Atharva - Veda means 'the Veda of the Atharvan' or 'the knowledge of Magic Formulas'. Originally, however, the word meaning 'fire priest', dates back to the Indo-Iranian period. It is a collection of 731 hymns, which contain about 6,000 verses, in the recension which is best preserved. The great importance of the Atharva - Veda Samhita lies in the very fact that it is an invaluable source of knowledge of the real popular belief as yet uninfluenced by the priestly religion, of the faith in numberless spirits, imps, ghosts, and demons of every kind, and of the witchcraft, so eminently important to ethnology and for the history of religion.
This work includes in the first place, critical notes upon the text, giving the various readings of the manuscripts, and not alone of those collated by Whiney in Europe, but also of those of the apparatus used by S. P. Pandit in the great Bombay edition; second, the readings of Paippalada of Kashmere version, furnished by the late Professor Roth; further, notice of the corresponding passages in all the other Vedic texts, with report of the various readings; the data of the Hindu scholiast respecting authorship, divinity, and metre of each verse; also references to the ancillary literature, especially to the well-edited Kausika and Vaitana Sutras, with account of the ritualistic use therein made of the hymns or parts of hymns, so far as this appears to cast any light upon their meaning; also, extracts from the printed commentary; and finally, a simple literal translation with introduction and indices.
William Dwight Whitney (1827-1894) studied Sanskrit for three years in Germany, and gained wide reputation for his scholarship in this field. At Yale University, he became professor of Sanskrit in 1854, adding comparative philology in 1869. He became secretary to the American Oriental Society in 1857 and its president in 1884. He was editor-in-chief of the first edition of the respected Century Dictionary, published in 1889.
Whitney revised definitions for the 1864 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary, and in 1869 became a founder and first president of the American Philological Association. He wrote metrical translations of the Vedas, and numerous papers on the Vedas and linguistics, many of which were collected in the Oriental and Linguistic Studies Series (1872-74). He wrote several books on language, and grammar textbooks of English, French, German, and Sanskrit.
Whitney’s labors on the Atharva-Veda. – As early as March, 1851, at Berlin, during Whitney’s first semester as a student in Germany, his teacher Weber was so impressed by his scholarly ability as to suggest to him the plan of editing an important Vedic text. The impression produced upon Roth in Tubingen by Whitney during the following summer semester was in no wise different, and resulted in the plan for a joint editing began accordingly upon his return Berlin for his second winter semester. His fundamental autograph transcript of the Atharva-Veda Samhita is contained in his Collation-Book, and appears from the dates of that book to have been made in short interval between October, 1851, and March, 1852. The second summer in Tubingen (1852) was doubtless spent partly in studying the text thus copied, partly in planning with Roth the details of the method of editing, partly in helping to make the tool, so important for further progress, the index of Rig-Veda pratikas, and so on; the concordance of the four principle Samhitas, in which, to be sure, Whitney’s party was only “a secondary one,” was issued under the date November, 1852. During the winter of 1852-3 he copied the Praticakhya and its commentary contained in the Berlin codex (Weber, No. 361), as is stated in his edition, p. 334. As noted below (pp. xliv, I), the collation of the Paris and Oxford and London manuscripts of the Atharvan Samhita followed in the spring and early summer of 1853, just before his return (in August) to America. The copy of the text for the printer, made with exquisite neatness in nagari letter by Mr. Whitney’s hand, is still preserved.
The Edition of the text or “First volume.” - The first part of the work, containing book i.-xix of the appeared in Berlin with a provisional preface date February, 1855. The provisional preface announces that the text of book xx. will not be given in full, but only the Kuntapa-hymns, and, for the rest of it, merely reference to the Rig-Veda; and promises, as the principal contents of the second part, seven of the eight items of accessory material enumerated below.- This plan, however, was changed, and the second part appeared in fact as a thin Heft of about 70 pages, giving book xx. in full, and that only. To it was prefixed a half-sheet containing the definitive preface and a new title-page. The definitive preface is dated October, 1856, and adds an eight item, exegetical notes, to the promises of the provisional preface. The new title-page ahs the words “Erster Band. Text,” thus implicitly promising a second volume, in which, according to the definitive preface, the accessory material was to be published.
Relation of this work to the “First volume” and to this Series. – Of the implicit promise of that title-page, the present work is intended to complete the fulfillment. As most of the labor the first volume had fallen to Whitney, so most of the labor upon the projected “second was of have been done by Roth. In fact, however, it turned out that Roth’s very great services for the criticism and exegesis of this Veda took a different from, and are embodied on the on hand in his contributions to the St. Petersburg Lexicon, and consist on the other in his brilliant discovery of the Kashmirian recension of this Veda and his collations of the text thereof with that of the Vulgate. Nevertheless, as is clearly apparent (page xvii), Whitney thought and spoke of this work as a “Second volume of the Roth-Whitney edition of the Atharva-Veda,” and called it “our volume” in writing to Roth (cf. p. lxxxvi); and letters exchanged between the two friends in 1894 discuss the question whether the “Second volume” ought not to be published by the same house (F. Dummler’s) that issued the first in 1856. It would appear from Whitney’s last letter to Roth (written April 10, 1894, shortly before his death), that he had determined to have the work published in the Harvard Series, and Roth’s last letter to Whitney (dated April 23) expresses his great satisfaction at this arrangement. This plan had the cordial approval of my friend Henry Clarke Warren, and, while still in relatively fair healthy, he generously gave to the University the money to pay for the printing.
External from of this work. – It is on account of the relation just explained, and also in deference to Whitney’s express wishes, that the size of the printed page of this work and the size of the paper have been chosen to much those of the “First volume.” The pages have been numbered continuously from 1 to 1009, as if this work were indeed one volume; but, since it was expedient to separate the work into two halves in binding, I have done so and designated those halves as volumes seven and eight of the Harvard Oriental Series. The volume are substantially bound and properly lettered; the leaves are open at the front; and the top is cut without spoiling the margin. The purpose of the inexpensive gilt top is not for ornament, but rather to save the volumes from the injury by dirt and discoloration which is so common with ragged hand-cut tops. The work has been electrotyped, and will thus, it is hoped, be quite free from the blemished occasioned by the displacement of letters, the breaking off of accents, and the like.
PLATES, ONE IN EACH VOLUME OF THE WORK
Portrait of Whtney, facing page
Facsimile of Kashmirian text, birch-bark leaf a, just before page
PREFATORY AND BIOGRAPHICAL AND RELATED MATTER
Paragraphs in lieu of a preface by Whitney
Announcement of this work
Statement of its plan and scope and design
The purpose and limitations and method of the translation
Whiney's labors on the Atharva-Veda
The edition of the text or the "First Volume"
Relation of this work to the "First volume"
And to this Series
External form of this work
Its general scope as determined by previous promise and fulfilment
Of the critical notes in particular
Scope of the work as transcending previous promise
Evolution form of this work
Partial rewriting and revision by Whitney
Picking up the broken threads
Relation of the editor's work to that of the author
Parts for which the author is not responsible
The General Introduction, Part I.: by the editor
The same, Part II. : elaborated in part from the author's material
The editor's special introduction to the eighteen books,
The special introductions to the hymns: additions by the editor
His bibliography of previous translations and discussions: contained in
The paragraphs beginning with the word "Translated"
Added special introductions to the hymns of book etc.
Other editorial additions at the beginning and the end of hymns
Other additions of considerable extent
The seven tables appended to the later volume of this work
Unmarked minor additions and other minor changes
The marked minor additions and other minor changes
The revision of the author's additions and other minor changes
Accentuation of words
Orthography of Anglicized proper names
Editorial short-comings and the changes of error
The biographical and related matter
General significance of Whitney's work
Need of a systematic commentary on the Rig-Veda
The Century Dictionary of the English Language
Human personality and the progress of science
The same in English verse and in Sanskrit verse
Biographical and related matter
Brief sketch of whitney's life: by the editor
Estimate of Whitney's character and the services: by the editor
Select list of Whitney's writings: by Whitney
GENERAL INTRODUCTION, PART I. : BY THE EDITOR
Scope of this Part of the Introduction
Scope of the reports of the variant readings
The term "manuscripts" often used loosely for "authorities"
Which authorities are both manuscripts and oral reciters.
Difficulty of verifying statements as to authorities
Readings of European manuscripts of the Vulgate recension
Reports include mss. collated, some before, and some after publication. Interpretation of the records of the Collation-Book
Readings of Indian manuscripts of the Vulgate.
By "Indian mss" are meant those used by S. P. Pandit
His reports not exhaustive
Readings of Indian oral reciters of the Vulgate
By "Indian oral reciters" are meant those employed by S. P. Pandit
Errors of the eye checked by oral reciters
Readings of the Hindu commentator
The critical value and the range of his variant readings
Excursus: Was he identical with Sayana of the Rig-Veda?
Readings of the Pada-patha
Reported in Index Verborum, and since published in full
Illustrations of its deficiencies
In verb-compounds and various other combinations
The Praticakhya and its commentary
Character of Whitney's editions of the Praticakhyas
Their bearing upon the orthography and criticism of the text
Utilization of the Atharvan Praticakhya for the present work
The Anukramanis: "Old" and "Major"
More than one Anukramani extant
The Pancapatalika or "Old Anukr" or "Quoted Anukr"
The Brhatsarvanukramani or "Major Anukr."
Text-critical value of the Anukramanis
The author of the Major Anukr. as a critic of meters
His statements as to the seers of the hymns (quasi-authorship)
The Kaucika-Sutra and the Vaitana-Sutra
The work of Garbe and Bloomfield and Caland
Bearing of Sutras upon criticism of structure and text of Samhita
Grouping of mantra-material in Sutra and in Samhita compared
Many difficulties of the Kaucika yet unsolved.
Value of the Sutras for the exegesis of the Samhita
Kaucika no good warrant for dogmatism in the exegesis of Samhita
Integer vitae as a Christian funeral-hymn
Secondary adaptation of mantras to incongruous ritual uses
Readings of the Kashmirian or Paippalada recension
Its general relations to the Vulgate or Caunakan recension
- A rigorously precise transliteration
- Marginal references to the Vulgate parallels
- Index of Vulgate verses thus noted on the margin
- Accessory material: conjectures, notes, translations
The unique birch-bark manuscript thereof (perhaps about A.D. 1519)
Roth's Kashmirian nagari transcript (Nov. 1874)
Arrival (1876) of the birch-bark original at Tubingen
Roth's collation (june 1884) of the Paippalada text
The facsimile of the birch-bark original(1901)
Roth's Collation not exhaustive
Faults of the birch-bark manuscript
Collation not controlled by constant reference to the birch-bark ms.
Such reference would have ruined the birch-bark ms
Care taken in the use of Roth's Collation. Word-division
Kashmirian readings not controlled directly from the facsimile
Provisional means for such control: the concordance
Excursus: The requirements for an edition of the Paippalada:
Readings of the Parallel texts
The texts whose readings are reported
The method of reporting aims at the utmost accuracy
Completeness of the reports far from absolute
Reports presented in well-digested form
Whitney's Commentary: further discussions of its critical elements
Comprehensiveness of its array of parallels
Criticism of Specific readings
Illustrations of classes of text-errors
Auditory errors, Surd and sonant. Twin consonants
Visual errors. Haplography
Metrical faults. Hypermetric glosses, and so forth
Whitney's Translation and the interpretative elements of the Commentary
The translation: general principles governing the method thereof
The translation not primarily an interpretation, but a literal version
A literal version as against a literary one
Interpretative elements: captions of the hymns
Interpretations by Whitney
Exegetical notes contributed by Roth
The translation has for its underlying text that of the berlin edition
This is the fact even in cases of corrigible corruptions
Cases of departure from the text of the Berlin edition
Whitney's growing skepticism and correspondingly rigid literalness
Poetic elevation and humor
Abbreviations and signs explained
General scope of the list: it includes not only
The downright or most arbitrary abbreviations, but also
The abbreviated designations of books and articles
Explanation of arbitrary signs:
Parentheses; square brackets.
Ell-brackets ; hand.
Small circle; Italic colon; Clarendon letters a, b, c, etc.
Alphabetic list of abbreviations
Tabular view of translations and native comment
Previous translations -Native comment
Chronologic sequence of previous translations and discussions
GENERAL INTRODUCTION, PART II: PARTLY FROM WHITNEY'S MATERIAL
Contents of this Part
Authorship of this Part
Description of the manuscripts used by Whitney
The brief designations of his manuscripts (sigla cadicum)
Synoptic table of the manuscripts used by him
Table of the Berlin manuscripts of the Atharva-Veda
Whitney's critical description of his manuscripts:
Manuscripts used before publication of the text (B. P. M. W. E. I. H., Bp. BP.2)
Manuscripts collated after publication of the text (O. R. T. K.; Op. D. Kp.)
The Stanza cam no devir abhistaye as opening stanza
As initial stanza of the text in the Kashmirian recension
As initial stanza of the Vulgate text
Whitney's Collation-Book and his collations
Description of the two volumes that form the Collation-Book
Whitney's fundamental transcript of the text
Collations made before publication of the text
The Berlin collations
The Paris and Oxford and London collations
Collations made after publication (made in 1875 or later)
Haug, Roth, Tanjore, Deccan, and Bikaner mss
Other contents of the Collation-Book
Repeated versed in the manuscripts
Abbreviated by pratika with addition of ity eka etc.
List of repeated verses or verse-groups
Further details concerning the pratika and the addition
Refrains and the like in the manuscripts
Written out in full only in first and last verse of a sequence
Treated by the Anukramani as if unabbreviated
Usage of the edition in respect of such abbreviated passages
Marks of accentuation in the manuscripts
Berlin edition uses the Rig-Veda method of making accents
Dots for lines as accent-marks
Marks for the independent svarita
Horizontal stroke for svarita
Udatta marked by vertical stroke above, as in Maitrayani
Accent-marks in the Bombay edition
Use of a circle as avagraha-sign
Orthographic method pursued in the Berlin edition
Founded on the usage of the mss, but controlled by the Praticakhya
That treatise an authority only to a certain point
Its failure to discriminate between rules of wholly different value
Items of conformity to the Praticakhya and of departure therefrom
Transition-sounds: as in tan-t-sarvan
Final -n before c- and j-: as in pacyan janmani
Final -n before c-: as in yanc ca
Final -n before t-: as in tans te
Final -t before c-: as in asmac charavah
Abbreviation of consonant groups: as in pankti
Final -m and -n before l-: as in kan lokam
Visarga before st- and the like: as in ripu stenah
The Kampa-figures 1 and 3
The method of marking the accent
Metrical form of the Atharvan Samhita
Predominance of anustubh stanzas
Extreme irregularity of the metrical form
Apparent wantonness in the alteration of Rig-Veda material
To emend this irregularity into regulatiy is not licit
Divisions of the text
Summary of the various divisions
The (unimportant) division into prapathakas or 'lectures'
Their number and distribution and extent
Their relation to the anuvaka-division
- The (fundamental) division into kandas or 'books'
The division into anuvakas or 'recitations'
Their number, and distribution over books and grand divisions
Their relation to the hymn-divisions in books
The division into suktas or 'hymns'
The hymn-division not everywhere of equal value
- The division into rcas or 'verses'
- Subdivision of verses: avasanas, padas, and so forth
- The (unimportant) division into prapathakas or 'lectures'
The first and second and third "grand divisions"
Groupings of successive verses into units requiring special mention
Decad-suktas or 'decad-hymns'
Artha-suktas or 'sense-hymns'
Paryaya-suktas or 'period-hymns'
Differences of the Berlin and Bombay numerations in books vii and xix
Differences of hymn-numeration in the paryaya-books
Whitney's criticism of the numbering of the Bombay edition
Suggestion of a preferable method of numbering and citing
Differences of verse-numeration
Summations of hymns and verses at end of division
The summations quoted from the Pancapatalika
Indication of extent of division by reference to an assumed norm
Tables of verse-norms assumed by the Pancapatalika
The three "grand divisions" are recognized by the pancapatalika
Extent and structure of the Atharva-Veda Samhita Limits of the original collection
Books xix and xx are later additions
The two broadest principles of arrangement of books
1. Miscellaneity of unity of subject and 2. length of hymn
The three grand divisions (I., II., III.) as based on those principles
The order of the three grand divisions
Principles of arrangement of books within the grand division: 1. Normal length of the hymn for each of the several books.
2. The amount of text in each book. Table
Arrangement of the hymns within any given book
Distribution of hymns according to length in divisions I. and II. and III.
Tables (1 and 2 and 3) for those divisions
Grouping of hymns of book according to length
Table (number 4) for book xix
Summary of the four tables. Table number 5
Extent of AV. Samhita about one half of that RV.
First grand division: short hymns of miscellaneous subjects
Evidence of fact as to the existence of the verse-norms
Express testimony of both Anukramanis as to the verse-norms
One verse is the norm for book vii
Arrangement of books within the division:
1. With reference to the normal length of the hymns
Excursus: on hymn xix.23, Homage to parts of the Atharva-Veda
Exceptional character of book
Book vii. a book of after-gleanings supplementing books i.-vi.
2. Arrangement of books with reference to amount of text
Resume of conclusion as to the arrangement of books i.-vii.
Departures from the norms by excess
Critical significance of those departures
Illustrative examples of critical reduction to the norm
Arrangement of the hymns within any given book of this division
Second grand division: long hymns of miscellaneous subjects
Their hieratic character: mingled prose passages
Table of verse-totals for the hymns of division II.
General make-up of the material of this division
Order of books within the division: negative or insignificant conclusion
Order of hymns within any given book of this division
Possible reference to this division in hymn
Third grand division: books showing unity of subject
Division III. represented in Paippalada by a single book, book xviii
Names of the books of this division as given as given by hymn xix 23
Order of books within the division
Table of verse-totals for the hymns of division III.
Order of hymns within any given book of this division
Thy hymn-division of books xiii-xviii. and their value
Cross-references to explanation of abbreviations and so forth
To explanation of abbreviations
To explanation of abbreviated titles
To explanation of arbitrary signs
To key to the designations of the manuscripts
To synoptic tables of the manuscripts
To descriptions of the manuscripts
To table of titles of hymns
THE ATHARVA-VEDA SAMHITA: TRANSLATION AND NOTES
First Grand Division.
Five books of short hymns of miscellaneous subjects
Second Grand Division.
Five books of long hymns of miscellaneous subjects
Third Grand Division.Vishnu
Six books of long hymns, the books showing unity of subject
Book xiii: hymns to the Ruddy sun or Rohita (seer: Brahman)
Book xiv: wedding verses (seer: Savitri Surya)
Book xv: the Vratya (seer:-)
Book xvi: Paritta (seer: Prajapati?)
Book xvii: prayer to the sun as Indra and as (seer: Brahman)
Book xviii: funeral verses (seer: Atharvan)
Supplement. - Book XIX.
After-gleanings, chiefly from the traditional sources of division I.
Paippalada excerpts concerning book xx.
INDEXES AND OTHER AUXILLARY MATTER
The non-matrical passages of the Atharvan Samhita
Hymns ignored by the Kaucika-Sutra
The two methods of citing the Kaucika-Sutra
The discrepant hymn-numbers of the Berlin and Bombay editions
Palippalada passages corresponding to passages of the Vulgate
Primary use of the tabel, its genesis and character
Incidental uses of the table
Vulgate grand division III. and Palppalada book xviii
Conspectus of the contents of Paippalada book xviii. Explanation of the table
Manner of using the table
Whitney's English captions to his hymn-translations
They form an important element in his interpretation of this Veda
In tabular form, they give a useful conspectus of its subject-manner
Table of hymns-titles of Division II., books viii-xii
Table of hymns-titles of Division III., books xiii-xviii.
Table of hymns-titles of the Supplement, book xix
The names of the seers of the hymns
Whitney's exploitation of the Major Anukramani
Entire books of division III. ascribed each to a single seer
Prominence of Atharvan and Brahman as seers
Hymns of Atharvan and hymns of Augiras: possible contrast
Consistency in the ascriptions
Palpably fabricated ascriptions
Alphabetical index of seer-names and of passages ascribed to them
Brief index of names and things and words and places
An elaborate index uncalled for here
Alphabetical list of names and things
Alphabetical list of Sanskrit words
List of AV. Passages
Additions and corrections
Omissions and errors not easy to rectify in the electrotype plates
Item Code: IDD462 Author: WILLIAM DWIGHT WHITNEY Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2011 Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 8120810856 Size: 8.8" X 5.8" Pages: 1207 Other Details: weight of book 1.78
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