The Rig Veda Book 2 - Verses 1 to 10

Brahma receiving the Vedas

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

HYMN I. Agni.

1. THOU, Agni, shining in thy glory through the days, art brought to life from out the waters, from the stone:
From out the forest trees and herbs that grow on ground, thou, Sovran Lord of men art generatad [sic] pure.
2 Thine is the Herald's task and Cleanser's duly timed; Leader art thou, and Kindler for the pious man.
Thou art Director, thou the ministering Priest: thou art the Brahman, Lord and Master in our home.
3 Hero of Heroes, Agni! Thou art Indra, thou art Visnu of the Mighty Stride, adorable:
Thou, Brahmanaspati, the Brahman finding wealth: thou, O Sustainer, with thy wisdom tendest us.
4 Agni, thou art King Varuna whose laws stand fast; as Mitra, Wonder-Worker, thou must be implored.
Aryaman, heroes' Lord, art thou, enrich ing all, and liberal Amsa in the synod, O thou God.
5 Thou givest strength, as Tvastar, to the worshipper: thou wielding Mitra's power hast kinship with the Dames.
Thou, urging thy fleet coursers, givest noble steeds: a host of heroes art thou with great store of wealth.
6 Rudra art thou, the Asura of mighty heaven: thou art the Maruts' host, thou art the Lord of food,
Thou goest with red winds: bliss hast thou in thine home. As Pusan thou thyself protectest worshippers.
7 Giver of wealth art thou to him who honours thee; thou art God Savitar, granter of precious things.
As Bhaga, Lord of men! thou rulest over wealth, and guardest in his house him who hath served thee well.
8 To thee, the people's Lord within the house, the folk press forward to their King most graciously inclined.
Lord of the lovely look, all things belong to thee: ten, hundred, yea, a thousand are outweighed by thee.
9 Agni, men seek thee as a Father with their prayers, win thee, bright-formed, to brotherhood with holy act.
Thou art a Son to him who duly worships thee, and as a trusty Friend thou guardest from attack.
10 A Rbhu art thou, Agni, near to be adored thou art the Sovran Lord of foodful spoil and wealth.
Thou shinest brightly forth, thou burnest to bestow: pervading sacrifice, thou lendest us thine help.
11 Thou, God, art Aditi to him who offers gifts: thou, Hotri, Bharati, art strengthened by the song.
Thou art the hundred-wintered Ila to give strength, Lord of Wealth! Vrtra-slayer and Sarasvati.
12 Thou, Agni, cherished well, art highest vital power; in thy delightful hue are glories visible.
Thou art the lofty might that furthers each design: thou art wealth manifold, diffused on every side.
13 Thee, Agni, have the Adityas taken as their mouth; the Bright Ones have made thee, O Sage, to be their tongue.
They who love offerings cling to thee at solemn rites: by thee the Gods devour the duly offered food.
14 By thee, O Agni, all the Immortal guileless Gods cat with thy mouth the oblation that is offered them.
By thee do mortal men give sweetness to their drink. Bright art thou born, the embryo of the plants of earth.
15 With these thou art united, Agni; yea thou, God of noble birth, surpassest them in majesty,
Which, through the power of good, here spreads abroad from thee, diffused through both the worlds, throughout the earth and heaven.
16 The princely worshippers who send to those who sing thy praise, O Agni, guerdon graced with kine and steeds,-
Lead thou both these and us forward to higher bliss. With brave men in the assembly may we speak aloud.

HYMN II. Agni.

1. WITH sacrifice exalt Agni who knows all life; worship him 'with oblation and the song of praise,
Well kindled, nobly fed; heaven's Lord, Celestial Priest, who labours at the pole where deeds of might are done.
2 At night and morning, Agni, have they called to thee, like milch-kine in their stalls lowing to meet their young.
As messenger of heaven thou lightest all night long the families of men. Thou Lord of precious boons.
3 Him have the Gods established at the region's base, doer of wondrous deeds, Herald of heaven and earth;
Like a most famous car, Agni the purely bright, like Mitra. to be glorified among the folk.
4 Him have they set in his own dwelling, in the vault, like the Moon waxing, fulgent, in the realm of air.
Bird of the firmament, observant with his eyes, guard of the place as 'twere, looking to Gods and men.
5 May he as Priest encompass all the sacrifice. men throng to him with offerings and with hymns of praise.
Raging with jaws of gold among the growing plants, like heaven with all the stars, he quickens earth and sky.
6 Such as thou art, brilliantly kindled for our weal, a liberal giver, send us riches in thy shine,
For our advantage, Agni, God, bring Heaven and Earth hither that they may taste oblation brought by man.
7 Agni, give us great wealth, give riches thousandfold. unclose to us, like doors, strength that shall bring renown.
Make Heaven and Earth propitious through the power of prayer, and like the sky's bright sheen let mornings beam on us.
8 Enkindled night by night at every morning's dawn, may he shine forth with red flame like the realm of light,-
Agni adored in beauteous rites with lauds of men, fair guest of living man and King of all our folk.
9 Song chanted by us men, O Agni, Ancient One, has swelled unto the deathless Gods in lofty heaven-
A milch-cow yielding to the singer in the rites wealth manifold, in hundreds, even as he wills.
10 Agni, may we show forth our valour with the steed or with the power of prayer beyond all other men;
And over the Five Races let our glory shine high like the realm of light and unsurpassable.
11 Such, Conqueror! be to us, be worthy of our praise, thou for whom princes nobly born exert themselves;
Whose sacrifice the strong seek, Agni, when it shines for never-failing offspring in thine own abode.
12 Knower of all that lives, O Agni may we both, singers of praise and chiefs, be in thy keeping still.
Help us to wealth exceeding good and glorious, abundant, rich in children and their progeny.
13 The princely worshippers who send to those who sing thy praise, O Agni, guerdon, graced with kine and steeds,-
Lead thou both these and us forward to higher bliss. With brave men in the assembly may we speak aloud.

HYMN III. Apris.

1. Agni is set upon the earth well kindled; he standeth in the presence of all beings.
Wise, ancient, God, the Priest and Purifier, let Agni serve the Gods for he is worthy.
2 May Narasamsa lighting up the chambers, bright in his majesty through threefold heaven,
Steeping the gift with oil diffusing purpose, bedew the Gods at chiefest time of worship.
3 Adored in heart, as is thy right, O Agni, serve the Gods first to-day before the mortal.
Bring thou the Marut host. Ye men do worship to Indra seated on the grass, eternal.
4 O Grass divine, increasing, rich in heroes, strewn for wealth' sake, well laid upon this altar,-
On this bedewed with oil sit ye, O Vasus, sit all ye Gods, ye Holy, ye Adityas.
5 Wide be the Doors, the Goddesses, thrown open, easy to pass, invoked, through adorations,
Let them unfold, expansive, everlasting, that sanctify the class famed, rich in heroes.
6 Good work for us, the glorious Night and Morning, like female weavers, waxen from aforetime,
Yielders of rich milk, interweave in concert the long-extended thread, the web of worship.
7 Let the two heavenly Heralds, first, most wise, most fair, present oblation duly with the sacred verse,
Worshipping God at ordered seasons decking them at three high places at the centre of the earth.
8 Sarasvati who perfects our devotion, Ila divine, Bharati all surpassing,-
Three Goddesses, with power inherent, seated, protect this holy Grass, our flawless refuge!
9 Born is the pious hero swift of hearing, like gold in hue, well formed, and full of vigour.
May Tvastar lengthen our line and kindred, and may they reach the place which Gods inhabit.
10 Vanaspati shall stand anear and start us, and Agni with his arts prepare oblation.
Let the skilled heavenly Immolator forward unto the Gods the offering thrice anointed.
11 Oil has been mixt: oil is his habitation. In oil he rests: oil is his proper province.
Come as thy wont is: O thou Steer, rejoice thee; bear off the oblation duly consecrated.

HYMN IV Agni.

1. FOR you I call theglorious refulgent Agni, the guest of men, rich in oblations
Whom all must strive to win even as a lover, God among godly people, Jatavedas.
2 Bhrgus who served him in the home of waters set him of old in houses of the living.
Over all worlds let Agni be the Sovran, the messenger of Gods with rapid coursers.
3 Among the tribes of men the Gods placed Agni as a dear Friend when they would dwell among them.
Against the longing nights may he shine brightly, and show the offerer in the house his vigour.
4 Sweet is his growth as of one's own possessions; his look when rushing fain to burn is lovely.
He darts his tongue forth, like a harnessed courser who shakes his flowing tail, among the bushes.
5 Since they who honour me have praised my greatness,-he gave, as 'twere, his hue to those who love him.
Known is he by his bright delightful splendour, and waxing old renews his youth for ever.
6 Like one athirst, he lighteth up the forests; like water down the chariot ways he roareth.
On his black path he shines in burning beauty, marked as it were the heaven that smiles through vapour.
7 Around, consuming the broad earth, he wanders, free roaming like an ox without a herdsman,-
Agni refulgent, burning up the bushes, with blackened lines, as though the earth he seasoned.
8 I, in remembrance of thine ancient favour have sung my hymn in this our third assembly.
O Agni, give us wealth with store of heroes and mighty strength in food and noble offspring.
9 May the Grtsamadas, serving in secret, through thee, O Agni, overcome their neighbours,
Rich in good heroes and subduing foemen. That vital power give thou to chiefs and singers.

HYMN V. Agni.

1. HERALD and teacher was he born, a guardian for our patrons' help,
Earner by rites of noble wealth. That Strong One may we grasp and guide;
2 In whom, Leader of sacrifice, the seven reins, far extended, meet;
Who furthers, man-like, eighth in place, as Cleanser, all the work divine.
3 When swift he follows this behest, bird-like he chants the holy prayers.
He holds all knowledge in his grasp even as the felly rounds the wheel.
4 Together with pure mental power, pure, as Director, was he born.
Skilled in his own unchanging laws he waxes like the growing boughs.
5 Clothing thern in his hues, the kine of him the Leader wait on him.
Is he not better than the Three, the Sisters who have come to us?
6 When, laden with the holy oil, the Sitster [sic] by the Mother stands,
The Priest delights in their approach, as corn at coming of the rain.
7 For his support let him perform as ministrant his priestly task;
Yea, song of praise and sacrifice: we have bestowed, let us obtain.
8 That so this man well skilled, may pay worship to all the Holy Ones.
And, Agni, this our sacrifice which wehave here prepared, to thee.

HYMN VI. Agni.

1. Agni, accept this flaming brand, this waiting with my prayer on thee:
Hear graciously these songs of praise.
2 With this hymn let us honour thee, seeker of horses, Son of Strength,
With this fair hymn, thou nobly born.
3 As such, lover of song, with songs, wealth-lover, giver of our wealth!
With reverence let us worship thee.
4 Be thou for us a liberal Prince, giver and Lord of precious things.
Drive those who hate us far away.
5 Such as thou art, give rain from heaven, give strength which no man may resist:
Give food exceeding plentiful.
6 To him who lauds thee, craving help, most youthful envoy! through our song,
Most holy Herald! come thou nigh.
7 Between both races, Agni, Sage, well skilled thou passest to and fro,
As envoy friendly to mankind.
8 Befriend us thou as knowing all. Sage, duly worship thou the Gods,
And seat thee on this sacred grass.

HYMN VII. Agni.

1. VASU, thou most youthful God, Bharata, Agni, bring us wealth,
Excellent, splendid, much-desired.
2 Let no malignity prevail against us, either God's or man's.
Save us from this and enmity.
3 So through thy favour may we force through all our enemies a way,
As 'twere through streaming water-floods.
4 Thou, Purifier Agni, high shinest forth, bright, adorable,
When worshipped with the sacred oil.
5 Ours art thou, Agni, Bharata, honoured by us with barren cows,
With bullocks and with kine in calf
6 Wood-fed, bedewed with sacred oil, ancient, Invoker, excellent,
The Son of Strength, the Wonderful.

HYMN VIII.Agni.

1. Now praise, as one who strives for strength, the harnessing of Agni's car,
The liberal, the most splendid One;
2 Who, guiding worshippers aright, withers, untouched by age, the foe:
When worshipped fair to look upon;
3 Who for his glory is extolled at eve and morning in our homes,
Whose statute is inviolate;
4 Who shines refulgent like the Sun, with brilliance and with fiery flame,
Decked with imperishable sheen.
5 Him Atri, Agni, have our songs Strengthened according to his sway:
All glories hath he made his own.
6 May we with Agni's, Indra's help, with Soma's, yea, of all the Gods,
Uninjured dwell together still, and conquer those who fight with us.

HYMN IX. Agni.

1. ACCUSTOMED to the Herald's place, the Herald hath seated him, bright, splendid, passing mighty,
Whose foresight keeps the Law from violation, excellent, pure-tongued, bringing thousands, Agni.
2 Envoy art thou, protector from the foeman, strong God, thou leadest us to higher blessings.
Refulgent, be an ever-heedful keeper, Agni, for us and for our seed offspring.
3 May we adore thee in thy loftiest birthplace, and, with our praises, in thy lower station.
The place whence thou issued forth I worship: to thee well kindled have they paid oblations.
4 Agni, best Priest, pay worship with oblation; quickly commend the gift to be presented;
For thou art Lord of gathered wealth and treasure. of the bright song of praise thou art inventor.
5 The twofold opulence, O Wonder-Worker, of thee new-born each day never decreases.
Enrich with food the man who lauds thee, Agni: make him the lord of wealth with noble offspring.
6 May he, benevolent with this fair aspect, best sacrificer, bring the Gods to bless us.
Sure guardian, our protector from the foemen, shine, Agni, with thine affluence and splendour.

HYMN X. Agni.

1.Agni, first, loudly calling, like a Father, kindled by man upon the seat of worship.
Clothed in his glory, deathless, keen of insight, must be adorned by all, the Strong, the Famous.
2 May Agni the resplendent hear my calling through all my songs, Immortal, keen of insight.
Dark steeds or ruddy draw his car, or carried in sundry ways he makes them red of colour.
3 On wood supine they got the well-formed Infant: a germ in various-fashioned plants was Agni;
And in the night, not compassed round by darkness, he dwells exceeding wise, with rays of splendour.
4 With oil and sacred gifts I sprinkle Agni who makes his home in front of all things living,
Broad, vast, through vital power o'er all expanded, conspicuous, strong with all the food that feeds him.
5 I pour to him who looks in all directions: may he accept it with a friendly spirit.
Agni with bridegroom's grace and lovely colour may not be touched when all his form is fury.
6 By choice victorious, recognize thy portion: with thee for envoy may we speak like Manu.
Obtaining wealth, I call on perfect Agni who with an eloquent tongue dispenses sweetness.

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