[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Kṛṣṇa / Śukla YV

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at umich.edu
Thu Jul 13 10:12:25 UTC 2017

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Madhav Deshpande <mmdesh at umich.edu>
Date: Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Kṛṣṇa / Śukla YV
To: CHRISTOPHER GIBBONS <chris_gibbons at me.com>

Hello Christopher,

     The probable early reference to this distinction is in the
Br̥hadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (BU 6.5.3: śuklāni yajūṃṣi), where Śaṅkara explains
the phrased as "avyāmiśrāṇi brāhmaṇena" (not mixed with Brāhmaṇa).  It is
possible that Śaṅkara is imposing an interpretation on the word śukla that
was current in later times.  The full blown use of the terms kr̥ṣṇa and
śukla to refer to different branches of Yajurveda is much later.  The
Vedavicāra of Śāmaśāstrī Draviḍa Dvivedī that I am editing offers another
very curious explanation of these terms:

"मध्याह्नेऽश्वरूपेण सूर्येण दत्तः शुक्लयजुर्वेदः । अथ वा वेदोपाकरणे
चतुर्दशीयुक्तपौर्णिमाग्रहणाच्छुक्लयजुर्वेदः प्रतिपद्युक्तपौर्णिमाग्रहणात्
कृष्णयजुर्वेद इति तत्रैव वर्णितमिति सर्वं शिवम् ।"
Here the distinction between kr̥ṣṇa and śukla Yajurveda is related to when
the Upākaraṇa is performed.  For the Śukla Yajurvedins, it is performed at
the juncture of Caturdaśī and Paurṇimā, and hence it falls in the
Śuklapakṣa of the lunar month.  For the Kr̥ṣṇa Yajurvedins, the Upākaraṇa
is performed at the juncture of Paurṇimā and Pratipad, and hence it falls
in the Kr̥ṣṇapakṣa of the lunar month.  I have not checked if this is the
actual practice of these different communities.  However, my author seems
to suggest that.  It is doubtful if the terms Kr̥ṣṇa and Śukla originate
with this ritual distinction.  My guess is that it is the Śukla Yajurvedins
who began calling their Yajurveda with the term Śukla to suggest that
Yājñavalkya's new Yajurveda was more pure than the old Yajurveda which he
stripped off from his body and returned to his Guru Vaiśampāyana.  These
stories are found in the Bhāgavata and Viṣṇupurāṇa etc., and are quoted by

Madhav Deshpande

On Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 2:58 AM, CHRISTOPHER GIBBONS via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear List Members, can anyone point me to the earliest occurrences of the
> designations Kṛṣṇa and Śukla to demarcate the schools of the Yajurveda?
> Many thanks in advance. Chris
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