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

p. 248



1. They who have risen out of the drink of the white-backed one, have entered the two parents, the seven sounds. The (all-)encompassing parents come together; they go forth to aspire after long life 1.

2. The milch-cows dwelling in heaven 1 are the mares of the manly one. He has bestridden the goddesses who carry the sweet (food) 2. Thee who livest in peace in the abode of Rita, the one cow 3 circumambulates, making her way.

3. He has mounted the (mares) 1 that became well-manageable, the wise lord, the finder of riches. He with the dark blue back, with many faces, has made them depart from the drink of the brush-wood 2.

4. Giving mighty vigour to the never-ageing son of Tvashtri 1, the streams 2 carry Him the firmly fixed one. Flashing in his abode with his limbs he has entered upon the two worlds as if they were one.

5. They know friendship towards the manly, the red one, and they delight in the command of ruddy (Agni), (the gods) shining from heaven, resplendent with bright shine, to whose host Ilâ belongs, the mighty praise.

6. And finding it out by following the noise they brought to the great one's great parents a song of praise, when the bull about nightfall (?) has grown strong according to the singer's own law 1.

p. "9"

7. With the five Adhvaryus the seven priests watch the beloved footstep which the bird has made 1. Turned forwards the never-ageing bulls 2 rejoice: for they, being gods, have followed the laws of the gods.

8 = III, 4, 7.

9. The many (mares) are full of desire for the mighty stallion. For the manly, bright one, the reins easily direct (the horses) 1. Divine Hotri! Thou who art a great joy-giver and wise, bring hither the great gods and the two worlds 2.

10. The dawns, O wealth-giver, the mighty sacrificers 1, well spoken and bright have shone with wealth. And by the earth's greatness 2, O Agni, forgive us even committed sin 3, that we may be great.

11 = III, 1, 23.


The same Rishi and metre.—No verse of this hymn occurs in the other Samhitâs.

Verse 1.

Note 1. On the meaning of this difficult verse conjectures only can be given. The white-backed one may be Agni. If this is right, 'they who have risen out of Agni's drink,' may be Agni's rays or flames (ye rasmayah … prakarshenodgakkhanti, Sâyana); these flames enter upon the two mothers, i. e. Heaven and Earth, and upon the seven sounds, the sacrificial songs which are identified with the terrestrial and celestial seven rivers (comp. above, III, 1, 6). All this rests on the supposition that the traditional text is correct. Now Ludwig remarks with reference

p. 250

to the pronoun yé: 'Warscheinlicher ist, dass wir hier eine archaistische anwendung der form auf e für fem. vor uns haben,' and Griffith says that yé is 'apparently used for the feminine.' I do not believe in this possibility, but for yé (yá) the true reading may be yâ´(h). In this case the seven vânîs would be subject: 'They who have risen out of the drink of the white-backed one, the seven sounds have entered the two parents.' The meaning of this may be: The sacrificial songs, rising as it were out of the offering made to Agni, and in the same way the streams of water which, in the shape of clouds of smoke rise out of the offering (comp. I, 164, 51), have gone to Heaven and Earth.

That the parents in the third Pâda are again Heaven and Earth is shown by X, 65, 8. parikshítâ pitárâ … dyâ´vâprithivî´. It may be observed that the author of X, 65 (see especially the verses 6–8) evidently imitated the expressions of the hymn, III, 7. 'The coming together of Heaven and Earth marks the beginning of the day and of the year.' M. M.

Verse 2.

Note 1. On divákshas, comp. Joh. Schmidt, Pluralbildungen der Neutra, 417 seq.

Note 2. The milch-cows, mares, or goddesses seem to be the celestial waters or Dawns.

Note 3. Comp. X, 65, 6, quoted at the end of this note. Is the cow (Vâk, according to Sâyana) the Dawn which daily returns in her due way? Or the butter offered to Agni? In our verse and in the parallel passage, X, 65, 6, the vartaní of the cow is mentioned; it may be observed that the vartaní of Ushas is referred to in X, 172, 1. 4. And Ushas is represented in I, 123, 9 as coming to the nishkritá: comp. X, 65, 6. yâ´ gaúh vartaním pari-éti nih-kritám.

Verse 3.

Note 1. See verse 2.

Note 2. The meaning may possibly be the following. The Waters dwell in the plants as their sap (comp. H. O.,

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[paragraph continues] Religion des Veda, 113). Agni, when burning or drinking as it were, the brushwood, destroys this dwelling of the Waters; he makes the Waters depart from the wood.

Verse 4.

Note 1. On Agni as the son of Tvashtri, see Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, I, 522 seq.

Note 2. 'Could vahátah be the suyámâh of verse 3?' M. M.

Verse 6.

Note 1. Or, 'when the singer's bull … has grown strong according to his own law'? The bull, of course, is Agni.

Verse 7.

Note 1. See above, 5, 5. 6.

Note 2. The flames of Agni?

Verse 9.

Note 1. Rasmáyah, 'the reins,' at the same time means 'the rays' (of Agni). Suyâmâ´h being an apposition to rasmáyah, one is tempted to derive it from the root yam, 'to direct,' but it may contain the word yâ´ma, 'the way,' and mean 'having a good way.'—It is difficult to believe that rasmáyah suyâmâ´h is a second subject of vrishâyánte, in which case the translation would be: 'The many (mares) are desirous of the mighty stallion, the … reins (or rays) of the manly, bright one.'

Note 2. 'Bring hither to the two worlds the great gods.' M. M.

Verse 10.

Note 1. On prikshá-prayagah, comp. M. M., val. xxxii, p. 335; Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, 98.

Note 2. The meaning seems to be: By thy greatness which is equal to that of the earth.

Note 3. Comp. X, 63, 8. kritâ´t ákritât énasah. See also I, 24, 9; VI, 51, 8.

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