Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, , at sacred-texts.com
1. For the manly host, the joyful, the wise, for the Maruts bring thou, O Nodhas 1, a pure offering 2. I prepare songs, like as a handy priest 3, wise in his mind, prepares the water, mighty at sacrifices.
2. They are born, the tall bulls of Dyu 1 (heaven), the manly youths 2 of Rudra, the divine, the blameless, pure, and bright like suns; scattering raindrops, full of terrible designs, like giants 3.
3. The youthful Rudras, they who never grow old, the slayers of the demon 1, have grown irresistible like mountains. They throw down with their strength all beings, even the strongest, on earth and in heaven.
4. They deck themselves with glittering ornaments 1 for a marvellous show; on their chests they fastened gold (chains) for beauty 2; the spears on their shoulders pound to pieces 3; they were born together by themselves 4, the men of Dyu.
5. They who confer power 1, the roarers 2, the devourers of foes, they made winds and lightnings by their powers. The shakers milk the heavenly udders (clouds), they sprinkle the earth all round with milk (rain).
6. The bounteous 1 Maruts pour forth 2 water, mighty at sacrifices, the fat milk (of the clouds). They seem to lead 3 about the powerful horse, the cloud, to make it rain; they milk the thundering, unceasing spring 4
7. Mighty they are, powerful, of beautiful splendour, strong in themselves 1 like mountains, (yet) swiftly gliding along;—you chew up forests, like wild elephants 2, when you have assumed your powers among the red flames 3.
8. Like lions they roar, the wise Maruts, they are handsome like gazelles 1, the all-knowing. By night 2 with their spotted deer (rain-clouds) and with their spears (lightnings) they rouse the companions together, they whose ire through strength is like the ire of serpents.
9. You who march in companies, the friends of man, heroes, whose ire through strength is like the ire of serpents 1, salute heaven and earth 2! On the seats on your chariots, O Maruts, the lightning stands, visible like light 3.
10. All-knowing, surrounded with wealth, endowed with powers, singers 1, men of endless prowess armed with strong rings 2, they, the archers, have taken the arrow in their fists.
11. The Maruts who with the golden tires of their wheels increase the rain, stir up the clouds like wanderers on the road. They are brisk, indefatigable 1, they move by themselves; they throw down what is firm, the Maruts with their brilliant spears make (everything) to reel 2.
12. We invoke with prayer 1 the offspring of Rudra, the brisk, the pure, the worshipful 2, the active. Cling 3 for happiness-sake to the strong company of the Maruts, the chasers of the sky 4, the powerful, the impetuous 5.
13. The mortal whom ye, Maruts, protected, he indeed surpasses people in strength through your protection. He carries off booty with his horses,
treasures with his men; he acquires honourable 1 wisdom, and he prospers 2.
14. Give, O Maruts, to our lords strength glorious, invincible in battle, brilliant, wealth-acquiring, praiseworthy, known to all men 1. Let us foster our kith and kin during a hundred winters.
15. Will 1 you then, O Maruts, grant unto us wealth, durable, rich in men, defying all onslaughts 2?—wealth a hundred and a thousand-fold, always increasing?—May he who is rich in prayers 3 (the host of the Maruts) come early and soon!
This hymn is ascribed to Nodhas, of the family of Gotama. No verse of this hymn occurs in SV., VS., AV.; but verse 6 = TS. III, 1, 11, 7.
Note 1. The first line is addressed by the poet to himself.
Note 2. Suvriktí is generally explained by a hymn of praise, and it cannot be denied that in this place, as in most others, that meaning would be quite satisfactory. Etymologically, however, suvriktí means the cleaning and trimming of the grass on which, as on a small altar, the oblation is offered: cf. vriktabarhis, I, 38, 1, note 2, page 84. Hence, although the same word might be metaphorically applied to a carefully trimmed, pure, and holy hymn of praise, yet wherever in the Veda the primary meaning is applicable, it seems safer to retain it: cf. III, 61, 5; VI, 11, 5.
Prof. Roth, in the Mélanges Asiatiques, vii, p. 612, calls the derivation, which he himself discovered, a 'Columbus-Egg.' He derives suvrikti from su + rikti, and translates it by excellent praise. He supports the insertion of v, by the analogy of su-v-ita, for su-ita. This derivation is certainly very ingenious, but there are some difficulties which have still to be accounted for. That the substantive rikti does not occur by itself would not be fatal, because other words in the Veda occur as uttarapadas only. But there is the compound námovrikti in X, 131, 2, which shows that vrikti existed as a substantive, though it is true that the Vâgasaneyins (X, 32) read namaukti instead. Taitt. S. I, 8, 21; Taitt. Br. II, 6, 1, 3; and Ath. V. XX, 125, 2, have all namovrikti. There is also the compound svávrikti in RV. X, 21, 1. Are these to be separated from su-vrikti, and ought we not to take into consideration also the Zend hvarsta, as pointed out by M. Darmesteter (Ormazd,
p. 10, note), meaning well performed, perfect in a liturgical sense?
Note 3. Apás, with the accent on the last syllable, is the accusative plural of ap, water, and it is so explained by Sâyana. He translates: 'I show forth these hymns of praise, like water, i. e. everywhere, as Parganya sends down rain at once in every place.' Benfey explains: 'I make these hymns smooth like water, i. e. so that they run smooth like water.' He compares ῥυθμός, as derived from ῥέω. Ludwig translates: Als ein kunstfertiger das werk im geiste, auch geschickt mit der hand mach ich schön die in der opferversammlungen mächtig wirkenden lieder.' I thought formerly that we ought either to change the accent, and read ápah, or the last vowel, and read apâ´h. In the former case the meaning would be, 'As one wise in mind and clever performs his work, so do I compose these hymns.' In the second case we should translate: 'Like a workman, wise in mind and handy, I put together these hymns.'
Still there is one point which has hitherto been overlooked by all translators, namely, that apáh vidátheshu âbhúvah, occurring in the first and sixth verses, ought to be taken in the same sense in both passages. Now apáh vidátheshu âbhúvah seems to mean water efficacious at sacrifices. In the sixth verse I now translate: 'The bounteous Maruts pour down water, mighty or efficacious at sacrifices, the fat milk (of the clouds).' Hence in the first verse I should now like to translate: 'I prepare my songs, like as a handy priest, wise in his mind, prepares the water mighty or efficacious at sacrifices.' Roth assigns to vidátha a too exclusively political meaning. Vidátha may be an assembly, a public meeting, a witenagemot, or an ἐκκλησία, but public meetings at that time had always a religious character, so that vidátha must often be translated by sacrifice.
Note 1. It is difficult to say in passages like this, whether Dyu should be taken as heaven or as a personified deity. When the Maruts are called Rudrásya máryâh, the boys of
[paragraph continues] Rudra (VII, 56, 1), the personification is always preserved. Hence if the same beings are called Diváh máryâh, this too, I think, should be translated the boys of Dyu (III, 54, 13; V, 59, 6), not the sons of heaven. The bulls of Dyu is a more primitive and more vigorous expression for what we should call the fertilising winds of heaven.
Note 2. Márya is a male, particularly a young male, a young man, a bridegroom (I, 115, 2; III, 33, 10; IV, 20, 5; V, 61, 4, with vîra).
The Maruts have grown strong like well-grown manly youths. See also V, 59, 3.
V, 59, 5. máryâh-iva su-vrídhah vavridhuh nárah.
The men have grown strong like well-grown stallions.
In some passages it has simply the meaning of man:
I, 91, 13. máryah-iva své okyẽ.
Like a man in his own house.
Note 3. The simile, like giants, is not quite clear. Sátvan means a strong man, but it seems intended here to convey the idea of supernatural strength. Benfey translates, 'like brave warriors;' Wilson, 'like evil spirits.' Ghorávarpas is an adjective belonging to the Maruts rather than to the giants, and may mean of awful aspect, I, 19, 5, or of cruel mind; cf. I, 39, 1, note 2.
Note 1. Abhog-ghánah, the slayers of the demon, are the slayers of the clouds, viz. of such clouds as do not yield rain. Abhog, not nurturing, seems to be a name of the rainless cloud, like Námuki (na-muk, not delivering rain), the name of another demon, killed by Indra; see Benfey, Glossar, s. v. The cloud which sends rain is called bhugmán:
VIII, 50, 2. giríh ná bhugmâ´ maghávat-su pinvate.
Like a feeding cloud he showers his gifts on the worshippers.
Note 1. The ornaments of the Maruts are best described V, 54, 11:
ámseshu vah rishtáyah pat-sú khâdáyah vákshah-su rukmâ´h.
On your shoulders are the spears, on your feet rings, on your chests gold ornaments. See also I, 166, 10, &c.
Rukmá as a masc. plur. is frequently used for ornaments which are worn on the breast by the Maruts. The Maruts are actually called rukmávakshasah, gold-breasted (II, 34, 2; V, 55, 1; 57, 5). In the Âsval. Srauta-sûtra IX, 4, rukma is mentioned as an ornament to be given to the Hotri priest; it is said to be round.
Note 2. Vápushe and subhé, as parallel expressions, occur also VI, 63, 6. Cf. Delbrück, K. Z. xviii, 96.
Note 3. Ní mimrikshur does not occur again in the Rig-veda, and Roth has suggested to read ní mimikshur instead; see ni + marg. He does not, however, give our passage under myak, but under mraksh, and this seems indeed preferable. No doubt, there is ample analogy for mimikshuh, and the meaning would be, their spears stick firm to their shoulders. But as the MSS. give mimrikshuh, and as it is possible to find a meaning for this, I do not propose to alter the text. The question is only, what does mimrikshuh mean? Mraksh means to grind, to rub, and Roth proposes to render our passage by 'the spears rub together on our shoulders.' The objections to this translation are the preposition ni, and the active voice of the verb. I take mraksh in the sense of grinding, pounding, destroying, which is likewise appropriate to mraksha-krítvan (VIII, 61, 10), and tuvi-mrakshá (VI, 18, 2), and I translate, 'the spears on their shoulders pound to pieces.'
Note 4. The idea that the Maruts owe everything, if not their birth, at least their strength (svá-tavasah, svá-bhânavah, sva-srítah), to themselves is of frequent occurrence in these hymns. See verse 7, note I.
Note 1. They are themselves compared to kings (I, 85, 8), and called îsâná, lords (I, 87, 4).
Note 2. Dhúni is connected with root dhvan, to dun or
to din. Sâyana explains it by bending or shaking, and Benfey, too, translates it by Erschütterer. Roth gives the right meaning.
Note 1. I translate sudâ´navah by bounteous, or good givers, for, if we have to choose between the two meanings of bounteous or endowed with liquid drops or dew, the former is the more appropriate in most passages. We might, of course, admit two words, one meaning, possessed of good water, the other, bounteous; the former derived from dâ´nu, neuter, water, or rain, the other from dânú, giving. It cannot be denied, for instance, that whenever the Maruts are called sudâ´navah, the meaning, possessed of good rain, would be applicable: I, 40, 1; 44, 14; 64, 6; 85, 10; II, 34, 8; III, 26, 5; V, 52, 5; 53, 6; 57, 5; VIII, 20, 18; X, 78, 5; I, 15, 2; 23, 9; 39, 10. Yet, even in these passages, while sudâ´navah in the sense of possessed of good rain is possible throughout, that of good giver would sometimes be preferable, for instance, I, 15, 2, as compared with I, 15, 3. Though sudâ´nu, in the sense of possessed of good water, sounds as strange as would suvrishti in the sense of possessed of good rain, or sumegha, possessed of good clouds, yet it is difficult to separate sudâ´navah and gîrádânavah, both epithets of the Maruts.
When the same word is applied to Indra, VII, 31, 2; X, 23, 6; to Vishnu, VIII, 25, 12; to the Asvins, I, 112, 11; to Mitra and Varuna, V, 62, 9; to Indra and Varuna, IV. 41, 8, the meaning of giver of good rain might still seem natural. But with Agni, VI, 2, 4; the Âdityas, V, 67, 4; VIII, 18, 12; 19, 34; 67, 16; the Vasus, I, 106, 1; X, 66, 12; the Visve, X, 65, 11, such an epithet would not be appropriate, while sudâ´navah, in the sense of bounteous givers, is applicable to all. The objection that dânu, giver, does not occur in the Veda, is of no force, for many words occur at the end of compounds only, and we shall see passages where sudâ´nu must be translated by good giver. Nor would the accent of dânú, giver, be an obstacle, considering that the author of the Unâdi-sûtras had no Vedic
authority to guide him in the determination of the accent of dânú. Several words in nu have the accent on the first syllable. But one might go even a step further, and find a more appropriate meaning for sudâ´nu by identifying it with the Zend hudânu, which means, not a good giver, but a good knower, wise. True, this root dâ, to know, does not occur in the ordinary Sanskrit; and Hübschmann (Ein Zoroastrisches Lied, 1872, p. 48) tries to prove that the root dâ, to know, does not exist in Zend either. But even thus we might have the derivation in Sanskrit and Zend, while the root was kept alive in Greek only (δάημι, δάεις). This, however, is only a conjecture; what is certain is this, that apart from the passages where sudâ´nu is thus applied to various deities, in the sense of bounteous or wise, it also occurs as applied to the sacrificer, where it can only mean giver. This is clear from the following passages:
I, 47, 8. su-kríte su-dâ´nave.
To him who acts well and gives well.
VII, 96, 4. gani-yántah nú ágravah putri-yántah su-dâ´navah, sárasvantam havâmahe.
We, being unmarried, and wishing for wives and wishing for sons, offering sacrifices, call now upon Sarasvat.
VIII, 103, 7. su-dâ´navah deva-yávah.
Offering sacrifices, and longing for the gods. Cf. X, 172, 2; 3; VI, 16, 8.
IV, 4, 7. sáh ít agne astu su-bhágah su-dâ´nuh yáh tvâ nítyena havíshâ yáh ukthaíh píprîshati.
O Agni, let the liberal sacrificer be happy, who wishes to please thee by perpetual offerings and hymns. See also VI, 16, 8; 68, 5; X, 172, 2, 3.
It must be confessed that even the meaning of dâ´nu is by no means quite clear. It is clear enough where it means demon, II, 11, 18; 12, 11; IV, 30, 7; X, 120, 6, the seven demons. In I, 32, 9; III, 30, 8, dâ´nu, demon, is applied to the mother of Vritra, the dark cloud. From this dâ´nu we have the derivative dânavá, meaning again demon. Why the demons, conquered by Indra, were called dâ´nu, is not clear, unless they were conceived originally as dark clouds, like Dânu, the mother of Indra. Dânu might mean wise,
or even powerful, for this meaning also is ascribed to dânú by the author of the Unâdi-sûtras. If the latter meaning is authentic, and not only deduced ex post from the name of Dânu and Dânava, it might throw light on the Celtic dána, fortis, from which Zeuss derives the name of the Danube.
Sometimes dâ´nu, as a neuter, is explained as Soma:
X, 43, 7. â´pah ná síndhum abhí yát sam-áksharan sómâsah índram kulyâ´h-iva hradám, várdhanti víprâh máhah asya sádane yávam ná vrishtíh divyéna dâ´nunâ.
When the Somas run together to Indra, like water to the river, like channels to the lake, then the priests increase his greatness in the sanctuary, as rain the corn, by the heavenly Soma-juice, or by heavenly moisture.
In the next verse gîrádânu is explained as the sacrificer whose Soma is always alive, always ready.
In VI, 50, 13, however, dâ´nu páprih is doubtful. As an epithet to Apâ´m nápât, it may mean he who wishes for Soma, or he who grants Soma; but in neither case is there any tangible sense, unless Soma is taken as a name of the fertilising rain or dew. Again, VIII, 25, 5, Mitra and Varuna are called sriprá-dânû, which may mean possessed of flowing rain. And in the next verse, sám yâ´ dâ´nûni yemáthuh may be rendered by Mitra and Varuna, who brought together rain.
The fact that Mitra-Varunau and the Asvins are called dâ´nunaspátî does not throw much more light on the subject, and the one passage where dâ´nu occurs as a feminine, I, 54, 7, dâ´nuh asmai úparâ pinvate diváh, may be translated by rain pours forth for him, below the sky, but the translation is by no means certain.
Dâ´nukitra, applied to the dawn, the water of the clouds, and the three worlds (V, 59, 8; 31, 6; I, 174, 7), means most likely bright with dew or rain; and dâ´numat vásu, the treasure conquered by Indra from the clouds, can be translated by the treasure of rain. Taking all the evidence together, we can hardly doubt that dâ´nu existed in the sense of liquid, rain, dew, and also Soma; yet it is equally certain that dâ´nu existed in the sense of giver, if not of gift, and that from this, in certain passages, at all events,
sudâ´nu must be derived, as a synonym of sudâ´van, sudâ´man, &c.
Spiegel admits two words dânu in the Veda and Avesta, the one meaning enemy, the other river. Darmesteter (Ormazd, p. 220) takes dânu as a cloud, water, or river. Ludwig translates sudânu by possessed of excellent gifts.
Note 2. I thought formerly that pinvanti was here construed with two accusatives, in the sense of 'they fill the water (with) fat milk.'
Cf. VI, 63, 8. dhenúm nah ísham pinvatam ásakrâm.
You filled our cow (with) constant food.
Similarly duh, to milk, to extract, is construed with two accusatives: Pan. I, 4, 51. gam dogdhi payah, he milks the cow milk.
RV. IX, 107, 5. duhânáh û´dhah divyám mádhu priyám.
Milking the heavenly udder (and extracting from it) the precious sweet, i. e. the rain.
But I now prefer to translate pinvanti apáh by they pour out water, and I take páyah ghritávat as a description of the water, namely, the fat milk of the clouds. After that parenthesis, vidátheshu âbhúvah is again an epithet of apáh, as it was in the first verse.
Note 3. The leading about of the clouds is intended, like the leading about of horses, to tame them, and make them obedient to the wishes of their riders, the Maruts. Átyah vâgî´ is a strong horse, possibly a stallion; but this horse is here meant to signify the clouds. Thus we read:
V, 83, 6. diváh nah vrishtím marutah rarîdhvam prá pinvata vríshnah ásvasya dhâ´râh.
Give us, O Maruts, the rain of heaven, pour forth the streams of the stallion (the cloud).
In the original the simile is quite clear, and no one required to be told that the átyah vâgî´ was meant for the cloud. Vâgín by itself means a horse, as I, 66, 2; 69, 3. vâgî´ ná prîtáh, like a favourite horse; I, 116, 6. paidváh vâgî´, the horse of Pedu. But being derived from vâ´ga, strength, vâgín retained always something of its etymological meaning, and was therefore easily and naturally transferred to the cloud, the giver of strength, the source
of food. Even without the ná, i. e. as if, the simile would have been understood in Sanskrit, while in English it is hardly intelligible without a commentary. Benfey discovers some additional idea in support of the poet's comparison: 'Ich bin kein Pferdekenner,' he says, 'aber ich glaube bemerkt zu haben, dass man Pferde, welche rasch gelaufen sind, zum Uriniren zu bewegen sucht. So lassen hier die Maruts die durch ihren Sturm rasch fortgetriebenen Wolken Wasser herab strömen.'
Note 4. Útsa, well, is meant again for cloud, though we should hardly be justified in classing it as a name of cloud, because the original meaning of útsa, spring, is really retained, as much as that of avatá, well, in I, 85, 10-11. The adjectives stanáyantam and ákshitam seem more applicable to cloud, yet they may be applied also to a spring. Yâska derives utsa from ut-sar, to go forth; ut-sad, to go out; ut-syand, to well out; or from ud, to wet. In V, 32, 2, the wells shut up by the seasons are identified with the udder of the cloud.
Note 1. Svátavas means really having their own independent strength, a strength not derived from the support of others. The yet which I have added in brackets seems to have been in the poet's mind, though it is not expressed. In I, 87, 4, the Maruts are called sva-srít, going by themselves, i. e. moving freely, independently, wherever they list. See I, 64, 4, note 4.
Note 2. Mrigâ´h hastínah, wild animals with a hand or a trunk, must be meant for elephants, although it has been doubted whether the poets of the Veda were acquainted with that animal. Hastín is the received name for elephant in the later Sanskrit, and it is hardly applicable to any other animal. If they are said to eat the forests, this may be understood in the sense of crushing or chewing, as well as of eating.
Note 3. The chief difficulty of the last sentence has been pointed out in B. and R.'s Dictionary, s. v. â´runî. Ârunî does not occur again in the whole of the Rig-veda. If we take it with Sâyana as a various reading of arunî´, then. the
[paragraph continues] Arunî´s could only be the ruddy cows of the dawn or of. Indra, with whom the Maruts, in this passage, can have no concern. Nor would it be intelligible why they should be called â´runî in this one place only. If, as suggested by B. and R., the original text had been yadâ´ aruñî´shu, it would be difficult to understand how so simple a reading could have been corrupted.
Another difficulty is the verb áyugdhvam, which is not found again in the Rig-veda together with távishî. Távishî, vigour, is construed with dhâ, to take strength, V, 32, 2. adhatthâh; V, 55, 2. dadhidhve; X, 102, 8. adhatta; also with vas, IV, 16, 14; with pat, X, 113, 5, &c. But it is not likely that to put vigour into the cows could be expressed in Sanskrit by 'you join vigour in the cows.' If távishî must be taken in the sense which it seems always to possess, viz. vigour, it would be least objectionable to translate, 'when you joined vigour, i. e. when you assumed vigour, while being among the Ârunîs.' The Ârunîs being the cows of the dawn, â´runîshu might simply mean in the morning. Considering, however, that the Maruts are said to eat up forests, â´runî in this place, is best taken in the sense of red flames, viz. of fire or forest-fire (dâvâgni), so that the sense would be, 'When you, Storms, assume vigour among the flames, you eat up forests, like elephants.' Benfey: 'Wenn mit den rothen eure Kraft ihr angeschirrt. Die rothen sind die Antilopen, das Vehikel der Maruts, wegen der Schnelligkeit derselben.'
Note 1. As pisá does not occur again in the Rig-veda, and as Sâyana, without attempting any etymological arguments, simply gives it as a name of deer, it seems best to adopt that sense till something better can be discovered. Supís, too, does not occur again. In VII, 18, 2, pís is explained by gold, &c.; VII, 57, 3, the Maruts are called visvapís.
Note 2. Kshápah can only be the accusative plural, used in a temporal sense. It is so used in the expression kshápah usráh ka, by night and by day, lit. nights and days (VII, 15, 8). In VI, 52, 15, we find kshápah usrâ´h in the same sense.
[paragraph continues] IV, 53, 7. kshapâ´bhih áha-bhih, by night and by day. I, 44, 8, the loc. plur. vyúshtishu, in the mornings, is followed by kshápah, the acc. plur., by night, and here the genitive kshapáh would certainly be preferable, in the sense of at the brightening up of the night. The acc. plur. occurs again in I, 116, 4, where tisráh is used as an accusative (II, 2, 2; VIII, 41, 3). Kshapáh, with the accent on the last, must be taken as a genitivus temporalis, like the German Nachts (I, 79, 6). In VIII, 19, 31. kshapáh vástushu means at the brightening up of the night, i. e. in the morning. Thus, in III, 50, 4, Indra is called kshapâ´m vastâ´ ganitâ´ sû´ryasya, the lighter up of nights, the parent of the sun. In VIII, 26, 3, áti kshapáh, the genitive may be governed by áti. In IV, 16, 19, however, the accusative kshápah would be more natural, nor do I see how a genitive could here be accounted for:
dyâ´vah ná dyumnaíh abhí sántah aryáh kshapáh madema sarádah ka pûrvî´h.
May we rejoice many years, overcoming our enemies as the days overcome the nights by splendour.
The same applies to I, 70, 4, where kshapáh occurs with the accent on the last syllable, whereas we expect kshápah as nom. or acc. plural. Here B. and R. in the Sanskrit Dictionary, s. v. kshap, rightly, I believe, suppose it to be a nom. plur. in spite of the accent.
Note 1. Áhimanyu comes very near to Angra-mainyu; cf. Darmesteter, Ormazd, p. 94.
Note 2. Ródasî, a dual, though frequently followed by ubhé (I, 10, 8; 33, 9; 54, 2), means heaven and earth, excluding the antáriksha or the air between the two. Hence, if this is to be included, it has to be added: I, 73, 8. âpapri-vâ´n ródasî antáriksham. Cf. V, 85, 3. We must scan r̆ōdăsî̄. See Kuhn, Beiträge, vol. iv, p. 193. Should rodasî stand for rodasîm, as elsewhere? She is certainly intended by what follows in the next line.
Note 3. The comparison is not quite distinct. Amati means originally impetus, then power, e. g. V, 69, 1:
vavridhânâ´u amátim kshatríyasya.
Increasing the might of the warrior.
But it is most frequently used of the effulgence of the sun, (III, 38, 8; V, 45, 2; 62, 5; VII, 38, 1; 2; 45, 3.) See also V, 56, 8, where the same companion of the Maruts is called Rodasî´. The comparative particle ná is used twice.
Note 1. See I, 38, 14, p. 95.
Note 2. In vrísha-khâdi the meaning of khâdi is by no means clear. Sâyana evidently guesses, and proposes two meanings, weapon or food. In several passages where khâdi occurs, it seems to be an ornament rather than a weapon, yet if derived from khad, to bite, it may originally have signified some kind of weapon. Roth translates it by ring, and it is certain that these khâdis were to be seen not only on the arms and shoulders, but likewise on the feet of the Maruts. There is a famous weapon in India, the kakra or quoit, a ring with sharp edges, which is thrown from a great distance with fatal effect. Bollensen (Orient and Occident, vol. ii, p. 46) suggests for vríshan the meaning of hole in the ear, and then translates the compound as having earrings in the hole of the ear. But vríshan does not mean the hole in the lap of the ear, nor has vrishabhá that meaning either in the Veda or elsewhere. Wilson gives for vrishabha, not for vrishan, the meaning of orifice of the ear, but this is very different from the hole in the lap of the ear. Benfey suggests that the khâdis were made of the teeth of wild animals, and hence their name of biters. Vríshan conveys the meaning of strong, though possibly with the implied idea of rain-producing, fertilising. See p. 138. In RV. V, 87, 1, Osthoff translates sukhâdáye by jucunde praebenti, Benfey by schönverzehrendem; Muir, Sanskrit Texts, IV, 70, has the right rendering. Cf. note to I, 166, 9.
Note 1. Formerly explained as 'zum Kampfe wandelnd.' See Kuhn, Zeitschrift, vol. iv, p. 19.
Note 2. Wilson: Augmenters of rain, they drive, with golden wheels, the clouds asunder; as elephants (in a herd, break down the trees in their way). They are honoured with sacrifices, visitants of the hall of offering, spontaneous assailers (of their foes), subverters of what are stable, immovable themselves, and wearers of shining weapons.
Benfey: Weghemmnissen gleich schleudern die Fluthmehrer mit den goldnen Felgen das Gewölk empor, die nie müden Kämpfer, frei schreitend-festesstürzenden, die schweres thu’nden, lanzenstrahlenden Maruts.
Note 1. Havásâ, instead of what one should expect, hávasâ, occurs but once more in another Marut hymn, VI, 66, ii.
Note 2. Vanín does not occur again as an epithet of the Maruts. It is explained by Sâyana as a possessive adjective derived from vana, water, and Benfey accordingly translates it by fluthversehn. This, however, is not confirmed by any authoritative passages. Vanín, unless it means connected with the forest, a tree, in which sense it occurs frequently, is only applied to the worshippers or priests in the sense of venerating or adoring (cf. venero, venustus, &c.)
III, 40, 7. abhí dyumnâ´ni vanínah índram sakante ákshitâ.
The inexhaustible treasures of the worshipper go towards Indra.
VIII, 3, 5. índram vanínah havâmahe.
We, the worshippers, call Indra.
Unless it can be proved by independent evidence that vanín means possessed of water, we must restrict vanín to its two meanings, of which the only one here applicable, though weak, is adoring. The Maruts are frequently represented as singers and priests, yet the epithets here applied to them stand much in need of some definite explanation, as the poet could hardly have meant to string a number of vague and ill-connected epithets together. If one might conjecture, svânínam instead of vanínam would be an improvement. It is a scarce word, and occurs but once more
in the Veda, III, 26, 5, where it is used of the Maruts, in the sense of noisy, turbulent.
Note 3. Saskata, which I have here translated literally by to cling, is often used in the sense of following or revering (colere):
II, I, 13. tvâ´m râti-sâ´kah adhvaréshu saskire.
The gods who are fond of offerings cling to thee, follow thee, at the sacrifices.
The Soma libation is said to reach the god:
II, 22, I. sáh enam saskat deváh devám. The gods too are said to cling to their worshippers, i. e. to love and protect them: III, 16, 2; VII, i8, 25. The horses are said to follow their drivers: VI, 36, 3; VII, 90, 3, &c. It is used very much like the Greek ὀπάζω.
Note 4. Ragastû´h may mean rousing the dust of the earth, a very appropriate epithet of the Maruts. Sâyana explains it thus, and most translators have adopted his explanation. But as the epithets here are not simply descriptive, but laudatory, it seems preferable, in this place, to retain the usual meaning of rágas, sky. When Soma is called ragastû´h, IX, 108, 7, Sâyana too explains it by tegasâm prerakam, and IX, 48, 4, by udakasya prerakam.
Note 5. Rigîshín, derived from rigîsha. Rigîsha is what remains of the Soma-plant after it has once been squeezed, and what is used again for the third libation. Now as the Maruts are invoked at the third libation, they were called rigîshín, as drinking at their later libation the juice made of the rigîsha. This, at least, is the opinion of the Indian commentators. But it is much more likely that the Maruts were invoked at the third libation, because originally they had been called rigîshín by the Vedic poets, this rigîshín being derived from rigîsha, and rigîsha from rig, to strive, to yearn, like purîsha from prî, manîshâ from man; (see Unâdi-sûtras, p. 273.) This rig is the same root which we have in ὀρέγειν, to reach, ὀργή, emotion, and ὄργια, furious transports of worshippers. Thus the Maruts from being called rigîshín, impetuous, came to be taken for drinkers of rigîsha, the fermenting and overflowing Soma, and were assigned accordingly to the third libation at sacrifices.
[paragraph continues] Rigîshín, as an epithet, is not confined to the Maruts; it is given to Indra, with whom it could not have had a purely ceremonial meaning (VIII, 76, 5).
Note 1. Âpríkkhya, literally, to be asked for, to be inquired for, to be greeted and honoured. A word of an apparently modern character, but occurring again in the Rig-veda as applied to a prince, and to the vessel containing the Soma.
Note 2. Púshyati might be joined with krátu and taken in a transitive sense, he increases his strength. But púshyati is also used as an intransitive, and means he prospers:
I, 83, 3. ásam-yatah vraté te ksheti púshyati.
Without let he dwells in thy service and prospers.
Roth reads asamyattah, against the authority of the MSS.
Note 1. The difficulty of this verse arises from the uncertainty whether the epithets dhanasprítam, ukthyãm, and visvákarshanim belong to súshma, strength, or to toká, kith and kin. Roth and Benfey connect them with toká. Now dhanasprít is applicable to toká, yet it never occurs joined with toká again, while it is used with súshma, VI, 19, 8. Ukthyã, literally, to be praised with hymns, is not used again as an epithet of toká, though it is quite appropriate to any gift of the gods. Lastly, visvákarshani is never applied to toká, while it is an epithet used, if not exactly of the strength, súshma, given by the gods, yet of the fame given by them:
X, 93, 10. dhâtam vîréshu visvá-karshani srávah.
Give to these men world-wide glory. Cf. III, 2, 15.
The next difficulty is the exact meaning of visvá-karshani, and such cognate words as visvá-krishti, visvá-manusha. The only intelligible meaning I can suggest for these words is, known to all men; originally, belonging to, reaching to all men; as we say, world-wide or European fame, meaning by it fame extending over the whole of Europe, or over the whole world. If Indra, Agni, and the Maruts are called by
these names, they mean, as far as I can judge, known, worshipped by all men. Benfey translates allverständig.
Note 1. Riti, the first element of riti-sáham, never occurs by itself in the Rig-veda. It comes from the root ar, to hurt, which was mentioned before (p. 65) in connection with ár-van, hurting, árus, wound, and ári, enemy. Sám-riti occurs I, 32, 6. Riti therefore means hurting, and riti-sáh means one who can stand an attack. In our passage rayím vîrá-vantam riti-sáham means really wealth consisting in men who are able to withstand all onslaughts.
The word is used in a similar sense, VI, 14, 4:
agníh apsâ´m riti-sáham vîrám dadâti sát-patim, yásya trásanti sávasah sam-kákshi sátravah bhiyâ´.
Agni gives a strong son who is able to withstand all onslaughts, from fear of whose strength the enemies tremble when they see him.
In other passages riti-sáh is applied to Indra:
VIII, 45, 35. bibháya hí tvâ´-vatah ugrâ´t abhi-prabhaṅgínah dasmâ´t ahám riti-sáhah.
For I stand in fear of a powerful man like thee, of one who crushes his enemies, who is strong and withstands all onslaughts.
VIII, 68, 1. tuvi-kûrmím riti-sáham índra sávishtha sát-pate.
Thee, O most powerful Indra, of mighty strength, able to withstand all onslaughts.
VIII, 88, 1. tam vah dasmám riti-sáham—índram gîh-bhíh navâmahe.
We call Indra the strong, the resisting, with our songs.
Note 2. The last sentence finishes six of the hymns ascribed to Nodhas. It is more appropriate in a hymn addressed to single deities, such as Agni or Indra, than in a hymn to the Maruts. We must supply sardha, in order to get a collective word in the masculine singular.
Nú, as usual, should be scanned n̆ū.
Note 3. Dhiyâ´-vasu, as an epithet of the gods, means rich in prayers, i. e. invoked by many worshippers. It does
not occur frequently. Besides the hymns of Nodhas, it only occurs independently in I, 3, 10 (Sarasvatî), III, 3, 2, III, 28, 1 (Agni), these hymns being all ascribed to the family of Visvâmitra. In the last verse, which forms the burden of the hymns of Nodhas, it may have been intended to mean, he who is rich through the hymn just recited, or he who rejoices in the hymn, the god to whom it is addressed.
Nodhas, the poet, belongs, according to the Anukramanî, to the family of Gotama, and in the hymns which are ascribed to him, I, 58-64, the Gotamas are mentioned several times:
I, 60, 5. tám tvâ vayám pátim agne rayînâ´m prá samsâmah matí-bhih gótamâsah.
We, the Gotamas, praise thee with hymns, Agni, the lord of treasures.
I, 61, 16. evá, te hâri-yogana su-vriktí índra bráhmâni gótamâsah akran.
Truly the Gotamas made holy prayers for thee, O Indra with brilliant horses! See also I, 63, 9.
In one passage Nodhas himself is called Gotama:
I, 62, 13.
Gotama made a new song for the old (god) with brilliant horses, O Indra! May Nodhas be a good leader to us, O powerful Indra! May he who is rich in prayers (Indra) come early and soon!
I feel justified therefore in following the Anukramanî and taking Nodhas as a proper name. It occurs so again in
I, 61, 14. sadyáh bhuvat vîryãya nodhâ´h.
May Nodhas quickly attain to power!
In I, 124, 4. nodhâ´h-iva may mean like Nodhas, but more likely it has the general meaning of poet.