Shiksha really means instruction: then in particular ‘instruction in reciting’ i.e., in correct pronunciation, accentuation etc. of the Samhita texts. Later, it was a name given to works containing rules regarding the proper pronunciation of Vedic texts. Thus, the Shiksha-Sutras are treatises on phonetics. They are related to the Samhita and, therefore, are almost as old as the Kalpa-Sutras.Shiksha lays down the rules of phonetics – sounds of syllables, of pronunciation. The function of the Shiksha is thus to fix the parameters of Vedic words. Phonetics is most important in the case of the Vedic language, because we see that change in sound leads to change in results and effect. Hence, Shiksha which is Vedic Phonetics has been regarded as the most important of the six Angas (organs) of the Veda Purusha.
Some important Pratishakhyas are:
- Rigveda-Pratishakhya of Rigveda
- Taittiriya-Pratishakhya of Krishna Yajurveda
- Vajasaneyi Pratishakhya of Shukla Yajurveda
- Atharvaveda-Pratishakhya of Atharvaveda