Objective and audience
abbreviated by the pratyahara अच्. This encompasses all the 16 Sanskrit vowels from now on called as swaraaksharas. Each vowel has 3 forms 1. Hrasva(Short) 2. Dheerga(Long) and 3. Pluta (Protracted). The first 2 are known commonly in all Indian languages and so the discussion will be centered around Pluta and its varieties.
Thus in theory there are 16 possible plutas for each swara akshara. But note that in a given shaka not all vowels have pluta forms.
दे॒वा(2)म् उप॑प्रैथ्स॒प्तभिः॑->(Aranyaka 1st prashna 13th Anuvaka)
The dheerga आ the end of ब्रह्मा(3) is elongated to 3 maatras
सुश्लो॒काँ (4) सुम॑ङ्ग॒लाँ (4) सत्य॑रा॒जा ३ न्
Another example is from 7th kanda 4th prashna 20th Anuvaka
लाजी (३) ञ्छाची (३) न््यशो॑ म॒मा (4)म्
Again note the anuswaara on the Ranga. So the gist is Ranga(2) or Ranga(4) occurs only for words with Anunaasika/Anuswaara sounds.
For example in the Agnishtoma soma sacrifice, in the 6th Kanda, 1st prashna, Anuvaka 9, a doubt occurs as to whether the soma creeper bought has to be purified.
ब्र॒ह्म॒वा॒दिनो॑ वदन्ति वि॒चित्यः॒ सोमा (३) न वि॒चित्या (३) इति॑
It means “Brahmavaadis say, Should the soma be purified or not”
Purified -> वि॒चित्यः॒ सोमा (३)
Not purified: न वि॒चित्या (३)
Thus this shows the act of “Thinking out aloud”. This is a very common usage of the pluta. But remember that not all cases of Brahma Vaada or debate need to have a pluta in it. For indication of ascent or satisfaction.
सोमो॒ वै स॒हस्र॑मविन्द॒त्तमिन्द्रोऽन्व॑विन्द॒त्तौ य॒मो न्याग॑च्छ॒त्ताव॑ब्रवी॒दस्तु॒ मेऽत्रापीत्यस्तु॒ ही(३) इत्य॑ब्रूता॒॒ स:
The ही(३) indicates ascent by Indra and soma
The most famous example being found in the Taittriya Upanisad. A rishi singing in absolute bliss. The pluta here indicates the joy here.
एतथ्साम गा॑यन्ना॒स्ते । हा (३) वु॒ हा (३) वु॒ हा (३) वु॑ । अ॒हमन्नम॒हमन्नम॒हमन्नम् । अ॒हमन्ना॒दोऽ
उ॒ता वि॒द्वान॒मुल्लोँ॒कं प्रेत्य॑ । कश्च॒न ग॑च्छ॒ती (३) । आहो॑ वि॒द्वान॒मुल्लोँ॒कं प्रेत्य॑ । कश्चि॒थ्सम॑श्ञु॒ता (३) उ॒
Basically the question is “Where would a dying person go? Where would he stay after exiting here?” The pluta here in the boldened texts indicate the curiosity of the questioner.
In the Pravargya prashna Aranyaka 8th prashna(Of Dravida paata 6th of Andhra paata)1st anuvaaka, while explaining the reason why the pravargya is performed, The devas won the war against asuras with Vishnus help with the agreement that the credits for the victory would be divided equally. But it seems Vishnu ran away from the Devas and sat with his chin on his bow gloating over this greatness. The Devas sent some termites to bite of the bow string. As the string was taut the tip of the bow on which Vishnu rested his head coiled up like a spring and cut his head off. The head flew through the air. The sound made by the head is indicated by a Ranga pluta here.
तत्प्र॑व॒र्ग्य॑स्य प्रवर्ग्य॒त्वम् । यद्घ्राँ (4) इत्यप॑तत् ।
The boldened text indicates the “Ghang” sound made by Vishnu’s head when flying through the air.
1. It is not necessary that pluta for all the 16 vowels need to occur in a shaka. In the Taittriya for example pluta forms exists for all fundamental swaraaksharas
The ऋ ॠ लृ varnas do not have pluta forms in the Taittriya Shaka with only the dheerga forms being found(ॠ)
To give an example for this, in the 1st kanda 4th prashna is called Graha prashna. The mantras are used to fill up the soma grahas in the Soma sacrifice. The mantra is as follows (27th anuvaka)
बृह॒स्पति॑सुतस्य त इन्द्रो इन्द्रि॒याव॑तः॒ पत्नी॑वन्तं॒ ग्रहं॑ गृह्णा॒म्यग्ना(३) इ पत्नी॒वा(३) स्स॒जूर्दे॒वेन॒ त्वष्ट्रा॒ सोमं॑ पिब॒ स्वाहा
Actually the word अग्ने is split into
अग्ने = अग्ना(3) + इ (ग्ने = ग्ना + इ)