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The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840], at

p. 279


Divisions of the Yajur-veda. Story of Yájnawalkya: forced to give up what he has learned: picked up by others, forming the Taittiríya-yajush. Yájnawalkya worships the sun, who communicates to him the Vájasneyí-yajush.

PARÁŚARA.--Of the tree of the Yajur-veda there are twenty-seven branches, which Vaiśampáyana, the pupil of Vyása, compiled, and taught to as many disciples 1. Amongst these, Yájnawalkya, the son of Brahmaráta, was distinguished for piety and obedience to his preceptor.

It had been formerly agreed by the Munis, that any one of them who, at a certain time, did not join an assembly held on mount Meru should incur the guilt of killing a Brahman, within a period of seven nights 2. Vaiśampáyana alone failed to keep the appointment, and consequently killed, by an accidental kick with his foot, the child of his sister. He then addressed his scholars, and desired them to perform the penance expiatory of Brahmanicide on his behalf. Without any hesitation Yájnawalkya refused, and said, "How shall I engage in penance with these miserable and inefficient Brahmans?" On which his Guru, being incensed, commanded him to relinquish all that he had learnt from him. "You speak contemptuously," he observed, "of these young Brahmans, but of what use is a disciple who disobeys my commands?" "I spoke," replied Yájnawalkya, "in perfect faith; but as to what I have read from you, I have had enough: it is no more than this--" (acting as if he would eject it from his stomach); when he brought up the texts of the Yajush in substance stained with blood. He then departed. The other scholars of Vaiśampáyana, transforming themselves to partridges (Tittiri), picked

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up the texts which he had disgorged, and which from that circumstance were called Taittiríya 3; and the disciples were called the Charaka professors of the Yajush, from Charańa, 'going through' or 'performing' the expiatory rites enjoined by their master 4.

Yájnawalkya, who was perfect in ascetic practices, addressed himself strenuously to the sun, being anxious to recover possession of the texts of the Yajush. "Glory to the sun," he exclaimed, "the gate of liberation, the fountain of bright radiance, the triple source of splendour, as the Rig, the Yajur, and the Sáma Vedas. Glory to him, who, as fire and the moon, is one with the cause of the universe: to the sun, that is charged with radiant heat, and with the Sushumna ray (by which the moon is fed with light): to him who is one with the notion of time, and all its divisions of hours, minutes, and seconds: to him who is to be

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meditated upon as the visible form of Vishńu, as the impersonation of the mystic Om: to him who nourishes the troops of the gods, having filled the moon with his rays; who feeds the Pitris with nectar and ambrosia, and who nourishes mankind with rain; who pours down or absorbs the waters in the time of the rains, of cold, and of heat. Glory be to Brahmá, the sun, in the form of the three seasons: he who alone is the dispeller of the darkness of this earth, of which he is the sovereign lord: to the god who is clad in the raiment of purity be adoration. Glory to the sun, until whose rising man is incapable of devout acts, and water does not purify, and touched by whose rays the world is fitted for religious rites: to him who is the centre and source of purification. Glory to Savitrí, to Súrya, to Bháskara, to Vivaswat, to Áditya, to the first-born of gods or demons. I adore the eye of the universe, borne in a golden car, whose banners scatter ambrosia."

Thus eulogized by Yájnawalkya, the sun, in the form of a horse, appeared to him, and said, "Demand what you desire." To which the sage, having prostrated himself before the lord of day, replied, "Give me a knowledge of those texts of the Yajush with which even my preceptor is unacquainted." Accordingly the sun imparted to him the texts of the Yajush called Ayátayáma (unstudied), which were unknown to Vaiśampáyana: and because these were revealed by the sun in the form of a horse, the Brahmans who study this portion of the Yajush are called Vájis (horses). Fifteen branches of this school sprang from Kańwa and other pupils of Yájnawalkya 5.


279:1 The Váyu divides these into three classes, containing each nine, and discriminated, northern, middle, and eastern. Of these, the chiefs were severally Śyámáyani, Áruńi, and Ánalavi, or Álambi. With some inconsistency, however, the same authority states that Vaiśampáyana composed and gave to his disciples eighty-six Sanhitás.

279:2 The parallel passage in the Váyu rather implies that the agreement was to meet within seven nights.

280:3 Also called the black Yajush. No notice of this legend, as Mr. Colebrooke observes (As. Iles. VIII. 376), occurs in the Veda itself; and the term Taittiríya is more rationally accounted for in the Anukramańí or index of the black Yajush. It is there said that Vaiśampáyana taught it to Yaska, who taught it to Tittiri, who also became a teacher; whence the term Taittiríya, for a grammatical rule explains it to mean, 'The Taittiríyas are those who read what was said or repeated by Tittiri.' Páńini, 4. 3. 102. The legend, then, appears to be nothing more than a Pauráńik invention, suggested by the equivocal sense of Tittiri, a proper name or a partridge. Much of the mythos of the Hindus, and obviously of that of the Greeks and Romans, originates in this source. It was not confined, at least amongst the former, to the case that Creuzer specifies; "Telle ou telle expression cessa d’etre comprise, et l’on inventa des mythes pour eclaircir ces malentendus;" but was wilfully perpetrated, even where the word was understood, when it afforded a favourable opportunity for a fable. It may be suspected in the present instance that the legend is posterior, not only to the Veda, but to the grammatical rule, or it would have furnished Páńini with a different etymology.

280:4 This is another specimen of the sort of Paronomasia explained in the preceding note. The Charakas are the students of a Śákhá, so denominated from its teacher Charaka. (As. Res. VIII. 377.) So, again, Páńini 4. 3. 107: 'The readers of that which is said by Charaka are Charakas:' Charaka has no necessary connexion with Chara, 'to go.' The Váyu states they were also called Chat́akas, from Chat, 'to divide,' because they shared amongst them their master's guilt. 'Those pupils of Vaiśampáyana were called Chat́akas by whom the crime of Brahmanicide was shared; and Charakas from its departure.'

281:5 The Váyu names the fifteen teachers of these schools, Kańwa, Vaidheya, Śálin, Madhyandina, Sapeyin, Vidagdha, Uddálin, Támráyani, Vátsya, Gálava, Śaiśiri, Át́avya, Parńa, Vírańa, and Sampárayana, who were the founders of no fewer than 101 branches of the Vájasaneyi, or white Yajush. Mr. Colebrooke specifies several of these, as the Jábálas, Baudháyanas, Tápaníyas, &c. As. Res. VIII. 376.

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