Rig-Veda


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Rig-Veda

(rĭg-vā`də): see VedaVeda
[Sanskrit,=knowledge, cognate with English wit, from a root meaning know], oldest scriptures of Hinduism and the most ancient religious texts in an Indo-European language.
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Rig-Veda

 

(Book of Hymns), a collection of chiefly religious hymns that appeared among Aryan tribes at the time of their migration to India. The hymns were composed in dialects grouped under the term “Vedic Sanskrit.” The Rig-Veda is the first known example of Indian literature and the oldest and most significant of the Vedas. The tenth century B.C. is traditionally accepted as the time in which the Rig-Veda received its finished form, but some of the hymns evidently date to the middle of the second millennium B.C. The Rig-Veda includes 1,028 hymns in ten books or cycles (mandalas), of which the second through seventh are the oldest. The authorship of each is ascribed to a particular priestly family: individual authorship of hymns cannot be determined.

The hymns of the Rig-Veda are primarily prayers addressed to the gods of the Aryan tribes. The gods personify various natural phenomena, and their images sometimes reflect very early stages in the creation of the myth. Some of the hymns are not directly connected with the rituals for which the collection as a whole was compiled. The cosmogonic hymns, chiefly in the tenth book, attest to the beginning of the development of philosophic thought in India. Approximately 20 hymns take the form of dialogues, which can be interpreted as the beginnings of drama. Many of the hymns contain valuable historical material.

The Rig-Veda was the culmination of a lengthy tradition of professional poetic creation. Its text attests to a high tradition of versification and a developed system of expressive devices in poetical language. The work is valuable for the study of the most ancient mythology and the early stages of literary development in India. In the mid-19th century, research on the Rig-Veda contributed to the development of comparative mythology (by M. Müller, R. Roth, and others). The mythology of the Rig-Veda finds its greatest number of parallels in the Avesta. A common origin is seen in a number of images in the Vedic and Greek pantheons (Dyaush and Zeus, Ushas and Eos, Gandharvas and the centaur) and in the myths of other Indo-European peoples.

EDITION

Die Hymnen des Rigveda, 3rd ed., vols. 1–2. Edited by T. Aufrecht. Berlin, 1955.

TRANSLATIONS

“Iz oblasti vediiskoi poezii: Gimny.” Translated from Sanskrit by B. Larin. Vostok, 1924, book 4.
Rigveda: Izbrannye gimny. Translation, commentaries, and introduction by T. Ia. Elizarenkova. Moscow, 1972.
Der Rig-Veda: Aus dem Sanscrit ins Deutsche. Übersetzung von K. F. Geldner, parts 1–4. Cambridge-London-Leipzig, 1951–57.
Rigveda-samhita, Translated by Vallathol, vols. 1-3. Travancore, 1955-57.

REFERENCES

Renou, L. Bibliographie védique. Paris, 1931.
Dandekar, R. N. Vedic Bibliography. Bombay, 1946.

V. G. ERMAN

References in periodicals archive ?
Further weaving together her varied symbols is a quote from the Rig-Veda, that "the Sun is either stallion or bird" (Dictionary of Symbols, 524).
The following mantra from Rig-Veda clearly explains this concept: "O ye mankind!
About Indra's fight with Harappa's Vrtra who is described as the Dragon, the Rig-Veda (Hymn xxxii) says: 'Whom sawest thou to avenge the Dragon, Indra that fear possessed thy heart when thou hadst slain him; that like a hawk affrighted through the regions, you crossedst nine and ninety flowing rivers'?
Thieme, Gedichte aus dem Rig-Veda (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1964), 66.
Grassmann's indispensable but much out of date Worterbuch zum Rig-Veda (1st ed., 1872).
Rajan Zed also read from Rig-Veda, oldest existing scripture of mankind, and Upanishads.
Quoting scriptures, Zed pointed out that ancient Manusmriti said: "Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit." Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of mankind) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as "mother of the gods", found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess.
Quoting scriptures, he pointed out that ancient Manusmriti said: "Where women are revered, there the gods are pleased; where they are not, no rite will yield any fruit." Number of Rig-Veda (oldest existing scripture of Hinduism) hymns were said to be composed by women, and Aditi, who was sometimes referred as "mother of the gods", found mention in Rig-Veda as a goddess.
Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, recited from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures.
How such a religion, which gave the world its oldest existing scripture Rig-Veda and yoga (practiced by about 16 million Americans), could be classified as a fringe group, he asked.
Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, will recite from Rig-Veda, the oldest scripture of the world still in common use, besides lines from Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), both ancient Hindu scriptures.
Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of the mankind, describes cow as aghnya (not slayable).