The Yajurveda (yajurveda, a tatpurusha compound of yajus "sacrifice" +" veda "knowledge") is one of the four Hindu Vedas. The Yajurveda Samhita contains the liturgy needed to perform the rituals and sacrifices of the religion of the Vedic period, and the added Brahmana and Shrautasutra commentaries add information on the details of their performance.
There are two primary versions or samhitas of the Yajurveda: Shukla (white) and Krishna (black). Both contain the verses necessary for rituals, but the Krishna Yajurveda includes the Brahmana prose commentary within the samhita, while the Shukla Yajurveda considers the Brahmanas separate texts.
There are two (nearly identical) shakhas or recensions of the Shukla (White) Yajurveda, both known as Vajasaneyi-Samhita (VS):
- Vajasaneyi Madhyandiniya (VSM)
- Vajasaneyi Kanva of Kosala (VSK)
The former is popular in North India, Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra (north of Nashik) and northern parts of Orissa, and thus commands a numerous following. The Kanva Shakha is popular in Maharashtra (south of Nashik), most of Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
There are four recensions of the Krishna ("black" or "dark") Yajurveda:
- taittirīya sanhita (TS) of Panchala
- maitrayani sanhita (MS)
- caraka-katha sanhita (KS) of Madra
- kapisthala-katha sanhita (KapS) of Bahika
The Yajurveda documents the earliest known use of numbers up to a trillion (parardha). It also discusses the concept of numeric infinity (purna "fullness"), stating that if you subtract purna from purna, you are still left with purna.