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Glossary

Here is a list of some terms used in the Sanskrit Manuscripts section.
Veda
Generally means ``knowledge'' from the verb `vid-'. Also called ``"Sruti'', in contrast to ``sm.rti''. The vedas are a collection of a vast array of texts. They are essentially connected to the rituals. The Vedic corpus can be divided into four divisions according to various priestly roles in rituals, and therefore to the families who trasmitted their particular text. Certain families were assigned to carry on certain functions in the rituals---Rgveda (Veda of .rc), Samaveda (Veda of saaman), Yajurveda (Veda of yajus), and Atharvaveda (Veda of atharvan). Of these four, Atharvaveda was not considered a part of Vedic corpus until later.

Each Veda has several divisions, although not all the texts in the Vedic corpus can perfectly fit into a category and their borders are not always clear--Sa.mhitaa, Braahma.na, Ara.nyaka, and Upani.sad.

It is generally considered that the order of composition/compilation of the Vedic corpus accords to the orders of above two. It might help to understand this if one imagines a matrix consisted of two axis as below.

It should, however, be stressed that the composition/compilation of Vedic corpus was much more complex than it seems from this picture.

Substantial studies on Vedic literature have been conducted, and continues to be. Accordingly considerable number of texts and secondery literatures are available. For a brief outline of the structure of the entire Vedic corpus, James A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature, Missoula, Montana 1976 might help. Another work which gives in great detail the totality of what can be considered Vedic literature is K. Parameswara Aitha's Veda-Lak.sa.na : Vedic Ancillary literature, a descriptive bibliography (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1991 (Penn Call # South Asia Ref BL1112.26 P37 1991) Also Renou et Filliozat, L'inde Classique has good introduction to the Vedic literature. If one wishes to learn more about Vedas, especially the .Rgveda, Jan Gonda, Vedic Literature, A History of Indian Literature, vol. 1, Wiesbaden 1975 is a good starting point.

We have prepared a brief overview of Vedic literatures (based on Tsuji's Indo Bnumei no Akebono, Tokyo 1968. at the following link:
<http://www.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/skt-mss/ved_table.html>
.Rgveda
Collection of .rc-s (hymn, praises of deities). The oldest Veda. In general, the name ``.Rgveda'' applies only to the Sa.mhitaa part. the name ``.Rgveda'' is used in the sense of the .Rgvedasa.mhitaa. It consists of 1028 hymns (suukta-s) and divided into 10 books (ma.n.dala-s). Each hymn can consist of a various number of stanzas. There is another method of dividing the text--- into a.s.takas. This is to divide the text mechanically by the length. Each A.s.taka then is divided into adhyaayas. And then into vargas.

Saamaveda
Collection of saaman-s (melodies sang during rituals). Most of them are from the .Rgveda(sa.mhitaa).

Yajurveda
Collection of the formulas of rituals (yajus).

Black Yajurveda (K.r.s.nayajurveda)
A class of Yajurveda in which Braahma.na text is woven into Sa.mhitaa text. Cf. White Yajurveda.

White Yajurveda ("Suklayajurveda)
A class of Yajurveda of whose Sa.mhitaa is separated from Braahma.na.

Atharvaveda


Taittiriiyasa.mhitaa
One of Black Yajurveda.

Suukta
n. 'well said'. "A hymn of the RV as distinguished from a .rc (verse)." Sen

Khila
`Supplement'', properly a pieace of waste land situated between cultivated fields, ``that which fills a gap''), as obviously more reccent material, never found admission into the padapaa.tha and anukrama.niis. Although they occur in the manuscripts which follow the a.s.taka grouping as annexes to some particular suuktas or ma.n.dala and always in the same places, they are in the adhyaaya divisions but regarded as non-existent and not commented upon by Saaya.na. [Gonda, VedicLiterature, p.35.]

A.s.taka
A unit to divide .Rgvedic text. Instead of dividing the text according to the contents, a.s.taka division is solely based on the length of text.

Adhyaaya
A section of a text. In the context of .Rgveda, it particularly refers to a part of an a.s.taka, a mechanical division based on length.

Padapaatha
``Word-text'', prepared for purpose of study, mnemonics and the correct preservation of the text. All the words of the continuous text (sa.mhitaapa.tha) are separated and given in their original form, unaffected by the rules of sandhi (euphonic coalition of words etc.); moreover, most compounds and some derivatives and inflected forms are analyzed. (Gonda, Vedic Literature, pp.16--17.)

Praati"saakya


Suutra (in Vedic context)


Nirukta


Braahma.na


Saaya.na


"Saka (calendar)


Sa.mvat (calendar)