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

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1. The golden-haired in the expanse 1 of the atmosphere, the roaring 2 snake, is hasting (through the air) like the wind; the brightly resplendent watcher of the dawn 3, he who is like the glorious, ever active and truthful (goddesses) 4.

2. By thy goings the beautifully-winged (birds) were disparaged 1; the black bull 2 has roared, when here 3 (all this happened). He has come as if with the bounteous smiling (women) 4. The mists fly, the clouds thunder.

3. When they have led him, who swells 1 with the milk of Rita, on the straightest paths of Rita, then Aryaman, Mitra, and Varuna, he who walks round the earth 2, fill the leather-bag (the cloud) in the womb of the lower (atmosphere [?]) 3.


4. Agni, who art lord of booty, rich in cows, young son of strength 1, bestow on us, O Gâtavedas, great glory.

5. Being lighted, a Vasu, a sage, Agni who is to be magnified by (pious) words, O (god) with many faces, shine to us so that riches may be ours.

6. Reigning 1 by night by thy own power, O Agni, and at the break of dawn, O god with sharp teeth, burn against the sorcerers.

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7. Bless us, O Agni, with thy blessings, when our Gâyatra song is brought forward (to thee), thou to whom reverence is due in all our prayers.

8. Bring us wealth, O Agni, which may be always conquering, excellent and invincible 1 in all battles.

9. Bestow on us, Agni, through thy kindness 1 wealth which may last all our life 2, and have mercy 3 on us that we may live.


10. O Gotama 1, bring forward purified words, bring songs to the sharp-flaming Agni, desirous of his favour.

11. May he who tries to harm us, whether nigh or afar, fall down. Do thou lead us alone to increase.

12. The thousand-eyed Agni, who dwells among all tribes, scares away the Rakshas. The praiseworthy Hotri (Agni) is praised 1.


The same Rishi. Metre, 1–3 Trishtubh; 4–6 Ushnih; 7–12 Gâyatrî.

What in the traditional text is one hymn, consists really of four independent hymns of three verses each. This is to be concluded from the well-known laws of arrangement of the Samhitâ, and is confirmed by the change of metre and by the reception of two of the four hymns into other Vedic Samhitâs: the second (verses 4–6) is found in the Sâma-veda II, 911–913; Vâg. Samhitâ XV, 35–37; Taitt.

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[paragraph continues] Samhitâ IV, 4, 4, 5; Maitr. Samhitâ II, 13, 8; the third (verses 7–9) in the Sâma–veda II, 874–876. Besides, verses 1–2 occur Taitt. Samh. III, 1, 11, 4–5; verse 2, Maitr. Samh. IV, 12, 5; verse 4, Sâma-veda I, 99; verses 8, 9, Maitr. Samh. IV, 12, 4; verse 9, Maitr. Samh. IV, 10, 6; Taitt. Br. II, 4, 5, 3.

Verse 1.

Note 1. As to visârá I think we should compare VII, 36, 1. ví sâ´nunâ prithivî´ sasre urvî´, 'The wide earth has expanded with her surface.' Prof. Max Müller observes with regard to this Pâda: when the sky sends forth the rain, the lightning appears.

Note 2. On dhúni, see vol. xxxii, p. 112 (I, 64, 5), and Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 268. I do not take the word with Geldner for an epithet of Vâta, the wind, but of the snake, i. e. Agni, who very probably is to be understood here as in the whole Trika, as the fire of the lightning.

Note 3. Perhaps we have here again a Pâda of ten syllables, of the type which occurs several times in the preceding hymns. Or possibly the text should be corrected: ushásale ná návedâh, 'a knower (of sacrifices, comp. IV, 23, 4; V, 12, 3) like the dawns,' or ushásâm návedâh (with dissyllabic -âm), 'a knower of the dawns.'—See Lanman, p. 565.

Note 4. The waters? Or the dawns?

Verse 2.

Note 1. On the nasalization of aminantan̐ in the Samhitâ text, see my Prolegomena, p. 471.

Note 2. I. e. Parganya, the thundering cloud. Comp. V, 83, 1; VII, 10t, 1; Bergaigne, Rel. Védique, III, 27 seq.

Note 3. Regarding yádi idám, comp. IV, 5, 11. There the verb belonging to yádi must be supplied; in the same way our passage must be interpreted also, unless we resort to changing the text and accentuating the verb nonâva, in which case the translation would be, 'when the black bull has bellowed here.'

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Note 4. The women may be the showers of rain. Or they could be understood as the dawns,. comp. ushásah návedâh, verse 1.

Verse 3.

Note 1. I propose to read píyânam.

Note 2. On párigman, see Joh. Schmidt, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXV, 86; Bartholomae, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XV, 27 seq.; Bergaigne, Rel. Véd. II, 505; and compare especially X, 93, 4. The word evidently is connected not with the verb gam, but with kshám, 'the earth,' of which we find the genitives gmáh and gh.

Note 3. It does not seem probable to me that úpara means here the lower pressing-stone, as Grassmann, Ludwig, and Pischel (Vedische Studien, I, 109) suggest (Grassmann: den Schlauch beim untern Pressstein. Ludwig: den schlauch … an des steines ort. Pischel: sie legen das Fell mitten auf den Stein). I propose to supply rágasah; comp. I, 62, 5. rágah úparam; IV, 1, 11. rágasah asyá yónau, and especially IV, 17, 14, where we find the 'womb of the atmosphere' (rágasah asyá yónau) mentioned, quite as in our passage, together with the leather-bag (tvák), i. e. the cloud.—Bergaigne (Rel. Véd. II, 505) translates and explains, 'arrose la peau dans le séjour de l’inférieur,' c’est-à-dire fait couler les eaux du ciel pour l’Agni terrestre.

Verse 4.

Note 1. See above, I, 26, 10, note 1.

Verse 6.

Note 1. Râgan seems to be the participle of râg; comp. VIII, 19, 3i. kshapáh vástushu râgasi. Now it is very improbable that of this participle a vocative should occur; see Lanman, 509. I believe, therefore, that we should accentuate râ´gan (comp. the remarks of Bartholomae, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XV, 204).

Verse 8.

Note 1. Comp. IX, 63, 11. rayîm … dushtáram.

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Verse 9.

Note 1. As to suketúnâ, comp. I, 159, 5.

Note 2. Comp. VI, 59, 9. rayím visvâ´yuposhasam.

Note 3. Mârdîkám is a second object of dhehi, not an epithet of rayím. Comp. VIII, 7, 30.

Verse 10.

Note 1. Comp. above, 78, 2, note 1.

Verse 12.

Note 1. On the use of the middle of gri with passive meaning, comp. Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, 264.

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