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Vedanga Literature (Auxiliary to the Vedas)
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Preface

Veda, comprising of both the Samhitas and the Brahmanas, is the most ancient literature of the world. Traditionally, it is expected that they should be studied with the help of the Vedangas, omprising Sika, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandas, Kalpa and Jyotisa. A large number of texts, dealing with-each Vedanga, have been composed by the post Vedic Acaryas. How these six Vedangas render their help to understand the Vedas and how many texts dealing with Vedangas are now available to us, must be known to a student of Veda. This small booklet has' been written with a view to presenting, in brief, an account of all the six Vedangas along with the topics dealt with therein to make a common English-knowing person to have a knowledge of this genre of Vedic literature. I do hope, this book will serve their purpose well.

 

Introduction

Veda is the most ancient literature of the world. It has come to us under two forms, viz, Mantra and Brãhmana. The Mantras were revealed to the seers in their intition in their state of penance and which were later collected and compiled in the form of four Sãmhitãs, viz, Rgveda (RV), Yajurveda (YV), Samaveda (SV) and Atharvaveda (AV). Again these four Samhitãs were handed down in several recensions (Sakhas) with growth of time. By the time of Patanjali there were, at least, 21 recensions of the RV, 101 recensions of the YV, one thousand recensions of the SV and 9 recensions of the AV. The entire Mantra-literature, preserved in the four Samhitas or in their different recensions, thus, formed the first corpus of the Vedic literature. The second form of Vedic literature, called Brahmana, was of the commentatorial nature, as it has come into existence with a view to explaining the secret purports of Mantras by the Brahmavadins, who had received the knowledge of Vedic Mantras through Upadesa (proclamation) of the ancient seers in their oral tradition. With the development of time there came a stage when the secret purports of the Mantras could not be understood by the later generations of the Brahmavadins by mere Upadesa. Therefore, a third particular type of literature, called Vedanga, was composed by the particular type of literature, called Vedanga, was composed by the Acaryas based on the lines of their predecessor Brahmavadins, by which both types of literature, viz, Mantra and Brahmana could be understood by the persons of common intelligence.!

The world Vedanga connotes a particular type or class of literature which rendered a great help to the understanding of the Vedas, comprising both Mantra and Brahmana. As such Vedanga is an auxiliary type of literature. There are six things which are most essentially required for understanding the Vedas. The first and foremost thing for studying the Veda is phonetics. Without having knowledge of Vedic phonetics no body can utter the Mantras. Therefore, the class of literature which deals with Vedic phonetics is called Siksã. Another class of literature which helps to understand the nature of Vedic language by dealing with its various elements, such as Nãma, Akhyãta, Upasarga and Nipãta and prescribing rules for their correct uses, is called Vyãkaraza. The entire Mantra-literature is found in either verse, or prose or song form which are technically known as Rk, Yajus and Sãman, respectively. To impart correct knowledge of these metrical compositions a special class of literature, called Chandas, was composed by the Acaryas. This class of literature deals with the metrical rules of the Vedic compositions. Without having proper knowledge of the metrical rules, Vedic Mantras could not be recited correctly. After a considerable interval of time from the time of their compositions, it had become most difficult to know the correct form of the Vedic vocables, particularly, when the old Vedic Vocables had lost their meanings in the later period. How the Vedic Mantras could be interpreted by tracing the roots of the Vedic words, for this a new type of literature, called Nirukta, was composed. All possible principles of Vedic interpretation were formulised by the authors of the Niruktas. This Vedanga was directly connected with the problems of Vedic interpretation.

In the time of the Brahmanas the science of scarifice had developed to a considerable extent, and the Vedic Mantras had begun to be employed in the performances of Vedic rituals. No doubt, the Brãhmanas had laid down certain principles of employing the Mantras in different rituals and had discussed in detail about each and every subtle thing related to the rituals highlighting their Adhyãtmika, Adhidaivika, ritualistic and symbolic significance, a particular class of work which could give a systematic account of Vedic rituals for the purpose of not only their performances, but for observing the code of conduct from birth to death for the people in their whole span of life, was a most essential need. This need was fulfilled by the composition of the Kalpasutras. This class of literature helped very much to understand the observance of the code of conduct in the life of a person following the path of the Vedic Dharma. It is pertinent to note that the rituals, performed by a householder throughout his life, were not arbitrarily performed at any time. Each Srauta or domestic rite was performed on an auspicious occasion. The knowledge of auspicious and appropriate time is most essential for successful performance of a specific ritual. A class of literature, called Jyotisa, dealing with both astronomy and astrology, was composed by the Acaryas of the period. This class of literature helped in determining the proper positions of the stats or the Naksatras, the Ayanas, Rtus, months and Ahotratra, for the performance of the rituals whether Srauta or domestic. Thus, the six classes of works, viz., Siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas, Nirukta, Kalpa and Jyotisa are traditionally regarded as Vedangas. Their knowledge was essential for understanding the Vedas and the Vedic ways of life. These Vedangas have also been regarded as six limbs of the Veda-Purdusa. Chandas (Metre) is said to be the two feet, Kalpa as the two hands, Jyotisa as the eye, Nirukta as the ear, Siksa as the nose, and Vyakarana as the mouth. A person having learnt the Vedas with these Angas (limbs) is celebrated in the Brahmaloka.

The Vedangas have their ample source in the Brahmanas regarding their subject-matter. These topics have been dealt with throughout the Brahmana-literature, but without being referred to under these appellations. The Sadvimsa Brahmana refers to the six Vedangas but does not supply the list of their names. It is the Mandukyopanisad which, for the first time, supplies the list. Now we shall deal with individual Vedangas in some detail.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 1-3
I Siksa Vedanga 4-16
1. Importance of Siksa Vedanga 4
2. Pratisakhyas under Siksa Vedanga 5
3. Number of Pratisakhyas 6
  A. Pratisakhyas related to the Rgveda 6
  (i) Rgveda Pratisakhya 6
  B. Pratisakhyas related to the Yajurveda 7
  (i) Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya 7
  (ii) Bhasika-Sutra 7
  (iii) Taittiriya Pratisakhya 7
  C. Pratisakhyas related to the Samaveda 8
  (i) Rktantra 8
  (ii) Samatantra 8
  (iii) Aksaratantra 8
  (iv) Puspasutra 8
  (v) Stobhanusamhara 8
  D. Pratisakhyas related to the Atharvaveda 10
  (i) Atharvaveda Pratisakhya 10
  (ii) Caturadhyayika 10
4. Number of Siksas 11
  A. Siksas related to the RV 11
  B. Siksas related to the SV 12
  C. Siksas related to the Sukla YV 13
  D. Siksa related to the Krsnayajurveda 15
  E. Siksa related to the AV 16
II Vyakarana - Vedanga 17-21
1. Ingredients of Vyakarana 17
2. Purpose of Studying Vyakarana 18
3. Works on Vyakarana 21
III. Nirukta-Vedanga 22-29
1. Nomenclature 22
2. Nirukta as a science of etymology 23
3. Principles of Etymology 24
4. Classification of Yaska’s etymologies 26
5. Importance of Nirukta 26
6. Contents of Nirukta 28
IV. Chandas - Vedanga 30-34
1. Importance of Chandas 30
2. Texts dealing with chandas 31
  (i) Rgveda-Pratisakhya (Chandas Patalas) 31
  (ii) Chandahsutra 34
  (iii) Chandovicitih 34
V. Kalpa - Vedanga 35-56
1. Importance of Kalpa 35
2. Fourfold division of Kalpa 35
  A. Srautasutra 3-44
  1. Scope and contents of the Srautasutras 36
  2. Number of the Srautasutras 38
  (i) Srautasutras related to the Rgveda 39
  1. Sankhayana Srautasutra 39
  2. Asvalayana Srautasutra 39
  (ii) Srautasutras related to the Krsna Yajurveda 39
  1. Vadhula Srautasutra 39
  2. Baudhayana Srautasutra 40
  3. Bharadvaja Srautasutra 40
  4. Apastamba Srautasutra 40
  5. Manava Srautasutra 40
  6. Varaha Srautasutra 41
  7. Satyasadha-Hiranyakesi Srautasutra 41
  8. Vaikhanasa Srautasutra 41
  9. Kathaka Srautasutra Sankalanam 41
  (iii) Srautasutra belonging to the Sukla Yajurveda 42
  1. Katyayana Srautasutra 42
  (iv) Srautasutras belonging to the Samaveda 42
  1. Arseya Kalpa 42
  2. Ksudra Kalpasutra 42
  3. Latyayana Srautasutra 43
  4. Drahyayana Srautasutra 43
  5. Jaiminiya Srautasutra 43
  6. Nidana-Sutra 44
  (v) Srautasutra related to the Atharvaveda 44
  1. Vaitana Sutra 44
B. Grhyasutra 44-50
  1. Scope and contents of Grhyasutras 44
  2. Number of Grhyasutras 45
  (i) Grhyasutras related to the RV 46
  1. Sankhayana Grhyasutra 46
  2. Kausitaki Grhyasutra 46
  3. Asvalayana Grhyasutra 46
  (ii) Grhyasutras belonging to the Krisna YV 46
  1. Baudhayana Grhyasutra 46
  2. Bharadvaja Grhyasutra 47
  3. Apastamba Grhyasutra 47
  4. Satyasadha Hiranyakesi Grhyasutra 47
  5. Manava Grhyasutra 47
  6. Vaikhanasa Grhyasutra 47
  7. Agnivesya Grhyasutra 48
  8. Kathaka Grhyasutra 48
  9. Varaha Grhyasutra 48
  10. Vadhula Grhyasutra 48
(iii) Grhyasutras belonging to the Sukla Yajurveda 48
  1. Paraskara Grhyasutra 48
  2. Katyayana Grhyasutra 49
  3. Vaijavapa Grhyasutra 49
  (iv) Grhyasutras belonging to the Samaveda 49
  1. Gobhila Grhyasutra 49
  2. Khadira Grhyasutra 50
  3. Drahyayana Grhyasutra 50
  4. Jaiminiya Grhyasutra 50
  5. Kauthuma Grhyasutra 50
  (v) Grhyasutra belonging to the Atharvaveda 50
  1. Kausikasutra 50
C. Dharmasutra 50-53
  1. Scope and contents of the Dharmasutras 50
  2. Number of Dharmasutras 52
  (i) Dharmasutra belonging to the Rgveda 52
  (1) Baudhayana Dharmasutra 52
  (ii) Dharmasutras related to the Krsna YV 52
  1. Baudhayana Dharmasutra 52
  2. Apastamba Dharmasutra 52
  3. Hiranyakesi Dharmasutra 52
  4. Vaikhanasa Dharmasutra 53
  5. Harita Dharmasutra 53
  (iii) Dharmasutras related to the Samaveda 53
  1. Gautama Dharmasutra 53
  2. Visnu Dharmasutra 53
D. Sulbasutra 53-56
  1. Scope and Contents of the Sulbasutras 53
  2. Number of Salbasutras 54
  1. Baudhayana Sulbasutra 54
  2. Apastamba-Sulbasutra 55
  3. Hiranyakesi Sulbasutra 55
  4. Maitrayani Sulbasutra 55
  5. Manava Sulbasutra 56
  6. Varaha Sulbasutra 56
  7. Vadhula Sulbasutra 56
  8. Katyayana Sulbasutra 56
VI. Jyotisa-Vedanga 57-60
  1. Importance of Jyotisa 57
  2. Number of Texts on Jyotisa 58
  A. Vedanga Jyotisa 58
  (i) Rgveda Jyotisa 59
  (i) Yajurveda Jyotisah 60
  B. Atharvana Jyotisa 60

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Vedanga Literature (Auxiliary to the Vedas)

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2004
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Preface

Veda, comprising of both the Samhitas and the Brahmanas, is the most ancient literature of the world. Traditionally, it is expected that they should be studied with the help of the Vedangas, omprising Sika, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandas, Kalpa and Jyotisa. A large number of texts, dealing with-each Vedanga, have been composed by the post Vedic Acaryas. How these six Vedangas render their help to understand the Vedas and how many texts dealing with Vedangas are now available to us, must be known to a student of Veda. This small booklet has' been written with a view to presenting, in brief, an account of all the six Vedangas along with the topics dealt with therein to make a common English-knowing person to have a knowledge of this genre of Vedic literature. I do hope, this book will serve their purpose well.

 

Introduction

Veda is the most ancient literature of the world. It has come to us under two forms, viz, Mantra and Brãhmana. The Mantras were revealed to the seers in their intition in their state of penance and which were later collected and compiled in the form of four Sãmhitãs, viz, Rgveda (RV), Yajurveda (YV), Samaveda (SV) and Atharvaveda (AV). Again these four Samhitãs were handed down in several recensions (Sakhas) with growth of time. By the time of Patanjali there were, at least, 21 recensions of the RV, 101 recensions of the YV, one thousand recensions of the SV and 9 recensions of the AV. The entire Mantra-literature, preserved in the four Samhitas or in their different recensions, thus, formed the first corpus of the Vedic literature. The second form of Vedic literature, called Brahmana, was of the commentatorial nature, as it has come into existence with a view to explaining the secret purports of Mantras by the Brahmavadins, who had received the knowledge of Vedic Mantras through Upadesa (proclamation) of the ancient seers in their oral tradition. With the development of time there came a stage when the secret purports of the Mantras could not be understood by the later generations of the Brahmavadins by mere Upadesa. Therefore, a third particular type of literature, called Vedanga, was composed by the particular type of literature, called Vedanga, was composed by the Acaryas based on the lines of their predecessor Brahmavadins, by which both types of literature, viz, Mantra and Brahmana could be understood by the persons of common intelligence.!

The world Vedanga connotes a particular type or class of literature which rendered a great help to the understanding of the Vedas, comprising both Mantra and Brahmana. As such Vedanga is an auxiliary type of literature. There are six things which are most essentially required for understanding the Vedas. The first and foremost thing for studying the Veda is phonetics. Without having knowledge of Vedic phonetics no body can utter the Mantras. Therefore, the class of literature which deals with Vedic phonetics is called Siksã. Another class of literature which helps to understand the nature of Vedic language by dealing with its various elements, such as Nãma, Akhyãta, Upasarga and Nipãta and prescribing rules for their correct uses, is called Vyãkaraza. The entire Mantra-literature is found in either verse, or prose or song form which are technically known as Rk, Yajus and Sãman, respectively. To impart correct knowledge of these metrical compositions a special class of literature, called Chandas, was composed by the Acaryas. This class of literature deals with the metrical rules of the Vedic compositions. Without having proper knowledge of the metrical rules, Vedic Mantras could not be recited correctly. After a considerable interval of time from the time of their compositions, it had become most difficult to know the correct form of the Vedic vocables, particularly, when the old Vedic Vocables had lost their meanings in the later period. How the Vedic Mantras could be interpreted by tracing the roots of the Vedic words, for this a new type of literature, called Nirukta, was composed. All possible principles of Vedic interpretation were formulised by the authors of the Niruktas. This Vedanga was directly connected with the problems of Vedic interpretation.

In the time of the Brahmanas the science of scarifice had developed to a considerable extent, and the Vedic Mantras had begun to be employed in the performances of Vedic rituals. No doubt, the Brãhmanas had laid down certain principles of employing the Mantras in different rituals and had discussed in detail about each and every subtle thing related to the rituals highlighting their Adhyãtmika, Adhidaivika, ritualistic and symbolic significance, a particular class of work which could give a systematic account of Vedic rituals for the purpose of not only their performances, but for observing the code of conduct from birth to death for the people in their whole span of life, was a most essential need. This need was fulfilled by the composition of the Kalpasutras. This class of literature helped very much to understand the observance of the code of conduct in the life of a person following the path of the Vedic Dharma. It is pertinent to note that the rituals, performed by a householder throughout his life, were not arbitrarily performed at any time. Each Srauta or domestic rite was performed on an auspicious occasion. The knowledge of auspicious and appropriate time is most essential for successful performance of a specific ritual. A class of literature, called Jyotisa, dealing with both astronomy and astrology, was composed by the Acaryas of the period. This class of literature helped in determining the proper positions of the stats or the Naksatras, the Ayanas, Rtus, months and Ahotratra, for the performance of the rituals whether Srauta or domestic. Thus, the six classes of works, viz., Siksa, Vyakarana, Chandas, Nirukta, Kalpa and Jyotisa are traditionally regarded as Vedangas. Their knowledge was essential for understanding the Vedas and the Vedic ways of life. These Vedangas have also been regarded as six limbs of the Veda-Purdusa. Chandas (Metre) is said to be the two feet, Kalpa as the two hands, Jyotisa as the eye, Nirukta as the ear, Siksa as the nose, and Vyakarana as the mouth. A person having learnt the Vedas with these Angas (limbs) is celebrated in the Brahmaloka.

The Vedangas have their ample source in the Brahmanas regarding their subject-matter. These topics have been dealt with throughout the Brahmana-literature, but without being referred to under these appellations. The Sadvimsa Brahmana refers to the six Vedangas but does not supply the list of their names. It is the Mandukyopanisad which, for the first time, supplies the list. Now we shall deal with individual Vedangas in some detail.

 

Contents

 

  Preface 1-3
I Siksa Vedanga 4-16
1. Importance of Siksa Vedanga 4
2. Pratisakhyas under Siksa Vedanga 5
3. Number of Pratisakhyas 6
  A. Pratisakhyas related to the Rgveda 6
  (i) Rgveda Pratisakhya 6
  B. Pratisakhyas related to the Yajurveda 7
  (i) Vajasaneyi Pratisakhya 7
  (ii) Bhasika-Sutra 7
  (iii) Taittiriya Pratisakhya 7
  C. Pratisakhyas related to the Samaveda 8
  (i) Rktantra 8
  (ii) Samatantra 8
  (iii) Aksaratantra 8
  (iv) Puspasutra 8
  (v) Stobhanusamhara 8
  D. Pratisakhyas related to the Atharvaveda 10
  (i) Atharvaveda Pratisakhya 10
  (ii) Caturadhyayika 10
4. Number of Siksas 11
  A. Siksas related to the RV 11
  B. Siksas related to the SV 12
  C. Siksas related to the Sukla YV 13
  D. Siksa related to the Krsnayajurveda 15
  E. Siksa related to the AV 16
II Vyakarana - Vedanga 17-21
1. Ingredients of Vyakarana 17
2. Purpose of Studying Vyakarana 18
3. Works on Vyakarana 21
III. Nirukta-Vedanga 22-29
1. Nomenclature 22
2. Nirukta as a science of etymology 23
3. Principles of Etymology 24
4. Classification of Yaska’s etymologies 26
5. Importance of Nirukta 26
6. Contents of Nirukta 28
IV. Chandas - Vedanga 30-34
1. Importance of Chandas 30
2. Texts dealing with chandas 31
  (i) Rgveda-Pratisakhya (Chandas Patalas) 31
  (ii) Chandahsutra 34
  (iii) Chandovicitih 34
V. Kalpa - Vedanga 35-56
1. Importance of Kalpa 35
2. Fourfold division of Kalpa 35
  A. Srautasutra 3-44
  1. Scope and contents of the Srautasutras 36
  2. Number of the Srautasutras 38
  (i) Srautasutras related to the Rgveda 39
  1. Sankhayana Srautasutra 39
  2. Asvalayana Srautasutra 39
  (ii) Srautasutras related to the Krsna Yajurveda 39
  1. Vadhula Srautasutra 39
  2. Baudhayana Srautasutra 40
  3. Bharadvaja Srautasutra 40
  4. Apastamba Srautasutra 40
  5. Manava Srautasutra 40
  6. Varaha Srautasutra 41
  7. Satyasadha-Hiranyakesi Srautasutra 41
  8. Vaikhanasa Srautasutra 41
  9. Kathaka Srautasutra Sankalanam 41
  (iii) Srautasutra belonging to the Sukla Yajurveda 42
  1. Katyayana Srautasutra 42
  (iv) Srautasutras belonging to the Samaveda 42
  1. Arseya Kalpa 42
  2. Ksudra Kalpasutra 42
  3. Latyayana Srautasutra 43
  4. Drahyayana Srautasutra 43
  5. Jaiminiya Srautasutra 43
  6. Nidana-Sutra 44
  (v) Srautasutra related to the Atharvaveda 44
  1. Vaitana Sutra 44
B. Grhyasutra 44-50
  1. Scope and contents of Grhyasutras 44
  2. Number of Grhyasutras 45
  (i) Grhyasutras related to the RV 46
  1. Sankhayana Grhyasutra 46
  2. Kausitaki Grhyasutra 46
  3. Asvalayana Grhyasutra 46
  (ii) Grhyasutras belonging to the Krisna YV 46
  1. Baudhayana Grhyasutra 46
  2. Bharadvaja Grhyasutra 47
  3. Apastamba Grhyasutra 47
  4. Satyasadha Hiranyakesi Grhyasutra 47
  5. Manava Grhyasutra 47
  6. Vaikhanasa Grhyasutra 47
  7. Agnivesya Grhyasutra 48
  8. Kathaka Grhyasutra 48
  9. Varaha Grhyasutra 48
  10. Vadhula Grhyasutra 48
(iii) Grhyasutras belonging to the Sukla Yajurveda 48
  1. Paraskara Grhyasutra 48
  2. Katyayana Grhyasutra 49
  3. Vaijavapa Grhyasutra 49
  (iv) Grhyasutras belonging to the Samaveda 49
  1. Gobhila Grhyasutra 49
  2. Khadira Grhyasutra 50
  3. Drahyayana Grhyasutra 50
  4. Jaiminiya Grhyasutra 50
  5. Kauthuma Grhyasutra 50
  (v) Grhyasutra belonging to the Atharvaveda 50
  1. Kausikasutra 50
C. Dharmasutra 50-53
  1. Scope and contents of the Dharmasutras 50
  2. Number of Dharmasutras 52
  (i) Dharmasutra belonging to the Rgveda 52
  (1) Baudhayana Dharmasutra 52
  (ii) Dharmasutras related to the Krsna YV 52
  1. Baudhayana Dharmasutra 52
  2. Apastamba Dharmasutra 52
  3. Hiranyakesi Dharmasutra 52
  4. Vaikhanasa Dharmasutra 53
  5. Harita Dharmasutra 53
  (iii) Dharmasutras related to the Samaveda 53
  1. Gautama Dharmasutra 53
  2. Visnu Dharmasutra 53
D. Sulbasutra 53-56
  1. Scope and Contents of the Sulbasutras 53
  2. Number of Salbasutras 54
  1. Baudhayana Sulbasutra 54
  2. Apastamba-Sulbasutra 55
  3. Hiranyakesi Sulbasutra 55
  4. Maitrayani Sulbasutra 55
  5. Manava Sulbasutra 56
  6. Varaha Sulbasutra 56
  7. Vadhula Sulbasutra 56
  8. Katyayana Sulbasutra 56
VI. Jyotisa-Vedanga 57-60
  1. Importance of Jyotisa 57
  2. Number of Texts on Jyotisa 58
  A. Vedanga Jyotisa 58
  (i) Rgveda Jyotisa 59
  (i) Yajurveda Jyotisah 60
  B. Atharvana Jyotisa 60

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by Sukla Chakrabarti
Hardcover (Edition: 1996)
Punthi Pustak
Item Code: NAH396
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India's Intellectual Traditions
by Radhavallabh Tripathi
Paperback (Edition: 2016)
Sahitya Akademi
Item Code: NAK272
$30.00$22.50
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The Four Vedas with Spiritual Translation (Set of 22 Volumes) - Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Item Code: NAG696
$325.00$243.75
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Vedic Bibliography - An Old and Rare Book (Set of 6 Volumes)
Item Code: NAK420
$225.00$168.75
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Atreyasiksa (A Siksa of The Taittriya School)
by Deepro Chakraborty
Hardcover (Edition: 2015)
D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Item Code: NAK744
$35.00$26.25
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