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The Upanishads, Part 1 (SBE01), by Max Müller, [1879], at

p. 38



1. The sun is indeed the honey 2 of the Devas. The heaven is the cross-beam (from which) the sky (hangs as) a hive, and the bright vapours are the eggs of the bees 3.

2. The eastern rays of the sun are the honey-cells in front. The Rik verses are the bees, the Rig-veda (sacrifice) is the flower, the water (of the sacrificial libations) is the nectar (of the flower).

3. Those very Rik verses then (as bees) brooded over the Rig-veda sacrifice (the flower); and from it, thus brooded on, sprang as its (nectar) essence, fame, glory of countenance, vigour, strength, and health 4.

4. That (essence) flowed forth and went towards the sun 5. And that forms what we call the red (rohita) light of the rising sun.


38:1 After the various meditations on the Sâma-veda sacrifice, the sun is next to be meditated on, as essential to the performance of all sacrifices.

38:2 Everybody delights in the sun, as the highest reward of all sacrifices.

38:3 I am not certain whether this passage is rightly translated. Rajendralal Mitra speaks of an arched bamboo, whence the atmosphere hangs pendant like a hive, in which the vapours are the eggs. Apûpa means a cake, and may mean a hive. In order to understand the simile, we ought to have a clearer idea of the construction of the ancient bee-hive.

38:4 Annâdya, explained as food, but more likely meaning power to eat, appetite, health. See III, 13, 1.

38:5 The commentator explains: The Rik verses, on becoming part of the ceremonial, perform the sacrifice. The sacrifice (the flower), when surrounded by the Rik verses (bees), yields its essence, the nectar. That essence consists in all the rewards to be obtained through sacrifice, and as these rewards are to be enjoyed in the p. 39 next world and in the sun, therefore that essence or nectar is said to ascend to the sun.

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