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The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian
collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * Collection agency, agency to collect cash * Collections management (museum) ** Collection (artwork), objects in a particular field fo ...
of
Vedic Sanskrit Vedic Sanskrit was an ancient language of the Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasi ...
hymn A hymn is a type of song, usually religious and partially coincident with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. T ...

hymn
s (''suktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical
Hindu texts Hindu texts are manuscripts and voluminous historical literature which are related to any of the diverse traditions within Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world' ...
(''
śruti ''Shruti'' ( sa, श्रुति, , ) in Sanskrit means "that which is heard" and refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the text ...
'') known as the
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
. The ''Rigveda'' is the oldest known
Vedic Sanskrit Vedic Sanskrit was an ancient language of the Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasi ...
text. Its early layers are one of the oldest extant texts in any
Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. A few of these languages, su ...
. The sounds and texts of the ''Rigveda'' have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE. The
philological Philology is the study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
and
linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...
evidence indicates that the bulk of the ''Rigveda'' Samhita was composed in the northwestern region (see
Rigvedic rivers River A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body ...
) of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between 1500 and 1000 BCE, although a wider approximation of 19001200 BCE has also been given. The text is layered consisting of the ''Samhita'', ''Brahmanas'', ''Aranyakas'' and ''Upanishads''. The ''Rigveda Samhita'' is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books ('s) with 1,028 hymns ('s) in about 10,600 verses (called ', eponymous of the name ''Rigveda''). In the eight booksBooks 2 through 9that were composed the earliest, the hymns predominantly discuss
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
, rites, rituals and praise deities. The more recent books (Books 1 and 10) in part also deal with philosophical or speculative questions, virtues such as ''
dāna Dāna (Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''May Śiva pr ...
'' (charity) in society,C Chatterjee (1995)
Values in the Indian Ethos: An Overview
Journal of Human Values, Vol 1, No 1, pp. 312;
Original text translated in English:
The Rig Veda ''The'' () is a grammatical Article (grammar), article in English language, English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite art ...
, Mandala 10, Hymn 117, Ralph T. H. Griffith (Translator);
questions about the origin of the universe and the nature of the divine, and other metaphysical issues in their hymns.Antonio de Nicholas (2003), ''Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man'', New York: Authors Choice Press, , pp. 6469;
Jan Gonda Jan Gonda, (14 April 1905 – 28 July 1991) was a Dutch Indologist Indology or Indian studies is the academic study of the history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the ...
(1975), ''A History of Indian Literature: Veda and Upanishads, Volume 1, Part 1'', Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, , pp. 134135.
Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu
rites of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''com ...
celebrations (such as weddings) and prayers, making it probably the world's oldest
religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition. They differ from Literature, literary ...
in continued use.


Dating and historical context


Dating

According to Jamison and Brereton, in their 2014 translation of the ''Rigveda'', the dating of this text "has been and is likely to remain a matter of contention and reconsideration". The dating proposals so far are all inferred from the style and the content within the hymns themselves. Philological estimates tend to date the bulk of the text to the second half of the second millennium. Being composed in an early
Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also

*Aryan invasion theory (disambiguation) *Indo-Aryan tribes (disambigua ...
language, the hymns must post-date the Indo-Iranian separation, dated to roughly 2000 BCE. A reasonable date close to that of the composition of the core of the ''Rigveda'' is that of the
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), also called Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyrian or Naharin in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian language, Hurrian-speaking state in nor ...

Mitanni
documents of northern Syria and Iraq (c. 14501350 BCE), which also mention the Vedic gods such as Varuna, Mitra and Indra. Other evidence also points to a composition close to 1400 BCE. The ''Rigvedas core is accepted to date to the late
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
, making it one of the few examples with an unbroken tradition. Its composition is usually dated to roughly between c. 15001000 BCE. According to
Michael Witzel Michael Witzel (born July 18, 1943) is a German-American German Americans (german: Deutschamerikaner, ) are Americans who have full or partial Germans, German ancestry. With an estimated size of approximately 43 million in 2019, German Americ ...

Michael Witzel
, the codification of the ''Rigveda'' took place at the end of the Rigvedic period between ca. 1200 and 1000 BCE, in the early
Kuru Kuru may refer to: Anthropology and history * Kuru (disease) Kuru is a very rare, incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disorder Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons A neuron or nerve cell is an ...
kingdom.
Asko Parpola Asko Parpola (born 12 July 1941 in Forssa Forssa is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in di ...

Asko Parpola
argues that the ''Rigveda'' was systematized around 1000 BCE, at the time of the Kuru kingdom.


Historical and societal context

The ''Rigveda'' is far more archaic than any other Indo-Aryan text. For this reason, it was in the center of attention of western scholarship from the times of
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
and Rudolf Roth onwards. The ''Rigveda'' records an early stage of Vedic religion. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities with the early Iranian
Avesta The Avesta () is the primary collection of religious text Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to ...

Avesta
, deriving from the
Proto-Indo-Iranian Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Indo-Iranic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian/Indo-Iranic branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, a ...
times, often associated with the early
Andronovo culture The Andronovo culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilizat ...

Andronovo culture
(or rather, the
Sintashta culture The Sintashta culture, around 2050–1900 BCE, is the first phase of the Sintashta–Petrovka culture. or Sintashta–Arkaim culture,. and is a late Middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characteriz ...

Sintashta culture
within the early Andronovo horizon) of c. 2000 BCE. The ''Rigveda'' offers no direct evidence of social or political system in Vedic era, whether ordinary or elite. Only hints such as
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
raising and
horse racing Horse racing is an equestrianism, equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance, for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, ...

horse racing
are discernible, and the text offers very general ideas about the ancient Indian society. There is no evidence, state Jamison and Brereton, of any elaborate, pervasive or structured
caste system Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural no ...
. Social stratification seems embryonic, then and later a social ideal rather than a social reality. The society was semi-nomadic and pastoral with evidence of agriculture since hymns mention plow and celebrate agricultural divinities. There was division of labor, and complementary relationship between kings and poet-priests but no discussion of relative status of social classes. Women in the ''Rigveda'' appear disproportionately as speakers in dialogue hymns, both as mythical or divine Indrani, Apsaras Urvasi, or Yami, as well as Apāla Ātreyī (RV 8.91), Godhā (RV 10.134.6), Ghoṣā Kākṣīvatī (RV 10.39.40), Romaśā (RV 1.126.7), Lopāmudrā (RV 1.179.12), Viśvavārā Ātreyī (RV 5.28), Śacī Paulomī (RV 10.159), Śaśvatī Āṅgirasī (RV 8.1.34). The women of the ''Rigveda'' are quite outspoken and appear more sexually confident than men, in the text. Elaborate and aesthetic hymns on wedding suggest rites of passage had developed during the Rigvedic period. There is little evidence of
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, prop ...
and no evidence of
sati Sati or SATI may refer to: Entertainment * ''Sati'' (film), a 1989 Bengali film by Aparna Sen and starring Shabana Azmi * ''Sati'' (novel), a 1990 novel by Christopher Pike *Sati (singer) (born 1976), Lithuanian singer *Sati, a character in ''The ...
in it or related Vedic texts. The Rigvedic hymns mention
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...
and porridge, in hymns such as 8.83, 8.70, 8.77 and 1.61 in some versions of the text, however there is no discussion of rice cultivation. The term ''áyas'' (metal) occurs in the ''Rigveda'', but it is unclear which metal it was. Iron is not mentioned in ''Rigveda'', something scholars have used to help date ''Rigveda'' to have been composed before 1000 BCE. Hymn 5.63 mentions "metal cloaked in gold", suggesting metal working had progressed in the Vedic culture. Some of the names of gods and goddesses found in the ''Rigveda'' are found amongst other belief systems based on
Proto-Indo-European religion Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and deities associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the hypothetical speakers of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. Although the mythological motifs are not directly attested – ...
, while most of the words used share common
roots A root In vascular plants, the roots are the plant organ, organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster. They most often ...
with words from other
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
. However, about 300 words in the ''Rigveda'' are neither Indo-Aryan nor Indo-European, states the Sanskrit and Vedic literature scholar
Frits Staal Johan Frederik "Frits" Staal (3 November 1930 – 19 February 2012) was the department founder and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South/Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley The University of California, ...

Frits Staal
. Of these 300, manysuch as ''kapardin'', ''kumara'', ''kumari'', ''kikata''come from Munda or proto-Munda languages found in the eastern and northeastern (Assamese) region of India, with roots in
Austroasiatic languages The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken lan ...
. The others in the list of 300such as ''mleccha'' and ''nir''have Dravidian roots found in the southern region of India, or are of Tibeto-Burman origins. A few non-Indo-European words in the ''Rigveda''such as for camel, mustard and donkeybelong to a possibly lost Central Asian language. The linguistic sharing provide clear indications, states Michael Witzel, that the people who spoke Rigvedic Sanskrit already knew and interacted with Munda and Dravidian speakers., Quote (p. 99): "Although the Middle/Late Vedic periods are the earliest for which we can reconstruct a linguistic map, the situation even at the time of the Indua Civilisation and certainly during the time of the ''earliest texts of the Rigveda'', cannot have been very different. There are clear indications that the speakers of Rigvedic Sanskrit knew, and interacted with, Dravidian and Munda speakers." The earliest text were composed in northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent, and the more philosophical later texts were most likely composed in or around the region that is the modern era state of
Haryana Haryana (; ) is a in India located in the northern-part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of on 1 November 1966 on a basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land area. The state capital ...

Haryana
.


Text


Composition

The "family books" (27) are associated with various clans and chieftains, containing hymns by members of the same clan in each book; but other clans are also represented in the ''Rigveda''. The family books are associated with specific regions, and mention prominent Bharata and Pūru kings. Tradition associates a
rishi ''Rishi'' () is a term for an accomplished and enlightened person. They find mentions in various Hindu Vedic texts. Rishis are believed to have composed hymns of the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. A ...

rishi
(the composer) with each (verse) of the ''Rigveda''. Most sūktas are attributed to single composers; for each of them the ''Rigveda'' includes a lineage-specific ' hymn (a special sūkta of rigidly formulaic structure, used for rituals). In all, 10 families of rishis account for more than 95 per cent of the


Collection and organisation

The codification of the ''Rigveda'' took place late in the Rigvedic or rather in the early post-Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, by members of the early
Kuru Kuru may refer to: Anthropology and history * Kuru (disease) Kuru is a very rare, incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disorder Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons A neuron or nerve cell is an ...
tribe, when the center of Vedic culture east from the Punjab into what is now
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

Uttar Pradesh
. The ''Rigveda'' was codified by compiling the hymns, including the arrangement of the individual hymns in ten books, coeval with the composition of the younger Veda Samhitas. According to Witzel, the initial collection took place after the Bharata victory in the
Battle of the Ten Kings A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force c ...
, under king Sudās, over other Puru kings. This collection was an effort to reconcile various factions in the clans which were united in the Kuru kingdom under a Bharata king. This collection was re-arranged and expanded in the
Kuru Kingdom Kuru ( sa, कुरु) was a Vedic Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theory ...
, reflecting the establishment of a new Bharata-Puru lineage and new srauta rituals. The fixing of the
Vedic chant The oral tradition of the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''s ...
(by enforcing regular application of
sandhi Sandhi ( sa, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion an ...
) and of the padapatha (by dissolving Sandhi out of the earlier metrical text), occurred during the later Brahmana period, in roughly the 6th century BCE. The surviving form of the ''Rigveda'' is based on an early
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 7, ordered by author, deity and meter) and a later redaction, coeval with the redaction of the other
Veda upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical la ...

Veda
s, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions (contradicting the strict ordering scheme) and orthoepic changes to the
Vedic Sanskrit Vedic Sanskrit was an ancient language of the Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasi ...
such as the
regularization Regularization may refer to: * Regularization (linguistics) * Regularization (mathematics) * Regularization (physics) * Regularization (solid modeling) * Regularization Law, an Israeli law purporting to retroactively legalize settlements See also ...
of
sandhi Sandhi ( sa, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion an ...
(termed ''orthoepische Diaskeuase'' by Oldenberg, 1888).


Organisation


Mandalas

The text is organized in ten "books", or '''' ("circles"), of varying age and length. The "family books", mandalas 27, are the oldest part of the ''Rigveda'' and the shortest books; they are arranged by length (decreasing length of hymns per book) and account for 38% of the text. The hymns are arranged in collections each dealing with a particular deity: ''Agni'' comes first, ''Indra'' comes second, and so on. They are attributed and dedicated to a
rishi ''Rishi'' () is a term for an accomplished and enlightened person. They find mentions in various Hindu Vedic texts. Rishis are believed to have composed hymns of the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. A ...

rishi
(sage) and his family of students. Within each collection, the hymns are arranged in descending order of the number of stanzas per hymn. If two hymns in the same collection have equal numbers of stanzas then they are arranged so that the number of syllables in the metre are in descending order. The second to seventh mandalas have a uniform format. The eighth and
ninth In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associa ...
mandalas, comprising hymns of mixed age, account for 15% and 9%, respectively. The ninth mandala is entirely dedicated to
Soma South of Market (SoMa) is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Fr ...
and the
Soma ritual Yajna ( sa, यज्ञ, yajña, translit-std=IAST, sacrifice, devotion, worship, offering) refers in Hinduism to any ritual done in front of a sacred fire, often with mantras.SG Nigal (1986), Axiological Approach to the Vedas, Northern Book ...
. The hymns in the ninth mandala are arranged by both their prosody structure (
chanda Sanskrit prosody or Chandas refers to one of the six Vedanga __NOTOC__ The Vedanga ( sa, वेदाङ्ग ', "limbs of the Veda") are six auxiliary disciplines of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way o ...

chanda
) and by their length. The
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...

first
and the mandalas are the youngest; they are also the longest books, of 191 suktas each, accounting for 37% of the text. Nevertheless, some of the hymns in mandalas 8, 1 and 10 may still belong to an earlier period and may be as old as the material in the family books. The first mandala has a unique arrangement not found in the other nine mandalas. The first 84 hymns of the tenth mandala have a structure different than the remaining hymns in it.


Hymns and prosody

Each mandala consists of hymns or 's (', literally, "well recited,
eulogy A eulogy (from εὐλογία, ''eulogia'', Ancient Greek language, Classical Greek, ''eu'' for "well" or "true", ''logia'' for "words" or "text", together for "praise") is a Speech (public address), speech or writing in praise of a person or ...
") intended for various
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial exp ...
s. The s in turn consist of individual stanzas called ' ("praise", ''pl.'' '), which are further analysed into units of verse called ' ("
foot The foot (plural: feet) is an anatomical Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemis ...
" or step). The hymns of the ''Rigveda'' are in different poetic metres in Vedic Sanskrit. The
meters The metre (British English, Commonwealth spelling) or meter (American English, American spelling; American and British English spelling differences#-re, -er, see spelling differences) (from the French unit , from the Greek noun , "measure", and ...
most used in the are the
gayatri Gayatri (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. I ...

gayatri
(3 verses of 8 syllables), anushtubh (4×8), trishtubh (4×11) and jagati (4×12). The trishtubh meter (40%) and gayatri meter (25%) dominate in the ''Rigveda''.


Transmission

As with the other Vedas, the redacted text has been handed down in several versions, including the '' Padapatha'', in which each word is isolated in
pausa In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

pausa
form and is used for just one way of memorization; and the '' Samhitapatha'', which combines words according to the rules of sandhi (the process being described in the ''
Pratisakhya Pratishakhya ( sa, प्रातिशाख्य '), also known as Parsada ('), are Vedic-era manuals devoted to the precise and consistent pronunciation of words. These works were critical to the preservation of the Vedic texts, as well as t ...
'') and is the memorized text used for recitation. The ''Padapatha'' and the ''Pratisakhya'' anchor the text's true meaning, and the fixed text was preserved with unparalleled fidelity for more than a millennium by
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
alone.. "The Vedic texts were orally composed and transmitted, without the use of script, in an unbroken line of transmission from teacher to student that was formalized early on. This ensured an impeccable textual transmission superior to the classical texts of other cultures; it is, in fact, something like a tape-recording of ca. 1500500 BCE. Not just the actual words, but even the long-lost musical (tonal) accent (as in old Greek or in Japanese) has been preserved up to the present. On the other hand, the Vedas have been written down only during the early second millennium CE, while some sections such as a collection of the Upanishads were perhaps written down at the middle of the first millennium, while some early, unsuccessful attempts (indicated by certain Smriti rules forbidding to write down the Vedas) may have been made around the end of the first millennium BCE". In order to achieve this the oral tradition prescribed very structured enunciation, involving breaking down the Sanskrit
compound Compound may refer to: Architecture and built environments * Compound (enclosure), a cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall ** Compound (fortification), a version of the above fortified with defensive structu ...
s into
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...
s and inflections, as well as certain permutations. This interplay with sounds gave rise to a scholarly tradition of
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
and
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

phonetics
. It is unclear as to when the ''Rigveda'' was first written down. The oldest surviving manuscripts have been discovered in
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is ma ...

Nepal
and date to c. 1040 CE. According to Witzel, the Paippalada Samhita tradition points to written manuscripts c. 800-1000 CE. The Upanishads were likely in the written form earlier, about mid-1st millennium CE (
Gupta Empire The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed from the early 4th century CE to late 6th century CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 467 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is considered as the Go ...

Gupta Empire
period). Attempts to write the Vedas may have been made "towards the end of the 1st millennium BCE". The early attempts may have been unsuccessful given the ''Smriti'' rules that forbade the writing down the Vedas, states Witzel. The oral tradition continued as a means of transmission until modern times.


Recensions

Several
shakha A shakha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
s ("branches", i. e. recensions) of Rig Veda are known to have existed in the past. Of these, Śākala Shākha is the only one to have survived in its entirety. Another shakha that may have survived is the Bāṣkala, although this is uncertain. The surviving padapatha version of the ''Rigveda'' text is ascribed to Śākala. The recension has 1,017 regular hymns, and an appendix of 11 ' hymns which are now customarily included in the 8th mandala (as 8.498.59), for a total of 1028 hymns. The recension includes eight of these hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 regular hymns for this śākhā. In addition, the recension has its own appendix of 98 hymns, the
KhilaniThe Khilani (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
. In the 1877 edition of Aufrecht, the 1028 hymns of the ''Rigveda'' contain a total of 10,552 s, or 39,831 padas. The
Shatapatha Brahmana The Shatapatha Brahmana (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in So ...
gives the number of syllables to be 432,000, while the metrical text of van Nooten and Holland (1994) has a total of 395,563 syllables (or an average of 9.93 syllables per pada); counting the number of syllables is not straightforward because of issues with sandhi and the post-Rigvedic pronunciation of syllables like súvar as svàr. Three other shakhas are mentioned in ''Caraṇavyuha'', a pariśiṣṭa (supplement) of Yajurveda: Māṇḍukāyana, Aśvalāyana and Śaṅkhāyana. The Atharvaveda lists two more shakhas. The differences between all these shakhas are very minor, limited to varying order of content and inclusion (or non-inclusion) of a few verses. The following information is known about the shakhas other than Śākala and Bāṣkala: * Māṇḍukāyana: Perhaps the oldest of the Rigvedic shakhas. * Aśvalāyana: Includes 212 verses, all of which are newer than the other Rigvedic hymns. * Śaṅkhāyana: Very similar to Aśvalāyana * Saisiriya: Mentioned in the ''Rigveda''
Pratisakhya Pratishakhya ( sa, प्रातिशाख्य '), also known as Parsada ('), are Vedic-era manuals devoted to the precise and consistent pronunciation of words. These works were critical to the preservation of the Vedic texts, as well as t ...
. Very similar to Śākala, with a few additional verses; might have derived from or merged with it.


Manuscripts

The ''Rigveda'' hymns were composed and preserved by
oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication Human communication, or anthroposemiotics, is the field dedicated to understanding how human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of prima ...
. They were memorized and verbally transmitted with "unparalleled fidelity" across generations for many centuries. According to Barbara West, it was probably first written down about the 3rd-century BCE. The manuscripts were made from
birch bark Birch bark or birchbark is the bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, ...
or
palm leaves Palm most commonly refers to: * Palm of the hand, the central region of the front of the hand and a subdivision of the cubit * Palm trees, of family Arecaceae **List of Arecaceae genera * Several Arecaceae#Other plants, other plants known as Palm P ...
, which decompose and therefore were routinely copied over the generations to help preserve the text.


Versions

There are, for example, 30 manuscripts of ''Rigveda'' at the
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) is located in Pune Pune (; ) is the seventh most populous city in India and the second-largest city in the state of Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha, is a state State may ...

Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
, collected in the 19th century by
Georg Bühler Professor Johann Georg Bühler (July 19, 1837 – April 8, 1898) was a scholar of ancient Indian languages and law. Early life and education Bühler was born to Rev. Johann G. Bühler in Borstel, Kingdom of Hanover, Hanover, attended grammar sc ...
, Franz Kielhorn and others, originating from different parts of India, including
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...

Kashmir
,
Gujarat Gujarat (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Gujarat
, the then Rajaputana,
Central Provinces The Central Provinces was a Provinces of India, province of British India. It comprised British conquests from the Mughals and Marathas in central India, and covered parts of present-day Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra states. Its ...
etc. They were transferred to Deccan College,
Pune Pune (; ) is the seventh most populous city in India and the second-largest city in the state of Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'' ...

Pune
, in the late 19th century. They are in the and
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brahmi script, ''Brāhmī'' sc ...

Devanagari
scripts, written on birch bark and paper. The oldest of the Pune collection is dated to 1464. The 30 manuscripts of ''Rigveda'' preserved at the
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) is located in Pune Pune (; ) is the seventh most populous city in India and the second-largest city in the state of Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha, is a state State may ...

Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
,
Pune Pune (; ) is the seventh most populous city in India and the second-largest city in the state of Maharashtra Maharashtra (; , abbr. MH or Maha, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'' ...

Pune
were added to
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
's
Memory of the World Register UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destructi ...
in 2007. Of these thirty manuscripts, nine contain the samhita text, five have the padapatha in addition. Thirteen contain Sayana's commentary. At least five manuscripts (MS. no. 1/A1879-80, 1/A1881-82, 331/1883-84 and 5/Viś I) have preserved the complete text of the ''Rigveda''. MS no. 5/1875-76, written on birch bark in bold Sharada, was only in part used by
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
for his edition of the ''Rigveda'' with Sayana's commentary. Müller used 24 manuscripts then available to him in Europe, while the Pune Edition used over five dozen manuscripts, but the editors of Pune Edition could not procure many manuscripts used by Müller and by the Bombay Edition, as well as from some other sources; hence the total number of extant manuscripts known then must surpass perhaps eighty at least.


Scripts

''Rigveda'' manuscripts in paper, palm leaves and birch bark form, either in full or in portions, have been discovered in the following Indic scripts: *
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida, based on the ancient Brahmi script, ''Brāhmī'' sc ...

Devanagari
(Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal) * Grantha (Tamil Nadu) *
Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian language Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic languages) are a family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogni ...
(Kerala) *
Nandinagari Image:Nandinagari Manuscript.jpg, 600px, A Nandinagari manuscript Nandinagari is a Brahmic script derived from Nāgarī script which appeared in the 7th century AD.George Cardona and Danesh Jain (2003), The Indo-Aryan Languages, Routledge, , page 7 ...
(South India) * (Kashmir)


Comparison

The various ''Rigveda'' manuscripts discovered so far show some differences. Broadly, the most studied Śākala recension has 1017 hymns, includes an appendix of eleven ''valakhīlya'' hymns which are often counted with the eighth mandala, for a total of 1028 metrical hymns. The Bāṣakala version of ''Rigveda'' includes eight of these ''vālakhilya'' hymns among its regular hymns, making a total of 1025 hymns in the main text for this śākhā. The Bāṣakala text also has an appendix of 98 hymns, called the ''Khilani'', bringing the total to 1,123 hymns. The manuscripts of Śākala recension of the ''Rigveda'' have about 10,600 verses, organized into ten Books (''Mandalas''). Books 2 through 7 are internally homogeneous in style, while Books 1, 8 and 10 are compilation of verses of internally different styles suggesting that these books are likely a collection of compositions by many authors. The first mandala is the largest, with 191 hymns and 2006 verses, and it was added to the text after Books 2 through 9. The last, or the 10th Book, also has 191 hymns but 1754 verses, making it the second largest. The language analytics suggest the 10th Book, chronologically, was composed and added last. The content of the 10th Book also suggest that the authors knew and relied on the contents of the first nine books. The ''Rigveda'' is the largest of the four Vedas, and many of its verses appear in the other Vedas. Almost all of the 1875 verses found in
Samaveda The Samaveda (, from ' "song" and ' "knowledge"), is the Veda of melodies and chants. It is an ancient Vedic Sanskrit text, and part of the scriptures of Hinduism Hinduism () is an and ', or way of life. It is the , with over 1.2 bill ...
are taken from different parts of the ''Rigveda'', either once or as repetition, and rewritten in a chant song form. Books 8 and 9 of the ''Rigveda'' are by far the largest source of verses for Sama Veda. Book 10 contributes the largest number of the 1350 verses of ''Rigveda'' found in
Atharvaveda The Atharva The Atharva Veda (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of t ...
, or about one fifth of the 5987 verses in the Atharvaveda text.James Hastings, , Vol. 7, Harvard Divinity School, TT Clark, pp. 5156 A bulk of 1875 ritual-focussed verses of
Yajurveda The ''Yajurveda'' ( sa, यजुर्वेद, ', from ' meaning "worship", and ''veda'' meaning "knowledge") is the Veda primarily of prose mantras for worship rituals.Michael Witzel (2003), "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in ''The Blackwell C ...
, in its numerous versions, also borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in ''Rigveda''.Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, New York: Authors Choice Press, , pp. 273274


Contents

Altogether the Rigveda consists of: *the ''
Samhita Samhita literally means "put together, joined, union", a "collection", and "a methodically, rule-based combination of text or verses".Brahmana The Brahmanas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South As ...
''s, commentaries on the hymns *the ''
Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...
''s or "forest books" *the ''
Upanishad The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teachings which form the foundations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious g ...
''s In western usage, "Rigveda" usually refers to the ''Rigveda'' Samhita, while the Brahmanas are referred to as the "Rigveda Brahmanas" (etc.). Technically speaking, however, "the Rigveda" refers to the entire body of texts transmitted along with the Samhita portion. Different bodies of commentary were transmitted in the different
shakha A shakha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
s or "schools". Only a small portion of these texts has been preserved: The texts of only two out of five shakhas mentioned by the Rigveda Pratishakhya have survived. The late (15th or 16th century) '' Shri Guru Charitra'' even claims the existence of twelve Rigvedic shakhas. The two surviving Rigvedic corpora are those of the '' Śākala'' and the '' Bāṣkala'' shakhas.


Hymns

The Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to various deities, chief of whom are
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
, a heroic god praised for having slain his enemy
Vrtra Vritra (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the language of ...
;
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
, the sacrificial fire; and
Soma South of Market (SoMa) is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Fr ...
, the sacred potion or the plant it is made from. Equally prominent gods are the Adityas or Asura gods
Mitra ''Mitra'' (Proto-Indo-Iranian Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Indo-Iranic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Indo-Iranian/Indo-Iranic branch of Indo-European. Its speakers, the hypothetical Proto-Indo-Iranians, are assumed to have lived ...
Varuna Varuna (; sa, वरुण, , Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay lan ...

Varuna
and
Ushas Ushas (Vedic Sanskrit: / ') is a Vedas, Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. She repeatedly appears in the Rigvedic hymns, states David Kinsley, where she is "consistently identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to t ...
(the dawn). Also invoked are
Savitr Savitṛ (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after ...
,
Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ), also known as Narayana and Hari, is one of the principal deities Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia), the chief executive of a university ** Principal (education), the head teacher of a primary or s ...

Vishnu
,
Rudra Rudra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia af ...

Rudra
,
Pushan Pushan ( sa, पूषन्, Pūṣan) is a Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , ...
, or Brahmanaspati, as well as deified natural phenomena such as
Dyaus Pita Dyaus ( ), or Dyauspitar (Devanagari द्यौष्पितृ, ), is the Ṛgvedic sky deity. His consort is Prithvi, the earth goddess, and together they are the archetypal parents in the Ṛg·veda. Name stems from Proto-Indo-Ira ...
(the shining sky, Father Heaven),
Prithivi Prithvi or Prithvi Mata (Sanskrit: पृथ्वी, ', also पृथिवी, ') "the Vast One" is the Sanskrit name for the earth as well as the name of a devi (goddess) in Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism. In the Vedas, she is the c ...
(the earth, Mother Earth),
Surya Surya (; sa, सूर्य, ) the sun and the solar deity in Hinduism, particularly in the Saura (Hinduism), Saura tradition found in Indian states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and ...

Surya
(the sun god),
Vayu Vayu (, sa, वायु, ) is a primary Hindu deity Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest r ...

Vayu
or Vata (the wind), Apas (the waters),
ParjanyaParjanya ( sa, पर्जन्य ) according to the Vedas is a deity of rain, thunder, lightning, and the one who fertilizes the earth. The Atharvaveda, Atharvanic poet claims Parjanya and Prithvi as father and mother of all beings. His other wi ...
(the thunder and rain), Vac (the word), many
rivers A river is a natural flowing watercourse A watercourse is the channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path o ...
(notably the
Sapta Sindhu River A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body ...
, and the
Sarasvati River The Sarasvati River () is a deified river mentioned in the Rig Veda and later Vedic upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious ...

Sarasvati River
). The Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas,
Ashvins The Ashvins ( sa, अश्विन्, Aśvin, horse possessors), also known as Ashwini Kumara and Asvinau,, §1.42. are two twin gods associated with medicine, health, dawn and sciences in Hindu mythology. In the ''Rigveda'', they are describe ...
,
Maruts The Maruts (; sa, मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras Rudras are forms and followers of the god Rudra Rudra (; Sanskrit: ) is a Rigvedic deities, Rigvedic deity associated with wind god, wind o ...
,
Rbhus Ribhus (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the language of cl ...
, and the
Vishvadevas The Visvedevas () ( ' "all-gods") are the various Rigvedic deities, Vedic deva (Hinduism), gods taken together as a whole. In the Rigveda a number of hymns are addressed to them, including (according to Griffith) 1.89, 3.54-56, 4.55, 5.41-51, 6.49 ...
("all-gods") as well as the "thirty-three gods" are the groups of deities mentioned. *
Mandala 1 The first Mandala ("book") of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an of s (''suktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical (') known as the . The ''Rigveda'' is the oldest known ...

Mandala 1
comprises 191 hymns. Hymn 1.1 is addressed to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
, and his name is the first word of the ''Rigveda''. The remaining hymns are mainly addressed to Agni and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
, as well as Varuna, Mitra, the Ashvins, the Maruts, Usas, Surya, Rbhus, Rudra, Vayu, Brhaspati, Visnu, Heaven and Earth, and all the Gods. This Mandala is dated to have been added to the ''Rigveda'' after Mandala 2 through 9, and includes the philosophical Riddle Hymn 1.164, which inspires chapters in later Upanishads such as the
Mundaka , population_note = , population_density_km2 = auto , blank_name_sec1 = Languages of Spain, Official language(s) , blank_info_sec1 = Basque language, BasqueSpanish language, Spanish , timezone = Central ...
. *
Mandala 2The second Mandala of the Rigveda ) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The Vedic accent, pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores ...

Mandala 2
comprises 43 hymns, mainly to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
. It is chiefly attributed to the Rishi '. *
Mandala 3The third Mandala of the Rigveda ) manuscript in Devanagari, early 19th century. After a scribal benediction ('), the first line has the first pada, RV 1.1.1a ('). The Vedic accent, pitch-accent is marked by underscores and vertical overscores ...
comprises 62 hymns, mainly to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
and the Vishvedevas. The verse 3.62.10 has great importance in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
as the
Gayatri Mantra The Gāyatrī Mantra, also known as the Sāvitri Mantra, is a highly revered mantra '' syllable is considered a mantra in its own right in the Vedanta school of Hinduism. Image:Mantras caved into rock in Tibet.jpg, In Tibet, many Buddhists ca ...

Gayatri Mantra
. Most hymns in this book are attributed to '. *
Mandala 4 The fourth Mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable d ...
comprises 58 hymns, mainly to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
as well as the Rbhus, Ashvins, Brhaspati, Vayu, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to '. *
Mandala 5 The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the Atri family. The mandala is one of the "family books" (mandalas 2-7), the oldest core of the Rigveda, which were composed in early vedic period(1500-1000 ...
comprises 87 hymns, mainly to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
, the
Visvedevas The Visvedevas () ( ' "all-gods") are the various Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large b ...
("all the gods'), the
Maruts The Maruts (; sa, मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras Rudras are forms and followers of the god Rudra Rudra (; Sanskrit: ) is a Rigvedic deities, Rigvedic deity associated with wind god, wind o ...
, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the
Asvins The Ashvins ( sa, अश्विन्, Aśvin, horse possessors), also known as Ashwini Kumara and Asvinau,, §1.42. are two twin gods associated with medicine, health, dawn and sciences in Hindu mythology. In the ''Rigveda'', they are described ...
. Two hymns each are dedicated to
Ushas Ushas (Vedic Sanskrit: / ') is a Vedas, Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. She repeatedly appears in the Rigvedic hymns, states David Kinsley, where she is "consistently identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to t ...
(the dawn) and to
Savitr Savitṛ (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after ...
. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the ' clan. *
Mandala 6 The sixth Mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable de ...
comprises 75 hymns, mainly to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
and
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
, all the gods, Pusan, Ashvin, Usas, etc. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the ' family of Angirasas. *
Mandala 7 The seventh Mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable ...
comprises 104 hymns, to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
,
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
, the
Visvadevas The Visvedevas () ( ' "all-gods") are the various Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "k ...
, the
Maruts The Maruts (; sa, मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras Rudras are forms and followers of the god Rudra Rudra (; Sanskrit: ) is a Rigvedic deities, Rigvedic deity associated with wind god, wind o ...
, Mitra-Varuna, the
Asvins The Ashvins ( sa, अश्विन्, Aśvin, horse possessors), also known as Ashwini Kumara and Asvinau,, §1.42. are two twin gods associated with medicine, health, dawn and sciences in Hindu mythology. In the ''Rigveda'', they are described ...
,
Ushas Ushas (Vedic Sanskrit: / ') is a Vedas, Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. She repeatedly appears in the Rigvedic hymns, states David Kinsley, where she is "consistently identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to t ...
, Indra-Varuna,
Varuna Varuna (; sa, वरुण, , Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay lan ...

Varuna
,
Vayu Vayu (, sa, वायु, ) is a primary Hindu deity Hindu deities are the gods and goddesses in Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest r ...

Vayu
(the wind), two each to
Sarasvati Saraswati ( sa, सरस्वती, ) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, speech, wisdom, and learning. She is a part of the trinity ('' Tridevi'') of Saraswati, Lakshmi Lakshmi (; ''IAST, Lakṣmī'', ), also known a ...

Sarasvati
(ancient river/goddess of learning) and
Vishnu Vishnu (; ; , ), also known as Narayana and Hari, is one of the principal deities Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia), the chief executive of a university ** Principal (education), the head teacher of a primary or s ...

Vishnu
, and to others. Most hymns in this book are attributed to '. *
Mandala 8 The eighth Mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an of s (''suktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical (') known as the . The ''Rigveda'' is the oldest known text. Its ...
comprises 103 hymns to various gods. Hymns 8.49 to 8.59 are the apocryphal '. Hymns 148 and 6066 are attributed to the ' clan, the rest to other (Angirasa) poets. *
Mandala 9 The ninth Mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable d ...
comprises 114 hymns, entirely devoted to ''
Soma South of Market (SoMa) is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Fr ...
Pavamana'', the cleansing of the sacred potion of the Vedic religion. *
Mandala 10 The tenth mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an of s (''suktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical (') known as the . The ''Rigveda'' is the oldest known text. Its ...

Mandala 10
comprises additional 191 hymns, frequently in later language, addressed to
Agni Agni (English: , sa, अग्नि, translit=Agni) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and connotes the fire god of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's thir ...

Agni
,
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia afte ...

Indra
and various other deities. It contains the
Nadistuti sukta The Nadistuti sukta (Sanskrit: नदिस्तुति सूक्त), or "the hymn in praise of river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some case ...
which is in praise of rivers and is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization and the
Purusha sukta 200px, The first two verses of the Purusha sukta, with Sayana's commentary. Page of Max Müller's ''Rig-Veda-sanhita, the Sacred Hymns of the Brahmans'' (reprint, London 1974). Purusha sukta (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, IA ...
which has been important in studies of Vedic sociology. It also contains the
Nasadiya sukta The Nāsadīya Sūkta (after the incipit ', or "not the non-existent"), also known as the Hymn of Creation, is the 129th hymn of the 10th mandala of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ...
(10.129) which deals with multiple speculations about the creation of universe, and whether anyone can know the right answer. The marriage hymns (10.85) and the death hymns (10.1018) still are of great importance in the performance of the corresponding
Grhya Kalpa ( sa, कल्प) means "proper, fit" and is one of the six disciplines of the Vedānga, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharv ...
rituals.


Rigveda Brahmanas

Of the Brahmanas that were handed down in the schools of the ' (i.e. "possessed of many verses"), as the followers of the ''Rigveda'' are called, two have come down to us, namely those of the Aitareyins and the Kaushitakins. The ''
Aitareya-brahmanaThe Aitareya Brahmana ( sa, ऐतरेय ब्राह्मण) is the Brahmana of the Shakala Shakha of the Rigveda, an ancient Indian collection of sacred hymns. This work, according to the tradition, is ascribed to Mahidasa Aitareya. Au ...
'' and the ''Kaushitaki-'' (or ''Sankhayana-'') ''brahmana'' evidently have for their groundwork the same stock of traditional exegetic matter. They differ, however, considerably as regards both the arrangement of this matter and their stylistic handling of it, with the exception of the numerous legends common to both, in which the discrepancy is comparatively slight. There is also a certain amount of material peculiar to each of them. The Kaushitaka is, upon the whole, far more concise in its style and more systematic in its arrangement features which would lead one to infer that it is probably the more modern work of the two. It consists of 30 chapters (''adhyaya''); while the Aitareya has 40, divided into eight books (or pentads, ''pancaka''), of five chapters each. The last 10 adhyayas of the latter work are, however, clearly a later addition though they must have already formed part of it at the time of
Pāṇini (Devanagari: पाणिनि, ) was a Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language ...
(c. 5th century BCE), if, as seems probable, one of his grammatical sutras, regulating the formation of the names of Brahmanas, consisting of 30 and 40 adhyayas, refers to these two works. In this last portion occurs the well-known legend (also found in the Shankhayana-sutra, but not in the Kaushitaki-brahmana) of
Shunahshepa Shunahshepa (IAST: Śunaḥśepa) is a legendary sage mentioned in the Indian Indian epic poetry, epics . A number of passages in ''Rigveda'' are attributed to him. He was adopted by the sage Vishvamitra, and given the new name Devarata. His name ...
, whom his father Ajigarta sells and offers to slay, the recital of which formed part of the inauguration of kings. While the Aitareya deals almost exclusively with the Soma sacrifice, the Kaushitaka, in its first six chapters, treats of the several kinds of ''haviryajna'', or offerings of rice, milk, ghee, etc., whereupon follows the Soma sacrifice in this way, that chapters 710 contain the practical ceremonial and 1130 the recitations (''shastra'') of the hotar. Sayana, in the introduction to his commentary on the work, ascribes the Aitareya to the sage Mahidasa Aitareya (i.e. son of Itara), also mentioned elsewhere as a philosopher; and it seems likely enough that this person arranged the Brahmana and founded the school of the Aitareyins. Regarding the authorship of the sister work we have no information, except that the opinion of the sage Kaushitaki is frequently referred to in it as authoritative, and generally in opposition to the Paingya—the Brahmana, it would seem, of a rival school, the Paingins. Probably, therefore, it is just what one of the manuscripts calls it—the Brahmana of Sankhayana (composed) in accordance with the views of Kaushitaki.


Rigveda Aranyakas and Upanishads

Each of these two Brahmanas is supplemented by a "forest book", or
Aranyaka The Aranyakas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia ...
. The ''Aitareyaranyaka'' is not a uniform production. It consists of five books (''aranyaka''), three of which, the first and the last two, are of a liturgical nature, treating of the ceremony called ''mahavrata'', or great vow. The last of these books, composed in sutra form, is, however, doubtless of later origin, and is, indeed, ascribed by Hindu authorities either to Shaunaka or to Ashvalayana. The second and third books, on the other hand, are purely speculative, and are also styled the ''Bahvrca-brahmana-upanishad''. Again, the last four chapters of the second book are usually singled out as the
Aitareya Upanishad The Aitareya Upanishad (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , ...
, ascribed, like its Brahmana (and the first book), to Mahidasa Aitareya; and the third book is also referred to as the ''Samhita-upanishad''. As regards the ''Kaushitaki-aranyaka'', this work consists of 15 adhyayas, the first two (treating of the mahavrata ceremony) and the 7th and 8th of which correspond to the first, fifth, and third books of the Aitareyaranyaka, respectively, whilst the four adhyayas usually inserted between them constitute the highly interesting Kaushitaki (Brahmana-) Upanishad, of which we possess two different recensions. The remaining portions (915) of the Aranyaka treat of the vital airs, the internal Agnihotra, etc., ending with the ''vamsha'', or succession of teachers.


Significance

The text is a highly stylized poetical Vedic Sanskrit with praise addressed to the Vedic gods and chieftains. Most hymns, according to Witzel, were intended to be recited at the annual New Year Soma ritual.. The text also includes some nonritual poetry, fragments of mythology, archaic formulas, and a number of hymns with early philosophical speculations.. Composed by the poets of different clans, including famed Vedic ''rishis'' (sages) such as
Vishvamitra BrahmarshiIn Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, kn ...
and
Vasishtha Vasishtha ( sa, वसीष्ठ, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related In ...

Vasishtha
, these signify the power of prestige therewith to ''vac'' (speech, sound), a tradition set in place. The text introduced the prized concepts such as ''Rta'' (active realization of truth, cosmic harmony) which inspired the later Hindu concept of
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes; ta, aṟam, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the s ...
. The Rigvedic verses formulate this ''Rta'' as effected by ''
Brahman ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्मन् , hi, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality Ultimate reality is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". This heav ...

Brahman
'', a significant and non-self-evident truth. The text also contains hymns of "highly poetical value"some in dialogue form, along with love stories that likely inspired later Epic and classical poets of Hinduism, states Witzel. According to Nadkarni, several hymns of the ''Rigveda'' embed cherished virtues and ethical statements. For example, verses 5.82.7, 6.44.8, 9.113.4, 10.133.6 and 10.190.1 mention truthful speech, truthful action, self-discipline and righteousness. Hymn 10.117 presents the significance of charity and of generosity between human beings, how helping someone in need is ultimately in the self-interest of the helper, its importance to an individual and the society. According to Jamison and Brereton, hymns 9.112 and 9.113 poetically state, "what everyone umans and all living beingsreally want is gain or an easy life", even a water drop has a goalnamely, "simply to seek Indra". These hymns present the imagery of being in heaven as "freedom, joy and satisfaction", a theme that appears in the Hindu Upanishads to characterize their teachings of self-realization.


Monism debate

While the older hymns of the ''Rigveda'' reflect sacrifice, sacrificial ritual typical of polytheism,see e.g. Jeaneane D. Fowler (2002), Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism, Sussex University Press, , pp. 3845 its younger parts, specifically mandalas 1 and 10, have been noted as containing monism, monistic or henotheism, henotheistic speculations. A widely cited example of such speculations is hymn 1.164.46:
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
notably introduced the term "henotheism" for the philosophy expressed here, avoiding the connotations of "monotheism" in Judeo-Christian tradition.Stephen Phillips (2009), Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, , p. 401 Other widely cited examples of monism, monistic tendencies include hymns 1.164, 8.36 and 10.31, Other scholars state that the ''Rigveda'' includes an emerging diversity of thought, including monotheism, polytheism, henotheism and pantheism, the choice left to the preference of the worshipper. and the Nasadiya Sukta (10.129), one of the most widely cited Rigvedic hymns in popular western presentations. Ruse (2015) commented on the old discussion of "monotheism" vs. "henotheism" vs. "monism" by noting an "atheism, atheistic streak" in hymns such as :wikisource:The Rig Veda/Mandala 10/Hymn 130, 10.130.a "strong traditional streak that (by Western standards) would undoubtedly be thought atheistic"; hymn 10.130 can be read to be in "an atheistic spirit". Michael Ruse (2015), Atheism, Oxford University Press, , p. 185. Examples from
Mandala 1 The first Mandala ("book") of the Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an of s (''suktas''). It is one of the four sacred canonical (') known as the . The ''Rigveda'' is the oldest known ...

Mandala 1
adduced to illustrate the "metaphysical" nature of the contents of the younger hymns include: 1.164.34: "What is the ultimate limit of the earth?", "What is the center of the universe?", "What is the semen of the cosmic horse?", "What is the ultimate source of human speech?"; 1.164.34: "Who gave blood, soul, spirit to the earth?", "How could the unstructured universe give origin to this structured world?"; 1.164.5: "Where does the sun hide in the night?", "Where do gods live?"; 1.164.6: "What, where is the unborn support for the born universe?"; s:The Rig Veda/Mandala 1/Hymn 164, 1.164.20 (a hymn that is widely cited in the Upanishads as the parable of the Body and the Soul): "Two birds with fair wings, inseparable companions; Have found refuge in the same sheltering tree. One incessantly eats from the fig tree; the other, not eating, just looks on.".


Reception in Hinduism


Shruti

The Vedas as a whole are classed as "shruti" in Hindu tradition. This has been compared to the concept of divine revelation in Western religious tradition, but Staal argues that "it is nowhere stated that the Veda was revealed", and that ''shruti'' simply means "that what is heard, in the sense that it is transmitted from father to son or from teacher to pupil". The ''Rigveda'', or other Vedas, do not anywhere assert that they are apauruṣeyā, and this reverential term appears only centuries after the end of the Vedic period in the texts of the Mimamsa school of Hindu philosophy. The text of the ''Rigveda'' suggests it was "composed by poets, human individuals whose names were household words" in the Vedic age, states Staal.Frits Staal (2009), ''Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights'', Penguin, , pp. xvxvi The authors of the Brahmanas, literature discussed and interpreted the Vedic ritual.


Sanskrit grammatarians

Yaska (4th c. BCE), a Lexicography, lexicographer, was an early commentator of the ''Rigveda'' by discussing the meanings of difficult words. In his book titled ''Nirukta'' Yaska asserts that the ''Rigveda'' in the ancient tradition can be interpreted in three ways - from the perspective of religious rites (''adhiyajna''), from the perspective of the deities (''adhidevata''), and from the perspective of the soul (''adhyatman''). The fourth way to interpret the ''Rigveda'' also emerged in the ancient times, wherein the gods mentioned were viewed as symbolism for legendary individuals or narratives. It was generally accepted that creative poets often embed and express double meanings, ellipses and novel ideas to inspire the reader.


Medieval Hindu scholarship

By the period of Puranic Hinduism, in the medieval period, the language of the hymns had become "almost entirely unintelligible", and their interpretation mostly hinged on mysticism, mystical ideas and sound symbolism. According to the Puranic tradition, Ved Vyasa compiled all the four Vedas, along with the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Vyasa then taught the ''Rigveda'' samhita to Paila, who started the oral tradition. An alternate version states that Shakala compiled the ''Rigveda'' from the teachings of Vedic rishis, and one of the manuscript recensions mentions Shakala. Madhvacharya, a Hindu philosopher of the 13th century, provided a commentary of the first 40 hymns of the ''Rigveda'' in his book ''Rig Bhashyam''. In the 14th century, Sayana, wrote an exhaustive commentary on the complete text of the ''Rigveda'' in his book ''Rigveda Samhita''. This book was translated from Sanskrit to English by
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
in the year 1856. H.H. Wilson also translated this book into English as ''Rigveda Sanhita'' in the year 1856. Both Madvacharya and Sayanacharya studied at the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri monastery. A number of other commentaries (''s'') were written during the medieval period, including the commentaries by Skandasvamin (pre-Sayana, roughly of the Gupta period), Udgatr, Udgitha (pre-Sayana), Venkata-Madhava (pre-Sayana, c. 10th to 12th centuries) and Mudgala Purana, Mudgala (after Sayana, an abbreviated version of Sayana's commentary). Some notable commentaries from Medieval period include:


Arya Samaj and Aurobindo movements

In the 19th- and early 20th-centuries, reformers like Swami Dayananda Saraswati (founder of the Arya Samaj) and Sri Aurobindo (founder of Sri Aurobindo Ashram) discussed the philosophies of the Vedas. According to Robson, Dayananda believed "there were no errors in the Vedas (including the ''Rigveda''), and if anyone showed him an error, he would maintain that it was a corruption added later". According to Dayananda and Aurobindo the Vedic scholars had a monotheistic conception. Sri Aurobindo gave ommentaries, general interpretation guidelines, and a partial translation in ''The secret of Veda'' (1946). Sri Aurobindo finds Sayana's interpretation to be ritualistic in nature, and too often having inconsistent interpretations of Vedic terms, trying to fit the meaning to a narrow mold. Accorording to Aurobindo, if Sayana's interepretation were to be accepted, it would seem as if the Rig Veda belongs to an unquestioning tradition of faith, starting from an original error. Aurobindo attempted to interpret hymns to Agni in the ''Rigveda'' as mystical. Aurobindo states that the Vedic hymns were a quest after a higher truth, define the ''Rta'' (basis of
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes; ta, aṟam, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the s ...
), conceive life in terms of a struggle between the forces of light and darkness, and sought the ultimate reality.''The Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo'' by V. P. Varma (1960), Motilal Banarsidass, p. 139,


Contemporary Hinduism

The ''Rigveda'', in contemporary Hinduism, has been a reminder of the ancient cultural heritage and point of pride for Hindus, with some hymns still in use in major
rites of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''com ...
ceremonies, but the literal acceptance of most of the textual essence is long gone.Andrea Pinkney (2014), Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia (Editors: Bryan Turner and Oscar Salemink), Routledge, , pp. 3132 Musicians and dance groups celebrate the text as a mark of Hindu heritage, through incorporating Rigvedic hymns in their compositions, such as in ''Hamsadhvani'' and ''Subhapantuvarali'' of Carnatic music, and these have remained popular among the Hindus for decades. According to Axel Michaels, "most Indians today pay lip service to the Veda and have no regard for the contents of the text." According to Louis Renou, the Vedic texts are a distant object, and "even in the most orthodox domains, the reverence to the Vedas has come to be a simple raising of the hat". According to Andrea Pinkney, "the social history and context of the Vedic texts are extremely distant from contemporary Hindu religious beliefs and practice", and the reverence for the Vedas in contemporary Hinduism illustrates the respect among the Hindus for their heritage.


Hindu nationalism

The Rig Veda plays a role in the modern construction of a Hindu identity, portraying Hindus as the original inhabitants of India. The ''Rigveda'' has been referred to in the "Indigenous Aryans" and Out of India theory. Dating the Rig Veda as contemporaneous, or even preceding the Indus Valley Civilisation, an argument is made that the IVC was Aryan, and the bearer of the Rig Veda. Indian nationalist Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his ''Orion: Or Researches Into The Antiquity Of The Vedas'' (1893) has concluded that the date of composition of the ''Rigveda'' dates at least as far back as 60004000 BCE based on his astronomical research into the position of the constellation Orion (constellation), Orion. These theories are controversial, and not accepted or propagated in mainstream scholarship.


Translations

The ''Rigveda'' is considered particularly difficult to translate, owing its length, poetic nature, the language itself, and the absence of any close contemporary texts for comparison. Staal describes it as the most "obscure, distant and difficult for moderns to understand". As a result, he says, it "is often misinterpreted" – with many early translations containing straightforward errors – "or worse: used as a peg on which to hang an idea or a theory." Another issue is technical terms such as ''mandala'', conventionally translated "book", but more literally rendered "cycle". Karen Thomson argues, as linguists in the nineteenth century had done (Max Müller, Friedrich Max Müller, Rudolf von Roth, William Dwight Whitney, Theodor Benfey, John Muir (indologist), John Muir, Edward Vernon Arnold), that the apparent obscurity derives from the failure to discard a mass of assumptions about ritual meaning inherited from Vedic tradition. The first published translation of any portion of the ''Rigveda'' in any European language was into Latin, by Friedrich August Rosen, working from manuscripts brought back from India by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Colebrooke. In 1849,
Max Müller Friedrich Max Müller (; 6 December 1823 – 28 October 1900) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Max Müller
published his six-volume translation into German, the first printed edition and most studied. H. H. Wilson was the first to make a translation of the Rig Veda into English, published from 185088. Wilson's version was based on a commentary of the complete text by Sayana, , a 14th-century Sanskrit scholar, which he also translated. Translations have since been made in several languages, including French and Russian. Karl Friedrich Geldner completed the first scholarly translation in the 1920s, which was published after his death. Translations of shorter cherrypicked anthologies have also been published, such as those by Wendy Doniger in 1981 and Walter Maurer in 1986, although Jamison and Brereton say they "tend to create a distorted view" of the text. In 1994, Barend A. van Nooten and Gary B. Holland published the first attempt to restore the entirety of the ''Rigveda'' to its poetic form, systematically identifying and correcting sound changes and
sandhi Sandhi ( sa, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion an ...
combinations which had distorted the original Metre (poetry), metre and meaning.B. van Nooten and G. Holland, Rig Veda. A metrically restored text. Cambridge: Harvard Oriental Series 1994
Review
Thomson and Slocum
Some notable translations of the Rig Veda include:


See also

* Keśin * Mayabheda


Notes


References


Bibliography

Editions * ** ** * editio princeps: Friedrich Max Müller, ''The Hymns of the Rigveda, with Sayana's commentary'', London, 184975, 6 vols., 2nd ed. 4 vols., Oxford, 189092. * Theodor Aufrecht, 2nd ed., Bonn, 1877. * . The editorial board for the First Edition included N. S. Sontakke (Managing Editor), V. K. , M. M. , and T. S. . * B. van Nooten und G. Holland, ''Rig Veda, a metrically restored text'', Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, 1994. * Rgveda-Samhita, Text in Devanagari, English translation Notes and indices by H. H. Wilson, Ed. W. F. Webster, originally in 1888, Published Nag Publishers 1990, 11A/U.A. Jawaharnagar, Delhi-7. Commentary * Sayana (14th century) ** ed. Müller 184975 (German translation); ** ed. Müller (original commentary of Sāyana in Sanskrit based on 24 manuscripts). ** ed. Sontakke et al., published by Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala, Pune (2nd ed. 1972) in 5 volumes. * Rgveda-Samhitā Srimat-sāyanāchārya virachita--sametā, ed. by Sontakke et al., published by Vaidika Samśodhana Mandala, Pune-9, 1972, in 5 volumes (It is original commentary of Sāyana in Sanskrit based on over 60 manuscripts). * * Sri Aurobindo, ''Hymns to the Mystic Fire'' (Commentary on the Rig Veda), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin
Rig Veda - Hymns to the Mystic Fire - Sri Aurobindo - INDEX
* Raimundo Pannikar (1972), ''The Vedic Experience'', University of California Press Philology * * Vashishtha Narayan Jha, ''A Linguistic Analysis of the Rgveda-Padapatha'' Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi (1992). * Bjorn Merker

Mongolian Studies, Journal of the Mongolian Society XI, 1988. * * *—''Die Religion des Veda''. Berlin 1894; Stuttgart 1917; Stuttgart 1927; Darmstadt 1977 *—''Vedic Hymns'', The Sacred Books of the East Vol l. 46 ed. Friedrich Max Müller, Oxford 1897 * Adolf Kaegi, ''The Rigveda: The Oldest Literature of the Indians'' (trans. R. Arrowsmith), Boston, Ginn and Co. (1886), 2004 reprint: . * Historical * * * * * * * * * Lal, B.B. 2005. The Homeland of the Aryans. Evidence of Rigvedic Flora and Fauna & Archaeology, New Delhi, Aryan Books International. * Shrikant G. Talageri, Talageri, Shrikant: The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, 2000. * * * * *


External links

Text
The Rig Veda
The complete Rig Veda in English translation at holybooks.com

experimental online text at: sacred-texts.com

online text and PDF, several versions prepared by Detlef Eichler

online text, at: Linguistics Research Center, Univ. of Texas *

', Editio Princeps by Friedrich Max Müller (large PDF files of book scans). Two editions: London, 1877 (Samhita and Pada texts) and Oxford, 189092, with Sayana's commentary. * Dictionary
Rigvedic Dictionary by Hermann Grassmann
(online database, uni-koeln.de) {{Authority control Rigveda, 2nd-millennium BC literature Hindu texts Memory of the World Register Sources of ancient Iranian religion