Rig Veda in UNESCO's 'Memory of the World' Register

Hindu Brahmin boy reading from the Vedas
Hindu Brahmin boy reading from the Vedas. Photo (c) Getty Images

The Rig Veda manuscripts have been selected for inscription in UNESCO's "Memory of the World" Register 2007.

'Memory of the World' Program

The program for the 'Memory of the World' was started by the UNESCO to honor significant landmarks in the documentary heritage and record them in its 'Memory of the World Register' as world's inheritance. The program seeks to guard against collective amnesia, calling upon the preservation of the valuable archival holdings and library collections all over the world, ensuring their wide dissemination.

About the Rig Veda

The Vedas are believed to be the first literary documents in the history of humankind. They transcend far beyond their identity as scriptures. The Rig Veda, the oldest among the four Vedas, is the fountain source of the so-called Aryan culture in all its manifestations that spread beyond the Indian subcontinent to large parts of South and South East Asia, as well as parts of Central Asia. This valuable treasure of the ancient world has been preserved in the form of manuscripts in India, and handed down over centuries from generation to generation. Read more...

The Rig Veda Manuscripts of Pune

These Rig Veda manuscripts are of high value as unique examples of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the world. Out of the total number of 28,000 manuscripts housed at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune in Western India, the 30 manuscripts of the Rig Veda form a valuable part of the collection.

These manuscripts evince several unique features in terms of scripts, accentuation marks and support material used, among others.

Indologist Prof. F. Max Müller, used one of the Rig Veda manuscripts currently at the Institute to prepare his famous critical edition of the Rig Veda, complete with a translation of one of the earliest known commentaries - that of Sayana.

The material in this collection of Rigveda manuscripts was also used to prepare the well known Critical Edition of the Rig Veda by the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, a premier institute in Pune for Vedic Studies.

The National Mission for Manuscripts of the Ministry of Culture in India submitted the nomination on behalf of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. The documentary heritage reflects the diversity of languages, people and cultures in ancient India.