Tuesday, May 7, 2019

On Debroy’s Translation of the Vedas

The Holy Vedas by Bibek Debroy and Dipavali Debroy is a fine overview of the four Vedas: the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda, and the Artharva Veda.

The authors have not translated all the vedic hymns, and they do not cross-reference to the original vedic verse, which makes it difficult to find out to which vedic verse a particular paragraph in the translation is referring to, and I believe that the placement of some of the verses in the book could have been better. But overall this book manages to give a fine sense of what is in the Vedas.

The Sanskrit word “veda” is literally means knowledge and is derived from the root vid—“to know.” In his 1898 book The Arctic Home of the Vedas, Bal Gangadhar Tilak suggests that the vedic literature was composed around 6000 B.C. But most modern scholars date the Vedas between 1700 B.C. to 900 B.C.

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