By Swami Harshananda
Mādhyandina-śākhā literally means ‘the recension edited by the sage Madhyandina’.
The sage Kṛṣṇadvaipāyana was more well-known as Vyāsa or Vedavyāsa. He took the trouble of collecting all the Vedic mantras available during his time and edited them. He divided them into four groups or sections to suit the smooth conduct of Vedic sacrifices. He then taught these four to his four chief disciples:
- Paila - Ṛgveda was writtten by him
- Vaiśampāyana - Yajurveda was written by him.
- Jaimini - Sāmaveda was written by him.
- Sumantu - Atharvaveda was written by him.
Yājñavalkya was the most brilliant of the students of Vaiśampāyana. He separated from him due to serious differences of opinion and got a different version of the Yajurveda directly from the Sun-god who taught him assuming the Hayagrīva form. This Veda came to be known as Śukla Yajurveda. He taught it to his fifteen disciples of whom the sages Kaṇva and Madhyandina were more prominent.
When these two disciples re-edited the Śukla Yajurveda, it got bifurcated into two śākhās or branches which came to be known by their names, the Kānva- śākhā and the Mādhyandinaśākhā.
The Mādhyandinaśākhā or recension is more popular in North India and the Kānva in the South. It has 40 adhyāyas or chapters and 1975 mantras. It is smaller than the Kānva recension. The Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad is found in both the recensions. There are no major differences between these two recensions.
- It is the human frame with a horse’s head.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore