Divisions of the Sama veda: of the Atharva veda. Four Pauranik Sanhitas. Names of the eighteen Puranas. Branches of knowledge. Classes of Rishis.
YOU shall now hear, Maitreya, how Jaimini, the pupil of Vyasa, divided the branches of the Sama veda. The son of Jaimini was Sumantu, and his son was Sukarman, who both studied the same Sanhita under Jaimini 1. The latter composed the Sahasra Sanhita (or compilation of a thousand hymns, &c.), which he taught to two disciples, Hiranyanabha, also named Kausalya (or of Kosala), and Paushyinji 2. Fifteen disciples of the latter were the authors of as many Sanhitas: they were called the northern chaunters of the Saman. As many more, also the disciples of Hiranyanabha, were termed the eastern chaunters of the Saman, founding an equal number of schools. Lokakshi, Kuthumi, Kushidi, and Langali were the pupils of Paushyinji; and by them and their disciples many other branches were formed. Whilst another scholar of Hiranyanabha, named Kriti, taught twenty four Sanhitas to as many pupils; and by them, again, was the Sama veda divided into numerous branches 3.
I will now give you an account of the Sanhitas of the Atharva veda. The illustrious Muni Sumantu taught this Veda to his pupil Kabandha, who made it twofold, and communicated the two portions to Devadersa and to Pathya. The disciples of Devadersa were Maudga, Brahmabali,
[paragraph continues] saulkayani, and Pippalada. Pathya had three pupils, Jajali, Kumudadi, and saunaka; and by all these were separate branches instituted. saunaka having divided his Sanhita into two, gave one to Babhru, and the other to Saindhavayana; and from them sprang two schools, the Saindhavas and Munjakesas 4. The principal subjects of difference in the Sanhitas of the Atharva veda are the five Kalpas or ceremonials: the Nakshatra Kalpa, or rules for worshipping the planets; the Vaitana Kalpa, or rules for oblations, according to the Vedas generally; the Sanhita Kalpa, or rules for sacrifices, according to different schools; the angirasa Kalpa, incantations and prayers for the destruction of foes and the like; and the Santi Kalpa, or prayers for averting evil 5.
Accomplished in the purport of the Puranas, Vyasa compiled a Pauranik Sanhita, consisting of historical and legendary traditions, prayers and hymns, and sacred chronology 6. He had a distinguished disciple, Suta, also termed Romaharshana, and to him the great Muni communicated the Puranas. Suta had six scholars, Sumati, Agnivarchas, Mitrayu, sansapayana, Akritavrana, who is also called Kasyapa, and Savarni. The three last composed three fundamental Sanhitas; and Romaharshana himself compiled a fourth, called Romaharshanika. The substance of which four Sanhitas is collected into this Vishnu() Purana.
The first of all the Puranas is entitled the Brahma. Those who are
acquainted with the Puranas enumerate eighteen, or the Brahma, Padma, Vaishnava, saiva, Bhagavata, Naradiya, Markandeya, agneya, Bhavishyat, Brahma Vaivartta, Lainga, Varaha, Skanda, Vamana, Kaurmma, Matsya, Garuda, Brahmanda. The creation of the world, and its successive reproductions, the genealogies of the patriarchs and kings, the periods of the Manus, and the transactions of the royal dynasties, are narrated in all these Puranas. This Purana which I have repeated to you, Maitreya, is called the Vaishnava, and is next in the series to the Padma; and in every part of it, in its narratives of primary and subsidiary creation, of families, and of periods, the mighty Vishnu is declared in this Purana 7.
The four Vedas, the six Angas (or subsidiary portions of the Vedas, viz. siksha, rules of reciting the prayers, the accents and tones to be observed; Kalpa, ritual; Vyakarana, grammar; Nirukta, glossarial comment; Chhandas, metre; and Jyotish, (astronomy), with Mimansa (theology), Nyaya (logic), Dharma (the institutes of law), and the Puranas, constitute the fourteen principal branches of knowledge: or they are considered as eighteen, with the addition of these four; the ayur veda, medical science (as taught by Dhanwantari); Dhanur veda, the science of archery or arms, taught by Bhrigu; Gandharba veda, or the drama, and the arts of music, dancing, &c., of which the Muni Bharata was the author; and the Artha sastram, or science of government, as laid down first by Vrihaspati.
There are three kinds of Rishis, or inspired sages; royal Rishis, or princes who have adopted a life of devotion, as Viswamitra; divine Rishis, or sages who are demigods also, as Narada; and Brahman Rishis, or sages who are the sons of Brahma, or Brahmans, as Vasishtha and others.
I have thus described to you the branches of the Vedas, and their subdivisions; the persons by whom they were made; and the reason why they were made (or the limited capacities of mankind). The same branches are instituted in the different Manwantaras. The primitive Veda, that of the progenitor of all things, is eternal: these branches are but its modifications (or Vikalpas).
I have thus related to you, Maitreya, the circumstances relating to the Vedas, which you desired to hear. Of what else do you wish to be informed?