By Swami Harshananda
The Kausitaki Brāhmana (2500 B. C.) is also referred as the Sāñkhāyana Brāhmana. It is one of the two Brāhmaṇas of the Ṛgveda that is available now. The other one is Aitareya Brāhmana. Some scholars feel that the Kausitaki and the Sāñkhāyana Brāhmaṇas are different, while others opine that the former belongs to the Sāṅkhāyana-śākhā or recension and hence they are same. There is a third view that Sāṅkhāyana was a disciple of Kauṣitaki and the author could be either of them.
Segments of Kauṣitaki Brāhmaṇa
There are 30 adhyāyas or chapters divided into 226 khaṇḍas or sections. Each khaṇḍa contains long passages in prose. Like the Aitareya Brāhmana, this work also devotes the major part to the delineation of the details of sacrifices like:
Characteristics of Kauṣitaki Brāhmaṇa
A few special features of this Brāhmaṇa are as follows:
- The tradition of gotras and pravaras had already taken root in the society.
- The ṛṣis were well-versed in the science of health. They had recognized that certain diseases appear as a result of the change of seasons.
- There were kings with large and disciplined armies.
- People in North India were experts in Grammar.
- The names of the lunar months like Caitra and Vaiśākha are mentioned here. The eight names of Siva like Rudra and Paśupati are also mentioned. Viṣṇu and Śiva are equally honored.
- Immolation of animals in sacrifices and flesh-eating have been condemned.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore