By Swami Harshananda
Anuvāka literally means ‘saying after’.
Literally the word means ‘reciting’ (the Vedas) ‘after’ or ‘following’ the teacher. Hence it refers to the recitation of the Vedas in general. However, it is used in a more technical sense, to indicate a division of the Vedic mantras.
- The Rgveda Samhitā, the basic scripture, is divided into ten books each of which is called ‘maṇḍala.’
- Each maṇḍala is again divided into several subsections called anuvākas.
- The anuvākas are further subdivided into suktas, each sukta containing one or more ṛks (verses).
- There are 85 anuvākas in the Rgveda.
Śaunaka has prepared an index for these anuvākas, known as Anuvākānu-kramani.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore