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* v * t * e

The BRAHMANAS (/ˈbrɑːmənə/ ; Sanskrit
Sanskrit
: ब्राह्मणम्, _Brāhmaṇa_) are a collection of ancient Indian texts with commentaries on the hymns of the four Vedas . They are a layer or category of Vedic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
texts embedded within each Veda, and form a part of the Hindu _śruti _ literature. They are primarily a digest incorporating myths, legends, the explanation of Vedic rituals and in some cases speculations about natural phenomenon or philosophy .

The _Brahmanas_ are particularly noted for their instructions on the proper performance of rituals, as well as explain the original symbolic meanings- translated to words and ritual actions in the main text. _Brahmanas_ lack a homogeneous structure across the different Vedas, with some containing chapters that constitute Aranyakas or Upanishads in their own right.

Each Vedic _shakha _ (school) has its own _Brahmana_. Numerous _Brahmana_ texts existed in ancient India, many of which have been lost. A total of 19 Brahmanas are extant at least in their entirety.

The dating of the final codification of the _Brahmanas_ and associated Vedic texts is controversial, which occurred after centuries of verbal transmission. The oldest is dated to about 900 BCE
BCE
, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana ), were complete by about 700 BCE. According to Jan Gonda , the final codification of the four Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and early Upanishads took place in pre-Buddhist times (ca. 600 BCE).

CONTENTS

* 1 Discussion

* 1.1 Mythology and rituals * 1.2 Speculations about nature and philosophy * 1.3 Language and chronology

* 2 List of Brahmanas

* 2.1 Rigveda
Rigveda
* 2.2 Samaveda

* 2.3 Yajurveda
Yajurveda

* 2.3.1 Krishna Yajurveda
Yajurveda
* 2.3.2 Shukla Yajurveda
Yajurveda

* 2.4 Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda

* 3 Notes * 4 References * 5 External links

DISCUSSION

The Brahmana
Brahmana
are a layer of texts in Vedic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
embedded within each Veda, and form a part of the _śruti _ literature of Hinduism . They are primarily a digest incorporating mythology and Vedic rituals and in some cases speculations about natural phenomenon or philosophy .

MYTHOLOGY AND RITUALS

The _Brahmanas_ layer of Vedic literature contain the exposition of the Vedic rites and rituals. For example, the first chapter of the Chandogya Brahmana, one of the oldest Brahmanas, includes eight _suktas_ (hymns) for the ceremony of marriage and rituals at the birth of a child. The first hymn is a recitation that accompanies offering a Yajna oblation to deity Agni
Agni
(fire) on the occasion of a marriage, and the hymn prays for prosperity of the couple getting married. The second hymn wishes for their long life, kind relatives, and a numerous progeny. The third hymn is a mutual marriage pledge, between the bride and groom, by which the two bind themselves to each other, as follows (excerpt),

यदेतद्धृदयं तव तदस्तु हृदयं मम । यदिदं हृदयं मम तदस्तु हृदयं तव ॥

That heart of thine shall be mine, and this heart of mine shall be thine. — Chāndogya Brāhmaṇa, Chaper 1, Translated by Max Muller

The next two hymns of the first chapter of the Chandogya Brahmana invoke deities _Agni_, _Vayu_, _Kandramas_, and _Surya_ to bless the couple and ensure healthful progeny. The sixth through last hymn of the first chapter in Chandogya Brahmana
Brahmana
are not marriage-related, but related to hymns that go with ritual celebrations on the birth of a child, and wishes for health, wealth and prosperity with a profusion of milch-cows and artha .

The Brahmanas are particularly noted for their instructions on the proper performance of rituals, as well as explain the symbolic importance of sacred words and ritual actions in the main text. These instructions insist on exact pronunciation (accent), _chhandas _ (छन्दः, meters), precise pitch, with coordinated movement of hand and fingers – that is, perfect delivery. Satapatha Brahamana, for example, states that verbal perfection made a mantra infallible, while one mistake made it powerless. Scholars suggest that this orthological perfection preserved Vedas
Vedas
in an age when writing technology was not in vogue, and the voluminous collection of Vedic knowledge were taught to and memorized by dedicated students through Svādhyāya , then remembered and verbally transmitted from one generation to the next.

SPECULATIONS ABOUT NATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

The Brahmanas are a complex layer of texts within the Vedas. Some embed speculations about natural phenomenon such as sunrise and sunset. For example, section 3.44 of the Aitareya Brahmana speculates whether sun really rises or sets.

The sun does never rise nor set. When people think the sun is setting it is not so. For after having arrived at the end of the day, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making night to what is below and day to what is on the other side.

When they believe it rises in the morning this supposed rising is thus to be accounted for. Having reached the end of the night, it makes itself produce two opposite effects, making day to what is below and night to what is on the other side. —  Aitareya Brahmana 3.44, Translator: J.S. Speyer

The Panchavimsha Brahmana speculates on rivers starting in mountains, fed by snow and rain, flowing over the ground and underground, both emptying into the sea. These speculations, however, are in the context of rituals. Each Vedic _shakha _ (school) has its own Brahmana, many of which have been lost. A total of 19 Brahmanas are extant at least in their entirety: two associated with the Rigveda
Rigveda
, six with the Yajurveda
Yajurveda
, ten with the Samaveda and one with the Atharvaveda
Atharvaveda
. Additionally, there are a handful of fragmentarily preserved texts. They vary greatly in length; the edition of the Shatapatha Brahmana fills five volumes of the Sacred Books of the East . The Brahmanas were seminal in the development of later Indian thought and scholarship, including Hindu philosophy , predecessors of Vedanta , law, astronomy, geometry, linguistics ( Pāṇini ), the concept of Karma
Karma
, or the stages in life such as brahmacarya , grihastha , vanaprastha and eventually, sannyasa .

Brahmanas also lack a homogeneous structure across the different Vedas, with some containing sections that are Aranyakas or Upanishads in their own right. The Shathapatha Brahmana
Brahmana
discusses ontological and soteriological questions.

LANGUAGE AND CHRONOLOGY

The language of the Brahmanas is a separate stage of Vedic Sanskrit
Sanskrit
, younger than the text of the samhitas (the _mantra _ texts of the Vedas
Vedas
proper), ca. 1000 BCE, but for the most part are older than the text of the Sutras . The dating of the Brahmanas is controversial, with oldest being dated to about 900 BCE, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), were complete by about 700 BCE.

According to Jan Gonda , the final codification of the four Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and early Upanishads took place in pre-Buddhist times (ca. 600 BCE). Erdosy suggests that the later Brahmanas were composed during a period of urbanisation and considerable social change. This period also saw significant developments in mathematics, geometry, biology and grammar.

LIST OF BRAHMANAS

Each Brahmana
Brahmana
is associated with one of the four Vedas, and within the tradition of that Veda with a particular shakha or school:

RIGVEDA

* Shakala shakha

* Aitareya Brahmana , rarely also known as Ashvalayana Brahmana (AB). It consists of 40 _adhyayas_ (lessons, chapters), dealing with Soma sacrifice, and in particular the fire sacrifice ritual. Parts of the Aitareya Brahmana reads like an _ Aranyaka _.

* Bashkala or Iksvakus shakha (unclear)

* Kaushitaki Brahmana (also called Śāṅkhāyana Brahmana) (KB, ŚānkhB). It consistes of 30 chapters, the first six of which are dedicated to food sacrifice, and the remaining to Soma sacrifice in a manner matching the Aitareya Brahmana.

Keith has published his translation of Aitereya Brahmana, and the Kaushitaki Brahmana.

SAMAVEDA

* Kauthuma and Ranayaniya shakhas

* Tandya Mahabrahmana or Panchavimsha Brahmana (Pañcaviṃśa Brāhmaṇa) (PB) is the principal Brahmana
Brahmana
of both the Kauthuma and Ranayaniya shakhas. This is one of the oldest Brahmanas and includes twenty five books. It is notable for its important ancient legends and _Vratyastomas_. * Sadvimsha Brahmana (Ṣaḍviṃṡa Brāhmaṇa) (ṢadvB) is considered as an appendix to the Panchavimsha Brahmana and its twenty-sixth _prapathaka_. * Samavidhana Brahmana, and the following Samaveda "Brahmanas" are in Sutra
Sutra
style; it comprises 3 prapathakas. * Arsheya Brahmana
Brahmana
is an index to the hymns of Samaveda. * Devatadhyaya or Daivata Brahmana
Brahmana
comprises 3 khandas, having 26, 11 and 25 kandikas respectively. * Chandogya Brahmana
Brahmana
is divided into ten _prapathaka_s (chapters). Its first two _prapathaka_s (chapters) form the Mantra Brahmana
Brahmana
(MB) and each of them is divided into eight _khanda_s (sections). Prapathakas 3–10 form the Chandogya Upanishad . * Samhitopanishad Brahmana
Brahmana
has a single _prapathaka_ (chapter) divided into five _khanda_s (sections). * Vamsa Brahmana
Brahmana
consists of one short chapter, detailing successions of teachers and disciples.

* Jaiminiya shakha

* Jaiminiya Brahmana
Brahmana
(JB) is the principal Brahmana
Brahmana
of the Jaiminiya shakha, divided into three _kanda_s (sections). One of the oldest Brahmanas, older than Tandya Mahabrahmana, but only fragments of manuscript have survived. * Jaiminiya Arsheya Brahmana
Brahmana
is also an index to the hymns of Samaveda, belonging to the Jaiminiya shakha. * Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana
Brahmana
(JUB) also known as Talavakara Upanishad Brahmana, is to some extent parallel to the Chandogya Upanisad, but older.

YAJURVEDA

Krishna Yajurveda
Yajurveda

* In the Krishna Yajurveda, Brahmana
Brahmana
style texts are integrated in the Samhitas; they are older than the Brahmanas proper.

* Maitrayani Samhita
Samhita
(MS) and an Aranyaka (= accented Maitrayaniya Upanishad ) * (Caraka) Katha Samhita
Samhita
(KS); the Katha school has an additional fragmentary Brahmana
Brahmana
(KathB) and Aranyaka (KathA) * Kapisthalakatha Samhita
Samhita
(KpS), and a few small fragments of its Brahmana * Taittiriya Samhita
Samhita
(TS). In addition to the Brahmana
Brahmana
style portions of the Samhita, the Taittiriya school has an additional Taittiriya Brahmana (TB) and Aranyaka (TA) as well as the late Vedic Vadhula Anvakhyana (Br.). It includes a description of symbolic sacrifices, where meditation substitutes an actual sacrifice.

Shukla Yajurveda
Yajurveda

* Madhyandina Shakha

* Shatapatha Brahmana , Madhyandina recension (SBM)

* Kanva Shakha

* Shatapatha Brahmana, Kanva recension (SBK)

The Satapatha Brahmana
Brahmana
consists of a hundred _adhyayas_ (chapters), and is the most cited and famous among the Brahmanas canon of texts. Much of the text is commentaries on Vedic rituals, such as the preparation of the fire altar. It also includes Upanayana , a ceremony that marked the start of Brahmacharya (student) stage of life, as well as the Vedic era recitation practice of Svadhyaya . The text describes procedures for other important Hindu rituals such as a funeral ceremony. The old and famous Brhadaranyaka Upanishad form the closing chapters of Śatapatha Brahmana.

ATHARVAVEDA

* Shaunaka and Paippalada Shakhas

* The very late Gopatha Brahmana probably was the Aranyaka of the Paippaladins whose Brahmana
Brahmana
is lost.

NOTES

REFERENCES

* ^ "Brahmana". _Random House Webster\'s Unabridged Dictionary _ * ^ Gavin D. Flood (1996). _An Introduction to Hinduism_. Cambridge University Press. pp. 35–37. ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Speyer, J. S. (1906). "A remarkable Vedic Theory about Sunrise and Sunset". _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland_. Cambridge University Press. 38 (03): 723–727. doi :10.1017/s0035869x00035000 . access-date= requires url= (help ) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Brahmana
Brahmana
Encyclopædia Britannica (2013) * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791421093 , pages 67-69 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Moriz Winternitz (2010), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802643 , pages 178-180 * ^ _A_ _B_ Moriz Winternitz (2010), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802643 , pages 175-176 * ^ Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470824 , page 47 * ^ _A_ _B_ Michael Witzel , "Tracing the Vedic dialects" in _Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes_ ed. Caillat, Paris, 1989, 97–265. * ^ _A_ _B_ Biswas et al (1989), Cosmic Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521343541 , pages 42-43 * ^ _A_ _B_ Klaus Klostermaier (1994), A Survey of Hinduism, Second Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791421093 , page 67 * ^ Gavin D. Flood (1996). _An Introduction to Hinduism_. Cambridge University Press. pp. 35–37. ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Max Muller, Chandogya Upanishad, The Upanishads, Part I, Oxford University Press, page LXXXVII with footnote 2 * ^ _A_ _B_ Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684 , page 63 * ^ _The Development of the Female Mind in India_, p. 27, at Google Books , The Calcutta Review, Volume 60, page 27 * ^ The pronunciation challenge arises from the change in meaning, in some cases, if something is pronounced incorrectly; for example hrA, hrada, hradA, hradya, hrag, hrAm and hrAsa, each has different meanings; see Harvey P. Alper (2012), Understanding Mantras, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807464 , pages 104-105 * ^ Max Muller , _A History of Ancient Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Literature_ at Google Books , page 147 * ^ Gavin Flood (Ed) (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1-4051-3251-5 , pages 67-69 * ^ Lionel D. Barnett (1994). _Antiquities of India_. Asian Educational Services. pp. 203 footnote 1. ISBN 978-81-206-0530-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ AB Keith (Translator) (1998). _ Rigveda
Rigveda
Brahmanas: The Aitareya and Kausitaki Brahmanas of the Rigveda_. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 193. ISBN 978-81-208-1359-5 . * ^ Catherine Ludvík (2007). _Sarasvatī, Riverine Goddess of Knowledge: From the Manuscript-carrying Vīṇā-player to the Weapon-wielding Defender of the Dharma_. BRILL Academic. pp. 271–272. ISBN 90-04-15814-6 . * ^ Ian Philip McGreal (1996). _Great Literature of the Eastern World_. HarperCollins. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-06-270104-6 . * ^ Erdosy, George, ed, _The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity_, New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1995 * ^ Doniger, Wendy, _The Hindus, An Alternative History_, Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-19-959334-7 , pbk * ^ Theodor Aufrecht, _Das Aitareya Braahmana. Mit Auszügen aus dem Commentare von Sayanacarya und anderen Beilagen_, Bonn 1879; TITUS etext * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Moriz Win