The word Yajuh means to worship as well as a
sacrifice. The compiled form of all the mantras required to perform various
sacrifices is Yajurveda
Samhita. It deals with
various incantations and the procedure of the rituals.
sacrifices not only pleased the Devas and resulted in timely and adequate rainfall,
procuring food in
abundance, but also led to the discovery and study of different sciences such as Jyotisha Saastra, Daiva
Vidya, Brahma Vidya and Grammar. The rules enjoined in the Kalpasutraas,
describing the construction of the sacrificial altar, lines, etc., are the basis of the
According to Skaanda Purana, Sootasamhitaa and
Brahmaanda Purana, there were 107 branches of Yajurveda. Muktikopanishad states 109, the
Mahaabhaashya of Patanjali quotes 100 and Sounaka in his Charanavyooha refers to the
existence of 86 branches. It is our great misfortune that only five branches are available
to us today.
The Yajurveda is
classified in two parts
- Krishna Yajurveda
- Sukla Yajurveda
Krishnayajurvedas 12 branches are found cited in many
puranas. They are Taittiriya, Maitraayani, Katha, Charaka, Aharaka, Praachyakatha,
Kapishtalakatha, Oupamanyava, Vaartaantaveya, Shwetashwatara, Chaaraayaneeya and
Maharshi Patanjali in his
Mahaabhaaysya states that Charaka Samhita was in vogue two hundred years before Vikrama.
Today, however, it is not available. Two of the Shrenees belonging to Charaka Samhita are
found in written form-Oukshya and Khaandikeya. Aapastambi, Boudhaayani, Satyaashaadi,
Hiranyakesi and Saatyaayani were the five sub-divisions of the sub-branch Khaandikeya.
There were 6 sub-branches of the Maitraayani branch namely: Maanava, Vaaraaha, Dundubha,
Chaagaleya, Haaridraveeya and Shyaamaayaneeya.
17 branches of Shukla Yajurveda are found quoted in various
puranas. They are-Maadhyandina, Kanva, Gaalava, Jaabaala, Kaapaala, Oudheya, Vaidheya,
Vaineya Vaireya,Vaijava, Poundravatsa, Jnaapeeya, Paaraasareeya, Taapyaayaneeya,
Kaatyaayaneya, Aavatika and Paramaavatika. But only Maadhyandina or Vaajasaneya and Kanva
of these 17 are found today.
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