Veda

Technique of Transmission

The 4 Veda are a treasure trove of knowledge. They have been compiled by Rishi Krishna Dwaipayana, also known as Veda Vyasa, around 3100 BCE. Since then they have been transmitted down to our time only orally.

The Veda is called ' Sruthi' - that which is heard and repeated. Max Muller, a German Vedic Scholar was the first person to write down the Vedic text in the 1860s.

If you ask any Vedic scholar whether the Veda Samhita that he is reciting today is verbatim the same, as that was recited 5000 years back, he would most emphatically say yes.
How can a Vedic scholar be so emphatic and sure that what he is reciting today is exactly the same that was said 5000 years back, both in tone and content?
Where does this unshakable confidence come from?
On analysing, it was found that each  Samhita or stanza of the Veda was transmitted in 10 different methods - Pata to maintain its purity. This subject capsule is a study to understand these 10 distinct methods -  Pat . They are divided into, 2 simple methods and 8 special methods called Ashta Vikriti.
They being:
Simple Pata

  1. Pada Pata
  2. Krama Pata

Ashta Vikriti

  1. Jata Pata
  2. Mala Pata
  3. Sikha Pata
  4. Rekha Pata
  5. Dhwaja Pata
  6. Danda Pata
  7. Ratha Pata
  8. Ghana Pata

These 10 Patarecitations ensure their purity is preserved. The recitation of the 10 Pataalso act as a self error correcting methodology.
No one was alive 5000 years back to know whether the recitation format followed today was the same as that was recited nbsp; 5000 years back, but through these 10 recitation methods one can emphatically state that there have been no deviation in the style or content of recitation. These 10 Patarecitations are in reality, a death defying act.
These Patarecitations are truly a marvel of memory.
In this subject capsule we look at each of these 10 Patatechniques in a visual format, understand them and be amazed at, as to how probably Krishna Dwaipayana framed these 10 techniques so that knowledge is etched in the minds of the reciter.
Some European scholars in the latter part of the 19th century derided these Vikrithiand regarded them as another instance of Hindu superstition and our obsession to make things more complicated and hence they ignored these Vikrithi.
The Chhanda Sasthra Science of poetic meters deals with these techniques in detail.
The common perception is that oral knowledge is not a permanent method of storage. On the contrary all the ancient libraries of the world where the books, manuscripts, tablets, palm leaf etc were stored have all been burnt down by various invasions. Ironic but true, it is the oral system of knowledge transmission that has withstood the ravages of time.
Our ancient seers probably could see well into the future and realize that the oral transmission of knowledge was the most enduring method of passing knowledge down the generations and hence formed these 10 Pataof knowledge transmission.

This goes to show that our ancient Rishisnot only compiled scientific knowledge in the form of the Veda and but also ensured that it was preserved for posterity in all its purity, by devising, an error free, self correcting and death defying technique of transmission of Knowledge.