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The Rig Veda: An Anthology of One Hundred Eight Hymns (Penguin Classics) 2000th Edition
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Upon inspection, the "new edition" is revealed to be one of Penguin's cosmetic re-packagings to make the whole line uniform (and mostly quite handsome), and not one of the revised editions which have also been appearing as part of the same project. I offer here, with some modifications, my review of the 1981 edition (itself previously reissued in a larger format, with new cover art, some years ago, but also not otherwise changed).
Meanwhile, I suggest trying the Amazon page for the older edition of "The Rig Veda: An Anthology..." if you are interested in a variety of responses by over a dozen other reviewers. And, again, don't let the title and name variations suggest that they are different books, of exactly the same length, from the very same publisher! (As a matter of fact, the actual front-cover title of these editions has been just "The Rig Veda" all along.)
Under any form of her name, Wendy Doniger is a distinguished interpreter and translator of Vedic and classical Sanskrit texts, and of Indian religions in general. Her books are often witty, and at times quite dense with detail.Read more ›
(1) An accurate translation of the Vedas as far as we know.
(2) A product of Orientalism.
(3) Relatively unpolluted by ideology (as far as the translation itself goes).
This text is not:
(1) A guide to how the Vedas were used in classical India.
(2) An accurate commentary on how Hindus view the Vedas.
(4) A representative summary of the Vedas, although it does have the few very famous Vedas which Hindus would memorize even today.
It's not a bad edition and I award it 5 stars. Ignore the commentary.
A re-issue by Penguin, listed by Amazon with the simpler title of "The Rig Veda," and a new cover design and art, but no other changes, has appeared (September 2005) as by Wendy Doniger; I have offered a new version of this review with it, with some different emphases, and have also reviewed a Kessinger e-book of the old R.T.H. Griffiths "complete" translation. (Well, really complete, IF you can read Latin, and if you find an unlisted appendix -- Griffiths took some care not to offend Victorian sensibilities, and Kessinger was a little careless.)
Secondly, under any form of the names, Wendy Doniger is a distinguished interpreter and translator of Vedic and classical Sanskrit texts, and of Indian religions in general. Her books are often witty, and at times quite dense with detail. She fully appreciates the playfulness of many versions of Hindu stories of the gods. ("Play" being in fact an explicit theme in some of them.)
In this volume she presents a selection of very ancient poems, in quite readable translations, and backs them up with detailed interpretive and bibliographic notes.Read more ›
If anyone wants to read a proper anthology of the RigVeda, I recommend the english rendition of a Sanskrit anthological (121 hymns) work of T.V. Kapali Sastry by Prof. R.L. Kashyap. This book is available in the US.
I approached this book with higher anticipations because the publisher 'Penguin classics' has never let me down before. But now it has. The author is not to be blamed. A subject as complex as the vedas not only needs an in-depth knowledge about devanagiri (sanskrit) script, but also cultural, social and religious connections to the verses. A mere analytical translation with the help of previous (more complex) translations is not going to do any justice. That's what has been done in this book. The verses have been mis-interpreted, verses have been taken out of context and the end result is a very skewed vision of Rig veda.
I wouldn't recommend it to any of my hindu or non-hindu friends. If your quest is knowledge, I would advise you to learn sanskrit, go to the original text and interpret it yourself (which is what i intend to do). An easy alternative is to read a translation by an Indian scholar (preferably sanskrit pundit). A translation by an Indian scholar would put you in perspective if you don't mind the crudeness of the english.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great to have a classic work of Hinduism explained by an expert like Wendy Doniger, who wrote The Hindus.Published 16 months ago by Jon C. Stout
Rig Veda. Gensesis
HYMN CXXIX. Creation.
1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered in, and where? Read more
Don't Ban it, because that will just make people more intrigued. Instead, boycott it and continue to spread the message that it is rubbish, shoddy work, by a privileged white,... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Harry Peters
In fact I wanted to give negative stars for this excuse of a scholarly book as this book does a great disservice to Rig Veda. Penguin should come out with better translactions. Read morePublished 20 months ago by A reader
first off there is no indo European these are white ethnocentric lies. for 1 there is no proof nor evidence and 2. Read morePublished 22 months ago by MedievaL
Not knowing anything about the work, I foolishly assumed the 108 selected hymns represented a major part of the work. Read more
"To this day there is no internally consistent and coherent interpretation of the Vedas."
- quoted from "The Celestial Key to the Vedas" by B. Read more