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A History of Sanskrit Literature by MacDonell

Following the order of the Rigveda


Of

a supplementary character are also the class of writings called Anukramanis or Vedic Indices, which give lists of the hymns, the authors, the metres, and the deities in the order in which they occur in the various Samhitas. To the Rigveda belonged seven of these works, all attributed to Caunaka, and composed in the mixture of the cloka and trishtubh metre, which is also found in Caunaka's Rigveda Praticakhya. There is also a General Index or Sarvanukramani which is attributed to Katyayana, and epitomises in the Sutra style the contents of the metrical indices. Of the metrical indices five have been preserved. The Arshanukramani, containing rather less than 300 clokas, gives a list of the Rishis or authors of the Rigveda. Its present text represents a modernised form of that which was known to the commentator Shadgurucishya in the twelfth century. The Chhandonukramani, which is of almost exactly the same length, enumerates the metres in which the hymns of the Rigveda are composed. It also states for each book the number of verses in each metre as well as the aggregate in all metres. The Anuvakanukramani is a short index containing only about forty verses. It states the initial words of each of the eighty-five anuvakas or lessons into which the Rigveda is divided, and the number of hymns contained in these anuvakas. It further states that the Rigveda contains 1017 hymns (or 1025 according to the Vashkala recension), 10,580-1/2 verses, 153,826 words, 432,000 syllables, besides some
other statistical details. The number of verses given does not exactly tally with various calculations that have recently been made, but the differences are only slight, and may be due to the way in which certain repeated verses were counted by the author of the index.

There is another short index, known as yet only in two MSS., called the Padanukramani, or "index of lines" (padas), and composed in the same mixed metre as the others. The Suktanukramani, which has not survived, and is only known by name, probably consisted only of the initial words (pratikas) of the hymns. It probably perished because the Sarvanukramani would have rendered such a work superfluous. No MS. of the Devatanukramani or "Index of gods" exists, but ten quotations from it have been preserved by the commentator Shadgurucishya. It must have been superseded by the Brihaddevata, an index of the "many gods," a much more extensive work than any of the other Anukramanis, as it contains about 1200 clokas interspersed with occasional trishtubhs. It is divided into eight adhyayas corresponding to the ashtakas of the Rigveda. Following the order of the Rigveda, its main object is to state the deity for each verse. But as it contains a large number of illustrative myths and legends, it is of great value as an early collection of stories. It is to a considerable extent based on Yaska's Nirukta. Besides Yaska himself and other teachers named by that scholar, it also mentions Bhaguri and Acvalayana as well as the Nidana Sutra, A peculiarity of this work is that it refers to a number of supplementary hymns (khilas) which do not form part of the canonical text of the Rigveda.

Later, at least, than the original form of these metrical Anukramanis, is the Sarvanukramani of Katyayana, which combines the data contained in them within the compass of a single work. Composed in the Sutra style, it is of considerable length, occupying about forty-six pages in the printed edition. For every hymn in the Rigveda it states the initial word or words, the number of its verses, as well as the author, the deity, and the metre, even for single verses. There is an introduction in twelve sections, nine of which form a short treatise on Vedic metres corresponding to the last three sections of the Rigveda Praticakhya. The author begins with the statement that he is going to supply an index of the pratikas and so forth of the Rigveda according to the authorities (yathopadecam), because without such knowledge the Crauta and Smarta rites cannot be accomplished. These authorities are doubtless the metrical indices described above. For the text of the Sarvanukramani, which is composed in a concise Sutra style, not only contains some metrical lines (padas), but also a number of passages either directly taken from the Arshanukramani and the Brihaddevata, or with their metrical wording but slightly altered. Another metrical work attributed to Caunaka is the Rigvidhana, which describes the magical effects produced by the recitation of hymns or single verses of the Rigveda.


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