Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.04
The Sacred Books Given to us by the Divine through our Sages
The Divine words explaining the Principles and Philosophy of Dharma
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 51 :
Evolution of Vedic Languages and Scripts!
The way these Texts were written and were spoken
Please see below
for Lesson - 52
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As the various faiths and beliefs that existed in several parts of the 'pre-Aryan' India merged with `Aryan' culture and faiths, several schools were established to propagate the teachings in many areas with different interpretations. At this time Sanskrit and Prakrit languages were spoken in the court, religious practice and in commerce. Brahmi and Naagari scripts were used in these languages. Various 'Aryan' languages developed from it mainly in the Northern part of India and had some influence on the languages of the South.

The 'Dravidian' group of languages, mostly related to Tamil, were mostly spoken in the South though some were spoken all over India in several small communities. They had a distinctive script with some similarities with other languages. Even now, there are a few thousand people who speak languages and dialects called Brauhi in Sind (Pakistan), Malto in Bihar and Gondi in Madhya Pradesh (India) that are also 'Dravidian' languages.

This shows that both groups of languages were spoken all over the land and both had 'Pre-Aryan' and 'Aryan' influence in the words and scripts. These were said to be the derivatives of "Indo-European" language group. It is very obvious that both groups were of India's own and not European. Modern day researchers see more similarities in the languages and script of both groups. They were used in the worship and rituals all the time, though Vedic teachings were in Sanskrit only. All Vedas were written in Brahmi Script.

While all the languages of ancient India were of similar origin, there existed certain subtle differences from region to region like dialects, which gradually developed into several distinct languages. We can trace many similarities between the 'Dravidian' languages and 'Aryan' languages. Sounds "Ba" and "Va" in the East, "Ra" and "Da" in the North and "Pa" and "Ha", "LLa" and "Zha" in the South were often interchanged for the same words in different languages. This had an influence in the pronunciation of Vedic recitations also.

 
 
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Lesson - 52 :
The Scripts, Phonetics and Grammar of the Vedas
The Rules for the Vedic Writings and Recitations
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According to each region, some of the Vedic recitals showed variations. The same verses in the Four Vedas were recited in four different ways as some alphabets or accents changed. The pronunciations for each of the prayers and texts for rituals are considered very important to gain full benefit of the rituals. A generalized standard method of recitation and pronunciation of Vedic texts were derived from the ancient times.

Vedic prayers were generally recited in the same way over generations, from teacher to students following certain basic rules of pronunciations and grammar. These rules are given in the Vedas themselves and in certain texts referred to as Vedangas. These are the Six 'Angas' or explanatory limbs to Vedas. Siksha and Vyakarna of Panini, Chhandas of Pingalacharya and Niruktha of Yaska are the Vedangas that deal with Vedic recitation, phonetics and grammar. Jyothisha of Garga and Kalpa Suthras explain rules of Astrology and Rituals.

Siksha deals with pronunciation and accent. Vyakarna is the book on Sanskrit grammar. Chhandas is meter dealing with prosody and Nirukta is philology or etymology. Under Sikshas, we have treatises called Pratisakhyas on each of the four Vedas. They deal with phonetics and grammar, accents and the conversion of Veda Samhitas into pathas (words) and krama. The Vedic texts are arranged in various forms or 'Pathas'. The concept of conjugation, declensions, parts of speech, composition and accent led to the development of Vyakarna.

The works of Katyayana, Pathanjali and Bhartruhari have further perfected those of Panini. Vedic works of Chhandas and on grammar are not available now. However, works by subsequent authors like Pingala's Chandahsutra deals with Vedic Prosody and meters. The Niruktha of Yaska is the only text of the ancient discipline of etymology (meaning of synonyms, homonyms and other elements of speech) that is available now.

 
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The Hymn of Universal man - Rig Veda -10.90.
Thasmaath Yagnyath sarvahuthah: Ruchassaamaani Jaggire |
Chandaagumsi Jaggire Thasmaath Yajusthasmaath ajaayatha || || -1-10 ||
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10. From that sacrifice completely offered were born the verses (Rg Veda) and
the Saaman Melodies (Saamaveda). The Chhandhas metres were born from it.
From it was born the Sacrificial formula (Yajurveda).
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Chapter - 4 - The Scriptures and The Sacred Works - Lessons 51 & 52
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 49 & 50 :~: 51 & 52 :~: 53 & 54 :~: 55 & 56 :~: 57 & 58 :~: 59 & 60 :~: 61 & 62 :~: 63 & 64 :
 
 
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