The Vedas are said to be the oldest literature of India, or perhaps of the world. Ages passed, and gradually it became difficult for ancient Sanskrit scholars to under-stand the Vedas. From time to time, traditional Vedic scholars tried to interprete the Vedas. Their names are found in the quotations but their works are not available. In 1400 A.D. Sayarjacarya, a great Vedic scholar wrote an exhaustive commentary on the Vedas. In his introductions to his commentary of the Vedic Samhitas, he has given some principles, some guideline, for the interpretation of the Vedas. These introductions have been studied and taught by Sanskrit Pandits in a traditional manner, but it is not so in case of the modern scholars. They have gone through Sayana's commentary, but his introductions have not been touched by them owing to difficult language and difficult Sastrartha.
The author of this book has made an attempt to critically analyse and translate Sayana's introductions to the TS and RV. The introductions have been translated into English for the first time. We hope they will be helpful for the modern Indian as well as the foreign scholars to understand Sayana's principles of Vedic interpretation.
Dr. (Mrs) Saraswati Bali, belonging to a family of Sanskritists, was born in Hydrabad Sindh on 30th October, 1943. Her grandfather, Pandit Lacchiram Saraswat and her father Pandit Bhairav Dutt Saraswat used to converse with her in Sanskrit when she was a child. She had curiosity to know the Vedas even in her childhood. So she chose to study Sanskrit in higher classes. She passed B.A. (Hons) Sanskrit and M.A. Sanskrit from Delhi University. She got UGC, Junior Research Fellowship for Ph.D. She did her Ph.D. on 'Brhaspati in the Vedas and the Puranas' from Delhi University in 1978 and the same was published by Nag Publishers in the same year. She also did Post-Doctoral research work on iSayaria's Upodghata to the is and the RV. She has contributed more than twenty research articles on Vedic studies in seminars and conferences.
At present, She is engaged in doing research on 'Sayarta's Authorship of his Vedic commentaries for D.Litt. from Lucknow University. She is a member of Sanskrit Academy, Govt of Delhi. She has been teaching Sanskrit in the college since 1967. At present, she is holding the post of a Reader in the Deptt. of Sanskrit, Kalindi College, University of Delhi.
My respected father, Pandit Bhairav Dutt belongs to a Brahmana family of the Madhyandina Saha of the Sukla Yajurveda. In my childhood I used to hear recitation of the Vedic Mantras from my father and my grand father Pandit Lacchiram Saraswat, during their Sayanacarya Vandana. That recitation always inspired me and created curiosity in me to know the Vedas. I had spontaneous love for Sanskrit from the very beginning. So I chose to study Sanskrit in the school, in B.A. (Honours) and in M.A. I had a feeling of thrill and excitement while studying the Vedic Mantras. So I pursued the study of the Vedas even while doing Ph.D. I felt astonished when I read such an elaborate and scholarly commentary of Sayanacaarya. I have no words to praise the great worth of This Vedic commentary. There is no doubt That every Vedic student owes a great debt to Sayanacarya, without whom it would have become immpossible to understand the meaning of the Vedas. Sayana's introductions to his commentaries of the Vedic Sarhhitas are of great importance. He wrote introductions to five Vedic samhitas namely the Rgveda Samhita, the Taittiriya Samhita of the Krsna Yajurveda, the Kanav Samhita of the sukla Yajurveda,the Samveda Samhita. These introductions are a gateway to under-stand the method of studying the Vedas in traditional manner. Modern scholars have not yet paid their attention to these introductions and have not taken pains to translate them eithenr in English or in Hindi. That is why I decided to study these introductions, critically analyse them and translate them in English, this book consist of text and translation of the introductions of two Saii-thitas viz the Taittiriya Samhita and the Rgveda Samhita.
I acknowledge my thanks to, Pratibha Prakashan, Delhi for the great co-operation rendered for the publication of this book.
The Vedas are the oldest literary monuments of ancient Indian religion and philosophy. They are the perennial source of inspiration for a Hindu religious mind. They are considered as the books of highest authority in the matters to know right or wrong, good or bad. It is impossible to think of Hindu religion, culture and way of life without the impact of the Vedas on it. Knowingly or unknowingly, they leave their impression on the life of every Hindu from his birth till death. In order to understand our own ancient religion and culture, we have to look into our remote past with our own eyes, with our own spectacles and not with those of the westerners. One who is born on a particular soil has a natural love and affection for that country and also for the culture and tradition inherited from the ancestors. Just as we, as the present generation, are doing our best and preserving the best for the future generation, similarly our ancestors preserved their best knowledge in the form of ancient Vedic lore. We are fortunate enough and should be thankful to our ancestors who became successful in preserving the vast Vedic literature, word to word, by means of the tradition called Srut' which means 'hearing' indicating to the literature inherited by hearing, from the sages to the desciples.
The vastness of Vedic literature can be a matter of astonishment for any scholar who is keen to study the Vedas. It consists of four huge Samhitas in the form of mantras and a large number of Brahmana books which are in the form of explanations of the Samhitas. Thus the mantras and the Brahmanas Combined together, are called 'Veda'. Anyone may ask, 'what this 'Veda' is and what is the subject matter of the Vedais? As we know, anything in the world can be understood by means of either direct perception or inference. Veda consists of the 'words of authenticity' or ‘sabdta pramana’ which guide a person to understand and achieve something beyond direct perception and inference, i.e. Veda is the only authentic means to know the fruit of good and bad deeds performed in this world.
According to Indian tradition, the Vedas are not the human writings. As said in a hymn called the 'Purusa- sakta' of the Rgveda, the Rks, the Scimans, the Chandas and the Yajus were produced from the great sacrifice (RV. X 90.9). Then they became revealed to the ancient sages who were called the Rsis or the 'seers' of the hymns. Later on these seers imparted the knowledge of the Vedas to other sages. On account of being 'heard' from the seers by the desciples, the Vedas were called Sruti. And thus these ancient scriptures were heard from the ancient seers to whom the Vedas were revealed. In due course of time, it became difficult to understand this ancient Vedic lore. Therefore, the Veddangas, six in number, were written in order to understand the meaning of the Vedas. Not only that even the study of the Epics and the Purarjas was said to be necessary to fully understand the meaning of the Vedas.