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The very earliest Indian literature to survive is that of the Vedas. This diverse body of polytheistic hymns, prose treatises on sacrifice, and speculation about the soul of the universe has long been revered by orthodox Hindus as primary scriptural revelation. The hymns, which form its most ancient stratum, were handed down orally for centuries, even long after the development of writing in India. In this new edition of Hindu Scriptures R. C. Zaehner's original selection of hymns from the Rg-Veda and Atharva-Veda has been enlarged. This is followed by Zaehner's translations of five of the earliest Upanishads, the seminal scriptures for the monist doctrine of Sankara, the belief that the world we experience is a cosmic illusion that we project upon the one, unchanging undefinable reality, brahman. From the vast corpus of other texts revered by Hindus are drawn the Bhagavad-Gita; portions of the Law Book of Yajnavalkya, a treatise that attempts to codify every aspect of the life of the orthodox Hindu; chapters from the Kirana-Tantra, translated for the first time into English, which expound the doctrines of an early tantric cult of Siva; and the chapters from the Bhagavata-Purnana, which describe the dalliance of Krsna and the cowherd women of Vraja.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520207783
ISBN-10: 0520207785
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 155mm x 159mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 26-Aug-1996
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Dominic Goodall

Dominic Goodall was educated at Ampleforth College and at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is now attached to the Institute Francais de Pondichery in South India and is working on the manuscript collection there.