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Many Paths to One God

The Yajur Veda
The Book of Ritual

The Yajur Veda ("Wisdom of the Sacrifices") is a liturgical collection that was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. They contain sacred formulas, invocations and spells muttered by the Hindu priests who performed the sacrificial rites. The Yajur Veda served as a guidebook for the priests who execute sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose prayers and the sacrificial formulae ('yajus').

The Yajur-Veda consists of two recensions, both of them partly in prose and partly in verse and both containing roughly the same material (although differently arranged), contains sacrificial formulas (Sanskrit yaja, "sacrifices"). It was used by the adhvaryu, priests who recited appropriate formulas from the Yajur-Veda while actually performing the sacrificial actions.

There are six complete recessions of Yajur Veda - Madyandina, Kanva, Taittiriya, Kathaka, Maitrayani and Kapishthala.

Yajur veda consists of two schools or traditions making a samhita each: Krishna Yajurveda and Sukla Yajurveda.

Krishna Yajurveda follows the Brahma sampradaya (the school of Brahma) and is said to be famous in the Southern parts of India. It was supposed to be having 82 branches or sakas out of which only 4 are available now.

Sukla Yajurveda follows the Aditya sampradaya (the school called aditya) and is prevalent in the Northern India. Out of the 17 sakas in this school, only 2 are available to the mankind now.

Yajur Veda is more concerned with the actual mechanics of ritual. It involves invocations to the sacrificial instruments themselves which were believed to symbolize aspects of brahman.

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