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Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1895], at


Skambha, the Pillar or Fulcrum of all existence

1Which of his members is the seat of Fervour: Which is the base
   of Ceremonial Order? p. 21
  Where in him standeth Faith? Where Holy Duty? Where, in
   what part of him is truth implanted?
2Out of which member glows the light of Agni? Form which
   proceeds the breath of Mātarisvan?
  From which doth Chandra measure out his journey, travelling
   over Skambha's mighty body?
3Which of his members is the earth's upholder? Which gives the
   middle air a base to rest on?
  Where, in which member is the sky established? Where hath
   the space above the sky its dwelling?
4Whitherward yearning blazeth Agni upward? Whitherward
   yearning bloweth Mātarisvan?
  Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom with long-
   ing go the turning pathways?
5Whitheward go the half-months, and, accordant with the full
   year, the months in their procession?
  Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons
   and the groups of seasons?
6Whitherward yearning speed the two young Damsels, accordant,
  Day and Night, of different colour?
  Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom the Waters
   take their way with longing?
7Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha,
  On whom Prajāpati set up and firmly stablished all the worlds?
8That universe which Prajāpati created, wearing all forms,, the
   highest, midmost, lowest,
  How far did Skambha penetrate within it? What portion did
   he leave unpenetrated?
9How far within the past hath Skambha entered? How much of
   him hath reached into the future?
  That one part which he set in thousand places,—how far did
  Skambha penetrate within it?
10Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha in whom men
   recognize the Waters, Brahma,
  In whom they know the worlds and their enclosures, in whom
   are non-existence and existence?
11Declare that. Skambha, who is he of many,
  In whom, exerting every power, Fervour maintains her loftiest
   vow; p. 22
  In whom are comprehended Law, Waters, Devotion and Belief
12Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
  On whom as their foundation earth and firmament and sky are
  In whom as their appointed place rest Fire and Moon and Sun
   and Wind?
13Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
  He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities?
14Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha.
  In whom the Sages earliest born, the Richas, Sāman, Yajus,
  Earth, and the one highest Sage abide?
15Who out of many, tell me, is the Skambha.
  Who comprehendeth, for mankind, both immortality and death,
  He who containeth for mankind the gathered waters as his
16Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha,
  He whose chief arteries stand there, the sky's four regions, he irk
   whom Sacrifice putteth forth its might?
17They who in Purusha understand Brahma know Him who is.
  He who knows Him who is Supreme, and he who knows the
  Lord of Life,
  These know the loftiest Power Divine, and thence know Skam-
   bha thoroughly.
18Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
  Of whom Vaisvānara became the head, the Angirases his eye,
   and Yātus his corporeal parts?
19Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
  Whose mouth they say is Holy Lore, his tongue the Honey-
   sweetened Whip, his udder is Virāj, they say?
20Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
  From whom they hewed the lichas off, from whom they
   chipped the Yajus, he
  Whose hairs are Sāma-verses and his mouth the Atharvāngi-
21Men count as 'twere a thing supreme nonentity's conspicuous
  And lower man who serve thy branch regard it as an entity.
22Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha p. 23
  In whom Ādityas dwell, in whom Rudras and Vasus are
  In whom the future and the past and all the worlds are firmly
23Whose secret treasure evermore the three-and thirty Gods
  Who knoweth now the treasure which, O Deities ye watch and
24Where the Gods, versed in Sacred Lore, worship the loftiest
  Power Divine
  The priest who knows them face to face may be a sage who
   knows the truth.
25Great, verily, are those Gods who sprang from non-existence
   into life.
  Further, men say that that one part of Skambha is nonentity.
26Where Skambha generating gave the Ancient World its shape
   and form,
  They recognized that single part of Skambha as the Ancient
27The three-and-thirty Gods within his body were disposed as
  Some, deeply versed in Holy Lore, some know those three-and-
   thirty Gods.
28Men know Hiranyagarbha as supreme and inexpressible:
  In the beginning, in the midst of the world, Skambha poured
   that gold.
29On Skambha Fervour rests, the worlds and Holy Law repose on
  Skambha, I clearly know that all of thee on Indra is imposed.
30On Indra Fervour rests, on him the worlds and Holy Law
  Indra, I clearly know that all of thee on Skambha findeth rest.
31Ere sun and dawn man calls and calls one Deity by the other's
  When the Unborn first sprang into existence he reached that
   independent sovran lordship; than which aught higher never
   hath arisen.
32Be reverence paid to him, that highest Brahma, whose base is
  Earth, his belly Air, who made the sky to be his head. p. 24
33Homage to highest Brahma, him whose eye is Sūrya and the
  Moon who groweth young and new again, him who made
  Agni for his mouth.
34Homage to highest Brahma, him whose two life-breathings were
   the Wind,
  The Angirases his sight: who made the regions be his means of
35Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha
   maintained the ample air between them.
  Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world
  Skambha entered and pervaded.
36Homage to highest Brahma, him who, sprung from Fervour and
   from toil,
  Filled all the worlds completely, who made Soma for himself
37Why doth the Wind move ceaselessly? Why doth the spirit take
   no rest?
  Why do the Waters, seeking truth, never at any time repose?
38Absorbed in Fervour, is the mighty Being, in the world's centre,
   on the waters' surface.
  To him the Deities, one and all betake them. So stand the tree-
   trunk with the branches round it.
39Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha.
  To whom the Deities with hands, with feet, and voice, and ear,
   and eye.
  Present unmeasured tribute in the measured hall of sacrifice?
40Darkness is chased away from him: he is exempt from all dist-
  In him are all the lights, the three abiding in Prajāpati.
41He verily who knows the Reed of Gold that stands amid the
   flood, is the mysterious Lord of Life.
42Singly the two young Maids of different colours approach the
   six-pegged warp in turns and weave it.
  The one draws out the threads, the other lays them: they break
   them not, they reach no end of labour.
43Of these two, dancing round as 'twere, I cannot distinguish
   whether ranks before the other.
  A Male in weaves this web, a Male divides it: a Male hath
   stretched it to the cope of heaven p. 25
44These pegs have buttressed up the sky. The Sāmans have turned
   them into shuttles for the weaving.

p. 26

Next: Hymn 8: Speculations on the Supreme Being and Cosmogonical and theological subjects