The Rig Veda, Book 1, Verses 140 to 149
HYMN CXL. Agni.
1 To splendid Agni seated by the altar, loving
well his home, I bring the food as 'twere his place of birth.
I clothe the bright One with my hymn as with a robe, him with the car of light, bright-hued, dispelling gloom.
2 Child of a double birth he grasps at triple food; in the year's course what he hath swallowed grows anew.
He, by another's mouth and tongue a noble Bull, with other, as an elephant, consumes the trees.
3 The pair who dwell together, moving in the dark bestir themselves: both parents hasten to the babe,
Impetuous-tongued, destroying, springing swiftly forth, one to be watched and cherished, strengthener of his sire.
4 For man, thou Friend of men, these steeds of thine are yoked, impatient, lightly running, ploughing blackened lines,
Discordant-minded, fleet, gliding with easy speed, urged onward by the wind and rapid in their course.
5 Dispelling on their way the horror of black gloom , making a glorious show these flames Of his fly forth,
When o'er the spacious tract he spreads himself abroad, and rushes panting on with thunder and with roar.
6 Amid brown plants he stoops as if adorning them, and rushes bellowing like a bull upon his wives.
Proving his might, he decks the glory of his form, and shakes his horns like one terrific, bard to stay.
7 Now covered, now displayed he grasps as one who knows his
resting-place in those who know him well.
A second time they wax and gather Godlike power, and blending both together change their Parents' form.
8 The maidens with long, tresses hold him in embrace; dead, they rise up again to meet the Living One.
Releasing them from age with a loud roar he comes, filling them with new spirit, living, unsubdued.
9 Licking the mantle of the Mother, far and wide he wanders over fields with beasts that flee apace.
Strengthening all that walk, licking up all around, a blackened path, forsooth, he leaves where'er he goes.
10 O Agni, shine resplendent with our wealthy chiefs, like a loud-snorting bull, accustomed to the house.
Thou casting off thine infant wrappings blazest forth as though thou hadst put on a coat of mail for war.
11 May this our perfect prayer be dearer unto thee than an imperfect prayer although it please thee well.
With the pure brilliancy that radiates from thy form, mayest thou grant to us abundant store of wealth.
12 Grant to our chariot, to our house, O Agni, a boat with moving feet and constant oarage,
One that may further well our wealthy princes and all the folk, and be our certain refuge.
13 Welcome our laud with thine approval, Agni. May earth and heaven and freely flowing rivers
Yield us long life and food and corn and cattle, and may the red Dawns choose for us their choicest.
HYMN CXLI. Agni.
1. YEA, verily, the fair effulgence of the God
for glory was established, since he sprang from strength.
When he inclines thereto successful is the hymn: the songs of sacrifice have brought him as they flow
2 Wonderful, rich in nourishment, he dwells in food; next, in the seven auspicious Mothers is his home.
Thirdly, that they might drain the treasures of the Bull, the maidens brought forth him for whom the ten provide.
3 What time from out the deep, from the Steer's wondrous form, the Chiefs who had the power produced him with their strength;
When Matarisvan rubbed forth him who lay concealed, for mixture of the sweet drink, in the days of old.
4 When from the Highest Father he is brought to us, amid the plants he rises hungry, wondrously.
As both together join to expedite his birth, most youthful he is born resplendent in his light.
5 Then also entered he the Mothers, and in them pure and uninjured he increased in magnitude.
As to the first he rose, the vigorous from of old, so now he runs among the younger lowest ones.
6 Therefore they choose him Herald at the morning rites, pressing to him as unto Bhaga, pouring gifts,
When, much-praised, by the power and will of Gods, he goes at all times to his mortal worshipper to drink.
7 What time the Holy One, wind-urged, hath risen up, serpent-like
winding through the dry grass unrestrained,
Dust lies upon the way of him who burneth all, black-winged and pure of birth who follows sundry paths.
8 Like a swift chariot made by men who know their art, he with his red limbs lifts himself aloft to heaven.
Thy worshippers become by burning black of hue: their strength flies as before a hero's violence.
9 By thee, O Agni, Varuna who guards the Law, Mitra and Aryaman, the Bounteous, are made strong;
For, as the felly holds the spokes, thou with thy might pervading hast been born encompassing them round.
10 Agni, to him who toils and pours libations, thou, Most Youthful! sendest wealth and all the host of Gods.
Thee, therefore, even as Bhaga, will we set anew, young Child of Strength, most wealthy! in our battle-song.
11 Vouchsafe us riches turned to worthy ends, good luck abiding in the house, and strong capacity,
Wealth that directs both worlds as they were guiding-reins, and, very Wise, the Gods' assent in sacrifice.
12 May he, the Priest resplendent, joyful, hear us, he with the radiant car and rapid horses.
May Agni, ever wise, with best directions to bliss and highest happiness conduct us.
13 With hymns of might hath Agni now been lauded, advanced to height of universal kingship.
Now may these wealthy chiefs and we together spread forth as spreads the Sun above the rain-clouds.
HYMN CXLII Apris.
1. KINDLED, bring, Agni, Gods to-day for him
who lifts the ladle up.
Spin out the ancient thread for him who sheds, with gifts, the Soma juice.
2 Thou dealest forth, Tanunapat, sweet sacrifice enriched with oil,
Brought by a singer such as I who offers gifts and toils for thee.
3 He wondrous, sanctifying, bright, sprinkles the sacrifice with mead,
Thrice, Narasamsa from the heavens, a God mid Gods adorable.
4 Agni, besought, bring hitherward Indra the Friend, the Wonderful,
For this my hymn of praise, O sweet of tongue, is chanted forth to thee.
5 The ladle-holders strew trimmed grass at this well-ordered sacrifice;
A home for Indra is adorned, wide, fittest to receive the Gods.
6 Thrown open be the Doors Divine, unfailing, that assist the rite,
High, purifying, much-desired, so that the Gods may enter in.
7 May Night and Morning, hymned with lauds, united, fair to look upon,
Strong Mothers of the sacrifice, seat them together on the grass.
8 May the two Priests Divine, the sage, the sweet-voiced lovers of the hymn,
Complete this sacrifice of ours, effectual, reaching heaven to-day.
9 Let Hotri pure, set amang Gods, amid the Maruts Bhirati, Ila, Sarasvati, Mahi, rest on the grass, adorable.
10 May Tvastar send us genial dew abundant, wondrous, rich in gifts,
For increase and for growth of wealth, Tvastar our kinsman and our Friend.
11 Vanaspati, give forth, thyself, and call the Gods to sacrifice.
May Agni, God intelligent, speed our oblation to the Gods.
12 To Vayu joined with Pusan, with the Maruts, and the host of Gods,
To Indra who inspires the hymn cry Glory! and present the gift.
13 Come hither to enjoy the gifts prepared with cry of Glory! Come,
O Indra, hear their calling; they invite thee to the sacrifice.
HYMN CXLIII. Agni.
1. To Agni I present a newer mightier hymn, I
bring my words and song unto the Son of Strength,
Who, Offspring of the Waters, bearing precious things sits on the earth, in season, dear Invoking Priest.
2 Soon as he sprang to birth that Agni was shown forth to Matarisvan in the highest firmament.
When he was kindled, through his power and majesty his fiery splendour made the heavens and earth to shine.
3 His flames that wax not old, beams fair to look upon of him whose face is lovely, shine with beauteous sheen.
The rays of Agni, him whose active force is light, through the nights glimmer sleepless, ageless, like the floods.
4 Send thou with hymns that Agni to his own abode, who rules, one Sovran Lord of wealth, like Varuna,
Him, All-possessor, whom the Bhrgus with their might brought to earth's central point, the centre of the world.
5 He whom no force can stay, even as the Maruts' roar, like to a dart sent forth, even as the bolt from heaven,
Agni with sharpened jaws chews up and cats the trees, and conquers them as when the warrior smites his foes.
6 And will not Agni find enjoyment in our praise, will not the Vasu grant our wish with gifts of wealth?
Will not the Inspirer speed our prayers to gain their end? Him with the radiant glance 1 laud with this my song.
7 The kindler of the flame wins Agni as a Friend, promoter of the Law, whose face is bright with oil.
Inflamed and keen, refulgent in our gatherings, he lifts our hymn on high clad in his radiant hues.
8 Keep us incessantly with guards that cease not, Agni, with guards auspicious, very mighty.
With guards that never slumber, never heedless, never beguiled. O Helper, keep our children.
HYMN CXLIV. Agni.
1. THE Priest goes forth to sacrifice, with wondrous
power sending aloft the hymn of glorious brilliancy.
He moves to meet the ladles turning to the right, which are the first to kiss the place where he abides.
2 To him sang forth the flowing streams of Holy Law, encompassed in the home and birth-place of the God.
He, when he dwelt extended in the waters' lap, absorbed those Godlike powers for which he is adored.
3 Seeking in course altern to reach the selfsame end the two copartners strive to win this beauteous form.
Like Bhaga must he be duly invoked by us, as he who drives the car holds fast the horse's reins.
4 He whom the two copartners with observance tend, the pair who dwell together in the same abode,
By night as in the day the grey one was born young, passing untouched by eld through many an age of man.
5 Him the ten fingers, the devotions. animate: we mortals call on him a God to give us help.
He speeds over the sloping surface of the land: new deeds hath he performed with those who gird him round.
6 For, Agni, like a herdsman, thou by thine own might rulest o'er all that is in heaven and on the earth;
And these two Mighty Ones, bright, golden closely joined, rolling them round are come unto thy sacred grass.
7 Agni, accept with joy, be glad in this our prayer, joy-giver, self-sustained, strong, born of Holy Law!
For fair to see art thou turning to every side, pleasant to look on as a dwelling filled with food.
HYMN CXLV. Agni.
1. Ask ye of him for he is come, he knoweth it;
he, full of wisdom, is implored, is now implored.
With him are admonitions and with him commands: he is the Lord of Strength, the Lord of Power and Might.
2 They ask of him: not all learn by their questioning what he, the Sage, hath grasped, as 'twere, with his own mind.
Forgetting not the former nor the later word, he goeth on, not careless, in his mental power.
3 To him these ladles go, to him these racing mares: he only will give ear to all the words I speak.
All-speeding, victor, perfecter of sacrifice, the Babe with flawless help hath mustered vigorous might.
4 Whate'er he meets he grasps and then runs farther on, and straightway, newly born,creeps forward with his kin.
He stirs the wearied man to pleasure and great joy what time the longing gifts approach him as he comes.
5 He is a wild thing of the flood and forest: he hath been laid upon the highest surface.
He hath declared the lore of works to mortals, Agni the Wise, for he knows Law, the Truthful.
HYMN CXLVI. Agni.
1. I LAUD the seven-rayed, the triple-headed,
Agni all-perfect in his Parents' bosom,
Sunk in the lap of all that moves and moves not, him who hath filled all luminous realms of heaven.
2 As a great Steer he grew to these his Parents; sublime lie stands, untouched by eld, far-reaching.
He plants his footsteps on the lofty ridges of the broad earth: his red flames lick the udder.
3 Coming together to their common youngling both Cows, fairshaped, spread forth in all directions,
Measuring out the paths that must be travelled, entrusting all desires to him the Mighty.
4 The prudent sages lead him to his dwelling, guarding with varied skill the Ever-Youthful.
Longing, they turned their eyes unto the River: to these the Sun of men was manifested.
5 Born noble in the regions, aim of all mens' eyes to be implored for life by great and small alike,
Far as the Wealthy One hath spread himself abroad, he is the Sire all-visible of this progeny.
HYMN CXLVII. Agni.
1. How, Agni, have the radiant ones, aspiring,
endued thee with the vigour of the living,
So that on both sides fostering seed and offspring, the Gods may joy in Holy Law's fulfilment?
2 Mark this my speech, Divine One, thou, Most Youthful! offered to thee by him who gives most freely.
One hates thee, and another sings thy praises: I thine adorer laud thy form, O Agni.
3 Thy guardian rays, O Agni, when they saw him, preserved blind Mamateya from affliction.
Lord of all riches, he preserved the pious the foes who fain would harm them did no mischief.
4 The sinful man who worships not, O Agni, who, offering not, harms us with double-dealing,-
Be this in turn to him a heavy sentence may he distress himself by his revilings.
5 Yea, when a mortal knowingly, O Victor, injures with double tongue a fellow-mortal,
From him, praised Agni! save thou him that lauds thee: bring us not into trouble and affliction.
HYMN CXLVIII. Agni.
1. WHAT Matarisvan, piercing, formed by friction,
Herald of all the Gods. in varied figure,
Is he whom they have set mid human houses, gay-hued as light and shining forth for beauty.
2 They shall not harm the man who brings thee praises: such as I am, Agni my help approves me.
All acts of mine shall they accept with pleasure, laudation from the singer who presents it.
3 Him in his constant seat men skilled in worship have taken and with praises have established.
As, harnessed to a chariot fleet-foot horses, at his command let bearers lead him forward.
4 Wondrous, full many a thing he chews and crunches: he shines amid the wood with spreading brightness.
Upon his glowing flames the wind blows daily, driving them like the keen shaft of an archer.
5 Him, whom while yet in embryo the hostile, both skilled and fain to harm, may never injure,
Men blind and sightless through his splendour hurt not: his never-failing lovers have preserved him.
HYMN CXLIX. Agni.
1. HITHER he hastens to give, Lord of great riches,
King of the mighty, to the place of treasure.
lie pressing-stones shall serve him speeding near us.
2 As Steer of men so Steer of earth and heaven by glory, he whose streams all life hath drunken,
Who hasting forward rests upon the altar.
3 He who hath lighted up the joyous castle, wise Courser like the Steed of cloudy heaven,
Bright like the Sun, with hundredfold existence.
4 He, doubly born, hath spread in his effulgence through the three luminous realms, through all the regions,
Best sacrificing Priest where waters gather.
5 Priest doubly born, he through his love of glory hath in his keeping all things worth the choosing,
The man who brings him gifts hath noble offspring.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- The Rig Veda translation by Griffith, Introduction
- Hymns of the Sama veda translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith
- Yajur Veda: The Veda Of The Black Yajus School
- Hymns Of The Atharva-Veda
- Anugita English Translation
- THE Sanatsugâtîya, A Spiritual Dialogue
- Dharmashastras, the Sacred Law Books of Hindus
- The Hindu Dharmashastras, Subject Index
- The Grihya Sutras, The Vedic Domestic Ritual Texts
- The Sankhya Sutras of Kapila, Index page
- Translation of Upanishads by Swami Paramananda, Index
- A History Of Indian Philosophy - Chapter Index
- The Upanishads translated by Max Muller
- Vedic Reader for Students
- The Bhagavad-gita in a nutshell
- Essays On Dharma
- Esoteric Mystic Hinduism
- Introduction to Hinduism
- Hindu Way of Life
- Essays On Karma
- Hindu Rites and Rituals
- The Origin of The Sanskrit Language
- Symbolism in Hinduism
- Essays on The Upanishads
- Concepts of Hinduism
- Essays on Atman
- Hindu Festivals
- Spiritual Practice
- Right Living
- Yoga of Sorrow
- Mental Health
- Concepts of Buddhism
- General Essays
Source: An English translation of the Vedas by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1896.
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