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Padapatha is the way of Vedic recitation or writing Veda, word by word each detached in its original form (pada), without regard to euphonic coalition of adjoining letters (sandhi). The padapatha, later on, had many modifications or artificial recitations, such as krama, jata, ghana and the like, in which each word would be repeated twice or more times, being uttered in connection with the preceding or the following word or with both. These artificial recitations were of eight kinds, which came to be known by the term ashtavikrtis, elaborated in Vikrti-valli, ascribed to the ancient post-Paninian grammarian, Vyadi.

The padapatha is a very authentic means for interpreting and preserving the Samhita text, since it is possible to break up many expressions in the Samhita texts in different ways and there is a distinct possibility of the same expressions being broken up into different constituents. This is called for very high degree of seriousness and insight on the part of the sages who undertook to break up the Samhita texts into separate padas.

The padapatha of Rig Veda was first prepared by Sakalya. Sakalya also composed  the padapatha of the Madhyandina Samhita of Shukla Yajur Veda. An anonymous Maitrayani Samhita is extant. Devaraja Yajva, who commented on Yasaka’s Nighantu, and Bhatta Bhaskara, the commentator of Taittiriya Samhita, refer to Atreya as the padapathakara of Taittiriya Samhita. Gargya was the padakara of the Samaveda Samhita. An anonymous padapatha of Atharva Veda Samhita is also known.