Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. Thou wilt have me, O Agni, as a strong (master) of Soma 1: therefore thou hast made me the carrier (of the gods?) to perform worship at the sacrifice 2. Sending my thoughts to the gods 3 I make the (press-) stone ready 4; I toil, O Agni: find thou pleasure in thy own body 5.
2 1. Eastward we have turned the sacrifice 2; may the prayer increase. They honoured Agni with fuel and adoration. They have taught (him) the sacrificial ordinances of the sages of Heaven 3. Though he (Agni) is clever and strong, they have sought a way for him.
3. He has conceived freshness 1, the wise one of pure 2 powers, he who is by his birth well allied with Heaven and Earth. The gods have found Agni the conspicuous one in the waters, in the work 3 of the sisters.
4. The seven young (wives) 1 made the blessed one grow who had been born white, ruddy in his growth. They ran up to him like mares 2 to a newborn foal. The gods wondered at Agni at his birth.
5. Spreading with his bright limbs to the aerial space, purifying his power 1 by wise purifications, clothing himself in light, the life of the waters 2, he creates mighty, perfect beauty.
6. He has gone to (the waters) who do not eat, the undeceived ones, the young (daughters) of Heaven who are not clothed and (yet) are not naked.
[paragraph continues] Here the former young (women) having the same origin, the seven sounds 1 have conceived one germ.
7. His compact masses assuming every shape are spread in the womb of ghee, in the streaming of honey. There the swelling milch-cows have stationed themselves. Great are the parents of the wonderfully mighty (Agni) who are turned towards each other 1.
8. Having been carried (in the waters) thou hast shone forth, O son of strength, assuming wonderful shapes brilliant and fierce. The streams of honey and ghee drip, where the male has grown by wisdom.
9. By (his) nature he has found his father's udder 1; he has sent forth his streams and his showers 2. Walking 3 hidden to his dear friends he has not been hidden to the young (daughters) of Heaven 4.
10. He bore (in his womb) the germ of the sire, of the father who begat him 1. He, being one, sucked many (nurses) rich in milk 2. Observe for this manly, bright one the two wives bound in kinship, belonging to men 3.
11. The great one has grown up in the wide unbounded space 1. The Waters (have made) Agni (grow): for many glorious ones 2 (have come) together 3. He lay in the womb of Rita, the domestic (god) Agni, in the work 4 of the uterine sisters.
12. Like a horse that carries (the prize), in the assembly of the great (waters) 1, visible to his son 2, he whose … is light 3: he who as father begat the ruddy cows 4, he the son of the waters is the most manly, restless 5 Agni.
13. To him, the glorious son of the waters and of the plants, the blessed wood 1 has given birth, in his many shapes. Even the gods, for they agreed in
their mind, honoured him who had been born the most wonderful and strong.
14. Mighty rays of light like brilliant lightnings, milking (the sap of) immortality in the boundless stable, accompanied Agni whose … is light 1, who had grown up in his own house, as it were in secret.
15. I magnify thee, worshipping thee with offerings; I magnify (thee) desirous of thy friendship, of thy favour. Together with the gods give help to him who praises thee, and protect us with thy domestic faces.
16. As thy followers, O Agni, best leader, winning all precious (treasures), pressing onward with fertile glory, may we overcome the godless who seek to combat us.
17. Thou hast been here as the banner of the gods, Agni, joy-giving, knowing all wisdom. As the domestic (god) thou hast harboured the mortals. As the charioteer thou goest along straightway after the gods.
18. The immortal, the king, has sat down in the dwelling of the mortals, performing the sacrifices 1. He the ghee-faced one has shone forth widely, Agni knowing all wisdom.
19 1. Come to us with thy gracious friendship, speeding, great, with thy great blessings. Bestow on us plentiful victorious wealth; make our share glorious and adorned with fine speech.
20. These old births of thine, O Agni, and the recent ones I have told forth to thee the ancient one. These great libations (of Soma) have been prepared for the manly one; generation by generation Gâtavedas has been placed (on the altar).
21. Gâtavedas, placed (on the altar) generation
after generation, is kindled by the Visvâmitras, the indefatigable (or everlasting). May we dwell in the grace of him the worshipful, yea, in his blissful kindness.
22. Bring thou, O strong one, this sacrifice of ours to the gods, O wise one, as a liberal giver. Bestow on us, O Hotri, abundant food; Agni, obtain by sacrificing mighty wealth for us.
23. Procure, O Agni, for ever, to him who implores thee, (the gift of) nourishment 1, the wonderful acquiring of the cow. May a son be ours, offspring that continues our race. Agni, may this favour of thine abide with us!
The Rishi is Visvâmitra Gâthina, the metre Trishtubh.—Verse 1 = MS. IV, 11, 2. Verse 19 = MS. IV, 14, 15. Verse 23 = SV. I, 76; VS. XII, 51; TS. IV, 2, 4, 3; MS. II, 7, 11; IV, 11, 1; 12, 3.
Comp. on this hymn Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 157 seq., and the article of Regnaud, Études Védiques, l’hymne III, 1 du Rig-Veda.
Note 1. Vákshi, which is very frequent as 2nd person of vah, occurs also as belonging to vas (see VII, 98, 2. pîtím ít asya vakshi), and in this sense no doubt it is to be understood in our passage.—Ludwig and Geldner take tavásam vákshi agne as a parenthesis. G. translates: 'Du hast mich zu deinem Somaschenken—denn dich gelüstet nach dem starken, o Agni—bestellt, dass ich vor den Weisen opfern soll.' To me it seems more natural to understand the first Pâda as one continual clause; vákshi is accented on account of the logical dependence in which this clause
stands, the clause being considered, even without a subordinating word, as a dependent one. See Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, p. 42; A. Mayr, Sitzungsberichte der phil. hist. Classe der Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vol. LXVIII (Vienna, 1871), 248, 259.—If we were to consider vákshi as a locative infinitive (see Bartholomae's theory on such infinitives, Indogermanische Forschungen, II, 271 seqq.), the translation would be: 'Thou hast made me, O Agni, a strong carrier of Soma at the carrying (of the oblations),' &c. I do not think, however, this interpretation of vákshi very probable, nor is it, as far as I can see, favoured by any passage which contains the word.—For sómasya tavásam, Prof. Max Müller suggests the translation 'strong of Soma,' i. e. full of Soma.
Note 2. The text has vidáthe.
Note 3. The traditional text has ákkha dî´dyat, which means, 'shining towards or as far as the gods.' The verb dî with akkha occurs still in two other passages of this Mandala, in 15, 5 and 55, 3. In the first of these passages the text seems to be correct: devâ´n ákkha dî´dyânah, 'shining as far as the gods.' In the second passage I believe that we ought to read ákkha dîdhye pûrvyâ´ni, 'I think of the ancient things,' or more exactly, 'I send my thoughts to the ancient things.' In the same way it seems to me very probable that in our verse dî´dhyat would be the correct reading, for the participle refers to the priest who says of himself, 'I make the stone ready;' and this priest does not send his light (dî´dyat) but his thoughts (dî´dhyat) to the gods. Comp. I, 132, 5 = 139, 1. devâ´n ákkha ná dhîtáyah; III, 4, 3, and numerous passages which represent the mati, the girah, &c., as going towards (ákkha) the gods, such as III, 39, 1; 42, 3; VII, 10, 3; 36, 9; X, 43, 1; 47, 6.—Prof. von Roth (Zeitschrift der D. Morg. Ges., XLVIII, 108) speaks of the 'häufige Verwechslungen von Formen der beiden Wurzeln 2 dî scheinen und 1 dhî wahrnehmen, denken.' The reading dî´dyat in our verse, and dîdye III, 55, 3, may rest on the influence of III, 15, 3. devâ´n ákkhâ dî´dyânah.
Note 4. On the accent of yuñgé the same may be said as above (note 1) regarding the accent of vákshi.
Note 5. I. e. cause the fire to flare up.
Note 1. The verses 2, 3, and 4 have been translated by Bergaigne, Religion Védique, I, 109.
Note 2. Many sacrificial rites are performed from west to cast; comp. with regard to the Barhis, I, 188, 4; X, 110, 4; with regard to the sacrificial ladle, III, 6, 1; V, 28, 1; to the Havirdhânas, Vâgas. Samhitâ V, 17. Thus the whole sacrifice is spoken of as proceeding in an eastward direction; see X, 66, 12. prâ´ñkam nah yagñám prá nayata; X, 87, 9. yagñám prâ´ñkam … prá naya.
Note 3. Comp. Mahâbhârata XIV, 280. tasmât svayam sâdhi yagñe vidhâ´nam. Vidátha indeed is here an equivalent of vidhâna.
Note 1. The meaning seems to be that Agni won vigour (máyah) by dwelling in the waters (see Pâda 3); comp. the well-known words â´pah hí sthá mayah-bhûvah (X, 9, I), 'for you, O waters, give vigour.'
Note 2. More exactly, of purified faculties.
Note 3. The accent apási, instead of ápasi, looks very suspicious. It is easy, but perhaps too easy, to correct ápasi, as possibly in III, 6, 7. ápah should be read for apáh. (In I, 31, 8; 151, 4 Grassmann is wrong in assuming a neutral stem apás- 'die Arbeit.') To me Ludwig's conjecture upási (in the lap of the sisters, i. e. of the waters) seems excellent. Upási occurs in V, 43, 7; X, 27, 13 in the meaning of upásthe. Thus upási svásrînâm would be the same as apâ´m upásthe; comp. I, 144, 2; VI, 8, 4; IX, 86, 25; X, 45, 3; 46, 1. 2, &c.—Comp. below, verse 11, note 4.
Note 1. Of course the seven wives are the rivers or waters.
Note 2. I cannot adopt Prof. Weber's conjecture asṽah (Altiranische Sternnamen, 10). His translation is: 'Die Götter liefen zu dem wundersamen Agni bei seiner Geburt (neugierig) hinzu, wie die jungen Mädchen zu einem neugebornen Kinde.'
Note 1. For krátum punânáh, cf. III, 31, 16; VIII, 12, 11; 13, I; 53, 6.
Note 2. I take pári as belonging to vásânah; sókih and â´yuh are objects. Comp. X, 16, 5. â´yuh vásânah; X, 53, 3. sáh â´yuh â´ agâ´t surabhíh vásânah.
Note 1. The number of the seven sounds (comp. Sten Konow, Das Sâmavidhâna-brâ´hmana, p. 33, note 3) seems to be connected with the seven Rishis, see IX, 103, 3. vâ´nîh ríshînâm saptá (comp. IX, 62, 17). The seven sounds seem to be identified with the seven rivers also in III, 7, 1 (see below). Comp. Bergaigne, Religion Védique, II, 132; H. O., Religion des Veda, 117, note 1.
Note 1. Heaven and Earth.
Note 1. Comp. Bergaigne, Religion Védique, II, 99.
Note 2. See volume xxxii, 441 seq. (I, 2, 3, note 1).
Note 3. Here I believe we have an anacoluthon. The poet seems to have intended to say, 'Him who walked … the daughters of Heaven saw.'—Prof. Max Müller translates this hemistich: 'He found him (the father) moving along with dear friends, with the young maidens of Heaven—he was not hidden.'
Note 4. Agni was hidden to the gods but not to the waters.
Note 1. The verse X, 3, 2, though very obscure, seems to contain a similar idea. Should the meaning be that
[paragraph continues] Agni bears in his womb the Dawn, the daughter of Heaven?
Note 2. The waters.
Note 3. This phrase, which I have translated as literally as possible, is very obscure. The two wives seem to be wives of Agni. Are they Night and Dawn (the two sabardúghe, III, 55, 12?), whose designation as 'belonging to men' seems not to be impossible? Or the two kindling-sticks (comp. V, 47, 5)? Or the two Darvis (V, 6, 9)?
Note 1. Comp. V, 42, 17. uraú devâh anibâdhé syâma.
Note 2. This is feminine.
Note 3. The phrase yasásah sám hí pûrvî´h occurs also X, 46, 10. It may have been, as Geldner believes, a proverbial locution. But the verb which it is most natural to supply, seems to be gam (i, yâ), so that the meaning may have been: 'Many superior (wives) are wont to assemble,' i. e. where one such wife is, there will be many. This is applied here to the waters, in X, 46, 10 to such beings as íshah, ûtáyah or the like. That yasás may be meant for the waters is shown by VII, 36, 6, where the yasásah vâvasânâ´h, mentioned by the side of Sarasvatî, evidently are the waters.—It should be observed that several expressions of this hymn have been made use of by the author of X, 46.
Note 4. Or rather 'in the lap' (upási). Comp. above, verse 3, note 3.
Note 1. With regard to akráh I adopt the translation proposed by Geldner (Ved. Studien, I, 168).—On the accent of mahî´nâm, see Lanman, p. 398.
Note 2. This seems to be the human worshipper. I cannot follow Prof. von Roth, Zeitschrift der D. Morg. Gesellschaft, XLVIII, 118, who explains sûnáve as a corrupt third person of the verb su.
Note 3. See above, I, 44, 3, note 1.
Note 4. The dawns.
Note 5. Comp. above, I, 36, 1, note 2.
Note 1. Vánâ: the wood considered as a wife.
Note 1. See verse 12, note 3.
Note 1. The text has vidáthâni.
Note 1. Comp. Kuhn, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, I, p. 445.
Note 1. Ílâm. which more especially means the nourishing substance of the cow. Comp. H. O., Religion des Veda, 72, 326.—Prof. Max Müller translates: 'Procure to him who implores thee, O Agni, exuberant land for ever, rich in cows.'