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Concept of Jatavedas in Vedic Literature

Concept of Jatavedas in Vedic Literature
Item Code: NAI381
Author: S. Mahapatra
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 9788178540306
Pages: 200
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 380 gms

About the Book


The book deals with the different aspects of Jatavedas which come as an epithet of the firegod Agni in the Vedic Mantras. The present work has been divided into six chapters. In the Introductory Chapter a brief account of all the important epithets of Agni, Viz. Yaisvanara. Narasamsa, Tanunapat etc. has been given. Chapter 11 treats various derivations, etymologies and meanings of Jatavedas, Chapter III expounds the spiritual concept of Jatavedas studying him as an Immortal Being. Chapter IV deals with the naturalistc concepts interpreting him as terrestrial, aerial, celestial and funeral fires. In the Fifth Chapter (V), the ritual aspects of Jatavedas have been discussed as per the traditional interpretations. Chapter VI deals with the secular side of Dayananda where Jatavedas represents a benevolant king, a brilliant scholar, a real friend as well as an ideal house-holder etc. A summary of the above study is given in the conclusion.


It is also followed by two appendices, the first furnishing a list of Vedic Mantras relating to Jatavedas and the second offering an index of words figuring as adjectives of Jatavedas. A select bibliography appears at the end.


About the Author


Dr. Sachidananda Mahapatra (b. 27.05.1961 O.E.S. II, Orissa, Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit Post-Graduate Department of Sanskrit, Gangadhar Meher College (Antonomous) Sambalpur, Orissa (at present).


1. B.A. (Hons) Sanskrit, First Class second, G.M. College, Sambalpur, 1982.

2. M.A. (Sanskrit), First Class First, Gold Medalist Kurukshetra University, (Kurukshetra), 1984.

3. M. Phil. (Sanskrit), First Class First, Gold medalist Kurukshetra University, 1985

4. Ph.D. “Concept of Jatavedas in Vedic Literature” from Kurukshetra University, 1990.

5. Dip. in German-1985.




The Present book entitled “Concept of Jatavedas in Vedic Literature” by Dr. Sachidananda Mahapatra aims at offering a critical study of the concept of Jatavedas in the Vedic literature. The edifice of the book has been raised for the sake of convenience on six chapters : Chapter I, introductory in nature, acquaints the reader with the concept of Vedic deities as well as with the concept of Agni, makes a vivid study of the important epithets of. Agni, Viz. Narasamsa, Yaisvanara, Tanunapat, Grhapati, Vispati, Atithi, Purohita, Hotr, Havyavahana and others, and discusses Jatavedas as an epithet of Agni as well as an independent deity; Chapter II treats of various derivations, etymologies and meanings of Jatavedas; Chapter III expounds the spiritual concept of Jatavedas, analysing his different spiritual attributes and studying him as an immortal Being, the most wise deity and the Lord of food/wealth; Chapter IV deals with the naturalistic concept of Jatavedas interpreting him as terrestrial, funeral, aerial and celestial fires; Chapter V offers us the ritualistic concept of Jatavedas explaining him as the performer of sacrifices, receiver and conveyor of oblations, dispeller of foes and evil-doers of the sacrifices, son of strength, the deity of the three-fold offerings (savanas) and the God of wealth; and Chapter VI provides us with the secular concept of Jatavedas speaking of him as a brilliant scholar, a benevolant king, an ideal couple well-versed in the knowledge of the Vedas (Jatavedasau) and a keeper of the family. A suumary of the above study is given in the conclusion. It is followed by two appendices, the first furnishing a list of Vedic mantras related to Jatavedas and the second offering an index to words figuring as adjectives of Jatavedas. A select bibliography appears at the end.


Dr. Mahapatra has made a painstaking, exhaustive and thorough study of Jatavedas in the light of the Vedic Samhitds, the Brahmanas, other Vedic works and commentaries with an admirable insight. The book thus offers a profitable reading and is certain to win appreciation of scholars. The author deserves our congratulations for such a nice work.




‘O adorable God, you have perfect knowledge of everything manifested or obscure; may the intellect of your devotees get new light with the coming of every dawn in the morning; may you also bring to this place all the Nature’s bounties, awaking with the morning dawn.’


The fire-god Agni occupies a central place in the Vedic pantheon. He is acclaimed as the foremost among the Vedic gods and thus very often is identified with the Supreme Lord. He is also ascribed to as the medium and communicator of the prayers and oblations offered by the sacrificers to the respective gods. In the Rgveda alone, more than 200 hymns are attributed to Agni. He has also been addressed by various epithets which explain his various role in the scheme of reality. Out of such epithets, ‘Jatavedas’ occurs in no less than 120 invocations in the Rgveda and more than 270 times in all the four Vedas. And this brings the salient features of Agni in the form of Jatavedas basing upon which the deity is sought to be propitiated for the bestowal of distinct merits.


The concept of Jatavedas, although hinted by Yaska up to the many old and recent commentators, has not yet been paid due attention by the Vedic scholars to undertake a whole-some treatment of the subject. The same has been identified to the fire of the middle region (vidyut) only by Saunaka in his Brhaddevatii. In this connection, the attempt of Prof. E.B. Findly to establish Jatavedas as the ‘god of generation’ in his article ‘Jatavedas in the Rgveda’ on the basis of the ancient traditional scholars, can be enumerated.


Hence, although I cannot claim any originality in interpretation of the concerned Vedic verses, I have, with my humble and modest understanding, tried to put into the short compass of the present work all that I could find relevant to the spiritualistic, naturalistic, ritualistic and secular concepts of Jatavedas. I have attempted to see the views of the great, both ancient and modern, commentators to find out in my own light the import of any praticular concept.


The present work has been divided into six chapters including the Introduction. The Conclusion has been given after the end of the 6th chapter. Since the work is based on an epithet, in the Introductory Chapter, the functions of epithet with a brief account of all the important epithets of Agni, have been focussed upon. Then in the second chapter, the definition, etymology and meanings of the term Jatavedas have exhaustively been presented collecting from different possible sources of the Vedic literature. The third one deals with what spiritually Jatavedas means according to the ancient and modern scholars who think the same to be the Supreme Lord Paramesvara. Gradually, in the fourth and the fifth chapters, the natural and the ritualistic aspects of Jatavedas have been discussed respectively as per the traditional interpretations. The sixth chapter deals with the secular side, where Jatavedas, exclusively according to Svami Dayananda, represents a king, a scholar, a friend as well as a house-holder, etc. of the human society. After the sixth chapter comes the conclusion which summarises in spirit the discussion in the foregoing chapters. In the end, I have appended the verses relating to Jatavedas from all the four Vedic Samhitas with a list of adjectival expressions of the term Jatavedas in various invocations in the Vedic hymns. A few of these terms which are doubtful, have been presented with a question mark? Whatever is my humble attempt, I owe it to those great commentators and my revered teachers.


Lastly, I may be excused for the unavoidable discrepancy if any in marking the sign of accents in the mantras as well as the diacritical marks on the lengthy references and typographical error, if any, in this work.

















Chapter I






Concept of Vedic deities and their importance



The Concept of Agni and its important epithets



Vedic epithets and their functions












Grhapati, Vispati, Atithi



Purohita, Hotr and Havyavahana



Some Other Epithets



Jatavedas as an Epithet of Agni



Jatavedas as an Independent Deity



Chapter II



Derivations, Etymology and Meaning of Jatavedas



The word ‘lata’ as Purvapada



The Word Vedas as Uttarapada



Other Such Words similar to Jatavedas



Words beginning with Jata






Words ending with Vedas











2. 3b. Iv



2.3b. v.





Various Meanings of Jatavedas



Terrestrial Fire



Aerial Fire (Vidyut)



Celestial Fire (Sun)


2.4. iv.

Ritual Fire (yajnagni)



Supreme Being


2.4. vi

Secular Concept



Jatavedas as Derived in Brahmana Works



Yaska’s view on the Derivation of Jatavedas



Chapter III



The Spiritual Concept of Jatavedas



The Scope and Concept of Spiritual meaning of Vedic Hymns



Three-fold Meanings of Vedic Verses accepted by the Ancient Commentators of the Vedas.



Different Spiritual Attributes of Jatavedas as expressed by Vedic Commentators



Jatavedas as Immortal Being (amartya)



Jatavedas as the most Wise Deity (Cikitvan)



Jatavedas as the Lord of Food / Wealth (annasya / vajasya ‘isanah)



Chapter IV



The Naturalistic Concept of Jatavedas



Nature and Man



Vedic Concept of Nature



Vedic and Philosophic Concept of Nature



The Scope and Concept of Naturalistic Interpretation (adhibhautika vyakhya) of Vedic mantras.



Jatavedas as Terrestrial Fire (Prthivisthaniya Agni)



Jatavedas as the Funeral Fire (kravyadagni)



Jatavedas as the Aerial Fire (Antariksasthaniya Agni)



Jatavedas as the Celestial Fire (The Sun)



Chapter V



The Ritualistic Concept of Jatavedas



Man and Rituals



Jatavedas : The Unbroken Ritual Presence



Performer of Sacrifice



Receiver and Conveyor of Oblations



Dispeller of foes and Evil-doers of the Sacrifice



Son of Strength



Jatavedas as Deity in the ‘Three-fold Offerings’ (savanas)

Jatavedas as the god of ‘possessions’ or Wealth



Chapter VI



The Secular Concept of Jatavedas



Swami Dayananda and the Secular Interpretation



Jatavedas as a Brilliant Scholar



Jatavedas as a Benevolent King



Jatavedas as an Ideal Couple



Jatavedas as the Keeper of the Family Conclusion






Verses Related to Jatavedas in the Rgveda-Samhita



Verses Related to Jatavedas in the Yajurveda-Samhita



Verses Related to Jatavedas in the Samaveda-Samhita



Verses Related to Jatavedas in the Atharvaveda-Samhita






Alphabetical Index of Words Appearing as Adjectives of Jatavedas



Select Bibliography



Basic Texts



Critical Literature






Sample Pages

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