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Samaveda

The Samaveda (sa-maveda, a tatpurusha compound of sa-man "ritual chant" + veda "knowledge" ), is third in the usual order of enumeration of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures. Its earliest parts are believed to date from 1000 BC.

The Samaveda ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda or Veda of Recited praise. Its Sanhita, or metrical portion, consists chiefly of hymns to be chanted by the Udgatar priests at the performance of 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.

The Collection is made up of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, taken mainly from the Rigveda, transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the religious ceremonies in which they were to be employed. The verses are not intended to be chanted, but to be sung in specifically indicated melodies using the seven svaras or notes. Such songs are called Samagana and in this sense the Samaveda is really a book of hymns.

In these compiled hymns there are frequent variations, of more or less importance, from the text of the Rigveda as we now possess it which variations, although in some cases they are apparently explanatory, seem in others to be older and more original than the readings of the Rigveda[citation needed]. In singing, the verses are still further altered by prolongation, repetition and insertion of syllables, and various modulations, rests, and other modifications prescribed, for the guidance of the officiating priests, in the Ganas or Song-books. Two of these manuals, the Gramageyagana, or Congregational, and the Aranyagana or Forest Song-Book, follow the order of the verses of part I, of the Sanhita, and two others, the Uhagana, the Uhyagana, of Part II. This part is less disjointed than part I, and is generally arranged in triplets whose first verse is often the repetition of a verse that has occurred in part I.



 

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