Asian studies in Lithuania
Authors: Mironas, Ričardas
Published in: Kaunas
Published on: 1939
Publisher: Studija

In the book, “Twelve Hymns of the Rig Veda”, we explored the world of India, Sanskritology and Vedic tradition. This book is an original, serious work, still written in an ancient artistic form, and still of great interest for contemporary readers. The author of the book, R. Mironas, inspired many Lithuanians with this book, which was a first attempt to translate the ancient Vedic texts into the Lithuanian language. One of the first Lithuanians to study this text and make an excursion into Sanskrit mythology… His project was to open the eyes of Lithuanians to the world of India, its religion, culture, and philosophy, in short to show them another world.

When one reads this book attention ought to be paid to the structure. The author starts by introducing the texts by explaining the different terms used, such as Indo-Iranian (also known as Aryan) and Rig Veda, and the evolution of the Vedic texts, before presenting his translation (from an earlier German translation) of the texts themselves.

Interpretation of the Rig Veda is complicated, as this can change upon each new reading, by different individuals and by different generations. As a result, this forced Mironas to render an extremely precise translation of the text, because changing just one word could alter the meaning drastically.

Originally consisting of thousands of hymns, in this set of hymns/Vedic texts, Mironas only wished to use the most famous texts, translated by experienced professionals, and so chose 12 of them to translate into Lithuanian. By writing this book he showed the Lithuanian people that it is very important to know about Rig Vedic texts, by showing how it is related to our ancestors and how they lived. Today we still have similarities in language, spirituality/prayer. Before Christianity, Lithuanian religion was very similar to that written about in the ancient Vedic texts. The author makes a great effort to show similarities between ancient Indian religion.

With this book the author makes a great contribution to the spirituality of Lithuanian people. The author\’s aim is to make readers feel themselves to really be part of the life and times which were the context the Rig Veda was written in.

About the author himself: Mironas was a linguist, educator, translator, as well as a boxer as a young man. In 1939 he released the book “Twelve Hymns of the Rig Veda”. He devoted his life to the enlightenment of Lithuanian people by spreading the science of Sanskritology to Lithuania. The author demonstrates that the Rig Veda is a good source from which to study Aryan religion, mythology, cosmogony and philosophy, and aspects of the social life of Aryan people.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU