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Atharva-Veda Highlights Highlights of the Atharva veda Here is a small compilation of some of the highlights of Atharva veda. 01.

Out of the four Rtvijas, the principal Rtvija BrahmA is directly related to this very Veda (i.e., Atharva veda . !he place of "rahmA among the Rtvijas of #ouncil of offering is at the top$ i.e. he is chairperson. !he responsi%ility assigned to "rahmA is to supervise the methods of offerings and rectify the errors. He can only handle such particular lia%ility &hen all Vedas are &ell learnt to him. He should also possess a strong &ill po&er too. 0'. (t has %een stated in the Gopatha brAhmaNa 1.).' of the Atharva veda that *Only a part of offering is processed %y application of the three Vedas. !he second part of it, is processed %y "rahmA through the application of mind or mental po&er.* (+"r,1,).'a prajapatir yajam atanuta (+"r,1,).'% sa -caiva hautram a.arod yaju-adhvaryava- samnaudgatram atharva-giro%hir %rahmatvam, (+"r,1,).'c ta- va eta- mahavadya- .urute yad -caiva hautram a.arod yaju-adhvaryava- samnaudgatram atharvagiro%hir %rahmatvam, (+"r,1,).'d sa va e-a tri%hir vedair yajasyanyatara- pa.-a- sa-s.riyate (+"r,1,).'e manasaiva %rahma yajasyanyatra- pa.-a- sa-s.aroti, 0). Aitareya brAhmaNa /.)) of the Rig Veda states0 (n the sacrifice there are %oth, speech and mind, re1uired. "y means of speech the three priests of the three2fold science perform one part (assigned to vA. $ %ut the "rahmA priest performs his duty %y the mind only... 3ust as a man &ho &al.s &ith one foot only, or a carriage &hich has one &heel only, falls to the ground, in the same manner the sacrifice falls to the ground (bhreshan nyeti , and if the sacrifice has fallen, the sacrificer falls after it too (if the "rahmA priest tal.s during the time they ought to %e silent . 04. Actually, Atharva veda descri%es the application of %oth types of ceremonies vi5. 6eaceful affirmation and the &itchcraft (A%ichAri.A ceremonies... !he .ing re1uires performing the shAntika-pauSh ika deeds and talApuru7ha mahAdAna etc. (purohita8 yathA atharva2mantra2%rAhma9a8 pAragam22mantra pu7hpam . !he priest should %e e:pert in application of Atharva hymns and "rAhma9a. (t has %een mentioned in the AtharvaparishiSh a !"#$% bhAShya of SAyaNa& that the nation &here resides the priest, e:pert in 7hAnti.arma and &ell learned in Atharva veda, attains accession to &ithout any fear of invasions and distur%ances. *Hence, it is necessary for a .ing that he should honour daily &ith pray, donation and respect to the priest &ell learned to Atharva veda and commander of his memory organs. 0/. A certain num%er of AchAryas have accepted it as the first veda on the premise of this very significance that Atharva veda holds.'ayanta Bha a in his nyAya manjar( (page ');2')< has accepted it as the first veda among the total four vedas. 0=. nAgara khaN)a too su%mits &hile accepting it as the first veda0 *As Atharva is mainly used for the accomplishments of all &orldly sects, it is called the first veda.* 0;. AchArya 7Aya9a o%serves in the introduction of this veda that the three earlier vedas are for spiritual ends &hile the fourth and last Atharva veda is for %oth &orldly and higher purpose. >0' aihi.Amu7hmi.a phalam chaturtham vyAsi .(rshati *!he various su.ha2samRtti phalas relating to this and the other &orlds are spo.en only in the fourth veda &hich is the Atharva9a Veda.* 0<. (n the same &ay, in the descriptions and details of yajnas too, this remains in competition &ith the other Vedas. (n the Rg *edaitself from the mantras such as0 >0' .. te hi prajAyA a%haranta vi shravo %Ruhaspatir vRu7ha%haH somajAmayaH ? yaj@jairatharvA prathamo vi dhArayad devA da.7hair %hRugavaH sa8 chi.itrire ?? 10.0A'.10 ??

10.0A'.10 (nasmuch as "r.haspati, the sho&erer (of %enefits and the .indred of 7oma (the Visvedeva,s , %esto& food (for the support of people, Atharvan &as the first to invigorate (the gods &ith sacrifices$ &ith strength the gods and "hr.gus discovered (the cattle . BCith strength0 i.e., &ith the strength ac1uired from the sacrifice &hich they had eaten$ having gone to the sacrifice made %y Atharvan, they discovered the cattle$ cf. RV 1.<)./D.22!r.H.H.Cilson 0A. and the follo&ing, it is mentioned that the yajna2.arma relates to the atharvan (&ho practises this veda . >0' .. tvAm agne pu7h.arAd adhy atharvA nir amanthata ? mErdhno vishvasya vAghataH ?? =.01=.1) ?? =.01=.1) !he sage, Atharvan, e:tracted you from upon the lotus2leaf, the head, the support of the universe. Btvam pus..ara,d adhi atharvo nirmanthata, murdhno vis.vasya va,ghatah0 pus..ara,dadhi F pus..araparn.e, lotus2leaf$ pus..ara parn.e praja,patir %hu,mim aparthayat F upon the lotus2leaf praja,pati made manifest the earth, a pro%a%le acount of the creation in 8anu$ since it supported the earth, it may %e termed the head, mu,rdhan, or the %earer, va,ghata for va,ha.a, of all things$ atharvan means pra,n.a, vital air e:tracted fire or animal heat from the &ater, pra,n.a uda.asa.a,sGa,d Agnim nisGes.an.a mathitava,n$ va,ghata F r.tvij, the ministrant priest$ so the sentence is e:plained0 all the priests churned you out of the head or top of the &ood of attritionD.22!r.H.H.Cilson 10. (n vedic literature, Atharva veda has other names0 AmRta veda% Atma veda% Amgiro veda% AtharvAngirasa% BrgvAngirasa% kSAtra% BhaiShajya% and +hando-veda% etc# !he Atharva veda presents its o&n name as AtharvAngirasaH. 11. Chile interpreting the term GatharvaG, nirukta of ,aska 11.'.1< states0 *tharva root is applied in the meaning of rudeness, curvy, dynamically, violence etc. Hence the term atharva is meant %y attainment of the sta%ility of mind &ith e:ercising modesty and non2violence.* 1'. Atharva veda is also addressed as "rahma veda after "rahmA, the chairperson of the yajna2samsada22Offering #ouncil. "rahmA should %e &ell learned &ith four vedas, &ith outstanding .no&ledge in Atharva veda. (gopatha brAhmaNa 1./01/ 1). +hAndogya upaniShad ).1.1 to ).4.' has this simile a%out the four vedas0 H Aum, the onder sun is indeed the honey of the gods. Of this honey, heaven is the cross2%eam, the s.y is the honeycom%, and (the &ater particles in the rays are the eggs. H !he eastern rays of that sun are its eastern honey2cells$ the R.s are the %ees (te ritual of the Rgveda is the flo&er and those &aters are the nectar. H And its souther rays are its souther honey2cells. !he Iajus verses are the %ees. !he Iajurveda is the flo&er and those &aters are the nectar. H And its &estern rays are its &estern honey2cells. !he 7Aman verses are the %ees. !he 7Amaveda is the flo&er$ and those &aters are the nectar. H And the northern rays are its northern honey2cells. !he mantras of the Atharvaveda are the %ees. !he (tihAss and the 6urA9a are the flo&er$ and those &aters are the nectar. 14. One more thing is to %e noted that the hymns of Atharvan are -ith the deeds of peace and confirmation, and the hymns of Angiras are -itchcraft !AbhichArikA& . 7ince they ta.e this order, the veda is .no&n as AtharvAngirasa veda. 1/. !he name BRgu in the name BRghvAngirasa veda stands for "Rgu R7hi, a disciple of Angirasa, &ho popularised the Atharva Veda (go.%rAh.1.).4 1=. Some other names of the Atharva Veda, &hich are not much .no&n are0 H (n +handAmsi-Atharva 11.;.'4, it is addressed as +handoveda and RchAH sAmAa yajurmah(--A* ./#0#."% as mah(veda. H (n shatapatha brAhmaNa 14.<.14, it is kSAtra veda and in AV 11.=.14, it is addressed as bhaiShajya veda. 1;. Cith all such names, &hy only the name Atharva veda came into vogueHere )r#1armabelkar gives the scholarly statement that *!his title is a%%reviated term of the oldest and original titleAtharvAngirasaH &hich &ith pro%a%ility, not only includes the names of the t&o ancient mythical sages %ut also represents their very characteristic representations and contri%utions. (n the later period, "Rgu replaced the name

Atharvan and the title &as shortened to the convenient and handy title Atharva veda.* 1<. Of course, the name Atharvan, Angiras and "hRgu also occur in the Rg Veda many times %ut there they designate only some mythic personages, no&here do they refer to any .ind of literary composition. 1A. (n the period of the "rAhma9a literature, the position of the Atharva appears to have s&ung in a %e&idering manner, for sometimes it is referred to &hile at other times it is neglected. At one place shatapatha brAhmaNa 1.1.).'.), omits the name of this veda, %ut at some other places this te:t spea.s for this veda %y its very name2211./.=.42<. "esides this, some of the shrauta s2tras also mention a name of this veda0 shAngkhAyana 1=.'.' and AshvalAyan(ya3 10.;.1. '0. taittir(ya samhitA ;.).1.4 says0 parimitA vA RchaH parimitAni sAmAni parimitAni yajum7hi atha etasyaiva anto nAsti tat %rahma !he R.s are limited (parimita , the sAmans are limited, and the yaju7hes are limited, %ut for the topics dealt &ith in the Atharva veda, there is no limit. Here, the term G%rahmaG indicates the Atharva veda >0', as .no&n from the follo&ing Atharva9a mantra0 (AV7,1/,=.)B=.<D% tam Rchas cha sAmAni cha yajum7hi cha %rahma chAnuvyacalan ? B<D Ref0 01. GAtharva veda samhitAG !r. %y C.J.Chitney and 7Aya9a %hA7hya, ed. K.L.3oshi 0'. )r#*#Gopalan, retired professor of 7ans.rit, &ho researched the kaushika gRhya s2tram of the atharva veda for his doctrate, in a %rief introductory !ami5h %oo. on this veda pu%lished %y the famous KaJalangguJi 6u%lications, #hennai says this among other things a%out the importance of the Atharva Veda. >>>>>8ore learned mem%ers may discuss the pros and cons on the individual points a%ove. __________________ To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

A HAR*A *4)A--A 5A1SH(-*(1SHANA3--B(R)6S 4,4 *(47 Here is an overvie& a%out the composition and contents of the Atharva veda, compiled from a fe& sources listed at the end.

Nature of the *edas H (n his commentary on the taittir(ya samhitA of the kRShNa-yajur veda, SAyaNAchArya defines the nature of an entire Vedic te:t as %elo&0 i7h!a prApti ani7h!a parihArayoH alau.i.am upAya8 yo grantho vedayati sa vedaH !he entire Veda is engaged in revealing22vedayati, those means to o%taining the desired (good 22i7h!a prApti, and getting rid of the undesired (evil 22ani7h!a parihArayoH, by transcendental means--alaukikam upAya3 , &here they are not revealed %y perception, that is, direct sensory e:perience22pratya.7ha, and inference22anumAna. +omposition of the Atharva veda H Atharva veda is compiled in t-enty kAN)as--books% comprising 08/ s2ktas--*edic hymns% -hich in turn have about $%/// mantras. A%out one2si:th of these mantras are in prose, the rest in the various #handas related to the Vedas. H Enli.e the other three Vedas &hich indicate their contents %y their very names (Rg22praise, yajus22&orship through sacrifices, sAma22musical chants , Atharva veda cannot do so, since it deals &ith various su%jects. !his is one reason that Atharva veda has many names that give an idea of that specific .ind of content. Mor e:ample, its name bheShajAni indicates the su%ject of medical remedies. H According to viShNu purANam (sec.),ch.= , Atharva veda has five divisions0 01. nakShatra kalpa..contains +od "rahmAGs &or.s 0'. veda kalpa.......contains rites associated &ith %rahmA, the AV ritvi. 0). sa3hitA kalpa....contains mantra vidhi22rules 04. Ang(rasa kalpa...contains A%hichAra 0/. shAnti kalpa.....contains taming of horses, elephants, etc. H Here is a list of the kinds of mantras in A* and their uses0 01. surparNastava22sarpa2%AdhA2nivAra9am22+etting rid of serpents and sna.e poison. 0'. indreNadatta22sarva2.Ama2siddhi22Mulfilment of all desires. 0). imA dev(22sarva2shAnti2.arma22Attainment of peace. 04. devamAruta22sarva2shAnti2.arma22Attainment of peace. 0/. yamasyAlokAt 22dursvapna2shamana226revention of %ad dreams. 0=. indras-chandrashcha-pancha-vaNija22vA9ijya2lA%ha226rosperity in commerce and %usiness. 0;. kAmojevAji22str(2sau%hAgyam22Nnjoyment of &omen. 0< tubhyamevaja-vima22Ayuta2homa2tulyam22N1ual to thousand sacrifices. 0A. Agnegobhinna 22%uddhi2vRddhi227trengthening of the intellect. 10. dhruva3dhru-vena22sthAna2lA%ha22Attainment of posts of honour. 11. Alaktaj(va22KR7hi2lA%ha226rofit from agriculture. 1'. ahan te bhagna226rosperity in general. 1). ye me pASha22%andhana2vimu.ti22Mreedom from imprisonment. 14. 9apathvaha227hatru2nAsham Jestruction of enemies. 1/. tvamuttama22yasho2vRddhi22Nnhancement of fame. 1=. ,athAmRgavati22str(2sau%hAgyam22Nnjoyment of &omen. 1;. ,enapehadisha22gra%ha2lA%ha (gar%ha lA%ha- 22 "irth of children. 1<. ayante yoniH22putra2lA%ha22+etting sons. 1A. shiva9hivAbhiH22sau%hAgya2vRddhi226rosperity in general. '0. bRrhaspatirnaH pari pAtu 22mArga2mangala22"lessings. '1. munjchAvitva22mRtyu2nivAra9a22Carding off death. Chen these mantras are chanted several o%lations are made to the sacrificial fire. 7u%stances li.e chamata (samidh- , ghee, rice, mil. are thro&n into the fire as offerings. (agni purANam, ch.'=' .

About Atharvan and Angiras RShis H Atharva RShi22Atharvan, seen in the Rg veda, is said to %e the author of the Atharva2veda. After learning %rahmavidya from +od "rahmA, it &as this Atharva, &ho first %rought fire to the earth from heaven. Atharva had t&o &ives named 7hAnti and #hitti. !his Atharva &as the same person as Atharva9a, the son of Vasi7htha mahar7hi. (BhAgavatam, s..4,ch.1 .

H Angiras RShi22&as the second of the si: mAnasa2putras22mind2%orn sons, of +od "rahmA, the other five %eing 8ar(chi, Atri, 6ulastya, 6ula and Kratu. He &as also among the si:teen prajApatis &ho +od "rahmA created for creation of the universe. Atharva veda shAkhAs H 5atanjali maharShi in his vyAkaraNa mahAbhAShya says GnavatAtharva9o vedaHG, giving also the names of the nine shA.hAs22schools, this Veda is done2vi%hAgam2into22distri%uted. !hese nine shA.hAs are0 paippalAda% stauda% mauda% shaunak(ya% jAjala% jalada% brahmavada% devadarsha and chAraNavaidyA . H Of these nine shA.hAs, only t-o are in practice today; shaunak(yam and paippalAdam . Of these t&o only the shauna.(yam is the shA.hA that is availa%le in2sa8pEr9am22completely. !herefore this is no& considered as the core Atharva veda. !he paippalAda shA.hA is apEr9am22incomplete, and has %een pu%lished &ithout the vedic svara mar.s. H !he shauna.(ya shA.hA is recited in &estern Saurastra% at Benares% Gokarna and, after a recent introduction from "enares, also in South (ndia ! irupati% +hidambaram% etc#&. (Ci.i H !he paippalAda shA.hA is recited in <rissa in samhita2patha, ho&ever not &ith typical Vedic svara, and in south 'harkhand districts. 5ublications H !he saunak(ya shAkhA &as first pu%lished %y Rudolf Roth and Cilliam J&ight Chitney ("erlin, 1</= . Later it &as translated into Nnglish %y Ralph +riffith (1<A; and C.J.Chiteney in t&o volumes (1A0/ . H 7han.ar 6andurang 6andit pu%lished it &ith the SAyaNa bhAShyam in 1<A/2A= (9ir9ayasAgar 6ress . H Ramachandra 7arma in 1A'A, pu%lished it uner the pu%lication of G7anAtana Jharma IantrAlayaG, 8oradA%Ad (E.6. . H Vishva%andhu during 1A=02=4, pu%lished it under GVishveshvarAnandA vaidi.a shoda samastAna pressG. H !he paippalAda shAkhA &as pu%lished %y "loomfield and Richard #ar%e in 1A01. H !he 6u%lication of C.J.Chiteney &ith the %hA7hya of 7Aya9AchArya, edited and revised %y R.L.3oshi has %een currently pu%lished under three volumes %y G6arimal 6u%licationsG, Jelhi under their G6arimal 7ans.rit 7eries no.//G. (!his %oo. is availa%le at G3ayala.shmi (ndological "oo. HouseG, 8ylapore, #hennai. Atharva vedAnga te:ts H brAhmaNas0 gopatha, paippalAda. upaniShads0 )' in num%er &hich include0 mu9Ja.a, mA9Ju.ya, prashna, ga9apati atharvash(rsha and nRusi8ha tApani. H prAtishAkhyas0 atharva, shauna.(ya chaturAdhyAy(.A and atharvaveda prAtishA.hya sEtra. (prAtishA.hyas are te:ts &hich deal &ith the manner in &hich the Vedas are to %e enunciated . H <ther te:ts0 mA9JE.( shi.7hA (phonetics and phonology , vaitAna shrauta sEtram and .aushi.a gRhya sEtram. !he kaushika gRhya s2tram is an important te:t in the Atharva veda sAhitayam, since it deals &ith the prayogas22 application, of the AV mantras for various occasions. "loomfield pu%lished it in 1<A0. Ref0 01. GAtharva VedaG %y Jr.V.+opalan 0'. G6uranic NncyclopaediaG %y Vettam 8ani 0). (nternet resources __________________ To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.