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Vedic Sanskrit - Paganism in the Rigveda
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Atheistani Offline
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Vedic Sanskrit - Paganism in the Rigveda
I saw an old post from Quintus that I wanted to reply to, so I decided to open a new thread, given that the rest of that old thread is not relevant to this

(12-04-2013 10:12 PM)Quintus Curtius Wrote:  This is a stimulating thread...

I hope one of you guys takes up the study of Sanskrit, if only for scholarly or heritage reasons. If you love the old Vedic classics that much, I can guarantee you that reading them in the original is a whole other world than reading them in translation. I am telling you: you would be blown away by how good some of this old stuff is in the original.

I can tell you that this is true especially in poetry, which Indic civilization is rich in. Someone get on this...

This "Clay Sanskrit Library" project looks intriguing. I get the feeling that Sanskrit is one of the keys to unlocking the secrets of Indian history.

Sorry to bring up an old thread but Quintus you are absolutely correct.

The poems in the Rigveda are of an exceptional quality, and in my opinion far superior to anything in later Hinduism such as the Bhagavad Gita (none the less an excellent work). Rigvedic Sanksrit is an older and 'original' form of Sanskrit so the word Sanskrit (meaning ''refined") does not accurately reflect. This is an extremely rich, expressive and highly internally consistent language that lends itself beautifully to the creation of poetic art.

It is unfortunate that such great art is pretty much lost to us now, the most we can experience are translations, and even then the Rigvedic sufficienty different from Classical Sanskrit to cause difficulties in translation. There will be much below that may not make sense, and many scholars say this is because of mistranslation. Though fortunately, there is much we do have, and having seen what I have, I agree with you that more resources need to be put into this. I wish I could understand these poems in their originals.

I have a few examples below out of the 1024 hymns in the Rigveda, I have simply chosen a few of my favourites.

To get an idea of the sort or natural rhythm inherent in Sanskrit, you can watch this video, where the first hymn on the rigveda (a simple hymn dedicated to Agni) is sung. It is quite hypnotic and rather beautiful.






A couple of Vedic Hymns

First one to Prthvi ("the far-spreading") - Earth

Quote:Thou bearest truly, Prthvi, The burden of the mountains' weight;
With might, O thou of many streams, Thou quickenest, potent one, the soil,

With flowers of speech our songs of praise Resound to thee, far-spreading one,
Who sendest forth the swelling cloud, bright one, like propelling speed;

Who, steadfast, holdest with thy might, The forest-trees upon the ground,
When, from the lightning of thy cloud, The rain-floods of the sky pour down.

Rigveda 5.84

One to the Usha, the Dawn (latin Aurora, greek Eos)

Quote:This light has come, of all the lights the fairest ,
the brilliant brightness has been born effulgent
Urged onward for god Savitar's uprising,
Night now has yielded up her place to morning.

The sisters' pathway is the same, unending:
Taught by the gods alternately i:hey tread it.
Fair-shaped, of form diverse, yet single-minded.
Morning and Night clash not, nor do they tarry.

Daughter of Heaven, she has appeared before us,
A maiden shining in resplendent raiment.
Thou sovereign lady of all earthly treasure,
Auspicious Dawn, shine here to-day upon us.

The path of those that have gone by she fallows,
The first of endless dawns to come hereafter.
The living at her rising she arouses ;
The dead she never wakens from their slumber.

O Dawn, since thou hast made them kindle Agni,
Since thou hast shone forth with the light of Surya,
Since thou the sacrificer hast awakened
Thou hast performed among the gods good service.

How distant is the time when she comes midway
Between the past and those to shine in future ?
The earlier dawns right willingly she follows.
Expected, she fulfils the later's wishes.

Gone are those mortals who in former ages
Beheld the flushing of the early morning ;
We living men now look upon her shining
Those will be born who shall hereafter see her.

The goddess Dawn has flushed in former ages,
And here to-day the bounteous maiden flushes :
So also may she flush in days hereafter.
With powers her own she fares, immortal, ageless.

Arise ! The vital breath again has reached us :
Darkness has gone away and light is coming.
She leaves a pathway for the sun to travel:
We have arrived where men prolong existence.

Mitra-Varuna

Quote:[quote]
Let our strong hymn of praise go forth, the laud of Mitra-Varuna,
With homage to that high-born Pair;

The Two exceeding wise, the Sons of Dakṣa, whom the gods ordained
For lordship, excellently great.

Such, Guardians of our homes and us, O Mitra-Varuna, fulfil
The thoughts of those who sing your praise.

So when the Sun hath risen to-day, may sinless Mitra, Aryaman,
Bhaga, and Savitar sendus forth.

May this our home be guarded well forward, ye Bounteous, on the way,
Who bear us safely o’er distress.

And those Self-reigning, Aditi, whose statute is inviolate,
The Kings who rule a vast domain.

Soon as the Sun hath risen, to you, to Mitra-Varuna, I sing,
And Aryarnan who slays the foe.

With wealth of gold may this my song bring unmolested power and might,
And, Brahmans, gain the sacrifice.

May we be thine, God Varuna, and with our princes, Mitra, thine.
Food and Heaven's light will we obtain.

Many are they who strengthen Law, Sun-eyed, with Agni for their tongue,
They who direct the three great gatherings with their thoughts, yea, all things with surpassing might.

They who have stablished year and month and then the day, night, sacrifice and holy verse,
Varuna, Mitra, Aryarnan, the Kings, have won dominion which none else may gain.

So at the rising of the Sun we think of you with hymns to-day,
Even as Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman deserve: ye are the charioteers of Law.

True to Law, born in Law the strengtheners of Law, terrible, haters of the false,
In their felicity which gives the best defence may we men and our princes dwell.

Uprises, on the slope of heaven, that marvel that attracts die sight
As swift celestial Etaśa bears it away, prepared for every eye to see.

Lord of each single head, of fixt and moving things, equally through the whole expanse,
The Seven sister Bays bear Sūrya on his car, to bring us wealth and happiness.

A hundred autumns may we see that bright Eye, God-ordained, arise
A hundred autumns may we live.

Infallible through your wisdom, come hither, resplendent Varuna,
And Mitra, to the Soma draught.

Come as the laws of Heaven ordain, Varuna, Mitra, void of guile:
Press near and drink the Soma juice.

Come, Mitra, Varuna, accept, Heroes, our sacrificial gift:
Drink Soma, ye who strengthen Law.

Rigveda 7.66



Indra and Vak (speech)

Quote:I MOVE before thee here present in person, and all the Deities follow behind me.
When, Indra, thou securest me my portion, with me thou shalt perform heroic actions.

The food of meath in foremost place I give thee, thy Soma shall be pressed, thy share appointed.
Thou on my right shalt be my friend and comrade: then shall we two smite dead full many a foeman.

Now run ye forth your several ways: he is not here who kept you back.
For hath not Indra sunk his bolt deep down in Vrtra's vital part?

On-rushing with the speed of thought within the iron fort he pressed:
The Falcon went to heaven and brought the Soma to the Thunderer.

Step forth with wider stride, my comrade Viṣnu; make room, Dyaus, for the leaping of the lightning.
Let us slay Vrtra, let us free the rivers let them flow loosed at the command of Indra
(This post was last modified: 04-19-2016 11:33 PM by Atheistani.)
04-19-2016 11:15 PM
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