Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. I deem Agni to be the munificent Hotri, the Vasu, the Son of strength 1, Gâtavedas, like a priest, Gâtavedas 2: the best performer of the sacrifice, the god who with his upright body that is turned towards the gods, and with his flame longs for the shine of the (boiling) ghee 3, of the butter that is offered in (the fire).
2. May we, the sacrificers, call thee hither, the best of sacrificers 1, the first of the Aṅgiras, O priest, with our prayers, with priestly prayers, O bright one 2: thee who like the heaven encompassest the earth 3, the Hotri of human tribes, the manly flame-haired, whom these folks—whom all folks should favour in order to speed him (to our sacrifice).
3. He indeed, shining mightily with his shining strength 1, becomes the conqueror of deceitful foes 2—like an axe, the conqueror of deceitful foes 2. He at whose onslaught 3 even what is strong melts away 4, steady things (waste away) like forests (which are burnt or bend down in the storm) 5. Conquering he holds himself back; he does not proceed 6. As with a conquering bow-man he proceeds 6.
4. Even what is firm gives way before him: thus it is known. With hottest kindling-sticks 1 one worships him 2 for winning his favour, one worships Agni for winning his favour. He who dives into many forests as if carving the wood with his flame, destroys even firm food 3 with his strength—he destroys even what is firm with his strength.
5. Let us place that power 1 of his in our neighbourhood 2—(that power) which is more visible by night than by day 3—(more visible) than by day to the unremitting 4 (worshipper). Therefore his life is a firm hold 5, like (a father's) safe refuge to a son: (the fires) that never grow old, tending to blessings enjoyed or not enjoyed (before) 6—the fires that never grow old, tending (to such blessings).
6. He indeed makes a mighty noise like the host of the Maruts, … 1 on the rich fields, … 1 on the … 1. He, the seizer, ate the offerings 2, he who has deservedly become the banner of the sacrifice. And when he joyously and joyfully (proceeds), all followed gladly on his path; men (have followed) his path as for a triumphal procession.
7. When forsooth the Kîstas 1 striving for heaven, when the Bhrigus have addressed him paying reverence—the Bhrigus producing him by attrition, with worship: Agni is the lord of goods, the bright one, who is their 2 supporter. May the wise one accept the wonted coverings 3; may the wise one accept them.
8. We invoke thee, the lord of all people, the common master of the house of all, to enjoy (the sacrifice): (we call) thee who truly art carried by prayers as by a vehicle 1 to enjoy (the sacrifice): the guest of men in whose presence (they live) as before a father's (face), and all those immortals (attain) to strength, and the offerings among the gods (attain) to strength.
9. Thou, O Agni, art born, the mightiest by might 1, for the divine world, the strongest one, like wealth for the divine world. For thy delight is most strong, and thy power is most brilliant. And
they walk around thee 2, O (god) who never growest old, like obedient (servants), O (god) who never growest old.
10. Let your praise go forth to the great Agni, who is mighty in his might, who awakens at dawn, like a winner of cattle 1—let it go forth to Agni. When (the worshipper) rich in offerings has loudly praised him 2 in all lands 3, he wakes 4 like a singer in front of the dawns 5, the flaming one (?), the Hotri (in front) of the dawns 5.
11. Thus being seen by us, bring near to us, O Agni, graciously united with the gods, benignantly, great wealth benignantly. Make us behold great (bliss of valiant offspring 1), O mightiest one, that we may obtain such enjoyment. Produce great bliss of valiant offspring, O bountiful Lord, (as fire is produced) by attrition, for those who praise thee, like a strong hero in thy might.
The Rishi is Parukkhepa Daivodâsi, the metre Atyashti (verse 6 Atidhriti).—Verses 1–3 = SV. II, 1163–1165. Verse 1 = SV. I, 465; VS. XV, 47; TS. IV, 4, 4, 8; MS. II, 13, 8; AV. XX, 67, 3.
Note 1. There is no doubt that the reading of the Rig-veda text vásum is correct; the Sâma-veda has vásoh. Comp. H. O., Prolegomena, p. 280.
Note 2. 'Is it a play on the word? Like a priest knowing all things?' M. M.
Note 3. There is a metrical irregularity in this Pâda; it has six syllables instead of five before the caesura. The text, however, seems to be correct.
Note 1. The first Pâda is Trishtubh instead of Gagatî. It would be easy to correct huvemahi, but that form is never found in the Rig-veda, though both huvema and havâmahe are frequent. Thus it is very probable that we have here a metrical irregularity of the type described by H. O., Prolegomena, p. 117.
Note 2. Comp. VIII, 60, 3. víprebhih sukra mánmabhih.
Note 3. If the explanation of párigman which we have adopted (see above, I, 79, 3, note 2) is correct, it will be impossible, of course, to accept Bergaigne's opinion (Rel. Véd., II, 505, note I) that the accusative dyâ´m is governed by párigmânam.
Note 1. In the second Pâda one syllable is wanting. The text seems to be correct, and the irregularity apparently is the typical one described by H. O., Prolegomena, p. 68 seq.: the Pâda has the tetrasyllabic beginning (before the caesura), and it goes on as if the beginning had been pentasyllabic. Several Pâdas of the same irregular structure occur in our hymn, thus in verse 9: tvám (read tuám) agne || sáhasâ sáhantamah; verse 10: prá vah mahé || sáhasâ sáhasvate; ushah-bûdhe || pasu-sé ná agnáye.
Note 2. The comparison parasúh ná, 'like an axe,' raises doubts as to the correctness of druham-taráh. Parasúh seems to point to a compound containing the element drú, 'wood;' comp. below, 130, 4; VII, 104, 21. The second member of the compound would be han, which is frequently used with the meaning of cutting wood (II, 14, 2; X, 89, 7). Thus the reading would be dru-hántarah (comp. vritra-hántamah), 'a mighty wood-cutter.' As to this use of the comparative, see Delbrück. Altindische Syntax, p. 196.
Note 3. Comp. V, 7, 2. yásya sámritau.
Note 4. Prof. Max Müller (Science of Thought, p. 325) . believes that the root sru occurs here in the sense of shaking. To me it seems that this srúvat is a misspelling
for srúvat. The opinion of Pischel and Geldner (Vedische Studien, I, p. vi) is different.
Note 5. The meaning of the comparison which I have indicated by the words in parentheses, becomes clear from VIII, 40, 1. vánâ-iva vâ´te ít.
Note 6. The two last Pâdas are very obscure. In the last Pâda but one ná would seem to be comparative, not negative, because it has the same meaning in the last Pâda, and because its vowel does not coalesce with the following initial vowel (comp. Benfey's dissertation, 'Behandlung des auslautenden a in ná "wie" and ná "nicht."' But then instead of yamate a substantive meaning something like 'hero' would be required. And also instead of the instrumental dhanva-sáhâ one should expect to find a nominative; comp. Benfey, Vedica and Linguistica, p. 180, note 1.—Prof. Max Müller translates: 'Holding out (or resisting) he stands firm, he does not budge; holding his bow he does not budge.'
Note 1. The words tégishthâbhih aránibhih are repeated, probably by the same poet, below, 129, 5.
Note 2. It may be observed that several times in the Parukkhepa hymns the parallelism between two subsequent Pâdas has corrupted the text, the reading of the one Pâda being wrongly introduced into the other. For instances I refer to I, 129, 11, where the last vaso has been added from the preceding Pâda, and to the last Pâda but one of I, 135, 4. Possibly our Pâda, which in its traditional form is metrically abnormal (comp., however, M. M.’s Hymns to the Maruts, 1st ed., p. cxii), has suffered damage in the same way. The comparison of I, 129, 5 would lead us to conjecture: tégishthâbhih aránibhih ná ávase. 'One worships him in order that he may grant his favour as if (he were to help us) with hottest kindling-sticks. One worships Agni in order that he may grant his favour.'
Note 3. Comp. IV, 7, 10. sthirâ´ kit ánnâ dayate ví gámbhaih. The food is the wood which Agni consumes.
Note 1. See Prof. von Roth's translation of this verse, Zeitschrift der D. Morg. Gesellschaft, XLVIII, 117. On prikshám, comp. M. M., vol. xxxii, p. 302; Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, p. 96 seq. The translation of such a word can only be tentative.
Note 2. To úparâsu something like vikshú (IV, 37, 3) seems to be supplied.
Note 3. Comp. the Latin expression, 'argutius quam verius.' Pischel, Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1884, p. 516 seq.; Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, p. 196.
Note 4. Áprâyus seems to be an anomalous formation, instead of áprâyu, unless we have to read áprâyuve. According to Pischel (Göttinger Gel. Anzeigen, 1890, p. 542), áprâyushe would mean 'dem der da lebt.' But I do not think that this áprâyus should be separated from áprâyu, which, as may be seen from I, 89, I compared with III, 5, 6 and X, 4, 7, is identical in meaning with, and evidently etymologically related to, áprayukkhant.
Note 5. Grábhanavat is the contrary of agrabhaná, I, 116, 5.
Note 6. Comp. III, 30, 7. ábhaktam kit bhagate.
Note 1. Ludwig: 'in den bebauten fluren zu verehren, auf den wüsten flächen zu verehren.' Prof. Max Müller observes with regard to ishtánih: 'it stanih, or ish + stanih (ish-kartâ), much thundering.' For â´rtanâ he proposes the translation, 'ploughed field.' I have left both words un-translated.
Note 2. Â´dat is imperfect of ad; there is a play upon words (â´dat and â-dadíh).
Note 1. Who the Kîstas (cf. Lanman, p. 346) are is not known. They seem, however, either to be identical with the Bhrigus or to be another ancient and probably mythical family of priests like them. They are mentioned also in VI, 67, 10.
Note 2. 'Their' refers to 'goods.'
Note 3. The fuel and libations with which Agni is covered?
Note 1. Vâ´has and its compounds, such as stómavâhas, ukthávâhas, gírvâhas, have been treated of by Dr. Neisser in his ingenious article on váhni, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XVIII, 301 seq. (comp. on váhni, vol. xxxii, p. 37 seq.). Dr. Neisser tries to show that by the side of váhni, derived from vah = Latin vehere, and meaning 'draught-horse' (and besides—though Dr. Neisser does not admit this, see p. 316—'a person that drives in a chariot'), there existed a second substantive váhni connected with the Greek εὔχεσθαι, and meaning both 'erhaben' and 'erhebend,' i. e. praising the gods (loc. cit., p. 314). With this second váhni he connects vâ´has and its compounds. One of the principal arguments of Dr. Neisser is the fact quite correctly stated by him (p. 301), that 'the word váhni very frequently associates itself to the term hótri, while it does not with the compounds havyaváh and havyavâ´hana.' This fact, indeed, points to the conclusion that 'those compounds belong to another sphere of ideas than váhni' (p. 302). But Dr. Neisser seems to me to go too far in concluding that váhni, standing as an epithet of Agni, is not derived from vah = vehere. Agni's action consists not only in carrying the sacrificial food to the gods, but also in carrying the gods to the sacrifice of men, and in coming to that sacrifice himself with his chariot and his horses. Nor do the words stómavâhas or ukthávâhas, if derived from vah = vehere, necessarily presuppose the admissibility of expressions such as 'uktham (stomam) vahati viprah devân akkha' (p. 303), but those compounds may also rest on an idea conveyed by expressions such as 'uktham (stomah) vahati devân upa yagñam,' which idea is quite Vedic. Thus stómavâhas in my opinion means, as an epithet of the god, 'carried by the stoma as by a vehicle' (comp. VII, 24, 5. eshá stómah mahé ugrâ´ya vâ´he dhurí-iva átyah ná vâgáyan adhâyi). or, as an epithet of the human worshippers, fitting out the
stoma as a vehicle.' I believe that the words in question can thus be explained in conformity with the whole range of Vedic thought, and the artificial distinction of two different substantives váhni, &c., will be avoided. For special indications pointing in the same direction, which are furnished by the passages which contain the words here treated of, I refer to Bergaigne, Religion Védique, II, 286 seq., and to the article of Dr. Neisser himself, p. 321 seq.
Note 1. On the metrical irregularity, see above, verse 3, note 1.
Note 2. Te seems to stand for the accusative, comp. Pischel, Zeitschrift der D. Morgenl. Gesellschaft, XXXV, 714 seq.; Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, 205. Or may the meaning be: and thy (worshippers) walk around thee … like obedient (servants)?'
Note 1. On the metre, see above, verse 3, note 1. Prof. Max Müller translates, 'like a hunter for cattle.'
Note 2. The phrase vísvâsu kshâ´su góguve occurs also, V, 64, 2. The same hymn contains the word su-ketúnâ, which is found in the eleventh verse of our hymn.
Note 3. Literally, 'on all earths.' Comp. X, 2, 6. nrivátîh ánu kshâ´h.
Note 4. Garate, 'he wakes,' at the same time can mean 'he sings,' and 'he is praised.' Comp. Neisser, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, X III, 298.
Note 5. The translation 'dawn' is conjectural only. But it gives a good meaning in all the passages which contain the word rishûnâ´m (besides our passage, V, 25, 1; VIII, 71, 15; X, 6, 1). Prof. Max Müller translates the last two Pâdas: 'he sings like Rebha at the head of all singers, like a clever Hotri among the singers.'—Comp. Lanman, p. 424.
Note 1. I supply suvî´ryam; see the last Pâda but one.