By Swami Harshananda
Maitrāyaṇiya Samhitā is the part of the Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda. It is said to have 85 śākhās or recensions. However, only four are available till now. Out of this, the Maitrāyanīya Samhitā is the second. It is a mixture of prose and verses. It has 2144 mantras out of which 1701 have been borrowed from the Ṛgveda itself.
Some of its mantras find a place in the Kāthaka and Taittiriya Samhitās also. This Samhitā has four kāṇḍas or books each divided into prapāṭhakas or subsections. The following are the contents:
- Prathama or Ādima Kānda: It has eleven prapāṭhakas. Some Vedic sacrifices like Darśapurṇamāsa, Cāturmāsya and Vājapeya are described here.
- Dvitīya or Madhyama Kānda: This contains thirteen prapāṭhakas dealing with some Kāmyeṣṭis, Rājasuya and Agniciti.
- Tṛtīya or Upari Kānda: This comprises of sixteen prapāṭhakas. Sacrifices like the Aśvamedha and Sautrāmaṇi are described here.
- Caturtha or Khila Kānda: It contains fourteen prapāṭhakas. This section deals with many important and necessary accessories and rites connected with the sacrifices described in the other three sections.
- Kāmyeṣṭis are the desire-motivated sacrifices.
- Agniciti is the rite of piling the fire-altar.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore