Monday 18 March 2019

11 Ways of Reading Vedas - Significance of Ghanapatham

History of Vedas : A Brief Introduction

The entire cosmos is a reverberation. Reverberation means sound energy.In other words,what you perceive as the cosmos is simply a hologram projected from core vibrations.
Our ancient sages,through intense penance activated the non-mechanical parts of their brains.They were able to download all forms of knowledge and truths from the cosmos.

They received these truths in the form of sounds ( mantras ) which they heard and saw.

These great Rishis then orally recited the Vedas they received and passed on the universal knowledge in sound-form to disciples.This is how the Vedas reached mankind.The original name for the Vedas is 'Shruti' - simply meaning , 'that which was heard'.

In our culture,sound is the pendrive through which we knowledge was transmuted.

The booklet for Vedic script in Prashanti Nilayam has its title expressed as 'Shruti' rather than ' Vedas',emphasising the sound aspect of Vedas.

The core of the Vedas is sound energy - the most powerful force of the universe.The Rishis experienced divinity and cosmic truths through the sounds.Therefore,by reciting these sounds,one creates the vibrations that match these cosmic frequencies and this eventually leads to the experiential realisation of the Vedas.

List of some women who received the Vedas

“Sound or vibration is the most powerful force in the universe. Music is a divine art, to be used not only for pleasure but as a path to Awakening.” – Paramahamsa Yogananda

This was how the Vedas were passed on generations after generations with preservation to the minutest detail.

The Vedas were not given script form until recently ( apparently a 1000 years back - when Vishukra had to script the Vedas when people started to neglect recitation.A lot of the Vedas were lost at this point of time )

Essentially,the Vedas were preserved only by oral recitation.Veda learning is bound to svaras ( intonation - the uprising and downfalling pitch in recitation) and pronunciation,which must be always preserved.

A slight change in the prescribed rule can give an altered effect or understanding of the Vedas.

Video : Veda Chanting by European Veda Union.Take note of how the pitch rises and descends throughout the recitation.

Hence,a system was erected by our ancients.Today, computing devices use encoding and redundancy schemes to preserve data in a binary system. Similarly, the ancients devised a method to preserve the sounds and intonations of the Vedas.

In this method,the sounds of a Veda mantra are linked together in different patterns according to hierrarchy.

These patterns preserved the purity of the sounds,intonations,pronunciation and accent.

Eleven modes of recitation were traditionally devised.They are as below :

The numbers indicate the sequence in which you recite the Vedas.For example,let us take the well known Gayatri Mantra which appears in the Rig Veda ( downloaded from cosmos by Sage Vishvamitra )

Video above: Rudram in Ghanam by my Whatsapp Veda Learner Smt Kavita

*the mantras as per Vedas,only begins from tat savitur vareNyam.. Om bhur bhuvassuvaha are called the vyahrtiis*

' tat (1) savitur (2) varenyam (3)  bhargo (4)  devasya (5) ....'

So if we recite it in Ghanam , the most complex among the 11 methods, it would sound something like : 

' tat (1) savitur (2) savitur (2) tat (1) tat (1) savitur (2) varenyam (3) varenyam (3) ... and so forth..

The 3rd form - Krama would produce it as ...

tat (1) savitur (2) savitur (2) bhargo (3) bhargo (3) devasya (4) ... and forth

Krama is listed 3 in the hierrarcy,therefore being much less complex than the 11th one - Ghanam.

Recitation in these complex forms is also said to amplify the effect of the Veda mantra.For example,reciting it in ghanam mode is said to amplify its effect a thousand fold !

While others argue that the efficacy of the recitation is only applicable to the samhita mode ( normal mode ).The other 10 forms of recitation do not amplify the magnitude of its efficacy.

I recently taught the kids ( Veda Class,Nandi temple,Sungai Petani ) the Ghanam format ( most complex mode among the 11 styles ) of Gayatri Mantra and the group recitation was mind-blowing.Video shown below : 

Below : AIMST University Veda Class,Malaysia -  Recitation of last stanza of Medha Suktam , Yajur Veda in Ghanam Mode.This was ethereal 

Those who have mastered Veda recitation up to Ghanapaathah are called Ghanapaatin.

The main objective of reciting the Vedas in these different ways is to make no mistake in the original meaning and sound pattern of the words.Remember that Vedas are shruti and sound is utmost crucial here.Vedas are also called 'apaurusheya' - not of human origin.The Rishis were only the receivers of these sounds.Like a radio receiving signals from a station.

Video : AIMST Vedam team and the Sungai Petani Veda Class kids reciting Ganapati Prarthana in Ghanam mode 

At present, a lot of brahmins who were assigned the task to propagate and safeguard the Vedas do not take effort to learn them. As such, there are very few Ghanapaatins among us - which is depressing.We now rely on written script so that the existing Vedas can be preserved.Humanity has already lost a huge portion of the Vedas.

Since Vedas are now accessible to the globe, I hope for a brighter future, with people irrespective of societal background taking interest to learn the Vedas.

I personally do not focus much on the complex ways of recitation unless the student has attained mastery over the samhita mode itself - which is utmost important.

At present,the complex recitations serve as a sign of scholarship or mastery over the Vedas.

Also Read :

(1) Amount of Vedas Lost


  1. Thanks Vinnith for your contribution. I have seen your videos. It is very good that some one is taking time to post videos on usual mistakes done by many folks in chanting and giving corrections.
    May God bless you and your shine in your objective of promoting Vedas

    1. Thanks for your feedback sir <3 I will do my best