The Rig Veda, Book 1, Verses 31 to 40

Brahma receiving the Vedas

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

HYMN XXXI. Agni.

1 Thou, Agni, wast the earliest Angiras, a Seer; thou wast, a God thyself, the Gods' auspicious Friend.
After thy holy ordinance the Maruts, sage, active through wisdom, -with their glittering spears, were born.
2 O Agni, thou, the best and earliest Angiras, fulfillest as a Sage the holy law of Gods.
Sprung from two mothers, wise, through all existence spread, resting in many a place for sake of living man.
3 To Matarisvan first thou, Agni, wast disclosed, and to Vivasvan through thy noble inward power.
Heaven and Earth, Vasu! shook at the choosing of the Priest: the burthen thou didst bear, didst worship mighty Gods.
4 Agni thou madest heaven to thunder for mankind; thou, yet more pious, for pious Pururavas.
When thou art rapidly freed from thy parents, first eastward they bear thee round, and, after, to the west.
5 Thou, Agni, art a Bull who makes our store increase, to be invoked by him who lifts the ladle up.
Well knowing the oblation with the hallowing word, uniting all who live, thou lightenest first our folk
6 Agni, thou savest in the synod when pursued e'en him, farseeing One! who walks in evil ways.
Thou, when the heroes fight for spoil which men rush, round, slayest in war the many by the hands of few.
7 For glory, Agni, day by day, thou liftest up the mortal man to highest immortality,
Even thou who yearning for both races givest them great bliss, and to the prince grantest abundant food.
8 O Agni, highly lauded, make our singer famous that he may win us store of riches:
May we improve the rite with new performance. O Earth and Heaven, with all the Gods, protect us.
9 O blameless Agni lying in thy Parents' lap, a God among the Gods, be watchful for our good.
Former of bodies, be the singer's Providence: all good things hast thou sown for him, auspicious One!
10 Agni, thou art our Providence, our Father thou - we are thy brethren and thou art our spring of life. in thee, rich in good heroes, guard of high decrees, meet hundred, thousand treasures, O infallible!
11 Thee, Agni, have the Gods made the first living One for living man, Lord of the house of Nahusa.
Ila they made the teacher of the sons of men, what time a Son was born to the father of my race.
12 Worthy to be revered, O Agni, God, preserve our wealthy patrons with thy succours, and ourselves.
Guard of our seed art thou, aiding our cows to bear, incessantly protecting in thy holy way.
13 Agni, thou art a guard close to the pious man; kindled art thou, four-eyed! for him who is unarmcd.
With fond heart thou acceptest e'en the poor man's prayer, when he hath brought his gift to gain security.
14 Thou, Agni gainest for the loudly-praising priest the highest wealth, the object of a man's desire.
Thou art called Father, caring even for the weak, and wisest, to the simple one thou teachest lore.
15 Agni, the man who giveth guerdon to the priests, like well-sewn armour thou guardest on every side.
He who with grateful food shows kindness in his house, an offerer to the living, is the type of heaven.
16 Pardon, we pray, this sin of ours, O Agni, -- the path which we have trodden, widely straying,
Dear Friend and Father, caring for the pious, who speedest nigh and who inspirest mortals.
17 As erst to Manus, to Yayiti, Angiras, so Angiras! pure Agni! come thou to our hall
Bring hither the celestial host and seat them here upon the sacred grass, and offer what they love.
18 By this our prayer be thou, O Agni, strengthened, prayer made by us after our power and knowledge.
Lead thou us, therefore, to increasing riches; endow us with thy strength-bestowing favour.


HYMN XXXII. Indra.

1 I WILL declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder.
He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents.
2 He slew the Dragon lying on the mountain: his heavenly bolt of thunder Tvastar fashioned.
Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending the waters glided downward to the ocean.
3 Impetuous as a bull, he chose the Soma and in three sacred beakers drank the juices.
Maghavan grasped the thunder for his weapon, and smote to death this firstborn of the dragons.
4 When, Indra, thou hadst slain the dragon's firstborn, and overcome the charms of the enchanters,
Then, giving life to Sun and Dawn and Heaven, thou foundest not one foe to stand against thee.
5 Indra with his own great and deadly thunder smote into pieces Vrtra, worst of Vrtras.
As trunks of trees, what time the axe hath felled them, low on the earth so lies the prostrate Dragon.
6 He, like a mad weak warrior, challenged Indra, the great impetuous many-slaying Hero.
He. brooking not the clashing of the weapons, crushed-Indra's foe-the shattered forts in falling.
7 Footless and handless still he challenged Indra, who smote him with his bolt between the shoulders.
Emasculate yet claiming manly vigour, thus Vrtra lay with scattered limbs dissevered.
8 There as he lies like a bank-bursting river, the waters taking courage flow above him.
The Dragon lies beneath the feet of torrents which Vrtra with his greatness had encompassed.
9 Then humbled was the strength of Vrtra's mother: Indra hath cast his deadly bolt against her.
The mother was above, the son was under and like a cow beside her calf lay Danu.
10 Rolled in the midst of never-ceasing currents flowing without a rest for ever onward.
The waters bear off Vrtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.
11 Guarded by Ahi stood the thralls of Dasas, the waters stayed like kine held by the robber.
But he, when he had smitten Vrtra, opened the cave wherein the floods had been imprisoned.
12 A horse's tail wast thou when he, O Indra, smote on thy bolt; thou, God without a second,
Thou hast won back the kine, hast won the Soma; thou hast let loose to flow the Seven Rivers.
13 Nothing availed him lightning, nothing thunder, hailstorm or mist which had spread around him:
When Indra and the Dragon strove in battle, Maghavan gained the victory for ever.
14 Whom sawest thou to avenge the Dragon, Indra, that fear possessed thy heart when thou hadst slain him;
That, like a hawk affrighted through the regions, thou crossedst nine-and-ninety flowing rivers?
15 Indra is King of all that moves and moves not, of creatures tame and horned, the Thunder-wielder.
Over all living men he rules as Sovran, containing all as spokes within the felly.


HYMN XXXIII. Indra.

1 Come, fain for booty let us seek to Indra: yet more shall he increase his care that guides us.
Will not the Indestructible endow us with perfect knowledge of this wealth, of cattle?
2 I fly to him invisible Wealth-giver as flies the falcon to his cherished eyrie,
With fairest hymns of praise adoring Indra, whom those who laud him must invoke in battle.
3 Mid all his host, he bindeth on the quiver he driveth cattle from what foe he pleaseth:
Gathering up great store of riches, Indra. be thou no trafficker with us, most mighty.
4 Thou slewest with thy bolt the wealthy Dasyu, alone, yet going with thy helpers, Indra!
Far from the floor of heaven in all directions, the ancient riteless ones fled to destruction.
5 Fighting with pious worshippers, the riteless turned and fled, Indra! with averted faces.
When thou, fierce Lord of the Bay Steeds, the Stayer, blewest from earth and heaven and sky the godless.
6 They met in fight the army of the blameless. then the Navagvas put forth all their power.
They, like emasculates with men contending, fled, conscious, by steep paths from Indra, scattered.
7 Whether they weep or laugh, thou hast o'erthrown them, O Indra, on the sky's extremest limit.
The Dasyu thou hast burned from heaven, and welcomed the prayer of him who pours the juice and lauds thee.
8 Adorned with their array of gold and jewels, they o'er the earth a covering veil extended.
Although they hastened, they o'ercame not Indra: their spies he compassed with the Sun of morning.
9 As thou enjoyest heaven and earth, O Indra, on every side surrounded with thy greatness,
So thou with priests bast blown away the Dasyu, and those who worship not with those who worship.
10 They who pervaded earth's extremest limit subdued not with their charms the Wealth-bestower:
Indra, the Bull, made his ally the thunder, and with its light milked cows from out the darkness.
11 The waters flowed according to their nature; he raid the navigable streams waxed mighty.
Then Indra, with his spirit concentrated, smote him for ever with his strongest weapon.
12 Indra broke through Ilibisa's strong castles, and Suspa with his horn he cut to pieces:
Thou, Maghavan, for all his might and swiftness, slewest thy fighting foeman with thy thunder
13 Fierce on his enemies fell Indra's weapon: with. his sharp bull he rent their forts in pieces.
He with his thunderbolt dealt blows on Vrtra; and conquered, executing all his purpose.
14 Indra, thou helpest Kutsa whom thou lovedst, and guardedst brave Dagadyu when he battled,
The dust of trampling horses rose to heaven, and Svitri's son stood up again for conquest.
15 Svitra's mild steer, O Maghavan thou helpest in combat for the land, mid Tugra's houses.
Long stood they there before the task was ended: thou wast the master of the foemen's treasure.


HYMN XXXIV. Asvins.

1 Ye who observe this day be with us even thrice: far-stretching is you bounty, Asvins and your course.
To you, as to a cloak in winter, we cleave close: you are to be drawn nigh unto us by the wise.
2 Three are the fellies in your honey-bearing car, that travels after Soma's loved one, as all know.
Three are the pillars set upon it for support: thrice journey ye by night, O Asvins, thrice by day.
3 Thrice in the self-same day, ye Gods who banish want, sprinkle ye thrice to-day our sacrifice with meath;
And thrice vouchsafe us store of food with plenteous strength, at evening, O ye Asvins, and at break of day.
4 Thrice come ye to our home, thrice to the righteous folk, thrice triply aid the man who well deserves your help.
Thrice, O ye Asvins, bring us what shall make us glad; thrice send us store of food as nevermore to fail.
5 Thrice, O ye Asvins, bring to us abundant wealth: thrice in the Gods' assembly, thrice assist our thoughts.
Thrice, grant ye us prosperity, thrice grant us fame; for the Sun's daughter hath mounted your three-wheeled car.
6 Thrice, Asvins, grant to us the heavenly medicines, thrice those of earth and thrice those that the waters hold,
Favour and health and strength bestow upon my son; triple protection, Lords of Splendour, grant to him.
7 Thrice are ye to be worshipped day by day by us: thrice, O ye Asvins, ye travel around the earth.
Car-borne from far away, O ye Nasatyas, come, like vital air to bodies, come ye to the three.
8 Thrice, O ye Asvins, with the Seven Mother Streams; three are the jars, the triple offering is prepared.
Three are the worlds, and moving on above the sky ye guard the firm-set vault of heaven through days and nights.
9 Where are the three wheels of your triple chariot, where are the three seats thereto firmly fastened?
When will ye yoke the mighty ass that draws it, to bring you to our sacrifice. Nasatyas?
10 Nasatyas, come: the sacred gift is offered up; drink the sweet juice with lips that know the sweetness well.
Savitar sends, before the dawn of day, your car, fraught with oil, various-coloured, to our sacrifice.
11 Come, O Nasatyas, with the thrice-eleven Gods; come, O ye Asvins, to the drinking of the meath.
Make long our days of life, and wipe out all our sins: ward off our enemies; be with us evermore.
12 Borne in your triple car, O Asvins, bring us present prosperity with noble offspring.
I cry to you who hear me for protection be ye our helpers where men win the booty.


HYMN XXXV. Savitar.

1 Agni I first invoke for our prosperity; I call on Mitra, Varuna, to aid us here.
I call on Night who gives rest to all moving life; I call on Savitar the God to lend us help.
2 Throughout the dusky firmament advancing, laying to rest the immortal and the mortal,
Borne in his golden chariot he cometh, Savitar, God who looks on every creature.
3 The God moves by the upward path, the downward; with two bright Bays, adorable, he journeys.
Savitar comes, the God from the far distance, and chases from us all distress and sorrow.
4 His chariot decked with pearl, of various colours, lofty, with golden pole, the God hath mounted,
The many-rayed One, Savitar the holy, bound, bearing power and might, for darksome regions.
5 Drawing the gold-yoked car his Bays, white-footed, have manifested light to all the peoples.
Held in the lap of Savitar, divine One, all men, all beings have their place for ever.
6 Three heavens there are; two Savitar's, adjacent: in Yama's world is one, the home of heroes,
As on a linch-pin, firm, rest things immortal: he who hath known it let him here declare it.
7 He, strong of wing, hath lightened up the regions, deep-quivering Asura, the gentle Leader.
Where now is Surya, where is one to tell us to what celestial sphere his ray hath wandered?
8 The earth's eight points his brightness hath illumined, three desert regions and the Seven Rivers.
God Savitar the gold-eyed hath come hither, giving choice treasures unto him who worships.
9 The golden-handed Savitar, far-seeing, goes on his way between the earth and heaven,
Drives away sickness, bids the Sun approach us, and spreads the bright sky through the darksome region.
10 May he, gold-handed Asura, kind Leader, come hither to us with his help and favour.
Driving off Raksasas and Yatudhanas, the God is present, praised in hymns at evening.
11 O Savitar, thine ancient dustless pathways are well established in the air's midregion:
O God, come by those paths so fair to travel, preserve thou us from harm this day, and bless us.


HYMN XXXVI. Agni.

1 WITH words sent forth in holy hymns, Agni we supplicate, the Lord
Of many families who duly serve the Gods, yea, him whom others also praise.
2 Men have won Agni, him who makes their strength abound: we, with oblations, worship thee.
Our gracious-minded Helper in our deeds of might, be thou, O Excellent, this day.
3 Thee for our messenger we choose, thee, the Omniscient, for our Priest.
The flames of thee the mighty are spread wide around: thy splendour reaches to the sky.
4 The Gods enkindle thee their ancient messenger, - Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman.
That mortal man, O Agni, gains through thee all wealth, who hath poured offerings unto thee.
5 Thou, Agni, art a cheering Priest, Lord of the House, men's messenger:
All constant high decrees established by the Gods, gathered together, meet in thee.
6 In thee, the auspicious One, O Agni, youthfullest, each sacred gift is offered up:
This day, and after, gracious, worship thou our Gods, that we may have heroic sons.
7 To him in his own splendour bright draw near in worship the devout.
Men kindle Agni with their sacrificial gifts, victorious o'er the enemies.
8 Vrtra they smote and slew, and made the earth and heaven and firmament a wide abode.
The glorious Bull, invoked, hath stood at Kanva's side: loud neighed the Steed in frays for kine.
9 Seat thee, for thou art mighty; shine, best entertainer of the Gods.
Worthy of sacred food, praised Agni! loose the smoke, ruddy and beautiful to see.
10 Bearer of offerings, whom, best sacrificing Priest, the Gods for Manu's sake ordained;
Whom Kanva, whom Medhyatithi made the source of wealth, and Vrsan and Upastuta.
11 Him, Agni, whom Medhyatithi, whom Kanva kindled for his rite,
Him these our songs of praise, him, Agni, we extol: his powers shine out preeminent.
12 Make our wealth perfect thou, O Agni, Lord divine: for thou hast kinship with the Gods.
Thou rulest as a King o'er widely-famous strength: be good to us, for thou art great.
13 Stand up erect to lend us aid, stand up like Savitar the God:
Erect as strength-bestower we call aloud, with unguents and with priests, on thee.
14 Erect, preserve us from sore trouble; with thy flame burn thou each ravening demon dead.
Raise thou us up that we may walk and live. so thou shalt find our worship mid the Gods.
15 Preserve us, Agni, from the fiend, preserve us from malicious wrong.
Save us from him who fain would injure us or slay, Most Youthful, thou with lofty light.
16 Smite down as with a club, thou who hast fire for teeth, smite thou the wicked, right and left.
Let not the man who plots against us in the night, nor any foe prevail o'er us.
17 Agni hath given heroic might to Kainva, and felicity:
Agni hath helped our friends, hath helped Medhyitithi, hath helped Upastuta to win.
18 We call on Ugradeva, Yadu, Turvasa, by means of Agni, from afar;
Agni, bring Navavastva and Brhadratba, Turviti, to subdue the foe.
19 Manu hath stablished thee a light, Agni, for all the race of men:
Sprung from the Law, oil-fed, for Kanva hast thou blazed, thou whom the people reverence.
20 The flames of Agni full of splendour and of might are fearful, not to be approached.
Consume for ever all demons and sorcerers, consume thou each devouring fiend.


HYMN XXXVII. Maruts.

1 SING forth, O Kanvas, to your band of Maruts unassailable,
Sporting, resplendent on their car
2 They who, self-luminous, were born together, with the spotted deer,
Spears, swords, and glittering ornaments.
3 One hears, as though 'twere close at hand, the cracking of the whips they hold
They gather glory on their way.
4 Now sing ye forth the God-given hymn to your exultant Marut host,
The fiercely-vigorous, the strong.
5 Praise ye the Bull among the cows; for 'tis the Maruts' sportive band:
It strengthened as it drank the rain.
6 Who is your mightiest, Heroes, when, O shakers of the earth and heaven,
Ye shake them like a garment's hem?
7 At your approach man holds him down before the fury of your wrath:
The rugged-jointed mountain yields.
8 They at whose racings forth the earth, like an age-weakened lord of men,
Trembles in terror on their ways.
9 Strong is their birth: vigour have they to issue from their Mother; strength,
Yea, even twice enough, is theirs.
10 And these, the Sons, the Singers, in their racings have enlarged the bounds,
So that the kine must walk knee-deep.
11 Before them, on the ways they go, they drop this offspring of the cloud,
Long, broad, and inexhaustible.
12 O Maruts, as your strength is great, so have ye cast men down on earth,
So have ye made the mountains fall.
13 The while the Maruts pass along, they talk together on the way:
Doth any hear them as they speak?
14 Come quick with swift steeds, for ye have worshippers among Kanva's sons
May you rejoice among them well.
15 All is prepared for your delight. We are their servants evermore,
To live as long as life may last.


HYMN XXXVIII. Maruts.

I WHAT now? When will ye take us by both hands, as a dear sire his son,
Gods, for whom sacred grass is clipped?
2 Now whither? To what goal of yours go ye in heaven, and not on earth?
Where do your cows disport themselves?
3 Where are your newest favours shown? Where, Maruts, your prosperity?
Where all your high felicities?
4 If, O ye Maruts, ye the Sons whom Prsni bore, were mortal, and
Immortal he who sings your praise.
5 Then never were your praiser loathed like a wild beast in pasture-land,
Nor should he go on Yama's path.
6 Let not destructive plague on plague hard to be conquered, strike its down:
Let each, with drought, depart from us.
7 Truly, they the fierce and mighty Sons of Rudra send their windless
Rain e'en on the desert places.
8 Like a cow the lightning lows and follows, motherlike, her youngling,
When their rain-flood hath been loosened.
9 When they inundate the earth they spread forth darkness e'en in day time,
With the water-laden rain-cloud.
10 O Maruts, at your voice's sound this earthly habitation shakes,
And each man reels who dwells therein.
11 O Maruts, with your strong-hoofed steeds, unhindered in their courses, haste
Along the bright embanked streams.
12 Firm be the fellies of your wheels, steady your horses and your cars,
And may your reins be fashioned well.
13 Invite thou hither with this song, for praise, Agni the Lord of Prayer,
Him who is fair as Mitra is.
14 Form in thy mouth the hymn of praise expand thee like, a rainy cloud
Sing forth the measured eulogy.
15 Sing glory to the Marut host, praiseworthy, tuneful, vigorous:
Here let the Strong Ones dwell with us.


HYMN XXXIX Maruts.

1 WHEN thus, like flame, from far away, Maruts, ye cast your measure forth,
To whom go Ye, to whom, O shakers of the earth, moved by whose wisdom, whose design?
2 Strong let your weapons be to drive away your foes, firm for resistance let them be.
Yea, passing glorious must be your warrior might, not as a guileful mortal's strength.
3 When what is strong ye overthrow, and whirl about each ponderous thing,
Heroes, your course is through the forest trees of earth, and through the fissures of the rocks.
4 Consumers of your foes, no enemy of yours is found in heaven or on the earth:
Ye Rudras, may the strength, held in this bond, be yours, to bid defiance even now.
5 They make the mountains rock and reel, they rend the forest-kings apart.
onward, ye Maruts, drive, like creatures drunk with wine, ye, Gods with all your company.
6 Ye to your chariot have yoked the spotted deer: a red deer, as a leader, draws.
Even the Earth herself listened as ye came near, and men were sorely terrified.
7 O Rudras, quickly we desire your succour for this work of ours.
Come to us with your aid as in the days of old, so now for frightened Kanva's sake.
8 Should any monstrous foe, O Maruts, sent by you or sent by mortals threaten us,
Tear ye him from us with your power and with your might, and with the succours that are yours.
9 For ye, the worshipful and wise, have guarded Kanva perfectly.
O Maruts, come to us with full protecting help, as lightning flashes seek the rain.
10 Whole strength have ye, O Bounteous Ones; perfect, earth-shakers, is your might.
Maruts, against the poet's wrathful enemy send ye an enemy like a dart.


HYMN XL. Brahmanaspati

1 O BRAMANASPATI, stand up: God-serving men we pray to thee.
May they who give good gifts, the Maruts, come to us. Indra, most swift, be thou with them.
2 O Son of Strength, each mortal calls to thee for aid when spoil of battle waits for him.
O Maruts, may this man who loves you well obtain wealth of good steeds and hero might.
3 May Brahmanaspati draw nigh, may Sunrta the Goddess come,
And Gods bring to this rite which gives the five-fold gift the Hero, lover of mankind.
4 He who bestows a noble guerdon on the priest wins fame that never shall decay.
For him we offer sacred hero-giving food, peerless and conquering easily.
5 Now Brahmanaspati speaks forth aloud the solemn hymn of praise,
Wherein Indra and Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, the Gods, have made their dwelling place.
6 May we in holy synods, Gods! recite that hymn, peerless, that brings felicity.
If you, O Heroes, graciously accept this word, may it obtain all bliss from you.
7 Who shall approach the pious? who the man whose sacred grass is trimmed?
The offerer with his folk advances more and more: he fills his house with precious things.
8 He amplifies his lordly might, with kings he slays: e'en mid alarms he dwells secure
In great or lesser fight none checks him, none subdues,-the wielder of the thunderbolt.

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