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Hymns on Creation and Death: In the Veda and Upanishads

by Dr. R. L. Kashyap

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This book is our response to the request from our readers for a compilation of the mantras dealing with creation. Some of them are familiar with the translation of the famous Creation hymn (10.129) done by Indologists and the fulsome praise showered on it. They want to know more about this topic. Some persons want mantras which can clarify the meanings of the words such as sat (existence), asat (non-existence), the creator Prajapati which occur in many places. Some others want to know whether there are drastic differences in handling the topic of creation in the Veda Samhita mantras and the Upanishad books.

To understand the Vedic ideas of creation, one should refrain from the tendency to arrive at a conclusion based on one or two mantras. Currently we have only the translations by Indologists mostly Western and the Sanskrit commentaries of the medieval scholars such as Sayana.

This collection has 124 rig mantras (119 from Rig Veda and 5 from Upanishads), four prose mantras from the Upanishads and passages from Shatapatha Brahmana and Taittiriya Aranyaka. It is divided into three parts.

Part I has the Suktas primarily dealing with creation in one form or another. It includes the famous Purusha Sukta which is in Rig Veda and Yajur Veda. It includes the Sukta (10.72) entitled 'The Birth of Gods'.

The part II deals with the Word, which is the agency from which creation actually proceeds. It has 2 suktas including the Vak Sukta. The topic of creation cannot be separated from the topic of destruction. The Brhadaranyaka mantra on creation mentions the maxim, 'Hunger that is death'. The famous phrase is from the Taittiriya Upanishad, 'Eater is eaten' (adyena atti, Tai. U. 2.3) indicates the intimate connection.

Part III deals with Death viewed in the broad sense of the word. Part III is entitled, 'Veda, Rites and Yama'. Chapter 14 gives an overview of some popular rites (samskaras) performed at various stages of life. Chapter 15 focuses only on the final rites along with the associated mantras; some relevant mantras are also in Chapter 17. Because of sheer laziness and ignorance, many Hindus ascribe several irrational beliefs on the topic of death and Yama to Veda. Chapter 14 indicates the beliefs which can be traced to Vedas and those which have no place in the Vedas. Chapter 18 gives an excellent description of the Heaven which has none of the earthly enjoyments. Chapter 19 deals with the topic of return to earth from the home of Death.

Table of Contents:

  1. Beginnings
  2. The Primary Creation Hymn
  3. Hiranyagarbha Sukta
  4. Creation & Prajapati
  5. Upanishads
  6. Purusha Hymn
  7. Creation-web & questions with Answers

About the Author:

Dr. R.L. Kashyap is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana in USA. He had his masters degree form Indian Institute of science, Bangalore and obtained Ph.D. form Harvard University. He is the recipient of many international awards. He has authored more than 350 research papers. He has guided more than 50 Ph.D. Scholars. He has written extensively on Veda. He has given the word-meaning of all the verses from the first 121 suktas of Rig Veda. He has to his credit six major books on the Veda. He is the Honorary Director of Sri Aurobindo Kapali Sastry Institute of Vedic culture, Bangalore.





Detailed Product Info:

Title: Hymns on Creation and Death: In the Veda and Upanishads
Author(s): Dr. R. L. Kashyap
ISBN: 8179940446
Language: English
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