Sama Veda





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Sama Veda

The Sama Veda consists of 1549 verses which are mostly borrowed from the Rig Veda and arranged according to the needs of the musical notation. The original melodies are however lost. The Vedas are the exquisite expressions of the Divinity and among the oldest literary works in the world.

The Samaveda consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda according to the needs of musical notation. While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as the Rigvedic period, the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, between c. 1200 and 1000 BCE or "slightly later," roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda and the Yajurveda.

The Samaveda samhita has two major parts. The first part includes four melody collections and the second part invludes three verse books. A melody in the song books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books. Just as in the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with hymns to Agni and Indra but shift to the abstract. Their meters shift also in a descending order. The songs in the later sections of the Samaveda have the least deviation from the hymns derived from the Rigveda. The original melodies are however lost.

The Vedas are the most celebrated possessions of the mankind. The Rigveda is the oldest literary work in the history of the world. The Vedas are the exquisite expressions of the Divinity. They are the first significant utterances on the lips of man.The ancient Indian literature is the glorious gift of the Indian civilization to the world. It comprises of the illustrious scriptures.

Subdivisions - Sama Veda

Each Vedas has four subdivisions

  • Samhitas (mantras and benedictions),
  • Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices),
  • Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices),
  • Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).

Some scholars add a fifth category the Upasanas (worship).

Vajrasuchi Upanishad - Sama Veda

The word Vajrasūci has been derived from two major words - vajra, which means diamond and sūci/ sūcika, which means needle. Thus, Vajrasūcika essentially means - " a needle that is as hard as a diamond." It is regarded as the weapon to destroy ignorance. It condemns the ignorant and praises the man of divine vision.[ref]

This Upanishad is also known for debunking the modern concept of the 'caste system' and asserting that any human being, regardless of his/her birth, can achieve the highest spiritual state of existence provided that the person is spiritually inclined and qualified to recieve it. 

Who is the Brāhmana?

The Upanishad begins with enlisting the four varnās - the Brāhmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shūdra; and further states that even the Smritis declare in accordance with the words of the Vedās that the Brāhmana alone is the most important of them. 

But what remains to be examined are some basic questions that the Upanishad raises and seeks to answer each one by one.  These questions are - What is meant by Brāhmana? Is he the Jīva? Is he the Deha (body)? Is he the Jātih? Is he the Jñāna (knowledge)? Is he the Karma? Or is he the doer of Dharma? 

Is he the Jīva?

The jīva cannot be the Brāhmana because the jīva remains the same in the many past and future bodies as it only migrates from one body to other. The ātma becomes conditioned under the influence of avidya or karma and becomes jīva. [ref]

Since the jīva is the same in all of the many bodies obtained through the force of karma, therefore jīva is not the Brāhmana. 

Is he the Deha?

The deha or body does not make anyone a Brāhmana either. The body is made up of the five elements which are common for all people down to candālas,etc. at the same time, old age and death, dharma and adharma are found to be common to them all. The verse further elaborates that there's also no absolute distinction that the Brāhmanas are white - coloured, the Kshatriyas red, the Vaishyas yellow or the Shūdras dark. How can then the Brāhmana be identified by the virtue of body? The Dharma Shastras considers murder of a Brāhmana the greatest sin. Therefore, it is argued that if it is the body that is the Brāhmana, then cremation of that body upon the death of the person will be akin to the sin of killing a Brāhmana.

Is he by Jātih?

Then is a person by birth or by jātih the Brāhmana? But there are many great sages who have sprung from other castes and orders of creation - Vyāsa of a fisherman's daughter; Gautama , of the posteriors of a hare; Vasishtha of Ūrvasī and Agastya of a water pot. Many of these rishis outside the caste system have stood first among the teachers of divine wisdom. Therefore, birth does not make a Brāhmana. 

Is he by Jñāna?

Jñāna or knowledge does not make a Brāhmana either because there have been many Kshatriyas and others well versed in the cognition of divine truth. 

Is he by Karma?

The next verse specifies that performance of karma in this life too does not form the basis to be a Brāhmana. That is because one's net karma is the sum of all the past, present and future. Thus, assigning a person a varna merely on the basis of one's present performance and belittling the importance of one's past and future karmas would be a great injustice. [ref]

Is he by Dharma?

One is also not a Brāhmana by the virtue of one's dharma. This is so because even Kshatriyas donate gold and therefore are a doer of virtuous actions but they are not the Brāhmana. 

The Brāhmana

The Upanishad, after having pondered upon various prospects of who may or may not be a Brāhmana, finally says that any person who has directly realised his Ātman, has attained self - realisation and thus is devoid of class and actions, is free from the faults of the six staines [viz.hunger, thirst, grief, confusion, old age and death] and the six changes, that is of the nature of the truth, knowledge, bliss, and eternity, that is without any change in itself. The Ātman is the bases of endless determinations, it pervades everything within and without like space. It is of the nature of undivided bliss, that cannot be reasoned about and is known only by direct cognition. He, who by the reason of having obtained his wishes, is devoid of the thirsts after worldly objects and passions, is free from emotion, malice, desire,etc., whose mind is untouched by pride, egoism,etc., who possesses all these qualities and means - He only is the Brāhmana. 

Thus, the Vajrasūci Upanishad very beautifully carved out the resemblance, the persona of the Brāhmana. It makes it clear that not until one has realized the Supreme Being can one be called a Brāhmana. Therefore, one should meditate on one's Ātman as being - consciousness and bliss and the non - dual Brāhmana. 

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