What is Samaveda - Know About Its Various Aspects
Lord Krishna declares in Bhagvad Gita, “Vedanam Samvedosmi”. This implies, “Among the Vedas, I am the Sama Veda”. This clearly indicates the primacy of Samaveda. It is true that Samveda is the shortest scripture. Also, the number of the original mantras in Samaveda is comparatively less. But these factors do not in any way undermine the importance of Samaveda.
It is true that the first scripture in the world is Rigveda and the other three Vedas have come out from Rigveda. But even that can not undermine the significance of Samaveda. The literal meaning of ‘Sama’ is a song. The mantras that have been compiled in Samveda, are used during chantings and invocations of demigods and demi goddesses. There are a total of 1,875 invocations in Samaveda. Among them, excluding 75, all of them are taken from Rigveda. Let us know more about Samaveda –
Table of Content
The Prominent Demigods In Samveda
If we talk about the demigods of Samveda, there is a special mention of Lord Surya (Sun), who takes care of humankind. This Veda mainly contains mantras in the praise of Lord Sun. At the same time, Indra and Soma i.e. Chandra (Moon god) is also mentioned in this scripture.
Samveda And Music
Samaveda being the Veda of the musical genre has contributed significantly to the development of Indian music. It can also be called the primary source of Indian music. Many aspects of Indian music have been derived from Samaveda. In fact, various traditional musical instruments have been shaped by the intent and content of Samaveda.
Jaimini, the disciple of Maharishi Ved Vyasa, is considered the foremost visionary of Samaveda.
The Prominent Attributes Of Samaveda
Samaveda literally means the mantras that can be sung poetically. We know that Samaveda is a musical scripture. The mantras of Samasveda are sung during a yajna, special rituals (anushthan), and havanas. If we talk about the root mantras, then Samaveda only has 99 such mantras. As these mantras are musical and poetic, this collection is known as Samaveda. Those who sing these hymns are known as Samag. Three types of vowels of Vedic songs are mentioned, which are Udatt, Anudatt and Swarit. Various musical instruments have been mentioned in the Vedic times. Of these, amongst the Tantu Vadyas, Kannada Veeena, Karkari and Veena have been mentioned. Amongst the Ghan Vadyas, there is a mention of Dudumbhi, Adambhar, Vanaspati. And amongst Sushir, Turabh Nadi & Bankura.
The Nature And Significance Of Samadeva
The Samaveda is the smallest of all four Vedas. It has a close association with Rigveda. The reason being that most of the mantras in Samaveda are derived from the Rigveda. Many of the verses in the Samaveda are derived from the eighth and ninth circles of the Rigveda.
Samaveda caters exclusively to the worship of God. As they are in poetic & musical style, they are used as hymns. Traditionally, the Vedas are considered trilogies, because they use three forms of mantras, chhandas, prose, and poems.
Samaveda is considered the most important of the four Vedas. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna declares, “Amongst the Vedas, I am Samaveda.” The hymns of Samaveda invoke demigods like Indra, Agni, and Som Dev. Thus, the major theme of Samaveda can be considered worship and devotion.
According to the Agni Purana, by chanting various mantras of Samaveda, diseases can be eliminated or even totally removed. Samaveda is the Triveni (confluence) of Karmayoga, Jnana Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga.
The Branches Of Samaveda
Like the other Vedas, Samaveda is also divided into branches. It was believed that Samadeva has 1,000 branches but currently only three branches are considered, which include Kauthumiya, Jaiminiya, and Ranayaniya. The Kauthumiya branch of the Samaveda consists of two parts Archika and Gana. In the same way, Archika has also been divided into two parts, one is the Purvarchika and the other is the Uttarachika. Its first part i.e. Purvarika has four branches. Among these, the first is Agnayya, the second is Indra, the third is Pavamana and the fourth is Aranya.
Talking more about this, there are 114 verses for Agni Dev in Agnayya, 352 verses for Indradeva in Indra, 119 verses for Indra in Pavamna, and 55 verses and 10 mantras for Indra, Agni Som, etc. in Aranya. This section contains 650 verses. The total number of verses in the Samaveda Samhita is 1875. Of the total 1875 verses, 1771 are taken from the Rigveda, while only 99 are its original verses. The songs in the Samaveda have also been divided into two parts.
The Special Attributes Of Samaveda
Just as the Rigveda mantras are called the mantras of the Richa (hymns of invocation) and Yajurveda mantras are known as Yajunshi; similarly, the mantras of the Samaveda are called Samani. The fourteenth episode of the Atharvaveda and the Vrhadaranyaka Upanishad depict the Samaveda and the Rigveda as a husband-wife. The Samaveda collection of mantras are useful for the yajna.
Samaveda And The Seven Surs Of Music
Since the Samaveda is the Veda of the music category, its style is vocal. The Narada Shiksha Granth also mentions Samaveda’s singing method, which is known as Sa, Re Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa, in modern Hindustani and Carnatic music. This is how we can understand it…
- Kshadaj – Sa
- Rishabh – Re
- Gandhar – Ga
- Madhyam – Ma
- Pancham – Pa
- Dhaivat – Dha
- Nishad -Ni
Samaveda actively adds to the richness of Vedic wisdom. Vedas and Vedant are completely incomplete without the dynamism of Sama Veda.