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17 June 2012, 11:17 PM
shrI M.R.JambunAthan, a Vedic scholar par excellence, translated all the four Vedas in Tamizh, highlighting the spiritual import of the Veda mantras. From his amazing introduction to the Yajur veda publication, we learn several esoteric truths behind the prima facie facts seen in the Veda mantras.

First, some links to information about this great scholar:

The Tamizh original text of the introduction is here:

Yajur veda comes in two recensions: kRShNa-yajur veda, shukla-yajur veda. While the kRShNa-yajur is popular among the people in South India, the shukla-yajur is followed by most people in the North.

• MRJ explains that the text that attracts the common people is the kRShNa-yajur, while that which filled with the light of knowledge and appeals to the scholars is shukla-yajur.

Structure of the Yajur veda texts

• The root Veda texts are called saMhitAs--methodically arranged collections of mantras. The primary division of the text is called a kANDam--part/portion in the case of kRShNa-yajur, sAma and atharva vedas, maNDalam in the Rig veda and adhyAyam--chapter in the shukla-yajur veda.

• In kRShNa-yajur, the kANDas are further divided into prapAThakas--chapters/lectures/subdivisions, and those into anuvAkas--sections.

• In the mUla-saMhitAs--root texts, a number is given in the anuvAkas for each fifty padas--words; a note at the end of the anuvAkam denotes all the fiftieth words. The last number denotes the number of words where they are less than fifty.

• At the end of each prapAThakam, all the first words of the anuvAkas are given along with their word count. Then a number mentions the count of words in the whole prapAThakam.

• At the end of a kANDam, similarly, the first words and count of words of the prapAThakas are given.

• Thus, the note at the end of the seventh kANDam reads: iShe-16582, vAyavyam-19265, prajApati-10622, yunjchAn-14105, sAvitrANi-19104, prAchIna-vaMsham-16992, prajananam-13325, thus giving the statistics of all the seven kANDas and then shabdam-110296 as the total number of words in the kANDam.

• These sUchanas--indexes were probably added by the RShis of the yore to keep the orders in the text intact and help their students to flawlessly memorize the texts for chanting.


The primary devas of YV are agni, indra, sUrya, viShNu, soma, mAruts, bhUmi, Apas, ushas, varuNa, rudra, and sarasvatI. Deva means the puruSha--divine entity, which helps us or all the good things we make use of. Occasionally, even our eyes, ears and nose are known as devas.

yajnas and their esoteric imports

There are many kinds of yajnas--vedic sacrifices: soma-yAgam, vAjapeyam, rAjasUyam, puruShamedham, sarvamedham, ashvamedham, sautramaNi, pravargya and such others. Although these names are not found in the Vedic root texts, they are usually given, following SAyaNAchArya (a renowned translator of the Vedas).

• yajna is a name for viShNu; viShNu is the name of the divine entity that is sarva-vyApakam/sarva-vyApinam--all pervading. yajna also denotes the dwarf vAmana.

• Once upon a time, the asuras were in complete hold of the prapancham--universe. Devas went and told the asuras that if they are given even a small piece of land, it would be sufficient for them. The asuras of darkness agreed and gave them a small piece of land in the east for devas to keep their agni there (for their sacrificial rites). Devas placed Yajna (a name for ViShNu) in the form of udaya-sUrya--rising sun. He who rose as the dwarf VAmana in the morning, quickly ascended to the apex of the sky and engulfed all the three worlds with his rays that were his pAda--feet (shatapatha brAhmaNa

• yajna represents all the wealth in the world, which the asuras had kept with VarAha. The place were all the good wealth are heaped is known as varAham. The Yajna named ViShNu with the help of Indra seized all the wealth from the asuras (taittirIyam

• yajna is a ratham--chariot that carries all things of eminence (RV 3.2.8). The ship that takes us through the ocean (of birth) has a name, yajna (RV 1.140.12). The agricultural activities of plowing the field, watering and sowing the seeds, raising the crops and finally harvesting them are known as yajna (RV 10.101.3). In fact all occupations are yajnas.

• sRuShTi--Creation is called yajna, in which this earth with all its wealth appears along with the Vedas (KYV 397.6.7). If the yajna is given a form, he becomes PrajApati and other devas (217). His limbs are the stars, the twelve months and all other things (216). yajna comprises cows, sheep, horses and all the wealth that are consumed by the citizens (99.17).

• The year is a yajna where the seasons as purohits--officiators do-Ahuti--offer oblations in fire, the months, with fortnights as the vessels (shatapatha brAhmaNa

• jyoti--fire is agni, Aditya-sun, is samidh--fuel, kiraNa--rays are the smoke, daytime is the jvAlA--flame, disha--directions are the bhasman--embers: this is one yajnam (P.6.2).

• ahaMkAram is the adhvaryu--priests performing rites, chittam--mind is the hotRu--priest who chants the Rig Veda mantras, vyAna--air diffused in body, is the prastotRu--assistant priest, udAna--air that rises up in body, is the udgAta--priest who sings the sAma veda mantras, samAna--air that digests, is the mitra and varuNa, sharIram--body, is the vedi--altar, head is the droNa-kalasham--wooden vessel for the soma, omkAram--the sacred and mystical syllable AUM, is the yUpam--post to tether the sacrificial animal, manas--mind is the ratham--chariot, kAmam--desires are the pashu--sacrificial animal, tyAgam--giving up, is the dakShiNa--honorarium paid to the priests, and Atman--Self is the yajamAna--the institutor of the sacrifice (prANAgnihotra upaniShad).

• When people are talking, they do not breathe (normally). This is when they sacrifice their prANa--vital air, in language. When people breathe normally, they do not talk, and sacrifice language in prANa. Such never-ending yajnam is performed even in sleep (kauShItaki 5.4).

• The very life of a human being is like a yajnam. The first 24 years are the yajna performed in the morning. The next 44 years are the daytime yajnam; and the remaining 48 evening yajnam (4.3.16). The brahmacharya--bachelor life is itself a yajnam (chA.8.5).


Both yajna and yAga mean the same ritual performance. Thus, somayAgam means the efforts towards imbibing the nectar that is soma. If you seek wealth it is vAjapeyayAgam. You are doing rAjasUyayAgam when you seek to rule a country. puruShamedham is the desire to gain knowledge about the wonders of creation. sarvamedham is the knowledge of relations between things. sautramaNi is exerting to win after a setback; and pravargya are our efforts towards becoming strong in body.

Thus, even while the Vedas give a clarion call to us to lead a life of fullness and enjoy the wealths of the world, the veda mantras that make such calls are also embedded with esoteric meanings for those who look beyond the comforts of the three worlds and seek to realize the Atman in them.

24 June 2012, 12:32 AM
darsha-pUrNa-mAsau yajnas: TS 1.1.1-14.

taittirIya saMhitA of the kRShNa-yajur veda in anuvAkas TS 1.1.1 to 1.1.14 gives the mantras relating to the vedic sacrifice called darsha-pUrNa-mAsau iShTi, which is performed every fortnight on the days of new moon--darsha and full moon--pUrNima.

• Details of this yajna are given under the chapter 'Description of Yajnas' in the book Principles of Yajna-vidhi by Prof.S.K.Ramachandra Rao, which can be downloaded here:
Prof.SKR's memorial website address is: http://www.profskr.com/

• Although the ritualistic meaning of the anuvAka's is well known, as translated in English by authors who followed SAyaNa, there are others who have discovered the esoteric meaning of the mantras. Publications that I know of, which speak of the spiritual meaning include:

1. KriShNa Yajur Veda taittirIya-saMhitA by Prof.R.L.Kashyap (SAKSI publications)
2. shrI M.R.Jambunathan's Tamizh translation recently published by AlaikaL VeyITTakam

3. கிருஷ்ண யஜுர்வேத மந்த்ரங்கள்: ஆராய்ச்சிப் பொழிப்புரை
பாரத்வாஜ. பாலசுப்ரமண்ய சர்மா
kiruShNa yajurvEda ma~ntra~gkaL: ArAychchip pozhippurai
by bhAratvAja. bAlasubramaNya sarmA (in summary)

4. Online publication of Vedas by Arya Samaj

• Whatever the spiritual implications, there is no doubt that the mantras of KYV were--and still are--used only in ritualistic performances, whatever be the shortcomings of such interpretations are pointed out.

Let us try to see if we can appreciate some instances of how the esoteric meaning of the mantras are arrived at from the literal meaning. The very first mantra beings with the words:

इषे त्वा ऊर्जे त्वा वायवः स्थ उपायवः स्थ
देवो वः सविता प्रापयतु श्रेष्ठतमाय कर्मण... ॥१.१.१ ॥

iShe tvA Urje tvA vAyavaH stha upAyavaH stha
devo vaH savitA prApayatu shreShThatamAya karmaNa... ||1.1.1 ||

01. The person who chants/on whose behalf the mantra is chanted, is the
• [i]yajamAna--patron of the sacrifice in the ritual interpretations (RI) of SAyaNa and MahIdhara;
• sAdhaka--seeker in the spiritual interpretation (SI).

02. Who is the deity/entity the mantra is addressed to as indicated by the word tvA--you/yours?

• In the RI, it is the palAsha tree. The yajamAna says to the tree: "I cut thee for food, I sanctify thee for vigour". The idea of 'food' comes from the meaning 'sappy, juicy' for the word iSha, but was the palAsha tree ever used for food? Its seeds, flowers and the sap that freezes into gum are used in Ayurvedic treatment, its twigs--samidh are fed in the sacrificial fire and its leaves are used in the place of a spoon to pour ghee into the fire.

• In the SI, Prof.R.L.KAshyap (RLK) says that the deity of the mantra is the vAyu--life-energies: "You VAyu (life-energies) are (invoked) for impulsion (iShe and for abounding energy (Urje)."

• M.R.Jambunathan (MRJ) interprets the term tvA as the human mind, vAyavaH as the senses and deva-savitA as aRivu--knowledge/wisdom. Other meanings he seeks in the mantras of the anuvAka are: sorrow for Rudra's weapon, prANas for pashupati, Atman--Self for yajamAna and the senses for pashus.

• BalasubramaNya Sarma (BSS) gives the following meaning for the entire anuvAka:

"O annam--food, that resides in the jIvarAsis--life species, and the energy that abides in them, the power that nourishes for growth, may Savitru-deva consign you for your best efforts. You who are free of disease, and who develop, nourish, and provide the kin, make the divine energies flourish. May not the wicked energies and bad thoughts rule over you. May Rudra's weapons be kept away from you. May you abide firmly in the wisdom of the YajamAna and secure his different kinds of knowledge."

03. R.T.H.Griffith, in his translation of the Shukla-yajur veda has some interesting observations about the darsha-pUrNa-mAsau yajnas, quoting from the brAhmaNas (text quoted and paraphrased):

• "The new moon sacrifice, like all others, has also its equivalences in terrestrial, astronomical and adhyAtma senses." In the terrestrial sense "it symbolizes the origin of vegetation and crops on the earth."

• "In its astronomical sense, it signifies the origin of moon from the earth." For this and for the origin of vegetations, "earth acts as the fire-altar."

• "...and in its adhyAtmika sense, it signifies the birth of a child... Physiology of a woman is considered to be the somIya one and that of a man to be the Agneya one. DarshapUrNimAsa, i.e. new moon and full moon sacrifices, are related in AdhyAtmika sense with the birth of a child, as it is clearly mentioned in S.Br.(11.63.7). Apastamba-sUtra (4.18.19) explains this fact clearly as under:

'The altar of DarshapUrNimAsa sacrifice is narrow on the front side, wide on the back side and pressed in the middle part this symbolizing a lady.'"

25 June 2012, 08:54 AM

Some interesting threads related to the Vedas in another forum:
Riddles from Rig Veda

Who wrote the Vedas ?

and many others here:

02 July 2012, 09:35 PM
KYV TS 1.1.1: an analysis

With all humility of one who is only a novice--shaikSha, I venture to present my thoughts on the first anuvAkam: KYV TS 1.1.1. (I have serially numbered the points for quoting in discussions).

01. Although the RShi, devatA and Chandas--seer, deity and metre, associated with each mantra are given in the mUla-mantras themselves in Rg Veda, we do not see them in the Yajur Veda. Yet, each mantra has a seer, an entity as subject matter which is usually presented as manifestation of divinity, and a metre.

02. The first anuvAkam reads as follows (in pada-pATham--text divided into words). RLK has identified eight mantras in it (four yajus and 4 riks), which are numbered at their end in the transliteration below:

इषे त्वा ऊर्जे त्वा वायवः स्थ उपायवः स्थ
देवो वः सविता प्रापयतु श्रेष्ठतमाय कर्मण
आ प्यायध्वम् अघ्निया देवभागम्
ऊर्जस्वतीः पयस्वतीः प्रजावतीर् अनमीवा अयक्षमा
मा वः स्तेन ईशत माऽघशँसो
रुद्रस्य हेतिः परि वो वृणक्तु
ध्रुवा अस्मिन् गोपतौ स्यात बह्वीर्
यजमानस्य पशून् पाहि ॥१.१.१ ॥

iShe tvA (1) Urje tvA (2) vAyavaH stha upAyavaH stha (3)
devo vaH savitA prApayatu shreShThatamAya karmaNa (4)
A pyAyadhvam aghniyA devabhAgam
UrjasvatIH payasvatIH prajAvatIr anamIvA ayakShmA
mA vaH stena Ishata mA&ghasha~Mso (5)
rudrasya hetiH pari vo vRuNaktu (6)
dhruvA asmin gopatau syAta bahvIr (7)
yajamAnasya pashUn pAhi (8) ||1.1.1 ||

03. We understand that the meanings derived for the words and phrases in the mantra should be in accordance with their associations in the nirukta and nighaNTu texts.

• We are also aware that words in the Vedas could be yaugika--where the meaning is derived, so connotative; laukika or rUDhi--where the word is an arbitary name with no connotations, so denotative; and yoga-rUDhi--where the word is a combination of both of these features. The same word might be interpreted in these three levels of meanings.


04. Who is the deity of this first anuvAkam? In one sense, the deity could well be gomAtA--Mother Cow, if we go by the following analysis:

• The term iShuH stands for the terrestrial deity in (Kashyapa maharShi's) nighaNTu ('ng' henceforth), while the term iSham means food in YAskAchArya's nirukta[/b] ('nk' henceforth). The term [i]Urjam means strength as well as food in nk.

• Mother Cow is addressed as the source for food and strength: not in the sense that her meat can be consumed because she is aghniyA--should not be killed; but in the sense that she gives us milk which is the first and staple food across all humanity, from which humans derive their primary strength.

• Thus the first two mantras, iShe tvA (1) Urje tvA (2) could mean "You are the food, you are the strength (in us)".


05. What about the attributes vAyavaH stha upAyavaH stha (3) in the third mantra? What is the connection between the Cow and the deity VAyu?

• Our PurANas say that all deities reside in the Cow, but we cannot resort to them for pramANa--proof/testimony, as they are derived from the Vedas and are later in time.

• atharva veda (AV) gives us the connection:

अन्तरिक्षं धेनुस्तस्या वायुर्वत्सः ।
सा मे वायुना वत्सेनषमूर्जं कामम् दुहां ।
आयुः प्रथमं प्रजां पोषं रयिं स्वाहा ॥ ४.३९.४ ॥

antarikShaM dhenustasyA vAyurvatsaH |
sA me vAyunA vatsenaShamUrjaM kAmam duhAM |
AyuH prathamaM prajAM poShaM rayiM svAhA || 4.39.4 ||--AV 4.9.4

4.39.4: The atmosphere/sky (AkAsha) is the Cow and air--vAyu, her calf. May she with her calf yield me food, strength, my nice resolve, noble life, offspring, plenty and wealth. This is our excellent prayer, let pure air blow, and cure our ailments.--(Tr.Devi Chand)

• upAyavaH stha--you are 'approachers' indicates that cows always seek human company (unlike the other domestic animals which can live in groups without human help).

• RLK finds the word Ayu--mankind, in vAyavaH/upAyavaH for his spiritual interpretation, which also applies here.

• Thus, the third mantra could mean "You are abiding in VAyu (who is your calf) and you are the approachers (who seek and bless mankind with prosperity)."


06. The connection between the Cow and SavitA is indicated in AV 4.39.5: "Heaven is the Cow--dyaurdhenustasyA, her calf is the Sun--Adityo vatsaH".

• Thus, SavitA the Sun God is invoked in mantra 4, to impel/lead the Cow towards excellent works (of nourishing her, nourishing mankind with her product and calves).


07. Mantra 5 reads as follows:

A pyAyadhvam aghniyA devabhAgam
UrjasvatIH payasvatIH prajAvatIr anamIvA ayakShmA
mA vaH stena Ishata mA&ghasha~Mso (5)

• The first line is straighforward: "Yes, Unslayable--aghniyA, increase--pyAyadhvam the Deva's share in the yajna (by giving copious rich milk)."

• This mantra refers to Cow as unslayable, that is, it should not be killed. There are mantras in the Vedas which pronounce killing animals as a sin.

• The second line lauds the Cow as full of strength, full of milk, endowed with calves, in happy state and free from disease.

• The last line cautions: "Let no thief or evil worker--aghashaMsaH--take control over you."


08. rudrasya hetiH pari vo vRuNaktu (6)

"Let Rudra's weapons--hetiH surround and cover/protect you--pari-vRuNa."

The caution against thieves steeling and controlling cows, and proctection of Rudra's weapons is found in the Rg veda too, in the go-sUktam (RV 6.28).


09. dhruvA asmin gopatau syAta bahvIr (7)

"Abide ye--syAta, who are surely numerous--dhruvA bahvIr, with this lord of cattle--gopati."


10. yajamAnasya pashUn pAhi (8) ||1.1.1 ||

"Protect--pAhi (from the root pA--protect), the cattle of the yajamAna--one who sponsers the sacrifice."


21 July 2012, 12:46 AM
what is esoteric in hindi?