Hindu Scriptures

Overview

The very earliest Indian literature to survive is that of the Vedas. This diverse body of polytheistic hymns, prose treatises on sacrifice, and speculation about the soul of the universe has long been revered by orthodox Hindus as primary scriptural revelation. The hymns, which form its most ancient stratum, were handed down orally for centuries, even long after the development of writing in India. In this new edition of Hindu Scriptures R. C. Zaehner's original selection of hymns from the Rg-Veda and ...
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Overview

The very earliest Indian literature to survive is that of the Vedas. This diverse body of polytheistic hymns, prose treatises on sacrifice, and speculation about the soul of the universe has long been revered by orthodox Hindus as primary scriptural revelation. The hymns, which form its most ancient stratum, were handed down orally for centuries, even long after the development of writing in India. In this new edition of Hindu Scriptures R. C. Zaehner's original selection of hymns from the Rg-Veda and Atharva-Veda has been enlarged. This is followed by Zaehner's translations of five of the earliest Upanishads, the seminal scriptures for the monist doctrine of Sankara, the belief that the world we experience is a cosmic illusion that we project upon the one, unchanging undefinable reality, brahman. From the vast corpus of other texts revered by Hindus are drawn the Bhagavad-Gita; portions of the Law Book of Yajnavalkya, a treatise that attempts to codify every aspect of the life of the orthodox Hindu; chapters from the Kirana-Tantra, translated for the first time into English, which expound the doctrines of an early tantric cult of Siva; and the chapters from the Bhagavata-Purnana, which describe the dalliance of Krsna and the cowherd women of Vraja.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two marvelous books complement each other well. Goodall has significantly revised R.C. Zaehner's book on Hindu scriptures Everyman, 1966 by deleting some parts and adding the Yajnavalkya-Smrti a work on conduct, legal proceedings, and penitential rites, the first seven chapters of the Kirana-Tantra a work on initiation into the Saiva Siddhanta cult, and the Bhagavat-Purana a work expressing popular devotionalism. Goodall's brief introduction is helpful, but mainly the book provides fresh translations of portions of the Rig and Athavara Vedas, some Upanishads, and the Bhagavad-Gita. Powell's work is a useful introduction to the Hindu scriptures. It gives information on their composition, summaries of their content, and demonstrations of their significance for Hinduism. The first chapter provides solid guidance on how to read a sacred text and offers an overview of the immense and complex Hindu canon. Powell also includes a glossary of Hindu terms and even diagrams such as the one showing the Mahabharata family tree. While Goodall's work provides an excellent place to begin becoming familiar with the most significant Hindu scriptures, Powell's work offers a more extensive introduction to many of the same basic Hindu texts. Both books are highly recommended for any library seeking to provide patrons with seminal and introductory material on Hindu scripture.David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernadino
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520207783
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/26/1996
  • Edition description: First Edition, Edited with new translations by the author
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 6.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Dominic Goodall was educated at Ampleforth College and at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is now attached to the Institute Français de Pondichèry in South
India and is working on the manuscript collection there.

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Table of Contents

Note on the Editor

Introduction
Note on the Texts and Translations
Guide to Pronunciation

FROM THE RG-VEDA
III, lxii, The 'Gayatri'
I, xxiv To Varuna and Others
I, cliv To Visnu
II, i To Agni
II, xii To
Indra
II, xxxii To Rudra
IX, lxxiv Soma Pressed in the Bowls
X, lxxxi To Visvakarman
X, lxxxii To Visvakarman
X, xc The Sacrifice of Primal Man
X, cxxi Prajapati (the 'Golden Embryo')
X, cxxix '
In the Beginning . . .'

FROM THE ATHARVA-VEDA
X, ii Primal Man
X, vii Skambha (the Support)
X, viii Skambha again
XI, iv To the Breath of Life

FROM THE UPANISHADS
Brhadaranyaka Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
Isa Upanishad
Katha Upanishad
Mandukya Upanishad
Svetasvatara Upanishad

THE BHAGAVAD-GITA

FROM THE YAJNAVALKYA-SMRTI
The Law Book of Yajnavalkya, Chapter 1 (Conduct)
The Law Bok of Yajnavalkya, Chapter 3 (Reparations)

FROM THE KIRANA-TANTRA
Chapters 1-7

FROM THE BHAGAVATA-PURANA
Book X, Chapters 29-33

Glossary
Suggestions for Further Reading
Acknowledgments

Note: Macrons, underdots, tildes, and other diacritical marks have been omitted in this web rendition of the table of contents. The book itself does include all necessary diacritical marks.

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