A Survey of The Sukla Yajurveda Parisistas (A Rare Book)


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During the last hundred and fifty years the essential and most portent Vedic works were critically edited, translated and interfered so as to build a firm foundation for Vedic philosophy in its widest scope. But all along the secondary Vedic works consisting mostly of a supplementary nature and generally called Parasites me Anukramanis etc. were not given due attention, because most cf them were written long after the Vedic period and continued to e written right upto the end. of the medieval period. Most of tem are in the form of small tracts dealing with various aspects o Vedic works like the language, meters, details of ritual arid mstoms, and the performance of various rites as they were practiced at various times. As such they do supply information about the changes which have occurred during the long Post-Vedic period and as supply some information which may be old but not recorded eerier but presumed for the Vedic period. They contain welcome ixilczmation about plants, animals, construction of altars, implements to be used and a host of other things pertaining to the life of the people which are not otherwise known. Hence their study is essential in filling up the lacunas in our knowledge of religious and cultural matters pertaining to the ancient and medieval period’s o Indian Society.

Dr. KASHIKAR has done lot of work in this field and is now an accepted authority on such texts. After completing his massive send on the important Vedic ritualistic texts, he has now given his attention to these minor works called the Parasites, in his three lectures in memory of Pundit Shripadshastri Deodar, which were delivered at the BORI on January 18, 19 and 20, 1993, and which are now printed in a book form for a wider circulation. To method which Dr. KASHIKAR has used is the same as is found his work on the rauta and Grhya Sütras, but which must have zed him more because of the lack of good editions, indifferent language in which they are written, their uncertain date and authorship, and the wide range of information they contain. He has accomplished this difficult task very well. The exposition is row compact and full of facts that the reader has to go through them slowly and carefully to assimilate the information given there. To facilitate the task of the reader, the author has supplied a detailed index. This work will be a kind of a constant guide for those who want to work in this field.


I thank the authorities of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute for having invited me to deliver lectures in the “Sbripad- shastri Deodhar Lectures Series” this year. Ideem it a great honour to be called upon by a prestigious academic body like the Bhandarkar Institute, the more so to deliver lectures in the lectures series instituted in memory of the late Shripadshastri Deodhar who spent his entire life in selfless service to the cause of the Sanskrit language and learning. Sbripadshastri was the teacher of my Guru - Acharya Vishn u Prabhakar Limaye. So, Shripadshastri was my Paraguru. In order to keep alive the sacred memory of his teacher, Acharya Limaye arranged to institute the Lectureship at the Bhandarkar Institute. Therefore, my appointment as the lecturer serves the double purpose of plying homage to my Guru and also to Paraguru, I remember to have seen him once at the residence of Acharya Limaye. It seems Acharya Limaye was his most beloved pupil. Shripadshastri used to write from Sangli to Acharya Limaye in reply to his letters. I remember to have seen one such letter which he had concluded by writing Visnutaramohanebhyah asirvacamsi. thus. giving his blessings to Acharya Limaye, his wife Mrs. Tarabal and son Balamohan (the daughter of Acharya Limaye, Mira, was not born at that time). The instituting of this lectureship indicates Acharya Limaye's attachment to his Guru.

The subject of my lectures is A Survey of the Sukla Yaiurveda Parisistas '. I have taken up this subject not because I have discovered something substantial about it. However, I intend to take stock of all available information about the Sukla Yajur- veda Parisistas scattered here and there and add some more details When it may become possible for me to do so.

Among the Vedic Texts which reached Europe in the ninteenth century A. D. the Rgveda was the first. Hence, it was made the subject of study by European scholars of Sanskrit who were attracted towards the Vedic literature. The Rgveda commanded particular attention probably because Max Muller published, for the first time, the extensive commentary on the Rgveda Samhita by Sayana. The Kauthuma Samaveda which comprised the verses providing basis for the Samaganas was also published. So far as the Yajurveda is concerned, the Sukla Yajurveda was taken up probably because of its clear division as collection of mantras and the Brahmana. It was Albrecht Weber who paid particular attention. in spite of his varied interest in Sanskrit literature, towards the Sukla Yajurveda. He published the Vajasaneya Madhyamdina Samhita, Satapatha Brahmana, Katyayana Srautasutra together with the commentaries, the Vajasaneya Pratisakhya and many other texts. Side by side with the study of literature, he also studied the rituals presented by them. His lectures on Indian literature indicate how deep he had dived into the ocean of Sanskrit literature. As an indication of' his keen interest in Sukla Yajurveda, it may be pointed out that• he had a look on the Sukla Yajurveda Parisistas. Thus, he has .. mentioned (P. 142) the contribution made by the Nigama - one of the Sukla Yajurveda Parisistas, towards the Vedic Vocabulary .

Before dealing with the Sukla Yajurveda Parisistas, it would be proper to have a look at the Parisista literature in general and also such parts of Vedic texts which, even though forming part of such tevts, bear a rather distinct character. But, before proceeding towards that, it would be feasible to define the meaning of the term Parisista, together with allied words.

The word parisista, ppp. of vsis with pari does not have a specific sense in the tradition. Literally it means, “ that which has remained ", “a supplement”, The words like parisesa or sista have sometimes been used in the same sense. Even the word paribhasa has been deemed to be a synonym. A supplement may be of different natures. Sometimes it may denote a portion bearing the same character as that of the original, and may have somehow remained outside. Sometimes, it may bear a rather different character, but may have been taken to be a part of the original, in the tradition. So far as the ritual is concerned, the so-called supplement may reflect the details which formed a part of the original but somehow were left out. At other times, and this is more probable, it may denote the development of ritual which took place in course of time by reasons of changed circumstances- cultural, social and economic. Sometimes a Parisista may represent a topic which may not be directly related to the original. Thus, the character of a Parisista is not uniform. All the same, a detailed study of the Parisistas is helpful for understanding the original to which it relates and also for the assessment of the subject in general to which it belongs.

The first and the last Mandalas of the Rgveda, even though they cannot be said to be supplementary, consist of hymns which are generally believed to have been composed at a comparatively later date. The Khilas which characterise certain recensions of the Egveda are really the supplements to the Siikala recension. Certain Khllas themselves were supplemented with some verse even of classical nature, in courses of time, The concluding portions of the Madbyamdina and Kanva Samhitas of the Sukla Yajurveda have the appearance of a supplement. To the Gramegeya and Aranyaganas of the Samaveda are added uha and Uhya which filled a lacuna. The Saunakiya Atharvaveda has seventytwo Parisistas, mostly in Karikii form, relating to magical incantations and Grhya rites.



  Foreword III-IV
I. Introductory 1—6
II. The Pariistas of the ukla Yajurveda 6—8
III. Pariistas discussing the form and language  
  of the Vãjasaneya Sathhiti 8—21
Iv. Pariistas discussing the Smuts Rituals 21—32
V. Pariistas dealing with the rauta and Ghya rites 33—48
VI. Parisistas discussing the Grhya rituals 48—50
VII. The Pariista discussing a topic of Dharmaästra 50—52
VIII. Epitome 52—61
  Index 62—71
  Errata 72

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