कतमा कतमर्क्कतमत्कतमत्साम कतमः कतम उद्गीथ इति विमृष्टं भवति ॥ १.१.४ ॥
katamā katamarkkatamatkatamatsāma katamaḥ katama udgītha iti vimṛṣṭaṃ bhavati || 1.1.4 ||
4. Which are the Ṛks? Which are the Sāmas? Which are the udgīthas? This is the question.
Katamā, which; katamā ṛk, which are the Ṛks; katamat katamat sāma, which are the Sāmas; katamaḥ katamaḥ udgīthaḥ, which are the udgīthas; iti vimṛṣṭam bhavati, this is the question.
It has been stated that speech is the essence of the Ṛg Veda. The question now arises: Which ones are the Ṛk, which ones are the Sāma, and which ones are the udgītha? The word katama, ‘which,’ is repeated to emphasize the importance of the question.
But why is the word ‘which’ being used here? ‘Which’ is used when you have to pinpoint one thing out of many. The Ṛg Veda is taken as a single whole, so how is the use of ‘which’ justified here? The answer is that here ‘which’ refers to individual Ṛk mantras, and not to the whole body of the Ṛg Veda.