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Good books on the vedas?

Good books on the vedas?
January 12, 2013, 07:28:49 PM
Any suggestions? Also, what is the difference between vedic philosophy and the philosophy of the Upanishad period, and what is the place of the Gita in all this? I believe Evola might have touched on some of this, but i forget.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 13, 2013, 06:37:52 AM
The Upanishads expound on the principles laid down in the Vedas. The Bhagavad Gita is a small albeit important part of a far larger work, Mahabharata. It is basically a conversation between Arjuna, a heroic figure in the Mahabharata and his charioteer, Krishna (an incarnation of the god Vishnu). Translated works of the Gita are widely available but I would suggest avoiding any of the ISKCON versions (they tend to make a personality cult out of Krishna which was never the intention) and go for an older one. I forget which one I have, I need to look it up.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 13, 2013, 07:25:00 PM
Thanks 'Grim'!

I've read the Gita though. I'm looking for good sources on vedic philosophy (i'm assuming vedic philosophy is different from that expressed in the Upanishads - but I might be wrong, which is what you seem to be indicating).


Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 14, 2013, 08:43:59 AM
The Vedas contain Philosophy, the Upanishads are like commentaries/expositions, and you might also want to read later explanations of the Upanishads (Sankara springs to mind instantly).  It's difficult to find translations or study guides that don't have a bias of one sort or another: either the Vedas perfectly predicted every snowflake that ever fell (and much more), or they're nothing more than the babbling of primitive peoples.  If you understand the Vedas to be poetry, the Upanishads to be closer to prose, and commentaries on those to be "textbooks" of Vedic philosophy, then you might be able to acquire a balanced view of the whole lot.  I will stress now, though, that the more rigidly you try to define what is said by the Vedas, the further away you'll come from understanding them.  Like the I Ching, they can be read in very many (and conflicting) ways, though each reading is accurate and true within its context.

Edit: stay away from Muller and Griffith.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 14, 2013, 12:54:44 PM
The Max Müller translations from the 19. cent. and other old ones are available  on Gutenberg and Sacred Texts. I can't judge if they be sound enough translations, but they probably are.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 14, 2013, 01:19:47 PM
Muller changed his perspective at some point, but both of their original translations of the Vedas - such as are available on the web - are of the latter of the two example categories mentioned above: their position is that the Vedic peoples were rustic and uncultured, and their translations were geared towards promulgating this opinion.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
January 15, 2013, 02:24:46 AM
Thanks Cargest.

Re: Good books on the vedas?
February 18, 2013, 03:28:01 PM
I wonder why you would avoid Max Müller. Is the translations imprecise?

He believed the deities of early vedic times represented natural forces like rain and fire. That migth be incorrect, but it seems true that the early vedic times were more primitive--philosofically speaking--than the later brahmanic period untill the religion splitted into buddhism and hinduism.

Could you recommend a superior translater?

By the way, how about the A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabupada translation of Bhagavad Gita?