The latter is a descriptive terminological
glossary of Vedic antiquities, and as
such can be used successfully only by
those who have, to a certain extent, a
comprehension of Vedic terms. The
present volume contains subject wise
entries which are expected to be of
greater use to the readers.
As far as possible duplication with
Vedic Index has been avoided. But
wherever necessary abridged
renderings of certain entries have been
taken from it because for many entries it
is impossible to add anything more to
what has already been collected,
classified and interpreted by MacDonnell
and Keith. The diverse interpretations of
the earlier scholars on entries pertaining
to material culture, social institutions,
economic conditions and related
subjects have been retained in certain
interesting cases but in other cases they
have been replaced by modern views.
Many details about geographical and
tribal proper names, and those of some
of the Upanisadic thinkers whose views
have relevance to the growth of
subsequent Indian philosophical
speculations, have been provided.
Entries on religion and philosophy, as
also on ethical, aesthetic and other
higher aspects of life have been given
prominence in the volume.
The Index, drawing on a large body
of literature/sources, provides very
useful information on the social life,
political and economic conditions,
material culture, religion, mythology, art,
medicine, science, technology and
literature of the period making it a
unique reference tool for researchers,
teachers and students and general
The UGC visiting team, headed by Prof. S.D. Joshi, which recommended the establishment of the School of Vedic
Studies in Rabindra Bharati University, suggested that the project of preparing a cultural index of Vedic literature
should be undertaken by the School. Accordingly, the members of the School of Vedic Studies engaged themselves
in compiling such a work under the directorship of Prof. Samiran Chandra Chakrabarti. Data was collected from the
original Vedic texts mainly by the project assistants of the School; besides, I and Dr Pradyot Kumar Datta of the
School of Vedic Studies and Dr Karunasindhu Das and Dr Taraknath Adhikari of the Dept. of Sanskrit also contributed
-to the collection of data. There were four posts of project assistants at any given time, and the following scholars
worked in these posts from time to time: Dipankar Mukhopadhyay (1990-1), Pranati Ghoshal (1990-3), Suparna
Gupta (1990-3), Soma Basu (1990-2), Silpi Das (1991-2), Ashok Kumar Mahato (1993-4), Dr Rita Bhowmik (1993-
4), Bratati Goswami (1993-7), Sarbani Bhattacharya (1993-7), Jayanti Bhattacharya (1994-6), Parboty Chakraborty
(1994-5), Ranjana Ganguli (1996-7), and Rapti Deb (1996-7). The service rendered by them is greatly appreciated.
It was considered desirable that the data thus collected be evaluated, arranged and edited in its historical perspective.
An opportunity presented itself when the late Dr Narendra Nath Bhattacharyya of the Dept. of Ancient Indian History
and Culture, Calcutta University, joined the School of Vedic Studies as an Extension Lecturer in 1996. Dr
Bhattacharyya was a reputed scholar, adept in both Sanskrit and History, with a good number of publications relating
to ancient Indian history and culture to his credit. He was entrusted with the task of editing the data for the Cultural
Index, and he devoted much time and energy to the work. The structure, treatment and method had all been designed
by the editor. He was assisted by the project assistants at every stage.
In the past Dr N.N. Bhattacharyya was associated with us in various ways and the present work will remain as a
token of his association with an interest in the programmers of the School of Vedic Studies. I deeply regret that he
did not live to see the publication. We are grateful to him for the ungrudging service he rendered in bringing about
the publication of the Index. Since he Was not able to read the proofs of his book it is possible that some errors which
could have been avoided had he been able to do so still remain. In the absence of the editor, the proofs were
corrected by Dr G.S. Mukherji and Dr Soma Basu to whom I am very grateful.
I take this opportunity to express my thanks to all those who contributed to the preparation of the Cultural Index in
general and to Manohar Publishers & Distributors in particular for undertaking publication of this Index.
The title of the project is self-explanatory. It endeavors to present a conspectus of what is known as the Vedic
age in Indian history by collecting from various texts relevant data pertaining to all aspects of Vedic thought and
culture, analyzing and interpreting them in a historical perspective and arranging them under more than 1,000 topics
in alphabetical order. It serves as a supplement to the celebrated Vedic Index (2 vols. London, 1912) by MacDonnell
and Keith. The latter is a descriptive terminological glossary of Vedic antiquities, and as such can be used successfully
only by those who have, to a certain extent, a comprehension of Vedic terms. The present volume contains subject wise
entries which are expected to be of greater usefulness to the readers.
This does not, however, mean that terms representing names and subjects have been ignored. Abridged renderings
have been given here from the Vedic Index itself, because for many entries it is impossible to add anything more to
what has already been collected, classified and interpreted by MacDonnell and Keith. In the present volume royal and
priestly lineages as well as personal names of kings, chiefs, sages and individuals, who form a considerable part
,of the Vedic Index, have been omitted. Geographical and tribal proper names, and those of some of the Upanisadic
thinkers whose views have relevance to the growth of subsequent Indian philosophical speculations, have been
retained and expanded with useful details. In fact, entries on religion and philosophy as also on ethical, aesthetic and
other higher aspects of life have been given greater prominence in the present volume since the authors of the Vedic
Index confined themselves to those aspects of religious activity that were inseparably connected with the social and
political life of the age, such as priestly function, festivals, rituals of royal consecration and so forth.
As far as the entries pertaining to material culture, social institutions, economic conditions, and allied subjects are
concerned, the diverse interpretations of the earlier scholars have been retained in certain interesting cases but in
other cases these have been replaced by modem views. Numerous valuable works on various Vedic subjects have
been published in recent years, from which much has been drawn in the present volume, especially when the topic is
of scientific or technical nature or has intricate philosophical implications. The sources have been acknowledged at
the end of each such entry.
A sincere attempt has been made to afford the reader a harmonious and well-thought-out picture of Vedic civilization.
I am fully aware of the magnitude of the task and my own limitations in this regard. I am grateful for the cooperation
of all my colleagues at the School of Vedic Studies: Sri Nabanarayan Bandyopadhyay, Dr Pradyot Datta, Dr Tarak
Nath Adhikari and Dr Krishnakali Bhattacharya, all teachers of the Department of Sanskrit, Rabindra Bharati
University; the project assistants Dr Soma Basu, Dr Rita Bhowmik, Sri Ashok Mahato, Ms Pranati Ghoshal, Ms
Bratati Mukherjee, Ms Sarbani Bhattacharya, Ms Rapti Deb, Ms Ranjana Ganguli, Ms Silpi Das, Ms Suparna
Gupta; and the attendent of the SVS Library, Mrs Sipra Daylight is also a matter of great satisfaction that my esteemed
friend Sri Ramesh Jain of Manohar Publishers and Distributors has come forward and taken up the task of bringing
out this volume.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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