- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; 2000 edition edition (January 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140444025
- ISBN-13: 978-0140444025
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 40 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,010,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Rig Veda: An Anthology of One Hundred Eight Hymns (Penguin Classics) 2000 edition Edition
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Text: English (translation)
About the Author
Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, and the translator of numerous Sanskrit texts including the Laws of Manu, and Kamasutra. Wendy Doniger holds doctoral degrees in Indian literature from Harvard and Oxford Universities and is the Mircea Eliade Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. Her publications include The Rig Veda and The Laws of Manu for the Penguin Classics, and the acclaimed Kama Sutra for OUP
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For anyone who wishes a contemporary and historical-critical abridgement of the Rig Veda, it seems that Doniger's work will do. Indeed, it will have to do, for I can find nothing in English equivalent to it, and Doniger should be thanked for her efforts. I should tell devout Hindus that I am aware of the limitations of the historical-critical method with respect to what is held to be Scripture - the limitation, while providing the _Sitz im Leben_ of a text in its past, of _leaving_ that text in that past. Yet this method also has its virtues. Indeed, if this abridgement has any faults, it is that I would have liked to have read even more about the culture of the Rig Veda's authors. I would also have liked to have learned more about the period's liturgical practice, for the Rig Veda, like the Psalms, is a collection of hymns to be used in the liturgy. In particular, Was the sacrifice _do ut des_? Did the liturgy have implications beyond _do ut des_, such as (like the Catholic-Orthodox _cultus_) a _mysterion_, i.e. an actual participation is the life of the god? And then there's Soma: drug culture or Eucharistic?
These reservations aside, and they are minor reservations, and with the proviso that I can in no way evaluate the fidelity of her translation, still no reader can complain about Doniger's annotation. She has chosen 108 hymns; it seems that the majority are from Books I and X. Each hymn has a brief preface, and then is copiously footnoted. At the end of her work, she has provided a glossary and index combined, a list of the hymns both by book and by opening Sanskrit phrase, and comments made on other translations and on bibliography.
Doniger did this work in the latter third of the 20th Century, and two of that century's hot topics, women's issues and sex, are slightly accentuated, but never overdone. Nor does she disparage overtly other religions. This work as a whole seems scholarly, and is certainly at the same time user-friendly.
Now let's pray that a scholarly historical-critical translation into English of the entire Rig Veda will soon appear - one just as well annotated.
(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.
This book was a required text for a class on Priests, Warriors, and Ascetics in Ancient India. Doniger's Rig Veda was an excellent resource in this course. The one controversial point regarding this book is the interpretation of the ephedrine ritual juice, Soma, as a hallucinogen. I would recommend this book to individuals interested in the study of religion in Ancient India.
Most recent customer reviews
Not knowing anything about the work, I foolishly assumed the 108 selected hymns represented a major part of the work.Read more
- quoted from "The Celestial Key to the Vedas" by B.Read more