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book of this Sanhita (the whole Sanhita contains 8 books), and on a part of the second book. These are precisely those parts with which we ought to commence, if we would publish the Vedas in the same order, in which they are received by the Hindus, and although it would be a hazardous undertaking to publish the text of the Vedas from one MS. alone, however correct it may be, four MSS. are quite sufficient to prepare a correct text. Rosen had only two MSS., and the commentary, and the text he has given, are unexceptionable as regards correctness. There are no different versions of the Vedas, as there are for instance of the Rámáyana, they have been handed down to posterity with the utmost fidelity, since an alteration of them would appear to be a sacrilege, moreover the number of verses is known, nay even that of the single words. On these grounds it is evident, that an error, occurring in the text, can be only an error of the copyist, which can easily be rectified by the means of four MSS. I now enumerate these MSS.
1. MS. No. 8-36, A. from the Library of Bishop's College. This is in Debnagri characters, in small leaves, each of them numbered, and the number of Slokas, as also their division in lectures and books, most carefully marked. It is probably a pretty old copy, as the characters differ from those at present in use, and require some attention to read them. It is altogether a beautiful MS., and as I have reason to believe from a comparison of some parts with Rosen's Rig Veda, a very correct transcript.
2. MS. No. 433, from the Library of the Asiatic Society, containing the Sanhita of the Rig Veda complete. It is also in Debnagri character, and legible, although not to be compared in this respect with the MS. from Bishop's College.
3. MS. Nos. 1418--1425, from the Sanscrit College, in Debnagri character. This is also a complete transcript of the Sanhita of the Rig Veda, and in most perfect preservation. It is as good a copy as that from Bishop's College, and in modern character.
4. MS. No. 1417, from the Sancrit College, containing all the Padas or single words of the Rig Veda, it is in modern Debnagri character, and copied with great attention. The Padas or words are separated from each other by perpendicular lines, which is of material assistance in the interpretation of the text. In Sanscrit many words are often
combined into one, so that if an error should occur in the combination, it is often difficult to find out the incorrect words, while in a succession of Padas the error is directly limited to a single word. At the same time there is a prejudice in favour of the correctness of the text, as great attention is directed to the correctness of each single word by the contrivance of the lines of demarcation.
Beside these MSS. of the whole Sanhita, there is in one more for the first book accompanying the commentary of Madhav Acharya.
We have no complete commentary on this Sanhita in Calcutta. Our library possesses the commentary of Madhaváchárya on the first book of the Sanhita, (No. 17,) and the Library of the Sanscrit College the same on a part of the second book (No 1431).
After these remarks then I propose, that the whole Sanhita of the Rig Veda should be prepared for the press, and printed as far as the commentary goes. During this time we shall have opportunity to procure the remaining portion of the commentary from Benares. With regard to the commentary itself I have further to suggest, that it should be abbreviated in such places, where no explanation is necessary, and that especially such parts of the commentary which explain passages, already before commented upon, should be entirely omitted, as a reference to the place, where they are already explained, will be quite sufficient.
With the aid of the commentary the text of the Vedas can be easily understood, and thus will this most ancient record of the religious traditions of the Hindus for the first time be opened to them, but to afford access to the work to the European public also, I beg to suggest, that the text of the Sanhitas at least, should be accompanied by an English translation. There follows no necessity to translate also the commentary, as the English text may be understood by itself. With regard to the Brahmanas I would not advise a translation, because the cost of the work would be considerably increased, and extracts, judiciously selected, will suffice.
For the collation of the MSS., the copying of the text and preparing of the work for the press, I propose, that the Society should employ, beside their own Pundit, two or three more, under the superintendence of the person whom the Society may entrust with the publication of the work. At the same time the Society should employ,
according to the suggestion of Baboo Debendernath Tagore, a Pundit who has made the study of the Vedas, and especially of the Rig Veda, the business of his life; such a person must, however, not be allowed to exercise any authority, but only to be an assistant, as the word of Pundits in the difficulties of translation or interpretation cannot be relied upon. If the Tattwabodhini Society can lend us the assistance of one of the young men, studying now on the part of that Society the Vedas at Benares, as is kindly intimated in Baboo Nrependernath's letter, we ought of course gratefully to accept this offer ; but if there is a prospect of much delay in the arrival of the person, we ought to write to Benares at once for a qualified Pundit.
Should the Oriental Section approve of the propositions laid before them, the undertaking might be at once commenced with the collation of the MSS., and preparing the text and commentary (as far as we possess the latter) for the press. Meanwhile we should look about for the remainder of the commentary on Sanhita of the Rig Veda.
I have not adverted here to the other portions of the Vedas extant in Calcutta, because, according to the examination I have as yet made, none are sufficiently complete to authorize the printing of them, and because I have been anxious to lay before the Society a statement of those portions of which the publication might immediately be commenced. I shall, however, as soon as my time will permit, report on the other parts of the Vedas and on the measures we have to take to complete our collections.
I have the honor to be,
To E. Roer, Esq.
Co-Secretary, Asiatic Society, Oriental Department. SIR,--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th ultimo, and in reply thereto to inform you that the Society has no complete collections of the Vedas in their library, the only portions of them which are at present in their possession being those which usually go by the name of Dasopanishad, or the ten Upanishads, and
another called the Swetwassataro with commentaries by Sankara Achárya. The Society however had deputed four young brahmans of our country to study all the Vedas in that head-quarters of Vedaic study and common resort of Vedaic students in India, Benares. They have already proceeded far in their tasks, and I believe whenever they return with complete copies of the Vedas, the Society will be glad to lend, through their medium assistance to the Asiatic Society in their very important and valuable undertaking.
I have the honor to be,
Secretary Calcutta, Tuttobodhinee Subha,
8th March, 1847.
To E. Roer, Esq.
Co-Secretary, Asiatic Society, Oriental Department. SIR,-) have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated the 24th ultimo, and in reply thereto beg leave to inform you that I have no collection of the Vedas or fragments of them in my possession. I believe that complete copies of them are not at all procurable in Calcutta, the only portions of them obtainable and studied in Bengal being the ten Wupunishadas. I am however of opinion that though complete collections of the Vedas be obtained, yet on account of errors which invariably creep into manuscripts and the difficulty here experienced of getting men who can understand the Vedas, the language in which they and even many of their commentaries are couched being obscure, antiquated and obsolete, the assistance, in the intended publication, of Vedaic Pundits who have studied them regularly as scholars, ought to be procured from Benares ; a step which I think is essential to the satisfactory execution of that important undertaking of the Asiatic Society.
I have the honor to be,
Your most Obedt. Servt. 6th March, 18.17.
To Dr. E. Roer,
Secretary, Oriental Department. Sir-I am exceedingly happy to learn from your kind letter of the 24th instant, that the Asiatic Society has resolved to publish the Vedas, together with a Commentary, as soon as practicable, and shall not fail to render my assistance in this important undertaking, as far as it lies in my power. Allow me however, to remark that the printing of the Vedas is not an easy task, for a correct and complete Manuscript of the sacred works are scarcely procurable here, and the Pundits of Bengal being not conversant with the Vedas, are hardly competent to correct the proof sheets of the same. I therefore, propose that the Society would be pleased to apply to Government, to write to their Agents at Benares and the Decan, (Tailanga, Dravițha, &c.) for transmission of accurate copies of the four Vedas with their commentaries, and also four brálımans well versed in the four Vedas ; and then I doubt not, the resolution of the Society will be crowned with success.
On reference to the printed list of Sanscrit Books, which was some time ago published by the Asiatic Society, I find that all the Vedas and their commentaries are in the library of the Government Sanscrit College, and can easily be had by writing to the Secretary of the College.
A writer in the Calcutta Review (No. V. p. 108) states that a complete copy of the Vedas was carried to England by Colonel Polier, and deposited in the British Museum ; I think it would be highly desirable to get the loan of this original Manuscript, or in default thereof, a transcript of it, for a collation of the different manuscripts that might be procured, either in India or Europe, would be of infinite service in giving a correct and perfect edition of this most ancient work to be found in any language in the world, and that the Asiatic Society of Bengal, or the supreme Government of India ought not to grudge any expense in effecting this most laudable object.
I am much obliged by your bringing to my notice, that Mr. Koenig has requested the intercession of the Asiatic Society, to procure for him one or two copies of my Sanserit Dictionary, and that he has with great liberality, placed at my disposal, a copy of all the Sanscrit works published by him, as well as by your extracting a passage from a letter of the most erudite and profound Sanscrit scholar, Professor Lassen, to