About The Author
Dr. R.L. Kashyap is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana in USA. He had his Masteras degree from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and obtained ph. D. from Harvard University. He is the recipient of many International awards. In 2003 he has received ‘Vedanga Vidvan’ award instituted by Maharshi Sandipani Vedavidya Pratishthan (Ujjain), an autonomous body of HRD, Govt. of India. He was awarded the distinguished Alumnus award by IISC (Indian Institute of Science) in 2010. He is the receipient of Karnataka Rajyotsava Award 2012. He is honoured with ‘Veda Brahma’ award by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 2013. Prof. R. L. Kashyap has received ‘Sir M. Vishveshwaraya Award’ by ‘Swadeshi Science Movement’ in 2013.
He has authored more than 350 research articles of which 220 are published in scholarly journals and the rest were presented at conferences. He has guided above 50 doctoral students.
He has written extensively on Veda. He has translated all the 20,500 mantra-s from all the four Veda-s. They are published in 24 Volumes. ‘Rig Veda Samhita’- (12 Vols), ‘Yajur Veda’ (4 Vols), ‘Sama Veda’ (2 Vols),’ ‘Atharva Veda’ (6 Vols), Shukla Yajur Veda (2 Vols). Some of his widely read books on Veda are: ‘Why Read Rig Veda’, ‘Rudra Mantra-s’, ‘Essentials of Rig Veda’, ‘Essentials of Yajur Veda’, ‘Essentials of Sama Veda’, ‘Work, Enjoyment & Progress’, 'Rishi-s'.
He is the Honorary Director of Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bengaluru.
Note to the Readers
We are happy to publish this book, the second part of the translation of the Taittiriya Aranyaka (TA) in English. TA excluding Upanishads has 6 Prashna-s (or Prapathaka). In 2014, We published the translation of the four prashna –s namely one, two, three and six labelled part One. This book labelled part two has the translation of the two remaining Prashna-s namely four and five. There were repeated requests for this book after the publication of the first part.
As mentioned in the ‘Note to the Readers’ of Part I even though all the five Vedas have their own Aranyakas, the Taittiriya Aranyaka associated with the Krishna Yajur Veda is the only one having rik mantras and thus it deserves our special attention.
The Fourth Prashna in this book has the rik Mantras and it is divided in to 42 anuvaka –s.
The Fifth prashna has no mantras, it is completely in prose. It is called as a Brahman since it has only explanations on all the 42 anuvaka-s of the fourth prashna. This Fifth prashna has only 12 anuvaka-s. This book is not easy for translation because for every anuvaka of the fourth Prashna, we have to find out the passages in the fifth prashna which gives an explanation of the relevant fourth prashna anuvaka.
Let us illustrate the difficulties. Anuvaka one of prashna 4 has only Shanti mantra-s.
Consider the anuvaka 2. It begins with the well known rik mantra (5.81.1) which give clues to the ideas of yoga in RV. Here this mantra s 4.2.1., the mantra one of anuvaka 2 of Prashna 4. The ritualistic and other explanations of this mantra are given in the seven passages of the first anuvaka of the prashna 5. (5.5.1.through 5.1.7) and five passages of the second anuvaka of Prashna 5(5.2.1 through 5.2.5). In this book all these passage are given next to the anuvaka (4.2.1.). Similarly for (4.2.2.) of prashna 4, explanations are in (5.2.6), (5.2.7),(5.2.8). Thus the whole book is an interweaving of the anuvaka-s of Prashna 4 and the passages of prashna 5. Clearly the translation task is not easy. We are most grateful o the Scholar Dr. Jamadagni for admirably carrying out the task.
For non specialists, the shanti mantra-s in 4.1 (anuvaka one of prashna 4) and those in the end are useful.
Every anuvaka in the 4th Prashna of our translation has several passages with the heading kalpa . We call them Kalpa passages with (K.P). Kalpa refers to the Veda books dealing with the details of ritual. They belong to the group called as Vedanga –s which consist of six categories of books, first being phonetics (shiksha). The Sixth category is called Kalpa. The Kalpa books are in three subdividions called Grhya sutra, shrauta Sutra and Shulba Sutra-s.
The brief passages with heading Kalpa (KP) deals with some details of rituals in the context of the mantras mentioned earlier. The KP are mentioned by Sri Sayana Acharya and our translations give excerpts only. For instance, after 4.20.7 (page 169 ) there is Kalpa passage which gives the actions to be taken if the contents of Gharma pot overflow due to excessive boiling. Similarly there is a KP after (4.20.15).
For more on Kalpa books, see the chapter 36 of our book, 'Vedic Knowledge in modern Context'.
This book deals extensively with ritualistic details. However this book has also considerable information about the symbolism of the Pravargya ritual and of the sacred-pot names Gharma or Mahavira used in the ritual. We earnestly request the readers to read he four essays viz (iii), in the beginning especially the essays (vi) with title, “ Summary of the 12 anuvakas of Prashna 4”. The summary of the anuvaka 7 in this section gives considerable information on the symbolism of both the Pravargya ritual and the Mahavira pots. As stated there, the Mahavira pot symbolises the twin statuses of paramatma namely Surya (the passive status) and Savita (the active or creative status from which manifests all the worlds.
Whenever Rig Veda mantras appear such as (5.81.1) in anuvaka 2 of the Prashna 4, We give the associated spiritual interpretation also.
However we have no deep idea of the meanings of many legends in this book such as the ants eating up the bow of Vishnu, resulting in its break up which results in cutting of the head of Vishnu. Of course the great healers Ashvins reunite the head and body of Vishnu, and the Yajna proceeds.
The anuvaka 5 (see the essay vi) clearly stats the vigraha or icon worship was practiced in the Vedic times of TA. The sacred pot Mahavira is regarded as a symbol of Surya and is placed on a gold plate. In anuvaka 8, the yajna – performer prays to the sacred pot Mahavira, 'you are the sun, bestow the sun on to me; In anuvaka 11, the pot Mahavira filled with curds and honey is praised as ‘consciousness,… ocean of existence ,… ritam (cosmic law)’. The anuvaka 11ends with the famous prayer mantras to surya in rig Veda (1.50.10), ‘ud vayam … and the one in RV (1.50.1), udu tyam jatavedasam. Thus the main goal of the Pravargya is spiritual attainment; of course a long disease free life without any cravings is also prayed for.
The Sanskrit text used by us is the publication by Ananda Ashrama with the serial number 36/1 . Its title is “ Krishna Yajur Vediya Taittiriya Aranyaka" With the commentary of Sri Sayana Acharya, pub. Year 2008 CE, pages 452. Complied by Shri Shri Babashastri Phadke and later edited by Vasanth Ananth Apte.
As mentioned in the note to the reader of part I, Pravargya also deals with the topic of rejuvenation of all three bodies of the yajna- performer.