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Inputs for CD ROM : XI.7:ThiruvAimozhi , An Introduction to Saama Vedam

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Mar 11 2001 - 14:12:49 PST

Dear BhakthAs:

Swamy NammAzhwAr's(SN's) ThiruvAimozhi (TVM) is 
closely linked to Saama Vedam . Some describe it 
as the essence of Saama Vedam in general and 
the ChAndhOgya Upanishad (affiliated with Saama 
Vedam )in particular.

One of the Taniyans for ThiruvAimozhi salutes 
the connection of Saama Vedam and its thousand 
Saakhais (branches/rescensions)to the Thousand 
plus paasurams of TVM:

BhakthAmrutham Visva janAnumOdhanam
  NamAmyaham DhrAvida Veda Saagaram 
Bhagavaan identified Himself as Saama vedam among 
the four Vedams . If our Lord were to take a stand
among Tamizh Marais , it is fair to anticipate that 
He would say that among Dhivya prabhandhams , 
He is ThiruvAimozhi . It would be no surprise since 
the subject matter of TVM at the highest level is 
Bhagavath PrApthi through SaraNAgathi upAyam revealed 
to us by Lord ParthasArathy on the battle field of 
KurukshEthram through His charama SlOkam . ThiruvAimozhi 
is recognized in our sampradhAyam as the Dheerga-SaraNAgathi 
arising out of the elaboration of the sacred Dhvaya manthram.

Like Saama Vedam , ThiruvAimozhi is revelational 
knowledge . It sings about the glorious attributes 
of the Lord . It has been described as " an experience
of the vision of  God; it is not a discourse but 
an experience of God in a direct manner , unmediated 
by the senses , a spiritual intuition comparable to
revelational knowledge" in Tamil language( Tamizh MaRai). 

In this posting , adiyen would provide an introduction
to Saama Vedam .The links of TVM to Saama Vedam will be
elaborated in the subsequent postings. 

Saama Vedam 
(1) Saama vedam has 1875 manthrAs/Saamans in the form of

(2) It has four sections: PoorvArchicka (1-585), 
    AaraNya (586-640) , MahAnAmni Archika (641-650),
    UttarArchika (651-1875).

(3) Out of the 1875 verses of Saama Vedam , 1776 verses 
    are Rg veda manthrams set to music ; Thus, only 99 
    verses do not belong to Rg Vedam. Among the 99 , 
    eleven have been adopted from Atharva vedam and 
    Four are from Yajur Vedam. Some 70 to 80 verses
    belong uniquely to Saama vedam.

(4) The relationship of Saama Vedam to the other three
    VedAs is understood this way : Rg Vedam stands for
    Jn~Ana ( fundamental & TRUE knowledge);Yajur Vedam denotes
    karma or applied knowledge(phalan);Saama Vedam stands for 
    UpAsanA(Glorification of the Supreme Lord addressed
    particularly as Indra and Agni);Atharva Vedam denotes 
    Vij~nana (Perfection and conservation).

(5) Out of the 1001 SaakhAs that existed before , we 
    have today only three available to us : KouTuma ,
    RaaNayaneeya and Jaimineeya.KouTama recension is 
    prevalent in Gujerat;Jaimineeya in Southern India
    (Karnatic parts and Tamil Naadu);RaaNayaneeya in

(6) There are 11 BrahmaNAs dealing with rituals and 
    Soma/Saama Yaj~nams that are associated with 
    Saama vedam .

(7) Just as Aapasthambha Soothram is the Sroutha 
    Soothram of KrishNa Yajur Vedam ,Saama vedam 
    has for its Soothram , LaaDyAyana Sroutha
    Soothram.It sets down the priestly duties of 
    Udhgathrus performing SomA Yaj~nams.

(8) Among the saptha svarAs , "Saa" is the " super-most"
    note of Saama vedam. This is recognized as the life
    principle of DevAs .In the present classification of
    Indian music Shadja , Rishabha , GhAndhAra , madhyama ,
    Panchama , dhaivatha and NishAdham SvarAs (notes, Tones)
    are used. In the Saama vedam , Madhyama Svaram ( the Svaram
    of Flute or VeeNA )becomes the first Svaram and is
    followed by Ghaandharva, Rshabha , Shadja ,Dhavatha,
    NishAdha abnd Panchama svarams. 

(8) In Saaman recital ,every letter , every SvarA 
    has to be fully pronounced. As the manthrAs are 
    set into music , the words are some what modified 
    and undergo " VikArams" defined by Pushpa Soothram .
    These VikArams are 18 in number and are called "BhAvAs".

(8) The Four Types of Saaman Chanting are: (a)vEya or 
    GrAma gEya that is chanted in public (b)AaraNya or
    chanted in forests and in solitude (c) Uha and (d) Uhya 
    or Mystic chanting.

(9) In poorvaarchikA Samans ,the two song manuals are 
    graama gEya ghAna (Congregational) and the AaraNya 
    ghana ( sung by recluses and Moksham seekers in
    the privacy of forests).UttarArchikA Saamans have two
    song manuals , the Uha ghAnam and the Uhya GhAnam.
    Source texts like Naaradi SikshA and Raaga VibhOdha 
    provide details on the singing of these four song manuals.

(9) The different types of instruments used in Saama Vedic 
    chanting are VeeNA , vENu , Mrudhangam and some special 
    types of Drums(Dundhubi et al).Vedic Music is Saama Gaanam.

(10) Achaarya Natha Muni taught his two disciples the TaaLam and 
     singing of the Dhivya Prabhandham (Tamizh MaRai) in the above
     manner. Swamy Desikan celebrates the great help of AchArya
     Nathamuni this way: 

     " Kaalam valampuri anna naRRkkAthal adiyavarkku
       TaaLam Vazhangi Tamizh MaRai innisai tantha VaLLal
       MooLum Tava neRi mootiya Naathamuni KazhalE
       naLum thozhuthezhuvOm namakkAr nihar naanilatthE"
       --AdhikAra Sangraham: Paasuram 6.

In the next postings , we will cover ThiruvAimozhi
of Swamy NammazhwAr.

Srimath Azhagiya Singar ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Daasan, V.SatakOpan 



           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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