Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. He who has been established as the steward among the mortals, the immortal, righteous one, and among the gods, being a god himself, the Hotri, the best sacrificer shall mightily flame 1; Agni shall rise up 1 with the offerings of Manus.
2. Here, O Agni, son of strength, thou goest for us to-day as a messenger, thou who art born, between the two races (of men and gods), having harnessed, O tall one, thy puissant, manly, brilliant (stallions) 1.
3. Harnessing the two mighty, red steeds that swim in ghee—(the steeds) of Rita, I think, that are most swift with their mind 1, the ruddy ones, thou goest (as a messenger) between you, the gods, and the tribes of men 2.
4. O Agni, with thy good horses, and thy good chariot, rich in bounties, bring hither from among them (the gods) 1 Aryaman, Varuna, and Mitra, Indra and Vishnu, the Maruts and the Asvins, to him who offers good oblations.
5. This sacrifice, O Agni, is rich in cows 1, in sheep and horses, in manly friends; it is never to be despised; it is rich in nourishment, O wonderful lord 2, rich in offspring; it is long-lasting wealth, broad-based, with (brilliant) assemblies.
6 1. Be a self-strong protector, O Agni, of the man who in the sweat of his brow brings fuel to thee 2, or heats his head desirous to worship thee. Deliver him from every harmful man.
7. The man who brings food to thee who art desirous of food, he who stirs up 1 the cheerful guest and rouses him, the godly man who kindles thee in his dwelling: to him may belong lasting and generous wealth.
8. The sacrificer who praises thee in the evening and in the morning and gratifies thee; that liberal man thou shouldst bring across all distress, like a well-impelled horse 1, (dwelling) in his house.
9. The man who worships thee, the immortal one, O Agni, and who honours thee, holding the sacrificial ladle—may he, the toiling (sacrificer), not be deprived of wealth; may no distress that comes from a harmful (foe), surround him.
10. That mortal whose well-ordered sacrifice thou, as the god, acceptest, O Agni, as a liberal giver, may his worship 1 be welcome, O youngest god, (the Hotri's work performed) for a worshipper whose helpers we may be.
11. May he, the knowing one, distinguish wisdom and folly of mortals 1, like straight and crooked backs (of horses) 2. And for the sake of wealth and noble offspring, O god, grant us Diti and keep off Aditi 3.
12. The undeceived sages instructed the sage (Agni), setting him down in the dwellings of Âyu 1. Hence mayst thou behold, O Agni, with thy eyes 2 these beings visible and secret (that move) on the Arya's ways 3.
13. Bring thou, O Agni, youngest (god), who art a good guide, a plentiful, brilliant treasure to the worshipper who presses Soma, who serves thee and toils, to help him, O brisk one, who fillest the dwellings of peoples.
14 1. And whatsoever we have done, O Agni, out
of devotion for thee, with our feet 2, with our hands, with our bodies: (in those deeds of ours) the wise have held up the Rita, aspiring after it, like those who manage a chariot by means of the two pole-arms (?) 3.
15. And may we be born from the Dawn, the mother, as the seven priests 1, as the first worshippers among men 2. May we be the Aṅgiras, the sons of Heaven. May we flaming break the rock which contains the prize of the contest 3.
16. And as our first, ancient fathers, O Agni, were aspiring after Rita 1—they attained to pure devotion 2, chanting their litanies. Cleaving the earth they disclosed the red (cows).
17. The pious men, well performing the acts (of worship), resplendent, melting 1 the generations of the gods 2 like ore 3, kindling Agni, strengthening Indra, went along 4, besieging the stall of cows.
18. He looked (on the gods) as on herds of cattle 1 in a rich (pasture) 2, when the generations of the gods (were) near him, O mighty one 3. After (the generations) of the mortals the Urvasîs 4 have pined, for the growing strong of the Arya 5, of the nearer Âyu 6.
19. We have done our work for thee; we have been good workers—the brilliant dawns have shone out Rita 1,—brightening 2 the perfect Agni who manifoldly shines with fine splendour, (brightening) the god's beautiful eye.
20. We have recited these hymns for thee, the sage, O Agni, worshipper (of the gods) 1; accept them! Blaze up; make us wealthier. Bestow great wealth on us, O bountiful one!
The Rishi is Vâmadeva, the metre Trishtubh.—Verse 5 = TS. I, 6, 6, 4; III, 1, 11, 1; MS. I, 4, 3. Verse 6 = TÂ. VI, 2, 1. Verse 11 = TS. V, 5, 4, 4. Verse 16 = VS. XIX, 69; TS. II, 6, 12, 4. Verses 16–19 = AV. XVIII, 3, 21–24.
Note 1. On this use of these infinitives, comp. Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, p. 412.—Mánushah seems to be genitive; comp. II, 2, 6. havyâ´ mánushah; II, 2, 8. hótrâbhih … mánushah; I, 76, 5. mánushah havírbhih.
Note 1. Comp. below, IV, 6, 9.
Note 1. As to the horses of Rita, comp. above, III, 6, 6. In spite of the different accent there is no doubt that ghritasnúvâ, which occurs in that verse, is the same word as ghritásnû, in our verse, a compound of ghrita with a noun snu which seems to be different from sâ´nu, and connected with the root snâ (cf. ghritasnâ´, IV, 6, 9; and see Bechtel, Hauptprobleme der Indogerm. Lautlehre, p. 211). Vridhasnú, on the other hand, seems to be no compound, but an adjective formed like vadhasnu, nishatsnú. It is evident, however, that the poet here employed the two words vridhasnú and ghritásnu as parallel expressions.
Note 2. Read mártâm (for mártân; gen. plur.). Comp. below, verse 11; VI, 47, 16. vísah manushy̆ân, where we ought to read manushỹâm. See Lanman, p. 353; Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, p. 44; Bartholomae, Studien zur Indogermanischen Sprachgeschichte, I, p. 48.
Note 1. 'Could it be Mitrám eshám, the rapid Mitra?' M. M.
Note 1. The meaning is, it is rich in reward consisting in cows, &c.
Note 2. The text has asura. Cf. H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 164.
Note 1. With the first Pâda, comp. below, 12, 2.
Note 2. On svátavân, see Benfey, Vedica and Linguistica, p. 1 seqq.; Lanman, p. 559; Joh. Schmidt, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXVI, p. 357 seq.; H. O., Prolegomena, p. 471.
Note 1. Nisíshat is not derived, as is the case for instance with â´ sishâmahi, VIII, 24, 1, from (ni-)sâs (Grassmann, Ludwig), but from ni-sâ (Böhtlingk-Roth); comp. VII, 3, 5. nisísânâh átithim. We must read, consequently, nisísat, formed like dádhat (3rd sg. subj. pres., or possibly nom. sing. part. pres.).
Note 1. Böhtlingk-Roth conjecture harmyâ´vân 'im Hause, im Stall gehalten.' It is true that beasts may be kept in the harmya; comp. VII, 56, 16; X, 106, 5; Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 149. But I do not think that 'being kept in the harmya' could be expressed by harmya-vat. Hemyâ´vat seems to be derived from the root hi, and to have the same meaning as âsuhéman; such a word very well fits into a phrase referring to a swift horse. Hemyâ´vat stands to hemán in the same relation as omyâ´vat to omán. All this was pointed out first by Ludwig (vol. iv, p. 22).
Note 1. Literally the Hotri’s work (performed for such a Yagamâna).
Note 1. I read mártâm (gen. plur.); comp. above, verse 3, note 2. It is possible, however, to leave the text unchanged; in this case the translation would be: 'May he, the knowing one, distinguish wisdom and folly, the (wise and foolish) mortals like straight and crooked backs (of horses).'
Note 2. Comp. vîtáprishtha, 'straight-backed,' a frequent epithet of horses.
Note 3. For Prof. Max Müller's interpretation of this passage, comp. vol. xxxii, p. 256. See also Bergaigne, Rel. Védique, III, 97; Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, 297 seq. It is very strange that the poet should ask the god to keep off Aditi (comp. I, 152, 6. áditim urushyet) who must here be considered, consequently, as a malevolent deity. I think that this conception of Aditi is derived from the idea of this goddess as punishing sin; it is the same goddess who may free the sinner from the bonds of sin and who may fetter and destroy him. Keeping off Aditi seems to mean, consequently, removing from the mortal the danger of being bound by the fetters of sin; the idea is the same as above in IV, 1, 5, where Agni is invoked to make Varuna, the son of Aditi, go away (comp. H. O., Religion des Veda, p. 336, note 1). In that case granting Diti would mean granting freedom from those same fetters. (On Diti, who very appropriately has been called a mere reflex of Aditi, see M. M., loc. cit.; Bergaigne, III, 97 seq.)
Note 1. On Âyu, the mythical ancestor of the human race, see Bergaigne, Religion Védique, I, p. 59 seq.
Note 2. On padbhíh, comp. Pischel, Ved. Studien, I, 228 seq.; Bartholomae, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XV, 3 seq.; Bloomfield, Contributions to the Interpretation of the Veda, Second Series, p. 32 seq. (American Journal of Philology, XI, 350 seq.). I believe that in our verse padbhíh should be derived from a noun pás, and translated, 'with thy eyes,'
while in verse 14 we ought to read padbhíh, and to translate, 'with the feet.'
Note 3. Pischel (Ved. Studien, I, 229, note I) believes that aryáh is nom. sing., referring to Agni. But compare VI, 51, 2. rigú márteshu vriginâ´ ka pásyan abhí kashte sû´rah aryáh évân. This verse makes it very probable that aryáh is a genitive dependent on évaih, évân ('beholding right and wrong deeds among the mortals, the Sun looks upon the Arya's ways'). On the stem arí, 'the Arya,' see Pischel, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, XL, p. 125.
Note 1. This verse has been commented upon by Pischel, Ved. Studien, I, 229 seq.
Note 2. On padbhíh or rather padbhíh, comp. verse 12, note 2.
Note 3. In translating bhuríg I have followed, though not without doubt, the theory of Pischel, Ved. Studien, I, 239 seq.—Pischel seems to be right in making ritám depend both on yemuh (comp. IV, 23, 10) and on âsushânâ´h (comp. above, IV, 1, 13, and below, verse 16).
Note 1. The seven Rishis or Aṅgiras, the sons of Heaven and the Dawn (cf. above 1, 16).
Note 2. nrî´n (or rather nrî´m) is genitive plural. See Lanman, p. 430; Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, p. 42.
Note 3. Here we have again the seven Rishis breaking the mountain in which the cows were imprisoned.
Note 1. The apodosis is wanting. As verse 15 shows, the meaning is: As our fathers have done their mighty deeds, aspiring after Rita, thus may we do the same.
Note 2. Súkî´t (Padap. súki ít) possibly stands for súkim ít; cf. Roth, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, XLVIII, p. 680. Or may we correct súkî ít …
dî´dhitî (instr. sing.), 'they went along in pure devotion'? Dî´dhiti seems to be what is called in III, 31, 1; IX, 102, 1. 8, ritásya dî´dhitih.'
Note 1. See Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 252.
Note 2. Evidently the pious men, not the gods, form the subject. I propose to read, therefore, devâ´m (gen. plur.) gánimâ; cf. verse 18 devâ´nâm yát gánimâ. They kindle Agni; they strengthen Indra: in short, they treat the divine people as the smith treats the metal.
Note 3. I do not enter here upon the archaeological question as to the meaning of áyah. Comp. on this much-discussed question especially Max Müller, Biographies of Words, p. 252 seq.; Schrader, Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte (2nd ed.), p. 271 seq.; von Bradke, Methode der arischen Alterthumswissenschaft, p. 93 seq.
Note 4. Cf. X, 61, 13. parishádvânah agman.
Note 1. Pasváh is genitive sing.; it depends on yûthâ´. Cf. V, 31, 1; VI, 19, 3.
Note 2. There is no reason for taking, as Lanman (p. 516) does, kshumáti as acc. plur. neut., which would be kshumâ´nti. See Joh. Schmidt, Pluralbildungen der Indogermanischen Neutra, p. 237; Bartholomae, Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXIX, p. 493. Bartholomae translates, 'bei einem wolhabenden.'
Note 3. Is this vocative ugra right? It would be easy to correct, with Ludwig, ugrâ´ ('when the mighty generations of the gods were near him') or ugráh, as suggested by Delbrück (Grassmann's Translation, vol. i, p. 573): 'the mighty one (Agni) looked on them,' &c.
Note 4. I believe that Geldner (Ved. Studien, I, 260, note 1) is right in contending that Urvasî, wherever it occurs, is the name of an Apsaras and nothing else. The name of Âyu, occurring in the fourth Pâda, confirms this; for Âyu, as is well known, is the son of Purûravas and of the nymph Urvasî. Geldner translates, 'Selbst mit den
[paragraph continues] Sterblichen hatten die Urvasîs Mitleid.' But I do not think that krip means 'having compassion.' In my opinion we should, with Ludwig, supply gánimâ to mártânâm, so that devâ´nâm gánimâ in the second Pâda corresponds with mártânâm (gánimâ) in the third. This gánimâ is an accusative which depends on akripran ('they pined after …,' cf. IX, 85, 11. nâ´ke suparnám upapaptivâ´msam gírah venâ´nâm akripanta pûrvî´h; X, 74, 3. yé kripánanta rátnam). Thus the meaning seems to be: When the cows had been conquered, and when Agni looked over the generations of the gods that were near him, the Urvasîs, i. e. the Apsarases such as Urvasî, longed for the love of mortals such as Purûravas, and for the propagation of the human generations; they gave birth to children such as Âyu.
Note 5. Or 'of the indigent'? Or is aryáh nom. plur. fem. referring to the Urvasîs? Or nom. sing. masc. referring to Agni?
Note 6. On Âyu, see note 4. But I cannot tell why he is called the nearer Âyu. Is this nearer Âyu opposed, as a nearer or later (úpara) ancestor, to the pitárah párâsah pratnâ´sah, the Aṅgiras, mentioned in verse 16? The same nearer Âyu (úpara which stands there in opposition to pû´rvâbhih) is mentioned also in I, 104, 4, connected, as it seems, with some Apsarases. I do not pretend to be able to interpret that very difficult verse, but I am convinced that it has been misinterpreted both by Roth (Siebenzig Lieder, p. vii) and by Bergaigne (I, 60).
Note 1. I. e. the dawns have sent forth their shine, which is a visible manifestation of the eternal law of Rita.
Note 2. The construction is: we have been good workers, brightening &c. The words, 'the brilliant dawns have shone out Rita,' are a parenthesis.
Note 1. The text is nearly identical with the first hemistich of I, 73, 10 (see above).