Dr S. Kalyanaraman wrote:
Witzel's Home Page makes this claim: "First complete translation of the Rgveda into a western language since Geldner's of 1929/1951)." (See URL cited below).
A stunner of a claim indeed.
This claim is contested by a Wikipedia article on Rigveda (See URL and excerpts cited below).
It is notable that the Witzel et al's translation into German is expected to be published on December 9, 2013, just a month before another milestone event, the workshop. Is the workshop likely to be a pow-wow celebrating the publication expected to be released on Dec. 9, 2013?
I have a double jeopardy because I neither know Vedic nor German. So, I request those knowledgeable to comment on the authenticity of and purpose served by the just announced translation.
It should be noted that the publication on December 9, 2013 will be followed by a Vedic Workshop to be held in Kerala. http://www.ivw2014.org/Paper_submission.html
6th International Vedic Workshop 2014 Kozhikode, Kerala State, India 7th – 10th, January, 2014
"The International Vedic Workshop is the most prominent get-together of Indologists involved in the study of the Vedas the world over...The forthcoming workshop strictly focuses on Vedic texts and rituals, their scholarly interpretation, and their traditional performance and has only one track with no parallel sessions. The prospective audience constitutes bona fide scholars of the Vedas and Vedic traditions, traditional scholars (Vaidikas, ritualists, and also scholars of Mimamsa), practitioners of Veda, Sanskrit scholars, Veda enthusiasts, writers specialised in Veda etc. "
From among the authors of the forthcoming volume, the following are members of the Technical Program Committee of the Workshop :
Prof. Toshifumi Goto, Tohoku University, Japan
Prof. Mislav Jezic, Zagreb University, Croatia
Prof. Michael Witzel
For more details read here.
Dr Kalyanaraman continues:-
Meaning of 'na ingayanti' in Rigveda 1-164-45. Impossibility of 'translating' full Rigveda samhita. Can someone enlighten: what is the central message of Rigveda?
I agree with Dr. Rajaram. Discretion is the better part of valor; let us defer to those who are capable of paśyantī 'visible thought'.
Well, why do people climb the Mount Sāgarmātā? Because, she is there.
Let us take up just one pada: ingayanti. This seems to be central to understanding Vāk; vaikharī (as Arun Upadhyay notes) is the final step of spoken words, as a part of the process of comprehending or seeing 'meaning' in the synchronised private languages of the chandas reciter's and the listener's brains.
How to figure out what the ṛṣi, mantra draṣṭā seeks to convey to us, ordinary mortals?
My post on Witzel's Vedic workshop and recalling a breath-taking announcement making a tall claim that it is the first complete translation of Rigveda since Geldner has the following responses on another group.
Vinay Jha notes: A biased person like Witzel can never decipher a single Vedic verse. Even unbiased persons foreign to the Vedic tradition cannot understand the Vedas.
S.R. Krishnamurthy notes: Every tom, dick and harry is enjoined to know the Veda; but the very Vedas assert that everyone cannot and does not understand the Vedas. I shall just quote the verse and leave it; because the explanation runs into pages.
Arun Upadhyay notes: There is another propaganda that Veda, brāhmaṇa texts, Upanishads and Purāṇa-s are of separate periods, places and are not related and may be opposed to each other. About 4 stages of Vāk related to 4 Antah-karana, every text tells the same. Mana is random fluctuations which are infinite. Buddhi is ordered sequence. Mana is Parā-vāk, buddhi is visible thought called paśyantī. After that it is translated into words as per store of language system in mind-called madhyamā-vāk. Final spoken or written words are vaikharī-vāk. Buddhi results in formation of Vākya (sentence) which describes an event (vākayā in Arabic). When we generalize, it becomes Kāvya (poem, creation). Buddhi analyses various alternatives, then it decides a course of action. Till analysis, it is avyavasāyī. After decision, it is vyavasāyātmikā. Quotes from texts are appended.
Wilson claims to follow Sāyaṇa gives a wrong translation ("...indicate no meaning..." cf. below ; although Sāyaṇācārya gives the correct meaning.
The verse uses the words "na ingayanti" which means "do not move / agitate" while Wilson mis-interprets it a "indicate no meaning" .
Vinay Jha claims to have practical experience of these non-Vaikhari forms of Vāk used my some yogis, these forms of Vāk carry full meaning, but do not move/agitate the physical organs of speech.
Mr. R. Ramanathan wrote:
As per me, it is not possible for anyone to know the complete meanings of all the Vedas as there are supposed to be 3 levels of meanings
1. Aadhyaatmika 2. Adhibudhika 3. Adidaivika. Usually most of the texts like Kalpa, Vyakarana & mimamsa etc were only constrained to the first 2 levels of meanings. The 3rd level would be incomprehensible for all of us. Only one person in one Yuga like say a Yajnavalkya can know the 3rd level of meaning. But traditionally what i have seen among present indigenous Vedic scholars who have not yet sold out to Westerners is that for daily use of Vedic teachings in their life they go by the 1st and 2nd levels.
This is what my guru tells me:- Not to teach or talk about the Vedas with Mlecchas. He used to say "Brahmanan pannivendiyadha pannama kettuponanan. Mlecchan pannakoodadha panni kettuponan kedutukondum irukkan". As per my understanding,the entire Varna ashrama framework has not been considered. This is my opinion.
1. Among the 4 purusharthas as a general rule, The brahmana is allowed all the 4 with the important end aim of moksha, as a result the brahmana is entitled to the 4 Ashramas. Thus we see great brahma rishis like Yajnavalkya becoming parivrajakas(Sanyasis) in the Brihadaranyaka
2. The Kshatriya generally has a tendency for the first 3 purushartas. This is not to say he does have rights to Moksha, and there are jnanis like king Janaka. The Dharma shastras discuss this based on the general tendency of kshatriyas commonly. They are not allowed the Sanyasa ashrama but the Vanaprastha ashrama. This is why we see many kings going to the forests with their wi(fe)(ves) wearing dear skin and eating Neevara(Black forest rice). Nowhere do we see either in the Veda or Puranas, examples of Kings becoming Sanyasis.
3. The Vaishyas were allowed the first 2 as a generality. They were allowed to enter the first 2 ashramas and never Vanaprasta or sanyasa. The example is the killing of a Vaishya by Rama because in Treta yuga, a Vaishya was not allowed tapas. Again the dharma shastra bases this on the overall guna karma tendencies of a Vaishya
4. A shudra is not restricted from artha and kama and moksha but there were obviously restrictions to his Vedic study. The puranas were obviously intended for this varna. We have examples like Vidura and Dharma vyaada who were great Jnanis and were superior to many contemporary Brahmanas. But they never entered proper vedic grihasta ashrama and performed rites or went as vanaprastis and sanyasis.
In a similar way non consideration of Varna ashrama dharma results in misuse of many thing Vedas as follows.
1. During brahmacharya one studies the entire Samhita, brahmana and Aranyaka portions of one own shaaka. But does not practice everything enjoined in them.For example shrauta rituals(Intended for householders) and certain kind of penances(Intended for Vanaprastis) and pranava japa(Intended for Sanyasis alone). We see in the Taittriya Aranyaka in the famous Aruna prashna:- "Aranyeedheeyeta" "Do adhyayana of this portion in the forest". These are intended obviously for vanaprastis.
2. The entire gamut of shrauta yajnas mentioned in the Samhita and brahmana portions in each shaaka are intended for Dvija householders alone. These can be performed by them when the maintain the 3 sacred fires and aupasana fires. Also they shud have complete knowledge of Kalpa(Ritual manuals) and jyotisha(Time calculations to decide when to do these rituals). Also among these not every ritual can be performed by all dvija householders. The Rajasuya and ashvameda can be performed only by kshatriyas, the brihaspati sava only for brahmanas and the vaishya stoma for vaishyas. Nowadays the Ashvamedha is performed by some organizations. There is no deeksha, no letting the horse out for a year and so on. Also certain rituals can be performed only by vanaprastins like the kataka chayana and the aruna keetuka chayana as seen in the kataka and aruna prashnas of the Taittriya Yajur Veda.
3. Similarly the Upasanas in the Upanishads and Mahavakyas are explicitly intended for the Vanaprasta and sanyasa ashrama and were actually kept secret from others ashramis. The moment everybody started reading printed books of the Upanishads, people started mis-using statements like " Aham Brahmasmi" "Tat twam asi" as an excuse for non performance of their nitya and naimittika karmas. Actually these people have no basic sense control, food restrictions or for the matter of fact any basic aachara needed. They cannot avoid eating "Chat" and other "Delicacies" in hotels like Saravana bhavan. But they say that it is the body that eats and they are not the body but the "Atma". This is kind of degradation is more common among Smarta brahmins and is seen less in Vaishnava and Madhwa brahmins.. These people buy the upanishads from either the RK Mutt book stall in their place or from Higginbothams in Central Railway station and become extraordinary brahmavits and avadhutas in one overnight train journey!!!. No kidding i can give 3 examples among my relatives.
So looking at the Vedas without the varnaashrama framework as done by mlecha scholars and their Indian tails, leads to many anarthas like Witzel claiming to know the "Complete" meaning of the Rig Veda etc.