Dates of written Rgveda

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 15 04:36:05 UTC 2000

Dr. Witzel said:
But it
shows exactly what we know anyhow, that there were several early redactions
(Sakalya, Baskala, Mandukeya etc.)  of which we have only Sakalya and a few
notes about the two others.  (The existence of their texts has always been
rumored, but nothing has appeared or at least been described in some
detail. In the meantime, we wait, patiently.)

I would like to add a few comments:

1. The RV tradition is itself not unanimous on the Rishis of individual
hymns. For instance, the Bashkala anukramani (manuscript at Calcutta) of
Parasara gives different Rishis for several hymns that occur in the Sakala
version too. The commentator Jagannatha actually criticizes Saunaka for
giving the 'wrong' Rishis.(See catalog description). Note also that the AV
Brihatsarvanukramani (Chapter on Kanda 20 only) claims to be based on
Asvalayana's RV anukramani and sometimes gives different Rishis for the
verses that occur also in the Sakala version.(See the VVRI ed. of AV
Sarvanukramani). And of course, the Rishis of SV are often different from
those of RV. All such instances have been discussed in great detail in Hindi
articles (have copies of some of them).

2. Manuscripts of Bashkala, Sankhayana (two sub-versions) and Aswalayana do
exist and I have seen some Sankhayana manuscripts. The last two even have
their own Padapathas. The *arrangement* of hymns is significantly different
only in Bashkala, as is well known. In UP (and maybe elswhere too) amongst
some Rigvedin families, a person who does things hapahazardly is often
teased as 'Bashkala'(The reason is obvious). For a rather detailed
explanation of the Aswalayana version, please read an article in a recent (I
think 1996) issue of VIJ. It says that VVRI is in the process of publishing
this Samhita. Scrappy accounts of different Shankhayana manuscripts are
available (I have been compiling them), the most signficant being in the
'Parisishtani' section of the VSM edition of RV + Sayana Bhashya, and an old
article in the Hindi journal called 'Prajna'. (The editors of VSM edition
borrowed 2 Shankhayana manuscripts from the collection of Pt. Satavalekar.
Both of them come from Gujarat and are 250 + years old). The textual
differences and the extra verses etc, and similar things are too numerous to
be listed here. I tried to obtain Peterson's catalog of manuscripts at Ulwar
(=Alwar) but failed.

In my opinion, the present Sakala Samhita itself is a *slightly* composite
text. Note that the Sakalya Padapatha does not exist for 6 (if I recollect
correctly) mantras in the Samhita (like 10.121.10; 10.190.3...). Maybe
things will be a little clearer when the Padapathas of Shankhayana and
Ashwalayana samhitas are also published.

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