Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaṇa

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Samavidhana Brahmana, SAmavidhAna BrAhmaNa, Saamavidhaana Braahmana


Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaṇa is one of the nine Brāhmanas of the Sāmaveda available now. It has three prapāṭhakas or prakaraṇas or chapters, known respectively as Krcchra, Atikrcchra and Krcchrātikrcchra. The first two have eight anuvākas[1] each and the last one has nine. Unlike the other works of Vedic literature, this Brāhmaṇa does not deal with sacrifices at all. For the benefit of those who cannot perform Vedic sacrifices to get what they want, it prescribes several kṛcchras or rites of a magical nature using the appropriate sāmans as the mantras. Hence it looks like a fore-runner of several topics dealt with in the later dharmaśāstra and tāntrik literature. These topics can be briefed as:

Krcchra-prapāthaka

Anuvāka 1

  • Creation of the world from Brahmā
  • Praise of sāmans that can grant whatever we want
  • Brief account of yajñas in general

Anuvāka 2

  • Description of the kṛcchras of various types along with the rules to be followed.

Anuvāka 3

  • Rules guiding Vedic studies
  • Results of some sacrifices like Pavamāneṣṭi

Anuvāka 4

  • Rite spread over seven nights[2]
  • Various sāmans to be used in getting the fruits of some sacrifices like Agniṣṭoma, Atirātra and Sattrayāgas
  • Sāmans to be recited to please the deities like Rudra, Viṣṇu, and Vināyaka.
  • Sāmans recited for attaining mokṣa

Anuvāka 5

  • Some prāyaścittas or expiations including the sāmans to be chanted

Anuvākas 6, 7 and 8

Some more expiations for sins like accepting prohibited gifts, killing a cow, selling things which should not be sold, evil dreams and so on.

Atikrcchra Prapāthaka

Anuvāka 1

  • Sāmans to be employed for attaining long life
  • Purification of oneself
  • Going to Brahmaloka after death
  • Gaining good health

Anuvākas 2 to 8

These prescribe the japa of various sāmans for:

  • Destruction of sins
  • For easy and safe delivery of babies
  • For getting a good son
  • For eliminating the evil effects brought about by malignant spirits
  • For removing the effects of poisons
  • For safe pilgrimage
  • For attaining fame or any other desire
  • Etc.

Krcchrātikrcchra Prapāthaka

All the nine anuvākas deal with the similar topics such as:

  • Sāmans to be used for attaining wealth
  • How to perform vāstuhoma
  • How to discover hidden wealth
  • Means of getting a vision of any deity
  • Means of controlling the minds of others
  • dhana for obtaining mokṣa or liberation

Impression of Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaṇa

The work traces the paramparā[3] of teaching thus:

  1. Brahmā to Bṛhaspati
  2. Bṛhaspati to Nārada
  3. Nārada to Vyāsa
  4. Vyāsa to Jaimini

Commentaries on Sāmavidhāna Brāhmaṇa

It has two commentaries:

  1. Vedārthaprakāśa by Sāyaṇa [4]
  2. Padārthamātravivrti by Bharatasvāmin.[5]


References

  1. Anuvākas means subsections.
  2. This ritual is termed as saptarātrika.
  3. Paramparā means tradition.
  4. He lived in A. D. 1315-1387.
  5. He lived in A. D. 1300.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore