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Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg [1897], at

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1. Lo, that beautiful splendour of the god, when he was born of strength, has truly come to be a wondrous sight. Though he slinks away 1, the prayer goes straight to him 2. They have led forward the flowing streams of Rita.

2. The powerful one 1, rich in food, the true (friend of men) has entered the wondrous (body) 2. His second (form of existence) is in the seven kind mothers 3. The ten young females 4 have brought the third (form) of this bull forth, him the guardian, in order to milk him.

3. When the rulers, the liberal lords brought him forth by their power out of the depth, out of the buffalo's shape 1, when from of old 2 at the purification of the sweet drink 3 Mâtarisvan produces the hidden one (i. e. Agni) by attrition—

4. When he is led forward from the highest father 1, he climbs up the … 2, the plants in his (or, in their?) houses. When 3 both (Heaven and Earth or the two Aranis?) promote his birth, then the youngest one became bright by his heat 4.

5. Then he entered upon the mothers 1 in whom he the bright one grew up far and wide unimpaired 2. When he has climbed up to the former (mothers) who from of old incite (him) 3, he runs down in the younger, later (or, nearer) ones.

1. Then in the strivings for the day 2 they choose him Hotri. As if to swell their good fortune they

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strive towards him 3, when praised by many he moves everywhere with wisdom and power to the gods and to the praise of mortals 4 for (bringing them) refreshing drink.

7. When he has scattered himself, the worshipful one, driven by the wind, like … 1, with the sound (which he produces) (?), he whom it is not possible to drive to a place (like cattle): on the flight of the burning one who speeds on his black way, whose birth is bright, who strays everywhere to the atmosphere … 2.

8. Like a chariot that goes forward, he goes to Heaven with his ruddy limbs, adorned with his locks of flames 1. Then his black (clouds of smoke), O burning one (?), the liberal ones (?) (appear) 2. The birds flee as before the fierceness of a hero 3.

9. Through thee indeed, O Agni, Varuna whose laws are firm, Mitra and Aryaman, the givers of good rain, are glorious, when thou the mighty one hast been born, everywhere encompassing with wisdom (all beings), as the felly encompasses the spokes of a wheel.

10. Thou, O Agni, youngest (god), furtherest treasures and (the friendship of) the gods for him who performs worship, who presses Soma. May we thus establish thee the young one, O young (son) of strength, possessor of great treasures, like the winner in a race 1.

11. Make good fortune 1 swell for us like well-employed wealth belonging to the house, and like firm ability 2—(fortune) which can hold both races 3 like reins: and being full-of good-will in (the sphere of) Rita, (fill our) praise of the gods (with rich reward).

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12. And may the brilliant, joyful Hotri with quick horses, with a shining chariot hear us. May he, the wise Agni, lead us on the best leading (paths) to happy welfare and to bliss.

13. Agni has been praised with powerful 1 songs, he who has been brought forward furthermore for sovereignty. May both those our liberal lords and we ourselves spread out 2 (our power over all foes) as the sun (spreads out its light and by it destroys) the mist.


The same Rishi. The metre is Gagatî; the two last verses again are Trishtubh.—None of its verses occurs in the other Samhitâs.

Verse 1.

Note 1. The meaning seems to be that if Agni be unwilling to officiate at the sacrifice, the prayer nevertheless reaches its aim and induces him to do his duty as the divine Hotri.

Note 2. The verb sâdh is very frequently connected with substantives such as dhíyah or the like. Comp. also matînâ´m ka sâ´dhanam, X, 26, 4.

Verse 2.

Note 1. It seems probable that priksháh is the nominative of prikshá, and not the genitive of priksh. Comp. VI, 8, 1, where it is said of Agni 'prikshásya vshnah arushásya.' On the meaning of prikshá, see above, I, 127, 5, note 1.

Note 2. The poet seems clearly to describe the second and third form of Agni's existence, his dwelling in the waters and his birth from the fire-sticks. But he is less explicit with regard to the first form. The epithet pitumâ´n

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would seem to point to Agni as the sacrificial fire and the receiver of offerings. But it is rather strange that this form of the god should be distinguished from the Agni procreated by the ten females, i. e. produced by the ten fingers, by the attrition of the kindling-sticks.—Prof. Max Müller differs from me in referring the words dásapramatim ganayanta yóshanah, not to the third form of Agni, but to Agni in general. He translates: 'The powerful one, rich in food, rests always on that wondrous sight (Agni on the altar, gârhapatya Agni). The second rests in the seven kind mothers (vidyudrûpa; Agni in the clouds); the third is for milking the powerful one (Agni as the sun, âdityarûpa)—the ten maidens (the fingers) have brought forth the guardian.'

Note 3. Grassmann no doubt is right in proposing to read saptá sivâ´su. Of course the waters are alluded to.

Note 4. Read dása prámatim (Boehtlingk-Roth). On Agni as the son of the ten fingers, comp. Bergaigne, II, 7.

Verse 3.

Note 1. The buffalo Agni was hidden in the depth. Comp. X, 8, 1. apâ´m upá-sthe mahisháh vavardha; I, 95, 9. budhnám vi-rókamânam mahishásya dhâ´ma.

Note 2. The preposition ánu seems to stand here with an ablative (pra-dívah).

Note 3. The literal meaning of mádhvah â-dhavé is indicated by passages such as I, 109, 4. â´ dhâvatam mádhunâ; IX, 11, 5. mádhâv â´ dhâvata mádhu. Comp. also âdhavanîya. On the washing of the Soma which is technically designated by the verb â-dhâv, see H. O., Göttinger Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1890, p. 426 seq.; Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, I, 216.—The purification of the sweet drink, at which Agni is produced, was probably achieved by the tempest.

Verse 4.

Note 1. The highest father is Heaven.

Note 2. The meaning of prikshúdhah is unknown.

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Note 3. Yát is repeated twice, as yásya in X, 121, 2. yásya vísve upa-â´sate pra-sísham yásya devâ´h.

Note 4. On ghrinâ´, comp. Lanman, Noun-Inflection, 335.

Verse 5.

Note 1. The mothers are the Waters.

Note 2. The reading, very probably, ought to be vivâvridhé.

Note 3. Boehtlingk-Roth believe that the reading ought to be sanâyúvah or sanâ-gúrah. Sanâ-gúrah (cf. sanâ-gúrâ pitárâ, IV, 36, 3) seems to me quite possible, although there is no positive necessity for abandoning the traditional reading.—The 'former' mothers may be the heavenly Waters; the mothers in whom Agni runs down are the rivers. Prof. Max Müller adds that the former mothers may possibly be 'the burnt pieces of wood. Agni runs up in them, then leaves them to burn new pieces.'

Verse 6.

Note 1. On the whole verse, compare Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, 217.

Note 2. Comp. above, I, 45, 7, note 1.

Note 3. The second Pâda is translated by Pischel: 'Wie in einen König drängen sie in ihn, wenn sie (Trank)opfer darbringen.' But verse 11 shows that bhágam depends on paprikânâ´sah.

Note 4. Comp. III, 16, 4. â´ devéshu … â´ sámse utá nrinâ´m.

Verse 7.

Note 1. The translation of hvâráh is quite uncertain. The same must be said of the rest of this Pâda.

Note 2. The sentence is incomplete.

Verse 8.

Note 1. On síkvan (or síkvas), comp. M. M.’s note, vol. xxxii, p. 318; Hübschmann, Vocalsystem, p. 186. The translation is only tentative.—Two syllables are wanting;

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we may propose a reading like síkvabhih párishkritah (comp. H. O., Prolegomena, 76, note 3).

Note 2. This passage is most obscure. The first words of the Pâda are the same as above, 140, 5. The 'black ones' probably are the dark clouds of smoke that surround Agni. But it is very strange that these clouds should be designated as sûráyah, 'liberal ones.' And the vocative (?) dakshi (Padapâtha dhakshi), instead of which we should at least expect daksho or dakshin, is no less strange. The text seems thoroughly corrupt.

Note 3. See Lanman, p. 557.

Verse 10.

Note 1. Comp. Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 121.

Verse 11.

Note 1. Comp. above, verse 6, Pâda 2.

Note 2. Comp. VIII, 24, 14. dáksham priñkántam.

Note 3. The human and the divine race. I do not believe that Dr. Neisser (Zur Vedischen Verballehre, 17) is right in interpreting yámati as an indicative.

Verse 13.

Note 1. The translation of símîvadbhih is only tentative. Símî (I, 151, 1) cannot be identical with sámî.

Note 2. Níh tatanyuh (nísh tatanyuh, Samhitâpâtha) of course is derived from tan, not from stan. Comp. I, 105, 12. satyám tâtâna sû´ryah; IV, 5, 13. sû´rah várnena tatanan ushâ´sah, &c.

Next: I, 142. Âprî Hymn