The Puspasutra – A Pratisakhya of the Samaveda (In Two Volumes)


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The Puspasutra is one of the major ancillary works in the Saman technical literature attributed to the Kauthuma and Ranayaniya schools. It deals with the Saman melodies and their structure. The term Puspa, in the present context, means the syllabic expansion that takes place when a melody is formed out of a verse. The Puspasutra was written long after the Saman melodies had been developed.

The Puspasutra contains ten Prapathaka. The first two of them give the names of Samans occurring in the Uttaragana (i.e. Uhagana and Uhyagana) in the order in which they occur. The statement of topics given in the 8th Prapathaka of the Puspasutra would indicate the demarcation. The Puspasutra has two recessions namely northern and southern, the statement of contents in the 8th Prapathaka agrees exactly with the topics dealt with in the Prapathakas III to VIII of South Indian recession. This is understood to be the original part of the Puspasutra which is genuine.

The Northern recension of Puspasutra assigns this [ext twice to Govila. The Southern recension assigns it once to Vararuci. The Puspasutra names the metres of the chants in some places. This leads to the impression that the ganas were chanted in some other metres.

It is difficult to fix the exact date of the Puspasutra. There were additions to the original nucleus, like the Vikalpas (alternatives), remaining bhavas, the detailed treatment of prastava and the first two Prapathakas. Its present form of having ten Prapathakas is a great help to the scholars working in the field of the study of Samavedic chants. The explanation of the technical terms provided in this edition could also be of great help to the readers.

The present edition prepared by Prof. G.H. Tarlekar who is a living authority on the science of Sama-chanting, contains the accurate text in Sanskrit with English exposition bringing out all the intricate points discussed in the Sutras in a highly technical language. This important text on the Sama-chanting has been exposited in English in this edition for the first time.

Prof. G.H. Tarlekar was a professor of Sanskrit at the Arts & Science College, Dhullia, Maharashtra. He is a musicologist and vocalist, a performing artist of Hindustani Khayal of Gwalior gharana. He has carried out research on the History of Indian Music. In addition, Prof. Tarlekar has done considerable work in the vast area of scientific literature on Vedic chanting. His important works include:

a) The Saman Chants – a review and re search
b) Music in Bharat’s Natyasastra
c) Studies in the Natyasastra: with special reference to the Sanskrit drama in performance
d) Translation of Nisankasarangadeva Sangitaratnakosa.


This edition of the Puspasutra (PS) is based on my understanding of the samanchanting in theory and practice, and the text of PS with available commentaries. I have also consulted the four manuscripts of the bare text of the PS that are in the possession of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune. I have also used the edition of PS by R. Simon which is in German. The following commentaries are used —

(1) The Vivarana and Bhasya of Ajatasatru on Prapathakas III to X.
(2) The commentary Phulladipa by Ramakrishna Tripathi alias Nanabhai or Nanhabhai, on all the ten Prapahakas.
(3) Vivrti of Sivarama on Prapahakas III to X.
(4) The Vyakhya published in the Madras edition by Pt. M. Ramanatha Diksita.

I did my first study of the PS under the guidance of Pt.. A.M. Ramanatha Diksita of Varanasi. The commentary of Nanabhai is available in the manuscript form on the first two Prapahakas and that too on the Uhagana. The commentary on the Rahasyagana is not there in the copy of the manuscript made available to me. This unpublished part of Dipa is handed to us by Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeetha Pune. I have made use of the Introduction by R. Simon to his edition of PS. It is in German and the significant parts of it were translated into English by my two friends Dr. G.B. Palsule and Dr. M.A. Mehendale. I am very grateful to both of them. The Introductions to the first and the second volume of PS edited by Dr. B.R. Sharma have been of great help to me while writing the Introduction to my edition of PS. I shall remain ever grateful to these scholars for their deep study evident in their Introductions. I have to thank Pt. Ramanatha Diksita who initiated me in the study of Puspasutra. My sincere thanks are due to Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune for making available to me the copy of the manuscript of Puspasutra (Prapahaka I & II) made by late Pt. Rsisankara Tripathi as well as the Xerox copy of Vivrti of Sivararma (Prapahaka III to X) and the Xerox copy of the edition of Puspasutra by R.Simon. The copy of Phulladipa and that of Vivrti were handed over to the Vidyapeeth by Pt. Radhey Shyam Shastri. I owe my sincere thanks to Pt. Radhey Shyam Shastri of Bhivani (Hariyana) for these manuscripts.

Dr. C.G. Kashikar, renowned Vedic scholar, guided me throughout in this endeavour of mine. Dr. R.N. Dandekar has been a source of encouragement throughout my efforts. I shall remain immensely grateful to both of these great scholars. Dr. V.L. Manjul, the Librarian of the B.O.R. I. has been always willing to supply the books needed by me, so also the Librarians of the Deccan College, Pune and Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeetha. I must thank them. I am very happy to mention that I have received most willing and full co-operation of my wife Nalini in this job. She did the entire work of preparing the manuscript of this whole as I could not do it due to my ill health. I cannot thank her properly in words and therefore, would prefer to remain in debt for ever.

It would have been very difficult to get a publisher for this kind of large work. I am really fortunate that Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, the Academic Director of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, has undertaken the publication of this work most willingly. I cannot duly thank her in words and prefer to be in her debt. Pt. Satkari Mukhopadhyaya of this centre showed genuine interest in this work. I thank him most heartily.


The Puspasutra is an important work of the technical literature of Samaveda belonging to the Kauthuma-Ranayaniya school. It is a Pratisakhya. In the Pratisakhyas of Samaveda, there are four main works namely Rk tantra, Samatantra, Aksaratantra and Puspasutra. There are other secondary published works like Pancavidha sutra, Matralaksana, Pratiharasutra (which is a part of Upagrantha sutra) etc. The Dharanalaksana of Sabhapati belongs to the Jaiminiya School.

At present, there are three schools of Samaveda, available. The Kauthumasaman chanters are found in the South and the North. This school is more widespread than the others. Ranayaniyas are found in the Karwar region and in Andhra. The Jaiminiyas are there in Tamilnadu and in Kerala. Among the Jaiminiyas, there are two traditions - namely, Tamilnadu - Jaiminiya and Nambudri - Jaiminiya. In the Kauthuma school there are two traditions - Pracinapaddhati (ancient style) and Navinapaddhati (new-style).

In the Rk tantra, the following topics are treated — the mode of the utterance of the syllables of the rcs, that are the basis of samans, the Samjna (specific appellation), the sandhi of the words, the sand/n of vowels, becoming s of s or visarga, the becoming of n of n, the elision etc. with illustrations. The hook contains five Prapathakas and 286 sutras The edition with detailed Introduction and comparative notes by Dr. Suryakanta is available at present. The Samatantra deals with bhavas (modifications) like Karsana, Vrddha-bhava, Aibhava, Ahhyasa, Vikarsa, Parisvara, Atihara etc. numbering 33. It also mentions the notes e

Item Code: NAC082
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 2001
Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
ISBN: 8120817923
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Size: 9.8 Inch X 7.5 Inch
Pages: 725
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.12 Kg