In the Tevijja Sutta (DN 13), we see four groups of brahmins listed:
In the same way, even though brahmins describe different paths—the Addhariya brahmins, the Tittiriya brahmins, the Chandoka brahmins, and the Bavhadija brahmins—all of them lead someone who practices them to the company of Brahmā.
Two of these are obvious: Chandoka corresponds to Chāndogya and Tittiriya corresponds to Taittirīya; the first—Addhariya—seems to me like it corresponds to Aitareya.
The final one—Bavhadija—is harder to identify. I don’t know of any śākhā, Brāhmaṇa, Āraṇyaka, or Upaniṣads with a name similar to this. The only one that seems plausible is Bṛhádāraṇyaka. ‘Bavhad’ seems to easily correspond to ‘Bṛhad’, and ‘ija’ could correspond to “ṇyaka,” with the middle section of the word just being lost. Assuming this was recorded in Prakrit and heard orally (then preserved) perhaps by many people who were not brahmins, it seems plausible that this is just their best rendering of the word ‘Bṛhadāraṇyaka.’
If these names were in reference to the Upaniṣads, it would make sense: the Chāndogya, Aitareya, Taittirīya, and Bṛhádāraṇyaka are coincidentally (or not) the main Upaniṣads considered to be pre-Buddhist and which seem to find some relation to Buddhism. These could also be referring to the larger Brāhmaṇas or to the Āraṇyakas embedded within them—and often continued or combined with the Upaniṣads—to which the Vedic śākhā names are connected (and thus it would make sense to refer to groups of brahmins by these names).
There is an Aitareya Brāhmaṇa and Āraṇyaka (which contains the AU), a Taittirīya Brāhmaṇa and Āraṇyaka (containing the TU), a Bṛhad Āraṇyaka (which contains the BAU, and is in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa), and a Chāndogya Brāhmaṇa (which contains the ChU).
The other thing to note is the nature of the Āraṇyakas in relationship to the Brāhmaṇas/Upaniṣads:
J. Dowson states that ‘Aranyaka’ means ‘belonging to the forest’ as this type of text is intended to ‘expound the mystical sense of the [sacrificial] ceremonies, discuss the nature of God [etc.]. They are attached to the Brahmanas, and [are] intended for study in the forest by brahmanas who have retired from the distractions of the world’. [Wikipedia]
In DN 13, these contemplative brahmins claim that these schools all teach “the way to Brahmā.” This is precisely what these mystical portions of the texts are about. There is also mention of the word ‘śramaṇa’ in many of these texts. Considering all of this, it seems quite probable to me that these are precisely the texts/groups being referred to in DN 13: Aitareya, Taittirīya, Chāndogya, and Bṛhadāraṇyaka.
Does anybody know if there has been scholarship or an investigation of this to confirm/deny it? Have their been any attempts to identify the names of Brahmanical sects and schools found throughout the canon? What reasons might there be to doubt this?
EDIT: I know that scholars such as T.W. Rhys Davids and RIchard Gombrich have found similarities and parallels to the Upaniṣads, and specifically the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad in this text. I have just stumbled on a paper by Brett Shults that says these seem to be references to the three main Vedas, perhaps splitting the Yajurveda into the White and Black recensions. My hypothesis here would propose something more specific and perhaps less founded. Shults does note that the Buddha goes on to refer to these brahmins as tevijjā brāhmaṇā which could contradict the notion that these are brahmins of particular Vedas only. His article here also discusses Brāhmaṇical-esque terminology and ideas expressed by the brahmins rather than necessarily Upaniṣadic ones; this would not be problematic necessarily, as I have discussed that the names mentioned which correspond to Upaniṣads also correspond to Brāhmaṇas/Āraṇyakas, and there are plenty of related ideas between all of these texts.
If we interpret the terms similar to Shults, we would get Bavhadija : Ṛgvedic; Chandoka : Sāmavedic; Tittiriya : Kṛṣna Yajurvedic; Addhariya : Śukla Yajurvedc (?). Ironically, although the terms no longer align, this could still refer to the same branches of Brāhmaṇa-Upaniṣads above. The Aitareya is part of the Ṛgveda; the Chāndogya of the Sāmaveda; the Taittirīya of the Kṛṣna Yajurveda; and the Bṛhadāraṇyaka is part of the Śukla Veda (in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa). The term ‘addhariya’ is one of the most uncertain for Shults’ paradigm, and so perhaps it corresponding to ‘Aitareya’ is a solution considering my correspondences do not heavily conflict with his division into the major Vedic divisons. This could very well be baseless though, still.