तद्रामाख्यं परं ब्रह्म प्रणतोऽस्मीष्टसिद्धये ॥२॥ Salutation to holy Ga_eśa.
Day and night, we worship the elephant-faced Ga_eśa, who is [like] the sun that makes the lotus-face of the daughter of the [Himālaya] mountain [bloom], and who, possessing one tusk, fulfills the many wishes of his devotees.
For the attainment of my desired goals, I bow down to the Highest Reality, called Rāma, described by the Vedas, that are capable of yielding knowledge of all objects.
अथवेदविचारः प्रस्तूयते।ननु किमर्थमयं प्रयासः।मीमांसाशास्त्रकृद्भि-र्व्यासजैमिनिशङ्करशबरसुरेश्वरकुमारिलभट्टाचार्यप्रमुखैःसूत्रभाष्यवार्तिक-प्रकरणकृद्भिरेव पूर्वोत्तरकाण्डरूपः समस्तवेदार्थो2 विचारितः । पुनः पिष्ट-पेषणन्यायेन तदुद्यमो व्यर्थ इति च । न3 तदुद्यमो व्यर्थः । निरुक्तैः4 पूर्वा-चार्यैर्वेदगतमन्त्रब्राह्मणरूपाणां वाक्यानामेव विचारितत्वात् । न तु तन्मूल-भूतानां वेदानाम् । अत एव केवलमिदानीन्तना वैदिकाः स्वस्वशाखाभि-मानिनो विवदन्ते तदर्थानभिज्ञतया अस्मद्वेद एव प्रशस्ततमो न युष्मद्वेद इति । अतस्तत्कलहशमनपूर्वकतत्समाधानरूपप्रयोजनार्थमयं सफल एवो-द्यमः । Now we initiate a discussion of the Veda.
What is the purpose of this effort? The meaning of the entire Veda, with its earlier [= ritualistic] and later [= philosophical] divisions, has already been discussed by authors of the system of Mīmā_sā, such as Vyāsa, Jaimini, Śa_kara, Śabara, Sure-śvara, and Kumārila, who produced works like the Sūtras, commentaries, sub-commentaries, and digests. By the maxim of [fruitlessness of] pounding something that is already reduced to dust, this effort [to discuss the Veda again] is fruitless.
This effort is [indeed] not fruitless. The ancient scholars mentioned above have discussed only [particular] passages in the form of Mantras and Brāhma_as found in the Veda. But they have not considered the Vedas themselves [as wholes], wherein these [particular passages] are found. Precisely for this reason, out of ignorance regarding the significance of the Vedas, contemporary Vaidika Brahmans, proud of their affiliations to specific [Vedic] branches, quarrel by saying, ÒOnly our Veda is truly praiseworthy, [but] not yoursÓ. Thus, our effort [to initiate a renewed discussion of the Veda] is indeed fruitful, as it is meant to put an end to these disputes and to offer their decisive settlement.
ननु कीदृशोऽयं विचारो व्यासादिभिर्न कृतो यस्मादाधुनिका विवदन्त इति । उच्यते । किंचतुर्णां वेदानां समप्राधान्यमथवा चतुर्ष्वेकस्यैव प्राधान्यमन्येषामुपसर्जनत्वमाहोस्विद् द्वयोर्वा प्राधान्यं द्वयोरुपसर्जनत्वमपि वा विषयभेदव्यवस्थया सर्वेषामेव प्राधान्यमुपसर्जनत्वं चेति । ननु यतोऽयं विचारः पदवाक्यप्रमाणज्ञैः सर्वज्ञैः सूत्रभाष्यवार्त्तिककारादिभिर्न कृतः स इदानीन्तनैरसर्वज्ञैः कथं कर्तुं शक्यत इति । नैष दोषः । तैरेव तत्र तत्र प्रसङ्गाच्छरुतिस्मृतिवाक्यान्युदाहरद्भिरयमर्थोऽप्यापाततो ज्ञापित एव । तस्मात्तदभिज्ञा न विवदन्ते तदनभिज्ञा एव कलहकुशला दृश्यन्त इति । Now, what sort of a discussion [regarding the Vedas] was it that Vyāsa and others failed to carry out, such that its absence leads contemporary Vaidika Brahmans to engage in disputes?
We explain [this question as follows]. Are all the four Vedas equally primary? Or, is it the case that out of the four Vedas only one Veda is primary and others are subsidiary? Or, is it that two Vedas are primary and two are subsidiary? Or, is it that, depending upon the specific subject matter [and context], all of them can be primary as well as subsidiary?
Now, since the all-knowing authors of the Sūtras, commen-taries, and sub-commentaries, who were experts in words, statements, and authoritative ways of interpretation, did not carry out such a determination, how can contemporary indivi-duals who do not know all these [factors], carry it out?
This is not a problem. Those [ancient scholars], occasionally citing statements from the Vedas and the Sm_tis, along the way clarified this topic in a preliminary way. Therefore, those who are fully aware of these [authoritative discussions] do not quarrel with each other. Only those who are ignorant of these [discussions] are seen fervently engaged in disputes.
अथाप्यर्हितत्वात्5 प्राथम्यादृग्वेदप्राथम्यप्रशंसापराणि वाक्यान्यादावुदा-हरिष्यामः6 । ननु प्राथम्येनैव प्राशस्त्ये सिद्धे प्राथम्यप्रशंसेत्यनुचितमिति । नचायंनियमः7सर्वत्र,क्वचिद्व्यभिचारदर्शनात्। यथा व्याकरणशास्त्रे सूत्र-वार्तिकापेक्षयाभाष्यस्यैवप्रामाण्याधिक्यमुक्तं8`यथोत्तरंमुनीनांप्रामाण्य'9-मिति । तथा तर्कशास्त्रे प्रमाणचतुष्टये ह्यनुमानबाहुल्यम्10 । तथा मीमांसयो11र्भाष्याध्ययनमपि गुरूपसत्तिशान्तिपाठनमस्कारपूर्वकं श्रवणादि कुर्वन्ति शिष्टाः12। किं च श्रुतिवाक्यान्यपि तथैव दृश्यन्तेसर्ववेदेषु कानिचिदृग्वेदप्राशस्त्यबोधकानि कानिचिद्यजुषां साम्नामथर्वणां च । Since it is [the most] desirable and primary, we will first offer citations that indicate the primacy of and praise for the _gveda.
Now, the praiseworthy character [of the _gveda] is [obviously] established by its very primacy [in the traditional listings of the Vedas], and hence it is inappropriate [to speak of its] primacy and praiseworthiness [as if these were independent factors].
Well, it is not a [settled] rule in every case [that the item listed first must be the most praiseworthy], because we do notice deviation [from this pattern] in some cases. Such, for example, is the case in the tradition of Sanskrit grammar, where the Mahābhā_ya [of Pata–jali, the third sage,] has higher authority as compared to the aphorisms [i.e. the Sūtras of Pā_ini, the first sage], and the comments [i.e. the Vārttikas of Kātyāyana, the second sage], in accordance with the principle: ÒLater the sage, the greater his authorityÓ. Similarly, in the science of logic [= Nyāya], although there are four means of valid cognition [i.e. pratyak_a ÒperceptionÓ, anumāna ÒinferenceÓ, upamāna ÒanalogyÓ, and śabda Òverbal testimonyÓ,] one notices the primacy of inference [which is listed after perception]. Similar is the case also of the two Mīmā_sās [the Uttaramīmā_sā of Bādarāya_a and the Pūrva-mīmā_sā of Jaimini], where eminent individuals study and listen to the Bhā_yas [which are later works as compared to the original Sūtras that they interpret] only after [properly] approaching a teacher, reciting a prayer for peace, and doing salutations, [and thus indicating the prominence of these commentarial texts].
Moreover, we see similar [but variant] statements in the Vedas, some indicating praiseworthiness of the _gveda, and others indicating praiseworthiness of the Yajurveda, Sāma-veda, or the Atharvaveda.
If, indeed, such [is the confusing state of affairs], then why is it that the all-knowing Mādhavācārya, who commented upon the four Vedas, did not offer a decisive verdict in this matter?
One should not [claim that he did not offer] such [a decisive verdict]. The all-knowing [Mādhavācārya] did indeed offer such a verdict in the introduction to his commentary on all the Vedas. Therefore, only on the basis of bits of enlightenment derived from the rays [of wisdom emerging as a result of] the remembrance of his [holy] feet, we shall briefly elucidate this matter. Within the limitations of our knowledge and ability, we shall also offer similar citations besides those offered by him.
तस्मादुदाहृतश्रुतिभिः पादबद्धानामृचामेव च्छन्दस्त्वं न त्वनियता-क्षराणां प्रश्लिष्टपाठवतां यजुषामिति ध्वनितम् । तथा तैत्तिरीयब्राह्मणे `आपो॒ वै सर्वा॑ दे॒वता॑ः । ए॒षा हि विश्वे॑षां दे॒वानां॑ त॒नूः । यदाज्य॑म् । तत्रो॒भयो॑र्मीमांसा । जा॒मि17 स्यात् । यद्यजु॒षाऽऽज्यं॒ यजु॑षा॒ऽप उ॑त्पुनी-या॒त्18 । छन्द॑सा॒ऽप उत्पु॑ना॒त्यजा॑मित्वाय । अथो॑ मिथुन॒त्वाये॑'ति19[TB 126.96.36.199-6] । Thus it is heard in the Puru_a-hymn of the _gveda (10.90.9): ÒFrom that sacrifice, into which everyone had offered their oblations, the [Vedic] verses (_k) and the musical chants (sāman) were born. The [Vedic] meters (chandas) were born from the same, and so were born the prose formulas (yajus)Ó. The commentators thus explain the significance of this [statement]. ÒFrom thatÓ refers to the highest Lord, existing prior [to everything else], to whom offerings are made by everyone. That which was referred to as ÒversesÓ (_k) more generally is again referred to as ÒmetersÓ (chandas) more specifically in the Vedic passage above.
Now, [one might say that] everywhere in the Vedas we hear only about the origin of the verses (_k) [in a generic way], and not of any specific meters (chandas).
[One should] not raise such [an objection]. Even the origin of those [specific meters, chandas,] is indeed heard in the Vedas. Thus, we hear in the _gveda [10.130.4-5]: ÒGāyatrī closely joined with Agni, and Savit_ became conjoined with U__ih. Empowered with Ukthas, Soma combined with Anu__ubh, and B_hatī protected B_haspati’s speech. Virāj joined with Mitra and Varu_a, and here Tri__up was Indra’s daily portion. Jagatī entered the All-Gods. By this [secret knowledge], men were made into __isÓ. It is also said in the Aitareya-Brāhma_a [37.2]: Ò... Agni [combined] with the Gāyatrī, Savit_ with the U__ih, Soma with the Anu__ubh, B_haspati with the B_hatī, Mitra and Varu_a with the Pa_kti, Indra with the Tri__ubh, [and] the All-gods with the Jagatī. These two are mentioned in ØThe Gāyatrī hath become the yoke fellow of Agni.Ó [RV 10.130.4-5]
In this way, the cited Vedic passages imply that only verses (_k) with properly formatted feet are referred to by the word chandas, and not by the word yajus, which refers to [prose] passages with an unsettled number of syllables and where there is a connected reading of [the paragraphs of] text.20 Thus, it is said in the Taittirīya-Brāhma_a [188.8.131.52-6]: ÒWater is indeed [identical with] All-Gods. [However], the clarified butter is indeed the very body of All-Gods. In that case, this is the careful consideration of these two. It would be repetitious, if one were to purify the clarified butter with a yajus mantra and [also] the water with a yajus mantra. To avoid this repetition, he purifies the water with chandas, so that [the ritual act uses] both [i.e. a yajus mantra and a chandas mantra]Ó.21
[¤ 7]यत्र यजुषि छन्द इति व्यवहारश्छन्दःसु वा यजुरिति तत्रौपचारिको न तु मुख्यः22 । ननु वेदेषु सर्वत्र यजुषामेव यजुरिति ऋचामृगिति23 व्यव-हारो दृष्टः । तथा च ऐतरेयब्राह्मणे - `इमा आपः शिवतमा24 इत्येतेन तृचेन देवस्य त्वेति च यजुषे'ति [AB 38.2]।
अग्निब्राह्मणेऽपि25[TS, 184.108.40.206] सावित्रहोमविषये `ऋच॑मन्त॒मां कु॑र्यात्'26`यु॒ञ्जा॒नः प्र॑थ॒मं मन॑' [TS 220.127.116.11-8] इत्यारभ्य सप्त27मन्त्राणा-मृगिति संज्ञा `इ॒मं नो॑ देवे'त्यग्रिम28मन्त्रस्य यजुःसंज्ञा । एवं सर्वत्र । Where the word chandas is used in reference to yajus, or the word yajus is used in reference to chandas, such usage should be understood as secondary, and nor primary.
However, in the Vedas, we always see the word yajus used in reference to yajus mantras, and the word _c used in reference to verses. So it is said in the Aitareya-Brāhma_a [38.2]: ÒWith the triplet of verses (_k) Òthese waters are most auspiciousÓ (imāāpa_ śivatamā_), and with the yajus formula [Òon the instigation] of the god, you...Ó (devasya tvā)Ó.
So also, it says in the Agni-Brāhma_a, in connection with the Sāvitrahoma, [TS 18.104.22.168] Òone should make this _c the final oneÓ, (and) Òone should make this yajus the final oneÓ. For the seven mantras [TS 22.214.171.124-8] beginning with Òfirst yoking one’s mindÓ (yu–jāna_ prathamam mana_), the term _c is used, while for the final mantra Òthis one for us, O godÓ (imam no deva), the term yajus is used. This is how it is everywhere.
तथा सति कुतो व्यभिचार उपचारकल्पना वा परस्परमिति29 । न चायमेव नियमः । तैत्तिरीयके । अश्वमेधब्राह्मणेऽग्निचयनब्राह्मणे30 च ।`इ॒माम॑गृभ्णन्नि'-[VS 22.2; TS 126.96.36.199 etc.]-त्यृङ्मन्त्रस्यअश्वाभिधान्यादाने31विनियुक्तस्य`यजु॑ष्कृत्यै । य॒ज्ञस्य॒ समृ॑द्ध्या' [TB 188.8.131.52] इति यजुर्व्यव-हारः। तथा प्रवर्ग्यब्राह्मणे [TA 5.2.1-5]`सा॒वि॒त्रं जु॑होति॒ प्रसू॑त्या' इत्युपक्रम्य दीक्षितस्य गृहे `यु॒ञ्जते॒ मन॑' [TS 184.108.40.206]इत्यृचा होमः कर्तव्यो न वेति विचार्य32 पक्षद्वयेऽपि दोषमभिधाय तत्परिहारार्थं `यजु॑रे॒व व॑देदि'ति33 याजुषेणास्या34 ऋचो जप उक्तः । तथा सर्पशीर्षोपधानब्राह्मणे35[TS 220.127.116.11-6] `नमो॑ अस्तु स॒र्पेभ्य॒' [mantra in TS 18.104.22.168-9] इत्यृचां `यजु॑रे॒व व॑देदि'ति यजुष्ट्व36मभिहितम् । एवं `वा॒युर्वा॑ त्वा॒ मनु॑र्वा त्वे'ति [mantra in TS 22.214.171.124] मन्त्रस्य वाजपेयब्राह्मणे [TB 126.96.36.199] `यजु॑षा युनक्ति॒ व्यावृ॑त्त्या'37इति । तथैव `यजु॑षा युनक्ति॒ यजु॑षा कृषति॒ व्यावृ॑त्त्या'38इत्यादौ [TS 188.8.131.52]द्रष्टव्य ऋचां यजुर्व्यवहारः। उखामहावीरकरण-विष्णुक्रमण39मन्त्राणां `वस॑वस्त्वा कृण्वन्तु' [TS 184.108.40.206], `गा॒य॒त्रेण॑ त्वा॒ छन्द॑सा करो॒मि,' [TA 5.3.7] `विष्णो॒ः क्रमो॑ऽस्यभिमाति॒हा'[TS 220.127.116.11]इत्यादियजुषां `छन्दो॑भिः करोति'[TS 18.104.22.168, TA 5.3.9], `छन्दो॑भिरि॒माँ-ल्लो॒कान्' [TS 22.214.171.124] इत्यादि40 छन्दोव्यवहारः । If such is the case [that the words _k and yajus are always clearly used to refer to verses and prose mantras, respectively, and that the word chandas always refers to verses (_k)], then why speak of deviations or secondary uses of these words to refer to each other?
Such is not always the case. In the Aśvamedha-Brāhma_a and the Agnicayana-Brāhma_a of the Taittirīyas [TB 126.96.36.199], a versified mantra (_k), i.e. imām ag_bh_an [VS 22.2; TS 188.8.131.52 etc.], which is used to pick up the rope tied to a horse, is referred to with the word yajus: Òwith the yajus formula, for the completion of the sacrificeÓ.41 Similarly, in the Pravargya-Brāhma_a [TA 5.2.1-5], beginning with Òone makes an offering to Savit_ for progenyÓ, after discussing whether there should or should not be a sacrificial offering at the home of the initiated host with the verse (_k) yu–jate mana_, and having pointed out problems in both the alternatives, the text prescribes the recitation of this verse as a yajus, by saying: Òone should indeed recite this yajus formulaÓ, in order to avoid those [problems].
Similarly, in the Brāhma_a passage related to the laying of the Sarpaśīr_ā brick [TS 184.108.40.206-6], the (three) verses (_k) beginning with Òsalutations be offered to the snakesÓ (namo astu sarpebhya_, TS 220.127.116.11-9] are also referred to as yajus by the phrase: Òone should certainly recite the yajus formulaÓ.
Similarly, the (verse, _k) mantra vāyur vā tvā manur vā tvā[TS 18.104.22.168] is referred to in the Vājapeya-Brāhma_a [TB 22.214.171.124] (by the word yajus) in the phrase: ÒOne joins it with a yajus-formula, for avoidanceÓ. Similarly, in the statements ÒHe yokes it with yajus, and digs with yajus, for avoidanceÓ [TS 126.96.36.199], one should notice that verses (_k) are referred to as yajus.
The yajus-formulas Òmay the Vasus make youÓ [TS 188.8.131.52], ÒI make you with a chandas in GāyatrīÓ [TA 5.3.7], and Òyou are a step of Vi__uÓ [TS 184.108.40.206], that are respectively used in the context of making the Ukhā pot, the Mahāvīra, and the steps of Vi__u are referred to as chandas in the statements Òhe makes with chandasÓ [TS 220.127.116.11, TA 5.3.9] and Òwith chandas, these worlds ...Ó [TS 18.104.22.168].
`श्रावण्यां प्रौष्ठपद्यां वा ह्युपाकृत्य46 यथाविधि ।
युक्तश्छन्दांस्यधीयीत47 विप्रो मासार्धपञ्चमान्'॥
इति वेदमात्रस्य छन्दस्त्वं प्रतीयते । यजुषां छन्दस्त्वं नास्ति ऋचामेव छन्दस्त्वमित्युक्तम् । तत्कथं स्मृतिविरोधो युक्त इति चेत् । बाढम् । वेदसामान्ये छन्दस्त्वं युक्ततरमेव, नेति को ब्रूते । वेदैकदेशे यजुषि औप-चारिकमित्युक्तम्48। वेदानांतुच्छन्दस्त्वंतैत्तिरीयकेसांहित्योपनिषदि49 श्रूयते [TU, Śīk_ādhyāya 1.4.l.] । `यश्छन्द॑सामृष॒भो वि॒श्वरू॑पः । छन्दो॒भ्योऽ-ध्य॒मृता॑त्संब॒भूवे॑'ति । अस्यार्थो भाष्यकारैः श्रीमच्छङ्कराचार्यैर्भगवत्पादैः स्पष्टीकृतः [TU, ASS edn., p. 14]50। `यश्छन्दसां वेदानामृषभः ऋषभ इव51 ऋषभः प्राधान्यात् । विश्वरूपः सर्वरूपः । छन्दोभ्यो वेदेभ्यो वेदो ह्यमृतं तस्मादमृतादधिसंबभूवे'ति । ओङ्कार इत्यर्थः । Now, one may claim that the word chandas is used with reference to [certain] yajus mantras [simply] because those yajus mantras themselves contain the word chandas [e.g. gāyatre_a tvā chandasā karomi, TA 5.3.7].
Such is not the case. There are Vedic passages such as ÒThe Ukhā pot is made with a yajus formula, it is fired with a yajus formula, and it is released with a yajus formulaÓ [TS 22.214.171.124] and ÒOne makes a hollow with a yajus formula, for distinctionÓ [TA 5.3.10]. Though the mantras for making the Ukhā pot, the Mahāvīra, and the hole such as pā_ktena cchandasā[TA 5.5.3] contain the word chandas themselves, the Veda itself directly calls these mantras yajus formulas in passages such as Òwith a yajus formula, he makes a hollowÓ [TA 5.3.10].
Therefore, the definitions of _k, yajus, and sāman as given in the Pūrvamīmā_sā as [_k] being structured with metrical feet, [yajus] having a mixed sort of text, and [sāman] being sung, are indeed appropriate.52
If such is the case, then [one may object that] in rules like Òdiversely in chandasÓin Pā_ini’s grammar, the entire Vedic corpus [inclusive of _k, yajus, and sāman] is referred to by the word chandas. Similarly, it is said in Manu’s Laws (4.95): ÒHaving performed the Upākarman according to the prescribed rule [on the full moon of the month of] Śrāva_a or Prau__hapada, a Brāhma_a shall diligently study the Vedas (chandā_si) for four and a half monthsÓ. Here, the entire Veda is referred to as chandas. But, you pointed out earlier that only the Vedic verses (_k) are referred to as chandas, and not the yajus-mantras. Now, how can one justify a conflict with the cited Sm_ti authorities?
Indeed, the use of the word chandas with respect to Vedas in general is most appropriate. Who denies it? (We have) said that the use of the word chandas specifically with reference to yajus, that are a subset of the Vedas, is only secondary.
We see the use of the word chandas with reference to Vedas (in general) in the scriptural passage in the Sā_hitya-Upani_adof the Taittirīyas [TU, Śīk_ādhyāya 1.4.1.]: Ò[May that sacred syllable Om], the powerful bull among the Vedas, possessing all forms, and born from the Immortal, the Vedas...Ó His Holiness, Śa_karācārya, the commentator, has thus explained the meaning of this (passage): Òthat which is the powerful bull among the chandas, i.e. the Vedas. It is called __abha ‘bull’, because it is like a bull, namely that it is dominant. The phrase viśvarūpa_ means ‘possessing all forms.’ It was born from chandas, i.e. from the Vedas. The Vedas represent the Immortal, and it was born from that ImmortalÓ. This refers to [the origin of] the sacred syllable Om.