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In Bhagavad Gita chapter 10 Verse 22 Lord Krishna says

vedānāḿ sāma-vedo smi

devānām asmi vāsavaḥ

indriyāṇāḿ manaś cāsmi

bhūtānām asmi cetanā

Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness].

Why Lord Krishna says He is Sama Veda among Vedas? Is Sama Veda the best among Vedas? If yes, how?

  • Nice question. I think someone with good knowledge of Vedas can answer it. BTW, here is another sloka of interest: BG-9.17: "I am the father, supporter, mother, grandsire of the universe; Among knowledge (Veda), I am divine Om, Rig, SAma & Yajur certainly". These are listed in chronological order. So only Atharva Veda is skipped. – iammilind Feb 29 '16 at 10:21
  • @iammilind Some commentaries of BG 9.17 say Atharvana Veda is derived from Yajur Veda. Verse 10.22 somewhat contradicts 9.17 – The Destroyer Feb 29 '16 at 10:41
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    There is no contradiction. In 9.17 He is saying that among knowledge He is the Vedas. In 10.22 He is refining it even more by saying among Vedas He is the Saman. And in 10.35 He says that among the Samans He is the Brihat-Saman. He is the pinnacle of each, that is the meaning of each. – Swami Vishwananda Feb 29 '16 at 13:55
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    The Atharva consists mostly of spells, incantations. The Atharva is not used in any of the sacrifices. There is only a little that actuality applies as a teaching of Brahman. The Mahavakya that appears in the Atharva also appears in the Yajur. The 3 vedas are known as the Trayi, or Triad. – Swami Vishwananda Feb 29 '16 at 14:02
  • "Is Sama Veda the best among Vedas?"-Obviously yes,Otherwise why Krishna will say so?. 'If yes, how?"-This part can't be answered imo,because neither Krishna did explain nor its being answered anywhere in other scriptures afaik. – Rickross Mar 1 '16 at 9:15
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Samaveda is the Veda of melodies and chants. It's verses are primarily derived from Rigveda (which is believed to be oldest/first and important veda from all). It includes many mysterious verses which indicates the knowledge of ultimate & absolute truth. (The most important & widely studied Chandogya Upanishad also comes from Samaveda.) Singing and listening these verse musically, It (comparatively) more effects the influences of devotion and spirituality. So, due to such importance/significance of Samaveda, Lord Krishna says He is Sama Veda among Vedas.

From Jnaneshvari BhagvadGeeta :

Where sentence in rectangle is similar to that of emphasized text in above explanation.


We know that realization of God is essential to attain the God; Singing can give the feeling which help us lead to the realization. (Quoting verse from Rigveda which are mentioned by Gayatri Pariwar)

Rigveda 9.85.3:

अभि स्वरन्ति बहवो मनीषिणो राजानमस्य भुवनस्य निंसते ॥३॥

Full many a wise man lifts to thee the song of praise, and hails thee with a kiss as Sovran of this world.

8.33.2:

स्वरन्ति त्वा सुते नरो वसो निरेक उक्थिनः ।
कदा सुतं तृषाण ओक आ गम इन्द्र स्वब्दीव वंसगः ॥२॥

2 Men, Vasu! by the Soma, with lauds call thee to the foremost place: When comest thou athirst unto the juice as home, O Indra, like a bellowing bull?

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    It can be thought of as the essence of the Rig. – Swami Vishwananda Feb 29 '16 at 14:03
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Vedas are not only just some chants or some type of books, they are the fundamental building blocks of this universe itself. Every part of universe is composed of some vibrating Veda mantras. The particles contain abundance of RigVeda (Ayam Lokoh RigVeda), the space consists of abundance of YajurVeda (Antarikshyam vai YajurVeda), the bright particles/light contain abundance of SamaVeda

Lord in Bhagvad Gita tells he is SamaVeda among the Vedas, in the Vibhuti chapter where all the things told are such which shows shining nature of all. Now, we have to find how SamaVeda is shining than other Vedas. For this we have to think of what are those places which contains abundance of Saman? For this we have to look upon pramanas of Rishis from Vedas.

Samans are very sukshma and we can't observe them directly with our eyes. But we can consider those particles which contain abundance of Saman as Saman themselves for understanding. And we get that the most appropriate representative of Saman is light. This is made clear in Shatapatha Brahmana:

अर्ची सामानी।

The rays of light are Samans. (Shatapatha Brahmana 10.5.1.5)

From above verse we can have faint understanding of Samans. We can consider them as rays of light. Due to this everything which has brightness in this world contains Samans:

सर्वं तेज साम रुप्यम्

Whatever is brightness (Teja) in this world is all the form of Saman. (Taittariya Brahmana 3.12.9.2)

The above quotation is itself sufficient to prove why Lord Krishna says he is SamaVeda among Vedas it's because whatever bright (luminous) things/particles exist in this universe they all are formed from Saman. Saman vibrations (Rashmis) condense themselves and form light and other Teja form. Taittariya Samhita also confirms the above statement:

देवलोको वै साम

DevaLokas (Shining bodies) are Samans (Taittariya Samhita 7.5.1.6)

For the planetary bodies which are not shining (or do not emit light) we can use the term PrithiviLoka, for the lokas/bodies which are bright in themselves we can use the term DevaLoka (Div = To shine). Thus shining bodies like stars contain abundance of Sama Rashmis. In the spritual sense too we can understand the realm of Gods is composed of Samans.

The same thing is cleared again in Tandya Brahamana:

साम वा असौ द्युलोक

Samans are the world of stars/ bright bodies. (Tandya Brahmana 4.3.5)

Brightness of bright particles is only possible because they feed upon Saman. Light is not possible by only resting on Rik rashmis and Yaju rashmis. This is made clear in Taittariya Samhita:

देवा वै नऋच् न यजुष्य आश्रयन्त ते सामन् एवाश्रयन्त।

Devas could neither live on Rik, nor on Yajus, on the Saman only they rest. (Taittariya Samhita 2.5.7)

Saman are like annas for the Devas. A particle can be bright (Deva) only by feeding Saman Rashmis:

साम देवानां अन्नं

Samans are the food for Devas (Tandya Brahmana 6.4.13)

And most importantly whatever interactions are taking place in this universe is only possible because of Saman.

अयज्ञो वा एष योऽसामा

Without Samans there is no Yajna (interactions). (Taittariya Samhita 2.5.8)

From above all quotations it is clear why Lord told that he is SamaVeda among Vedas. But this doesn't mean that SamaVeda is the only superior and other Vedas are of no use. Each Veda and each mantra of Veda and each syllable of mantra is very important. Just like light/Archi are formed mainly from Samans similarly, Space/ Antariksha is formed from Yajush and Prithivi tatva are mainly formed from Rik.

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The mantras of Sāmaveda are chanted musically so they're are especially pleasing to the Gods more than the mantras of the other Vedas which is why Krishna compares himself to the Sāmaveda.

"Sāma" denotes that which brings equipoise or tranquility to the mind. There are four well-known ways of dealing with an opponent or rival: sāma, dāna, bheda and daṇḍa. The first method is that of conciliation, making an enemy a friend through affection. The Sāmaveda enables us to befriend the divine forces, even the Paramātman. How do we make a person happy? By praising him. If the panegyric is set to music and sung he would be doubly pleased. Many of the mantras of the Rigveda are intoned with a cadence in the Sāmaveda; thus we have Sāmagāna. While the rks are chanted with the tonal differences of udātta, anudātta and Svarita, the sāmans are intoned musically according to certain rules. Our music, based on the seven notes (saptasvara), has its origin in Sāmaveda. All deities are pleased with Sāmagāna. We become recipients of their grace not only through the offerings made in the sacrificial fire but through the intoning of the samans by the udgātā. Sāmagāna is particularly important to Soma sacrifices in which the essence of the soma plant is offered as oblation.

Though the sāmans are indeed Rgvedic mantras, they are specially capable of pleasing the deities and creating Atmic uplift because they are intoned musically. This is what gives distinction to the Sāmaveda. Sri Krsna Paramātman says in the Gita: "Vedānām Sāmavedosmi" (Of Vedas I am the Sāmaveda). The Lord is everything, including good as well as bad. Even so, as he speaks to Arjuna about the things in which his divine quality specially shines forth, he mentions the Sāmaveda among them. In the Lalita-Sahasranana (The One Thousand Names of the Goddess Lalita), Ambā has the name of "Sāmagāna-priya (one who delights in Sāmagāna); she is not called "Rigvedapriya" or "Yajurveda-priya". Syāmasāstri refers to the goddess Minaksi as "Sāmagāna-vinodinī" in one of his compositions. In the Śiva-astottaram ["Śiva astottara-satam", the 108 names of Śiva], Śiva is worshipped thus: "Sāma priyaya namah." The Tevāram extols Śiva as one who keeps chanting the Chandoga-Sāman (Chandoga-Sāman odum vāyān). Appayya Diksita has sought to establish that Isvara or Śiva, Amba and Visnu are "Ratna-trayi" (the Three Gems) occupying the highest plane. And all three have a special relationship with the Sāmaveda.

Hindu Dharma: The Universal Way of Life, Swami Chandrasekarendra Saraswati

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Krishna is calling himself Sāmaveda among the Veda because of an attempt to usurp the authority of Vedic God Indra.

A random picking from the Vedic Scriptures to justify the glorification of Krishna in relation to Sāmaveda is a misdirected attempt because it lacks a context. It fails to show the comparative nature of the Sāmaveda with other Vedic literature which forms a natural basis to the question presented before us.

Therefore, such an attempt to connect Sāmaveda with Krishna cannot be considered well-thought and consequently not a convincing answer.

Even the random skimming through the Ṛg Veda leaves the reader with no doubt that Indra is the primary God that the seers of the Vedas have revealed to us!

This continues further wherein prayers are made to Indra for help and for prosperity. The verses of the Sāmaveda are used to glorify Indra. This is evident from a description in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, wherein 10-day sacrifice has been described in full detail.

This sacrifice deserves special attention (particularly regarding this question) because in this sacrifice different Vedas are enlisted along with the entities to whom these Veda are to be presented during sacrificial offerings.

Therefore, the reader can see, in the context, a comparative use of the Vedic literature for sacrificial purposes.

Kāṇda 13, Chapter 4, Brāhmaṇa 3 (13.4.3.3 cf.) of the Śatapatha deals with this 10-day sacrifice.

Day 1, the King is Manu Vaivasvata, the subjects are mortal humans and the Vedas to be recited is Ṛg Veda.

मनुर्वैवस्वतो राजेत्याह तस्य मनुष्या विशस्त इम आसत इत्यश्रोत्रिया गृहमेधिन उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशत्यृचो वेदः सोऽयमित्यृचां सूक्तं व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेद्वीणागणगिन उपसमेता भवन्ति तानध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति वीणागणगिन इत्याह पुराणैरिमं यजमानं राजभिः साधुकृद्भिः संगायतेति तं ते तथा संगायन्ति तद्यदेनमेवं संगायन्ति पुराणैरेवैनं तद्राजभिः साधुकृद्भिः सलोकं कुर्वन्ति

Day 2, Yama Vaivasvata is the king, the manes are the subject and the Yajur Veda is to be recited.

अथ श्वो भूते द्वितीयेऽहन् एवमेवैतासु सावित्रीष्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युर्यमो वैवस्वतो राजेत्याह ** तस्य **पितरो विशस्त इम आसत इति स्थविरा उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति यजूंषि वेदः सोऽयमिति यजुषामनुवाकं व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेदेवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोति

Day 3, the King is Varuṇa Aditya, Gandharvas are the subject and Ātharvaṇa Veda is to be recited.

अथ तृतीयेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युर्वरुण आदित्यो राजेत्याह तस्य गन्धर्वा विशस्त इम आसत इति युवानः शोभना उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशत्यथर्वाणो वेदः सोऽयमित्यथर्वणामेकं पर्व व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेदेवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोति

Day 4, the kingship is with Soma Vaiśhravan, the subjects are the Apsarasas and Āṅgirasa Veda is to be recited.

अथ चतुर्थेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युः सोमो वैष्णवो राजेत्याह तस्याप्सरसो विशस्ता इमा आसत इति युवतयः शोभनाः उपसमेता भवन्ति ता उपदिशत्यङ्गिरसो वेदः सोऽयमित्यङ्गिरसामेकं पर्व व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेत्। एवमेवाध्वर्युः संप्रेष्यति। न प्रक्रमान् जुहोति।

Day 5, Kādraveya is the King, serpents are the subject and Sarpa Vidyā Veda is to be recited.

अथ पञ्चमेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युरर्बुदः काद्रवेयो राजेत्याह तस्य सर्पा विशस्त इम आसत इति सर्पाश्च सर्पविदश्चोपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति सर्पविद्या वेदः सोऽयमिति सर्पविद्याया एकं पर्व व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेत्। एवमेवाध्वर्युः संप्रेष्यति। न प्रक्रमान् जुहोति।

Day 6, Kubera is the king, Rāksasas are the subject and Devajana Vidyā Veda is to be recited.

अथ षष्ठेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युः कुबेरो वैश्रवणो राजेत्याह तस्य रक्षांसि विशस्तानीमान्यासत इति सेलगाः पादकृत उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति देवजनविद्या वेदः सोऽयमितिदेवजनविद्याया एकं पर्व व्याचक्षाण इवानुद्रवेत्। एवमेवाध्वर्युः संप्रेष्यति। न प्रक्रमान् जुहोति।

Day 7, Dhānva is the king, Asuras are the subject and Māyā Veda is to be recited.

अथ सप्तमेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युरसितो धान्वो राजेत्याह तस्यासुरा विशस्त इम आसत इति कुसीदिन उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति माया वेदः सोऽयमिति कांचिन्मायां कुर्यादेवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोति

Day 8, Samadas is the king, fish are the subjects and Itihāsa Veda is to be recited.

अथाष्टमेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युर्मत्स्यः साम्मदो राजेत्याह तस्योदकेचरा विशस्त इम आसत इति मत्स्याश्च मत्स्यहनश्चोपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशतीतिहासो वेदः सोऽयमिति कंचिदितिहासमाचक्षीतैवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोति

Day 9, Tārkshya Vaipaśyati is the king, birds are the subject and Purāna Veda is to be recited.

अथ नवमेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युस्तार्क्ष्यो वै पश्यतो राजेत्याह तस्य वयांसि विशस्तानीमान्यासत इति वयांसि च वायोविद्यिकाश्चोपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति **पुराणं वेदः ** सोऽयमिति किंचित्पुराणमाचक्षीतैवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोति

Day 10, Indra is the king, Gods are the subject and Sāmaveda is to be recited.

अथ दशमेऽहन् एवमेवैतास्विष्टिषु संस्थितास्वेषैवावृदध्वर्यविति हवै होतरित्येवाध्वर्युर्धर्म इन्द्रो राजेत्याह तस्य देवा विशस्त इम आसत इति श्रोत्रिया अप्रतिग्राहका उपसमेता भवन्ति तानुपदिशति सामानि वेदः सोऽयमिति साम्नां दशतं ब्रूयादेवमेवाध्वर्युः सम्प्रेष्यति न प्रक्रमान्जुहोतीति

This episode clearly shows the use of different Vedas in the sacrificial arena. Furthermore, it also shows that the final sacrificial offerings are reserved for Indra. Such offerings to Indra were done with the chants of Sāmaveda. Many of the sacrifices of the Brāhmaṇa and the Samhitā also support this fact.

Here we can clearly see — in a comparative manner — as to why the Sāmaveda of the considered special among all Vedic literature. They are reserved for the most worshipable Indra.

Later, due to the rise of non-Vedic entities, like Krishna, a desperate attempt was made to accord him the same position nay even higher than that of Indra in the post-Vedic literature.

The roots of many different “Vibhutis” of Krishna as enumerated in Chapter 10 of Gita, especially those related to Vedic words, can be traced back to the Vedic literature in a CONTEXT!

Unsurprisingly, the result of a sincere Svadhyaya of Veda AS IT IS will open many more perspectives.

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    Just curious. Which is the true vedic tradition according to you? Or, is there no true surviving vedic tradition? – I will close your question Dec 2 at 16:43
  • @Iwillcloseyourquestion None. Only his. Everything else is fabricated by racist, sexist, misogynist, casteist Brahmins. – Ikshvaku Dec 2 at 19:32
  • @Ikshvaku My point is not to criticize anyone. It is an honest question. Actually, even I sometimes wonder whether any true vedic tradition exists today. The vedas (at least the Rig veda) seem to be so different from the hinduism that we see today. – I will close your question Dec 2 at 19:41
  • @Iwillcloseyourquestion I agree that the rig veda samhita seems very different from modern sects like vaishnavism, but the reason for that is that the modern sects focus on the Upanishads. The RV samhita focuses on the soma-yajna worship of Indra, whereas modern sects predominantly focus on vedanta and moksha. Ramanujacharya provides a good explanation of how to reconcile different parts of the Vedas because he wrote his bhashya based on Bodhayana's Vritti. The vedas serve to accommodate all target audiences, so the goal of one is not the goal of another. – Ikshvaku Dec 2 at 19:54

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