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Prolegomena on Metre and Textual History of the Rgveda (Metrische und textgeschichtliche Prolegomena, Berlin, 1888)

Prolegomena on Metre and Textual History of the Rgveda (Metrische und textgeschichtliche Prolegomena, Berlin, 1888)
Item Code: IDE976
Author: Hermann Oldenberg, Translated By: V.G. Paranjape & M.A. Mehendale
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8120809866
Pages: 520
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0" X 5.7"
weight of the book: 705 gms
From the Jacket :

Oldenberg made a distinction between the 'original text' of Rgveda - the form in which the rsis composed and recited their hymns-and the 'traditional text' which, in a fixed form, has been handed down to us by the oral tradition. Oldenberg made a thorough critical study of all aspects of the traditional text in order to present to the world of scholars the original text in the form and arrangement discovered by him. The materials that are now being published in this volume were intended by Oldenberg to serve as a Preface to his proposed edition of the Rgveda. They represent the results of Oldenberg's extensive studies on Vedic metre, principles underlying the arrangement of the hymns in the Rgveda Samhita, variations found in the text of the mantras as found in the Rgveda and the later Samhitas and the Brahmanas, orthoepic diaskeuasis, and the two Sakhas of the Rgveda: Sakala and Baskala. Oldenberg, later, gave up the idea of publishing his planned 'critical edition' of the Rgveda.

About the Authors:

Hermann Oldengerg (1854-1920) is considered as one of the greatest Indologists of Germany. He was University Professor at Kiel and Berlin. He translated the Dipavamsa, Rgveda and Grhyasutras into German.

Of his many books like Buddha, sein Leben, seine Gemeinde, Die Lehre der Upanischaden und die Anfange des Buddhismus, Die Literature des alten Indiens, among others, Die Religion des Veda (1894) is his most outstanding and oft-quoted work.

Prof. V.G. Paranjapa (1887-1976) got his D. Litt. degree from Paris in 1920. He taught Sanskrit at the Fergusson College, Pune, from 1915 to 1946. He translated into Marathi J. Block's 'La Formation de la Langue Marathe' and into English (in four volumes) A Bergaigne's 'La Religion Vedique d'apres les Hymnes du Rig-Veda' and H. Oldenberg's 'Veda forschung'. He was Honorary Secretary of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (1923-27), Editor of the Annals of the BORI (1934-39) and the Chairman of its Regulating Council (1975-76).

M.A. Mehendale got his Ph.D. degree from the University of Bombay in 1943. He was Professor of Sanskrit (esp. Vedic) at the Deccan College Research Institute, Pune, 1951-1978, and Joint-General Editor of the Dictionary of Sanskrit on Historical Principles 1973-1983. He is currently the Editor of the Cultural Index of the Mahabharata (1983 onwards). His research papers and reviews in English are available in a book entitled 'Madhuvidya' and his articles in Marathi in 'Pracina Bharata - Samaja-ani Samskriti'. He has translated into Marathi the Gathas of Zarathushtra.


(III)’ When the generation of scholars to whom we younger men look upon as our teachers felt called upon to make the text of the Vedic Sathhitas available to the learned public, this work could be and had to be undertaken only in the sense that it would reproduce that form of the text which has remained fixed in India for two thousand years or more. Works of pre-eminent merit were produced in response to that call of duty and thus was laid the foundation of all future Vedic research. Lexicographical, grammatical and exegetical researches were based on that foundation and by dint of hard-fought, but victorious battles these researches managed to make themselves free from the authority of the quasi-scientific Indian authorities like Yãska, Pänini and Sayaçia, and learnt to apply the rules of the philological science to the 1eda with ever-increasing acuteness and energy. At the same time one cannot ignore the fact that Vedic textual criticism has not kept, equal pace with grammar and exegesis. The two latter disciplines have of course, made ample contributions also towards the restoration of the original text of the Veda with the traditional text as the starting point. But the problem was approached always merely in a casual manner and never figured in the foreground as an object of independent research. The present work is an attempt to remedy this deficiency so far as the Rgveda is concerned [IV) and the present volume is intended to be the preliminary part of it. The ultimate objective is to give the Rgveda text in a form approaching its original composition in so far as the available traditional text and the ability of research, of the author as well as that of others, will allow.

The way whereby to reach this objective need not he described to the expert; that way has not to be discovered now, we have simply to follow it. We might, however, be permitted to hint at a few points. First of all, it appeared to us indispensable to make as complete a collection as possible of citations of the Rgveda stanzas in the later Vedic texts and to list the variants appearing in them. It was necessary to pursue the question in a more planned way than what has happened so far of determining the text- historical nature and the value of the variants through their ramifications a portion of the prolegomena that follows seeks just to fulfill this task. Although in opposition to the widely prevailing view’s it turns out that the yield from the text-critical point of view derived from the other Vedas is relatively very small—and this in fact is the Opinion of the present author—the line of investigation indicated above is nevertheless not without its valise; we are not justified in dispensing with anything, however small, which can contribute to the knowledge of the original text; and moreover, while the inferiority of the other sources as against the textual tradition of the Rgveda is revealed, positive results regarding the latter (Rgvedic textual tradition) are obtained the characteristics of which provide an important basis for our treatment of the text. Also for the slitting up of corn posi ti hym ns, handed down as single hymns, (V) in to their composite parts and for the treatment of the hymns made up of strophes, the listings of the citations in the other Vedas and, together with them, the complete collection of the citations of whole hymns, parts of hymns and stanzas in the Aitareya and the Kausitaka Brahmanas, in the Asvalayana and the Sankhayma Srantasutras, to be provided in our edition, will offer an indispensable basis. It appeared necessary to devote special attention to those splittings of composite hymns into single hymns and of groups of strophes into single strophes. Nothing can induce us, out of regard for the traditional form of the text, to hold back from the splittings up where we are in a position to proceed almost with mathematical precision —the splittings up which affect so decisively the genera) look of the hymns. It is, however, an essential part of the tasks of these preliminary investigations to bring that precision in this process of splitting tip of hymns to the highest attainable level and to make it proof against all suspicion of a play of subjective thinking into it.

Another main task of Vedic textual criticism concerns the phonetic aspect of the text which has undergone far—reaching changes in the tradition. It was necessary to study systematically the procedure of the old diaskeuasis which was detected to the phonetic form We have to attempt, one might say, to compose a Pratiakhya of the Rgveda from our own point of view, or, what comes to the same thing, to interpret the rules of the old Pratiakhya in such a way that there would be a detailed discussion of how far these rules are valid for the Rg-text because they were, in fact, in force in the language of the Vedic poets, and how far because they were introduced by the transmitters of the text. It was not possible to apply the approach outlined here to all the phonetic phenomena (VI) concerned within he scope of this volume; the treatment here offered to the majority of the most complicated among the relevant problems will in the meanwhile give the necessary clue dir those that have not been specifically discussed.

If the views, stated so far, are characterized collectively as a textual history of the Rgveda, or at least as the main chapter of it, then it also appeared indispensable—and no specific arguments need he advanced in its support—to give a systematic exposition of the Vedic metre in this connection. As regards some other subjects of investigation, which in principle should have formed part of these introductory investigations, the author begs the reader to refer to his detailed expositions set forth at other place: thus to the two essays in ZDMG, XXXVIII, 439 ff. and XXXIX, 52 ff. dealing with the characterization of some of the most prominent varieties of the Vedic Poetical technique for instance the hymn of the hotr and that of the Udgatr the prose poetical narrative and the Danastuti as regards the discussion of the Vedic peoples and races the reader is referred to an excurses in Buddha and to another essay in ZDMG XLII 198 ff. dealing with relationships and especially the relative chronology of the Vedic authors. The author has not felt it necessary to investigate anew the problem of the interference of the system of writing on the transmission of the Rgveda text he regards it as already settled such an interference in times which alone we are now considering times in which one could speak of a history of the text is excluded.

The orthography followed in this prolegomena could (VII) not be consistent throughout since it had mainly to reproduce either the traditional or the original phonetic form of the text. From the point of view of the investigations undertaken here accent marks barring a few individual exceptions appeared to be superfluous. However the author regarded it as expedient to mark the caesura in the case of the Tristubh and the Jagati lines.

The critically restored text of the Rgveda itself accompanied by the critical apparatus consisting of the material contained in the other Samhitas the Brahmanas and the Sutras will follow the present volume as early as the nature of such a large task beset with such considerable difficulties would allow.

The editor expresses his respectful thanks to his Excellency the Royal Prussian minister for instruction whose liberality has rendered it possible for him to undertake this new revised edition of the Rgveda.


Translator's Notevii

Chapter 1.The Prosody of the Rgveda1-180
Prefatory remarks: The Pada, Metre and Rhythm, Veda and Avesta1-7
I.The Eight-Syllabled pada and the Metres Gayatri, Anustubh, and Pankti Formed from it7-39
II.The Eleven-syllabled and the Twelve-syllabled Pada. THe Tristubh and the Jagati metres39-92
III.The Five-syllabled Pada and the Metre Dvipada Viraj92-95
IV.Combinations of Padas of Different Types in one and the same stanza95-114
1. Gayatri-and Jagati-Padas95
2. Combinations of four-syllabled padas107
3. Other types of combinations of different kinds of Padas in the same stanza111
V.Formation of Strophes and Composite hymns114-134
VI.Hymns in Variuos Metres134-147
VII.Hymns with irregularly Constructed stanzas

Chapter 2.The Arrangement of the Samhita181-256
I.The Family Books (II-VII) and the Soma Book (IX)181-197
II.The Eighth Book198-206
III.The First Book207-215
IV.The Tenth Book216-236
V.The Ten Mandalas and the Samhita

Chapter 3.The Rk-text and the Text of the Later Samhitas and the Brahmanas

Chapter 4.The Orthoepic Diaskeuasis

Chapter 5.The Sakala-and the Vaskala-Sakha

Chapter 6.The Rk-text and the Sutra-Literature

I.Subject Index495-498
II.Word Index499-501
III.Index of Passages502-509

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