was the base for birth of most of the braahmanas which are said to be in kuru and paanchaala deshas.  Before migration people from saraswati and sindh riverbed to gangaa riverbed these braahmanas were established in sanaatanadharma culture is one opinion. Hence our bhaarata desha is named as veda bhoomi and karma bhoomi.

Based on the movement of kaala/time ie based on movement of soorya the timings for performing vaidic karmas are to be decided. That needs the knowledge of jyotish shaastra and took importance. Arriving at a goodtime based on jyotisha shaastra was followed by our rushis and was also acknowledged by western pundits too.

In braahmanas it is mentioned that krittika stars will be appearing in the east side after they rise in the sky. Based on this, western pundits estimated braahmana origin time to 1100BC. But others observed that it was between 3000 to 2000 BC. But the timings of origin are to be re-established after due research again through traditional angle.

Every shaakhaa of vedas has different braahmana. For 1131 veda shaakhaas it was the understanding that there were equal number of braahmanas. But as on date we have only 18 braahmanas. Even today the search for braahmana is being done in the country. braahmanas are the mirrors for our dhaarmic culture in our country. These are the path finders for us.

rugveda braahmanas: aitareya and kausheetakee are based on rugveda.

  1. aitareya braahmana originator or perceiver is maheedaasa aitareya. His mother is understood as itaraa, a shoodra kanya married to rushi maheedaasa. Hence the name is aitareya.

This braahmana has 40 chapters/adhyaayas and they are divided into 8 panchikas. Each panchika is subdivided into khandikas. Total there are 285 khandikas.

1st & 2nd panchikas: agnisthoma yaaga prakriya.

3rd & 4th panchikas: praatah, maadhyandina, saayam savanas.

5th panchika: dwaadasha yaagas.

6th panchika: somayaagas which are performed for some weeks.

7th panchikaa: raajasooya yaaga. And

8th panchikaa: indra mahaabhishekam and chakravarti mahaabhishekam

were detailed in these panchikas.

B kausheetakee or saankhaayana braahmana: This has 30 chapters and 224 khandas. Son of kusheetaki, rushi kausheetakee is the karta/ aacharya for this braahmana. Importance of yajna, various discussions on shaastreeya vishayas and fixation of time is appearing in this braahmana. It follows aitareya braahmana at certain places.

Western pundit A B Keeth translated this kausheetakee brahmana into English.

Son of maadhava vinaayaka wrote bhaashya.

udayana’s bhaashya which was modified by aacharya from Shree Venkateshwara University Sri I R Krishna, was published in Germany.

By the time of this brahmaana, the rudra and vishnu cult has taken prominence in the society. Here “yagno vai vishnuh” was established.

yajurvedabraahmanas: taittireeya braahmana of krishna yajurveda and satapatha braahmana of shukla yajurvedah are available at present. It is in a talk that krishna yajurveda has also kathaka brahmaana, but not available.

  1. taittireeya braahmana is one of the oldest braahmana available. Since this braahmana utility is to present mantras useful for doing karma, and since the duties of adhvaryu of yaagnas are detailed in yajurveda this braahmana has taken an important place in karma kaanda. In this, prose is also mixed with mantras. Hence after three vedasamhitas (ruk, yaju and saama) this taittireeya braahmana was taken birth.

Since it contains the knowledge of stars krittikas, lords of all stars/nakshtras, knowledge of time based on nakshatras, concerning to khagola shaastra/Astronomy, for the later development of vedaanga-jyotish shaastra, this is considered as base. This is in three kaandaas,25 prapaathakas.1308 anuvaakas.

In this, the details of vaajapeya, raajasooya, naramedha etc yajna yaaga are given. The greatness of nachiketaagni is explained in this braahmana, in kathaka shaakhas. varaaha avataara also was given in this braahmana.

  1. satapatha braahmana: Two braahmanas are available for two shaakhaas of shukla yajurveda, namely a. maadhyandina b. kaanva. The subject is the same in both with slight differences.

maadhyandina has 14 kaandas, 100 chapters/adhyaayas.

kaanva has 17 kaandas and 104 adhyaayas.

satapatha braahmana was small at the samhita level but at the yajna kaanda stage it has grown to a much bigger size.

First 9 kaandas of satapatha are explanations for 18 chapters of vaajasaneya samhita.  

First 9 adhyaayas and last 14 adhyaayas are expected to be written by rushi shaandilya. In the last 5 chapters, there is a bruhadaaranyakopanishat

hariswamy, saayana, kaveendra saraswathy had written bhaashyas for this braahmana.


saamavedabraahmanas: There are 9 braahmanas. They are: taandya, shadvimsha, saamavidhaana, aarsheya, devataadhyaaya, upanishat, samhitopanishat, vimsha, and jaimineeya braahmanas.

  1. taandya braahmana was propagated by rushi taandi and his disciples. This is important braahmana for saamaveda. It is also called ‘mahaabraahmana, praudhabraahmana, pancha vimshati braahmana.

In yajnas udgaata one of the rutvik of yajna recites this braahmana.

In taandya braahmana is given the details of vraatya yajna. vraatyas are considered a different sect from aaryas. Their dress, customs, and manners and sampraadaayam is given in this braahmana.

In this, the land from kurukshetra to naimishaaranya is mentioned as yajna bhoomi.

  1. In shadvimsha brahmana, many shaanti prakriyas for many disasters are given. This is also called adbhuta braahamana. This is in 5 prapaathakas. This is considered as annexure/parishishta bhaaga of panchavimshati braahmana. Hence name has come as shadvimsha braahmana.
  2. saamavidhaana braahmana gives the procedure for destroying enemies, and procedure for banishing a person from a village is given. However, these two of saama veda, panchavimshati and shadvimshati arenot considered as braahmana granthas. But saamavidhaana is considered as braahmana grantha.
  1. aarsheya braahmana gives scientific and analytic base for saamagaana.

5.devataadhyaaya braahmana is very small. In this the details of devatas of saamaveda: agni, indra, prajaapati, soma, varuna, tvashtaa, angirasa, pooshaa, saraswatee, etc are given.

6.upanishat braahmana is divided into as: mantra braahmana and chaandogyopanishat. This is also called chaandogya braahmana. In this, vivaaha, garbhaadaana, seemantonnayana, choodaakarma, upanayanaadi karmas were detailed.

  1. In samhitopanishat braahmana saamagaana is detailed. The mantras required for saamagaana are in this braahmana.
  2. vamsha braahmana is also small. In this paramapara of saamavedaacharyas is given. For learning family trees of rushis this is useful.
  3. jaimineeya braahmana just like satapatha braahmana is big one. yajna anushtaana is given in this.

atharvabraahmanas: For 9 shaakhaas of atharva veda, there is only one braahmana by name gopatha braahmana. This has two parts poorva gopatham and uttara gopatham. In poorva gopatham there are 5 prapaathakas. uttara gopatha has 6 prapaathakas. This is not considered as old but later addition.

yajnas are organized under stewardship of 4 main rutviks. They are 1. hotaa– a rugveda pandit 2. adhvaryu, a yajurveda pandit, 3. Udgaataa, a saamaveda pandit and 4. Brahmaa, an atharvanaveda pandit. The duties for all these are given in this braahmana.        

This is said to be written by gopatha rushi. Many vaidic shabdas are defined here. Some repetitions from taandya and satapatha are also there.