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

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To the Maruts (the Storm-gods).

1. Who are you, O men, the very best, who have approached one by one, from the furthest distance 1?

2. Where are your horses, where the bridles? How could you, how did you come?—the seat on the back, the rein in the nostrils?

3. Their goad is on the croup 1, the heroes stretched their legs apart 2

4. Move along, heroes, young men, the sons of an excellent mother 1, so that you may warm yourselves at our fire 2.

5. (1.) May the woman, if she stretched out her arm 1 as a rest for the hero, praised by Syâvâsva 2, gain cattle consisting of horses, cows, and a hundred sheep.

6. (2.) Many a woman is even more often kindlier than a godless and miserly man,

7. (3.) A woman who finds out the weak, the thirsty, the needy, and is mindful of the gods.

8. (4.) Even though many an unpraiseworthy miser (Pani) is called a man, she is worth as much in weregild.

9. (5.) Also the young woman joyfully whispered to me, to Syâva, the road,—and the two bays went straight to Purumîlha 1, the wise, the far-famed,

10. (6.) Who gave me a hundred cows, like Vaidadasvi, like Taranta, in magnificence.

11. (1.) The Maruts, who drive on their quick horses, drinking the delightful mead, have gained glory here;

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12. (2.) They on whose chariots Rodasî 1 glitters in glory 2, like the golden disk above in heaven;

13. (3.) That youthful company of the Maruts, with blazing chariots, blameless, triumphant, irresistible.

14. (4.) Who now knows of them where the strikers rejoice, the well-born, the faultless?

15. (5.) You who are fond of praise, become the leaders of the mortal, listening to his imploring invocations, thus is my thought 1.

16. (6.) Bring then to us delightful and resplendent 1 treasures, ye worshipful Maruts, destroyers of enemies.

17. (1.) O night, like a charioteer, carry away this hymn to Dârbhya, and these songs, O goddess.

18. (2.) And then tell him thus from me, 'When Rathavîti offers Soma, my desire never goes away from me.'

19. (3.) That mighty Rathavîti dwells among people rich in cattle 1, retired among the mountains.

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This hymn is of a very composite nature. It is addressed to the Maruts by Syâvâsva. According to the Anukramanî, however, the Maruts are addressed in vv. 1-4, 11-16 only; vv. 5-8 are addressed to Sasîyasî Tarantamahishî, 9 to Purumîlha Vaidadasvi, 10 to Taranta Vaidadasvi, 17-19 to Rathavîti Dârbhya. None of the verses occurs in SV., VS., AV., TS., TB., MS. Metre, 1-4, 6-8, 10-19 Gâyatrî; 5 Anushtubh; 9 Satobrihatî.

It has been pointed out that in the hymns addressed to the Maruts beginning with V, 52, and ending with V, 60, there is the usual decrease in the number of verses of each successive hymn, viz. 17, 16, 15, 10, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8. Our hymn, however, which is the last in the collection of hymns addressed by Syâvâsva to the Maruts, breaks the rule, and it has been suggested with great plausibility that it contains a number of verses thrown together at random. Possibly the four verses in the beginning formed an independent hymn, addressed to the Maruts, and again 5-10, and 11-16, followed by an appendix, 17-19. These verses refer to a legend which will have to be discussed at verse 5.

Verse 1.

Note 1. As to paramásyâh parâvátah, see TS. IV, 1, 9, 3, where we also find (IV, 1, 9, 2) párasyâ ádhi samvátah.

Verse 3.

Note 1. Gagháne, like gaghanatah, may mean simply behind, as agre and agratah mean before.

Note 2. It is clear that the Maruts are here supposed to sit astride on their horses. This is also shown by prishthé sádas (v. 2), and by putrakrithé ná gánayah, they stretched out their legs, ὡς γυναῖκες ἐν τεκνοποιίᾳ. Zimmer (p. 230) says, 'Zum Reiten wurde das Ross nicht benutzt.' On p. 295 he modifies this by saying, 'Keine einzige klare Stelle des Rig-veda ist mir bekannt, wo das Reiten beim Kampfe erwähnt wurde; man fährt immer zu Wagen, wie die Griechen in homerischen Zeiten.'

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Verse 4.

Note 1. Bhádragânayah, generally rendered by 'possessed of beautiful wives,' seems really to mean 'possessed of an excellent mother.' Gâni clearly means mother, when Agni dvimâtâ, having two mothers, is called dvigânih; for it is never said that he has two wives. Besides, the Maruts are constantly addressed as the sons of their mother, Prisni, while their wives are mentioned but rarely. However, the other meaning is not impossible. See also Bergaigne, II, 387 seq.

Note 2. The fire here intended is, I suppose, the sacrificial fire, to which the Maruts are here invited as they had been in former hymns.

Verse 5.

Note 1. Ludwig compares the A. S. expression healsgebedde; see also RV. X, 10, 10.

Note 2. I have very little belief in the legends which are told in the Brâhmanas and in the Anukramanî in illustration of certain apparently personal and historical allusions in the hymns of the Veda. It is clear in many cases that they are made up from indications contained in the hymns. as in IX, 58, 3, and it seems best therefore to forget them altogether in interpreting the words of the Vedic hymns.

The story told in the introductory verses, quoted by Sâyana, is this:—'Arkanânas Âtreya was chosen by Rathavîti Dârbhya to be his Ritvig priest. At the sacrifice Arkanânas saw the daughter of Rathavîti and asked her in marriage for his son Syâvâsva. Rathavîti consulted his wife, but she declined on the ground that no daughter of theirs had ever been given to a man who was not a poet (Rishi). Thereupon Syâvâsva performed penance, and travelled about collecting alms. He thus came to Sasîyasî, who recommended him, as a Rishi, to her husband, king Taranta. King Taranta was very generous to him, and sent him on to his younger brother, Purumîlha. On his way to Purumîlha, Syâvâsva saw the Maruts, and composed a hymn in their praise (vv. 11-16). He had thus become a real poet or Rishi, and on returning home, he received from Rathavîti his daughter in marriage.'

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Saunaka confirms the same story, see Sâyana's commentary to V, 61, 17. Here therefore we have to deal with two princely brothers, both Vaidadasvis, namely Taranta and Purumîlha. They both give presents to Syâvâsva, who is a Brâhmana, and he marries the daughter of another prince, Rathavîti Dârbhya.

In the Tândya-Brâhmana, however, XIII, 7, 12, another story is told, which I quoted in my edition of the Rig-veda at IX, 58, 3 (vol. v, p. xxxiii). Here Dhvasra and Purushanti are introduced as wishing to give presents to the two Vaidadasvis, Taranta and Purumîlha. These hesitate for a while, because they have no right to accept a present without deserving it or having done something for it. They then compose a hymn in praise of Dhvasra and Purushanti, and after that feel justified in accepting their present.

Here therefore the Vaidadasvis are receivers, not givers of presents, therefore of princely, not, as has been supposed, of priestly rank, and this would agree better with the words of verse 9, purumîlhâ´ya víprâya. See on all this Oldenberg in Z. D. M. G. XLII, p. 232.

If we accept this story, we have to take sásîyasî in verse 6 as a proper name.

But sásîyasî may be a comparative of sas-vat (see B.-R. s. v.), and would then mean, more frequent. We expect, no doubt, an adverb rather like sasvat, but a feminine corresponding to vásyasî is perhaps admissible. In that case we should have simply to deal with some woman, tvâ strî´, who, as the poet says, is as good as, if not better than, many a man.

Verse 8.

This verse is very obscure. Sâyana translates: 'And the other half (the husband of Sasîyasî, viz. Taranta) is a man not praised (enough), thus I, the poet, say: and that Taranta is equal or just in the giving of wealth.' Grassmann translates: 'Und dagegen ist mancher nicht lobenswerth geizig, der ein Mann sich nennt, ein solcher ist der Strafe verfallen.' Ludwig: 'Auch mancher halbmensch,

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ungepriesen, der “mensch” zwar heiszt, doch ein Pani ist, der ist auf böse gabe nur bedacht.'

The first light that was thrown on this verse came from Prof. Roth. He showed (Z. D. M. G. XLI, p. 673) that vairadeya means weregild, the German wergelt, the price to be given for a man killed. Vaira would here be derived from vîra, man, the Goth. waír, the Latin vir, and vairadeya would mean what is to be given as the value of a man. Still I doubt whether Prof. Roth has discovered the true meaning of the verse. He translates: 'So ist auch mancher Mann nicht zu loben, mehr ein Pani (unfromm, gegen die Götter karg, zugleich Bezeichnung habsüchtiger Dämonen), obschon man ihn einen Menschen nennt—nur am Wergeld steht er den andern gleich.' I confess I do not see much point in this. It is quite clear that the poet praises a charitable woman, and wishes to say that she is sometimes better than a man, if he gives nothing. Now the weregild, if we may say so, for women was generally, though not always, less than that for men, and I therefore propose to read sâ´ vaíradeye ít samâ´, and translate: 'Even though many an unpraiseworthy miser (Pani) is called man, she is like him in weregild, i. e. she is worth as much, even though she is a woman.' On uta, see Delbrück, Syntaktische Forschungen, V, p. 528.

Verse 9.

Note 1. Purumîlha is here clearly the man from whom benefits are expected, and therefore could not be the same as Purumîlha Vaidadasvi, mentioned by the commentator, who accepted gifts from Dhvasra and Purushanti. Nor can Taranta Vaidadasvi in the next verse be taken for a recipient, but only for a giver, and therefore, most likely, a prince. The whole story, however, is by no means clear, and I doubt whether the commentator drew his information from any source except his own brain.

Verse 11.

I agree with Ludwig that a new hymn begins with verse 11.

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Verse 12.

Note 1. I have adopted the reading Rodasî´ vibhrâ´gate in my translation; cf. VI, 66, 6, where Rodasî is compared with a rókah.

Note 2. Roth (K. Z. XXVI, 51) takes sriyâ´dhi as sriyás ádhi, but such a sandhi has not yet been established in the hymns of the Rig-veda, see Oldenberg, Proleg. p. 459, Anm. 1. Oldenberg himself suggests sríyódhi, and would translate, 'They whose charms shine over the two worlds on their chariots.' Pischel (Ved. Stud. p. 54) translates yéshâm sriyâ´ by 'for whose sake.'

Verse 15.

Note 1. On itthâ´ dhiyâ´, see Pischel, Ved. Stud. p. 184.

Verse 16.

Note 1. The Pada ought to have puru-kandrâ´, as suggested by Grassmann and Ludwig.

Verses 17-19.

These verses are very peculiar, and may refer to historical events, for Dâlbhya or Dârbhya and Rathavîti sound like real names. Of course the Indian commentators are never at a loss to tell us what it all refers to, but we can never say how little they knew, and how much they invented. The invocation of Ûrmyâ, if it is meant for the Night, and the request that she may convey the hymn to Dârbhya, is different from the usual style of the hymns. See, however, VIII, 24, 28, and Oldenberg, Z. D. M. G. XXXIX, 89.

The following names, occurring in our hymn, have the sanction of the Anukramanî: Sasîyasî Tarantamahishî (V, 61, 5; 8), Purumîlha Vaidadasvi (V, 61, 9), Taranta Vaidadasvi (V, 61, 10), Rathavîti Dâlbhya (V, 61, 17-19). There is another Purumîlha, a Sauhotra, in IV, 43, and a Purumîlha Âṅgirasa in VIII, 71.

Verse 19.

Note 1. See Oldenberg, Z. D. M. G. XXXIX, 89. He corrects gómatîh to gómatîm, the name of a river, mentioned in a very similar way in VIII, 24, 30.

Next: V, 87. To the Maruts (the Storm-gods)