Atharva-Veda Samhita/Editor's preface

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Whitney's labors on the Atharva-Veda.—As early as March, 1851, at Berlin, during Whitney's first semester as a student in Germany, his teacher Weber was so impressed by his scholarly ability as to suggest to him the plan of editing an important Vedic text.[1] The impression produced upon Roth in Tübingen by Whitney during the following summer semester was in no wise different, and resulted in the plan for a joint edition of the Atharva-Veda.[2] Whitney's preliminary labors for the edition began accordingly upon his return to Berlin for his second winter semester. His fundamental autograph transcript of the Atharva-Veda Saṁhitā is contained in his Collation-Book, and appears from the dates of that book[3] to have been made in the short interval between October, 1851, and March, 1852. The second summer in Tübingen (1852) was doubtless spent partly in studying the text thus copied, partly in planning with Roth the details of the method of editing, partly in helping to make the tool, so important for further progress, the index of Rig-Veda pratīkas, and so on; the concordance of the four principal Saṁhitās, in which, to be sure, Whitney's part was only "a secondary one," was issued under the date November, 1852. During the winter of 1852–3 he copied the Prātiçākhya and its commentary contained in the Berlin codex (Weber, No. 361), as is stated in his edition, p. 334. As noted below (pp. xliv, l), the collation of the Paris and Oxford and London manuscripts of the Atharvan Saṁhitā followed in the spring and early summer of 1853, just before his return (in August) to America. The copy of the text for the printer, made with exquisite neatness in nāgarī letters by Mr. Whitney's hand, is still preserved.

The Edition of the text or "First volume."—The first part of the work, containing books i.–xix. of the text, appeared in Berlin with a provisional preface dated February, 1855. The provisional preface announces that the text of book xx. will not be given in full, but only the Kuntāpa-hymns, and, for the rest of it, merely references to the Rig-Veda; and promises, as the principal contents of the second part, seven of the eight items of accessory material enumerated below.—This plan, however, was changed, and the second part appeared in fact as a thin Heft of about 70 pages, giving book xx. in full, and that only. To it was prefixed a half-sheet containing the definitive preface and a new title-page. The definitive preface is dated October, 1856, and adds an eighth item, exegetical notes, to the promises of the provisional preface. The new title-page has the words "Erster Band. Text," thus implicitly promising a second volume, in which, according to the definitive preface, the accessory material was to be published.

Relation of this work to the "First volume" and to this Series.—Of the implicit promise of that title-page, the present work is intended to complete the fulfilment. As most of the labor upon the first volume had fallen to Whitney, so most of the labor upon the projected "second" was to have been done by Roth. In fact, however, it turned out that Roth's very great services for the criticism and exegesis of this Veda took a different form, and are embodied on the one hand in his contributions to the St. Petersburg Lexicon, and consist on the other in his brilliant discovery of the Kashmirian recension of this Veda and his collation of the text thereof with that of the Vulgate. Nevertheless, as is clearly apparent (page xvii), Whitney thought and spoke of this work[4] as a "Second volume of the Roth-Whitney edition of the Atharva-Veda," and called it "our volume" in writing to Roth (cf. p. lxxxvi); and letters exchanged between the two friends in 1894 discuss the question whether the "second volume" ought not to be published by the same house (F. Dümmler's) that issued the first in 1856. It would appear from Whitney's last letter to Roth (written April 10, 1894, shortly before his death), that he had determined to have the work published in the Harvard Series, and Roth's last letter to Whitney (dated April 23) expresses his great satisfaction at this arrangement. This plan had the cordial approval of my friend Henry Clarke Warren, and, while still in relatively fair health, he generously gave to the University the money to pay for the printing.

External form of this work.—It is on account of the relation just explained, and also in deference to Whitney's express wishes, that the size of the printed page of this work and the size of the paper have been chosen to match those of the "First volume." The pages have been numbered continuously from 1 to 1009, as if this work were indeed one volume; but, since it was expedient to separate the work into two halves in binding, I have done so, and designated those halves as volumes seven and eight of the Harvard Oriental Series.[5] The volumes are substantially bound and properly lettered; the leaves are open at the front; and the top is cut without spoiling the margin. The purpose of the inexpensive gilt top is not for ornament, but rather to save the volumes from the injury by dirt and discoloration which is so common with ragged handcut tops. The work has been electrotyped, and will thus, it is hoped, be quite free from the blemishes occasioned by the displacement of letters, the breaking off of accents, and the like.

General scope of this work as determined by previous promise and fulfilment.—Its general scope was determined in large measure by the promise of the definitive preface of the "First volume." The specifications of that promise were given in eight items as follows:

1. Excerpts from the Prātiçākhya;

2. Excerpts from the Pada-pāṭha;

3. Concordance of the AV. with other Saṁhitās;

4. Excerpts from the ritual (Kāuçika);

5. Excerpts from the Anukramaṇī;

6. General introduction;

7. Exegetical notes;

8. Critical notes.

Of the above-mentioned promise, several items had meantime been more than abundantly fulfilled by Whitney. In 1862 he published the Prātiçākhya (item 1), text, translation, notes, indexes, etc. Of this treatise only excerpts had been promised. In 1881 followed the (unpromised) Index Verborum,[6] in which was given a full report of the pada-readings (item 2). The Table of Concordances between the several Vedic Saṁhitās (1852) and the Index of pratīkas of the Atharva-Veda (1857),—the first in large measure, the second in largest measure, the work of Whitney,—went far toward the accomplishment of the next item (item 3). Pupils of the two editors, moreover, had had a share in its fulfilment. In 1878 Garbe gave us the Vāitāna-Sūtra in text and translation; and that was followed in 1890 by Bloomfield's text of the Kāuçika-Sūtra. The inherent difficulties of the latter text and the excellence of Bloomfield's performance make us regret the more keenly that he did not give us a translation also. The material for report upon the ritual uses of the verses of this Veda (preparative for item 4) was thus at hand.

While making his London collations in 1853 (see below, p. lxxii), Whitney made also a transcript of the Major Anukramaṇī, and subsequently he added a collation of the Berlin ms. thereof (preparative for item 5).—In the course of his long labors upon Atharvan texts, Whitney had naturally made many observations suitable for a general introduction (item 6). Roth had sent him a considerable mass of exegetical notes (item 7).—Furthermore, during the decades in which Whitney had concerned himself with this and the related texts, he had noted in his Collation-Book, opposite each verse of the Atharvan Saṁhitā, the places in the other texts where that verse recurs, in identical or in similar form, in whole or in part; thus making a very extensive collection of concordances, with the Atharvan Saṁhitā as the point of departure, and providing himself with the means for reporting upon the variations of the parallel texts with far greater completeness than was possible by means of the Table and Index mentioned above under item 3.

The critical notes.—Of all the eight promised items, the one of most importance, and of most pressing importance, was doubtless the eighth, the critical notes, in which were to be given the various readings of the manuscripts. In his Introductory Note to the Atharvan Prātiçākhya (p. 338: year 1862), Whitney says:

The condition of the Atharvan as handed down by the tradition was such as to impose upon the editors as a duty what in the case of any of the other Vedas would have been an almost inexcusable liberty—namely, the emendation of the text-readings in many places. In so treating such a text, it is not easy to hit the precise mean between too much and too little; and while most of the alterations made were palpably and imperatively called for, and while many others would have to be made in translating, there are also a few cases in which a closer adherence to the manuscript authorities might have been preferable.

The apparatus for ascertaining in any given passage just what the mss. read was not published for more than two decades. Complaints on this score, however, were surely estopped by the diligence and effectiveness with which both editors employed that time for the advancement of the cause of Indic philology. In his Introduction to the Index Verborum (p. 2: year 1880), Whitney says:

There will, of course, be differences of opinion as to whether this ⌊course of procedure⌋ was well-advised—whether they ⌊the editors⌋ should not have contented themselves with giving just what the manuscripts gave them, keeping suggested alterations for their notes; and, yet more, as to the acceptableness of part of the alterations made, and the desirableness of others which might with equal reason have been made.... It is sought ⌊in the Index⌋ simply to call attention to all cases in which a published reading differs from that of the manuscripts, as well as to those comparatively infrequent ones where the manuscripts are at variance, and to furnish the means...for determining in any particular case what the manuscripts actually read.

Thus the eighth item of the promise also (as well as the second) was fulfilled by the Index.—Desirable as such critical notes may be in connection with the Index, a report of the variants of the European mss. of the Vulgate recension in the sequence of the text was none the less called for. The report is accordingly given in this work, and includes not only the mss. of Berlin, Paris, Oxford, and London, collated before publishing, but also those of Munich and Tübingen, collated twenty years after (see below, p. xliv, note 5, p. lxiv).

Scope of this work as transcending previous promise.—The accessory material of this work, beyond what was promised by the preface of the text-edition, is mentioned in the third paragraph of Whitney's "Announcement," p. xviii, and includes the reports of the readings of the Kashmirian recension and of S. P. Pandit's authorities, extracts from the native commentary, and a translation. For the first. Roth had performed the long and laborious and difficult task of making a careful collation of the Pāippalāda text, and had sent it to Whitney. In his edition published in Bombay, S. P. Pandit had given for the Vulgate recension the variants of the authorities (Indian: not also European) accessible to him, and including not only the variants of manuscripts, but also those of living reciters of the text. The advance sheets of his edition he had sent in instalments to Whitney, so that all those portions for which Pandit published the comment were in Whitney's hands in time to be utilized by him, although the printed date of Pandit's publication (1895–8) is subsequent to Whitney's death.

Evolution of the style of the work.—To elaborate all the varied material described in the foregoing paragraphs into a running commentary on the nineteen books was accordingly Whitney's task, and he was "fairly started" upon it in 1885–6. As was natural, his method of treatment became somewhat fuller as he proceeded with his work. There is in my hands his prior draft of the first four or five books, which is relatively meagre in sundry details. It was not until he had advanced well into the second grand division (books viii.–xii.) that he settled down into the style of treatment to which he then adhered to the end.

Partial rewriting and revision by Whitney.—Thereupon, in order to carry out the early books in the same style as the later ones, it became necessary to rewrite or to revise the early ones. He accordingly did rewrite the first four (cf. p. xcviii below), and to the next three (v., vi., vii.) he gave a pretty thorough revision without rewriting; and at this point, apparently, he was interrupted by the illness which proved fatal. The discussion of the ritual uses in book viii. (supplied by me) would doubtless have been his next task. Not counting a lot of matter for his General Introduction, Whitney's manuscript of his commentary and translation, as he left it at his death in 1894, consisted of about 2500 folios. Had Whitney lived to see it printed, the editor of this Series would probably have read one set of proofs, and made suggestions and criticisms freely on the margins, which the author would then have accepted or rejected without discussion; and the whole matter, in that case a very simple one, would have been closed by a few lines of kindly acknowledgment from the author in his preface.

Picking up the broken threads.—It is, on the other hand, no simple matter, but rather one of peculiar difficulty and delicacy, to edit such a technical work as this for an author who has passed away, especially if he has been the editor's teacher and friend. The difficulty is increased by the fact that, in the great mass of technical details, there are very many which have to be learned anew by the editor for himself, and others still, which, through long years of labor, have grown so familiar to the author that he has hardly felt any need of making written memoranda of them, and which the editor has to find out as best he can.

Relation of the editor's work to that of the author.—Although Whitney's manuscript of the main body of the work was written out to the end, it was not systematically complete. Thus he had written for book i. (and for that only) a special introduction, showing that he meant to do the like for the other eighteen. Of the General Introduction as it stands, only a very few parts were worked out; for some parts there were only rough sketches; and for very many not even that. And in unnumbered details, major and minor, there was opportunity for long and patient toil upon the task of systematically verifying all references and statements, of revising where need was, and of bringing the whole nearer to an ideal and unattainable completeness. What these details were, the work itself may show. But besides all this, there was the task of carrying through the press a work the scientific importance of which called for the best typographical form and for the utmost feasible accuracy in printing.

Parts for which the author is not responsible.—No two men are alike in the various endowments and attainments that make the scholar; and, in particular, the mental attitude of any two towards any given problem is wont to differ. It is accordingly not possible that there should not be, among the editorial additions to Whitney's manuscript or changes therein, many things which he would decidedly have disapproved. They ought certainly therefore to be marked in such a way that the reader may easily recognize them as additions for which the editor and not the author is responsible; and for this purpose two signs have been chosen, ⌊ and ⌋, which are like incomplete brackets or brackets without the upper horizontal strokes, and which may be called "ell-brackets" and suggest the initial letter of the editor's name (cf. p. c). Besides the marked additions, there are others, like the paragraphs beginning with the word "Translated," which are not marked. It is therefore proper to give a general systematic account of the editorial additions and changes.

The General Introduction.—This consists of two parts: the first, by the editor; the second, elaborated in part from material left by the author.—Part I.—Besides the topics which unquestionably belong to the General Introduction and are treated in Part II., there are a good many which, but for their voluminousness, might properly enough have been put into the editor's preface. Such are, for example, the discussions of the various critical elements which form the bulk of Whitney's Commentary. I have printed them as Part I. of the General Introduction. The form of presentation is, I trust, such that, with the help of the Table of Contents, the student will be able to find any desired topic very quickly.

The General Introduction: Part II.—Certain general statements concerning the manuscripts and the method of editing, and concerning the text of the Atharva-Veda Saṁhitā as a whole, must needs be made, and are most suitably presented in the form of a general introduction prefixed to the main body of the work. For this Introduction, Whitney left a considerable amount of material. Parts of that material were so well worked out as to be nearly or quite usable for printing: namely, the brief chapter, 8, on the metrical form of the Saṁhitā, and (most fortunately!) nearly all of the very important chapter, 1, containing the description of his manuscripts. The like is true, as will appear from the absence of ell-brackets, of considerable portions of chapter 10, on the extent and structure of the Saṁhitā.—Chapters 2 and 3 (concerning the stanza çáṁ no devī́r abhíṣṭaye and the Collation-Book) might have been put in Part I., as being from the editor's hand; but, on the ground of intrinsic fitness, they have been put immediately after the description of the mss.

For chapters 4 and 5 and 6 (on repeated verses, on refrains, and on accent-marks) and chapter 9 (on the divisions of the text), Whitney left sketches, brief and rough, written with a lead-pencil and written (it would seem) in the days of his weakness as he lay on a couch or bed. I have made faithful use of these sketches, not only as indicating in detail the topics that Whitney most desired to treat, but also as giving, or at least suggesting, the language to be used in their treatment. Nevertheless, they have been much rewritten in parts, and in such a way that it is hardly feasible or even worth while to separate the author's part from the editor's. The final result must pass for our joint work. The sketch for chapter 7 (on the orthographic method of the Berlin text) was also a lead-pencil draft; but it was one that had evidently been made years before those last mentioned, and its substance was such as to need only recasting in form, and expansion,—a work which I have carried out with free use of the pertinent matter in Whitney's Prātiçākhyas (cf. p. cxxiii, note).

To revert to chapters 9 and 10 (on the divisions of the text, and on its extent and structure), they are the longest of all, and, next after chapter 1 (on the mss.), perhaps the most important, and they contain the most of what is new. After putting them once into what I thought was a final form, I found that, from the point of view thus gained, I could, by further study, discover a good many new facts and relations, and attain to greater certainty on matters already set forth, and, by rewriting freely, put very many of the results in a clearer light and state them more convincingly. The ell-brackets distinguish in general the editor's part from the author's. If, in these two chapters, the latter seems relatively small, one must not forget its large importance and value as a basis for the editor's further studies.

With the exceptions noted (chapters 2 and 3), it has seemed best, in elaborating this part of the General Introduction, to restrict it to the topics indicated by Whitney's material, and not (in an attempt at systematic completeness) to duplicate the treatise which forms Bloomfield's part of the Grundriss. Bloomfield's plan is quite different; but since a considerable number of the topics are indeed common to both, it seemed better that the treatment of them in this work should proceed as far as possible independently of the treatment in the Grundriss.

The editor's special introductions to the eighteen books, ii.-xix.—Since Whitney's manuscript contained a brief special introduction to the first book, it was probably his intention to write one for each of the remaining eighteen. At all events, certain general statements concerning each book as a whole are plainly called for, and should properly be cast into the form of a special introduction and be prefixed, one to each of the several books. These eighteen special introductions have accordingly been written by the editor, and are, with some trifling exceptions (cf. pages 471-2, 739, 792, 794, 814) entirely from his hand. The paryāya-hymns (cf. p. 471) and the divisions of the paryāya-material (pages 628, 770, 793) called for considerable detail of treatment; similarly the discrepancies between the two editions as respects hymn-numeration (pages 389, 610) and the paryāya-divisions (pages 771, 793); likewise the subject-matter of book xviii. (p. 813); while the supplementary book xix., on account of its peculiar relations to the rest of the text and to the ancillary treatises, called for the most elaborate treatment of all (p. 895).

The special introductions to the hymns: editor's bibliography of previous translations and discussions.—These are contained in the paragraphs beginning with the word "Translated."—In the introduction to each hymn, in a paragraph immediately following the Anukramaṇī-excerpts, and usually between a statement as to where the hymn is "Found in Pāipp." or in other texts, and a statement as to how the hymn is "Used in Kāuç.," Whitney had given in his manuscript a statement as to where the hymn had been previously translated by Ludwig or Grill or some other scholar. For Weber's and Henry's translations of whole books, he had apparently thought to content himself by referring once and for all at the beginning of each book to the volume of the Indische Studien or of the Traduction. By a singular coincidence, a very large amount of translation and explanation of this Veda (by Deussen, Henry, Griffith, Weber, Bloomfield: see the table, p. cvii) appeared within three or four years after Whitney's death. The version of Griffith, and that alone, is complete. As for the partial translations and discussions, apart from the fact that they are scattered through different periodicals and independent volumes, their multiplicity is so confusing that it would be very troublesome in the case of any given hymn to find for oneself just how many of the translators had discussed it and where. I have therefore endeavored to give with all desirable completeness, for every single one of the 588 hymns of books i.-xix. (save ii. 20-23), a bibliography of the translations and discussions of that hymn up to the year 1898 or thereabout. For some hymns the amount of discussion is large: cf. the references for iv. 16; v. 22; ix. 9; x. 7; xviii. 1; xix. 6. At first blush, some may think it "damnable iteration" that I should, for hymn-translations, make reference to Griffith some 588 times, to Bloomfield some 214, to Weber some 179, or to Henry some 167 times; but I am sure that serious students of the work will find the references exceedingly convenient. As noted above, they are given in the paragraphs beginning with the word "Translated." Although these paragraphs are almost wholly editorial additions, I have not marked them as such by enclosing them in ell-brackets.

I have always endeavored to give these references in the chronological sequence of the works concerned (see the table with dates and explanations at p. cvii). These dates need to be taken into account in judging Whitney's statements, as when he says "all the translators" understand a passage thus and so. Finally, it is sure to happen that a careful comparison of the views of the other translators will often reveal a specific item of interpretation which is to be preferred to Whitney's. Here and there, I have given a reference to such an item; but to do so systematically is a part of the great task which this work leaves unfinished.

Added special introductions to the hymns of book xviii. and to some others.—The relation of the constituent material of the four so-called "hymns" of book xviii. to the Rig-Veda etc. is such that a clear synoptic statement of the provenience of the different groups of verses or of single verses is in the highest degree desirable; and I have therefore endeavored to give such a statement for each of them, grouping the verses into "Parts" according to their provenience or their ritual use or both. An analysis of the structure of the single hymn of book xvii. also seemed to me to be worth giving. Moreover, the peculiar contents of the hymn entitled "Homage to parts of the Atharva-Veda" (xix. 23) challenged me to try at least to identify its intended references; and although I have not succeeded entirely, I hope I have stated the questionable matters with clearness. I have ventured to disagree with the author's view of the general significance of hymn iii. 26 as expressed in the caption, and have given my reasons in a couple of paragraphs. The hymn for use with a pearl-shell amulet (iv. 10) and the hymn to the lunar asterisms (xix. 7) also gave occasion for additions which I hope may prove not unacceptable.

Other editorial additions at the beginning and end of hymns.—Whitney's last illness put an end to his revision of his work before he reached the eighth book, and reports of the ritual uses of the hymns of that book from his hand are insufficient or lacking. I have accordingly supplied these reports for book viii., and further also for x. 5 and xi. 2 and 6, and in a form as nearly like that used by Whitney as I could; but for viii. 8 ("army rites") and x. 5 ("water-thunderbolts"), the conditions warranted greater fulness.[7] Whitney doubtless intended to give, throughout his entire work, at the end of anuvākas and books and prapāṭhakas, certain statements, in part summations of hymns and verses and in part quotations from the Old Anukramaṇī. In default of his final revision, these stop at the end of book vii. (cf. p. 470), and from that point on to the end I have supplied them (cf. pages 475, 481, 516, 737, and so on).

Other additions of considerable extent.—Of the additions in ell-brackets, the most numerous are the brief ones; but the great difficulties of books xviii. and xix. have tempted me to give, in the last two hundred pages, occasional excursuses, the considerable length of which will, I hope, prove warranted by their interest or value. The notes on the following topics or words or verses may serve as instances: twin consonants, p. 832; añjoyā́nāis, p. 844; su-çáṅsa, p. 853; āitat, p. 860; áva cikṣipan, p. 875; the pitṛnidhāna ("eleven dishes"), p. 876; vānyà etc., p. 88O; saṁçritya, p. 886; on xviii. 4. 86-87; xix. 7. 4; 8. 4; 26. 3; 44. 7; 45. 2 (suhā́r etc.); 47. 8; 55. 1, 5.

The seven tables appended to the latter volume of this work.—The list of non-metrical passages is taken from the introduction to Whitney's Index Verborum, p. 5.—The list of hymns ignored by Kāuçika, p. 1011, is taken from memoranda in Whitney's hand-copy of Kāuçika.—The concordance of the citations of Kāuçika by the two methods, I have made for those who wish to look up citations as made in the Bombay edition of the commentary. The same purpose is better served by writing the number of each adhyāya, and of each kaṇḍikā as numbered from the beginning of its own adhyāya, on the upper right-hand corner of each odd page of Bloomfield's text.—The concordance of discrepant Berlin and Bombay hymn-numbers I have drawn up to meet a regrettable need.—The concordance between the Vulgate and Kashmirian recensions is made from notes in the Collation-Book, as is explained at p. lxxxv, and will serve provisionally for finding a Vulgate verse in the facsimile of the Kashmirian text.—The table of hymn-titles is of course a mere copy of Whitney's captions, but gives an extremely useful conspectus of the subjects in general.—The index of the names of the seers is a revised copy of a rough one found among Whitney's papers. To it I have prefixed a few paragraphs which contain general or critical observations.

The unmarked minor additions and other minor changes.—These are of two classes. The first includes the numerous isolated minor changes about which there was no question, namely the correction of mere slips, the supplying of occasional omissions, and the omission of an occasional phrase or sentence. Of the mere slips in Whitney's admirable manuscript, some (like "thou has" at ii. 10. 6, or the omission of "be brought" near the end of the note to ii. 13. 5) are such as the care of a good proofreader would have set right; but there were many which could be recognized as slips only by constant reference to the original or to the various books concerned. Such are "cold" instead of "heat" for ghraṅsá at xiii. 1. 52 and 53; "hundred" (life-times) for "thousand" at vi. 78. 3; "Mercury" for "Mars" at xix. 9. 7; "kine" for "bulls" at iii. 9. 2 and "cow" for "bull" at i. 22. 1; váçāṅ for 'váçāṅ at xviii. 2. 13. At vi. 141. 3 his version read "so let the Açvins make," as if the text were kṛṇutā́m açvínā. At the end of the very first hymn, Whitney's statement was, "The Anukr. ignores the metrical irregularity of the second pāda"; here I changed "ignores" to "notes."—He had omitted the words "the parts of" at iv. 12. 7; "a brother" at xviii. i. 14; "which is very propitious" at xviii. 2. 31; "the Fathers" at xviii. 2. 46. Such changes as those just instanced could well be left unmarked.

The second class has to do with the paragraphs, few in number, the recasting or rewriting of which involved so many minor changes that it was hardly feasible to indicate them by ell-brackets. The note to xviii. 3. 60 is an example. Moreover, many notes in which the changes are duly marked contain other changes which seemed hardly worth marking, as at xix. 49. 2 or 55. 1: cf. p. 806, ¶5.

The marked minor additions and other minor changes.—In a work like this, involving so great a mass of multifarious details, it was inevitable that a rigorous revision, such as the author could not give to it, should detect many statements requiring more or less modification. Thus at xix. 40. 2, the author, in his copy for the printer, says: "We have rectified the accent of sumedhā́s; the mss. and SPP. have sumédhās." In fact, the edition also has sumédhās, and I have changed the statement thus: "⌊in the edition⌋ we ⌊should have⌋ rectified the accent ⌊so as to read⌋ sumedhā́s." The changes in the last two books are such that it was often best to write out considerable parts of the printer's copy afresh: yet it was desirable, on the one hand, to avoid rewriting; and, on the other, to change and add in such a way that the result might not show the unclearness of a clumsily tinkered paragraph. To revise and edit between these two limitations is not easy; and, as is shown by the example just given, there is no clear line to be drawn between what should and what should not be marked. As noted above, it is evident that all these matters would have been very simple if the author could have seen the work through the press.

The revision of the author's manuscript. Verification.—The modifications of the author's manuscript thus far discussed are mostly of the nature of additions made to carry out the unfinished parts of the author's design, and are the modifications referred to on the title-page by the words "brought nearer to completion." The work of revision proper has included a careful verification of every statement of every kind in the commentary so far as this was possible, and a careful comparison of the translation with the original. This means that the citations of the parallel texts have been actually looked up and that the readings have been compared anew in order to make sure that the reports of their variations from the Atharvan readings were correct. This task was most time-consuming and laborious; as to some of its difficulties and perplexities, see below, p. lxiv. Verification means further that the notes of Whitney's Collation-Book and of the Bombay edition and of Roth's collation of the Kashmirian text were regularly consulted to assure the correctness of the author's reports of variants within the Atharvan school; further, that the text and the statements of the Major Anukramaṇī were carefully studied, and, in connection therewith, the scansion and pāda-division of the verses of the Saṁhitā; and that the references to the Kāuçika and Vāitāna Sūtras were regularly turned up for comparison of the sūtras with Whitney's statements. Many technical details concerning these matters are given on pages lxiv ff. of the General Introduction. Since the actual appearance of Bloomfield and Garbe's magnificent facsimile of the birch-bark manuscript of the Kashmirian text antedates that of this work, the reasons why the facsimile was not used by me should be consulted at p. lxxxv.

Accentuation of Sanskrit words.—In the reports of the readings of accented texts, the words are invariably accented. The Kashmirian text is reckoned as an unaccented one, although it has occasional accented passages. The author frequently introduces Sanskrit words, in parentheses or otherwise, into the translation, and usually indicates their accent. The editor has gone somewhat farther: he has indicated in the translation the accent of the stems of words which happen to occur in the vocative {so sadā́nvās, ii. 14. 5), except in the cases of rare words whose proper stem-accent is not known (examples in ii. 24); and, in cases where only one member of a compound is given, he has indicated what the accent of that member would be if used independently (so -nīthá at xviii. 2. 18, as part of sahásraṇītha; -kṣétra at iii. 3. 4, as part of anyakṣetrá; cf. ii. 8. 2).

Cross-references.—Apart from the main purpose of this work, to serve as the foundation of more nearly definitive ones yet to come, it is likely to be used rather as one of consultation and reference than for consecutive reading. I have therefore not infrequently added cross-references from one verse or note to another, doing this even in the case of verses which were not far apart: cf., for example, my reference from vii. 80. 3 to 79. 4 or from vi. 66. 2 to 65. 1.

Orthography of Anglicized proper names.—The translation is the principal or only part of this work which may be supposed to interest readers who are without technical knowledge of Sanskrit. In order to make the proper names therein occurring more easily pronounceable, the author has disregarded somewhat the strict rules of transliteration which are followed in the printing of Sanskrit words as Sanskrit, and has written, for example, Pūshan and Purandhi instead of Puṣan and Puraṁdhi, sometimes retaining, however, the strange diacritical marks (as in An̄giras or Varuṇa) where they do not embarrass the layman. To follow the rules strictly would have been much easier; but perhaps it was better to do as has been done, even at the expense of some inconsistencies (cf. Vritra, Vṛitra, Vṛtra; Savitar).

Editorial short-comings and the chances of error.—Labor and pains have been ungrudgingly spent upon Whitney's work, to ensure its appearance in a form worthy of its great scientific importance; but the work is extensive and is crowded with details of such a nature that unremitting care is needed to avoid error concerning them. Some striking illustrations of this statement may be found in the foot-note below.[8] Despite trifling inconsistencies of orthography or abbreviation, I trust that a high degree of accuracy in the real essentials has been attained. I dare not hope that my colleagues will not discover blemishes and deficiencies in the work; but I shall be glad if they do not cavil at them. India has much to teach the West: much that is of value not only for its scientific interest, but also for the conduct of our thought and life. It is far better to exploit the riches of Indian wisdom than to spend time or strength in belittling the achievements of one's fellow-workers or of those that are gone.

The biographical and related matter.—The First American Congress of Philologists devoted its session of Dec. 28, 1894 to the memory of Whitney. The Report of that session, entitled "The Whitney Memorial Meeting," and edited by the editor of this work, was issued as the first half of volume xix. of the Journal of the American Oriental Society. The edition was of fifteen hundred copies, and was distributed to the members of the Oriental Society and of the American Philological Association and of the Modern Language Association of America, to the libraries enrolled on their lists, and to some other recipients. Besides the addresses of the occasion, the Report contains bibliographical notes concerning Whitney's life and family, and a bibliography of his writings: but since, strictly speaking, it contains no biography of Whitney, I have thought it well to give in this volume (p. xliii) a brief sketch of his life; and in preparing it, I have made use, not only of the substance, but also, with some freedom, of the form of statement of the autobiography which Whitney published in 1885 (see p. lx). Moreover, since the people into whose hands this work will come are for the most part not the same as those who received the Report, it has been thought advisable to reprint therefrom the editor's Memorial Address (p. xlvii) as a general estimate of Whitney's character and services, and to give, for its intrinsic usefulness, a select list of his writings (p. lvi), which is essentially the list prepared by Whitney for the "Yale Bibliographies" (List, 1893). General significance of Whitney's work.—Its design, says Whitney (above, p. xix, Announcement), is "to put together as much as possible of the material that is to help toward the study and final comprehension of this Veda." Thus expressly did the author disavow any claim to finality for his work. As for the translation, on the one hand, the Announcement shows that he regarded it as wholly subordinate to his commentary; and I can give no better statement of the principles which have guided him in making it, than is found in the extracts from a critical essay by Whitney which I have reprinted (above, p. xix), and from which moreover we may infer that he fully recognized the purely provisional character of his translation. I am sorry that infelicities of expression in the translation, which are part and parcel of the author's extreme literalness (see p. xciv) and do not really go below the surface of the work, are (as is said below, p. xcviii) the very things that are the most striking for the non-technical reader who examines the book casually.

As for the commentary, on the other hand, it is plain that, taking the work as a whole, he has done just what he designed to do. Never before has the material for the critical study of an extensive Vedic text been so comprehensively and systematically gathered from so multifarious sources. The commentary will long maintain for itself a place of first-rate importance as an indispensable working-tool for the purposes which it is designed to serve. I have put together (below, pages xcii–xciii) a few examples to illustrate the ways in which the commentary will prove useful. A variety of special investigations, moreover, will readily suggest themselves to competent students of the commentary; and the subsidiary results that are thus to be won (the "by-products," so to say), are likely, I am convinced, to be abundant and of large interest and value. Furthermore, we may confidently believe that Whitney's labors will incidentally put the whole discipline of Vedic criticism upon a broader and firmer basis.

Need of a systematic commentary on the Rig-Veda.—Finally, Whitney seems to me to have made it plain that a similar commentary is the indispensable preliminary for the final comprehension of the Rig-Veda. That commentary should be as much better and as much wider in its scope as it can be made by the next generation of scholars; for it will certainly not be the work of any one man alone. It is a multifarious work for which many elaborate preparations need yet to be made. Thus the parallel passages from the Rig-Veda and the other texts must be noted with completeness on the margin of the Rik Saṁhitā opposite the pādas concerned; for this task Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance is likely to be the most important single instrument. Thus, again, Brāhmaṇa, Çrāuta, Gṛhya, and other texts appurtenant to the Rig-Veda, together with Epic and later texts, should all be systematically read by scholars familiar with Vedic themes and diction, and with an eye open to covert allusion and reference, and should be completely excerpted with the Rik Saṁhitā in hand and with constant references made opposite the Rik verses to the ancillary or illustrative passages which bear upon them. It is idle folly to pretend that this last work would not be immensely facilitated by a large mass of translations[9] of the more difficult texts, accurately made, and provided with all possible ingenious contrivances for finding out quickly the relations between the ancillary texts and the fundamental ones. Thus to have demonstrated the necessity for so far-reaching an undertaking, may prove to be not the least of Whitney's services to Vedic scholarship.

The Century Dictionary.—Doubtless much of the best of Whitney's strength through nearly ten of his closing years was given to the work devolving on him as editor-in-chief of The Century Dictionary, an Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language (see p. lx, below). But for that, he might perhaps have brought out this commentary himself. Since I, more than any one else, have personal reasons to regret that he did not do so, there is perhaps a peculiar fitness in my saying that I am glad that he did not. Whoever has visited for example the printing-offices which make the metropolitan district of Boston one of the great centers of book-production for America, and has seen the position of authority which is by them accorded to that admirable work, and has reflected upon the powerful influence which, through the millions of volumes that are affected by its authority, it must thus exercise in the shaping of the growth of our English language,—such an one cannot fail to see that Whitney was broad-minded and wise in accepting the opportunity of superintending the work of its production, even at the risk of not living to see the appearance of the already long-delayed Atharva-Veda. Perhaps his most potent influence upon his day and generation is through his labors upon the Century Dictionary.

Acknowledgments.—I desire in the first place to make public acknowledgment of my gratitude to the late Henry Clarke Warren of Cambridge. He had been my pupil at Baltimore; and, through almost twenty years of intimate acquaintance and friendship, we had been associated in our Indian studies. To his enlightened appreciation of their value and potential usefulness is due the fact that these dignified volumes can now be issued; for during his lifetime he gave to Harvard University in sundry instalments the funds with which to pay for the printing of Whitney's commentary. Whitney was professor at Yale; the editor is an alumnus of Yale and a teacher at Harvard; and Warren was an alumnus of Harvard. That the two Universities should thus join hands is a matter which the friends of both may look upon with pleasure, and it furnishes the motif for the dedication of this work. But I am glad to say that learning, as well as money, was at Mr. Warren's command for the promotion of science. Before his death there was issued his collection of translations from the Pāli which forms the third volume of this Series and is entitled "Buddhism in Translations," a useful and much-used book. Moreover, he has left, in an advanced state of preparation for press, a carefully made edition and a partial translation of the Pāli text of Buddhaghosa's famous encyclopedic treatise of Buddhism entitled "The Way of Purity" or Visuddhi-Magga. It is with gladness and hope that I now address myself to the arduous and happy labor of carrying Mr. Warren's edition through the press.

Next I desire to express my hearty thanks to my former pupil. Dr. Arthur W. Ryder, now Instructor in Sanskrit at Harvard University, for his help in the task of verifying references and statements and of reading proofs. He came to assist me not long after the close of his studies with Professor Geldner, when I had got through with a little more than one third of the main body of Whitney's commentary and translation. For books i.-vii., I had revised the manuscript and sent it to press, leaving the verification to be done with the proof-reading and from the proofsheets. Dr. Ryder's help began with the verification and proof-reading of the latter half of book vi.; but from the beginning of book viii., it seemed better that he should forge ahead and do the verification from the manuscript itself, and leave me to follow with the revision and the supplying of the missing portions and so on. His work proved to be so thoroughly conscientious and accurate that I was glad to trust him, except of course in cases where a suspicion of error was aroused in one or both of us. A few times he has offered a suggestion of his own; that given at p. 739 is so keen and convincing that greater boldness on his part would not have been unwelcome. To my thanks I join the hope that health and other opportunities may long be his for achieving the results of which his literary sense and scholarly ideals give promise.

Mrs. Whitney, upon turning over to me her husband's manuscript of this work, together with his other manuscript material therefor, was so kind as to lend me a considerable number of his printed books, some of which, in particular his copy of the Kāuçika Sūtra, have been a great convenience by reason of their manuscript annotations. It is a pleasure to be able to make to Mrs. Whitney this public expression of my thanks.

To my neighbor, Miss Maria Whitney, I am indebted for the loan of the medallion from which the noble portrait of her brother, opposite page xliii, has been made. The medallion is a replica of the one in the Library of Yale University, and is a truthful likeness.

Of an occasional friendly turn from Professors Theobald Smith, George F. Moore, and Bloomfield, and from Dr. George A. Grierson, I have already made note (see pages 242, 756, 983, 243). Professors Bloomfield and Garbe allowed me to reproduce here a specimen leaf from their beautiful facsimile of the Kashmirian text. Professors Cappeller and Hopkins and Jacobi were so good as to criticize my Sanskrit verses.[10] In particular, I thank my colleague, Professor Morris H. Morgan, for his kindness in putting the dedication into stately Latin phrase.

It is with no small satisfaction that I make public mention of the admirable work of the Athenæum Press (situated in Cambridge) of Messrs. Ginn and Company of Boston. The Hindus sometimes liken human effort to one wheel of a cart. Fate, indeed, may be the other; but our destiny, they say, is not accomplished without both elements, just as there is no progress without both wheels. It is so with a book: good copy is one wheel; and a good printing-office is the other. Whitney's long experience was guarantee for the prior requisite; and the other I have not found lacking. The way has been a long one, with plenty of places for rough jolting and friction; but the uniform kindness and the alert and intelligent helpfulness of all with whom I have had to do at the Press have made our progress smooth, and I am sincerely grateful.

Human personality and the progress of science.—Had Whitney lived to see this work in print and to write the preface, his chief tribute of grateful acknowledgment would doubtless have been to his illustrious preceptor and colleague and friend whose toil had so largely increased its value, to Rudolph Roth of Tübingen. Whitney, who was my teacher, and Roth, who was my teacher's teacher and my own teacher, both are passed away, and Death has given the work to me to finish, or rather to bring nearer to an ideal and so unattainable completeness. They are beyond the reach of human thanks, of praise or blame: but I cannot help feeling that even in their life-time they understood that Science is concerned only with results, not with personalities, or (in Hindu phrase) that the Goddess of Learning, Sarasvatī or Vāc, cares not to ask even so much as the names of her votaries; and that the unending progress of Science is indeed like the endless flow of a river.

Teacher and teacher's teacher long had wrought
Upon these tomes of ancient Hindu lore,
Till Death did give to one whom both had taught
The task to finish, when they were no more.

'T is finished,—yet unfinished, like the flow
Of water-streams between their banks that glide;
For Learning's streams, that down the ages go,
Flow on for ever with a swelling tide.

Here plodding labor brings its affluent brook;
There genius, like a river, pours amain:
While Learning—ageless, deathless—scarce will look
To note which ones have toiled her love to gain.

Alike to her are river, brook, and rill,
That in her stately waters so combine,
If only all who choose may drink their fill,
And slake the thirst to know, the thirst divine.

The Gītā's lesson had our Whitney learned—
To do for duty, not for duty's meed.
And, paid or unpaid be the thanks he earned,
The thanks he recked not, recked alone the deed.

Here stands his book, a mighty instrument,
Which those to come may use for large emprise.
Use it, O scholar, ere thy day be spent.
The learner dieth. Learning never dies.

प्राचार्यहस्तेन हितेन वर्धितम् ।
शिष्याय गुर्वोरुभयोः समाप्तये
प्राचीनविद्यात्मकपुस्तकं जहे ॥

विभाति मे संप्रवहज्जलौघवत् ।
शानोदधिं धीसरितो ह्यनन्तकाः
प्रवर्धयन्तीव सनातनै रयैः ॥

ज्यानार्णवे ऽगाधनदीमिहापरः ।
कीर्तीप्सुना यत्नशतैरुपासिता
भक्तस्य नामापि तु वाड्न पृच्छति ॥

विद्याम्बुधौ यो निनयेत्महानदीं
यो वा कुकुखां समदृष्टिरेतयोः ।
जिशासया ये तृषिताः पबन्त्विति
प्रादाद्दरं नो मुदिता सरस्वती ॥

श्रीह्वित्निना कर्मफलेष्वसड्निना
गीतोपेषाञ्चरितं प्रसाधितम् ।
लोकप्रशंसा किल तेन नादृता
लोकोपकार्यैक्षत सत्यमेव सः ॥

ग्रन्यं तदीयं स्वविलम्ब्य योजये
ह्रेदार्थतत्त्वग्रहणस्य साधनम् ।
विद्यार्थनं संहरति क्षणे यमो
विद्या तु नैव म्रियते कदा चन ॥


Cranberry Isles, Maine,
Summer, 1904.

  1. See the extract from Weber's letter, below, p. xliv. The text was the Tāittirīya Āraṇyaka.
  2. See the extract from Roth's letter, below, p. xliv.
  3. See below, p. cxvii.
  4. In a letter to the editor, dated March 28, 1881, speaking of Roth's preoccupation with Avestan studies, Whitney says: "I fear I shall yet be obliged to do AV. ii. alone, and think of setting quietly about it next year." Again, June 17, 1881, he writes: "I have begun work on vol. ii. of the AV., and am resolved to put it straight through."
  5. For conscience sake I register my protest against the practice of issuing works in gratuitously confusing subdivisions, as Bände and Hätften and Abteilungen and Lieferungen.—In this connection, I add that the page-numbers of the main body of this work, which are of use chiefly to the pressman and the binder and are of minimal consequence for purposes of citation, have been relegated to the inner corner of the page, so that the book and hymn, which are of prime importance for purposes of finding and citation, may be conspicuously and conveniently shown in the outer corners. I hope that such regard for the convenience of the users of technical books may become more and more common with the makers of such books.
  6. The published Index gives only the words and references. It is made from a much fuller manuscript Index, written by Whitney on 1721 quarto pages, which quotes the context in which the words appear, and which for the present is in my hands.
  7. It may here be noted that, for the short hymns (books i.-vii.), the ritual uses are given in the prefixed introductions; but that, for the subsequent long hymns, they are usually and more conveniently given under the verses concerned.
  8. Thus in the first line of his note on xix. 50. 3, the author wrote tareyus instead of tarema, taking tareyus from the word immediately below tarema in the text. This sense-disturbing error was overlooked by the author and by Dr. Ryder, and once by me also, although discovered at last in time for correction.—At xix. 27. 7, I had added suryam as the Kashmirian reading for the Vulgate sūryam, simply because Roth's Collation gave suryam; but on looking it up in the facsimile, last line of folio 136 a, I found, after the plates were made, that the birch-bark leaf really has sūryam and that the slip was Roth's.—In regard to xix. 24. 6 b, the Fates seemed to have decreed that error should prevail. Here the manuscripts read vāpinā́m. This is reported in the foot-note of the Berlin edition as văpīnā́m(ist error). The editors intended to emend the ms. reading to vaçā́nām, which, however, is misprinted in the text as vaçānā́m (2d error). [The conjecture vaçā́nām, even if rightly printed, is admitted to be an unsuccessful one.] In the third line of his comment, Whitney wrote, "The váçānām of our text" etc. (3d error). This I corrected to vaçā́nām, and added, in a note near the end of the paragraph, that the conjecture was "Misprinted vaçānā́m." My note about the misprint was rightly printed in the second proof; but in the foundry proof, by some mishap, it stood "Misprinted vaçānam." (4th error). The fourth error I hope to amend successfully in the plate.
  9. Roth writes to Whitney, July 2, 1893: Ich begreife nicht, wie ein junger Mann, statt nach wertlosen Dingen zu greifen, nicht lieber sich an die Uebersetzung und Erklärung eines Stückes aus Tāittirīya Brāhmaṇa oder Māitrāyaṇī Saṁhitā wagt; nicht um die minutiae des Rituals zu erforschen, sondern um den Stoff, der zwischen diesen Dingen steckt, zugänglich zu machen und zu erläutem. Auch in den Medizinbüchern gäbe es viele Abschnitte, die verstanden und bekannt zu werden verdienten.
  10. These, I trust, will not be wholly unpleasing to my pundit-friends in India, who, as they will find the thought in part un-Indian, will not, I hope, forget that it was primarily and designedly conceived in Occidental form. Their great master, Daṇḍin, has a kind word for men in my case at the close of the first chapter of his Poetics.