Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa

The Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa (Sanskrit तैत्तिरीयब्राह्मण, meaning ‘Brāhmaṇa of the school of Tittri’, abbreviated to ‘TB’) is a commentary on the Krishna Yajurveda. Considered by academics to be an appendix or extension of the Taittirīya Samhita, the first two books (ashṭakas) largely consist of hymns and Mantras to the Vedic-era Devas), as well as Mythology, astronomy, and astrology (i.e. the Nakshatras); the third book contains commentaries and instructions on Vedic sacrificial rites such as the Purushamedha, Kaukili-Sutramani, Ashvamedha, and Agnicayana.

Recorded around 300–400 BCE, it is prevalent in southern India in areas such in Andhra Pradesh, south and east of Narmada (Gujarat), and areas on the banks of the Godavari river down to the sea.


  • Brāhmaṇa (ब्राह्मण) means ’explanations of sacred knowledge or doctrine’.
  • Taittirīya (तैत्तिरीय) is derived from the name of the sage Taittiri (or Tittiri, तित्तिरि). It is pronounced as ’tai-tee-re-yah’. The Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa (Sanskrit तैत्तिरीयब्राह्मण) can be loosely translated as ’explanations of the sacred knowledge of the school of Tittiri’.


NakshatraDeity or DevaCommon NameName in Astronomy
4Purva ĀshāḍhaĀpaḥAlnaslSagittarii18
5Uttara ĀshāḍhaVisvedevaḥNunkiSagittarii19
7Shroṇā / SharvanaVishṇuAltairAquilae21
8Sraviṣhṭha / DhaniṣhṭhaVasavaḥRotanevDelphini22
10Purva ProṣhṭhapadaAja EkapādMarkebPegasi24
11Uttara ProṣhṭhapadaAhirbudhnyaAlgenibPegasi25

According to the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary, the sage Taittiri was a pupil of Yaska (estimated 300-400 BCE). According to the Vishnu Purana, Yaska was in turn a pupil of Vaiśampáyana (estimated 500 BCE). Taittiri is also stated in the Mahabharata to have attended ’the Yaga stars of the [Zodiacal belt had a particular importance as reflecting and projecting heavenly influences that the Planets travelling through them energised… The Vedic Nakshatras arose from a spiritual perception of the cosmos. Nakshatras are the mansions of the Gods or cosmic powers and of the Rishis or sages. They can also project negative or anti-divine forces, just as certain planets like Saturn have well known malefic effects. The term Nakshatra refers to a means (tra) of worship (naksha) or approach… The Nakshatras dispense the fruits of karma… For this reason Vedic rituals and Meditations to the present day follow the timing of the Nakshatras… [which] are of prime [importance] in muhurta or electional astrology for determining favorable times for actions, particularly sacramental or sacred actions like marriage… A system of 28 lunar mansions [i.e. Nakshatras] was used in the Middle East and in China as well. But in the West it was all but forgotten by a greater emphasis on the twelve signs of the Zodiac… Indeed, it could be argued that the signs arose from the Nakshatras'.

Kashyap adds that the 28 Nakshatras - usually clusters rather than single stars - also determine favourable (and unfavourable) times for birth, elaborating that the ‘star which is nearest to the moon at their birth-time is the birth-star… [and] Each star has its own deity’. The Nakshatras are detailed in 1.1.2, 1.5.1 (ashṭaka 1); and 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 (ashṭaka 3, see below). Kashyap lists them with corresponding deities, common names, and names in Astronomy (Volume 1, Appendix 3):

Varaha the Boar Avatar

“In primordial times, the entire universe was covered with moving waters. Prajapati was amazed and engaged in tapas to understand [what was] happening. How did it happen? He saw a lotus petal (pushkaraparna). He thought, Yes, there is something that wants to come out. Transforming himself into a boar, he went inside the water. He went into the earth deep below. There, he saw soft mud. Then, he spread that mud on [the] pushkaraparna (lotus leaf). Whatever may have happened, the basic nature of earth was retrained in the land (wet mud). In that land Bhumitva (earth-nature) was retained. To dry the wet land the creator commanded Vayu to blow on the wet lands. Then that land was full of gravel (or sand mixed with gravel). He realised that the land was full of peace (and fertile)…

The land discovered (or prepared) by the boar (varaha) had the materials needed for performing [a] yajna…”

Varaha is primarily associated with the Puranic legend of lifting the Earth out of the cosmic ocean. A.A. Macdonell states that this ‘boar appears in a cosmogonic character in the SB [ |source=Taittiriya Brahmana (Volume 2), translated by R.L. Kashyap (2017), Ashtaka 2, Prapathaka 7, Anuvaka 15, Khandikas 2–3 |title=}}

Animal welfare

Further to the duty of a king to take good care of animals (as elaborated in, Kashyap comments in regards to that here ‘is a brief mention of the human duty that the calves of the cow giving milk have the highest priority. Only after their needs are satisfied [is] the remaining milk… used for the Yajna. This discipline should be maintained for ten days and nights. If the milk remaining is given to the calves at night, then the Deva Rudra is not pleased since he is the lord of the cows. Ample milk should be given to the calves before the use of milk in the Yajna’.

Cutting down trees

“May Varuna free us from the sins of cutting [down] valuable trees. As effectively as a bath washes off the sins done by me in handling the residues of the butter used in Yajna.”

Ashṭaka 3

Rajendralala states that the ‘first subject treated of in the third kanda [ashṭaka, ‘book’] are the Constellations, some of which are auspicious and others the contrary. Then we have the rites appropriate during the wane and waxing of the moon, Darsa paurnamasa, as well as on the full moon and the new moon. The fourth chapter treats of human sacrifices, and then of a number of minor rites with special prayers. Then follow the mantras appropriate for the sacrifice of special animals. This is followed by a chapter on expiations and defects in the observance and performance of ceremonies. The eighth and ninth [prapāṭhakas, ‘chapters’] are devoted to the horse sacrifice, which is the grandest ceremony enjoined on householders, especially appropriate for kings, and involves a number of rites and ceremonies (which are fully detailed in the table of contents) as also a number of ovations of different kinds’.

Prapāṭhakas and Anuvākas

  • Prapāṭhaka 1: Sacrifices to the Constellations – Nakshatra Ishti
  • Anuvāka 1: Light Constellations. Deva Nakshatras
  • Anuvāka 2: Dark Constellations. – The Yama Nakshatras
  • Anuvāka 3: Invocatory and oblative Mantras for Sacrifices to the Moon (Chandramasa ishti), etc., etc.
  • Anuvāka 4: Sacrifices to the Light Constellations. – Deva Nakshatras
  • Anuvāka 5: Sacrifices to the Dark Constellations. – Yama Nakshatras
  • Anuvāka 6: Sacrifices (ishti) to Chandrama, etc.
  • Prapāṭhaka 2: Dars’a Ya’ga or Sacrifices meet on the wane of the Moon
  • Anuvāka 1: Separation of calf from the cow
  • Anuvāka 2: Collection of the Kus’a Grass
  • Anuvāka 3: Milking at Night
  • Anuvāka 4: Duties enjoined on the first day of the Havirnivapa, Preparation of Paddy
  • Anuvāka 5: Husking of the Paddy
  • Anuvāka 6: Grinding of the rice
  • Anuvāka 7: Placing of earthen Baking-pans on the fire
  • Anuvāka 8: Baking of Rice Cake on the pans
  • Anuvāka 9: Preparation of the Altar
  • Anuvāka 10: Arranging of the sacrificial articles
  • Prapāṭhaka 3: Paurnamasa Ishti or Ceremonies to be performed on the full moon
  • Anuvāka 1: Cleaning of the Sacrificial Vessels
  • Anuvāka 2: Disposal of the instruments for cleaning sacrificial vessels
  • Anuvāka 3: Offering of the clarified Butter
  • Anuvāka 4: Heating of the clarified Butter
  • Anuvāka 5: On looking at and taking the clarified Butter
  • Anuvāka 6: Placing of the Butter with fuel and Kus’a grass before it
  • Anuvāka 7: Offering of the first two sticks of wood (called Aghara) to the fire
  • Anuvāka 8: Eating of Ida and the Puridas’a rice cakes
  • Anuvāka 9: Lifting of the Srug [wooden ladel used for pouring clarified butter on a sacrificial fire], etc.
  • Anuvāka 10: Mantras relating to the wife of the Yajamana
  • Anuvāka 11: Throwing away of the Palas’a wood called Upavesha
  • Prapāṭhaka 4: On Human sacrifices
  • Anuvāka 1: To Devas who claim to be the cases of brahmana, Kshatriya, etc., men of the Brahmana, Kshatriya, and the like castes, are to be sacrificed,…
  • Anuvāka 2: To those who claim pre-eminence in singing, dancing, etc., men of the Suta, Sailusha, and the like castes, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 3: To those who are the presiding divinities of labour, magic, etc., men of the potter, ironsmith, and the like castes, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 4: To those who are the presiding divinities of (abhimani) or delight in promiscuous intercourse (sanghataka), bastards, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 5: To those who preside over rivers, desert places, etc., men of the Kaivarta (fishermen), Nishada (hunters) and the like castes, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 6: To those who delight in marring huan exertion, etc., hunchbacks, dwarfs, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 7: To those who preside over robbery, etc., thieves, sandal-mongers, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 8: To those who preside over light, etc., men who collect fuel, firemen and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 9: To those who preside over rapid motion, elephant-keepers, grooms, etc., ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 10: To those who are the presiding divinities of violent passions, etc., ironsmiths, men who run away with criminals condemned to death, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 11: To the wife of Yama, women who have borne twins, to those who preside over the mantras of the Atharva Veda, women who have miscarried, etc., etc.,…
  • Anuvāka 12: To those Devas who preside over tanks, ponds, etc., men who catch fish by putting up embankments (Dhivara), or by hooks (Dasa) and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 13: To those who preside over sounds, echoes, etc., collectors of news, retailers of incoherent speech, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 14: To those who delight in detecting evil delight in splendor, etc., men who are always watchful, very sleepy, etc., ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 15: To the presiding divinities of wit, song, etc., prostitutes, female players on the Vina, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 16: To the presiding divinities of dice and of the Satya Yuga, etc., dice-players, those who frequent gambling halls, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 17: To the presiding divinities of land, fire, etc., men who move on crutches, those of the Chandala caste, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 18: To the presiding divinities of speech, wind, etc., fat men, men of good wind, and the like, ditto,…
  • Anuvāka 19: To the presiding divinities of ugliness, ambition, etc., tall men, short men, and the like, ditto,…
  • Prapāṭhaka 5: Ishti Sacrifices
  • Anuvāka 1: Mantra to be recited by the Hota
  • Anuvāka 2: Samidheni Mantras
  • Anuvāka 3: Nirid and Pracara Mantras
  • Anuvāka 4: Mantra for taking up the Sruk [wooden spoon used in sacrifices]
  • Anuvāka 5: Prayaja Mantras
  • Anuvāka 6: Mantras for offering clarified butter, Ajya
  • Anuvāka 7: Mantras for offering the rice cake
  • Anuvāka 8: Preliminary to the Yajamana’s eating of the Ida or remnant of the offering
  • Anuvāka 9: Mantra for a supplementary offering – Anuyaja
  • Anuvāka 10: Mantra (Suktanika) to be repeated by the Hota when the addhvaryyu is about to throw the Darbha grass bundle into the fire
  • Anuvāka 11: Mantra in honor of Sanja, son of Brihaspati, – Sanjuvaka mantra
  • Anuvāka 12: Mantra for the offering of oblations to the Wives of the Gods, etc.
  • Anuvāka 13: Call for Ida for the wife of the Institutor of the sacrifice
  • Prapāṭhaka 6: Pa’Shuka Hotra
  • Anuvāka 1: Purification of the Sacrificial Post to which the victim at a sacrifice is to be mounted
  • Anuvāka 2: Exhortative (praisha) mantras in connexion with the Prayaja Sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 3: Oblative Mantras, called Apri, to be recited by the Hota at the Prayaja sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 4: Mantras to be repeated when turning a fire round the oblation (Paryaynikarama)
  • Anuvāka 5: Exhortative (praisha) mantra to be addressed to the Hota by the slayer of the sacrifice – Samitri
  • Anuvāka 6: Exhortative (praisha) mantra to be addressed by the Hota to the slayer of the sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 7: Invocation of Agni with reference to the droppings of the oblations
  • Anuvāka 8: Puronurakya and Praisha mantras for the offering of omentum and rice cake
  • Anuvāka 9: Oblative (Yajya) mantras for the offering of omentum and rice cake
  • Anuvāka 10: Eulogistic mantras, called Manola, addressed to Agni
  • Anuvāka 11: Invocatory (Puronuvakya) and exhortative (Praisha) mantras to be recited by Maitravaruna in offering clarified butter, wood and Svishtakrita
  • Anuvāka 12: Oblative (Yajya) mantras for the offering of wood, clarified butter and the Svishtakrita
  • Anuvāka 13: Exhortative mantras to be recited in connexion with the Anuyajas
  • Anuvāka 14: Oblative mantras relating to the Anuyajas
  • Anuvāka 15: Exhortative mantra for the Suktavaka
  • Prapāṭhaka 7: Expiations for defects in the performance of ceremonies
  • Anuvāka 1: Expitations in connexion with the Dars’apaurnamasa ceremony
  • Anuvāka 2: Expitations in connexion with the oblatory articles of the Agnihotra or fire sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 3: Substitutes for the sacrificial fire, etc.
  • Anuvāka 4: Mantras to be recited by the Yajamana in course of Ishti rites
  • Anuvāka 5: Mantras to be recited by the Yajamana in the Ishti rites – Continued
  • Anuvāka 6: Mantras regarding the Ishti rites not given in the two preceding sections
  • Anuvāka 7: Mantras for obviating defects in the ceremonial for the initiation of a neophyte (Dhiksha) in connexion with the Soma sacrifices
  • Anuvāka 8: Mantras for obviating accidents in regard to Sacrificial animals
  • Anuvāka 9: Mantras relating to yeast or ferment, etc.
  • Anuvāka 10: Expiatory Mantras
  • Anuvāka 11: Expiatory mantras for irregularities in connexion with the new and full moon sacrifices
  • Anuvāka 12: Mantras to be repeated by the Yajamana in sanctifying twenty-one bundles of Kus’a grass
  • Anuvāka 13: Mantras for sprinkling curds or milk mixed with honey of the frying pan at the concluding ceremony – Avabhritha
  • Anuvāka 14: Sprinkling, etc., at the Avabhritha
  • Prapāṭhaka 8: On the operations of the first day of the Asvamedha sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 1: Preparations for the Asvamedha – the duties of the Yajamana
  • Anuvāka 2: The Sacred Rice
  • Anuvāka 3: Tying the horse with the rope
  • Anuvāka 4: Bathing of the Horse after pulling on the halter
  • Anuvāka 5: Water to be sprinkled on the Horse by the four principal officiating priests
  • Anuvāka 6: Repetition of mantras on the drops of water as they trickle down from the body of the horse after it has been bathed
  • Anuvāka 7: The Adhvaryu to sprinkle water from all the four sides
  • Anuvāka 8: Oblations (Homas) with reference to the conduct and colour of the horse
  • Anuvāka 9: Repeating the several epithets if the Horse over his ears, etc., and consecrating him
  • Anuvāka 10: Homa to the Vis’vadevas as a Diskha sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 11: Mantras of the Diksha Ceremony
  • Anuvāka 12: Ceremonies to be performed every day during the year that the horse roams about of his own accord
  • Anuvāka 13: Addresses to the fire named Ukha on the completion of the year
  • Anuvāka 14: Homa with boiled rice, etc., in connection with the Asramedha sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 15: Particulars regarding the aforesaid Homa
  • Anuvāka 16: Explanation of the Mantras used in the above homa
  • Anuvāka 17: Explanation of certain mantras of the 7th Kanda of the Sanhita relating to the rice homa
  • Anuvāka 18: The same subject continued
  • Anuvāka 19: On the planting of the sacrificial posts on the day preceding the first day of the Asvamedha ceremony
  • Anuvāka 20: On the places appropriate for the different sacrificial posts
  • Anuvāka 21: Peculiarities in regard to establishing of the fire in connexion with the horse sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 22: Certain details regarding the recitation of the Vahispuramana hymns
  • Anuvāka 23: How the other animals are to be arranged about the horse
  • Prapāṭhaka 9: On the operations of the second and third days of the horse sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 1: How the wild and the domestic animals are dealt with
  • Anuvāka 2: The Chaturmasya and other animals
  • Anuvāka 3: Object of offering several animals to each divinity, and of mixing the fat of those animals together
  • Anuvāka 4: On yoking the horse to a car and ornamenting and anointing him
  • Anuvāka 5: On the Recitation of the Brahmodya Samvad
  • Anuvāka 6: Ceremonies performed over the slaughtered horse
  • Anuvāka 7: Ceremonies to be performed over the slaughtered horse, concluded
  • Anuvāka 8: On the merits of sacrificing animals at the As’vamedha ceremony
  • Anuvāka 9: Animals meet for the third day of the ceremony
  • Anuvāka 10: On the Grahas called Mahimana
  • Anuvāka 11: Offering homa with parts of the body of the slaughtered horse, and those called Svishtakrit
  • Anuvāka 12: The Homa called As’vastomiya, in which the fat of the horse is offered between the S’arira and the S’vishtakrit homas, and the Homa with two-footed verses
  • Anuvāka 13: Ishti ceremonies to be performed for a year before commencing the horse sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 14: Songs appropriate for the Ishtis
  • Anuvāka 15: Special homa to Mritya in connection with the Avabhritha or supplementary homa
  • Anuvāka 16: Mantra for tying the sacrificial animals to the principal post (Upakarana), and an Ishti ordained
  • Anuvāka 17: Expiations for diseases and other accidents to the horse
  • Anuvāka 18: The Brahmodana Ishti in connexion with the horse sacrifice
  • Anuvāka 19: The twelve merits of the As’vamedha
  • Anuvāka 20: The mod of sacrificing the horse
  • Anuvāka 21: Offering on the northern altar – Attara Vedi
  • Anuvāka 22: The sacrifice of a bull at the As’vamedha
  • Anuvāka 23: On the meditating on different members of the horse
  • Prapāṭhaka 10: Sa’vitra-Chayana or collection of fire for the adoration of the sun
  • Anuvāka 1: Placing of bricks on the altar
  • Anuvāka 2: Placing of bricks in the name of Svayamatrinna
  • Anuvāka 3: Invitation to the Adhvaryus
  • Anuvāka 4: Invitation to the Yajamana
  • Anuvāka 5: Praise of the fire by the Hota
  • Anuvāka 6: The anointing of the face of the Yakamana with clarified butter
  • Anuvāka 7: Offerings after the anointment
  • Anuvāka 8: Offerings to Mrityu (Death)
  • Anuvāka 9: The philosophy of the Savitra Agni explained
  • Anuvāka 10: Advantages of knowing the different mantras of the Savitragni
  • Anuvāka 11: The advantages of knowing and the disadvantages of not knowing the purport of the Savitragni
  • Prapāṭhaka 11: Nachiketa-Chayana, or collection of Nachiketa Fire
  • Anuvāka 1: The mantras for placing of bricks, and the mode of placing them
  • Anuvākas 2–5: Offering of oblations (homa) for the purpose [above]
  • Anuvāka 6: Mantras for touching the fire
  • Anuvāka 7: Philosophy of the Nachiketa fire
  • Anuvāka 8: Anecdote from the Katha Upanishad on the advantage of knowing and collecting the Nachiketa fire
  • Anuvāka 9: Method of collecting the Nachiketa fire
  • Anuvāka 10: Praise of the Nachiketa rite
  • Prapāṭhaka 12: Cha-tur-hotra and Vaisvasrij ceremonies
  • Anuvāka 1: Divahs’yeni and Apadya rites, (Ishtis) being parts of one form of the Chatur-hotra ceremonies
  • Anuvāka 2: The Divahs’yeni rites described
  • Anuvāka 3: Invocatory and oblative mantras for the Apadya rite
  • Anuvāka 4: Anecdotes regarding the Apadya rite
  • Anuvāka 5: Chapurhotra-Chayana, or the observance of the Chaturhotra fire
  • Anuvāka 6: Visvasrij-Chayana, or Collection of the Visvasrij fire
  • Anuvāka 7: Details regarding the middle circle [bricks to be used]
  • Anuvāka 8: Mantras to be recited when placing the bricks
  • Anuvāka 9: Certain details about the same W. E. Hale and B. Smith cite issues 92–108 of the academic journal Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, to enumerate the structure and content of the third ashṭaka. Mitra details all chapters (prapāṭhakas) and sections (anuvākas) with descriptive titles (12 prapāṭhakas, consisting of 164 listed anuvākas; original spelling unchanged):

The Nakshatras

Details are provided in the section dealing with the first ashṭaka (see above).

The Purushamedha

“1. “To a (divinity of the) Brahman (cast), a Brahmana should be sacrificed (alabhate); 2. To a (divinity of the) Kshatriya (caste), a Kshatriya; 3. To the Maruts, a Vaisya; 4. To Tapa (the divinity presiding over penances), a Sudra; 5. To Tamas (the presiding divinity of darkness) a thief; 6. To Naraka (the divinity of hells) a Virana (one who blows out sacrificial fires); 7. To Papaman (the divinity of sins), a hermaphrodite (or a eunuch); 8. To Akray (the divinity of commerce), an Ayogu (one who acts against the ordinances of the Sastra); 9. To Kama (the divinity of love), a courtesan; 10. To Atikrushta (a detested divinity), a Magadha (the son of a Vaisya by a Kshatriya woman)…”

D.M. Knipe states that there ‘is no inscriptional or other record that a purusua-medha meaning ‘[human-sacrifice’] was ever performed, leading some scholars to suggest it was simply invented to round out sacrificial possibilities… The significance of the entire enterprise is compromised when [the] SB [Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa] 13.6.2 presents a deus ex machina, an ethereal voice that intervenes to halt the proceedings: a sacrificer always eats the victim, man would therefore eat man, not an acceptable act, ergo, no performance’. The ‘human sacrifice’ was thus symbolic in nature, as were animal sacrifices (e.g. symbolised by plant-based foods offered and consumed in rituals, such as rice-cake; an example is found in–4 in the Shatapatha). The verse referred to by Knipe states:

“Then a voice said to him, ‘Purusha, do not consummate (these human victims): if thou were to consummate them, man (purusha) would eat man.’ Accordingly, as soon as fire had been carried round them, he set them free, and offered oblations to the same divinities, and thereby gratified those divinities, and, thus gratified, they, gratified him with all objects of desire.”

However, R. Mitra is less convinced, stating that neither ‘Aspastambha [founder of a Shakha (school) of Yajurveda] nor Sayana [commentator on the Vedic texts] has a word to say about the human victims being Symbolical… it must be added, however, that Apastambha is very brief and obscure in his remarks, and it would be hazardous to draw a positive conclusion from the insufficient data supplied by him, particularly as the Satapatha Brāhmaṇa is positive on the subject of the human victims being let off after consecration; though the fact of the Brahmana being much later than the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa, may justify the assumption that the practice of the Kanva and [Madhyandina] can be no guide to the followers of the Taittiriyaka’.

The Ashvamedha

Rick F. Talbott states that the ’total ceremony of the Ashvamedha [meaning ‘Horse-Sacrifice’] lasted over a year with the actual rites surrounding the sacrifice of the chosen horse taking only three days. The Ashvamedha was one of three royal sacrifices in Ancient India. Performance of this great sacrifice required a victorious king, his three wives, hundreds of attendants, a swift steed with special markings, the special sacrificial grounds near a large quantity of water [and being] supplied with a myriad of ritual utensils and materials. The Hose Sacrifice also required [four] types of priests… Only the victorious king could perform the Ashvamedha [itself]… like all of the new or full moon ceremonies this rite had a special significance for the events that followed’.

References and commentaries

The commentator Apastambha (circa 600-300 BCE) has not been listed or discussed in this section as it seems he did not comment on the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa specifically, but rather on sacrificial rites in general, which are detailed in multiple Brāhmaṇas (e.g. as evidenced above, the Purushamedha is detailed in both the Shatapatha and Taittirīya Brāhmaņas). The same principle applies to the commentator Sureśvara (circa 800 CE), whose Vartika works (e.g. ‘Vartika on Sariraka Brāhmaṇa’, ‘Vartika on Saptanna Brāhmaṇa’, and ‘Vartika on Udgitha Brāhmaṇa’, etc.), are commentaries on specific sacrificial rites enumerated in the Brāhmaṇas, not the Brāhmaṇas themselves.

The Nirukta

Recorded by the grammarian Yaska (circa 300 BCE), the Nirukta is one of the six Smriti Vedangas (’limbs of the Vedas’) concerned with correct etymology and interpretation of the Vedas. The Nirukta references and lists several Brāhmaṇas as sources, including the Taittirīya Brahmaṇa.


The 14th-century Sanskrit scholar Sayana composed numerous commentaries on Vedic literature, including the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. B.R. Modak states that one of those commentaries by Sayana, a member of the Taittirīya Shakha, was on the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa, and explains that ‘king Bukka [1356–1377 CE] requested his preceptor and minister Madhavacharya to write a commentary on the Vedas, so that even common people would be able to understand the meaning of the Vedic Mantras. Madhavacharya told him that his younger brother Sayana was a learned person and hence he should be entrusted with the task’.

Bhava Swāmī, Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara, and Rāmānḍara

  • Bhava Swāmī (circa 700 CE or earlier)
  • Kauśika Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara Miśra (preceding and referred to by Sayana [ Nirukta] and Devarāja Yajvā [Nighantu])
  • Rāmānḍara / Rāmāgnichitta (a manuscript of his bhāshya is not available) According to Shrava, the Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa was also commented upon by:

Manuscripts and translations

BrahmanaSanskritTransliterationEnglish (partial)
Taittiriyaarchive.org: version 1, version 2archive.orgSAKSHI: Volume 1, Volume 2
Note: There are known issues with the SAKSHI / Kashyap translation, including grammar, typography, and mistranslations.