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Kathaka Samhita Of Yajur Veda

Kathaka Samhita is one of the four available Samhitas of Krishna Yajur Veda, of which only one manuscript (in the Sharada script) has been found in Kashmir. The manuscript is imperfect and does not show accents throughout the text. It belongs to the Caraka division of Krishna Yajur Veda, and is one of the 101 branches of the Yajur Veda. Once widely current in northwestern India, Kathaka Samhita has at present no followers outside the dwindling community of Kashmiri Pandits. To this school belongs also an Upanishad, that is, adapted Rig Vedic verses and passages of a Brahmana of the Aranyaka type from Taittiriya Aranyaka. No other literature of the school has survived.

Kathaka Samhita is divided into five books (granthas). The first three are subdivided into forty chapters (sthanakas) which are further subdivided into sections called anuvakas. Like other Krishna Yajur Veda Samhitas (Taittiriya, Maitrayaniya, and Kapisthala – Katha Samhita), Kathaka Samhita is a mixed text of Brahmanas in prose and yajus-mantras, that is, rules regarding rites and prayers.

At the end of the anuvakas, one finds collections of relevant anuvakyas and yajnas that are Rig Vedic prayers to be uttered by the hotr priest, prior to and during libations. Together they constitute a theoretical fourth book. This reflects the practice of Kathaka priests themselves serving as hotrs which also explains the preservation of the ricaka verses by the school. The fifth book, possibly a later addition, consists of thirteen chapters called anuvacanas; it presents only yajus mantras of the Ashvamedha, that is, the horse revival.