prātiśākhya प्रातिशाख्य

Definition: a work on Vedic grammar of a specific nature, which is concerned mainly with the changes, euphonic and others, in the Pada text of the Samhita as compared with the running text, the Samhita itself. The Pratisakhya works are neither concerned with the sense of words, nor with their division into bases and affixes, nor with their etymology. They contain, more or less,Vedic passages arranged from the point of view of Samdhi. In the Rk Pratisakhya, available to-day, topics of metre, recital, phonetics and the like are introduced, but it appears that originally the Rk Pratisakhya, just like the Atharva Pratisakhya, was concerned with euphonic changes, the other subjects being introduced later on. The word प्रातिशाख्य shows that there were such treatises for everyone of the several Sakhas or branches of each Veda many of which later on disappeared as the number of the followers of those branches dwindled. Out of the remaining ones also, many were combined with others of the same Veda. At present, only five or six Pratisakhyas are available which are the surviving representatives of the ancient ones - the Rk Pratisakhya by Saunaka, the Taittiriya Pratisakhya, the Vajasaneyi PratiSakhya by Katyayana, the Atharva Pratisakhya and the Rk Tantra by Sakatayana, which is practically a Pratisakhya of the Sama Veda. The word पार्षद or पारिषद was also used for the Pratisakhyas as they were the outcome of the discussions of learned scholars in Vedic assemblies; cf परिषदि भवं पार्षदम्. Although the Pratisakhya works in nature, are preliminary to works on grammar, it appears that the existing Pratisakhyas, which are the revised and enlarged editions of the old ones, are written after Panini's grammar, each one of the present Prtisakhyas representing, of course, several ancient Pratisakhyas, which were written before Panini. Uvvata, a learned scholar of the twelfth century has written a brief commentary on the Rk Pratisakhya and another one on the Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya. The Taittiriya PratiSakhya has got two commentaries -one by Somayarya, called Tribhasyaratna and the other called Vaidikabharana written by Gopalayajvan. There is a commentary by Ananta bhatta on the Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya. These commentaries are called Bhasyas also.


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