Taittiriya Brāhmaṇa

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Taittiriya Brahmana, Taittiriya BrAhmaNa, Taittiriya Braahmana


Taittiriya Brāhmaṇa is the only Brāhmaṇa of the Krsna Yajurveda that is extant now. The entire text along with the svaras[1] has been recovered. Scholars of Vedic lore are of the opinion that this Brāhmaṇa is more ancient than the Śatapatha Brāhmana of the Śukla Yajurveda.

Content of Taittiriya Brāhmaṇa

This work has 3 kāṇḍas or sections. They are sometimes called aṣtakas also. Whereas the first two kāṇḍas have 8 prapāṭhakas or chapters each, the last has 12, making a total of 28 prapāṭhakas. The total number of vākyas or prose sentences is 17,480.

Topics of Taittiriya Brāhmaṇa

  • The first kāṇḍa deals with the sacrifices like:
  1. Agnyādhāna
  2. Gavāmayana
  3. Vājapeya
  4. Somayāgas
  5. Nakṣatreṣṭi
  6. Rājasuya
  • The second kāṇḍa deals with the others like:
  1. Agnihotra
  2. Sautrāmaṇi
  3. Upahoma
  4. Bṛhaspatisava
  5. Vaiśyasava

The various mantras, mostly from the Rgveda, to be used in these rites and also other relevant details are given.

  • The third kāṇḍa gives a detailed account of the Nakṣatreṣṭi. Twenty-eight nakṣatras and the mantras to be used for each of them are described.
  • Other subjects dealt with are:
  1. Puruṣamedha
  2. Paśumedha
  3. Preparing the yupa[2]
  4. Rectifying the faults in the rites
  5. Aśvamedha
  • Some astronomical details and the story of the sage Bharadvāja and his vain efforts to learn the whole of the Veda also find a place.
  • The very last chapter reflects the teachings of the Vedānta through two symbolic sacrifices:
  1. Cāturhotra
  2. Vaiśvasrja
  • It is the total renunciation that leads to liberation.

Condition of Society during Taittiriya Brāhmaṇa

The scenario of the society as reflected in this work is as follows:

  • Vedic sacrifices were extremely common.
  • Cows were the main items of gifts, especially during the sacrifices, along with gold and cloth.
  • Agriculture and dairy farming got the pride of place.
  • The varṇa system was firmly established.
  • Aśvamedha sacrifice was quite common among the kings and emperors.
  • Kṣattriyas used to gather in large numbers for Rājasuya sacrifices.
  • Women had an honorable place.
  • Discussions on subjects pertaining to the sacrifices and philosophical topics used to held often during the sacrifices.
  • The origins of the stories of the later purāṇas could be found in these discussions.

Epilogue

It is an interesting Brāhmaṇa, especially to get an idea of the details of the Vedic sacrifices and the society of those times.


References

  1. Svaras are the Vedic intonations.
  2. Yupa means sacrificial post.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore