The Atharva-Veda Pratisakhya or Saunakiya Caturadhyayika

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Introductory Note

The distinctive title of the work here published is Sauna-kiya-caturadhyayika, Saunaka's Treaties in Four Chapters.' We have for it, however, only the anthority of the signatures to the different portions of the manuscript containing the treatise; no reference to the latter by name has yet been discovered, so far as I am aware, in any other work of the Sanskrit literature. As regards the gender of the word, whether feminine or neuter, there is some question. In the signature to the first section (pada) of the first chapter (adhyaya), it is styled caturadhyayika, as also at the close of the first chapter. With the accords, farther, the name caturadhyayi-bhasya, given to the commentary in the signature of chapter IV, section 1, and at the close of the whole work. The neuter form, and the ascription to Saunaka, are found only in the final signature, which reads as follows (unamended) : iti saunakiyamcaturadhyayike caturthah padah: caturadhyayibhasya samaptah. The treatise was first brought to light, and its character determined, by Roth (see the Preface to his Nirukta, p. xlvii). It was recognized by him as being what is indicated by our title, a Pratisakhya to a text of the Atharva-Veda. That it has any inherent right to be called the Pratisakhya to the Atharva-Veda is not, of course, claimed for it; but, considering the extreme improbability that any other like phonetic treatise, belonging to any of the other schools of that Veda, will even be brought to light, the title of Atharva-Veda Pratisakhya finds a sufficient justification in its convenience, and in its analogy with the names given to the other kindred treatises by their respective editors, Rgnier, Weber, and Muller. Any special investigation of the questions of the authorship and date of our treatise, its relation to the other Pratisakhyas and to the present received text of the Atharva-Veda, and the like, is reserved for the commentary and the additional notes : it will be sufficient to say here, in a general way, that it concerns itself with that part of the Atharvan-text which is comprised in its first eighteen books, and with that alone, and that it covers the whole ground which the comparison of the other treatises shows us to be necessary to the completeness of a Pratisakhya, differing from any of them not more than they differ from on another.

The manuscript authority upon which the present edition is founded is a single codex (Chambers collection, No. 143; Weber, No. 361), belonging to the Royal Library of Berlin, a copy of which was made by me in the winter of 1852-3; it contains, besides the text of the Pratisakhya, a commentary upon it, by an author not named, which styles itself simply caturadhyayi-bhasya, 'Cammentary to the Four-chaptered in Weber's Catalogue of the Berlin Sanskrit Manuscripts (p. 87-8). The signature at the end is as follows (with one or two obvious emendations) : srir astu: lekhakapathakayoh subham bhavatu : sricandikayai namah : sriramah : samvat 1714 varse jyaisthasuddha 9 dine samaptalikhitam pustakam. The date corresponds to May, 1656; but it must, as in many other cases, be doubtful whether this is the date of the manuscript in our possession, or of the one from which this was copied: in the present instance, the latter supposition may be regarded as decidedly the more probable. Most unfortunately, considering the extreme rarity of the work, the manuscript is a very poor one. Not only is it every where excessively incorrect, often beyond the possibility of successful emendation; it is also defective, exhibiting lacunae at several points. Some may be of opinion, then, that the publication of the Pratisakhya upon its authority alone is premature, and should not have been undertaken. This would certainly be the case, were any other copies of the work known to be in existence; to neglect to procure their collation before proceeding to publish would be altogether incxcusable. But, so far as is hitherto known, the Berlin codex is unique. No public or private library in Europe, nor any in India accessible to Europeans, has been shown to possess a duplicate of it. For assistance in procuring a second copy, I made application some years since to Prof. Fitz-Edward Hall, then of Benares, whose knowledge, experience, and public and private position made him the person of all others most likely to be of service in such a way; and he was kind enough to interest himself zealously in my behalf in collected for me a mass of valuable materials respecting the other Pratisakhyas, for that of the Atharva-Veda nothing could be found. Considering then, the faintness of the hope that additional manuscripts would later be obtainable, and considering the peculiar interest of this class of works-well attested by the triple publications, within a few years past, of Regnier, Weber, and Muller-and the desirableness of placing as speedily as possible before the eyes of scholars the whole material furnished by them, in order to the greater force and conclusiveness of the results which some are already hastening to draw from them for the literary history of India, it has seemed best to publish the treatise without farther delay. Several circumstances deserve to be noted as supporting this decision, by diminishing the disadvantages arising from the scantiness and poorness of the manuscript material. In the first place, as regards the lacunae, they are, with two exceptions, of insignificant importance, and do not either cause the loss of a rule or render its interpretation doubtful: while, in the two instances (both occurring in chapter III) in which one or more rules are lost, the loss at least lies within the limits of a certain definite subject, and, though much to be regretted that the commentary is generally full enough to establish the true version of the rules, and yet, at the same time, too poor and scanty to render its own restoration important. The general method of the commentator is as follows: he first states the rule, then restates it in the baldest possible paraphrase, merely supplying the lacking copula, and adding the specifications, if any, of which the presence is inferrible from previous rules; next follow the illustrative citations; and finally, the rule is given once more, along with the one next following, which is euphonically combined with it, and of which the paraphrase and illustration then follow in their turn. As an example, I cite her in full rule i. 7, with its commentary beginning from the final repetition of the next preceding rule.

Thus we have everywhere (unless, as is sometimes the case, a few words have dropped out from the copy) a three fold repetition of each rule, and its true from is almost always restorable from their comparison, notwithstanding the corruptions of the manuscript. If, now, the commentary were as full and elaborate as those of the other known Pratisakhya, it would have been alike trying and unsatisfactory either to endeavor to edit it, or to disregard it : while, as the case actually stands, it has itself attempted so little that we care comparatively little to know precisely what it says. Wherever its usual meager methods is followed, accordingly, little attention will be found paid to it in the notes. Nor has it seemed to me otherwise than a needless labour to notice, except in special cases, the corrupt readings of the manuscript-and this the more especially, as my distance from the original readers it impossible to test by a renewed collation the accuracy of my copy. The citations from the Atharvan text are also given in their correct form, without farther remark, since, whatever the disguise under which the manuscript may present them it has generally been not difficult for one familiar with the Atharvan, and in possession of a verbal index to its text, to trace them out and restore their true readings. There are a few notable instances in which the commentator abandons his customary reticence, and dispreads himself upon the subject with which he is dealing: and in such cases the at


Item Code: IDK264
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 2006
Publisher: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan
Size: 8.7" X 5.8"
Pages: 414
Other Details: weight of the book is 800 gm