From the Jacket
Any study on Vedic exegesis is, comparatively, a difficult task as it needs deep traditional erudition in Vedas and Vedangas blended with modern critical acumen on the part of the author. The present work is an outcome of such a study by a veteran Vedist, the late Dr. A. Venkatasubbiah. The main subject matter of this study is the Rgvedic concept of Satyaloka, the basic material for which has been drawn from more than 1200 Rgvedic mantras which contain the words rta, satya, sat, Satyaloka and their synonyms. On the basis of the said textual evidence, the author sets out in this work his considered views on the concept under study, in a scholarly manner.
The late Dr. A. Venkatasubbiah was a dedicated Vedic scholar of outstanding merit. He was born in May, 1886 at Mysore and had his collegiate education in his hometown. Later on,` he worked under Professor Muller-Hess of Germany and took his Doctoral degree on a thesis entitled The Kalas from the University of Berne. Since he belonged to a scholarly family he also V had an opportunity to pursue the study of Vedic language and literature in a traditional manner.
During his professional career, he first served the Central Hindu College at Varanasi as a Professor and later accepted a senior post in y the Department of Archaeology, Mysore. Subsequently, with a view to spending his entire time for Vedic and allied disciplines he resigned his said post and pursued his Vedic studies with n singular devotion till his passing away on May 6, 1969.
In addition to the numerous research papers which he contributed to the various research journals, his published works include, among other things, Vedic Studies, Vols. I and II, and Contribution of, the Interpretation of Rgveda, The present volume being a posthumous publication is, perhaps, the last contribution of Dr. Venkatasubbiah to Vedic research
The late lamented Dr. Agaram Venkatasubbiah was a well-known Indologist of Mysore. His interest in the field of Oriental scholarship was vast and varied. His studies were not merely confined to one or two branches of Indology. His comprehensive Ph.D. thesis on Kalas, the 64 traditional arts of ancient India, which he submitted to the University of Berne, is considered to be one of the valuable works on the subject. Likewise, he was an authority on Indian fable-lore, especially on the different versions of Pancatantra. He also remained a keen student of Ancient Indian History and Culture, and Archaeology. In spite of his multifarious research activities and other professional preoccupations, the subject dearest to his heart was Vedic studies. With a view to devoting his maximum possible time for Vedic and allied researches he even resigned his official post in the Department of Archaeology, Mysore. He contributed a large number of well-written research articles dealing with exegetical studies on Vedic words, passages and concepts to the leading research journals of India and abroad. Some of these articles have been collected together, later on, and issued in three volumes, being Vedic Studies, vols. I and II, and Contribution to the Interpretation of the Rgveda. As a result of the deep erudition revealed in his studies on the Veda he is primarily remembered as one of the eminent and foremost Vedists in modern time. The work being issued now is, perhaps, the last contribution of Dr. Venkatasubbiah to Vedic studies as he passed away without having a chance to give final touches thereto.
Towards the end of 1968, Dr. Venkatasubbiah, in one of his letters addressed to our revered Director of sacred memory, the late Padmabhushan Acharya Dr. Vishva Bandhu, expressed his desire to publish his work entitled Satyaloka in Rgveda in one of our research series. Himself a luminous star belonging to the galaxy of Vedic lore and a great lover of Vedic exegesis, Dr. Vishva Bandhu readily acceded to the desire of a co-Vedist and promptly conveyed to Dr. Venkatasubbiah his readiness to issue the same as one of our Institute’s publications. He also asked Dr. Venkatasubbiah to send the manuscript of the same to the Institute. Thus, the Institute received the manuscript of the work in the month of January, 1969. on close and careful perusal of the said manuscript it was felt that the work in question was not complete in several aspects and, therefore, it needed a thorough revision. Subsequently, in the first week of May, 1969, our Director wrote a letter to Dr. Venkatasubbiah coveying, among other things, his aforesaid view and also suggesting to him the lines on which the book might be revised. But alas, by the time that letter reached Dr. Venkatasubbiah’s residence at Mysore, his sojourn on the earth had already reached its end! It was a great shock to our Director to receive back the said letter with a note to the effect that the addressee had expired on May 6, 1969. Hence, it became the moral duty of our Institute to edit and issue the work in one of its research series towards fulfilling the expressed desire of the departed soul.
It was against this pathetic background that our Institute decided to undertake the work of editing and issuing the present volume as a posthumous publication. Accordingly, the undersigned was entrusted with the ‘task of editing, press-processing, preparing the various Indices, etc. Though every effort had been made to issue the volume as early as possible, we could not publish it earlier, owing to the heavy preoccupations regarding our previously undertaken work-programmes. At the same time, all these days our Director Acharya Dr. Vishva Bandhu was very connected with this volume. But it is a pity that he too is not in our midst now to witness the publication seeing the light of the day as he left for his eternal abode on August 1, 1973. What a sad commentary on human proposals and divine disposals! Thus, heavy hearts we are now issuing the work as the Volume XLVIII in our Vishveshvaranand Indological Series.
The present work is the result of the laborious and concentrated exegetical studies on critical and comparative lines made by Dr. Venkatasubbiah on more than 1200 Rgvedic mantras which convey the concept of Satyaloka. For the purposes of his study he first collected all such Rgvedic mantras in which the words rta, satya, sat, Satyaloka and their synonyms have occurred and then arranged them deity-wise under various chapter-headings such as Agni, Mitra-Varuna, etc. after having collected and properly arranged the basic textual materials for his study, the author endeavoured to determine, on the basis of grammar, accent, context and other relevant data, the meanings of the said words. He also examined the explanations offered by the previous commentators and translators, ancient as well as modern, with a view to determining how far those explanations could offer satisfactory meanings of the words concerned. It was as a result of his having persistently pursued the said most laborious process of critical study on all the relevant Rgvedic words that he prepared his translation of the mantras in mantras in question and recorded the same with necessary exegetical and other relevant notes under each. Finally, on the basis of the textual study, thus carried out, the author arrived at his own conclusion towards establishing his views on the Rgvedic concept of Satyaloka.
The volume, at issue, consists of 9 chapters. Out of these the first which is in the form of an introductory note, deals with the specific nature, purpose and scope of the present study and also the methods adopted for the same. The next six chapters, namely, chapters 2 to 7, which have been named after the various deities such as Agni, Mitra-varuna, etc. present the author’s study on the relevant Rgvedic mantras. The penultimate chapter contains a discussion relating to the different meanings of the Rgvedic word rta and the author’s view on the concept of Satyaloka. In the last chapter an attempt has been made, on the basis of textual evidence, to equate the Vedic words satya and sat with Brahman and, thus, Satyaloka with Brahmaloka.
Towards facilitating reference, four different Indices, to wit, (1) Rgvedic Pratikas, (2) Sequence of Mantras, (3) Words, and (4) Quotations from Other Works have been appended to this volume.
It is my pleasant duty now to perform a function which would, perhaps, have been done in a more proper manner on this occasion, had our late Director, Padmabhushan Acharya Dr. Vishva Bandhu who was also the General Editor of the Series in which the present volume is being issued and the late author, Dr. A. Venkatasubbiah been in our midst at present. It is to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to Shri Girish Chandra Ojha, one of the ablest young Research Assistants of our Institute, who has mainly assisted me in the editing and press-processing of this work. Likewise, I am thankful also to Dr. Veda Prakash Upadhyaya of our Institute with whose assistance the Indexical portion of this work has been prepared.
I am particularly thankful to Shri K.V. Sarma, of our Institute, who had always extended his willing cooperation in the editorial work and made many useful suggestions in the matter of the scholarly presentation of this volume.
The editor equally owes a debt of gratitude to Shri Deva Datta Shastri of our Printing and Publication Department under whose supervision the printing of this book has been done promptly and nicely.
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