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

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1. The Hotri 1 goes forward 2 (in order to fulfil) his duty by his wonderful power, directing upwards the brightly adorned prayer. He steps towards the (sacrificial) ladles which are turned to the right 3 and which first kiss his foundation 4.

2. They have greeted with shouts the streams of Rita 1 which were hidden at the birthplace of the god, at his seat. When He dwelt dispersed in the lap of the waters, he drank the draughts by (the power of) which he moves 2.

3. Two (beings) of the same age 1 try to draw that wonderful shape (Agni) towards themselves, progressing in turns towards a common aim 2. Then he is to be proclaimed by us like a winner 3 (in a contest). The charioteer 4 (governs all things) as if pulling in the reins of a draught-horse.

4. He whom two (beings) of the same age 1 serve, two twins dwelling together in one common abode, the gray one has been born as a youth by night as by day 2, the ageless one who wanders through many generations of men.

5. The prayers, the ten fingers 1 stir him up. We, the mortals, call him, the god, for his protection. From the dry land he hastens to the declivities 2. With those who approached him he has established new rules 3.

6. Thou indeed, O Agni, reignest by thy own nature over the heavenly and over the terrestrial

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world as a shepherd (takes care of his cattle). These two variegated, great (goddesses) striving for gloriousness, the golden ones who move crookedly 1, have approached thy sacrificial grass.

7. Agni! Be gratified and accept graciously this prayer, O joy-giver, independent one, who art born in the Rita, good-willed one, whose face is turned towards us from all sides, conspicuous one, gay in thy aspect, like a dwelling-place rich in food 1.


The same Rishi. Metre, Gagatî.—No verse occurs in the other Samhitâs.

Verse 1.

Note 1. The Hotri is Agni.

Note 2. Comp. III, 27, 7, where it is said of Agni: purástât eti mâyáyâ.—The poet says éti prá, and not prá eti, in order to avoid the hiatus.

Note 3. Comp. below, III, 6, 1. dakshinâ-vâ´t.

Note 4. 'Which first, i. e. at the time when the sacrificial vessels are put down, kiss his dhâman (foundation), i. e. the place of Agni.' Sâyana.

Verse 2.

Note 1. Comp. IX, 75, 3. abhí îm ritásya dohánâh anûshata, and VIII, 12, 32. nâ´bhâ yagñásya dohánâ prá adhvaré. I take dohánâh as acc. plur. of an abstract noun dohánâ formed like garánâ, bhandánâ, &c. But possibly it might be the nom. plur. either of the same noun or of a nomen agentis dohána: 'the streams of Rita (the libations?) or the milkers of Rita, hidden at the birthplace of the god, have greeted him with shouts.' It would

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be difficult, however, to say why the milkers of Rita (i. e. the priests?) are called 'hidden at the birthplace of the god.' Prof. Max Müller thinks of a reading parîvtah, 'surrounding Agni.' He refers the 'streams of Rita' (nom.) to the water, cf. I, 105, 12. ritám arshanti síndhavah.

Note 2. Svadhâ´h adhayat yâ´bhih î´yate. In my opinion svadhâ´ means 'the inherent power,' 'the power of moving according to one's own will,' and then the drink which confers this power on a being, especially on the dead ancestors.—Comp. M. M., vol. xxxii, p. 32 seq.; H. O., Religion des Veda, 531, note 2.

Verse 3.

Note 1. According to Sâyana the two beings spoken of here and in the next verse are the Hotri and the Adhvaryu.

Note 2. See I, 130, 5. ayuñgata samânám ártham ákshitam; III, 6i, 3. samânám ártham karanîyámânâ.

Note 3. On bhágah ni hávyah, see Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 121.

Note 4. The charioteer is Agni.

Verse 4.

Note 1. See verse 3, note 1.

Note 2. Comp. Gaedicke, Der Accusativ, p. 175. He translates: 'bei Tage noch bei Nacht ergrauend.'

Verse 5.

Note 1. Vrís (ἅπαξ λεγόμενον) is ranged in the Nighantus among the aṅgulinâmâni and explained by Sâyana accordingly. The word seems indeed to mean 'finger.' Compare with our passage IX, 8, 4; 15, 8; 93, 1; 97, 57.

Note 2. Comp. I, 33, 4. dhánoh ádhi vishunák té vi âyan, and especially X, 4, 3. dhánoh ádhi pravátâ yâsi háryan. I cannot follow Pischel (Vedische Studien, II, 69 seq.) in explaining these passages. 'Over the heavenly expanse he hastens down towards us.' M. M.

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Note 3. See Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, 300. Like Pischel I do not know who 'they who approached Agni' are. Possibly the worshippers or priests are alluded to. 'He received new praises with (or from) those who approached him.' M. M.

Verse 6.

Note 1. Sâyana explains the two female beings here in question as Heaven and Earth. Does the 'crooked movement' refer to the daily revolution of the sky?

Verse 7.

Note 1. The last Pâda recurs X, 64, 11.

Next: I, 145