There are many conflicting views among the commentators and translators about the meaning of the hymns of the Rgveda. The readers and researchers very often get confused to know what is the actual purport of the mantras. It is therefore a desideratum that all the interpretations put for- ward by the commentators and modern exponents be comparatively studied and if possible reconciled.
Sayana himself interprets some words differently in different contexts. As the first step of the comparative study, it is proposed to examine critically his Rgveda- bhasya in comparison with other interpretations in order to arrive at certain conclusions.
India is a vast country of multilinear traditions where dissents from one ideology to another have been a process of change and continuity. Every tradition has been sustained in its own way. Many schools of interpretation were in vogue during Yaska’s time and they have maintained their continuity with certain changes in later periods too.
Therefore, whatever has been possible within the limited time and means, every- thing has been taken in to account in this humble attempt. Internal and external evidences, Grammar, Nirukta, philology, lexicons, etc. have come to much help here. It is believed that this humble but sincere effort, by a very eminent Vedic scholar, will open some new avenues in the field of the Rgvedic studies and hopefully will add something new in the method of historical interpretations.
Late Dr. Siddh Nath Shukla (M.A., Ph.D., Sagar) was a renowned Vedic scholar. He has worked as Lecturer / Reader at the Allahabad University 1978-84. He was appointed as a Visiting Fellow in Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla for the year 1971-75. Dr. Shukla has contributed more than twenty research papers on the Veda and Avesta, four books, viz Rgveda- cayanika, Veda aur Avesta, Vedamanjari and Atharvavediyabhumisukta. He breathed his last on November 6th, 1984.
Dr. Vijay Shankar Shukla is a Research officer in the Kalakosa Division, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. He did his M.A. in Vedic studies and worked for D.Phil. degree under the guidance of Prof H.S. Tripathi at the University of Allahabad. Dr. Shukla has contributed a research work, viz. Rgvedakalin Samaj aur Samskrti and several research papers, Be- sides Rgvedic Studies he takes interest in Astronomy, Astrology, Avestan studies and textual criticism.
After the sad demise of my late lamented father Dr. Siddh Nath Shukla on November 6th, 1984, I collected all his works which were in different stages of preparation. At that time I was studying in the Allahabad University. Keeping these works in mind and also great affection to our culture and heritage, I opted for the Veda group in my M.A. final classes and ultimately completed the research on the Rgveda with a D. Phil degree. But after a long journey of fifteen years, I am not sure about my academic performance. I still recall the words of my late father that the whole life is not sufficient for the study of and research in the Rgveda. He had also quoted the line of Prof. E.V. Arnold that ‘The Rgveda is not a book, but rather a library and a literature’. I got inspiration with these texts and decided to start with this onerous task knowing my limitations and the responsibility involved, only in the spirit of fulfilling my sacred duty to carry out the wishes of my father whose affection has always been an abiding source of inspiration and encouragement to me.
I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to Prof. Baidya Nath Saraswati, UNESCO Professor in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, (IGNCA) New Delhi and Pandit Satkari Mukhopadhyaya, Coordinator, Kalakosa Division of the IGNCA for their inspiration and invaluable help to publish this book. In fact publication of this volume has become possible only due to Pandit Mukhopadhyaya ji. I am fortunate enough to work with both the scholars at the Centre. I sincerely thank Shri B.L. Bansal, proprietor of the Sharada Publishing House and M/ s Neographics for their promptness in publishing this book.
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