From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
Types of Vedic Mantras
The Vedic mantras used in yāgas or sacrifices are of four types:
- Ṛk - The ṛks are metrical compositions.
- Yajus - The yajus are complete sentences in prose.
- Sāman - The sāmans are set to music and sung.
- Nigada - The nigadas are also called as ‘praiṣas'.
Nigada are the words addressed by one priest, generally the adhvaryu, to another. It is called loudly by the former to the latter to do a certain thing. For example:
‘prokṣaṇīr āsādaya,’ ‘Approach the vessel containing the holy waters.’
On a second note, they are yajus but distinguished from them since they are uttered loudly whereas the yajus mantras are recited softly.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore