Sama Veda

Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 20 May 2011 11:31 and updated at 20 Jul 2011 11:54

The Samaveda, is the Veda of Samans ( Holy Songs). Historians consider that it originated directly from Rig Veda as the second Veda. However it is mentioned as third in the usual order of enumeration after Rig Veda and Yajur Veda. Sama Veda is the smallest in size among the four Vedas while Rig Veda is the biggest. It ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rgveda.


Its Sanhita part (metrical portion) consists chiefly of hymns to be chanted by the Udgatri priests. These are chanted at Soma Sacrifices. In these sacrifices the juice of the Soma plant, clarified and mixed with milk and other ingredients, was offered in libation to various deities.


Most (around 80 to 90 %) of the content of Sama Veda is from Rig Veda itself. The Rgvedic hymns are transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the religious ceremonies in which they were to be employed. In these compiled hymns there are frequent variations, of more or less importance, from the text of the Rgveda.

While singing, the verses are still further altered by prolongation, repetition and insertion of syllables, and various modulations, rests, and other modifications prescribed, for the guidance of the officiating priests, in the GAnas (Song-books).


Sama Veda contains two Parts. In each part there are Mandalas or Books. In each Book or Mandala there Adhyayas or Chapters. In each Chapter there are Hymns. This is the structure of Sama Veda. There are variations in the structure based on the different recension or versions of Sama Veda available today. It is beyond my current scope to study all the recensions of Sama Veda.

Samaveda contains 15 books and 34 chapters. It contains 458 hymns. Among the 15 books of Sama Veda, 6 books are in the first part and 9 books are in the second part. In the first part, each book contains two chapters and each chapter contains around five hymns. Each hymn contains around five couplets (ten lines) and hence are called decades. In the second part, book 1 to 5 contains two chapters each and book 6 to 9 contains three chapters each. Each chapter in the books of second part contains around 15 to 25 hymns. The hymns are but shorter containing only a few couplets. The hymns are taken from Rigveda with some rearrangements and added words or sounds to enhance melody.

The second part is obviously larger (2/3rd) than the first part (1/3rd) and seems to be chronologically the later part. The first part contains 59 hymns, the second part contains 399 hymns. The first part is better organized than the second part.


In this site, frequency spectral analysis of nouns in Sama Veda is done. It is compared with the nouns of Rig Veda. The nouns of Sama Veda can be accessed here. Samaveda Wiki is here.

Further Reading

Internal Sources

  1. Samaveda Wiki
  2. Samaveda Article
  3. sama-veda-alphabetical-uncategorized-nouns - Noun Analysis
  4. sama-veda-frequency-wise-uncategorized-nouns - Frequency Spectral Analysis
  5. samaveda-rigveda-noun-comparison - Comparison with Rig Veda
  6. Rig-Veda
  7. Atharva-Veda
  8. Yajur-Veda

External Sources

  1. Sama Veda at Sacred Text
  2. Sama Veda, Wikipedia

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