Discovering the Rigveda A Bracing Text for Our Times

Discovering the Rigveda A Bracing Text for Our Times

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Book Specification

Item Code: UAN799
Author: G.N.S. Raghvan
Publisher: Kalpaz Publications
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788178357782
Pages: 200
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 400 gm

Book Description

About the Book
This book does not present a statistically representative sample of the subjects addressed in the hymns of the Rigveda. Repetitive praise of divinities like Agni, Indra and the Soma drink occupy a large proportion of the work; only some examples are reproduced in this book. Attention is focused instead on the most precious features of the Rigveda, which even perceptive Western scholars have not noticed adequately: the ethical orientation which was to find resonance in post-Sangam Tamil poetry; insight into the working of the human mind. and motivation, as in the poem on the losing gambler, which anticipates Vyasa's Yudhishtira and Dostoevsky's tragic hero; bold confronting of a subject as challenging as incest; existential introspection ('What thing I truly am, I know not'); and the speculation by the Rigvedic sages, who were the world's earliest free-thinkers, on the possible but not necessary existence of a Creator God.

In addition to presenting the memorable features of the untampered Rigveda, this book surveys the ritual-ridden and casteist (not to say racist) Brahminism that supplanted the Rigvedic ethos. It also discusses the subsequent softening and humanising of Brahminism by reforming influences the nobler Upanishads; the rationalist Charvaka thinkers; the compassionate teaching of Mahavira and Buddha; the texts on Dharma and the epics which, though mainly Brahminist in tenor, include passages with a humanist import; and the Bhakti movement.

About the Author
G.N.S. Raghavan entered journalism in 1947, serving his apprenticeship in journalism under Khasa Subba Rau of the English weekly Swatantra, Madras. Going to Delhi in 1949 to join the staff of the weekly Thought under the editorship of Arthur Moore, G.N.S. Raghavan later worked successively for Times of India as sub-editor and Indian Express as special correspondent. He then served in various media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, taught at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, and was Secretary of the Second Press Commission (1980-82). His publications include:

Readings from India (Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Delhi), Resurgence of Indian Women with Aruna Asaf Ali (Radiant Publishers, for Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi), Introducing India (Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Delhi), The Making of Modern India: From Rammohun Roy to Gandhi and Nehru (Gyan Publishing House, Delhi), Private Face of a Public Person: A study of Jawaharlal Nehru with Aruna Asaf Ali (Radiant Publishers for Nehru Memorial Library) and New Era in the Indian Polity: A study of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the BJP (Gyan Publishing House, Delhi).

His books on press and other media include: PTI Story: Origin and growth of the Indian Press and the news agency (Press Trust of India, Delhi), Social effects of the mass media in India with N. Bhaskara Rao (Gyan Publishing House, Delhi), Communication and Development in India. Elitist growth and mass deprivation (Gyan Publishing House, Delhi) and The Press in India: a new history (Gyan Publishing House, Delhi).

Biographies by him include: M. Asaf Ali, Memoirs: the emergence of modern India (Ajanta Books, Delhi) and Aruna Asaf Ali, a compassionate rebel (National Book Trust, Delhi).

The historical evolution of the human fraternity through the stages of community, society and polity is governed at each stage by humanitarian, authoritarian and equalitarian spirit respectively. The early Indian society of the Vedic period was inspired by relations between its members which can be assessed as personal and humane. In the social relationships of the succeeding period, the guiding spirit was mostly functional and possessive. In the present stage of political organization of the society, the relationships are invariably opportunistic and exploitative. These successive changes in the human relationships inevitably had different goals - harmony in the first, acquisitiveness in the second and competitiveness in the last. That the Indian people have stuck to their ideals of a 'caring and sharing' society envisaged by the Rigveda through all these vicissitudes is due to the fact that in all the phases of its history, India has clung steadily to the core values of human relationship, namely peace, order and progress.

A major scandal in the world's literary history is the way the Rigveda, India's adi kavya or first poetical work (the Ramayana came much later) has been kept outside the ken of most Indians for millennia.

Composed over a period of some three centuries, the poems of the Rigveda expressed the aspiration of the Aryan tribes forming the Rigvedic community for a caring and sharing society, united for self-defence. This humane ethos was supplanted around 1200 Before Common Era (formerly 'Before Christ') by Brahminism, a polar opposite. There were women among the poets of the Rigveda; women as well as Sudras came to be barred from learning or hearing the Vedas. The Rigvedic rishis commended generous help to the needy; Brahminism defined liberality as making gifts to Brahmins.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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