About the Book
Tradition ascribes a divine origin to Veda, mainly
because Veda knows no authorship. It goes back to hoary antiquity crossing the
boundaries of Social and cultural life of the ancestors of any race known to
history in the World. The sacred glow that is attached to this ‘revealed
scripture’ is but a natural out-come of the nature of literature which has been
handed down from generation to generation through oral transmission again a my
sterious and unique aspect of it which finds no comparison in world literature.
Its Uniterrupted preservation through the ages could be possible due mainly to
the devotion with which it was looked upon and pursued by our forefathers. The
superb poetic style combined with a musical accent from which even the
Yajurveda-the Veda of the So-called prose formulas is not free, greatly
facilitated the preservation of Vedic literature in tact. Vedic and post-Vedic
literature in India have this glorious tradition of beginning in poetry.
To write the Foreword of a book is a pleasant
task, and for me it is still more pleasant because the author of this book is
my student who worked under my guidance for his Ph.D. Degree of the Jadavpur
University. Dr. Pramod Ranjan Ray, Deputy Registrar of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit
University at Puri, had earlier been a lecturer in some Government Colleges of
Orissa, and took the trouble of coming over to Calcutta frequently for his
research work. His association with the learned Professors of the Poona
University could produce in him a harmonious blend of the Eastern and the
Western methods of the Vedic interpretation.
Sri Ray has ever in him a predisposition to
literature and literary criticism. Earlier he wrote a booklet entitled
“Literary Criticism in the Rgveda”, and later on in this monograph also on the
Rgveda he has not been able to brush aside his bias towards poetry as a result
of which only poetic vocables have been elected for his subject of research.
The monograph consists of five chapters besides
the illuminating Introduction. The author presents the problem .in all the
details in the Introduction. Then he acquaints his readers with the methods of
the investigation. The source- material of this research work finds place in
the first chapter along with an analysis of the words signifying poetry. The
division of the words in the following seven groups has been quite
logical-content, melody, form, vision, inspiration, power and pale words, i.e.
indeterminate words. Chapters II, III and IV form the core of the work which is
a welcome departure from the modern trend of following the beaten track in this
field. A study of the Rgveda from a poetical perspective has not been very
rare, but this dissertation containing a study of the words signifying poet
(Chapter III) and poetry (Chapter II) in all the semantic inclinations through
grammatical and linguistic analysis has been quite commendable. The author has
been thorough in his approach, and has exploited all the available data in a
discerning manner. Ancient classics as Nirukta, Nighantu, Astadhyayi etc. have
been consulted, and a balanced opinion has been formed after a discussion in
the lines of the Western exegetists. Dr. Ray has successfully grappled with the
problem of the eternality of the Veda vis-a-vis the poetic genius of the
individual poets and the poetical study of the Rgveda (Chapter IV).
I have no doubt that scholars would accept this work
as a valuable contribution in the field of the Vedic studies by virtue of the
merit of the work. As a teacher I shall be very glad to see his well-being and
prosperity in all respects. May Shri Jagannatha bless him!
Tradition ascribes a divine origin to Veda,
mainly because Veda knows no authorship. It goes back to hoary antiquity
crossing the boundaries of social and cultural life of the ancestors of any
race known to history in the world. The sacred glow that is attached to this
‘revealed scripture’ is but a natural outcome of the nature of literature which
has been handed down from generation to generation through oral
transmission-again a mysterious and unique aspect of, it which finds no
comparison in world literature. Its uninterrupted preservation through the ages
could be possible due mainly to the devotion with which it was looked upon and
pursued by our forefathers. The superb poetic style combined with a musical
accent from which even the Yajurveda-the Veda of the so-called prose formulas
is not free, greatly facilitated the preservation of Vedic literature in tact.
All literature, as a matter of fact, starts
with poetry. The prose is a later development, This has been the case in almost
all world literature. Vedic and post-Vedic literature in India have this
glorious tradition of beginning in poetry. Rgveda stands supreme as the oldest
literary monument of the world which again bears the stamp of the finest
specimen of Vedic poetry throughout.
It is a matter of great pleasure that Dr.
Pramod Ranjan Ray, who worked for his Ph.D. degree in Jadavpur University under
the able guidance of the learned Professor, Dr. Sitanath Goswami on the poetic
aspect of Rgveda, the title of his thesis being, “An Etymological Study of the
Poetic Vocables in the Family Mandalas of the Rgveda (II-VII)” luckily now
finds his thesis published by the Publisher, Punthi Pustak of Calcutta. Dr. Ray
has made a thorough and critical study of the subject taking into account every
aspect of Rgvedic stanzas of the above mentioned Family Mandalas noted for
their systematic coherence, from a rhetorical as well as an aesthetic point of
view. To make a study of the concerned words in the realm of poetry from an
etymological aspect on the lines of Nirukta is its added charm
It is hoped that such a theme as Dr. Ray has skilfully
worked out in the present work correlating both etymology and poesy will
certainly be of immense use for the scholars in the field. I wish wide
circulation of his thesis after it comes to see the light of the day.
The Vedas have been predominantly accepted in
our tradition as apauruseya and nitya, though all the branches of the Vedic
studies have their subtle differences. Mimamsa of all the branches, considers
Veda-s as nitya and apauruseya and does not accept any causal factor for its
creation. But Nyaya would not accept sabda as nitya, though they would accept
Veda as nitya, on the basis of apta pramanya. Nyaya accepts isvara as the
causal factor of the Veda-s. The Vaisesika philosophy agrees with this view”
and clearly states that Veda-s are the creation of God’s wisdom.
Thus though the Veda-s have been considered as
effect (karya) the nityata of the Veda-s is not questioned because God after
delusion, himself speaks out the Veda-s with its anupurvi They would point to
yatha loka akalpayan (RV 10.90.14, cf. RV. 10.190.3: yatha purvam akalpayat) as
a testimony to their argument.
But for samkhya acceptance of Veda-s as
pauruseya is impossible as purusa according to this philosophy is akriya.
Vedanta also seems to accept this view of apauruseyatva. and holds that Brahma
recalls the Veda as it was in the earlier creation.
With this theory of apauruseyatva and nityatva
of the Veda-s, a strong relation of rsi-s with the vedic mantra-s is seen to
have been present in our tradition. The relation of the rsi-s with the vedic
mantra-s is that of a seer and speaker (pravacaka) and never of a creator.
Mimamsa would accept the rsi-s as pravacaka-s and Nirukta as seers. Mahabharata
would accept the view of Nirukta and would state that the rsi-s received the
Veda-s from Svayambhuva. This reception of the Veda-s is described to have been
seen by rsi-s. The vedic literature also stands proof to this.
It has been mentioned that vak entered into the
rsi. RV. itself speaks of this. Thus the veda-s, received or perceived by the rsi-s
are handed down to the posterity. This traditional view happily goes with the
dictum of the manifestation of vak in four stages, such as: para, pasyanti,
madhyama, and vaikhari. But grammarians unlike the tantra literature have
accepted three stages of vak : pasyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. Thus according
to this view of manifestation of vak: in different stages, it is either para or
pasyanti which manifests as the vaikhari vak: which the people use as the
language to communicate. The Taittiriya Pratisakhya speaks’ of three stages of
vaikhari such as mandra, madhyama, and tara which is caused by the prayatna.
Hence this vaikhari being the fourth or third
stage of manifestation is not so pure as pasyanti, because in the process of
the manifestation the human prayatna and energy is necessary. This presence of
human aspect in the manifestation of the divine vak is bound to bring a blemish
as the human being is bound by avidya. Hence there will be nothing wrong in
maintaining that the speaker has kartrtva over the vaikhari vak, Such a
position also does not contradict the tradition, as will be evident from the
following discussion. Hence the rsi-s being the seers and the pravakta-s of the
vedic mantra-s also may be given a status of authorship, though only in a
secondary sense. We have also the vedic authority in our support for
maintaining such a view. The RV maintains that three unmanifested stages of vak
remain in the heaven, and only the fourth stage (the vaikhari vak) is used by
Inventory of the Terms under study with sources
Poetic Vocables signifying poetry having the notions of Content,
Melody, Form, Vision, Inspiration, Power
Poetic vocables signifying poet having the notions of vision, singing,
inspiration, power, praising.
Concept of Rg Vedic poetry (RV II-VII) observed by linguistic
General Index of Sanskrit Words and Names
Index of the Rg Vedic Verses.
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