Glimpses of Vedic Literature


AFTER the Rigveda and the Yajurveda, we turn now to the Samaveda. This Veda is shortest of all the four Vedas, and most of its hymns have been taken from the Rigveda. The total number of verses in the Samaveda is 1875. Samaveda has this speciality that its hymns are chanted by the priest called Udgatri (singer). In the ritualistic tradition, these hymns are sung at those important sacrifices in which the juice of the Soma plant, clarified and mixed with milk and other ingredients, was offered in libation to various deities.

In the process of chanting or singing, the hymns are prolonged and repeated; some syllables are inserted, and there are prescriptions about various modulations. If one looks at the text of the Samaveda, one will find figures such as 1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 1, 2, indicated on the letters of the verses. These figures are symbols to guide the length of the pronunciation and modulation of the tune of the melody. This is the

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