अथर्ववेदीया पैप्पलादसंहिता: Paippalada Samhita of The Atharvaveda (Set of 4 Volumes)


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About the Book

The Paippalada-Samhita of the Atharvaveda was originally the most prominent branch of the Atharvaveda and was known as such to Yaska, Panini, and author of the Mahabhasya and even later. The Paippalada-Samhita often reveals its closeness to the common people. Its decline in the middle ages seems to have been related to that and the parallel rise of the Saunakiya-Samhita as the main text the Atharvaveda. A mutilated and hopelessly corrupt Sarada manuscript of the Paippalada-Samhita was known from the Paippalada-Samhita was known from the seventies of the nineteenth century through the efforts Rudolph von Roth. But with its lacunae and underminable readings (ed. L.C. Barret, 1905-1940) it hardly generated any decisive philological research into the Atharvaveda. The situation changed with late Durgamohan Bhattacharyya’s discovery, after years of search, of complete and much better manuscripts in the Oriya script which present edition is based The discovery was hailed ‘as one of the greatest events in Indology’ (Ludwig Alsdorf). Durgamohan Bhattacharyya (d. 1965) edited the first four Kandas (Sanskrit College, 1964, 1970) resulting in a ‘precious store of material... (being) spread out before our eyes’ (karl Hoffmann) but did not have the opportunity to complete the work. The book consists of twenty kandas. The first two volumes of the present Asiatic Society edition (Kandas 1-15, 3771 verses in 510 hymns; 16, 1963 verses in 155 hymns) were published in 1997 and 2008 (BI Series no. 319). This volume comprises the seventeenth and the eighteenth kandas in 55 hymns (496 mantras) and 82 hymns (663 mantras) respectively.

About the Author

Dipak Bhattcharya’s (b. 1940) work with the Paippalada-Samhita began in 1964 with the translation (Bhavan’s Journal XI.2) of a new hymn of the text (9.4) and has continued. He was awarded the Colette Caillat Prix for the year 2009 by the Institute de France for his previous works on the first and the second volume of the Paippalada-Samhita (Asiatic Society 199 and 2008) and to aid him in carrying out work on the remaining volumes. He was fortunate to have continuous advice from late Professor F.B.J. Kuiper while editing a part of the Paippalada-Samhita as a ZWO Fellow (1981-82) at Leiden. His publications on Indology are more than fifty and include, apart from the two volumes of the Paippalada Samhita, two books Paippalada-Samhita, two books on Vedic Philology and the edition of collections and papers on various branches of Indology. Bhattacharya retired as Professor of Sanskrit, Visva Bharati in 2005 after serving there for twenty-years.



It gives us immense satisfaction to be able to present the long awaited critical edition of the Paippalada Samhita of the Atharvaveda by Professor Dr. Dipak Bhattacharya to the scholarly world.

As is well known, the discovery of several palm leaf manuscripts of the Paippalada Samhita in the Oriya script by the late Professor Durgamohan Bhattacharyya in 1959 has been hailed as one of the most outstanding events in Indological research. Unfortunately, the discoverer did not live to complete the critical edition of the text on the basis of his discovery which he had started. He could edit only the first four of the twenty kandas which were published by the Sanskrit College, Calcutta in the sixties. His son Dipak Bhattacharya of the Visva Bharati approached the Asiatic Society for the publication of the remaining part of the Samhita edited by himself. The Society decided to publish that as a complete and joint work by Dipak Bhattacharya and his father in two volumes with the part previously edited by the late discoverer prefixed to the first volume. Dr. Bhattacharya readily agreed to this.

The first volume of the critical edition based on the Orissa manuscripts as well as the mutilated Sarada manuscript discovered in the last century is now being presented to scholars. This consists of the first fifteen kandas that is to say about half the material of the edition.

The critical apparatus of this edition appears a bit different from that of the previous one. But in it Dr. Bhattacharya has inserted all the comments of his father which appeared important to him apart from giving a summary of the previous ‘Introductions’ in the editorial Introduction to this volume.

We may announce here that the publication of the second volume consisting of the remaining five kandas will soon start.


1. The work started by Durgamohan Bhattacharyya

The present edition of the Paippaladasamhita of the Atharvaveda is based on the palm-leaf manuscripts in the Oriya script discovered by late Professor Durgamohan Bhattacharyya in 1959 and its birch-bark manuscript in the Sarada script. The first 15 Kandas out of a total of 20 are presented in this volume.

This work had been started by the late discoverer in the sixties. A volume consisting of Kanda 1 had been published in his life-time in 1964 by the Sanskrit College, Calcutta. Another volume consisting of Kandas 2-4, was subsequently (1970) brought out by the same College after the editor’s death on November 12, 1965. He could do editorial work upto 4.27. Late Professor Suniti Kumar Chatterji who was keenly interested in the publication of the AVP kindly recommended me to complete the volume with the remaining 13 hymns of Kanda 4 and an Introduction.

The first four Kandas have been edited anew here from the original manuscripts.

A new edition of the first four Kandas could not be avoided for the following reasons.

The Asiatic Society which has taken up the task of bringing out this edition reasonably desired that the whole work be published together while I had initially edited Kandas 5-15 only. My work has a different form of presentation in the critical apparatus where the whole pada, half-verse or mantra has been cited in case of variants without numbered footnotes as in the previous edition of the first four Kat:l9as. So some changes had to be made for a uniform presentation.

There were other considerations too. The late editor had been suffering from oral ulcer before the first Kanda came out in 1964. It became known as malignant some months before his death. He corrected the proofs upto 2.32 only with ill health. As I have seen him, he was never complacent while working and went on making new suggestions even while correcting proofs. A critical edition was a continuous process of development with him till the machine proof was prepared. This process was first hampered by his ill health and then cut short by death. I am certain that the edition would have got many changes both in the text and the critical apparatus if he had not been ill.

Though I tried to benefit myself from the subsequent researches of L. Renou and K. Hoffmann, I am far from claiming perfection in the choice of reading in the edition. One might liken me to the son standing on his father’s shoulders with external help but no one who follows the late editor should be stupid enough to try to look taller. The division of the rows of aksaras in the MSS into words is the primary task of the editor of an unaccented and highly corrupt Vedic text bereft of Pada-patha or a commentary. Excepting for 18.57-82 this task had been largely done by the late discoverer in a Bengali transcript of Va (1-5), Ma (6-15) and some other manuscripts.

I have incorporated with this edition most of his important comments. The gist of his observations and descriptions in the introduction to the previous edition of Kanda 1 too will be found in this introduction. Even if only for these reasons - in fact there are much more - the present work should be regarded as a joint work. It is a tribute to the late pioneer through his own bestowal.

2. The Atharvaveda and the discovery of the Paippala-dasasmhita

In this section I have tried to include all the important information given by the former editor in his Introduction to Kanda 1.

a. The recensions of the Atharvaveda and the Kashmirian Atharvaveda

It is generally accepted that the Atharvaveda existed at one time in nine versions in nine different schools, namely Paippalada, Tauda, Mauda, Saunaka, Jajala, Jalada, Brahmavada, Devadarsa and Caranavaidya. Of these only two have come down to us - Saunaka and Paippalada. The Saunaka version was first published in Berlin in 1856 by R. Roth and W.D. Whitney. The other editions too with the commentary ascribed to Sayana (S.P. Pandit 1895-98, Vishva Bandhu 1960-64) are all related to the Saunaka version.

Rudolf Roth was unsatisfied with the defective nature of the Saunakiya version. The efforts of the British Government in India at the instance of Roth to find out better manuscripts of the AV resulted in the discovery of a mutilated birch-bark manuscript of the Paipaladasamhita in the Sarada script. It was sent to Tubingen in 1874 and was chromo photographically reproduced in 1901 under the direction of R. Garbe and Bloomfield.

The birch-bark MS was transliterated into the Roman script and edited by L. C. Barret (Kanda 6 by F. Edgerton) between 1905 and 1940. Raghu Vira published a Devanagari version (1936, 40, 42) after Barret.

In spite of Barret’s lifelong labour his efforts could not give us a reliable version. The manuscript was abnormally defective and mutilated. “The birth-bark record, containing perhaps the earliest and the best version of the Atharvaveda, though recognised to be of paramount importance for various reasons, was condemned finally as ‘useless for philological purposes’.” However, it was designated the “Kashmirian Atharvaveda”. Bloomfield expressed hopes that further manuscripts might be found some time in some out of the way corner in Kashmir (JAOS 29, p.286).

b. The Atharvaveda outside Kashmir

Facts however indicate that the Atharvaveda had not been introduced in Kashmir before the 15th Century. In the second part of the Rajatarangini (vv 1267-1273) Jonaraja gives an account of how the Atharvaveda came to Kashmir from the country of the Karnatas. According to this, under the rule of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-70) Yuddhabhatta, a Yajurvedic shcolar of Kashmir had to go to Karnatak to learn the Atharvaveda. Returning to Kashmir he began to impart instructions in the Atharvaveda under the patronage of a pious person called Siryabhatta.

There are other evidences to prove that the Atharvaveda Paippalada was cultivated in Karnatak.

According to verses cited in Mahidasa’s commentary on the Caranavyuha, the Paippalada and the Saunaka recessions were current on the southern and the northern sides of the Narmada respectively.

A commentary on the Gopalatapani Upanisad states that the Paippalada branch to which that Upanisad belongs is current in countries like Gurjara. In fact some Nagara Brahmanas of Gujarat owe allegiance to this branch. But these present Paippaladins of Gujarat recite the Sauna- kiyasamhita only.

The Paippaladasamhita was current in Bengal too during the reign of the Palas and the Senas.



The present publication is the Third Volume of The Paippalada-Samhita of the Atharvaveda, of a series of four-volume edited work on the Atharvaveda. This Samhita consists of the seventeenth and eighteenth Kandas with 55 and 82 hymns respectively. The 55 hymns are made of 496 mantras and the 82 hymns of 663 mantras making a total of 1159 mantras. The work is based on a critical edition of the manuscripts of Paippalada-Samhita originally found in Orissa by the Late Durgamohan Bhattacharyya, the celebrated father of the present Editor, who discovered these manuscripts from Orissa with great effort.

Apart from giving an account of the Atharvaveda hymns and meticulously analysing the rituals, charms and prayers and the concept of the universe of the Athrvavedins, the Introduction to this work gives us a critical idea of the whole literature on it and also analyses the various debates relating to the different versions of the Paippalada-Samhita and the implications of these different versions. The author has also gone into the question of the early association of the Atharvavesa hymns with some particular region. He disputes its association with either Kashmir region or the Kulu valley or the Ahmedabad region. As he says, “though a manuscript of the Paippalada-Samhita was first discovered in Kashmir, there are reasons to suppose that the Atharvaveda had not been introduced in that place before the 15th century.” On the other hand, the idea of its early association with Karnataka region, as advocated by Durgamohan Bhattacharyya and before him by V. Raghavan is more acceptable. From that region, the journey to the East started. As the author says, ‘There are enough evidences of medieval movements from Karnataka, northeast to it and towards eastern India in particular. Thus, the Calukyas of Pistapura, the Gangas of Orissa, many officers appointed by the Palas, the Senas of Bengal, Nanyadeva’s dynasty in Mithila and the eastern Kadambas were of Karnata origin...It makes one think of the possibility of the early Angirasi settlements having grown under the impact of the Karnata movement.” (p.cix). The scholarly method through which this conclusion is made draws our attention to the manifold implications of how to study manuscripts and reconstruct history through such studies.

This third volume of the Paippalada-Samhita is being published a little late but we feel confident that this work will be highly useful to the students of the Atharvaveda and of the AVP.


The presented third volume of the Asiatic Society edition of the Paippalada-Samhita consists of its seventeenth and eighteenth kandas with 55 and 82 hymns respectively. The 55 hymns are made of 496 mantras and the 82 hymns of 663 mantras making a total of 1159 [=496 + 663 (402+261:18.1-56+57-82:)] manritras. But, for reasons stated below, the above number does not reflect a correct estimate of the volume and the quantity of material in .the two Kandas.

In 1984 (BHAITACHARYA: 174) the number of mantras in the eighteenth kanda had been provisionally mentioned as 676 while in the Introduction to the first volume (1997: xxii) it was given as 734. I owe an explanation for this. The first one was caused by the fact that the Bengali transcript (Introduction, Vol. I: xvii) consisted of only the first 56 hymns of the eighteenth Kanda and lacked the 26 hymns to the Fathers (18.57-82).I noted their existence in the Orissa manuscripts as late as 1980. A rough estimate of the number of mantras with an average of eight per hymn led to the number 208 that appeared in the 1984 paper in the Indo- Iranian Journal. The actual number later turned out to be 261. Even with the wrong estimate the total number should have been, (402 + 208=) 610. But this was not to be so; for, in the Bengali. transcript the number of mantras in the first 56 hymns had been counted as 468. These 468 plus the estimated 208 made up the number 676. In the final count both the numbers changed. The numbers in the two parts of the kandas have been settled at 402 I and 261 making a total of 663.

The differences in the result of counting took place because there are different ways of counting the mantras without meaning any difference in content. The Bengali transcript followed the numbering in the V.V.R.I. edition of the AVS (Vishva BANDHU) while I tried to follow the indications in the manuscripts. They differ. The following is an example. In the V.V.R.I. edition the number of mantras in AVS 15.3 (AVP 18.29) is given as 11. Since the two versions are not identical the general norm of the AVS edition was followed in the Bengali transcript to arrive at the number 8. But none of the three AVP manuscripts mentions the total number of verses. In fact the 'hymn' being a prose passage there are no verses at all here. The number of sentences too is not given in the mss. In the absence of metres there was no compulsion of showing any verse count. So the passage has been shown as one in the present edition. In this way the total number of hymns came down without meaning any decrease in material content. If the way of the Vulgate had been followed the number of mantras would have been much higher.

In this connection I should mention here that I checked the Vulgate's actual numbering of the sentences in some such passages from a so far unknown padapatha manuscript of it and found, as far as examined, that the numbering in the existing editions was correct. Sometimes the new manuscript helped in determining which reading is the most common one in the Vulgate and in comparing the same with the AVP reading and in determining the common Atharvavedic convention about hymn and anuvaka units (below 1.2, 1.3). I indicated the new Vulgate ms with the sign Gi or A full description of the new ms may be published later.

1.2. Kanda 17 and its new material 1.2.1. AVP-AVS correspondences Barring its second anuvaka i.e. 17.7-11 = AVS 10.7, the known mantras of the seventeenth kanda correspond to the twelfth kanda of the Vulgate. The kanda begins with the corresponding verses of AVS 12.1. The third anuvaka i. e, 17.12-15 is new, The fourth, i.e. 17.16-20, corresponds to AVS.12.4. The fifth anuvaka i.e. 17.21-26, again, is new. So is the sixth anuvaka i.e.. 17. 27-43 describing an unknown Anadudvrata 'The vow about the bull'. The long prose passage narrates how Indra had killed Vrtra through the said rite. The seventh anuvaka that is 17.44-49 corresponds to AVS 12.2 and the final one to AY5 12.3.



We are happy to present this publication of the fourth volume of the Paippalada-Samhita of the Atharvaveda consisting of its nineteenth and twentieth kanda, the trca and the ekarcca, edited by Professor Dipak Bhattacharya. This completes the present edition of the text started in the nineties of the last century.

It has been a long drawn task. The original publication started with late Professor Durgamohan Bhattacharyya as the editor, the discoverer of the palm-leaf manuscripts of the Paippalada-Samhita in the fifties and the sixties of the last century, with a set of manuscripts containing the first five kandas. Unfortunately the editor died in harness leaving his work incomplete. That edition ran up to the fourth kanda.

The Asiatic Society took up the task of publishing the text in the nineties. Apart from the twelve manuscripts discovered by Durgamohan Bhattacharyya the present publication takes aid from an additional manuscript copy and from also one of Pandit Nanaji Kale of Sholapur.

Bhattacharya endowed the edition with an exhaustive critical apparatus reporting internal variants and also some external ones from other Vedic texts, particularly the sister Saunakiya- Samhita, and also made some exegetical comments apart from justifying his selection. The Introduction too is informative particularly about the comparative structure of the parallel Atharvaveda Samhitas as well as their attitude to some social elements like the Vratyas in comparison with the later contemptuous outlook of the Manu- Samhita that reflects a changed position about acculturation.

I believe that with both its Introduction and edited text the edition will prove to be a valuable addition to Indological studies keeping with the rich academic tradition of the Asiatic Society set by its illustrious Founder.


1. The contents of the present volume and its Saunakiya parallels

This fourth volume of the Paippalada-Samhita comprising its nineteenth and twentieth kandas completes the text of the Samhita in its present edition whose previous volumes appeared in 1997, 2008 and 20.11.

The two kandas of this volume correspond to the sixth and the seventh kanda of the AV5. In the Orissa manuscripts they are called trca-kanda and ekarcca-kanda respectively. So also AV5 6 and 7 according to the Pancapatalika and the Brhatsarvanukramanika (Introd. Vol. 3 : xlviii-xlix). Normally three rks form a hymn in the sixth kanda of the AV5. The unity of meaning in its three verses is often noted in the corresponding verses of the AVP, but, barring one hymn 09.11), it takes fifteen or more verses that is five or more trca units to form a hymn (called kandika in the Orissa tradition) in the AVP. Things are similar with the ekarcca kanda too. The general AVS norm of one verse hymn in its seventh kanda, often not observed though, is absent in the AVP's ekarcca-kanda where the average ten verse hymn prevails.

I examined a few AVP 19 and 20 hymns (§6 and § 9b) to find out if they gave evidence of any compositional unity so that we could determine which of the two hymn-structures of the AVP and the AV5 had been the original one. The results of the examination, though not exhaustive, seemed positive for the AVP. There are 911 and 633 mantras in 56 and 65 hymns in the two AVP kandas of this volume. These make 1544 mantras in 121 hymns. The Ccorresponding kandas of the AV5, its 6th and 7th, have 454 and 286 mantras in 142 and 123/118 hymns respectively. The four volumes of the AVP thus give [verse/hymn (kandal] 3771/5100-15),1363/15506),1159/13707-18) and 1544/12109- W) that is 7837 verses in 923 hymns. A kanda-wise break up stands as follows.

The subject matter of the hymns in the present volume is usually the householder's ritual. Though one sees many of them in the first five kandas and also in the not-so-clear ten kandas (6-15) that follow them, the occurrence of such material in the nineteenth and the twentieth naturally makes one suspect that these had entered into the tradition later as additional material. It may be so, but these are by no means supplementary matter like the khilas of the RV. They had found place' as AV material before Pippalada arranged all the mantras known to him into a single text. The twenty kanda Paippalada-Samhita came into being with them, a matter already discussed by me.! In this regard they might stand in the same relation to the other books of the AVP as the tenth and the first mandala stand to the family books of the Rgveda. One has also to note that unlike with the Sakala-Samita of the Rgveda these late entries have been placed not on the flanks of the AVS but in its interior. Another noticeable factor is that compositionally, stylistically and also in thought development the trca and ekarcca kandas exhibit independence. Whether we consider the trca hymns of the AVS or the larger hymns of the AVP with many trcasas original, both exhibit compositional ritual employment peculiarities. The cosmogonic hymns of these kandas too offer new material. We shall have occasion to see these more minutely in 9 below.

The contents of the two parallel trca and ekarcca kandas have been placed in tables for comparison and critically analysed. (§II-§5). The purpose of the exercise was to see how far a comparison threw light on the history of the two Samhitas. For, since there are two corresponding kandas in the AVS, though with less than half the material found in the AVP (below Table II=kanda correspondence chart), it is natural to assume that these two kandas had been at least partially composed before the would-be Saunakiyas parted with the mainstream tradition. One has to determine the amount of common material with which the would-be AVS had parted away and of post-parting accretions. Moreover the claimed original position of the AVP as the mainstream Atharvaveda and its slipping down from that position'', though already brought to light, could not be avoided in the discussion. The comparison could render help in determining the identity of the mainstream tradition that is to say to verify if it is the AY5 that had detached itself from mainstream while the AVP itself developed as the mains as claimed by us.

The classification of the material in the comparative (§2-§5) requires some attention. The normal classification rituals, Srauta or the householder's, pertains to the occasion performance. There are three such types, namely, compulsorily regular (nitya), caused by some event (naimittikal and option) performed when one so desires (kamya). That classification serve little purpose in our comparative tables. One, purposes of the comparison is to determine the nature difference of the two Samhitas. One does not find any attitudinal difference in the scriptures on the basis of the aforementioned types. Moreover, while none of the types Atharvavedic rites are nitya they strongly differ a themselves regarding their aim. A broad classification according to aim is 'agreeable' (santika-pausmika) distasteful (abhicarika) These two aspects are also known atharvana or santa and angirasa or ghora. The latter ones witchcraft. One may better refer to the two as non-violet violent witchcraft. A preliminary examination confirm hymns pertaining to witchcraft and associated with the to cause harm to others is lesser in number in the AVS. This is also often a moot point in the related sastric work Dharmasastras and ritual sutras. That means an ethical is involved. Hence their character according to the classification of the Angirasakalpa, particularly whether they are of the abhicarika or santika-pausika type, had to be marked.

Other points in classification do not concern the intrinsic character of the material but the nature of their occurrence or –non –occurrence partial or complete, identical or with variants in the two Samhitas whether they are exclusive material or occur outside the corresponding AV Kanda - that too in the AV itself outside etc. The comparison, thus, tries to assess the amount exclusion, alienation, if any, and its cause.


  Foreword vii
  ???????? IX
  Abbreviation xi
  Signs in the Text xiii
  Additional Note xiv
  Introduction xv
1 The contents of the present volume and its saunakiya parallels xv
2 comparison with tubular Presentation of the material of the two trca-kandas xxv
3 Observations on the relation of the AVP and AVS trca-kandas xliv
4 Comparison with tabular presentation of the material of the two ekarcca-kandas xlvii
5 observations on the compared mateirla of the trca-and ekarcca-kandas lv
6 The hymn structures of the trca- and ekarcca kandas lxvi
7 The Paippalada-samhita as the main Atharvaveda lxvi
8 The Decline of AVP lxviii
9 disagreeable elements in the AVP: overview lxxxiii
10 Glimpses of the history of atharvavedic migration xcvi
11 on the execution of this edition c
12 Manuscripts used for this edition cii
  Acknowledgement civ
  Bibliography cv
  ????? ????? 1401
  ??? ????? 1627