We have great pleasure in publishing the book "Rigvedic Studies : 1. Rig-veda as a Recital Calendar – Chronometer 2. Chrono-Mythopoetics of Vedic Hypertext" by Dr. M.I. Mikhailov as the Volume 45 of the Bharatiya Vidya Series.
Dr. M.I. Mikhailov of Belarus has been working in the field of Roved studies for the last five years. Earlier he worked on 'Ksemendra's Didactic and Satirical Poems as a Historical Source' for his Ph.D. Degree. He visited Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at Mumbai in 1997, to pursue his Vedic research.
The present work 'Rigvedic studies' reveals a less-trodden aspect of the Vedic study. He attempts to reconstruct the core pattern of the Vedic recital-based highly spiritual ritualistic calendar. The Author's approach in this technical subject is new and highly interesting. We hope that Dr. Mikhailov's work 'Rigvedic studies' will enrich and inspire the scholars and student of Vedic thought.
These articles have been written primarily for the Sanskrit scholar who has some interest in the deciphering of the Vedic enigma. Therefore, I have not tried to explain everything and to cover all aspects of Vedic interpretation. My primary purpose was to provide some new data, hypothesis, and reinterpretations, which could be helpful in the greater work of reconstruction of the world view of the core supercivilization of ancient times. I have not tried to reduce Sanskrit terms to a minimum and to translate all of them. The translations of some Vedic mantras are my interpretations of the intentions and suggested senses as I understand them rather than literal or poetical renderings of untranslatable magic formula.
This research began with my own study of Hindu deities contained in the Kshemendra's Carucarya-shataka and other didactic poems initiated by prof. I.D. Serebryakov (Moscow) in 1986. My approach was formed in the main stream of ideas formulated by Dayananda Sarasvati and Aurobindo Ghosh ("Vedic Glossary"). Then it was greatly stimulated by the writings of David Frawley and the study of the history of Indian astronomy. The Russian translation of the first four mandalas of the Rigveda and the study of the Vedic grammar and stylistics by prof. T.Y. Elizarenkova (1989, 1993) served as a strong phiological platform.
I began to investigate the problem of the Brahma's Life Span in 1989 being influenced by some astronomical studies on the Rigvedic deities and Bhartrihari's definitions of time. Some illuminating ideas came from the book of B.L. Van der Waerden "Science Awakening II: The Birth of Astronomy" (Moscow, 1991, Russian Tr.). I came to the conclusion that the Brahma's Life Span, this great astronomical period, should represent a certain "Big Year" or a Planetary Coordinating Period calculated in parts of a second (trutis and lavas). Then, from 1991 onwards, I stepped forward deciphering the Rigvedic calendar through the analysis of the mandala-sukta combinations. In 1992, the calendrical theory of the core Rigvedic recitation was elaborated in my manuscript of Kshemendra's studies and translations submitted to the Belarusian Republican Foundation of Fundamental Studies. In January of 1994, I presented some of my tables and a paper on this subject at the IXth World Sanskrit Conference, which took place in Melbourne. In 1994, an article in Belarusian language was also published ("The enigma of the Veda: The calendar-chronological hypothesis of the origin of the Vedic recitations" In: Kriwja – Issue I – Minsk, 1994.-P.63 – 74 – In Belarusian). In 1994-95 the article "Rig-Veda As a Recital Calendar-Chronometer" was written and sent to some Vedic scholars. One of them, Dr. P. V. Pathak gave reply with encouragement. I presented an another paper dedicated to the same problem this time with the probabilistic evaluation of Bangalore (in 1997) in presence of the reverent Dr. Shivamurthy Swamiji.
My hypothesis is concerned only with the reconstruction of the core pattern of the Vedic recital-based highly spiritual ritualistic calendar, which underlies its concrete functioning in the shrauta ritual and yogic observation. It does not touch on any aspect of the controversy about the ancient Vedic ritual. These articles embody only a smart part of facts concerned with the reconstruction if Vedic calendar. Besides, this work is continuing. A lot of astronomical definitions of Vedic Gods collected from the "Brahmanas" can be found in the "Vedic Kosh" by Pandit Bhagavaddatta and Hansaraja.
A certain proof for my hypothesis came from a book by Dr. Subhash Kak "The Astronomical Code of the Rigveda" (New Delhi,1994) which I purchased from Banarsidass in 1997.All his major arguments and even some end results coincided with mine so strikingly (excepts only one for point, namely, his assumption that there was no exact chronometrical device in the Vedic times)that is would not be any exaggeration to evince a supposition that the logic of the scientific research formed in the last decencies led up both independently to the same conclusions.
At present, I am finishing writing an extensive Introduction and comments to the first book of my Russian translation of the Vlmiki-Ramayanam founding a lot of new evidences of calendrical character of ancient Sanskrit Lore.
The writing of these articles and preparation of the book have become possible thanks to encouragement, advices and other help of many people. I specially thank my respected teachers prof. I.D. Serebryakov, whose interest in Kshemendra and, especially Bhartrihari's Vakyapadiya gave me impetus to undertake this research.
I remember with great sympathy Indian friends who studied in the former Soviet Union and introduced me to Indian languages and cultures: Asit Kumar Abhikari, parameswaran Cninnappan and other.
I must thank (in alphabetical order) Moscow's Indologists prof. K.Z. Ashrafyan, Dr. A.M. Dubyanky, Dr. S.D. Serebryany, Dr. E.Vanina, Tashkent's Indologists Dr. S.N. Ermakove, prof. I.M. Hasimov. Dr. F.S. Salimova and some Sanskritologists met during World Sanskrit Conferences in Melbourne and Bangalore : G. Beiley, P. Bilimoriya, H.W. Bodewitz, M. Jezic, Dr. P.V. Pathak, prof. T.S. Rukmini, Prof. R.K. Shrma, Dr. Shivamurthy Swamiji, Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Prof. M.Witzel for their interest and encouragement in this endeavor and other help.
I most thank Shri Kantisen Shroff for organizing my stay in Mumbai and Dr. M.C. Kaul for organizing my living in Delhi, where I could collect some new materials.
It was my privilege to be invited to stay with Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya and to be admitted for some happy days to the library of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Mumbai). As I was given a possibility to work and x-copy some materials free of change, I express my acknowledgement to the librarians and to all persons who assisted me. I was very happy to feel the elevated and creative atmosphere of the Bhavan and to see the Vedic principles in realization. Especially, I was amazed and touched by the attention and full assistance given to me by Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya, Director of post-Graduate and Research Dept. I express my deep gratitude to Prof. S.A. Upadhyaya for his appreciation of this humble piece of work and organization of its publication.
I would also thank the former Executive Director of the foundation of the Fundamental Studies of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. E.I. Vasilyev, the former coordinators of the presently closed Soros-Belarus Foundation, Dr. A. Antipenko, I. Boskin, D. Ponyatovsky, L. Turbina, and others for their understanding and sympathy to this project.
Finally, I am greatly indebted to my mother and brother for constant encouragement, to my wife and my two daughters For their help in preparing computer programs, formulating and solving mathematical problems connected with