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Rig Veda Samhita Mandala – 1: Part One (Sukta-s 1-50)

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Back of the Book Dr. R. L. Kashyap is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana in USA. He had his Master’s degree from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and obtained Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the recipient of many International awards. In 2003 he has received Vedanga Vidvan award instituted by Maharshi Sandipani Vedavidya Pratishthan (Ujjain), an autonomous body of HRD, Govt. of India and ‘Ji‘1ana...
Back of the Book

Dr. R. L. Kashyap is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana in USA. He had his Master’s degree from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and obtained Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the recipient of many International awards. In 2003 he has received Vedanga Vidvan award instituted by Maharshi Sandipani Vedavidya Pratishthan (Ujjain), an autonomous body of HRD, Govt. of India and ‘Ji‘1anaKeerti’ award instituted by Harsha Kriya Foundation, Bangalore.

He has authored more than 350 research articles of which 220 are published in scholarly journals and the rest were presented at conferences. He has guided over 50 doctoral students.

He has written extensively on Veda. Some of his widely read books on Veda are : Krishna Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita (3 Volumes), ‘Rig Veda Samhita – (12 volumes) ‘Why Read Rig Veda, 'Rudra mantras, ‘Essentials of Rig Veda, Essentials of Yajur Veda, {Essentials of Sama Veda’, Essentials of Atharva Veda, ' Work Enjoyment & Progress.

He is the Honorary Director of Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture, Bangalore.



I am indeed happy to pen this ’Foreword’ to the Rig Veda Samhita: First Mandala (Part One), published by SAKSI.

Many of you all know that Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture (SAKSI) is primarily engaged (among other objectives) in disseminating the Vedic (traditional) knowledge to the common man for harmonizing both the spiritual and worldly aspects of (life in a humble way. As of now the number of their publications has crossed 130.

The important aspect to be noted here is that the target reader is the common man and not the well-read scholar. Further the institution has drawn inspiration from the great spiritual savants and scholars like Sri Aurobindo, Sri Kapali Sastry and the like, all of whom were the strong advocates of enabling the most as the must of the hour. We, at the Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote, (which is also engaged in similar tasks and has to its credit of over 75 publications) take pride in associating with the noble task of SAKSI through our contribution in the form of priming the research/translation works of the Professor Emeritus Vedanga Vidwan Dr. R. L. Kashyap related to different ‘Samhitas’ of Rig & Yajur Vedas in English & Kannada to begin with.

This book contains the text and translation and notes on all the mantra-s in the first fifty sukta—s of the First Mandala of Rig Veda Samhita. These 599 mantras introduce the main topics in the entire Rig Veda. The basis of Kashyap’s work is the well known Bhashya in Samskrt on these 50 sukta—s with the title, Siddhanjana, by Sri T. V. Kapali Sastry. I am sure this publication will be well received by the readers who have inclination to join the great spiritual movement individually and collectively.

For the kind information of the readers of the series, we wish to inform that it is our joint endeavour that all the 10 Mandalas will be released one by one. There are several interesting essays in this book dealing with the symbolism of the Gods, Yajna and the overview of Rig Veda based on the ideas of Sri Aurobindo.


The Uniqueness of this book

This book is designed to satisfy the needs and curiosities of a variety of readers, not limited to academics or scholars. It responds to a strong need felt by many lovers of Veda for a translation of Rig Veda which focuses on the psychological/ spiritual messages contained in it. In particular the translation of a mantra refers to mantra—s elsewhere having a similar message echoing the saying, ‘Rig Veda reveals its own secrets’.

The English translation is accessible to one who may not know Sanskrit at all. The innovation in this third edition is to recognize that every Veda mantra in Sanskrit can be divided into 3 or 4 parts known as pada—s; usually each pada has its own well-defined share of the meaning of the mantra. What is done in this edition is to number the pada—s in each mantra and give the separate translation of each pada separately. Moreover the translation of each pada is done so that it takes no more than one line of the page. Thus the translation of each mantra has a sort of poetic structure with three or four lines, without any rhyme. The text of the mantra in Devanagari script is displayed in its numbered parts. An interested person can connect the Sanskrit text and translation, since each pada has four or five words or less, and one can figure out to see the meaning of the various words in the pada. In the earlier editions, the pada structure was not recognized, and the word by word meaning was given.

This book has several essays which introduce the contents of Rig Veda to the beginner, but is of great help to the proficient also. The essay (v) has been an eye—opener to many persons. Rig Veda was regarded as a book of rituals by some so—called traditional scholars who read the Veda casually. Professor S.K. Ramachandra Rao’s essay (v) highlights the reasons for regarding Rig Veda as a preeminently spiritual document or revelation. The next essay (vi) gives 30 aphorisms which crisply state the secrets in the Veda. In framing the Samskrta aphorisms, S.K.R. is using the language used by T.V. Kapali Sastry in his Siddhanjana, mentioned below in the essay (xv). The aphorisms in Samskrta are given in the appendix 2 at the end of the book.

The essay (vii) gives a brief overview of Rig Veda clarifying the roles of devata and metre. Essay (x) details the role of rishi-s and those occurring in this book. Essays (xi) and (xii) give an overview of the principal Gods or Cosmic powers of Rig Veda, as delineated by Sri Aurobindo and Kapali Sastry. For a serious understanding of Rig Veda as a book of psychological and spiritual wisdom a minimal understanding of the powers of Gods is absolutely necessary. Needless to say that these Gods should not be confused with their namesakes in the Purana books. Essays (xiii—xiv) discuss briefly the some keywords in Rig Veda.

The format of the book is designed to be user-friendly. Every sukta is assigned a title. Every mantra is assigned a title to reflect its content. All the titles of sukta—s are given in essay (viii).

For many verses, there is a section entitled, "Details", which gives more information on the meaning of some of the phrases in the translation, comparison with other translations and the reason for assigning the particular meanings to words in the verse.

Regarding the methodology of assigning the meanings of words, we refer to the book, ‘Semantics of Rig Veda’ (SAKSI). The list in essay (ix) groups the si1kta—s, by deity. Thus a reader who is interested in Agni can go directly to the relevant sukta-s. Moreover at the end of each Sukta, we give the pathway to the next Sukta of the same deity.

In this book we have used certain English words omitted in today’s abridged dictionaries. For instance consider the word, ‘summon’, i.e., ‘to call a person’. The person who summons is summoner; however this word is absent in today’s dictionaries. Similar words used are chanter (one who chants), showerer (one who showers gifts) etc.

This book has 597 mantra-s of the Mandala One. The work on the remaining 1409 mantra-s of Mandala is in two books, ‘Rig Veda Samhita, Mandala One (part two)’ and ‘Rig Veda Samhita, Mandala One (part three).’


Foreword – To the Preliminary Edition

There was without doubt a good reason for Dr. Kashyap to have planned this publication. While books on Vedas are flooding the market, wisdom in most of these books is conspicuous by its absence. The discernable approach in them is mainly intellectual, savoured generously by critical and analytical tendencies. They treat the Vedas as merely literary pieces or as little more than aids to reconstruct a bygone age; the language has been studied, the narration has been pressed for historical or cultural information, and the religious or philosophical overtones have been noted. But the most distinguishing feature of the Vedas has largely been missed: the Vedas by their very intent are coded documents of mystic visions. The one modern authority that emphasized this aspect of Vedic study was Sri Aurobindo: and the one saintly scholar who commented in Sanskrit on the Veda—s, inspired by Sri Aurobindo, is T.V. Kapali Sastry. Dr. Kashyap has here undertaken to present to the English- knowing world the approach of Sri Aurobindo and Kapali Sastry, which is not only characteristically Indian but in close conformity with the visions of the seers themselves.

The present publication has been planned meticulously. It presents the first ashtaka of Rig Veda Samhita for which Kapali Sastry prepared his excellent commentary known as ‘Siddhanjana’. After an elaborate, erudite and insightful introduction, individual mantra-s have been taken up: the text has been given in the original (with svara-markings), the words have been separately translated in English, and a running translation of the entire mantra based on Kapali Sastry’s Sanskrit commentary has been appended. The significance of special words used in the mantra is also indicated. But the most useful guide to the reader here is the title which prefaces the running translation of each mantra. Short, cryptic and appropriate, the title suggests the general import, the hidden meaning and the essential spirit. The book therefore is a valuable contribution towards understanding the Vedic wisdom aright.

It may not be improper here to recall briefly the esoteric framework in which Kapali Sastry’s commentary becomes relevant, for this is the principal justification for the present publication. The appended essay entitled, “Spiritual Interpretation of the Veda: an Introduction” is based on the Sanskrit work of T.V. Kapali Sastry entitled bhumika to his commentary siddhanjana. I have also expressed the key ideas in the form of thirty Sanskrit aphorisms Vedagudarthabodha sutrani using Kapali Sastry’s own words. An English translation of three aphorisms is also included in this essay.

It remains for me to express once again my sincere appreciation for the present publication, planned and prepared by Dr. R.L. Kashyap, and which will greatly benefit the earnest students and the discerning scholars and which aims to reveal the mystic teaching of the Veda as discovered by Sri Aurobindo in the words of Kapali Sastry.




i Foreword by the Revered Bhashyam Swamiji v
ii Acknowledgements vi
iii The uniqueness of this book vii
iv Foreword by Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao ix
v Spiritual Interpretation of Veda: An introduction (Prof. S.K.R.) x
vi The secret of the Veda in Aphorisms xvi
vii Overview of Rig Veda xix
viii Titles of Sukta’s: 1-50 xxiii
ix Deities in Sukta’s: 1-50 xxiv
x Rishis of the Sukta’s: 1-50 xxv
xi Overview of the 50 Sukta’s xxvii
xii Overview of the power of the Gods xxx
xiii Symbolism of the Gods xxxii
xiv Yajna xxxiii
xv The sources of this translation xxxvi
xvi Some Common Words xxxvii
xvii Abbreviations xxxx
I. Text, Translation and Notes for 599 mantra’s  
Sukta-s Rishi Page
1-11 Madhuchchhanda and Jeta 1
12-23 Medhatithi 78
24-30 Shunahshepa 143
31-35 Hiranyastupa 185
36-43 Kanva 228
44-50 Praskanva 271
II. Appendics  
1. References 309
2. Aphorisms 313
3. Subject Index 315
4. Index of Sanskrit Words 336
5. Note on Transliteration 341
6. Concordance with Other Veda Samhitas 343


Sample Pages

Item Code: NAB794 Author: R L Kashyap Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2013 Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic Culture. ISBN: 8179940853 Language: Text in Devanagari, Translation and Notes Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 388 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 482 gms
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