Gathers Vedic hymns about creation, death, sacrifice, ritual, and the various gods and characters of Hindu mythology, in a definitive translation that includes an updated bibliography, comprehensive notes, and informative introduction to ...
Author: Wendy Doniger
Publisher: Penguin UK
Gathers Vedic hymns about creation, death, sacrifice, ritual, and the various gods and characters of Hindu mythology, in a definitive translation that includes an updated bibliography, comprehensive notes, and informative introduction to the texts. Reprint.
The number of hymns comprised in the Rigveda, in the only recension which has been preserved, that of the Çakala school, is 1017, or, if the eleven supplementary hymns (called Valakhilya) which are inserted in the middle of the eighth book ...
Author: Unknown Authors
Publisher: Jazzybee Verlag
In the dim twilight preceding the dawn of Indian literature the historical imagination can perceive the forms of Aryan warriors, the first Western conquerors of Hindustan, issuing from those passes in the north-west through which the tide of invasion has in successive ages rolled to sweep over the plains of India. The earliest poetry of this invading race, whose language and culture ultimately overspread the whole continent, was composed while its tribes still occupied the territories on both sides of the Indus now known as Eastern Kabulistan and the Panjab. That ancient poetry has come down to us in the form of a collection of hymns called the Rigveda. The cause which gathered the poems it contains into a single book was scientific and historical. The number of hymns comprised in the Rigveda, in the only recension which has been preserved, that of the Çakala school, is 1017, or, if the eleven supplementary hymns (called Valakhilya) which are inserted in the middle of the eighth book are added, 1028. These hymns are grouped in ten books, called mandalas, or "cycles," which vary in length, except that the tenth contains the same number of hymns as the first. In bulk the hymns of the Rigveda equal, it has been calculated, the surviving poems of Homer.
From the PREFACE. This little book contains a selection of forty hymns from the Rigveda, translated in verse corresponding as nearly as is possible in English to the original metres. I have endeavoured to make the rendering as close as the use of verse will admit. Prose would have been more exact if I had had in view the requirements of linguistic students, but the general reader, to whom the spirit of the original hymns is the important thing, would have lost the means of appreciating, to some extent at least, the poetic beauty of the Vedic metres which form a considerable element in the literary charm of the hymns. Although there are four Vedas, this selection of hymns has been made exclusively from the oldest and most important, the Rigveda. From it the other three have largely borrowed their matter, containing otherwise little that would be of interest in this selection. The chief metres are here reproduced, and each of the most important gods is represented by at least one hymn. Of the comparatively few hymns not addressed to deities, I have also chosen a certain number dealing with cosmogony and eschatology, social life and magical ideas. This volume thus furnishes an epitome of the Rigveda, the earliest monument of Indian thought, the source from which the poetical and religious literature of India has in great part been derived and developed during a period of more than three thousand years. The Introduction supplies a brief sketch of the form and contents of the Rigveda, enabling the reader to understand more fully the early thought of which these hymns are the outcome. There is, moreover, prefixed to each hymn a short account of the deity addressed or the subject dealt with. Without this supplementary aid, many notions of a mental atmosphere so far removed from those of our own time would be hardly intelligible. In the absence of footnotes, some passages may nevertheless seem obscure. Those who have any doubts as to the meaning of such may find it useful to refer to my Vedic Reader (Oxford, 1917), which supplies an exact prose rendering of about half the hymns in the present volume, together with full explanatory notes.