About the Book
This book examines the earliest Hindu text Rgueda, Puranas and epics them in line with the hoary international scenario of Greek, Mitanni, Hittite and Iranian to put in perspective the brainteaser of the Indo-Aryan problem. Apart from that the internal evidence of the Rgueda cogently support the point of view that Indara (Indra) invaded the north-west of the subcontinent where a highly civilized dark skinned population were entrenched in organized cities for millennia on end. In addressing the tricky problem the author has taken note of the latest DNA reports and linguistics to establish his point of view not forgetting to include the latest findings of scientists that a prolonged 200 years spell of drought has put paid to the Indus Valley Civilization. The entire gamut of scholarly opinions, Western, Chinese and Indian starting from historical periods down to the present century are presented in this information laden book in which he has boldly brought forward his original percepts like the Vajra in reality was a serrated metal disc meant to be flung at enemies from speeding stallion driven three wheeled chariots. The Biblical of the Holy Trinity bears a weird affinity to the Rgueda. The reality of the legendary River Sarasvati has been sounded from early sources down to the present day satellite images of the riverbed leading to the proactive initiatives of the erstwhile Minister of Culture Jagmohan to involve the ISRO, scientists and engineers to track down the subterranean flow of the lost river. The first chapter describes the ancient geographic Weltanschauung of Hidnus and deals with the original terms of Hindu and Bharatavarsa. In doing so the Buddhist ideas of celestial regions round the pivotal Mount Meru have also been slotted here. The Appendix appositely deals with the Indus Valley Civilization sites that includes Lothal, Kalibangan and Mehrgarh the last of which has pushed back the date of India's civilization to 7000 BCE.
The writer has taken care to present here the Rgvedic, epical and Puranic anecdotes of Pururava-Urvasi, Yama-Naciketa, Yama-Yami and Svetaketu to highlight the intrinsic social and spiritual tensions of the age not missing out on the custom of Pasa gaming and the hallucinogenic Some drinks. His versification of two Rgvedic hymns into English has lent additional charm to this book that demanded prolonged toils. The hymns are presented here in original Vedic or proto-Sanskrit with glosses and translations. The book is tailed with pics, bibliography and index.
About the Author
Shri Sujit Narayan Sen was born in 1944.A Xaverian graduate from Kolkata he did his Master?s in History from the Jadavpur U (1965) and another from Calcutta U. in Anc. Indian History & Culture with Fine Arts (1973). He got his Ph. D from the form University (1992) researching on ancient Indian murals. He also completed certificate curses on Urdu and Persian 2 years each from the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata where every years he is invited to deliver audo-visual lecture on different schools of traditional Indian paintings in The Appreciation of Indian Art programme series. He joined the Indian Museum (Art Section) in Kolkata in 1968 and retired as the head of its Art Section in 2004. For a stint he also served the Gurusaday Museum of Folk Arts (Thakurpukur, Kolkata) as its Director cum Secretary and the Victoria Memorial Hall as Keeper in 1985 on lien. He visited the Singapore National Museum in 1993 in connection with a Buddha exhibition and delivered talks on ancient Indian Buddhist murals that fetched him kudos (report in the Straits Times, I Dec. 1993). He was a guest lecturer at the Dept. of Museology of Calcutta U. (2001-3) and a freelance book reviewer in The Statesman (1997-99). He has been a longstanding member of Kolkata?s Asiatic Society and now has taken up writing books on art, history and literature with a professional zeal. He visited the States (2006-7) and interfaced with the Faculty members of History and Art of the Rice University, Houston. A list of Sen?s books is appended here.
Here in the introduction I, of choice shall take UP the Rgveda primarily because in this chapter, not being a Sanskritist I have dared to place some of my original thoughts after quoting relevant verses and translating them into English with the help of Rameshchandra Dutta's Bengali renderings in which he was assisted by no less a savant than the celebrated Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar of Bengal's Fort William College. In my arduous task I kept two Sanskrit to English lexicons by my side, namely Monier-Williams' (MW) and VS Apte's (Ap.) for instant cognisance of difficult Vedic words about which more recent Sanskrit words and inflections Provided me clues in most cases. Questions may be raised as to my competence to write an essay on the Veda without being a scholar in this sphere. My answer to this is that by having history as my specific discipline and by virtue of being a son of the soil I have earned the right to let my original views to it be known to my readers without being biased by Western logic. Though I have systematically gone through the English translations of an English scholar despite his name having curiously eluded me because the page containing the title was missing from the Asiatic Society's copy. To be frank I was glued to its extremely arresting free rendering but desisted from taking down any notes from it. I have also superficially and cursorily glanced through some other English translations but I put my steadfast faith in the above mentioned Bengali translation for my immediate purpose. The reason behind this is that Bengali in its pure and more pristine form is much closer to Sanskrit. Apart from being truely academic Dutta's toed the letter and spirit of the original verses as much as possible being free of the lure of free renditions which gripped English translator poets like Edward Fitzgerald of the Rubaiyat of Omar khayyam fame. In my down to earth studies of the Rgveda its copies unexpectedly edited by a Muslim Abdul Aziz Al Aman (Rgveda Samhita with the original Vedic with Bengali translations following closely Dutta's rendition, 4th impression, Haraf Prakashani, Kolkata, 2000) have proved to be of eminent assistance to me.
Now that I have completed my essay on the Rgveda I have decided to expose myself to European viewpoints because now I no longer stand in their line of fire but to my surprise I have discovered that with some of their conclusions my independent surmises do agree. From others, of course I have much to learn and benefit some of which I would like to record here because the Furopean scholars are generally deeply versed in the subject. subject. At the same time some of my thoughts are definitely novel and as I have stated above, to remain on the safe side I have quoted or referred to original verses to bolster my opinions. So much for my idiosyncratic standpoints that you are free to reject or accept. I wish to bring in here some of the western views on the Rgveda in the wonderful summing up by Maurice Winternitz in his treatise named A History of Indian Literature (translated by V Srinivasa Sarma into English from German Geschichte Der Indischen Literatur, Moriz Winternitz). In the chapter fittingly titled 'What is the Veda?' Winternitz points at the start, '...no one can understand the spiritual life and the culture of the Indian without acquiring an insight into the Vedic literature. Besides, Buddhism, whose place of birth is India, remains for ever ununderstandable to one who does not know the Veda. For, the teachings of the Buddha are related to the Veda as the New Testament to the Old. No one can understand the new faith without getting acquainted with the old faith of which the Veda gives us information.'
The word Veda means knowledge. Throughout the centuries or millennia the words of the Vedas were transmitted from mouth to mouth and thus these were not one time compositions unlike many other holy religious scriptures of the world.