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A layman reads Rig Veda

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vikrama
64 The riches prayed for by the rishis.
The first verse of RV is a prayer to agni. There the deity is described as giver of wealth – ratna dhatama
रत्न धातम. In many places of RV, the same description, but in different terms, is repeated.

Not only agni, but vAyu, indra, azvin, sUrya, uSas and all other deities are spoken of as presiding over wealth and showering wealth on the devotees. Almost all the prayers seek wealth.
It makes us wonder why vedic rishis gave so much importance to wealth. The terms used to indicate wealth are ratnam, vasu, rayi, rekna, dhanam, radhas etc. (रत्नम्, वसु, रयि, रेक्ण, धनम्, राधस्). There is nothing to indicate that they are different from each other and are various forms of wealth.

What does wealth denote? Is it money as we understand to day? No. There was no money mentioned in RV.
Is it gold, silver etc? There is mention of gold – hiranya हिरण्य. The devas are said to be wearing golden ornaments. Their chariots are made of gold. Gold, with respect to devas is only an indicator of brightness. But the humans are never mentioned as wearing or using anything made of gold. Only very rarely, nearly four or five times, we come across a prayer for hiranya. But prayer for vasu, rayi etc occurs nearly a thousand times.

Does wealth denote any material prosperity? The rishis pray for food, long life, fame, progeny, pleasant homes, protection against enemies. Besides all these, they also pray for wealth. So it is learnt that wealth does not include any of these.

What did they do with the wealth received from gods is not mentioned anywhere.

So the wealth they demanded from gods is something different and very important too.

While their other demands like food, progeny, long life etc. fulfilled their material needs and made them happy, the wealth they demanded seems to have made them enjoy bliss.
Let us turn to Bharati. He wants a small piece of land to sustain him. In the same poem he wants that in his garden the cuckoo should coo to bring him bliss. In another poem, he sees god in everything from the feathers of the crow and the leaves of the trees and enjoys bliss in everything.

Wordsworth says in his Daffodils,

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
He recalls the sight of the flowers when he was lying on his couch and it brought him
immense pleasure.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

So wealth, according to great souls like Bharati and Wordsworth, means the bliss brought by enjoying the beauties of nature. So we can safely assume that the vedic poets also could have this bliss in mind when they wanted wealth from the gods.
This is corroborated by other verses from the same RV. We find instances of the poets enjoying the beauties of nature and getting lost in it.
मधु | वाता: | ऋतयते | मधु | क्षरन्ति | सिन्धव: | माध्वी: | न: | सन्तु | ओषधी: RV_1,90.6
मधु | नक्तम् | उत | उषस: | मधु-मत् | पार्थिवम् | रज: | मधु | द्यौ: | अस्तु | न: | पिता RV_1,90.7
मधु-मान् | न: | वनस्पति: | मधु-मान् | अस्तु | सूर्य: | माध्वी: | गाव: | भवन्तु | न: RV_1,90.8
For those who live righteously, sweet is the breeze, the rivers are sweet; let the herbs be sweet to us;
Our days and nights are sweet; the Earth is sweet; let the father Heaven be like nectar;
The plants and trees are sweet for us and let the Sun be pleasant to us. Let our cows be (give milk) sweet like honey;

Look at Bharati again. One of his free verse runs thus.
இவ்வுலகம் இனியது, இதிலுள்ள வான் இனிமையுடைத்து.
காற்றும் இனிது. தீ இனிது, நீர் இனிது, நிலம் இனிது.
ஞாயிறு நன்று, திங்களும் நன்று.
வானத்துச் சுடர்களெல்லாம் மிக இனியன.
மழை இனிது, மின்னல் இனிது, இடி இனிது.
கடல் இனிது, மலை இனிது, காடு இனிது.
ஆறுகள் இனியன.

Here is a piece of RV translated by me into Tamil, where the poet enjoys the dawn and showers encomiums on her.
உலகிற்கு ஒளிதரும் உஷையெனும் நங்கை
இனிய சொற்களின் எழில்மிகு தலைவி
பல நிறப் பாங்குடன் ஒளிர்வது கண்டோம்,
கதவினைத் திறந்து, காட்டினள் செல்வம்.
ஒவ்வொரு உயிரையும் விழித்தெழச் செய்வாள்

எனக்கு முன்னர் எத்தனையோ மாந்தர்
எண்ணிலா விடியல் கண்டு களித்து
எங்கோ போயினர், இன்று அவர் இல்லை.
உஷையின் ஒளி கண்டு உள்ளம் மகிழ்ந்திட
இன்று கிடைத்தது எமக்கொரு வாய்ப்பு.
புதிய மக்கள் நாளை வருவர்
விடியலின் எழிலை வியந்து போற்றுவர்.

So wealth demanded by the vedic rishis could be the bliss of enjoying the beauties of nature. It requires an appreciating mind which the poets were blessed with.
 
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vikrama
65 Veda in a nutshell -1
We have seen that Devas follow rtam. Every object in the universe, animate or inanimate, follow their respective rtam, that is, they have their own properties and they never swerve from it. Even the horse and the door are said to follow rtam. The gods expect us humans also to follow rtam. The result of such action is amrtam.

But man sometimes violates it and consequently suffers. There are many prayers in RV, seeking forgiving for violation of rtam.

What is meant by following rtam?

Observe the universe. Understand that there is a rhythm, orderliness in the functioning of various things. Realise that there must be a satyam behind this orderliness. Thus meditating on the rtam and satyam is called following rtam. That is what we mean by our pariSecana mantra.
सत्यं त्वर्तेन परिषिञ्चामि। ऋतं त्वा सत्येन परिषिञ्चामि।

One who follows rtam is hailed as rtacit, rtavAn, rtavrdha. He considers rtam as his wealth.

Why does man alone violate rtam? Why is he different from other animals?

Whereas other animals work according to their instincts, man is activated by his desires. He has a mind and is capable of thinking. That has led to the development of many skills like communication, singing, painting and so on.

Keeping aside all these skills, let us explore what basic characteristic differentiates man from animals, at the primitive level.

While all animals suckle their babies for some time and then forget and leave them to fend for themselves, the human child depends on elders for a longer time. Even when the child grows up, the dependence continues.
While all sparrows have the skill of building a nest and all tigers have the capacity to hunt, all men are not blessed with all the skills needed to live their lives. Among the other animals, each can stand on its own legs after a few days of nurture by its mother. An old lion does not depend on its relatives or friends for bringing food. When it can no more hunt and earn its food, it starves and dies majestically.
But in the case of humans, each man’s interests, skills and abilities are unique. Since man’s needs are very large, he has to depend upon others to fulfill his various needs. So dependence is the most prominent characteristic of humans. One depends on others and is depended upon by others. That is man’s rtam – to depend and be depended. In other words, one has to seek help from stronger ones and protect the weaker ones. The strength and weakness are not absolute but relative. One may be physically strong and intellectually weak. Another may be physically weak and strong in a particular skill and so on.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Vikrama Ji,

In the Mahabharat there is a verse that goes:

The Brahmanas..united with the Kshatriyas and the Kshatriyas with the Brahmanas both will become so brilliant that they will burn all the foes like the fire and the wind mingling together.



In this stanza Fire(Agni) represents the brilliance of the Brahmanas and Vayu(wind) represent the strength of the Kshatriyas..so I was wondering..all the hymns in the Vedas about Agni and Vayu..were those actually for the Agni and Vayu in the real sense or an interplay of words about the Brahmana and Kshatriya symbiotic relationship for the both to have their cake and eat it too??
 

subashviyer

Active member
Dear Vikrama Ji,

In the Mahabharat there is a verse that goes:

The Brahmanas..united with the Kshatriyas and the Kshatriyas with the Brahmanas both will become so brilliant that they will burn all the foes like the fire and the wind mingling together.



In this stanza Fire(Agni) represents the brilliance of the Brahmanas and Vayu(wind) represent the strength of the Kshatriyas..so I was wondering..all the hymns in the Vedas about Agni and Vayu..were those actually for the Agni and Vayu in the real sense or an interplay of words about the Brahmana and Kshatriya symbiotic relationship for the both to have their cake and eat it too??

Ms. Renuka

too good comparison. Is it in Mahabharata or in Bhagavad Gita. Can you please mention the reference.
Regards

v.subash
 
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vikrama
Dear Srimati Renuka,
I do not think so. In RV, brahma means prayer and brahmana and brAhmana mean one reciting prayer.
The word kshatra means strength and kshatriya means anyone having strength. This is an attribute of the devas. Interestingly another attribute of the devas is vipra (wise) which today means brAhmana.
These words did not have the present meaning in RV.
Of course fire means not only the physical fire, but also many other things as explained in earlier posts.
 
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vikrama
66 veda in a nutshell-2

RV says, “A man should think on wealth, adore (the gods) with prostrations on the path of rtam, speak the best with his wisdom, and grasp the greater strength with his mind.”
परि | चित् | मर्त: | द्रविणम् | ममन्यात् | ऋतस्य | पथा | नमसा | विवासेत् | उत | स्वेन | क्रतुना | सम् | वदेत | श्रेयांसम् | दक्षम् | मनसा | जगृभ्यात् RV_10,31.2

Since the beginning of civilization, man has followed this rtam of surrendering to greater strength and protecting the weak. We do it most of the times.
But we transgress it occasionally- when we fail to protect the weaker members of the society and instead exploit them; when we forsake our parents and dump them into old-age homes; when a beggar knocks at our door and we turn a deaf ear, when we raise the price of a commodity (on learning that it is in short supply) and take it beyond the purchasing capacity of the poor, when we demand a bribe for hastening some work and so on. These are anrtams.
Devas are those who help the weak with their strength. Rakshasas are those who use their might to torment others. RV says that rakshasas are not a distinct species living in caves or forests. They live among ourselves. We are ourselves rakshasas when we violate the rtam.

What to do when we become the victims of the rakshasas? Can we take up cudgels and fight? No. we are weak in front of a rakshasa. RV says, “surrender to the gods. They certainly help”. Prayer is the best armour, says 6.75.19 ब्रह्म वर्म ममान्तरम्।
If you are a good at something, use that skill to help the less fortunate. If you are weak in something, do not hesitate to seek the help of the mighty. If you help anybody, do not expect anything in return. That is commercialism. Bhagavadgita says, ‘he is a miser (kripana) who serves others in expectation of a return.’

RV censures such people as Panis. Who is a pani? Sometimes this name is given in RV to a demon who stole the cows. The sages Angiras and his people, with the help of a bitch, called sarama, learnt where the cows are hidden and released them with the help of Indra. But basically Pani means a trader. There are many instances in RV where panis are censured. Why?
Buyers and sellers depend on each other. They help each other. In this relationship, the value of the commodity is fixed, with or without bargain. The seller cannot expect anything more than the agreed price and will not accept anything less. Thus there is the equality of value in this exchange. This is commercialism or what RV calls Paniism.

RV says, “Indra, you have given us much. Do not be like a Pani to us. (do not expect an equitable price for it)” 1.33.3
इन्द्र | भूरि | वामम् | मा | पणि: | भू: | अस्मत् | अधि | प्र-वृद्ध RV_1,33.3

So help others without expecting anything in return. A Question arises, who will look after me, if I go on helping others? Be assured that there are people stronger than you, whose duty it is to help you. If they fail in their duty, there is Varuna to punish the violator of rtam.
Appar, the Tamil saint, says it more effectively, ‘அடியேனைத் தாங்குதல் அவன் கடன். என் கடன் பணி செய்து கிடப்பதே’ It is His duty to look after me. My duty is to serve.

Here are a few quotations in praise of rtam.
The path of rtam is easy to walk on and free from thorns. It does not cause anger or anxiety. 1.41.4
Devas help those who follow rtam. 10.78.2
Heaven and earth shower prosperity on the follower of rtam. 4.23.10
The wind and rivers are sweet to the follower of rtam. 1.90.6
The efforts of the follower of rtam do not fail. 7.34.17
One can become a god by following rtam. By performing great tasks in the path of rtam, devas are born. 10.55.7
The follower of rtam is blessed with progeny. 10.104.4
Wealth and wisdom are bestowed on the follower of rtam by Agni. 4.8.3, 5.27.4
Prayer to rtam removes sins. 4.23.8
Rtam destroys enemies and finds light. 2.23.3
The horses of rtam are faster than mind. They procure food and water for us. 4.2.3
Mitra and Varuna protect rtam with rtam and gain strength. 5,68.4
Protecting rtam with rtam became in later days, dharma protects those who protect it. धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः।

RV praises the joy of giving in many places. It says that the miser who does not give to others is not liked by devas. 7.32.9
One who makes it a vow to distribute his wealth to others is called maghona and at the next step he becomes a sUri, who not even prays for himself and is always thinking of the welfare of others. In the next stage he becomes a god.
The follower of rtam, at last becomes totally independent and reaches the stage of amrtam, when he, like the ripe cucumber fruit, becomes free from bondages. He is not a burden on the society. He gives up himself for others.
It is pertinent to note that the observance of rtam is not mixed up with worship of a particular god. You can worship any god, but follow the rtam. Realize that there is a greater, mightier force than you. Name it as you please. Seek its help when you need it. Extend your help to those who seek it from you.

The word, dharma, has been used in RV as a synonym for rtam. The latter word has gone into disuse in modern times. This dharma is the essence of the Veda.
*** *** *** *** *** ** * * * * * * * * *************************************************
This is my last post in this series. I request the readers to post their feedbcks.
These posts are excerpts from a book I am writing and intend publishing in a few months' time. Your feedback will help me improve it.
 

mskmoorthy

Active member
Dear Sri Vikrama sir,

Pranams. Many thanks for your postings in your thread.At the end of your post here http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/vedic-hyms/12632-layman-reads-rig-veda-6.html#post199182 you gave an outline of your topics to be covered. I am wondering whether you are planning to cover the last one namely "RV and modern Hinduism.- (how I found answers for the questions that baffled me earlier)" ? I was looking forward to that topic. May be when you find time you can create a new thread and discuss.

Moorthy

 
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Dear Vikrama Sir,


I commend you for writing a well thought out and nicely presented series. I am sure many people, like myself, would have found it very useful.

Occasionally I do find some contradictions. I am not sure these contradictions arise because of your presentation or because of lack of understanding on my part.

For example, the characteristic of a man as explained in post #127 is:

But in the case of humans, each man’s interests, skills and abilities are unique. Since man’s needs are very large, he has to depend upon others to fulfill his various needs. So dependence is the most prominent characteristic of humans. One depends on others and is depended upon by others. That is man’s rtam – to depend and be depended.

However, I see a contradicting point in post #131:

There are many instances in RV where panis are censured. Why?
Buyers and sellers depend on each other. They help each other. In this relationship, the value of the commodity is fixed, with or without bargain. The seller cannot expect anything more than the agreed price and will not accept anything less. Thus there is the equality of value in this exchange. This is commercialism or what RV calls Paniism.

Why should the panis be censured, if by being a pani man is merely following his rtam: that is to depend and be depended?!

An explanation comes at the end of your post:

The follower of rtam, at last becomes totally independent and reaches the stage of amrtam, when he, like the ripe cucumber fruit, becomes free from bondages. He is not a burden on the society. He gives up himself for others.

Although man's rtam is "to depend and be depended upon" his goal, according to the conclusion provided by you, is to become independent and be of service to others!

Therefore, it appears to me, there has been evolution of thought even within the RV itself! Is my understanding correct?


sorry if my post appeared very superficial.

I am sure your book will be well received.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Vikrama ji,

Since you have dealt with the Rigveda here I would like to ask a question with regards to the letter ळ which is present in the Rigveda in its very 1st line itself..the word ईळे

This letter
is present in the Rigveda ,Shuklayajurveda and the Jaiminiyasakha of the Samaveda.

In the Krishnayajurveda, Kauthumaranayaniyasakha of Samaveda the letter
ळ is replaced by the letter

Any idea why the letter
ळ was replaced with the letter ड?



 
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OP
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vikrama
கால பைரவன்;228410 said:
For example, the characteristic of a man as explained in post #127 is:


However, I see a contradicting point in post #131:


Why should the panis be censured, if by being a pani man is merely following his rtam: that is to depend and be depended?!

An explanation comes at the end of your post:


Although man's rtam is "to depend and be depended upon" his goal, according to the conclusion provided by you, is to become independent and be of service to others!

Therefore, it appears to me, there has been evolution of thought even within the RV itself! Is my understanding correct?

sorry if my post appeared very superficial.

I am sure your book will be well received.

Thank you Sri Kalabhairavan for your interest in my posts.
As far as I know, dependence of buyers and sellers on each other has a condition. Both want equal measure of goods or services for the goods or services rendered.

But human dependence, in general, if it should be called human, should not expect equal returns. Give all you can. Get what you need, only bare minimum. The mother gives all her care to the child but expects nothing in return. In her old age, even if he deserts her, she would never wish him ill. A Samaritan helps the suffering man and expects nothing. This is the human rtam.

People getting relieved of everything is not an evolution of thought of later Vedic period. It is the evolution of human rtam. At first, you go on giving all you can and expect something in return to keep your body and soul together. Over a period of time, when you mature into a Maghona or a Suri, your day to day life is not your concern. We see in RV many mantras wherein the rishis pray for the Maghonas and the Suris, since the latter two do not pray for their own welfare. They keep giving.

Hope this would set at rest your doubts.
 
OP
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vikrama

Any idea why the letter
ळ was replaced with the letter ड?

Kanchi Mahaswami has once said, If I remember correct, it was in Deivathin Kural, that people of certain regions had some difficulty in pronouncing the letter ड and make it ळ to suit their tongue. That accounts for the difference between writing and pronouncing,

In other regions, it is spoken as it is written. In certain other regions, some other changes might occur.

Even now we see that people of certain parts of India do not pronounce ड as such but make it र. For example while they write मेवाड, चितौड they mouth it as मेवार्, चितोर्.
व become ब in Bengal.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Kanchi Mahaswami has once said, If I remember correct, it was in Deivathin Kural, that people of certain regions had some difficulty in pronouncing the letter ड and make it ळ to suit their tongue. That accounts for the difference between writing and pronouncing,

In other regions, it is spoken as it is written. In certain other regions, some other changes might occur.

Even now we see that people of certain parts of India do not pronounce ड as such but make it र. For example while they write मेवाड, चितौड they mouth it as मेवार्, चितोर्.
व become ब in Bengal.

Dear Sir,

Thanks a lot...so this is clear that regional languages too had influence over the minds of the Vedic Seers.

Jaiminiyasakha Samavedins had migrated to South of India and since the local Lingo there had the alphabet which is very similar to the Tamil Zha so the was retained most probably.

So I was thinking that even alphabets have changed due to local lingo..what else could have changed?? The Interpretation or even the Understanding?
 
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vikrama
Enthused by your feed backs, I would like to pen a few more posts.
The more I study RV, newer ideas suggest themselves to me, making it necessary to review and rewrite my earlier posts. Here is one such on Dasyus.

67 Dasyu-1

Who are the dasyus mentioned in the RV? They are a harmful group of people against whom the devas wage war as they do in the case of rakshasas.

They are like the rakshasas in not following yajna, vrata etc. but they are different from the latter in many aspects.

Unlike rakshasas, the dasyus do not harm the yajnas. We have already seen that the rakshasas were not really men but they are despicable qualities. No rakshasa has been named in RV. But there are many names of dasyus mentioned- Namuci, Dhuni, Sushna, Sambhara, Kaulidhara, Varacain, Ahisuva, Pipru, Anarsani, Vrsasipra etc. They were destroyed by the devas such as Indra, Asvins, Agni, Soma and Maruts.

Rakshasas reside everywhere. They come from any direction. But the dasyus lived in specific places, fortified cities. Some of them were said to be in possession of 100 forts.

The rishis called themselves Aryas (nobles) to distinguish from the dasyus.

These are the additional points about dasyus in RV.

1 They were called ‘anasa’- noseless
2 They were called grathin (babblers) and mrdhravaca (of indistinct speech).
3 They were called ‘ayajna’ (not performing sacrifices), anyavrata (following a different custom). They tried to ascend to heaven by ‘maya’. 8.14.14
4 The word sisnadeva occurs in two places 7.21.5 and 10.99.3. They are said to be the enemies of Aryas.
5 The words dasyu (enemy) and dasa (slave) are synonymously used.

From the above western historians concluded the following.

1 When the Aryans entered India, the dasyus were the aborigines of North India. Unlike the long nosed Aryans, they had flat noses and hence were called ‘anasa’.

2 They spoke a different language and hence called indistinctly speaking.

3 They did not follow the Aryan custom of worship through yajnas but had their own methods.

4 They worshipped Sivalinga.

5 Both these races fought against each other. The defeated dasyus were enslaved. At last, the dasyus lost the battles and migrated to South India. They were the Dravidas.

6 That Indra released the waters blocked by dasyus (5.30.5) should be taken to mean that the dasyus lived in the upper riparian regions and prevented the waters from reaching the Aryas. (It reminds us of the present struggle between Tamilnadu and Kanataka.)

A close study of RV falsifies all these assertions. Let us see how.
 
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vikrama
68 Dasyu 2

Here are some points which western historians overlooked.

1 There is no difference in the size or shape of the noses of the so called Aryas of North India and those of the so-called Dravidas of South India. Anyway, the south Indians do not deserve the name ‘anasa’. – Aurobindo Ghosh.

2 The Aryas and the dasyus lived in the same society and there could be no reason that they should be described as speaking an indistinct alien tongue.

3 Veda itself accepts various forms of worship and we have seen it in the topic ‘yajna’. So, not performing sacrifice could not be a cause for enmity. Further, it is said, Asvins are worshipped even in places where no other deva is worshipped. 8.10.4, Asvins enjoy the food of the dasyus. 8.5.31. This shows that the dasyus were not far removed from Aryas in respect of worship.

4 Sisnadeva is taken to mean one who worships phallus/ sivalinga. But Sayana says that it denotes an incontinent lewd person.

5 Aryas and dasyus were not eternal enemies. A rishi, Vasa Asvya says that he received a gift of 100 cows from two dasas – Balbutha and Taruksha. 8.46.32
Both Aryas and dasyus flocked to a rich man called Rusama Paviru for receiving gifts. 8.51.9.
This shows that Aryas and dasyus lived together and the latter were not always detested.

6 In the Indus valley or Gangetic plains where the Veda is said to have been composed, there is no shortage of water as in Cauvery today. Further, there was no technology in those days to block the water of rivers.

7 Indra and Asvins killed dasyus and gave light (jyotis) to the Aryas. 1.117.21, 7.5.6
Water can be blocked and cows can be impounded. But how could anyone block light from reaching the Aryas?

So the words, water (आपः) light (ज्योतिः) and cow (गावः) should have some other esoteric meaning.
अक्रतु inactive, पणि non-giving,, अश्रद्ध faithless, अवृत not encouraging good acts- these are some more attributes of dasyus.

While the word rakhsasa denotes the detestable qualities, the word dasyu seems to denote men with those qualities. What we call anti-social people were in those days called dasyus. They had a lot of wealth but they gave none to others. They spoke harsh words.

Aryas plead to gods to destroy the dasyus. But nowhere it is said that they themselves went to war with them. It is possible that some of the dasyus, by divine wrath or turn of events became poor and were compelled to work under the noble men. It is also possible that under their societal system, such anti-social people were brought to book and were chastised by being compelled to work under good people.

These dasas worked well to the satisfaction of their masters is known from 7.86.7 ‘I worked hard like a dasa and pleased the devas.’

After undergoing punishment for a certain time, they, it seems, were permitted to live a normal life. They changed their behavior and became liberal in donations. Balbutha and Taruksha could be among such people.

That one can be protected from the dasyus by prayer and by the grace of Mitra and Varuna 5.70.3 shows that the problem of dayus is perennial and not confined to historical times.
 

renuka

Well-known member
Ms. Renuka

too good comparison. Is it in Mahabharata or in Bhagavad Gita. Can you please mention the reference.
Regards

v.subash


Dear Sir,

I only saw this post of yours today cos I guess when you wrote that you were a New member and newbies posts usually take sometime to appear before it is visible to the rest of us hence I missed this.

Its from the Mahabharat some Parva cos it was part of a Sanskrit Translation exercise in one the books I read. I cant remember which Parva it was.
 
OP
OP
vikrama
69 The story of ‘go’ in RV-1
Two of the frequently spoken of achievements of Indra are – releasing of waters obstructed by Vrtra and releasing of cows impounded by Vala. Both these feats are attributed to other gods also. Maruts, Agni, Brhaspati, Ushas, Asvins and Varuna are also credited with the same achievements.

Does it mean that all the devas are one and the same, despite the difference in names? Or, it may be that different devas did the same feat on different occasions. Then it means that the atrocities of the dasyus and the devas chastising them are a recurring thing.

Vrtra blocked the waters and Indra released them. This is interpreted by Sayana as the clouds being struck by Indra’s vajra (lightning) which results in the pouring down of rain.

My own earlier interpretation was – Vrtra means that which surrounds. This was the name given to a landslip which surrounded on all sides and blocked the usual course of a river. Indra the king, with his army of engineers cleared the block and restored the river.

Similarly Vala could have been the name of another landslip which blocked the cows and made them out of reach for their owners. Here again the same strategy was employed.

On deeper study, newer meanings suggest themselves to me.

Agni is said to have found the hidden waters, light and cows. 5.14.4

Waters could have been blocked by some demon and cows could have been impounded by another demon. But how is it possible for the demons to prevent the sunlight which necessitated the intervention of gods to restore it? 1.117.21, 7.5.6.

I consider that the three words अपः, स्वः गावः waters, light and cows should have some hidden meaning. Let us consider the cows first.

The word गो which now generally means a she-cow, stems from the root गम्. (गच्छति इति गो) It refers, in RV, to both cow and bull. It also refers to horses in keeping with its etymological meaning. In RV, It has extended meanings by way of metonymy. It stands for so many things like wealth (rayi), rays of agni, rays of dawn, rays of sun, light in general, the seven colours of light, cloud, water, rivers, milk, speech (वाक्), prayer (मनीषा), heaven and earth. The fingers of the priest (नेष्टा) who tends the sacrificial fire are also called cows. One common strand runs through all these. Whatever are united/ herded together and are favourable to mankind are called cows.
(to be continued)
 

renuka

Well-known member
Dear Vikrama ji,

May be in a couple a weeks time I would like to discuss with your about the Ashwin Kumars cos I happened to glance through a few verses in the Rigveda where the Ashwins are said to restore eye sight..give a metal prosthetic limb to a wife of a king whose leg was amputated..

So I was wondering if the Ashwin Kumars were doctors who lived at a particular time and later on deified.

When I come to that verse I will pose more questions.

Right now I am at what you just described about Indra and Vrta as in rain cloud as per Sayanaacharya.
 
OP
OP
vikrama
70 The story of ‘go’ in RV-2

There are many mantras in RV, which pray for thousands of cows. For example, 1.126.3 says that the rishi was given a gift of 60,000 cows. It could certainly be an exaggeration, but the real number could be at least 60. Was it possible for a man or a family to look after such a huge herd? It seems that the cows were owned jointly by the society. The herd and its resting place, the cow- stall were both called gotram. The use of the same word to denote a lineage of people in latter days suggests that these cows had been jointly owned by a joint- family with a huge membership. There had been many battles to seize the cows of other groups. So much so that any fight, even if it is not for cows, came to be called ‘go’ or ‘gavishti’ गो / गविष्टि.

Hence the word ‘गो’ got a still more extended meaning. It came to refer to all things owned jointly by the society. It is possible that some able-bodied people were entrusted with the work of looking after the herd and the weak, the old and the children enjoyed the fruits of their services. Such a society should have been based on the principle, “to each according to his need, from each according to his might”.

As long as the produce from the common property is in abundance, there can be no dispute in enjoying it according to the above principle. But whenever there is a shortage, some, especially the strong who do the works, would not like this system.

There were, in Vedic times also, some people who claimed more rights because they did more work for the protection of the common property. They appropriated the herd for themselves. They were called ‘pani’ a term which also means a trader. Just as the trader wants equal measure of value for the thing or service sold, the panis also fixed a price for their service. Nowadays, we call such people who corner common properties for selfish ends, anti- social. They were in RV period called dasyu.

It naturally falls to the lot of the leader of the group to bring such people to book and establish order in the society. He breaks the strong barriers and releases the common property from their clutches. Such people were chastised by being made into slaves. Thus dasyus became dasas.

So far the historical basis of the story. Rishis in their trance status, give a new esoteric meaning to the episode of Indra breaking the mountains and releasing the cows.

The Atharvans first laid the path by yajnas for attaining the cows. 1.83.5

They sat down desiring cows, making with hymns a way to life eternal. Great was their sitting, whereby they tried for months through rtam. 3,31.9

The wise, by yajna, learnt the way and got the cows and wealth from Indra. 2,21.5

The Angirases praised the cow stall of Ushas and with hymns and prayers broke the mountains to release the cows. 6,65.5

Here the cow means the divine grace.

In the same way, waters and light could also mean divine grace.

It is pertinent to note here that in a previous post I have mentioned that the rishis got the idea of rtam or the divine hand at work, by observing these three things- the incessant flow of rivers, the regular movement of sun following the dawn, causing day and night and the young cow maturing into a mother and giving milk once it litters a calf.

So when the rishi says that the cows were found and restored it simply means that they have found the way to the divine grace and attained it with prayers.
 
OP
OP
vikrama
71 Asvins

Asvins are twin gods of RV. Nowhere are their individual names or characteristics mentioned in the book. They are like the two wings of a bird and are always spoken of together. But they are not biological twins. They were born differently- this is mentioned in 5.73.4

Who are the Asvins? The Nirukta says that they stand for heaven and earth, they could be day and night, they could be sun and moon. The ithihasikas (who interpret the Vedas with a historical point of view) say the Asvins were two noble princes. RV mantras do not help us to find out which is correct.

They are also called Nasatya. This word is broken into na+asatya and taken to mean ‘devoid of falsehood.’

There is another meaning given by Sayana in his commentary on 8.5.23. It runs thus- nasatya means nasika prabhava, born of the nose. Hence they are the in-breath and out-breath.

They are called aharvida (knowing the day-light). sUryA, daughter of sUryaH mounts the chariot of the asvins. Asvins come with Ushas and the sun. These make us think that the asvins were another form of the sun.

The achievements of asvins given in RV prove that they were two benevolent young skilful men, who helped many people. The list of people helped by asvins is long. In fact, no deva in RV could match these for their benevolence to so many people.

Their achievements can be studied under convenient heads.

1 Rescue- asvins rescued rebha and vandana from the well. atri was also extricated from a dark well and his body was cooled. bhujyu was a ship-wrecked prince whom the asvins rescued. viSNapu the son of vizvaka was lost and he was restored to his father by the asvins. A bird called vartika was rescued from the mouth of a wolf. JAhuSa was caught by his enemies and was rescued by asvins. antaka was saved from drowning. trizoka’s cattle were lost and restored by asvins. pRti lost his horse and got it back with the help of asvins. One saptavadhri was released from his confinement.

2 Engineering- asvins made a well for gotama when he was suffering from thirst. One cara had a well in which the water level was very low. asvins made its waters swell. A travelling merchant dIrghazravas was blessed with sweet water by these gods. They made the dry rivers flow again. They built homes for zuzanti and atri.

3 Medical- asvins were great physicians too. They know the medicines in water, plants and trees. They protect the embryo. They gave eyesight to kanva. One rjrazvan was blinded by his father. The boy was helped by asvins to get back eyesight. One zyAva was cut into three parts. He was made well again. There was a lady called vizpala. Her leg was amputated. Asvins made a leg of iron for her and made here walk normally. They made parAvraja, the lame walk. cyavana was old and had a wrinkled skin. asvins removed his old skin as if it were an armour and caused new skin to grow on his body. cyavana became young again and became the husband of many. They prepared a nutritious food formulation for rtustubha. vamra was a drunkard. He was rehabilitated. There was a sage called dadyaG. Asvins replaced his head with that of a horse. For this they were rewarded with a special knowledge given by tvasTa.

Fertility treatment seems to a special forte of the asvins. There was a woman called vadhrimati, which literally means, one having an impotent husband. The man was treated and they had children. ghosha had some disease- sayana calls it leprosy. So she could not get married and she lived in her father’s house for many years. asvins cured her and saw to it that she was happily married. There was one kali. He had a wife. But it seems that he was impotent. asvins made him young again and his life was extended.

asvins treated not only humans but also animals. A dry cow was made by them to lactate again. They made the bees give sweet honey.

4 Other helps- vimada wanted to marry the daughter of purumitra but was prevented by enemies. asvins helped his marriage. pedu was given a white horse by asvins and enabled to overcome his enemies. asvins caused a hundred jars of wine to flow from the hoofs of their horse and gave it to kaksivAn. They gave a lot of wealth to vaza, sudAsa and divodAsa.

5 Battles – asvins, it seems, were good warriors too. They helped many people fight their battles. Some of them are zaryAta, purukutsa, kRzanu, paddarvA.

6 other beneficiaries- The following is the list of people helped by asvins but the nature of help they received is not mentioned. adhrigu, pakta, babhru, upastuta, karkkandu, kutsa, zrtarya, medhatithi, dazavraja, sinjara, turvIti, dabhIti, dhvasanti, priyamedha, bhardhvaja, prznigu, madhata, vayya, syumarzmi.

7 other achievements- They rode a chariot which had no horses. It was fabricated by rbhus. They circumambulated the sun. They removed famine and diseases. They gave food to manu. ( Sayana says that they taught the art of sowing to manu, the progenitor of man.)

They were honoured with titles mayobhu (delighters) zambhu (benevolent) mAdhvi (sweet), bhuraNa
(nourishers), supraNIti (guides).

They respond to the prayers of men quickly. They come in their chariots which is as fast as the mind. Veda eulogises their chariot more than them. The chariot has three wheels, it can go on water (ghrtavartani). It has a luminous road. (hiranyavartani) (perhaps there was a head light). It is triangular in shape. It is supported by three pillars and had three seats. It is said to be yoked by mind. (it goes as they wish).

asvins are endowed with the wealth of rain, strength and light. So they were called vRsanvasu, vajinIvasu and sUryAvasu.

Like many other devas, asvins are also called nara, indicating their human origin. They are said to have had ancestral friendship with humans. They had common ancestors with humans. One rik specifically says they rose to devatvam by dint of their great achievements. 4.44.2

asvins had a good relationship with other devas. They ride with indra and also viSnu. They live with vAyu. They delight in the company of rbhus and Adityas. They carry the sun and the dawn on their chariot.

Like other devas, they follow rtam. They protect rtam. Their horses are yoked by rtam.

In the trance state of the rishi, the difference between the devas disappears and they are identified with each other. Thus asvins are said to be slayers of vRtra, an epithet usually assigned to indra. They are also called the sons of rudra like the maruts. 5.75.2, 5.73.8.

In all sacrifices asvins have a special role. They are entitled to morning savanam (soma effusion).

Even in places where no other gods are worshipped, asvins are honoured. 8.10.4.

asvins enjoy the food given by the dasas 8.5.31. So it is learnt that these twins had no enemies.
 
who is the God supreme...it is better to refer to "DEIVATHIN KURAL" by his holiness chandrasekara swamigal. Here he says SHIVA AND VISHNU are two sides of a coin...If you burn black charcoal..you will get ash...here black charcoal is vishnu and ash is siva...if ash is further heated it will turn white...here the gods when their trigunas dominate they become shiva,brahma and vishnu..otherwise they remain as Nirguna Brahman...In vedas they say about devata..pradiyadi devata..that means each devatha is having prime devata...just like buda is devadata...vishnu is adi devata...just like agni is devadata...shiva is adi devatha...therefore there is no supremacy or inferiority..it is only according to the function each god has to perform, they are gaining importance at that time..i hope everybody understand...advaita...vishishtadvita..dwida are not contradictory but complimentary and also when kaliyuga unfolds with its viciousness and bad characteristics..degenerate..and then only dwaita bhava arises in one's own mind...never in hinduism...gods are said to be supreme...sometimes human being(Markandeya, savithri) is superior than god...sometimes rishi (Brigu, Bringi) is superior than god...sometimes god (Dakshina Moorthy) is superior than rishis and humanbeings.

r.vaithehi
 

renuka

Well-known member
SHIVA AND VISHNU are two sides of a coin.

r.vaithehi

but you see we humans look at things differently.

Lets take a look at a one rupee coin..the devotees of Vishnu of might surely want to want the side of the coin that shows the Number 1 and the devotees of Shiva would also want the side of the coin that shows the Number 1..so that itself will make both fight for one side of the coin.

Actually the truth is there is no coin at all!
 
OP
OP
vikrama
72 Soma

Soma is a plant grown on the mountains. Later day literature tells that it belongs to a creeper-family- (soma lata). But RV does not mention that word. It is also called amzu (अंशुः) which is translated as stalk. Perhaps this word might have meant creeper in Vedic days.

Soma is brought in cartloads from the mountains. It is crushed between two rocks, may be like the ‘ammi’ of the last century. Then it is effused with ten fingers on a cow-hide or sheep-hide and made to pass through fleece, spread on the hide to act as a filter. Purified soma is called pavamana soma. It is also called ‘indu’, literally - drops.

The purified soma is collected in a wooden vat and is mixed with water, milk and curds. Then it becomes fit for drinking, for which they used a cup called ‘camu’ चमू, perhaps made of earth. The colour of soma is variously mentioned as brown and green. Perhaps it is green before mixing with milk etc.

There is a mention of somasya zamitara (सोमस्य शमितारः) meaning one who burns the soma, as one of the participants of yajna. It shows that it was sometimes heated before drinking. Its taste is said to be sweet like honey.

“The effused soma is better than uneffused one.” 6.41.4 This shows that eating the leaves or stalk, raw without crushing was also practiced.

Soma is not an intoxicant. There was another beverage called sura which is mentioned as intoxicating. ‘like one intoxicated by sura’ (दुर्मदासः इव सुरायां) 8.2.12, ‘sura incites one to commit sins’ 7.86.6, ‘Indra does not make friends with one who drinks sura ‘ 8.21.14- these mantras distinguish sura from soma.

Soma has mind-expanding property. Perhaps it is like modern psychedelic drugs. From the poems of Veda it seems that the rishis, after consuming soma, reached a mental state as described in Wikipedia about such drugs.

First, sensory perceptions become especially brilliant and intense. Normally unnoticed aspects of the environment capture the attention; ordinary objects are seen as if for the first time and acquire new depths of significance. Esthetic responses are greatly heightened: colors seem more intense, textures richer, contours sharpened, music more emotionally profound, the spatial arrangements of objects more meaningful. People may feel keener awareness of their bodies or sense changes in the appearance and feeling of body parts. Depth perception is often heightened and perspective distorted; inanimate objects take on expressions, and synesthesia (hearing colors, seeing sounds, etc.) is common. Time may seem to slow down enormously as more and more passing events claim the attention, or it may stop entirely, giving place to an eternal present.

Yes. They enjoyed every bit of this world. Their descriptions of the burning Agni show that they found poetry even in very commonplace occurrences. They saw with ears and heard through eyes. Just one example - They describe that Maruts were very bright and were wearing gold ornaments.

The rishi of 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century, Bharathi, follows them in this in some of his writings.
பாரதியின் பிரபலமான பாட்டு, செந்தமிழ் நாடெனும் போதினிலே இன்பத் தேன் வந்து பாயுது காதினிலே என்பது. காதிலே தேன் பாய்ந்தால் அதன் இனிமையை அனுபவிக்கமுடியுமா, நாவில் என்றல்லவா இருக்க வேண்டும் என்று எண்ணுகிறோம்.

உள்ளத்தில் உண்மை ஒளி உண்டாயின் வாக்கினிலே ஒளி உண்டாகும் என்று ஒரு பாடல். வாக்கு காதினால் உணரப்படுவது. இதில் கண்ணால் காணக் கூடிய ஒளி எங்கிருந்து வந்தது என்று நமக்குச் சந்தேகம் வருகிறது.

குழந்தைக் கதை என்ற தலைப்பில் ஒரு கதை- பாரதி எழுதியது. பெயர் தான் குழந்தைக் கதை. விஷயம் என்னவோ கனமானது தான், முதல் உலகப் போரைப் பற்றியது. அதில் ஒரு வரி, மேலே பருந்துகளும் கருட பக்ஷிகளும் வட்டமிட்டு வெயிலைத் தின்று கொண்டுலாவின, என்று வருகிறது. வெயிலையாவது தின்பதாவது.

இப்படிப் பொறிகளையும் அதன் வேலைகளையும் மாற்றி மாற்றிச் சொல்வது புலவர்க்குள்ள உரிமையைப் பயன்படுத்தி, புதுமையாக இருக்க வேண்டும் என்பதனால் அல்ல. அதன் பின்னணியில் ஒரு பெரிய தத்துவம் உள்ளது.

பாரதியின் பதஞ்சலி யோக சூத்திர விளக்கத்தைப் பார்ப்போம். யோக சாஸ்திரப்படி, வெளியில் தெரியும் கண் காது முதலான பொறிகளால் நாம் காட்சி கேள்வி முதலான அனுபவம் பெறுவதில்லை. மாறாக, சித்தமே காண்கிறது, கேட்கிறது, வாசனை, தொடு உணர்ச்சி, சுவை ஆகியவற்றை அறிகிறது. சித்தம் செயல் படாமல் இருக்கும் போது பொறிகள் தம் வேலையைச் செய்தாலும் அது நம் அறிவுக்கு எட்டுவதில்லை. மாறாக, சித்தம் ஆனந்த நிலையில் இருக்கும் போது இந்த எல்லா அனுபவங்களும் பொறிகள் இல்லாமலே கூட நிகழும்.

இதை விளக்குவது அவருடைய ஞானரதம் என்னும் கட்டுரை. கந்தர்வ லோகத்தில் பாரதி சஞ்சரித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கிறார். புலன்களுக்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட ஆனந்தம் அனுபவிக்கும் பரவச நிலையிலே அவர் இருந்த அனுபவத்தை அவருடைய வார்த்தைகளிலேயே கேட்போம்.

கந்தர்வ லோகத்திற்குப் போய்ச் சேர்ந்தவுடனே என்னை அறியாமல் ஓர் ஆனந்தம் உண்டாயிற்று. அதி ரமணீயமான ஸங்கீதத் தொனி கேட்டது. அவ்வொலி பொன்னாற் செய்யப்பட்ட தொண்டையினை உடைய பெண் வண்டுகளின் ரீங்காரம் போலிருந்தது. அன்று, அது சரியான உவமை ஆகமாட்டாது. உயிருக்குள்ளே இன்னிசை மழையை வீசிக் கொண்டேயிருந்தது போலத் தோன்றிய அவ்வொலிக்கு இன்ன உவமை சொல்வது என்று எனக்குத் தெரியவில்லை. இது என்ன ஒலி, எங்கிருந்து வருகிறது என்று யோசித்தேன். எனது அறிவிற்குப் புலப்படவில்லை.
இந்த இனிய ஒலி என்னைப் பரவசப்படுத்துகிறதே, அது எங்கிருந்து வருகிறது என்றேன். மேலே பார் என்றனள். நீல வானத்தில் சந்திரன் தாரகைகளிடையே கொலு வீற்றிருக்கக் கண்டேன்.
அவருடைய கிரணங்கள் என்றாள்.
சந்திர கிரணங்களா, சந்திர கிரணங்களுக்கும் இந்த மனோகரமான தொனிக்கும் என்ன சம்பந்தம் என்று கேட்டேன்.
சந்திர கிரணங்களுக்கு இந்த இனிய ஓசை இயற்கை. அது இந்த உலகத்தில் நன்றாகக் காதில் விழுகிறது. உங்கள் மண்ணுலகத்திலே ஜனங்களுடைய செவியில் விழுவது கிடையாது. ஆனால் அங்கே கூட அருமையான கவிகளின் செவியில் இந்த ஓசை படும் என்றாள்.

யஜுர் வேதம் 1.1.5.11 ‘ஒளியுள்ள சொற்களைச் சொல்லுக’ என்கிறது.

We have already seen that immortality has been described in three ways in RV- progeny, soma and fame. The feeling of timelessness caused by the soma must have been temporary. Once the effect of the juice wore out, they must have returned to normal mental state. Permanent immortality could come only through fame and one has to do great tasks to attain that.
(to be continued)
 

renuka

Well-known member
Soma has mind-expanding property. Perhaps it is like modern psychedelic drugs. From the poems of Veda it seems that the rishis, after consuming soma, reached a mental state as described in Wikipedia about such drugs.

First, sensory perceptions become especially brilliant and intense. Normally unnoticed aspects of the environment capture the attention; ordinary objects are seen as if for the first time and acquire new depths of significance. Esthetic responses are greatly heightened: colors seem more intense, textures richer, contours sharpened, music more emotionally profound, the spatial arrangements of objects more meaningful. People may feel keener awareness of their bodies or sense changes in the appearance and feeling of body parts. Depth perception is often heightened and perspective distorted; inanimate objects take on expressions, and synesthesia (hearing colors, seeing sounds, etc.) is common. Time may seem to slow down enormously as more and more passing events claim the attention, or it may stop entirely, giving place to an eternal present.

Yes. They enjoyed every bit of this world. Their descriptions of the burning Agni show that they found poetry even in very commonplace occurrences. They saw with ears and heard through eyes. Just one example - They describe that Maruts were very bright and were wearing gold ornaments.


We have already seen that immortality has been described in three ways in RV- progeny, soma and fame. The feeling of timelessness caused by the soma must have been temporary. Once the effect of the juice wore out, they must have returned to normal mental state. Permanent immortality could come only through fame and one has to do great tasks to attain that.
(to be continued)

Vikrama ji,

??? This sounds like someone getting high on drugs!
 
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