Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. Agni, at the rising of the dawn 1 bring splendid wealth, immortal Gâtavedas, to the worshipper, (and bring hither) to-day the gods awakening with the dawn.
2. For thou art the accepted messenger, the bearer of sacrificial food, O Agni, the charioteer of worship. United with the two Asvins and with the Dawn bestow on us abundance of valiant heroes, and high glory.
3. We choose to-day as our messenger Agni, the Vasu, the beloved of many, whose banner is smoke, whose … 1 is light, at the dawning of the day, the beautifier of sacrifices 2.
4. I magnify at the dawning of the day Agni Gâtavedas, the best, the youngest guest, the best receiver of offerings, welcome to pious people, that he may go to the gods 1.
5. I shall praise thee, O food on which everything lives, immortal one 1, Agni, the immortal protector, O holy god, the best sacrificer, O bearer of sacrificial food.
6. Be kind-spoken to him who praises thee, O youngest god, honey-tongued, the best receiver of offerings. Lengthening Praskanva's life, that he may reach old age, do homage 1 to the host of the gods.
7. The clans kindle thee, the all-possessing Hotri:
therefore conduct hither speedily, much-invoked Agni, the provident gods—
8. Savitri, the Dawn, the two Asvins, Bhaga, Agni 1, at the dawning (of the day), (at the end) of night 2. The Kanvas, having pressed Soma, inflame thee, the bearer of sacrificial food, O best performer of worship.
9. As thou, O Agni, art the lord of worship, the messenger of the clans, conduct hither to-day the gods awakening with the dawn, of sun-like aspect, that they may drink Soma.
10. Agni, rich in splendour! thou hast shone after the former dawns, visible to all. Thou art the guardian in the hamlets, the Purohita; thou be-longest to men at the sacrifices 1.
11. O Agni, let us put thee down (on the altar) as Manus did, O god, to be the performer of the sacrifice, the Hotri, the wise priest, the quick immortal messenger.
12. When thou, the Purohita of the gods, who art great like Mitra, goest on thy errand as messenger in their midst, then the flames of Agni shine like the roaring waves of the Sindhu 1.
13. Agni with thy attentive ears, hear me, together with the gods driven (on their chariots) 1 who accompany thee. May Mitra and Aryaman sit down on the sacrificial grass, they who come to the ceremony early in the morning.
14. May the Maruts, they who give rain, the fire-tongued increasers of Rita, hear my praise. May Varuna, whose laws are firm, drink the Soma, united with the two Asvins and with the Dawn!
The hymn is ascribed to Praskanva Kânva, who is the reputed author of the whole group of the hymns, I, 44–50. It is certain that these hymns really belong to a branch of the great Kanva family, for which the name Praskanva is characteristic. Comp. my Prolegomena, p. 260.
The metre is Bârhata Pragâtha. Verse 1 = SV. I, 40. Verses 1–2 = SV. II, 1130–1131. Verse 11 = TB. II, 7, 12, 6. Verse 13 = SV. I, 50; VS. 33, 15; TB. II, 7, 12, 5.
This Agni-hymn contains a number of allusions which show that it was destined for the morning service. The same may be said of the next hymn, I, 45, and of the whole collection of Praskanva hymns, which are addressed exclusively to the devâh prâtaryâvânah, viz. Agni in his special character as a matutinal deity, the two Asvins, the Dawn, the rising Sun. From the mention of the Soma tiroahnya 45, 10; 47, 1, and from other circumstances, Bergaigne has very ingeniously drawn the conclusion that in the Praskanva collection an ancient Âsvinasastra is preserved; see Recherches sur l’histoire de la Liturgie Védique, 45.
Note 1. I believe that the text, I may perhaps not say requires, but very strongly invites, a slight correction. The tradition gives ágne vívasvat ushásah kitrám râ´dhah amartya. To connect vívasvat with râ´dhah and to make the genitive ushásah depend on râ´dhah would give an expression which is not, strictly speaking, impossible but in every case very unusual. Nothing, on the other hand, is more frequent than combinations of the locative of a noun derived from vi-vas with the genitive ushásah, 'at the rising of the dawn' (ushásah vỹushtau, vỹushtishu, vyúshi; comp. the phrase vásto usrâ´h treated of by Kaegi, Festgruss an Böhtlingk, 48; vástoh usrâ´h, Bartholomae, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XV, 185). I think that such
a phrase should be restored in our verse, and propose to read ágne vivásvan ushásah, &c. The word vivásvan occurs in VIII, 102, 22. agním îdhe vivásvabhih. The expression used here would thus be similar to that of III, 15, 2. tvám nah asyâ´h ushásah vỹushtau … bodhi gopâ´h; comp. IV, 1, 5, &c.
Note 1. The meaning of bhâ´h-rigîka is quite uncertain. The accent would well agree with the explanation of the word as a possessive compound; dhûmáketum bhâ´h-rigîkam would then be exactly parallel: whose banner is smoke, whose rigîka is light. We have then gó-rigîka as an epithet of Soma, 'he whose rigîka the cows are,' i. e. 'whose rigîka is milk,' and âvíh-rigîka as an epithet of Dadhikrâvan ('he whose rigîka is visible'). All this taken together is clearly insufficient for giving a result, and there is scarcely a better prospect for etymological guesses. Bergaigne's (Rel. Véd., I, 206) translation of rigîka by 'flèche' would do for bhâ´h-rigîka, but it is not very tempting in the cases of gó-rigîka and âvíh-rigîka. Roth (Zeitschrift der D. Morg. Ges. 48, 118) translates 'lichtglänzend.'
Note 2. Pischel's explanation of adhvarasrî (Vedische Studien, I, 53, 'Zum Opfer kommend') does not seem convincing to me.
Note 1. Ludwig's translation 'dasz er die götter herbringe' is not exact. As to the real meaning of our passage, comp. VII, 9, 5. ágne yâhí dûtỹam … devâ´n ákkha, 'Agni, go as a messenger … to the gods.'
Note 1. Boehtlingk-Roth propose to read amritabhogana. I think the traditional text is right. Agni is called visvasya bhogana similarly, as it is said in I, 48, 10 (with regard to Ushas), vísvasya hí prâ´nanam gî´vanam tvé. Amrita may be vocative s. neuter or masculine. Comp. Lanman, 339.
Note 1. Benfey (Quantitätsverschiedenheiten, IV, 2, 27) and Ludwig take namasyâ´ for a first person.
Note 1. If the accusative agním is right, as it probably is, Agni would be invoked to conduct Agni to the sacrifice. This is quite a possible idea. Comp. the formula of the 'devatânâm âvâhanam,' 'agnim agna âvaha, somam âvaha; agnim âvaha,' i. e. Agni, conduct hither Agni, conduct hither Soma, conduct hither Agni.' See Hillebrandt, Das Altindische Neu- und Vollmondsopfer, p. 84.
Note 2. Lanman, 482, takes kshápah as an acc. plur. I think it is gen. sing., and the accent should be kshapáh. Comp. VIII, 19, 31; III, 49, 4, and the phrase aktóh vỹushtau.
Note 1. Prof. Max Müller translates: 'Thou art the guardian in the hamlets, the chief-priest; thou art the human chief-priest at the sacrifices.'
Note 1. With the third Pâda comp. IX, 50, 1, where it is said that the mighty strength of Soma shows itself 'síndhoh ûrméh iva svanáh,' i. e. 'like the roar of the waves of the Sindhu.'
Note 1. I cannot follow the translation of Dr. Neisser, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XVIII, 316.