The Revered Mahatma Hansaraja ji has been the guiding spirit in the compilation of the present work which is itself a fruits of the pious wishes of the late Lala Ramlal Kapur, Sole Agent for the Punjab to the Titaghar Paper Mills Co., Bengal. His worthy sons, Ruplal, Hansaraja, Gyanachand and Pyarelal founded, in honour of their revered father, the Ram Lal Kapur Trust donating a decent amount o£ money towards it for the publication of Vedic works. Intended by the Trust, for circulation in Europe and elsewhere among English-knowing people, the present work was expected to cover not less than 450 pages of matter, but delay having occured on account of unforeseen and inevitable circumstances it has been found desirable to, divide the work into two parts terminating this first volume with thirteen verses from the Samaveda.
The second part, whenever, wherever and by whomsoever it may be published will contain a detailed critical introduction, some 200 Vedic verses in complete hymns, a full index as in this volume and additional notes. The introduction will contain an elaborate dissertation on Vedic accent also. T4us, the division of the work into two volumes inay be considered to be advantageous. But the publication of the second volume must be left to the remote future, though the matter is ready with me, for during these days of materialism and irreligion it is impossible to find publishers for such a work. Hence it is but just that I should heartily tnank the trustees of the Ram Lal Kapur Trust for spending, their fund 8 on such a risky venture. If this volume meets with a favourable reception at the hands of the English knowing public, the Ram Lal Kapur Trust themselves may soon help me to issue the second volume also.
This book is not intended for a casual, cursory reading. The holiday or leisure-hour reader of emotional and too often immoral fiction will find nothing in this volume to his taste. It is a religious book intended for the religious and devout seeker after God. It is a very serious work for very careful and serious study. One who seriously and attentively studies this volume win find one’s way open into the Temple of Vedic Literature. The many grammatical and exegetical details, if the reader tries to, understand and utilise them properly, will enable him to handle the most abstruse and difficult, questions in Vedic interpretation with full reliance and mastery. He who studies the notes will not need the help of the translation for he will himself be able to translate the Vedic verse concerned. Those who do not wish to read the notes may skip over them and read the translation itself which can be easily found out from the heading. The translation, it must be borne in ‘mind, is not an ordinary translation. It is a combination of both literal translation and paraphrase. The chief purpose of translation is to convey to the mind of an enquerer in his own idiom or in easier style, the sense of a passage in his own or a different language which he cannot understand. Hence, to substitute mere dictionary equivalents for words unintelligible in themselves cannot fulfil the purpose of translation. It is just for this reason that the translations of Vedic literature by European scholars and their Indian followers with which Vedic students the world over are provided, have failed to supply the wants of the times. ‘More than a century has passed since Europe got herself introduced into the Temple of Vedic Lore, but even now after such patient and anxious waiting on the part of the world, her sons have the boldness to tell us that Vedic literature is unintelligible and that the Vedas contain nothing but “lies”, “mad man’s raving” and children’s prattle”, with, a little scattering here and there of some truth and fine poetry! There never was a more lamentable and unpardonable bungling done on this side of the grave than what they call Vedic research by European Scholars and their Indian followers. Are they really incapable to understand the Vec1as, or are the Vedas unfit for human digestion? Bhartrhari answered the question for us. It is not the fault of the jewel if it is under- valued. The jewel is what it is. It is not its business to set down its own price.
The Vedas are not Indian; they belong to the whole world. The establishment of a world literary soviet is necessary for a sincere research into these most ancient records of humanity.
I am conscious that my translation is defective in many places, but all the same, it is a very sincere attempt to clearly convey the idea of the original to the mind of the reader. Having studied the notes and gone through the quotations along with a little patient search into similar passages, anyone will be able to correct my mistakes. The ancillary material is intended to clear and light the way and not to darken it. I have made, in other words, an honest effort, to explain things and not to “explain them away”. Hence no difficulty, of which I was conscious at the time of writing, have I wilfully evaded, but have squarely faced it and tried to clear it away. Hence it is that I was compelled to quote so many authorities.
There are three types of quotations in this book. The first are from the Vedas themselves and these alone are intended to Support bear out the interpretation. The second are from Sanskrit philosophical and other literature. These are brought in to expalin a passage merely and not to support or bear it out. It is for this purpose that the august Bhagavadgita is quoted. The beautiful versified translation of this noble work given in the volume is from the one published by Sadhu F.T. Brooks (an English man) from Madras. The third type of quotations are from the Bible, English Poetry, History &c. These are intended simply to illustrate the truths laid down in the Vedic verses. An attempt at comparative study of religion has also compelled me to allude to the Bible.
Wherever there is some sort of criticism, it should be understood, it is not my intention to hurt the feelings of any, one but simply to point out what I believe to be right and true.
No one will be more sorry than I myself for the innumerable typographical mistakes. It is silly and unjust to find fault with the’ press. The Navayuga press has done its very best. I am entirely responsible for and guilty of the horrible blunders. I have now come to know that there can be no “printer’s devils”- this is a mere hood-winking phrase-they are all devils of the writer’s and proof-reader’s making. As a proof-reader I have miserably failed. This is the first time in my life I have ever done any serious proof- reading, and I now know something of that, difficult art. I have, however, made a clean breast of the affair in the “Companion” in “Addenda et Corrigenda”, which the reader should have near at hand while reading the book. While issuing the second volume, if ever there is a demand for it, I am sure, I shall be able to minimise the mistakes to a surprising extent.
There must be many flaws in the “Errata” as well as the ‘appendices but the reader may find what is given quite enough for his purpose. These parts of the work were written in great hurry almost on the eve of publishing the book. Hence a full list of references to the Nighantu and Nirukta could not also be prepared.
The lack of an introduction to such a work is inexcusable. The writing of an introduction covering at least some thirty pages of matter dealing with all questions bearing on Vedic interpretation, required at least a month’s time since such a task demands reference to a large number of books. The secretary of the trust gave me very short notice terminating the printing.
List of Contents
Translation of the Sacred Syllable ‘Aum’
Prayers and Exhortations
Worship of the One God, R.V. I, 1 and A.V. XIII, 4 (2).
The Householder’s Morning’ Pravers Y.V. XXXIV 34-40
Prayers for Noble Intentions Y.V. XXXIV, 1-6
The Nature of the Supreme Being and Means to attain Him Y.V. XXXII
Man’s Endeavour after Perfection A.V. V, 16
Praise of the Soul
Faith in the Unseen God, R.V. X, 151
Succouring the Needy or Charity R.V. X, 17
The Soul of the Universe and His Universal Body. Y.V, XXXI
The External Form and Content of the Vedas S.V. 1I, 21, 7
Glorification of God and Prayer for Prosperity, S.V. II, 397-436
Appendix I Index of Vedic stanzas and other matter
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