Vedās: Best Books & Authors

Vedā: Best Books & Authors

(June 24th, 2016)

This is simply another question of millennium. For example, consider these lines, and let us discuss how the various interpreters could have done :

“The Ruler, my Lord, radiates out bright
Amidst others, the Moon in the night;
He is a bull in the fight, a lion in might.
Far reaches his light, A great sage insight”
(c) Lord Indra, 2015. (He is my g+ friend, I told to frame this poem by himself so that I can demonstrate him impartially..:))

Actual context
This is a poem written for a king, compared to a moon bright among the stars of the sky, a bull in vigor and power, a lion for his might, a light source for his light of kindness and benevolence, a great sage as far as his vision is considered. Such a Ruler Lord is none other than God.

Brahmanical passage :
Therefore the sacrificer praises his king, as ruler (so that his ruling power is increased), a Lord (since his lordship is to be affirmed).
The king is praised as a moon at night, for Soma the moon is to be satisfied.
Once Indra to overcome Asuras, assumed a form of a bull, and won the fight. ever since bull in fight is for Indra.
The lion might be stressed, for lion is the king of animals, and this gives fury to the king. During these praises, a bull is to be offered and a lion is to be offered, for verily, the sacrificer obtains might and success in the fight. The next verses are to be accompanied by sprinkling the water to four directions, whereby the king obtains his light of power in all directions. The last epithet should be chanted by touching the king’s eyes with water so that his sight is improved.

Early Upanishads
The sole Ruler of the Self encompassed all over radiates its light of knowledge and love all over. Like a moon in the night, O student, the Ruler of the soul shines over the innumerable twinkling souls of the world. The Bull symbolizes strength, the knowledge of Brahman thus rules over and fights the darkness of ignorance in our minds for us. Far-reaching is his light rays.
As a great sage in vision, the knowledge of Brahman helps us to know the present past and future.

Sun is the sole ruler of all the earth. Here, the sun is eulogized so that the sacrificer obtains great powers of the sun. this is described in Brahmanic passage….(story in Brahmanas)…
This means that Indra and soma are praised too. The vigor of Indra and light of soma are well known since ancient times. The sacrificer, through sacrificing these animals mentioned, obtains the radiant light of the Sun, and the heaven where Indra and others dwell.

Max Muller
This is a praise for a solar god. This seems to be a part of the seasonal sacrifice, though Brahmanas do not mention them. The sun is eulogized by Aryans, to obtain different fruits as mentioned by Sayana. The intermediate lines show the bull cult and the Narasimha origin. Animal worship was practiced along with Sun worship.

Wendy Doniger
This is a poem that I adore simply… The moon at night should be an indicator that kings had usually many wives.. the women are usually seen as small compared to the lustrous man.
As the moon in each day approaches a particular constellation, the king approaches his woman.
The bull symbolizes fertility as in other IE cultures, and the fight reminds the rival wives of the king. The lion is the alpha male, so he is always praised in Vedas.
The last lines show the sun’s (another alpha male of the skies) qualities being introduced.
The great sage insight reminds us of the condition of sages in those times, who slept with a no. of women. Hinduism is the only religion I adore because it displays openly these feelings…

Dayanand Sarasvati
The Ruler (king) radiates out bright (through his knowledge) amidst others (other kings) he is the moon (bright) at night. He is a bull (powerful, not any animal) in might (of physical power), far insight (the sight of spiritual vision, not ordinary eyesight), Far reaches his light (light of fame by physical power and spiritual power beyond senses) He is a lion (one who has conquered the animosity, not the animal) in might (of conquering). Thus,

The king is one who through his knowledge, bright in the night of ignorance. He should also be powerful in terms of physical power as well as far-sighted in spiritual vision like a sage. His fame should reach everywhere by both the physical and spiritual powers of him. He is the king who has conquered the animosity in his kingdom and his inner spiritual kingdom.

Aurobindo and RL Kashyap (July 2nd, 2020)

I respect Aurobindo and RL Kashyap for their significant contributions to the Vedic studies.

Their books might inspire one into the path of Vedas, although the interpretation has some post-Vedic content. Still, the idea of evaluating the translations with the contents from sages themselves is a novel and more sensible way that Aurobindo initiated. This has even inspired the Indo Europeanists like Karen Thomson in suggesting a shift in paradigm for the Indo European scholars towards Rigveda. So choose one of these!!!!! 🙂

Indian vs Western Scholars (Nov 1st, 2020)

Issue with Western Indologists is that, their objective of study is quite different from ours – they want to seek historical or similar scholarly data, so they interpret it the way they want, much like our wannabes interpreting Vedas the way they want. However, barring their interpretation which is deficient by all means, their translation is around 80% accurate. (It is improving year by year, with newer researchers fixing meaning of words more carefully) Whereas our modern “Vedic scholars” (do they even exist!) don’t seem to have basic knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit, chandas or any other Vedāṅgas, and surely lack the critical attitude towards bhāṣyas. Sāyaṇa was able to come up with a strong bhāṣya only because of the critical and scholarly attitude towards his predecessors.Also our wannabes give an impression that they are part of some “tradition” of Vedic commentary. Unfortunately, we have not had a tradition of Vedic commentary. Only the most daring ones have attempted to comment on Vedic mantras – it requires significant tapas or inner effort to understand and interpret the mantras, apart from the scholarly knowledge and intellectual exercise it takes to have the mantras in your head.Rigveda Śākala śākhā, for example, comes with two basic things traditionally – the Śākalya Padapāṭha (split words) and anukramaṇīs listing the Ṛṣi, devatā and chandas of the verses. In addition, the core vocabulary is collected in Nighaṇṭu, commented by Nirukta, quoting Ṛks. We also have strict phonetics and semantics governed by Prātiśākhya, and additional works like Vilaṅkhyas to make sure the padapāṭha and saṃhitāpāṭha transmission is alright. Now, the Śākala śākhā itself houses a brāhmaṇa, the Aitareya brāhmaṇa. The Āraṇyaka part is collected in Aitareya āraṇyaka and Upaniṣad in Aitareyopaniṣad.People who have not learned any of these, who pretend to be knowledgeable must be able to justify from where they get their nonsense from. Regarding Agni, the physical symbol is quite clear, the fire. The Devatā is the Deva Agni who holds the attributes of fire. It is only that interpretation that can make any sense of the mantras. Agniḥ is not “aga”+”ni”. The contextual meaning, quoted in Nirukta and by Sāyaṇa is “agra-nīr bhavati” (who leads from the foremost, ref. Nirukta 7.14 also quoted by Sāyaṇa). Agni is the leader and who is placed in front (puro-hita) in yajña. He leads us, as the hotā, invoking Devas on our behalf, as the cosmic Ṛtvij, whose seasonal sacrifice keeps the cosmos running good, who delights us with what is valuable, what is cooked and what is mature. He brings value from what is raw. This is the gist of first sūkta first mantra. Hence, I have commented on this thus,”Īḷana ātmārthe stavane. Bahvṛcaś chandasy evaṃ vidhaṃ ḍaḷayor abhedaṃ dṛśyate. Yo hitaḥ puraḥ sa purohitaḥ. Sa puro nayati ca janān devān api. Yathā bhautike yajñe agniḥ purohito bhavati yajamānasya tathā ātmani pratiṣṭhito’gniḥ purohito bhavati naḥ. Asmad purogamanam tv agninā khalu. Sa naḥ parṣad ati durgāṇi viśvā nāveva sindhuṃ duritātyagnir iti śrutaḥ. Agnir vai yajñasya devaḥ purohitaḥ. devo divyatve. Yajñe so’gnir eva dīvyate. Sa eva devaḥ. Viśvedevā agninā dṛśyante. Ṛtunā yajati iti ṛtvik. Sarve yajñāḥ agninā vardhante. Asmabhyam devān agnir ā vahati. Asmabhyaṃ so yajati, Sa eva ṛtvig purohitaś ca. Yathā hotā yajamānārthaṃ hvayati tathaiva agnir asmabhyaṃ hvayati devān. Ratno ratisvarūpaḥ. Toṣa pradaḥ. Variṣṭho ratnasya dhātā ratnadhātamaḥ. Agninā datto ratna ātmatuṣtiṃ pradadāti naḥ khalu.”

Author/Researcher: Kiron Krishnan