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Sankhayana Aranyaka

Sankhayana Aranyaka is the second Aranyaka belonging to Rig Veda. It consists of fifteen chapters. The first two chapters deal with the adhidaivika significance of mahavrata. The subject matter of the first two chapters is the same as that of the Aitareya Aranyaka. But the treatment of the subject is different.

In the third chapter of Sankhayana Aranyaka an exposition of the elevation of man from the mortal world to the world of Brahman is given through a dialogue between King Chitra Gangyayani on the one side and Aruni Gotama and his Svetaketu on the other. Chapter IV deals with the exposition of prana and uktha as Brahman and the adhyatmika significance of the rituals such as Ekadhanamavarodhina Daiva Smara Samyamana Pratardana, i.e., instilling of the adhyatmika powers in the son by the father.’

Chapter five deals with the supremacy of prana over all the organs as proclaimed by Indra to king Pratardana. Chapter VI deals with the nature, understanding and realization of Brahman through a dialogue between Sage Balaki and Ajatashatru, the king of Kashi, the latter presenting the correct view in answer to the incorrect practices observed by the former.

Chapters VII-VIII of Sankhayana Aranyaka form Samhita Upanishad, dealing with the adhidaivika and adhyatmika significance of Samhita. The subject dealt with in these two chapters corresponds, with small variations, to the subject dealt with in Aitareya Aranyaka (Ar. III). It is worth mentioning that this Aranyaka refers to four types of purusha, viz., sarira-purusha, chanda-purusha, veda-purusha and maha-purusha (VIII-3).

Chapter IX deals with the supremacy of prana over all organs and prescribes a ritual to be performed by one who wishes to become the ‘Greatest’. Chapter X deals with antaragnihotra, sublimating the ritual of agnihotra to the adhyatmika plane. Chapter XI deals with an adhyatimika and adhidaivika interpretation of man. Chapter XII deals with securing protection and warding off enemies by putting on an amulet prepared from the bilva tree.

Chapters XIII and XIV deal with some of the highest principles of the Upanishads, such as, idam sarvam yadayamatma (the Self is all this), tattvamasi (that thou art), aham Brahmasmi (I am the supreme self). This very expression (i.e. aham Brahmasmi) is the highest of riks, yajus, samans and the atharvans. Chapter XV deals with the guru-shishya tradition of the Sankhayana recession, starting from the disciples of Sankhayana and going back to the Svayambhu, the first acharya of this tradition.