Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 272



To the Maruts (the Storm-gods).

1. O Indra, a thousand have been thy helps accorded to us, a thousand, O driver of the bays, have been thy most delightful viands. May thousands of treasures richly to enjoy, may goods 1 come to us a thousandfold.

2. May the Maruts come towards us with their aids, the mighty ones, or with their best aids from the great heaven, now that their furthest steeds have rushed forth on the distant shore of the sea;

3. There clings 1 to the Maruts one who moves in secret, like a man's wife (the lightning 2), and who is like a spear carried behind 3, well grasped, resplendent, gold-adorned; there is also with them Vâk (the voice of thunder), like unto a courtly, eloquent woman.

4. Far away the brilliant, untiring Maruts cling to their young maid, as if she belonged to them all 1; but the terrible ones did not drive away Rodasî (the lightning), for they wished her to grow 2 their friend.

5. When the divine Rodasî with dishevelled locks, the manly-minded, wished to follow them, she went, like Sûryâ (the Dawn), to the chariot of her servant, with terrible look, as with the pace of a cloud.

6. As soon as the poet with the libations, O Maruts, had sung his song, at the sacrifice, pouring out Soma, the youthful men (the Maruts) placed the young maid (in their chariot) as their companion for victory, mighty in assemblies.

p. 273

7. I praise what is the praiseworthy true greatness of those Maruts, that the manly-minded, proud, and strong one (Rodasî) drives with them towards the blessed mothers.

8. They protect 1 Mitra and Varuna from the unspeakable, and Aryaman also finds out the infamous. Even what is firm and unshakable is being shaken 2; but he who dispenses treasures 3, O Maruts, has grown (in strength).

9. No people indeed, whether near to us, or from afar, have ever found the end of your strength, O Maruts! The Maruts, strong in daring strength, have, like the sea, boldly 1 surrounded their haters.

10. May we to-day, may we to-morrow in battle be called the most beloved of Indra. We were so formerly, may we truly be so day by day, and may the lord of the Maruts be with us.

11. May this praise, O Maruts, this song of Mândârya, the son of Mâna, the poet, ask you with food for offspring for ourselves! May we have an invigorating autumn, with quickening rain!

p. 274


Ascribed to Agastya, addressed to the Maruts, but the first verse to Indra. Metre Trishtubh throughout.

No verse of this hymn occurs in the Sâma-veda, nor in the other Samhitâs.

Verse 1.

Note 1. We must keep vâga, as a general term, distinct from asva, horses, and go, cows, for the poets themselves distinguish between gavyántah, asvayántah, and vâgayántah; see IV, 17, 16; VI, 8, 6.

Verse 3.

Note 1. On mimyaksha, see before, I, 165, 1, note 2.

Note 2. The spear of the Maruts is meant for the lightning, and we actually find rishtí-vidyutah, having the lightning for their spear, as an epithet of the Maruts, I, 168, 5; V, 52, 13.

The rest of this verse is difficult, and has been variously rendered by different scholars. We must remember that the lightning is represented as the wife or the beloved of the Maruts. In that character she is called Rodasî´, with the accent on the last syllable, and kept distinct from ródasî, the dual, with the accent on the antepenultimate, which means heaven and earth.

This Rodasî´ occurs:

V, 56, 8. â´ yásmin tastháu su-ránâni bíbhratî sákâ marútsu rodasî´.

The chariot on which, carrying pleasant gifts, stands Rodasî among the Maruts.

VI, 50, 5. mimyáksha yéshu rodasî´ nú devî´.

To whom clings the divine Rodasî.

VI, 66, 6. ádha sma eshu rodasî´ svá-sokih â´ ámavatsu tasthau ná rókah.

When they (the Maruts) had joined the two Rodas, i. e. heaven and earth, then the self-brilliant Rodasî came among the strong ones.

The name of Ródasî, heaven and earth, is so much more frequent in the Rig-veda than that of Rodasî´, that in

p. 275

several passages the iti which stands after duals, has been wrongly inserted after Rodasî´ in the singular. It is so in our hymn, verse 4, where we must read rodasî´m instead of rodasî´ íti, and again in X, 92, 11.

Besides the lightning, however, the thunder also may be said to be in the company of the Maruts, to be their friend or their wife, and it is this double relationship which seems to be hinted at in our hymn.

The thunder is called Vâk, voice, the voice of heaven, also called by the author of the Anukramanî, Âmbhrinî. It was natural to identify this ambhrina with Greek ὄβριμος, terrible, particularly as it is used of the thunder, ὄβριμον ἐβρόντησε, Hes. Th. 839, and is applied to Athene as ὀβριομο-πάτρη. But there are difficulties pointed out by Curtius, Grundzüge, p. 532, which have not yet been removed. This Vâk says of herself (X, 125, 12) that she stretched the bow for Rudra, the father of the Maruts, that her birth-place is in the waters (clouds), and that she fills heaven and earth. See also X, 114, 8.

In I, 173, 3. antáh dûtáh ná ródasî karat vâ´k.

The voice (thunder) moved between heaven and earth, like a messenger.

In VIII, 100, 10 and 11, after it has been said that the thunderbolt lies hidden in the water, the poet says: yát vâ´k vádantî avi-ketanâ´ni râ´shtrî devâ´nâm ni-sasâ´da mandrâ, when the voice, the queen of the gods, the delightful, uttering incomprehensible sounds, sat down. If, in our verse, we take Vâk in the sense of thunder, but as a feminine, it seems to me that the poet, speaking of the lightning and thunder as the two companions of the Maruts, represents the first, Rodasî, or the lightning, as the recognised wife.. hiding herself in the house, while the other, the loud thunder. is represented as a more public companion of the Maruts, distinctly called vidatheshu pagrâ (verse 6), a good speaker at assemblies. This contrast, if it is really what the poet intended, throws a curious light on the social character of the Vedic times, as it presupposes two classes of wives, not necessarily simultaneous, however,—a house-wife, who stays at home and is not much seen, and a wife who appears in

p. 276

public and takes part in the society and conversation of the sabhâ, the assembly-room, and the vidathas, the meetings. The loud voice of the thunder as well as the usual hiding of the lightning might well suggest this comparison. That good manners, such as are required in public, and ready speech, were highly esteemed in Vedic times, we learn from such words as sabhéya and vidathyã. Sabhéya, from sabhâ, assembly, court, comes to mean courtly, polite; vidathyã, from vidatha, assembly, experienced, learned.

VIII, 4, 9. kandráh yâti sabhâ´m úpa.

Thy friend, Indra, goes brilliant towards the assembly.

X, 34, 6. sabhâ´m eti kitaváh.

The gambler goes to the assembly.

VI, 28, 6. brihát vah váyah ukyate sabhâ´su.

Your great strength is spoken of in the assemblies.

Wealth is described as consisting in sabhâs, houses, IV, 2, 5; and a friend is described as sabhâsaha, strong in the assembly, X, 71, 10.

Sabhéya is used as an epithet of vipra (II, 24, 13), and a son is praised as sabheya, vidathya, and sadanya, i. e. as distinguished in the assemblies.

Vidathyã, in fact, means much the same as sabheya, namely, good for, distinguished at vidathas, meetings for social, political, or religious purposes, IV, 21, 2; VII, 36, 8, &c.

Note 3. Úparâ ná rishtih. I do not see how uparâ can here mean the cloud, if it ever has that meaning. I take ûpara as opposed to pûrva, i. e. behind, as opposed to before. In that sense ûpara is used, X, 77, 3; X, 15, 2; 44, 7, &c. It would therefore mean the spear on the back, or the spear drawn back before it is hurled forward.

B. R. propose to read sam-vâk, colloquium, but they give no explanation. The reference to VS. IX, 2, is wrong.

Verse 4.

Note 1. The fourth verse carries on the same ideas which were hinted at in the third. We must again change rodasî´, the dual, into rodasî´m, which is sufficiently indicated by the accent. Yavyâ I take as an instrumental of yavî, or of

p. 277

yavyâ. It means the youthful maid, and corresponds to yuvati in verse 6. Yavyâ would be the exact form which Curtius (Grundzüge, p. 589) postulated as the Sanskrit prototype of Hebe a. Now, if the Maruts correspond to Mars in Latin, and to Ares in Greek, the fact that in the Iliad Hebe bathes and clothes Ares b, may be of some significance. Sâdhâranî is used in the sense of uxor communis, and would show a familiarity with the idea of polyandry recognised in the epic poetry of the Mahâhhârata.

But although the Maruts cling to this maid (the Vâk, or thunder), they do not cast off Rodasî, their lawful wife, the lightning, but wish her to grow for their friendship, i. e. as their friend.

Ayâ´sah yavyâ´ must be scanned   ̆  ̄̆  ̄  ̆  ̄  ̄. In VI 66, 5, ayâ´sah mahnâ´ must be scanned as   ̆  ̄̆  ̆  ̄  ̆  ̄  ̄ (mahimnâ?).

Note 2. Vdham, as the accent shows, is here an infinitive governed by gushanta.

Verse 5.

See von Bradke, Dyaus Asura, p. 76.

Verse 6.

I translate arká by poet. The construction would become too cumbersome if we translated, 'as soon as the hymn with the libations was there for you, as soon as the sacrificer sang his song.'

Verse 7.

The meaning of the second line is obscure, unless we adopt Ludwig's ingenious view that Rodasî is here conceived as Eileithyia, the goddess who helps mothers in childbirth. I confess that it is a bold conjecture, and there is nothing in Vedic literature to support it. All I can say is that Eileithyia is in Greek, like Hebe (Yavyâ) and Ares (Marut), a child of Hera, and that lightning as well as dawn might become a symbol of birth. The etymology and the

p. 278

very form of Εἰλείθυια is doubtful, and so is that of Rodasî´. It is tempting to connect rodasî, in the sense of heaven and earth, with O. S. radur, A. S. ródor (Grimm, Myth. p. 662), but that is impossible. Cf. I, 101, 7.

Verse 8.

Note 1. I do not see how pânti, the plural, can refer to Mitra and Varuna, nor how these gods could here be introduced as acting the part of the Maruts. I therefore refer pânti to the Maruts, who may be said to protect Mitra and Varuna, day and night, and all that belongs to them, from evil and disgrace. Aryaman is then brought in, as being constantly connected with Mitrâ-varunau, and the finding out, the perceiving from a distance, of the infamous enemies, who might injure Mitrâ-varunau, is parenthetically ascribed to him. See Ludwig, Anmerkungen, p. 239.

Note 2. Kyavante cannot and need not be taken for kyâvayanti, though akyutakut is a common epithet of the Maruts. It is quite true that the shaking of the unshakable mountains is the work of the Maruts, but that is understood, even though it is not expressed. In V, 60, 3, we read, párvatah kit máhi vriddháh bibhâya, even the very great mountain feared, i. e. the Maruts.

Note 3. Dâti in dâ´tivâra has been derived by certain Sanskrit scholars from dâ, to give. It means, no doubt, gift, but it is derived from dâ (do, dyati), to share, and means first, a share, and then a gift. Dâ´tivâra is applied to the Maruts, V, 58, 2; III, 51, 9, and must therefore be applied to them in our passage also, though the construction becomes thereby extremely difficult. It means possessed of a treasure of goods which they distribute. The growing, too, which is here predicated by vavridhe, leads us to think of the Maruts, as in I, 37, 5, or of their friend Indra, I, 52, 2; 81, I; VI, 30, 1. It is never, so far as I know, applied to the sacrificer.

Verse 9.

Note 1. Dhrishatâ´ is used as an adverb; see I, 71, 5; 174, 4; II, 30, 4, &c. Perhaps tmanâ may be supplied as in I, 54, 4.


277:a Wir müssen ein vorgriechisches yâvâ oder möglicherweise yâvyâ annehmen.

277:b Il. V, 905.

Next: I, 168. To the Maruts (the Storm-gods)