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The Yajurveda (Sanskrit: यजुर्वेद, yajurveda, from yajus meaning "worship", and veda meaning "knowledge") is the Veda primarily of prose mantras for worship rituals. An ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, it is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the
The Yajurveda is broadly grouped into two – the "black" or "dark" (Krishna) Yajurveda and the "white" or "bright" (Shukla) Yajurveda. The term "black" implies "the un-arranged, unclear, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" which implies the "well arranged, clear" Yajurveda. The black Yajurveda has survived in four recensions, while two recensions of white Yajurveda have survived into the modern times.
The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda
Yajurveda is a compound Sanskrit word, composed of yajus (यजुस्) and veda (वेद). Monier-Williams translates yajus as "religious reverence, veneration, worship, sacrifice, a sacrificial prayer, formula, particularly mantras muttered in a peculiar manner at a sacrifice". Veda means "knowledge". Johnson states yajus means "(mostly) prose formulae or mantras, contained in the Yajur Veda, which are muttered".
Michael Witzel interprets Yajurveda to mean a "knowledge text of prose mantras" used in Vedic rituals. Ralph Griffith interprets the name to mean "knowledge of sacrifice or sacrificial texts and formulas". Carl Olson states that Yajurveda is a text of "mantras (sacred formulas) that are repeated and used in rituals".