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Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, [1891], at

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1. Thou art called forth to this fair sacrifice for a draught of milk 1; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

2. No god indeed, no mortal, is beyond the might 1 of thee, the mighty one; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

3. They who know of the great sky 1, the Visve Devas 2 without guile 3; with those Maruts come hither, O Agni!

4. The strong ones who sing their song 1, unconquerable by force; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

5. They who are brilliant, of terrible designs, powerful, and devourers of foes; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

6. They who in heaven are enthroned as gods, in the light of the firmament 1; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

7. They who toss the clouds 1 across the surging sea 2; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

8. They who shoot with their darts (lightnings) across the sea with might; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

9. I pour out to thee for the early draught1 the sweet (juice) of Soma; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni!

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This hymn is ascribed to Medhâtithi, of the family of Kanva. Verse I = SV I, 16.

Verse 1.

Wilson: Earnestly art thou invoked to this perfect rite, to drink the Soma juice; come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Zu diesem schonen Opfer wirst du gerufen, zum Trank der Milch!—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Her zu diesem schönen opfer, gerufen wirst zum milchtrank du, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. Gopîthá is explained by Yâska and Sâyana as drinking of Soma. I have kept to the literal signification of the word, a draught of milk. In the last verse of our hymn the libation offered to Agni and the Maruts is said to consist of Soma, but Soma was commonly mixed with milk. The other meaning assigned to gopîthá, protection, would give the sense: 'Thou art called for the sake of protection.' But pîtha has clearly the sense of drinking in soma-pîthá, RV. I, 51, 7, and may therefore be taken in the same sense in gopîthá.

Verse 2.

Wilson: No god nor man has power over a rite (dedicated) to thee, who art mighty: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Denn nicht ein Gott, kein Sterblicher ragt über dein, des Grossen, Macht—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Es überragt kein gott, kein sterblicher die einsicht dein des grossen, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. The Sanskrit krátu expresses power both of body and mind. Parah governs the accusative.

Verse 3.

Wilson: Who all are divine, and devoid of malignity.

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and who know (how to cause the descent) of great waters: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Die guten Götter, welche all bestehen in dem weiten Raum—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die wissen um den grossen raum, alle götter truges bar, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. The sky or welkin (rágas) is the proper abode of the Maruts, and 'they who know of' means simply 'they who dwell' in the great sky. The Vedic poets distinguish commonly between the three worlds, the earth, prithivî´, f., or pâ´rthiva, n.; the sky, rágas; and the heaven, dyú: see I, 6, 9, note 1. The phrase maháhgasah occurs I, 6, 10; 168, 6, &c. Sâyana takes rágas for water or rain: see on this my article in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, vol. xii, p. 28. In some passages rágas means 'darkness,' and might be identified with the Greek Ἔρεβος; Ath. Veda VIII, 2, 1. pâráyâmi tvâ rágasa út tvâ mrityór apîparam, 'I bring thee out of darkness, out of death I brought thee.' The identification of rágas with ἔρεβος (Leo Meyer, in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, vol. vi, p. 19) must however remain doubtful, until stronger evidence has been brought forward in support of a Greek β representing a Sanskrit g, even in the middle of a word. See my article in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, vol. xv, p. 215; Curtius. Grundzüge (fifth edition), p. 480.

Note 2. The appellation Vísve devâ´h, all gods together, or, more properly, host-gods, is often applied to the Maruts; cf. I, 23, 8; 10. Benfey connects this line with the preceding verse, considering Vísve devâ´h, it seems, inappropriate as an epithet of the Maruts.

Note 3. On adrúh, without guile or deceit, without hatred, see Kuhn's excellent article, Zeitschrift für die Vergleichende Sprachforschung, vol. i, pp. 179, 193. Adrúh is applied to the Maruts again in VIII, 46, 4, though in connection with other gods. It is applied to the Visve Devas, RV. I, 3, 9; IX, 102, 5: the Âdityas, RV. VIII, 19, 34; 67, 13: the Rudras, RV. IX, 73, 7: to Heaven and Earth, RV. II, 41, 21; III, 56, 1; IV, 56, 2; VII, 66, 18: to Mitra and Varuna, RV. V, 68, 4: to Agni, RV. VI, 15, 7; VIII, 44, 10. The form adhrúk occurs in the sixth Mandala only.

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Verse 4.

Wilson: Who are fierce, and send down rain, and are unsurpassed in strength: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Die schrecklich-unbesiegbaren, die mächtiglich Licht angefacht—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die singen, die gewaltigen, ihr lied unangegriffen durch (ihre) kraft, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. Sâyana explains arká by water. Hence Wilson: 'Who are fierce and send down rain.' But arká has only received this meaning of water in the artificial system of interpretation first started by the authors of the Brâhmanas, who had lost all knowledge of the natural sense of the ancient hymns. The passages in which arká is explained as water in the Brâhmanas are quoted by Sâyana, but they require no refutation. On the singing of the Maruts, see note to I, 38, 15; also Bergaigne, Journ. As. 1884, p. 194. The perfect in the Veda, like the perfect in Homer, has frequently to be rendered in English by the present.

Verse 5.

Wilson: Who are brilliant, of terrific forms, who are possessors of great wealth, and are devourers of the malevolent: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Die glänzend-grau’ngestaltigen, hochherrschend feindvernichtenden—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die glanzvollen, von schrecklicher gestalt, von grosser herschaft, feindverzerer, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Verse 6.

Wilson: Who are divinities abiding in the radiant heaven above the sun: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Die Götter die im Himmel sind ob dem Lichtkreis des Göttersitz’s—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die ob der himmeiswölbung glanz, am himel die götter sitzen, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. Nâ´ka must be translated by firmament, as there

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is no other word in English besides heaven, and that is wanted to render dyú. Like the Jewish firmament, the Indian nâ´ka, too, is adorned with stars; cf. I, 68, 10. pipésa nâ´kam stbhih. Dyú, heaven, is supposed to be above the rágas, sky or welkin. Kuhn's Zeitschrift, vol. xii, p. z8.

Sâyana: 'In the radiant heaven above the sun.' See note 1 to I, 6, 9; p. 49.

Verse 7.

Wilson: Who scatter the clouds, and agitate the sea (with waves): come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Welche über das wogende Meer hinjagen die Wolkenschaar—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die die berge wiegend hindurch durchs wogenmeer bewegen, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. That párvata (mountain) is used in the sense of cloud, without any further explanation, is clear from many passages:

I, 57, 6. tvám tám indra párvatam mahâ´m urúm vágrena vagrin parva-sáh kakartitha.

Thou, Indra, hast cut this great broad cloud to pieces with thy lightning. Cf. I, 85, 10.

We actually find two similes mixed up together, such as V, 32, 2. û´dhah párvatasya, the udder of the cloud. All we can do is to translate párvata by mountain, but always to remember that mountain means cloud. In the Edda, too, the rocks, said to have been fashioned out of Ymir's bones, are supposed to be intended for clouds. In Old Norse klakkr means both cloud and rock; nay, the English word cloud itself has been identified with the Anglo-Saxon clûd, rock. See Justi, Orient and Occident, vol. ii, p. 62. See Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, 13, 398, 424; also Kuhn, Weisse Frau, p. 12.

Note 2. Whether the surging sea is to be taken for the sea or for the air, depends on the view which we take of the earliest cosmography of the Vedic Rishis. Sâyana explains: 'They who make the clouds to go, and stir the

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watery sea.' Wilson remarks that the influence of the winds upon the sea, alluded to in this and the following verse, indicates more familiarity with the ocean than we should have expected from the traditional inland position of the early Hindus, and it has therefore been supposed by others that, even in passages like our own, samudrá was meant for the sky, the waters above the firmament. But although there are passages in the Rig-veda where samudrá must be taken to mean the welkin (RV. I, 95, 3. samudrá ékam diví ékam ap-sú), this word shows in by far the larger number of passages the clear meaning of ocean. There is one famous passage, VII, 95, 2, which proves that the Vedic poets, who were supposed to have known the upper courses only of the rivers of the Penjâb, had followed the greatest and most sacred of their rivers, the Sarasvatî, as far as the Indian ocean. It is well known that, as early as the composition of the laws of the Mânavas, and possibly as early as the composition of the Sûtras on which these metrical laws are based, the river Sarasvatî had changed its course, and that the place where that river disappeared under ground was called Vinasana a, the loss. This Vinasana forms, according to the laws of the Mânavas, the western frontier of Madhyadesa, the eastern frontier being formed by the confluence of the Gangâ and Yamunâ. Madhyadesa is a section of Âryâvarta, the abode of the Âryas in the widest sense. Âryâvarta shares with Madhyadesa the same frontiers in the north and the south, viz. the Himalaya and Vindhya mountains, but it extends beyond Madhyadesa to the west and east as far as the western and eastern seas. A section of Madhyadesa, again, is the country described as that of the Brahmarshis, which comprises only Kurukshetra, the countries of the Matsyas, Pañkâlas (Kânyakubga, according to Kullûka), and Sûrasenas (Mathurâ, according to Kullûka). The most sacred spot of all, however, is that section of the Brahmarshi country which lies between the rivers Drishadvatî and Sarasvatî, and which in the laws of

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the Mânavas is called Brahmâvarta. In the Sûtras which supplied the material to the authors of the metrical law-books, the Vinasana is mentioned for the first time in the Baudhâyana Sûtras, I, 2, 9, 'Âryâvarta lies to the east of the region where (the Sarasvatî) disappears, to the west of the Black-forest, to the north of the Pâripâtra (mountains), to the south of the Himalaya.' The name of the Sarasvatî is not mentioned, but no other river can be understood. What is curious, however, is, that in the Vasishtha Sûtras where the same frontiers of Âryâvarta are given (I, 8), the MSS. read originally prâg âdarsât, i. e. east of the Âdarsa mountains, which was afterwards changed into prâg adarsanât, and interpreted 'east of the invisibility, or of the disappearance of the Sarasvatî.' Vasishtha quotes another authority, a Gâthâ of the Bhâllavins, which says: 'In the west the boundary river,' i. e. sindhur vidhâranî. This sindhur vidhâranî is another name of the old Sarasvatî, and in Baudhâyana I, 2, 12, the same verse is quoted, though the reading of vidhâranî varies with vikaranî and visaranî. See Bühler, l. c. Madhyadesa is mentioned in one of the Parisishtas (MS. 510, Wilson) as a kind of model country, but it is there described as lying east of Dasârna, west of Kâmpilya b, north of Pâriyâtra c, and south of the Himavat, or again, in a more general way, as the Duâb of the Gangâ and Yamunâ d.

It is very curious that while in the later Sanskrit literature

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the disappearance of the Sarasvatî in the desert is a fact familiar to every writer, no mention of it should occur during the whole of the Vedic period, and it is still more curious that in one of the hymns of the Rig-veda we should have a distinct statement that the Sarasvatî fell into the sea:

VII, 95, 1-2. prá kshódasâ dhâ´yasâ sasre eshâ´ sárasvatî dharúnam â´yasî pû´h, pra-bâ´badhânâ rathyẫ-iva yâti vísh apáh mahinâ´ síndhuh anyâ´h. ékâ aketat sárasvatî nadî´nâm súkih yatî´ girí-bhyah â´ samudrâ´t, râyáh kétantî bhúvanasya bhû´reh ghritám páyah duduhe nâ´hushâya.

1. 'With her fertilising stream this Sarasvatî comes forth—(she is to us) a stronghold, an iron gate. Moving along as on a chariot, this river surpasses in greatness all other waters. 2. Alone among all rivers Sarasvatî listened, she who goes pure from the mountains as far as the sea. She who knows of the manifold wealth of the world, has poured out to man her fat milk.'

Here we see samudrá used clearly in the sense of sea, the Indian sea, and we have at the same time a new indication of the distance which separates the Vedic age from that of the later Sanskrit literature. Though it may not be possible to determine by geological evidence the time of the changes which. modified the southern area of the Penjâb and caused the Sarasvatî to disappear in the desert, still the fact remains that the loss of the Sarasvatî is later than the Vedic age, and that at that time the waters of the Sarasvatî reached the sea. Professor Wilson had observed long ago in reference to the rivers of that part of India, that there have been, no doubt, considerable changes here, both in the nomenclature and in the courses of the rivers, and this remark has been fully confirmed by later observations. I believe it can be proved that in the Vedic age the Sarasvatî was a river as large as the Sutlej, that it was the last of the rivers of the Penjâb, and therefore the iron gate, or the real frontier against the rest of India. At present the Sarasvatî is so small a river that the epithets applied to the Sarasvatî in the Veda have become quite inapplicable to it. The Vedic Rishis, though acquainted with numerous rivers, including

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the Indus and Ganges, call the Sarasvatî the mother of rivers (VII, 36, 6. sárasvatî saptáthî síndhu-mâtâ), the strongest of rivers (VI, 61, 13. apásâm apáh-tamâ), and in our passage, VII, 95, 2, we have, as far as I can judge, conclusive evidence that the old Sarasvatî reached in its course the Indian sea, either by itself, or united with the Indus a.

But this passage, though important as showing the application of samudrá, i. e. confluvies, to the Indian sea, and proving the acquaintance of the Vedic Rishis with the southern coast of India, is by no means the only one in which samudrá must be translated by sea. Thus we read, VII, 49, 2:

yâ´h â´pah divyâ´h utá vâ srávanti khanítrimâh utá vâ yâ´h svayam-gâ´h, samudrá-arthâh yâ´h súkayah pâvakâ´h tâ´h â´pah devî´h ihá mâ´m avantu.

The waters which are from heaven, or those which flow after being dug, or those which spring up by themselves, the bright, pure waters that tend to the sea, may those divine waters protect me here!

I, 71, 7. agním vísh abhí pkshah sakante samudrám ná sravátah saptá yahvî´h.

All kinds of food go to Agni, as the seven rivers go to the sea.

Cf. I, 190, 7. samudrám ná sravátah ródha-kakrâh.

V, 78, 8. yáthâ vâ´tah yáthâ vánam yáthâ samudráh égati.

As the wind moves, as the forest moves, as the sea moves (or the sky).

In hymn X, 58, the same expression occurs which we have in our hymn, and samudrám arnavám there as here admits but of one explanation, the surging sea.

Samudrá in many passages of the Rig-veda has to be taken as an adjective, in the sense of watery or flowing:

VI, 58, 3. yâ´s te pûshan nâ´vah antáh samudré hiranyáyîh antárikshe káranti.

Thy golden ships, O Pûshan, which move within the watery sky.

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VII, 70, 2. yáh vâm samudrâ´n sarítah píparti.

He who carries you across the watery rivers.

I, 161, 14. at-bhíh yâti várunah samudraíh.

Varuna moves in the flowing waters.

In both these passages samudrá, as an adjective, does not conform to the gender of the noun. See Bollensen, Orient und Occident, vol. ii, p. 467.

II, 16, 3. ná samudraíh párvataih indra te ráthah (ná pari-bhvẽ).

Thy chariot, O Indra, is not to be overcome by the watery clouds.

Verse 8.

Wilson: Who spread (through the firmament), along with the rays (of the sun), and, with their strength, agitate the ocean: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Die mit Blitzen schleuderen machtig über das Meer hinaus—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Die mit stralen ihre richtung nemen mit gewalt durchs mer, mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Verse 9.

Wilson: I pour out the sweet Soma juice for thy drinking, (as) of old: come, Agni, with the Maruts.

Benfey: Ich giesse zu dem ersten Trank für dich des Soma Honig aus—Mit diesen Marut’s, Agni! komm!

Ludwig: Ich giesze dir zum ersten trunk madhu mit dem soma zu; mit den Marut, Agni, kom.

Note 1. Pûrvapîti, the early draught, implies at the same time the priority of the god to whom it is given.


58:a Mentioned in Lâty. Srauta Sûtras, X, 15, 1; Pañkavimsa Brâhm. XXV, 10, 1; see Hist. A. S. L., p. 12.

59:a See Wilson's Vishnu-purâna, ed. Hall, pp. 154, 155, 159, 160.

59:b See Wilson's Vishnu-purâna, ed. Hall, p. 161.

59:c L. c., pp. 123, 127. Instead of Pâriyâtra, other MSS. read Pâripâtra; see Baler, Vasishtha I, 8.

59:d Prâg dasârnât pratyak kâmpilyâd udak pâriyâtrâd, dakshinena himavatah. Gangâyamunayor antaram eke madhyadesam ity âkakshate. Medhâtithi says that Madhyadesa, the middle country, was not called so because it was in the middle of the earth, but because it was neither too high nor too low. Albiruny, too, remarks that Madhyadesa was between the sea and the northern mountains, between the hot and the cold countries, equally distant from the eastern and western frontiers. See Reinaud, Mémoire sur l’Inde, p. 46.

61:a See 'India, what can it teach us?' pp. 170, 171.

Next: I, 37. To the Maruts (the Storm-Gods)