The present Volume blazes a new trail in the interpretation of the Rgveda, The oldest and outstanding work of world literature, which has influenced the religion, philosophy, law, literature and culture of India. In order To dispel the confusion and misconceptions arising from the diversity of arbitrary and inconsistent commentaries and y translations of this sacred text, the present author has presented a lucid, consistent and rational translation of The Rgveda with a critical review of important interpretations ancient and modern offer a thorough and minute examination of all the relevant Vedic passages. In his interpretation the author follows the guiding principle that the Veda must shine with its own light, without any prejudice or predilection. In The Exegetical Notes appended to the translation the author refers to the divergent views of the ancient Indian commentators and modern Vedic scholars on the interpretation of obscure and rare Rgvedic words together with his own conclusions on the subject. Besides, the doubtful grammatical forms of the relevant Rgvedic words have also been discussed in The Notes.
Professor Ram Gopal, a former Vice- Chancellor of M.D. University, Rohtak, and formerly Kalidasa Professor of Sanskrit and Head of the Department of Kalidasa Chair, Panjab University, Chandigarh, is and eminent Sanskrit scholar of international repute. He is an acknowledged authority on the Vedic language, literature and culture. His outstanding and original research works which include India of Vedic Kalpa-Sutras, Vaidika Vyakarana (in two volumes), Vaidika-Vydkhya-Vivechana, Vedartha-Vimarsa, The History and Principles of Vedic Interpretation, K6Iid6sa: His Art and Culture, The Vedic f Language and Exegesis have been highly appreciated by the renowned scholars of Sanskrit and Indology all A over the world.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the realm of Sanskrit studies he was awarded the Independence Day Award, Certificate of Honour in Sanskrit, by the President A of India in l97l. And the same year he was honoured by the Haryana Government also with the State Literary Award in Sanskrit and a Felicitation Volume. The Ministry of Education and Culture, Government of India, awarded S him a Literary Prize of Rs. l0,000 in l98l in appreciation of his reputed research work Vaidika Vyakarana (in two Volumes). He was honoured by Masharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda-Vidya Pratishthana Ujjain with a Citation and a Cash Award in 2003. He has chaired several seminars, symposia and conferences connected with Vedic studies. He was the President of the Vedic Section of the All India Oriental Conference held in l966.
The Vedas are not only the holy scriptures of the Hindus but are also a precious heritage of the entire human race. The Vedas occupy a unique place in world literature not only because of their hoary antiquity but also because of the sublimity of their thought and the deep influence exercised by them on the religion, philosophy, laws, literature and culture of India. Since time immemorial the Hindus have been drawing inspiration from the Vedas and look upon them as the supreme authority in all matters concerning religion, laws and social conduct. Millions of devout Hindus perform their religious rites with the recitation of Vedic Mantras. Although Hindu religion has undergone significant changes in the course of millennia, its basic structure is essentially Vedic in form and substance. It is, therefore, impossible to understand properly the evolution of Indian ethos and to trace the original sources of Indian civilisation without an adequate knowledge of the essentials of Vedic thought.
The Vedic corpus is headed by the Rgveda which is a collection of nearly ten thousand verses called Rks in praise of various deities such as Agni, Indra, Varuna, Savitr, Soma, Asvins, Visnu, Rudra, Maruts, etc. The Rgveda, which is in fact not a single look but a whole literature, is undoubtedly the Veda par excellence, as it is entirely original and the other three Vedas are indebted to it for a large number of verses contained in them. All the verses of the Samaveda except 75 have been derived, from the Rgveda for the purpose of singing at the performance of Soma sacrifices. Nearly one-fifth, i.e., 1200 verses of the Atharvaveda have been borrowed from the Rgveda. The Samhitas of the Yajurveda owe hundreds of their verses to the Rgveda. For instance, nearly 800 verses of the Rgveda have been adapted in the Sukla-Yajurveda for ritual purposes.
Although several Sakhas (recensions) of the Rgveda are mentioned in the later works, the vulgate recension of the Rgveda belongs to the Sakala Sakha and only a few verses of the Baskala Sakha of the Rgveda are found cited in some ancillary works of this Veda. The vulgate recension of the Rgveda contains 1017 Suktas (Hymns) divided into ten Mandalas (Books), and this number comes to 1028 with the addition of eleven Valakhilya (Supplementary) Hymns p inserted after the 48"‘ Hymn of the Eighth Mandala. The collection of the Rks arranged methodically in accordance with the rules of Sandhi (euphonic combination) is designated as the Rgveda—Samhita in contradistinction to the Padapatha where each word is shown as an independent entity free from euphonic changes. Similarly when the other Vedas are subjected to the rules of euphonic changes, the appellation of Samhita is suffixed to them, e.g., the Samveda- Samhita, the Atharvaveda—Samhita, the Taittiriya-Samhita, and the Vajasaneyi—Samhita, (of the Yajurveda).
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