The Essence of Yajurveda
The desire to implement thoughts into actions is natural. Good thoughts naturally culminate into good actions. The Yajurveda inspire human beings to walk on the path of Karma (deeds). That is why it is also referred to as Karma-Veda. The mantras of the Yajurveda inspire us to indulge in good deeds.
The first incantation of Yajurveda commands us to perform action
DEVO VAH SAVITAA PRAARPAYATU SHRESHTHA TAMAAYA KARMANE |
Meaning: O Creator of the universe! Inspire all of us to perform supreme deeds. Similarly, the second mantra of the fortieth (40) chapter of the Yajurveda commands us to perform our Karma:
KURVANNE VEHA KARMAANI JIJIVISHECHCHAT SAMAAH|
to live for a 100 years performing your Karma. There are many branches of the
Yajurveda just like the rest of the three Vedas, but two branches namely the
Krishna Yajurveda and Shukla Yajurveda, are prominent. There is a beautiful
story associated with this Veda.
Rishi Yagyavalkya acquired the knowledge of the Yajurveda from his maternal uncle Vaishampayan. Later on, due to some reason the Guru became angry with his disciple and ordered him to return whatever he had been taught. Yagyavalkya had no option but to obey the command of his Guru. He forsook everything he had learned from his Guru by vomiting out all the knowledge of the Yajurveda. On the orders of the Guru, the other disciples consumed all the knowledge assuming the form of Partridges (Teetar). This is how the Yajurveda came to be known as 'Taitteriya- Samhita'. Later on, Sage Yagyavalkya pleased Lord Surya with his great devotion and was blessed with Shukla-Yajurveda. Due to the evil effects of impure minds, the Mantras (Yajus) turned black in colour and this was how it got the name 'Krishna-Yajurveda'.
Shukla Yajurveda is composed in verses just like the Rigveda. Terms like 'Yagya' and 'Yajuh' are derived from the root -
" Yaja Deva Pujaa Sangati Karana Daaneshu"
The Yajurveda includes mantras which are in fact eulogies through which different deities have been invoked. It also contains mantras describing the procedure of vedic rituals and religious sacrifices (Yagya). The Yajurveda comprises 40 chapters and 1975 mantras.
The 'Brahmanas' texts are considered second only to the Vedas in importance. The ultimate aim of these texts was to throw light on the methods of conducting Yagya and rituals related with it. The 'Brahmanas' are divided into 3 sections:
(1) Brahmana (2) Aranyaka (3) Upanishads
The 'Shatapath Brahmana', which in fact forms part of the Shukla-Yajurveda is very famous. Sahatpath Brahmana comprising 100 chapters adequately depicts the Vedic religious life in a very authentic manner.
Most of the texts forming part of the 'Aranyaka' are nothing but extracts of the Upanishads. The 14th chapter of Shatpath Brahmana is famous as ‘Aranyaka’. In the same manner, the 40th Chapter of the Shukla Yajurveda is famously known as 'Ishopanishada'. The 'Brihada-Aranyaka Upanished’ has its root in Shukla-Yajurveda, while Kathopnishad, Taitteriya, Shweta-ashweta, Maitraayani and Kaivalya Upnishad have their roots in Krishna Yajurveda respectively.
VAH SAVITAA PRAARPAYATU SHRESHTHA TAMAAYA KARMANA
O Lord! The creator (Sun)! Inspire us to perform supreme deeds. This mantra inspires us to indulge in virtuous deeds so that progress becomes possible. Every person should engage himself in virtuous deeds to earn respect and honour in society. By doing so, one can acquire numerous added advantages— physical development, mental development, personal development and community development. So it is said, “As the diet is so becometh the man.” Therefore one should eat pure food so that pure deeds follow automatically.
MAA HVAARMAA TE YAGYAPATIR HVAARSHEETA |
Do not become
wicked! May your Yagya-Pati (One who performed the religious sacrifice) also not
It is impossible for anybody to tread on the path of virtuosity if he is evil and wicked. In other words a pure heart is all one needs to perform good deeds. A wicked person is incapable of performing virtuous deeds. Here it is wished that neither the person who performs the yagya nor the means used should be evil. Good work done with bad intentions inevitably leads to failure. That is why one should refrain from evil tendencies. In the same way, the leader should abstain from evil tendencies because display bad precedence to their followers, which is more harmful. Everybody should therefore practice simple and virtuous living. They should never seek recourse to manipulative tendencies.
SAA VISHWAAYUH SAA VISHWAKARMAA SAA VISHWA DHAAYAAH ||
The 3 'Kamdhenus'
(Celestial cow believed to fulfill any wish) are the 'Sarva-Aayu’ (life-span),
'Sarva-Karmaa' (energy without which no action can be performed) and 'Sarva-Dhaayaa’
(the energy to sustain himself).
In the Puranas we find mention of the divine 'Kaamdhenu' cow, which is capable of fulfilling any wish. This particular richa proclaims that we human beings are blessed with three 'Kaamdhenus'-Sarva- aayu, Sarva-Karma and Sarva-dhaya. One is blessed with a long life if he successfully milks the cow named Sarva-Aayu. Similarly, one can perform all his duties (Purusharth) meticulously and sustains himself successfully throughout his life by milking the remaining two cows, Sarva-Karma and Sarva-Dhaya respectively.
Only actions performed with perseverance can ensure success. Total commitment and a sincere approach help a man to accomplish all his desired goals. With the help of these three Kamdhenus, one can achieve all round progress. One should not forget that without these three energies, no one is capable of performing any action or sustain himself. One should, therefore, utilise them to the best of one’s advantage.
IDAM AHAM NRITAAT SATYAMUPAIMI |
renounced untruth, I am hereby embracing truth. One should accept the truth, and
should not hesitate to sacrifice his life to protect it. This is known as the
Satya-Vrata. O Lord! I take a vow to practice this vrata by following the path
of truth. May I be successful in observing and accomplishing this vow!
Unless we renounce our greed (lobha) we cannot protect the truth. Untruth inhibits self-development and physical, mental and spiritual growth. Therefore we should all adhere to the truth.
MAA BHERMAA SANKVITHAA |
endeavour to perform his duties with fearlessness. The doors of progress are
always closed for a person who is gripped by fear. Only a fearless person can
work towards self development and can also help in social and political
SAM JYOTISHAA JYOTIH |
May all the radiance unify and increase in magnitude. A teacher gives knowledge to his students and enlightens them. Thereafter, the students give knowledge to someone else. In this way, one enlightens the other and knowledge increases. Propagating knowledge in this way is known as the 'Gyan-Yagya'. The ultimate aim of a Yagya is to increase the glory of knowledge by means of expansion and propagation.
VEDO ASI YENA TVAM DEV VEDA DEVEBHYO VEDO ABHAVASTENA MAHYAM VEDO BHUYAAH |
contain all knowledge. Bless me with this knowledge just as you have blessed the
Veda means knowledge and the vedas are really an ocean of knowledge. The deities acquired knowledge through the Vedas and the humans emulated them. So, it is in the best interest of human beings to study the Vedas to acquire total knowledge.
DEVAA GAATUVIDO GAATUM VITTVAA GAATUMIT |
O pioneer Deities! Knowing the path of truth, tread on it. Only by acquiring knowledge from the Vedas can one know the path of truth and righteousness. The deities acquired knowledge from the Vedas, and human beings too should emulate the deities and acquire knowledge in the same manner. A man should tread on the path of truth for not only his own but for the benediction of entire humanity. Truth cannot be suppressed and is always the ultimate victor. So, we should tread on the righteous path.
ASTHURI NAO GAARHAPATYAANI SANTU SHATAM HIMAAH |
May we both
(husband and wife) perform the duties of a 'Grihastha' for 100 years.
A grihastha's life can be peaceful and happy provided both the husband and wife performs their respective duties. A cart pulled by one buffalo is known as 'Sthuri' while that pulled by more than one is known as 'Asthuri'. In this mantra, married life has been compared with Asthuri—a cart pulled by two buffaloes— husband and wife. There will be problems in married life if there is a lack of mutual understanding and co-ordination between husband and wife or if any of them does not perform his/her duties.
TANUPA AGNE ASI TANVAM ME PAHYAAYURDAA AGNE AYAAYU MEIN DEHI VARCHODAA AGNE ASI
VARCHO MEIN DEHI|
O Agni! The
protector of the human body, protect mine. You are the giver of long-life, so
bless us with long life. You are the giver of radiance, so bless us with
The warmth in our body is due to the effect of "Agni’ (fire). The body can exist as long as the fire enkindling the vital forces is present in it. The moment this fire extinguishes, the soul departs. Sound health is a primary criterion for a long life. A radiant personality invariably proves that there is an intense spiritual fire burning within. So, one should try to do everything that is required to make the body pure and radiant— regular exercise, self-study etc. Anybody who does this is blessed with long-life and radiance.
AKRAN KARMA KARMA KRITAH SAH VAACHAA MAYOBHUVAA I
performer of virtuous deeds also be soft-spoken (good natured)!
Success is guaranteed if a person works hard and maintains an amicable relationship with people. We can earn love and respect of other's if we are good to them. By good conduct, we give joy and happiness to others. Others naturally reciprocate our good behaviour and it has a chain-reaction, thereby ensuring peace and prosperity in society. Hatred and anger leads to unhappiness, pain and misery. So, one should always be soft-spoken and all 'karma-yogis' should tread on the path of righteousness.
AA NA ETU MANAH PUNAH KRATVE DAKSHAAYA JEEVAME
JYOK CHA SURYA DRISHE
May our mind be
inclined towards virtuous deeds, acquiring strength and a long-life! May we
continue to see the glorious sight of the Rising Sun for eternity!
A man should always tread on the righteous path. One should indulge only in those deeds that provide good health and strength so that he can work for longer periods without getting tired. One should always seek blessings of the Surya' so that our vision remains unimpaired for a long time. One should continue performing those virtuous deeds that increases strength, life span and sharpens our power of vision. Constant practice and ceaseless efforts help a man attain perfection. Therefore anybody desirous of improving his efficiency must always seek the blessings of Surya.
TRAYAMBAKAM YAJAAMAHE SUGANDHIM PUSHTI VARDHANAM|
URVAARU KAMIVA BANDHANAAN MRITYOR MUKSHEEYA MAA MRITAAT||
We pray to lord
Mahadev from whom divine fragrance emanates, who possesses 3 eyes and is the
supreme nurturer! May we be liberated from death with His blessings! May we be
liberated from all bondages just as ripened fruits fall from a tree!
The person who regularly recites this mantra attains liberation from the fears of disease and death. 'Trayambak' means the one with 3 eyes (Lord Shiva). Visions have been categorized into three types-'Adhyaatmik'(spiritual), ‘Adhibhautik’ (materialistic) and ‘Aadhidaivik’ (divine). Anybody blessed with these three visions is a Trayambak.
We should worship Lord Shiva so that we are freed from our worldly attachments just like a fruit falls from a tree after ripening. Once we are successful in doing this, we are liberated from the vicious cycles of life and deat
PARIMAA AGNE DUSHCHARITAA DAAKSHASVAA BHAA SUCHARITE BHAJA
Liberate us from the flawed deeds and inspire us to indulge in good ones.
In this mantra, Agnidev is worshipped so that He inspires us to indulge in good deeds and discourage us from wrongful ones. This always points towards the time tested rule of Karma, that as one sows so shall he reap. Therefore one should always try to follow the path of virtuosity and desist from sinful deeds.
PRATI PANTHAAM PADMAHI SWASTI GAAMANE HASAM
May we progress
by treading on that virtuous path which is worth treading and where there is no
fear of destruction. We should always try to follow that virtuous path which is
free from obstacles and hurdles because this is necessary for the successful
accomplishment of work. This also leads to progress and prosperity.
For example, if we try our hand at something of which we have no knowledge and experience then failures and disappointments are inevitable. But if we take the opinion of experts of that field and follow expert advice, there is every chance of accomplishing that work easily and without much problem. Therefore we should follow such a path that leads to happiness and where there is no fear of going astray.
BHAVATAM NAH SAMANASAU SACHET SAAVARE PASAU
MAA YAGYAM HIMSISHTAM MAA YAGYAPATIM JAATVEDASAU SHIVAU BHAVATAMADYA NAH
O Agni! May your mind be blessed with concentration and equanimity. May your mind be free from illusion. We seek your blessings so that your wrath does not destroy this ‘Yagya’ as well as the ‘Yagyapati’. Here Agni's blessings are sought so that 'unanimity of thought' prevails and there is no conflict. Agni's blessings are also sought so that our minds become free from doubts and illusions. Progress becomes easy when there is no conflict of thought. Agni's blessings are also sought so that 'Yagya' is accomplished successfully and people move ahead on the path of progress.
YUNJATE MUN UT YUNJATE DHIYO VIPRAA VIPRASYA BRIHATO VIPASHCHITAH
following the path shown by 'knowledgeable-predecessors', concentrate their mind
on virtuous deeds. Here the importance of following the path shown by learned
souls has been emphasised. By emulating learned ones, one can attain wisdom
necessary to discriminate between evil and good. These great souls have attained
knowledge after great contemplation and hence their wisdom is unquestionable.
The commoners can become knowledgeable only by emulating senior scholars who are more knowledgeable and by following their sayings and teachings. A man who has acquired knowledge in this manner finds it easy to remain on the path of virtuosity. Such a man, with the help of his acquired intellect always engages himself in good deeds and treads on the path of yoga (Yoga-marg).
MAAHIR BHOORMAA PRIDAA KURNAMASTA AATAA NAANARVAA PREHI
GHRITASYA KULYAA UPARITASYA PATHYAA ANU
O Scholar! The propagator of virtuosity, do not become ferocious like a snake, arrogant like an idiot or violent like a tiger! Come here unobstructed! Accept this water and tread on the path of truth. One should shun all his negative qualities and destructive tendencies. The desire to tread on the path of virtuosity should be as intense as the thirsty person's longing for water. Only by doing so one shall be able to lead a simple life full of growth and progress.
MAA BHERMAA SAM VIKTHAA URJA DHATSVA DHISHANE VEEDVI SATI VEEDYETHAA MURJA
DADHAATHAAM PAPMAA HATO NA SOMAH
Woman! May you be blessed with physical and mental strength, so that you become
free from the unnecessary fear of your husband. Do not tremble in fear but
become strong and courageous instead. May you both (husband-wife) acquire
intelligence and courage so that you are endowed with strength and inclination
to engage in good deeds. May you both eliminate all the demerits and increase
your good qualities just as the waxing moon increases its size, thereby giving
mutual joy to each other.
Husband and wife are advised to shun negative qualities such as fear, weakness, etc. and become strong, enthusiastic and optimistic so that peace and happiness prevail at home.
UPYAAM GRIHITO AYANTARYACHCHA MAGHVAN PAAHI SOMAM URUSHYA RAAYA ESHO YAJASVA
preserve and control your inner energies aroused by the constant practice of
'Yama' and 'Niyama'. Preserve the energies that protect you and vanquish all the
miseries with the help of your strength thus acquired. Unless we make efforts to
destroy our miseries we cannot become wealthy and prosperous.
One should regularly adhere to ‘Yama’ (non violence, truth, abstinence from stealing, celibacy and abstinence from amassing wealth more than that is required for survival) and ‘Niyama’ (cleanliness, contentment, penance, self-study and devotion). This helps in preserving our internal energies, vanquishing all our miseries acquiring all-round prosperity.
SWAANG KRITO ASI VISHWEBHYA INDRIYEBHYO DIVYEBHYAH PAARTHIVEBHYO MANASTVAASHTU
You should put
your utmost efforts in all that you undertake. I know that you are the
benefactor of brilliant scholars who are endowed with virtuous qualities. Lazy
people and those who do not make efforts only face a dormant fate. It is with
sustained efforts that one can become successful. You should make incessant
efforts not only for yourself but also for the benefit of others. May your mind
always be filled with supreme thoughts and your actions benevolent.
SAM VARCHASAA PAYASAA SAM TANUBHIR GANMAHI MANSAA SANSHIVENA |
TVASHTAA SUDATRO VI DADHAATU RAAYO ANUMAARSHTU TANVO YADVILISHTAM |
May we all
possess radiance, good-health, pure-mind and energy. May the 'supreme-donor’
(Almighty) bless us with prosperity and remove all our flaws and demerits.
Our diet should include food that makes us healthy. We should regularly practice 'Yama' and 'Niyama' and study good books so that we are healthy, not only physically but also mentally. A healthy body and a sound mind are necessary to achieve success in life. A person with a fragile body and weak mind can make no contribution for the betterment of society. Therefore, we should make incessant efforts to refine our capabilities and efficiencies.
UPYAAMA GRIHITO ASI SURYAAYA TVAA BHRAAJAA YAISHA TE YONIH SURYAAYA TVAA
Just as the
sun’s rays can be seen by one and all, similarly you should be committed
towards your principles. The sun rises and sets on time and sheds it's light
without discriminating against anybody. Those who lead disciplined and orderly
lifestyles achieve all their goals and progress.
VAACHASPATIR VAARJA NAH SWADATU SWAHA |
May the 'Lord
of the speech' make our voice sweet and soft. We should always be soft spoken.
Sweet talk has the ability to attract one and all. On the contrary, vitriolic speech keeps people away. That is why one should always be soft spoken so that it enhances brotherhood and affection.
GRAHAA URJAA HUTAYO VYANTO VIPRAAYA MATIM
O men, the one
who enhance their strength, please bless us with knowledge of all kinds.
Scholars who incessantly contemplate on acquiring strength and knowledge should also consider it their moral duty to impart knowledge to the ignorant, so that these lesser mortals can develop their mental faculties. This would automatically lead to the latter’s self-development and spiritual progress. Similarly, ignorant and naïve people should try to acquire maximum knowledge from the knowledgeable ones.
APO DEVAA MADHUMATIR GRIBHNANNU RAJASWATI RAAJASWASHCHI TAANAAH |
Gods consume food, which is tasty, nutritious, wholesome, worthy of being
consumed only by royalty, and capable of endowing people with knowledge and
This particular 'vedic-richa' means that the person who is soft-spoken, radiant with strength, has knowledge of running an administration, can motivate his subjects and possess knowledge, is the only one fit to become a ruler.
Therefore, anybody trying to become an efficient ruler should try to imbibe all these good qualities.