(Original Sanskrit Text)
There are five chapters each of which is even considered as a full
Aranyaka. The first one deals with the regimen known as ‘Mahaa-vrata’.
The explanations are both ritualistic as well speculative. The second
one has six chapters of which the first three are about ‘Praana-vidyaa’
– meaning, Prana, the Vital Air that constitutes the life-breath of a
living body is also the life-breath of all mantras, all vedas and all
vedic declarations (cf. 2.2.2 of Aitareya Aranyaka). It is in this
portion of the Aranyaka that one finds specific statements about how one
who follows the vedic injunctions and performs the sacrifices goes to
become the God of Fire, or the Sun or Air and how one who transgresses
the Vedic prescriptions is born into lower levels of being, namely, as
birds and reptiles.
The 4th, 5th and 6th chapters of this second Aranyaka constitute what is
known as Aitareya Upanishad.
The third Aranyaka in this chain of Aranyakas is also known as ‘Samhitopanishad’.
This elaborates on the various ways – like pada-paatha, krama-paatha,
etc. -- of reciting the Vedas and the nuances of the ‘svaras’.
The fourth and the fifth Aranyaka are technical and dwell respectively
on the mantras known as ‘MahaanaamnI’ and the yajna known as ‘Madhyandina’.