This illustrated edition of the Rig Veda is presented whole, permitting the reader the fullest comprehension of the holy poetry, the Gods of Hinduism and the ancient wisdom.
Written by an anonymous author or authors during India's antiquity, the Rig Veda (sometimes referred to simply as 'Rigveda') literally translates to 'shrine knowledge' in ancient Sanskrit. An enormous collection of hymns, prayers and poems written in Vedic Sanskrit script, the book has astonished and impressed scholars of religion, language and India itself for centuries. It also holds a strong measure of historical importance, in that it alludes to the cultural practices, ceremonies, eating habits, and daily life in India around the year 1040 B.C. .
This edition contains several illustrations of the different Hindu Gods, depicted as they were encountered in the shrines and temples by illustrator E. A. Rodrigues during the nineteenth century. Many of the poems in the Rig Veda specifically regard a given deity, describing their qualities and the manner through which they must be worshiped and celebrated.
The translator, Ralph Griffith, used several manuscripts while faithfully compiling his translation of the original Sanskrit. The ten book (or Mandala) mode of division is faithfully retained, as is the original hymn and line numbering. A table of contents, allowing readers to easily locate verses in the volume, is also appended.
In the present day, the Rig Veda is looked upon by most Hindus as an ancient work of literature worthy of pride and reverence. Its hymns are to this day sung during rites of passage ceremonies in India, and the text is frequently read and alluded to during the Hindu festivals all year round. Long ago, there were further meanings and interpretations of the text; however with the passage of time, modern-day readers more commonly arrive at their own conclusions.
Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith was a learned scholar of Indology. Born in Wiltshire, England, in his youth he became enchanted with the culture and beauty of India. After completing his studies, he spent much of his life in India, and was eventually made Principal of the Benares College in Madras. He retired, and was buried in, the towering hills of the Nilgiris district.