'Saman' means 'tune', and in this case it refers to the
tunes in which the Vedic hymns are chanted. The samans are
essentially Rig Vedic mantras set to music. The Sama Veda
is also known as the Veda of music because all the mantras
are set to the seven basic notes of Indian music known as
the sapta svara system. The Sama Veda is the smallest of the
Vedas, but it is most appealing because of its sweet music,
poetic expression and touching sentiments of devotion. It is
believed that the birth of Indian classical music can be traced
to the Sama Veda.
The Sama Veda has 1,875 mantras, the majority of which
are from the Rig Veda. The Panchavimsha, and Shadvimsha
Brahmanas, the Tandya, Chandogya and Kena Upanishads were a development from the Sama
Veda. The Sama Veda gained
importance and prominence
because Bhagwan Krishna
said in the Bhagavad Gita
(10.22), "I am Sama Veda
among the Vedas." The special priest of Sama Veda is known as an udgata.
He is an expert singer who invites the devas by singing
the mantras to entertain and please them.
Q1. How many books are there in
Samaveda comprises two major parts. The first includes four melody collections
(gāna, गान), and the second part three verse
"books" (ārcika). A melody in the song
books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books. The ‘Gana’ is subdivided into
Gramageya and Aranyageya, while the ‘Arcika ‘is subdivided into ‘Purvarcika’
and ‘Uttararcika’. The Purvarcika portion of the text has 585 single-stanza
verses organized in order of deities, while the Uttararcika text is ordered by
Gramageya melodies are those for public recitations, while Aranyageya melodies
are for personal meditative use such as in the solitude of a forest. Typically,
the Purvarcika collection was sung to melodies described in the Gramageya-Gānas
index., and the rules are in the Puspasutra texts.
Q2. What is written in Samaveda?
Samaveda is the Veda of Chants, or "storehouse of knowledge of
chants". According to Frits Staal, it is "the Rigveda set to
music". It is a fusion of older melodies (sāman)
and the Rig verses. It has far fewer verses than Rigveda, but Samaveda is
textually larger because it lists all the chant- and ritual-related score
modifications of the verses.
Samaveda contains notated melodies, and these are probably the world's oldest
surviving ones. The musical notation is written usually immediately above,
sometimes within, the line of Samaveda text, either in syllabic or a numerical
form depending on the Samaveda Sakha (school).
Q3. Why is Samaveda important?
inside the Samaveda are the widely studied Chandogya
Upanishad and Kena
Upanishad, considered primary Upanishads and influential on the six schools
of Hindu philosophy, particularly the Vedanta school. The Samaveda set
important foundations for the subsequent Indian music.
hymns of Sama Veda, when sung appropriately, enable us to understand universal
truths. The musical patterns in Samaveda have been derived from the vibrations
of the cosmos. So, Sama Veda helps to attain spiritual evolution through music.
Q4. What does Samaveda deal with?
Samaveda is composed of words: ‘saman’ means “song" and ‘Veda’ means
"knowledge"), is the Veda of melodies and chants. The Sama Veda deals
with melodies. Samaveda is categorized into two parts – Part-I include melodies
called ‘Gana’ & Part-II includes three verse books called ‘Archika’. The hymns
of Sama Veda enable us to understand universal truths.
musical patterns in Samaveda have been derived from the vibrations of the
cosmos. So, Sama Veda helps to attain spiritual evolution through music. The
hymns of Samaveda invoke demigods like Indra, Agni, and Som Dev. Thus, the
major theme of Samaveda can be considered worship and devotion.
Q5. What is the theme of Samaveda?
is also called the "Book of Song," "Veda of Chants" or even
"Yoga of Song." It is the words of the "Rig Veda"
put to music. Samaveda is considered the most important of the four Vedas.
In the Bhagavad Gita,
Lord Krishna also declares, “Amongst the Vedas, I am Samaveda.” Thus, the major
theme of Samaveda is predominantly, worship, devotion, and musical celebration
of three attributes of the Godhead, Parama Brahma: Agni, Indra, and Som dev.
Q6. How old is the Samaveda?
Witzel states that there is dating for Samaveda and other Vedic texts. He
estimates the composition of the Samhita layer of the text chronologically
after the Rigveda, and in the likely range of 1200 to 1000 BCE, roughly
contemporary with the Atharvaveda
and the Yajurveda.
Sam Veda is the third of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures,
along with the Rig Veda, Yajurveda, and Atharva Veda. According to Max Müller,
its earliest parts are believed to have been dated from 1500 BC. There were
about a dozen styles of Samavedic chanting. Of the three surviving versions,
the Jaiminiya preserves the oldest surviving tradition of Samavedic chanting.
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