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

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1. Thee, O Agni, the gods concordantly have ever set to work as their divine steward; with this intention 1 they have set thee to work. They have generated 2 thee, O worshipful one 2, the immortal among the mortals, the wise, god-loving god; they have generated every wise, god-loving (Agni) 3.

2. Do thou, [O Agni 1,] turn to brother Varuna, towards the gods 2 with thy kindness 3, to (Varuna) who accepts the sacrifice, to the eldest (god) who accepts the sacrifice, the righteous Âditya who supports the (human) tribes, the king who supports the (human) tribes.

3. O friend, turn to thy friend (Varuna), as a wheel of a chariot 1 rapidly (follows) the swift (horse), for our sake, O wonderful one, rapidly. O Agni, find mercy (for us) with Varuna, with the all-brilliant Maruts. Bless (us), O flaming one, that we may propagate ourselves, that we may press onward; bless us, O wonderful one!

4. Mayst thou, O Agni, who knowest Varuna, deprecate for us the god's anger. Being the best sacrificer, the best carrier (of the gods), flaming, remove from us all hatred.

5. As such, O Agni, be for us the lowest  1 (god) with thy help, our nearest (friend) while this dawn shines forth. Being liberal (towards us), cause, by sacrificing, Varuna to go away from us. Love mercy; readily hear our call.

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6. His, the fortunate god's, appearance is excellent, and most brilliant among mortals. Like the bright, heated butter of the cow (the appearance) of the god is lovely, like the bountifulness of a milch-cow.

7. Three 1 are those highest, true, and lovely births of this god Agni. Being enveloped in the infinite 2 he has come hither, the bright, brilliant, shining Aryan.

8. He, the messenger, longs for all seats, the Hotri with the golden chariot, with the lovely tongue, with the red horses, of marvellous appearance, brilliant, always lovely like an assembly abundant in food.

9. He, the kinsman of sacrifice, has enlightened men 1. They lead him forward by a great rope 2. He dwells in his (the mortal's) dwelling, accomplishing (his task). The god has obtained the companionship of the mortal.

10. May this Agni, the knowing one, lead us to the god-given treasure which belongs to him 1. That (treasure) which all the immortals have created by their thought, which Dyaus, the father, the begetter (has created): that real (treasure) they have besprinkled 2.

11. He has been born in the dwellings as the first, at the bottom of the great (air) 1, in the womb of this air 2, footless, headless, hiding both his ends, drawing towards himself (his limbs?), in the nest of the bull 3.

12. The host 1 came forth wonderfully at first, in the womb of Rita, in the nest of the bull 2, lovely and young, of marvellous appearance, and brilliant 3. Seven friends 4 were born for the bull.

13. Here our human fathers have sat down 1,

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aspiring after Rita 2. Invoking the dawns 3, they have driven out the milch-cows which dwelt in the rock-stable, in the prison.

14. Having rent the rock they cleaned themselves. Others around told forth that (deed) of theirs. Taking … as an instrument (?) 1, they sang triumphantly 2. They found the light; they chanted their prayers.

15. Longing for the cows in their mind, those men, the Usig1, have opened with godly words the fast-holding, closed rock, which enclosed and encompassed the cows, the firm stable full of cows.

16. They have devised the first name of the milch-cow; they have found the three times seven highest (names or essences) of the mother 1. The hosts 2, understanding this, acclaimed. The red one 3 became visible through the brilliant (milk?) 4 of the cow.

17. The confused 1 darkness disappeared; the sky appeared in splendour; the shine of the goddess Dawn rose up. The Sun ascended to the wide plains, beholding right and wrong deeds among the mortals.

18. Then, afterwards, being awoke they looked around; then they took that treasure given by Heaven, all the gods in all the houses. O Mitra, may true (fulfilment) belong to (our) prayer, O Varuna!

19. I will address flaming Agni, the Hotri, the supporter of everything 1, the best sacrificer. He has perforated, as it were, the pure udder of the cows, (and has made flow the milk) purified like the poured sap of the Soma shoots.

20. He, the Aditi (i. e. the freedom) of all the

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worshipful gods, the guest 1 of all men, Agni, choosing (for us) the protection of all gods—may he, Gâtavedas, be merciful.


The Rishi is Vâmadeva, the metre Trishtubh, except in verses 1–3, the metres of which are Ashti, Atigagatî, and Dhriti respectively.—Verses 4–5 = VS. XXI, 3–4; TS. II, 5, 12, 3; IV, 2, 11, 3; TB. III, 7, 11, 3; 12, 6; TÂ. II, 4, 4; IV, 20, 3; MS. IV, 10, 4; 14, 17. Verse 20 = VS. XXXIII, 16; TB. II, 7, 12, 5.—The hymn has been translated and commented upon by Bergaigne, Quarante Hymnes du Rig-véda, p. 11 seq.

This Sûkta seems to be composed of two independent hymns. Grassmann believed that the first three verses are the fragment of one hymn, and that verses 4–20 form a second hymn. His reason was that verses 1–3 are composed in metres similar to Atyashti, while the rest are composed in Trishtubh. I think that he was on the right way, but his opinion should be slightly modified. In verses 1–5 Agni is invoked to appease the anger of Varuna; while, on the other hand, no allusion to Varuna occurs in verses 6–20. I believe, therefore, that the first hymn should be considered as consisting of verses 1–5; it is composed in the metres of the Atyashti class (1–3) with two concluding Trishtubh verses (4, 5). The second hymn comprises the verses 6–20. The arrangers of the Samhitâ, however, considered these two hymns as one, as is shown by the position which they have assigned to it, before the second Sûkta, which has the same number of verses (20) as this first Sûkta. Comp. my Prolegomena, p. 141.

Verse 1.

Note 1. I. e. with the intention that he should act as the steward of the gods. As to íti krátvâ, comp. I, 138, 3. íti

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krátvâ bubhugriré. Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, p. 530, paraphrases íti krátvâ: mit Entschluss 'so sei es.'

Note 2. Sâyana, whom Ludwig follows, seems to be right in explaining yagata as a vocative ('yaganîya'), and ganata as 3rd plural ('aganayan'). Bergaigne takes both forms as 2nd plural imperative: 'honorez l’immortel chez les mortels; engendrez le Dieu qui honore les Dieux.'

Note 3. I cannot believe that Bergaigne is right in translating vísvam â´devam, 'celui qui honore tous les Dieux.' His theory is that vísvam dépend … de â´, qui logiquement gouverne le terme devá à l’accusatif.'

Verse 2.

Note 1. The metre shows, as Benfey (Vedica und Verwandtes, p. 19, note 1) has pointed out, that this vocative agne is a spurious addition.

Note 2. Should we not read devám? 'Turn to brother Varuna with thy kindness, towards the god who accepts the sacrifice.'

Note 3. Or 'for the sake of his kindness,' 'for winning his favour (for the mortals)'? Sumatî´ may be dative; see Lanman, p. 382; Brugmann, Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik, II, p. 602. Comp. I, 186, 10. ákkhâ sumnâ´ya vavritîya devâ´n, 'may I turn to the gods for the sake of their favour.'

Verse 3.

Note 1. I believe that ráthyeva (Padapâtha ráthyâ-iva) stands for ráthyam-iva. Comp. Lanman, p. 331; Roth, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, XLVIII, p. 681 seq. Prof. Max Müller refers ráthyâ-iva to two horses; he translates: 'O friend, bring hither thy friend, as two swift chariot-horses bring rapidly a swift wheel.'

Verse 5.

Note 1. I. e. the nearest to men.

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Verse 7.

Note 1. Literally 'thrice.' But I think that we should correct trî´ ('three'). The same blunder seems to occur in III, 56, 5. trî´ sadhásthâ sindhavah tríh (read trî´) kavînâ´m, 'Three are your abodes. O rivers; three (are those) of the sages.' Comp. also III, 56, 8; I, 116, 4.

Note 2. This seems to mean, in the infinite sky.

Verse 9.

Note 1. Mánushah seems to be acc. plur.; comp. VII, 86, 7. áketayat akítah, 'he has enlightened the unenlightened ones.' Bergaigne takes mánushah as a genitive depending on yagñábandhuh, 'fils du sacrifice de Manus.'

Note 2. Bergaigne compares IX, 87, 1, where it is said that they lead Soma to the sacrificial grass like a horse by ropes (ákkhâ barhíh rasanâ´bhih nayanti). Sâyana says, stutirûpayâ raggvâ, 'by a rope which has the shape of praises.'

Verse 10.

Note 1. Comp. below, verse 18.

Note 2. I. e. anointed, adorned. 'Poured down.' M. M.

Verse 11.

Note 1. Maháh budhné seems to mean, maháhgasah budhné; comp. rágasah budhnám, I, 52, 6; budhné rágasah, II, 2, 3; maháhgasah, I, 6, 10; rágasah maháh, I, 168, 6; mahî´ rágasî, IX, 68, 3.

Note 2. With the second Pâda, compare IV, 17, 14. tvakáh budhné rágasah asya yónau.

Note 3. The bull seems to be Agni himself. Comp. verse 12.

Verse 12.

Note 1. The word sárdha (or sárdhah? see note 3), which in most passages is applied to the host of the Maruts (see vol. xxxii, p. 67 seq.), seems here to refer to the company of the Aṅgiras or seven Rishis, alluded to in the fourth

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[paragraph continues] Pâda. The seven Rishis, 'our fathers' (verse 13), have, with the aid of Agni, rent the mountain and delivered the cows or dawns (verses 13 seqq.; IV, 2, 15 seq.). Comp. H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 145 seq.

Note 2. The bull again seems to be Agni. Comp. verse 11, note 3.

Note 3. Do these epithets (comp. verse 8, Pâda 3) refer to the sárdha (host)? Or are they applied to Agni, so that we would have to translate: 'Lovely was the young one (Agni), of marvellous appearance, and brilliant'? In this way Bergaigne interprets the passage. If this translation is right, sárdhah may be considered as neuter, and the first Pâda could be translated: The first host came forth wonderfully.

Note 4. Evidently the seven Rishis (see note 1). Bergaigne: Les sept prières? ou les sept rivières?

Verse 13.

Note 1. The seven Rishis sat down for chanting and sacrificing, by which they have opened the mountain-prison of the cows.

Note 2. The mention of Rita in this connection is both Vedic and Avestic. Comp. Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, p. 146; H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 144, note 2.

Note 3. The cows in this myth seem to be a mythical representation of the dawns. Comp. M. M., Science of Language, II, p. 584; H. O., Religion des Veda, pp. 147, 149 seq.

Verse 14.

Note 1. Pasváyantra (comp. slókayantra, IX, 73, 6) is quite doubtful. Does there exist a stem pasva, meaning possibly, 'the herd of cattle'? And can we translate, they who had their (battering-?) machines directed on the cow-herds'? Or, 'holding the herds with their instruments (i. e. with the ropes used for drawing the cows out of the cavern)'?—Prof. Max Müller suggests the translation, 'the cattle-drivers,' and writes, 'Does it stand for pasu-yantrâsah?

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[paragraph continues] Yantra seems the same as yoktra, or something like it, cf. X, 94, 7, 8. Pasuyantra would be they who hold the ropes of the cattle, who drive them away.' Bergaigne's translation, 'n’ayant rien (d’autre) pour conduire le bétail' (pasu-ayantra), and that of Roth ('die der Sperre ledigen Thiere [pasvah ayantrâsah] erhoben ein Freudengeschrei,' Zeitschr. der D. Morg. Gesellschaft, XLVIII, 678), do not carry conviction, nor does a conjecture like pasvâ´ yantâ´rah ('the leaders of the cattle together with the cattle itself shouted triumphantly'), seem to furnish a satisfying solution of the difficulty.

Note 2. See Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 120.

Verse 15.

Note 1. On the Usigs, compare Bergaigne's Religion Védique, I, 57 seq.

Verse 16.

Note 1. The mother seems again to be the cow, or more exactly the Dawn considered as the mother of the cows (mâtâ´ gávâm, IV, 52, 2. 3; VII, 77, 2), and as the mother of the Rishis (IV, 2, 15). Comp. V, 45, 2. â´ ûrvâ´t gávâm mâtâ´ gânatî´ gat. The seven names of the cow are mentioned also in I, 164, 3, its three times seven names, in VII, 87, 4.

Note 2. Bergaigne (Quarante Hymnes, p. 14) and Pischel (Ved. Studien, II, 121 seq.) give to the word vrâ the meaning 'woman' (Bergaigne: 'femme,' particulièrement 'femme en rut,' 'femme amoureuse'). I prefer to follow the opinion of Bechtel, Nachrichten der Göttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, philolog.-historische Klasse, 1894, p. 393 seq. The hosts seem to be the assembly of the Rishis.

Note 3. The dawn.

Note 4. Comp. IX, 81, 1 (H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 147, note 1). dadhnâ´ yát îm únnîtâh yasásâ gávâm, 'When (the Somas) have been drawn, together with the brilliant curds of the cow.' The brilliant milk of the cow which the

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[paragraph continues] Rishis have obtained, seems to be considered as a magical means for procuring to men the aspect of the brilliant light of the dawn. Comp. H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 450.

Verse 17.

Note 1. On dúdhitam, comp. Geldner, Ved. Studien, II, 9, and see Rig-veda II, 17, 4; IV, 16, 4.

Verse 19.

Note 1. Comp. vol. xxxii, p. 330 (V, 54, 10, note 1).

Verse 20.

Note 1. 'Guest' is átithih; the play on words (áditih and átithih) is untranslatable.

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