Rig Veda

Rig Veda

Rig Veda [Mandala]

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Rig Veda [Ashtaka]

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Acknowledgement: We are thankful to Veda Prasar Samiti, Chennai for providing the pdf files of Vedas in Devanagari script to us.

"The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (sruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use. The Rigveda contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc.

It is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, roughly between 1700-1100 BC (the early Vedic period).

The text is organized in 10 books, known as Mandalas, of varying age and length.

The major Rigvedic shakha (branch, i. e. recension) that has survived is that of Sakalya. Another shakha that may have survived is the Baskala, although this is uncertain. The surviving padapatha version of the Rigveda text is ascribed to Sakalya.The Sakala recension has 1017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 valakhilya hymns which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.49-8.59), for a total of 1028 hymns. The Baskala recension includes 8 of these valakhilya hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this sakha. In addition, the Baskala recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the Khilani.

The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are Indra, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy Vrtra; Agni, the sacrificial fire; and Soma, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas or Asura gods Mitra-Varuna and Ushas (the dawn). Also invoked are Savitr, Vishnu, Rudra, Pushan, Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as Dyaus Pita (the shining sky, Father Heaven), Prithivi (the earth, Mother Earth), Surya (the sun god), Vayu or Vata (the wind), Apas (the waters), Parjanya (the thunder and rain), Vac (the word), many rivers (notably the Sapta Sindhu, and the Sarasvati River). The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, Ashvins, Maruts, Rbhus, and the Vishvadevas (all-gods) as well as the thirty-three gods are the groups of deities mentioned.

• Mandala 1 comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to Agni, and his name is the first word of the Rigveda. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and Indra, as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods.
• Mandala 2 comprises 43 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi grtsamada saunahotra.
• Mandala 3 comprises 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in Hinduism as the Gayatri Mantra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to visvamitra gathinah.
• Mandala 4 comprises 58 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vamadeva gautama.
• Mandala 5 comprises 87 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvedevas (all the gods), the Maruts, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas (the dawn) and to Savitr. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the atri clan.
• Mandala 6 comprises 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra, all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the barhaspatya family of Angirasas.
• Mandala 7 comprises 104 hymns, to Agni, Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, Mitra-Varuna, the Asvins, Ushas, Indra-Varuna, Varuna, Vayu (the wind), two each to Sarasvati (ancient river/goddess of learning) and Vishnu, and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to vasistha maitravaruni.
• Mandala 8 comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal valakhilya. Hymns 1-48 and 60-66 are attributed to the kanva clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets.
• Mandala 9 comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to Soma Pavamana, the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion.
• Mandala 10 comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to Agni, Indra and various other deities. It contains the Nadistuti sukta which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the Purusha sukta which has great significance in Hindu social tradition. It also contains the Nasadiya sukta (10.129), probably the most celebrated hymn in the west, which deals with creation. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.10-18) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding Grhya rituals.

The Rigveda's core is accepted to date to the late Bronze Age, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between 1700-1100 BC. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (s.v. Indo-Iranian languages, p. 306) gives 1500-1000. Being composed in an early Indo-Aryan language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BC. A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the Rigveda is that of the Indo-Aryan Mitanni documents of c. 1400 BC. Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BC.

The Rigveda is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of Max Müller and Rudolf Roth onwards. The Rigveda records an early stage of Vedic religion. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian Avesta, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture of ca. 2000 BC.

Writing appears in India around the 3rd century BC in the form of the Brahmi script, but texts of the length of the Rigveda were likely not written down until much later, the oldest surviving Rigvedic manuscript dating to the 14th century.[dubious - discuss] While written manuscripts were used for teaching in medieval times, they were written on birch bark or palm leaves, which decompose fairly quickly in the tropical climate, until the advent of the printing press from the 16th[dubious - discuss] century. Some Rigveda commentaries may date from the second half of the first millennium CE. The hymns were thus preserved by oral tradition for up to a millennium from the time of their composition until the redaction of the Rigveda, and the entire Rigveda was preserved in shakhas for another 2,500 years from the time of its redaction until the editio princeps by Rosen, Aufrecht and Max Müller.

According to Hindu tradition, the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila under the guidance of Vyasa, who formed the Rigveda Samhita as we know it. According to the Satapatha Brahmana, the number of syllables in the Rigveda is 432,000, equalling the number of muhurtas (1 day = 30 muhurtas) in forty years. This statement stresses the underlying philosophy of the Vedic books that there is a connection (bandhu) between the astronomical, the physiological, and the spiritual." - Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda


On Vedas:

“The Vedic sacrificial altar was the origin of Geometry.

The invocation of the Devas, or bright ones, was the basis of worship. The idea is that one invoked is helped and helps.

Hymns are not only words of praise but words of power, being pronounced with the right attitude of mind.

Heavens are only other states of existence with added senses and heightened powers.

All higher bodies also are subject to disintegration as is the physical. Death comes to all forms of bodies in this and other lives. Devas are also mortal and can only give enjoyment.

Behind all Devas there is the Unit Being - God, as behind this body there is something higher that feels and sees.

The powers of creation, preservation, and destruction of the Universe, and the attributes, such as omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence, make God of gods.

On earth we die. In heaven we die. In the highest heaven we die. It is only when we reach God that we attain life and become immortal.

The Vedas contain not only the means how to obtain Bhakti but also the means for obtaining any earthly good or evil. Take whatever you want.

The minds of the people from whom the Vedas came were intent upon following principles, discovering principles. They had no time to work upon details or to wait for them; they wanted to go deep into the heart of things. Something beyond was calling them, as it were, and they could not wait. Scattered through the Upanishads, we find that the details of subjects which we now call modern sciences are often very erroneous, but, at the same time, their principles are correct. For instance, the idea of ether, which is one of the latest theories of modern science, is to be found in our ancient literature in forms much more developed than is the modern scientific theory of ether today, but it was in principle. When they tried to demonstrate the workings of that principle, they made many mistakes. The theory of the all-pervading life principle, of which all life in this universe is but a differing manifestation, was understood in Vedic times; it is found in the Brâhmanas. There is a long hymn in the Samhitâs in praise of Prâna of which all life is but a manifestation. By the by, it may interest some of you to know that there are theories in the Vedic philosophy about the origin of life on this earth very similar to those which have been advanced by some modern European scientists." - Swami Vivekananda


Other E-Books:
Rig Veda Samhita - Kashyap and Sadagopan
Rig Veda - Maharishi University of Management


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