Hymns to Rbhus from the Rig-Veda - Book I

Brahma receiving the Vedas

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

1 FOR the Celestial Race this song of praise which gives wealth lavishly
Was made by singers with their lips.
2 They who for Indra, with their mind, formed horses harnessed by a word,
Attained by works to sacrifice.
3 They for the two Nasatyas wrought a light car moving every way:
They formed a nectar-yielding cow.
4 The Rbhus with effectual prayers, honest, with constant labour, made
Their Sire and Mother young again.
5 Together came your gladdening drops with Indra by the Maruts girt,
With the Adityas, with the Kings.
6 The sacrificial ladle, wrought newly by the God Tvastar's hand-
Four ladles have ye made thereof.
7 Vouchsafe us wealth, to him who pours thrice seven libations, yea, to each
Give wealth, pleased with our eulogies.
8 As ministering Priests they held, by pious acts they won themselves,
A share in sacrifice with Gods.


HYMN CX. Rbhus.

1. THE holy work I wrought before is wrought again: my sweetest hymn is sung to celebrate your praise.
Here, O ye Rbhus, is this sea for all the Gods: sate you with Soma offered with the hallowing word.
2 When, seeking your enjoyment onward from afar, ye, certain of my kinsmen, wandered on your way,
Sons of Sudhanvan, after your long journeying, ye came unto the home of liberal Savitar.
3 Savitar therefore gave you immortality, because ye came proclaiming him whom naught can hide;
And this the drinking-chalice of the Asura, which till that time was one, ye made to be fourfold.
4 When they had served with zeal at sacrifice as priests, they, mortal as they were, gained immortality.
The Rbhus, children of Sudhanvan, bright as suns, were in a year's course made associate with prayers.
5 The Rbhus, with a rod measured, as 'twere a field, the single sacrificial chalice. wide of mouth,
Lauded of all who saw, praying for what is best, desiring glorious fame among Immortal Gods.
6 As oil in ladles, we through knowledge will present unto the Heroes of the firmament our hymn,-
The Rbhus who came near with this great Father's speed, and rose to heaven's high sphere to cat the strengthening food.
7 Rbhu to us is Indra freshest in his might, Rbhu with powers and wealth is giver of rich gifts.
Gods, through your favour may we on the happy day quell the attacks of those who pour no offerings forth.
8 Out of a skin, O Rbhus, once ye formed a cow, and brought the mother close unto her calf again.
Sons of Sudhanvan, Heroes, with surpassing skill ye made your aged Parents youthful as before.
9 Help us with strength where spoil is won, O Indra: joined with the gbhus give us varied bounty.
This prayer of ours may Varuna grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.


HYMN CXI. Rbhus.

1. WORKING with skill they wrought the lightly rolling car: they wrought the Bays who bear Indra and bring great gifts.
The Rbhus for their Parents made life young again; and fashioned for the calf a mother by its side.
2 For sacrifice make for us active vital power for skill and wisdom food with noble progeny.
Grant to our company this power most excellent, that with a family all-heroic we may dwell.
3 Do ye, O Rbhus, make prosperity for us, prosperity for car, ye Heroes, and for steed.
Grant us prosperity victorious evermore,
conquering foes in battle, strangers or akin.
4 Indra, the Rbhus' Lord, I invocate for aid, the Rbhus, Vajas, Maruts to the Soma draught.
Varuna, Mitra, both, yea, and the Asvins Twain: let them speed us to wealth, wisdom, and victory.
5 May Rbhu send prosperity for battle, may Vaja conquering in the fight protect us.
This prayer of ours may Varuna grant, and Mitra, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.


HYMN CLXI. Rbhus.

1 WHY hath the Best, why hath the Youngest come to us? Upon what embassy comes he? What have we said?
We have not blamed the chalice of illustrious birth. We, Brother Agni, praised the goodness of the wood.
2 The chalice that is single make ye into four: thus have the Gods commanded; therefore am I come.
If, O Sudhanvan's Children, ye will do this thing ye shall participate in sacrifice with Gods.
3 What to the envoy Agni in reply ye spake, A courser must be made, a chariot fashioned here,
A cow must be created, and the Twain made young. When we have done these things, Brother, we turn to you.
4 When thus, O Rbhus, ye had done ye questioned thus, Whither went he who came to us a messenger?
Then Tvastar, when he viewed the four wrought chalices, concealed himself among the Consorts of the Gods.
5 As Tvastar thus had spoken, Let us slay these men who have reviled the chalice, drinking-cup of Gods,
They gave themselves new names when Soma juice was shed, and under these new names the Maiden welcomed them.
6 Indra hath yoked his Bays, the Asvins' car is horsed, Brhaspati hath brought the Cow of every hue.
Ye went as Rbhus, Vibhvan, Vaja to the Gods, and skilled in war, obtained your share in sacrifice.
7 Ye by your wisdom brought a cow from out a hide; unto that ancient Pair ye gave again their youth.
Out of a horse, Sudhanvan's Sons, ye formed a horse: a chariot ye equipped, and went unto the Gods.
8 Drink ye this water, were the words ye spake to them; or drink ye this, the rinsing of the Munja-grass.
If ye approve not even this, Sudhanvan's Sons, then at the third libation gladden ye yourselves.
9 Most excellent are waters, thus said one of you; most excellent is Agni, thus another said.
Another praised to many a one the lightning cloud. Then did ye shape the cups, speaking the words of truth.
10 One downward to the water drives the crippled cow, another trims the flesh brought on the carving-board.
One carries off the refuse at the set of sun. How did the Parents aid their children in their task!
11 On the high places ye have made the grass for man, and water in the valleys, by your skill, O Men.
Rbhus, ye iterate not to-day that act of yours, your sleeping in the house of him whom naught can hide.
12 As, compassing them round, ye glided through the worlds, where had the venerable Parents their abode?
Ye laid a curse on him who raised his arm at you: to him who spake aloud to you ye spake again.
13 When ye had slept your fill, ye Rbhus, thus ye asked, O thou whom naught may hide, who now hath wakened us?
The goat declared the hound to be your wakener. That day, in a full year, ye first unclosed our eyes.
14 The Maruts move in heaven, on earth this Agni; through the mid-firmament the Wind approaches.
Varuna comes in the sea's gathered waters, O Sons of Strength, desirous of your presence.

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Source: An English translation of the Vedas by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1896.