Ganas of the Kauthumas
edited by Subramania Sarma, Chennai 2006
While the Samaveda Samhita is readily available as electronic file and as printed book,
the Ganas are so rare that they are neither available on the internet nor in printed form.
Here we offer for the first time these very rare Ganas in Devanagari with svara marks.
These ancient Song Books are of interest to both Vedicists and historians of Indian music.
In “A History of Indian Literature” (Volume 1, Section 1: The Veda), Maurice Winternitz wrote:
“Of all the numerous Samhitas of the Samaveda, which are said to have existed once, only three have come down to us. The best known of these, the Samaveda-Samhita of the Kauthumas consists of two parts, the Arcika or Purvarcika or the ‘(first) collection of stanzas’ and the Uttararcika or ‘second collection of stanzas’. Both parts consist of verses all of which recur in the Rigveda. Of the 1810 verses, which both parts contain altogether, all except 75 are also found in the Rigveda-Samhita and that largely in the VIII and IX books.”…
“Both parts of the Samhita give us only the texts as they are spoken. However the melodies themselves were taught in the earliest days only by oral repetition or by playing them on instruments. Only from a later date do we have so-called Ganas or actual ‘song-books’ (from ga = to sing), which describe the melodies by notes and in which the texts are recorded in the form which they have while singing, i.e. with all syllable-expansions, repetitions and insertions of syllables and even of complete words – of the so-called ‘Stobhas’ like hoyi, huva, hoi etc.The oldest note-marking is probably the one by means of syllables like ta, co, no etc. But more common is the marking of the seven notes with the figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7, to which F, E, D, C, B, A, G of our scale correspond.”
“It appears that the hymn-melodies for the Soma-sacrifices performed in the village were different from those for the sacrifices of the hermits living in the forest, for an Arcika has a Grama-geya-gana (‘Village song-book’) and an Aranya-gana or Arayaka-gana (‘Forest song-book’). The latter contained melodies which were considered as dangerous (taboo) and hence had to be learnt only in the forest. There are also two other books of songs, the Uha-gana and the Uhya-gana. These were composed for the purpose of giving the Samans in the order in which they were employed at the ritual, the Uhagana being connected with the Gramageyagana, the Uhyagana with the Aranyagana.”
Samaveda Ganas of the Kautumas
-Gramegeya-Gana (Village Song-Book), GG-dev.pdf *, 331 pages, 1002 KB, GG Sample pages
– Aranyaka-Gana (Forest Song-Book), AG-dev.pdf *, 120 pages, 473 KB, AG Sample pages
* These preliminary PDF files of the complete song books are not printable due to copyright reasons.
These files requiring Acrobat 5 or higher must not be offered for download elsewhere on the internet.
The corrected final Gana editions will be published as printed books available through the book trade.
The Sample pages of the Ganas are printable and can also be viewed with older versions of Acrobat.
The other song books (Uha-Gana and Uhya-Gana) and additional Samaveda documents
(e.g. Shikshas and Brahmanas) are in preparation and will be available in due course.
For more information about Subramania Sarma’s Gana text editions
please contact him directly at
Samaveda Samhita editions available on other websites:
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Website (This website offers the complete Sanskrit text of the Samaveda Samhita in Devanagari with svara marks as a PDF file, edited by Jost Gippert, Ralph Bunker and Peter Freund)
Sanskrit Documents Website (This website offers the complete Sanskrit text of the Samaveda Samhita as a plain ITRANS textfile, i.e. without encoding of the svara marks, edited by Anshuman Pandey)
Sacred Texts Website (This website offers the complete English translation of the Samaveda Samhita under the title “Hymns of the Samaveda” by Ralph T. H. Griffith, as a HTML textfile)