Vedic Index of Names and Subjects (Set of 2 Volumes)


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About the Book

Vedic Index of Names and Subjects contains all the information that can be extracted from Vedic literature on such topics as agriculture, astronomy, burial, castes, clothing, crimes, diseases, economic conditions, foods and drinks, gambling, kingship, law and justice, marriage, morality, occupations, polyandry and polygamy, the position of women, usury, village communities, war, wedding ceremonies, widow, burning, witchcraft, etc. The proper names have embraced not only persons, tribes, and peoples, but also mountains, rivers and countries. The geographical distribution on the Vedic population has also been presented. This valuable work furnishes complete information on social and political life of the Vedic Aryans, their manners, customs, superstitions and mythology as well as geographical data found in the Vedic literature.



Inception and Progress of the Book. -The origination of the present work was due to Professor T. W. Rhys Davids at the time when, several years ago, he was appointed general editor of the Indian Text Series to be published under the auspices of the Secretary of State for India. He then asked me to contribute a work supplying the historical material, as represented by proper names, to be found in the earliest period of Indian literature antecedent to the rise of Buddhism towards the close of the sixth century 13.C. Since the subject came within the range of my special studies and moreover appeared to be one of considerable importance, I agreed to the proposal. But I did so with hesitation, because my leisure for a long time to come was already mortgaged by two works which involved much labour and on which I was already engaged. I soon came to the conclusion that till those works-the Brhaddevata and the Vedic Grammar-were out of my hands, I could spare no time for the third book, the mere preparation, to say nothing of the publication, of which would thus have to be postponed for several years. Another hindrance would be caused by the tour of study and research in India which I contemplated making at the earliest opportunity. With the prospect of these long Jelays before me, I was tempted to throw up a task that seemed to have Leen rashly undertaken. At the same time, I was reluctant either to abandon or to put off indefinitely what I had once begun. It also seemed a pity to relinquish an enterprise which, if properly carried out, promised to be very useful.

Under these circumstances, collaboration appeared the only way out of the difficulty. I bethought myself of Mr. A. B. Keith, who, as Boden Sanskrit scholar, had been my pupil for four years, and who had already assisted me since x899, not only by reading the proofs of, but by suggesting improvements in, my History of Sattskrit Literature and soy Sanskrit Grammar for Beginners, as well as soy edition of the Brhaddevata, then commencing to be printed. I accordingly asked him if he had the time and inclination to collaborate with me in the proposed work by at once beginning to collect material for it. He consented without hesitation, and the Secretary of State for India readily sanctioned this modification of the arrangements already made. There was no other man to whom I could have en-trusted with such complete confidence the task of carrying out this preliminary work accurately and rapidly.

In r909, about a year after my return from India, Mr. Keith supplied me with a considerable part of his collectanea, while my Vedic Grammar was still passing through the press. The regular printing did not begin till early in 191o, about the time when that work was published. The interval was taken up with preparing a sufficient amount of ' copy ' for the printer, as well as with settling various questions of arrangement and typography.

Mode of Collaboration.-Our respective shares in the production of the book are, generally stated, as follows: Dr. Keith has collected the material, while I have acted chiefly as an editor, planning the scope of the work, arranging the distribution of text and notes, selecting the type to be used, cutting out, adding to or modifying the matter, weighing the evidence for different interpretations and conclusions, and deciding as to which view, in case of possible alternatives, should be preferred. Having written up in its final form every article contained in the book, I accept the responsibility for every statement and opinion expressed in it. I do not think that Dr. Keith and I have disagreed upon any material point. When we have differed on minor questions, he has deferred to my judgment, though his view may have been right just as often as mine. Where erroneous conclusions have been drawn, the reader will be helped to correct them by the method I have pursued of supplying from the original texts the evidence on which such conclusions are based.

Scope of the Work.-At the outset it was proposed, as I have already stated, that the book should furnish the historical material in Vedic literature as represented by proper names. As soon, however, as I began to examine more carefully the historical material thus available, I became convinced that restriction to proper names would result in a harvest too meagre to deserve being gathered in the form of a book. It seemed essential to collect all the historical matter accessible to as in the earliest literary documents of India, and thus to burnish a conspectus of the most ancient phase of Aryan civilization that can be realized by direct evidence. If properly and thoroughly treated this matter would, I felt sure, yield a book of genuine value, a comprehensive work on Vedic antiquities ; for it would include all the information that can be atracted from Vedic literature on such topics as agriculture, astronomy, burial, caste, clothing, crime, diseases, economic conditions, food and drink, gambling, kingship, law and justice, marriage, morality, occupations, polyandry and polygamy, the position of women, usury, village communities, war, wedding ceremonies, widow burning, witchcraft, and many others. The proper names would embrace not only persons, tribes, and peoples, but also mountains, rivers, and countries. The geo-graphical distribution of the Vedic population would thus also be presented.

**Contents and Sample Pages**