--> Skip to main content

Anukramani Of Vedas – Table Of Contents Of The Vedas – Anukramanika

Anukramanika or Anukramani is the table of contents of the Vedas. Over time, the Vedas, the oldest and foundational scriptures of Hinduism, expanded significantly in content, making it increasingly challenging to retain them solely in memory. Recognizing this challenge, sages such as Shaunaka and Katyayana undertook the task of composing specialized texts. These works served as comprehensive reference guides, offering tables of contents for the Vedas, indexes of hymns and their constituent words, and other relevant information. Anukramanikas, as they are known, typically include the initial words of Vedic hymns, the names of the rishis or sages, the chandas or meters, and the devatas (gods and goddesses). They are arranged in the same sequence as they appear in the original Vedic texts.

Shaunaka, for instance, is credited with creating ten such works dedicated to the Rig Veda, such as Arshanukramani, Chandonukramani, and Devatanukramani. The renowned Brihaddevata is one of the works included in this series. Sage Katyayana significantly enriched the Anukramani literature related to the Rig Veda with his Sarvanukramani, which serves as a comprehensive compendium of all indices in one place. Sage Katyayana is also believed to have authored an Anukramanika for the Shukla Yajur Veda. Additionally, Atri and Carayana independently compiled Anukramanis for the Krishna Yajur Veda.

The Sama Veda, another important Vedic text, possesses two Anukramanis known as Arsha and Daivata. In the case of the Atharva Veda, the Anukramanika literature is referred to as 'parisishta,' meaning an appendix. Among the 70 known parisistas, the 49th, Caranavyuha, is particularly well-known.

These works are primarily composed in either the Shloka (metrical verse) or sutra (aphorism) style.