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Rig Veda

ISBN: 0140449892

Language: English

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Lowest Price: $6.16

Rig Veda

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Overview

The earliest of the four Hindu religious scriptures known as the Vedas, and the first extensive composition to survive in any Indo-European language, The Rig Veda (c. 1200–900 bc) is a collection of more than 1,000 individual Sanskrit hymns. A work of intricate beauty, it provides unique insight into early Indian mythology and culture. Fraught with paradox, the hymns are meant "to puzzle, to surprise, to trouble the mind," writes translator Wendy Doniger, who has selected 108 hymns for this volume. Chosen for their eloquence and wisdom, they focus on the enduring themes of creation, sacrifice, death, women, and the gods. Doniger’s The Rig Veda provides a fascinating introduction to a timeless masterpiece of Hindu ritual and spirituality. Wendy Doniger's translation conveys all the vitality and force of the original Includes an introduction, appendices, updated bibliography, detailed index, and comprehensive notes on each hymn

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The Vedas as a Revelation of Our Shared Humanity

This is quite a good book, as far as it goes. Readers who would like to find a far fuller selection taken from the entire corpus of the Vedas, one that carries us beyond the merely scholarly into an approach which sees the Vedas as a revelation of our shared humanity, as "a disclosure of something that enriches the human experience," might care to take a look at Raimundo Panikkar's magisterial 'THE VEDIC EXPERIENCE - MANTRAMANJARI - AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE VEDAS FOR MODERN MAN AND CONTEMPORARY CELEBRATION' (ISBN 8120812808). Pannikar's edition, at almost 1000 pages, with full introductions to each beautifully translated text, and with detailed annotations for those who are interested in precise sources and in the original Sanskrit terminology, must be one of the best bargains going. Even the most hard-boiled could open his edition at any page and immediately become enthralled. There is a freshness and purity to these songs and chants that is irresistible. It's like coming across a blossom-filled meadow in spring. These vigorous and life-affirmative songs give us what men and women once were, and what we may yet become once again, for it is what deep down we still are though we have forgotten. Life, despite its hardships, is supposed to be joyous, something to be celebrated. And one is intensely grateful to anyone who undertakes the hard labor of devoting a book, of no matter what size, to a literature which can enrich us all. Readers may also be interested to note that an abridgement of Pannikar's THE VEDIC EXPERIENCE has recently appeared as: INITIATION TO THE VEDAS : AN ABRIDGED EDITION OF THE VEDIC EXPERIENCE - MANTRAMANJARI by Raimon Pannikar. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2006. 102 pp. Color Plates. ISBN: 8120829549.

A compelling echo of the primordial voice of man

Wendy Doniger's translation of the Rig Veda is nothing less than spectacular. She manages to take this most ancient of texts and render it in a way that at once retains its voice from the very distant past, while still speaking with lively language that sounds completely fresh and startling. Contained herein are the elemental questions of mankind, contemplating the meaning of existence. Highly recommended for anyone who ponders these same questions! I first bought this book 17 years ago, and it changed my life. It continues to do so as I reread it today. I am very concerned by certain reviewers who revile these books as untrue to some kind of fundamentalist doctrine. There is nothing in these translations to offend, but as other reviewers said, Ms. Doniger herself has no fundamental agenda in her translations. Rather, she lets the texts talk for themselves.

Unusual but representative selection of hymns

Compared to other selections of Rig Vedic Hymns, this book is quite different. Most Indologists, esp. the Indian Vedic scholars, only select more "philosophically sophisticated" hymns. But this selection is more representative of the actual content of the Rig Veda.

Classic Sanskrit hymns tell of earthly and divine concerns.

Comprises 108 out of the 1,000 hymns of the Rig Veda, selected by the author. At about 300 pages no more are required. The book is presented in a way that allows you to read any hymn independenly, so the introduction does not attempt to summarize deities or their relations to each other except within the footnotes (which I saw as a problem). Since the footnotes appear at the end of each hymn, some page flipping is required (another problem). The hymns praise the gods of the Aryans who invaded Inda in 2,000 BC (Agni, Indra and their favorite alchoholic drink, Soma) along with others. A classic that brings the thoughts of ancient people to light, whose meanings may not always be clear, but are often candid. People wide-read in mythology may see similarities to other mythological traditions.
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