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13-Ved, Saam

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13-Ved, Saam
See also      Origin of Sangeet in Saam Ved;   Vaidik Devtaa;   Devtaa in Ved;   Devtaa in Saam Ved

The Saam Ved ("Wisdom of the Chants") is a liturgical collection of melodies (Saman). It is better known for the intricacy and meter of its poetry than for its literary content. The hymns in the Saam Ved, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Ved and have no distinctive lessons of their own. Hence, its text is a reduced version of the Rig Ved.

As sacrifice became an increasingly complex ritual in Vaidik India, the functions of the growing body of Braahman priests had to be defined. The Saam Ved is a collection of Saaman or chants, drawn mainly from the 8th and 9th books of the Rig Ved, for the Udgaataa priests who officiated at the soma sacrifice. The Saam Ved is more a collection of songs than Mantra, and it includes precise instructions on how its verses should be sung. Indian classical music took its birth here. The Saam Ved Sanhitaa is about half as long as Rig Ved Sanhitaa. The word Saam means sweet songs or hymns. Since Saam Ved consists of such hymns, it is known as Saam Ved.

While it is said that Saam Ved had originally 1,000 Shaakhaa but only 13 names are available on record. They are:

1. Ranayan
2. Shatya-mukhya
3. Vyaas
4. Bhaguree
5. Oulundee
6. Goulgulvee
7. Bhaanuman-oupamayava
8. Karatee
9. Mashak Gaargya
10. Varsgagavya
11. Kuthum
12. Sgakugitra
13. Jaimini

Of these, while 10 are lost to the posterity, only 3 (Ranayan, Kuthum and Jaimini) are available. In other words, Saam Ved Sanhitaa, available to us, consists entirely of these 3 Shaakhaa only.

Currently available Saam Ved consists of 1,875 Mantra, of which only 100 Mantra are original. Except for two (321 and 464) that are taken from Yajur Ved, the remaining are borrowed from Rig Ved. Since this Ved was created as a selection of Mantra for singing and chanting, hence the name Saam (song). However, the Mantra selection has not been the choicest. For this reason, of the 265 or so Vaidik Mantra most chanted today, there are only 3 Mantra that are from Saam Ved.

These Mantra are divided into two broad groups- Poorvaachik (650 Mantra) and Uttaraachik (1,225 Manrta). Poorvaachik Group is further divided into four Kaand (sections) : Aagneya, Aindra, Pavamaan and Aranya Kaand. On the other hand, the Uttaraachik Kaand consists of 21 chapters.

Braahman of Saam Ved are seven in number. They are:

1. Taandya Mahaa Braahman or Praudra or Panchavinsh Braahman
2. Shadavinsh Braahman
3. Saam-vidhaan Braahman
4. Arsheya Braahman
5. Devataadhyaaya Braahman
6. Upnishad Braahman (or Mantra Braahman)
7. Vansh Braahman

Although there are 7 (some say they are 9) Braahman attached to this, Taandya Mahaa Braahman is the most important Braahman among all of them.
Talavakaar or Jaimineeya Aaranyak is the only Aaranyak of this Ved.
Chhaandogya and Ken Upanishad are the two Upanishad attached to this Ved.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 03/20/13