Since the publication of the Atharva-Veda by Roth and Whitney in 1856, it has been subjected to various types of studies-lnterpretative, historical, religious and cultural. But a comparative study embracing all the aspects of the language of the Atharva- Veda has so far remained untouched. The present work is a grammatical study of the language of the fourth Veda. Though mainly concerned with the Saunaka recension of the Atharva-Veda, the author has also taken note of the linguistic peculiarities found in the Paippalada recension.
The author has taken great pains to make a comprehensive and scholarly study of this important Hindu Scripture contributing in no small measure to the field of language and linguistics.
YAJAN VEER studied Sanskrit at the Gurukul Jhajjar and later took his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sanskrit from Punjab University. He also holds an honours degree in English.
A one time U.G.C Research Fellow, he is now on the staff of Maharishi Dayanand University. Rohtak. A keen participant at All-India Oriental and Linguistics Conferences, he has had several original research papers published in learned journals.
Dr. Yajan Veer's treatise on the language of the Atharva- Veda is a welcome addition to modern works on various aspects of the Vedic language, especially at a time when the number of scholars engaged in researches in the Vedic language is woefully disappointing owing to the fact that a critical study of the Vedic language entails not only an adequate training in the technique of modern researches but also a thorough grounding in Paninian grammar, Pratisakhyas and ancient commentaries on the Vedic texts. Very few students today find themselves fully equipped to undertake research in the Vedic language. Frequent references in the present work to Paninian grammar, Pratisakhyas and modern works of the Vedic language testifying to the gratifying fact that our author has made full use of all the relevant works in his researches.
Dr Yajan Veer's work is a detailed study of the language of the Atharva-Veda dealing with all the important aspects of the subject including phonology, Sandhi, declension, conjugation, compounds, syntax and accent. All the Vedic examples cited in the work have been properly accented and furnished with references so that readers may easily check them in case of doubt. The special features of the language of the Aiharva- Veda in comparison with those of the Rgvedic language have been noticed in this work here and there. For instance, it has been pointed out in this treatise that "in the Rgveda the sound r is seven times more frequent that the sound 1, while in the Atharva-Veda the sound 1 becomes certainly more frequent than the sound r".
I have no doubt that Dr. Yajan Veer's work will be of special interest and utility to all students of the Atharva-Veda in particular and to those of the Vedas in general. I am happy to note that our author has done a thorough job for which he deserves our heartiest congratulations. I hope that the learned author will follow it up with further researches in other important aspects of the Atharva-Veda. Dr Yajan Veer's present work like many others is based on the vulgate edition of the Atharva- Veda tentatively constituted by Roth and Whitney out of a plethora of variants found in the MSS. and Sayana's commentary on the Atharva-Veda. The most important and stupendous task that awaits accomplishment at the hands of competent Vedic researchers is to fix, with a fair amount of certainty and in accordance with scientific principles of. textual criticism, the readings of the text of the Atharva-Veda so that the studies of this important Veda may proceed on firm grounds and need not remain as tentative as the present readings of the Vulgate. In my opinion, this task cannot be completed by any single individual and only the concerted efforts of a team of dedicated scholars can achieve this objective. I am sure the present work of Dr Yajan Veer will encourage further researches in the Atharva-Veda,
Since the publication of the Atharva-Veda by Roth and Whitney in 1856, it has been subjected to various types of studie such as interpretative, historical, religious and cultural as indicated in my select bibliography given at the end of my treati e. But a comprehensive study embracing all the important aspects of the language of the Atharva-Veda has so far remained a desideratum. In this treatise, I have made a humble attempt to present a grammatical study of the Atharva-Veda. I have tried to analyse the language of the Atharva-Veda, both from the ancient and modern points of view. I have referred to the views of Pratisakhyas and Panini in my grammatical analysis of the Atharva-Veda. The Atharva-Veda Pratisakhya or Saunaklya Caturadhyayika edited by Whitney has been particularly helpful to me in this regard.
It is my pleasant duty to express my thanks to Dr Ram Gopal, Kalidasa Professor of Sanskrit and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Punjab University, Chandigarh who has guided this research work.
I am also indebted to Acharya Bhagwan Dev of Gurukul, Jhajjar (Director of Paninian School of Grammar) for initiating me into the study of Paninian grammar.
My sincere thanks are due to Dr Bhim Singh Dahiya, Professor of English M.D. University, Rohtak, Haryana and Sh. Ashok Sharma, D. A. V. College. Chandigarh for going through the manuscript and making useful suggestions.
The Atharva-Veda which is one of the four Vedas represents another system of ritualistic and popular stanzas which was flowing parallel to the Rg- Vedic stream of poetic excellence and grandeur. Being popular in nature, Athar-vanic tradition has not been preserved so meticulously as the Rg-Vedic one, and this fact explains the present state of Athar-vanic text which abounds in numerous variants and is not so accurate as the text of the Rg-Veda, But it does not detract from the importance of the Atharva-Veda. This Veda is also named as Atharva-Angirasa in ancient texts, associating the names of two ancient seers called Atharvan and Angiras, Both these seers are mentioned in the Rg-Veda a number of times. Although some of the hymns of the Atharva-Veda are very short and vague in places, the philosophic hymns of the Atharva- Veda are very important and compare favourably with the hymns of the Rg-Veda. A large number of hymns of the Atharva- Veda are concerned with the performance of such popular rites as are found described in the Grhya-Sutras. This is why the Atharva- Veda has little connection with Srauta sacrifices and is not included in Trayi- Vidya. In order to make up this deficiency, a number of verses from Rg- Veda were later on appended to the Atharva-Veda in the form of its last two Kandas, i.e., ninteenth and twentieth. The ritualistic texts of the Atharva- Veda, namely the Gopatha-Brahmana and the Vaitana-Srauta Sutra draw their mantras mainly from the last two Kandas, to place the Atharva-Veda at par with the other three Vedas in regard to the performance of Srauta sacrifices and to associate the fourth priest called Brahman with the Atharva- Veda.
Besides the last two Kandas, the other Kandas of the Atharva-Veda also contain a considerable number of mantras borrowed from the Rg-Veda, Thus, nearly one-fifth of the Atharva-Veda is composed of the mantras borrowed from the Rg-Veda (i.e nearly twelve hundred out of approximately six thousands mantras of the Atharva-Veda belong to the Rg-Veda). The Rg-Vedic mantras incorporated into the Atharva-Veda exhibit many variants and show a later stage of linguistic development. There can be nodoubt that the Atharva-Veda in its present form is certainly later than the Rg-Veda. Therefore, the language of the Atharva-Veda represents of definite stage in the developmentof Vedic idioms.
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