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Thread: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

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    Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    Namaste

    I am starting some studies in Rik Veda, it has not been since the 1970s when I last read this Veda, I recall a copy which was hardbound green cover that had both Sanskrit and English.

    But today I purchased a Motilal Barnarsidass version English only translation by Ralph Griffith. It looks complete, not a story version.

    Would this be a good deep dive?

    Thanks in Advanced

    Today I think of The Great Goddess Parvati. She is always there.

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    Namaste

    Griffith's is better than Muller's, but his translation still falls short of the task - understandable, because the Vedas are written in coded language, and cannot be deciphered at their face value.

    There's also a translation by Wilson that has been updated by some Indian authors. I don't know as to its quality, I have found Wilson's translation of other texts to be dry and somewhat uncomprehending.

    I feel we are still awaiting an authoritative translation which must necessarily be rooted in shakhic tradition and thus, almost entirely inaccessible to Westerners - or at least, it appears so.

    It may help you to read some books about the Vedas - say by Pandit Shriram Sharma or Sri Aurobindo, to help comprehension of the inner meanings as you read... I am sure you will already be asking the devas to help in this respect as well.

    Namaste

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    I would start with the little slokas and try to understand them and apply it to your life.

    You asked!

    What do you know about the Great Goddess Parvati?

    You don't think Durga and Lakshmi are great Goddesses?

    Do you think they are one?

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    Namaste Suddhasattva

    Oh boy - what have I gotten myself into? I am not going to give up yet, but just some comments and then some very layman impressions of this Veda.

    Comments - this version is 700 pages, very small type. Each page has footnotes or commentary for each bija in the hymn, of which the type is even smaller. Even with reading glasses, I am having a problem reading this, my eyes are tired. My impression is the translation is very, very scholary and quite good coming from a Westerner, and is not intentionally biased in any manner, but I think there are some minor errors but over all seems very pleasing in the sense of a very honest attempt at accuracy. But I would definitely need help from some other book as you suggest, any specific book? Honestly, though, I do not think this Veda is intended or my audience (see my impressions below)...

    Impressions - deja vu from the 1970s of the Veda I read then, upon only reading the first few pages before having to rest my eyes I have come to some conclusions, though very layman and of only early impression, anyone please correct me if I am wrong:

    * this is not intended to be a scripture I.e. Authored as a book, but is pure oral tradition and designed to be heard and memorized, then passed down from a Brahman to the next generation.
    * it is not about Deva or Devi, or even yoga at all, but rather what I would call a "Technical" instruction to a very specific audience, specifically Brahmans who will perform the specific, and very important, homa fire sacrifices. Since I am not a Brahman who performs such, I am not the audience. An analogy, though a bad one, is an audience which is interested in flower gardening and then there is an instruction in poem about a very specific aspect in gardening "raising and care of tulips" ... That is my impression of the Rig. Yes there are references for example to Shiva as the three eyed, as Rudra, as bhuvanasya pitarah the Lord of the Universe. But everything is in context of the homa method and those divine aspects and contributors and executors involved, and not about Deva or Devi or yoga other than instruction about this very important Brahman function using fire and authorized homa. So those divine powers specific to execution of homa are referenced in the oral interaction and hymns.
    * there are many oral references to Soma in the rite, which is translated as drops or liquid in form, almost gives me the impression of Aryan Viking Spirit Masters who sit around in a great hall doing fire ritual and drinking beer. Personally, I do not think Soma is any sort of drug or such at all, but a very sacred thing, and really do not want to revisit arguments of the 1970s with those who want to use intoxicants which I will not do nor approve. But clarification on soma would be helpful from advanced Hindus.
    * final thoughts - the Rig is probably not for me as an audience. It is very important, it does revel the beauty and majesty, it is sacred. But it has a very specific intent and audience.

    Namaste Vina

    Yes, I love Durga and just for clarification I am a Shaiva who practices Bhakti, I am not Shakta specifically. My wife's side of the family is Acharya Brahman, the matriarch of the family is devoted to Siva and Devi. One sister in law is very much devoted to Krishna, but also to Ganesh. My Istha Lord is Hanuman, I am personally devoted to Siva, Annapurna, Rama and also Muruga and Valli.

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    NamastÚ,

    ShivaFan, I am not a Veda scholar, and there are learned forum members here who have much to contribute on the questions you've asked. So I will try to point you to a few useful posts, and offer a few of my own opinions as well.

    Regarding Griffith: Many of the early British translations, including his, are extremely literal, because the authors didn't understand Hindu religion and Vedic culture. Imagine a person entering a Christian church, without knowing anything about the faith of its practitioners. He might describe the strange rites in which worshippers chew on a wafer, drink wine, and bow before some strange wood pieces with a man-figure attached. Such a description would be literally accurate, but would be confusing and lack meaning. The early translations make a similar mistake, and to read them, one would think that ancient peoples just prayed for gains of livestock and success in battle, and other forms of personal gain. The meaning of these verses is much more profound, universal; it is my opinion that the Rig goes beyond the fire-sacrifices, to teach that the entirety of the universe is sacrifice.

    I agree with Shuddhasattva in recommending Aurobindo, but add that, if you're just starting out in these studies, Aurobindo's writing can be a little intimidating. I can also recommend two books that I have read and loved: Abinash Chandra Bose's Hymns from the Vedas (with some beautifully-translated hymns, as well as analyses), and William Mahony's The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination.

    Regarding Soma: You are correct in that it is a very sacred concept. Yajvan has given us two beautiful threads on this topic, What of This Soma? and the more recent Śiva and the Moon.

    (If you'd like to read more from me, I've written elsewhere about the early British translators and the problems of translating Veda into English, and given excerpts from the works of Bose and Mahony. I'm posting these links, not to promote my own writing or website, but to avoid copying long paragraphs of explanation here.)

    I hope that your studies bear much spiritual fruit.

    Indraneela
    ===
    Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
    Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    Quote Originally Posted by Indraneela View Post
    NamastÚ,


    I agree with Shuddhasattva in recommending Aurobindo, but add that, if you're just starting out in these studies, Aurobindo's writing can be a little intimidating. I can also recommend two books that I have read and loved: Abinash Chandra Bose's Hymns from the Vedas (with some beautifully-translated hymns, as well as analyses), and William Mahony's The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination.

    Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
    Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.[/FONT]
    Namaste All,
    Yes I think later today I will search the resources you note on eBay. Aurobindo, Abinash Chandra Bose, William Mahony...

    Well worded by the way, the help is appreciated.

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    Re: Advanced Studies Rig (Rik) Veda

    be careful with indologists.read indian commentory by indians who know the significance of vedas
    तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
    उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्वदर्शिनः ॥

    उस ज्ञान को तू तत्वदर्शी ज्ञानियों के पास जाकर समझ, उनको भलीभाँति दण्डवत्* प्रणाम करने से, उनकी सेवा करने से और कपट छोड़कर सरलतापूर्वक प्रश्न करने से वे परमात्म तत्व को भलीभाँति जानने वाले ज्ञानी महात्मा तुझे उस तत्वज्ञान का उपदेश करेंगे. श्रीमद्*भगवद्*गीता-4.34

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