Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg , at sacred-texts.com
1. Thou, O Agni, art Varuna, when born; thou becomest Mitra when kindled. In thee, O son of strength, the Visvedevâs (dwell). Thou art Indra for the mortal worshipper.
2. Thou becomest Aryaman when thou bearest 1 the secret name of the maidens, O self-dependent one. They anoint (thee) with cows 2 like the well-established Mitra 3, when thou makest husband and wife one-minded.
3. For thy glory the Maruts have cleansed themselves 1, who are thy fair and brilliant offspring, O Rudra 2! The footprint of Vishnu which is put down in the highest place: therewith thou protectest the secret name of the cows.
4. By thy beauty, O god, the gods are beautiful to behold 1. Assuming many (powers or goods) they attached themselves to immortality. Men have set down Agni as the Hotri, the Usigs, honouring (him), the praise of Âyu 2.
5. There is no (other) Hotri before thee, a better sacrificer 1; no one surpasses thee, O self-dependent one, by wisdom. And that house of which thou art the guest, he 2, O god, will overcome the mortals by his sacrifice.
6. May we overcome the mortals, O Agni, protected by thee, striving for wealth, awaking (thee) with offerings; may we (overcome mortals) in the contest, in the distribution 1 of days; may we (overcome them) by wealth, O son of strength!
7. If a man should turn upon us sin or guilt, bring ye the evil on him who pronounces evil spells (against us). Destroy, O knowing one, such a curse, O Agni, (of a man) who injures us by falsehood.
8. Thee, O god, the ancient (mortals) have made their messenger at the break of this (dawn), and have sacrificed with their oblations, when thou goest along, O Agni, in the abode of wealth, a god kindled by the mortals and by the Vasus.
9. Protect the father—drive away (evil) as the knowing one—(the father) who is considered 1 as thy son, O son of strength 2. When, O sapient (Agni), wilt thou look upon us? When wilt thou, who knowest Rita, requite (human deeds)?
10. The father 1 adoring gives many names to thee, O Vasu, if thou shouldst take pleasure therein. Will not Agni, delighting in his divine power, grant us his favour, he who has grown strong?
11. Thou indeed, O Agni, youngest one, bringest thy praiser across all dangers. Thieves have been seen and deceitful men; dishonest people have come with unknown designs.
12. These our processions have been directed towards thee. Yes, to thee, the Vasu, this guilt has been confessed. Verily this Agni, grown strong, will never surrender us to the curse nor to him who does harm to us.
The Rishi is Vasusruta Âtreya; the metre is Trishtubh.—No verse of this hymn occurs in the other Samhitâs.
Note 1. I think that we must read bíbharshi.
Note 2. I. e. with butter.
Note 3. On Mitra as the god of alliances, and the anointing of Mitra—possibly of an object that represents Mitra—see H. O., Religion des 2, p. 186, note 1. Cf. also Pischel, Vedische Studien, I, 92 seq.
Note 1. I. e. they have adorned themselves. Cf. VII, 39, 3. urâ´v antárikshe margayanta subhrâ´h.
Note 2. Rudra of course is here a name of Agni.
Note 1. Sudrísah, which I have translated as nom. plur., may also be understood as gen. sing.: 'by thy beauty, who art beautiful to behold, O god, the gods, assuming, &c.'
Note 2. Cf. Narâsamsa.—This hemistich is nearly identical with IV, 6, 11.
Note 1. Comp. above, III, 17, 5.
Note 2. The construction is rather free.
Note 1. Vidátheshu áhnâm: cf. above, I, 31, 6, note 2 (p. 26 seq.).
Note 1. See Neisser, Bezzenberger's Beiträge, XVIII, 310.
Note 2. Bergaigne (Religion Védique, II, 103) proposes to read yodhi without accent and to derive it, as Delbrück does, from yu (not from yudh); he translates the first hemistich: 'Protège-nous, écarte le père qui passe pour ton fils.' I think that he is right as to the verb yu, but that the accent of yódhi is correct; the words yodhi vidvâ´n form a parenthesis. Agni is invoked to protect the father of the sacrificing tribe (comp. verse to), or the father of
[paragraph continues] Agni himself, i. e. the sacrificer or the priest, who is himself considered, at the same time, as the son of Agni (see Bergaigne, I, 37 seq.; Geldner, Vedische Studien, I, 167).
Note 1. 'The father' may either be the father spoken of in verse 9 (see verse 9, note 2). Or the word may refer to Agni: 'He who adores thee, gives many names to thee, if thou, the father, O Vasu, &c.'