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Interpretation of the Rig Veda

RIG VEDIC SUKTAS — Asya Vamiya Suktam: A contemplative study by Swami Amritananda; Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, 16, Ramakrishna Math Road, Mylapore, Chennai-600004. Rs. 40.

THE RIG VEDA has come to us in a single recension, although it had five in ancient times.

It contains 10,450 verses, grouped into 1017 hymns (called Suktas). These are addressed to different deities, which are mostly, personifications of the powers of Nature.

The hymns, apart from the general meaning, have an implied spiritual meaning, which guides man on the path of spirituality. Sayana who commented on the Vedas gives us a sustained, cogent interpretation, which he received through an unbroken tradition. His interpretation carries more credibility and weight than that of the later interpreters.

It is heartening to note that this renowned scholar has explained in the present volume, the inner meaning of the Asya Vamiya Sukta of the first book of the Rig Veda, following the great commentator, Sayana. This Sukta contains 52 verses.

This hymn is so called because it opens with the words "Asya Vamasya". This is an important Sukta, since it forms the bedrock of many philosophical concepts such as the nature of the world, God and man, the relation between God and man and means of liberation. Of course different schools of thought like Advaita and Visishadvaita have drawn their basic concepts from this Sukta.

The oft quoted verse "dva suparna" (two birds sitting on the same tree) and the popular statement "ekam sad vipra (what exists is one but wise men call it by different names) occur in this hymn.

Swami Amritananda deserves our respectful congratulations for this admirable work. He has provided the word-to-word meaning, general interpretation and the implied meaning. This is a valuable addition to the literature on Vedanta.

M. NARASIMHACHARY

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