The earliest of the four Hindu religious scriptures known as the Vedas, and the first extensive composition to survive in any Indo-European language, the Rig Veda (c. 1200 900 BC) is a collection of over 1,000 individual Sanskrit hymns. A work of intricate beauty, it provides a unique insight into early Indian mythology, religion and culture. This selection of 108 of the hymns, chosen for their eloquence and wisdom, focuses on the enduring themes of creation, sacrifice, death, women, the sacred plant soma and the gods. Inspirational and profound, it provides a fascinating introduction to one of the founding texts of Hindu scripture an awesome and venerable ancient work of Vedic ritual, prayer, philosophy, legend and faith.
About the Author
Wendy Doniger is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, and the translator of numerous Sanskrit texts including the Laws of Manu, and Kamasutra.
his book is intended to make the ancient scripture of the Rig Veda accessible to the general public by selecting some 108 passages out of a work some ten-times longer. Wendy Doniger has generally succeeded in pointing out some of the essential creation stories, the tales about the importance of cows, Soma-drinking, and the gods such as Indra and Agni. Some of the stories are very raucous, bawdy, and entertaining, others appear very abstract and remote. For the introductory student wishing to get a handle on the Vedas this book obviously succeeds, though some patience will be needed and some imagination to bring this ancient culture to life. Doniger provides plenty of footnotes (perhaps too many) as well as prefaces to make the text meaningful and relevant.
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