This book presents various interpretations of the eleven Rbhu-Hymns in the Rgveda from Sayanacarya (14th century A.D) to Prof. Louis Renou (1965). It brings out clearly how one and the same quarter hemistich or stanza can be often interpreted variously by different scholars. This book gives a thorough and interesting perspective of the Rbhu-Hymns. Hence it will help the research scholars working in the field of the Vedic Literature towards a better understanding of the obscure but fascination myth of the Rbhus. Many of the Sanskrit students and research scholars are not able to read the interpretations of the Rbhu-Hymns given by eminent German and French Indologists in the original form. This rendering into English of all such portions will be of immense use to them.
The book will also render help towards the preservation of at least little portions from precious old and rare literature in German and French on Vedic Studies.
Dr. Miss G.V. Davane who has rendered into English German and French translations of the Rbhu-Hymns in the Rgveda and has compiled together the various non-English and English translations of these Hymns has been carrying on research on the Rbhus for the last few years. She was teaching Sanskrit at various Government colleges under the jurisdiction of Bombay/Maharshtra state for nearly 33 years.
Her book an essay on the Myth of the Rbhus which is English translation of the French book Essai sur le mythe des Ribhavas by Prof. F. Neve (Paris 1847) was published in 1985. Her thesis for the degree of Ph. D Nominal Composition in Middle indo Aryan was published by the Deccan College Pune.
She has to her credit a number of research papers published in renowned indological journals.
For research on the Rbhus I had to study critically the eleven Rbhus-Hymns in the Rgveda first. While studying these Hymns I could find in the library of the University of Bombay and in the library of the Bhadarkar oriental research Institute Pune various German and French translations of the Hymns by eminent scholars. For any own purpose I rendered all these translations into English. I had already prepared Sayana’s translations on the basis of his commentary in Sanskrit. To this I added English rendering of Marathi translation given by Pandit Siddheshvarshastri Chitrav.
Then I compiled all these English renderings together. Now English translations of these Hymns by Prof. H.H. Wilson Prof. R.T.H. Griffith and Prof. S.A. Upadhyay have been published already. English translation of 3 Rbhu-Hymns by H.D. Velankar has also been published. I have included all these in may present compilation. I feel the whole together can present a thorough and interesting perspective of the Rbhu-Hymns as understood from 14th century A.D. (Sayanacarya) to 1965 (Prof. Louis Renou) while going through these various interpretations one is struck by the divergence of interpretation in many cases. It is very interesting to note how one and the same quarter hemistich or stanza has been understood variously by different scholars e.g. I 161, 8; III 60, 1; IV 33 2d etc.
Now German and French translations of these Hymns are not accessible to many Sanskrit scholars in India. Some of them may be knowing German only others may be knowing French only while many may not be knowing either of the two languages. A very few eminent Indologists who have mastered both languages are extremely busy and hence they cannot find time for translating such material into English. Since I have already rendered this material into English I feel it is my duty to make it available to scholars working in the field of the Vedic literature. By publishing this book I hope to help the research scholars towards a better understanding of the obscure but interesting myth of the Rbhus.
Moreover some of these German and French books are very old and extremely rare. The copies of the books in the library of the University of Bombay which I have been using are in a precarious condition. Hence by publishing my English rendering of the translations of the Rbhu-Hymns I shall be helping towards the preservations of at least a little portion form these precious rare books.
All these translations have been arranged in a chronological order. Here I must explain that though Ludwig’s German translations has been published earlier (1876) than Grassmann’s German translation (1881) I have put Grassmann’s earlier. This is so for the simple reason that Ludwig’s notes (Volume IV) were published later in 1881 and in these notes Ludwig has often referred to Grassmann.
I must also explain that I have dropped purely metrical details form Prof. Olderberg’s Die Rgveda Noten. These details are not pertinent to my theme. Therefore I have tried to save my labor here.
The edition of Marathi translation by Pandit Siddheshvarshastri Chitrav which I have used is dated 1969 but his first edition was published in 1929. Therefore I have put his translation immediately after Prof. Geldner’s.
This book is a compilation of useful material from various sources. For convenience of study Sanskrit text of the eleven Hymns has been prefixed to this book.
Now it is my pleasant duty to express my sincere sense of gratitude to the following persons and institutions for having allowed me to publish my English rendering of the original material :-
1. The president and fellows of the Harvard college Harvard University press, Massachusettes (German translation of the hymns by Prof. Karl Geldner HOS Volumes 33, 34, 1951).
2. Mrs. Colette Cailat Director Institute of Asia Indian civilization 22 Avenue of president Wilson 75116 Paris and Mrs. Renou (French Translation of the Hymns by Prof. Louis Renou – Elude’s Vediques et Paniniennes Volume XV – editions E.De Boccard 1 Rue De medicins 1 Paris 1965).
3. Prof. S.A. Upadhyay Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Bombay (English translation of the Hymns by Prof. S.A. Upadhyay Bharatiya Vidya Volume 22 Nos 1 to 4 1962) English translation of VII 48 by Prof. H.D. Velankar Rgveda Mandala VII Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 1963 English translation of IV 33 Rksukatasti, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 1972).
4. Assistant register Bombay University Press Bombay (English Translation of III 60 by Prof. H.D. Velankar Rgveda Mandala III University of Bombay, Bombay 1968).
5. Mr. V.S Chitrav Bharatiya Carita Kosa Mandala Pune-411004 (Marathi translation of the Rgveda by Pandit Siddheshwarshashtri Chitrav Bharattya Carita Kosa Mandal Pune 1969).
6. Ajanta Books International Delhi (English rendering of Prof. F. Neve’s French translation by Dr. Miss G.V. Davane An essay on the myth of the Rbhus chapter V, 1985.
Mr. A.C. Tikekar chief Liberation library of the University of Bombay allowed me to have the rare books on my table in the library for a long time and helped me in all ways. It would not have been possible for me to do this work but for the valuable help rendered to me by him and by the entire staff of the library. I am heartily thankful to all of them for this.
I am highly obliged to Mr. V.L. Manjul Chief Librarian library of the Bhadarkar oriental research institute Pune for having helped me in all possible ways throughout the progress of this work.
I am indeed short of words in expressing my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. R.V. Paranjpe retired Prof. of German University of Bombay and to Dr. Mrs. Mangala Sirdeshpande head of the Department of French, university of Bombay both these friends of mine are not familiar with the original Sanskrit text. Even then Dr. Paranjpe was kind enough to go through my English renderings of German translations and Dr. Mrs. Sirdeshpande did me a similar favor by going through my English renderings of French translations.
Finally I hope students of Sanskrit and the research scholars working in the field of the Vedic literature will find this book useful to them.
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