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Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE32), by Max Müller, [1891], at

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To the Maruts (the Storm-gods).

1. Endowed with exceeding vigour and power, the singers, the never flinching, the immovable, the impetuous, the most beloved and most manly, have decked themselves with their glittering ornaments, a few only 1, like the heavens with the stars,

2. When you have seen your way through the clefts, like birds, O Maruts, on whatever road it be 1, then the casks (clouds) on your chariots trickle everywhere, and you pour out the honey-like fatness (the rain) for him who praises you.

3. At their racings the earth shakes, as if broken 1, when on the (heavenly) paths they harness (their deer) for victory 2. They the sportive, the roaring, with bright spears, the shakers (of the clouds) have themselves glorified their greatness.

4. That youthful company (of the Maruts), with their spotted horses 1, moves by itself; hence 2 it exercises lordship, invested with powers. Thou indeed art true, thou searchest out sin 3, thou art without blemish. Therefore the manly host will help this prayer.

5. We speak after the kind of our old father, our tongue goes forth at the sight 1 of the Soma: when the singers (the Maruts) had joined Indra in deed 2, then only they took their holy names;—

6. These Maruts, armed with beautiful rings, obtained splendours for their glory 1, they obtained 2 rays, and men to celebrate them; nay, armed with daggers, speeding along, and fearless, they found the beloved domain of the Maruts 3.

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This hymn is ascribed to Gotama. No verse in SV., VS., AV.

Verse 2 = TS. IV, 3, 13, 7.

Verse 3 = TS. IV, 3, 13, 7.

Verse 6 = TS. II, 1, 11, 2; IV, 2, 11, 2.

Verse 1.

Note 1. Ké kit refers to the Maruts, who are represented as gradually rising or just showing themselves, as yet only few in number, like the first stars in the sky. Ké kit, some, is opposed to sarve, all. The same expression occurs again, V, 52, 12, where the Maruts are compared to a few thieves. B. and R., and those who follow them, translate usrâ´h iva st-bhih by 'like cows marked with stars on their foreheads.' Such cows no doubt exist, but they can hardly be said to become visible by these frontal stars, as the Maruts by their ornaments. We must take usrâ´h here in the same sense as dyâ´vah; II, 34, 2, it is said that the Maruts were perceived dyâ´vah ná st-bhih, like the heavens with the stars.

I, 166, 11. dûre-dsah yé divyâ´h-iva st-bhih.

Who are visible far away, like the heavens (or heavenly beings) by the stars.

And the same is said of Agni, II, 2, 5. dyaúh ná stbhih kitayat ródasî (íti) ánu. Stbhih occurs I, 68, 5; IV, 7, 3; VI, 49, 3; 12. It always means stars, and the meaning of rays (strahl) rests, as yet, on etymological authority only. The evening sky would, no doubt, be more appropriate than usrâ´h, which applies chiefly to the dawn. But in the Indian mind, the two dawns, i. e. the dawn and the gloaming, are so closely united and identified, that their names, too, are frequently interchangeable.

Verse 2.

Note 1. I translate yayí not by a goer, a traveller, i. e. the

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cloud (this is the explanation proposed by Sâyana, and adopted by Professor Benfey), but by path. Sâyana (TS. IV, 3, 13, 7) renders yayim by gatim. Etymologically yayí may mean either, and in some passages I feel doubtful as to which is the more appropriate meaning. But in parallel passages yayí is clearly replaced by yâ´ma. Thus:

VIII, 7, 2. yát—yâ´mam subhrâh ákidhvam.

When you, bright Maruts, have seen your way.

See also VIII, 7, 4. yát yâ´mam yâ´nti vâyú-bhih.

When they (the Maruts) go on their path with the winds.

VIII, 7, 14. ádhi-iva yát girînâ´m yâ´mam subhrâh ákidhvam.

When you, bright Maruts, had seen your way, as it were, from above the mountains.

The same phrase occurs, even without yâ´ma or yayí, in

V, 55, 7. ná párvatâh ná nadyâ´h varanta vah yátra ákidhvam marutahkkhata ít u tát.

Not mountains, not rivers, keep you back; where you have seen (your way), there you go.

Though yayí does not occur frequently in the Rig-veda, the meaning of path seems throughout more applicable than that of traveller.

V, 87, 5. tvesháh yayíh.

Your path, O Maruts, is blazing.

V, 73, 7. ugráh vâm kakuháh yayíh.

Fearful is your pass on high.

I, 51, 11. ugráh yayim níh apáh srótasâ asrigat.

The fearful Indra sent the waters forth on their way streaming.

X, 92, 5. prá—yayínâ yanti síndhavah.

The waters go forth on their path.

Ludwig takes kósa as buckets on the chariots of the Maruts, which seems right.

Verse 3.

Note 1. Cf. I, 37, 8, page 75. There is no authority for Sâyana's explanation of vithurâ´-iva, the earth trembles like a widow. Vithurâ´ occurs several times in the Rig-veda, but never in the sense of widow. Thus:

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I, 168, 6. yát kyaváyatha vithurâ´-iva sám-hitam.

When you, Maruts, throw down what is compact, like brittle things.

I, 186, 2; VI, 25, 3; 46, 6; VIII, 96, 2; X, 77, 4 (vithuryáti). The Maruts themselves are called ávithura in verse 1. Spiegel compares the Zend aiwithura. As to ágma and yâ´ma, see I, 37, 8, page 75.

Note 2. Súbh is one of those words to which it is very difficult always to assign a definite special meaning. Being derived from subh, to shine, the commentator has no difficulty in explaining it by splendour, beauty; sometimes by water. But although súbh means originally splendour, and is used in that sense in many passages, yet there are others where so vague a meaning seems very inappropriate. In our verse Sâyana proposes two translations, either, 'When the Maruts harness the clouds,' or, 'When the Maruts harness their chariots, for the bright rain-water.' Now the idea that the Maruts harness their chariots in order to make the clouds yield their rain, can hardly be expressed by the simple word subhé, i. e. for brightness' sake. As the Maruts are frequently praised for their glittering ornaments, their splendour might be intended in this passage, as it certainly is in others. Thus:

I, 85, 3. yát subháyante añgí-bhih tanû´shu subhrâ´h dadhire virúkmatah.

When the Maruts adorn themselves with glittering ornaments, the brilliant ones put bright weapons on their bodies.

VII, 56, 6. subhâ´ sóbhishthâh, sriyâ´ sám-mish, ógah-bhih ugrâ´h.

The most brilliant by their brilliancy, united with beauty, terrible by terrors.

In I, 64, 4, I have translated vákshah-su rukmâ´n ádhi yetire subhé by 'they fix gold (chains) on their chests for beauty.' And the same meaning is applicable to I, 117, 5, subhé rukmám ná darsatám ní-khâtam, and other passages: IV, 51, 6; VI, 63, 6.

But in our verse and others which we shall examine, beauty and brilliancy would be very weak renderings for

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subhé. 'When they harnessed their chariots or their deer for the sake of beauty,' means nothing, or, at least, very little. I take, therefore, subhé in this and similar phrases in the sense of triumph or glory or victory. 'When they harness their chariots for to conquer,' implies brilliancy, glory, victory, but it conveys at the same time a tangible meaning. Let us now see whether the same meaning is appropriate in other passages:

I, 23, 11. gáyatâm-iva tanyatuh marútâm eti dhrishnuyâ´ yát súbham yâthána narah.

The thundering voice of the Maruts comes fiercely, like that of conquerors, when you go to conquer, O men!

Sâyana: 'When you go to the brilliant place of sacrifice.' Wilson: 'When you accept the auspicious (offering).' Benfey: 'Wenn ihr euren Schmuck nehmt.'

V, 57, 2. yâthana súbham, you go to conquer. Cf. V, 55, 1.

Sâyana: 'For the sake of water, or, in a chariot.'

V, 52, 8. sárdhah mâ´rutam út samsa—utá sma té subhe nárah prá syandrâ´h yugata tmánâ.

Praise the host of the Maruts, whether they, the men, the quickly moving, have by themselves harnessed (the chariots) for conquest.

Sâyana: 'For the sake of water.' Cf. X, 105, 3.

V, 57, 3. subhé yát ugrâh pshatîh áyugdhvam.

When you have harnessed the deer for conquest.

Sâyana: 'For the sake of water.'

III, 26, 4. subhé—píshatîh ayukshata.

They had harnessed the deer for victory.

Sâyana: 'They had harnessed in the water the deer together (with the fires).'

V, 63, 5. rátham yuñgate marútah subhé su-khám sû´rah ná—gó-ishtishu.

The Maruts harness the chariot meet for conquest, like a hero in battles.

Sâyana: 'For the sake of water.'

I, 88, 2. subhé kám yânti—ásvaih.

The Maruts go on their horses towards conquest.

Sâyana: 'In order to brighten the worshipper, or, for the sake of water.'

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I, 119, 3. sám yát mitháh paspridhânâ´sah ágmata subhé makhâ´h ámitâh gâyávahne.

When striving with each other they came together, for the sake of glory, the brisk (Maruts), immeasurable (in strength), panting for victory in the fight.

Sâyana: 'For the sake of brilliant wealth.'

VII, 82, 5. marút-bhih ugráh súbham anyáh îyate.

The other, the fearful (Indra), goes with the Maruts to glory.

Sâyana: 'He takes brilliant decoration.'

I, 167, 6. â´ asthâpayanta yuvatím yúvânah subhé nímislâm.

The Maruts, the youths, placed the maid (lightning on their chariot), their companion for victory (subhé nímislâm).

Sâyana: 'For the sake of water, or, on the brilliant chariot.' Cf. I, 127, 6; 165, I.

VI, 62, 4. súbham pksham ísham û´rgam váhantâ.

The Asvins bringing glory, wealth, drink, and food.

VIII, 26, 13. subhé kakrâte, you bring him to glory.

Subham-yâ´van is an epithet of the Maruts, I, 89, 7; V, 61, 13. Cf. subhra-yâvânâ, VIII, 26, 19 (Asvinau).

Subham-yâ´, of the wind, IV, 3, 6.

Subham-yú, of the rays of the dawn, X, 78, 7.

Verse 4.

Note 1. Sâyana: 'With spotted deer for their horses.' See I, 37, 2, note 1, page 70; as Pûshan is called agâsva, having goats for his horses, RV. V, 58, 2.

That the Maruts have not only prishatîs, but horses for their chariots, we have seen before. In I, 88, 1, we have ásvaparnaih ráthebhih.

Note 2. Ayâ´ is a word of very rare occurrence in the Rig-veda. It is the instrum. sing. of the feminine pronominal base a or î, and as a pronoun followed by a noun it is frequently to be met with; V, 45, 11. ayâ´ dhiyâ´, &c. But in our verse it is irregular in form as not entering into Sandhi with îsânáh. This irregularity, however, which might have led us to suppose an original ayâ´h, indefatigable, corresponding

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with the following ási, is vouched for by the Pada text, in such matters a better authority than the Samhitâ text, and certainly in this case fully borne out by the Prâtisâkhya, I, 163, 10. Unless we read ayâ´h, we must take ayâ´ as an adverb, in the sense of thus or hence; cf. VI, 66, 4. In some passages where ayâ´ seems thus to be used as an adverb, it would be better to supply a noun from the preceding verse. Thus in II, 6, 2, ayâ´ refers to samídham in II, 6, 1. In VI, 17, 15, a similar noun, samídhâ or girâ´, should be supplied. But there are other passages where, unless we suppose that the verse was meant to illustrate a ceremonial act, such as the placing of a samídh, and that ayâ´ pointed to it, we must take it as a simple adverb, like the Greek τῷ: RV. III, 12, 2; IX, 53, 2; 106, 14. In X, 116, 9, the Pada reads áyâh-iva, not áyâ, as given by Roth; in VI, 66, 4, áyâ nú, the accent is likewise on the first.

Note 3. Rina-yâ´van is well explained by B. and R. as going after debt, searching out sin. Sâyana, though he explains rina-yâ´van by removing sin, derives it nevertheless correctly from rina and yâ, and not from yu. The same formation is found in subham-yâ´van, &c.; and as there is rina-yâ´ besides rina-yâ´van, so we find subham-yâ´ besides subham-yâ´van. Ludwig prefers the derivation from yu.

Verse 5.

Note 1. The Soma-juice inspires the poet with eloquence.

Note 2. Sámi occurs again in II, 31, 6; III, 55, 3; VIII, 45, 27; X, 40, 1. Grassmann has shown that it may be taken as an instrum. of sámî, meaning work, but with special reference to the toil of the battle-field or the sacrifice. It is used in the former sense in

VIII, 45, 27. ví ânat turváne sámi.

He (Indra) was able to overcome, lit. he reached to, or he arrived at the overcoming or at victory by toil.

But, like other words which have the general meaning of working or toiling, sámî is used both in a general sense, and in the more special sense of sacrifice.

X, 40, 1. vástoh-vastoh váhamânam dhiyâ´ sámi.

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Your chariot, O Asvins, driven along every morning by thought and deed.

II, 31, 6. apâ´m nápât âsu-hémâ dhiyâ´ sámi.

Apâm napât (Agni) moving quickly by thought and deed.

In these two passages it might be possible, with a slight alteration of the accent, to read dhiyâ-sámi as one word. Dhiyâ-sám would mean the sacrificer who is engaged in prayer; cf. dhiyâ-gúr, V, 43, 15. Thus we read:

VI, 2, 4. yáh te su-dâ´nave dhiyâ´ mártah sasámate.

The mortal who toils for thee, the liberal god, with prayer.

There is no necessity, however, for such a change, and the authority of the MSS. is against it. See also IX, 74, 7.

In III, 55, 3, sámi ákkha dîdye pûrvyâ´ni, Roth takes sámi as an acc. plur. neut., Lanman as an instrum., Grassmann as a locative.

I glance back at the former sacrifices. See B. R. s.v. dî and sámi.

In other passages the feminine sámî seems to mean work, sacrificial work, but, as far as we can see, not simply sacrifice. Thus the Ribhus and others are said to have acquired immortality by their work or works, sámî or sámîbhih, I, 20, 2; 110, 4; III, 60, 3; IV, 33, 4. Cf. IV, 22, 8; 17, 18; V, 42, 10; 77, 4; VI, 52, 1; VIII, 75, 14; IX, 74, 7; X, 28, 12. In VI, 3, 2, we read:

îgé yagñébhih sasamé sámîbhih.

I have sacrificed with sacrifices, I have worked with pious works.

Here the verb sam must be taken in the sense of working, or performing ceremonial worship, while in other places (III, 29, 16; V, 2, 7) it may be perhaps taken in the more special sense of singing songs of praise. The Greek κάμ-νω, to work, to labour, to tire (Sanskrit sâmyati), the Greek κομιδή and κομίζω, to labour for or take care of a person, and possibly even the Greek κῶμος a song or a festival (not a village song), may all find their explanation in the Sanskrit root sam.

The idea that the Maruts did not originally enjoy divine

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honours will occur again and again: cf. I, 6, 4; 72, 3. A similar expression is used of the Ribhus, I, 20, 8, &c. But while originally the expression of obtaining sacred names meant no more than obtaining a sacred or divine character, it was soon taken literally, and a number of names were invented for the Maruts which even in the Vâgasan. Samhitâ XVII, 80-85 amount to 49, i. e. 7 × 7. Yagñíya, properly 'worthy of sacrifice,' has the meaning of divine or sacred. The Greek ἅγιος has been compared with yâgya, sacrificio colendus, which is not a Vedic word.

Verse 6.

Note 1. Sriyáse kám seems to be the same as the more frequent sriyé kám. Sriyáse only occurs twice more, V, 59, 3. The chief irregularity consists in the absence of Guna, which is provided for by Pânini's kasen (III, 4, 9). Similar infinitives, if they may so be called, are bhiyáse, V, 29, 4; vridháse, V, 64, 5; dhruváse, VII, 70, 1; tugáse, IV, 23, 7; riñgáse, VIII, 4, 17; vriñgáse, VIII, 76, 1; rikáse, VII, 61, 6. In VI, 39, 5, rikáse may be a dat. sing. of the masculine, to the praiser.

Note 2. Mimikshire from myaksh, to be united with. Rasmí, rays, after bhânú, splendour, may seem weak. It might be possible to assign to rasmí the meaning of reins, and take rikvabhir in the sense of sounding or tinkling. In V, 79, 8, arkí is used in juxtaposition with rasmí.

Note 3. The bearing of this concluding verse is not quite clear, unless we take it as a continuation of the preceding verse. It was there said that the Maruts (the kvânah) obtained their holy names after having joined Indra in his work, which means that they then and there became what they are. Having thus obtained their true character and a place among the gods, they may be said to have won at the same time splendour, and worshippers to sing their praises, and to have established themselves in what became afterwards known as their own domain, their own place among the gods who are invoked at the sacrifice. See VII, 58, 1.

The metre requires that we should read dhâmanah.

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Benfey translates: Gedeih’n zu spenden woll’n die schöngeschmücketen mit Lichtern, Strahlen mit Lobsängern regenen; die brüllenden, furchtlosen, stürmischen, sie sind bekannt als Glieder des geliebten Marutstamms.

Wilson: Combining with the solar rays, they have willingly poured down (rain) for the welfare (of mankind), and, hymned by the priests, have been pleased partakers of the (sacrificial food). Addressed with praises, moving swiftly, and exempt from fear, they have become possessed of a station agreeable and suitable to the Maruts.

Ludwig: Zu herlichkeit haben dise sich mit liechtglanz versehen, mit sausenden zügeln die schönberingten, schwertbewaffnet die kraftvollen, ohne furcht besitzen sie die freundliche Marutmacht.

Next: I, 88. To the Maruts (the Storm-gods)