Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, [1891], at

p. 312



To the Maruts (the Storm-gods).

1. O Syâvâsva, sing boldly with 1 the Maruts, the singers who, worthy themselves of sacrifice, rejoice in their guileless glory 2 according to their nature.

2. They are indeed boldly the friends of strong power; they on their march protect all who by themselves are full of daring 1.

3. Like rushing bulls, these Maruts spring over 1 the dark cows (the clouds) 2, and then we perceive the might of the Maruts in heaven and on earth.

4. Let us boldly offer praise and sacrifice to your Maruts, to all them who protect the generation of men, who protect the mortal from injury.

5. They who are worthy, bounteous, men of perfect strength, to those heavenly Maruts who are worthy of sacrifice, praise the sacrifice!

6. The tall men 1, coming near with their bright chains, and their weapon, have hurled forth their spears. Behind these Maruts there came by itself the splendour of heaven, like laughing lightnings 2.

7. Those who have grown up on earth, or in the wide sky, or in the realm of the rivers, or in the abode of the great heaven,

8. Praise that host of the Maruts, endowed with true strength and boldness 1, whether those rushing heroes have by themselves harnessed (their horses) for triumph,

9. Or whether these brilliant Maruts have in the (speckled) cloud clothed themselves in wool 1, or

p. 313

whether by their strength they cut the mountain asunder with the tire of their chariot;

10. Call them comers, or goers, or enterers, or followers, under all these names, they watch on the straw 1 for my sacrifice.

11. The men (the Maruts) watch, and their steeds watch. Then, so brilliant are their forms to be seen, that people say, Look at the strangers 1!

12. In measured steps 1 and wildly shouting 2 the gleemen 3 have danced toward the well (the cloud). They who appeared one by one like thieves, were helpers to me to see the light 4.

13. Worship, therefore, O seer, that host of Maruts, and keep and delight them with your voice, they who are themselves wise 1 poets, tall heroes armed with lightning-spears.

14. Approach, O seer, the host of Maruts, as a woman approaches a friend, for a gift 1; and you, Maruts, bold in your strength 2, hasten hither, even from heaven, when you have been praised by our hymns.

15. If he, after perceiving them, has approached them as gods with an offering, then may he for a gift remain united with the brilliant (Maruts), who by their ornaments are glorious on their march.

16. They, the wise 1 Maruts, the lords, who, when there was inquiry for their kindred, told me of the cow, they told me of Prisni as their mother, and of the strong Rudra as their father.

17. The seven and seven heroes 1 gave me each a hundred. On the Yamunâ I clear off glorious wealth in cows, I clear wealth in horses.

p. 314


This hymn is ascribed to Syâvâsva Âtreya. Metre, Anushtubh, 1-5, 7-15; Paṅkti, 6, 16, and 17. Sâyana seems to take verse 16 as an Anushtubh, which of course is a mistake. No verse of this hymn occurs in SV., VS., TS., TB., MS., AV.

Verse 1.

Note 1. One expects the dative or accusative after arka. The instrumental leaves us no choice but to translate, 'Sing with the Maruts, who are themselves famous as singers.' Cf. I, 6, 8; V, 60, 8.

Note 2. On srávah mádanti, see Gaedicke, Accusativ, p. 75.

Verse 2.

Note 1. Dhrishadvínas may also refer to the Maruts.

Verse 3.

Note 1. One expects ádhi instead of áti, see Gaedicke, Accusativ, p. 95 seq.

Note 2. See note to I, 37, 5; also, Bartholomae in Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XV, 211. The whole verse has been discussed by Benfey, Vedica und Verwandtes, p. 152 seq.

Verse 6.

Note 1. This verse has been discussed before, I, 168, 7, note. Benfey (Nachrichten der K. Ges. der Wiss. zu Göttingen, 1876, 28 Juni; comp. Vedica und Verwandtes, p. 141) translated it: 'Heran … haben die Helden, die hehren, ihre Speere geschleudert; ihnen, den Maruts, nach (erheben sich) traun gleichsam lachende Blitze, erhebt sich selbst des Himmels Glanz.' Rishvâ´h seems here, as in verse 13, to refer to the Maruts, as in IV, 19, I, rishvám refers to Indra, though it can be used of weapons also, see VI, 18, 10. As to the instrumentalis comitativus in rukmaíh and yudhâ´, see Lanman, p. 335.

p. 315

Note 2. Benfey's explanation of gághghatîh is ingenious, though it leaves some difficulties. The writing of ghgh in Devanâgarî may have been meant for ggh, as in akhkhalîktya, VII, 103. 3. But there remains the fact that gaksh occurs in the sense of laughing, I, 33, 7, and one does not see why it should have undergone a Prakritic change in our passage, and not there. It might be a mimetic word, to express the sound of rattling and clattering; cf. gañganâbhávan, VIII, 43, 8.

Verse 8.

Note 1. As to the adjective in the masculine gender after sárdhas, see I, 37, 1, note. The meaning of bhvas, bold, rabid, is doubtful; see Bergaigne, Rel. Véd. II, 408.

Verse 9.

Note 1. Sâyana takes Parushnî as the name of one of the rivers of the Punjâb, called the Irâvatî, and at present the Ravi. Parushnî might mean speckled, muddy, as a synonym of prisni. Roth has suggested that parushnî might here mean cloud. But what is the meaning of parushnî in a similar passage, IV, 22, 2. (Índrah) sriyé párushnîm ushámânah–û´rnâm yásyâh párvâni sakhyâ´ya vivyé? If it means that Indra clothed himself in speckled wool, that wool might be intended for what we call woolly or fleecy clouds. As the Maruts often perform the same acts as Indra, we might read in our verse utá sma té párushnîs û´rnâh, and pronounce utá sma té párushnia û´rnâh, though Lanman, p. 395, objects to ias for îs in the acc. plur. See, however, hetî´h ádevîh in VIII, 61, 16. The instrumental singular is possible, but again unusual with vas, párushnyâ û´rnâ. Possibly the original meaning of parushnî may have been forgotten, and if the name of the river Parushnî was generally known, it might easily have taken the place of parushnî, the cloud. For other explanations see Roth, Über gewisse Kürzungen, Wien, 1887; Bartholomae, in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXIX, 583; Schmidt, Die Pluralbildungen der indogermanischen Neutra, 1889, p. 307.

p. 316

Verse 10.

Note 1. Vishtâráh does not occur again, and Lanman is therefore quite justified in assigning to it the meaning of straw (p. 339). He paraphrases: 'Let their customs carry them where they may, yet when I sacrifice, they wait quietly on the straw, i. e. the altar, for it.' He reads in the Pada text vi-stâré for vi-stâráh. Vishtârín, which occurs AV. IV, 34, 1, does not throw much light on the exact meaning of vishtâra in this place. If we retain Vishtâráh, the nominative, we must assign to it the meaning of crowd, and refer it to the Maruts.

Verse 11.

Note 1. Pârâvata is a turtle-dove (VS. XXIV, 25), and it is just possible that the Maruts might have been compared to them. But pârâvata is used in VIII, 100, 6, as an epithet of vasu, wealth, and in VIII, 34, 18, we read of râtis (not râtris), i. e. gifts of Pârâvata. The river Sarasvatî is called pârâvataghnî, killing Pârâvata, VI, 61, 2, and in the Pañkav. Br. IX, 4, 1I, we hear that Turasravas and the Pârâvatas offered their Somas together. I am therefore inclined to take Pârâvata, lit. distant people, extranei, strangers, as a name of an Aryan border clan with whom the Vedic Aryas were sometimes at war, sometimes at peace. In that case the frontier-river, the Sarasvatî, might be called the destroyer or enemy of the Pârâvatas. As their wealth and gifts have been mentioned, to compare the Maruts with the Pârâvatas may mean no more than that the Maruts also are rich and generous. Ludwig thinks of the Παρυῆται, which seems more doubtful. For a different interpretation see Delbrück, Syntax, p. 531.

Verse 12.

Note 1. I take khandahstúbh in the sense of stepping (according to) a measure, as explained in my Preface (1st ed.), p. cii, though I do not doubt that that meaning was afterwards forgotten, and replaced by the technical meaning of stubh, to shout. See Böhtlingk-Roth, s. v. stubh, and

p. 317

stobhagrantha, Sâma-veda, Bibl. Ind., II, p. 519. It can hardly be supposed that such artificial performances of Vedic hymns, as are preserved in the Sâma-veda, could have suggested the first names of the ancient metres.

Note 2. Kubhanyú can only be derived from bhan, to shout.

Note 3. The kîrínah are probably intended here for strolling minstrels who, when they approached the well of a village (here the cloud), might be taken either for friends or foes.

Note 4. Drisí tvishé. Grassmann translates: 'Wie Räuberbanden schienen sie geschart zum Andrang meinem Blick.' Ludwig better: 'Helfer waren sie, glanz zu sehn.' We must either read drisé tvishé, to see the light, or drisé tvishí, to be seen by light. See, however, P. G., Ved. Stud. p. 225.

Verse 13.

Note 1. Vedhas, wise. The different possible meanings of this word have been discussed by Ludwig, Z. D. M. G. XL, p. 716; and by Bartholomae, in Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXVII, p. 361.

Verse 14.

Note 1. On dânâ´, see Lanman, pp. 533, 335; P. G., Ved. Stud. p. 101.

Note 2. Dhrishnavah ógasâ to be read   ̄  ̆  ̄  ̆  ̄.

Verse 15.

This verse, as Roth says, is very obscure, and the translation is purely tentative. Grassmann derives vakshánâ from vah in the sense of an offering. It may more easily be derived from vaksh, i. e. what gives increase, and be taken as an instrumental. Pischel shows that in many passages vakshanâ in the plural has the meaning of yoni, also of the yoni on the altar. But even this meaning does not throw much light on our passage. The first pâda may possibly be taken in an interrogative and conditional sense, or we may translate: 'Now, having perceived them, may he, as a refreshing draught goes to the gods, come

p. 318

together with the Maruts for his reward.' Whatever the verse may mean, eshâm devâ´n cannot mean the gods of the Maruts, or prove the existence of idols, as Bollensen (Z. D. M. G. XXII, 587) and even Muir (S. T. V, 454) imagined. The translation of Pischel, Ved. Stud. p. 101, sûríbhih añgíbhih mit 'Herren, die schmieren, d. h. ordentlich bezahlen,' seems too exclusively German. Could añgin be an adjective, in the sense of possessed of añgis?

Verse 16.

Note 1. If síkvas is not to be derived from sak (see Hübschmann, Vocalsystem, pp. 64, 186), we should have to derive nis, night, from a root altogether different from that which yields nakt, nákta, &c. But how does síkvas come to mean, according to Ludwig, both bunch of flowers, and flaming? Does he connect it with sikhâ? Surely, if siksh may stand for sisak-s, why not sik-vas for *sisakvas? 'Bright' leaves it doubtful whether it means clever or flaming.

Verse 17.

Note 1. The seven, seven heroes need not be the Maruts, but some liberal patrons who rewarded Syâvâsva. See Bergaigne, Rel. Véd. II, 371.

Next: V, 53. To the Maruts (the Storm-gods)