Śukla Yajurveda Samhitā
By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Sukla Yajurveda Samhita, Zukla Yajurveda SamhitA, shukla Yajurveda Samhitaa
- 1 Recensions of Śuklayajurveda Samhitā
- 2 Contents of Śuklayajurveda Samhitā
- 2.1 Chapter 1
- 2.2 Chapter 2
- 2.3 Chapter 3
- 2.4 Chapter 4
- 2.5 Chapter 5
- 2.6 Chapter 6
- 2.7 Chapter 7
- 2.8 Chapter 8
- 2.9 Chapter 9
- 2.10 Chapter 10
- 2.11 Chapter 11
- 2.12 Chapter 12
- 2.13 Chapters 13 to 15
- 2.14 Chapter 16
- 2.15 Chapter 17
- 2.16 Chapter 18
- 2.17 Chapter 19
- 2.18 Chapter 20
- 2.19 Chapter 21
- 2.20 Chapter 22 - 29
- 2.21 Chapters 30 - 31
- 2.22 Chapters 32 - 33
- 2.23 Chapter 34
- 2.24 Chapter 35
- 2.25 Chapters 36 to 39
- 2.26 Chapter 40
- 3 References
Recensions of Śuklayajurveda Samhitā
The Śuklayajurveda Samhitā is also known as the Vājasaneya Samhitā. It is attributed to the great sage Yājñavalkya. It is said to have 15 śākhās or recensions. They actually bear the names of the disciples to whom Yājñavalkya taught. Some of them are:
However, only the first two are extant now, the rest being completely lost. The Kānvaśākhā contains 2086 mantras spread over 40 adhyāyas or chapters. The Mādhyandinaśākhā also has 40 chapters but only 1900 or 1975 according to another version of mantras. The entire work is in verses without prose portions as in the Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda.
Contents of Śuklayajurveda Samhitā
The following is a brief summary of the contents:
It has 31 verses. It includes the following:
- Darśapurṇamāsa sacrifices
- Bringing water and purifying it
- Spreading the deer-skin
- Preparing cooked rice
- Driving away the demons and evil spirits
It has 34 verses. It includes the following:
- Purifying the samidh and kuśa grass
- Lighting the fire
- Keeping the implements in their respective places
- Prayer for the protection of the sacrifice
- Putting the samidhs into the fire
- Keep away a part of the offering for the demons
- Mantras for getting offspring
It has 63 verses. It includes the following topics:
- Eulogy of the cow
- Worship of the other fires like the āhavanīya
- The dīkṣā of the sacrificer
- Worship of Rudra, the three-eyed God
It has 37 verses. It delineates about the Somayāga and some of its details.
It has 43 verses. It includes the details of the preparation for the Somayāga. They include preparation of soma juice and placing of the appropriate vessels.
It has 37 verses. It includes the following:
It has 48 verses. It describes about the billing the soma juice in various cups meant for the various deities like Indra, Vāyu, Mitra, Varuṇa and others.
It has 63 verses. It describes the following:
- Continuation of the previous topics
- Some Soma sacrifices like Soḍaśin, Dvādaśin and Gavāmayana
It has 40 verses. Vājapeya and Rājasuya, two well- known and popular sacrifices of those days, are described here.
It has 34 verses. Description of the Rājasuyayāga is continued here.
It has 83 verses. A detailed description of Agnicayana is started from this chapter right up to the 18th chapter.
It has 117 verses. Topics of this chapter are:
- Viṣṇukrama - taking 4 steps with appropriate mantras
- Vaṇīvāhana rite - coming and going of fire kept in a vessel on a cart
- Purification of the place
- Bringing the bricks
Chapters 13 to 15
It has 153 verses. They describe in detail the building up the altar with 10,008 bricks in four layers in the form of a bird with its wings stretched.
It has 66 verses. The entire chapter contains the famous Rudrādhyāya. It is used in the Satarudrīya homa.
It has 99 verses. The topics described are:
- Ascending the vedi
- Inviting the Fire-god
- Offering madhuparka
- Praising Agni and Indra
- Pouring of milk
- Few more rites
It has 77 verses. This contains the mantras used in vasordhārā, an oblation of ghee poured in a continuous stream into the fire on the altar.
It has 95 verses. The topics dealt with are:
- The Sautrāmaṇi sacrifice
- Offering milk to the deities the Aśvins, Indra and Sarasvati
- Offering wine, after purifying with mantras, into the dakṣiṇāgni
- Praising the pitṛs like the Agniṣvattas
- Story of Indra being rejuvenated by the Aśvins
It has 90 verses. The subjects of this chapter are:
- Mantra for one’s welfare
- Mantra for destruction of sins
- Giving sacrificial food to Indra
- Chanting of the Āprisuktas
- Inviting Indra
- Hymns to the Aśvins, Sarasvatī and Agni
It has 60 verses. This contains the following topics:
- Hymns to Varuṇa and Agni
- Worship of Aditi the mother of gods
- Oblations to Mitrā-Varuṇa
- Chanting of Indrasukta
- Conclusion of the Sautrāmaṇi sacrifice
Chapter 22 - 29
It has 34 verses. The topic of the Aśvamedha sacrifice is begun here and continues with the details through Chapters 23, 24, and 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29. The topics described here are:
- Various minor sacrifices
- Conclusion of Aśvamedha sacrifice
- Hymn to the horse and the Sun-god identifying the two as one
- Eulogy of the weapons of war
Chapters 30 - 31
It has 22 verses. Chapter 31 has 22 verses. The sacrifice called Puruṣamedha is described here with 184 varieties of living beings as the offering. Scholars however describe it as only symbolical.
Chapters 32 - 33
It has 16 verses. Chapter 33 has 97 verses. These deal with the sacrifice called Sarvamedha. Along with the praise of the sacrificer there is a prayer for granting knowledge, wisdom and wealth. There are several mantras and yajus in praise of several deities.
It has 58 verses. The first six mantras are known as the Śivasañkalpopaniṣad. This is followed by some details of a few sacrifices and hymns of praise of the deities Bhaga, Puṣan and Brahmaṇaspati.
It has 22 verses. Pitṛmedha mantras are the chief content here.
Chapters 36 to 39
It has 86 verses. These contain the mantras connected with the Pravargya rite.
It has 18 verses. This is the famous Iśāvāsya Upaniṣad. Some important aspects of the teaching of the Samhitā are:
- Meticulous performance of the Vedic sacrifices was considered the highest puruṣārtha.
- Even the gods got special powers by performing sacrifices.
- Mantras are very powerful, if chanted correctly and will harm if chanted wrongly, the power being dependent on the correctness of chanting.
- It resolve to give the object of offering.
- Samidh means faggots.
- It means producing the fire.
- Dīkṣā means taking the vows.
- Yupastambha means sacrificial post of wood.
- Bali means immolation and sacrifice.
- Agnicayana is the rite of piling the fire-altar for Soma sacrifices in 5 layers with bricks.
- It appears in the Taittiriya Samhitā 4.5 also.
- Vedi means the altar.
- Vasordhārā means the ‘flow of wealth’.
- Pitṛs means the manes.
- Avabhṛtha means the final bath of the sacrificer.
- It has 65 verses.
- It has 40 verses.
- It has 47 verses.
- It has 26 verses.
- It has 45 verses.
- It has 46 verses.
- It has 60 verses.
- Puruṣamedha means human sacrifice.
- Yajus means prose passages.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore