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However, adds Witzel, some hymns in Mandala 8, 1 and 10 may be as old as the earlier Mandalas.
The first mandala has a unique arrangement not found in the other nine mandalas.
The manuscripts of Śākala recension of the Rigveda have about 10,600 verses, organized into ten Books (Mandalas).
Books 2 through 7 are internally homogeneous in style, while Books 1, 8 and 10 are compilation of verses of internally different styles suggesting that these books are likely a collection of compositions by many authors.
Of these 30 manuscripts, 9 contain the samhita text, 5 have the padapatha in addition. The various Rigveda manuscripts discovered so far show some differences.
Broadly, the most studied Śākala recension has 1017 hymns, includes an appendix of eleven valakhīlya hymns which are often counted with the 8th mandala, for a total of 1,028 metrical hymns.
After a scribal benediction ("śrīgaṇéśāyanamaḥ ;; Aum(3) ;;"), the first line has the opening words of RV.1.1.1 (agniṃ ; iḷe ; puraḥ-hitaṃ ; yajñasya ; devaṃ ; ṛtvijaṃ).
The Vedic accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores in red.
The oral tradition still continued into recent times. Of these, Śākalya is the only one to have survived in its entirety.The Bāṣakala version of Rigveda includes eight of these vālakhilya hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 hymns in the main text for this śākhā.