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53-Miracle in Ved

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53-Miracle in Ved
You will be surprised to know that you cannot change even a single syllable or vowel in Ved's language. They are simply unalterable. We are thankful to several scholars whose source we could not track but whose works were used for creation of this article.)

How Ved have been preserved in pristine state, here are some analytical, unbiased and objective pointers. We provide here some details on how Ved have been preserved so purely and how its not possible to alter even a single syllable. No other text in the world can claim to have such fail-safe method of preservation. Our forefathers devised a number of methods to preserve the unwritten Ved in their original form, to safeguard their tonal and verbal purity.

Swar Protection of Ved
They laid down rules to make sure that not even a syllable was changed in chanting, not even a Swar was altered. In this way they ensured that the full benefits were derived from intoning the Mantra. They fixed the time taken to enunciate each syllable of a word and called this unit of time or time interval "Maatraa".

How we must regulate our breathing to produce the desired vibration in a particular part of our body so that the sound of the syllable enunciated is produced in its pure form: this science is explained in the Vedaang called Shikshaa. If you see a Vaidik Mantra in the Sanhitaa, you would find certain marks after syllables. For example see the following image:  These marks, called Swar Chinha (marks) depict the method of pronunciation. These markers ensure that not even a single syllable can be altered from any Vaidik Mantra. In traditional Gurukul, pupils memorize the locations of these Swar through specific hand or head movements. Thus you would see them moving their hands or head while reciting the Vaidik Mantras. And if a slightest error in Swar is found in recitation, they would easily pin-point it.

Further, different Gurukul specialize in studying different Paath (recitation) methods (explained after this section) would still have the same Swar system in place, thereby easily tracking accuracy of each Vaidik Mantra to last syllable.
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Paath Protection of Ved by Mantra's Different Patterns

A remarkable method was devised to make sure that words and syllables are not altered. According to this, the words of a Mantra are strung together in different patterns like "Vaakya", "Pad”, "Karm", "Jata", "Mala", "Shikhaa", "Rekhaa", Dhwaj", "Dand", "Rath", "Gan". These represent different permutations of reciting words of a Vaidik Mantra.

We call some Vaidik scholars "Gan Paathee", don’t we? It means that they have learnt the chanting of the scripture up to the advanced stage called "Gan". "Paathee" means one who has learnt the "Paath". When we listen to any Ganapaathee chant the Gan, we notice that they intone a few words of a Mantra in different ways, back and forth. It is most delightful to the ear, like nectar poured into it. The sonority natural to Vaidik chanting is enhanced in Gan. Similarly, in the other methods of chanting like Karm, Jata, Shikhaa, Mala, and so on, the intonation is nothing less than stately, indeed divine.

The chief purpose of such methods, as already mentioned, is to ensure that not even a syllable of a Mantra is altered to the slightest extent. The
words are braided together, so to speak, and recited back and forth.

Vaakya Paath
In "Vaakya Paath" and "Sanhitaa Paath" the Mantra are chanted in the original (natural) order, with no special pattern adopted. In the Vaakya Paath some words of the Mantra are joined together in what is called "Sandhi". There is Sandhi in Tamil also; but in English the words are not joined together. You may have many examples of Sandhi. Because of the Sandhi the individual words are less recognizable in Sanskrit.

Pada Paath
In Pada Paath each word in a Mantra is clearly separated from the next.

Sanhitaa Paath
It comes next to Sanhitaa Paath.

Kram Paath
And after it is Kram Paath. In this the first word of the Mantra is joined to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth, and so on, until we come to the final word.

In old inscriptions in the South we find the names of some important people of the place concerned mentioned with the appellation "Kramavittan" added to the names. "Kramavittan" is the Tamil form of "Kramavid" in the same way as "Vedavittan" is of "Vedavid". We learn from the inscriptions that such Vaidik scholars were there throughout South India in past.

Note that South India has a great contribution in preserving the Vaidik traditions during a critical long era of history when North India was occupied in struggling for survival from brutal attacks of barbaric invaders and their progenies from West Asia. We find the tradition of Vaidik Gurukul uninterrupted even till today.)

Jata Paath
In Jata Paath, the first word of the Mantra is chanted with the second, then the order is reversed - the second is chanted with the first. Then, again, the first word is chanted with the second, then the second with the third, and so on. In this way the entire Mantra is chanted, going back and forth.

Shikhaa Paath
In Shikhaa Paath the pattern consists of three words of a Mantra, instead of the two of Jata.

Gan Paath
Gan Paath is more difficult than these. There are four types in this method. Here also the words of a Mantra are chanted back and forth and there is a system of permutation and combination in the chanting. To explain all of it would be like conducting a class of arithmetic. We take all kinds of precautions in the laboratory, don’t we, to protect a life-saving drug? The sound of the Ved guards the world against all ills. Our forefathers devised these methods of chanting to protect the sound of our scripture against change and distortion.

Sanhitaa Paath and Pad Paath are called "Praakritik Paath" (natural way of chanting) since the words are recited only once and in their natural order. The other methods belong to the "Vikrti Paath" (artificial way of chanting) category. (In Kram, though the words do not go in the strict natural order of one-two-three, there is no reversal of the words, like the first after the second and the second after the third, and so on. So we cannot describe it fully as Vikriti Paath). Leaving out Kram Paath, there are 8 kinds Vikriti patterns and they are recounted in verse to be easily remembered.
Jata mala Shikha Rekha dhwaja Dando Ratho Ganah
Ityastau-vikrtayah proktah krama purva maharshibhih

All these different methods of chanting are meant to ensure the tonal and verbal purity of the Ved for all time. In Pad the words in their natural order, in Kram two words together, in Jata the words going back and forth. The words tally in all these methods of chanting and there is the assurance that the original form will not be altered.

The benefits to be derived from the different ways of chanting are given in this verse.
Sanhitaapathamatren a yatphalam procyate budhaih
Padu tu dwigunam vidyat krame tu ca chaturgunam
Varnakrame satagunam jatayantu sahasrakam

Considering that our ancestors took so much care to make sure that the sound of the Ved did not undergo the slightest change, it is futile for modern researchers to try to establish the date of our scriptures by finding out how the sounds of its words have changed.

What more, today different schools of Ved exist in South who memorize Ved in different means, as explained above. And if you compare the Mantra memorized by different schools, you will find variation of not a single syllable. Remember we are talking lacs of syllables.And still no variations. That is why even Max Muller, a bitter critic of Vaidik philosophy, could also not help but state that such a foolproof method of preservation is among the greatest wonders and miracles of the world. An example of Gan Paath --
(Reference Source:

This example gives a faint glimpse of how the Ved, in spite of its massive content, (Rig Ved and Yajur Ved have 153,826 words and 109,287 words respectively) have been preserved from generation to generation though it was all done only by oral transmission. We give below a sentence from the Yajur Ved, obviously without the Swar, in its original Sanhitaa Paath form, also its Pada text and then the order of the words in the Gan recital. A Pandit who has learnt the Gan recital of one complete Ved (he takes 13 years of whole time work to reach that stage) is called a Gan-Paathee. First we give the rule for the Gan mechanics of recitation. If the original order of words in a sentence is :

1/2/3/4/5  -   The Gan recital goes as follows:
12/21/123/321/123/   23/32/234/432/ 234/  34/43/345/543/ 345/  45/54/45/  5 iti 5.
Example: Sanhitaa sentence:
eshAm purushANAm-eshAm paSUnAM mA bher-mA ro-mo eshAM kincanAmamat //
Meaning: - Oh God! Do not frighten these our men and animals, may none of these perish or lack health.
Pada text -  eshAM/purushANAM/ eshAM/paSUnAM/ mA/bheH/mA/ arah/mo-iti- mo/eshAM/ kim/chana/Amamat/ Amamad-ity- Amamat/
Note - The ninth break here and the last break are the results of a technicality which you may ignore, unless you want to specialize in this art.

Now for the Gan recital (without the Swar ; with the Swar it would be a delight to hear). The recital is a non-stop recital, except for a half-pause at the place shown by / . There is no break anywhere else. The hyphens shown are for requirements of those who can decipher the grammar; they will not be reflected in the recital.

eshAM-purushANAM- purushANAm- eshAm-eshAM purushANAm-eshAm- eshAm
purushANAm-eshAm- eshAm purushANAm-eshAM /  purushANAm-eshAm- eshAM purushANAM purushANAm-eshAM paSUnAM
paSunAm-eshAm purushANAm purushANAm-eshAM paSUnAM /
eshAM paSUnAM paSUnAm-eshAm- eshAM paSUnAm-mA mA paSUnAm-eshAm- eshAM paSUnAm-mA /
paSUnAm-mA mA paSUnAM paSUnAm-mA bher-bher-mA paSUnAM paSUnAm-mA bheH /
mA bher-bher-mAmA bher-mAmA bher-mAmA bher-mA /
bher-mAmA bher-bher-mAro aro mA bher-bhermA araH /
mA ro aro mAmA ro momo aro mA mA ro mo /
aro mo mo aro aro mo eshAm-eshAm mo aro aro mo eshAM /
mo eshAm-eshAm mo mo eshAm kim kim-eshAm-mo mo eshAm kim / mo iti mo/
eshAm kimkim-eshAmeshAM kim-cana cana kim-esham-eshaM kim-cana /
kim chana cana kim kim canAmamad-Amamat chana kim kim canAmamat /
canAmamad-Amamac- cana canAmamat /     Amamad-ityAmamat /

The significant point to note here is that in Sanskrit the order of words does not matter. If you do it with an English sentence like:
Raam vanquished Raavan;   It will go like this: 
Raam vanquished vanquished Raam Raam vanquished Raavan ‘Raavan vanquished Raam Raam vanquished Raavan … and so on.

You can see the absurdity now. In Sanskrit this absurdity would not arise. So a Gan recitation is supposed to be equivalent to a recitation of the Ved 13 times and to that extent is multifold fruitful! The 13 is because except for two beginning and two ending words in a sentence the others are repeated 13 times. (You can check it with the word paSUnAM above).

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To Summarize
All the Ved Mantra have been preserved (till today) (at least three millennia according to western calculations) without ever putting them into writing. This must be considered a great linguisitic achievement of which India can be legitimately proud. The literature, which consists of diverse poetical and prose compositions were simply learnt by rote, the training being given by the teacher saying each word or combinations of words once with the proper incantations (called Swar) and the students saying it twice. They then learnt to recite it in continuous form along with the incantations. The continuous recitation of a Vaidik text is called Sanhitaa Paath. The accuracy of the text is preserved by resorting to an artifice of 9 different techniques or modes of recital.

The first is the Pada Paath, which simply recites each word of the text separately; Pada means word; Paath means reading. The euphonic changes that occur from the Sanhitaa Paath to the Pada Paath is itself very technical (Sanskrit grammar would be crucial here) but makes sense.

In addition, there are 8 other techniques of recitation, the sole purpose of each is to preserve the original Sanhitaa text without the loss or addition of a single syllable or Swar. The Swar are a significant part of the recital of the Ved, whatever be the mode. The 8 modes are called: Krama, jata, gan, Maalaa, Ratha, Shikhaa, Dand and Rekhaa. In each mode the order of recital of the words is specified as a particular permutation of their original sequence. All these elaborate and sophisticated approaches have ensured that the first texts of humanity – the Ved Sanhitaa – are available to us today in exactly the same pure original form.

This article is also available in Hindi at  -

Vashi, Team Agniveer


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 07/01/13