Alfred Hillerbrandt's Vedische Mythologie, together with his Ritual-Literature: Vedische Opfer und Zauber, forms a pioneering contribution to Vedic studies. Vedische Mythologie originally appeared in three volumes in 1891, 1899 and 1902. In 1910 Hillebrandt had also brought out a shorter version entitled Vedische Mythologie, Kleine Ausgabe. Subsequently he thorough revised the original edition, rewriting some parts quite afresh, and arranged the material in two volumes, the first of which was published in 1927 and the second posthumously in 1929. The present English translation is of this second revised edition. Following the method of philological exegesis and shunning unsubstantiated theories, Hillebrandt analyses and interprets here the concepts of Vedic gods.
Volume I contains a long introduction where he lays down his methodology and principles of interpretation. Then follow four chapters dealing respectively with Usas, Asvins, Agni and Soma. The chapter on Soma occupies more than half of the volume, expounding his major thesis that Soma denoted the moon throughout the Rgveda. There is an extensive appendix on the preparation and offering of the Soma drink according to the Srauta Sutras and another appendix on the tribe of the Panis.
Volume II discusses the various classes of gods. It has six chapters dealing respectively with the Adityas; Savitr and the Rbhus; Indra and the Maruts, Visnu, Pusan and lesser deities; Manes, Demons and Asuras; and Rudra. The second volume also contains a concordance of all the translated passages, a general bibliography, a bibliography of Hillebrandt's writing on the Veda and a detailed index.
About the Author:
ALFRED HILLEBRANDT was born on 15th March 1853, in Grossnaedlitz near Breslau. He began his Sanskrit studies under A.F. Stenzler at the University of Breslau. He continued his education at the University of Munich, where he became the chief pupil of Martin Haug, the great Avestan scholar, from whom he inherited his deep interest in Vedic ritual and mythology. In 1875 he earned the degree of Dr. Phil. From the University of Munich for his thesis on the Goddess Aditi, and two years later the University of Breslau awarded him the degree of Dr. Habil. For his dissertation on Varuna and Mitra. Hillebrandt joined the University of Breslau in 1883 as Associate Professor of Sanskrit and in 1887 he succeeded his teacher Stenzler as full Professor. He was also Vice-Chancellor of his University twice. His more than two hundred articles, reviews and books deal with a vast range of subjects like Veda, Avesta, Srauta Sutras, Sanskrit Drama, Poetry, Grammar, Arthasastra, Indian History, University Administration and Curriculum. The last major work he completed just before his death in 1927 was the revision of the Vedische Mythologie.
SREERAMULA RAJESWARA SARMA studied at Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, and Philipps University, Marburg. He taught at Kashi Vidyapith and Benares Hindu University, before joining Aligarh Muslim University, where he teaches in the Department of Sanskrit. His main interests are Sanskrit/Prakrit texts on exact sciences. Recent publications include Thakkura Pheru's Rayanaparikkha: A Medieval Prakrit Text on Gemmology, and Yantraprakara of Sawai Jai Singh, a manual on astronomical instrument.
CHAPTER ONE: USAS
CHAPTER TWO: THE ASVINS
CHAPTER THREE: AGNI
CHAPTER FOUR: SOMA
Part I: The Soma Plant
CHAPTER SIX: SAVITR AND THE RBHUS
CHAPTER SEVEN: INDRA AND THE MARUTS
CHAPTER EIGHT: VISNU, PUSAN AND LESSER DEITIES
CHAPTER NINE: MANES, DEMONS AND ASURAS
CHAPTER TEN: RUDRA
CONCORDANCE OF TRANSLATED PASSAGES
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HILLEBRANDT'S WORKS ON THE VEDA
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