The Rig Veda Book 4 - Verses 01 to 10

Brahma receiving the Vedas

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

HYMN I. Agni.

1, THEE Agni, have the Gods, ever of one accord, sent hither down, a God, appointed messenger, yea, with their wisdom sent thee down.
The Immortal, O thou Holy One, mid mortal men, the God-devoted God, the wise, have they brought forth, brought forth the omnipresent God-devoted Sage.
2 As such, O Agni, bring with favour to the Gods thy Brother Varuna who loveth sacrifice,
True to the Law, the Aditya who supporteth men, the King, supporter of mankind.
3 Do thou, O Friend, turn hither him who is our Friend, swift as a wheel, like two car-steeds in rapid course, Wondrous! to us in rapid course.
O Agni, find thou grace for us with Varuna, with Maruts who illumine all.
Bless us, thou Radiant One, for seed and progeny, yea, bless us, O thou Wondrous God.
4 Do thou who knowest Varuna, O Agni, put far away from us the God's displeasure.
Best Sacrificer, brightest One, refulgent remove thou far from us all those who hate us.
5 Be thou, O Agni, nearest us with succour, our closest Friend while now this Morn is breaking.
Reconcile to us Varuna, be bounteous enjoy the gracious juice; be swift to hear us.
6 Excellent is the glance, of brightest splendour, which the auspicious God bestows on mortals-
The God's glance, longed-for even as the butter, pure, heated, of the cow, the milch-cow's bounty.
7 Three are those births, the true, the most exalted, eagerly longed-for, of the God, of Agni.
He came invested in the boundless region, pure, radiant, friendly, mightily resplendent.
8 This envoy joyeth in all seats of worship, borne on his golden car, sweet-tongued Invoker:
Lovely to look on, with red steeds, effulgent, like a feast rich in food, joyous for ever.
9 Allied by worship, let him give man knowledge: by an extended cord they lead him onward.
He stays, effectual in this mortal's dwelling, and the God wins a share in his possessions.
10 Let Agni -for he knows the way- conduct us to all that he enjoys of God-sent riches,
What all the Immortals have prepared with wisdom, Dyaus, Sire, Begetter, raining down true blessings.
11 In houses first he sprang into existence, at great heaven's base, and in this region's bosom;
Footless and headless, both his ends concealing, in his Bull's lair drawing himself together.
12 Wondrously first he rose aloft, defiant, in the Bull's lair, the homeof holy Order,
Longed-for, young, beautiful, and far-resplendent: and sevendear frieuds sprang up unto the Mighty.
13 Here did our human fathers take their places, fain to fulfil the sacred Law of worship.
Forth drave they, with loud call, Dawn's teeming Milch-kine bid in the mountainstable, in the cavern.
14 Splendid were they when they had rent the mountain: others, around, shall tell forth this their exploit.
They sang their song, prepared to free the cattle: they found the light; with holy hymns they worshipped.
15 Eager, with thought intent upon the booty, the men with their celestial speech threw open,
The solid mountain firm, compact, enclosing, confining Cows, the stable full of cattle.
16 The Milch-cow's earliest name they comprehended: they found the Mother's thrice-seven noblest titles.
This the bands knew, and sent forth acclamation:with the Bull's sheen the Red One was apparent.
17 The turbid darkness fled, the heaven was sp, endid! up rose the bright beam of celestial Morning.
Surya ascended to the wide expanses, beholding deeds of men both good and evil.
18 Then, afterwards they looked around, awakened, when first they held that Heaven allotted treasure.
Now all the Gods abide in all their dwellings. Varuna, Mitra, be the prayer effective.
19 I will call hither brightly-beaming Agni, the Herald, all-supporting, best at worship.
He hath disclosed, like the milch cows' pure udder, the Sorria's juice when cleansed and poured from beakers.
20 The freest God of all who should be worshipped, the guest who is received in all men's houses,
Agni who hath secured the Gods' high favour,-may he be gracious, to us Jatavedas.

HYMN II. Agni.

1. THE, Faithful One, Immortal among mortals, a God among the Gods, appointed envoy,
Priest, best at worship, must shine forth in glory . Agni shall be raised high with man's oblations.
2 Born for us here this day, O Son of Vigour, between both races of born beings, Agni,
Thou farest as an envoy, having harnessed, Sublime One! thy strong-muscled radiant stallions.
3 I laud the ruddy steeds who pour down blessing, dropping oil, flectest through the thoualit of Order.
Yoking red horses to and fro thou goest between you Deities and mortal races.
4 Aryaman, Mitra, Varuna, and Indra with Visnu, of the Gods, Maruts and Asvins-
These, Agni, with good car and steeds, bring hither, most bountiful, to folk with fair oblations.
5 Agni, be this our sacrifice eternal, with brave friends, rich in kine and sheep and horses,
Rich, Asura! in sacred food and children, in full assembly, wealth broad-based and during.
6 The man who, sweating, brings for thee the fuel, and makes his head to ache, thy faithful servant,-
Agni, to him be a self-strong Protector guard him from all who seek to do him mischief.
7 Who brings thee food, though thou hast food in plenty, welcomes his cheerful guest and speeds him onward,
Who kindles thee devoutly in his dwelling,to him be wealth secure and freely giving.
8 Whoso sings praise to thee at eve or morning, and, with oblation, doth the thing thou lovest,-
In his own home, even as a goId-girt courser, rescue him from distress, the bounteous giver.
9 Whoso brings gifts to thee Immortal, Agni, and doth thee service with uplifted ladle,-
Let him not, sorely toiling, lose his riches; let not the sinner's wickedness enclose him.
10 Whose well-wrought worship thou acceptest, Agni, thou God a mortal's gift, thou liberal Giver,-
Dear be his sacrifice to thee, Most Youthful! and may we strengthen him when he adores thee.
11 May he who knows distinguish sense and folly of men, like straight and crooked backs of horses.
Lead us, O God, to wealth and noble offspring: keep penury afar and grant us plenty.
12 This Sage the Sages, ne'er deceived, commanded, setting him down in dwellings of the living.
Hence mayst thou, friendly God, with rapid footsteps behold the Gods, wonderful, fair to look on.
13 Good guidance hast thou for the priest, O Agni, who, Youngest God! with outpoured Soma serves thee.
Ruler of men, thou joyous God, bring treasure splendid and plentiful to aid the toiler.
14 Now all that we, thy faithful servants, Agni, have done with feet, with hands, and with our bodies,
The wise, with toil, the holy rite have guided, as those who frame a car with manual cunning.
15 May we, seven sages first in rank, engender, from Dawn the Mother, men to be ordainers.
May we, Angirases, be sons of Heaven, and, radiant, burst the wealth-containing mountain.
16 As in the days of old our ancient Fathers, speeding the work of holy worship, Agni,
Sought pure light and devotion, singing praises; they cleft the ground and made red Dawns apparent.
17 Gods, doing holy acts, devout, resplendent, smelting like ore their human generations.
Enkindling Agni and exalting Indra, they came encompassing the stall of cattle.
18 Strong One! he marked them-and the Gods before them-like herds of cattle in a foodful pasture.
There they moaned forth their strong desire for mortals, to aid the True, the nearest One, the Living.
19 We have worked for thee, we have laboured nobly-bright Dawns have shed their light upon our worship-
Adding a beauty to the perfect Agni, and the God's beauteous eye that shines for ever.
20 Agni, Disposer, we have sung these praises to thee the Wise: do thou accept them gladly.
Blaze up on high and ever make us richer. Give us great wealth, O thou whose boons are many.

HYMN III. Agni.

1. WIN, to assist you, Rudra, Lord of worship, Priest of both worlds, effectual
Sacrificer,
Agni, invested with his golden colours, before the thunder strike and lay you senseless.
2 This shrine have we made ready for thy coming, as the fond dame attires her for her husband.
Performer of good work, sit down before us, invested while these flames incline to meet thee.
3 A hymn, O Priest, to him who hears, the gentle, to him who looks on men, exceeding gracious,
A song of praise sing to the God Immortal, whom the stone, presser of the sweet juice, worships.
4 Even as true knower of the Law, O Agni, to this our solemn rite he thou attentive.
When shall thy songs of festival be sung thee? When is thy friendship shown within our dwelling?
5 Why this complaint to Varuna, O Agni? And why to Heaven? for what is our transgression?
How wilt thou speak to Earth and bounteous Mitra? What wilt thou say to Aryaman and Bhaga?
6 What, when thou blazest on the lesser altars, what to the mighty Wind who comes tobless us,
True, circumambient? what to Earth, O Agni, what wilt thou say to man-destroying Rudra?
7 How to great Pusan who promotes our welfare,- to honoured Rudra what, who gives oblations?
What sin of ours to the far-striding Visnu, what, Agni, wilt thou tell the Lofty Arrow.
8 What wilt thou tell the truthful band of Maruts, how answer the great Sun when thou art questioned?
Before the Free, before the Swift, defend us: fulfil heaven's work, all-knowing Jatavedas.
9 I crave the cow's true gift arranged by Order: though raw, she hath the sweet ripe juice, O Agni.
Though she is black of hue with milk she teemeth, nutritious, brightly shining, all-sustaining.
10 Agni the Bull, the manly, hath been sprinkled with oil upon his back, by Law eternal.
He who gives vital power goes on unswerving. Prsni the Bull hath milked the pure wiiite udder.
11 By Law the Angirases cleft the rock asunder, and sang their hymns together with the cattle.
Bringing great bliss the men encompassed Morning: light was apparent at the birth of Agni.
12 By Law the Immortal Goddesses the Waters, with meath-rich waves, O Agni, and uninjured,
Like a strong courser lauded in his running, sped to flow onward swiftly and for ever.
13 Go never to the feast of one who harms us, the treacherous neighbour or. unworthy kinsman.
Punish us not for a false brother's trespass. Let us riot feel the might of friend or foeman.
14 O Agni, keep us safe with thy protection, loving us, honoured God! and ever guarding.
Beat thou away, destory severe affliction slay e'en the demon when he waxes mighty.
15 Through these our songs of praise be gracious, Agni; moved by ourprayers, O Hero, touch our viands.
Accept, O Angiras, these our devotions, and let the praise which Gods desire address thee.
16 To thee who knowest, Agni, thou Disposer, all these wise secret speeches have I uttered,
Sung to thee, Sage, the charming words of wisdom, to thee, O Singer, with. my thoughts and Praises.

HYMN IV. Agni.

1. PUT forth like a wide-spreading net thy vigour; go like a mighty King with his attendants.
Thou, following thy swift net, shootest arrows: transfix the fiends with darts that burn most fiercely.
2 Forth go in rapid flight thy whirling weapons: follow them closely, glowing in thy fury.
Spread with thy tongue the winged flames, O Agni; unfettered, cast thy firebrands all around thee.
3 Send thy spies forward, flectest in thy motion; be, ne'er deceived, the guardian of this people
From him who, near or far, is bent on evil, and let no trouble sent from thee o'ercome us.
4 Rise up, O Agni, spread thee out before us: burn down our foes, thou who hast sharpened arrows.
Him, blazing Agni! who hath worked us mischief, consume thou utterly like dried-up stubble.
5 Rise, Agni, drive off those who fight against us: make manifest thine own celestial vigour.
Slacken the strong bows of the demondriven: destroy our foemen whether kin or stranger.
6 Most Youthful God, he knoweth well thy favour who gave an impulse to this high devotion.
All fair days and magnificence of riches hast thou beamed forth upon the good man's portals.
7 Blest, Agni, be the man, the liberal giver, who with his lauds and regular oblation
Is fain to please thee for his life and dwelling. May all his days be bright: be this his longing.
8 I praise thy gracious favour: sing in answer. May this my song sing like a loved one with thee.
Lords of good steeds and cars may we adorn thee, and day by day vouchsafe thou us dominion.
9 Here of free choice let each one serve thee richly, resplendent day by day at eve and morning.
So may we honour thee, content and joyous, passing beyond the glories of the people.
10 Whoso with good steeds and fine gold, O Agni, comes nigh thee on a car laden with trcasure,
His Friend art thou, yea, thou art his Protector whose joy it is to entertain thee duly.
11 Through words and kinship I destroy the miglity: this power I have from Gotama my father.
Mark thou this speech of ours, O thou Most Youthful, Friend of the House, exceeding wise, Invoker.
12 Knowing no slumber, speedy and propitious, alert and ever friendly, most unwearied,
May thy protecting powers, unerring Agni, taking their places here, combined, preserve us.
13 Thy guardian rays, O Agni, when they saw him, preserved blind Mamateya from affliction.
Lord of all riches, he preserved the pious: the fees who fain would harm them did no mischief
14 Aided by thee with thee may we be wealthy, may we gain strength with thee to guide us onward.
Fulfil the words of both, O Ever Truthful: straightway do this, thou God whom power emboldens.
15 O Agni, with this fuel will we serve thee; accept the laud we sing to thee with favour
Destroy the cursing Raksasas: preserve us, O rich in friends, from guile and scorn and slander.

HYMN V. Agni.

1. How shall we give with one accord oblation to Agni, to Vaisvanara the Bounteous?
Great light, with full high growth hath he uplifted, and, as a pillar bears the roof, sustains it.
2 Reproach not him who, God and selfreliant, vouchsafed this bounty unto me a mortal,-
Deathless, discerner, wise, to me the simple, Vaisvanara most manly, youthful Aini.
3 Sharp-pointed, powerful, strong, of boundless vigour, Agni who knows the lofty hymn, kept secret
As the lost milch-cow's track, the doubly Mighty,-he hath declared to me this hidden knowledge.
4 May he with sharpened teeth, the Bounteous Giver, Agni, consume with flame most fiercely glowing.
Those who regard not Varuna's commandments and the dear stedfast laws of sapient Mitra.
5 Like youthful women without brothers, straying, like dames who hate their lords, of evil conduct,
They who are full of sin, untrue, unfaithful, they have engendered this abysmal station.
6 To me, weak, innocent, thou, luminous Agni, bast boldly given as 'twere a heavy burthen,
This Prstha hymn, profound and strong and mighty, of seven elements, and with offered dainties.
7 So may our song that purifies, through wisdom reach in a moment him the Universal,
Established on the height, on earth's best .station, above the beauteous grassy skin of Prsni.
8 Of this my speech what shall I utter further? They indicate the milk stored up in secret
When they have thrown as 'twere the cows' stalls open. The Bird protects earths' best and well-loved station.
9 This is the Great Ones' mighty apparition which from of old the radiant Cow hath followed.
This, shining brightly in the place of Order, swift, hasting on in secret, she discovered.
10 He then who shone together with his Parents remembered Prsni's fair and secret treasure,
Which, in the Mother Cow's most lofty station, the Bull's tongue, of the flame bent forward, tasted.
11 With reverence I declare the Law, O Agni; what is, comes by thine order, Jatavedas.
Of this, whate'er it be, thou art the Sovran, yea, all the wealth that is in earth or
heaven.
12 What is our wealth therefrom, and what our treasure? Tell us O Jatavedas, for thou
knowest,
What is our best course in this secret passage: we, unreproached, have reached a t)lace far distant.
13 What is the limit, what the rules, the guerdon? Like fleet-foot coursers speed we to the contest.
When will the Goddesses, the Immortal's Spouses, the Dawns, spread over us the Sun-God's splendour?
14 Unsatisfied, with speech devoid of vigour, scanty and frivolous and inconclusive,
Wherefore do they address thee here, O Agni? Let these who have no weapons suffer sorrow.
15 The majesty of him the Good, the Mighty, aflame, hath shone for glory in the dwelling.
He, clothed in light, hath shone most fair to look on, wealthy in boons, as a home shines with riches.

HYMN VI. Agni.

1. PRIEST of our rite, stand up erect, O Agni, in the Gods' service best of sacrificers,
For over evei y thought thou art the Ruler: thou furtherest e'en the wisdom of the pious.
2 He was set down mid men as Priest unerring, Agni, wise, welcome in our holy synods.
Like Savitar he hath lifted up his splendour, and like a builder raised his smoke to heaven.
3 The glowing ladle, filled with oil, is lifted; choosing Gods' service to the right he circles.
Eager he rises like the new-wrought pillar which, firmly set and fixed, anoints the victims.
4 When sacred grass is strewn and Agni kindled, the Adhvaryu rises to, his task rej o cing.
Agni the Priest, like one who tends the cattle, goes three times round, as from of old he wills it.
5 Agni himself, the Priest, with measured motion, goes round, with sweet speech, cheerful, true to Order.
His fulgent flames run forth like vigorous horses; all creatures are affrighted when he blazes.
6 Beautiful and auspicious is thine aspect, O lovely Agni, terrible when spreading.
Thy splendours are not covered by the darkness: detraction leaves no stain upon thy body.
7 Naught hindered his production, Bounteous Giver: his Mother and his Sire were free to send him.
Then as Friend benevolent, refulgent, Agni shone forth in human habitations.
8 He, Agni, whom the twice-five sisters, dwelling together, in the homes of men engendered,
Bright like a spear's tooth, wakened in the morning, with powerful mouth and like an axe well-sharpened.
9 These thy Bay Coursers, Agni, dropping fatness, ruddy vigorous, speeding straightly forward,
And red steeds, wonderful, of mighty muscle, are to this service of the Gods invited:
10 These brightly-shining games of thine, O Agni, that move for ever restless, allsubduing,
Like falcons hasting eagerly to the quarry, roar loudly like the army of the Maruts.
11 To thee, O flaming God, hath prayer been offered. Let the priest laud thee: give to him who worships.
Men have established Agni as Invoker, fain to adore the glory of the living.

HYMN VII. Agni.

1. HERE by ordainers was this God appointed first Invoker, best at worship, to be praised at rites:
Whom Apnavana, and the Bhrgus caused to shine bright-coloured in the wood, spreading from home to home.
2 When shall thy glory as a God, Agni, be suddenly shown forth.
For mortal men have held thee fast, adorable in all their homes,
3 Seeing thee faithful to the Law, most sapient, like the starry heaven,
Illumining with cheerful ray each solemn rite in every house.
4 Vivasvan's envoy living men have taken as their ensign, swift,
The ruler over all mankind, moving like Bhrgu in each home.
5 Him the intelligent have they placed duly as Invoking Priest,
Welcome, with sanctifying flame, best worshipper, with sevenfold might;
6 In his Eternal Mothers, in the wood, concealed and unapproached,
Kept secret though his flames are bright seekingon all sides, quickly found.
7 That as food spreads forth in this earthly udder, Gods may rejoice them in the home of Order,
Great Agni, served with reverence and oblation, flies ever to the sacrifice, the Faithful.
8 Bird of each rite, skilled in an envoy's duties, knowing both worlds and that which lies between them,
Thou goest from of old a willing Herald, knowing full well heaven's innermost recesses.
9 Bright God, thy path is black: light is before thee: thy moving splendour is the chief of wonders.
When she, yet unimpregnate, hath conceived thee, even when newly born thou art an envoy.
10 Yet newly born, his vigour is apparent when the wind blows upon his fiery splendour,
His sharpened tongue he layeth on the brushwood, and with his teeth e'en solid food consumeth.
11 When he hath borne off food with swift flame swiftly, strong Agni makes himself a speedy envoy,
Follows the rustling of the wind, consuming, and courser-like, speeds, drives the swift horse onward.

HYMN VIII. Agni.

1. YOUR envoy who possesses all, Immortal, bearer of your gifts,
Best worshipper, I woo with song.
2 He, Mighty, knows the gift of wealth, he knows the deep recess of heaven:
He shall bring hitherward the Gods.
3 He knows, a God himself, to guide Gods to the righteous in his home:
He gives e'en treasures that we love.
4 He is the Herald: well-informed, he doth his errand to and fro,
Knowing the deep recess of heaven.
5 May we be they who gratify Agni with sacrificial gifts,
Whocherish and enkindle him.
6 Illustrious for wealth are they, and hero deeds, victorious,
Who have served Agni reverently.
7 So unto us, day after day, may riches craved by many come,
And power and might spring up for us.
8 That holy Singer in his strength shoots forth his arrows swifter than
The swift shafts of the tribes of men.

HYMN IX. Agni.

1. Agni, show favour: great art thou who to this pious man art come,
To seat thee on the sacred grass.
2 May he the Immortal, Helper, bard to be deceived among mankind,
Become the messenger of all.
3 Around the altar is he led, welcome Chief Priest at solemn rites,
Or as the Potar sits him down.
4 Agni in fire at sacrifice, and in the house as Lord thereof,
And as a Brahman takes his seat.
5 Thou comest as the guide of folk who celebrate a sacrifice,
And to oblations brought by men.
6 Thou servest as his messenger whose sacrifice thou lovest well,
To bear the mortal's gifts to heaven.
7 Accept our solemn rite; be pleased, Angiras, with our sacrifice:
Give ear and listen to our call.
8 May thine inviolable car, wherewith thou guardest those who give,
Come near to us from every side.

HYMN X. Agni.

I. This day with praises, Agni, we bring thee that which thou lovest.
Right judgment, like a horse, with our devotions.
2 For thou hast ever been the Car-driver, Agni, of noble
Strength, lofty sacrifice, and rightful judgment.
3 Through these our praises come thou to meet us, bright as the sunlight,
O Agni, well disposed, with all thine aspects.
4 Now may we serve thee singing these lauds this day to thee, Agni.
Loud as the voice of Heaven thy blasts are roaring.
5 just at this time of the day and the night thy look is the sweetest .
It shineth near us even as gold for glory.
6 Spotless thy body, brilliant as gold, like clarified butter:
This gleams like gold on thee, O Self. dependent.
7 All hate and mischief, yea, if committed, Agni, thou turnest,
Holy One, from the man who rightly worships.
8 Agni, with you Gods, prosperous be our friendships and kinships.
Be this our bond here by this place, thine al tar.

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