The word Veda, derivated from the root Vid to Know, having suffix ghan denoting the sense of action , means Knowledge. In Indian tradition it signifies the 'sacred lore' that has been perceived by the ancient Rsis and treasured in the four poetical collections, which are called the Veda for this very reason. Tne four chief Samhitas or collections, named according to the nature of their verses are called 1. The Rgvada, the book of prayers or laudatory verses, 2. The Yajurveda, the book of sacrificial formulae, divided into the Krishna and the Sukla 3. The Samaveda, the book of Chants, and 4. The Atharvaveda, the book of magical spells and philosophical speculations.
As Max Muller says 'the voice first spoken by the Aryans' and the most important, the oldest, as well as the very foundation of the entire Vedie literature is the Rgveda. The number of hymns in the 13,gveda is 1,017, or 1,028 if the eleven supplementary hymns, called Valakhilya which are inserted in the middle of the Eighth Book are added. All these hymns are compiled in the various books called mandalas, which vary in length, except that the tenth contains the same number of hymns as the first i. e. 191. In this way the Rgveda contains a total of 10, 552 Mantras, which are repeated with some variants in the other Samhitas. It begins and also ends with the prayer to Agni, the God of fire.
Considering the importance of Vedic literature and the splendour of its verse, F. Max Muller ( 1823-1900 ) published the first Volume of his famous edition of the Rgveda Samhita with the commentary of Sayanacarya when he was quite young scholar of 26 years. However, the compilation of his monumental work, which was published in six bulky Volumes, took a long time and devoted labour of twenty years in completion.
At that time, when this praiseworthy work was edited for the fist time by the learned scholar Fadrik Max Muller, he had to face great difficulties, because upto that time there were no editions of the other Vedas, of the Nirukta, the Aitareya Brahmana, the Sutras of As'valayana and similar works. He has himself admitted in 'the preface to the Second Volume of the first Edition : "Many difficulties, against which I had to contend singlehanded in the first Volume, have been removed by their publications, On commencing this edition I had first to copy and collate many works continually quoted by Sayana or Otherwise essential to a full comprehension of the Rigveda.
Yet it would have been impossible to print even the first pages of Sayana's commentary without having to a certain extent established a critical text of these writings." However, his greatness will be fully realised if we consider upon the fact that he published the first volume of this editio princeps of the Rgveda and its commentary by Sayana, only t the age of twenty six and he had to work in a foreign environment, under very many hinderences and with purely unpublished manuscripts. It is, therefore, no wonder that his name will ever be remembered with the deepest sense of gratitude by the students of Indology as well as every department of a vast field of knowledge.
This editio princeps of 1849-1874, whose publication had been enabled by financial aids partly granted by the 'East India Company' and partly by the 'Secretary of State for India, was subsequently followed by the second revised edition of 1890-1892 published ( from Oxford ) in four big size of quartos under the patronage of H. H. the Maharajah of Vijayanagara, Sir Pas'upati Ananda Gajapati Raz.
Due to the acute and repeated demand of a large number of scholars throughout the world it had become necessary to bring in market by reprinting this historically important rare volume which became out of print since about a half century. It was, therefore, in 1965 the reprint of Max Muller's distinguished second edition was undertaken by the renowned firm Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office in Varanasi and it was generously sponsored by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
As it was very natural, this edition was also gone out of market long ago, causing great inconvenience to many scholars. But we are now very glad to see that Sri Bitthaldas Gupta and Sri Brija Mohan Das Gupta, the partners of Chowkbamba Sanskrit Series Office, a renowned publishing firm of Varanasi, have again come forword to take the risk of reprinting this highly expensive but much desired edition of rare value for the benefit of interested scholars and for this creditable service they deserve our heartfelt thanks and encouragement.
This four volumed edition having so many charms has a lacuna of Pada index. So, the publisher adds it as the Index volume of the s, me. Previously this index was published by the learned scholar sri Pada Damodar Bhatta Satawalekar. So, we are very thankful to the erudite editor,
This Pada Index incorporates in alphabetical order, as the padas they occur in the Original text, In this index, parallel padas from other sister Samhitas with their proper references are marked.
In anticipation, we trust that this venture will also receive the usual patronage and encouragement of the readers.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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