The Khila-Suktas of the Rgveda: A Study (Rare Book)


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I have often privately admired Dr. Usha Bhise for the work which she has been devotedly and consistently doing in the field of Vedic studies. I now heartily welcome this opportunity for giving public expression to my admiration.

Dr. Bhise seems to have adequately realized that teaching• and research must be regarded as mutually complementary. So, apart from her teaching assignments at the Universities of Bombay and Poona, she has made significant contribution to Vedic research. Her interest is fairly varied. In some of her papers, for instance, she has dealt with such diverse topics as the Rgvedic concepts of sakhya, nman, and worship, the evidence for earthquakes in the Rgveda, the Indian musical scale, ancient and modern metres, and the Paninian view of Jopa. As regards the Vedic religion and mythology, she has discussed the hymns relating to Yama—Yam, Aranyan, and Sri, the legends of Cyavana and Suparl) a, Vedic Sorna, and the theory of henotheism. Her editorial activity became evident from her edition of the Baskalamantropaniad and more particularly from that of Naradiya—ika with Bhaa Sobhãkara’s Commentary.

And now Dr. Bhise presents to the students of Veda her meritorious edition of the Khilasüktasof the I3gveda comprising a detailed introduction and critically edited text with English translation and exegetical notes. Verily, this edition can claim to contain almost everything that one would like to know about the KhilasQktas. We have every reason to be thankful to Dr. Bhise for this laudable contribution, which, we hope, will be followed by several others.



The Khila—suktas are appendages to the gveda—sarnhita. Several editions of the J3gveda have appeared so far along with the khilas since the last Century, a detailed survey of which has been done in the Introduction. The number of Khilas varied from edition to edition. A German Scholar, Phil J. Scheftelowitz edited the text from a ms. acquired from Kashmir, which appeared to have the maximum number of Khilas as compared to the earlier editions. This ms. has been deposited at Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) Pune. When the edition of the lgveda with the Commentary of Säyaza was undertaken by the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, Pune, Dr. C.G.Kashikar re—edited the text on the basis of the same ms. but improved upon the Scheftelowitz’s edition by making use of cross—references from other Vedic texts. This edition is the fullest and the best one, running into approximately 500 verses and some prose passages. I have based my studies on this very edition as no additional ms. material was availa’ble to me when this project was undertaken.

As early as 1970 my attention was first drawn to the ‘risukta, a popular hymn occurring in the Khila collection. After making a fresh study of it and publishing it in the Annals BORI, I became aware that although attempts were made at critically editing the text, its translation and interpretation had not been undertaken by any scholar. Only piecemeal study of the collection was made. A translation based on modern linguistic studies and a comprehensive study of the collection as a whole was still a desideratum. I have fully translated the text in English adding explanatory notes based on Mythology, ritual literature, parallel passages in other Vedic texts, grammar and modern studies in Indo—European Linguistics. While doing so, I have suggested some emendations in the text and have also tried to justify them. A list of them has been presented in the Introduction.

The accent marks of the text as appearing in the Kashmir ms. are not in conformity with the traditional system followed by the Igveda. I have restored them to the normal I3gvedic system. The anomaes in the accenting of some words have been noted under the respective verses.

The method of marking accents in the Kashmir ms. is peculiar and the same has been adopted in the Khilas published in the l3gveda Sarphitã Vol.IV of the Vaidik Samshodhan Mandal, Pune. According to this method the Udätta is marked with a vertical stroke above the syllable whereas the Jatya Svarita has been denoted by a curved line only twice (Kh. 1.11.4; 12.7). This method is a queer combination of methods used in 1) Mait. and Käth.Sarh. of the. Black YV. and 2) the S’at. Br. The Black YV. Sarnhitãs mark the Udãtta with a vertical stroke above the syllable as in the present Khilas. They, however, mark the Anudãtta as well as the dependent and the Independent Svaritas also. The St.Br. marks only the Udatta with a horizontal stroke below the syllable. The Kashmir ms. has borrowed the vertical stroke for Udatta from the Black YV. Samhitas and the peculiarity of marking the Udatta syllables only from the S’at.Br. Although the Jatya Svarita has been marked in two places with a curved line, this is not done consistently in the case of all the Játya Svaritas; e.g. 3.19.1. The Kampa has been indicated by fig. 3 with a horizontal stroke below irrespective of its being short or long.

In the text that is printed in the present work, the method of marking accents is exactly like the normal 13V. Sarphitã method in that the Udätta and the Pracaya are not marked at all, the Anudãtta appears with a horizontal stroke below the syllable and the Svaritas — Jãtya as well as dependent — with a vertical stroke above the syllable. The short Kampa is shown by fig. 1 and the long one with fig. 3; both the figures are marked with a vertical stroke above and a horizontal stroke below them. The unaccented portions of the text have been left without any markings e.g. the Nivids, Praisas. The unaccented fragments of the text as they occur among portions which are marked e.g. Kh.5.2@ have also been left without markings.

As only the Udatta syllables are marked, the Jatya—svaritas are kept unmarked in the Kashmir ms., giving an impression that they are unaccented. e.g. yatudhanyah in Kh. 4.5.5. The corresponding occurance of this form at BY. 1. 191.8; 18.118.8 have got Jatya—svarita on the last syllable (yatudhany’alG. Similar is the case of tanvah in Kh.3.11.2 and ahyam in Kh.3.22.2. Another case which deserves attention is the long Kampa represented by Fig.3 that is kept unmarked in accordance with the system which marks only the Udãtta. The unmarked Fig.3 gives an impression that it is a case of Pluti. Such considerations necessitated the conversion of the accent—marks of the Kashmir ms. into the regular gvedic system.

As the work was nearing completion in 1991, my pupil and friend Dr. A. Sadanandan of the Bharati Samskrta Vidya Niketanam suggested that the publication be done through the modern device of Computer (DTP). The package that was selected for the purpose was the “GIST’, a Technology developed by C—DAC, Pune, since that was a Software having Roman Font necessary for transliterating Devanagari matter. As it was not possible to have accent signs for the Roman Font and as I had referred to the accentual peculiarities in the exegetical notes quite often, it became necessary to give the respective verse in Devanagari (with accent marks) at the top of its annotated translation for ready reference. In the text portion appearing on page 40 ff. the emendations have been carried out while the text appearing in the Translation portion is given in the form it appears in the V.S.M. Ed. Because of some Software problems the publication got delayed.



The Khila hymns are appended to the Sakala recension of the Rgveda and have been treated as apocryphal hymns. They have been published several times along with the RV.-samhita. To mention a few:

Max Muller has published 32 Khilas, T.Aufrecht has published 25 out of which some are different from those published by Ma

Item Code: NAD261
Cover: Paperback
Edition: 1995
Publisher: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Insitute, Pune
Size: 9.5 inch x 6.0 inch
Pages: 237
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 294 gms