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Many Paths to One God

The Sama Veda
The Book of Song

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

As sacrifice became an increasingly complex ritual in Vedic India, the functions of the growing body of brahmin priests had to be defined. The Samaveda is a collection of samans or chants, drawn mainly from the eighth and ninth books of the Rigveda, for the udgatri priests who officiated at the soma sacrifice. The Samaveda is more a collection of songs than mantras, and it includes precise instructions on how its verses should be sung.

The Sama Veda Samhita is about half as long as Rg Veda samhita.

The word Sama means sweet songs or hymns. Since Sama Veda consists of such hymns, it is known as Sama Veda.

While it is said that sama veda had originally 1000 sakhas but only 13 names are available on record. They are:

1. Ranayana
2. Shatyamukhya
3. Vyasa
4. Bhaguri
5. Oulundi
6. Goulgulvi
7. Bhanuman-oupamayava
8. Karati
9. Mashaka Gargya
10. Varsgagavya
11 Kuthuma
12. sgakugitra
13. Jaimini

Of these, while ten are lost to the posterity, only three ( Ranayana, Kuthuma and Jaimini) are available. In other words, Sama Veda samhita available to us consists entirely of these three sakhas.

Currently available Samaveda consists of 1875 mantras.

These mantras are divided into two broad groups- puravachika (650 mantras) and Uttarachika (1225 manrtas).

Purvachika is further divided into four sections or kandas: agneya, aindra, pavamana and aranya kandas. On the other hand, The Uttarnchika consists of 21chapters.

Brahmanas of Samaveda are seven in number. They are:

1. Tandya Brahmana or Proudra or panchavimsa Brahmana
2. Shadavimsha Brahmana 
3. Samavidhana Brahmana
4. Arsheya Brahmana
5. Devatadhyaya Brahmana
6. Upnishad Brahmana ( or Mantra Brahmana)
7. Vamsha Brahmana

Source: Kishore Mohan

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