Orissan recension of kANva shAkhA

Orissa from ancient time remained land of vedic learning. It preserves  distinct and very unique living tradition of paippalAda shAkhA ( of aTharva veda )  and kANva shAkhA ( of shukla yajurveda ) . The Orissan version ( samskrita term being Utkala pATha ) of kANva samhitA is unique in nature having 41 adhyAyas and 2095 mantras ( according to some manuscripts 2100 ) mantras in contrast with printed vulgate version comprising 40 adhyAyas and 2086 mantras in total . This 41 adhyAya samhitA is called EkachAlishA mantra ( meaning :  41 chapters containing mantra , in Orissan dialect )  in Orissan kANva tradition .This 41 chapter samhitA is divided in 2 parts of 20 and 21 chapters. The first 20 adhyAyas are called ‘Tala kudi‘ ( meaning : lower twenty ) and later 21 adhyAyas are called  ‘Upara kudi‘ ( meaning : upper twenty ). Also the recital style
of kANva samhitA in Orissa have very distinct features :

(1) It is independent of rigveda style ( in contrast with recitation style in other parts of india where it is very similar to rigveda ) .
(2) Use of hand gestures ( in contrast with reciters of other parts of india who don’t show hand gestures ) which is peculiar in nature and not similar to hand gestures of mAdhyAndina shAkhA .
(3) Recital have many pATha bhedas in contrast  to published vulgate kANva samhitA .
(4) Purpose ( prayoga:vidhI ) of each chapter is mentioned in starting of chapter in orissan kANva samhitA .

adhyAyas 1-34 of orissan kANva samhitA with some pAThabhedas is similar to published vulgate kANva samhitA . Chapter 35 of vulgate kANva samhitA contains 4 anuvAkas of 55 mantras , in contrast orissan kANva samhitA spilt this chapter into three : chapter 35 of two anuvAkas having 32 mantras , chapter 36 in one anuvAka with 2 mantras and chapter 37 in one anuvAka 22 mantras .The last anuvAka of
vulgate kANva samhitA which forms chapter 37 of orissan kANva samhitA  contains only 21 mantras , the extra mantra in the  orissan kANva samhitA being the one beginning with ‘dadhikrAvRnO…’which finds a place also in chapter 34 of both recession. Chapter 37 and 38 of the vulgate kANva samhitA containing 3 and 7 anuvAkas respectively , together form chapter 39 in 10 anuvAkas of orissan kANva samhitA . The last two chapters 39 and 40 of vulgate kANva samhitA  correspond to the last two chapters 40 and 41 of orissan kANva samhitA . Some extra mantras found in orissan kANva text are arranged in chapters 8,22,23,25,39 and 40 . Total mantras in orissan kANva samhitA are 2095/2100 . Vulgate kANva text have 2089 mantras.
Many pAThashAlas are there in Utakala desha teaching this orissan kANva text to new age brahmacharins for preservation of peculiar tradition of Utkala desha  .

Animesh’s Blog

charaka kaThas , kAnvas and atharvavedins of kAmarUpa desha

The earliest description of brAhman civilization in Eastern India ( kAmarUpa desha )   is tracedback in several purans ( kAlikA purAn , skanda purAn, kartoyA mahAtmaya ) and tantra granthas.( yoginI tantra , kAmakhya tantra , vArAhI tantra ). According to the tradition Lord ‘vAraha’ and goddess ‘bhumI’  had a son ‘ naraka'( bhAuma ). vAraha bhagavAn coronated  ‘ naraka’ for kingdom of kAmarUpa desha with prAgajyotishpura as capital. He was first to invite brAhmans to his kingdom i.e. Eastern India .Several brAhmans well versed in  vedas, tantras, puranas , shAstras, astrology and astronomy  were settled in kAmarUpa desha by him. By curse of sage vashisTha due to cause of  not honouring him, his kingdom got demolished. Although it’s kind of myth, yet ‘naraka-bhAuma’ have pseudo relation as founder ( mula purUsha ) with  bhAuma dynasty but no factual record of this. Afterward in copper inscriptions of  bhAuma dynasty /varman dynasty( descends of naraka- bhAuma  ) we find name,  gotra , shAkhA , pravara of these brAhmans who were settled in kAmarUpa desha. nidhanpur copper inscription by king bhAskara varma (600-650 CE ) was a renewal of  lost copper inscription of  land grant  (bhumI dAna) to 205 brAhmans by king bhutI varman ( 518-542 CE ) .From ‘nidhanpur copper’ inscription , we came to know that followers of five shAkhAs were settled in kAmarUpa desha namely .

1) Rigveda- brihavacha ( shAkal ) shAkhA

2) Shukla yajurveda-mAdhyandina shAkhA

3) krishna yajurveda –
1. taittirIya shAkhA (with Apastamba sutra)
2. charaka kaTha shAkhA

4) samaveda- chhAndoga shAkhA  ( kAuthuma )

The number of charaka kaThas was only six out of 205 brAhmans.That clearly show , kaThas were a minority shAkhA group. These seven brAhmans were

1) kushmAnda patra swAmIn ( 40/305 , vatsa gotra )
2) sAdhU swAmin
( 51/205 , pArasharya gotra  )
3) chandraprakAsha swAmIn
( 95/ 205 , samkrUtiyAyana gotra )
4) pramodasena swAmIn
( 120/205 , gargya gotra )
5) somasena swAmIn
(121/205 , gargya gotra )
6) ghoshsena swAmIn
(123/205 , gargya gotra )
7) Ishwara datta swAmIn
( 40/205 , vatsa gotra )

All these four gotras are mentioned in chAranIya pravarAdhyAya so no doubt they all were transmigrated  kaThas from kashmIra desha. .  Last three brAhman (except last ) mentioned were relatives or sagotras as there surname and gotras are identical.
All this land grants were made near the chandrapurI .And these brAhmans were settled in a colony called ‘ mayurshAmala .In the Agrahara mentioned above they lived for generations .When in course of time the original copper-plate was destroyed, the officers of the State proceeded to levy taxes on the lands. There upon the descendants of the grantees came to karanasuvarana and explained their case to jyesthabhadra, who was the officer-in-charge there.The new copperplate was issued by bhAsakara varmana  .
Interestingly not a single atharvavedin is mentioned in this inscription. Probably till 5th century not a single atharvavedin was present in
kAmarUpa desha .Later king bhAskara varma attempted to settled atharvavedins ( mostly nAgara brAhmans from guRjar desha , with paippalAda recension ) and kAnva shAkhAadhyAyins in  kAmarUpa desha . Later with the establishment of the bhAuma dynasty in Orissa many of the descendants of  the brAhmans to whom grants of land had been made, migrated there. ( that’s the reason why Utkala desha have preserved paippalAda and kAnva tradition ) Unfortunately the paippalAda and kAnva tradition got extinct in kAmarUpa desha but is preserved in utkala desha .

The’ neulpur grant ‘of subhakara deva ( about 7th century ) enlists names of  atharvavedins  in kAmarUpa desha, who were granted lands.


The list of gotra and pravara of this  brAhmans matches with that of nAgara brAhmans.( courtesy of a treaties named as  nAgara pushpAnjalI ).
pAninI , gaurIsrvasa ,vasisTha, sAndilya , paippalAyana, paippalAda , parAsharya, darbhya are most frequent gotras ( generally all with 3 pravaras )
among atharvavedins .
In the copper plate grant of king valavarma  of kAmarUpa there is reference to a sectionof Brahmins belonging to the kAnva shAkhA with the surname dhara and of kapila gotra. Another grant was made by  king ratnapAla to kAnvashAkhins of parAshara gotra and bhAradwAja gotra.
Several other copper grant plates mentions of kAnvashAkhins of kAshyapa, vishwAmitra gotra.


Due to effort of various kings different shAkhA brAhmans were settled  in kAmarUpa as they were living form of vedic dharama ( murta rUpa ) .For establishment and advancement of any kingdom ( dharma rAjya )  this living encyclopedias were must , they were the torch bearers of vedic dharma who propagated vedic dharma in north east.
Better to end with words of periyvA” ….. So long as the Brahmin possessed sattva-guna (the quality of goodness and purity) and so long as he kept the Vedic tradition going and lived a simple life, others recognized his value for society. They regarded him with affection and respect and paced their trust in him. They realised that if society was not afflicted by famine and disease (as in the case today), it was because the sound of the Vedas pervaded everywhere and the performance of Vedic recites created a healthy atmosphere around and brought its own blessings.  ”


1) yogini  tantra
2) kamakhyatantra
3) Social History of kamarupa ( volume 3 ) , Nagendranatha basu
4) Nagara pushpanjali
5) Brahmanopatti martanda  , Harikrishna sharma ( bombay edition )

Animesh’s blog