The Sama Veda, Samveda, or Samaveda ( sāmaveda, from sāman "melody" and veda "knowledge"), is the third of the four Vedas, the ancient core Hindu scriptures, along with the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. It ranks next in sanctity and liturgical importance to the Rigveda. It consists of a collection (samhita) of hymns, portions of hymns, and detached verses, all but 75 taken from the Sakala Sakha of the Rigveda, the other 75 belong to the Bashkala Sakha, to be sung, using specifically indicated melodies called Samagana, by Udgatar priests at sacrifices in which the juice of the Soma plant, clarified and mixed with milk and other ingredients, is offered in libation to various deities.
While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as 1700 BCE (the Rigvedic period), the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, c. 1200 or 1000 BCE, in the early Kuru Kingdom, roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda, the Yajurveda, and the Rigvedic Khilani. The verses have been transposed and re-arranged, without reference to their original order, to suit the rituals in which they were to be employed. There are frequent variations from the text of the Rigveda that are in some cases glosses but in others offer an older pronunciation than that of the Rigveda (such as [ai] for common [e]). When sung the verses are further altered by prolongation, repetition and insertion of stray syllables (stobha), as well as various modulations, rests and other modifications prescribed in the song-books (Ganas). Sama
While the Kauthuma recension has been published (Samhita, Brahmana, Shrautasutra and ancillary Sutras, mainly by the late B.R. Sharma), parts of the Jaiminiya tradition remain unpublished. There is an edition of the first part of the Samhita by W. Caland and of the Brahmana by Raghu Vira and Lokesh Chandra, as well as the neglected Upanishad, but only parts of the Shrautasutra. The song books remain unpublished and the tradition is rapidly fading. However, an edition is now being prepared by some well-known Samaveda specialists.
The Samaveda has been edited and published by Theodor Benfey (Leipzig, 1848, with a German translation) and by Satyavrata Samashrami in Bibl. Ind. (Calcutta, 1873). An English translation is due to Griffith (Benares, 1893). A translation in Hindi by Mridul Kirti called "Samveda Ka Hindi Padyanuvad" has also been published recently.
Griffith, Ralph T. H. The Sāmaveda Saṃhitā. Text, Translation, Commentary & Notes in English. Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith. First published 1893; Revised and enlarged edition, enlarged by Nag Sharan Singh and Surendra Pratap, 1991 (Nag Publishers: Delhi, 1991) ISBN 81-7081-244-5. This edition provides the text in Devanagari with full metrical marks needed for chanting.