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A layman reads Rig Veda

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50 agni- more metaphors
The poet enjoys the beauty of the burning fire. The flames look like tongues and
he is called seven tongued. सप्तजिह्वा; they look like his hair. So they call him having
hair of flame शोचिष्केशः। He is beautiful to look at- दर्शतः।
He is pleased with ghee poured on him and he goes up and up. He is called ghee-backed
He is born white and becomes red with his might. श्वेतं जज्ञानं अरुषं महित्वा। He is called the
lord of red steeds - रोहिदश्वः
When we strike a match, the fire consumes the stick. So also with the Arani stick used in
those days. They were also burnt a little. Figuratively, it is called devouring of parents.

the Infant at his birth devours his Parents.

जायमान: | मातरा | गर्भ: | अत्ति | RV_10,79.4

agni is used in the night for lighting purposes, in the day for cooking, worship etc. Thus
it is cherished both in day and night. This is described as two maidens feeding the infant.

Night and Dawn, changing each the other's colour, meeting together suckle one
same Infant: Golden between the heaven and earth he shines. The Gods possessed
the wealth bestowing agni.

नक्तोषसा | वर्णम् | आमेम्याने | धापयेते | शीशुम् | एकम् | समीची | द्यावाक्षामा | रुक्म: | अन्त: | वि | भाति |
देवा: | अग्निम् | धारयन् | द्रविण:-दाम् RV_1,96.5

So agni is called the son of two mothers. द्विमाता
When the lit fire is small, we cover it with our fingers, lest it be blown out by the wind. The
poet says,
In many places, agni jAtavedas, we sought you hidden in the plants and waters.
Then Yama marked you, God of wondrous splendour! effulgent from your tenfold
secret dwelling,

एच्छाम | त्वा | बहुधा | जात-वेद: | प्र-विष्टम् | अग्ने | अप्-सु | ओषधीषु | तम् | त्वा | यम: | अच्चिकेत् |
चित्रभानो | दश-अन्तरुष्यात् | अति-रोचमानम् RV_10,51.3
Fingers are usually referred to in RV as sisters. So agni is said to be cherished by the ten


Well-known member
He is born white and becomes red with his might. श्वेतं जज्ञानं अरुषं महित्वा।

This totally matches with the color of Flame.
Taken from Wikipedia:

. For a given flame's region, the closer to white on this scale, the hotter that section of the flame is. The transitions are often apparent in fires, in which the color emitted closest to the fuel is white, with an orange section above it, and reddish flames the highest of all.[SUP][6[/SUP]
Last edited:


Active member
Please pardon for a minor diversion
Since the RV series started with an aim to understanding about what happens after death (
http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/vedic-hyms/12632-layman-reads-rig-veda-2.html#post195888 )

I want to point out a link to a segment that aired in NPR (National Public Radio ) All Things Considered series about What Comes Next.

Different Religious Leaders (Catholic Theologian, Rabbi, Philosopher, Imam and a priest ) share their views/interpretations.

What Comes Next? Conversations On The Afterlife : NPR

Audience Reaction

What Happens When You Die? Your Thoughts On The Afterlife : NPR
Dear Sri Moorthy,
The question of life after death was just one of the many baffling ones that goaded me to study RV. What answer I got from my study is reserved for the last post in this series.
My present position is what many of the readers seem to imply in the site cited by you, that is, nothing can be said definitely about life after death.
51 agni’s prowess
We do many works with fire. He makes our work easy. Once we kindle a fire, it requires us to be active and vigilant. Otherwise, our work may be spoiled. Thus agni instills in us earnestness (श्रद्धा). So he is called the leader of yajna. यज्ञपतिः He is the priest of the yajna. We have already seen that yajna means a noble deed, performed with earnestness, for public welfare.
Who can compete with agni in his might in destroying enemies? So he is called the son of strength सहसस्सूनुः, सहसः शिशुः, sharp-teethed तिग्मजम्भः, bull वृषभः, kills many with few hands दभ्रेभि: चित् सम्-ऋता हंसि भूयस:|
He is always young and undecaying, eternal- युवानः, अजरः, अमर्त्यः
No one can pollute agni, as one does with water or air. So agni is called pure. He purifies others also.
शुचिः, पावकः
He is called smoke bannered धूम केतुः
agni helps us in many ways, like a father, relative, son, brother and friend. He is the maidens’ lover and matrons’ lord. जार: कनीनाम् पति: जनीनाम् RV_1,66.8
He does not discriminate between his devotees. He takes pity on the poor and the sinner also. He accepts whatever is given and does not insist on particular gifts like ghee or samid.
No cow have I to call mine own, no axe at hand wherewith to work, Yet what is here I bring to thee.
नहि | मे | अस्ति | अघ्न्या | न | स्व-धिति: | वनन्-वति | अथ | एतादृक् | भरामि | ते RV_8,102.19
52 agni in three spheres
In RV, agni does not refer only to the physical fire that we use at home. The sun and the lightning are also called agni.
The sun resembles fire in many ways. It gives light and dispels darkness. It gives heat. It has the unopposable might of the fire. It helps men. It instigates men to work. So it is called the fire in the heaven. Many hymns praise the sun as agni. Since agni is found in the heavens as the sun, in the mid-sphere as lightning and in the earth as fire, he is called ‘living in three spheres’- triSadasta. त्रिषदस्थः
They purified three splendours of the mighty agni. To man, for his enjoyment, one of these they gave: the other two have passed into the sister sphere.
तिस्र: | यह्वस्य | सम्-इध: | परि-ज्मन: | अग्ने: | अपुनन् | उशीज: | अमृत्यव: | तासाम् | एकाम् | अदधु: | मर्त्ये | भुजम् | उ| लोकम् | उ| द्वे | उप | जामिम् | ईयतु: RV_3,2.9

O agni, made by strength! you were born in the heavens (as sun) or born in floods (as lightning in the midst of watery clouds), As such we call on you with songs.
यत् | अग्ने | दिवि-जा: | असि | अप्सु-जा: | वा | सह:-कृत | तम् | त्वा | गी:-भि: | हवामहे RV_8,43.28

agni is also called jAtavedas जातवेदस् knower of all things born. And he is honoured with many epithets indicating his wisdom- kavi, vipra, vidvan, vipascita etc. कवि, विप्रः, विद्वान्, विपश्चितः
53 agni born in many places
agni is born in many places. Veda says that there are ten places of his birth. But they are not enumerated. We find from various hymns the following places.
1)the sun, born in the heavens
2)the lightning born in the midsphere.
3)the fire under water which is called vadavagni वडवाग्निः. This one is said to be naked and also wearing a mantle of water अपाम् अपि-धाना अवृणो:.
Since the ocean is said, in RV, to be the confluence of seven rivers, the rishis call the rivers as the sisters who nourished agni. They also say that the seven rivers together bore him as their embryo.
He sought heaven's Mighty Ones, the unconsuming, the unimpaired, not clothed and yet not naked.
Then they, ancient and young, who dwell together, Seven sounding Rivers, as one germ received him.

वव्राज | सीम् | अनदती: | अदब्धा: | दिव: | यह्वी: | अवसाना: | अनग्ना: | सना: | अत्र | युवतय: | स-योनी: | एकम् | गर्भम् | दधिरे | सप्त | वाणी: RV_3,1.6
4)agni is brought to life by rubbing two stones
5) agni is born when two arani sticks are rubbed against each other.
6)Forest fires occur naturally by the rubbing of trees against each other.
Urged by the wind be spreads through dry wood as he lists, armed with his tongues for sickles, with a mighty roar. Black is your path, agni, changeless, with glittering waves! when like a bull you rush eager to the trees.
वि | वात-जूत: | अतसेषु |तिष्ठते | वृथा | जुहूभि: | सृण्या | तुवि-स्वणि: | तृषु | यत् | अग्ने | वनिन: | वृष-यसे | कृष्णम् | ते | एम | रुशत्-ऊर्मे | अजर RV_1,58.4
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.
अभि | द्वि-जन्मा | त्रि-वृत् | अन्नम् | ऋज्यते | संवत्सरे | ववृधे | जग्धम् | ईम् | पुनः| अन्यस्य | आसा | जिह्वया | जेन्य: | वृषा | नि | अन्येन | वनिन: | मृष्ट | वारण: RV_1,140.2

Thus he causes rejuvenation of forests. He is called the leader of the forest and also the son of the forest.

YOU, agni, shining in your glory through the days, are brought to life from the waters, from the stone:
From the forest trees and plants that grow on ground, you, Sovreign Lord of men are generated pure.

त्वम् | अग्ने | द्यु-भि: | त्वम् | आशुशुक्षणि: | त्वम् | अत्-भ्य: | त्वम् | अश्मन: | परि | त्वम् | वनेभ्य:| त्वम् | ओषधीभ्य: | त्वम् | नृणाम् | नृ-पते | जायसे | शुचि: RV_2,1.1

He who is germ of waters, germ of woods, germ of all things that move not and that move,- To him even in the rock and in the house: Immortal One, he cares for all mankind.
गर्भ: | य: | अपाम् | गर्भ: | वनानाम् | गर्भ: | च | स्थाताम् | गर्भ: | चरथाम् । अद्रौ | चित् | अस्मै | अन्त: | दुरोणे | विशाम् | न | विश्व: | अमृत: | सु-आधी: RV_1,70.2
In the two fire-sticks jatavedas lies, even as the well-set germ in pregnant women, agni who day by day must be exalted by men who watch and worship with oblations.
अरण्यो: | नि-हित: | जात-वेदा: | गर्भ:- इव | सु-धित: | गर्भिणीषु | दिवे--दि वे | ईड्य: | जागृवत्-भि: | हविष्मत्-भि: | मनुष्येभि: | अग्नि: RV_3,29.2
54 agni- many fires
For the rishis agni is not only the physical fire, the sun, lightning. It is a principle. Thus, the life force in humans, animals and plants is also called agni. Appetite, present in all beings is also called agni. In this form, agni is sometimes called vaizvAnara.
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.
आत् | इत् | मातृ: | आ | अविशत् | यासु | आ | शुचि: | अहिंस्यमान: | उर्विया | वि | ववृधे | अनु | यत् | पूर्वा | अरुहत् | सनाजुव: | नि | नव्यसीषु | अवरासु | धावते RV_1,141.5
He who grows mightily in herbs, within each fruitful mother and each baby she bears, Wise, life of all men, in the waters' home, - for him have sages built, as it were a seat.
वि | य: | वीरुत्-सु | रोधत् | महि-त्वा | उत | प्र-जा: | उत | प्र-सूषु | अन्त:। चित्ति: | अपाम् | दमे | विश्व-आयु: | सद्म- इव | धीरा: | सम्-माय | चक्रु: RV_1,67.5
The following mantras show that there are many kinds of fires, other than listed above.
O agni, may we overcome sins with fires.
अग्ने | अग्नि-भि: | इधान: | अति | स्रसेम | वृजनम् | RV_6,11.6
Hear this laud, Radiant Priest of many aspects, O agni with the fires of man enkindled,
तम् | उ| द्यु-म: | पुरु-अणीक | होत: | अग्ने | अग्नि-भि: | मनुष: | इधान: | RV_6,10.2

Protect us from slander, O Champion, agni! with all fires enkindled.
स: | त्वम् | न: | अर्वन् | निदाया: | विश्वेभि: | अग्ने | अग्निभि: | इधान: RV_6,12.6
The rishis found that the properties of agni are rising up, growing it its own place, making us engage in works with earnestness, irrepressible might, unconcealability. Based on the above criterion, they name appetite also as agni. This is given a special name also as vaizvAnara वैश्वानरः
He stirs with life in bellies dissimilar in kind, born as a bull he roars like a lion:
Vaisvanara immortal with wide-reaching might, bestowing goods and wealth on him who offiers gifts.

स: | जिन्वते | जठरेषु | प्रजज्ञि-वान् | वृषा | चित्रेषु | नानदत् | न | सिंह: | वैश्वानर: | पृथु-पाजा: | अमर्त्य: | वसु | रत्ना | दयमान: | वि | दाशुषे RV_3,2.11
55 agni- reproductive urge?
We saw that the properties of agni are rising up, growing it its own place, making us engage in works with seriousness, irrepressible might, unconcealability. Based on the above criterion, I have a supposition whether the sexual urge in living beings can also be called as agni. I think that the following quotes will not be sufficient to come to a conclusion and I am looking for a more definitive one.
Aryaman (companion) are you as regards maidens, mysterious is your name, O Self-sustainer.
As a kind friend, with streams of milk they anoint you when you make wife and lord one-minded.
त्वम् | अर्यमा | भवसि | यत् | कनीनाम् | नाम | स्वधावन् | गुह्यम् | बिभर्षि | अञ्जन्ति | मित्रम् | सु-धितम् | न | गोभि: | यत् | दम्पती दम्-पती | स-मनसा | कृणोषि RV_5,3.2
Worthy to be revered, O Agni, God, preserve our wealthy patrons with your helps, and ourselves.
Guard of our seed are you, aiding our cows to bear, incessantly protecting in your holy way.
त्वम् | न: | अग्ने | तव | देव | पायु-भि: | मघोन: | रक्ष | तन्व: | च | वन्द्य | त्राता | तोकस्य | तनये | गवाम् | असि | अनि-मेषम् | रक्षमाण: | तव | व्रते RV_1,31.12
56 agni = intelligence
Intelligence is also called agni. It has all the properties of agni- like - dispelling darkness of ignorance, rising up, instigating us to work with earnestness, irrepressible might, unconcealability.
That agni, wise High-Priest, in every house takes thought for sacrifice and holy service, yes, takes thought, with mental power, for sacrifice. Disposer, he with mental power shows all things unto him who strives;
स: | सु-क्रतु: | पुर:-हित: | दमे--दमे | अग्नि: | यज्ञस्य | अध्वरस्य | चेतति | क्रत्वा | यज्ञस्य | चेतति | क्रत्वा | वेधा: | इषु-यते | विश्वा | जातानि | पस्पशे | यत: | घृत-श्री: | अतिथि: | अजायत | वह्नि: | वेधा: | अजायत RV_1,128.4
For he is mental power, a man, and perfect; he is the bringer, friend-,like, of the wondrous. The pious Aryan tribes at sacrifices address them first to him who does marvels.
स: | हि | क्रतु: | स: | मर्य: | स: | साधु: | मित्र: | न | भूत् | अद्भुतस्य | रथी: | तम् | मेधेषु | प्रथमम् | देव-यन्ती: | विश: | उप | ब्रुवते | दस्मम् | आरी: RV_1,77.3
Together with pure mental power, pure, as Director, was he born.
साकम् | हि | शुचिना | शुचि: | प्र-शास्ता | क्रतुना | अजनि | विद्वान् | RV_2,5.4


Well-known member
55 agni- reproductive urge?
Based on the above criterion, I have a supposition whether the sexual urge in living beings can also be called as agni.

Why not?

After all a cold shower is recommended to dampen the sexual urge!LOL

We douse fire with water isnt it?
57 agni = fire of the mind
Burning passion in the mind which instigates one to strive towards a higher goal is called agni. We have seen earlier that one who strives for the cause of others and performs the impossible becomes a deva. This burning passion for excellence elevating man to godhead is said to be the blessing of agni.
To you, Immortal! when to life you spring, all the Gods sing for joy as to their infant. They by your mental powers were made immortal, Vaisvanara, when you shone from your Parents.
त्वाम् | विश्वे | अमृत | जायमानम् | शीशुम् | न | देवा: | अभि | सम् | नवन्ते | तव | क्रतु-भि: | अमृत-त्वम् | आयन् | वैश्वानर | यत् | पित्रो: | अदीदे: RV_6,7.4
He is keeper and guard of immortality.
गोपा: | अमृतस्य | रक्षिता RV_6,7.7
Send to the Gods the oblation, Lord of Forests, and let the Immolator, agni, dress it. He as the truer Priest shall offer worship, for the God's generations well he knows.
वनस्पते | अव | सृज | उप | देवान् | अग्नि: | हवि: | शमिता | सूदयाति | स: | इत् | उ| होता | सत्य-तर: | यजाति | यथा | देवानाम् | जनिमानि | वेद RV_7,2.10
Excellent, he was made by thought. I have gained the germ of beings and sire of active strength.
धिया | चक्रे | वरेण्य: | भूतानाम् | गर्भम् | आ | दधे | दक्षस्य | पितरम् | तना RV_3,27.9
For all these many kinds of agni, the fire is the symbol and worshipping the fire is considered tantamount to cherishing all these agnis.
THE King and master is kindled with homage, whose symbol is decked with oil. The men, the priests adore him with oblations. agni has shone forth when the dawn is breaking.
इन्धे | राजा | सम् | अर्य: | नम:-भि: | यस्य | प्रतीकम् | आहुतम् | घृतेन | नर: | हव्येभि: | ईळते | स-बाध: | आ | अग्नि: | अग्रे | उषसाम् | अशोचि RV_7,8.1
58 agni- attributes
We will once again review summarily the properties of agni, which apply not only to the fire but to all kinds of agnis.

agni is pure, purifying, bold, helping, strong, destroying rakshasas and diseases, controlled, liked by all, skillful, loves and appreciates prayers and is strengthened by them, ever vigilant, wise, far-seeing, inducing wisdom, purifying wisdom, guileless, knows the place of wealth, lord of wealth, knows everything born, dispels darkness, abiding in every life, quick, sympathetic, non-discriminating between his devotees, never confused, has wonderful powers, performs great things, stands in front in battles, destroys enemies.

agni gives strength, wealth, happiness, progeny, long life, protection, cows and horses to his devotees. He removes sins. He helps people get over their troubles. He is like a father, brother, friend and a lovable guest. He helps people attain heaven, he looks at the whole world.

agni and yajna

He is the leader of yajna. He performs the tasks of many priests connected with a yajna. He is hota, that is, he calls the other devas to the place of yajna. agni grows with yajna, which is performed either with havis or prayers or both. The havis sometimes includes dry cows, pregnant ones and bulls. This is known from his name UkshAnna, vazAnna- उक्षान्न, वशान्न. He is called vapavan 6.1.3 that is, he is pleased with the omentum (a fold of the peritoneum connecting the stomach and the abdominal viscera forming a protective and supportive covering) of the animals. He is also pleased with medhas (fat of the animals). He is the symbol of yajna.

agni and adhvara

We have already seen that adhvara, interpreted as a blemishless yajna, also denotes the journey of life. agni is called su-adhvara, that is he knows the life well. He makes others’ adhvaras perfect. He is the symbol of adhvara. He is close to the man who donates liberally in his adhvara. Even martyas, that is, those who are not interested in spiritual advancement, worship him in adhvaras.
59 agni – agni and rtam
Agni was born in rtam ऋतेजा. He is the protector of rtam ऋतस्य गोपा. He sits on rtam ऋतषद्. His horses are yoked with the rope of rtam ऋतयुजा.
Like all other devas, agni is also bound by rtam. He observes rtam. He has got his own vratas or rules. They are firm. They nourish him. He never violates them. He loves the many aspects of rtam. He was placed among men by those sages who followed rtam. He is the charioteer of rtam ऋतस्य रथी. He worships devas in order to make people follow rtam. He is svdhavAn.
Races of human birth pay Agni worship, men who have sprung from Nahus' line adore him. Established in ghee is Agni's pasture, on the Gandharva path of Law and Order.

अग्निम् | विश[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | ईळते | मानुषी[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | या[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | अग्निम् | मनुष[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | नहुष[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | वि | जाता[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | अग्नि[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] |

गान्धर्वीम् | पथ्याम् | ऋतस्य | अग्ने[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | गव्यूति[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | घृते | | नि-सत्ता RV_10,80.6

Agni and pitr
Not only for the living, but also for the dead, agni is helpful. Corpses are entrusted to him. When the rishi lights the funeral pyre, he prays to agni, “Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered. O Jatavedas, when you have matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers.
मा | एनम् | अग्ने | वि | दह[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | मा | अभि | शोच[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | मा | अस्य | त्वचम् | चिक्षिप[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | मा | शरीरम् | यदा| शृतम् | कृणव[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | जात-वेद[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] | अथ | ईम् | एनम् | प्र | हिणुतात् | पितृ-भ्य[FONT=Tahoma, serif]:[/FONT] RV_10,16.1
60 Agni, the almighty
agni represents all gods. He is bhaga while granting wealth, vAyu while shining with radiance, mitra while controlling rtam 6.13.2., he is varuNa, 7.12.3, he is indra, viSNu, brahma, brahmaNaspati, marut, puSan, Rbhu, matarisvAn, aryamA, tvaSta, rudra, savitA, aditi, iLA, bhArati, sarasvati.
He serves as the tongue of the devas. He is the priest of the devas. He is called svarNara, that is the man of the heaven. He acts as a messenger between man and gods. He goes between heaven and earth. The devas placed him on earth so that men could ascend to heaven. He takes the havis and the prayers of devotees to the devas and brings them to earth.
As with other gods, agni is elevated to the status of the Almighty. He is said to be the protector of the world. He created the path of the sun. He bears the heaven and the earth with his light. He is the father of heaven and earth. He is the centre of the earth. He is the emperor सम्राट्. He rules over men, mountains, plants and waters. He is the creator and sustainer. He protects the devotees. He bestows gifts without delay. He is the guard of the past, present and future. He is the leader of the homes of the people who worship devas.
He is lovable. He deserves to be adored. Not even the heaven is equal to him. The ancient people praised him and the modern ones also adore him. He loves to hear newer and newer praises. He is strengthened by these praises.

Here ends the topic on Agni. The next topic will appear after a gap.
61 The concept of sin in RV
Why does man suffer? RV cites two causes – sin and curse. To know what sin is, we have to recall the concept of rtam.

We have seen that rtam or dharma is the main teaching of RV. In nature, everything has a special property. This is known as the rtam. There is definiteness in each and a rhythm in their functioning. Things of diverse properties interact with each other and that is life.
The property of sun is heat. The property of wind is movement from high pressure are to low pressure area. . That of water is going down. The interaction of these properties bring us rain and causes the flow of rivers.

In human society, men are of different abilities, skills and tastes. One is interested in science, another in trade, another in spirituality and yet another in social service and so on. They fulfill each other’s needs.

What is found in the outside world is also found inside the body. The various organs of our body perform different functions and by their co-ordination life goes on.

RV does not speak of any Almighty. We find that the concept of rtam is revered in the place of Almighty. All the devas are said to be the sons of rtam. Rtam is protected by the devas. Even Varuna, who is said to be the controller of rtam and punisher of those who violate it is also said to be born of rtam.

RV enjoins men to abide by rtam. Violating rtam is called sin. (Sin is variously termed as aghas, Agas, amhas, enus. अघस्, आगस्, एनस्) Among the living beings only humans tend to violate rtam. Animals and birds live a natural life. They do not swerve from their destined path.

Why does man commit sin?

It is due to ignorance, conceit and inability to overcome desires which is called human weakness.

God! If through ignorance, through unmindfulness, through conceit, or through human weaknesses we have committed offense against you or against men, we pray to you to pardon us.
अचित्ती | यत् | चकृम | दैव्ये | जने | दीनै: | दक्ष: | प्र-भूती | पुरुषत्वता | देवेषु | च | सवित: | मानुषेषु | च | त्वम् | न: | अत्र | सुवतात् | अनागस: RV_4,54.3

What is the result of sin? Sufferings ensue. Varuna binds the sinners with a rope. Men will be degraded. By following rtam, one gets riches, progeny, fertile fields, food, cattle, pleasant home, fame etc. There will be no obstruction in his path.
Not only sins committed by self, but those by others also cause sufferings to one. Sins of forefathers also visit one.

Free us from sins committed by our fathers, from those wherein we have ourselves offended.
अव | द्रुग्धानि | पित्र्या | सृज | न: | अव | या | वयम् | चकृम | तनूभि:| RV_7,86.5

So it is prayed that we may not be the victims of the wrong-doings of others.

Move far from me what sins I have committed: let me not suffer, King, for guilt of others. Full many a morn remains to dawn upon us: in these, O Varuna, while we live direct us.
परा | ऋणा | सावी: | अध | मत्-कृतानि | मा | अहम् | राजन् | अन्य-कृतेन | भोजम् | अवि-उष्टा: | इत् | नु | भूयसी: | उषस: | आ | न: | जीवान् | वरुण | तासु | शाधि RV_2,28.9

Sins are of three kinds- mind, speech and action.

Grant us freedom from three types of sin – sins of improper thinking, improper speech, and improper action.
ये | ते | त्रि: | अहन् | सवितरिति | सवास: | दिवे--दिवे | सौभगम् | आसुवन्ति | इन्द्र: | द्यावापृथिवी ति | सिन्धु: | अत्-भि: | आदित्यै: | न: | अदिति: | शर्म | यंसत् RV_4,54.6

Whatever sins we have committed in speaking to others, and in speaking of others, on purpose or inadvertently, in dream of when wide awake, O Lord! Please remove far away from us such unworthy acts in the future.
यत् | आशसा | नि:-शसा | अभि-शसा | उप-आरिम | जाग्रत: | यत् | स्वपन्त: | अग्नि: | विश्वानि | अप | दु:-कृतानि | अजुष्टानि | आरे | अस्मत् | दाधातु RV_10,164.3

Sufferings are caused by curses thrown on us by the enemies.
Let not the foeman's curse, let not a mortal's onslaught fall on us Preserve us, Brahmanaspati.
मा | न: | शंस: | अररुष: | धूर्ति: | प्रणक् | मर्त्यस्य | रक्ष | न: | ब्रह्मण: | पते RV_1,18.3

To him, Adhvaryu! to him give offerings of the juice expressed. Will he not keep us safely from the spiteful curse of each presumptuous high-born foe?
अस्मै-अस्मै | इत् | अन्धस: | अध्वर्यो | प्र | भर | सुतम् | कुवित् | समस्य | जेन्यस्य | शर्धत: | अभि-शस्ते: | अव-स्परत् RV_6,42.4

Listen to me, O Asvins; I have cried to you. Give me your aid as sire and mother aid their son.
Poor, without kin or friend or ties of blood am I. Save me before it be too late, from this my curse.
इयम् | वाम् | अह्वे | शृणुतम् | मे | अश्विना | पुत्राय-इव | पितरा | मह्यम् | शीक्षतम् | अनापि: | अज्ञा: | असजात्या | अमति: | पुरा | तस्या: | अभि-शस्ते: | अव | स्पृतम् RV_10,39.6
62 How to avoid the sufferings?
Surrendering to the gods is the only way to escape from the suffering caused by our own violation of rtam or by others. RV assures in many places that the devas do protect us from all miseries, forgiving our sins.

Can we go on doing sins in the hope that they will be forgiven by the devas pleased through prayer?
RV wants us to be free from sin first. The first prayer is to remove the bondages of Varuna caused by violation of rtam. Then only one becomes fit to perform the worship of gods.

May I, freed from sins, win the bliss of Rudra.
अरपा: | अशीय | विवासेयम् | रुद्रस्य | सुम्नम् RV_2,33.6

Most Youthful God, whatever sin, through folly, we here, as human beings, have committed, In sight of Aditi make thou us sinless remit, entirely, Agni, our offences.
यत् | चित् | हि | ते | पुरुष-त्रा | यविष्ठ | अचित्ति-भि: | चकृम | कत् | चित् | आग: | कृधि | सु | अस्मान् | अदिते: | अनागान् | वि | एनांसि | शीश्रथ: | विष्वक् | अग्ने RV_4,12.4

Which god to worship?

Veda does not pinpoint any particular god worthy of worship. Though Varuna is the punisher for violation of rtam, not only Varuna but all gods are prayed to, to remove the sins and consequent sufferings.
The devas are kind to the worshippers. They readily oblige when pleased with submissive prayers. They shower blessings from the heaven and protect the devotees.

Health-giving medicines descend sent down from heaven in twos and threes, Or wandering singly on the earth. May Heaven and Earth uproot and sweep iniquity and shame away: nor sin nor sorrow trouble thee.
अव | द्वके | अव | त्रिका | दिव: | चरन्ति | भेषजा | क्षमा | चरिष्णुएककम् | भरताम् | अप | यत् | रप: | द्यौ: | पृथिवि | क्षमा | रप: | मो | सु | ते | किम् | चन | आममत् RV_10,59.9

Surrender to God removes sins committed earlier and those yet to be committed- that is, those which are in mind. This reminds us of Andal’s words, past sins and future sins will be burnt like dust in fire by Sri Narayana’s grace.
போயபிழையும் புகுதருவான் நின்றனவும் தீயில் தூசாகும் செப்பேலோரெம்பாவாய்.

May the omniscient Lord who rules as Devas over the animate and the inanimate, deliver us today from our sins of the past and of the future, for our own good.
ये | ईशीरे | भुवनस्य | प्र-चेतस: | विश्वस्य | स्थातु: | जगत: | च | मन्तव: | ते | न: | कृतात् | अकृतात् एनस: | परि | अद्य | देवास: | पिपृत | स्वस्तये RV_10,63.8

In the epic period, the concept of rtam went into oblivion and that of an Almighty God came into existence. Some books raised Siva to that exalted status and others Visnu.
The definition of sin also underwent a change. It is no longer violation of rtam. Giving trouble to others was considered sin. Along with this the concept of Punya, which is not found in RV, came to be recognised. Helping others is Punya.

परोपकारः पुण्याय, पापाय परपीडनम्।
Perhaps this was due to the influence of Buddhism.
63 sin and suffering
The last two posts were based on translations by Wilson and Griffith who interpret the same words as sin in certain places and suffering in certain others. Sin is different from misery. Sin is a misdeed which violates divine law. Sin is the cause and suffering is the result. So to take the same word for cause in one context and effect does not seem not justified. What follows hereunder is the result of my in-depth study of those words.

Suffering or misery, in general is indicated by the term, durita (दुरिता ) which means that which obstructs the fulfillment of our desires.

Misery is of two kinds- bodily and mental.

The bodily or physical suffering can be of two kinds- one caused by deformity and the other caused by disease. While the former makes one disabled permanently, the latter can be cured by medication.

1 Physical deformity, either congenital or caused by accident is called repas. (रेपस्) All the devas are said to have a defect-free body (अरेपसः)

To refer to an unbroken ladle, this word is used. दर्वि: | अरेपा: | 10,105.10
So repas means a handicap or defect of body.

2 To refer to a disease, the term rapas रपस् is used.
Rudra is said to be a physician who brings medicines to cure diseases.
Where is that gracious hand of yours, O Rudra, the hand that gives health and brings comfort,
Remover of the woe that Gods have sent us? O Strong One, look on me with compassion.
क्व | स्य: | ते | रुद्र | मृळयाकु: | हस्त: | य: | अस्ति | भेषज: | जलाष: | अप-भर्ता | रपस: | दैव्यस्य | अभि | नु | मा | वृषभ | चक्षमीथा: RV_2,33.7
You carry on your bodies, you who see it all: so bless us graciously therewith.
Cast, Maruts, to the ground our sick man's malady: replace the dislocated limb.
विश्वम् | पश्यन्त: | विभृथ | तनूषु | आ | तेन | न: | अधि | वोचत | क्षमा | रप: | मरुत: | आतुरस्य | न: | इष्कर्त | वि-ह्रुतम् | पुनरिति RV_8,20.26
3 There is another kind of suffering. That is privation, suffering for want of essential goods like food, water etc. This is called by two terms- अंहस्, अंहतिः
(Indra) Best soother of the worshipper's great privation, he gives wealth to the man who lauds him.
पुरु | दाशुषे | वि-चयिष्ठ: | अंह: | अथ | दधाति | द्रविणम् | जरित्रे RV_4,20.9
So अंह: means lack of essential comforts of life.
4 Of the mental sufferings, the word, aghas अघस् refers to the one caused by the death of dear ones.
CHASING with light our grief away, O Agni, shine wealth on us. May his light chase our grief away.
अप | न: | शोशुचत् | अघम् | अग्ने | शुशुग्धि | आ | रयिम् | अप | न: | शोशुचत् | अघम् RV_1,97.1
(both Wilson and Griffith translate the word agham as sin, which does not fit the context. Incidentally this entire suktam is recited just before cremation of the dear one. The karta is instructed to go round the corpse thrice clock wise and thrice anti-clockwise reciting this. )

Give not us up a prey to grief, O Agni, the greedy enemy that brings us trouble; Not to the fanged that bites, not to the toothless: give not us up, o Conqueror, to the spoiler.
मा | न: | अग्ने | अव | सृज: | अघाय | अविष्यवे | रिपवे | दुच्छुनायै | मा | दत्वते | दशते | मा | अदते | न: | मा | रीषते | सहसावन् | परा | दा: RV_1,189.5

One who eats alone grieves alone.
केवल-अघ: | भवति | केवल-आदी RV_10,117.6
So अघ: means grief over the death of a near or dear one.

Suffering can be classified in another way also- real and expected. There are prayers from those actually suffering for its removal. Most mantras foresee misery and want a protection from them. “Push us not, Indra, into trouble” 1.54.1 is one such example.

There is another classification. Suffering of the self and that of the dear ones. There are prayers for the removal of misery of self and those for sons and grandsons. Most mantras speak of ‘us’ while seeking relief from distress.
Now let us turn to the causes of suffering.

There are god-sent miseries and man-made miseries. देवकृतं, मर्त्यकृतं.

Of man-made miseries, there are two kinds- self made and those by others, including our forefathers and enemies. There is a prayer that one may not suffer the fruits of the deeds of others.

Those misdeeds, which are a violation of natural law or rtam ऋतम् are called AgaH आगः. They are the real sins.

Many mantras speak, “If I have done a misdeed, I may kindly be forgiven and not punished.”
Why does man commit such misdeeds?
RV answers, it is due to human weakness or ignorance.

5 There is another word for sin- enas एनस्. This seems to refer to bad habits from the following two statements.
Devas protect from great enas even from childhood.
One who turns back from enas, devas help back to life.


Active member
Re: http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/vedic-hyms/12632-layman-reads-rig-veda-12.html#post219793
The translation for RV 10,63,8 has been puzzling me from the day I read it. I am particularly intrigued by the use of the word "Lord" - which I have never seen (my knowledge is extremely limited).

I looked at Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 10: HYMN LXIII. Vi?vedevas. (Gives translation by Ralph Griffith)

This is Griffith's translation -

8 Wise Deities, who have dominion o’er the world, ye thinkers over all that moves not and that moves,
Save us from uncommitted and committed sin, preserve us from all sin to-day for happiness.

My question/doubt is: Is there a notion of Lord in RV? (If this a pedantic question, please feel free to ignore) or is it Wilson's interpretation (now that I know it is not Griffith's interpretation)
The one in blue is by Griffith and that in red is by Wilson.

May the omniscient Lord who rules as Devas over the animate and the inanimate, deliver us today from our sins of the past and of the future, for our own good.

Wise Deities, who have dominion o’er the world, ye thinkers over all that moves not and that moves,

Save us from uncommitted and committed sin, preserve us from all sin to-day for happiness.

ये | ईशीरे | भुवनस्य | प्र-चेतस: | विश्वस्य | स्थातु: | जगत: | च | मन्तव: | ते | न: | कृतात् | अकृतात् |एनस: | परि | अद्य | देवास: | पिपृत | स्वस्तये RV_10,63.8

What follows in green is the dictionary meaning, in the same order as found in the text above.
those who| control| on the world| wise| of the world| unmoving| moving| and| thinkers| they| us| from committed| from uncommitted| from sins| around| today| devas|protect| for happiness|
I find that Wilson is nearer to the text than the other.

Griffith does not take note of the plural of the first word.
The verb in the secondary clause, ईशिरे, meaning control may also be interpreted as 'lord over'. Perhaps Griffith might have used the word 'lord' in that sense.

There is no notion of one almighty lord in RV.
However there is a mantra describing that there exists one which the sages speak of differently. 1.164.46 The words one and exists (एकम् सत्)are in neutral gender. It is an indefinite something.
Hence the use of the word lord is not justified.
Dear Sri Moorthy,
I was very much confused on seeing your message. After some effort I came out of it wiser. Thank you for opening my eyes to the great blunder I have all along been committing.

Some 6 years ago, I downloaded Griffith's translation from Sacred Texts.com. It is with me still.

Once, may be in 2010, a member of this forum in one of his posts said that he has the English translations of all the four vedas in one digital volume. I got it from him. The introduction of RV said that it was sourced from Griffith. I found it very useful because it is an indexed version. I got it printed also. I have all along been using this printed version, believing it to be the authentic version of Griffith.
Only after receiving your message, I made an investigation and found out that in a supplement to the introduction, it is mentioned that they have made some changes in respect of certain mantras. In the long list comes this 10.63.8.
Here is the original Griffith's translation.

8 Wise Deities, who have dominion o'er the world, ye thinkers over all that moves not and that moves,

Save us from uncommitted and committed sin, preserve us from all sin to-day for happiness.

from.... http://www.sanskritweb.net/rigveda/griffith.pdf

Here is the translation by Wilson.
May the wise and omniscient deities, who rule over the whole world both stationary and moveable, deliver us today from committed and uncommitted sin for our well-being.
from Rigveda edited by Raviprakash Arya and K.L.Joshi

Sorry to have put you in unnecessary confusion and thanking you once again.


Active member
3. More contradictions

'Performing obsequies or sraddhas are not mentioned in the Vedas and they will not reach the atma in another body.' - This statement comes not from the mouth of an atheist but from Sri Dayananda Saraswati (of Arya Samaj), a staunch believer and advocate of Vedas who declared that Vedas are the eternal source of knowledge and exhorted people to go back to Vedic times.

Vikram Sir, in fact, i have asked some learnt swamiji's the following:
Pranam Swamiji. For one my querries on Shraddha, you told that Veda does not talk about Shradda. But Veda talk about Shodasha Samskara and one of the samskara is death ritual. If so, are we not to follow shraddha for the pitrus year after year?

the following is the answer i got it.

My blessings to you. Yes, please according to Vedas shradh are not to be performed. I also paste my article below:-

Are path,Yagya, havans etc., after death of a person or tarpan shradh etc., of any beneficial to departed soul?

Soul is dependent and therefore cannot do any deed etc., without senses, perceptions, mind and body whereas, God is independent. He is Almighty and needs no help from anybody to control the universe. So He never takes any assistance/help like of any human body or of bow-arrow, gun etc., to kill anyone. At the time of death, soul goes out of the body and body with mouth, ear, eyes etc., is burnt. Thirty-ninth chapter of Yajurveda throws light that at this stage, soul remains in sushupt stage i.e., like in coma, because the soul has no assistance like mouth, ear etc., so she cannot take in food, drink water, do any thing. After thirteen days the soul based on his previous lives’ deeds enters the womb. Therefore neither soul can be ghost nor can he take food etc. So according to Vedas, shradh, tarpann cannot be done.

No doubt, soul has to face his karmas-both karmas i.e., pious as well as sins. Please refer to the article on three types of karmas. Vedas as well as yog shastra 2/16 states “Heyem Dukham Anagatam” that present sins/bad deeds as well as previous lives’ sins can be burnt with the help of present pious kriyamann karmas like paath, yajyen, havan mainly listening of Vedas, name jaap of God, learning of yoga philosophy from a true acharya (who is learned of Vedas) and its practice there of etc. Benefit of the same worship is awarded when soul remains in body. Soul leaves the body to take rebirth based on sanchit karma i.e., benefit of the worship had already been awarded by the God. If soul is really interested to get salvation, then he contacts with an acharya to learn the said worship and may be able in this birth or in the future births to get salvation. But in no case, the real worship based on Vedas goes in vain. This is also stated by Shri Krishna in Bhagwad Geeta shloka 9/31.

Anna Daan/Shradh to departed soul

Vedas are eternal knowledge which emanate direct from God at the beginning of every universe. Being the knowledge direct from God, each statement of Ved mantra is also eternal truth.

Thirty-ninth chapter of Yajurveda states about death. The soul when leaves the human body remains under control of a divine air named "Sutratma vayu". Mantras tell that after wandering unconsciously for thirteen days in the space and planets like Sun, moon, etc., soul comes again on this earth inside the vegetation. Then either the soul enters the male living being's body according to pious deeds and sins through pores or is duly mixed within vegetation and taken by a male person. Then the soul takes rebirth through parents.

This process is an eternal truth. However, if soul is religious and has done hard tapasya then the soul gets salvation. Only soul has to face the result of previous lives' deeds through living being's body. Since soul is alive whereas body is non-alive matter. So body does not face the result of deeds. When soul has gone out of body then how the soul will see, hear, taste, smell or touch or will be benefited of any pious deed etc.? therefore Vedas do not tell about the present system of shradh etc.

However, the pious deeds done to remember the departed soul by means of devotion or organising the holy Yajyen with Ved mantras, its result never goes in vain and the family is benefited.

Departed soul never meets again please. Even departed soul, when take rebirth, forgets every event of his previous life. As regards dreams Atharvaveda states that dreams of departed soul are not good so it is in your interest and welfare that you do not see dreams.
Dear Sri Subashviyer,
The Dayananda Saraswati I mentioned in the post is not the present one (of Anaikatti Asramam).
It was Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj.
Not open for further replies.
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