Vedas, the basic referral text of Hindus is a highly organized one.
There are four Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda.
Each Veda has four divisions,
Samhitas or Hymns.
Aranyakas, to be recited in the forest and
Upanishads, containing the highest Knowledge of Reality, Brahman.
Veda has two sub divisions.
Shukla and Krishna Yajur.
These Hymns have Sukhthas in them which are in praise of Deities and they are also explanation of Cosmology.
Some of them are also addressed to curing diseases .
These texts have been classified by Rishis.
Each Veda has many Branches. called Shakhas.
A shakha (Sanskrit śākhā, “branch” or “limb”), is a Hindu theological school that specializes in learning certain Vedic texts, or else the traditional texts followed by such a school. An individual follower of a particular school or recension is called a śākhin. The term is also used in Hindu philosophy to refer to an adherent of a particular orthodox system.
A related term caraṇa, (“conduct of life” or “behavior”) is also used to refer to such a Vedic school: “although the words caraṇa andśākhā are sometimes used synonymously, yet caraṇa properly applies to the sect or collection of persons united in one school, andśākhā to the traditional text followed, as in the phrase śākhām adhite, (“he recites a particular version of the Veda”)”. The schools have different points of view, described as “difference of (Vedic) school” (śākhābhedaḥ). Each school would learn a specific VedicSaṃhita (one of the “four Vedas” properly so-called), as well as its associated Brahmana, Aranyakas, Shrautasutras, Grhyasutrasand Upanishads.
The traditional source of information on the shakhas of each Veda is the Caraṇa-vyūha, of which two, mostly similar, versions exist: the 49th pariśiṣṭa of the Atharvaveda, ascribed to Shaunaka, and the 5thpariśiṣṭa of the Śukla (White) Yajurveda, ascribed to Kātyāyana. These have lists of the numbers of recensions that were believed to have once existed as well as those still extant at the time the works were compiled. Only a small number of recensions have survived.
Śaunaka‘s Caraṇa-vyuha lists five shakhas for the Rig Veda, the Śākala, Bāṣkala, Aśvalāyana, Śaṅkhāyana, and Māṇḍukāyana of which only the Śākala and Bāṣkala are now extant. The Bashkala recension of the Rigveda has the Khilani which are not present in the Shakala text but is preserved in one Kashmir manuscript (now at Pune). The Shakala has the Aitareya-Brahmana, The Bashkala has the Kausitaki-Brahmana.
There is, however, Sutra literature from the Aśvalāyana shakha, both a shrauta sutra and a grhya sutra, both surviving with a commentary (vrtti) by Gargya Naranaya. Gargya Naranaya’s commentary was based on the longer commentary or bhashya by Devasvamin, written in the 11th century.
Śaunaka‘s Caraṇa-vyuha lists forty-two or forty-four out of eighty-six shakhas for the Yajur Veda, but that only five of these are now extant, with a sixth partially extant. For the Yajur Veda the five (partially in six) shakhas are the (Vajasaneyi Madhandina, Kanva; Taittiriya, Maitrayani, Caraka-Katha, Kapisthala-Katha).
The Yajurvedin shakhas are divided in Shukla (White) and Krishna (Black) schools. The White recensions have separate Brahmanas, while the Black ones have their(much earlier) Brahmanas interspersed between the Mantras.
- Shukla Yajurveda: Vājasaneyi Samhita Madhyandina (VSM), Vājasaneyi Samhita Kānva (VSK): Shatapatha Brahmana (ShBM, ShBK)
- Krishna Yajurveda: Taittirīya Saṃhita (TS) with an additional Brahmana, Taittiriya Brahmana (TB), Maitrayani Saṃhita (MS), Caraka-Katha Saṃhita (KS), Kapiṣṭhala-Katha Saṃhita (KapS).
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|Madhyandina (VSM)||Currently recited by all over North Indian Brahmins and by Deshastha Brahmins||Madhyandina Shatapatha (SBM)||survives as Shatapatha XIV.1-8, with accents.||Brihadaranyaka Upanishad= SBM XIV. 3-8, with accents, Ishavasya Upanishad = VSM 40|
|Kanva (VSK)||Currently recited by Utkala Brahmins, Kannada Brahmins, Karhade Brahmins and few Iyers||Kanva Shatapatha (SBK)(different from madhyandina)||survives as book XVII of SBK||Brihadaranyaka Upanishad=SBK,with accents, Ishavasya Upanishad = VSK 40|
|Taittiriya||TS,Present all over South India and in Konkan||Taittiriya Brahmana (TB) and Vadhula Br. (part of Vadhula Srautrasutra)||Taittiriya Aranyaka (TA)||Taittiriya Upanishad (TU)|
|Maitrayani||MS,Recited by few Brahmins in Nasik||–||virtually same as the Upanishad||Maitrayaniya Upanishad|
|Caraka-Katha||Katha Aranyaka (almost the entire text from a solitary manuscript)||Kathaka Upanishad, Katha-Shiksha Upanishad|
|Kapishthala||KapS (fragmentary manuscript, only first sections accented), edited (without accents) by Raghu Vira.||–||–|
Śaunaka‘s Caraṇa-vyuha lists twelve shakhas for the Sama Veda out of a thousand that are said to have once existed, but that of these only one or perhaps two are still extant. The two Samaveda recensions are the Jaiminiya and Kauthuma.
The Kauthuma shakha has the PB, SadvB, the Jaiminiya shakha has the Jaiminiya Brahmana.
|Kauthuma||edited,Recited by all over North and in South India||edited (8 Brahmanas in all), no accents||None. The Samhita itself has the ‘Aranyaka’.||Chandogya Upanishad|
|Ranayaniya||Manuscripts of Samhita exist.Recited byGokarna[disambiguation needed],and Deshastha Brahmins||Same as Kauthuma with minor differences.||None. The Samhita itself has the ‘Aranyaka’.||Same as Kauthuma.|
|Jaiminiya/Talavakara||Samhita edited.Recited by Nambudiris and choliyal of Tamil nadu Two distinct styles of Saman recitation, partially recorded and published.||Brahmana published (without accents) – Jaiminiya Brahmana, Arsheya Brahmana||Tamil Nadu version of Talavakara Aranyaka (=Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana) published||Kena Upanishad|
Only one shakha of an original nine is now extant for the Atharvaveda. The nine sakhas were Paippalada, Tauda, Mauda, Shaunakiya, Jajala, Jalada, Brahmavada, Devadarsa and Chaarana-Vaidya.
The Shaunaka is the only shakha of the Atharvaveda for which both printed texts and an active oral tradition are known to still exist.
For the Atharvaveda, both the Shaunakiya and the Paippalada traditions contain textual corruptions, and the original text of the Atharvaveda may only be approximated from comparison between the two.
|Shaunaka||AVS, edited and recited by all over North India and South India||Fragmentary Gopatha Brahmana (extant and published), no accents.||–||Mundaka Upanishad (?) published.|
|Paippalada||AVP; recited by Utkala Brahmins as samhita patha only. otherwise, two manuscripts survive: Kashmiri (mostly edited) and Oriya (partly edited, by Dipak Bhattacharya and others, unaccented)||lost,similar to that of Gopatha Brahmana||–||Prashna Upanishad, Sharabha Upanishad etc. – all edited.|