Book XVIII: The Hymns of the Atharva Veda
The Hymns of the Atharvaveda
tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith
HYMN I: An accompaniment to funeral ceremonies and sacrificial offerings to ancestral spirits
Fain would I win my friend to kindly friendship. So may the Sage, come through the air’s wide ocean,
Remembering the earth and days to follow, obtain a son the issue of his father.
Thy friend loves not the friendship which considers her who is near in kindred as a stranger.
Sons of the mighty Asura, the heroes, supporters of the heaven, see far around them.
Yea, this the Immortals seek of thee with longing, a scion of the only man existing.
Then let thy soul and mine be knit together. Embrace thy con- sort as her loving husband.
Shall we do now what we ne’er did aforetime? we who spoke righteously now talk impurely?
Gandharva in the floods, the Dame of Waters—such is our bond, such our most lofty kinship.
Even in the womb God Tvashtar, vivifier, shaping all forms, Creator, made us consorts.
Ne’er are his holy statutes violated: that we are his the heaven and earth acknowledge.
Who yokes to-day unto the pole of Order the strong and passio- nate steers of checkless spirit,
With shaft-armed mouths, heart-piercing, joy-bestowing? Long shall he live who duly pays them service.
Who knows that earliest day whereof thou speakest, Who hath beheld it? Who can here declare it?
Great is the law of Varuna and Mitra. What, wanton, wilt thou say to men to tempt them?
Yami am possessed by love of Yama, that I may rest on the same couch beside him.
I as a wife would yield me to my husband. Like car-wheels let us speed to meet each other.
They stand not still, they never close their eyelids, those senti- nels of Gods who wander round us.
Not me—go quickly, wanton, with another, and hasten like a chariot-wheel to meet him.
May Sūrya’s eye with days and nights endow him, and ever may his light spread out before him.
In heaven and earth the kindred pair commingle. On Yami be the unbrotherly act of Yama.
Sure there will come succeeding times when brothers and sisters will do acts unmeet for kinsfolk.
Not me, O fair one—seek another husband, and make thine arm a pillow for thy consort.
Is he a brother when no help is left her? Is she a sister when Destruction cometh?
Forced by my love these many words I utter. Come near, and hold me in thy close embraces,
I am no help for thee, no refuge, Yami, I will not clasp and press thee to my bosom.
This is abhorrent to my mind and spirit—a brother on the couch beside a sister.
I will not fold mine arms about thy body: they call it sin when one comes near a sister.
Not me—prepare thy pleasure with another. Thy brother seeks not this from thee, O fair one.
Alas; thou art indeed a weakling Yama. We find in thee no trace o f heart or spirit.
As round a tree the woodbine clings, another will cling about thee girt as with a girdle.
Embrace another, Yami. Let some other, even as the woodbine rings a tree, enfold thee.
Win thou his heart and let him win thy fancy; so make with him a bond of blest alliance.
Three hymns the Sages have disposed in order, the many-formed, the fair, the all-beholding.
These in one single world are placed and settled—the growing plants, the breezes, and the waters.
The Bull hath yielded for the Bull the milk of heaven: inviolable is the Son of Aditi.
According to his wisdom Varuna knoweth all: he halloweth, the holy, times for sacrifice.
Gandharvi spake. May she, the Lady of the Flood amid the river’s roaring leave my heart untouched.
May Aditi accomplish all that we desire, and may our eldest Brother tell us this as chief.
Yea, even this blessed Morning, rich in store of food, splendid, with heavenly lustre, hath shone out for man,
Since they as was the wish of yearning Gods, brought forth that yearning Agni for the assembly as the Priest.
And the fleet Falcon brought for sacrifice from afar this flowing. drop most excellent and passing wise,
Then when the Aryan tribes chose as invoking Priest Agni the wonder-worker, and the hymn rose up.
Still art thou kind to him who feeds thee as with grass, and. skilled in sacrifice offers thee holy gifts.
When thou having received the sage’s strengthening food with lauds, after long toil comest with many more.
Urge thou thy Parents, as a lover, to delight: the lovely One desires and craves it from his heart.
As Priest he calls aloud, as Warrior shows his skill, as Asura tries his strength, and with the hymn is stirred.
Far famed is he, the mortal man, O Agni thou Son of strength, who hath obtained thy favour.
He, gathering power, borne onward by his horses, makes his, days lovely in his might and splendour.
Hear us, O Agni, in the great assembly: harness thy rapid car,. the car of Amrit.
Bring Heaven and Earth, the Deities’ Parents, hither: stay with us here, nor from the Gods be absent.
When, holy Agni, the divine assembly, the holy synod mid the Gods, is gathered,
And when thou, godlike One, dealest forth treasures vouchsafe us too our portion of the riches.
Agni hath looked upon the van of Mornings, and on the days. the earliest Jātavedas.
After the Dawns, after their rays of brightness, Sūrya hath enter- ed into earth and heaven.
Agni hath looked against the van of Mornings, against the days- the earliest Jātavedas;
In many a place against the beams of Sūrya, against the heavens and earth hath he extended.
Heaven and Earth, first by everlasting Order, speakers of truth, are near enough to hear us,
When the God, urging men to worship, sitteth as Priest, assum- ing all his vital vigour.
As God comprising Gods by Law eternal, bear, as the chief who knoweth, our oblation,
Smoke-bannered with the fuel, radiant, joyous, better to praise and worship, Priest for ever.
I praise your work .that ye may make me prosper: hear, Heaven and Earth, twain worlds that drop with fatness!
While days and Gods go to the world of spirits, have let the Parents with sweet mead refresh us.
When the Cow’s nectar wins the God completely, men here below are heaven’s and earth’s sustainers
All the Gods come to this thy heavenly Yajus which from the motley Pair milked oil and water
Hath the King seized us? How have we offended against his holy Ordinance? Who knoweth?
For even Mitra mid the Gods is angry. There are both song and wealth for those who come not.
‘Tis hard to understand the Immortal’s nature, where she who is akin becomes a stranger.
Guard ceaselessly, great Agni, him who ponders Yama’s name easy to be comprehended.
They in the synod where the Gods rejoice them, where they are seated in Vivasvan’s dwelling,
Have given the Moon his beams, the Sun his splendour: the two unweariedly maintain their brightness.
The counsel which the Gods meet to consider, their secret plan, of that we have no knowledge.
There let God Savitar, Aditi, and Mitra proclaim to Varuna that we are sinless.
Companions, let us learn a prayer to Indra whom the thunder arms,
To glorify your bold and most heroic Friend.
For thou by slaying Vritra art the Vritra-slayer, famed for might.
Thou, Hero, in rich gifts surpassest wealthy chiefs.
O’er the broad land thou goest like a Stega: here on vast earth let breezes blow upon us, p. 178
Here hath our dear Friend Varuna, united, like Agni in the wood, shot forth his splendour.
Sing praise to him the chariot-borne, the famous, Sovran of men, the dread and strong destroyer.
O Rudra, praised be gracious to the singer; let thy darts spare us and smite down another.
The pious call Sarasvati, they worship Sarasvati while sacrifice proceedeth.
The virtuous call Sarasvati to hear them. Sarasvati send bliss to him who giveth!
Sarasvati is called on by the Fathers who come right forward to our solemn worship.
Seated upon this sacred grass rejoice you. Give thou us strengthening food that brings no sickness.
Sarasvati, who comest with the Fathers, joying in hymns, O Goddess, and oblations,
Give plenteous wealth to this the sacrificer, a portion, worth a thousand, of refreshment.
May they ascend, the lowest, highest, midmost, the Fathers, who deserve a share of Soma.
May they who have attained to life, the Fathers, righteous and gentle, aid us when we call them.
I have attained the gracious-minded Fathers, I have gained son and progeny from Vishnu.
They who enjoy pressed juices with oblation, seated on sacred
grass, come oftenest hither.
Now be this homage offered to the Fathers, to those who passed of old and those who followed,
Those who have rested in the earthly region and those who dwell among the happy races.
Mātali prospers there with Kavyas, Yama with Angiras’ sons, Brihaspati with singers.
Exalters of the Gods, by Gods exalted, aid us those Fathers in our invocations?
Yes, this is good to taste and full of sweetness, verily it is strong and rich in flavour.
No one may conquer Indra in the battle when he hath drunken of the draught we offer.
Honour the King with your oblations, Yama, Vivasvān’s son, who gathers men together.
Even him who travelled o’er the mighty rivers, who searches out and shows the path to many.
Yama first found for us the road to travel: this pasture never can be taken from us.
Men born on earth tread their own paths that lead them whither our ancient Fathers have departed.
Fathers who sit on sacred grass, come, help us: these offsprings have we made for you; accept them.
So come to us with most auspicious favour: bestow on us unfailing health and plenty.
Bowing their bended knees and seated southward let all accept this sacrifice with favour.
Punish us not for any sin, O fathers which we through human frailty have committed.
Tvashtar prepares the bridal for his daughter: therefore the whole of this our world assembles.
But Yama’s mother, spouse of great Vivasvān, vanished as she was carried to her dwelling.
Go forth, go forth upon the homeward pathways whither our sires of old have gone before us.
Then shalt thou look on both the Kings enjoying their sacred food, God Varuna and Yama.
Go hence, depart ye, fly in all directions. This world for him the Fathers have provided.
Yama bestow upon this man a dwelling adorned with days and beams of light and waters.
We set thee down with yearning, and with yearning we enkindle thee,
Yearning, bring yearning Fathers nigh to eat the food of sacrifice.
We, splendid men, deposit thee, we, splendid men, enkindle thee.
Splendid, bring splendid Fathers nigh to eat the sacrificial food.
Our Fathers are Angirases, Navagvas, Atharvans, Bhrigus, who deserve the Soma.
May these, the holy, look on us with favour; may we enjoy their gracious loving-kindness.
Come, Yama, with Angirases, the holy; rejoice thee here with children of Virūpa.
Seated on sacred grass at this oblation: I call Vivasvān too, thy father, hither. p. 180
Come, seat thee on this bed of grass. O Yama, accordant with Angirases and Fathers.
Let texts recited by the sages bring thee. O. King, let this oblation make thee joyful.
He hath gone hence and risen on high mounting heaven’s ridges by that path
Whereon the sons of Angiras, the conquerors of earth, went up.
HYMN II: A funeral hymn, taken mainly from the Rigveda
For Yama Soma juice flows clear, to Yama is oblation paid.
To Yama sacrifice prepared, and heralded by Agni, goes.
Offer to Yama sacrifice most sweet in savour and draw near.
Bow down before the Rishis of the olden time, the ancient ones who made the path.
Offer to Yama, to the King, butter and milk in sacrifice.
So may he grant that we may live long days of life mid living men,
Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni. Let not his body or his skin be scattered.
O Jātavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers.
When thou hast made him ready, Jātavedas, then do thou give him over to the Fathers. p. 185
When he attains unto the life that waits him he will obey the Deities’ commandment.
With the three jars Brihat alone makes pure the six wide-spread- ing realms.
The Gāyatri, the Trishtup, all metres in Yama are contained.
The Sun receive thine eye, the wind thy spirit; go, as thy merit is, to earth or heaven.
Go, if it be thy lot, unto the waters: go, make thy home in plants with all thy members.
Thy portion is the goat: with heat consume him: let thy fierce flame, thy glowing splendour, burn him.
With thine auspicious forms, O Jātavedas, bear this man to the region of the pious.
Let all thy rapid flames, O Jātavedas, wherewith thou fillest heaven and earth’s mid-region,
Follow the goat as he goes on, united: then with the others, most auspicious, aid us.
0Away O Agni, to the Fathers, send him who, offered in thee, goes with our oblations.
Wearing new life let him approach his offspring, and splendid, be invested with a body,
Run and outspeed the two dogs, Sarama’s offspring, brindled, four-eyed, upon thy happy pathway.
Draw nigh thou to the gracious-minded Fathers who take their pleasure in the feast with Yama.
And those two dogs of thine, Yama, the watchers, four-eyed who look on men and guard the pathway
Entrust this man, O King, to their protection, and with prosperity and health endow him.
Dark-hued, insatiate, with distended nostrils, Yama’s two envoys roam among the people.
May they restore to us a fair existence here and to-day that we may see the sunlight.
For some the Soma juice runs clear some sit by sacrificial oil.
To those for whom the meath flows forth, even to those let him depart.
Let him, O Yama, go to those Rishis austere, of Fervour born,
First followers of Law, the sons of Law, upholders of the Law.
Invincible through Fervour, they who by their Fervour went to heaven.
Who practised great austerity,—even to those let him depart.
The heroes who contend in war and boldly cast their lives away.
Or who give guerdon thousandfold,—even to those let him depart.
Let him, O Yama, go to those Rishis austere, of Fervour born,
Skilled in a thousand ways and means, the sages who protect the Sun.
Be pleasant unto him, O Earth, thornless and lulling him to rest.
Vouchsafe him shelter broad and sure.
In the free amplitude of earth take roomy space to lodge thee in.
Let all oblations which in life thou paidest drop thee honey now.
Hither I call thy spirit with my spirit. Come thou; delighted, to these dwelling-places.
Unite thee with the Fathers and with Yama: strong and delicious be the winds that fan thee.
Floating in water, bringing streams, let Maruts carry thee aloft,
And causing coolness by their rush sprinkle thee with their fall- ing rain.
I have recalled thy life to life, to being, power, and energy.
Let thy soul go unto its own: so to the Fathers hasten thou.
Let not thy soul be left behind: here let not aught of thee remain,
Of spirit, body, members, sap.
Let not a tree oppness thee, nor Earth the great Goddess weigh thee down.
Among the Fathers find thy home, and thrive mid those whom Yama rules.
Each parted member, severed from thy body, thy vital breaths that in the wind have vanished,
With all of these, piece after piece, shall Fathers who dwell to- gether meet and reunite thee.
Him have the living banished from their houses: remove him to a distance from the hamlet.
Yama’s observant messenger was Mrityu he hath despatched men’s lives unto the Fathers.
Those Dasyus who, not eating our oblations, come wilh friends’ faces mingled with the Fathers,
Those who wear gross those who wear subtile bodies,—from this.
our sacrifice let Agni blast them.
Bringing delight, prolonging our existence, here let our own, the Fathers, dwell together.
Coming with sacrifice may we assist them, living long lives through many autumn seasons.
Now by this cow I bring thee, by the boiled rice set in milk for thee,
Be the supporter of the folk left here without a livelihood.
Prolong the pleasant Dawn enriched with horses-or bearing us. anew beyond the darkness.
Adjudged to die be he, the man who slew thee: this portion let him find, and not another.
Yama is higher and Vivasvān lower: nothing whatever do I see above him.
This sacrifice of mine is based on Yama, Vivasvān spread the atmosphere about us.
From mortal men they hid the immortal Lady, made one like her and gave her to Vivasvān.
Saranyū brought to him the Asvin brothers, and then deserted both twinned pairs of children.
Bring thou the Fathers one and all Agni, to eat the sacrifice.
The buried, and the cast away, those burnt with fire, and those exposed.
Those, whether flames have burnt or not consumed them, who in the midst of heaven enjoy oblations—
Let them, when thou dost know them, Jatavedas, accept with sacred food the axe and worship.
Burn gently, Agni, burn not up the body with too fervent heat.
Let all thy force and fury be expended on the woods and earth.
I give this place to him who hath come hither and now is mine, to be a home to rest in:
This was the thought of Yama when he answered: This man is. mine. Let him come here to riches.
This date we settle once for all, that it may ne’er be fixt again_
A hundred autumns; not before.
This date we order, etc.
This date we limit, etc.
This date we measure, etc.
This date we mete out, etc.
This date we stablish, etc.
This date we mete and measure out, that it may ne’er be fixt. p. 188
again. A hundred autumns: not before.
The period I have measured—come to heaven. I would my life were long
Not to be measured out again; a hundred autumns, not before.
Inbreath and outbreath, breath diffused, life, sight to look upon the Sun
Seek by a straight unwinding path the Fathers whom King Yama rules,
Unmarried men who toiled and have departed, the childless, having left their foes behind them,
Have found on high the world whereto they mounted, reflecting on the ridge of vaulted heaven.
The lowest is the Watery heaven, Pilumatī the middlemost;
The third and highest, that wherein the Fathers dwell, is called Pradyaus.
The Fathers of our Father, his Grandfathers, those who have entered into air’s wide region,
Those who inhabit earth or dwell in heaven, these Fathers will we worship with oblation.
Thou seest now, and ne’er again shalt look upon, the Sun in heaven.
Cover him as a mother draws her skirt about her son, O Earth!
This once,,and at no other time hereafter in a lengthened life:
Cover him, as a wife, O Earth, covers her husband with her robe!
Round thee auspiciously I wrap the vesture of our Mother Earth:
Be bliss among the living mine, oblation mid the Fathers thine!
Ye have prepared, pathmakers, Agni-Soma, a fair world for the Gods to be the it treasure.
Go to that world and send us Pūshan hither to bear us on the paths the goat hath trodden.
Guard of the world, whose cattle ne’er are injured, may Pūshan bear thee hence, for he hath knowledge.
May he consign thee to these Fathers’ keeping, and to the gracious Gods let Agni give hee.
Lord of all life, let Ayu guard thee, Pūshan convey thee forward on the distant pathway.
May Savitar the God conduct thee thither where dwell the pious who have gone before thee.
For thee I yoke these carriers twain to bear thee to the spirit. world.
Hasten with them to Yama’s home and join his gathered. companies.
This is the robe that first was wrapped about thee: cast off the robe thou worest here among us.
Go, knowing, to the meed of virtuous action, thy many gifts. bestowed upon the friendless.
Mail thee with flesh against the flames of Agni; encompass thee about with fat and marrow;
So will the bold One eager to attack thee with fierce glow fail to girdle and consume thee.
From his dead hand I take the staff he carried, together with his lore and strength and splendour.
There art thou, there; and here with good men round us may we o’ercome all enemies and foemen.
From his dead hand I take the bow he carried, together with his. power and strength and splendour.
Having collected wealth and ample treasure, come hither to the- world of living beings.
HYMN III: A funeral hymn, taken partly from the Rigveda
Choosing her husband’s world, O man, this woman lays herself down beside thy lifeless body.
Preserving faithfully the ancient custom. Bestow upon here both wealth and offspring.
Rise, come unto the world of life, O woman: come, he is lifeless by whose side thou liest.
Wifehood with this thy husband was thy portion who took thy hand and wooed thee as a lover.
I looked and saw the youthful dame escorted, the living to the dead: I saw them, bear her.
When she with blinding darkness was enveloped, then did I turn her back and lead her homeward.
Knowing the world of living beings, Aghnyā! treading the path. of Gods which lies before thee,
This is thy husband: joyfully receive him and let him mount into the world of Svarga.
The speed of rivers craving heaven and cane, thou, Agni, art the waters’ gall.
Cool, Agni, and again refresh the spot which thou hast scorched and burnt.
Here let the water-lily grow, and tender grass and leafy plant.
Here is one light for thee, another yonder: enter the third and be therewith united.
Uniting with a body be thou lovely, dear to the Gods in their sublimest mansion.
Rise up, advance, run forward: make thy dwelling in water that shall be thy place to rest in
There dwelling in accordance with the Fathers delight thyself with Soma and libations.
Prepare thy body: speed thou on thy journey: let not thy limbs,. thy frame be left behind thee.
Follow to its repose thy resting spirit: go to whatever spot of earth thou lovest.
With splendour may the Fathers, meet for Soma, with mead and. fatness may the Gods anoint me.
Lead me on farther to extended vision, and prosper me through life of long duration.
May Agni balm me thoroughly with splendour; may Vishnu. touch my lips with understanding.
May all the Deities vouchsafe me riches, and pleasant Waters purify and cleanse me. p. 193
Mitra and Varuna have stood about me. Ādityas, Sacirifical Posts exalt me!
May Indra balm my hands with strength and splendour. A long, long life may Savitar vouchsafe me.
Worship with sacrificial gift King Yama, Vivasvān’s son who gathers men together,
Yama who was the first to die of mortals, the first who travelled to the world before us.
Depart, O Fathers, and again come hither; this sacrifice of yours is balmed with sweetness.
Enrich us here with gift of great possessions; grant blessed wealth with ample store of heroes.
Kanva, Kakshivān, Purumidha, Agastya, Syāvāsva Sobhari, and Archanānas,
This Visvāmitra, Jamadagni, Atri, Kasyapa, Vāmadeva be our helpers!
Vasishtha, Jamadagni, Visvāmitra, Gotama, Vāmadeva, Bhara- dvaja!
Atri hath won your favour with homage. Gracious to us be ye praiseworthy Fathers.
They, making for themselves a new existence, wash off defilement in the brazen vessel.
May we be fragrant in our houses, ever increasing in our children and our riches.
They balm him, balm him over, balm him thoroughly, caress the mighty power and balm it with the mead,
They seize the flying steer at the stream’s breathing-place: cleansing with gold they grasp the animal herein.
Fathers, be glorious in yourselves, and follow all that is glad in you and meet for Soma.
Give ear and listen, swiftly-moving Sages, benevolent, invoked in our assembly.
Atris, Angirases, Navagvas, givers of liberal gifts, continual sacrificers,
Devout and pious, granting guerdon freely, sit on this holy grass and be ye joyful.
As in the days of old our ancient Fathers, speeding the work of sacred worship, Agni!
Sought pure light and devotion, singing praises, they cleft the ground and made red Dawns apparent. p. 194
Gods, doing holy acts, devout, resplendent, smelting like ore their human generation,
Brightening Agni and exalting Indra, they came encompassing the stall of cattle.
Strong One! he marked them, and the gods before them, like herds of cattle in a foodful pasture.
There man moaned forth their strong desires, to strengthen even the true; the nearest One, the living.
We have worked for thee, we have toiled and laboured: bright Dawns have shed their light upon our worship.
All that the Gods regard with love is blessed. Loud may we speak, with heroes, in assembly.
From eastward Indra, Lord or Maruts, guard me, as in her arms Earth guards the heaven above us!
Those who give room, who made the paths, we worship, you, mid the Gods, who share the gifts we offer.
Dhātar with Nirriti save me from southward, etc. (as in stanza 25 – above).
From westward Aditi was Ādityas save me! etc.
From westward with the All-Gods save me Soma! etc.
May the strong firm Sustainer bear thee upright, as Savitar bears
light above the heaven.
Those who give room, who made the paths, we worship, you
mid the Gods, whe share the gifts we offer.
Toward the eastward region I supply thee before thou goest
homeward, with oblation, as in her arms, etc. (as in stanza 25).
Toward the southern region, etc.
Toward the western region, etc.
Toward the northern region, etc.
Toward the stedfast region, etc.
Toward the upmost region I supply thee, before thou goest
homeward, with oblation, as in her arms Earth bears the heaven above us.
Those who give room, who made the paths, we worship, you, mid the Gods, who share the gifts we offer.
Thou art the Bull, Supporter, and Upholder,
Who purifiest wind and mead and water.
From this side and from that let both assist me. As, speeding, ye have come like two twin sisters, p. 195
Religious-hearted votaries brought you forward. Knowing your several places be ye seated.
Sit near, sit very near beside our Soma: for you I fit the ancient prayer with homage.
The praise-song, like a chieftain on his pathway, spreads far and wide. Let all Immortals hear it.
Three paces hath the stake gone up, and followed her, the four- footed, with devout observance.
He with the Syllable copies the praise-song; he thoroughly purifies at Order’s centre.
Chose he then, death for Gods to be their portion? Why chose he not for men a life eternal?
Brihaspati span sacrifice, the Rishi; and Yama yielded up his own dear body.
Thou, Agni Jātavedas, when entreated, didst bear our offerings, having made them fragrant.
And give them to the Fathers who consumed them with Svadhā. Eat, thou God, the gifts we bring thee.
Lapped in the bosom of the purple Mornings, give riches to the man who brings oblations.
Grant to your sons a portion of that treasure, and, present, give them energy, O Fathers.
Fathers whom Agni’s flames have tasted, come ye nigh: in per- fect order take ye each your proper place.
Eat sacrificial food presented on the grass: grant riches with a multitude of hero sons.
May they, the Fathers who deserve the Soma, invited to their favourite oblations.
Laid on the sacred grass, come nigh and listen. May they be gracious unto us and bless us.
Our Father’s Fathers and their sires before them who came, most noble, to the Soma banquet,
With these let Yama, yearning with the yearning, rejoicing eat our offerings at his pleasure.
Come to us, Agni, with the gracious Fathers who dwell in glow- ing light, the very Sages,
Who thirsted mid the Gods, who hasten hither, oblation-winners, theme of singers’ praises.
Come, Agni, come with countless ancient Fathers, dwellers in light, primeval, God-adorers, p. 196
Eaters and drinkers of oblation, truthful, who travel with the Deities and Indra.
Betake thee to the lap of Earth, our mother, of Earth far-spread- ing, very kind and gracious.
May she, wool-soft unto the guerdon-giver, guard thee in front upon the distant pathway.
Heave thyself, Earth, nor press him downward heavily: afford him easy access pleasant to approach,
Cover him as a mother wraps her skirt about her child, O Earth!
Now let the heaving earth be free from motion: yea, let a thousand clods remain above him.
Be they to him a home distilling fatness: here let them ever be his place of refuge.
I stay the earth from thee, while over thee I place this piece of earth. May I be free from injury.
The Fathers firmly fix this pillar here for thee; and there let Yama make thee an abiding-place.
Forbear, O Agni, to upset this chalice: the Gods and they who merit Soma love it.
This cup, yea this which serves the Gods to drink from,—in this let the Immortals take their pleasure.
The chalice brimming o’er which erst Atharvan offered to Indra, Lord of wealth and treasure,
Indu therein sets draught of virtuous action, and ever purifies himself within it.
What wound soe’er the dark bird hath inflicted, the emmet, or the serpent, or the jackal,
May Agni who devoureth all things heal it, and Soma, who hath passed into the Brāhmans.
The plants of earth are rich in milk, and rich in milk is this my milk.
With all the milky essence of the Waters let them make me clean.
Let these unwidowed dames with goodly husbands adorn them- selves with fragrant balm and unguent.
Decked with fair jewels, tearless, free, from trouble, first let the dames go up to where he lieth.
Meet Yama, meet the Fathers, meet the merit of virtuous action in the loftiest heaven. p. 197
Leave sin and evil, seek anew thy dwelling: so bright with glory let him join his body.
Our Father’s Fathers and their sires before them, they who have entered into air’s wide region,
For them shall self-resplendent Asuniti form bodies now accord- ing to her pleasure.
Let the hoar-frost be sweet to thee. sweetly on thee the rain descend!
O full of coolness, thou cool Plant, full of fresh moisture, fresh- ening Herb,
Bless us in waters, female Frog: calm and allay this Agni here.
Vivasvān make us free from fear and peril, good rescuer, quick- pouring, bounteous giver!
Many in number be these present heroes! Increase of wealth be mine in kine and horses!
In immortality Vivasvān set us! Go from us Death, come to us life eternal!
To good old age may he protect these people: let not their
spirits pass away to Yama.
The Sage of Fathers, guardian of devotions who holds thee up with might in air’s mid-region,—
Praise him ye Visvāmitras, with oblation. To lengthened life shall be, this Yama, lead us.
Mount and ascend to highest heaven, O Rishis: be ye not afraid.
Soma-drinkers to you is paid this Soma-lover’s sacrifice. We have attained the loftiest light.
Agni is shining forth with lofty banner: the Bull is bellowing to earth and heaven.
From the sky’s limit even hath he stretched near us: the Steer hath waxen in the waters’ bosom.
They gaze on thee with longing in their spirit, as on an eagle that is mounting skyward;
On thee with wings of gold, Varuna’s envoy, the Bird that hasteth to the home of Yama.
O Indra, bring us wisdom as a sire gives wisdom to his sons.
Guide us, O much-invoked in this our way: may we still living look upon the Sun.
Let these which Gods have held for thee, the beakers covered o’er with cake,
Be full of sacred food for thee, distilling fatness, rich in mead.
Grains which for thee I scatter, mixt with Sesamum, as holy food,
May they for thee be excellent and potent: King Yama look on them as thine with favour!
O Tree, give back again this man who is deposited on thee.
That he may dwell in Yama’s home addressing the assemblies there.
Seize hold O Jātavedas; let thy flame be full of fervent heat.
Consume his body: to the world of pious ones transport this man.
To these, thy Fathers who have passed away at first and after- ward,
Let the full brook of butter run, o’erflowing with a hundred streams.
Mount to this life, removing all defilement: here thine own kindred shine with lofty splendour.
Depart thou; be not left behind: go forward, first of those here, unto the world of Fathers.
HYMN IV: A funeral hymn, composed partly of verses from the Rigveda
1 Rise to your mother, flames of Jātavedas! I send you up by paths which Fathers traverse.
With headlong speed the Oblation bearer bore our gifts: toil ye, and place the offerer where the righteous dwell.
2 The Seasons, Deities, form and order Worship, butter, cake, ladles, sacrificial weapons.
Tread thou God-travelled paths whereby the righteous, payers of sacrifices, go to Svarga.
3 Carefully look on Sacrifice’s pathway whereon the Angirases, the righteous, travel.
By those same pathways go thou up to Svarga where the
Ādityas take their fill of sweetness, There make thy home in the third vault of heaven,
4 Three eagles in the region’s roar are standing high on heaven’s ridge in their appointed station.
The worlds of Svarga shall, filled full of Amrit, yield food and power to him who sacrificeth.
5 Upabhrit stablished air, Juhū the heaven, Dhruva supported earth securely founded.
As meed, the Svarga worlds, o’erspread with fatness shall yield the sacrificer all his wishes.
6 Dhruvā, ascend thou earth the all sustainer: go thou, O Upa- bhrit, to air’s mid-region.
Juhu, go skyward with the sacrificer; go, and with Sruva be thy calf beside thee drain all the swelling unreluctant quarters.
7 They ford the mighty rivers by the pathway which they who sacrifice, the righteous, travel.
There they gave room unto the sacrificer when they made regions and existing creatures.
8 The Angirases’ pathway is the eastern Agni, the Ādityas’ path-
way is the Gārhapatya:
The southward Agni is the way of Southerns.
To Agni’s greatness whom the prayer divideth go powerful, un- scathed with all thy members.
9 Eastward let east fire happily consume thee, and westward happily the Gārhapatya.
Burn southern fire, thine armour and protection: from air’s-
mid-region from the north and centre, on all sides, Agni,
guard thou him from horror.
10 Do ye, with your most kindly forms, O Agni, waft, turned to
rapid steeds whose ribs bear burthens,
The sacrificer to the world of Svarga where with the Gods they
banquet and are joyful.
11 Happily from the rear burn this man, Agni, happily from before,
above, and under.
One, triply parted, Jātavedas, place him happily in the world
that holds the righteous.
12 Happily lit, let fires, each Jātavedas, seize on Prajāpati’s appoint- ed victim.
Let them not cast it down while here they cook it.
13 Sacrifice, duly offered, comes preparing the sacrificer for the. world of Svarga,
Let all the fires, each Jatavedas, welcome Prajāpati’s completely offered victim.
Let them not cast it down while here they cook it.
14 Fain to fly up from the sky’s ridge to heaven, the worshipper
hath mounted visible Agni. p. 203
Lucid from out the mist to him, the pious, gleams the God-
travelled path that leads to Svarga.
15 On thy right hand let Indra be thy Brāhman, Brihaspati Adh-
varyu Agni Hotar.
This ordered sacrifice goes offered thither whither presented
gifts have gone aforetime.
16 Enriched with cake and milk here let the Charu rest.
World-makers, makers of the path we worship you of the Gods
who here partake oblations.
17 Enriched with cake and curds, etc. (as in stanza 16).
18 Enriched with cake and drops, etc.
19 Enriched with cake and butter, etc.
20 Enriched with cake and flesh, etc.
21 Enriched with cake and food, etc.
22 Enriched with cake and mead, etc.
23 Enriched with cake and juice, etc.
24 Here, mixt with cake and water rest the Charu!
World-makers, makers of the path, we worship those Gods of
you who here partake oblations.
25 Let these which Gods have held for thee, these beakers covered o’er with cake,
Be full of sacred food for thee, distilling fatness, rich in mead.
26 Grains which for thee I scatter, mixt with Sesamum, as holy food.
May they for thee be excellent and potent. King Yama look on, them as thine with favour!
27 More immortality!
28 On all the earth, to heaven, the drop descended, on this place
and on that which was before it.
I offer up, throughout the seven oblations, the drop which still
to one same place is moving.
29 Those who observe men look on wealth as Vāyu with countless.
streams, and as light-finding Arka;
Those drain out Guerdon sprung from seven mothers, who satis-
fy and evermore give presents.
30 They for their weal drain out the cask, the beaker four-holed,.
the milch-cow Idā full of sweetness,
Injure not, Agni, in the loftiest heaven Aditi heightening strength
among the people.
31 On thee doth Savitar the God bestow this vesture for thy wear.
Clothe thee herein, and find meet robe in Yama’s realm to cover thee.
32 The grains of corn have now become a cow, the Sesamum her calf.
He in the realm of Yama lives on her the inexhaustible.
33 Let these become thy milch-kine, man! supplying all thy heart’s desires.
There, speckled, white, like-hued and various-coloured, with
calves of Sesamum let them stand beside thee.
34 Let the green grains become thy white, and speckled, The dusky
corns become thy ruddy milch-kine.
Let those with calves of Sesamum for ever yield strength to him
and never flinch from milking.
35 I offer in Vaisvānara this oblation, thousandfold spring that
pours a hundred steamlets.
This with a swelling flow supports the Father, supports grand-
fathers and their sires before them.
36 Beside the spring with hundred, thousand currents, expanding
on the summit of the water,
Exhaustless, yielding strength, never reluctant, the Fathers with
their sacred food are seated.
37 This pile of wood, collected, heaped together, regard it, O ye, kinsmen, and come near it.
To immortality this mortal goeth: prepare a home for him, all ye his kindred.
38 Be here, even here, acquiring wealth, here be thou thoughts here be thou strength.
Be stronger here in manly power, life-giver, never beaten back.
39 Giving the son and grandson satisfaction, let these the present Waters full of sweetness,
Pouring forth food and Amrit for the Fathers, refresh both these and those, the Goddess Waters.
40 Waters, send Agni forward to the Fathers: let them accept the sacrifice I offer.
May they who follow Vigour that abideth there send us down wealth with full store of heroes.
41 Lover of butter, deathless, him, Oblation-bearer, they inflame.
He knoweth well the treasured stores gone to the Fathers, far away.
42 The mingled draught, the mess of rice, the flesh which I present to thee,
May these be full of food for thee, distilling fatness, rich in sweets.
43 Grains which for thee I scatter, mixt with Sesamum as sacred food,
May these for thee be excellent and potent. King Yama look on, them, as thine, with favour.
44 This is the ancient, this the recent pathway, by which thy sires of olden time departed.
They who first travelled it, and they who followed, convey thee to the world where dwell the righteous.
45 The pious call Sarasvati: they worship Sarasvati while sacrifice proceedeth.
The righteous doers of good deeds invoke her: Sarasvati send bliss to him who giveth!
46 Approaching on the south our solemn worship, the Fathers call- Sarasvati to hear them.
Sit on this holy grass and be ye joyful: give thou us strengthen- ing food that brings no sickness.
47 Sarasvati, who tamest with them, joying in hymns and food, O Goddess, with the Fathers,
Here give the Sacrificer growth of riches, a portion, worth a thousand, of refreshment.
48 As Prithivī rests on earth, so do I seat thee. May the God Dhātar lengthen our existence.
For you may he who parts in turn find treasures, but let the Dead among the Fathers.
49 Depart ye two: wipe ye away whatever omens of evil fortune here have told you.
Go from this man, both Steers, to him who wills it: ye are my joys here by the giver’s Fathers.
50 From a good quarter have we gained this guerdon, gift of this man, strength giving, plenteous milker.
Bringing in youth old age unto the living, may she bear these together to the Fathers.
51 I bring this clipped grass hither for the Fathers: grass living,.
higher, for the Gods I scatter.
Mount this, O man, as victim: let the Fathers recognize thee:
when thou hast travelled yonder. p. 206
52 Set on this grass thou hast become a victim. Fathers shall know
thee yonder when they meet thee.
Gather thy body, limb by limb, together: I by the power of
prayer arrange thy members.
53 The royal Parna is the caldrons’ cover: strength have we gained,
force, power, and might, and vigour.
Bestowing length of life upon the living, for long existence
through a hundred autumns.
54 The share of vigour which gave this man being, the stone won
lordship over foods that nourish.
Hymn this with your oblations, Visvāmitras: may he, may Yama,
lengthen our existence.
55 As the Five Races of mankind for Yama set apart a house.
Even so I set a house apart that greater numbers may be mine.
56 Take thou and wear this piece of gold, the gold thy father used to wear.
Wipe tenderly the right hand of thy sire who goes away to heaven.
57 To all, the living and the dead, all that are born, the worshipful.
Let the full brook of fatness run, o’erflowing, with stream of mead.
58 Far-seeing he flows on, the Bull, the Lord of hymns, promoter
of the Sun, of Days, of Dawns, of Heaven.
Breath of the rivers he hath roared into the jars, and through
his wisdom entered into Indra’s heart.
59 Let thy bright smoke envelop thee, spread forth, O Bright One, in the sky.
For, Purifier, like the Sun thou shinest with thy radiant glow.
60 Indu is moving forth to Indra’s destined place, and slights not
as a friend the promise of his friend.
Thou, Soma, comest nigh as bridegroom meets the bride, reach-
ing the beaker by a course of hundred paths.
61 Well have they eaten and rejoiced: their dear ones have they shaken off.
Sages, self-luminous, have praised: we who are youngest supplicate.
62 Come hither, Fathers, who deserve the Soma, by the deep path-
ways which the Fathers travel.
Bestow upon us life and store of children, and favour us with
increase of our riches. p. 207
63 Depart, O Fathers, ye who merit Soma, by the deep pathways
which the Fathers travel;
But in a month, rich in fair sons and heroes, come back into
our homes to eat oblation.
64 If Agni Jātavedas, as he bore you hence to the Fathers’ world,
hath left one single.
Limb of your bodies, here do I restore it. Fathers, rejoice in
heaven with all your members!
65 Meet for men’s praises, Agni Jātavedas was sent as envoy when
the day was closing.
Thou gavest to the Fathers with oblation. They ate; eat, God,
our offered sacrifices.
66 Here hast thou left thy heart; O man, as sisters leave their little
pet. Do thou, O earth, envelop him.
67 Bright be to thee those worlds where dwell the Fathers! I seat
thee in that sphere which they inhabit.
68 Thou art the grass whereon our Fathers seat them.
69 Loosen, O Varuna, the bond that binds us; loosen the bond
above, between, and under.
Then under thy protection, O Āditya, may we be sinless and
restored to freedom.
70 From all those bonds, O Varuna, release us, wherewith a man
is bound at length and cross-wise.
Then may we live a hundred autumn seasons guarded by thee,
O King, by thee protected.
71 To Agni, bearer of oblation to the Manes, be Hail! and
72 To Soma connected with the Fathers Hail! and homage!
73 To the Fathers connected with Soma Hail! and homage!
74 To Yama connected with the Fathers Hail! and homage!
75 To thee, O Great-grandfather, and those with thee be this cry of Hail
76 To thee, Great-grandfather, and to those with thee be this cry of Hail!
77To thee, O Fathers, be this cry of Hail!
78Hail to the Fathers who inhabit earth!
79Hail to the Fathers who inhabit the firmament!
80Hail to the Fathers who dwell in heaven!
81Hail, Fathers, to your energy! Hail, Fathers, to your sap!
82Hail Father; to your wrath! Hail, Fathers, to your ardour! p. 208
83Hail, Fathers, to what is awful! Hail to what is terrible in you!’
84Hail, Fathers, to all that is propitious! Hail to all that is plea- sant in you!
85 Homage to you Fathers! Hail to you, Fathers!
86 All Fathers who are here, the Fathers here are you: let then-
follow you. May ye be the most excellent of these.
87 All living fathers who are here are we here: let them follow us.
May we be the most excellent of these.
88 Bright Agni, we will kindle thee, rich in thy splendour, fading. not.
So that this glorious fuel may send forth to heaven its light for
thee. Bring food to those who sing thy praise.
89 Within the waters runs the Moon, the strong-winged Eagle soars. in heaven.
Ye Lightnings with your golden wheels, men find not your abid- ing-place. Hear this my call, O Heaven and Earth.