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A great innovation in Indology is arising from the ongoing text-encoding efforts of scholars and enthusiasts worldwide. An outstanding critical edition of the RV, with electronic versions for DOS (convertible, see tech pages) and usable (with some minor fussing) on Mac has been made by Barend Van Nooten and Gary Holland as Harvard Oriental Series #50. It is available free in IBM version or fully converted MacIntosh. You can see an example of my Mac conversion, "photographed" on my powerbook (see "saga of this site") with PICTify (available here).

Rig Veda

A Phonetic Transliteration

This text was deposited some time ago in the RLIN by Robert Khan. There is no date for its completion. Rutgers thereafter forwarded the text to the Oxford Text Archive (OTA), where it was "found." They could be reached at

The edition used was that of Aufrecht, 1877. Apparently, according to the RLIN, the edition was compiled by H. S. Ananthanarayana and W. P. Lehman. It is a "research-only" text. Reputedly, it was verified against Grassmann, 1876-77. The text is part of resources of the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (CETH), c/o Susan Hockey, Director.

Ananthanarayana and Lehman's achievement is, as with any encoding of a text--especially a non-roman script language, quite momentous. Nonetheless, whether from their edition, their text-entry/storage protocol, or other factors, the text was significantly corrupt. Major sections were missing, others completely chaotic in their order, and the whole scheme of representing Devanagari in ASCII characters had to be deciphered.

Credit should go next to Kim Poulsen, who found the text, Nandu Abhyankar for initiating its conversion, and Avinash Chopde for performing the conversion to ITRANS. ITRANS is the wetnurse of proper multi-lingual computing in non- roman scripts. Saving the scholar or enthusiast the trouble of learning a new keyboard map and keystrokes designed for torture, ITRANS uses regular ASCII alphabet characters to represent, phonetically, the various phonetics of the Sanskrit (and many others) alphabet (s). Nonetheless, some of these characters are less intuitive than others- R^I for the "r" svara, so I've made this "R," and several other conventions which, while familiar on the net, are not effective for the ITRANS coding. ITRANS proper allows machine conversion from simple ASCII to full Devanagari per Velthuis' fonts.

The beauty of ITRANS--aside from its function making text entry simple while allowing for conversion to Postscript Devanagari files--is that it is intuitively phonetic for the most part (for this reason I only include here an ftp site for learning the key (valuable if you wish to encode a text and very easy to learn). Avinash Sothaye is especially to be thanked for assisting me in cross-checking and polishing the current edited version. He has also kindly added many or most of the RV khila's to the text of his own accord. In my reconstruction work, I owe much credit to Max Mueller, Aufrecht, and Barend Van Nooten's Metrically Restored RV (Harvard University Press, #50).

The current text is intended for any platform to enable word searches and other research functions. IT IS NOT-by any stretch- a research resource, more a research tool. It is a card-catalogue, if you will, of Rig Vedic vocabulary in context.

NOTE ON VERSE NUMBERING: You may find it a bit obscure, so here's a key which I quote in full from Avinash Sathaye who finished deciphering it: "The first digit is mandala, the next three are the suukta numbers, the second and the third from the last count the R^ichaa's and the last digit gives the paada number. This leaves the middle two digits. The other system is ashTaka, adhyaaya and varga. Each R^ichaa is subdivided into vargaas and the middle two digits note the varga number. The varga numbers get reset at the end of an adhyaaya."

E.G.: {601350201} is RV 6.1.2a

I would add that the current numbering only supports either "a" or "c" paada distinctions. Hymns longer than 2-3 lines were conflated. This became necessary due to the state of the text (about which, in general, the OTA makes no promises) and was enormously improved, nonetheless, in the various UNIX conversions from the original code (for which a second word of thanks to Abhyankar, Chopde, and Sathaye would not be unwarranted).

Interested parties are welcome to contact me at the following e-mail: "" for proofing/editing an accented version. Ananthanarayana and Lehman included accent codes. Nandu, et al., have been developing the new fonts by Charles Wikner to accommodate accent via ITRANS conversions to Devanagari- currently svarita, anudaatta, and anunaasika are worked out. Additional symbols for the SV will have to be developed when those texts are prepared in e-form. Khan's text needs to be converted in some uniform way to preserve his accent marks then proofed for rendering in Devanagari.

At this stage, there is a reasonable likelihood that a transliterated edition, preserving accent via for udaatta could be ready in the next two months. Accenting a Devanagari edition would require the work of several, most of whom are working on such advanced editions already. We offer this text as an interim tool until the RV is widely available, affordable, and easily accessible for both MAC and IBM. This edition is a step toward filling small portions of the gap until this other work is completed. Therefore, more aggressive text criticism of the edition is best reserved for the accented transliterated version, as it will be based on files more original than the present edition. This edition aims to preserve basic order and vocabulary for searching and quick-e-reference uses.

A proper electronic or hard-copy edition is assumed as a companion. I strongly recommend Van Nooten's which, with fine hard copy, is only US$60.00, and includes both Aufrecht and the metric restoration on an archived disk. There is also a freecopy available, see links in the first paragraphc above. If decoding these files is a problem (the Mac process can be quite tedious as it is a DOS disk), please feel free to contact me as I have conversion code files available. In addition, several other e-RV's are in the works by various scholars, some as part of very large Vedic e-text collections which will greatly enhance Vedic research.

Though it is unlikely that anyone could or would publish this ITRANS version, in deference to the OTA, be certain that this is for research purposes ONLY, no other publication, for profit or otherwise, is allowable.

Enjoy the text, and comments are most welcome and will be incorporated in the later versions.

There are important standards for this process which insures accessibility and usability of your final product. Contact the link on "text-encoding" for more info on what been/is being encoded. For more of what the texts can do when encoded, click here to continue with exploration of the dissertation research.

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