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Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE46), by Hermann Oldenberg [1897], at

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1. He has brought down (i. e. surpassed) the wisdom of many a worshipper 1, he who holds in his hand all manly power. Agni has become the lord of treasures, he who brought together all (powers of) immortality.

1. All the clever immortals when seeking did not find the calf though sojourning round about us. The attentive (gods), wearying themselves, following his footsteps 2, stood at the highest, beautiful 3 standing-place of Agni.

3. When the bright ones 1 had done service 2 to thee, the bright one, Agni, with Ghrita through three autumns, they assumed worshipful names; the well-born shaped their own bodies.

4. Acquiring (or, exploring?) for themselves the two great worlds, the worshipful ones brought forward their Rudra-like powers 1. The mortal, when (beings) were in discord 2, perceived and found out Agni standing in the highest place.

5. Being like-minded they 1 reverentially approached him on their knees. Together with their wives they venerated the venerable one 2. Abandoning their bodies they made them their own 3, the (one) friend waking when the (other) friend closed his eyes 4.

6. When the worshipful (gods) have discovered the thrice seven secret steps 1 (or, places) laid down in thee, they concordantly guard with them immortality.

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[paragraph continues] Protect thou the cattle and that which remains steadfast 2 and that which moves.

7. Knowing, O Agni, the established orders 1 of (human) dwellings, distribute in due order gifts 2 that they may live. Knowing the ways which the gods go 3, thou hast become the unwearied messenger, the bearer of oblations.

8. They who knew the right way and were filled with good intentions, beheld from heaven the seven young 1 (rivers) and the doors of riches. Saramâ found the strong stable of the cows from which human clans receive their nourishment 2.

9. The Earth has spread herself far and wide with them who are great in their greatness, the mother Aditi, for the refreshment of the bird 1, with her sons who have assumed all powers of their own dominion 2, preparing (for themselves) the way to immortality.

10. When the immortals created the two eyes of heaven 1, they placed fair splendour in him (Agni) 2. Then they rush down 3 like streams let loose. The red ones have recognised, O Agni, those which are directed downwards 4.


The same Rishi and metre.—Verse 1 = TS. II, 2, 12, 1. Verse 3 = TB. II, 4, 5, 6. Verses 8–9 = TB. II, 5, 8, 10.

Verse 1.

Note 1. The meaning seems to me to be: by his wisdom he excels all human wisdom. Prof. Max Müller translates: 'Agni, who holds in his hand all that men desire, conquers

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[paragraph continues] (or, wins for himself) the praises of many a wise worshipper.' And the last Pâda: 'he who brought together all immortal blessings.'—On sasvat, see VI, 61, 1; VII, 18, 18; VIII, 23, 28.

Verse 2.

Note 1. Here we have again the myth of the hidden Agni whom the gods seek. Agni is meant by the calf.

Note 2. Going on foot, Sâyana.

Note 3. I follow Sâyana, Bollensen, and Ludwig in taking kâ´ru as a locative.

Verse 3.

Note 1. 'Was not Sâyana right in taking this verse as referring to the Maruts? Cf. VI, 48, 21.… sugâta also is an epithet of the Maruts, I, 88, 3; 166, 12.' M. M.

Note 2. As to the subjunctive, comp. Delbrück, Syntaktische Forschungen, I, p. 67. The Taittirîya Brâhmana (II, 4, 5, 6) reads saparyán.

Verse 4.

Note 1. I follow the Padapâtha which has rudríyâ. But possibly we may have the nom. plur. rudríyâh: 'the worshipful Rudriyas (i. e. Maruts) rushed forward.'

Note 2. The translation of nemádhitâ is in jeopardy.

Verse 5.

Note 1. Probably the mortals, as Ludwig understands it. Comp. mártah, verse 4.

Note 2. The venerable one is Agni.

Note 3. Possibly the text is corrupt. In IV, 24, 3 we read ririkvâ´msah tanṽah krinvata trâ´m, 'abandoning (i. e. risking) their bodies they took him (Indra) for their protector' (comp. I, 100, 7). Should svâ´h have supplanted another word, for instance, trâ´m? As the pronoun svá very frequently stands in apposition with tanû´, it may have found its way also into passages to which it did not belong.

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Note 4. The meaning seems to be that whenever the attention of one of the friends relaxed, another friend watched instead of the first. See Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl. Gesellschaft, XLIV, 328; Bartholomae, Studien zur indogerm. Sprachgeschichte, I, 95.

Verse 6.

Note 1. Sâyana explains the tríh saptá padâ´ as the three times seven kinds of sacrifices, the seven Pâkayagñas, the seven Haviryagñas, the seven Somayagñas. But this later system of the twenty-one forms of sacrifice can scarcely have existed at the time of the Rig-veda Samhitâ. Three times seven is a favourite number in Rig-vedic mysticism; comp. I, 191, 12. 14; IV, 1, 16; VII, 87, 4; VIII, 46, 26; 69, 7; 96, 2; IX, 70, 1; 86, 21; X, 64, 8; 90, 15: Possibly three times seven pieces of wood (samídhah) are alluded to, comp. X, 90, 15, but everybody who has studied Bergaigne's Arithmétique mythologique (Rel. Véd. II, 114 seq.; see especially p. 122) will admit that there are ever so many possible interpretations of a passage like this. Prof. Max Müller's translation is: 'The worshipful gods found in thee the twenty-one words which are hidden in thee. They guard with them the immortal (Agni).'—Instead of avidan (Padapâtha) I think we must read ávidan.

Note 2. Ludwig certainly is wrong in translating 'hüte du den wandel von tier and pflanze.' The author of this group of hymns is very fond of the phrase sthâtúh karátham and the like; see I, 68, 1; 70, 3. 7. Tire same phrase, in one or the other of its possible shapes, has evidently been used by him here also. The plural masculine sthâtrî´n is indeed very strange. Possibly J. Wackernagel is right in reading sthâtrî´n (Kuhn's Zeitschrift, XXV, 287; comp. Lanman, p. 422); the reading sthâtrî´n may be due to the neighbourhood of pasû´n. This sort of blunder is very frequent in the text of the Rig-veda. Prof. Max Müller suggests: the stabled cattle and what moves about (in the meadows).

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Verse 7.

Note 1. On vayúna, comp. Pischel, Ved. Studien, I, 295. 300. 'The thoughts of human beings.' M. M.

Note 2. Surúdh: Pischel, Ved. Studien, I, 32. 50.

Note 3. 'Which lead to the gods?' M. M.

Verse 8.

Note 1. Comp. I, 26, 10, note 1.—'Beheld the seven young rivers coming down from heaven.' M. M.

Note 2. See Delbrück, Syntaktische Forschungen, I, 87.

Verse 9.

Note 1. The bird seems to be Agni.

Note 2. The Padapâtha gives su-apatyâ´ni. There is no doubt a word su-apatyá, 'blessed with good offspring.' This is frequently used together with such nouns as rayi, kshaya, ish; it stands in several passages by the side of pragâvat. See I, 117, 19; II, 2, 12; 4, 8; 9, 5; III, 3, 7; 16, 1; IV, 2, 11; X, 30, 12. But from this word should be distinguished sva-patyá, derived from svá-pati (X, 44, 1, &c.), 'a man's own dominion,' or 'own rulership;' comp. gâspatyá. This word is found here, and in some other passages, for instance, VII, 91, 3. vísvâ ít nárah svapatyâ´ni kakruh, 'the heroes have exercised all the powers of their own dominion;' VIII, 15, 10. satrâ´ vísvâ svapatyâ´ni dadhishe, 'thou hast assumed (Indra) all powers of thy own dominion altogether.'—Ludwig translates correctly, 'alle selbstherlichkeit.'

The Taittirîya Brâhmana reads kakrúh for tasthúh. This reading evidently rests on Rig-veda IV, 34, 9; VII, 91, 3. There is no reason, however, for preferring this to the traditional reading of our Rik-text.

Verse 10.

Note 1. The sun and the moon? This very natural explanation will scarcely be modified on account of passages like the following (Satapatha Brâhmana I, 6, 3, 38):

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[paragraph continues] 'These are the two eyes of the sacrifice, the (oblations of butter called) Âgyabhâgas.'

Note 2. Comp. below, 73, 4.

Note 3. It is not necessary to change the text; I believe, however, that the conjecture adháh ksharanti (they stream downwards) would not be quite improbable. Comp. my Prolegomena, p. 369, note 1.—The subject seems to be the streams of sacrificial libations.

Note 4. Both expressions, 'the red ones' and 'those which are directed downwards,' are feminine. The red ones may be the dawns. But these cannot be called 'directed downwards.' I take, therefore, the one noun as a nominative, the other as an accusative. Cannot 'those which are directed downwards' be the libations of Ghrita and the like, which the dawns see?—Prof. Max Müller translates: 'People recognised the red netherward mares (of thee), O Agni.' He supplies gvâlâh or takes arushîh as mares, cf. V, 56, 6.

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