Among the sacred books of India are the hymns of the Rig-Veda, the world’s first recorded poems; the “magical texts” of the Athara-Veda; the stirring pantheistic speculations of the Upanishads; and the Bhagavad-Gītā,a cosmic drama of divine self-revelation in human history on the field of human battle. Taken together they represent 3,500 years of a continuous religious tradition that is multifarious, inclusive, and, at the same time, wedded to a central spiritual vision.
This edition features the translations and annotations of R. C. Zaehner, a pioneering scholar whose selections in this volume, first published by Everyman’s Library in 1966, have never been bettered as an introduction for the general reader to the Vedic tradition. Zaehner has chosen the most interesting and important verses, rendered in English that is accessible and vivid, and his introduction provides an excellent guide to the historical context, the philosophical significance, and the literary power of these beautiful and ancient texts.
Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones were, respectively, Professor of English at Aberystwyth and Cardiff and Professor of Welsh at Aberystwyth. They are the authors of numerous works of scholarship in Welsh and in English.