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object:3 - Commentaries and Annotated Translations
book class:Hymns to the Mystic Fire
author class:Sri Aurobindo

Part Three
Commentaries and Annotated

Mandala One
[RV I.1]
The Rigveda
Translated into English with an etymological reconstruction of
the Old Sanscrit or Aryan tongue in which it was rendered in
the Dwapara Yuga and an explanation of the Yogic phenomena
and philosophy with which it is mainly concerned.
Hymns of the First Cycle
A hymn of praise, welcome and prayer to Agni, Lord of Tejas,
composed when the mind of the Yogin Madhuchchhanda was
full of sattwic energy and illumination.
1. Agni the brilliant I adore who standeth before the Lord,
the god that has the ecstasy of the truth, the fighter that fulfilleth
utter bliss.
2. Agni adorable to the sages of old, adorable to the new,
holds up the gods with force & might.
3. By Agni one enjoyeth strength, one enjoyeth increase day
by day and a mastery full of force.
4. O Agni, the Lord below about whom thou art on every
side a flame encompassing, came by the gods into this world.
5. Agni the fighter, the strong in wisdom, the true, the manifold, the high of fame, has come to us, a god meeting with


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

6. O beloved, that to the foe who would destroy thee thou,
O Agni, doest good, this is the Truth of thee, O Lord of Love.
7. O Agni, to thee yearning if day by day we embrace thee
with our mind and bear the law, then thou growest in mastery
and might: -
8. To thee the shining one of the gods below who guardest
the energy of the nectar and increasest in thy home.
9. Do thou therefore, O Agni, become lavish of thy approach to us as a father to his child; cleave to us for our heavenly

aE`nm^. The word Agnis is composed of the root ag^, the
suffix En and the case-ending s^. The root ag^ occurs in two other
words of this hymn, a\g and a\Egr,. Its most common meaning
is love, force or excellence. The original root a of which it is a
primary derivative meant existence. The addition of g^ adds the
sense of force or power. To exist in force or power is ag^ in its
initial sense and all other meanings are derivative or deductive
from the initial sense. The sound n^ is added to roots with an
adjectival force as in r& from rt^, y. from yj^. It may have
adherent to it either a, i or u, and may be pure or preceded
by the enclitics a, i, u or their prolonged forms aA, I, U. Thus
krZ, fyAn, bEln^, rAjn^, vzZ, iZ;, EvZ; etc. aE`n means one
who exists in force or power. Cf the Greek gan, exceedingly,
gajc, good, originally meaning strong, powerful, brave. From
the same sense of power, force, excellence come various senses
of gw, the Latin ago, lead, drive, act, etc. On the other hand the
insertion of the nasal sound between a and g^ gives the sense of
love, sweetness, softness, beauty, as the particular kind of force
or excellence implied in the root.
. The root Il^, dialectically I0^, also takes by a slight
modification of sound the form IX^. It is a primary derivative
of the original root i, implying motion towards. The addition
of l^ gives the sense of approaching with love and gives rise to
the signification, adore, worship. It has a strong sense of bhakti,

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emotional worship.
p;ro Ehtm^. Two separate words, adverb and participle, "set
before". The participle is generally treated as belonging to DA,
but it is originally the past verbal adjective of Eh. The sound h^
conveys contact, motion or emission with force. Thus the root
h is to throw, strike, kill and in its derivatives to leap, dance etc.
The root h; is similarly to attack, fight, throw from one, drag
away etc. The root Eh means to pierce, penetrate, adhere, be
set in and actively to strike away, wear away, impair with other
meanings. From the sense of adherence, we get a deductive sense
of fondness, clinging, love, friendliness, the classic significance
of the adjective Eht.
y.-y. This word is of the utmost importance in the Veda.
Its subsequent meaning of sacrifice has overclouded the sense of
the Scriptures ever since the later half of the Dwapara Yuga; but
originally and in the age of Madhuchchhanda it had no shade
of this meaning. It is the root yj^ with the suffix n adjectival,
as explained under aE`n. yj^ is a primary derivative from the
initial root y which had a sense of control, restraint, persistence,
preservation. This we find in its derivatives ym^ to order, control,
regulate; yt^ to use force upon, strive, practise; y"^ the habituative, to keep carefully from which y" the guardians of wealth,
the ganas, hosts of Kuvera; yC^ to importune, entreat, supplicate;
yc^ to control, to regulate, distribute, give. yj^ means to regulate,
rule, order, govern. y. is He who does these things, the Lord,
Governor, Master, Provider, Giver, and in the Veda it is applied
to the Supreme Being, Parameshwara, who governs the universe
as the Master of Nature, the Disposer of its Laws, the Almighty
Providence, the Master of the Dharma. It has a similar sense to
the word ym, applied to the single god of Dharma, Yama. There
is an echo of this use in the Vishnu Purana when it is said that
Vishnu is born in the Satya Yuga as Yajna, in the Treta as the
Chakravarti Raja, in the Dwapara as Vyasa. In the Satya Yuga
mankind is governed by its own pure, perfect and inborn nature
spontaneously fulfilling the dharma under the direct inspiration
of God within as Yajna, the Lord of the Dharma. In the Treta the
Dharma is maintained by the sceptre and the sword guarding


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the unwritten law. In the Dwapara the Dharma is supported by
codes, Shastras, a regulated and written system.

dvm^. From the root Edv^ conveying the idea of active, rapid
or brilliant energy. It means to shine, to play, (cf dFv^ to gamble),
to be bright, clear, strong, swift or luminous. The Devas are
strictly speaking the sattwic and rajasic powers of the sukshma
worlds, Swar and Bhuvar, who govern or assist the operations
of intelligence and energy in man; but it came to be applied to
all beings of the other worlds without distinction, even to the
tamasic forces, beings and powers who hurt and oppose these
very operations. It is in this latter sense that the Persians used
it after the teachings of Jarad-drashta (Zaruthrusta, Jaratkaru)
had accustomed them to apply other terms to the beneficent and
helpful powers.
-E(vjm^. The word -E(vk^ like the word p;roEhtm^ only latterly came to mean a sacrificial priest. It is composed of two
words -t^ and Evj^. In Old Sanscrit - and Er were used interchangeably like 0 and X. The root - conveyed the idea of fixity,
constancy, -t^ or Ert^ is the old verbal noun forming the roots -t^
and Ert^ and conveys the ideas [of] fixity, persistence, constancy,
truth, steadfastness, wisdom, D
{y, s(y\. From the same root is
formed -Eq,, the root -q^ being a habituative form of - and
meaning to be constant, wise, true, steadfast, calm and still. It
was the old word answering to the DFr of the Upanishads. Similarly -tm^ means truth, law etc, -t; is the fixed period or season,
the habitual menstruation etc. The word Evj^ is a derivative of
the initial root Ev to open, manifest, from which are formed Evd^
to see, the root Evl^ conveying the idea of publicity, light, etc
common in Tamil and Latin, and Evj^ meaning also to see. The
-E(vj^ is the drashta, seer or rishi, the one who has vision of
spiritual truth.

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[RV I.1.1 - 3]

1 mD;QCdA v
vAEm/, aE`n, gAy/F
p;ro Eht\ y.-y
dvmE(vj\. hotAr\ r&DAtm\ 1
aE`n, p$v
EB-EqEBrFX^yo n$tn
{zt. s
dvA; eh v"Et 2
aE`nnA rEym`v(poqm
v Edv
. yfs\ vFrv1m\ 3
y\ y.m@vr\ Ev
vt, pErB$rEs. s id^
q; gQCEt 4
aE`nhotA kEv5t;, s(yE
EBrA gmt^ 5
Bd\ kEryEs. tv
1t^ s(ym\Egr, 6
yd\g dAf;q
up (vA`n
doqAv-tEDyA vy\. nmo Brt emEs 7
rAjtm@vrAZA\ gopAmt-y dFEdEv\. vDmAn\ -v
s n, Ept
v s$nv
s$pAyno Bv. sc-vA n, -v-ty

1 aE`nm^.
Agni is a devata, one of the most brilliant and powerful of
the masters of the intelligent mind. Man, according to Vedic
psychology, consists of seven principles, in which the Atman
cases itself, - annam, gross matter; prana, vital energy; manas,
intelligent mind; vijnanam, ideal mind; ananda, pure or essential
bliss; chit, pure or essential awareness; sat, pure or essential
being. In the present stage of our evolution ordinary humanity
has developed annam, prana and manas for habitual use; and
well-developed men are able to use with power the vijnanam
, nor in its own rupa,
acting not in its own habitation, -v
vijnanam, but in the mind and as reasoning faculty, buddhi;
extraordinary men are able to aid the action of manas and
buddhi proper by the vijnanam acting in the intelligent mind
indeed and so out of its proper sphere, but in its own form as
ideal consciousness - the combination of manasic and vijnani
action making what is called genius, pratibhanam, a reflection
or luminous response in the mind to higher ideation; the Yogin


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

goes beyond to the vijnanam itself or, if he is one of the greatest
Rishis, like Yajnavalkya, to the ananda. None in ordinary times
go beyond the ananda in the waking state, for the chit and sat are
only attainable in sushupti, because only the first five sheaths or
panchakosha are yet sufficiently developed to be visible except
to the men of the Satya Yuga and even by them the two others
are not perfectly seen. From the vijnanam to the annam is the
aparardha or lower part of existence where Vidya is dominated
by Avidya; from the ananda to the sat is the parardha or higher
half in which Avidya is dominated by Vidya and there is no
ignorance, pain or limitation.
In man as he is at present developed, the intelligent mind is
the most important psychological faculty and it is with a view
to the development of the intelligent mind to its highest purity
and capacity that the hymns of the Veda are written. In this
mind there are successively the following principles: sukshma
annam, the refinement of the gross annam out of which the
physical part of the manahkosha or sukshma deha is made;
sukshma prana, the vital energy in the mind which acts in the
nadis or nervous system of the sukshma deha and which is the
agent of desire; chitta or receptive consciousness, which receives
all impressions from without and within by tamasic reaction,
but, being tamasic, does not make them evident to the sattwic
consciousness or intelligent awareness which we call knowledge,
so that we remember with the chitta everything noticed or unnoticed, but that knowledge is useless for our life owing to its lying
enveloped in tamas; hrit or the rajasic reaction to impressions
which we call feeling or emotion, or, when it is habitual, character; manas or active definite sensational consciousness rendering
impressions of all kinds into percept or concept by a sattwic
reaction called intelligence or thought which men share with
the animals; buddhi or rational, imaginative and intellectually
mnemonic faculty, observing, retaining, comparing, reasoning,
comprehending, combining and creating, the amalgam of which
functions we call intellect; manasa ananda or the pure bliss
of existence manifesting through the impure mind, body and
prana impurely, ie mixed with pain of various kinds, but in

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itself pure, because disinterested, ahaituka; manasa tapas or the
pure will-power acting towards knowledge, feeling and deed, impurely through the impure mind, body and prana, ie mixed with
weakness, dull inertia and ignorance or error; but in itself pure
because ahaituka, disinterested, without any ulterior purpose
or preference that can interfere with truth of thought, act and
emotion; ahaituka sat or pure realisation of existence, operating
through the impure organs as ahankara and bheda, egoism and
limitation, but in itself pure and aware of unity in difference, because disinterested, not attached to any particular form or name
in manifestation; and, finally, Atman or Self seated in mind. This
Atman is Sat and Asat, positive and negative, Sad Brahma and
Sunyam Brahma; both positive and negative are contained in
the Sa or Vasudeva and Tat or Parabrahman, and Sa and Tat are
both the same. The Buddhi again is divided into understanding
(medha), which merely uses the knowledge given by sensation
and like manas, chitta, hrit and prana is adhina, anisha, subject
to sensation; reason or buddhi proper, (smriti or dhi, also called
prajna), which is superior to sensation and contradicts it in the
derived light of a higher knowledge; and direct jnanam, satyam
or sattwam which is itself that light of higher knowledge. All
these faculties have their own devatas, one or many, each with
his ganas or subordinate ministers. The jiva or spirit using these
faculties is called the hansa, he who flies or evolves upward;
when he leaves the lower and rises to the sacchidananda in the
mind, using Sat, chit and ananda only, and reposing in the Sad
Atma or in Vasudeva, then he is called the Paramhansa, one who
has gone or evolved to the highest in that stage of evolution. This
is the fundamental knowledge underlying the Veda, the loss of
which, aided by the corruption of nirukta, has led to the present
confusion and degradation of its meaning.
Chandra is the devata of the smriti or prajna; Surya of the
satyam; Indra of the understanding and manas; Vayu of the
sukshma prana; Mitra, Varuna, Aryama and Bhaga are the four
masters of the emotional mind or character; Brihaspati of the
sahaituka chit or tapas of knowledge; Brahma of the sahaituka
sat; Agni of the sahaituka tapas etc. This is only an indication.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

The various characteristics and energies of the gods are best
developed by an examination of the Veda itself. The gods strive
to function perfectly for the Lord or Yajna, the Isha, Master
of the adhara or sevenfold medium of manifestation; the Titans
or Daityas, equally divine, try to upset this perfect functioning.
Their office is to disturb that which is established in order to push
man below or give him an opportunity of rising higher by breaking that which was good and harmonious in itself but imperfect,
and in any case to render him dissatisfied with anything short
of perfection and drive him continually to the Infinite, either by
the uttama gati to Vasudeva or, if he will not have that, by the
adhama gati to Prakriti. The Vedic Aryans sought to overcome
the Daityas or Dasyus by the aid of the gods; afterwards the
gods had themselves to be overcome in order that man might
reach his goal.
Agni in the sphere of material energies is the master of tejas,
the third and central material principle in the five known to
Vedic science. Tejas itself is of seven kinds, chhaya or negative
luminosity which is the principle of the annakosha; twilight
or dosha, the basis of the pranakosha being tejas modified by
chhaya; tejas proper or simple clarity and effulgence, dry light,
which is the basis of the manahkosha; jyoti or solar light, brilliance which is the basis of the vijnanakosha; agni or fiery light,
which is the basis of the chitkosha; vidyut or electrical illumination, which is the basis of the anandakosha; and prakasha
which is the basis of the satkosha. Each of the seven has its own
appropriate energy; for the energy is the essential reality and the
light only a characteristic accompaniment of the energy. Of all
these Agni is the greatest in this world, greater even than Vidyut
- although the God of the vaidyuta energy is Vishnu himself
who is the Lord of the ananda, the vaidyuto manavah, electrical
Man, of the Upanishads. In the vijnana, Surya as well as Vishnu
is greater than Agni, but here he and Vishnu both work under
the dominant energy of Agni and for the satisfaction of Indra,
- Vishnu in the Upanishads being younger than Indra, - Upendra. Translated into the language of physics, this means that
Agni, commanding as he does heat and cold, is the fundamental

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active energy behind all phenomena of light and heat; the Sun
is merely a reservoir of light and heat, the peculiar luminous
blaze of the sun being only one form of tejas and what we call
sunlight is composed of the static energy of prakasha or essential
light which is the basis of the satkosha, the electrical energy or
vaidyutam, and the tejas of agni modified by the nature of Surya
and determining all other forms of light. The prakasha and
vaidyutam can only become active when they enter into Agni
and work under the conditions of his being and Agni himself
is the supplier of Surya; he creates jyoti, he creates tejas, he
creates, negatively, chhaya. Right or wrong, this is the physics
of the Veda. Translated into the language of psychology, it means
that in the intelligent mind, which now predominates, neither
jnanam nor ananda can be fully developed, though essentially
superior to mind; not even Soma, the rational buddhi, can really
govern; but it is Indra full of Soma, the understanding based on
the senses and strengthened by the buddhi, who is supreme and
for whose satisfaction Soma, Surya, Agni and even the supreme
Vishnu work. The reason on which man prides himself, is merely
a link in the evolution from the manas to the vijnanam and
must serve either the senses or the ideal cognition; if it tries to
work for itself it only leads to universal agnosticism, philosophic
doubt and the arrest of all knowledge. It must not be thought
that the Veda uses these names merely as personifications of
psychological and physical forces; it regards these gods as realities standing behind the psychological and physical operations,
since no energy can conduct itself, but all need some conscious
centre or centres from or through which they proceed. A doubt
will naturally arise, how Vishnu, the supreme Lord, can be the
Upendra of the Vedas. The answer is that, whatever energy is
of supreme importance at a particular stage of the evolution, is
taken up by Vishnu-Virat as his especial care. We have seen that
the Ananda is now highest in the developed evolution. Vishnu is
therefore now preeminently the Lord of the Ananda and when
he comes down into the material world he stands in the Sun as
the supreme electrical force involved in Agni and evolving out of
him, which is the physical counterpart of Ananda and without


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

which no action in the world can proceed. He is not inferior,
he only subordinates himself, pretending to serve, while really
by service he commands. But Upendratwa is not the highest
plane of Vishnu's manifestation, the param dhama; rather it is
a special function here in the lowest dhama. Upendratwa is not
Vishnutwa, but only one of its workings.
Agni, therefore, is master of tejas, especially fiery tejas, and
the agent of the sahaituka tapas in the mind. In the language
of modern psychology, this sahaituka tapas is Will in action,
- not desire, but Will embracing desire and exceeding it. It is
not even choice, wish or intention. Will, in the Vedic idea, is
essentially knowledge taking the form of force. Agni, therefore,
is purely mental force, necessary to all concentration. Once we
perceive this Vedic conception, we realise the immense importance of Agni and are in a position to understand the hymn we
are studying.
The word Agni is formed from the root ag^ with the nominal
addition En. The root ag^ is itself a derivative root from the
primitive a meaning "to be", of which traces are found in many
languages. The g gives an idea of force and ag^ therefore means
to exist in force, preeminently - to be splendid, strong, excellent
and Agni means mighty, supreme, splendid, forceful, bright. We
find the same root in the Greek gajc, agathos, good, meaning
originally, strong, noble, brave; gan, agan, excessively; gw,
ago, I lead; Latin, ago; glac, aglaos, bright; the names ^Agic,
>Agammnwn, Agis, Agamemnon, and in the Sanscrit ag
}, agE-t.
It is interchangeable with its brother root aj^ from which some
of the meanings of gware derived. It seems also to have meant
to love, from the idea of embracing, cf Greek gph, agape, but
in this sense the old Sanscrit preferred a\g^. For the connection
between the two roots, cf a\gEt, in the sense of fire, a\Egr, as a
name of Agni, a\gAr,, a live coal.


The root like all simple Sanscrit roots has two forms i0^ and
I0^. The original root was il^ to love, embrace, flatter, praise,
adore; the cerebral 0 is a later form, - a dialectical peculiarity

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belonging to some of the dominant races of the Dwapara Yuga,
which established itself for a time but could not hold its own
and either resolved itself back into l or was farther transformed
into the soft cerebral X with which it was interchangeable. So we
have the form IX^ in precisely the same sense. There is no idea
necessarily involved of adoration to a superior, the dominant
ideas being love, praise and desire. The meaning here is not
"praise" or "worship", but "desire", "yearn for".

p;ro Ehtm^.
The words are two and not one. The sense of "priest,
purohit", put on the compound word in the later ceremonial
interpretation of the Veda, is entirely absent in this hymn. The
word p;r, was originally the genitive of p;r^ used adverbially. p;r^
meant door, gate, front, wall; afterwards, house or city; cf the
Greek plh, pule, a gate, ploc, pulos, a walled city or fort,
plic, a city; so in front. Ehtm^ is the participial adjective from
the root Eh in the sense of to cast down, throw down, plant,
place, which appears in Greek as qw, cheo, I pour (hyA). p;ro
Ehtm^ means therefore set or planted before.
The word y. is of supreme importance in the Veda. In
the ceremonial interpretation y. is always understood as sacrifice and no other conception admitted. The Veda cannot be
understood as the source of all Indian spirituality and divine
knowledge, if this materialistic interpretation is accepted. In
reality y. is the name of the Supreme Lord Vishnu himself;
it also means Dm or yog, and by a later preference of meaning it
came to signify sacrifice, because sacrifice in the later Dwapara
Yuga became the one dharma and yoga which dominated and
more and more tended to replace all others. It is necessary to
recover the proper meaning of this important word by Nirukta,
and, in order to [do] so, to lay down briefly the principle of
The Sanscrit language is the devabhasha or original language spoken by men in Uttara Meru at the beginning of the
Manwantara; but in its purity it is not the Sanscrit of the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Dwapara or the Kali, it is the language of the Satyayuga based
on the true and perfect relation of vak and artha. Every one of
its vowels and consonants has a particular and inalienable force
which exists by the nature of things and not by development or
human choice; these are the fundamental sounds which lie at the
basis of the Tantric bijamantras and constitute the efficacy of the
mantra itself. Every vowel and every consonant in the original
language had certain primary meanings which arose out of this
essential shakti or force and were the basis of other derivative
meanings. By combination with the vowels, the consonants,
and, without any combination, the vowels themselves formed
a number of primary roots, out of which secondary roots were
developed by the addition of other consonants. All words were
formed from these roots, simple words by the addition again of
pure or mixed vowel and consonant terminations with or without modification of the root and more complex words by the
principle of composition. This language increasingly corrupted
in sense and sound becomes the later Sanscrit of the Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yuga, being sometimes partly purified and again
corrupted and again partly purified so that it never loses all
apparent relation to its original form and structure. Every other
language, however remote, is a corruption formed by detrition
and perversion of the original language into a Prakrit or the
Prakrit of a Prakrit and so on to increasing stages of impurity.
The superior purity of the Indian language is the reason of its
being called the Sanscrit and not given any local name, its basis
being universal and eternal; and it is always a rediscovery of the
Sanscrit tongue as the primary language that prepares first for a
true understanding of human language and, secondly, for a fresh
purification of Sanscrit itself.
This particular root yj^ from which y. is formed, is a
secondary root on the base of the consonant y^, the gunas of
which are strength and tenderness applied to action, motion,
formation and contact. The primary roots are y, Ey and y;, with
their lengthened forms yA, yF and y$, - the original devabhasha
recognising only three pure vowels, the rest being either modified
or mixed vowels. The primary root of yj^ is y, which means

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essentially to go quietly and persistently, to act or apply oneself
quietly and with force and persistence, to master (knowledge or
any thing or person) by steady application, to come or bring into
contact with gently or lovingly and effectively, to form or express
clearly etc. The first sense appears, with its colour rubbed out, in
the lengthened form yA, in y"^, in one of the meanings of ym^ etc;
the second in yt^ & ys^; the third in yj^, ym^ and y/^; the fourth
in yj^ and yAc^ which is originally a causal of yc^ to give, now
lost except in certain conjugational forms of ym^; the fifth in one
of the meanings of ym^ (to show), etc. Besides yc^ there are other
lost roots yl^ to seek after, love, desire (Greek llw), yf^ with a
similar meaning, from which we have yf, which was originally
an adjective meaning lovely, charming, and a noun meaning
sometimes an object of love or pursuit, sometimes beauty, ambition, fame etc, or love itself, favour, partiality. This is a brief
example of the method followed by the original tongue as it can
now be observed with its distinctions and shades confused and
the colours of the words expunged.
In the root yj^ the force of the consonant j^ determines
the meaning. Its essential nature is swiftness, decisiveness, rapid
brilliance and restlessness. It has therefore a frequentative and
intensitive force. It means to love habitually and fervently, so
to worship, to adore. It means to give freely, wholly or continuously; from these shades comes the meaning of sacrifice. It means
to master thoroughly, habitually, with a continual repetition of
the act of mastery; the word yt^ means endeavour, but yj^ can
never have meant endeavour, it is too decisive and triumphant
and must imply possession of mastery, action sure of its result.
It means therefore to rule, govern, order, possess. That is why
y. is Vishnu, in the sense of the Almighty Ruler, the Master of
man's action, body, thought, the supreme Lord ruling from the
higher faculty in man, the parardha or Sacchidananda.
y., is formed by the addition of n, a nominal suffix which
has the sense of action. It may be adjectival or nominal. It may
convey the actor, the instrument, the manner or the sufferer of
the action. y., therefore came to mean, he who rules, the governor or master; loving, adoring, also he who is loved; the means


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of mastery and so Yoga, in its processes, not in its realisations;
the manner of mastery and so dharma, a rule of action or selfgovernment; adoration or an act of worship, though this sense
was usually kept for yj;,, giving, offering, sacrifice. As the name
of Vishnu it meant, predominantly, the Master who directs,
compels and governs; but the idea of the Lover and Beloved,
the Giver and the object of all action, ritual and worship, of all
karma also entered into it in the associations of the worshipper
and sometimes became prominent.
The Vishnu Purana tells us that Vishnu in the Satya Yuga
incarnates as Yajna, in the Treta as the conqueror and king, in the
Dwapara as Vyasa, the compiler, codifier and lawgiver. It is not
meant that He incarnates as sacrifice. The Satya Yuga is the age
of human perfection when a harmonious order is established,
the perfect or chatuspad dharma, whose maintenance depends
on the full and universal possession of Yoga or direct relation
to God and that again on the continual presence of incarnate
Vishnu as the Adored, the Master and centre of dharma and
yoga. The chatuspad dharma is the perfect harmony of the four
dharmas, Brahmanyam, Kshatram, Vaishyam and Shaudram;
for this reason separate castes do not exist in the Satya Yuga.
In the Treta the Brahmanyam begins to fail, but remains as
a subordinate force to help the Kshatram which then governs
humanity. Mankind is maintained no longer by viryam or tapas
easily sustained by inherent Brahmajnanam, but by viryam or
tapas sustaining the Brahmajnanam with some difficulty and
preventing its collapse. Vishnu incarnates as the Kshatriya, the
incarnate centre of viryam and tapas. In the Dwapara, the
Brahmanyam farther fails and turns into mere knowledge or
intellectuality, the Kshatram becomes a subordinate force supporting the Vaishyam which has its turn of supremacy. The main
qualities of the Vaishya are kaushalam, order and method, and
therefore the Dwapara is the age of codification, ritual, Shastra,
external appliances to maintain the failing internal spirituality;
danam, and therefore hospitality, liberality, the sacrifice and the
dakshina begin to swallow up other dharmas - it is the yuga
yajniya, - the age of sacrifice; bhoga, and therefore the Veda

Mandala One


is used for procuring enjoyment in this world and the next,
bhogaishwaryagatim prati. Vishnu incarnates as the lawgiver,
ritualist and Shastrakara to preserve the knowledge and practice
of the dharma by the aid of the intellect and abhyasa, customary
practice based on intellectual knowledge. In the Kali all breaks
down except love and service, the dharma of the Shudra by
which humanity is maintained and from time to time purified;
for the jnanam breaks down and is replaced by worldly, practical
reason, the viryam breaks down and is replaced by lazy mechanical appliances for getting things done lifelessly with the least
trouble, dana, yajna and shastra break down and are replaced
by calculated liberality, empty ritual and tamasic social forms
and etiquette. Love is brought in by the Avataras to break down
these dead forms in order that the world may be rejuvenated and
a new order and a new Satya Yuga emerge, when the Lord will
again incarnate as Yajna, the supreme Vishnu in the full manifestation of the chatuspad dharma, knowledge, power, enjoyment
and love.
It has been said that Vishnu in our present stage of evolution is preeminently the Lord of the Ananda, but he is also the
Sanmay Brahman and the Tapomay. It is as the Sanmay that He
is Yajna - the Sat containing in it the Chit or Tapas and the
Ananda. It must be remembered that while in the Aparardha
we envisage Brahman through thought, feeling, action etc, in
the Parardha we envisage Him through essential realisation superior to thought, feeling and action. In the Ananda we realise
essential delight; in the Chit, essential energy, intelligence and
will; in the Sat, essential truth or be-ness. The Sat is therefore
called the Mahasatyam and Mahakaranam, the highest truth
in the manifestation, out of which everything proceeds. It is by
this Mahasatyam - distinguished from the ordinary satyam or
karanam called objectively mahat and subjectively vijnanam, the
fourth of the seven bhumis, - that Vishnu as Yajna supports the
dharma and yoga in the Satya Yuga. He is the Sad Brahma in
manifestation. We shall see when we deal with the word -E(vjm^
in what sense Agni stands before the Lord.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

A god. From the secondary root Edv^ to flash, gleam, vibrate,
play. On the basis of the consonant d^ of which the gunas are
force, heavy violence, density, dense penetration, dense movement, we get dA to cut, Ed to vibrate and d; to trouble and from
Ed we get ; and Edv^ or dFv^ meaning to vibrate shiningly, gleam,
scintillate or play. The Devas are those who play in light. Their
proper home is in the vijnanam, mhlok or karanajagat, where
n DA
matter is jyotirmay and all things luminous -v
own inherent lustre and where life is an ordered lila or play.
Therefore when the Bhagawat speaks of the power of seeing
the life of the gods in Swarga, it calls that particular siddhi

dv5FXAn;dfnm^, watching the sports of the gods, because all life
is to them a sport or lila. The Gods, however, dwell for us in
the lower Swarloka, ie, Chandraloka of which the summit is
Kailas and the basis Swarga with Pitriloka just above Swarga.
Nevertheless even there they keep their jyotirmay and lilamay
nature, their luminous bodies and worlds of self-existent bliss
free from death and care.
This word is taken in the ceremonial interpretation of the
Veda in the later sense of Ritwik, a sacrificial priest, and it is
explained by separating as -t; + ij^ one who sacrifices seasonably. In reality, -E(vj^ is a very old word compounded in ancient
Sanscrit before the creation of the modern rules of Sandhi, and
is composed of -t^ truth and Evj^, ecstasy or ecstatic. It means
one who has the ecstasy of the truth or satyam.
-t^ is an abstract noun formed from the root - whose
essential meaning was to vibrate, shake, dart, go straight; and
its derivate meanings to reach, acquire, or else attack, hurt,
injure, or to be erect, rise or raise; to shine; to think, realise
truth etc. From the sense of going straight in the secondary
verb -j^ with its adjective -j; straight, cf Lat. rego, rectus;
-t straight, right, true; -tm^, truth, right, established law or
custom, - s(ym^ applied to the Supreme Brahman as the satyam
or mahakaranam; -t;, rule, fixed order, fixed time or season;

Mandala One


-Eq, a thinker, direct seer of truth, cf Lat. reor, I think, ratio,
method, order, reason, proposition, etc. The obsolete word -t^
meant directness, truth, law, rule, thought, s(ym^.
Evj^ is noun or adjective from the verb Evj^ meaning to
shake, be troubled, excited, tremble, to be ecstatic, joyous, full
of rapture, felicity or ecstatic energy. Cf Latin vigeo and vigor,
from which comes the English vigour. -E(vj^ is therefore one
who is ecstatic with the fullness of the truth or satyam. Agni,
it has been pointed out, is the god of the tapas or energy at
work disinterestedly on the intellectual plane, one of the higher
gods working on the lower level in the service of the lower deity
Indra. He proceeds straight from the chit, which, when active, is
known as mahatapas or chichchhakti, the energy of the essential
intelligence in the Sad Brahman, Yajna or Vishnu. The Shakti
begins creation by kshobha or ecstatic vibration in the calm Sad
g, goes out as speed,
Atma and this ecstatic vibration or Evj^, v
force, heat, tp, or aE`n, the basis of life and existence. This tapas
born of the Chichchhakti (Shakti, Devi, Kali, Prakriti) is full of
the ecstatic movement of the Sat or Mahasatyam manifesting
itself. For this reason Agni is called -E(vj^, vibrating, ecstatic
with the s(ym^. For the same reason he is called jAtv
dA,, he
from whom the higher knowledge is born, because he holds in
himself the Veda or Satyam and manifests it; tapas is the basis
of all concentration of chit, awareness (the sanyama of Patanjali) and it is by sanyama or concentration of awareness either
on the object of awareness (rajayoga) or on itself (jnanayoga
and adhyatmayoga) that satyam and Veda become directly selfmanifest and luminous to the Yogin. Without this sanyama no
Yoga is possible, no effective action of any kind is possible.
When Brahma turned his mind to creation, it was the cry of
"tapas, tapas" that was heard on the waters of the karan samudra (Mahakaranam or Sad Brahma). The immense importance
of Agni as the Ritwij to the Yogin, therefore, becomes manifest;
and it is also clear why he is p;roEht\ y.-y for it is the tapas
which stands before the Satyam, which we reach before we can
get the Sat. It is the Chichchhakti which takes us to the Sat, -
the Devi, Shakti or Kali who brings us to Brahman, to Vasudeva,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

and Agni, her especial agent for tapas in the mind, is therefore
a special intermediary between us and Yajna, who, as has been
seen, is Vishnu, Vasudeva or Brahman, in the Sacchidananda
or Parardha on the intellectual plane, which is all man in the
average has yet reached. This is the reason why Agni was so
great a god to the Rishis. To mere sacrificers and ritualists he
was great only as the god of fire indispensable in all their ritual,
but to the Yogin he has a much greater importance, as great as
that of Surya, the lord of illumination, and Soma, the lord of
Amrita. He was one of the most indispensable helpers in the
processes which the Veda illumines and assists.

Hota is another word of great importance in the Veda. In
all existing interpretations of the Veda hota is interpreted as the
priest who offers the libation, hEv, as the libation and h; in the
sense of pouring the offering. So fixed is this notion born of the
predomination through several millenniums of the ceremonial
meanings attached to all the important words of the Veda, that
any other rendering would be deemed impossible. But in the
original Veda hotA did not mean a sacrificial priest, nor hEv, an
offering. Agni may by a metaphorical figure be called a purohit
of the sacrifice, though the figure will not have any very great
Sanscritic exactness, but he can in no sense be the one who pours
the libation. He devours the libation, he does not offer or pour
it. Hota, therefore, must have some other signification which,
without outraging fact and common sense, can be applied to
The root h;, like the roots hA and Eh, is based on the consonant
h^, the essential gunas of which are aggression, violent action,
impetuosity, loud breathing, and so challenge, summons etc.
The verb h; originally like h, hA and Eh meant to strike or throw
down, attack, slay, the vowel u adding a sense of pervasiveness
which easily brought the idea of battle. We find, therefore, that
this root meant to attack, fight, as in aAhv, battle; to call, shout,
(originally hv
) etc; to throw, overthrow, desummons, as in 4
stroy; to throw, pour, offer. From the last sense it came to have

Mandala One


its more modern meaning. The transference from the sense of
battle to the sense of sacrifice is paralleled by the Greek word
mqh, battle, which is certainly the same as the Sanscrit mK,,
sacrifice. It must be remembered that the Yoga was to the old
Aryans a battle between the Devas and Daityas, the gods being
the warriors who fought the Daityas for man and were made
strong and victorious by the E5yAs or effective practices of Yoga,
the Daityas being the Dasyus or enemies of Yajna and Yoga. This
will become clearer and clearer as we proceed. This view of life as
well as Yoga, which is only the sublimation of life, as a struggle
between the Devas & Daityas is one of the most fundamental
ideas of Veda, Purana, Tantra and every practical system in Hinduism. Agni is par excellence the warrior whom the Daityas most
dread, because he is full of the ahaituka tapas, against which,
if properly used and supported by the Yajamana, the Yogin, no
evil force can prevail. The Ahaituka Tapas destroys them all.
It is the mighty effective and fighting force which once called
in prepares perfect siddhi and an almost omnipotent control
over our nature and our surroundings. Even when ashuddha,
impure, tapas fights the enemy tamas; when shuddha, when the
very action of Agni, it brings viryam, it brings jnanam, it brings
Ananda, it brings mukti. Hotaram means therefore the warrior,
the destroyer of the Daityas, Agni jatavedas; havis and hava
mean battle or strength in violent action; hu to fight.

Superlative of r&DA, joy-giving, the disposer of delight. We
have the root rt^ as a derivative from the primary root r. The
three roots r, Er, z are themselves variations of the elemental
shabda r^ whose essential significance is tremulous continual
vibration. r means essentially to vibrate, shake, quiver abroad,
the vowel a conveying essentiality, absoluteness, wideness, want
of limitation as opposed to the vowel i which gives a sense
of relation and direction to a given point. From this essential
sense come the derivative meanings, to play, to shine; as in rtm^,
r& a jewel, rEt,, rm^, r)j^, rjtm^ silver, rj, dust, rjnF, rAE/,
night etc. From the former meaning there comes the sense, to


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

please, delight, love, adore, etc. as in rAmA, rAm,, rAD^, rj^, rj,,
(rajoguna) etc. The word r& in ancient Sanscrit, from the root
rt^, had two sets of senses, delight, ananda, pleasure, play, sexual
intercourse, a thing of delight, mistress, etc, and splendour, light,
lustre, brilliance, a brilliant, a jewel, - the modern sense. At first
sight it would seem that lustre, brilliance is more appropriate to
Agni, and it would apply well to the warrior who destroys the
darkness of the mind, but the central idea of the hymn is not
Agni as the master of light, - that is Surya, - but as the master
of force, tapas, which is the source out of which comes delight.
The three terms of the parardha are sat, chit and ananda. In
sat, chit abides and emerges from sat. As soon as it emerges, it
generates the energy of chichchhakti which plays throughout the
universe; this play, r&, is ananda in chit and it emerges from chit.
All tapas therefore generates ananda, and the pure sahaituka
tapas generates pure sahaituka ananda which being universal,
self-existent and by its nature incapable of any admixture of
sorrow, is the most sure, wide, and intense. Therefore Agni is
most joy-giving, a great disposer of delight. The word DA means
to set, create, give, arrange; here it is the old Aryan substantive
expressing the agent and often used adjectivally.

2 aE`n, p$v
EB-EqEBrFX^yo n$tn
There is nothing in these words that needs special explanation, since all the words and their senses are modern. The
Rishi indicates Agni, master of the ahaituka tapas, as adorable
in all ages by all seers ancient or modern, because to all seekers
and at all times, ahaituka tapas is the condition and agent of
suddhi, mukti, bhukti and siddhi, the fourfold aim of Yoga. The
word Rishi means a knower of truth, one who attains, from to go straight, attain the goal, reach the object, know, think.
Originally it had something of the sense of sADk, the q giving a
habitual force; one who continually goes straight (by knowledge
or inspired thought) to the truth. The force of ut is here, "much
more", "as a matter of course". The idea is that not only is Agni
the great object of desire and worship to the high sadhaks of
these days, but in all times he has occupied the same place in

Mandala One


the sadhan, even when man was in a different stage of evolution
and walked in other paths of Yoga. Whatever Yoga is adopted,
sahaituka tapas is of the first importance to full siddhi.

Sa is here used much in the sense of "who", - it is the
c (originally sc though by a common law in Greek the
s has been worn into an aspirate), and it gives the reason for
the adoration of Agni.

The gods of the lower functions in the body, prana, mind and
vijnana are all borne up by the impartial strength of Agni and
the delight, r&, which it generates. Ananda is the condition of all
vAyAt^ k, A@yAt^ yd
q aAkAf
existence and persistence, - ko V
aAndo n -yAt^ Tapas is the stay, the supporter of ananda.
Therefore Agni bears up the gods.

From root ih^, an adverb meaning forcefully, with strength.
The root ih^ meant originally to put forth strength in a given
direction, so to will, wish, desire. Cf for this sense of derivatives
from the primary root i, Greek fi, fjimoc, c (na), id, Ir^ to
utter, force out, etc. The adverb used is especially appropriate to
the action of the god of tapas; it is in strength, by the force of
tapas that he supports all the gods.

The root is vh^ + q, and q in old Sanscrit gave a habituative
or desiderative sense, the two being kin to each other, cf the
Greek file, meaning both "loves" and "is wont to". Cf also
the previous note about -Eq. We shall meet this habituative
form frequently. Agni is wont to bear up, that is his perpetual
3 aE`nnA rEym^.
The word rEy, (Latin res) means substance. It comes from
the root r to vibrate + i,, an ordinary nominal termination
which, when feminine, usually gives the idea of quality or


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

abstract existence. In ancient Sanscrit the semivowels y & v
were used to bridge over the gap between two vowels, as in Em}y
, h;v
, and this usage has been faithfully preserved in one of
its surviving daughters of an elder group, Tamil. rEy, therefore
means vibration, stir, play, motion, and, because all substance is
merely Prakriti or Shakti in motion, it comes to mean substance.
The word and the meaning are among the oldest in Sanscrit. By
Agni, by sahaituka tapas is got or enjoyed substance, body. Into
whatever that stream of force flows, however unsubstantial it
may be at the time, it grows in body, being and solidity; it tends
to establish itself, to become a res or established actual thing.

The word af^ is a secondary root from a to be, one of
the most important of all old Sanscrit roots. From this root we
have as^ to be, breathe, live, be strong; ad^ to be (annam, substance, matter), to eat (a3\ food); ah^ to breathe (ahF, Ah); an^
to breathe, live, be (aEnl,, AZ,, an;); ar^ to be, be strong, excel,
fight, rule (aEr,, aAy, aymA, Gr. ret, ^Arhc) and a number of
others. Every Aryan primary root was capable of being used
either transitively or intransitively, and in its transitive sense a
meant "to have", whence we get af^ to have, possess, enjoy, eat,
get, acquire. af^ becomes in Greek qw. Here both the senses of
"get", and "enjoy", must be taken together. The root is one of
those which still preserves the old verbal enclitics n, nA, n;. The
verbal termination vt^ is here used impersonally; one gets, there
is got.
The sense of poqm^ is "increase". The word completes the
sense of rEym`vt^ which, without the addition of poqm^, might
only imply a single and immediate accretion of substance, but
the Rishi refers to the steady action of sahaituka tapas in the
Yoga, by which once the stream of Agni is set flowing on the
guna, vritti or jnanam to be obtained, it inevitably proceeds to
get actuality and to increase in substance and power from day
to day until it acquires yfs\ vFrv1mm^, the utmost manifestation
of splendour.

Mandala One


The root p; is important in Vedic etymology. The letter p^ has
the signification of sharp, swift and decisive movement, contact,
formation etc. The roots based upon it give us variations of the
ideas, "to rush, fall, dart, strike, leap, soar; to seize, master, own,
be lord of; to enjoy, take, take in, devour, drain, drink, fill oneself, fill; to strike out, forge, do, make, effect; to produce, bring
to being or fulfilment; increase, advance" and others developing
from the elementary idea of the vocable. We get from the root
p;, p;/ one produced, cf Latin pullus, a son; p$ to perfect, p$t,,
p$tA, (Vedic), p;@y\ perfection, virtue, merit; pvn, the wind, (the
rushing one); p$qA the Sun, he who fosters, develops and perfects;
poq, increase; p$j^ to foster, cherish, adore, worship; p;r^ increase,
advance, forwardness, front (p;r,, p$v,, p;rA, before, O.S. p;rA (Gr.
plh) door, gate, p;r^, p;r,, p;rF front, wall, fortified town, Gr.
Ploc, plic) etc.
ev in later Sanscrit means "indeed", giving emphasis, or has
v kmAEZ,
a limiting and restricting sense, eg Isha Upanishad k;v3
"Thou shalt verily do actions (and not refrain from them)." But
in old Sanscrit its original force was that of evm^, so, this, thus;
and then "and, also". In the latter sense evm^ is still used in
literary Bengali, for the spoken Sanscrit of the provinces often
preserved forms and meanings the literary language lost and
these, more or less corrupted, have passed into our modern

From day to day. By the mere lapse of time, without effort
on our part, the mere action of Agni being sufficient. This is an
important principle of Yogic psychology which will be explained
in the Commentary. The word Edv, is from Edv^ to shine and may
mean either "day", Edv, kAl, the bright period, or "heaven",
Edvo lok,, the bright world. It has both senses in the Veda.
The word yfs^ is from the root yf^, a secondary root from
the primary y.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
[RV I.1]
First Mandala.

p;ro Eht\ y.-y
dvmE(vj\. hotAr\ r&DAtm\ 1
The stem is aE`n, the root ag^, with the addition of n^
combined with i.
The suffix n^ is nominal, adjectival and verbal, and as an
adjectival or nominal suffix denotes substance or actuality; it
uses, like all other such suffixes, the enclitics a, i, u to connect
it with the root or with the termination or additional suffix or
with both or neither.
The root ag^ is a secondary formation from the primary old
Aryan root a which means essentially to be or, transitively, to
have. a expresses being in its widest and barest sense without
any idea of substance or attribute. The sound g^ suggests application, contact or a gentle force or insistence. Combining with a
it gives the sense of being or having with an application of force
to action, to men, to things and easily acquires significations
on the one hand of strength, force, excellence, preeminence,
brilliance, on the other of gentle contact, love, possession. Illustrative derivates are Latin and Greek ago, gw, to lead, drive,
act; stir; move; gajc, excellent, good; S. ag}, foremost, in
front, Gr. kroc, top, km, extreme height, kt, extreme limit,
border, coast; gan, excessively (O.A. agAm^); ganc, brilliant,
graceful, gentle; glac, brilliant; ^Agic, >Agammnwn; gapw, I
love, prefer; ager, a possession, field; agE-t, and with the nasal,
a\g^, making the root a\g^, to stir, move, walk; a\g, beloved,
distinguished; afterwards used only, from the two senses, as a
respectful, yet affectionate mode of address; a\gEt, fire (also a
conveyance, cf ago, a\g^), a\gAr,, a live coal, a\Egr,, from the
sense of brilliant, forceful, distinguished, preeminent, foremost.
The word Agni therefore means the strong, brilliant, mighty,

Mandala One


and may always suggest along with this, its proper signification
as determined by usage, an allusion to its other possible sense of
"loving" or "loveable". Afterwards, it was confined to the sense
of fire, Latin ignis.


Dialectical form of Il
, also IX
. Root i0^ with the addition
of the verbal suffix e (composed of the connective enclitic a and
the personal termination i).
The root Il^ is a secondary formation from the primary
root i, I which means essentially to be in relation to some thing,
person, time or direction, so to go, drive, press towards, master,
study, approach, etc and also means to produce, arise, come
into being, as opposed to the idea in a of static existence. The
sound l^ is the shabda of love, desire, entreaty, gentle and wooing
touch; it expresses softness, sweetness, desire, and by a development passion, intensity, force of the heart. Combining with I
it gives the sense of close adherence, to embrace, cling to, love,
adore, approach with love or adoration; of pressure, to crowd,
press, pack, press together, make compact or strong; of maternal
production, motherhood, to bear, produce, give birth to. It has
also the primary senses of motion, to go, move, cast, strike; and
by a development from the sense of clinging or persistence in a
given place, the opposite idea of motionlessness, rest, - to rest
still, lie, sleep. Its derivates are ilA meaning mother and applied
to the earth, a cow, Speech; iElkA, earth; ilF, a short sword or
stick; and from the almost identical root iX^ or IX^, the nouns
iX^ and iXA having the same meanings, and also the meaning
"libation, offering, that which is cast or thrown on the altar or
earth", "a draught, ie what is taken down at a cast into the
throat", "heaven", the place of bliss, love and delight; (iX^ also
means people or subjects, from another sense, to control, master,
rule, cf If^); iX, as an epithet of Agni; IXA, love, desire, prayer
y, adorable, desirable.
or praise; IXnm^, adoration; IX^y or IX
Greek derivatives are ladn, in a close throng, pressed together,
elh, a crowd, troop; e lw, press together, gather, assemble, hem
in; elar, a stronghold, fortification.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

The word here means not to praise or hymn as taken by the
commentators and Europeans, but to love, desire, adore, as is
evident from the use of IX^y, in a later verse. iX, as applied to
Agni means the adored, loved or loving, from the other meaning
of the root ag^ noted under the word aE`n above.

p;ro Ehtm^.
Two words, not one. p;ro in front, originally fifth case (genitive) of p;r^, meaning door, gate, wall, front; then city or house -
cf Greek plh, gate; ploc, walled fort; plic, town. Rt p; with
the nominal suffix r^, in the sense of "cover, protect", common to
primary p^ roots, as in p, pV, pA, pAl, pEt, p;\s^ (originally husband,
protector, then male), p;mAn^, p;V\ (cup, sheath, covering), p;q^, to
protect, nourish; EpV, (roof, house, basket), EpWr\, etc. Lat. pudor,
Ehtm^ fixed, stationed, put. Rt Eh with adjectival suffix t, in
the sense of to cast, throw down, strike in, fix, plant, common
to the primary h^ roots; afterwards the sense of striking predominated, the other being preferably expressed by DA and other
roots. Gr. qw (O.S. hyA), I pour, hmi (O.S. EhyAEm), I throw,
cast, send.
p;ro Ehtm^ means him who stands before or in front of and
was afterwards applied to the purohita or chief priest at the
Root yj^ with the nominal suffix n.
yj^ is a derivative from the primary root y which has the
essential significances of motion to or from, yearning, contact
and union. The sound j^ adds to it the idea of sharply applied and
decisive or effective force in the motion, desire or contact. Hence
it gets the meaning of effort, seeking after, wooing, application
to, adhesion, or strongly maintained union or contact. The sense
of successful effort gives that of mastery. Cf ym^, yt^, ys^ (aAyAs,,
yAs,, ym,, Enym,, y&, yEt). It means in its nominals labour,
action, control, mastery, Yoga, and when used transitively, ruler,
master, Yogin. The word ym, had the same significance. In another sense, to cast before, hand over to, cf yQC^, it means to give,

Mandala One


offer, sacrifice. A third sense is to woo, court, worship, adore, cf
Gr. llw, to desire. y., may therefore mean either, the Master,
the Almighty, the Lord, Vishnu, Ishwara; or, action, or yoga; or,
sacrifice. All three senses have to be taken into consideration in
the Veda. Here and ordinarily it means Ishwara, the Lord.

Root Edv^ compounded after modification with the nominal
and adjectival suffix a, which gives simply and vaguely the sense
of being.
The root Edv^ or dFv^ has two common senses, to play or
sport and to shine, besides some of the significances common to
d^ roots, viz, to strike, throw; hurt, cause to suffer, vex, torment,
harass; destroy; squander, give (d, dA, dAn). The sense of to play,
gamble, to sport, gambol, rejoice, etc is its most characteristic
significance. The sense of shining comes from the sense of coruscation, brilliance caused by light playing brilliantly, vibrating
powerfully. The Gods are therefore primarily those who rejoice,
to whom life is play, lila or ananda - their occupations being
described in the Smriti by the significant expression
Deva subsequently came to have the sense, luminous or flashingly brilliant, jyotirmaya, attached to it; also, heavenly, from
Edv^ the shining or blissful regions, and was used in the ancient
language in all these senses, the associations of which have come
down to us in the modern sense of
dv. The gods are the jyotirmaya beings of the tejomaya, luminous Chandraloka or Swar
and jyotirmaya, brilliant Suryaloka or Mahar, the two heavens
attainable by mortals.
An ancient compound word -t^ and Evj^ formed in the early
childhood of the language before the modern laws of Sandhi
were applied.
-t^ is the root - with the verbal and nominal suffix t^ expressing either action or quality. - signifies essentially to move
or go vibratingly straight or swift to a mark. It means to go, to go
straight; to attempt, attack; reach, acquire; master, know; think.
Hence various meanings for its derivatives, eg -?T\ acquisitions,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

wealth; -D^ to flourish, prosper; -E=,; -E, a weapon, sword;
-?Z wounded, etc; but the common meaning is based on the
idea of straightness, fixity, directness, truth, knowledge, as in
-j;, -tm^ (truth, law, rule), -t; (fixed time, season; order, rule);
-Eq, knower, thinker, Latin reor, I think, ratio, reason, etc; -B;,
wise, adept, expert. The word -t^ here means truth or law.
Evj^ is a derivative root from the important primary root Ev,
which has essentially the significance of coming into existence, so
to appear, open, separate, be discerned. These meanings can be
traced through a host of derivatives in Sanscrit, Latin and Tamil.
From the sense of appearing, being open, we get transitively the
meaning to see, know, Latin video, Greek edon, oda, sji, etc;
(cf Tamil r to give light, shine; rz eye); Sanscrit Evd^. The
form Evj^ implies successful, decisive, complete or spontaneous
sight or knowledge. -E(vj^ is therefore the knower of truth, the
drashta of the Veda, Agni jatavedas, or the adept in law and rule.
In the latter sense it came to mean a sacrificial priest versed in
the rules of the sacrifice. The later Nirukta, fixing on the sense of
priesthood, the only one then known, very naturally derived it
from -t; and ij^, sacrificing in season, which is the only possible
combination by modern rules and arrives at the right meaning
by another road.

Root h; after modification with the verbal termination t.
The essential significance of h^ roots, hA, Eh and h;, is violent
contact, movement, application of force. Their primary meanings are to strike, dash, hit, destroy, slay; then, to cast, throw,
hurl, fling; then, to hurl forth the voice, shout, call. The sense of
abandonment, the sense of casting a libation on the altar, and
other derivate senses are of later origin. hotA in the old Aryan
tongue meant a slayer, striker, destroyer, warrior; hv, and aAhv,
meant slaughter, battle, war; hEv, slaying, strife; h; to hurl, fight,
shout, call, invoke assistance (cf Grk bo, bohjw). The sacrificial
application is of later origin and belongs to the Dwapara Yuga,
the age of sacrifice and ceremonial.

Mandala One


r& and DA with the superlative termination tm.
The word r& is the word rt^ with the adjectival & nominal
suffix n expressing quality or substance. The root is r which
has as its essential significance vibration, swift repeated action,
tremulous, eager or impetuous contact, shock or motion, and
its characteristic significance, to play, enjoy, sport, take delight;
to love, embrace etc; also, to shine, coruscate, shed lustre. It
and its derivatives also mean to rule, govern, protect; to fight,
attack; set to, begin; to move rapidly, shout loud, make a noise.
The word rt^ had several of these meanings, but chiefly delight,
enjoyment, love, sexual pleasure, passion, lustre, brilliance, and
r& therefore means delightful, brilliant, and as a noun delight,
ananda, or lustre. It is in later Sanscrit that it took the sense of
jewel, from the adjectival sense, brilliant.
DA is the root DA to arrange, place, dispose, used as an
adjective or noun. r&DA therefore means disposer of delight,
r&DAtmm^, mightiest disposer of delight.
2 aE`n, p$v
EBr^ -EqEBr^ IX^yo n$tn
{r^ ut. s
dvA; eh v"Et
Root p;r^, p$r^ previously explained under the first sloka and
the suffix v which indicates substance, possession or being. Originally the word meant protecting, covering, in front, anterior,
and by transference from place to time former, ancient, p;rAtn.
It had also the sense of first, foremost, best, leading, chief. Here
the sense is ancient, those that were before.
Root - to think, reach, know forming the intensitive derivative -q^, to know, reach or acquire thoroughly or finally, with
the nominal suffix i expressing action or possession. The rishi is
one who knows, possesses, has reached or acquired knowledge,
an adept, aAP, master. (Cf the German word reich, English rich,
O.S. -f^). See under -E(vjm^ in the first sloka.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Root IX^ to love, desire, with the possessive or qualitative
suffix y used either actively or passively; here passively = desir in the first sloka.
able, adorable. See under I0
Root n; or n$ with the suffix tn, from root tn^ meaning to
hold, possess, contain (tenere, terra, tn;,) and therefore expressing a quality.
The root n; means to come forward, appear, come into being,
come in, enter, penetrate, push in or forward, move forward,
sail, walk etc. It belongs to the n^ family of roots, whose essential
signification is birth, manifestation, presence, appearance, entry,
motion forward, progress (cf n,, nos, nascere, nare, natare, nO,,
nauta, nV^ meaning in Tamil to walk, En, n;d^, nd,) and from the
sense of birth or new appearance or arrival acquires the sense
of newness, in nv,, Latin novus, Gr. noc. The adverb n; or
n$, meaning now, (cf the particle n;, Grk nu, Latin nunc, which
properly means now, now then, then) takes the adjectival suffix
tn to signify the quality of newness; - like p;rA of old, p;rAtn
old, Ecr\ long, Ecrtn, lasting, eternal.
Also. This is a particle which has survived from the ancient
Aryan tongue. It belongs to the class represented [by] the Latin
et, ut, at, Sanscrit id^, u, ut, aEt, Greek i at the end of a word for
emphasis, otos, Bengali , , (tuim , tuim). They are all based
on the original particles a, i and u, meaning, "this here", "this
there", "that", and used for distinction, emphasis, addition,
connection; with the addition of the definitive sound t^, they
formed at^, it^, ut^, which again by the addition of the emphatic
a, i, formed aEt, iEt, uEt, at, it, ut. From these words a
number of pronouns, adverbs, suffixes, affixes, conjunctions and
prepositions are descended in the Aryan languages.
ut has the force as an adverb of also, in addition, verily,
much more, quite as much, indeed, or of course, according to
the context and spirit of the passage or phrase in which it occurs.

Mandala One



The static root s, signifying existence in rest, used as a
pronoun, expresses a fixed object resting before the eyes. It is
the original of the Greek article, , , t, the Greek relative
, (O.S. s,, sA, s), cf
ti because, and in the old Aryan and
Vedic languages had not only the demonstrative force, but also
when connecting two clauses, the relative or copulative. Here it
is the causal relative who, because, and connects IX^yo and v"Et.
v"Et gives the reason for IX^yo. Adorable or desirable because
he habitually bears.

The nasal at the end of a word in old Aryan tended always
to be a pure nasal, anuswara, as in French, just as s final tended
to become a pure aspiration, visarga. This is the reason for the
metrical peculiarity by which final s in old Latin and final m both
in old and classical Latin become silent and are elided before a
vowel or do not affect the quantity of the syllable in the prosody
of a verse. The later tendency was to materialise the sound.


The spirit of the sound i is a certain narrowness and intensity. The root accordingly easily acquires an association of force
and strength in action; it easily forms derivatives like Ir^ to force
out, utter, ir-yEt to be angry, hostile, Latin ira, anger, Gr. hmi, I
throw, sqw, to control, rule, and in certain forms compounded
with strong sounds like h, p, B or even with soft sounds like n
and l it has the pure idea of strength, cf S. id,, iEdym^, Gr.
fioc, fjimoc, sqc, c ( nc G.), iq^, I
vr,. From this sense
of the root ih^ is formed ih^, eh^, substantives meaning strength,
force, with an old form of the dwitiya or accusative case eh
used adverbially to mean strongly, forcibly, with strength. (The
derivation of ih, here, is different and it was by an error that
this sense was extended to the archaic word eh by the later
grammarians on the analogy of iv, ev etc.)

Root vh^ in the derivative v"^ (vh^ + s^), to bear habitually.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

The suffix s or " added to a root gave three senses, intention
or futurity, desire, or frequency and habit. It is in the last sense
that it occurs here and forms words like vs^ to dwell (be or
occupy habitually), v", breast, l"^ to notice, observe; -" star,
constellation, etc, ir-yEt. In the former sense s^ forms the future
in Greek and Sanscrit.
The root vh^ is derivative from the primary root v in its sense
of "be in space & substance, hold matter, contain, bear". It also
means to bring, carry, sweep, lead.

3 aE`nnA rEym^ a`;vt^ poqm^ ev Edv
. yfsm^ vFrv1mm^.
From the sense of vibration and motion in the root r, the
word being the root r + the nominal suffix i, y a merely connec, Em}y
, my
tive semivowel between two vowels as in jAy
Sanscrit has lost, Tamil has preserved this connective use of the
semivowels y and v as a constant rule of its system of euphony.
rEy, is that which vibrates, moves, is in constant play; it comes
therefore to signify substance, matter, force, energy, strength,
prosperity, play, delight, laughter, with other kindred or derivative senses. It is the Latin res, "thing, affair, object, matter, fact".
In the sense of substance or matter it is constantly used in the
Veda. In this passage it means substance or force of substance.
Root af^ to have or enjoy, with the connective verbal affix
n; and the impersonal adjectival or participial termination vt^.
We find this general use of v in Tamil with the verbal stem to
indicate a verbal adjective, "one who enjoys". The root af^ is a
secondary root from a in its transitive sense "to have". It is the
same word as the Greek qw, I have (afA), and from the sense of
possession develops other significances, to eat, enjoy, etc. a`;vt^
is in this passage "one enjoys."
Stem p;q^ modified with the nominal suffix a. p;q^ is a habitual, frequentative or desiderative form from p;, to produce, beget,

Mandala One


possess, protect (see under p;ro in the first sloka) and develops
the sense "to nourish, rear, increase". It also means "to perfect,
develop", and "to cherish, foster, love". Cf p;/, Latin, pullus;
p$qA the Sun; p$j^ to worship, adore, developed from the sense
of cherishing or loving. The substantive poq, means, therefore,
"increase, development, increasing, perfection".


The pronominal and adverbial particle v (still used for the
second personal pronoun plural as n is used for the first) meant
originally "a substantial object, a thing before the eyes". It came
to mean, especially when compounded with a, i, u, thus, this
way, in that direction; cf iv, originally meaning, "so", then,
"as"; av in that direction, in the direction of, then, down to,
{, so indeed, verily, vA "or", originally meaning "so",
down; v
"and", "or". ev is merely a variant of iv giving a vaguer and
more comprehensive sense. It was used formerly with its other
form evm^ to mean, "so, and", the latter significance surviving
in the Bengali bM, and only afterwards came to mean "indeed,
verily, that and no other, so and not otherwise". In this passage
it has the significance of "and, also".


Root Edv^ to shine, be bright, with the nominal suffix a, "the

bright period, day", or "the bright world", "heaven". Here Edv
means "from day to day".

Root yf^ with the nominal suffix as^ "enjoyment, satisfied
yf^ is an intensitive derivative from y, to reach, join or
embrace entirely, (see under y., in the first sloka) and meant
"success, fame, glory, possession, mastery". It also meant "enjoyment, a thing enjoyed or enjoyable, love, beauty, charm,
splendour," (cf yoqA, yoEqt^, from y;q^) which it subsequently lost,
and "seat of enjoyment, the vital organs, heart, liver etc," Latin,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

vFr^, manifestation from Root vF, with the adjectival suffix vt^ and the superlative suffix tm,, from t in the sense of
to stretch, extend; cf tn^, tt,, tAl, etc. tm, means extensive,
extreme, very, so "most".
The roots Ev and vF mean to open, expand, manifest, a sense
chiefly found in the roots Evd^, Evl^ (Tamil, Sanscrit, Latin), cf also
aAEv,, Evyt^, the open sky, B. ibjil, lightning, Lat. verus, true
etc, etc. From this sense it developed the idea of full and forceful
manifestation, strength, energy, courage, heroism, Lat. vis, vir,
virtus, Sanscrit vFr,, vFy. The word vFr is here plainly used as a
substantive since it needs vt^ to give it the adjectival sense. vFr
means either "strength, force", or "manifestation, splendour,
openness, fullness". With yf, in the sense of enjoyment goes
most suitably the latter signification, "fullest, most expanded,
unstinted"; but "forceful" would also not be inappropriate to
the character and function of Agni.
4 a`n
ym^ y.m^ a@vrm^ Ev
vt, pErB$, aEs. s id^
q; gQCEt

The demonstrative relative in the old Aryan tongue, y,, implies motion or direction from one point to another as opposed
to the static force of s,. y, means the one who is yonder, s, the
one who is here.

Yajna (the Lord, Isha) here refers to the Jivatman; the distinction from the universal Yajna is indicated in the epithet
This word is an adjective formed by the addition of the
common adjectival suffix r to a@v (zEcr from zEc, as;r from
as;, mD;r from mD;). a@v itself is a substantive formed by the
root aD^ by the direct addition of the nominal suffix v. Kindred vocables are aDs^, below, a@vn^, path, distance, sky, attack,
time, place, aDm, lowest, aDr, lower, aED, originally meaning

Mandala One


towards, down to, so from above, above, concerning (Gr. kat),
aEDk, more, aAED,, pain, aED,, pain, misfortune. a@vr itself is
used in later Sanscrit to mean, "lasting, uninterrupted, attentive,
the sky or air, and a sacrificial ceremony". All these significations
are recognisable as developments from the original Aryan root
aD^, a secondary formation from a, to be. The sound D^ signifies
dull contact, downward motion or pressure from above, rest,
finality with an idea of tamasic condition, establishment, etc.
aD^ therefore means to oppress, cover, rest, descend and rest,
reach and end, attack, etc. The air or atmosphere covering or
pressing on the earth, place, Time and distance, as continents,
grief as a dull tamasic condition, are early derivative meanings.
The same relation viewed from two different standpoints creates
the opposite senses of "down, lower", aD, and "above, towards,
more", aED, aEDk.
a@vr, means lower, relative, individual, from the lost word
a@v which signified philosophically the lower planes of the
universe, the aparardha, t nerjen. In relation to the word
y.,, adhwara signifies the Purusha, Lord or Ishwara manifesting in the aparardha and attached to an individual adhara; the
Jivatman, not bound but relative in his manifestation.

v, root
v to lie, remain, be spread out, with the prefix
Ev meaning open, outspread, diverse, manifold, and the suffix t,
which expresses possession, relation or origin, commonly used
to form adverbial expressions. On all sides.
pr, pEr or , all signifying in front, beyond, above, from in
front, and afterwards variously for, to, towards, around, about,
are kindred words from the root p to cover, protect. In the old
language pEr as preposition governs the second case even when
it is part of a compound verb, adjective or noun; it had not
at that time either become otiose or lost its separate existence
in the compound, but was easily detachable and always bore its
especial significance and power. B$, means "existent or in being",
pEr "round about or in relation to".


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Thou art. Root a with the personal termination Es. In the
old language there were two forms aE-s and aEs from the
secondary as^ (aE-m, aE-t) and the primary a; but the latter
alone has survived.

The old enclitic it^, kindred to at^ (Latin et) and ut^ (Latin
ut) and signifying that (Latin id), also, and, indeed, verily, the
same (Lat. idem). Cf the use of iEt answering to English "that".
"He, the same Yajna whom you surround as the individual soul,
is also beyond that relation and universal."

The gods, as masters of the forces and functions, physical,
mental and spiritual which surround with their activities and
minister to the individual knowledge and action of the Jiva.
The secondary root gQC^ from g is used to form certain
tenses of the verb gm^ which has replaced both g and gQC^. Cf
yQC^ and ym^ from the primary root y. g means originally to
move softly or steadily, or continuously. It is the characteristic
root for general motion as opposed to the more specific senses
of i, -, yA, and conveys here the same sense of primary cosmic
motion as in jgt^, jgtF, gA (the world or earth).
5 aE`n, hotA kEv5t;, s(yE
kEv. Root k; modified before a vowel with the nominal suffix i. This root is only found in later Sanscrit in the modified
form kv^, to praise or describe, to compose a poem, to paint
a picture. The k^ roots are among those of the widest scope in
the Aryan language. Primarily, they convey the idea of any kind
of violent, strong or masterful contact, action or relation to any
thing, person or action. The root k; was used in the more ancient
language in the sense of do, act, form, make, design, create. ko in
koEvd, is the substantive, meaning "art, practice". It also meant

Mandala One


to desire, enjoy (Lat. cupio, and from the idea of any strong
passion connected with love k;p^ to be angry, cf km^, kAm,, kunw,
to kiss, k;mAr, etc), to master, seize, hold, contain, shut, confine,
protect, imprison (kvc,, kvs,, kvq,, armour, a shield; kvk,,
kvl,, kvX,, a mouthful; kvrkF, a prisoner; k&y\, a handful,
then the oblation to the Manes; k;V\, k;VF, k;VFr,; cf kof,, kol,,
kork,, kof,, koV,, koVr,, k$l\, k$p,, k;E",, k;,, earth). Various
ideas of calling, crying, crying on or at, praising, reviling (k;,
k$, k$j^, k$V^, k;(s^ etc). The idea of curve or crookedness derived
from the sense of the circle (Gr kkloc, kulndw, k;l\, the circle,
society, herd, race, family, k;EVl,, k;h^, to deceive, k;c^, k;VF, ko in
kod@X, etc) is fairly common. On the other hand, the root very
rarely accepts the more strong and violent senses common to the
forms k, Ek and k, but it has them sometimes as in k;z a master,
ruler or priest, k;^ to cut, pound, burn etc. In the word kEv the
sense of perfect creative action is dominant. kEv meant a poet,
artist, scientist, craftsman, sage, anyone who was koEvd, who
could deal perfectly with his material physical or intellectual.
It also meant the art or science itself and so, wisdom, skill,
mastery, proficiency. It is in this latter sense that it is used in
the compound kEv5t;,, "whose strength is in the mastery of
5t; is the Root 5t^, a tertiary formation from k by modification of the vowel to r. The root k expresses action, work,
mastery, strength, rule or any strong, violent or mastering activity, to cut, pierce, slaughter, hurt etc. 5t;, meant strength,
action, force, power of any kind mental or physical. It often
meant the Will or any activity of the will. Cf Greek krtoc,
krtoc, karterc. The word ft5t; as a name of Indra meant
not "he of the hundred sacrifices", but he whose force was that
of a hundred.

True; free from the dwandwa of truth and falsehood. The
root s to be in a fixed state or state of rest, to lie, rest, remain,
be fixed, gives to st^ and s(y the idea of that which is or is true,
fact, reality, abidingness. s(y is formed by the adjectival y from


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the old substantive st^ existence, truth, reality.

Ec/, Rt Ec with the verbal suffix /. Ec indicates fundamentally any action that cuts, splits, divides, separates or distinguishes. Its characteristic significance is to discern, distinguish,
analyse, group, arrange and collect. Its verbal adjective Ec/
means that which discerns, groups, arranges in a collection or
that which is so discerned, grouped and arranged. It has the sense
of various, variegated, decorative or decorated, well-arranged
and assorted.
2v,, from the Root 2;, to hear, modified, before the nominal
suffix as^. The word is the same as the Greek kloc, (klw,
2;yA, I hear) and had in early times the sense of "fame, repute,
renown", but the sense "to move vibrating, react with a strong
harmonious contact", developing the sense, "to resort to, take
refuge with, join" in E2 and "to be heard, to hear" in 2; are a
yet more essential and original association. 2v, means the thing
heard, the thing received by revelation, knowledge, learning,
belief, faith (cf 2=A).
Ec/2vs^ means "analysed and grouped knowledge of great
variety" or one who possesses such knowledge. Agni is he among
the gods who possesses most such knowledge, proper to the
vijnanam, ideal or purely ideative consciousness. He is jAtv
the one who has the revealed knowledge, in whom and by whom
it is born.
Root gm^ to go, move, properly with a sense of direction,
finality or intended or accomplished arrival. The preposition aA
originally conveyed the idea of general relation; in this compound the sense of approach and arrival predominates. The
EB,, which by
preposition has no relation to the instrumental
itself implies union or accompaniment; divus cum divis, a god
with the gods. The form aAgmt^ does not convey the idea of past
time, but of general action, the time being vague, "arriveth",
whether now or habitually or as a past experience we have
of him. It was from this vagueness that the form afterwards

Mandala One


acquired an imperfect or habitual significance with regard to
the past.

6 yd^ a\g dAs;q
(vm^ a`n
Bd\ kEryEs. tv it^ tt^ s(ym^

That. The demonstrative yt^ like s was originally used either
as a demonstrative pronoun or a relative and in the neuter as a
conjunction; the transition from the relative to the conjunctional
use is seen in this construction, where yt^ is really the relative to
the correlative tt^. yt^ is a hanging introductory relative vaguely
referring to the idea of the sentence Bd\ kEryEs and not a relative
pronoun qualifying Bdm^.


See under aE`nm^ in the first sloka.

Root dAs^ with the verbal suffix q^ preceded by enclitic u, in
a desiderative sense, the one who wishes to hurt, the enemy. The
root d with its congeners dA, Ed, dF, d;, d$, d, d^, expressed always
effective, rapid and aggressive movement, contact, action etc.
It had predominatingly an aggressive sense, in the beginning to
cut, slay, tear, bite, divide; to destroy, ruin, waste, squander; to
burn, pillage, havoc. Its most important derivatives as well as
its less important, d\f^ to bite, dfn\, dt^, dt, tooth; d"^ to act
quickly, hurt, kill (also to act or think ably); dG^ to kill, hurt;
d\G^ to abandon (also, protect, cherish); d\X^ to chastise; d\B^ to
injure, hurt, deceive, drive; dm^ to conquer, crush, tame; dy^ to
hurt, divide, as well as to love or pity; dl^ to burst open, split,
divide; dv, fire, heat, pain; ds^ to toss up, destroy, perish; dhr
wasted, thin; small and so young; dh^ to burn, destroy, torment;
dA to cut, divide, then, to give, its later though still ancient use;
dA/m^ a sickle, dAf^ to hurt, kill, give, grant, are all instances of
the predominating frequency of this use. The same tendency
may be found in the roots d^, d$, etc, but other significances were
developed in them more frequently, and by a not infrequent irony


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of transmutation, the sense of loving, cherishing, protecting was
developed from the sense of hurting, crushing, taming, and we
find such words of tender import as dm,, house, Gr. dmoc, dAn\,
the Persian Edl^ (cf the name EdlFp), dEytA, dyA, dArA,, etc as
descendants of this root of violent or baleful significance. The
word d-y; in the Veda, meaning enemy, afterwards robber, dAs,,
a captured enemy, slave, (Gr. doloc from ds;l) are from the
bears the same
roots ds^, dAs^, meaning to hurt, afflict. dAs;q
sense. There is no reason to take it in the later sense of "giver".


Thou. t;, Lat. tu, Gr. s, with the old definitive particle am^.
Cf ahm^, idm^, Lat. idem, vym^ from v, y$ym^ from y; etc. The word
t; is demonstrative, that there, like the plural y; (cf y,, the one
who yonder) and was used by itself or with the suffix v ((v) to
indicate the second person.


The word Bd from the root B compounded with the noun
d. It originally meant household wealth, from B (Bvn\, B;vnm^)
being, a house, place, world, sky, etc, and d (d&y) spoil, plunder, substance, possessions, wealth. From this sense it came to
mean ease, happiness, good condition etc. Here it means simply
"good", its latest sense.

Thou intendest or desirest to do. The future sense was originally one conveying the significance of intention, purpose, will,
all conveyed by the sibilant suffixes s, q. Cf "I will do" in

Originally possessive adjective from t;, thou.

Here in the sense of "nature", "essential quality", from st^
being with the adjectival y, belonging to the being, essential,
real. It may also be taken in the sense of truth, which will have
the same significance. The sense "oath, vow, promise", would be

Mandala One


out of place in the early language, though it would make good
verbal sense, if the line stood by itself in some other context.

Root a\g^ to love with the adjectival suffix ir^, makes a\Egr^
the lover, loving, and from the adjectival sense loving, is formed
a secondary substantive a\Egrs^, again meaning lover or one who
loves. Agni as Angiras is the lord of love.
7 up (vA`n
doqAvs^ tr^ EDyA vym^. nm, Brt, emEs

u with the sense to cover, pervade, up, over, above, through,
under, and from the sense of over, in the direction of, towards;
from the sense of under, in subjection to, up to. up has here the
sense of approach by an inferior to a superior.

doqA darkness, tamas, from d;q^, to assail, attack, overcome,
oppress, cover, darken, eclipse. doqA or do, also means the striking
part of the arm, the forearm.
avs^ Root av^ with the nominal suffix as^. av^, a secondary
formation from a, to be in substance, (v^ conveying the idea of
substance, solidity, patent or objective existence), to be strong,
strengthen, maintain, keep, cherish, protect, confirm, desire,
love; to rise, soar, fly, be exalted.
doqAvs^ he who strengthens, maintains or protects in the

An old adverbial form still preserved in tEh and the Mahratti
tr^, "so"; it meant there, then, thus, iEt. Here it is used almost
as a vocative "O!"

The essential meaning of the roots D, DA, ED, is to set down,
fix, place, settle, keep, hold. ED is that operation of the intellect
which fixes, arranges and retains, the buddhi or discerning and
judging intellect.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

v with the definitive particle am^ connected by the semivowel
y; cf (vm^, y$ym^ (see under (vm^ in the sixth sloka). v was used
for the plural of the pronoun both in the first and the second
persons with a distinguishing prefix which was afterwards lost
or replaced the v, n v, or n; v,, we, Latin, nos; y v or y; v,, you.
When y$ym^ replaced the second form, vym^ came to be restricted
to the first pronoun.
The root nm^ means originally go or bring to an end or conclusion. To lead, guide, control, dispose, distribute, mark off, arrange, shape, bend, are its more common later meanings. The Greek nmoc, law, nmw, to distribute, give, arrange, regulate, occupy or to pasture, graze; nmoc, an apportioned ground or enclosure, so grove or pasturage; nmesic (O.A. nmEt,) the goddess who arranges, controls, rewards, punishes, avenges; noma, designation, name, (S. nAm), Lat. nemus, are survivals of these significations. In later Sanscrit only the intransitive sense of submission, being governed, ruled, subject, to bend, submit, bow, salute has left traces except in the sense, "to give", attached to nm^, in the particle nAm, "granted", "allowed", "certainly", and the substantive nAm, name. nmo means submission, self-surrender, nEt,; the later sense of salutation, obeisance does not apply to this passage.
The participle used in place of the finite verb; the use is almost that of a loose nominative absolute or an anacoluthon. Rt B (Gr. frw, Lat. fero) with the verbal adjective or participial form of a, to be. B means to occupy, fill, hold, uphold, bear, carry, contain, convey, bestow, be full of, feel within. It is used in this passage in the latter sense, to be full of.
There are two words, the locative of ems^ (Rt i modified
with the nominal suffix ms^ signifying, "way, path") and the
second person of the verb Im^ or em^, a final derivative from

Mandala One


i, to reach, to culminate, to grow to full strength. From this
root comes Im^, the intensive particle, meaning, utterly, actually,
indeed, at once, now, and imTA, as things actually are, now,
under present circumstances, Lat. imus, uttermost, last, lowest.
emEs means, "thou culminatest, risest to thy full force".
8 rAjtm^ a@vrAZAm^ gop amt-y dFEdEvm^. vDmAnm^ -v

Rt rAj^ intensive form of rA, as rj^ of r in the participial
form. Like r, rA has chiefly the cognate senses of play, enjoyment,
satisfaction, bounty, love, (rAg,, rAD^, rAE/,, rAm,, rAs,, etc) and,
to shine, glitter, colour etc. A third set of significations depend on
the idea of darting on, seizing, pouncing on, - to seize, ravish,
plunder, hold and keep, squeeze, subdue, rule, regulate, conquer,
oppress, strike, rend etc (r"^, rd^, rD^, rs,, r",, rAvZ etc, Lat.
rapio, rego). We find rAj^ itself used in two senses, to shine or
to rule, (cf rAjF, a shining streak, line etc, rAjFv, coloured blue
lotus). He who rules, controls.

tn nertrwn. Of things or beings in the lower planes or


Not a vocative, but the old accusative of gop^, root g$p^ modified and forming a noun, both substantive and adjective. Cf
Grk. gy, gpa. The secondary root g$p^ is a strongly active,
sometimes causal form of g$, to seize, swallow up, hold, contain,
screen, hide, protect, embrace. The Grk. gy, vulture, is literally
the seizer, the bird of prey. It also means, to hide from, fear, shun,
loathe (j;g;=sA). In this passage, as in most, it means "protector".
a, negative, with mt, mortal, liable to death, Greek brotc.
The word is not amtm^ but amt,, used like a"r,, to connote the
Divine Personality, the imperishable being who is not subject to
life or death, who as eternal, unchangeable Sat is the source of
the principle of Immortality in the world.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Reduplication from Edv^ to shine, with the nominal termination i. The reduplication gives the idea of intensity, frequency
or variety. "A shining force, brilliance, fiery energy."
Rt vD^, secondary root from v to be, extend, cover, be in
force, excel, be in activity, act, operate etc. The sound D^ always
adds the idea of solid or heavy strength and persistence, - to
spread, increase, be exalted.

Own. s with the suffix v conveying the idea possession,
makes either -v (Lat. suus) or sv (Greek c) as in tv.


dm^ to conquer entirely, crush, tame, possess as entirely one's
own, with the nominal suffix a. Possession, personal property,
home. (Lat. domus, Grk. dmoc.) His own home, ie, the parardha
planes as opposed to the Aparardha which he protects.
9 s n, EptA iv s$nv
s$pAyno Bv. sc-v aA n, -v-ty

Again the causal relative sense used loosely to mean therefore.


The demonstrative n, used generally to indicate the person
here, I, we.

The p roots mean principally to reach, obtain, make, do,
produce, protect, cherish, strike, strike out. From the sense "to
produce" in Ep and p;, come EptA, the begetter, and p;/, the

So, as. i, this and v. See under ev in the third sloka.

Mandala One


The roots s;, s$ are found chiefly in three senses, to press out,
distil, pour out, create, beget, from which we have s$n;,, son or
daughter, s$ with the nominal n;, (n, En); to besiege, strike, attack,
wound, (s$d^, s$r^, s$nA, s$c^ to pierce); and to be at rest, ease, firm,
to confirm, ascertain, teach etc, s;, s;K\, s;;, s$c^, s$/, s$Er, etc. The
last is the primary meaning of the roots in s, but the addition
of u, gives as often an idea of violence, pressure etc, from which
comes originally the sense, to press, squeeze, besiege, encroach
on, insist, confirm and afterwards all the derivative meanings,
even to the most remote from the original idea of rest, eg Greek
sew, I shake (sAyA from Es, sF), and the sense of siege and battle
common in the Veda. See the next hymn.
The adverb s;, well or very and upAyno, Rt i with aA (making
the verb e to go, come, approach) and up towards, with the
idea of submission or inferiority, prefixed and followed by the
nominal suffix n preceded by the enclitic a. One who can easily
be approached, accessible, open.

Root B$, Grk. fw, Lat. fui, to be, become, from the sense
of substantial containing existence essential in the sound B^. Cf
B;vn, Bvn, B, B etc.

Imperative of Root sc^. s means to be in a state of rest, to lie,
lie with, adhere to, be with, embrace. sc^ and sj^ are intensitive
and decisive, to be entirely with, cling, adhere utterly. It means
to resort to, follow, love, serve, aid, also to enjoy physically.
sc-v means "Be with us, adhere to, abide with us."

Expressing relation, emphasises the idea of adherence in sc^.

s; and aE-t, substantive from as^ to be, with the common
nominal suffix Et, "happiness, welfare, prosperity, increase".


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Agni I desire who standeth before the Lord, the god who
knoweth all the law, the warrior who disposeth utterly delight.
Agni whom the ancient seers desired, the modern too adore;
for in his strength he beareth all the Gods.
By Agni one getteth substance, yes, and increase day by day,
and glorious success.
O Agni, that Lord here below whom thou encompassest on
every side, is he that moveth in the Gods.
Agni, the warrior whose strength is wisdom, he of the Truth
who has the knowledge rich, cometh, a God attended by the
O beloved, O Agni, that thou desirest to do good to him
who seeks to hurt thee, this is utterly thy nature, O Lord of
To thee, O Agni who protectest us in darkness day by day,
if with hearts full of self-surrender we come, then thou towerest
to thy height,
To thee, controller and protector of all things below, of the
Immortal brilliant force, ever increasing in thy home.
So be thou easy to our approach as a father to his child,
abide with us for our bliss.
Rishi - Madhuchchhanda Vaisvamitra.
Metre - Gayatri.

Mandala One


[RV I.1.1]
First Mandala
First Hymn

p;roEht\ y.-y
dvmE(vjm^. hotAr\ r&DAtmm^ 1
"Agni I adore who stands before the Lord, the god who
seeth Truth, the warrior, strong disposer of delight."
So the Rigveda begins with a song to Agni, with the adoration of the pure, mighty and brilliant God. "Agni, he who excels
and is mighty," cries the Seer, "him I adore." Why Agni before
all the other gods? Because it is he that stands before Yajna, the
Master of things; because he is the god whose burning eyes can
gaze straight at Truth, at the satyam, the vijnanam, that which
is the Seer's aim and desire and the thing on which all Veda is
based; because he is the warrior who wars down and removes
all the crooked attractions of ignorance and desire, juhuranam
enas, which stand in the way of the Yogin, because as the vehicle
of Tapas, the pure divine energy which flows from the higher
concealed hemisphere of existence, he more than any develops
and disposes Ananda, the divine delight.
In order to look into the words of the inspired writing and
comprehend, so far as mere intellectual exposition can help us
to comprehend, their profound meaning, we must begin with
the Vedanta, the great fundamental body of truth which all Veda
assumes; for it is by the passing into oblivion of this fundamental
knowledge that we have lost the key to the meaning of the Vedas,
and it is only by a return to the knowledge that we can recover
it. There are two states of being in consciousness, the divine
Brahmi sthiti of blissful unity, from which we descend, and the
divided state of the Jivatman into which we have descended.
Parabrahman reveals himself first as Yajna, the Supreme Soul
and Master of Things, Atman and Iswara; He is utterly one
as Atman, He is both One and Many as Iswara, but always


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

without losing His unity, always one without a second, ekam
evadwitiyam, because the Many, both in their individuality and
totality, are nothing but the One. Nothing is but God; we too
are God, each one of us is He, and that which we dwell in
is God. The fundamental sayings, So Aham; Tattwamasi, Swetaketo; sarvam khalu idam Brahma, are the sum of all Veda and
Vedanta. All is merely the manifestation of Him for the sake
of various delight; for Ananda the worlds are, from Ananda
they proceeded, by Ananda they abide, to Ananda they return.
Anandaddhyeva khalvimani bhutani jayante, anandena jatani
jivanti, anandam prayantyabhisanvishantiti. In this manifestation He as the Universal God pervades, governs, surpasses all.
He is the master of the play, - yjEt, He controls, rules and
arranges it. This is Yajna. He again as the manifold individual
God, ourselves, attaches Himself to every created thing (sarvabhuteshu) and limits not Himself but His manifestation in each
adhara, arranging and perpetually developing in each a particular nature or law of life, a swabhava, a dharma. So 'rthan
yathatathyato vyadadhacchaswatibhyah samabhyah. When we
identify ourselves with the play of this various Nature reflected
upon our consciousness and lose sight of our godhead, then we
resort too utterly to the principle of Avidya, God's power of
not knowing Himself, we become its servants, we are subject to
Apara Maya, we stumble about buffeted by grief and error and
all sorts of vikaras and viparita vrittis, we know ourselves as
the Jivatman and other than the Paramatman, we make division
where there is no division; we turn play into bitter earnest and
love and joy into hatred and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Nevertheless, this forgetfulness is allowed in order that our secret souls in the Parardha and Brahman in them may enjoy the
viparita ananda, the contrary or perverse delight, of the dualities.
When we forget the play of Nature on our consciousness, shut
our consciousness to it, refuse to reflect it, then we resort too
utterly to the principle of Vidya, God's power of knowing His
essential unity, we become subject to the Maya of Knowledge,
we seem to baffle and bring to nought for ourselves the joy of
the Lila, and disappear into some principle of Oneness, Prakriti,

Mandala One


Asad Brahman, Sad Brahman, Nirvana or Sacchidananda. It is,
or seems, an unnecessary movement; for the world remains just
as before so long as God chooses that it shall remain and we
cannot end it by our precipitation, and for ourselves we always
were Brahman, we always will be Brahman and we are not any
the more Brahman by our flight into the Absolute. Nevertheless, this withdrawal too is allowed in order that certain select
spirits may help the joy of the manifest world from behind the
veil by their immanent blessedness. For we have no need of
laya and no need of lila, no need of freedom and no need of
bondage, but all things are for delight and not from necessity.
But when we remember always and continually our oneness with
the Supreme, our eternal and indefeasible Godhead, and at the
same time allow Nature to reflect its movements on our souls
as on a magical canvas according to His eternal purpose, then
we have inalienable joy, then we bring heaven upon earth, then
we fulfil the highest purpose of existence. We are then free even
when we seem to be bound, and even if we are born again, we
are janmasiddha and janmashuddha, nityamukta, and wear the
temporary limitations of Nature as children allow themselves to
be bound in a game with bonds which the Yajna, Master of the
Revels looses Himself when we have given Him and ourselves
the intended and perfect satisfaction.
It is in the spirit of this knowledge that the hymns of the
Rigveda have been written. The Isha Upanishad is the Upanishad
of the Rigveda and it is there that its spiritual foundations are
revealed. To make of Avidya a bridge to immortality and of
Vidya the means of keeping our grasp on immortality, is the
common aim of the Rigvedic Rishis. This is the keynote, this
is the one great tone swelling through its thousand undertones.
And as our fingers fall on string after string of this mighty and
many-stringed harp of God, they return always one cry, the cry
of joyous battle, of war between Deva and Daitya, between mortality and immortality, between man's temporary imperfection
and his eternal perfectibility.
In this holy war the Gods are our chief helpers. There are
seven planes of cosmic consciousness on which the soul of man


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

plays with the love and wisdom and power of God. When first
the unknowable Parabrahman turns towards knowableness in
this partial manifestation, - for utterly That allows itself not to
be known, - the Absolute first becomes - to the possibility of
knowledge, not to its actuality - the Eternal Being or Paratpara
Purusha, paro 'vyaktad avyaktah sanatanah, who beyond the
uttermost darkness of the Asat, Sunyam Brahma or eternal nothingness which is the ultimate negation of this manifest existence
shines ever with the light unknown of which seven rays are sufficient to illuminate all these universal systems. He is that perceivable but unknowable glory seated for ever beyond the darkness
that swallows up the worlds, tamasah parastat. Out of Him the
Asad Brahma appears, the general negation, through which this
mighty manifestation in the seven universes passes back into the
unknowableness of Parabrahman; and out of the Asad, the Sat,
the general affirmation which we know as pure Atman, Self of
itself, not yet of things, where nothing is yet differentiated and
even Chit and Ananda are involved in mere featureless existence.
Asad va idam agra asit, tatah sad ajayata. Atman is featureless,
unconnected, inactive, alakshanam avyavaharyam akriyam. It
must be featureless in order to contain all possible feature; it
must be unconnected with the play of the worlds in order that
Chit may play upon Sat with perfect freedom and put forth into
the worlds without limitation whatever name, form or being the
Lord commands Her to put forth; it must be inactive in order
that there may be illimitable possibilities for Her action. For
Atman is the foundation and continent of our worlds and if
Atman had any definite feature or any bondage of connection
or any law of activity, the world play which it supports and
contains would be limited by that feature, by that connection or
by that activity and God in His manifestation would be bound
and not free. Therefore it is that as the featureless, free, inactive
Sad Atman the Eternal first manifests Himself on this side of
the darkness of Asat. Next, in Atman, He appears to His selfknowledge as the Nirgun Brahma, the Being without quality of
the Parabrahman, manifesting an impersonal self-existence, an
impersonal self-awareness and an impersonal self-delight, Sat,

Mandala One


Chit, Ananda. This too is Tat or That, but being unlike Parabrahman Tat in manifestation can be described, defined, cognised,
not as anything else but as Atman and as Sacchidanandam. Tat
in manifestation can be aware or unaware of the worlds and
It can be both aware and unaware, but its cognition is without
relation. It has no connection with the worlds in which it cognises and perceives activity merely as the play of a dream on the
surface of its imperturbable quiet. On the calm of the Nirgunam
God next imposes Himself (adhyaropayati) as the Personality of
the Eternal, the Paratpara Purusha manifest in relation to the
world. Here first we get relation, quality, activity. At first, the
Personality merely contains and informs the activity which plays
in it not as unrealised dream, but as realised though not binding
actuality and truth, as an infinite active blissfulness of the Chit in
the Sacchidananda in place of an infinite passive blissfulness. The
indifference of the Impersonal to the play of the Personal does
not make the play an unreality or an immense cosmic falsehood
with which Brahman amuses Himself or distresses Himself for
a season, any more than the featurelessness of the Sad Atman
makes feature a lie and an impossibility. On the contrary just
as that featurelessness is the necessary condition for features to
manifest truly, infinitely, divinely - for Truth, infinity and Deity
are one, - so the detachment of the Impersonal is simply the
condition for the security of the soul when it plunges into the
myriad-billowed ocean of manifest existence. The Impersonal
is detachment from guna and it is as detached from guna that
God possesses and enjoys guna, otherwise He would be bound
by and could not rightly enjoy it. It is because the tranquillity
and indifference of the Nirguna is concealed within us that our
souls can with impunity play at being bound, at being ignorant
and at being sorrowful without being really bound by our bonds
or darkened by our ignorance or destroyed by our sorrow. For
being omnipotent God within us can always go back to the
tranquillity within Him and look upon these things as a dream
that falls away from Him the moment He cares to wake. It
was a dream, but not a dream, just as when we are aware of
sights and sounds without attending to them or remember the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

past and it is to us dreamlike, swapnamaya. The world has a
reality, but the Impersonal does not interest Itself in that reality,
not attending to it; it does not properly recognise it except as a
thing that is and yet is not, the Maya of Shankara. This also is
not a lie but truth, not a foolish, blissful dream, but a perfect
reality. Because it was avyakta in the Nirguna, it is not therefore
false when it becomes vyakta any more than an apple hidden
is an apple non-existent. The world is not utter reality because
it is thing in manifestation, not thing in itself. Yet it is real
because it is a manifestation of God in Himself and God who
is satyam conceives nothing that is not satyam, nothing that is
not Himself. He is not a seer of falsehoods. Anritam is merely a
vikara or perversion of satyam. All ignorance is really partial or
misplaced knowledge, all bondage a concealment of freedom,
all evil good in the making, all sorrow a veiled delight. This
the Saguna Brahman perceives and knows and as Vasudeva, or
tranquil Personality, He utterly enjoys without any distinction
of pleasure and grief, good and evil, the infinite play of the
world within Himself. The Saguna is Sacchidananda envisaging
cosmic activity. On the tranquillity [of] Vasudeva God by a new
adhyaropa manifests Himself to Himself as the Sarvam Brahman
in all things; He becomes the Lilamaya, the eternal Child frolicking in the Universe, the Playmate, Lover, Master, Teacher and
Friend of all His creations; He is Hari, He is Srikrishna, He is the
Personal God whom we love and adore and whom we pursue
and seize through the Ages. Then, descending a step farther,
avataran, He is known to Himself not only as the universal
Lord of the Lila, but as the individual, Narayana concealed in
Nara, playing through him, different from him, one with him.
Many Adwaitins of the Kaliyuga insist that God is a myth and
only the Sad Atman is a reality, just as many Buddhists deny the
Sad Atman as well and say that only the Asad is a reality, but
if we know only the Sad Atman or only the Asad, if we follow
after only the Nirguna or only the Saguna, if we only embrace
Vasudeva-Krishna-Narayan, then we know not the Eternal except in an aspect and we fall under the censure of the Upanishad,
dabhram evapi twam vettha Brahmano rupam. We must shut

Mandala One


our eyes upon nothing, renounce nothing as absolutely false or
illusive if we would know the All and be perfectly liberated. Only
when we gaze we must gaze aright and see God in all things,
not things as aught but God. Our fathers did not commit the
error of sectarianism or a partial philosophy. They were mighty
as Gods or Titans, not like the men of the Kali Yuga who shout
and quarrel over their imperfect philosophies and little bounded
religions; their souls were spacious enough to take in all truth
for their portion.
In this Brahman then, on the sure foundation of this free
and disinterested Atman, in the joy and infinity of this Lila
consciousness manifests its sevenfold nature and its sevenfold
regions. We are already aware in our human progress of the three
lower levels of consciousness; the vyahritis of the Veda, Bhur,
Bhuvar and Swar, planes in which we wander in the shadow of
the Ajnanam lighted by a broken sunlight from above, erring
under the control of Avidya who separated from her eternal
companion and playmate Vidya and at strife with that glorious
friend and helper stumbles about among the appearances of the
world, ourselves always dissatisfied, always struggling, always
seeking a good that we cannot grasp and crying out at the end,
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity & vexation of spirit." But in that
too we cannot rest; for God condemns us to our own good and
spurs us on ever to seek until we find the missing element [that]
can complete the incompleteness of our existence. Meanwhile
the soul imagining itself irrevocably bound, contents itself with
the things of its prisonhouse and wears its chains as ornaments
or else, touched by God and uplifted, delights to struggle upward
to freedom. For above the three Vyahritis is the fourth, Mahas,
where the soul is one with God, yet separate, free, yet consciously
plays with bondage, - Mahas, the link between the Parardha
and Aparardha, pouring the glory of the higher hemisphere into
the lower, - Mahas which we enjoy and possess in the golden
ages of our humanity, love and seek for in the iron. For to
Mahas we rise, through Mahas we aspire to the perfect oneness
of Sacchidananda.
Brahman at first becomes involved in gross matter, - he


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

becomes or seems to become Annam, the conscious principle of
Bhu. In pure Annam consciousness is involved, implicit, latent;
from annam it has to develop or manifest the other six principles
and this development or manifestation is the evolution of the
modern Jadavadins. It develops them here, under the law of
the universal harmony, in annam and the Jadavadins perceiving
this principle of evolution, imagine not unnaturally that it is
annam which is evolving and suppose the other six, even Mind,
to be mere changes and movements of annam. At first prana
or vitality which is latent in the metal, manifests in the tree;
then mind which is latent in the tree manifests in the animal,
first as chitta or mere receptive consciousness, then as manas or
sensational consciousness without any self-conscious centre of
individuality, then as the discriminatory faculty or buddhi with
its companion Ahankara, egoism, the self-conscious principle.
In the animals reason is awake, but elementary and has to be
largely replaced by vijnanam, intuitive faculty manifesting not in
intellect but in sensational & vital consciousness. Then in man
discriminative reason takes the lead, for discriminative reason is
the shadow of the vijnanam, the link between the animal and the
god and it is not till a fit body is formed for the works of reason
that the spiritual evolution begins and the development of the
higher states of consciousness is possible. Man is that fit body,
sukritam eva, well indeed and beautifully made as a habitation
for the gods. His business is to raise the animal in him and
develop beyond manomaya being, transcending & subordinating even its crown and glory which he considers his peculiar
privilege, the discriminative and imaginative reason. For he has
to develop vijnanam or ideal thought on which all Veda is based,
he has to develop Ananda, Chit and Sat, the higher hemisphere
of cosmic consciousness. In the present stage of his evolution he
can only develop consciously as far as Ananda with Sat & Chit
implicit in Ananda; to Chit & Sat proper he cannot arrive in his
waking state, but only in the deep trance of Sushupta Samadhi,
concentration of consciousness in a state of illuminated Sleep. He
began his task as the supreme animal, Pashu, Vanara, Nrisingha,
developing all these potentialities purely in the annamaya kosha

Mandala One


or physical sheath of his being in Annam & Prana; he went
on as the mixed animal, first the Pishacha or scientific, curious
animal, then the Pramatha or aesthetic, curious animal; and from
these levels climbed to the condition of the Rakshasa or animalgod who satisfies egoism through his sensational and emotional
impulses; he is now the Asura, Titan or demi-god satisfying
in the heart & buddhi his emotional and intellectual egoism.
He has eventually to become the whole god; he must learn to
satisfy himself without egoism through ideal knowledge and
blissful spirituality. But always being in the annamaya world,
in Bhu, resting always on the Anna Atma, he is compelled to
base himself on the body even when rising above the body. The
individual may leave the body, but the race has to keep it; it
has not to leave the animal in humanity behind in its progress
but to raise the animal until it is divine. It is his first business
therefore to be conscious not only in the physical sheaths of the
Annakosha and Pranakosha, - this he normally is, - but in the
mental sheath or manahkosha, and there in his normal condition
he is only partially active. Once awake in the mental body, he
has to extend his waking consciousness, - whoever can so far
develop, - into the Vijnana and Anandakoshas.
What are these bodies and these Atmas? The Vedantins of
old recognised that divine consciousness on whatever level always creates for itself through Prakriti or Chit, its active creative
knowledge, a world to live in & a body for its habitation in
the world, and in that world and in that body manifests as a
part of the Atman reflecting their conditions. If therefore there
are seven distinct states of consciousness, there must equally
be seven conditions of the Atman, seven distinct worlds with
their denizens and seven kinds of bodies. These seven states are
Annam, Prana, Manas, Vijnanam, Ananda, Chit and Sat; these
seven worlds are Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Swarloka, Maharloka,
Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka; these seven conditions of the
Atman are the Visva Atma, Prana Atma, Buddha Atma, Mahan
Atma, Mahajana Atma, Chaitanya Atma and Satya Atma; these
seven bodies are the Annakosha, Pranakosha, Manahkosha, Vijnanakosha, Anandakosha, Chitkosha and Satkosha. In each


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

world the denizens, although living predominatingly in the body
proper to their own element of conscious existence, also live latently or consciously in the other six, and all have therefore seven
bodies, each in communication with its proper plane or world
& containing its proper principle of consciousness. Man, living
here in the Bhu, has, he too, his seven bodies. He has for instance
the Manahkosha containing his pure mental consciousness and,
although mind can & does play in the other sheaths, it can only
be by becoming awake & living in his mental body as well as
his physical that he can realise the utmost potentialities of pure
mental activity. It is because he has these other bodies, that he
can, if he will, communicate with the other worlds and have
relations with the Gods.
This then is the arrangement of the created universe, and the
world we live in is its base, not only earth but all these sidereal
systems, Bhuloka, the material universe, our present inheritance.
Being the lowest of the Aparardha worlds, it is according to a
common action of God's love and wisdom, at once the least
and the most privileged, the least privileged because here alone
grief and pain are utterly felt, here alone is the whole pain and
struggle of evolution, - the most privileged because here alone
is the evolution eventually complete in all the potentiality of
its parts and heaven perfectly realised in a sevenfold blissfulness. Above us are the six other worlds, homes of the gods who
change not ever, except by entering human bodies. First, there
is Bhuvar, the Pranamaya world, where Prana is at its height,
vitality is stupendous, grief and pain are felt but enjoyed, sensuous enjoyment is perfect and prolonged. Then there is Swar,
lower & higher, Swarga and Chandraloka, where Indra and the
greater gods reside, manas is at its height, sensation, emotion,
aesthetic pleasure and intellectual joy are of a mighty intensity,
grief and pain are not felt except as another kind of pleasure
and rapture, mental enjoyment is perfect and prolonged. Above
there is Mahas or Suryaloka where vijnanam is at its height,
intuitive ideal perception, inspiration & revelation are the normal processes of knowledge and the joys of ideal and direct
knowledge unmixed with falsehood and error are perfect and

Mandala One


prolonged. It is this state of consciousness which is so often
called in the Veda, satyam, ritam, brihat and technically termed
Bhuma, Mahas or Mahat, the abundant, full or mighty. These
are the worlds of the lower hemisphere and of these states of
consciousness we can have some conception, we can imagine
and even realise or almost realise the condition of the beings
who reside in these worlds, to the very highest. But what of the
three supreme states of consciousness? what of the three worlds
of the higher hemisphere? It is more difficult to conceive of them
or to realise what man himself will be or is when he develops
them - is, for even now by Yoga he can develop the Ananda.
Still, because, debarred though we are from the actual tread of
these infinite heavens, we can experience them indirectly and
as conditioned by our existence on these lower levels, therefore
some idea of them, not altogether inadequate, may be formed
by those of us who have a touch of the ideal faculty.

[RV I.1.1]
First Mandala
First Hymn
Madhuchchhanda Vaisvamitra's Hymn to Agni written in the
Gayatri metre in which the first verse runs in the devabhasha,
"Agnim le puro hitam Yajnasya devam ritvijam,
hotaram ratnadhatamam"
and in English,
"Agni I adore, who stands before the Lord, the god who
seeth Truth, the warrior, strong disposer of delight."
So the Rigveda begins with an invocation to Agni, with
the adoration of the pure, mighty and brilliant God. "Agni (he
who excels and is mighty)," cries the Seer, "him I adore." Why


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Agni before all the other gods? Because it is he that stands before Yajna, the Divine Master of things; because he is the god
whose burning eyes can gaze straight at Truth, at the satyam,
the vijnanam, which is the Seer's own aim and desire and on
which all Veda is based; because he is the warrior who wars
down and removes all the crooked attractions of ignorance and
limitation (asmajjuhuranam eno) that stand persistently in the
way of the Yogin; because as the vehicle of Tapas, the pure
divine superconscious energy which flows from the concealed
higher hemisphere of existence, (avyaktam, parardha), he more
than any develops and arranges Ananda, the divine delight. This
is the signification of the verse.
Who is this Yajna and what is this Agni? Yajna, the Master
of the Universe, is the universal living Intelligence who possesses
and controls His world; Yajna is God. Agni also is a living intelligence that has gone forth, is srishta, from that Personality to do
His work and represent His power; Agni is a god. The material
sense sees neither God nor gods, neither Yajna nor Agni; it sees
only the elements and the formations of the elements, material
appearances and the movements in or of those appearances. It
does not see Agni, it sees a fire; it does not see God, it sees the
earth green and the sun flaming in heaven and is aware of the
wind that blows and the waters that roll. So too it sees the body
or appearance of a man, not the man himself; it sees the look or
the gesture, but of the thought behind look or gesture it is not
aware. Yet the man exists in the body and thought exists in the
look or the gesture. So too Agni exists in the fire and God exists
in the world. They also live outside of as well as in the fire and
outside of as well as in the world.
How do they live in the fire or in the world? As the man
lives in his body and as thought lives in the look or the gesture. The body is not the man in himself and the gesture is not
the thought in itself; it is only the man in manifestation or the
thought in manifestation. So too the fire is not Agni in himself
but Agni in manifestation and the world is not God in Himself
but God in manifestation. The man is not manifested only by
his body, but also and much more perfectly by his work and

Mandala One


action, thought is not manifested only by look and gesture, but
also and much more perfectly by action and speech. So too,
Agni is not manifested only by fire, but also and much more
perfectly by all workings in the world, - subtle as well as gross
material, - of the principle of heat and brilliance and force; God
is not manifested only by this material world, but also and much
more perfectly by all movements and harmonies of the action of
consciousness supporting and informing material appearances.
What then is Yajna in Himself and what is Agni in himself?
Yajna is Being, Awareness and Bliss; He is Sat, with Chit and
Ananda, because Chit & Ananda are inevitable in Sat. When in
His Being, Awareness and Bliss He conceals guna or quality, He
is nirguna Sat, impersonal being with Awareness and Bliss either
gathered up in Himself & passive, they nivritta, He also nivritta
or working as a detached activity in His impersonal existence,
they pravritta, He nivritta. Then He should not be called Yajna,
because He is then aware of himself as the Watcher and not as
the Lord of activity. But when in His being, He manifests guna or
quality He is saguna Sat, personal being. Even then He may be
nivritta, not related to His active awareness and bliss except as a
Watcher of their detached activity; but He may also by His Shakti
enter into their activity and possess and inform His universe
(pravishya, adhisthita), He pravritta, they pravritta. It is then
that He knows Himself as the Lord and is properly called Yajna.
Not only is He called Yajna, but all action is called Yajna and
Yoga, by which alone the process of any action is possible, is also
called Yajna. The material sacrifice of action is only one form
of Yajna, which, when man began to grow again material, took
first a primary and then a unique importance and for the mass of
men stood for all action and all Yajna. But the Lord is the master
of all our actions; for Him they are, to Him they are devoted,
with or without knowledge (avidhipurvakam) we are always
offering our works to their Creator. Every action is therefore an
offering to Him and the world is the altar of our lifelong session
of sacrifice. In this worldwide karmakanda the mantras of the
Veda are the teachers of right action (ritam) and it is therefore
that the Veda speaks of Him as Yajna and not by another name.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

This Yajna, who is the Saguna Sat, does not do works Himself, (that is by Sat), but He works in Himself, in Sat, by His
power of Chit, - by His Awareness. It is because He becomes
aware of things in Himself by some process of Chit that things
are created, brought out, that is to say, srishta from His allcontaining non-manifest Being into His manifest Self. Power
& awareness, Chit and Shakti are one, and though we speak
for convenience' sake of the Power of Chit, & call it Chichchhakti, yet the expression should really be understood not as
the Power of Chit, but as Chit that is Power. All awareness is
power and all power conceals awareness. When Chit that is
Power begins to work, then She manifests Herself as kinetic
force, Tapas, and makes it the basis of all activity. For because
all power is Chit subjectively, therefore all power is objectively
attended with light; but there are different kinds of light, because
there are different manifestations of Chit. Seven rays have cast
out this apparent world from the Eternal Luminousness which
dwells like a Sun of ultimate being beyond its final annihilation, adityavat tamasah parastat, and by these seven rays in
their subjectivity the subjective world and by these seven rays
in their objectivity the phenomenal world is manifested. Sat,
chit, ananda, vijnanam, manas, prana, annam are the sevenfold
subjectivity of the Jyotirmaya Brahman. Prakasha, agni, vidyut,
jyoti, tejas, dosha and chhaya are His sevenfold objectivity. Agni
is the Master of the vehicle of Tapas. What is this vehicle of Tapas
of which Agni is the master? It is fiery light. Its Master is known
by the name of his kingdom. Strength, heat, brilliance, purity,
mastery of knowledge and impartiality are his attributes. He
is Yajna manifest as the Master of the light of Tapas, through
whom all kinetic energy of consciousness, thought, feeling or
action is manifested in this world which Yajna has made out
of His own being. It is for this reason that he is said to stand
before Yajna. He or vidyut or Surya full of him is the blaze of
light in which the Yogins see God with the divine vision. He is
the instrument of that universal activity in which Yajna at once
reveals and conceals His being.
Agni is a god - He is of the devas, the shining ones, the

Mandala One


Masters of light - the great cosmic gamesters, the lesser lords
of the Lila, of which Yajna is Maheswara, the one Almighty
Lord. He is free and unbound or binds himself only in play.
He is inherently pure and he is not touched nor soiled by the
impurities on which he feeds. He enjoys the play of good &
evil and leads, raises or forces the evil towards goodness. He
burns in order to purify. He destroys in order to save. When the
body of the sadhak is burned up with the heat of the tapas, it is
Agni that is roaring and devouring and burning up in him the
impurity and the obstructions. He is a dreadful, mighty, blissful,
merciless and loving God, the kind and fierce helper of all who
take refuge in his friendship.
Knowledge was born to Agni with his birth - therefore he
is called jatavedas.

[RV I.1]

p;roEht\ y.-y
dvmE(vjm^. hotAr\ r&DAtmm^
1. aE`nmF0
aE`nm^. The primitive root a, to be, when combined with
certain consonants k^, g^, j^, r^, contracted a sense of existence in
the superlative, k^ giving more the sense of height & intensity,
g^ of strength, solidity or quantity, j^, r^, of rapidity, vigour, activity, command. All strong action or quality could be denoted
by ag^, as in ag},, Gr. kroc, topmost, first, foremost; gw,
ago, I lead, act; gajc, good, brave; gan, excessive; names
like Agis, Agamemnon, Agamedes (cf Sanscrit aj,, ajmFY,);
glac, brilliant; etc. In Sanscrit the root ar^ is much preferred
to the guttural combination. There can be no doubt, however,
that ag^ in aE`n, meant strong, brilliant, forceful. Nasalised,
we have it in a\gEt fire (also a conveyance, cf gw & S. a\g^),
a\gAr, a live coal, a\g^ to stir, move; and in a\Egr, and agE-t,
- the former term often applied to Agni. There was another
signification, to cling, embrace, love, which we find in the Greek


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

gph, love, ganc, tender, gentle, charming, which seems to

have been another meaning of a\Egr,, loving, and appears in the
mode of address a\g, in a\k,, a\gm^ etc, & in an\g the god of
love. Agni is the bright and strong, the bright god of fire, the
strong, burning god of Tapas, heat and force.

. The root is il^ or Il^, 0^ being a modification which now
survives only in the Southern Aryan tongues, Marathi, Tamil etc.
il^ is itself a secondary root from i to go, move, go after, wish
for, desire, go to, reach, embrace, possess, control (cf Ih^, iQC^,
If^). The liquid increases the closeness of contact, steadiness of
action, or soft intensity of feeling. Il^ is to love, woo, desire,
adore, embrace, press upon physically or mentally urge, crowd.
The meaning, praise, is of later development from the sense
of wooing or adoration. In words like ilA, the earth, il^ has
the original sense of motion. I adore or desire, or I praise will
equally fit the first line, but in view of the second, where the
coincident root IX^ means obviously desirable or adorable, not
praiseworthy, the more primitive meaning must be preferred.

p;roEht\. Not Purohit, but placed in front. Unless we take Yajna in the sense of sacrifice, there is no need to take p;roEhtm^ in any but its original and primitive sense. Agni may be described as the Purohita or representative of the gods in the sacrifice, he is in no sense a sacrificer at the ceremony, in no sense either Purohit or Ritwik. He is the eater of the sacrifice not its priest. Even if Yajna is taken to mean sacrifice, Agni cannot rightly be called its priest, and p;roEhtm^ will still have to mean standing in front, but with the idea of the Gods supplied and the genitive y.-y understood of general relation without any idea of possession, "who stands forth for the gods at the sacrifice". But the language of the Vedas is always precise and sufficient and no such omission of a word need be supplied.

y.-y. y. is acknowledged to be a name for Vishnu, for
the Supreme Lord, and the Supreme is not a sacrifice. We must
find some other meaning for y. in the etymology of the word.
We find the kindred ym, which means he who controls, governs,
as in EnytA and other members of the y family of roots. The
sense of force put forth to reach, obtain or control is a common
significance in this group. "Restraint" is a sense of the word
y,, "obtaining" of yA; "effort, control, mastery" is found in yt^,
yt,, yEt,, y&, ytA, y/^, ym^, ym, (Enym,, s\ym,), yAm,; yyF is
a name of Shiva; y., itself is a name of Agni, the master of
tp, or force in action and exertion; yf, is fame, glory, beauty,
wealth, - in Bengali, success, attainment, probably a survival
of its original sense; in yEvS youngest, from a lost yv,, not lost
to the Veda, y;vn^ youth etc, & in yv barley, yvs, grass, the
root sense is "strong, flourishing, vigorous"; ys^, yAs, (aAyAs,,
yAs,) bring us back to the idea of effort and labour. These
significations arise [as] developments from the sense of "going",
(combined with effort or an original impetus), with its common,
almost invariable development of going after, seeking, striving,
desiring, (yA, yAc^), also reaching, meeting, mixing, acquiring,
joining, embracing, enjoying (y;, y;j^, yog,, yAmF, yoqA, y;D^, yoEn)
and the sense of reaching to, joining to or handing, from which
we have the idea of giving, yQC^, yj^ in the sense of sacrifice,
cf yAjyEt. The sense of strong one, master, controller, lord is
established for y., by the application to Vishnu and Agni, continued at a time when the etymological justification had been
lost; the sense of sacrifice is established by the universal later
use. But it is also capable of the same senses as yog,, y& or the
lost yt^ from which we have yEt,, yt, etc; it could mean effort,
action, tapasya, Yoga; this sense is the basis of the idea attached
to the word y., in the Gita and of the meaning of adhiyajna
there as the One in whom all action, tapasya and Yoga rest
and to whom they are consciously or unconsciously devoted.
The modern form of the Gita is there trying to assimilate an
older form in which y. had its natural meaning, - Yoga, action,

dvm^. The root Edv^, dFv^ commonly means either "to shine"
dv,, the shining
or "to play". It is the former sense that gives us
ones, referring to the luminous tejomaya bodies proper to the
inhabitants of the Swarloka where tejah is the primary element


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

in all forms.
dv by detrition of the v gives Latin deus and Greek
jec; from the long root dFv^ we have divus and diva.

-E(vjm^. For a reason already alleged, this word need not
& should not be taken in the modern sense. The modern derivation -t; & ij^, sacrificing in season, is a forced etymology,
imposed after the word had contracted its modern meaning. The
Ritwik was not a sacrificer in season any more than the Purohit,
Hota, Brahma or Adhwaryu. The word meant originally "seer
or knower of the truth, the right, the law, the Ritam", and in this
sense it was applied to the priest whose duty it was to see that
everything was done according to the fixed rule and rationale of
the sacrifice. But originally it had no such narrow significance. It
meant "the seer of the ritam" and as applied to Agni it had the
same sense as "jatavedah", he to whom the Veda or direct vision
of truth has appeared, - for jata in this word has nothing to do
with birth. Even if we take the etymology to be -t; + ij^, this
sense is perfectly possible, -t; will then be used in its original
sense of established truth, ascertained thought, fixed law (from
which the sense of "proper time, season" arose) and ij^ in the
sense "obtain, acquire, know", common to the groups of roots
which have the sense of motion towards. I suggest, however,
that the combination is -t^ truth, and Evj^ to see perfectly or
decisively. The combination is not contrary to the old laws of
sandhi, eg vt^ + m = v(m, pt^ + nF = p&F etc. The liquid and nasal
consonants did not originally call for the modification of the
preceding hard consonant in composition.
The root -t^ contracts the sense of truth from the original
force of - to go, move, go to, to reach, find, know, think, fix. We
find in Sanscrit -j;, fixed, straight, honest; -t, right, proper,
true; -tm^, rule, law, truth, right; -t;, a fixed time, season, period, a fixed order or rule; -B;, -
knower, sage; -q;, wise. In Latin we have reor, I think, judge;
ratus, thought, fixed, settled, valid; ratio, rule, method, reason,
view, principle; also calculation, account etc; rectus, straight,
right; regula, a rule.
The root Evj^ usually means an intense state of existence,

Mandala One


as in Latin vigor, strength, vigour; vigere, to flourish; cf vireo,
to flourish, be green, vir, a hero, S. vFr, from a brother root;
g,), v
g, speed, intensity; but it has
S. Evj^ to be excited (u7
other meanings, eg to discriminate, decide, judge. The primary Ev
means to appear, burst out, be divulged, to split open, separate,
and, transitively, to see, know, discriminate, separate, divulge,
expose, etc. A great regiment of words in Tamil & a few in Latin
bear evidence to this sense, especially the Tamil for eye rz and
the root r with its numerous derivatives; a number of words
meaning open, public, sale, auction, publication etc; Latin vile,
common, cheap; villa, open place, country place, county seat;
vendo, I sell; venalis, to be sold; but especially video, I see. In
Sanscrit we have Evd^ to know; Evj^ to separate, discriminate; Evc^
in the same sense; Ev itself always implying in some form division
or separation; EvnA, except, without, from the same sense; Evp^
and Ev a wise man, seer; aAEvr^ manifest; Evl^ to divide, break,
& in the causal form to send forth, throw out (originally, to
divulge, manifest); Eblm^ (Evlm^) a hole, fissure; Evf^ to enter in,
penetrate; Evq^ to separate, disjoin; vF to be born or produced,
appear; shine, produce; vFpA lightning; Evyt^ the open sky; and
others. Evj^ may therefore mean either to see, or to separate and

hotArm^. The word hotA again means a sacrificial priest, and
it is curious, if these senses are to be taken, that three different
words meaning different kinds of sacrificial priests, should be
applied to Agni in the course of a short line composed of eight
words and not one with any definite appropriateness either to
Agni himself or to the context. We must seek a more appropriate
The root h; like all h^ roots must have had originally the
sense of "to use force violently or aggressively, to come into
aggressive contact, to throw, throw out, strike, kill". This sense
we find in hA to throw away, abandon; ht from h, slain, killed; hn^
to strike, injure, kill; Eh\s^; Eh\sA injury, slaughter;
hEt, a weapon;
h\s, a swan (one who flies flapping the wings); hW, violence,
force, rapine; hd^ to discharge (excrement), (cf Bengali hAgA); hn;,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

weapon, disease, death, (Greek jnatoc, death, jnhtc, mortal);
hT, a blow, killing, death; hy^ to be weary; hy, horse (galloper);
} to seize, ravish; hEr, anything strong, swift, brilliant, bright
coloured (cf hErZ,, hErt^); hl^ to plough, move strongly (we find
traces of the idea of moving strongly in the vernaculars, cf Ehl^,
Ehol, 4l^); hs^ to ridicule, originally to insult, slight, humiliate;
cf Eh@X^ to disregard, slight; Eh to cast, shoot; Eh^ to hurt, injure,
kill; h;@X a tiger; h;l^ to injure, kill; h;X, a ram (butter, fighter);

hl^ to slight;
hW^ to vex, hurt; hoX a robber; hoX^, hOX^ to slight; >;
to rob, take away; xs^ to waste, diminish; xAd^ & x
q^ to sound
loudly, roar, neigh; xF to be put to shame. So insistent are these
senses of this violent root that it is impossible to believe that
h; alone, unlike its secondary roots, h;@X^, h;X^ & h;l^, should not
have shared in them. As a matter of fact we find that the sense of
sacrifice comes from the idea of throwing; to throw in the fire,
hence to sacrifice. We have also the sense of calling, hv, a cry,
to call, where the idea is of the violent throwing out of
call; 4
hq^ etc) and finally aAhv,,
the sound from the throat (cf xAd^, x
battle. It is in this word aAhv, that we get the key to the ancient
sense of h; to slay, strike, fight. If it had this sense in the time of
the Veda we may take hotA as slayer, fighter, hv as meaning both
battle & cry, call, ho/\ as war, battle. On this supposition Agni
hota is the slayer, the warrior, the smiter of the foe.

r&DAtmm^. Again we have a word we cannot take in its
modern sense. r& in the sense of jewel comes from the idea
of glittering, coruscating which is an original sense of the root
r & its derivatives. This root r & its brother root rA, meant
originally to vibrate, to be intense in movement, contact, feeling, so to coruscate, glitter, break up, play, rush, shout, rejoice,
feel ecstasy. We have r, in the sense of fire, heat, love, desire,
speed; rA gold; r\ brightness, lustre; r\h^ to go swiftly; r\hEt,, r\hs^
speed, impetuosity; rk, the sunstone, crystal or a hard shower;
rk^ to taste, (take delight of); r?t painted, brilliantly coloured,
impassioned, playful; rG; swift; r\g, colour, amusement, passion;
rjt\ silver; rjs^ originally strength, swiftness, passion, force;
the dancing of broken dust, etc, cf rd^, rD}\; r\j^ to colour, be

Mandala One


enamoured, delighted; rV^ to shout, call out; rZ, (literally a
charge), war, combat, ringing sound; rT, a chariot, a hero or
fighter (mhArT,, aEtrT,, aEDrT, where the sense is evidently a
fighter and has nothing to do with chariot); ecstasy, delight; rB^ to
clasp, embrace; start off, begin; rBs^ impetuosity, vehemence, in
Bengali, violent delight or ecstasy; cf S. rAB-y\ delight, violence;
rm^ to play, rejoice, delight; r\B^ to bellow; ry^ to stream, go;
m, ray, beam; rs^ to cry out, scream; taste, relish; rs, delight,
taste, liquid, (from "to flow"). Cf also rAg,, rADA, rAm, rAmA,
rAv,, rv, etc. The root rt^ from which r& may come (unless
we compound r + &, but this is contrary to the evidence of
y&,, p&F etc) is not found except in rAE/, and rAEt, where it
is significant that rAEt means a friend, a gift, ready or generous, which may all have come from the sense of delight, play
etc; rAE/, & rjnF may also mean the time of enjoyment. We
have too rEt,, delight, which is usually derived from rm^. In any
case the evidence of the other roots gives as the most probable
meanings of a root rt^, delight, light or vehemence of feeling,
motion or action. In this passage the two first alone will enter
naturally into the sense of the verse. Agni is addressed either
as the giver of light, ritwij and jatavedas - for physically Agni
is the disposer of light only through Surya - or as the giver
of delight, because tapas is the basis of all ananda. But this
metaphorical sense of "light" is a doubtful use and for other
reasons as well, foreign to the etymological considerations, I
prefer the sense of "delight" to the other and more obvious
Agni I desire, who stands before the Lord, the god who seeth
truth, - the warrior, who disposeth utterly delight.

EB, -EqEBrFX^yo n$tn
{zt. s
dvA; eh v"Et
2. aE`n, p$v
IX^yo. X and l are often interchangeable in Sanscrit; cf h;X^
& h;l^,
hX^ and
hl^. There is no difference of force or use between
iX^ & il^.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

{r^. n; or n$ is evidently an old Aryan word for "now" used
both of time & logical sequence and in asking questions; this is
evident from the adverbs formed from it - Sanscrit n;, Greek nu,
Latin num, nunc. Hence nv, in the sense of new, lit. "belonging
to now", nvFn = t(kAlFn. n, En, n; seem to have pointed out an
immediate object; whence the Sanscrit En of close relation, Lat.
in, Gr. n (from i-En, a-En, the i and a being expletive for the
sake of more exact demonstration); also the use of n, to mean
us, and of @aP, @P in Tamil to mean I, us.
ut .. id^. 1 In the old Aryan language a, i, u were evidently
used as demonstrative pronouns, i being this here near me, a
this a little farther off, u that. We have precisely this use in
Tamil; ;p, p,
p, the demonstrative pronouns where
p is euphonic & ; honorific; so too ;<, <. The three
are liberally used to define other pronouns and adverbs, eg
;HHa<, HHa<, etc. We have similarly in Sanscrit aym^,
iym^, where y^ is euphonic and am^ definitive (as in vy\, y$y\); av,
iv, aEt, iEt, at,, it, etc. We have in Latin the two forms
ille and olle, to say nothing of the suggestions in aliquis etc;
we have is, ea, id, for the ordinary demonstrative pronoun. a,,
i,, u, appear to have been the masculine forms, at^, it^, ut^ or
ad^, id^, ud^ the neuter. These neuter forms were used latterly
only as emphatic adverbs, prepositions or conjunctions. We find
similarly a, i, u used by themselves as emphatic particles, or
compounded with the adverbial neuters as in iEt, aEt. We have
in Sanscrit it^, ut, aEt & iEt; in Latin at, et, ad, ut, uti; in
Greek ti which is evidently the Sanscrit aEt, in the sense of
still, besides, "encore". ut here is emphatic with something of
the sense "of course". it^ corresponds to the later ev. s it^ =
s ev. it^ is also found in i(TA, idA, idAnFm^. iEt is it^ farther
emphasised and used to mark off reported speech or to fill the
place taken in English by inverted commas.

1 When Sri Aurobindo wrote out the second verse above (evidently from memory), he
initially substituted sa id deves.u gacchati from the fourth verse for sa devan eha vaks.ati.
This paragraph on uta and id was written before the mistake was corrected. - Ed.

Mandala One


eh. The word is undoubtedly an adverb, but it is a question
whether it is a mere variation of ih, as ev or evm^ undoubtedly
were variations of iv. There is another possible signification. I
suggest that the root ih^ was used in the ancient tongue to signify
"strength, force". That this sense of strength was inherent in the
i roots is evident from the Sanscrit id,, in^ to invigorate, force,
compel, in, able, mighty, lord, master, i
rich, a king, iq, full of sap or strength, If^ to rule, master, Greek
fi, fjimoc. eh would be an adverb formed from ih^ by gunation
to eh^ and the addition of a either adverbially or as an accusative
termination and would mean strongly, forcibly, with strength.
v"Et. I take v"^ as a habituative or intensive form tertiary
from vh^ = vh^ + s^, like r"^ from rh^, d"^ from dh^, j"^ from js^
& a lost jh^ (jhk,, jht^), n"^ from ns^. Agni ever bears up the
gods with strength.
Agni desirable to the seers of old no less than to those of
today, mightily he beareth up the gods.

v Edv
. yfs\ vFrv1mm^
3. aE`nnA rEym`vt^ poqm
rEym^. We have seen that the r roots have a strong sense of
swift motion. To the instances already alleged may be added rF
going, motion; z to go, move; r\G^ to hasten; rt; a way, road, river
(cf r-tA); ry^ to go, move; ry, a current, river; speed, vehemence;
rhs^ swiftness; Gr. w, I flow; oc, stream; ema, flow; Lat.
rivus, a river. We have seen also that it bears the frequent sense of
light and of delight. rEy, from ry^ may mean either light, delight,
motion or anything that moves, or from the old identification of
substance with motion, it may mean matter, substance, wealth,
force, substantial object. Compare the Latin res, thing, matter,
affair. rEy, certainly has the sense of Matter in the Upanishad.
a`vt^. Rt af^ to have, get, enjoy. Greek qw. I have, hold.
ev. Literally "so"; here evidently used to mean, "so also,
also, as well".


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

vFrv1mm^. The word vFr here is a noun adjectivised by the
addition of vt^. There must therefore have been a noun vFr,
meaning not only hero, strong man, but strength, like vis, viris,
in Latin. See under -E(vj^ in the first shloka. Another possible
meaning of vFr would be manifest, intense, splendid, shining. See
the same. In either case yf, means not fame but either mastery or
strength. See under y., ibid. We may translate it either strength
most glorious or strongest, most vigorous mastery. The latter
seems more probable.
By Agni one getteth substance and increase too day by day,
yea, mightiest mastery.

y\ y.m@vr\ Ev
vt, pErB$rEs. s id^
q; gQCEt
4. a`n
a@vrm^. Not sacrifice, but an adjective from aD^ a secondary
root of a to be. The sounds D & v appear to have given an idea
of weight, solidity and dullness, with which the ideas of dense
matter or downward motion were easily associated. We have av
of descent. We have aD,, a formation from aD^ by the addition
of the nominal as^ used in the neuter adverbially; we have aDr,
& aDm,, lower & lowest from some lost adjective aD, low;
we have a@vn^ a path, originally perhaps a way of descent, a
path down, but this is not certain as we have aV^ to wander and
there are other proofs of a sense of motion in a roots. Given
a word a@v descent, as we have i(vn^ & i(vr, formed from a
lost i(v, so we shall have a@vn^ & a@vr, formed from this lost
a@v, & meaning descending or descended, lower. a@v must also
have been capable of the sense substantial or material being,
like a3m^ a kindred root, but a@vr in the Veda evidently refers
to more than the annamaya existence. It embraces the whole
aparardha or lower hemisphere of existence believed in by the
Vaidic thinkers. It is the opposite of u1r,.
gQCEt. In the original sense of moving, not of going towards a particular direction. Cf gA the moving earth, jgtF

Mandala One


O Agni, the Lord below whom thou encompassest with thy
being on every side, is the same that moveth in the gods.

5. aE`nhotA kEv5t;, s(yE
kEv5t;,. 5t;, again has nothing to do with a sacrifice. It
meant activity, mastery, strength, doing, action, or the adjectives of these significations. It also meant like k
t;, a word of
the same root family Will or Force. Cf Greek krtoc, kraterc,
krataic, kresswn (5tFyAn^), krtistoc. The Vedic ft5t;, does
not mean Indra of a hundred sacrifices, but Indra of destroying
strength. It is notable in how many cases the obsession of the
idea of sacrifice has perverted the original sense of words. The
perversion is beyond doubt. The only question is whether it was
done before or after the composition of the Vedic hymns.
kEv,. The root k; from the initial sense of curve, hollow, took
the derivative idea of containing, holding, knowing, or forming,
constructing, writing, drawing etc (cf the similar association of
ideas in the m^ roots). We have, therefore, the double idea of a
sage and a poet or artist, familiar throughout Sanscrit literature.
But for kEv, in this passage we must suppose the sense not of
the knower, but of knowledge. The addition of the nominal i,
had always this double utility of indicating the agent or the state
or action. kEv, means the comprehensive knowledge, the art or
science of a subject. Cf koEvd,.
Ec/2v,. 2v, from 2; to hear may indicate either fame, Gr.
klw, kloc or knowledge gained by 2;Et. We must take it in
the latter significance when it is applied in a poem where all
the words and circumstances are designed to show the principal
qualities and activities of the god Agni, the jataveda. Sruti is
one of the three processes of ideal knowledge by which Veda is

EB,. The third case used not to indicate the instrument,
but the accompaniment.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Agni, the warrior, the strong in knowledge, the true, the rich
in revelation, has come a god with the gods.

Bd\ kEryEs. tv
6. yd\g dAf;q
a\g^. From ag^ to cling, embrace, love, nasalised. Originally
"dear", answering to the Greek floc or ppwn, it became a familiar style of address, " fle", " ppon", and lost its original
. This is a word of considerable importance. In the
sacrificial interpretation of the Vedas it must mean a giver, sacrificer; in the religious interpretation it means an enemy, one
who hurts or kills or desires to hurt or kill. Both significances
are possible etymologically, both give a good sense in this verse.
The ceremonial interpretation will run, "That thou wilt do good
to the sacrificer, this is that truth of thee, O Agni Angiras"; the
religious, "O beloved, that thou, O strong Agni, meanest to do
good to him that would hurt thee, this is that truth in thee, O
lord of might & love." Satyam refers us back to the "satya"
in the last shloka and indicates like every other epithet there
used the truth to the right nature of things, the ritam, in the
vijnana, the ideal or spiritual plane of existence, where hatred
ceases and evil ceases, because these are asatyam, perversions
and misunderstandings of the play of God in the universe.
a\Egr,. When applied to Agni, this epithet means etymologically the brilliant or mighty, like aE`n, itself, but there is an
unmistakable allusion here to the other significance of "loving,
tender, attached", deduced from a\g^ to love. In an\g, the other
notable Sanscrit word denoting this sense of a\g^, the an^ is obviously intensive or reduplicative, not privative. Cf anc from ac^
etc for reduplication; dFEdEv, etc for its intensive force. When the
idea of the true Nirukta was lost, the false idea of "bodiless"
was conveyed into this name of Kamadeva and the story of the
Kumarasambhava brought in to explain so inapt an epithet.

Mandala One


That thou, O beloved, O strong Agni, meanest to do good
to him that would hurt thee, this is that truth of thee, O lord of
might and love.

doqAv-tEDyA vym^. nmo Brt emEs
7. up (vA`n
up. The preposition expresses relation or subjection.
doqAvs^. doqA is twilight or darkness; av,, protector.
tr^. An old adverb still preserved in the compound form
tEh and the Mahratti tr^. It seems here to have the force of "if".
EDyA. Used throughout the Veda of the Buddhi, the discerning reason. The reference in this line is to the buddhiyoga and
yogic atmasamarpanam enjoined afterwards in the Gita.
nmo. Rt nm^ to bend, submit. nmo means submission or obeisance (cf Grk. nmoc, rule, law, custom, that to which one is
subject). But Brt, from the root B does not mean here to fill,
but is used in the older sense of to bear (cf BAr,, Greek frw,
Lat. fero). We may therefore more appropriately take nmo in
the active sense of that which bends, controls; as in the Greek
nmoc, - law, rule, mastery. The participle here used as a verbal
adjective dispenses with the necessity of a finite verb.
emEs. We have seen that the i roots develop the idea of
strength; this sense is particularly appropriate to the combination with m^ which means limit, extreme; cf Latin imus, originally extreme, farthest, afterwards lowest. emEs means, on this
supposition, thou growest to thy full or extreme strength.
O Agni who protectest us in the darkness day by day, if
under thee we bear by the discerning mind the law of thy full
control, then growest thou to thy perfect strength.
8. rAjtm@vrAZA\ gopAmt-y dFEdEvm^. vDmAn\ -v

rAjtm^. Either shining, brilliant or ruling, governing. In


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

connection with a@vrAZAm^ we must take it in the latter sense,
which is, besides, especially appropriate after the nmo Brt, of
the last line.

a@vrAZAm^. of all things here below.
gop. Protector, from g;p^ to embrace, shelter, protect. There
can be no doubt that this is the significance. The introduction
of a vocative, however, is out of place in a series of accusatives.
I suggest that gop is an old form of the accusative preserved by
tradition. That there was such an accusative form appears from
the Greek gy, gpa etc, where there is no trace of a terminal
m. The nominative then would be not gop, but gop^.
dFEdEvm^. A strong reduplicated form from Edv^ to shine,
meaning tejas, force, energy, brilliance, splendour. There is a
doubt here as to the relation of amt-y. If it is with gop, it must be
taken to mean nectar or immortality and Agni is the protector of
the amrita in the body or of the immortality of the body; if with
dFEdEvm^, it must mean the Immortal, God, and Agni is a splendid
energy of the Immortal. The general sense of the verse will be the
same, since amt-y dFEdEvm^ in the latter interpretation explains
how Agni has the force to be the protector of all creatures here
. house, home, territory. Greek dmoc house; cf also
d!moc people or deme. The root is dm^ to master, conquer, own,
from which we have the Greek dmec (dmAyA,), servants, dmac
(dms^), body, dmar, dmartoc, wife (dm}s^), d!moc, territory or

people conquered or owned, the Latin domus, house, dominus,
master. In all probability dm,, dmoc, domus, originally meant
the people of the household, the slaves etc, or the whole family
as subject to the master, and was afterwards transferred to the
house itself.

Thee, the ruler and protector of all creatures here below, a
splendour of the Immortal increasing in its home.

Mandala One


9. s n, Ept
v s$nv
s$pAyno Bv. sc-vA n, -v-ty

s has the force of therefore and sums up the hymn, but with
special reference to the last line.
s$pAyno. Rt i to go and up to, with the idea of subjection
or inferiority; easy to approach.
sc-v. Cleave, in the ordinary sense of the root.
Therefore be thou easy of approach to us as a father to his
child, cleave to us for our bliss.

[RV I.1]
Mandala I, Hymns of Madhuchchhanda Vaisvamitra.
I Hymn to Agni
1. Agni I adore, the priest who stands forward for the sacrifice, the god who acts in the truth of things, the giver of the
oblation who disposes utterly delight.
2. Agni adored by the ancient seers is adorable still to the
new, for he brings here the gods.
3. By Agni one gets day by day energy & increase victorious
and full of force.
4. O Agni, whatsoever material sacrifice thou encompassest
with thy being on every side, that goes to the gods.
5. Agni, he that offers the oblation, whose strength is in
wisdom, the true, the rich in various inspiration, comes a god
with the gods.
6. That thou, O Agni, wilt surely bring about good for the
giver, that is the truth of thee, O lord of love.
7. To thee, O Agni, day by day, in darkness and in light we
come in our minds bearing our submission, -


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

8. To thee, who rulest over all below, guardian of immortality, a brilliance increasing in its home.
9. Therefore do thou be easy of approach to us as a father
to his child, cleave to us for our weal.



-t; = law, truth, fixed arrangement, season.
motion; so energy, matter, wealth. Cf Prasna
more probably noun than adjective.
in the Veda means 1. a hero. 2. force, strength.
3. manifest, vigorous, in full force, v to open.
a passage conclusive showing that adhwara
does not mean sacrifice except by transition
from an earlier meaning.
one of the passages which show that kEv like
-Eq, s$r etc, is used of knowledge as well as of
the knower. Another possible meaning would
be "who is the strength of the seer or the
strength of Wisdom".
2v, = inspired knowledge, the result of the vijnanamaya process of sruti; coming with kEv
& s(y it cannot mean fame.
Cf rAjAno amt-y in a hymn of Kakshivan
sc^ means 1. to cling. 2. to be strong.
[RV I.1.1 - 5]
Rig Veda, First Mandala

. p;roEht\. y.-y.
dv\. -E(vj\. hotAr\. r&DAtm\
1. aE`n\. I0
. To praise, in the ritualistic sense; but IX^ is a secondary

Mandala One


root of I and means to seek, go towards, attain, desire, adore,
{). The former senses have been
pray to, ask for (cf mAtrm3m
lost and only "to desire", "pray" or "ask for" are left in later
Sanskrit; but the other senses must have existed, as the idea of
desiring, asking is never a primary sense of any root, but derived
figuratively from the physical sense "to go, seek, approach". We
either "seek", "desire", "adore" or
may therefore render I0
"pray to".

p;roEht\. Sayana, "Purohit", or else "placed in the front of
the sacrifice as the Ahavaniya fire". The Purohita of the Veda is
the representative power in the sacrifice who stands in front of
the consciousness and the action and conducts it. This is always
the force of the "placing in front" which is so common an idea
in the hymns. Normally this place belongs to Agni who leads
the sacrifice.

dv\. Sy. dAnAEdg;Zy;?t\. Sayana's dealing with the word
dv is
peculiar; sometimes he renders it simply "god", sometimes he
dvn, sometimes he makes it mean
gives it some root value, dAn,
the priest. There is not a single passage in the Veda where the
ordinary sense "god", "divine being" does not give a clear and
sufficient & the best sense. No doubt, the Vedic poets never left
out of sight its root meaning; the gods are the Shining Ones, the
Lords of Light as are the Dasyus the Dark or Black Ones, the
sons of Darkness.
-E(vj\. "He who sacrifices at the right season" is the outward or ritualistic sense; but -t; in the Veda, as we shall see,
is the order of the truth, its arranged law, time, circumstance.
Agni is the representative priest who sacrifices according to the
law, order, season of the Ritam.
hotAr\. Sy. "because he utters the Mantra" and he quotes
ah\ hotA -tOEm; but he renders it sometimes aA4AtA, sometimes
homEnpAdk,, sometimes gives us the choice. Undoubtedly hotA
is the priest of the oblation, who gives the offering, h; to offer,
and not h$ to call. The hymn was an attendant circumstance of
the offering, therefore the invocation or praise might also fall to


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the part of the hotA; but in the system of the Rigveda the proper
name for the reciter of the Mantra is b}A. Agni is the Hotri,
Brihaspati the Brahma.

r&. Sy. yAgPl!pAZA\ r&AnAmEtfy
n DArEytAr\ poqEytAr\ vA.
DA to hold and DA to nourish (cf DA/F nurse). But in other passages
he takes r& = rmZFy\ Dn\ which shows that he took it to mean
literally "that which is delightful" and made it = wealth, as he
makes ;< = "that which is shining" and renders it "wealth".
We need not follow him. r&\ means "delight" or Ananda (cf rm^,
rEt,, rZ^, r@v, rAD^, r\j^ etc) just as ;<\ means "light". DA is to
hold or else to place.
Ritualistic sense
I praise Agni the Purohit (or, who is set in front) of the
sacrifice, the god (or, bountiful), the Ritwik, the Hota who holds
very much wealth.
I seek the God-Will, the priest set in front of our sacrifice,
the divine offerer who sacrifices in the order of the truth, who
disposes utterly the delight.

EB,. -EqEB,. IX^y,. n$tn
{,. ut. s.
dvA;. ih. v"Et
2. aE`n,. p$v
-Eq, Lit. "seeker, attainer" so "knower" from -q^ to go.
dvA; - the divine powers into the mortal life and mortal
v"Et. vh^ + s^ + Et. This s seems to have been either frequentative in force, "he constantly or habitually bears", or intensive,
"he entirely bears", or desiderative, "he wills or intends to bear".
From the latter sense we have the use of s for the future, cf S.
nF, n
yAEm, Greek luo, I loose, luso, I shall loose, and English, I
will go, where the desiderative will = wish, intend, has acquired
the sense of a simple future.
"The God-Will is desirable as to the ancient sages, so to the
new, for 'tis he that bringeth here the gods."

Mandala One


3. aE`nnA. rEy\. a`vt^. poq\. ev. Edv
. Edv
. yfs\. vFrv1m\

a`vt^. Sy. A=noEt - but the form gives a certain semiimperative sense or the idea of a rule of action or law of occurrence. "He shall attain." af^, to possess, have, obtain, enjoy
- Gr. echo, I have.
yfs\. Sy. dAnAEdnA yfoy;?t\ - so famous; but "a famous and
man-fullest wealth" seems an absurd way of talking. yf^ is literally to go, strive towards, attain; here it means success, fame;
also from another sense "to shine" = splendour. It is connected
in sense with yA, yt^, ys^. We have in the Veda rEy, wealth or
felicity, often described as expansive, pervading, breaking down
obstacles on the way. There is therefore no inappropriateness or
violence in rendering it "enjoyment that attains" or "a victorious
vFrv1m\. Sy. aEtfy
n p;/B(yAEdvFrp;zqop
t\. It is absurd to
take vFr = p;/ as Sayana does; it means "men, heroes, strengths"
and is often the equivalent of n which is never used for servants
in the Rigveda.
rEy\. There are two words rEy, from Er to go and from Er
to attain, enjoy. The latter means "enjoyment" or the things
enjoyed, "felicity, prosperity, riches". The former sense is found
in the Upanishad where rEy movement or matter is opposed to
AZ life.
By Agni one attains a wealth daily increasing, famous and
most full of men.
By the God-Will one shall enjoy a felicity that shall increase
day by day, victorious, fullest of hero-powers.

. y\. y.\. a@vr\. Ev
vt,. pErB$,. aEs. s. id^.
q;. gQCEt
4. a`n
a@vr\. Sy. Eh\sArEht\ because it is not destroyed by the Rakshasas, from a privative + @vr (@v to hurt). But a@vr is used


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

by itself to mean sacrifice and it is quite impossible that the
word "unhurt" used by itself can have come to mean sacrifice.
It must express some essential quality of the sacrifice or it could
not thus have been singled out. It is a notable fact that a@vr
is continually used for the sacrifice when there is a question of
the sacrifice travelling or moving on the path towards the gods,
as here. I therefore take a@vr from an original Rt aD^ to move,
& connect it with a@vn^ path; it means the moving or travelling
sacrifice, the sacrifice regarded as a pilgrimage of the soul or its
gifts towards the gods.
O Agni, the unhurt sacrifice that thou encompassest on all
sides, that goes to the gods.
O God-Will, whatsoever sacrifice on the path thou encompassest with thy being on every side, that indeed arrives to the

EB,. aAgmt^
5. aE`n,. hotA. kEv5t;,. s(y,. Ec/2v-tm,.
kEv5t;,. Sayana takes kEv here = 5A\t and 5t;, = either
knowledge or work. It means then "the priest whose work or
whose knowledge moves". But there is absolutely no reason to
take kEv in any other than its natural & invariable sense. kEv is
the seer, the one who has the divine or supramental knowledge.
5t; from k or rather old root 5 to divide, to do, make, shape,
work. From the sense "divide" comes that of the discerning
mind, Sy's .An; cf Grk. krites, judge etc; and this is the sense of
karuttu in Tamil which means mind. But from the sense "to do",
5t; means (1) work, (2) power of work, strength, cf Grk. kratos,
strength, (3) will or working force of the mind. For this last
sense, cf Isha Upanishad 5to kt\ -mr where the collocation 5to
kt\ shows that that power of the mind is meant which conducts
or dictates the work or action. Agni is the divine Seer-Will that
works with the perfect supramental knowledge.
s(y,. Sayana explains "true in its fruits"; but the collocation

Mandala One


of "seer will" and 2v, inspired knowledge indicates rather the
sense "true in his being" & therefore true in knowledge 2v, and
in will 5t;,. 2v, is the supramental knowledge called the Truth,
-t\, the vijnana of the Upanishads; kEv5t;, means having the
will that is full of that knowledge, the vijnanamaya will, the
divine Ajnana; s(y, means "vijnanamaya in his substance".

Ec/2v-tm,. Sy. having most varied kinds of fame, - an
insipid & meaningless epithet for a god. 2v, is used like 2;Et
to indicate the inspired hymn; it must therefore be capable of
meaning inspired knowledge. There are two kinds of supramental knowledge, dE & 2;Et, sight & hearing, revelation and
inspiration, but 2v, is usually used to indicate the knowledge
gained by the supramental faculties.
Agni, the priest, who sets in motion the knowledge (or
work), true in his fruit, very varied in his fame, may he come a
god with the gods.
The God-Will, priest of our offering, true in his being, with
the will of the seer, with richest variety of inspired knowledge,
may he come to us divine with the powers divine.

[RV I.1.8, 5 - 7]
I will cite first a passage in the first hymn of the first Mandala,
the invocation to Agni with which the Rig Veda opens. Agni
the god of the sacred flame, ruler of the sacrifice, is described
there as the "shining guardian of the Truth increasing in his
own home", gopam ritasya ddivim. If we wish to render this
verse ritualistically and take Agni as nothing but the physical
fire we must interpret rita otherwise, "king of the sacrifices, the
shining guardian of the rite", and if he increases in his own
home, it must be in the house of sacrifice or on his own place on


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the altar. Or if "rita" is the cosmic Law Agni is the god of fire
who is the guardian of the Law - in what sense? - and who
is manifested in the sacrificial flame on the altar. Now, if we
take the rik by itself, there is no means by which we can decide
among these and other possible interpretations. But in the first
place the idea of the guardian of the rita is a common thought
of the Vedic Rishis and it occurs in passages where rita cannot
well mean the sacrifice; even the phrase gopam ritasya occurs
elsewhere with this clear significance. The gods generally are said
to be born in the Rita, ritejah, ritajatah; they are increasing the
rita, ritavridh, protecting the rita, ritapa, ritasya gopa, touching
the rita, ritaspric, sending down streams of the rita, knowing the
rita, ritam id chikiddhi, rita-conscious, ritachid. It is evident even
at a first glance, and we shall be able to establish it conclusively
enough, that rita must mean in these phrases some kind of truth
and not the ritual of the sacrifice. Moreover this rik is preceded
by three others in which there is repeated mention of the ideas of
truth and thought and knowledge. Therefore in the absence of
convincing reasons to the contrary we are justified in supposing
that Agni is described as the shining guardian of the Truth and
it must then immediately occur to us that if he is spoken of
here in a psychological function and the Truth is a psychological
not a physical conception, then he is described as its "shining"
guardian because his light is necessary to that guardianship. The
light of the god must therefore be an image for a psychological
and not a physical illumination. Equally, the own home of such
a deity increasing in the exercise of such a function should be
rather a psychological region than the house of ritual sacrifice
or a place on a sacrificial altar.
Let us examine the three Riks more minutely. The fifth verse
runs: "Agni, the priest of the oblation (or, of the summoning), the
seer-will (or he whose work, whose sacrifice or whose power-ofworks is a seer's), the true, who has most richly-varied (inspired)
knowledge, may he come, a god with the gods." In this verse we
have two words of doubtful meaning, cravas and kratu. Sayana
wherever he can, renders cravas food, elsewhere fame, or where
neither of these will do, cravas (also crushti) is for him wealth

Mandala One


or rarely hymn. But there is the word satya, true! That he forces
to mean "giving true or right results of the sacrifice", evidently a
meaning which the text itself does not suggest and read into the
word from the commentator's mind. Again there is the phrase
kEv5t;, and we cannot fit this into the ritualistic interpretation
unless we destroy the Vedic significance of the word Kavi. Well
then, we have two words satya and kavikratu which suggest a
profound psychological character for the god Agni, the shining
guardian of the Truth. It does not matter how we take kratu.
Kavi is the seer, one who has vision of the revealed Truth and
receives the inspired word, the drashta of the Vedic mantra with
the inspired mind of knowledge. If kratu is sacrifice - Sayana
often prefers "work" - then Agni is the priest whose sacrifice
is that of the seer, therefore the sacrifice over which he presides
is that over which the divine knowledge presides; if work, then
he is the god of the inspired workings; if power of workings,
then the god whose power for works is guided by divine knowledge. I suggest that kratu which Sayana sometimes interprets
[as] knowledge and which has for one of its senses "mind", is
in a psychological sense the mental power that presides over
all action, that is to say the will or the volitional mind. The
two words kavikratuh satyah, coming together in this intimate
way, cannot be disconnected; the phrase must mean therefore
that Agni is guided in his will or his works by the seer's vision
of the Truth because he is himself true in his being, free from
the cosmic falsehood. What then of chitracravastamah? Has it
no connection at all with the two preceding words or does it
mean that because Agni is true in being and has the seer-will,
therefore he gives man all sorts of food or all sorts of wealth? I
suggest that cravas means hearing or that which is heard (this is
the root of its other sense fame) and is used by the mystics for
the inspired knowledge which is contained in the Vedic mantra
or else simply the inspirations that come from the divine Truth
of which Agni is the seer. We have then a clear connection and
interdependence of sense in the three epithets of Agni, he is the
Truth in his being, therefore his will or works are those of the
seer of the Truth and he receives all the varied inspirations of the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

knowledge that comes from the Truth; for that reason he is the
hota in the sacrifice which the soul of man offers to the Lords of
the Truth. We see at once in these three illuminative epithets all
that is meant by the description of Agni as the shining guardian
of the Truth.
The next verse runs, "O Agni, the good which thou wilt
create for the giver, thine verily is that truth, O Angiras." This
is interpreted ritualistically, "The good that thou wilt do to
the giver, that (good) is thine, (this statement is) true (and not
false)." But it is hardly possible on any rational law of poetic
composition that satyam here should have no relation to satya
immediately preceding it in the last verse. At any rate, the phrase
tat satyam is used elsewhere in the Veda to mean "that truth"
and is applied to the hidden sun or imprisoned light which the
Angirases find as the result of their sacrifice & seeking in the
cave of the Panis. Here too in connection with the same phrase
tat satyam, Agni is described as the Angiras. The coincidence
can hardly be fortuitous. Now the Angiras of the Veda, we shall
find, is precisely the seer-puissance or seer-will, kavikratuh. So
the good which Agni, the Angiras or seer-will, is to create for
the human soul, giver of the sacrifice, is that divine Truth now
withheld from man, the hidden light, the lost Sun which the
powers of the seer-will find for man. We see in another hymn
that Bhaga, a Sun God, creates this good or bhadram for man by
getting rid of the evil dream to which the darkness or falsehood
of existence belongs. We shall find too that in the Vedic idea the
divine bliss or immortality of beatitude was held to be a result
of the winning of the supramental Truth and this is evidently the
idea which the verse indicates. It is indeed the central conception
of the Vedic doctrine.
The next verse introduces and is connected in syntax with
the rik which speaks of Agni as the guardian of the Truth; the
two have to be taken together. "To thee, O Agni, we come day by
day, in the night and the light, bringing with (or, by) the thought
the obeisance; to thee ruling over the sacrifices, shining etc." This
in the ritualistic sense must mean that the priests offer sacrifice
daily both during the day and during the night by means of the

Mandala One


hymn or the work (Sayana interprets dh sometimes in one sense,
sometimes in the other according to his pleasure, but sometimes admits the significance "thought" or "understanding"),
bringing, that is to say, doing obeisance or perhaps bringing the
food or portion to the god.2 But if Agni is the god of an inner
Flame, then we must interpret the verse differently. We see that
the obeisance is brought, carried (bharantah, Latin ferentes, Gr.
frontec) by the thought; therefore, the obeisance must be an
inner bowing down or submission to an inner flame. Namas, the
obeisance, implies also obedience; the verb is used in the Veda
in the sense of subduing. Now Agni kavikratuh is the luminous
force or will-power of the Divine Existence, ekam sat; the force
is the flame, the light of the flame is the knowledge; therefore he
is the shining guardian of the Truth, for his unified power and
knowledge protect all the workings of the divine Truth in the
universe. The sacrifice offered by Man is a sacrifice offered for
the conquest and conscious possession of this Truth at present
concealed from him by ignorance and darkness. Therefore he
is the ruler of the sacrifice; therefore the seekers come to him
from day to day bringing to him submission in their thought
so that the divine Will may govern their mentality and their
action and lead it to the Truth. Day and night are, we shall see,
symbols of the dark and illumined states of the human mind; the
former is our ordinary consciousness, the latter that on which
there comes the dawn, the light and power from the supramental
Truth. Moreover this Agni increases in his own home. We shall
see hereafter whether the own home of Agni is not the plane of
the supramental Truth itself on which the divine powers dwell
and from which they descend to the aid of the seeker. We must
also understand the weal or "good state of being" [in] the closing verse, "Be easy of approach to us as a father to his child;
cleave to us for our happy being", as the state of bliss, the good,
bhadram, which comes by the possession of the Truth. The Rishi
is obviously not asking physical fire to allow him to approach
2 Sayana interprets "namas" sometimes as food, a sense which he gives to a host of
Vedic words, even to brahma, dyumna etc. I do not see why he should avoid it here,
where it goes so well with Br\t,.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

and embrace it as a son with his father or pleading to fire to
cleave to him for his welfare; the fulfilment of such a prayer
would be slightly inconvenient and hardly lead to welfare. It
is to the godhead, the Divine, that he prays, not the sacrificial
flame on the altar, and what can be meant by the cleaving of
a godhead to man, - not, be it noted, merely its succour or
nearness - if Agni does not represent some divine power which
must embrace the human being as a father his child and whose
constant presence leads, not to the possession of herds and slaves
and gold, but to a spiritually perfect state, svastaye? It is because
the words of the Veda are not given their proper force, because
we shirk their precise and evident meaning, preferring to think
that the Rishis wrote loosely, clumsily and foolishly rather than
to admit that they had other and profounder & subtler thoughts
than ours - it is for this reason that we miss constantly the true
sense of the Veda.

[RV I.1.1]
1. I adore Agni the god, the Purohit of the sacrifice, the Ritwik,
the Hota, most delight-placing.
I seek with adoration the God-Will, divine priest of the
sacrifice placed in front, sacrificer in the seasons, offerer of
the oblation, who most ordains the ecstasy.
Agni (ag^ and aj^) is the brilliant, the strong, the preeminent,
he who moves, leads, drives, acts. He is the Flame, at once
Heat and Light, Force and self-possessing Consciousness in the
Force, Will with perfect revealing and intuitive knowledge in
the will and its acts, - the Seer-Will of the one & infinite Divine
Conscious-Existence at work in the universe.
The Rishi, seeker and finder of knowledge, adores and
seeks this divine Seer-Will as the priest of the inner sacrifice by

Mandala One


which man seeks the godhead. He is the priest in the three chief
functions of that divine priesthood. The divine Seer-Will is the
Purohit, that power which is placed in front of our consciousness
to act for the human being; replacing the fallible human will this
divine force as soon as it is kindled conducts the sacrifice; he
leads it in its journey through the stages by which the sacrificer
rises to the supramental divine consciousness; he is its vanguard
and front-fighter in the battle of the divine with the undivine
tA. The Seer-Will is
and the march of man to his goal, p;retA, Z
the Ritwik, he sacrifices in the order, the right seasons, the right
periods, the twelve months, the hundred years of the sacrificial
session: he knows the time, place, order by which the Swadha,
the self-arranging self-movement of the divine Nature in man
that is developing itself, progresses till it turns itself into the
Swaha, the luminous self-force of the fulfilled divine Nature
of the gods. This order of the sacrificial seasons is called -t;
and represents the progressive movement of development of
the hidden truth of things in man. The Seer-Will is also the
Hota, the power that brings the divine powers into the physical
consciousness of man by his flaming force in the revealed Word,
manifests & forms them there and offers to them the whole
activity of the being as a sacrifice of the lower human to the
higher divine. The result of this progressive action is the divine
delight or ecstasy, the Ananda of the infinite & divine Consciousness, brought into man, there established, held, expanding till
it possesses the whole being and occupies all the energies. The
Seer-Will is the godhead in us which is most powerful thus to
establish, hold, order the action of the Delight in us. This delight
is represented as the wealth of the divine existence, by the words
rEy,, rAD,, rA,, r&, each of which has a different connotation.
rEy, is simply the accumulation of the riches, the mass of the
felicity; rAD, its riches as affecting the mental, emotional heartconsciousness, its vital and sensible abundance; rA, is the bliss,
the higher joy of these riches, more than mental in its touch on
man; r& is its pure ecstasy of the Ananda. This last aspect, as
ds^, the finding, conscious
it is the culmination of the Vedic v
possession of the Divine, is rightly put here in front in the first


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

rik of the Veda. The Seer-Will is the first means, the Ananda of
the divine riches the ultimate aim and last achievement of the
Vedic Yoga.

[RV I.12.1]
Hymns to Agni
Medhatithi Kanwa. I.12

aE`n\ d$t\ vZFmh
hotAr\ Ev
a-y y.-y s;5t;\
aE`n\ d$tm-y y.-y Ev
ds\ ( svEvd\ ) s;5t;\ hotArEmEt vZFmh
Agnim, the Fire vrinmahe we choose dutam (as) the Messenger, asya yajnasya hotaram the summoning priest of this
sacrifice, visvavedasam all-knowing, sukratum well-working
or well-willed.

aE`n\ tpod
vtA\ vZFmh
s\BjAm,. d$t\ d$t!p\ dO(y
EnyojyAmh, iEt
BAv,. a-y y.-y Ev
ds\ svEvd\ s;5t\; s;kmAZ\ yTATkmb;E=sm
aE`nEh tpod
vtA\tr-y tpobl-y tFk!po_ymE`n,. s c sAD kAnA\ d$to B$(vA
dvAnA4yEt. ydA Eh
dvkAm, sADk-tpsA
(y;m;KEc1o BvEt td
{v tps, so_E`n!gAmF B$(vA tAn^
dvAn^ t-y
tnAyAmAnFy -TApyEt. so_Ep sADk-y }dy

Hymns to Agni

aE`n\ d$t\ vZFmh
hotAr\ Ev
a-y y.-y s;5t;\ 1

Mandala One


We choose (vZFmh
s\BjAm,) Fire (aE`n\) the messenger (d$t\),
the summoning priest of this sacrifice (a-y y.-y hotAr\), allds\ svEvd\), well-working or well-willed (s;5t;\
knowing (Ev
s;kmAZ\ s;km.\ vA).
We choose Fire as the messenger and summoning priest of this
sacrifice, all-knowing, right-willed.

ds\. Sayana svDnop
t\. Evd^ = to find, know, get. v
d, =
knowledge or the thing got or possessed. Hence it may mean
either knowledge or possession. The exoteric sense may be "having all wealth"; the esoteric is omniscient.
5t;, See I.1 under kEv5t;,. Sayana s;kmAZ\ s;.\ vA. Rather
The right-willed or rightly working omniscient Fire is evidently
the inner Flame of power and aspiration, the divine Will-Force
that takes up the sacrifice, yogy.. It rises up to the heavens above
the mental consciousness and brings down the divine power into
the being. It is man's messenger to the gods, the priest of the call.
It leads aright all the inner and outer actions because it is the
Divine Knowledge-Will, all-knowing, unlike the ignorant mind
and therefore unerring, unlike the stumbling mental will. For
that reason it is chosen, vZFmh
[RV I.31.1, 2, 4, 5]
1. (vm`n
Tmo aEHrA -Eqd
dvAnAmBv, Efv, sKA.
tv v}t
kvyo EvwnApso_jAy\t mzto B}Ajdy,

aEHrA, because their father jnk(vAt^, cf Brahmana y
= kmEZ Vrata (vtn) must mean more = motion, habitual


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

action, law of works, act & motion.
EvwnApso. So compounded Say. Evd .An
Evwo v
dn\ - Ev wnAypA\Es y
qA\ t
EvwnAps,. .An
n &yA=n;vAnA .AtkmAZo vA. Rather,
whose works are governed by knowledge.
O Fire, thou becamest the first of the sages, a flame seer, a god
and benignant comrade of the gods; in thy act and motion the
Maruts with their blazing lances were born, seers whose works
are by knowledge.
2. (vm`n
Tmo aEHr-tm, kEvd
vAnA\ pEr B$qEs v}t\.
{ B;vnAy m
EDro E7mAtA fy;, kEtDA EcdAyv

kEv. S. m
pEr B$qEs S. pErto_l\kroEq. Rather B$qEs from B$ like v"Es
from vh^.
EvB;, S. bh;EvD,
E7mAtA. 7yorr@yoz(p3, y7A 7yolokyoEnmAtA
B;vnAy. Here S. sm-tlokAn;g}hAT
O Fire, thou art the first seer, the most full of thy Angiras flameforce and thou encompassest with thy being all the works of
the gods; pervading thinker of every world, builder (or child) of
earth and heaven, in how many ways thou liest ready for man!
4. (vm`n
AmvAfy, p;!rvs

Z yE(p/om; Qys
pyA (vA p$vmny3Apr\ p;n,

avAfy, S. fENdtvAn^ p;@ykmEB, sA@yo ;lok iEt kEVtvAn^.
S. etym. p;z rOtFEt p;zrvA,.
s;k1r, S. tv pErcrZ\ k;vt
.. foBnPlkArF.

Z E"mTn
p$v .. apr\ eastern (Ahavaniya) .. western (Garhapatya)
O Fire, thou madest heaven voiceful to man the mind of many
cries (lit. to Manu Pururavas); good his works but thou a worker
of better things. When by pressure (?) thou art loosed abroad,
the gods brought thee here the pristine and again the later fire.

Mandala One


5. (vm`n
vqB, p;EvDn ut*;c
BvEs 2vA?y,.
y aAh;Et\ pEr v
dA vqV^kEtm
} Evf aAEvvAsEs

vqB,. kAmAnA\ vEqtA
2vA?y, m\/
{, 2vZFy,
vqV^kEt\. vqV^kAry;?tAm^ ( aAh;Et\ )
pEr v
d. pErto jAnAEt smpytFEt.
ekAy;,. m;HyA3,.
} Evf,. Tm\ t\ yjmAn\ tdn;k$lA, jA,.
aAEvvAsEs kAfyEs.
O Fire, thou art the Bull of inspired knowledge that increasest
his growth to man when he lifts to thee the ladle of the libation,
when he wholly knows the way of the offering and the benediction, and thou standest in front, the one life, and illuminest the
[RV I.74]
1. As we move forward to the path of the sacrifice let us speak
out the word of our thought to Agni who hears us from afar
and from within.
2. He who supreme (ancient, first) in the worlds of our action
that pour forth the clarity meeting together (or, when our
labours that drip their fruit combine together), protects for
the giver his attaining (or movement).
3. Yea, let all creatures born (be able to) say, "Up Agni comes
into being, slayer of Vritras, conqueror of our wealth in
battle after battle."
4. He whose messenger thou art to his home, thou takest his
offerings on their journey (or, takest his offerings on thy
journey to be eaten by the gods, or comest to the offerings);
thou makest effective his path of sacrifice.
5. Him men call the man complete in his offering, complete in
his gods, complete in his base of sacrifice, O Angiras, O Son
of Force.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

6. Thou bringest both those gods here that we may express
them and bearest, O rich in delight, the offerings on their
journey (or, to be expressed & to eat the offerings).
7. No tramp is heard of the horses of thy chariot in its going
when thou goest on thy embassy, O Agni.
8. By thee fostered the horse of life goes undeviating, each
one after that which preceded it, and the giver of sacrifices
progresses, O Agni.
9. Yea, and thou lodgest throughout his being for the giver and
his gods, O God, Agni, a vast and luminous completeness
of energy.
The Hymn is a hymn of the Adhwara Yajna, the Sacrifice of the
Path. Agni, the Divine Will-Force or Power of Consciousness, is
the deity.
1. The Gotamas, illumined minds, are to proceed to the
path of the sacrifice; let them then give voice to the thought in
them which is to be the governing word of their progress for
the Divine Will-Force to use; that Force hears the word and
responds whether as the deity realised within or as the deity of
the universe seated in the highest and most distant worlds.
2. The Divine Will-Force is the first and supreme among
divine powers; it protects our movement in the sacrifice from
plane to plane and all the planes of our being on which the Work
proceeds come together in a conscious harmony and stream forth
their riches in response to our giving.
3. Let this Divine Force manifest itself so that all shall say,
"It is born and rises on high, slaying all the hostile powers that
obstruct our progress and winning wealth on new wealth for the
soul in battle after battle."
4. These results are attained, because the Divine Will-Force
becomes a compelling envoy who carries our offerings on their
journey to the goal which is our home and the home of the gods,
the divine plane of the Truth, thus it makes the sacrifice of the
path effective; the worlds meet together and drip their riches
under the compulsion of the all-creative, all-manifesting Truth
of Surya Savitri.

Mandala One


5. The man then becomes perfect in his sacrifice; the offering
is effective, the godheads are completely manifested, the base of
sacrifice in the soul includes all the various planes of our being.
The Divine Force, the Angiras, the puissance of Seer Will and
the Son of Strength overpowering the Panis and Vritras, effects
this completeness.
6. He is the envoy & effects the great commerce between
earth & heaven, bringing the gods down from the higher planes
so that they may be manifested in man in the terrestrial and
taking our offerings, the fruits of our terrestrial life upwards to
be divinised, transformed into the divine essence, eaten, in the
Vedic image, by the gods. That transformation is effected in the
perfect bliss of the Divine Will-Force.
7 - 8. This great going & coming is effected in a silent
spiritual rapidity; there is no rumour or clamour at all of the
trampling hooves of the Vital Forces in their swiftness; but the
chariot of the movement gallops swiftly.
9. Finally, the Divine Will-Force lodges in all our being for
the benefit of the soul itself and of the gods who work in him,
a complete and utter heroic energy, vast with the vastness of the
Truth & luminous with its light.
1. a@vr\. According to Sayana, the word is a-@vr\ from @v to
hurt, and means unhurt by the Rakshasas etc. But the word
unhurt thus used could never have become by itself a synonym
for sacrifice, as a@vr has done. Throughout the Veda a@vr is
associated with the idea of movement on the path to the goal,
and it is therefore more reasonable to connect it with a@vn^ a
path; the adhvara is the sacrifice that travels on the paths of the
dvyAnAn^) and reaches the heavens of the
divine journey (a@vno
gods. We have the words a@vn^, sky, and a@vr, sky; which show
that the two words are from the same root and of a similar
formation. That root is evidently an old root aD^, no longer
formed as a verb, which must have had the same sense as at^. We
have also a lost root aT^ surviving in aTyEt, to move constantly
and aTy;, moving. For the Adhwara Yajna see Appendix I.
upy\to a@vr\. Coming to the sacrifice of the path with


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the progressive movement which belongs to the sacrifice, yEt
c. Sayana takes c rather unnaturally with the
whole phrase because he could not understand the distinction
"afar and in us". There is always the distinction in the Veda
r .. a\Et in the planes of our
between the far and the near, d$
/ or field of conscious existence, and the nearest,
being, the "
EdS, is within ourselves, a\t,.
. The hearing of the mantra by the gods always implies
a response, the divine accepting the human thought and replying
to it by its own vibrations. See I.10.4, eEh -tomA; aEB -vr. aEB
gZFVAzv. b} c no vso scA. i\d y.\ c vDy which gives in a
few words the theory of the divine acceptance of the Mantra.
2. FEhtFq;. Sayana takes as "slaying", "those who slay" and
he explains that Agni protects the sacrificer's wealth gy when
the peoples who hurt come together in the battle to destroy or
hytFEt vDkms;
plunder. His note is vDkAErZFq; - EZh
Ehty, The ordinary senses
of Eh^ are (1) to be moist, wet, fluid; (2) to be thick, dense; (3)
to be thickly fluid, so viscous, oily, greasy, fat; (4) by figure, to be
full of love, affection, kindness; (5) to flow or make flow thickly,
or continuously, anoint etc. We may compare ; to ooze, trickle,
flow, stream & EV^ to go, where the sense of motion comes out
h, in the Veda seems to be used for the thickmore clearly.
flowing ghrita. Fh^ here may mean then to drip the richness of
the ghrita, cf the Gt; of Indra's horses etc, - or to move in a
dense mass or to adhere together; the ky, come together and
become cohesive or come together and move in a mass.
kEq;. This latter sense of FEhtFq; = f
v(s; would apply if
kE means either people or the powers that labour in us; the
sense of cohesion, if kE means the worlds which are the field of
the working. For the sense of kE see Appendix II.
p$&y,. Literally first or pristine. But in the Veda p$&y,, Tm,
often mean first also in the sense of supreme. Agni is the original
power of the world and therefore the supreme power.
gy\. S. takes the word sometimes as wealth, sometimes as
house. gy, must have meant originally movement, the mover or

Mandala One


the goal of movement. If it is the object of movement, it may
mean "y,, the home to which we go; but it would more naturally be either the thing attained by the movement, the spiritual
wealth, or that which comes to us, still meaning the wealth; or
else the movement itself.

[RV I.74 - 76]
Hymns of Gotama Rahugana

m a`ny
. aAr
c f@vt

1. upyto a@vr\ m\/\ voc
upy\t,. S. up
(y kq
Z gQC\t, which he considers equivalent
to beginning and carrying out perfectly. I take a@vr, in the sense
of the sacrifice that travels to the gods by the divine path, that of
the Truth; the offerings also so travel & the sacrificer. Therefore
upy\to a@vr\ y.\ means "entering upon (up) and proceeding
forward () with the sacrifice on its journey". The right performance of the sacrifice is a right progress to the godhead and the
m\/\. S. mnnFy\ -to/\; rather vcnFy\ mnn\. / expresses either the
action or the means. "Let us express (by the word) the thought
in our minds," ie the thing we are meditating, the truth of the
godhead we are seeking to express (fAs, u?T, gF,, vc,, fE-t)
and to fix in ourselves (-tom, DF).
c. Far (from a distance) and in us. Sayana gets
, who
rid of the idea by taking c = aEp and attaching it to aAr
hears us even from afar. I prefer to take the natural order and
the plain sense of the words. The distinction of far and near
or far and within is common enough in the Veda; Agni is also
constantly spoken of as in mortals, Ev";, m(y
q;; that this does
not mean simply among - or here "from far and from among
us" - is shown by I.60.2 where Agni is described as Ev
DA, and the Ev"; is explained by 3, t\ .. }d aA jAymAn\. Agni


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

created by the human Ritwiks and born from the heart cannot
be the sacrificial fire or lightning, but must be the inner flame,
the godhead within, who is also the cosmic godhead who hears
from without, aAr
. What is meant by the god hearing the thought? Not
merely that he hears physically the Vedic hymn and comes to
the sacrifice. As we see from other Suktas, this hearing is a
response; it is the turning of the Godhead to the God-seeker; it
is the answer of the Truth, s(ymt\, to the thought and word in
the mind of man. The god hearing the mantra means that the
divine truth it seeks to express comes and illumines and dwells
in the mentality; the Word becomes a chariot of the godhead, rT\
n, a robe that he wears, vAs,, a dwelling he inhabits, aok,. So
long as the Word is not heard by the god, does not call him into
itself to manifest his status and working in the mental realisation
it produces, it is not effective, nor is the realisation a true seeing.
Sayana's rendering.
Approaching and carrying on the sacrifice let us speak the
hymn to Agni who hears us even from a distance.
Psychological rendering.
Advancing on the journey of the sacrifice let us express the
thought to the Flame who heareth us from afar and heareth from

2. y, FEhtFq; p$&y, s\j`mAnAs; kEq;. ar"d^ dAf;q
This rik is full of difficulties; we are in doubt about the
meaning of three important words, FEhEt,, kE, & gy,. Sayana
renders "when the killing peoples come together (to attack), he
guards the wealth for the sacrificer." The one strong objection
to this version is that it has absolutely nothing to do with what
comes before or what goes after and this is contrary to the rule
of Vedic construction.
kEq;. This is rendered "people", but it is doubtful whether
it has fundamentally or always that sense. kq^ is originally a
derivative of k, like v"^ from vh^, -pf^ from -p etc and only

Mandala One


intensifies its sense. k is, originally, do, make, hurt, cut, divide (kt^, k^); kq^ is to do any strong or forceful labour, eg to
drag, draw (kqZ), plough (kEq) - senses which survive, and to
hurt, waste with the various results of being hurt, killed, wasted
still preserved in various significances of words like kZ. If kE
means people, it must be from the original sense of cultivator
or labourer. In the Veda it seems to me that it meant (like cqEZ,
intensive of cr^), one who does the works of sacrifice; but also it
means in certain passages, earths, worlds, places where work (of
cultivation or other) is done, - just as E"Et means sometimes an
earth or world inhabited or the people dwelling in it or those
possessing it. It is this sense of earths or worlds which obtains
here; ky, means the worlds in which the five human peoples,
p\ckF,, labour at the work of the Aryan. These worlds are
described as coming together, meeting so as to become one. The
idea of the seven rivers, various earths, different planes coming
together is common enough in the Veda; eg kTA n "oZF, smArt,
"How should not the earths come together (at the command
of Indra)?" They unite their various movements or workings,
welding their distinct laws and types into a harmony.
FEhtFq;. S. vDkAErZFq;. EZh
hytFEt vDkms; pEWt,.
But is it so? That sense is very doubtful. Eh^ like EV^ means to
love, but that sense cannot be certainly proved in the Veda; EV^
means to go, move (cf ; to flow) and
h, means in the Veda a
thick, fat or oily dropping or flowing; finally Eh^ means to stick,
cleave, be thick, compact etc. It is possible that FEhty, means
(the worlds) that move compactly together or adhere to each
other and it will then describe the result of the coming together
and moving together s\j`mAnAs;.
gy\. gy may mean either "movement, march" or "that
which is attained" = Dn\ or "that which is reached" = aA2y,, fm,
gh\, in which case it will be equivalent in sense to the Vedic "y,.
It is easy to see that any of these might be threatened whether by
a banded attack of hostile people or in the psychological sense by
the disturbance of a new combined movement of the "earths".
If the latter is the sense of the first two padas, then gy must
mean either movement or abiding-place: in the former case, the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Seer-Will, Agni, guards the movement of the sacrificer travelling
to the Truth-plane and harmonises it with the new-combined
general movement; in the latter he keeps for him his abidingplace or his goal, which has practically the same sense. If it is
"the peoples assembling to slay", then the psychological sense is
that the powers (people) of the regions which the divine traveller
seeks to overpass unite to oppose and destroy him and the SeerWill protects his march or his goal or his spiritual gains and
possessions from their attack. We have then in this phrase the
basis of the image of ten nations combined against the Tritsus,
"those who seek to pass beyond".


3. ut b}v
; \t; j\tv udE`n v/hAjEn. Dn\jyo rZ
-E(vj,. "Agni has risen, let people
j\tv,. Sayana jAtA, sv
(priests) speak (hymn him)." Sayana's glosses are always those
of the pedant; j\tv,, "creatures, those born", is a most general
term and obviously intended to be quite wide in its connotation,
not confined to a particular class of men. No one says "let men
say", when he means "let the priests chant". The sense is "let
all men born see and declare that Agni the Vritra-slayer has
risen up into birth". The manifestation of the Flame is to be so
great that the whole world will bear witness to it. There is no
idea of chanting the hymn in b}v
; \t;. Cf I.4.5, ut b}v
; \t; no Endo
v/hA. Sayana, bound by his rendering of kEq; as men, has
to take v/ = aAvrkAZA\ f/$ZA\; but v/hA applied thus formally
to the gods can mean only slayer of Vritra or at the most slayer
of Vritra and his hosts. That Agni is, like Indra, Saraswati and
others, a slayer of Vritra and releaser of the waters, there are sev.
eral passages of the Veda to show, eg I.59.6, y\ p$rvo v/hZ\ sc\t
vAnro d-y;mE`njGvA; aD$no(kASA av f\br\ B
t^. If, therefore, the
ky, of the last verse are the assailing peoples who attack on the
path & the same battles are referred to here, they cannot be men,
but must be Vritra-powers. The Dasyus are called dAsFEvf,, but
not thus vaguely ky,. ut probably brings in a new idea; not
only is the sacrificer to be guarded in his march to the goal of the

Mandala One


Truth, but Vritra the Coverer and his hosts who withhold the
wealth of the Truth must be slain so that wealth on new wealth
may be won in battle after battle.
Sayana's rendering.
Let all the born (ritwiks) declare (praise) him, Agni has
been born, slayer of the enveloping enemies, conqueror of (the
enemy's) wealth in all battles.
Psychological rendering.
Yea and let men say, "The Flame that slays the Coverer has
risen into birth, conqueror of our wealth in fight after fight."

Eq h&yAEn vFty
. d-mt^ kZoEq a@vr\
4. y-y d$to aEs "y
. S. the house of sacrifice. It is rather the house generally,
not here the goal or habitation to which he is proceeding, but
that in which he is at present lodged, the adhara or dwellingplace of the soul, - the body with life and mind. This is the
house of sacrifice, the triple sD-T. It is possible however that
d$t, "y
may be "messenger to the home" of Agni and the gods,
the Truth-plane, which is also the goal of the pilgrim sacrifice.
Eq. S. gmyEs, though elsewhere in a similar context, he
. vFty
he takes as B"ZAy. "Thou carriest the
renders it kAmys
Eq often means to go or
offerings to the gods for their eating." v
come, but it cannot be here "thou comest to eat his offerings",
h&yAEn accusative after vFty
, because that is not the office of the
messenger. It is to carry the offering to the gods and to bring
Eq .. vFty
suggests that vFty
may also
the gods to the sacrifice. v
have here the sense of motion, "thou comest (or, goest) for the
taking thither of the offerings." Either interpretation is possible
and it is difficult to choose.
d-mt^. S. svdfnFy\, visible to all; but this has no sense and
no connection with the rest of the context. There must be some
connection between the taking of the offerings and the making
d-mt^ the sacrifice. I have taken d-m consistently = effective,
achiever, from ds^ to do, perform, cf d\s, action, dAs a slave, and
d-mt^ must be taken in the same sense; "thou makest effective


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the journeying sacrifice". It is evident that the carrying of the
offerings to the gods is the first necessary effectivity of the a@vr;
the various offerings first, ie all human powers and activities
directed Godwards, are lifted to the Truth and return as enriched
being and power, - this is the first achievement and effectivity:
next, the whole sacrifice reaches the godhead, man's entire being,
power, consciousness is accepted by the divine Truth, - this is
the second achievement and effectivity: last, the man himself attains that plane and lives upon it, divine, -vrAV^, sm}AV^, immortal;
this is the "y,, the third and last effectivity, completing the a@vr
y.. The suffix mt^ to a verbal stem is a peculiar and early form
unless indeed ds^ was originally a noun = action as well as a
5. tEmt^ s;h&ym\Egr, s;
dv\ shso yho. jnA aAh;, s;bEhq\

a\Egr,. S. a\gnAEdg;Zy;?tA`n
; he treats it as equivalent in
meaning to the name aE`n itself. But Angiras has a special sense
in the Veda; Agni is the original Angiras and the seven seers are
the powers of the luminous Flame, his children. The Angiras is
the Seer who seeks the Light by the force of the will and finds
first the Word as the mouths of Brihaspati, then the Light itself
as the army of Indra. Agni Angiras is the Seer-Puissance; that
as the messenger makes the human activities acceptable to the
Truth and the sacrifice effective.
yho. S. p;/. Has this sense of yh; any other reality than the
idea of the commentators and grammarians that the phrase shso
yho in which alone it occurs must be equivalent to shs, s$no?
y4, y4F in the Veda means mighty, puissant; should not yh;
be kin in sense, the puissant, the master? On the other [hand]
the connection between the epithet Angiras, Seer-Puissance, and

the description "Son of Force" is very close, eg V.11.6, (vAm`n
a\Egrso g;hA EhtmvEv\dE)CE2yAZ\ vn
. s jAys
mLymAn, sho
mhvAmAh;, shs-p;/m\Egr,
s;bEhq\. S. foBny.\. I cannot accept Sayana's frequent rendering of bEh, as y.. It means figuratively the seat of sacrifice
and literally, from bh^, the extension, the outspreading, the wide

Mandala One


fullness of the inner state upon which the work of the sacrifice
is founded and on which the gods take their seat. It is, in the
physical sacrifice, the thing outspread, -tFZ bEh,, and, this being
the sacred doorva grass, it came to mean the doorva. It is connected in sense with bht^, bhZA and often means a mass, stream,
crest of light or force etc, anything spread wide or streaming
out, thus the wide ether, the outstreaming peacock's tail, water
flowing in a mass, a stream of flame, the bhFEq of Agni, radiating
light. All its senses can be traced back to the one original sense
of extension or wide fullness. So also the verbal senses of bh^
come from the idea of a heavy pervading pressure; it means to
cover, spread, crush, overtop and so be preeminent or excel; to
give in the sense of lavishing, cf rA; to speak, from the sense of
outbreathing. bEh, as a seat comes, like all the rest, from this
sense of spreading widely and thickly or fully.
There are three elements given here for the sacrifice, the
perfect offering, the effective godhead, the entire purity and
fullness of the seat on which the godhead shall base himself and
his working - psychologically, a pure, wide state of the soul.
Sayana's rendering.
He in whose house thou art a messenger, whose offerings
thou carriest to be eaten (by the gods) and whose sacrifice thou
makest to be seen by all, him indeed, O Angiras, son of Force,
all men speak of as having good offerings, a good godhead and
a good sacrifice.
Psychological rendering.
When in man's dwelling-place thou art the envoy, thou takest his offerings to be enjoyed by the gods (or thou comest to
carry his offerings) and thou makest effective the journey of his
sacrifice; him verily men speak of as perfect in his oblations,
perfect in his godheads present, perfect in the wide seat of his
6. aA c vhAEs tA; ih
dvA; up f-ty
. h&yA s;
c\d vFty

c\d. S. foBnAAdn. c\d has two senses, "shining" and


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

"delightful", both present in all the names of the Soma, c\d,
som, i\d;; but it is the sense "delight" which it usually carries in
the Veda.
vhAEs. In the early Aryan tongue the long and short syllable were entirely interchangeable and traces of this linger in
the Veda - crT, crAT; BvEs, BvAEs; pT,, pAT,. Sayana takes as
imperative, but it is obviously a continuation of the statements
Eq, kZoEq, and now aAvhAEs.
. The fE-t is the expressing or manifesting of the
god by the word, not yet his birth or creation, but a temporary mental realisation by the thought. It is not merely praise;
there is no need for the gods to be carried to the sacrifice to
be praised; but certainly the word must be an assertion of the
powers, functions, characteristics of the godhead.
h&yA .. vFty
. Sayana takes aAgt

there is no Apy and we cannot extract one from aAvhAEs which
gives the quite different idea of bringing from heaven. h&yAEn is
, a common
an accusative governed by the verbal force in vFty
. I.9.2.
Vedic construction, eg cE5\ Ev
vAEn c5y
tA;. The gods there in heaven of whom you are the envoy.
. Here it seems necessary to take as "eating" or "enjoying", otherwise we shall have to translate the last pada separately, "Come, O perfect in delight, for the carrying of the
oblations"; but this gives an insufficient coherence.
There are always two aspects of Agni's embassy which seem
to be inconsistent with each other, one the bringing of the gods
to eat of the oblations in the house of the sacrificer, the other
the taking of the oblations to be eaten by the gods in mid-air or
heaven. In the physical sacrifice it may be said that the fire first
carries the consumed offerings into the air to be eaten in their
subtle parts by the gods of heaven and mid-air, then the gods are
attracted by the voice and light of the flame and come to eat the
rest of the offerings at the sacrifice itself. But this is not satisfactory. And what is meant by the fire carrying the gods from heaven
to the place of sacrifice, - vahasi, vehis? That corresponds to no
possible physical fact. Psychologically, the sense is clear enough.
The Seer-Will first bears man's activities to the higher planes by

Mandala One


his purified consecration of them to the Godhead. This is the first
part of the embassy. Then comes the time for the descent of the
divine Powers into the human mind & body, at first temporary,
to enjoy there the activities offered to them, each activity to
its proper god, then permanent by the creation, birth, growth
(tAEt,, vFEt,, av,) of the divinities in the human being, each
conducting his own proper activity first mn;vt^ in the human
dEv mAn;Eq, O
type, then in the human divine, as Usha is described
divine and human. In all these stages it is Will-with-Knowledge
that leads. That summons and brings, in a way carries the gods
in their descent, supports them in their workings.
Sayana's rendering.
O thou of the good delighting, bring hither those gods for
the praise and give them the oblations for their eating.
Psychological rendering.
And thou bringest hither those gods for their expression by
the word, O perfect in delight, for the enjoying of the oblations.

rT-y kQcn. yd`n
yAEs d$(y\
7. n yozpENdr
&y, f@v
Sayana explains that this absence of sound is due to the
swiftness of the chariot. This cannot be the explanation: a swift
chariot is likely to make a greater noise than a slow one. Either
the phrase means simply that it is not a physical, but figurative or
immaterial horses & chariot that are meant; or else the emphasis
is on a
&y,. Acwa, the horse, is the Pranic power and swiftness
of Pranic activity brings with it usually a disturbance and tumult
pleasant or unpleasant in the being, but Agni's being the horses
of the purified Prana, there is no disturbing sound of their gallop.
upENd, is, I think, an ear-oppressing clamour, din. That this is the
sense is proved, I think, by the next verse where the image of
the horse is again taken up and the idea varied. The horse of
Agni is vAjF axy,, the undeviating horse, that which does not
go crookedly, that is the Pranic energy not stumbling into sin,
error, false desire, but galloping on the straight path -j;nA pTA
of the Truth.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

kQcn. Sayana kdAcn; more probably "at all", "in any way".
yAEs d$(y\. S.
dvAnA\ d$t(v\ A=noEq, but I think this is a purely
Vedic construction meaning practically yAEs d$tyA/A\, the d$(y\
being loosely made the object of yAEs as a sort of cognate accusative, not because it is strictly so, but from a general idea of
its sense, because the d$(y here is in its essence yAn or yA/A, a
Sayana's rendering.
O Agni, no sound of thy moving car is ever heard made by
horses when thou becomest the (gods') envoy.
Psychological rendering.
No sound of horses is heard at all from thy chariot in its
motion, when O Agni, thou goest on thy embassy.
8. (voto vAjF axyo aEB p$v-mAdpr,. dA
vA; a`n
In the metre of this verse (vot, has to be taken as a trisyllable
and axy, separated from vAjF.
(vot, - see Appendix for av^ = foster, increase. Even with
Sayana's rendering of the rest of the verse "fostered" gives a
better sense than "protected from harm".
axy,. Sayana's l>jArEht, is absurd. } is used in the sense
of crookedness as well as 4 in the Veda, cf j;h;rAZ crooked. If
not, we must take } not in the sense of shame, but of a violent
emotion; it means joy and wrath as well as shame, or any disturbance of the emotional being. axy, must then be taken with
vAn^, the sacrificer becomes full of the divine plenitudes, free
from all violent emotions and so goes forward on his journey
aEB p$v-mAdpr,. S. y, p;zq, p$v-mAt^ -v-mAdEDkArAdpro Enko
BvEt; he now becomes rich in food and free from shame. This is
one of those forced & ingenious interpretations which illustrate
the learning of the commentator, but not the text. p$v-mAdpr, can
only mean "a later after the former" or if p$v means superior,
a lower after the higher, but never an inferior to the former,
because then the sense-correlation of p$v & apr is entirely lost;

Mandala One


nor is there any hint of any aEDkAr in the text. There must
be either a later vAjF (or dA
vAn^) opposed to a former or an
inferior dA
vAn^ opposed to a superior dA
vAn^. In the latter case,
the sense may be "the sacrificer inferior to the supreme sacrificer
advances when fostered by thee and becomes vAjF like the one
who was superior to him." But this is very forced and clumsy.
More naturally it would mean, if we suppose only one clause,
"The later sacrificer after the former", that is, "one sacrificer
after another goes forward () fostered by thee to the goal (aEB),
full of plenitude, straight in his course." It is possible, however,
to take vAjF in the sense of horse, the Pranic a
v and aEB will
stand for a verb; "fostered by thee, one steed of thine following
its leader, undeviating, reaches the goal; the sacrificer (as the
result of Agni's journeying) passes forward on his journey."
a-TAt^. Sayana takes aEB = e

vymEBA=y and A-TAt^ =
EtEtSEt svo(ko BvEt. Neither can stand. Too much is read
by him into aEB and the second preposition is not Et; the
verse speaks of -TAn not EtSA. Sayana quite missed the Vedic
image of the sacrificial journey or ascent to Swar and is therefore
always at a loss when this idea becomes prominent.
Sayana's rendering.
The man that has become lower than his former position,
now giving thee offerings and being protected by thee becomes
rich in food and free from shame and thus attaining is established.
Psychological rendering.
Fostered by thee, steed following after steed undeviating
reaches the goal, (so), O Flame, the giver of the sacrifice goes
ever forward.
Fostered by thee, the later sacrificer following him who
went before (or simply sacrificer after sacrificer) goes forward
undeviating, rich in the plenitudes.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

9. ut ;m(s;vFy bhd`n

dv dAf;q

s;vFy. Sayana takes foBnvFyop
t\ Dn\. I see no Dn\ anywhere
in the verse, and therefore take s;vFy as a noun, s; + vFy as in
s;ny,, s;yog,, s;pT^ etc. Even when s;vFy occurs entirely by itself
t\ Dn\; yet nothing is
as in I.94.2, Sayana renders it as foBnvFyop
commoner in the Veda than the idea of strength and the prayer
for strength. Here the vast and luminous energy is the pranic
force made a vastness by the vastness of the Truth-will, -t\ bht^
and full of the light of the supreme knowledge, -t\ >yoEt,.
EvvAsEs. Sayana abandons his favourite pErcrEs and interprets gmEyt;EmQCEs - ApysFEt yAvt^ basing himself on the
sense of vA to go. vAs^ (vs^) means either to dwell or to shine.
EvvAsEs means either thou makest to dwell or thou makest to
shine widely in all the being. It is difficult to decide, for ;mt^
favours "shine" and bht^ favours "dwell".

dv. Sayana otmAnA`n
. Sayana feels that an importance is
attached to the appellation, but misses the equal importance of

dv. To him who gives to the godheads,
the collocation
the Seer-Will representing the divine existence responds with the
gift of light, of power, of vastness.
Sayana's rendering.
Also, O shining Agni, to him who gives to the gods, thou
bringest a shining wealth endowed with good energy.
Psychological rendering.
Yea, and for him who giveth to the divine Ones, thou, O
divine, O Flame, lodgest wide in all his being a perfect forcefulness vast and illumined.

dv=sr-tm\. h&yA j;4An aAsEn
1. j;q-v sT-tm\ vco
sT-tm\. S. aEtfy
n Ev-tFZ -to/l"Zm-mdFy\ vcn\. But
what is meant by a very wide or extended word? A long hymn?
but the hymn is one of the briefest. It is clear that vc, is some-

Mandala One


thing more than mere speech; it is the word and all its contents,
the thing expressed, an expression of a new state of wideness,
Ts^, in the being of the god-seeker. It is because it carries this
dv=sr-tm\, a great enjoyment for the
wideness. Therefore it is
gods, the children of the Infinite whose home is in the vastness.
It is the wideness of the seeker's being growing towards this
vastness that is the cause of their enjoyment and not the hymn
itself as mere speech or praise.
=sr,. Sayana's attribution of this noun to the root -p is bad
philology. There is no reason why the easier sound -p should corrupt into the more difficult sound =s. We should rather suppose
an old root =s. The initial =s sound must have been common
enough in the original Aryan tongue, since it figures so largely
in Greek, but it has left few traces in Sanscrit. We have besides
=sr,, =s; form, =s;r lovely, beautiful, having a form, which points
to a root =s;, and =sA to eat with its derivatives. Possibly all these
three roots had a similar sense to encompass, contain (whence
form), embrace, enjoy and then =sA to eat; cf af^ which means
to pervade, to enjoy and to eat.

a\Egr-tm a`n
D-tm Ey\. voc
m b} sAnEs
2. aTA t
a\Egr-tm. S. aEtfy
nA\gnAEdg;Zy;?t - y7A a\EgrsA\ vErS. Obviously "O most Angiras" cannot mean merely the best of the
Angirases, it must mean one who has most the qualities of the
Angiras. We know what those qualities are, among them is the
possession of the word of power and light, b} sAnEs, the word
of the seven-mouthed Angiras Brihaspati which wins the Sun,
the Dawn, the Herds etc, s$y snt^, therefore b} sAnEs.
D-tm. S. v
DA iEt m
DAEvnAm. v
DA, does not mean m
DAvF but
EvDAtA and especially the disposer, right ordainer (EvD^, Ev\D^) of the

sacrifice and its parts, prominently the hymn -tom. Cf I.7.7, n Ev\D
a-y s;;Et\, I cannot succeed in arranging (composing, putting in
right order of speech and thought, cf in Bengali the use of rcnA
for style) his perfect affirmation. The epithets are not chosen
at random; because Agni is the most Angiras, has most power
of seer-will for the word that conquers the desired luminous


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

wealth, because being the most Vedha (also a characteristic of
the Angirases), that is most skilful by his right knowledge and
right force to order rightly the hymn in relation to the stages of
the sacrifice, therefore he can help the Rishis to speak the b}
Ey\ refers us back to the idea in
dv=sr-tm\; it means pleasing
FEtkr\, that which brings with it the satisfaction of the soul, -
here, because of its right expression of that which the soul (b})
seeks to express.
sAnEs. S. s\BjnFy\ and he gives vn qZ s\B?tO; but sn^ also
means to win, possess and only secondarily to enjoy. As we have
b} sAnEs in conjunction with the epithet a\Egr-tm it can only
mean the brahma that conquers, wins and takes possession of
the wealth as did the hymn of the Angirases in connection with
whose achievement the word sn^ is continually used.
aTA t
. S. t;
is no sense in aT = an\tr\. In the first verse Agni is invited to
v-v, to the word; and now the
cleave with love, j;q-v = sF(yA s
Rishi says "then may we speak the satisfying, conquering soulword that is thine". It is only after Agni has embraced the vc,
and made it his that it becomes not only sT-tm\ & therefore

dv=sr-tm\ but also sAnEs; therefore aT. The word is frequently
spoken as being the gods', especially in connection with Agni
and Indra.
Sayana's rendering.
O best of the Angirases, O very intelligent one, then may
we speak to thee a pleasing and enjoyable hymn.
Psychological rendering.
Then, O most puissant in the seer-will, O most skilful Ordainer, O Flame, may we speak a soul-thought that is thine, that
satisfies, that conquers.

jAEmjnAnAm^ a`n
ko dA
v@vr,. ko h kE-m3Es E2t,
3. k-t
jAEm,. Who is thy companion? That is to say, thou art alone
and transcendent, aY;t,; what creature born (jn,) can boast of

Mandala One


being a necessary twin of thy being? jAEm, is more than b\D;, (S.),
it gives the idea of constant companion and closeness in kinship
v -v*A\. I.65.4.
or in being, eg jAEm, Es\D$nA\ B}At
v@vr,. S. d1o y.o y
n .. km@y;@(yy,. I am sceptical of
this passive sense for dAf;. S. thinks the phrase means that there
is no one capable even of sacrifice to Agni, "Who is there that
has given thee sacrifice?"; but surely this is to read more sense
into the word than it will bear. Anyhow, the Rishis constantly
giving sacrifice to Agni would hardly say "Who is there that has
ever given thee sacrifice?", they would use some phrase which
would at least hint the idea of unfitness. dAf; means naturally
giver or fit to give, and we may take dA
v@vr, as an inverted
compound = a@vrdAf;, and the question asked is "Who is really
able to give sacrifice that will reach the gods, being thy jAEm,,
companion and equal in being? It is really thou that speakest the
DA, and hotA and
word and doest the sacrifice, thou art the only v
without thee man's hymn and offering have no force or power."
Otherwise it is the a@vr that is dAf;, and the question is "Whose
sacrifice is able to reach the gods and give them the offering?
Only Agni is able to carry the offering to the gods and lead the
sacrifice to the goal." None else is his jAEm, and therefore none
else has the same power.
ko h. S. kT\B$t-(v\ ie all cannot know what you are like. This
is both fanciful and feeble. ko hAEs means who thou art, ie what
wonderful and transcendent being, aY;t. Agni is not this nor
that person, not one of the jnAnA\, but the Deva himself, eternal
and supreme.
kE-mn^. S. kE-m-TAn
. No one knows thy abode; but if Agni
is the physical flame everyone knows his abode, the vn, arEZ,
a=s; etc. kE-mn^ must mean either in what object or in what
person; there is nothing to indicate place. "In whom art thou
lodged?" None can contain and bind to him Agni, because he
is the transcendent and infinite in whom are all the gods and all
the worlds.
Sayana's rendering.
Who among men is thy (fit) friend? Who is there that has


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

given the sacrifice? What art thou (in thy nature)? In what place
art thou lodged?
Psychological rendering.
Who of creatures born can companion thee? O Flame, who
can give sacrifice? Who art thou? In whom is thy abode?
4. (v\ jAEmjnAnAm^ a`n
Em/o aEs Ey,. sKA sEK

jAEm,. Thou, being beyond all, unborn and transcendent,
yet makest thyself the companion of all these human creatures,
stooping to their humanity, amto m(y
Em/o .. Ey,. S. FZEytA yjmAnAnA\ mFt
-/Ayko_Es. This explanation of Em/ is extravagant philology and poor sense. Em is
to embrace, enjoy, love (also to contain, put together, form) and
/ here expresses the agent of the action; it means therefore friend
or else giver of delight; Agni is the divine Friend and Lover, God
as Mitra, Eytmo nZA\; therefore Ey,, dear especially because
of the satisfying principle of harmony he brings into thought,
feeling, act and state. He is not only jAEm, but Em/,, a dearer
word of love, since the first only expresses closeness in being,
companionship in life and action, the other the embrace of love
and the companionship of the heart. The answer here is to ko
h & ko dA
v@vr,. This Infinite is He who comes to man as his
friend and lover and sets and helps him on his path, for Mitra
jnAyAtyEt, sets them moving pETEB, sAEDS
{,, by the most effective paths of the Truth which accomplish perfectly the sacrifice,
a@vr, and carry it and the sacrificer to their divine goal.
sKA. Although not lodged in any as his abode, yet is this
infinite deity a comrade to be sought by adoration by men, his
comrades, mn;vt^, humanly and in a human relation.
Sayana's rendering.
O Agni thou art the friend of all men, thou art the deliverer
from harm and satisfier (of the sacrificers), and a friend to the
sacrificing priests who is worthy of praise.
Psychological rendering.
Thou art the companion of all beings; O Flame, thou art

Mandala One


the beloved Friend, a comrade to be sought with adoration by
5. yjA no Em/AvzZA yjA
dvA; -t\ bht^. a`n
yE" -v\ dm\

Em/AvzZA. Varuna because he gives the T,, the wideness,
Mitra because he is the Ey who by his harmonising principle of
light and love gives the =sr,. The last line goes back in thought
to the first; it prays for the divine fulfilment through Agni of that
which has been expressed by the aspiring thought of humanity,
of the sT-tm\
dv=sr-tm\ vc,.

dvA;. All the gods, constituting the whole Divine Birth, the
-t\ bht^.
-t\ bht^. The vast Truth. This is either in a sort of apposition
dvA;, "sacrifice to (all) the gods, to the vast Truth" which
is the being of the infinite Godhead; or else there is a double
accusative of the person and the object: "win for us from the
gods by sacrifice the vast Truth". Sayana takes -t\ = true, and
explains it as s(y\ yTATPl\ y.\, which is unnatural enough, as
no one would say "sacrifice for us the true" when he means
"sacrifice for us a sacrifice", - ritam may mean sacrifice, or
it may mean truth; but it cannot mean "true" in the sense of
"a sacrifice", - but astonishingly enough he does not take -t\
bht^ = "a great sacrifice", as he does elsewhere, but separates the
neuter bht^ from the neuter -t\ to which it belongs by grammar,
by verse-movement and by syntactical form & structure, - for
yj .. yj .. yE" each naturally introduces its own clause, - and
attaches it to the masculine dm\ to which it has no conceivable
right to belong. This is one of those purposeless and awkwardly
floundering ingenuities hostile to grammar & syntax, to the
evidence of parallel passages, to all literary sense and to poetic
fitness, in which Sayana's commentary abounds.
yE". S. makes yE" = yj s\gQC-v. He thinks that it means
p$jy, "worship thy own big house", but it is only when Agni
is within it that the sacrificial house becomes worshipable,
sEt Eh\ p$>yt
, therefore to ask Agni to
worship his own house amounts to asking him to get into it!


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Comment on such an absurdity is hardly needed.
-v\ dm\. The -t\ bht^ in the form of the world called -v,, u
lok,, uz lok, is the own home of Agni and all the gods.
Sayana's rendering.
Worship for us Mitra and Varuna, worship the gods, sacrifice a true (fruitful sacrifice), worship (ie enter) thy own big
Psychological rendering.
For us sacrifice to Varuna and Mitra, win for us by sacrifice
from the gods the vast Truth; O Flame, win for us by sacrifice
thine own home.

1. kA t up
Etmnso vrAy B;vd`n
f\tmA kA mnFqA.
ko vA y.
{, pEr d"\ t aAp k
n vA t
mnsA dAf

vrAy. S. tv mnso EnvArZAyA-mA-vv-TApnAy. This is a most
improbable sense for vr. It is much better to take vr (= that
which is vrZFy) in its ordinary Vedic significance of good, boon,
thing desired, with a shade which makes it amount to "supreme
Et,, ie, How shall the mind approach
good", and mns, with up
thee so that it may gain its desirable good? Or mnso vrAy may
be taken together, "for the supreme state or desirable good of
the mind". In the one case the phrase anticipates & leads up to
n vA t
mnsA; in the second it anticipates and leads up to yjA
sOmnsAy of v. 2. t
mnso no more goes together here than t

mnsA in the fourth pada of this verse.
mnFqA. S. -t;Et,, "How shall our praise be most happinessgiving to thee", ie there is no praise even suitable to thee, and
he thinks the answer to ko vA is n ko_Ep. It certainly does not
n vA mnsA means that no one has the
mean that any more than k
right mentality in the sacrifice. The series of questions merely
express the seeking of the mind for the right way of approaching
Agni, the right thought, mnFqA, the right mentality in the selfgiving, mns^, the power to embrace in the human mind the right

Mandala One


judgment and discernment of the divine seer-will. mnFqA does
not mean -t;Et in the Veda, but either the intellectual mind as
distinguished from the wider mns^ which embraces the emotional
mentality and sense-mind also, or else the intellectual thought
mA mnFqyA (I.94.1)
that seeks for the Truth. Cf im\ -tom\ .. s\ mh
which certainly does not mean "we will form the hymn [of]
praise by the hymn of praise." There is no reason for assigning different meanings to mnFqA here and in that passage. But
Sayana can seldom forego an opportunity of making a word
mean "hymn" or "food".
f\tmA, not tv s;KkrF, but full for us of the bliss.
d"\. S. vE=\ bl\ vA. Neither, but the judgment, discerning
thought. t
must go surely with d"\ not with y.
pEr .. aAp. pEr gives the idea of "all round", ie an embracing
possession of the whole d".
Sayana's rendering.
O Agni, what kind of approach should there be for stopping
thy mind (keeping it with us)? what kind of hymn most gives
thee happiness (there is probably none); who can get strength
(or increase) by sacrifices to thee? or with what mind should we
give to thee?
Psychological rendering.
How shall the mind of man approach thee for his supreme
good? what thought, O Flame, must that be which carries with
it the extreme bliss? who hath by sacrifices embraced all thy
discerning? or with what mind shall we give to thee the offerings?
2. eV`n ih hotA En qFd adND, s; p;retA BvA n,.
avtA\ (vA rodsF Ev
yjA mh

eEh hotA takes up the idea of hvF\Eq implied in dAf
m. The
answer to the questions of the first rik is that Agni, the SeerWill, must himself come as the hotA, the homEnpAdk (Sayana
dvAnAmA4AtA) and bring about the right
takes it wrongly here as
mentality by his sacrifice, mh
p;retA, the leader in the march of the sacrifice towards the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

gods and the vast Truth, a leader who at once guides on the right
path, pETBF rEjS
{, and slays the besetters of the way, Ev
(v. 3). The y. of which Agni is the hotA is the a@vro y.,.
avtA\. Not "protect"; Agni is adND, p;retA who burns all
the Rakshasas; what need has he of protection who protects
all? avtA\ means "foster, increase" the Seer-Will. Let the earth
and heaven, the physical and mental being, attain their full, all and by that wideness give full
embracing wideness, Ev
scope to the increase of the Seer-Will.
sOmnsAy. Perfect or right mentality including mnFqA, right
thought enlightened by the d" and not only the emotional part
, as a result of the wideness of
of the mn,. The sOmns is vast, mh
the Rodasi, the mental and physical being, which prepares the
manifestation of the vast Truth; this wideness of the Rodasi is
always a feature of the ascent of the gods, Agni or Indra, in that
upward progress to the plane of the Truth, Swar, of which Agni
here is the p;retA, he who goes in front.
Sayana's rendering.
Come, O Agni, sit here as the summoning priest; because
thou art beyond the injury (of the Rakshasas) be well he who
goes in front of us. May all-pervading earth and heaven protect
thee; worship with sacrifice the divine ones for great grace.
Psychological rendering.
Hither come, O Flame, and take thy seat within as the
priest of our oblation; be the unconquerable power that marches
(leading and defending us) aright in our front; may our heaven
and our earth, all-embracing, foster thee; sacrifice for a vast
right-mindedness to the gods.

BvA y.AnAmEBfE-tpAvA.
3. s; Ev
vAn}"so D#y`n
aTA vh sompEt\ hEr
{ ckmA s;dA

Indra, the Divine Mind-Power, is to be brought, after the
path has been cleared of all Rakshasas, all wealth-detaining
and destroying agencies, who prevent the sOmns and break
(aEBfE-t) the uninterrupted progress of the a@vr y.. Indra

Mandala One


comes with his two bright powers to drink the purified wine
of the Ananda offered in the clear and happy state of the mind
(sOmns) and to give in return the wealth of his world, -v, (s;dA
sompEt\. S. sv
qA\ somAnA\ pAlk\. Rather, lord of the Somas as
he is of the Egr,, not in the sense that Soma is of the wine or
Brihaspati is master of the b}AEZ, because to him all speech and
all outpourings of the intoxicating wine go as rivers to their sea,
as herds to the bull, as women to their lord, ajoqA vqB\ pEt\.
ckm. Possibly = we have prepared; ie the Soma is ready for
the divine guest.
Utterly burn before thee all the Rakshasas, O Flame; become
the protector of our sacrifices against the destroyer; then bring to
us the master of our Soma-pourings with his two shining steeds;
for him we have prepared guest-honour, for the perfect giver.

En c s(sFh
4. jAvtA vcsA vE>rAsA aA c h;v
Eq ho/m;t po/\ yj/ boED y\tjEntvs$nA\
jAvtA. jA here seems not to be ap(y in the technical Vedic sense, but to refer to all fruits of the sacrifice; S.
vcsA. S. -t;t, sn^. I cannot accept such a clumsy construction; it means that Agni upbears the sacrifice (vE>,) by means of
the word and by his flaming mouth. That is to say, if vE>, really
refers to Agni and aAsA to his flame, aA-y-TAnFyyA >vAlyA as
S. suggests. In that case we have to understand aEs with the
first pada. But the natural rendering would be to take vE>, as
referring to the Rishi. "I, upholder of the word by the breath of
my mouth, call thee by the fruitful word and do thou at once
take thy seat with the gods."
vE>,. "Upholder, maintainer" either of the word (cf sKAy,
-tomvAhs,, EgvAh, etc) which is most appropriate here, - "as
the sustainer of the divine chant by his breath he calls him with
the fruitful word", - or else of the whole sacrifice, the inspired
word of the hymn and therefore the breath of the mouth being
the means by which the vE> upholds the course and strength of
the sacrifice. Cf I.3.11, y.\ dD


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

aAsA. 1. breath. 2. mouth. The first seems to me the appropriate sense; it is the Pranic force, m;Hy, AZ,, by which the b}
is uplifted from the heart where it has been shaped and held in
the mind, }dA t\.
aA c .. En c, gives importance to the prepositions; there
are two immediately successive actions, the motion of the Rishi
drawing the Seer-Will to him by the word, the motion of Agni
and the Gods entering and taking their settled station within
him, En.
Eq. S. kAmy-v. I think it is yAEs, the verb used in its pure
indicative sense, "'tis thou takest upon thee the office of hotA
and the office of potA, O master of sacrifice, (therefore) awake."
yj/. S. yjnFy. Rather / here seems to express the agent as
in Em/. Agni is here the sacrificer (hot, .. yj-v v. 5) and not the
god to whom sacrifice is given.
y\t,. S. kq
Z Eny\t,. vs$y-mdAy1AEn k;vn^.
jEnt,. S. aAh;Et7ArA sv-y jnEytr`n
. I presume S. means
sv-y Dn-y.
y\tjEnt,. jEnt, he who brings the spiritual wealth into
being in man. y\t, he who brings it by his labour into right use
or possession by man.
boED. S. a-mAboDy. There is no reason to take transitively a
verb usually intransitive.
Psychological rendering.
By the fruitful word I, bearer of the sacrifice by the force of
my breath, call thee to me and, thou, take thy seat here within
with the gods; 'tis thou takest on thee the oblation and the
purifying; wake, O bringer into being, O bringer into use of our
Sayana's rendering.
(Hymned) by a fruitful word (he who is) the bearer of the
offerings to the gods, him I call; and, thou, - sit down here with
the gods, desire that which is done by the Hota and the Pota;
wake us, O thou who entirely controllest riches and producest
(all things).

Mandala One


5. yTA Ev-y mn;qo hEvEB -
dvA; ayj, kEvEB, kEv, sn^.
evA hot, s(ytr (vm a`n
m\dyA j;4A yj-v

. mn;q, does indeed mean the thinker,
mn;q,. S. mno, - mn .An
but the mental being generally, not Manu.
Ev-y. S. m
DAEvn,, from Evp^ to be luminous - cf s$Er, which
like s$y, means also luminous; men of knowledge are in the R.V.
frequently called ;mt,, luminous.
ayj, probably an aoristic past; "as thou hast always
kEvEB, kEv,. S. renders kEv, = 5A\tdfF, & kEvEB, = m
He makes a difference between the two senses in a note on I.79.5,
kEv, 5A\tdfno m
DAvF vA. I presume that the former means a seer,
one whose vision is active, the other merely an intelligent man or
thinker. Perhaps S. is unwilling to attribute omniscient seerhood
to men. But why should there be a difference of meaning between
kEvEB, kEv,? I cannot understand this remarkable principle of
composition attributed to the Rishis of putting the same word
together in different cases or with different governing words in
order to convey quite different ideas and with nothing to show
the difference! It is only in Bedlam or else in Pundit-land that
such a rule can stand. Mark that sometimes S. makes kEv mean
simply 5A\t! As a matter of fact there is no reason to suppose
that kEv ever means anything in the Vedas but a seer. Who are
the kEvs here? Not I think men, but the divine powers who assist
the Seer-Will.
hot,. S. homEnpAdk. This passage hot, .. j;4A yj-v and
others show clearly enough that hotA meant originally the priest
who conducted or made the offering; the other sense
is, in the R.V., extremely doubtful.
s(ytr. S. aEtfy
n s(s; sADo! An extremely clumsy and
unnecessarily philological antic. Agni is frequently called s(y,
eg I.1.5, hotA kEv5t;, s(yE
c/2v-tm,. Here also Agni is the
hotA, kEv, & s(ytr,. In I.1.5 S. interprets s(y giver of true
results of the sacrifice, here in a precisely similar context, where
the same words and ideas are repeated, he gives quite another
and fantastic explanation. s(y means true, full in his being of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the truth of the -t\ bht^ of which the kEv is the knower, and
therefore no doubt a giver of the riches of the truth to the sacrificer; but the latter idea cannot justly be read into s(y when
that word is divorced by Sayana from all idea of the -t & the
kA&y. The comparative means ever growing in truth.
m\dyA j;4A. S. hqEyWyA homsADnB$tyA *;cA. The j;h$ is the flame
of Agni by which he gives the offering to the gods, as Sayana's
explanation would lead us to believe; but perhaps he means the
fire-tongue by *;c^. It is the flame or uplifting movement of the
Will that lifts the Soma etc from the mind upward to the divine
Superconscient with a motion of rapture - the rapturous willmovement, not, I think, the joy-giving will. The rapture comes
from the state of sOmns, clear of the Rakshasas etc, which Agni's
priesthood, the conduct of the Yoga by the divine Will, brings
to man.

[RV I.77.1 - 2]
Hymns of Gotama Rahugana

m a`ny
kA a-m
dvj;A uQyt
1. kTA dAf
yo m(y
q; amto -tAvA hotA yEjS it^ kZoEt
kTA. This ancient form follows the analogy of svTA, ayTA
etc. Sayana thinks that kTA dAf
m is a confession of incompetence.
This is possible but not necessary. The question may simply
express the seeking, naturally with a sense of difficulty, for the
right manner of giving and the sufficient word.
. BA is >yoEt,, BAm is rather t

dvj;A. S. sv
{, s
Evt&yA vAk^. The gods have to be created
by Agni in the mortal, therefore a revealing word is needed to
which the cosmic deities will attach themselves, making it their
dwelling-place, so that through its instrumentality Agni may
create the corresponding godheads in the individual. gF, like

Mandala One


f\s, is the word which expresses, which brings out, makes f-t
what is unexpressed in the state of afE-t and therefore latent.
q; amt,. The usual description of Agni, the divine Will;
he is the precondition of man's immortality, always present even
in his mortality, always shining though smoke-obscured even in
his state of night; it is this Will that wakened to greatness and
clarity by the Dawn rises up heavenward and calls the gods to
take their seat in the human soul that sacrifices to them.
-tAvA. It is the Seer-Will and possesses the Truth, therefore
it is the priest of the offering most powerful for sacrifice. In other
words it will know the right way to sacrifice and find the right
word for creating the Truth-powers.
kZoEt. S. hEvEBy;?tAn^ kro(y
v. Prodigious! By what alchemy
of the mind are we to find in the plain phrase "makes the gods",
the meaning "makes them have the offering"? The mystic idea
of the creation of the godheads in man is necessarily beyond
the understanding of the ritualist; but what gymnastic feats are
needed to wriggle out of the plain sense of a plain phrase!
Sayana's rendering.
How should we give to Agni, what praise that can be accepted by the gods is spoken to the shining one, who, Hotri
immortal and possessed of sacrifice, a great sacrificer, dwelling
in (among?) mortals makes the gods possessed of the offering?
Psychological rendering.
How shall we give unto the Flame? What word is spoken to
the lord of fiery light to which the gods shall cleave, the Flame
who immortal in mortals, possessed of the Truth, a priest of the
offering most mighty indeed for sacrifice, forms the gods?

q; f\tm -tAvA hotA tm$ nmoEBrA kZ;@v\.
2. yo a@vr
dvAn^ s cA boDAEt mnsA yjAEt
f\tm -tAvA. Always in Veda there is the same connection,
the Truth is the way to the bliss, its cause, foundation, support;
through Vijnana we arrive at Ananda.
aA kZ;@v\. S. aEBm;KFk;zt. aA B$ & aA k have a special sense


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

in Veda. aA B$ is to become in, enter into another's being, to
cast oneself into his, as the god manifests himself in the man,
the man lifts his being into the divine consciousness. Cf I.56.2 -
3 where the phrase aAB$q; is applied to those who ascend upon
jsA and range in that divine Mind as on an
Indra, i\dmED roh t
. aA k is the converse action
ocean, t\ g$ty, .. prFZs, sm;d\ n s\crZ
of man bringing the godhead into him and forming it there in
his human being.
nmoEB,. Agni is first to be brought into man and formed
there, so that he may form the other godheads; it is true that he
is already there, but veiled; he has to be brought in in his own
divine form from the Truth, his own home. How is this to be
done? by what manner of sacrifice? by what word? Simply by
the sacrifice of submission, the word of adoration and surrender.
He will do the rest.
,. S. gQCEt. It may mean "goes", "desires", "manifests".
gEtjnnkA\Etq;. This is the difficulty of fixing the sense of
we have to choose between "going to the gods" and "manifesting the gods" for the mortal.
boDAEt. S. jAnAEt or "wakes to the knowledge". This is the
answer to the question in the first rik. The Seer Will once awake
and formed in the man by submission and adoration of the
human to the divine Will itself knows the godheads aright and
sacrifices through the mind to them in the right manner of the
Truth which he possesses and with its right word.

Mandala One


[RV I.94.1 - 10]
Hymns of Kutsa Angirasa
I.94 - 98 .. 101 - 115
A Critical Edition, with Notes & Translation,
establishing the symbolic and Vedantic
meaning of the Rigveda.

94 im\ -tommht
rTEmv s\ mh
mA mnFqyA.
BdA Eh n, mEtr-y s\sEd a`n
mA ErqAmA vy\ tv 1
{ (vmAyjs
s sADEt anvA "
Et dDt
s t$tAv n
{nm`oEt a\hEtr`n
mA ErqAmA vy\ tv 2
m (vA sEmD\ sADyA EDy-(v

dvA hEvrdEt aAh;t\.
(vmAEd(yAnAvh tAEh u
mEs a`n
mA ErqAmA vy\ tv 3
@m\ kZvAmA hvF\Eq t
Ectyt, pvZApvZA vy\.
tr\ sADyA EDyo a`n
mA ErqAmA vy\ tv 4
[Half a page left blank for copying the rest of the text.]
1. -tomm^. The hymn of praise is the central note of the Rigveda.
Praise and prayer are the two outward expressions (gF,) of the
soul founded on the heart, which awaken the consciousness
tyEt) to the force or the presence of the god. They
there (c
establish the god in the heart and increase him there, sAdyEt
bEhEq, vDyEt. The word -tom is from the root -t; which means
to set or be set firmly, closely or solidly; from this original sense
there come the senses to pile, accumulate, erect, raise, of -t$p^
with its noun -t$p, which means a heap, pile, monument or pyre
and also strength, power; the significance, to stop or stupefy of
-t;B^ and -t;\B^ with the noun -toB, obstruction, a stop, a pause.
From -t; or -t;c^ we have -t;k, a bunch of hair, braid or knot,
-t;kA in the same sense, but also meaning the hip or thigh and
-tok, a drop or small quantity collected, hence little, short, few.
-tom, itself has the sense of mass, collection, group; -tom\ means


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the head, riches, wealth, grain; -tvk, means a cluster of flowers
or bouquet, as well as praise. The root can mean also to push
(-t;B, & -t;nk, a goat, -t;\B^ to expel, -toB, disrespect, spurning
contumely). The significance hymn, praise, eulogy belonging to
the verb and its nouns -t;Et, -tom, -to/\, -tv, as also to -t;B^ and
its noun -toB, (cf -t;c^ to be pleased, propitious) must come by
transition from the same original force as all the other derivatives. Stoma is, therefore, the praise which supports, the praise
which nourishes & increases or the praise which impels and
gives force. It was, in other words, to the Vedic Rishis that
which establishes & increases the god, supports him and gives
him force for effective action. But the literal meaning must have
been support and from this sense the idea of laudation, praise
must in the first instance have risen. That the etymological sense
must have been present to the mind of the singer is shown by
m and the simile rTEmv. The hymn is to be strongly
the verb mh
compacted, a real erection, stoma or stupa, on which Agni is to
take his seat as in a chariot. Cf other families of this root. The
same meanings will be found to persist. -tk^, -tn,, -t\B^, -t\B,,
-tm^, -t\b,, E-tEB,, E-tm^, E-tEmt, -t to spread, cover, strew, -TA,
-TAn\, -T$ZA, -T$l.

. The word aht^ is generally taken to mean worthy or
deserving, from the later and derived sense of the root ah^, to
deserve, to owe, which replaced the earlier & simpler senses in
classical Sanscrit. "Let us forge strongly a hymn for Agni who
deserves it" will make a good grammatical sense, but very poor
poetry & no philosophical significance. The Buddhist Arhat certainly did not mean merely a deserving person; it meant one
extremely exalted, or one who had risen high above the world.
Agni, the high exalted, meaning ultimately one of those who
dwell in the Parardha, will be a more probable, as well as a
more forcible rendering. See Rt ar in the Aryan Word Book.
s\ mh
m. I am certain the word here must mean to make
great in the sense of "to compact, to construct laboriously or
solidly", with something of the force of the Latin moliri. From
the idea to make strong or great, such a sense would naturally

Mandala One


arise; the idea of strong or laborious action, work or construction is characteristic of the M roots and no other sense will
go so well with rTEmv. Otherwise we must translate "Let us
strengthen the hymn with or by the intellect," ie let us put our
minds to it to give it greater force; but this is a good sense by
itself, but it leaves rTEmv in the air. One does not strengthen a
chariot with the intellect or indeed by any other means [unless]
it is ramshackle or broken down, which cannot be the Rishi's
meaning. For the construction of a chariot with the mind for the
tool of the worker, cf Rigveda I.20, Medhatithi's hymn to the
Ribhus, the heavenly artificers, y idAy vcoy;jA tt";mnsA hrF
.. t"3As(yAmAn\ s;K\ rT\, "who fashioned, by the mind,
yoked to speech, for Indra his yoke of steeds, and fashioned for
the Aswins a spacious car of ease."

mEt,. Throughout the Veda I take mEt, in its simple
and obvious etymological sense of .A, mental knowledge. The
Greek & Latin sense of , beforehand, need not be premised
of the Sanscrit particle. The force of in mEt, and .A comes
from the idea of the object of knowledge standing before the
mind & the mind moving out to embrace it in its scope.
This hymn for the Exalted One to whom Knowledge appeareth let us construct with the intellect as if it were a chariot
(for him); for auspicious is his mind of thought to us in the
assembly. O Agni, (secure) in thy friendship may we come not
to harm.

etc. The Atmanepada expresses the vague and general
2. aAyjs
idea of inner action applied to any ends of the soul. The yajna
of the Veda is the yoga of the soul or of any of its faculties,
mental, spiritual, vital or bodily, its preparing and bringing into
action for growth towards peace, perfection, plenty (vajas), joy,
strength, immortal godhead. The Yajamana, for whom Agni is
the agent of the yajnic action, the hota, perfects himself in these
things, sadhati; he gets his habitation, firmly establishes himself
in the objects of the Yoga or in some state of the soul which is


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the object of the Yoga, ksheti, holds & confirms for himself the
full Yogic force, suviryam, increases & prospers, tutava, and is
guarded by Agni from all evil, internal or external, anhati.

sADEt. We see the early use of the word which has played
so great a part in the spiritual thought and practice of India
ever since. Sadhaka, the yogic seeker of perfection, sadhana, his
spiritual effort & discipline, siddhi, his success and attainment
whether in particular faculty or general soul-condition, sadhu,
the man in his state of perfection, remain to this day current &
familiar words in our vernaculars and colour the thoughts of a
anvA. The exact sense of anvA has, I think, been missed; it
is "not fighting" & hence sometimes "without an enemy", not
an^ + avn^, an enemy. The root ar^ expresses excellence, force or
preeminence of any kind, whether (1) in being, state & position,
(2) in action, (3) in movement, (4) in light & splendour. From (1)
we have the idea of excellence, virtue, nobility, lordship, honour,
lifting, leading, height in ay, aAy, aG, ac^, ah. The Tamil aran,
aram (virtue), the Greek ristoc, arw, rqw, rqomai, ret,
roc a mountain; from (2) the sense fight, slay or hurt, oppress,
in ar^, av^, ab^, ad^, aEr, Ares, arAEt, arma, arr,, and plough,
work, row, propel in ar^, aro, arvum, rw, rotron, roura,
aEr/\, aryEt; from (3) the sense of swift motion in ar, av^.
The idea in anarva ksheti is that the sadhaka for whom
Agni, master of pure tapas, works out all the actions of the
Yoga, the inner sacrifice, gets firm establishment in the siddhi
(sadhati) and dwells established in it (ksheti) without any need
of fighting; Agni destroys all the inimical forces, the amivas, and
prevents by his protection (avas) farther attack.
Et. "y and "
Et are technical words of the Vedic Yoga.
"y is established dwelling or habitation in a fixed condition
of consciousness or that condition so fixed and inhabited. "
describes such an established condition. Cf such phrases as uz
"yAy cE5r
, they make the Vast (mahat) their habitation. I.36.8.
s;vFy. The word virya in the Veda, derived from vF to open,

Mandala One


expand, display, open into full vigour, includes in the forms v,
vFr etc the idea of excellence, full or superior force etc. Hence the
means here to hold
later idea of strength, energy or heroism. dDt
firmly. s;vFy, the thing held firmly by this sadhaka, is usually in
the Veda the fullness of force, knowledge & being-manifestation,
sat-tapas, on any plane of the being, although sometimes the
idea of knowledge is almost suppressed in the more general
and radical idea of manifestation, sometimes it predominates &
almost conceals the idea of force. Sometimes both are combined
equally. Ila, for instance, in I.40.4, is described as devi sunrita
& Ilam suviram, supraturtim anehasam, clear & strong (suvira)
going swiftly forward (supraturti) but not hurtful by excessive
force (anehasam). There is here no reference to knowledge. The
idea is that of a safe & seated fullness of forceful being.

t$tAv. Again the idea of strength, vigour, always contained in
the root tu where it keeps its radical force. So far as the context
of the single line goes, it is quite possible & appropriate to take
the word in the sense "he attains safety", cf Lat. tutus, tueor etc,
but it is more likely to be "he attains vigour" or "is in full force,
a`oEt. af^ is the Greek qw. It means to have, possess, &
so to enjoy, to eat. This instance of its use shows how these
meanings developed out of each other. "Evil cannot have him or
hold him, cannot possess him" with a strong trace of the idea of
enjoying & devouring.
a\hEt,. a\h^ like ah^ means to put out force against, so to
attack, hurt, kill, wound. a\hEt means defect, flaw, sin, evil,
calamity. It means here evil with the special idea of defect or
flaw in the siddhi.
For whom thou, O Agni, workest at the Yoga, he attains
fulfilment, he sits established free from enemies, who finds the
full force of being; he flourishes and evil cannot enjoy possession
of him. O Agni, secure in thy friendship may we come not to


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

3. fk
m with the accusative means "May we be equal to, able
to bear". It is the dharana-samarthya, the power to hold the
force, delight or vast expansion pouring into the system without
either suffering injury or letting the flood escape from the system
by exhaustion of or rejection from the latter, - it is this Yogic
fitness of the adhara or receptacle that is indicated in shakema
twa samidham.

sEmD\. From idh to attain fullness, increase, flourish & sam
expressing completeness.
sADyA EDys^. Perfect the movements or faculties of the understanding. The plural is constantly used in this sense. Dhi is
the discerning mind which holds and places perceptions. They
are to be perfected so that they may hold & place rightly the
knowledge that streams in when Agni or pure tapas increases in
the system.
hEvrAh;t\. The offering cast. Havis in the Veda is anything
spiritual, mental, vital or material offered to the gods so as to
strengthen them each in their proper activity. The base of the
Vedic system is this idea of the interchange of offices between
god & man, man surrendering his inner & outer gains to the
gods so that they by their activity in him & his concerns may
repay him, as is their habit, a thousandfold.
adEt. The gods eat or enjoy the offering cast into Agni, into
the pure tapas. In other words, speaking psychologically, all the
faculties are strengthened by the surrender of actions, thoughts,
feelings into the hands of the pure energy which distributes them
to the proper centres.
aAEd(yAn^ .. tAn^ Eh. Hi is here simply emphatic, not causal
dvA of the last line. The Adityas, sons
& the tan refers back to
of Aditi, the infinite existence in the paravat, parardha or higher
being of man & the world.
mEs. The word is from the root uf^ and must therefore
mean "desire, wish, yearning out, aspiration". But these words
do not exactly express the Vedic idea. It is that state of the Yogin

Mandala One


when existence reaches out after an effect or a fulfilment (lipsa);
there is no corresponding word in English. The gods are often
represented as ushatas, when they are called to the sacrifice. It
is the movement towards a stronger existence or activity which
we are conscious of in the faculties when the system has been
brought into a fit state for the sacrificial action.
May we have power to bear thee in the fullness of thy increase; perfect the faculties of our understanding; in thee when
the offering is cast, it is enjoyed by the gods. Do thou bring hither
those sons of Infinite Being in the self-extending aspiration of
the soul. O Agni, secure in thy friendship may we come not to
4. BrAm
@m\ kZvAmA hvF\Eq t
. May we bring or may we load on
the altar the fuel of thy burning - idhma, that by which thou
increasest, may we make the offerings to thee. The idea of the
inner sacrifice in the Veda is that what we possess, mentally,
vitally, physically etc, our dhanani, have all to be offered to the
divine force, Agni, to grow in us by devouring it. This is the
idhma. To him who thus makes, havinshi, offerings to Agni,
he returns tenfold the strength & joy that is given him, for, as
Madhuchchhanda says in the first hymn of this Mandala, that
is his satyam, his truth or vow to do good to the giver. In other
words, whatever we surrender to the Divine Force, it returns to
us in an increased wealth, in viryam, sahas, posha etc. Te with
both i@m\ & hvF\Eq.

Ectyt,. The word may mean either to pile up (cf EctA) or
become aware of, take into cognizance (cf Ec1\).
pvZApvZA. The word is from the root p, to fill, by gunation
and the addition of the compound suffix vZ. pv & pvn^ are
the brother forms. In the sense of holy day pvn^ must have
originally meant either the same as p$EZmA or else a filling up
day, a connecting day; so it means also the connecting joint.
pv in the sense of chapter means a "completed" part. In I.9.1.
the expression sompvEB, must mean with the fullnesses of the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

nectar. Ectyt, must certainly mean heaping here, and pvZApvZA
describes the offerings that are heaped on the altar. Does it mean
then "Heaping up all our inner possessions alike, complete and
incomplete, perfected and imperfected"?

. For increase of life, of vitality & perhaps length of
days - a frequent prayer of the Vedic Rishis who followed unhesitatingly the rule of the Isha Upanishad, jijivishech chhatam
tr\ swiftly, or else forcibly.
sADyA EDyo. The same prayer as in the third verse. There is
no reason to interpret EDyo otherwise than faculties of DF, the
discerning mind. As every Yogin knows, length of life can be assured by liberation of the mental movements from the sanskaras
of disease and death.
May we heap the fuel of thee and make the offerings heaping
them up both complete and incomplete; forcefully for the life
perfect the faculties of our understanding; O Agni, secure in thy
friendship may we come not to harm.
5. He is the protector of the peoples, by his drivings all living
beings range whether the two-footed or the four-footed; thou art
the various perception of the Dawn, mighty art thou; O Agni,
secure in thy friendship may we come to no harm.

EvfA\ ie the various kinds of creatures. From Ev to come into
being, appear, be born.
a?t;EB,. From aj^ to act forcibly, work, drive. Gr. gw &
Latin ago. Aktu must therefore mean either workings, cf ago, I
act, or drivings, cf gw, I drive; and, since the verb is crEt, the
latter must be accepted. Agni is the Master of Tapas or Worldforce. It is by the drivings, the impulsions of that Force that all
creatures move.
Ec/,. The word has the sense of various, but with the idea
of curiousness or richness, from Ec meaning to divide & to

Mandala One


accumulate. It is the Greek poikloc.

t,. k
t, is perception, k
t, perception going forward to
the object that presents itself. In Usha, the Dawn of Knowledge,
Being or Joy objects of experience present themselves and Agni
as Force that is Awareness dwells on all of them & knows them
minutely & perfectly. He is not only Force of Action but also
Force of Knowledge, jatavedas.
mhAn^. There is an evident reference to mhs^, the ideal knowledge. It is because Agni is great with the wideness of Mahas or
vijnana, ideal knowledge, that he is chitra, so rich & various in
his perception in the prajnana, mental knowledge.

6. Thou art the Adhwaryu and the Hota also from of old, the controller & purifier of beings, the Purohita; thou knowest, O wise one, all the functions of the Ritwik & (by that knowledge) increasest; O Agni, secure in thy friendship, may we come not to harm.

a@vy;. We find here the names of different priestly functions in the sacrifice applied to Agni, the master of Tapas. He is usually spoken of as the Hota, he who offers the sacrifice, and often as the Purohita, he who stands in front as the personal representative of the sacrificer. In I.1.1. he is spoken of in addition as the Ritwik - dvmE(vj\. -E(vk^ is usually derived from -t; + ij^ and supposed to mean one who sacrifices in season. But this would apply equally to every priest in the sacrifice. The names Purohita, Hota, Brahma, Udgata etc all apply to particular functions & bear that function on their face. It must be the same with Adhwaryu & Ritwik. -E(vk^ is either from -t; + ij^ in the sense of one who knows the laws, rules or rituals of the sacrifice; or from -t^ + Evj^ in the sense of Knower of truth, Knower of the law. Both the i roots & the Ev family bear the significance of knowledge. In the former the sense is comparatively rare & has been handed over to other verbs expressing motion, gm^ in its compounds & yA; but we still have I"^ & Iq^ in the sense of seeing, & the goddess i0A in the Vedas is the power of Revelation.
Similarly a@vy; from a@vr was originally the priest especially in charge of the materials of the oblation. fA-tA and potA also refer to sacrificial functions, the direction by controlling word of the ritual and the purification of the offerings. We can see how these functions are all combined in Agni. He is the hota, for Tapas is the chief agent both of action and of surrender to the divine power. He is adhwaryu, because he is dravinoda, it is Tapas which supplies all forms in the Universe & all forces and maintains them. He is prashasta; tapas controls & directs the actions of all creatures. He is pota, is pavaka; tapas of Chit supplies the knowledge & moral force which purify. He is purohita; Tapas is the agent of all our activity, which stands in front for the Purusha & does his works. He is ritwik; as jatavedas, tapas of Chit knows & arranges all action in its proper place and season.

jn;qA. From jn^, as mn;q^ from mn^. All things born, all creatures: the accusative after fA-tA and potA. The word shows that
Kutsa is regarding all world-existence as one great sacrifice to
the divine powers.
aAE(v>yA. Accusative after Ev7An^. The functions of knowledge which are the basis of action.
DFr. From DA to hold & arrange. Connected with DF, the
mind as that which holds & arranges stuff of knowledge. Dhira
indicates a steady & discerning knowledge. By this steady &
discerning frame of mind tapas or pure force increases in the
soul (p;yEs).
7. Thou who art everywhere in thy beauty and hast vision,
discerning afar, shinest exceedingly like the lightning, thou seest,
O god, beyond the darkness of the night. O Agni, secure in thy
friendship may we come not to harm.

s;tFk,. With a beautiful face. sdR^. With the sight of the
higher vision, drishti. tFk is that which faces or confronts -
so a face or figure. Agni as divine Tapas is everywhere, a thing
of beauty & delight behind all being in activity. Agni as force
of knowledge is like a flash of lightning brilliantly illuminating

Mandala One


everything, speeding to the utmost distance, flashing through &
beyond the thickness of the night.

a\Ds^. The a roots signify intrinsically general existence,
being. a\D^, ad^, aD^, the dental combinations give the idea of
firm consistency, substantial existence & easily come to give such
meanings as density, gross existence, matter, food. We have from
ad^, a3\ in the sense of gross matter, as well as aEdEt, Existence;
from aD^ a lost aDs^ matter, food, still found in Greek joc,
"joc, pasture (aDs^, aADs^), hence the lower or material world,
a@vr, the material oblation, material, the material existence;
from a\D^, aD blind (originally thick, dark), aDs^ thickness,
thick darkness, food, matter.
8. May ours, O ye gods, be the pristine delight of him who
expresses (the nectar), may strong self-expression be with us;
that word do ye know & in that word increase. O Agni, secure
in thy friendship, may we come to no harm.

rT,. It is evident that rT, here is not chariot, since there
can [be] no meaning in praying to the gods for an old chariot;
on the other hand ratha in v. 10, where the sense of a chariot
is evident, clearly recalls the rT, of this verse. This passage is,
therefore, an excellent indication of the symbolic nature of the
divine chariots in the Veda. rT, may mean etymologically either
swift motion, from which the sense, chariot, arises, or strong
emotion esp. delight, ecstasy, cf rEt, rAEt (pleasure, delight),
rAy,, rA, (felicity), r, (love, desire), r\s; (delightful); r\j^, r?t etc,
r\g,, rAg,, rjs^ (rajoguna); rZ, delight, joy; rm^, rAm, rt etc; rs
pleasure, taste, delight; rAslFlA; rBs which still keeps in Bengali
its original sense of ecstasy; r& & rADs^ in the Veda have the same
sense, as will be shown elsewhere. r"s^, rA"s, the name rAvZ,
had originally the same sense & meant indulgence in violent
aggressive satisfaction of the impulses. Other common senses of
the r root family are strong dazzling light, and loud thrilling or
piercing sound. The root is a violent root, expressive of strong
vibrations of all kinds in being but not of the most violent. The
sense of Ananda seldom leaves it, the sense of force & vibration


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

never. rT has other meanings, eg reed, fighter & must have
meant also fighting, etc, but "ecstasy, delight" and "chariot"
are its common Vedic senses. This ratha or strong vibrating
ananda is the chariot of Agni, the vehicle of the divine Tapas.
For Tapas in the Vedic system descends through Ananda and it is
in Ananda that it pours itself through the world. Therefore there
is no action which has not as its basis some kind of pleasure,
the stronger the delight, the greater the force of action, provided
always that the system can bear the vibration. The Purva ratha
may mean either full, supreme delight or the pristine delight of
the soul before it is stained by imperfections, when it enjoys its
Brahma-state avranam, unwounded. In any case, the sense is full
or supreme delight.

s;vto. Throughout the Veda in connection with the word
som, the wine symbolic of the joy of immortality, the nectar or
ichor that flows in the bodies of the gods in place of blood, the
root s; is used in a double sense of production, distilling and of
good, pleasure, happiness as in s;, soMy, somn^, s;vn etc. We find
both senses in som, s$n;,, etc.
f\so. Another fundamental word of Vedic psychology. The
proper meaning of fs^ is to cut, pierce; it is used of sharp,
swift & trenchant motion, action, pressure, feeling etc. We have
ff^ to leap, fq^ to hurt, injure, kill; fk;lF the orifice of the
ear; f-p loss of intellect; fs^ to cut, kill, destroy, fsn\, fE-t,
f-/\ etc; fAs^ to punish, hence to rule, govern, tame, subdue, to
teach. From this fundamental sense came the idea of shooting
out, piercing one's way into appearance, like a plant; eg f-y
corn, grain; and so it came to mean expression, - expression
in speech, praise etc, expression in being, self-expression, &
from these last senses gave such meanings as f-t\ excellence,
happiness, best, right; f-t\ the body. The nasal form f\s^ had the
same senses; to hurt, injure, revile; to praise, express, declare,
show; etc. These roots also indicate wish, desire. The tradition
of the old Vedic meaning "expression" of anything in the being,
has been lost to tradition, but it still remains stamped on the
Veda. It would be possible here to translate f\so as praise and

Mandala One


d;,f\sA; in the next verse as evil-speakers, especially in view of the
td^ vc, in the second line of this shloka. The Rishi must then be
supposed to say, "May I have the former or old delight, may our
energetic praise (of Agni?) attain it; know that word of praise &
increase by it. By blows, kill energetically the evil speakers and
opponents & the devourers", - a comprehensive massacre! It is
not that these translations cannot be made, but that they make
no coherent sense, have no inherent plausibility to make up for
their random & rambling character & only succeed in making
a mass of barbarous nonsense out of the Veda. The real sense is,
"Give me the old perfect ecstasy; let there be with it an energetic
or forceful expression of the divine being in me; do you, the
gods, know that expression (that is to say, embrace it in your
consciousness) & by it increase. All who oppose destroy & so
make the path to the fulfilment of this inner yajna easy, swift &
safe." This is a coherent sense & well in touch with what comes
before & what follows.
d$Y^y, is either a verbal adjective like kAy from a root d$Y^
or a nominal adjective from a noun d$Y,. Its use twice in this
passage is of a kind favourable to the nominal force. The root d$
has as its common and characteristic force the idea of a violent,
impetuous or troubling activity and taken in connection with rT,
and jEh in the next verse we may suppose it to mean "forcible,
impetuous, strong or overpowering". It is a chanda and not
a saumya ecstasy & expansion of being that Kutsa demands
from Agni, one violently overcoming all Asuric opposition of
the spiritual enemies of the Yoga.
vco. The roots vc^ and uc^ as also ud^ and vd^ mean properly, expression, expansion like f\s^, for this is the fundamental
object of the U family of roots, wide or widening but unfinished being. Hence the sense of high swelling in ud^ and uQc,,
of dawning in &y;QC^, the idea of wish, yearning in uf^ and other
roots. If we suppose vcs^ here to preserve its original sense,
we shall get an appropriate & coherent meaning, "Know ye
this expression and increase." Take cognisance of the shansa
referred to in the previous line and make it your own by this


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

mental reception, enter into it & be nourished by it, increase in
9. Drive away with thy smitings impetuously those who are
opposed to expansion, or such as from afar (stand) against me
or all such as are devourers, then make an easy path for the
sacrifice to express itself. O Agni, secure in thy friendship, may
we come not to harm.

d;,f\sAn^. This verse describes those Asuric forces which are
opposed to our divine growth & manifestation. The d;,f\sA, are
those who are identified with self-division & self-limitation, the
sons of Diti who stand in the way of Aditi or infinite being &
oppose the f\s referred to in the last verse.
jEh is, in the usage of later Sanscrit, the imperative of hn^
but in origin it is evidently the imperative of j to slay, strike. ap
jEh means to strike away, to drive off by blows from the path.
a\Et. Greek nt, against.
aE/Z,. From at^ to eat, devour - the devourers. The d;,f\sA,
oppose self-expression by entering the system & limiting it; those
who oppose from far-off try to prevent the action of the f\s,;
the aE/Z, go farther and seek to devour & destroy the f\s once
gained. All these are enemies of the yajna.
y.Ay gZt
. This is an important passage for the sense of
these two words. y. here is evidently the internal Yoga or tapas
which is seeking with the help of the Gods who [are] fostered by
its activities to express itself. g like many words used to mean
"speech", like f\s^, vc^ & vd^ means properly expression. Hence
the easy confusion by which afterwards all these words were
taken in the sense of "praise, prayer, speech". If we take gZt
"speaking", we shall have to separate it from y.Ay with which
it evidently goes and translate "a good path for the sacrifice
for him who speaks". Like all the ceremonialist interpretations
it is highly awkward in expression & almost criminally feeble
& disjointed. The idea is evidently of Yogic tapas in action
expanding & moving to its goal over a path beset by hostile

Mandala One


forces. Agni is to drive them from the path & make the f\s
smooth & easy.
10. When thou hast yoked the rosy and scarlet-red to the car
driven by the Wind, thy cry is like a bull's; thou ravagest the
forest-places of delight with thy flag of smoke, O Agni, secure
in thy friendship may we not come to harm.

azqA. The rose-red horses of Agni are physically the red
flames, psychically the movements of love. In the Yogic signs
rose is the colour indicative of love, scarlet, the colour of physical
passion, kama. When Tapas pours itself out in prema and kama,
yokes there its steeds of speed & strength to the car of delight,
then the cry of its force & joy is like a bull's bellowing in the
ananda of its strength.
vEnn, forest-places, understanding
dfAn^ in the image; delightful things or persons in the fact imaged. The idea is that of
Ananda enjoying the delight of love & beauty of all beautiful
things & people with the full ecstatic force of the strong universal
love & delight, aAEdvEs, there is the idea in Ed of breaking up
to enjoy, ravaging with the soul's kisses of love so as to enjoy
every detail of the enjoyable.
t;nA. Ketu is perception or a means of perception, a
badge, signal or flag. D$m, from D$ to trouble, shake, agitate, be
agitated, vehement, move excitedly or with gusts, meant not
only smoke, incense, but also wind and passion (Gr. jumc).
From the sense of wind it came to mean prana as the seat of
passion & desire. The Greek jumc meant originally prana or
the emotional mind, then the movements of the prana & chitta,
passion, anger, feeling. For the same reason smoke is the sign in
Yoga of the prana in the human system. The horses of love &
kama are driven by Vata or Vayu, the force of prana, vAtj$tA;
the signal of Agni's enjoyment is the smoke or strong movement
of prana in physical delight.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
[RV I.140]

Dirghatamas' Hymn to Agni I.140.
1. Offer like a secure seat that womb to Agni the utterly
bright who sits upon the altar and his abode is bliss; clothe with
thought as with a robe the slayer of the darkness who is pure
and charioted in light and pure-bright of hue.
(f;5 = a white
2. The twice-born Agni moves (intense) about his triple
food; it is eaten and with the year it has grown again; with the
tongue & mouth of the one (or with his tongue in the presence
of the one) he is the strong master & enjoyer, with the other he
engirdles & crushes in his embrace his delightful things.
is used of the sexual contact; vArZ, from v to cover, surround.)
3. He gives energy of movement to both his mothers on
their dark path, in their common dwelling, and both make their
way through to their child (or following their child), for his
tongue is lifted upward, he destroys and rushes swiftly through
and should be cloven to, increasing his father.
(Explanation. Heaven & earth, Mind & body dwelling
together in one frame or in one material world move in the
darkness of ignorance, they pass through it by following the
divine Force which is born to their activities. k;py\ is of doubtful
significance. The father is the Purusha or else Heaven in the
sense of the higher spiritual being.)
4. For the thinker becoming man his swift-hastening impulsions dark & bright desire freedom; unequal, active, rapidquivering, they are yoked to their works, swift steeds and driven
forward by the Breath of things.
5. They for him destroy & speed lightly on (or speed & pervade) creating his dark being of thickness and his mighty form
of light; when reaching forward he touches the Vast of Being,
he pants towards it and, thundering, cries aloud.
might mean the vast earth, but avEn & even pETvF are not used
in the Veda invariably, the former not usually, to mean earth,

Mandala One


but stray or return to their original sense - sP avny,.)
6. He who when he would become in the tawny ones, bends
down and goes to them bellowing as the male to its mates, -
putting out his force he gives joy to their bodies (or he makes
blissful the forms of things) and like a fierce beast hard to seize
he tosses his horns.
$ ; , the cows, azZy, of a later verse
- knowledge in the mortal mind.)
7. He whether contracted in being or wide-extended seizes
on them utterly; he knowing, they knowing the eternal Agni lies
with them, then again they increase and go to the state divine;
uniting, another form they make for the Father & Mother.
8. Bright with their flowing tresses they take utter delight of
him, they who were about to perish, stand upon high once more
is uncertain. It may be dead or dying.
for his coming. (mm}qF,
= delight is here perfectly proved.) For he loosens from
them their decay and goes to them shouting high, he creates
supreme force and unconquerable life.
9. Tearing about her the robe that conceals the Mother
he moves on utterly to the Delight with the creatures of pure
Being who manifest the Force; he establishes wideness, he breaks
through to the goal for this traveller, even though swiftly rushing,
rErht^ are uncertain.)
he cleaves always to the paths.
10. Burn bright for us, O Agni, in our fullnesses, be henceforth the strong master and inhabit in us with the sisters; casting away from thee those of them that are infant minds thou
shouldst burn bright encompassing us all about like a cuirass
in our battles.
vEs, is the Greek ksic and an old variant
vs - wife or sister. Therefore it is coupled with vqA - like
11. This, O Agni, is that which is well-established upon the
ill-placed; even out of this blissful mentality may there be born
to thee that greater bliss. By that which shines bright & pure
from thy body, thou winnest for us the delight.
12. Thou givest us, O Agni, for chariot & for home a ship
travelling with eternal progress of motion that shall carry our
strong spirits and our spirits of fullness across the births and
across the peace.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

13. Mayst thou, O Agni, about our Word for thy pivot
bring to light for us Heaven & Earth and the rivers that are selfrevealed; may the Red Ones reach to knowledge and strength &
long days of light, may they choose the force and the supreme

Mandala Two
[RV II.4.1 - 5]
Hymn to Agni attributed to Somahuti Bhargava.
1. s;vE?t. Sayana gives his two alternatives, "released from sins"
{,) or "having good praise". Both of these senses
(s;vEjt\ pAp
are artificial. s;vE?t (not vE?t as Sayana's interpretation would
demand) is undoubtedly used for a hymn, but in a special aspect
of the hymn. The word may come either from vc^ or vj^ and must
either be equivalent to s;vc, or to s;vjn. The present passage in
which it is connected with s;o(mAn\ seems to point to the former
s;ys\. Sy. "having good food". y, from F to be pleased =
pleasure, satisfaction and is coupled with my, bliss, happiness.
Agni is the Ey aEtET because he is aEtET, s;yA,, a force of
work inhabiting us that gives perfect pleasure as the result of the
working. Because he is s;yA,, therefore he is Em/ iv. All these
expressions must be taken in sequence. Agni is a force of will
resident in man that gives a perfect light (s;o(mAn\) and therefore
j,) and therefore perfect pleasure
perfect energy of light (vc, = t
(s;ys\); because he has these three qualities he is like Mitra, the
Friend of Creatures, the lord of light, love & harmony, who
has the capacity of holding (EdEDqA?yo) all things in their proper
place & relation, & this he does on each plane of man because
he is jAtv
dA,, knower of all the planes of the soul on which it is
successively born. Or else EdEDqA?yo means who has to be held
in man as Mitra. This is better as it gives a better connection in
sense with the verses that follow.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

dv aAd
. Divine in man who reflects the divinity. Sayana
says "in all creatures up to the gods"; but cf IV.1.1. m(y

v\ jnt c
ts\ Ev
v\ jnt c
ts\, "They gave being in
mortals to the god as the reflected divinity who has the prajnana,
the universal reflected divinity conscious in knowledge." This is
the sense of aA in aA k & aA B$ as applied to the gods who are
formed or become in mortals; that is to say, they throw there
their reflected image or being which is shaped in himself by man.
Sayana. I call for you Agni, the well-shining, well-praised
or, well-abandoned (by sin), well-fooded guest of people, - the
god who as a friend, or, as the Sun becomes the holder in (all)
beings up to the gods, the knower of things born.
For you I call on the God-Will, guest of the peoples with
his perfect light, his perfect energy, his perfect pleasures, he who
becomes as the Lord of Love & Harmony, and has to be held
in man as the god in the creature born who reflects in him the
godhead and knows all his births.
. Sy. sh-TAn
- the place where the waters are to2. apA\ sD-T
= place of session & is used in the
gether = the antariksha. sD-T
sense of world. This sD-T is the world or seat of the waters and
may refer either to the upper or lower ocean. Here, however, it
must necessarily indicate the upper ocean.
E7tA doubly, in their manifest human & their secret divine
Bgv,. Sy. The Maharshis who preceded us. These are the
Ancestors (the Gritsamadas are Bhargavas); as the Angirasas
are powers of Agni, so the Bhrigus are powers of Surya.
aAyo,. Sy. man = yajamana & vikshu = jAs; = his offspring
= the ritwiks! Obviously Ev"; aAyo, = mAn;qFq; Ev"; in the next line
and means mankind in general, not the Ritwiks.
vAEn B$mA. Sy. takes Ev
vAEn = all enemies and B$m = B$
= a(yT. All this learned ingenuity is entirely wasted. B$m either
= all the worlds or all the largenesses, that is the divine worlds
from mhs^ upwards.
arEt,. Sy. I
vr, or fFG}mrZfFl,. arZfFl, (there is no
fFG}\) is correct, but the idea of the root ar^ includes not only

Mandala Two


movement, but battle, aspiration & labour. Agni has been set
by the gods in man as the worker & fighter to raise him up to
immortality. Cf IV.1.1.
dvmrEt\ y
.. m(y
dv\ jnt c
v,. j has three senses, 1. rapidity, 2. waste, destruction
as in jrA old age, and 3. enjoyment, love, adoration as in jAr,,
Sayana's rendering. The Bhrigus serving him held him in
the meeting place of the waters (antariksha) in the people (the
Ritwiks) of the man (the Yajamana) and from the place of the
two; may he, swift-horsed, the lord of the gods (or, the swiftmover among the gods) overcome very much all (enemies).
I confess I cannot make any sense of Sayana's rendering. I
"Him setting in the order of the sacrifice the Shining Ancestors established in the session of the waters and doubly in the
peoples of man. May this (flame) with his rapid steeds, the toiler
for the gods, take possession of all the vast worlds."
The sense is that the Ancestors who incarnated or typified
the powers of the luminous Truth have established him in his
right place in the sacrifice in such a way that he pervades the
upper ocean, to the superconscient existence, and occupies two
places in man, his conscious mortal being and his secret divine
being. In the mortal man he drives the rapid swiftnesses of the
vital strength upwards to the ocean of the superconscient, for
he is the aspiring toiler set here to that end by the gods. Let him
then so rise and take possession for man of all the vastnesses,
the different worlds of the divine existence.

y\to. S. takes in a double sense, first, as applied to the gods
3. "
= when about to go to their home, then as proper to the simile
= as men going for wealth leave a friend to guard their house.
Ey\ S. says = giving pleasure to the gods. This is ingenious; but
the Rishi is merely taking up the idea already given in verse 1,
s;ys\ Em/ iv yo EdEDqA?y,. The gods have set him in man as
a power of love or a power that satisfies because they mean by
him to set Mitra in his home; that is to say this Force contains
the secret Power of Love & Harmony and as it rises to the Truth,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the home of that Power, reveals itself as that. Cf VI.2.1. (v\ Eh
Z vzZ, sjoqA,
Em/o n p(ys
- cf VI.3.1. y\ (v\ Em/
pAEs. Meanwhile he shines in the Nights, the states of human
ignorance, - the Rishi goes on to say, - because he has Mitra's
light of Truth as well as his power of Love; these darkened states
are full of desire which Agni satisfies by his pleasantness which
increases with his light. Being a power of light, it is full of the
power of discernment, d"A?y,, which belongs to "Mitra of the
purified discernment".
dFdyt^. S. shines in the Nights that desire or else "illumines
the Nights".
d"A?y,. S. smDEytA or dAtA. d" means discernment, cf Greek
dxa, dokw etc, skill, capacity, cf d", dE"Z or else strength. The
original sense is to "divide", & from this we can get the sense of
discerning, that of destruction and therefore of martial strength,
and that of giving which S. here very unnecessarily suggests.
. S. the yAggh. Rather the human system, the house of
the soul.
Sayana's rendering. The gods established Agni who satisfies
them among the human peoples when they were about to seek
their home as men departing to seek wealth establish a friend;
he shines in (or, illumines) the desiring nights, who is a giver for
the giver of the offering in his house (of sacrifice).
I render. "Agni the gods have set in the human peoples,
a satisfying friend, as seeking to bring Mitra to his home; he
illumines the desire of the billowing Nights, he who for the giver
of the sacrifice dwells in his house as a power of discernment."
The purpose of the gods and the action of Agni thus expressed explain verse 2. The vast worlds are the home of Mitra;
in taking possession of them Agni is fulfilling the purpose of the
gods in setting him here as well as the arrangement made by
the Bhrigus; he is bringing Mitra to his home. And he is able
to do this because he has the light & joy of those worlds in
him; he is the intermediary who brings that light from the divine
into the human; he shines illumining with it our dark states of
ignorance and for the sacrificer who makes him his envoy to the
gods, he bridges the gulf and turns this light of obscurity into

Mandala Two


the very divine discernment even here in this mortal body (dm
He also turns, as we see in the next verse, the mortal satisfaction
& pleasure (Ey, y,) into the divine delight.
4. r@vA. S. rmZFyA or fNdy;?tA. It is difficult to understand why S.
suggests this alternative meaning which makes sheer nonsense
of the verse. r@vA, delightful, takes up & develops the idea in Ey\
& s;ys\. The increase of the Force is a delight and as it were
the increase of one's own self.
s\dE,. Either "the vision of him is of one speeding & burning" or "his vision is that of one speeding to his goal and seeking
to discern". d"o, seems to refer back to d"A?y, in the last line
& in that case must have a kindred sense.
BErB}d^. S. EvhrEt = k\pyEt. It is rather the "carrying" (B)
forward & backward of the flame; the complete reduplication suggests this constant or repeated motion; the word is a
contraction for BErBrt^.
doDvFEt vArAn^. S. shakes his tail (hairs) to get rid of biting
flies; but this makes a meaningless ornament. D$ (Dv^) means any
violent & impetuous movement; shaking, pouring, streaming,
running. The root DAv^ to run was originally no independent
root, but only a modified form of D$. When the language became
less fluid, D$ was fixed in the sense of shaking, DAv^ in that of running, but in the Veda the community of significance has not yet
been lost. doDvFEt = runs & takes up the idea in EhyAn-y which
already suggests the figure of the horse so constantly applied to
Agni & Soma. vAr will then = vAr\, supreme boons, blessings,
the desirable things of the Vedic discipline. In the Veda the fluid
variation between masculine & neuter is sufficiently common.
Sayana's rendering. Delightful is his increase as of the sacrificer himself and his appearance as he spreads & burns, he
who shakes his tongue of flame among the plants (logs), as a
chariot-horse shakes his tail.
v is absolutely
Note that in Sayana's rendering the -v-y
forced & inappropriate. What is meant by saying that the increase & appearance of the fire on the logs is as pleasant (or as
resonant) as that of the sacrificer himself? I render:


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

"Delightful is his increasing and is as that of one's own being
and he has the vision of one hastening (on his path) and seeking
to discern; when he darts to & fro his tongue upon the growths
of earth (lit. heat-holders) he is as the galloping chariot-horse
and is running towards the supreme boons."
The sense is that the growth of the Force is a delight & is
as if the growth of one's own being; his light, his vision is that
of a power in us hastening like a horse towards a goal, - the
kshaya of Mitra, the vicvani bhuma, - and seeking to discern.
This force is constantly satisfying our desires & increasing its
own heat by enjoying the objects of our material life imaged as
the growths of earth, the plants that hold the heat of life and
by eating which we get that vital heat & force into us; but in
all this action of devouring desire the Force acts as the Steed
of Life yoked to our chariot and is hastening always towards
the supreme boons, the objects of a higher desire. This mortal
enjoyment is to be strengthened & purified till the Strength is
ready to convert it into the immortal. This is done, as the Rishi
goes on to state in the next two verses, by the Power lifting itself
from vital desire into mental knowledge. The capacity & the
attempt to discern (d"A?y,, d"o,) has to arrive at pure mental
.. Eck
t OErv).
knowledge (EcEkt
5. yt^. S. says yt^ = y-y. Such a violent conversion is wholly
unnecessary. yt^ means, as so often, "when" or "because".
s$yo n f;5, VI.4.3.
vnd,. Sayana connects this with m
and says this means either
the enjoyers connected with me (an awkward construction only
possible to the most bungling & incompetent writers) or else
vnd, = avnd,, that is, those who make a big noise = the praisers!
It means obviously either the seekers or the givers of enjoyment,
probably the former, and refers either to the gods or to the
powers in man that aspire to the bliss (vArAn^).
aA pn\t. S. praised from all sides. I take pn^ in the Veda
to mean "do, deal, work, labour", cf Gr. pnoc, pEZ dealer,

Mandala Two


trafficker, Tamil pan., to do, act. Although this sense is not preserved in Sanscrit, it certainly existed in the root and may have
still existed in the Vedic times. "Praise" in many passages gives
no appropriate sense.
who desire my form, vZ = a form like his own, EmmFt = EnEmmFt
We get then "whose greatness my makers of a big sound (praisers) praise and he makes a form like his own for those who
desire my form." I confess that I can make no shadow of sense
out of this rendering.
vZ. This word seems to me to be used in two different
senses, first, colour, appearance, (lit. surface from v to cover),
secondly, as here, the supreme world or heaven, whether from v
to cover, spread as in vzZ (sea or ether) or from v to choose, as in
vAr. In the latter case it means "the supreme desirable state" or
"desirable world". uEf`
to their desire, and the sense will be, "Because or when the
seekers of delight laboured at my chaotic being, he forms (in
it) according to their desire its supreme desirable state." The
last verse describes the labour of Agni hastening through mortal
desire to the supreme delight; this verse gives the transformation,
the attainment.
r\s;. Sayana takes as locative plural, in the pleasant things,
ie ghee, etc; this seems to me forced & improbable. I believe r\s;
must be taken as an adjective, formed from the root rs^ nasalised
+ u or the root rm^ + s; = that which is delightful as Ey\ is used
for pleasure in general.
. Sayana takes as passive, "he is distinguished by his
many-coloured light in the pleasant things", - a clumsy way
indeed of expressing the sense. I take as the middle voice = he
comes to knowledge of that which is delightful by his varied

Mandala Three
[RV III.1.1 - 12]
Rigveda. Mandala III.
I. Viswamitra's Hymn to Agni.
1. som-y mA tvs\ vE" a`n
vE>\ ckT EvdT

dvAnQCA dF\; j
aEd\ fmAy
tv\ j;q-v 1
Sayana renders the sloka - O Agni, since thou for sacrificing
in the sacrifice hast made me the bearer of the Soma, therefore
desire me who am powerful. O Agni, I shining towards the gods
apply the stone (for pressing the Soma) and become calm (or
praise). O Agni, cleave to my body (for protection) or cleave to
me who am carrying out works.
A confused & incoherent rendering. Moreover som-y introducing the sentence mA tvs\ vE" cannot be shunted into the later
sentence vE>\ ckT from which it is entirely divided by the verb
vE"; nor is there anything in the text to justify the construction
ymA\ ckT tmA\ vE". The rendering of vE" as kAmy-v makes
no good sense and is needless since vE" can be as well from
vh^ to bear as from vf^ to desire. There is no connection of
sense between the application of the stone to its work of Somapressing and the resultant calmness of the sacrificer. "Praise"
, Sayana's alternative rendering, makes a better sense.
for fmAy
Then, what sense has the cleaving of Agni to the body of the
sacrificer in a physical sacrifice? Therefore Sayana does well to
suggest another rendering. But tv\ always means body in the
. For his alternative rendering "praise" - note how
every word has to be forced into a ritualistic sense, praise, food,

Mandala Three


priest etc, which it does not naturally bear, - Sayana quotes
Rigveda VI.1.9 so a`n Ij
c mt,, but there the sense
of acquiring stillness is as possible & better than the ritualist
rendering, O Agni, therefore I sacrifice and become thereby still
in my mortal being.
aEd\. Sayana's rendering connects well with the idea of the
physical Soma offering, but aEd occurs in a host of passages
where it cannot mean the stone of the Soma-distilling.
tv\ j;q-v points clearly to a moral
The final phrase a`n
sense for the sacrifice, since only as the god of pure tapas can
Agni cleave to the body of the sacrificer and not as the god of
physical fire. I render: -
"Sustain me, O Agni, with strength for the Soma; thou hast
made me the bearer of it in the knowledge (Vidya) for action
of sacrifice; flaming up towards the gods I yoke to them my
(material) being and grow still within. Cleave, O Agni, to my
The sense is clear and each word bears the unvarying sense
I give it in the theosophic rendering of the Veda. Soma is the
symbol of Ananda, EvdT is Vidya, the higher knowledge; the
sacrifice is the offering of the realised Ananda to the gods of
the higher life. Every other word, also, bears its plain & natural
Agni, the pure tapas, has made the sacrificer, Viswamitra,
by establishing him in the higher knowledge, a fit vessel for
the divine Ananda which is to be offered up in Yogic action
& enjoyment to the gods. He calls upon the god to sustain his
lower parts and maintain him in full strength for that divine
burden. Then, sustained by Agni, his whole nature flames up in
divine force from its natural mortality towards the divinity of
the gods and he attains that pure stillness of the mind & lifeenergies which is the foundation of the higher life. He prays to
Agni to cleave to his body, that is, to dwell constantly as pure
divine tapas in his corporeal & mortal being so as to sustain
permanently that higher life.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
2. A\c\ y.\ ckm vDtA\ gF, sEmEYrE`n\ nmsA d;v-yn^.
Edv, ffAs;EvdTA kvFnA\ g(sAy Ec1vs
gAt;mFq;, 2

Sayana renders the mantra - O Agni, we have performed a
sacrifice which goes entirely; may my hymn of praise increase;
our people served Agni with fuel and the oblation. The gods
came down from heaven and taught knowledge (or hymns) to
the praisers and to Agni praiseworthy and increased the praisers
desire also to sing.
Comment on this is superfluous; it is sheer incoherent futility. Grammatically also, it is impossible that there should be
three different unexpressed subjects for the verbs d;v-yn^, ffAs;,
and Iq;,. Note that in this verse Sayana is compelled to take
EvdT in a different sense from his rendering of it in the first
verse; he is compelled to give the natural meaning knowledge,
but still cannot forsake his ritualism & at once offers his usual
rendering for every word he can press into that sense, -to/AEZ.
He takes kEv in the sense of "praisers", "makers of hymns", approaching to its modern sense, poets; but kEv in the Veda means a seer and not a poet, - a seer, that is to say, one who has the direct ideal knowledge of the vijnana, as distinguished from those who have mentally acquired knowledge, mansh.

EvdTA kvFnA\ can only mean the realisations of (ideal) knowledge possessed by the seers.

In my rendering I take, as usual, A\c\ in the sense of "higher, supreme" = prA\c\, d;v-yn^ in the sense of "made active", nms^ of submission or adoration, g(sAy of "eager, desirous to acquire".

gF, is the goddess Vak who expresses the EvdTA, sEmt^ the activities by which pure Tapas is fed, Edv, the realm of pure mind.

Edv, may be a locative genitive, from the heaven of pure mind or depend on vidatha. The past tenses here I take as having the sense of habitual action always done in the past & still done.

"We have offered the high sacrifice, let Speech increase in us; by the fuel of their activities, by devout submission men have set Agni to his workings, they have taught the realisations of heaven of the seers, yea, they have had power to chant them to the man who hungers after them & has strength (to bear their force)."

Mandala Three


Viswamitra has offered the supreme sacrifice of the Ananda
to the gods; he prays that as a result the power of divine speech
by which men chant the Vedic knowledge in these inspired poems
may grow in him; for it is so that men have always prevailed
(ishuh) to sing the Veda in the past. They have given the activities of their being to the divine & infinite Force of God as
its fuel, they have submitted themselves devoutly to that Force
not interfering by the lower egoistic personal effort, then has it
worked in them & done its miracles; then they have taught to
mankind those realisations of the ideal planes which have been
revealed in or from the pure heaven of mind to the Vedic sages
and have had power to express them in divine song for the soul
which hungers after the Vedic knowledge and has the force to
receive and assimilate it.

EDr, p$td"o Edv, s;b\D;jn;qA pET&yA,.
3. myo dD
aEv\d3; dftm=-v\td
vAso aE`nmpEs -vs^ZAm^ 3
Sayana: - Intelligent, pure in strength, a good friend from his
birth, Agni, who disposes bliss of heaven & earth, the gods found
that beautiful Agni within the waters of the flowing streams
in (for?) the work (of bearing the sacrifice). apEs & -vs^ZAm^
obviously go together and there is no necessity or room for
Sayana's rendering of the latter, srZfFlAnAm^; the sense "sisters"
is proved by y;vty, syonF, of the sixth mantra.
I render: - "Wide in mental capacity, purified in discernment he, the perfect friend, has established Beatitude by his
birth in heaven & on earth; within the waters the gods found
Agni of glorious beauty (or, the seer), in the work of the sisters."
Pure divine tapas in man, says Viswamitra, equipped with
the full capacity of the mind and a power of discernment purified
from the errors & disorder of the lower mortality, establishes,
as soon as it can manifest, the divine bliss of Sachchidananda
both in the purified mind & in the purified body of this mortal.
Viswamitra then enlarges the word jn;qA by the usual Vedic
symbolisms which recur almost in the same language in so many
hymns. This divine tapas is hidden, not born, not manifested, in


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the waters of our sevenfold being, in the working of the seven
sisters, the seven states of our consciousness which begin from
Sat the pure state of conscious being & descend to Bhuh, its
material state. The gods, that is to say, the great powers which
work in our being to uplift the mortal to divinity, find the hidden
Force of God concealed in the secret working of these sisters &
bring him to light in our waking consciousness.

t\ j.Anmzq\ mEh(vA.
4. avDy(s;Bg\ sP y4F,
Eff;\ n jAtm
dvAso aE`n\ jEnmvp;yn^ 4
Sayana: - The seven flowing great (rivers) increased Agni of
good wealth born bright and shining by his greatness. As
mares(?) go to a child that is born, so did they; also the gods
made Agni a brightness in his birth (or in the water).
I confess I do not understand the sense of Sayana's rendering
and doubt if it has any.
s;Bg\. Bg means either enjoyment or splendour or what is
enjoyed, & in the latter significance has various derivate meanings. We may take it either as describing Agni, the pure tapas,
to be also full of Ananda or as referring back to dft, if dft
means beautiful, in the sense of "shining gloriously".
azq\. azq in the Veda means bright, and especially rosybright or rosy-red or simply bright red. We should then take the
words of the text to mean, "white in his birth, rose red (or red)
by (ie after) his growth to greatness". We must remember that
in Indian yoga which has all its roots in the Veda, there is a fixed
symbolism of colours. White is the symbol of purity; the pure
Sat, the inactive luminous Brahman is imaged in the Vedanta as
of a white lustre, f;B}\, f;5\; Shiva is white; sattwaguna is white;
on the other [hand] red is the colour of Brahma, the creator,
of the rajoguna and symbolic of action, force, desire etc. The
rose brings in the idea of love & delight into the idea of action.
Agni is s;bD;,, s;Bg,. If we accept, as we have already accepted
in hypothesis, this Yogic symbolism as already formed in the
times of Viswamitra, the sense of the image will be that Agni,
the divine force, comes out white & pure from the state of non-

Mandala Three


manifestation, but as it grows and casts itself on its object it
assumes the hue & lustre of enjoyment and action. In the next
verse we see a distinction drawn between the brightness of the
body of Agni and the brightness which he wears as a robe which
t\ and azq\,
probably refers back to this distinction between
for, there, it is by his bright white limbs that he purifies the
strength in man; it is when he wears his brilliant robe that he
acts and builds up the glories of life.
aAz,. It is difficult to fix the meaning of this word. The
sense of ar^ is strong energy in being, action, motion, light etc;
it means to lift, be high (Gr. arw, rdhn, arduus), to plough,
rw, to fight, (Ares, arete, etc), to excel, to be swift, bright,
as in azq. We must fall back on its connection with a
to determine its meaning in this passage. If a
vA, could mean
horses, Sayana would be right in taking aAz, as expressive of
motion, "galloped towards". But to take a
vA, in the sense [of]
horses results in this as in some other passages of Veda, in sheer
futility. We must take a
vA, in the sense of "strong ones, lords
dvA, the gods. aAz, will then
of force" and as an epithet of
mean laboured over, increased or reared to strength. vp;yn^ also
means "gave him body, increased his substance". A perfectly
good sense then emerges.
I render, "The seven great currents increased him in his
splendours, born white but rosy-red in his growth; the lords of
strength laboured over him as over a newborn child, yea, the
gods increased Agni in his body at his very birth."
Again we have the familiar images. All the seven streams of
consciousness give of the milk of their udders to increase this
pure force of God that has been born in man, born white in
its utter purity, but as it grows, it assumes the rosy hue of pure
enjoyment & action; as soon as it is manifested, all the other
divine powers are at work over it and increase it immediately
in its substance. For it is said that Agni as soon as born grows
at once to his full strength; divine force takes possession of its
world & springs at once to maturity of power & action, unlike
the hampered & slow growth of our limited mortal capacities.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
5. f;5
{ rj aAttvAn^ 5t;\ p;nAn, kEvEB, pEv/
foEcvsAn, pyAy;rpA\ E2yo EmmFt
bhtFrn$nA, 5

Sayana: - Agni with his bright lustres pervading the mid-air,
purifying the doer of works (the sacrificer) with intelligent (or
praiseworthy) and purifying lustres, wearing brightness about
him as a dress creates for the active performers of ritual food
and large & perfect prosperities.
I object to this rendering that a\g
{, means limbs and not
lustres and should be so rendered, 5t\; may mean mind (cf Tamil
karuttu, thought) or will or strength, (cf Gr. kratos) but hardly
a doer, the rendering praiseworthy or hymnable for kEv, is an
joEB, lustres with intelligence
unnecessary violence and 5A\t.
imparted to them is an absurdity. I cannot accept aAy;, in the
sense of food; aAy;, from the ancient root aA to be, means life or
being and nowhere in Veda is it necessary to take it in any other
than its natural sense. Otherwise, the rendering is more coherent
than is Sayana's wont. It means that the sacrificial fire when it
pervades the air with its flames purifies the sacrificer & brings
him great prosperity, - a simple & natural, if shallow sense,
suitable to the ritualistic interpretation of Veda. Unfortunately,
while intelligible in itself as a separate verse, the mantra so
understood, sheds no light on its context with which it seems to
have no earthly connection.
I take kEvEB, in the sense of ideal illuminations. The words
-Eq & kEv in the Veda mean a seer, but I think they are capable
also of bearing the sense of the "knowledge" & this seems best
to suit the context in several passages. The termination i added
to a root may give the sense of the action or state implied in the
root or of the doer or instrument of action or possessor of the
state, eg jEn, birth or a mother, ECEd, axe and cutting etc etc.
So kEv, the seer or the knowledge.
5t;,. That which does, the force, or in the mind, the mindforce or will, or the mind which possesses the force or will.
"Mind" here gives the most obvious sense, but I think, in spite
of this apparent probability, it is the will or strength in a man
which is supposed to be purified by the divine force entering

Mandala Three


it & illumining its otherwise blind or half blind action with
illuminations of ideality.
apAm^. ap^ may mean "creative forces" or "works, actions"
or "doers of works or actions" or else "waters". I take pEr
as governing aAy;, which gives us a better construction than
the awkward coupling of aAy;, & E2y, as objects of EmmFt
"Throughout the being of the doers of works" or "throughout the being of the waters", ie the seven streams of worldconsciousness. As the whole passage is concerned with the working of Agni in these waters the latter sense seems to me, in spite of
the tradition of Vedic scholars, far the more probable, although
it makes a less superficially simple & attractive sense than the
other rendering. Both however make good sense and fit into the
rj, is taken by Sayana = a\tEr"\. It means properly either
light or kingdom.
E2y,. I take 2F as equivalent in Veda to fE?t. This, I think,
was its original sense.
I render then: - "Extending himself through this kingdom
with his pure bright limbs & purifying our strength with pure
illuminations, wearing a robe of brilliance over all the being
of the waters he builds up (measures out) vast & undefective
Agni, the divine Tapas, growing to fullness of body, extends
himself in that body of bright purity through this kingdom of
our mortal being and in doing so purifies our human strength
by the illuminations of ideality which are pure of the disorder &
errors of the mortal mind. He wears brilliance like a robe, - the
various brilliance of Tapas poured into many kinds of workings,
and builds up throughout the whole range of our sevenfold
conscious being powers which are vast as proceeding from the
infinity of the ideal consciousness, that mahas which is satyam
ritam brihat, and not like our human & mental powers subject
at every step to defect, narrowness, insufficiency & limitation.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
6. vv}AjA sFmndtFrdNDA Edvo y4FrvsAnA an`nA,.
snA a/ y;vty, syonFr
k\ gB dEDr
sP vAZF, 6

Sayana. Agni went from every side to the waters which are children of heaven, which neither devour him (as water quenches
fire) nor are hurt by him (as fire evaporates water), are neither
clothed nor naked; these seven rivers who are immortal & young
(immortally young, always grown up) and have one place of
residence (the mid-air) held one Agni in their wombs.
Sayana thinks the Rishi means that the rivers do not need to
wear any dress because they are clothed with water & therefore
not naked! I take vAZF here as equivalent to vEntA or vnA.
He went all about the mighty streams of heaven, & they
devoured not nor were overcome, clothed they were not, yet
were they not naked; here the eternal damsels born of a common
womb held, seven women, their one common child.
The divine force pervading this mortal kingdom with its
bright limbs goes all about the sevenfold conscious being manifested in the heaven of pure mind, it fills our whole purified
& liberated mentality with itself. Then these activities in us of
mentalised infinite being, mentalised infinite force, mentalised
infinite beatitude, mentalised ideality, mind pure in itself, mentalised life-energy, mentalised material being work perfectly &
without harm to us or deficiency in themselves; they do not
devour & break up the life & body by their unharmonised
intensities, neither are they dominated by the lower energies
(adabdhah); they are not revealed in their sheer nakedness of
self-being, for all of them are rendered in the mental values
proper to this existence of mind in material life, neither are they
covered & concealed by the obscurations of the lower & false
values given by our present tainted & muddied perceptions.
The truth of them shines through the thin mental veil they wear.
Here, in this lower kingdom, the seven in their eternal youth &
vigour, children of one universal mother Prakriti, are as seven
women with a common child; all of them, that is to say, enjoy
the possession of this divine force, Agni, which they formerly
kept concealed in their workings, but now hold manifested as if

Mandala Three


a child born to them in the world of human life. The imagery
of Veda only seems to us confused & unintelligibly mystic so
long as we have not the clue; once the clue is in our hands there
is an admirable force, clearness & sublimity in every word &
image of the sacred writings. The idea is that of the existence
of the mental being man in this world made absolutely full in
all its parts & harmonious by the completest power, range &
complexity possible to our beings; this is the great result of the
waking & working of divine Tapas in the human soul.

7. -tFZA a-y s\hto Ev
v!pA Gt-y yonO *vT
a-T;r/ D
nv, EpvmAnA mhF d-m-y mAtrA smFcF 7
Sayana - In the womb of water (the mid-air) the massed manyformed and spreading rays of this Agni stand in the flow of waters. Here the waters becoming full became pleasers of all. The
shining great earth & heaven became the mothers of beautiful
Sayana's rendering is sufficiently incoherent and barren of
sense but to arrive at it he has to do some extraordinary violences to language & reason which are very characteristic of his
method. We have seen him already suggesting that jEnmn^ which
naturally & in its context can mean nothing but birth should
be taken as equivalent to water; here he insists on taking two
words Gt & mD; in the wholly foreign & inappropriate sense
of water. This he has to do because he is taken aback by the
idea of clarified butter & honey flowing from the sky. Equally
nv, to
violent is his transference of a-T;, the natural verb of D
nv, as
an unexpressed r
my, in the first line, his rendering of D
an adjective with an understood aBvn^, & his gloss upon smFcF
that it is equivalent to sm\c\(yO, as if it were derived from the root
a\c^, and consequently signified shining or beautiful. In my rendering I take s\hto for a noun, as it is obviously intended, not an
adjective, -tFZA as its predicate, Gt & mD; in their usual symbolic
nv, in its ordinary sense of the seven rivers with the usual
sense, D
double entendre of rivers & cows. smFc is an adjective formed
from sm on the system explained in my Origins of Aryan Speech,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

like GtAc, EpfAc, prAc, v!c, dDFc, tFc from Gt, Epf^, pr, vr,
dD^, Et. The meaning is easy to fix; we have smFc, in the sense
of the level expanse of ocean, smFck signifying sexual union,
smFcFn meaning fit, & so right, proper or true. smFc, smFcFn are
therefore merely secondary adjectives, (cf likely, whitish etc in
English) modifying temperamentally the original senses of sm in
same, equal, level, joined, harmonised, fit, true. Earth & heaven,
the two mothers of Agni, are mhF liberated from limitation and
smFcF harmonised with each other, sm.
I render: - The gathered substances of Agni taking all forms
are spread in the womb of richness, in the outflow of sweetnesses; here the Rivers stand growing fat therewith; the two
mothers of the bounteous god become vast & equal.
Viswamitra pursues his free but consistent strain of ancient
symbolic imagery. As the divine Tapas grows, as it pervades the
harmonised consciousness of the purified nature, it begins to
gather its masses of force into definite forms, into all the forms
of life & thought and action and these spread themselves in the
mind which becomes a womb of rich faculty, a flowing river
of sweetness & delight; with this richness and delight the seven
streams of our being, force, bliss, ideality, mind, life, body are
all fattened & nourished; they stand here a/ in this lower kingdom, receiving these life-giving nectars. Mental being & bodily
being become harmonised in us, each answering to the calls of
each other, not at discord, their mutual vibrations equalised,
not harmful by one unevenly dominating, the other suffering;
they are now mhF, wide & vast, partaking of the infinity of the
higher realms. They are the two mothers of Agni, like the rivers,
because in them & out of them the force manifests.
8. bB}AZ, s$no shso &yOd^ dDAn, f;5A rBsA vp$\Eq.

cot\Et DArA mD;no Gt-y vqA y/ vAvD
n 8
Sayana. O son of force, held by all, thou shinest holding bright
& speedy rays. Where (for whatever sacrificer) Agni increases by
the hymn, there streams of very sweet water flow out. Sayana
explains the passage to mean that when Agni is pleased with

Mandala Three


the hymn of the sacrificer, then it rains. Possibly; but that is not
what Viswamitra says. He says that when Agni increases, then
streams of Gt flow out. The pluvial interpretation of the Agni &
Indra legends (they are not legends but symbols & metaphors)
suffers always from this defect that a few words or slokas here
& there acquire a false clearness & aptness; but all the rest
becomes hopelessly muddled, inapt, strained, words have to be
tortured out of their plain significance and the writers convicted
of such a hopeless anarchy & licence of language & chaotic
confusion of imagery that the Veda becomes capable of meaning
anything & everything which its interpreter pleases. There is no
straightforwardness, no honesty or efficiency in their language,
no consistency of ideas, no coherence, no logical development.
I take bB}AZ, here as a middle like dDAn,, not a passive.
mD;no Gt-y might mean sweet butter, if we had not had in the
preceding verse Gt-y .. mD$nAm^ which binds us to take mD;no in
{,, but the
this passage also as a noun. f;5A vp\$ Eq recalls f;5
sense of vp$\Eq is not limbs, it is bodies, - the s\hto Ev
v!pA of
the last verse.
I render: - O son of Force, bringing (all this wealth) thou
hast lightened forth upholding thy bright & rapturous forms;
the streams of sweetness & richness flow down where he as the
strong lord increases by the ideal knowledge.
Agni, born of the might of God, has blazed out in the whole
range of our being, illuminating it with strength whose substance
is knowledge & knowledge whose force is strength, the ChitTapas from which he sprang; in that blaze of strength & light
he holds up all the bright & rapturous formations of thought
& action & life & physical self-expression with which the ways
of our existence are now strewn; for it is when Agni as the
vrisha, the master & lord with all our capacities, the `nA,, the
bhtF, E2y,, as his paramours, increases in us by the growth of
ideal truth & knowledge that all these streams of richness &
sweetness, glad force & utter delight, begin to drip, to trickle &
to stream out upon our exalted mortal nature.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
9. Ept;E
cd$Djn;qA Evv
d &y-y DArA asjd^ Ev D
g;hA cr\t\ sEKEB, Efv
EBEdvo y4FEBn g;hA bB$v 9

Sayana: - Agni of himself knows the region of water which
is as the udder of his father the mid-air; he poured out the
streams from that udder & the middle words(?); this Agni living
in the cave with his beneficent friends the winds and the waters,
children of mid-air, no one situated in the cave was able to get.
This rendering is merely a confession that Sayana could
make nothing of the verse and may be dismissed without comment.
Ept;, - the father must be taken in the absence of other indication in its ordinary sense, the world-Purusha, father of all. UD,
used of a male being shows that the Vedic Rishis still used words
with the freedom of their early life when they had not crystallised
into their derived significances. UD, means teat, udder; but this
is certainly not the pure original significance. It means obviously
anything raised or swollen or holding in itself swelling contents,
- so the continent, womb, teats, breasts, bosom - & into the
latter senses it has crystallised. (The sense given by the lexicographers, "a secret place to which only friends are admitted", may
be rejected at once as a gloss & nothing to the purpose.) The
real difficulty of the passage lies in the accusative g;hA cr\t\. n g;hA
bB$v obviously refers to Agni, - he who had been concealed in
the secrecy of our sevenfold consciousness did not in this action,
though he went into the secret places of the Purusha to draw
out these streams, relapse into the unmanifest state. The general
meaning is clear. But if cr\t\ is correct, & we are forced to accept
it, there is an ellipse somewhere in the sentence. We have to
take then g;hA cr\t\ as referring to an understood Eptr\, - that is
d understood from the
easy & natural, - and governed by Evv
first pada, - which is not easy, though just possible, & far from
natural. I cannot help suspecting an original g;hA crn^ s\ sEKEB,
I render: - He knew from his birth the secret hold of the Father, of that he poured out the showers, the rivers; him dwelling
in secrecy he found, (yet) by the help of friendly comrades and

Mandala Three


the mighty ones of heaven he became not hidden.
Agni, the divine force, is able to pour out these liberated
rivers of being, these showers of richness & sweetness, because
he manifests himself in man with the inborn knowledge of the
divine Purusha and the secret hold from which he pours out
this sevenfold stream of the workings of Prakriti with all its
riches; he knows at once where to go for the enrichment of
our life & nature, to the Spirit's secret hold whence all things
are produced; instead of the little powers & pleasures of our
mortal life he pours out thence the full richness. To bring it
he has to plunge into that higher secret place far above the
mortal mind, but supported by his comrades the gods & the
liberated action of our sevenfold consciousness he himself does
not again become unmanifest, but is able to enter into the secrecy & yet remain active on the lower plane. For when we
are full of the divine force, when our nature is liberated, then
the higher principles of Sat, Chit, Ananda & Tapas, the four
great rivers, are active on the plane of mind and in free touch
with their secret sources. The Force in us is able therefore to
draw power & delight & knowledge thence without the danger
of losing itself in the higher planes so difficult for us to be in
touch with - they being sushupta in us, - that we also in our
ordinary state must become sushupta in the trance of Samadhi
to reach them and cannot command them in our waking consciousness.

} p$vFr
ko aDy(pF=yAnA,.
10. Ept;
c gB jEnt;
c bB
sp&F f;cy
sb\D$ uB
{ mn;y
En pAEh 10
Sayana. This Agni bears the world (herbs etc) of the Brahman,
father of the whole world, which is the offspring (by rain) of
the father (the mid-air); one Agni eats many which have grown;
Heaven & Earth co-wives (of the Sun) & beneficent to men are
friends to this raining & pure Agni. O Agni, protect them.
The rendering of this verse also may be dismissed without
comment. The difficulty in Ept;
c jEnt;
c is that two words are
used with an identical meaning "father" to express two different


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

persons. There is no meaning in the words "the child of the
father & also of the begetter". I suggest that EptA c jEntA c is
an ancient pre-Vedic phrase preserved in Vedic Sanscrit with the
force of father & mother. The termination t with a feminine
force is still preserved in very ancient words like mAtA, d;EhtA, but
it was afterwards replaced by the later feminine form /F, which
obviously grew up by analogy & could not have been originally
native to the t forms. jEnt in the oldest Sanscrit must have
been masculine, feminine & neuter and borne equally the sense
of father & mother; & as in jEn,, jAEn,, jAEm, the feminine
sense may originally have been preferred.
aDyt^. D
to suck, suck the milk of, drink. Agni drinks of the
rivers, the streams & showers of honey which he has himself set
flowing; they are nourished by him, he by them.
. mn;y from mn;q^ a man is originally an adjective, human, belonging to man; but it cannot mean, surely, good for
man. This is a strained and far-fetched interpretation resorted
to by the grammarians in order to avoid a difficulty created by
their own ignorance, because not having the clue they could
not understand how Heaven & Earth could be described as
human. I take mn;y
with En pAEh. It will make equally good
sense in the preceding clause, but the other rendering is simpler
in construction & idea.
I render: - He bore the issue of the father & the mother; he
being one, drank of the many whom he nourished. Both heaven
& earth are common wives to his mastery, common friends to
his purity. Them in man do thou protect.
The garbha, that which was contained in the secret hold of
the father & which now comes forth as the child of Purusha
& Prakriti, Agni bears & brings to man, all this higher fruit
of their union upon the levels of purified mind. Agni, alone
possessing the whole of our nature as Force divine manifested
in many forms, drinks the joy of all these many rich streaming
rivers of our conscious being which he has nourished with the
streams of richness & sweetness, of glad force & delight. He
increases all our being & capacities & uses them again for his
own increase. Thus divine force continues ever increasing in our

Mandala Three


purified mentality. To heaven and earth in man, manushye, mind
& matter manifesting in this mortal world & in human nature,
Agni stands in two relations. Divine force in us is purity & to
the soul that is pure both mental & physical nature become
harmonious, amical, like two friends and helpful playfellows.
Divine force in us is also mastery & enjoyment; to the strong
soul mental & physical nature become like wives submitted to its
command for action and demand on their delight. They are his
common wives, common friends - not discordant or incompatible. He is not divine & lord & pure in mind, fallen or struggling
in body, but in both supreme, great & holy. Protect, O Agni,
cries Viswamitra, these thy two wives & friends in our human

vvD aApo aE`n\ yfs, s\ Eh p$vF,.
11. urO mhAnEnbAD
-t-y yonAvfy:m$nA jAmFnAmE`nrpEs -vs^ZAm^ 11
Sayana: - This great Agni increases in the unhampered wide
mid-air, - for many foodful waters increase him; he, thus increased, situated in the place of water (the mid-air) lies down
with a controlled mind in the water of the self-moving sisters.
Again, I pass from this rendering without comment; for
comment is superfluous. uz is the common word in the Rigveda
for mahas, the realm of vijnana. yfs, I take in the sense of
victorious, successful, who have attained their end. The word
dm$nA is a little difficult to fix. It is obviously connected with the
{, of a later verse, & both are, I think, adjectives from
dm,, house. In that case, dm$nA will mean, dwelling in the house
. jAEm means properly associated,
or in his own house -v
companion. I render: -
Huge in the free Vast he increased, for many waters victorious increased Agni; in the womb of Truth he lay down in his
home, even Agni in the working of the companions & sisters.
Viswamitra now passes on to the final stage of this great
movement in the Vedic Yoga, for the object of the awakening
of divine Force in our mortal nature is not the perfection of our
bodily & mental being on their own levels, but, as a result of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

that perfection, the arising of our human life out of that mortal
& materialised mentality which is now our seat & centre into
the ideal plane, -t-y yonO, of the pure truth, the spontaneous
law, the vast & unhampered being. Agni is now released into
the Vast, mahas, satyam ritam brihat; in the wideness of the
ideal self where there is no limit, hindrance or wall of enclosing
consciousness, where the soul is vast, universal & free, Agni,
mahan, wide & great in the nature of mahas increases yet farther; for the seven streams of being, now full & victorious, all in
their multitude increase him so that he may take them up with
him into those ideal vasts. There he arises, there in that womb of
the realised & actualised truth, -t\, he reposes in his own home
of ideal force, - calm & still in the free & effortless working of
the seven sisters, always companions, but here revealed in their
perfect harmony & sisterhood.
12. a5o n bEB}, sEmT
mhFnA\ Edd"
y, s$nv
ud;E*yA jEntA yo jjAn apA\ gBo ntmo y4o aE`n, 12
Sayana: - Agni who, father of all the worlds, child of the waters, a perfect leader (a great protector) of men & great, is
the assailant of his foes (or unassailable by them) & in the
battle the bearer (or master) of his great armies visible to all &
self-luminous, he created the waters for the giver of the oblation.
Sayana's renderings of a5o as aA5EmtA, mhFnA\ as great with
nAnAm^ understood & BA-jFk, as self-luminous seem to me
astonishing rather than convincing. a5 is an old Vedic word to
the meaning of which our one clue is the Greek kroc. If that
identity holds, a5 means supreme, highest or on a height. But
it may also mean not acting, a negative and 5 = kr from k to
do. This will give a better sense, though both are possible.
is "coming together" either friendly in the sense of
union or hostile in the sense of battle.
mhFnAm^. The seven rivers, described now as all great & full,
like Agni himself, urO mhAnEnbAD
y,. Edd"A must mean either the desire of seeing or the
y, I take as an adjective from Edd"A, the
power of seeing, Edd"

Mandala Three


sight referred to being the ideal dE of the Rishis, or s(ydE,
which belongs to the vijnana & is referred to in the Isha Upani.
shad, s(yDmAy dy
. s$n;, means son, "that which is produced or begotten";
it means "producer of Soma", "Soma-sacrificer" & "sacrificer"
generally. But it may also bear another sense, [incomplete]

[RV III.1.1 - 12]
1. Viswamitra's hymn to Agni.
1. O divine Strength, bear me up, thou who hast made me strong
to bear in the knowledge the Soma for life's sacrifice; brightening
towards the gods I yoke to them my settled being and tranquillise
it; cleave, O Agni, to my body.

vE" Sayana. kAmy-v - but elsewhere [vh]
g}AvAZ\ y\; j
. aEBqvZAy y;nE>m.
fAMyAEm c. tTA c m\/A\tr\. -t
dv, sEvtA
. -g^ 8.86.5. y7A -tOEm. ffmAno jrtFEt -t;Etkms;
pAWAt^. tTA c m\/A\tr\. so a`n Ij
c mt,. But these
can be otherwise interpreted, "By truth the god Savitri attains
calm", "tranquillising his heart he adores or desires", "That
mortal, O Agni, sacrifices & becomes calm."
tv\. Say. frFr\. y7A kmAEZ tv\t\ mA\.
2. We have turned towards the supreme our sacrifice, may our
expression increase! By fuel of his burning, by worship of submission they have set Agni to his workings, they have declared
in the heaven of mind the perceptions of the seers and for the
strong desiring soul they yearn towards their farther journey.

A\c\. kq
Z gQC\t\. But A\c\ is prA\c\. pr supreme - prAc,
prA\c^ belonging or tending to the supreme.
nmsA d;v-yn^. hEvqA .. a-mdFyA, pErcr
y;,. but he says


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Edv,. ;lokAdAg(y. I take it as rather a genitive of vague &
general locality.
g(sAy. gZAt
Erd\ !p\. -tot&yAyA`ny
. or from gD^ + s, cf
gAt;m^. -tot\; .. -totAr iQC\Et c.
3. With his containing brain, with his pure discernings he established the divine Beatitude, from his birth the good friend of
earth and heaven; Agni the gods found revealed in the waters of
being, in the working of the sisters.

This is one of Sayana's impossible pedantic clumsinesses; the
dissociation of apEs from -vs^ZA\ & the addition of -vs^ZAm^ as
a sort of afterthought far away from the words with which it is
connected & separated from them by a parenthetical apEs is not
only impossible to any sound literary style, but needless, when
a simple & straightforward construction & rendering make excellent sense. It is equally needless and pedantic to take -vs^ZAm^
as srZfFlAnAm^ when the metaphor of the Sisters, -vs, jAEm for
the seven rivers pervades the Veda.

4. The seven great goddesses increased him in his rich enjoyings, white of purity in his birth, red of action in his growing; as on a child that is born the powers of Life worked at him, the gods in his very birth increased the body of Agni.

I see no reason for taking janiman in the sense of water,
when the whole talk is about Agni's birth, jn;qA, j.An\, jAt\, or
vp;s^ = light, when the whole talk is about the growth of a child
that is born. avDyn^ - mEh(vA, vp;yn^, a\g

Mandala Three


5. With his limbs of brightness he extended this kingdom of Life
purifying the will in it by the pure powers of ideal knowledge,
wearing light like a robe he throughout the being of the waters
holds in his embrace powers that are wide and void of defect
and limitation.

pEr. Say. takes with vsAn, and constructs aAy;r(3\) E2y,

6. He went all about the great goddesses of heaven (or the rivers of heaven) and lo! they devoured not neither were they overpowered, they were not clothed, neither were they naked; the seven Words of Life, eternal, young, daughters of one womb, held in our world that single Birth.

7. At once wide extended & gathered in masses, wearing universal shapes, they stood here in the womb of richness, in the flowing stream of sweetnesses, his cows of plenty, and were nourished; equal & vast were the two mothers of that Lord of bounty.

8. O Son of force, thou bearest them up and shinedst wide abroad holding many bodies of brightness and rapture; streams of honey & richness come dripping out wherever the Mighty One has been greatened by divine knowledge.

9. From his birth he knew the fullness of the father also, wide he poured out his streams, wide his rivers; with comrades beneficent, with the great goddesses of heaven he knew him though moving in the hidden places and himself became not hidden.

10. He bore the child of his father and his creator (or and of his mother); he was one and drank of the fullness of many; the two powers of our human being had the pure one, the strong master for their common husband and friend; them protect.

11. In the unobstructed vast he grew to greatness, many waters victoriously increased Agni; in the womb of truth he lay down, he made it his home, Agni in the working of the consorts and sisters.

12. As one on his summit, bearing up all in the coming together of the mighty sisters, he becomes the impulse to vision in the giver of the nectar; straight are his lustres; this is the creator who made to appear on high the daughters of light, child of the waters, Agni most strong, the Master.

ntmo. n
y4o. mhAn^.
. s\g}Am
mhtFnA\ -vs
nAnA\ BtA.
y,. sv
BA-jFk,. -vdFyA kAfmAn,.
uE*yA. ap,.

Mandala Four
[RV IV.1.1]

(vA\ V`n
dvmrEt\ y
Err iEt 5(vA
. am(y yjt m(y
v\ jnt c
ts\ Ev
jnt c
IV.1 Thee it is, O Flame, whom the gods with one passion have
ever sent in as the divine worker; therefore by the will they
sent thee in; O Lord of sacrifice, (or they sacrificed), the divine
and immortal in mortals they brought to birth as the conscious
knower divine within, they brought to birth the universal, the
conscious knower divine within.
(vA\ Eh thee indeed, a`n
O Agni, smyvo
dvAso the gods
together-minded or like-passioned sdEmt^ ever indeed y

sent in
dv\ the god, arEt\ the striver, iEt therefore y
sent him in 5(vA by the will or the work. yjt O sacrificial
q; aA in mortals, jnt they brought to birth am(y
one, m(y
the immortal,
dv\ the god, aAd
v\ the in-divine, c
ts\ the wise
v\ jnt c
ts\ - as before.
knower, Ev
v\ the universal, aAd

, (vA\ Eh sdEmt^ smyvo
{v smAn}dyA
iEt 5(vA y
. yjt, m(y
q; am(y
dv\ c
v\ jnt Ev
ts\ aAd
v\ jnt
smyv,. S. my; = -pDA vying with their equals. my; means passion, especially wrath; in the Veda it seems to vary between the
general significance of mind, the particular significance, "emotional mind" and the still more particularised sense "anger".
Cf mAn, = mind, wrath, resentment (aEBmAn,), pride. mn, is
the mind generally, but more the sensational, emotional and

Mandala Four


perceptive than the thought mind; the termination y; giving the
idea of motion, effort, tendency, desire tends naturally to stress
the word towards the emotional significances.

dv\. S. otmAn\. The gods are certainly the Shining
Ones as opposed to the dark Titans, but I see no reason in
this passage, or in any other, to give it its etymological sense of
shining to the exclusion of its natural sense. S. seems to think it
means, "they shining him shining". Rather it is "they godheads
him a godhead".
arEt\. S. fFG}\ g\tAr\. There is nothing to indicate swiftness. ar^
may mean to move, travel, to fight, to strive, to labour, to plough,
to lead, to excel. I take it as connected in sense in the Veda with
the words ay, aEr, aAy and since the text immediately adds iEt
5(vA = kmZA I understand it in the sense of "worker", or rather
"striver". Agni is the divine worker or warrior.
iEt. S. says "the gods send him to war, therefore men send
him to call the gods or carry the oblation". This seems to me
sufficiently pointless and incoherently antithetical to satisfy even
the most learnedly ingenious taste. There is nothing in the text
, men of the
to indicate that gods are the subject of the first y
second; on the contrary since we have
dvAs, as subject of first
and no other noun in the clause of repetition, we must
take it as subject also of the second. Neither is it indicated that
there is a different object for each sending. On the contrary iEt
indicates a common idea between the clauses; because they sent
dvmrEt\ the divine worker, therefore it was 5(vA by the
him as
work (of the Aryan?) or by the working power, strength or the
will that they sent him. In other words Agni is the divine and
immortal force that labours in the mortal, brought in, created
either by the sacrificial work, the tp-yA of the mortal himself or
by the will-force of the gods pouring itself into the mortal.
. S. always takes En = EntrA\. It certainly means in the
Veda "in", "within" or "into", cf EnEht, En@y, EnED. "Send in"
is here most appropriate because of jnt in the next line. The
bringing to birth & the sending in are one action differently
described or rather two stages of one action.
yjt. S. yjnFy. But yjt like yj/ may also be active = y>y;.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Cf Brt which has an active sense. I am not sure that yjt here
is not a verb, like jnt.
q; aA. aA gives here the sense of place.
v\. Cf
dvAn^ aA k, aA B$ in the Veda. aA gives the idea
of the divine element entering into and occupying and being
possessed by the mortal. I do not understand S's aAg\tAr\.
v\. S's &yAP\ = present all over the world in various sacrifices is a ritualist ingenuity. Ev
v simply means all-pervading or
ts\. Sayana thinks this means "knowing the ritual".
tA, is the later .,. Agni is the Wise One, the Knower
or Perceiver of all objects of knowledge. There is nothing in
the text or in the Veda to limit its sense to that of ritualistic

[RV IV.1]
1. Hymn to Agni.
Subject. The final siddhi and liberation by true knowledge
into the triple fullness of Sachchidananda.
1. Thee verily, O Agni, have the gods, thee too a god, ever &
always (sdEmt^) in their activity of mind sent down into the world
(ni) as the worker (in man), by the force of their will they have
sent thee down; immortal in mortal men & everywhere divine
they gave thee being, O sacrificer, as the god who perceives
consciously in the mind (prachetasam), they gave being to the
universal, the utterly divine perceiver in the mind.
Text. Twam hyagne sadam it samanyavo, devaso devam aratim
nyerire, iti kratwa nyerire;
Amartyam yajata martyeshu a, devam adevam janata prachetasam, vishvam adevam janata prachetasam.
Sy. arEt\ - fFG}\ g\tAr\. Arati from ar to fight, to labour, to drive
on (Ashti) - Agni is the divine worker & fighter who pushes

Mandala Four


man on in his journey. iEtfNdo
h(vT, - therefore men too
send thee by the work (hymn). En = EntrA\ according to Sy.;
rather = in = into the strife & labour of the lower world. aAd
- nAnAd
fvEtq; y.
q; &yAP\.
2. So do thou, O Agni, by right thinking turn towards the gods
Varuna thy brother who delights in the sacrifice, thy eldest who
delights in the sacrifice, Varuna who has the Truth, the son of
the Infinite who upholds our works, the King who sustains our
Text. Sa bhrataram Agna a vavr.itswa devan achchha
sumat yajnavanasam jyesht.ham yajnavanasam;
R.itavanam Adityam charshan.dhr.itam rajanam charshan.dhr.itam.

dvnfFlA-tot^n^, s;mtF with cqZFDt\,
Sayana takes devan =
r.itavanam = udkv\t\ and explains charshan.dhr.itam as mn;yAZA m;dkdAn
n DArk\. s;mtF can by its order in the sentence belong
either to vavr.itswa or to yajnavanasam, but it is against all the
laws of style and decent literary structure to take it with so
distant a word as charshan.dhr.itam.
3. O friend, turn thy friend hither for us, O creative actor, even
as two impetuous coursers speed forward a swift wheel. Agni,
thou in company with Varuna win (for us) a gracious mood in
the Maruts, they who are the play of light in all existences; O
burning pure for the protection of that which we create, do thou
make for us peace, O maker, do thou make for us peace.
Text. Sakhe sakhayam abhya vavr.itswa ashum na chakram
rathyeva ranhya, asmabhyam dasma ranhya;
Agne Varun.e sacha vido Marutsu vishvabhanushu;
Tokaya tuje shushuchana sham kr.idhi, asmabhyam dasma
sham kr.idhi.
Sy. d-m - dfnFy. This rendering has no appropriateness in the
context and brings in an otiose epithet. d-m may be either
"bounteous" or "active, formative", cf d\s^ in d\snA, d\s, etc.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Sy. m0Fk\ - s;Kkr\ hEv,. There is no mention of any havir.
Sayana gets it from verse 5, m0Fk\ vFEh. The prayer for a gracious
h0,, is a
mood in the gods, m0Fk\ or mAXFk\ and not wrath,
common feature of the Veda.
mAtA gBvAs
Et tok\ p;/,. An abSy. tokAy - t;>yt
surd derivation. tok is from obsolete root t;c^ to cut, shape,
form, create, cf Etc^ & tc^ in Greek tkoc, tktw; it may mean
anything formed or created or formation or creation. The image
is that of the putra or apatyam, the creation of our works.
- gQC(yn
nAn@y\ Ept
Et t;k^ pO/, - a still more wildly
impossible derivation. t;j^ (also t\; j^) means to strike, hurt, push,
as the
drive, also to screen, guard, protect. I take tokAy t;j
ordinary Vedic construction of the double dative, one dependent
on the other, tok being in the dative because it is the beneficiary
of the action expressed in t;j^.
4. Thou, O Agni, know and put away from us by thy workings
the wrath of Varuna, the god; mightiest in the act of the sacrifice
and in its upholding, burning bright, do thou deliver us from all
hostile powers.
Text. Twam no Agne Varun.asya vidvan, devasya hed.o ava
Yajisht.ho vahnitamah shoshuchano, vishva dweshansi
pra mumugdhi asmat.
5. So, O Agni, do thou with protection (or with growth in us)
down in this lowest world become very close to us in the wideshining of this dawn; taking thy delight in us, work away from
us Varuna, manifest his grace, increase as our good helper.
Text. Sa twam no Agne avamo bhavot, nedisht.ho asya ushaso;
Ava yakshva no raran.o vhi suhavo na
Say. takes avamo bhavot as either come down to us with protection or become our protector by thy coming (utya). He explains
ava yakshva as "get rid of the dropsy Varuna has

Mandala Four


given me" and vhi as "eat this pleasant oblation".
I see no mention of dropsy anywhere. ava yakshva
obviously means "work off from us by the sacrifice Varuna in
his anger" and vhi, manifest his gracious form in place
of the angry Varuna. I take v in its ancient sense of "coming or
bringing into being, manifestation, widening, outspreading" as
in vayas, vayunam etc.
6. Best and most richly varied in mortals is the vision of this god
who is perfect in delight, desirable even as the pure & warm ghee
(ghritam) of the Cow indestructible, yea, as the thick fullness of
the Cow of God.
Text. Asya shresht.ha subhagasya sandr.ig, devasya chitratama
Shuchi ghr.itam na taptam aghnyayah, sparha devasya
manhaneva dhenoh.
Sy. chitratama. p$jnFyA. m\hnA. dAn\. m\hEtdAnkmA. With sandr.ig
chitra must surely mean bright, rich or curious. m\h^ means to be
great, full or to greaten; there is no reason why we should take
it in the sense of giving; the gift of the cow would be at least a
strange expression.
7. Three are those supreme, true and desirable births of the god
Agni; manifested pervasively within the Infinite may he come
pure and bright and noble and shining.
Trir asya ta parama santi satya, sparha devasya janimani
Anante antah parivta agach, chhuchih shukro aryo roruchanah.

E/,. aE`nvAy;s$yA(mnA. pErvFt,. -vt
jsA pErv
Et,. I find
jsA; and "surrounded within
nothing in the text suggesting -vt
the infinite may he come" makes no intelligible sense. vF in the
sense of "manifestation" or pErvFt, in the sense of pervading,
from v, to go, suits best with the phrase anante antah. ay, as
in arEt = one fit to do the work of arZ\, the fight, journey or
ascension from mortality to the divine existence.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

8. He, the messenger, controlleth all habitations, the priest of
the offering with his chariot of gold, with his tongue of delight;
red are his steeds, full of body is he and wide-shining and ever
rapturous like an assembly-hall where the wine faileth not.
Sy. takes ransu and in the sense of beautiful, but they
are rather "delightful, rapturous, joyful". Ept; may mean either
food or drink.
9. He is the builder of the sacrifice (or the friend in the sacrifice)
and awakens the minds of men; him with a great cord they lead
forward, he dwells perfecting in the houses of this being, a god
he has become the means of perfection to the mortal.
Martasya must be taken, obviously, with sadhanitwam; asya
with duryasu means simply this being here on earth. Sadh &
sadh, sadhan & sadhana are different forms of one word, cf
bhavati & bhavati, charatha & charatha, rati & rati.
Text. 8-9. Sa duto vishved abhi vasht.i sadma, hota hiran.yaratho
Rohidashwo vapushyo vibhava sada ran.vah pitumatva
Sa chetayan manusho yajnabandhuh, pra tam mahya
rashanaya nayanti;
Sa ksheti asya duryasu sadhan, devo martasya sadhanitwam apa.
10. So may that Agni lead us on in his knowledge to that bliss of
his which is enjoyed by the gods, which all the Immortals made
by Thought and father Dyaus begot it increasing Truth.
Sa tu no Agnir nayatu prajanann, achchha ratnam devabhaktam yad asya;
Dhiya yad vishve amr.ita, Dyaushpita janita
satyam ukshan.
Sy. takes yd^ = ymE`n\. But the neuter can only refer to ratnam. Sy.
also takes satyam = true Agni and u"n^ = the adhwaryu sprinkled
the true Agni (with ghee & other oblations).
11. He was born the first in the waters in the foundation of

Mandala Four


the kingdom of the vastness, in the womb of the Truth (asya);
without head or feet, concealing his ends, setting himself to his
works in the lair of the Bull of Heaven (vr.ishabhasya).
Text. Sa jayata prathamah pastyasu, maho budhne rajaso asya
Apadashrsha guhamano anta, ayoyuvano vr.ishabhasya
Sy. p-(yAs; - g
hq; or ndFq;. rjs^ either "kingdom" or from
A.R. rj^ to shine = rocn & Edv^, in the sense of heavenly world,
js,. vqB-y - Sy. vqZsmT-y m
G-y. Rather Bull,
Sy. rjs, = t
Male, Mighty One, Master, a common epithet, like u"n^, n, of
the gods, but specially applicable to Indra or to the Purusha.
Cf v@yAEn = mights, masteries, mighty actions, vqn^, vqB = vFr
strong, mighty, heroic; both from A.R. v to be strong, luxuriant,
abundant. nF0, nest, means probably in Veda no more than
lair, stall, home.
12. Forward he moved, a supreme force, by illumined knowledge, in the womb of Truth, in the lair of the Bull, desirable and
young and great of body and widely shining. Seven Masters of
Love gave him being for the Mighty One.
Pra shardha arta prathamam vipanyan, r.itasya yona
vr.ishabhasya nl.e;
Sparho yuva vapushyo vibhava, sapta priyaso 'janayanta

Evpy;. P.P. EvpyA = EvpyyA by the illumination, by knowledge.
Say. -t;(yA - but Sy. interprets even ajny\t = -to/mk;vn^! -t-y
he takes = udk-y.
13. Here our human fathers attained (aEB ) & have their seat
enjoying the Truth. The bright kine of plenteous milk were shut
within in a strong pen; the Dawns drove them upward at the call.
} I take to be a verbal form from v, the passive correspondent to the active vv},
; . Sy. says vZo(yAQCAdytFEt vv}\
pvtEvlA\tvEt tm,, and explains, "The Angirasas surrounded by
the mountains in the cavern darkness drove up out of the cleft


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the cows of plenteous milk, calling the Dawns who destroy the
darkness." It is not clear why the Dawns should or how they
could destroy the natural darkness in the bowels of the hills.
h;vAnA, means called by the fathers.
Text. Asmakam atra pitaro manushya, abhi pra sedur r.itam
Ashmavrajah sudugha vavre antar, ud usra ajann ushaso
14. Cleaving the hill asunder they put forth their strength (or
shone in brightness); to that knowledge of theirs others all
around gave expression; with the vision for their engine (or,
driving the Cow of Light or controlling the Animal) they sang
the hymn of realisation to the master of the action, they found
the light, they fulfilled the fruit of the sacrifice by their thoughts.
Text. Te marmr.ijata dadr.ivanso adrim, tad esham anye abhito
vi vochan;
Pashwayantraso abhi karam archan, vidanta jyotish
chakr.ipanta dhbhih.

mm jt. Sy. aE`n\ pycrn^, the idea apparently being that they
shampooed Agni. m & its derivatives mean to put out force, as
in m to strike, kill, md^ to crush, mj^ to rub, mZ^ to kill, slay, mD^
battle, mf^ to touch, rub, mq^ to bear, suffer, cf sh^. Cf also m}"^,
m}d^, my (which does not mean mortal, but male). mmjt means
therefore to put forth strength in action &, in sense, prepares
the kAr & ckp\t that immediately follow. On the other hand
m also means to shine intensely, glitter etc, eg mrFEc, a ray, Gr.
marmairo, to shine, marmareos, shining, Lat. marmor, marble,
& the sense may possibly extend to mj^.
ckp\t. kp^ to do completely, fulfil, succeed, get or bear fruit,
cf Grk. karpc fruit.
vy\/As, Sy. pf;EngmnATAEn y\/A@y;pAyo y
qA\ t
. If y\/ =
engine or means of action then p
v cannot mean animal = pf;,
but must = EvpyA, dE from pf^ to see; if pf; means the cow, the
animal, then y\/ must mean either driving or controlling as in gA
mAn\ in the next rik.

Mandala Four


15. Te gavyata manasa dr.idhram ubdham, ga yemanam pari
shantam adrim; naro vachasa daivyena, vrajam gomantam
ushijo vi vavruh.
They with the light-seeking mind the firm-closed & massive hill
surrounding and keeping in by force the cows opened, men with
the word divine opened for their joy the firm pen full of the
herds of light.
uEfj, kAmymAnA,. But it is doubtful if uEfj^ & uf^ in Veda
dv, & "the
always mean precisely desire. The word is used =
desirers" has hardly sufficient force by itself to be equivalent to
the idea of godhead. uf^ may mean also to shine or burn like
vf^ (in the consension of the grammarians uf^ is only a form of
vash), like uq^ & us^ (eg u*, uq,) and that is its sense in uEfj^
fire & uEfj^ ghee (cf Gt from G to shine); then uEfj^ &
become equivalent in sense; or uf^ = enjoy & uEfj^ may mean
"joyous, rapturous". Cf ufnA, joyfully, willingly, vfA a woman,
wife, daughter, sister (cf jAyA, jEn, vEntA which all originally
mean an object of enjoyment or companion in enjoyment, so
woman, the general words for woman being afterwards applied
to particular feminine relationships).
16. Te manvata prathamam nama dhenos, trih sapta matuh
paraman.i vindan;
Taj janatr abhyanushata vra, avir bhuvad arun.r yashasa
They conceived the first (supreme) name of the Cow, yea, they
found the thrice seven highest seats (or names) of the Mother;
that knowing the Brides dawned towards it, the rosy Morn was
manifested by the victorious arrival of the Cow of Light.
Sy. takes Tm\ = first; but Tm here means rather first in the
sense of supreme, chief or original & qualifies nama. prmAEZ he
explains as the 21 metres. I do not see in the Vedic text any
warrant for this gloss; prmAEZ must mean either prmAEZ pdAEn
(DAmAEn) or prmAEZ nAmAEn, referring back to nAm in the first pada,
but it is usually the pd\ or DAm to which the word Ev\dn^ is applied.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

uq^ in an$qt I take to have the same sense as in the word uq,; vrA,
the bride, refers often to uq, or to the sisters uqAs, or to the rays
of light themselves otherwise imaged as the cows of Usha. yf,
means literally arrival, attaining, winning, so success, victory,
glory, splendour or the results of winning, things won, wealth,
etc. I take it here to mean by a sort of double association the
victory & arrival of the herd driven by the Fathers to the thrice
seven seats of the Mother, the seats of Sachchidananda.
17. Neshat tamo dudhitam rochata dyaur, ud devya ushaso
bhanur arta;
A Suryo br.ihatas tisht.had ajran, r.iju marteshu vr.ijina cha
Vanished darkness oppressed, Heaven shone out, up the lustre
of the divine Dawn arose; the Sun entered the fields of vastness
beholding in mortals their straight things & their crooked.
d;EDt\ Sayana takes in the sense of "driven; propelled". The
sense of the d; roots is, more often, to press, hurt, crush, compress, push; eg du, to hurt, torment, afflict, burn; also to grieve;
d;,K pain; d;D^ to kill, hurt; or to push, drive; d;v^ to hurt, kill; d;l^
to swing; d;q^ to damage, spoil; d;h^ to squeeze out, milk. Darkness
disappears under the conquering pressure of Dawn, but it is not
clear that the precise sense of the pressure is that of driving.
a{ I take to be akin in sense to aEjr a court, open space,
field of exercise or action, and equivalent to the Greek agros,
Lat. ager, a field.
18. Ad it pashcha bubudhana vyakhyann, ad id ratnam
dharayanta dyubhaktam;
Vishve vishvasu duryasu deva Mitra dhiye Varun.a satyam
Then indeed they were awakened in mind to the beyond and
saw perfectly, then indeed they held the bliss that is enjoyed in
Heaven. May all the gods be in all the gated homes, may there
be, O Mitra, Truth, and thou, O Varuna, for the thought.
cA. Sy. pS^yd
q;. r&\. If ratnam does not mean delight, it is
curious that it should be so frequently associated with the word

Mandala Four


B?t\ especially in such phrases as ;B?t\; the wealth enjoyed in
dvB?t\, has no meaning;
heaven or enjoyed by the gods, r&\ yd-y
it is a bizarre & senseless phrase; bliss enjoyed in heaven or by
the gods is natural and makes a good and simple sense.
19. Achchha vocheya shushuchanam Agnim, hotaram vishvabharasam yajisht.ham;
Shuchi udho na gavam, andho na putam parishiktam anshoh.
I would speak the mantra towards Agni as he burneth pure, the
offerer strong in sacrifice who bringeth us all boons; he presses
out as if the pure udder of the cows, as if the pure & wide-poured
liquid of the Soma-creeper.
Sy. takes na = not, & explains, "he did not milk the cows, the
Soma was not purified nor sprinkled; the yajaman only offered
praise." I see no sense or appropriateness to the context in this
rendering. Na simply conveys, as in other passages, that the
cows & the Soma are symbolic figures not material cows or the
intoxicating juice of a material plant.
20. Vishvesham aditir yajniyanam, vishvesham atithir;
Agnir devanam ava, bhavatu jatavedah.
The infinite being of all the sacrificial Powers, the guest of all
human beings, may Agni, taking to himself the being of the gods,
become gracious to us, the knower of all births.
av, = a3\ says Sayana, &
dvAnAm^ = -tot^ZAm^. av, certainly
here does not mean protection and this passage throws doubt
upon the sense of protection ascribed to the word in other passages where we have the phrase av aAvZ
and it is rendered
"I choose the protection". av^ or U means to bring into being,
increase, keep in being, be, have; to protect, to cover etc, eg
aEv, originally, a creature, beast, afterwards particularised as
bird or sheep; even, a rat, also a master (to have); avis, an
extender, enlarger; avas, wealth, provision (to have). Latin avus,
forefather. Avas may, therefore, mean the birth & presence of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the gods in man all drawn into the totality of the divine Tapas,
Agni, who is the aditir yajniyanam, that infinite from which they
took their birth.

[RV IV.2]
2. Vamadeva's second hymn to Agni.
1. Yo martyeshu amr.ito r.itava, devo deveshu aratir nidhayi;
Hota yajisht.ho mahna shuchadhyai, havyair agnir manusha rayadhyai.
He who was established immortal in mortals as the possessor
of the Truth, a god in the gods as the worker of our perfection,
Agni, priest of the offering strong in sacrifice by his might to
purify, by the offerings of man to impel him on the path;
2. Iha twam suno sahaso no adya, jato jatan ubhayan antar
Duta yase yuyujana r.ishva, r.ijumushkan vr.ishan.ah
Here born today, O child of Force, thou, O Agni, goest as our
messenger between the births of either world, yoking, O swift
attaining, thy strong stallions straight and full-bodied and bright
of hue.
-v. Sy. gives two renderings, dfnFy and mht^, neither of
which am I able to accept. - means to go, move, -q^ to reach,
attain as probably in -Eq or simply to go, flow etc as in -q^, -y
an antelope. Its other sense is to pierce, injure, hurt, burn, shine
as in -q^, -E, a sword or lance, -q; fire, brand, sunbeam. -v
may mean therefore either speedy, swift, or warlike, powerful,
valiant or like -Eq and -q; wise. In all probability -v as applied
to Indra & Agni means swift on their journey, or swiftly attaining
the Vedic goal, with a covert sense of knowledge as in -Eq, -t\
etc, or simply "swift in their action".

Mandala Four


-j;m;kAn^. Sy. takes -j; = sADk & m;k = mA\sl. We must
await a better interpretation.
3. a(yA vD$ roEhtA Gt$ -t-y my
mnsA jEvSA.
azqA y;jAno y;mA\
dvAEvf aA c mtAn^.
Red coursers of the Truth (or of the True One) dripping increase, dripping brightness swiftest by the mind in my mind I
hold; yoking those rosy steeds thou movest between thy divine
peoples (lit. you the gods) and the race of men.
vD$ Gt$. Sy. interprets, dripping food, dripping water.
This, I suppose, Max Muller would call part of Sayana's clear &
rational method & spirit; but if horses can drip food & water I
do not see why they should not drip increase & brightness quite
as easily. But $ here = sn$, procuring or giving abundantly, and
I use dripping concretely as a figure of abundant giving. -t-y
is for Sy. s(yB$t-y tv. It is possible. my
= -tOEm says Sayana.

I demur. There is an obvious connection in sense between my
& mnsA which necessitates some such rendering as I have given.
It means really I meditate on in my thought so as to possess in
mental faculty.
4. Mitram esham, Indravishn.u Maruto Ashwinota;
Svashwo Agne surathah suradha, edu vaha suhavishe
Aryaman, Varuna & Mitra of these, Indra & Vishnu, the Maruts
and the Aswins, do thou, O Agni, good in thy steeds, good in
thy chariot, good in thy delight, bear hither to men good in their
5. Goman Agne aviman ashw yajno, nr.ivatsakha sadam id
Il.avan esho asura prajavan, drgho rayih pr.ithubudhnah
Rich in the cows of light, in the flocks of sight, in the horses
of strength the Sacrifice is like a human friend ever inviolable;
long (or long-enduring) is this felicity, O mighty one, wide of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

foundation in the house of the sacrifice and attended with the
revealed knowledge & the human fruit.
Sy. takes eq = y., & rEy as an adjective = DnvAn^, but the
epithets are all suitable & most of them common epithets of the
noun rEy,, not of y.. rEy may be masculine as well as feminine.
6. Yas te idhmam jabharat sishwidano, murdhanam va tatapate twaya;
Bhuvas tasya swatavanh payur, Agne vishvasmat sm
aghayata urushya.
He who has brought to thee thy fuel with sweat of his body, he
who has heated his head with his desire for thee, mayst thou
become to him a protector self-strong; O Agni, protect him on
all sides from every power of evil.
Sy. explains -vtvAn^ = DnvAn^. I take it as -v self & tvAn^
strong from t; meaning strength as in tavisha, tavish, tavas.
7. Yas te bharad anniyate chid annam, nishishan mandram
atithim udrat;
A devayur inadhate duron.e, tasmin rayir dhruvo astu
He who bringeth food of matter to thee although rich in matter,
intensifies and sends upward his rapturous guest, he who desiring the godhead kindles thee in the gated house, in him may
felicity be firm-enduring and creative (or bounteous).
. Sy. takes = a3EmQCt
& Ecd^ = and, apparently with
the next clause. The interpretation I have selected avoids this
difficulty & gives a natural sense to the words. EnEfqt^. Sy.
takes EnEfqt^ m\d\ = mdkr\ som\ EntrA\ yQCEt. But it is absurd
to take m\d by itself = som, esp. when both EnEfqt^ & udFrt^ can
apply to m\dmEtET\, supposing always that the Padapatha is right
in reading EnEfqt^. It takes Efq^ as a strengthened form of Ef to
be sharp, sharpen, excite, intensify in force or keenness etc; this
is as good & possible a sense as yQCEt. dA-vAn^ like d* may
mean either bounteous or active, creative, formative. Cf also
dAn; eg dAn;m7s;. Sy. interprets rEy, here as p;/; but anything is
possible in his system.

Mandala Four


8. Yas twa dosha ya ushasi prashansat, priyam va twa havishman;
Ashwo na swe dama a hemyavan, tam anhasah pparo
He who expresses thee at night, who at dawn, or makes thee
glad with the oblation in his hands, thou like a steed impetuous
in thy own home bring that giver safe beyond all evil.
a\hs,. Sy. pAp!pAd^ dAErAt^ (!) - & he interprets bh; Dn\
hMyAvAn^. Sy. s;vZEnEmtk#yAvAn^. In that case the
image must be that as a horse adorned in its own stable with
a golden ornament rewards his master's kindness by carrying
him through some danger, so should Agni, similarly pleased by
the praises & gifts of the sacrificer, carry him beyond evil or
hMyA is from Eh to rush, throw &
calamity. I suggest that
when used of a horse in Veda, akin in sense to hy,, the charger,
the swift charger.
hMyA will then mean impetuous in speed. -v

hMyAvAn^ refers directly to Agni, not to a
v, although the idea of
the horse is preserved in the choice of the epithet.
9. Yas tubhyam Agne amr.itaya dashad, duvas twe
Na sa raya shashamano vi yoshan, nainam anhah pari
varad aghayoh.
He who giveth, O Agni, to thy immortality and doeth in thee the
action of sacrifice with managed ladle, let him not in attaining
calm be divorced from joy, him let not the evil of the evil-wisher
ring around.
*;k^ - "a pourer" (it means also a spring or cascade) -
& in its implied psychological sense the motive force or motor instrument of action fulfilling the internal or external act,
yt well-guided in one case, in the other well-controlled and
regulated. In the latter sense, it is equivalent in a way to yt
10. Yasya twam Agne adhwaram jujosho, devo martasya sudhitam raran.ah;
Prta id asad dhotra sa yavisht.ha, asama yasya vidhato


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Of whomsoever thou, O Agni, cleavest to the sacrifice, a god the
sacrifice of a mortal, that well-established, thou full of delight,
glad indeed becometh that Lady of the offering, O young &
vigorous god, of whom disposing the action may we be the
Sayana with startling coolness explains the feminine sA ho/A
as s hotA! y-y surely refers to Agni, who is alone mentioned in
this line & to whom & not to a man the expression vr.idhasah
could appropriately be used. EvDt, may be either in agreement
with y-y or with vy\ implied in asAm.
11. Chittim achittim chinavad vi vidvan, pr.isht.heva vta
vr.ijina cha martan;
Raye cha nah swapatyaya deva, ditim cha raswa aditim
In his wisdom may he distinguish the Knowledge and the Ignorance like wide open levels and those that hamper mortals;
and, O god, for our felicity fruitful of its works enrich for us the
divided being and widen the undivided.
Sayana explains "like the beautiful backs of horses &
those that are unfit to carry", takes martan = p;@ykto_p;@ykt
mn;yAn^ after EvEcnvd^, - a stupendous extension, - creates a
k;z after rAy
& interprets EdEt\ & aEdEt\ as the giver & the
non-giver. All this incoherence is unnecessary. vFtA is, like
-j$En, as wide, open & flat, opposed to vEjn = crooked or
uneven, lit. shutting off by bends or undulations, pSA means
any level, surface, not the back of a horse. mtAn^ is the objective
after the verbal idea in the adjective vEjnA, a frequent type of
expresses the purpose of the action
construction in the Veda, rAy
rA-v & uzy, EdEt & aEdEt are the fixed terms expressing in
Diti the broken & divided consciousness (bheda) of the Avidya
(achittim) & in Aditi the infinite unbroken consciousness of the
Vidya. Sayana is driven to ignore the fixed sense of aEdEt in the
Veda, because he cannot see any other sense in uzy except ward
off, get rid of, protect from. But uzy can mean also to desire or
give wideness, to widen. The thought & language are perfectly

Mandala Four


simple, connected & logical. EcE1\, pS
v vFtA, aEdEtm^ also refer
to the free unity consciousness proper to Vidya, achittim, vr.ijina,
ditim to the multiple divided consciousness proper to Avidya.
The verse expresses briefly what is expressed at greater length
in three slokas of the Isha Upanishad - 9 - 11.
12. Kavim shashasuh kavayo adabdha, nidharayanto duryasu
Atas twam dr.ishyan Agna etan, pad.bhih pashyer adbhutan arya evaih.
The seer the Seers unconquered expressed, establishing him in
the gated houses of being, (or of the creature), - therefore do
thou behold all these wondrous ones, the objects of vision, with
rangings of thy feet.
Note that the kavi is here the drasht.a.
13. Twam Agne vaghate supran.tih, sutasomaya vidhate
Ratnam bhara shashamanaya ghr.ishve, pr.ithushchandram avase charshan.iprah.
Thou, O vigorous Agni, art a perfect guide to the sacrificer who
has pressed out the soma & disposes the rites, O vigorous god; O
bright god, bring to his self-expression a delight wide-extended
in its pleasurableness, filling his action with thyself.
s;ZFEt,. Sy. s;S$1rv
A\ ZynFy-(v\. But it means more naturally leading the sacrifice or the sacrificer to his goal. pT;
The Padapatha reads pT; c\d\ - the sense will be almost the same,
wide & pleasurable; but I take pT;
c\d as a compound as in other
14. Adha ha yad vayam Agne twaya, pad.bhir hastebhish
chakr.ima tanubhih;
Ratham na kranto apasa bhurijor, r.itam yemuh sudhya
And now in truth by what we, O Agni, in our desire of thee have


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

done with our feet and hands and bodies, making as it were a
chariot by the work of the two worlds (or of the arms), they
of wise-understanding have laboured & mastered enjoying the
ckm. Sy. interprets (vAm;ppAdyAm,. This is possible, but there
Et B;ErjO bAh$.
is no (vAm^. B;Erjo,. EbBt, kmkrZsAmLy pdATAv
I take B;r^ here in the ordinary sense we have in B;r@y;, etc &
suppose it to be equivalent to B$Em, avEn, but especially applied
to the rodsF, heaven & earth, mind & body. -t\ Sy. takes
= s(yB$t\ (vAm^. This is possible in grammar but not in sense.
-tmAf;qAZA, must have the same significance as in v. 16 where
it is certainly "the Truth" gained by breaking the hill & freeing
the cows of knowledge.
15. Now may we supreme & with the seven illuminations of
Dawn the Mother give being to the strong Ones who dispose,
may we become Angirasas, sons of heaven, being purely bright
may we break the hill full of substance.
Adha matur ushasah saptavipra, jayemahi prathama vedhaso nr.n;
Divas putra angiraso bhavema, adrim rujema dhaninam

sPEvA, I take as a single word & Ev in the sense of knowledge,
not of knower or else if knower, then in the sense, "knowers of
the seven". Otherwise the prayer must mean, "Let us become
the seven Rishis & give being to the gods". This is possible, if the
rik be taken by itself without any connection with its context.
a\Egrso. The sense seems to be, "Let us, Angirasas in bodily
birth, be truly Angirasas in our spiritual being." Sy. says B$Etm\t,
-yAm for which I see no justification, nor for his rendering of the
plain & straightforward Edv-p;/A, as meaning physical children
of the Sun. The Sruti when it says Edv-p;/A amt-y p;/A, is using
a plain & simple expression which we have every right to take
in its natural significance, - emphasised as it is & brought out
dvA, of the 17th Rik.
by the

Mandala Four


16. Adha yatha nah pitarah parasah, pratnaso agna r.itam
Shuchd ayan ddhitim ukthashasah, kshama bhindanto
arun.r apa vran.
Now as when the ancient supreme fathers, O Agni, enjoying
Truth by the expression of the word reached the purity, the
light, breaking their two worlds (or their earth) they uncovered
the red (herds of the Dawn).
"AmA. The Padapatha reads "Am. It is more natural to take it
as it stands, the dual "AmA = AvA"AmA or rodsF. Sy. takes us ten
miles out of the way to interpret "ykArZ\ tm, pAp\ vA.
17. Sukarman.ah surucho devayanto, ayo na deva janima
Shuchanto Agnim vavr.idhanta Indram, urvam gavyam
parishadanto agman.
Perfect in action, perfect in light, desiring the godhead, they,
grown gods, working out the births as one works the iron ore,
making Agni pure-bright, increasing Indra, they went on their
way & made their [home] in all the wideness that is the world
of the Light (of the Herds).
f;c\to, not merely dFpy\t, ; the repeated f;c\t, (15), f;Ec (16),
f;c\t, (17) shows that it is the idea of the pure light of knowledge,
the pure mental & moral state, which is intended.
18. A yutheva kshumati pashvo, akhyad devanam yaj janimanti ugra;
Martanam chid urvashr akr.ipran, vr.idhe chid arya uparasya ayoh.
Like herds in the dwelling (or field) of the Cow, thou didst
behold, O forceful god, the births of the gods in front of thee;
they both fulfilled the wide enjoyments of mortals and were
strong in high activity for the increase of the higher life.
aHyd^. Sy. takes ido_Hyt^, reading in Indra from the last
line. It is just possible, but very forced. Agni is the jatavedas, it


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

is Agni who is addressed in ug}. aHyd^ is really a form of the Rt
Hy lost, like all the short a roots in later Sanscrit; cf aEt Hy etc;
it is an old survival & therefore keeps more easily than other
verbs the old tendency to have the same characteristic consonant
for the second & third persons.
uvfF,. Yaska uv
& this we are to take as
equivalent to jA,! There is no need to drag in the human thighs
& to argue lightly that "those who enjoy with the thighs" must
naturally mean children! uvfF, may mean either wide being,
wide possession, wide enjoyment or wide desire or even desire
of wideness; but the Ecd^ .. Ecd^ shows that a contrast is intended
between the ordinary mortal life & the higher existence; human
enjoyment in its widest largeness & an increased divine nature
& bliss are possessed in harmony by the siddha. ay,, aEr,
always suggests the high tapasya of the seeker after godhead or
the exalted nature which is the result of tp-yA. No single English
word can express the Vedic sense. Sy. takes ay, = -vAmF, but ay,
is also the plural of aEr, & the balanced rhythm & structure
Ecdkn^ .. Ecdy, demand the same subject for both clauses.
aAyo, may mean either existence or the being who exists,
either life or man. We may take "the higher man" as opposed
to mtAnAm^, but the expression would be a little forced & "existence" is more natural & gives the same sense more easily &
19. Akarma te svapaso abhuma, r.itam avasrann ushaso
Anunam agnim purudha sushchandram, devasya marmr.ijatashcharu chakshuh.
We do actions for thee & become perfected in works & the
outshining dawns make their dwelling in the Truth (or clothe
themselves with the Truth); we give strength to (or put to strong
action, or brighten) Agni in his unstinted being & full delight,
the bright vision of the God.
-tmv*n^. t
jo .. aAQCAdy\Et. Sy. c";,. Sy. t
j,. This is just
possible; but c";, also & more commonly means sight or eye; it

Mandala Four


may also mean that which is seen. Agni is the sight or the eye
of the divine life & existence, through him it sees the births or
worlds hidden from the mortal vision.
20. Eta te agna uchathani vedho, avochama kavaye ta
Uchchhochasva vasyaso no, maho rayah puruvara pra yandhi.
We have uttered these words to thee, O Agni, Disposer, who art
the seer, to them do thou cleave; shine bright & pure, make us
richer in being; the great felicities do thou effect for us, O lord
of many boons.

[RV IV.3]
3. Vamadeva's third hymn to Agni.
1. aA vo rAjAnm@vr-y zd\
hotAr\ s(yyj\ rod-yo,.
aE`n\ p;rA tnEy&orEc1AE=r@y!pmvs
The fierce king of the sacrifice, the offerer, who effects by sacrifice truth in the two firmaments, Agni for yourselves before the
extending ignorance set in his brilliant form for your growth (or
for your protection).
tnEy&o,. Say. renders "before that thunder death", aEc1
being death because in death there is no sense-consciousness.
This far-fetched learned scholastic ingenuity is typical. tn^ means
to extend as well as to thunder, & in Vedic Sanscrit the different
possible senses of a root had not been so rigidly distributed
between its various forms & derivatives as afterwards in the
classical tongue. Moreover tnEy&; is here obviously an adjective
& not the noun thunder.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
2. ay\ yoEn
ckmA y\ vy\ t

v p(y uftF s;vAsA,.
avAcFn, pErvFto En qFd
imA u t
-vpAk tFcF,

Here is the place of thy joy we have made for thee as a wife
for her lord passionate, beautifully-robed; descended, widelymanifest take there thy seat; lo these (thy energies), O perfect
worker, move to thy encounter.
yoEn,. There is here the double sense, the woman's yoni &
the receptacle, symbolically the altar, psychologically the human
heart. pErvFto. Not "surrounded by the gods" as Sayana would
have it, but either "widely manifested" or "encompassing, going
all round, pervading" = pErZFt,. imA, either "these energies"
of action in the human being or these mantras expressing the
sense of that action; in either case Agni is to take & fulfil them
in energies of divine activity.
3. aAf@vt
adEptAy mm
s;m0FkAy v

dvAy fE-tmmtAy f\s
v sotA mD;q;mF0

O disposer of the sacrifice, express thy thought to the kindly one,
the puissant of vision, who responds to the mantra & is beyond
all harms (or is not violent), a means of expression for the god
in his immortality; like the stone of the distilling he bringeth out
the wine of sweetness whom I adore.
adEptAy - "who hears & is not arrogant" is Sayana's rendering. dp^ is of the d family, admits the sense of hurting, tearing;
it is from this sense that the idea of violence, then of insolence -
in action, manner or feeling - is derived. Cf also dAEp, etc. dEpt
may be either passive or active, either "unhurt" or "violent, hurtv. Sy. interprets "Agni whom
ful" as opposed to s;m0FkAy. g}Av
the Yajaman praises pressing out Soma as the stone presses it
out". Applied to the Yajaman the image is wholly needless &
becomes a stupid & inappropriate ornament; for what is meant
by the Yajamana producing Soma with the stone just as the stone

Mandala Four


produces it by itself? The simile has force & propriety only if
applied to Agni who produces the Ananda as the stone of the
grinding produces the Soma wine.

4. (v\ Ec3, fMyA a`n
-t-y boED -tEct^ -vADF,.
kdA t u?TA sDmAAEn
kdA Bv\Et sHyA g
h t

Do thou verily, O Agni, waken in us to this peace, waken to the
Truth with the Truth-consciousness, perfectly putting thought to
its work. When shall there be thy hymns of the joy of fulfilment,
when in this house the works of thy friendship?
fMyA,. Sy. kmnAm. But it may mean, like fm,, the peace or inner quiet of the mind in which the vijnana manifests. sDmAAEn.
sD^ & sAD^ have one sense in Vedic Sanscrit, eg sDEn(v\, sDn for
sADn etc.

5. kTA h t7zZAy (vm`n
kTA Edv
k3 aAg,.
kTA Em/Ay mF[h;q
b}v, kdyMZ
How hast thou declared that to Varuna, O Agni, how to Heaven?
what sin in us dost thou rebuke? How to Mitra bounteous or
to the earth hast thou said it or what to Aryaman & what to

6. kd^ ED@yAs; vDsAno a`n
k7AtAy tvs
nAs(yAy "

b}v, kd`n
zdAy n

What hast thou said in the seats of being, O increasing Agni?
what to Wind who driveth forward in his force, the giver of
bliss, or to the wide-extending Nasatya & to earth? Or what
didst thou declare, O Agni, to Rudra the slayer of men?
pEr>mn^. Sy. pErto g\/
. I take it = capacious, Rt jm^.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
7. kTA mh
p;E\BrAy p$Z

kd;dAy s;mKAy hEvd
kE7Zv uzgAyAy rto
b}v, kd`n

How to Pushan great, bringing increase or what to Rudra the
good sacrificer, the giver of the oblation? what offence to Vishnu
wide-striding hast thou told? what to Sri of the Vastness (or Sri
who is mighty)?
s;mKAy. I accept provisionally "sacrifice" for mK, sin for rt,
(from rF to injure, offend). uzgAy I take to be wide-moving -
E/Ev5mAy - from O.A. gA to move, & fz = 2F, lit. Movement
or Force, the Energy of Vishnu.
8. kTA fDAy mztAmtAy
kTA s$r bht
Et b}vo aEdty
sADA Edvo jAtv
How to the strength of the Maruts that is true in its paths,
how to Surya vast when he questioned thee? or what didst thou
reply to Aditi & Tura? Know & perfect the heavens in us, O

n -t\ EnytmF0 aA gor^
9. -t
aAmA scA mD;m(p?vm`n
kZA stF zftA DAEsn
Z pysA pFpAy
By the truth I seek continually the truth of the Cow of Light,
together the unripe fruits and that which is ripe & full of sweetness, O Agni; she being black nourishes with milk that is bright
and firm and full of substance.
. We get here the true meaning of I0^ - to seek (i to
go), desire, & so love, adore & to pray rather than to praise.
DAEsnA. DAEs is firm settlement, firm place etc, DAEsn^ should be
that which is firm or that which makes firm. Sy. AEZnA\ DArk
Z. Sy. makes a wild guess at the sense; I take it from the
sense of body, substance in the j roots which we find in jMv

Mandala Four


mud, mire, in the Persian, & the vernaculars, in pEr>mA (as I
interpret it = capacious). We must be content with uncertainty.

n Eh mA vqBE
10. -t
p;mA; aE`n, pysA pS^y
a-pdmAno acr7yoDA
vqA f;5\ d;d;
h pE`!D,
For by truth as his mover he too, Agni, the Bull, the Male, by
the water from the levels, unmoving ranged establishing wide
being; the dappled Bull milked a pure-bright udder.
Sy. takes vqB, as Plvqk,, but vqA as apA\ vqk, s$y,. Obviously both must have a single meaning & allusion, if we are
to credit Vamadeva with the least scintilla of the literary faculty.
The image is of Agni, the bull calf, sucking the pure-bright teats
of the Cow of Knowledge.

n aEd\ &ysEBd\t,
11. -t
sm\Egrso nv\t goEB,.
f;n\ nr, pEr qd3;qAsm^
aAEv, -vrBv>jAt
By truth the Angirasas broke the hill and parted it asunder and
they moved forward with the herds of light; men, they entered
into the blissful dawn (the bliss, the dawn), Heaven was revealed
because Agni was born.
f;n\. Sy. s;K
n. It means properly s;K\ & may be either a noun
or an epithet qualifying uqAs\ or as Sayana takes it an adverb.
-vr^. Sy. s$y,. It suits Sayana's naturalistic & ritualistic theory
to take -vr^, wherever possible, as the Sun; I take -vr^ always =
Heaven, the third vyahriti, & s$r^ or s$y only as the sun.

dvFrmtA am?tA
12. -t
aZoEBrApo mD;mEYr`n
vAjF n sg
q; -t;BAn,
sdEmt^ *Evtv
By truth the divine, immortal and undammed rivers with their


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

streams of honey, O Agni, as a horse that sets its breast against
the wind when loosed to its gallopings, so have ever & always
grown in mass for the flowing.
aAp,. It is difficult to say why Sy. renders aAP&yA, s(y, -

dvFrAp, is a common enough expression in the Veda. am?tA,
- rendered usually unhurt. Sy. abAEDtA,. It is, I think, unn, limits by division or
opposed, unobstructed. Cf mcyEt 7y
duality. dDy;,. Sy. gQC\Et. But "ran to flow" would be a curious tautology; moreover Dn^ means either sound or mass &
substance, Dn, Dn;, a sandy shore, Dvn^ desert, shore, dry land,
sky, or sometimes perhaps hurt, injury. In the whole D^ clan, it
n,, D
is only the D$ roots, a few derivatives like D}j^, etc, & D
ocean, river, which retain the sense of motion. Probably, then,
dDy;, means either sounded, neighed like a horse for its gallop
or to get mass, volume. The latter agrees best both with the
image in -t;BAn, & the stress on -t
13. mA k-y y"\ sdEmd^ D;ro gA
mA v
f-y Emnto mA aAp
mA B}At;r`n
anjo-Z\ v
mA sHy;d"\ ErpoB;j
Go not thou ever to the control (or the sacrificial activity) of any
who would rob us, nor of the neighbour or the friend who seeks
to limit us; manifest not in us, O Agni, the knowledge (or the
journeying) of a brother who goes not straight, nor suffer us to
enjoy as our own the thought (or the share) of friend or of foe.
h;ro. Sy. Eh\sk-y. But cf j;h;rAZm
n,. It means that which
takes us out of our straight path or else that which robs us
of knowledge: the idea is always drawing, seizing, ravishing.
-Z\. Sy. -Zvd^
dy\ hEv,. This is absurd. -Z\ = motion, the root
- implies straight or forward motion and often attains to the
sense of knowledge, rule or right - eg -t\, -Eq,, -B;, -j;. It
may mean here either the knowledge attained or the progress on
, may mean either "enter into", "resort
the Vedic journey. v
to" or "manifest in us". The last is most probable. d"\, either
"share", cf df^ to distribute, or discernment, cf Gr. doxa, dokeo
- idea.

Mandala Four


14. r"A Zo a`n
tv r"Z
rAr"AZ, s;mK FZAn,.
Et P;r Ev zj vFX; a\ho
jEh r"o mEh Ec7AvDAn\
Guard us, O Agni, with thy protections, putting forth thy vehemence, O full of substance, in thy gladness (or revelling in thy
delight); break forth, shatter strong-piled evil, slay the Rakshasa,
huge though he be, in his increase.
rAr"AZ,. It is hardly likely that the idea of protection should
be thrice repeated. rh^ means to separate, screen, cover, conceal,
hence the sense of protection or keeping in r"^; but, also, like rB^,
it means swiftness, violence, vehemence & may mean passionate
delight like rBs. The three closing words will then be connected
& complementary in sense in the true Vedic style.
15. eEBBv s;mnA a`n
{ErmA-pf mmEB, f$r vAjAn^.
ut b}AEZ a\Egro j;q-v
s\ t
vvAtA jr
By these hymns of realisation become gracious to us, O Agni,
& touch by their thoughts, O Agni, these riches; cleave too to
the soul-mantras, O Angiras, & let that expression of thee manifesting thy godhead (manifested by the gods) woo thee for us.
a\Egr,. Sy. y
a\gArA aAs\-t
a\Egrso_BvE3Et b}AZ\. y

a\Egrs, s$nv-t
, pEr jE.r
. -. 10.62.5. aE`n, a\gEt, a\gAr,
a\Egr^, a\Egrs^ all come from ag^ & its nasal form a\g^, to be
strong in being, forceful in motion, action, heat or brilliant in
light. These are the ideas contained in the Vedic idea of Agni,
the divine Lord of Tapas, who is a\Egr, full of strength & force,
t. Sy. s\vDyt;. But the sense of j in
heat & brilliance. s\ jr
the Veda is fixed & there is no ground here for departure from
its ordinary significance.
16. etA Ev
vA Evd;q
En@yA vcA\Es.
EnvcnA kvy
af\Esq\ mEtEBEv u?T


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Lo, all these secret words that guide us in the journey, for
thee, O Agni, Disposer, who hast the knowledge, I illumined
in the thoughts of the mind, in the expressions of the speech
have uttered forth, - secrets of seers' wisdom expressive for the

[RV IV.4]
4. Vamadeva's fourth hymn to Agni.
1. kZ;v pAj, EsEt\ n pLvF\
yAEh rAj
v amvAEnB
tvFmn; EsEt\ d$ZAno
a-tAEs Ev@y r"s-tEpS
Make the mass of thy strength like a wide marching, go like
a king strong with his army; charging in the line of thy swift
march, - an Archer art thou, - pierce the Rakshasas with thy
most burning strengths.
pAj, - strength, but with the idea of mass, bulk, cf Gr.
pagos, a hill, pegnumi etc, p\Ej a ball (mass) of cotton, pAj-y\
footing (firm ground for the feet) etc. EsEt\ may mean a path,
but literally it seems to mean an assault or a march & that sense is
most appropriate here. In any case the sense of the rik is perfectly
lucid & simple & it is painful to see Sayana stumbling about it
under a clumsy load of laborious & inapplicable learning.
2. tv B}mAs aAf;yA pt\Et
an; -pf DqtA fof;cAn,.
tp$\Eq a`n
j;4A pt\gAns\Edto Ev sj Evvg;SkA,
Swiftly gallop thy ranging steeds, follow & attain by violence
burning bright & pure; unfettered pour forth by thy force on
every side, O Agni, thy heats and thy flying sparks and thy
streaming flames.

Mandala Four


j;h$. Sy. h$y\t
_-yAmAh;ty iEt j;h$>vAlA. This learnedly fanciful derivation cannot be accepted. h; is to cast, pour forth; it
expresses any violent motion or action; j;h$ must be either the
act or the force of the casting or the thing cast, not the thing
into which the object is cast.
3. Et -pfo Ev sj t$EZtmo
BvA pAy;Evfo a-yA adND,.
yo no d$r aGf\so yo a\Et
&yETrA dDqFt^
Send forth thy eclaireurs in thy great swiftness, become the protector indomitable of this people; he who would express evil in
us from afar, he who from near, let no troubler do violence to
thee, O Agni.
-pf^ is exactly expressed by the French eclaireur, - they are
the flaming illuminations of Agni Jatavedas which help us to
distinguish friend & enemy, Arya & unArya, truth & falsehood.
4. ud`n
EtS (yA tn;v
yEm/A; aoqtAE1`mh
yo no arAEt\ sEmDAn c5

nFcA t\ DE" ats\ n f;k\
Rise up high, O Agni, spread thyself against them, scorch our
unlovers, thou with the sharp missiles; he who hath done to us
undelight, burn him to the roots like a dry trunk.
arAEt\. Sy. fA/v\. There is always the ambiguity in arAEt,
which may mean either enemy or undelight, rAEt being the long
form permissible in the early Aryan tongue of rEt. The enemies
denounced are the yAt;j$, yAt;DAn, yAt;mAvt^, the impellers of pain
& trouble, vessels of torture, holders in the body & mind of
the activity of pain. Therefore "undelight" is the most probable
sense of arAEt in this passage.
5. U@vo Bv Et Ev@yAED a-mdAEvkZ;v {
d&yAEn a`n
av E-TrA tn;Eh yAt;j$nA\
jAEmmjAEm\ mZFEh f/$n^


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Be high-exalted, smite them in our march from above us, reveal
the things divine, O Agni; lay low the established things of the
impellers to anguish; whether sole or companioned he be, crush
before us our enemies.
Sy's gloss a-mdED - a-m1o_EDkAn^ - is both improbable &
unnecessary. Et & aED-a-md^ express the two ideas of piercing
the foe in front & smiting them from above, - therefore U@vo
yAt;j$nA\. Sy. AEZn,
fEyt;\ y
jv\ k;vEt t
6. s t
jAnAEt s;mEt\ yEvS
y Ivt
vAEn a-m
{ s;EdnAEn rAyo
He knoweth the perfected mind in thee, O young & strong
Agni, who has sent forth the chant of fulfilment (or has sent
thee forth on the road) for the soul in its march; the worker &
uplifter illumines for him about all the doors of his being all
brightnesses of his days & felicities and shining energies.
gAt;m^ often means a road or to go and Ivt
seems to demand
the latter sense; on the other hand the idea of the gAy/ or gAT
is usually closely connected with the idea of b} in the Veda &
we have the mention of u?T in a similar context. Possibly the
ambiguity is intentional in order to maintain the secrecy of the
En@y\ vc, about the soul. I cannot accept Sayana's interpretation
= pErvYAy t;
in Veda means either to the mantra,
of b}Z
or to the soul, or to Brahma; we need not embarrass ourselves
with a fourth & unnecessary choice.
7. s
a-t; s;Bg, s;dAn;y-(vA En(y
n hEvqA y u?T
EpFqEt -v aAy;Eq d;roZ

{ s;EdnA sAsEdE,
May he, O Agni, be perfect in enjoyment and activity who thee
with constant oblation, who with expressive mantras seeketh to
satisfy in his own being, in its gated house, may that sacrifice of
his be in all its scope attended with brightness of its days.

Mandala Four


. Sy. d;rvn
. I take d;roZ
as usual
= d;yA. Sy. takes s;EdnA = s;EdnAEn, & sAsEdE, a separate sentence, a-t; = PlsADnsmTo Bvt;, - a tall order. I take s;EdnA
simply as an adjective to iE,, cf s;Edn(vm>Am^.
8. acAEm t
s;mEt\ GoEq avAk^
s\ t
vAvAtA jrtAEmy\ gF,.
vA-(vA s;rTA mjy
"/AEZ DAry
rn; $n^
I effect by the rik the perfect mind in thee; with sound descend;
may this word woo thee entirely to me by its wide force of
manifestation (or this word that I have uttered); may we with
perfect steeds, in a perfect chariot put forth strength towards
thee. Mayst thou uphold all mights in us from day to day.
Sy. vAvAtA - going to thee. GoEq - Sy. Goqy;?t\ yTA BvEt
& avAk^ = (vdEBm;K\. "/AEZ - Sy. DnAEn.
9. ih (vA B$yA cr
d;p (mn^
doqAv-tdFEdvA\smn; $n^.
5F0\t-(vA s;mns, sp
aEB ;
In this world one can direct one's works by the self & with largeness towards thee shining in darkness & by light all man's days;
perfected in mind and at play may we possess thee prevailing in
our force over the energies of creatures.
Sy. doqAv-tr^ day & night or O coverer of night, rather
m. Sy. pErcr
m. sp^ means to be wise
shiner in the darkness. sp
- sP, sapio, sapiens - or to possess, enjoy, taste - sapor etc.
spyA means seeking to possess, keep up or enjoy, so courting,
wooing, tending. Sy. ;

10. y-(vA -v
v, s;Ehr@y a`n
upyAEt vs;mtA rT
t-y /AtA BvEs t-y sKA
y-t aAEtLymAn;qg^ j;joqt^
He who cometh to thee with perfect steeds, with wealth of gold,
O Agni, and his car full of substance, to him deliverer thou


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

becomest and to him friend, who accepts thy uninterrupted
hospitality (or thee with un- etc).
j;joqt^. Sy. ApyEt - appd.. = joqy
t^. This is wholly improb & give an unusual force to the simple
able; it would ignore the t
11. mho zjAEm b\D;tA vcoEB-tmA Ept;gotmAdEvyAy.
(v\ no a-y vcsE
hotyEvS s;5to dm$nA,
With my narrow strength I break down great opposers by the
words of the mantra; for that power has come to me from Gotama my father. Housed in my being do thou take knowledge of
this word of ours, O young & vigorous, O perfect in force, O
b\D;tA. Sy. b\D;tyA - by friendship with thee won by my
praises. I take b\D;tA from b\D^ to confine, limit - or as in b\D;r
= crookedness, in either case referring to the limitations of the
mental being.
12. a-v=nj-trZy, s;f
at\dAso avkA a2EmSA,.
pAyv, sy\co Enq
tv n, pA\t; am$r
Unsleeping that carry us over & are full of felicity, undrowsing,
unrent, ever most unwearied, may those protecting powers of
thine continuously seated in us, O Agni, shield us, O illimitable
avkA,. Sy. not tearing. am$r - am$Y sv.. y7A am$r aEt htgt
13. y
pAyvo mAmt
y\ t

y\to a\D\ d;ErtAdr"n^.
rr" tAs;kto Ev
Ed=s\t iEdpvo nAh
Thy protecting powers, O Agni, which guarded the son of Mamata from stumbling; the Omniscient guardeth them in their

Mandala Four


right doing and the foe that strive to do us hurt cannot overcome
y\. A long story is told to explain this allusion -
ucLy-y gEBZF\ mmtAnAmD
yA\ BAyA tdn;jo bh-pEtrckmt. t-yA\
rt aAED(s\; t\ bh-pEt\ gB-T\ rto_b}vFt^. rto_/ mA s
vsAmFEt. evm;?to bh-pEtEnz=r
t-k, sn^ rto!p\ gB ffAp.
jA(y\D(v!p\ dFG tm, A=n;hFEt. tt-t-yA\ dFGtmA ajEn. s
cA\@ypErhArAyAE`n\ -t;(vA c";rlBt
Et. This story like other myths
of the Brahmanas seems to be a Vedantic parable. In any case
the blindness of the text is obviously a spiritual blindness. d;Ert\,
false going, stumbling = sin or misfortune, here sin, as we have
14. (vyA vy\ sDy-(votA-tv ZFtF a
yAm vAjAn^.
uBA f\sA s$dy s(ytAt

an;S;yA kZ;VxyAZ
By thee may we effecting our perfection, by thee increased in
being (or protected), by thy leading taste all substantial possessions; impel both the divine and human self-expressions, O
builder of Truth; O thou undeviating, accomplish each step
sDy,. Sy. sDnA,. It may, however, be sDEn, from sD^ to
effect, accomplish. s$dy. Sy. (aAs3EvkO) pApAnA\ f\EstArO jEh.
This is forced & unnatural & has no connection with s(ytAt
axyAZ. Sy. alE>jtgmn. Again far-fetched & improbable. It
may be from } to attract out of the way, cf j;h;rAZ & h;r, IV.3.13,
or to be troubled in heart, disturbed by passion, cf }q^, }ZAn,

15. ayA t
Et -tom\ f-ymAn\ gBAy.
dhAfso r"s, pAEh a-mAn^
d;ho Endo Em/mho avAt^
With this fuel, O Agni, we would dispose the sacrifice for thee,
do thou take to thyself the hymn of thy confirming as it is


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

expressed, burn the Rakshasas who would take its enjoyment
(or who would devour us), protect us, O thou might of Love,
from harm and limitation and fault.
sEmDA. Sy. dFyA -t;(yA! Em/mh,. Sy. Em/
{, p$jnFy. A sufficiently absurd explanation. avAt^. Sy. pErvAdAt^. av is
either non-expression or insufficient expression, fault of f\s or
positively fault or defect, that which should not be spoken or

[RV IV.5]
5. Vamadeva's fifth hymn to Agni.

vAnrAy mF[h;q
1. v
kTA dAf
m a`ny
n bhtA v"T
up -tBAyd;pEm3 roD,
Together how shall we give to Agni Vaishvanara in his bounty,
who have gained the wide light (of the Truth); with a vast &
illimitable upbearing he supporteth verily the firmament from
below like a pillar.
bhYA,. Sy. mht
! v"T
n. Sy. voY&y
n -vfrFr
2. mA En\dt y imA\ mV\ rAEt\

dvo ddO m(yAy -vDAvAn^.
pAkAy g(so amto Evc
vAnro ntmo y4o aE`n,
Confine not (or blame not) the god who in his self-fixity has
given to me, to a mortal this felicity, seizer of things immortal
& wise in knowledge he has given it to my ripeness - the lord
of universal strength, the mighty & mastering Agni.
(yT,! pAkAy - pErp?v.AnAy. g(so. Sy.
Sy. mA En\dt. -t;t

Mandala Four


3. sAm E7bhA mEh Et`mBE,
tA vqB-t;EvmAn^.
pd\ n gorpg$[h\ EvEv7AnE`nmV\
d; vocmnFqAm^
May the Bull of Force with his thousandfold seed of delight,
fiery in his burning strength, express in me, he who has fullness
of the two worlds, mighty Sama; may Agni express in me in
speech the Intelligence as it were finding perfectly in knowledge
the hidden place of the Cow of Light.
E7bhA. Sy. 7yo, -TAnyo, pErvY,. t;EvmAn^. Sy. bh;Dn, - t;Ev,,
tvs^, tEvqF etc have all one meaning, strength, force.
4. tAnE`nbBsE1`mj\B-tEpS
n foEcqA y, s;rADA,.
Emn\Et vzZ-y DAm
EyA Em/-y c
tto D}vAEZ
Them may he sharp-tusked (or fiery-weaponed) burn with his
most afflicting lustre (or most energetic), he who is perfect in
delight, who awaken in consciousness to the glad & enduring
seats of Varuna, of Mitra, & then seek to limit them.
Emn\Et. Sy. kq
Z Eh\s\Et. Em like mA (cf mn^ & also m; in
murus, muh etc) means literally to confine, comprehend, limit,
diminish, measure, embrace, contain, hold. It may also mean to
5. aB}Atro n yoqZo &y\t,
pEtErpo n jnyo d;rvA,.
pApAs, s\to antA as(yA
id\ pdmjntA gBFr\
Moving about like women who have no protector, like women of
evil impulses who do hurt to their husbands, they, though themselves evil & wandering from the truth & the right have brought
to birth (in our consciousness) this deep world of knowledge.
pd\. Sy. nrk-TAn\ but see 6. Erpo. Sy.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
6. id\ m
g;z\ BAr\ n mm.
bhd^ dDAT DqtA gBFr\
y4\ pS\ ysA sPDAt;

When, O Agni, I who am so little, O purifier, could not contain
my thought as one who cannot hold a heavy load, this vast &
deep & controlling level thou didst establish for me violently by
thy endeavour in all its seven principles.
Sy. aEmnt
- aEh\st
. This is merely a scholastic ingenuity. mm - mnnFy\ Dn\! Another.
7. tEmv
v smnA smAnmEB 5(vA p;ntF DFEtr
ss-y cm3ED cAz p`
} zp aAzEpt\ jbAz
Him indeed in his pervading equality may my thought too purifying and pervadingly equal even now by its power (or the will)
attain; in the action of the bliss is reflected on high, bright and
firm(?), the form of the dappled Cow of Light.
zp,. Sy. takes as 6th case of zp^ = earth. aAropyEt -vA(mEn
s-yAdFEn zEbEt B$EmzQyt
, pE` = ;lok, aAzEpt\ = aAroEpt\, jbAz
= jvmAnroEh (Yaska). All these are forced derivations & forced
crZAy & ss-y = En
senses. cmn^ - Sy. cmZ
8. vAQy\ vcs, Ek\ m
g;hA Ehtm;p EnEZ`vd\Et.
yd;E*yAZAmp vAErv v}n^
pAEt Ey\ zpo ag}\ pd\ v
What of this word must I declare in speech? That which is
established in the hidden places they speak of secretly (or as a
secret) and that which they unveil as the sea of the bright ones,
yet one guardeth its form of bliss & the supreme place of the
manifest being.
EnEZk^. EntrA\ n
E?t foDytFEt EnEZk^ "Frm;Qyt
. Sy. ignores
the murdhanya nasal. It is from EnZ^ - cf En@y\. Ey\ zp,. B$MyA,
Ey\ -TAn\.

Mandala Four


9. idm; (ymEh mhAmnFk\
yd;E*yA sct p$&y gO,.
-t-y pd
aED dFAn\
g;hA rG;ydG;yE7v
This verily is that mighty & pristine force of the great ones to
which cleaveth the Cow of brightness; shining in the seat of
Truth I knew it whether turning to swift motion towards the
hidden places or thither swiftly moving.
rG;yd^ is clearly a desiderative form of the nominal rG;yd^.
10. aD ;tAn, Ep/o, scAsA
amn;t g;V\ cAz p`
a\Et qov Z, foEcq, yt-y Ej4A
Now he shines with the Father & Mother & near to them
and has knowledge in mind of the bright & secret thing of the
dappled Cow; opposite us (or near) in the highest place of the
Mother, of the Cow of Being, is the tongue of the flaming-bright
Lord in His activity.
aAsAmn;t. Sy. aA-y
n pAnAyAb;@yt!
11. -t\ voc
nmsA pQC^ymAn-tvAfsA jAtv
do ydFd\.
(vm-y "yEs y= Ev
EdEv yd; dEvZ\ y(pET&yAm^
With obeisance of submission & by thy command, O Knower
of the worlds, I declare to the questioner this truth that I have;
thou art its inhabitant, yea, of all this that is substance in heaven
and all that is substance on the earth.
nmsA. Sy. takes with pQC, I take with voc
. aAfsA. Sy.
-t;(yA. "yEs. I
vro BvEs.
12. Ek\ no a-y dEvZ\ k= r&\
Ev no voco jAtv
g;hA@vn, prm\ y3o a-y
rk; pd\ n EndAnA agm


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

What is the substance of this Truth, what its delight, perceive &
declare to us, O Knower of all births; that which is its last secret
seat at the farthest end of the path, over & above all other, may
we reach & avoid (or refuse) all bondage & limitation.
rk;. Er?t\ ie aEtEr?t\ beyond the four other padas.
13. kA myAdA vy;nA k= vAmmQCA gm
m rGvo n vAj\.
kdA no
dvFrmt-y p&F,
s$ro vZ
n ttn3;qAs,
What are its confines, what its wideness, what its delightfulness
towards which we must go like swift steeds to their goal? What
for us have the divine wives of the Immortal One, the Dawns,
extended by the light of the Sun?
kdA I take = kd^ aA contrary to Padapatha. vAj\ from vAj^
to go, vAjF a horse, goer (goal or perhaps stable). vZ
n. Sy.
14. aEnr
Z vcsA PS`v
n kD;nAtpAs,.
aDA t
EkEmhA vd\Et
anAy;DAs aAstA sc\tAm^
Unsatisfied any longer with a Word that is unadvancing & slight
and easily assailed and petty what now may men express of thee
here, O Agni; unweaponed let them cleave to thy seated being.
Z. irA3\ tdEht
n! I take "without impetus or force" =
n. Sy. u?T
n. Simply PSg;.
unable to carry man forward. PS`v
kD;nA. kE@vEt x-vnAm kD;ko vm}k iEt t3Ams$?t(vAt^. aAstA.
P.P. astA. Sy. d;,K
n. It may mean, if from aAs^ either "seated"
or "near", if from a = aA + stA, then "near" or in sense of aAB$.
15. a-y E2y
sEmDAn-y vZo
vsornFk\ dm aA zroc.
zf7sAn, s;dfFk!p,
E"Etn rAyA p;zvAro aOt^
For opulence of our being shineth out in its home (or in this our
house) the force of this Lord & king of substance blazing high;

Mandala Four


he wears his robe of redness and with a form gloriously visible
(or of perfect vision) as one who has made his home with the
felicity he shines out rich in blessings.
. 2
. p;zvAr,. bh;EB-E(vE`BvrZFy,. E"Et,. rAjAEd,
E"EtErEt mn;ynAm.
[RV IV.6.1 - 3]
6. Vamadeva's sixth hymn to Agni.
1. U@v U q; Zo a@vr-y hotr`n
dvtAtA yjFyAn^.
(v\ Eh Ev
cE1rEs mnFqAm^
Perfectly high do thou stand for us, O offerer of our sacrifice,
more mighty for its workings in the extending of the gods; for
thou art about every thought and thou carriest forward on its
way (or givest) the intellect of the disposer.

dvtAEty.,. EtrEs. vD yEs Sy. mnFqA\. mEt\ -t;Et\.
2. am$ro hotA ysAEd Ev";
aE`nmdo EvdT
q; c
U@v BAn\; sEvt
v a2
v D$m\ -tBAyd;p Am^
The priest illimitable of the oblation has taken his seat in the peoples (creatures), Agni rapturous in the movements of knowledge,
he who in the mind perceiveth; like the sun may he move to his
high lustre, like a pillar may he set his smoke (of temperamental
force) to support heaven (within us).
3. ytA s;j$ZF rAEtnF GtAcF
ud; -vznvjA n a5,
vo anE?t s;EDt, s;m


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Rich & bright, full of impetus, full of delight it is governed &
directed (or, it is in action); moving to the right, increasing the
divine extension he drives upward the herds of vision, on the
heights like an active driver (or a high pole) manifested in the
nine, well-established, perfect in capacity.
GtAcF ie mnFqA. urAZ,. Sy. uz k;vAZ,. -vz,. y$pfklvAcF
-vzr/ y$p\ l"yEt. cqAlv\t, -vrv, pET&yAm^. R.V. 3.8.10. -vzZA
pf;mn?tFEt 2;t
,. Therefore it can hardly be y$p. Perhaps s; +
az,. s;m
k,. m
k, must be from either Em, Emk^ [or] Emc^. Lat.
k, do not help us.
mico, Grk. mikrc, S. m

[RV IV.6]
1. U@v U q; Zo a@vr-y hotr`n
dvtAtA yjFyAn^.
(v\ Eh Ev
cE1rEs mnFqA\
S. [Sayana:]
dvtAEty., mm
mnnFy\ f/$ZA\ Dn\ Ect^ p$jAyA\ a
dvtAtA Agni on high as Hotri of the Adhwara in the
Devatati. Agni overpowers every mm and carries forward the
intelligence of the Vedha.)
S. High, very high for us stand, O summoner (or, performer
of offering), O Agni, a great sacrificer in the sacrifice (in which
the gods are extended).
Tr. [Translation:] High, yea, very high, stand, O Flame, O
offering priest of the journeying sacrifice, be very mighty for
sacrifice in the forming of the gods. For thou comest over every
thought and thou carriest on its way the thinking mind of the
orderer of the work.
2. am$ro hotA ysAEd Ev#vE`nmdo EvdT
q; c
U@v BAn\; sEvt
v D$m\ -tBAyd;p A\

am$r, am$Y, gSB i(yT,

m\d, mdnFyo mAdEytA vA

tA -T$ZA

Mandala Four


up A\ ;lok-yopEr
S. The intelligent offering priest, the enrapturing Agni of
great knowledge is settled among the peoples (the priests) in
(for) the sacrifices; he resorts upward to his lustre like the sun;
like a pillar he supports his smoke above the heaven.
Tr. The offering priest inspired of mind has taken his seat in
the peoples, Agni, the rapturous, the wise thinker in the gettings
of knowledge; he has risen high into light like the all-creating
Sun; like a pillar he holds up his smoke against the heavens.
3. ytA s;j$ZF rAEtnF GtAcF dE"EZ:
ud; -vznvjA nA5, p
vo anE?t s;EDt, s;m
ytA s\ytA s;j$ZF foBnjvA s;S; jFZA p;rAZF vA GtAcF Gtm\ctFEt
j;h$, rAEtnF rAEtDn\ hEvl"ZDnvtF aA>yp$ZA BvtFEt urAZ, uz
Et ) akArlop
k;vAZ, dE"EZd^ dE"Zgmn, ( dE"Zm
-vz, y$pfkl, = y$p, (cf cqAlv\t, -vrv, pET&yA\ Rv. III.8.10 etc)
n sm;Qcy
= aEp ud; u3to BvEt or u(k, a5, aA5EmtA
k, s;dFP, s;EDt, -vEDEtEr(yT, anE?t gQCEt. -vzZA pf; mn?tFEt 2;t
S. The (ghee-giving) flame (or ladle?) controlled and very
swift (or very old) is wealthy (ie full of ghee); he (Agni or the
Adhwaryu) becomes or goes (round from left) to right, widening
the sacrifice; and also the new-born post becomes high; approaching, very bright, the axe(?) goes to the animals (or the
post excellent etc and well placed goes to the animals).
a5,. Gr. kroc high, or aj^ moving. s;m
k, cf Gr. m!koc
= long, or bright, L. micare.
Tr. The clear-shining flame of him is reined and swift and
opulent (or, delightful), he on his right hand circling widens the
extension of the gods; high like a post of sacrifice, new-born,
moving, firm on his base and bright he brings the (seeing) herds.
4. -tFZ
bEhEq sEmDAn
a`nA U@vo a@vy;j;j;qAZo a-TAt^.
pyE`n, pf;pA n hotA E/Ev
Et Edv urAZ,

Edv, p;rAtn, urAZ, increases (that

is, though little, makes them fit for the gods) y7
hEv-tEErmA/\ vDt iEt 2;t
, E/EvE py
Et pf$n^ E/rAv(y py


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

E/Eh pyE`n, E5yt

S. The altar spread, the fire kindled, the leader of sacrifice pleasing the gods stands high; the offering priest ancient,
greatening (the offering), goes like a herdsman thrice round (the
rEt hotAE`nmdo mD;vcA -tAvA.
5. pEr (mnA Emtd;
dv\(y-y vAEjno n fokA By\t
vA B;vnA ydB}AV^
Emtd;, pErEmtgEt, -tAvA y.vAn^ vAEjn, hEvmt, n aEp or
vAEjno n = a
vA iv
S. Limited in motion he goes round himself (in his own
form), the offerer Agni enrapturing, sweet-voiced, having sacrifice; his lustres run fooded (or like horses); all beings fear when
he blazes.
Tr. He encompasses with himself in his measured motion,
the Flame, the offering priest, rapturous, honey-worded, master
of truth; his lustres run like horses; all the worlds are in awe
when he blazes forth.

6. S. O fair-flaming Agni, the delightful, praisable (or auspicious image) of thee terrible, pervading on every side, is full-seen,because they (the nights) do not stop thee with darkness nor the
destroyers put (create) sin in thy body.
  Tr. O thou Flame of great force (or, fair of face), though
thou art terrible as thou goest abroad over the regions, happy
and beautiful is the vision of thee; for the nights envelop thee
not with darkness nor have the destroyers cast sin into thy body.

7. S. Of whom, father (of rain), his giving (or, lustre) is not stopped (by anybody); and in whose sending the father and mother (heaven & earth) do not quickly prevail, the purifier like a well-pleased friend shines among the peoples of Manu.
  Tr. The gettings of this begetter of things (or the light of this begetter and getter of things) cannot be shut in; nor our Father and Mother when he urges. Then shines the purifying Flame as the Friend, well-based, in the human peoples.

8. S. Whom the ten sisters coming together (the fingers) bore, Agni, among the peoples of Manu, like women (aTy,, E-/y iv), the waker at dawn, the eater (of offerings), bright, fair-faced, like a sharp axe (killing the Rakshasas).
  Tr. Twice five sisters who dwell together gave birth to this Flame in the human peoples; they like women(?) gave birth to the brighter eater who awakes with dawn, whose face is beautiful; and he is like a keen axe.

9. S. Those horses of thine, Agni, streaming water, red, straight-moving, well-going, shining, young (or rainers), wellformed and beautiful, are called to the sacrifice.
  Tr. Those bright steeds of thine, O Flame, who stream clear brightness (ghrita), and are red and straight and fair of motion, shining potent stallions, are called in their power to the extending of the godheads.

10. S. Those rays of thine, O Agni, overcoming, moving, bright,
to be served, go like horses to their goal; they are great-sounding
like the Marut host.

Tr. Those illuminings of thee, O Flame, they overpower, they
travel, they are keen in brightness, they are active, they move
like eagles to the goal, they are many-voiced like the host of the
11. akAEr b} sEmDAn t;
&y$ DA,.
hotArmE`n\ mn;qo En q
d;nm-y\t uEfj, f\smAyo,

f\s\ f\snFy\
S. O thou who art being kindled, for thee the praise is made;
one (the Hota) speaks the praise, one (the Yajamana) sacrifices;
give (wealth). Men desiring (wealth) serve worshipping Agni the
caller of the gods speakable (praisable) of man.
Tr. The soul-thought is formed, O kindling Flame, for thee;
for thee one speaks the word and sacrifices; ordain. Men, the
desirers, take refuge in the flame, the priest of sacrifice, with
obeisance to the expresser of the human being.

[RV IV.7.1 - 3]
The Vamadeva Hymns to Agni
The interpretation of the Rigveda is perhaps the most difficult
and disputed question with which the scholarship of today has to
deal. This difficulty and dispute are not the creation of presentday criticism; it has existed in different forms since very early
times. To what is this incertitude due? Partly, no doubt, it arises
from the archaic character of a language in which many of the
words were obsolete when ancient Indian scholars tried to systematise the traditional learning about the Veda, and especially
the great number of different meanings of which the old Sanskrit
words are capable. But there is another and more vital difficulty
and problem. The Vedic hymns are full of figures and symbols,
- of that there can be no least doubt, - and the question is

Mandala Four


what do these symbols represent, what is their religious or other
significance? Are they simply mythological figures with no depth
of meaning behind them? Are they the poetic images of an
old Nature-worship, mythological, astronomical, naturalistic,
symbols of the action of physical phenomena represented as
the action of the gods? Or have they another and more mystic
significance? If this question could be solved with an indubitable
certitude, the difficulty of language would be no great obstacle;
certain hymns and verses might remain obscure, but the general
sense, drift, purport of the ancient hymns could be made clear.
But the singular feature of the Veda is that none of these solutions, at least as they have been hitherto applied, gives a firm
and satisfactory outcome. The hymns remain confused, bizarre,
incoherent, and the scholars are obliged to take refuge in the
gratuitous assumption that this incoherence is a native character
of the text and does not arise from their own ignorance of its
central meaning. But so long as we can get no farther than this
point, the doubt, the debate must continue.
A few years ago I wrote a series of articles in which I suggested an explanation of the ambiguous character of the Veda.
My suggestion hinged on this central idea that these hymns
were written in a stage of religious culture which answered to
a similar period in Greece and other ancient countries, - I do
not suggest that they were contemporary or identical in cult
and idea, - a stage in which there was a double face to the
current religion, an outer for the people, profanum vulgus, an
inner for the initiates, the early period of the Mysteries. The
Vedic Rishis were mystics who reserved their inner knowledge
for the initiates; they shielded it from the vulgar by the use of
an alphabet of symbols which could not readily be understood
without the initiation, but were perfectly clear and systematic
when the signs were once known. These symbols centred around
the idea and forms of the sacrifice; for the sacrifice was the universal and central institution of the prevailing cult. The hymns
were written round this institution and were understood by the
vulgar as ritual chants in praise of the Nature-gods, Indra, Agni,
Surya Savitri, Varuna, Mitra and Bhaga, the Aswins, Ribhus,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Maruts, Rudra, Vishnu, Saraswati, with the object of provoking
by the sacrifice the gifts of the gods, - cows, horses, gold and
other forms of wealth of a pastoral people, victory over enemies,
safety in travel, sons, servants, prosperity, every kind of material
good fortune. But behind this mask of primitive and materialistic
naturalism, lay another and esoteric cult which would reveal
itself if we once penetrated the meaning of the Vedic symbols.
That once caught and rightly read, the whole Rigveda would
become clear, consequent, a finely woven, yet straightforward
According to my theory the outer sacrifice represented in
these esoteric terms an inner sacrifice of self-giving and communion with the gods. These gods are powers outwardly of
physical, inwardly of psychical nature. Thus Agni outwardly is
the physical principle of fire, but inwardly the god of the psychic
godward flame, force, will, Tapas; Surya outwardly the solar
light, inwardly the god of the illuminating revelatory knowledge;
Soma outwardly the moon and the Soma-wine or nectarous
moon plant, inwardly the god of the spiritual ecstasy, Ananda.
The principal psychical conception of this inner Vedic cult was
the idea of the Satyam Ritam Brihat, the Truth, the Law, the Vast.
Earth, Air and Heaven symbolised the physical, vital and mental
being, but this Truth was situated in the greater heaven, base of
a triple Infinity actually and explicitly mentioned in the Vedic
riks, and it meant therefore a state of spiritual and supramental
illumination. To get beyond earth and sky to Swar, the Sunworld, seat of this illumination, home of the gods, foundation
and seat of the Truth, was the achievement of the early Fathers,
purve pitarah, and of the seven Angiras Rishis who founded
the Vedic religion. The solar gods, children of Infinity, Adityah,
were born in the Truth and the Truth was their home, but they
descended into the lower planes and had in each plane their
appropriate functions, their mental, vital and physical cosmic
motions. They were the guardians and increasers of the Truth
in man and by the Truth, ritasya patha, led him to felicity and
immortality. They had to be called into the human being and
increased in their functioning, formed in him, brought in or

Mandala Four


born, devavti, extended, devatati, united in their universality,
The sacrifice was represented at once as a giving and worship, a battle and a journey. It was the centre of a battle between
the Gods aided by Aryan men on one side and the Titans or
destroyers on the opposite faction, Dasyus, Vritras, Panis, Rakshasas, later called Daityas and Asuras, between the powers
of the Truth or Light and the powers of falsehood, division,
darkness. It was a journey, because the sacrifice travelled from
earth to the gods in their heaven, but also because it made ready
the path by which man himself travelled to the home of the
Truth. This journey opposed by the Dasyus, thieves, robbers,
tearers, besiegers (vritras), was itself a battle. The giving was an
inner giving. All the offerings of the outer sacrifice, the cow and
its yield, the horse, the Soma were symbols of the dedication of
inner powers and experiences to the Lords of Truth. The divine
gifts, result of the outer sacrifice, were also symbols of inner
divine gifts, the cows of the divine light symbolised by the herds
of the Sun, the horse of strength and power, the son of the inner
godhead or divine man created by the sacrifice, and so through
the whole list. This symbolic duplication was facilitated by the
double meaning of the Vedic words. Go, for instance, means
both cow and ray; the cows of the dawn and the sun, Homer's
boes Eelioio, are the rays of the Sungod, Lord of Revelation, even
as in Greek mythology Apollo the Sungod is also the Master of
poetry and of prophecy. Ghrita means clarified butter, but also
the bright thing; soma means the wine of the moon plant, but
also delight, honey, sweetness, madhu. This is the conception, all
other features are subsidiary to this central idea. The suggestion
seems to me a perfectly simple one, neither out of the way and
recondite, nor unnatural to the mentality of the early human
There are certain a priori objections which can be brought against this theory. One may be urged against it from the side of Western scholarship. It may be objected that there is no need for all this mystification, that there is no sign of it in the Veda unless we choose to read it into the primitive mythology, that it is not justified by the history of religion or of the Vedic religion, that it was a refinement impossible to an ancient and barbaric mind. None of these objections can really stand. The Mysteries in Egypt and Greece and elsewhere were of a very ancient standing and they proceeded precisely on this symbolic principle, by which outward myth and ceremony and cult objects stood for secrets of an inward life or knowledge. It cannot therefore be argued that this mentality was non-existent, impossible in antique times or any more impossible or improbable in India, the country of the Upanishads, than in Egypt and Greece. The history of ancient religion does show a transmutation of physical Nature-gods into representatives of psychical powers or rather an addition of psychical to physical functions; but the latter in some instances gave place to the less external significance.

I have given the example of Helios replaced in later times by Apollo. Just so in the Vedic religion Surya undoubtedly becomes a god of inner light, the famous Gayatri verse and its esoteric interpretation are there to prove it as well as the constant appeal of the Upanishads to Vedic riks or Vedic symbols taken in a psychological and spiritual sense, eg, the four closing verses of the Isha Upanishad. Hermes, Athena represent in classical mythology psychical functions, but were originally Nature gods, Athena probably a dawn goddess. I contend that Usha in the Veda shows us this transmutation in its commencement. Dionysus the winegod was intimately connected with the Mysteries; I assign a similar role to Soma, the wine-god of the Vedas.

But the question is whether there is anything to show that there was actually such a doubling of functions in the Veda. Now in the first place, how was the transition effected from the alleged purely materialistic Nature-worship of the Vedas to the extraordinary psychological and spiritual knowledge of the Upanishads unsurpassed in their subtlety and sublimity in ancient times? There are three possible explanations. First, this sudden spirituality may have been brought in from outside; it is hardily suggested by some scholars that it was taken from an alleged highly spiritual non-Aryan southern culture; but this is an assumption, a baseless hypothesis for which no proof has been advanced; it rests as a surmise in the air without foundation. Secondly, it may have developed from within by some such transmutation as I have suggested, but subsequent to the composition of all but the latest Vedic hymns. Still even then it was effected on the basis of the Vedic hymns; the Upanishads claim to be a development from the Vedic knowledge, Vedanta repeatedly appeals to Vedic texts, regards Veda as a book of knowledge. The men who gave the Vedantic knowledge are everywhere represented as teachers of the Veda. Why then should we rigidly assume that this development took place subsequent to the composition of the bulk of the Vedic mantras? For the third possibility is that the whole ground had already been prepared consciently by the Vedic mystics. I do not say that the inner Vedic knowledge was identical with the Brahmavada.

Its terms were different, its substance was greatly developed,
much lost or rejected, much added, old ideas shed, new interpretations made, the symbolic element reduced to a minimum
and replaced by clear and open philosophic phrases and conceptions. Certainly, the Vedic mantras had already become obscure
and ill-understood at the time of the Brahmanas. And still the
groundwork may have been there from the beginning. It is, of
course, in the end a question of fact; but my present contention
is only that there is no a priori impossibility, but rather a considerable probability or at least strong possibility in favour of my
suggestion. I will put my argument in this way. The later hymns
undoubtedly contain a beginning of the Brahmavada; how did it
begin, had it no root origins in the earlier mantras? It is certain
that some of the gods, Varuna, Saraswati, had a psychological as
well as a physical function. I go farther and say that this double
function can everywhere be traced in the Veda with regard to
other gods, as for instance, Agni and even the Maruts. Why not
then pursue the inquiry on these lines and see how far it will
go? There is at least a prima facie ground for consideration, and
to begin with, I demand no more. An examination of the actual
text of the hymns can alone show how far the inquiry will be
justified or produce results of a high importance.
Another a priori objection comes from the side of orthodox


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

tradition. What it amounts to is an objection to go behind the
authority of Sayana, who belongs to an age at least two or
three thousand years later than the Veda, and of Yaska, the
ancient lexicographer. Besides, the Veda is currently regarded
as karmakanda, a book of ritual works, the Vedanta only as
jnanakanda, a book of knowledge. In an extreme orthodox
standpoint it is objected that reason, the critical faculty, the
historical argument have nothing to do with the question; the
Vedas are beyond such tests, in form and substance eternal, in
interpretation only to be explained by traditional authority. That
attitude is one with which I am not concerned; I am seeking for
the truth of this matter and I cannot be stopped by a denial of
my right to seek for any truth contrary to tradition. But if in
a more moderate form the argument be that when there is an
unbroken and consistent ancient tradition, there is no justification in going behind it, then the obvious reply is that there is no
such thing. Sayana moves amidst a constant uncertainty, gives
various possibilities, fluctuates in his interpretations. Not only
so, but though usually faithful to the ritualistic and external
sense he distinguishes and quotes occasionally various ancient
schools of interpretation, one of which is spiritual and philosophic and finds the sense of the Upanishads in the Veda. Even
he feels himself obliged sometimes, though very rarely, to follow
its suggestions. And if we go back to the earliest times we see that
the Brahmanas give a mystically ritualistic interpretation of the
Veda, the Upanishads treat the Riks as a book not of ritual, but
of spiritual knowledge. There is therefore nothing fantastically
new or revolutionary in an attempt to fix the psychological and
spiritual purport of the Rig Veda.
A last objection remains that the interpretation of the Veda
has been a field for the exercise of the most extraordinary ingenuity, each attempt arriving at widely different results, and
mine is only one ingenuity the more. If it were so, then I stand in
good company. The interpretations of Sayana are packed with
the most strained and far-fetched ingenuities, which not unoften
light-heartedly do violence to grammar, syntax, order, connection, on the idea that the Rishis were in no way restrained by

Mandala Four


these things. Yaska is full of etymological and other ingenuities,
some of them of a most astonishing kind. The scholarship of
Europe has built up by a system of ingenious guesses and deductions a new version and evolved the history, true or imaginative,
of an Aryan invasion and a struggle between Aryan and Dravidian which was never before suspected in the long history of
Vedic interpretation. The same charge has been brought against
Swami Dayananda's commentary. Nevertheless, the universality
of the method does not make it valid, nor have I any need to
take refuge in this excuse, which is not a justification. If my or
any interpretation is got by a straining of the text, a licentious or
fantastic rendering or a foreign importation, then it can have no
real value. The present volume, which I hope to make the first
of a series, is intended to show my method actually at work and
dispel this objection by showing the grounds and justification.
I hold that three processes are necessary for a valid interpretation of the Veda. First, there must be a straightforward
rendering word by word of the text which shall stick to a plain
and simple sense at once suggested by the actual words no matter
what the result may be. Then, this result has to be taken and
it has to be seen what is its actual purport and significance.
That meaning must be consistent, coherent with itself; it must
show each hymn as a whole in itself proceeding from idea to
idea, linked together in sequence, as any literary creation of
the human mind must be linked, which has not been written
by lunatics or is not merely a string of disconnected cries. It
is impossible to suppose that these Rishis, competent metrists,
possessed of a style of great power and nobility, composed without the sequence of ideas which is the mark of all adequate
literary creation. And if we suppose them to be divinely inspired,
mouthpieces of Brahman or the Eternal, there is no ground for
supposing that the divine wisdom is more incoherent in its Word
than the human mind; it should rather be more luminous and
satisfying in its totality. Finally, if a symbolic interpretation is
put on any part of the text, it must arise directly and clearly
from suggestions and language of the Veda itself and must not
be brought in from outside.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

A few words may be useful on each of these points. The first
rule I follow is to try to get at the simplest and straightforward
sense to which the Rik is open, not to strain, twist and involve.
The Vedic style is terse, but natural, it has its strong brevities and
some ellipses, but all the same it is essentially simple and goes
straight to its object. Where it seems obscure, it is because we do
not know the meaning of the words or miss the clue to the idea.
Even if at one or two places, it seems to be tortured, that is no
reason why we should put the whole Veda on the rack or even
in these places torture it still worse in the effort to get at a sense.
Where the meaning of a word has to be fixed, this difficulty
comes either because we have no clue to the true meaning or
because it is capable in the language of several meanings. In the
latter case I follow certain fixed canons. First, if the word is one
of the standing terms of the Veda intimately bound up with its
religious system, then I must first find one single meaning which
attaches to it wherever it occurs; I am not at liberty to vary
its sense from the beginning according to my pleasure or fancy
or sense of immediate fitness. If I interpret a book of obscure
Christian theology, I am not at liberty to interpret freely the
constantly recurring word grace sometimes as the influx of the
divine favour, sometimes as one of the three Graces, sometimes
as charm of beauty, sometimes as grace marks in an examination,
sometimes as the name of a girl. If in one it evidently bears this
or that sense and can have no other, if it has no reference to the
ordinary meaning, then indeed it is different; but I must not put
in one of these other meanings where the normal sense fits the
context. In other cases I may have greater freedom, but this freedom must not degenerate into licence. Thus the word ritam may
signify, we are told, truth, sacrifice, water, motion and a number
of other things. Sayana interprets freely and without obvious
rule or reason according to any of them and sometimes gives
us two alternatives; not only does he interpret it variously in
different hymns, but in three different senses [in] the same hymn
or even in the same line. I hold this to be quite illegitimate. Ritam
is a standing term of the Veda and I must take it consistently. If
I find truth to be its sense in that standing significance, I must

Mandala Four


so interpret it always, unless in any given passage it evidently
means water or sacrifice or the man who has gone and cannot
mean truth. To translate so striking a phrase as ritasya panthah
in one passage as "the path of truth", in another "the path of
sacrifice", in another "the path of water", in another "the path
of the one who has gone" is a sheer licence, and if we follow
such a method, there can be no sense for the Veda except the
sense of our own individual caprice. Then again we have the
word Deva, which undoubtedly means in ninety-nine places out
of a hundred, one of the shining ones, a god. Even though this
is not so vital a term as ritam, still I must not take it in the sense
of a priest or intelligent man or any other significance, where
the word god gives a good and sufficient meaning unless it can
be shown that it is undoubtedly capable of another sense in the
mouth of the Rishis. On the other hand a word like ari means
sometimes a fighter, one's own champion, sometimes a hostile
fighter, assailant, enemy, sometimes it is an adjective and seems
almost equivalent to arya or even arya. But mark that these
are all well-connected senses. Dayananda insists on a greater
freedom of interpretation to suit the context. Saindhava he says
means a horse or rocksalt; where it is a question of eating we
must interpret as salt, where it is a question of riding, as horse.
That is quite obvious; but the whole question in the Veda is
what is the bearing of the context, what are its connections?
If we interpret according to our individual sense of what the
context ought to mean, we are building on the quicksands. The
only safe rule is to fix the sense usually current in the Veda and
admit variations only where they are evident from the context.
Where the ordinary sense makes a good meaning, I ought to
accept it; it does not at all matter that that is not the meaning
I should like it to have or the one suitable to my theory of the
Veda. But how to fix the meaning? We can evidently do it only
on the totality or balance of the evidence of all the passages in
which the word occurs and, after that, on its suitability to the
general sense of the Veda. If I show that ritam in all passages can
mean truth, in a great number of passages but not by any means
all sacrifice, in only a few water, and in hardly any, motion, and


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

this sense, truth, fits in with the general sense of the Veda, then
I consider I have made out an unanswerable case for taking it in
that significance. In the cases of many words this can be done;
in others we have to strike a balance. There remain the words of
which frankly we do not know the meaning. Here we have to use
the clue of etymology and then to test the meaning or possible
meanings we arrive at by application to the passages in which the
word occurs, taking into consideration where necessary not only
the isolated riks, but the context around, and even the general
sense of Veda. In a few cases the word is so rare and obscure
that only a quite conjectural meaning can be attached to it.
When we have got the rendering of the text, we have to
[see] to what it amounts. Here what we have to do is to see the
connection of the ideas in the verse itself, next its connection
with the ideas in the verses that precede and follow and with the
general sense of the hymn; next parallel passages and ideas and
hymns and finally the place of the whole in the scheme of ideas
kdA t aAn;qg^
of the Veda. Thus in IV.7 we have the line a`n
dv-y c
tn\, and I render it, "O Flame, when may there
be in uninterrupted sequence the awakening (to knowledge or
consciousness) of thee the god (the shining or luminous One)?"
But the question I have to put is this, "Does this mean the
constant burning of the physical fire on the altar and the ordered
sequence of the physical sacrifice, or does it mean the awakening
to constant developing knowledge or ordered conscious action
of knowledge of the divine Flame in man?" I note that in the
next rik (3) Agni is described as the possessor of truth (or of
in 4 as the vision or sacrifice?), the entirely wise, -tAvAn\ Evc knowledge perception shining for each creature, k,

in 5 as the Priest who knows, hotAr\ EcEk(vA\s\,

in 6 as the bright one in the secrecy who has perfect knowledge, Ec/\ g;hA
Eht\ s;v d\,

in 7 as coming possessed of the truth for the sacrifice when the gods rejoice in the seat of the Truth,

[in 8] as the messenger ... All this is ample warrant for taking Agni not merely as a physical flame on the altar, [but] as a flame of divine knowledge guiding the sacrifice and mediating between man and the gods. The balance is also, though not indisputably, in favour of taking it as a reference to the inner sacrifice under the cover of the outer symbols; for why should there be so much stress on divine knowledge if the question were only of a physical sacrifice for physical fruits? I note that he is the priest, sage, messenger, eater, swift traveller and warrior.

How are these ideas, both successive and interwoven in the Veda,
connected together? Is it the physical sacred flame that is all these
things or the inner sacred flame? There is sufficient to warrant
me in provisionally taking it for the inner flame; but to be sure
I cannot rely on this one rik. I have to note the evolution of
the same ideas in other hymns, to study all the hymns dedicated
to Agni or in which he is mentioned, to see whether there are
passages in which he is indubitably the inner flame and what
light they shed on his whole physiognomy. Only then shall I be
in a position to judge certainly the significance of the Vedic Fire.
This example will show the method I follow in regard to
the third question, the interpretation of the Vedic symbols. That
there are a mass of figures and symbols in the hymns, there
can be no doubt. The instances in this 7th hymn of the Fourth
Mandala are sufficient by themselves to show how large a part
they play. In the absence of any contemporary evidence of the
sense which the Rishis attached to them, we have to seek for
their meaning in the Veda itself. Obviously, where we do not
know we cannot do without a hypothesis, and my hypothesis is
that of the outer ritual form as a significant symbol of an inner
spiritual meaning. But this or any hypothesis can have no real
value if it is brought in from outside, if it is not suggested by
the words and indications of the Veda itself. The Brahmanas
are too full of ingenuities; they read too much and too much at
random into the text. The Upanishads give a better light and we
may get hints from later work and even from Sayana and Yaska,
but it would be dangerous at once to read back literally the
ideas of a later mentality into this exceedingly ancient Scripture.
We must start from and rely on the Veda to interpret the Veda.
We have to see, first, whether there are any plain and evident
psychological and spiritual conceptions, what they are, what
clue they give us, secondly, whether there are any indications


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of psychological meanings for physical symbols and how the
outer physical is related to the inner psychological side. Why
for instance is the Flame Agni called the seer and knower? why
are the rivers called the waters that have knowledge? why are
they said to ascend or get into the mind? and a host of other
similar questions. The answer again must be found by a minute
comparative study of the Vedic hymns themselves. In this volume I proceed by development. I take each hymn, get at its first
meaning; I see whether there are any psychological indications
and what is their force and what their interweaving and relation
to the other surrounding ideas. I proceed thus from hymn to
hymn linking them together by their identical or similar ideas,
figures, expressions. In this way it may be possible to arrive at a
clear and connected interpretation of the Veda.
This method supposes that the hymns of the Rigveda are
one whole composed by different Rishis, but on the basis of
a substantially identical and always similar knowledge and one
system of figures and symbols. This, I think, is evident on the very
surface of the Veda. The only apparent exceptions are certain
hymns, mostly in the tenth Mandala, which seem to belong to
a later development, some almost purely ritualistic, others more
complex and developed in symbol than the body of the Riks,
others clearly enouncing philosophical ideas with a modicum of
symbol, the first voices which announce the coming of the Upanishads. Some hymns are highly archaic, others of a more clear
and relatively modern type. But for the most part throughout we
find the same substance, the same images, ideas, standing terms,
the same phrases and expressions. Otherwise the problem would
be insoluble; as it is, the Veda itself gives a key to the Veda.
The hymns I have chosen for a beginning are the fifteen
hymns of Vamadeva to Agni. I take them in the order that suits
me, for the first few are highly charged with symbol and therefore to us obscure and recondite. It is better to proceed from the
simple to the difficult; for so we shall get better a preliminary
clue which may help us through the obscurity of the earlier

Mandala Four


Agni, the Lord of Fire, is physically the god of the sacrificial
flame, the fire found in the tinders, in the plants, in the waters,
the lightning, the fire of the sun, the fiery principle of heat and
light, tapas, tejas, wherever it is found. The question is whether
he is also the same principle in the psychical world. If he is, then
he must be that psychological principle called Tapas in the later
terminology. The Vedic Agni has two characteristics, knowledge
and a blazing power, light and fiery force. This suggests that
he is the force of the universal Godhead, a conscious force or
Will instinct with knowledge, - that is the nature of Tapas, -
which pervades the world and is behind all its workings. Agni
then in the psychical and spiritual sense of his functions would
be the fire of a Will doing the works of its own inherent and
innate knowledge. He is the seer, kEv,, the supreme mover of
thought, Tmo mnotA, the mover too of speech and the Word,
upv?tA jnAnA\, the power in the heart that works, }Ed-pf\ 5t;\,
the impeller of action and movement, the divine guide of man
in the act of sacrifice. He is the priest of the sacrifice, Hotri, he
who calls and brings the gods and gives to them the offering,
the Ritwik, who sacrifices in right order and right season, the
purifying priest, Potri, the Purohita, he who stands in front as
the representative of the sacrificer, the conductor of the sacrifice,
Adhwaryu; he combines all the sacred offices. It is evident that
these functions all belong to the divine will or conscient power
in man which awakes in the inner sacrifice. This Fire has built
all the worlds; this creative Power, Agni Jatavedas, knows all the
births, all that is in the worlds; he is the messenger who knows
earth, knows how to ascend the difficult slope of heaven, aAroDn\
Edv,, knows the way to the home of the Truth, - he mediates
between God and man. These things apply only with difficulty
to the god of physical fire; they are of a striking appropriateness
if we take a larger view of the divine nature and functions of
the god Agni. He is a god of the earth, a force of material being,
avm,; but he seems too [to] be a vital (Pranic) force of will in
desire, devouring, burning through his own smoke; and again
he is a mental power. Men see him AEmv -tEB,, heaven and
the midworld and earth are his portion. But again he is a god


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of Swar, one of the solar deities; he manifests himself as Surya;
he is born in the Truth, a master of Truth, a guardian of Truth
and Immortality, a getter and keeper of the shining herds, the
eternal Youth, and he renews the youth of these mystic cattle.
He is triply extended in the Infinite. All these functions cannot
be predicated of the god of physical fire; but they are all just
attributes of the conscient divine Will in man and the universe.
He is the horse of battle and the horse of swiftness and again he
gives the white horse; he is the Son and he creates for man the
Son. He is the Warrior and he brings to man the heroes of his
battle. He destroys by his flame the Dasyu and the Rakshasa; he
is a Vritra-slayer. Are we to see here the slayer only of mortal
Dravidians or of the demons who oppose the sacrifice? He is
born in a hundred ways: from the plants, from the tinder, from
the waters. His parents are the two Aranis, but again his parents
are Earth and Heaven, and there is a word which seems to
combine both meanings. Are not the two Aranis then a symbol
of earth and heaven, Agni born for mortals from the action of
the diviner mental on the material being? The ten sisters are his
mothers, - the ten fingers, says the scholiast; yes, but the Veda
describes them as the ten thoughts or thought-powers, df EDy,.
The seven rivers, the mighty ones of heaven, the waters that have
knowledge, the waters of Swar are also his mothers. What is the
significance of this symbolism, and can we really interpret it as
only and solely a figurative account of natural phenomena, of
the physical principle or works of Fire? There is at least here, to
put the thing in its lowest terms, a strong possibility of a deeper
psychological functioning of Agni. These are the main points for
solution. Let us see then how the physiognomy of Agni evolves
in the Riks; keeping our minds open, let us examine whether the
hypothesis of Agni as one of the Gods of the Vedic Mysteries
is tenable or untenable. And that means, whether the Veda is
a semi-barbaric book of ritual hymns, the book of a primitive
Nature-worship or a scripture of the seers and mystics.

Mandala Four


Sukta VII. Metre 1 Jagati. 2 - 6 Anushtup. 7 - 11 Trishtup.
Rik 1. ayEmh Tmo DAEy DAtEBhotA yEjSo a@vr
ym=nvAno Bgvo Evzzc;vn
q; Ec/\ Ev

ay\ this (before you) hotA Hotri, Tm, first or supreme, yEjS,
(ytm,) most strong for sacrifice, a@vr
q; IX^y, adorable in the
(pilgrim) sacrifices ih DAEy has here been set DAtEB, by the Ordainers (of things), y\ he whom a=nvAno Bgv, Apnavana and
q; Ec/\ luminous (or varthe Bhrigus Evzzc;, made to shine, vn

iegated) in the woods (or in the logs), Ev
for creature and creature ie for each (human) being.
Critical Notes

DAtEB,. S. explains DAt as one who does action for the sacrifice,
therefore a priest. But DAtAr, here would more naturally signify
the gods, creators and ordainers of things, - though it is possible to take it as the arrangers of the sacrificial action. The close
collocation DAEy DAtEB, can hardly be void of all significance.
The gods are those who place or arrange the order of creation,
set each thing in its place, to its law and its function; they have
set Agni here, ih. "Here" may mean in the sacrifice, but more
generally it would mean here on earth.
hotA. Sayana takes sometimes as "the summoner of the
gods", sometimes the performer of the Homa, the burned offering. In fact it contains both significances. Agni as Hotri calls
the gods to the sacrifice by the mantra and, on their coming,
gives to them the offering.
q;. The word a@vr is explained by the Nirukta as meaning literally aEh\*, "unhurting", a + @vr from @v, and so, the
unhurt sacrifice, and so simply sacrifice. Certainly, it is used as
an adjective qualifying y., a@vro y.,. It must therefore express
some characteristic so inherent in the sacrifice as to be able to
convey by itself that significance. But how can "the unhurting"
come to mean by itself the sacrifice? I suggest that as in as;r it is a


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

mistake to take a as privative. as;r comes from as; (rt as^) and
means strong, forceful, mighty. a@vr is similarly formed from
a@v path, journey. It means the pilgrim sacrifice, the sacrifice
which travels from earth to heaven, led by Agni along the path
of the gods. If we must take the word from @v, it is better to
take the ordinary sense of @v, not crooked, straight, and then
it would still mean the sacrifice which goes straight undeviating
by the straight path to the gods, -j;, p\TA an"r,.
IX^y,. S. "who is praised or hymned" by the Ritwiks. But
it must then mean "worthy to be hymned". i0^, iX^ must have
meant originally to go, approach; it came to mean to pray to,
{. I take it in the sense of "desirable" or
ask for, desire, mAtrm
q;. vn means in the Veda tree, wood, but also log, timber.
Ec/\. S. takes Ec/ sometimes = cAynFy = p$>y, sometimes
EvEc/, varied or wonderful, sometimes [
]. Here "variedly
beautiful". It is in this last sense of varied light or beauty that I
take it in all passages in the Veda as in i\d Ec/BAno. I can see no
reason for taking it anywhere as p$jnFy.
I find no passage in which it must mean lord, the later classical
sense. Ev
Tr. Lo, here has been set by the Ordainers the priest of the offering, the supreme, the most mighty in sacrifice, one to be adored
in the pilgrim sacrifices, whom Apnavana and the Bhrigus made
to shine out all-pervading, rich in hues, in the woods, for each
human creature.
This is the first rik; it contains nothing of an undoubtedly
psychological significance. In the external sense it is a statement
of the qualities of Agni as priest of the sacrifice. He is pointed to
in his body of the sacrificial fire kindled, put there in his place or
sent by the priests. It amounts to an obvious statement that this
sacred flame is a great power for the sacrifice; that he is the chief
of the gods who has to be hymned or adored, that Apnavana
and other Bhrigus first discovered the (sacrificial?) use of fire

Mandala Four


and caused it to be used by all men. The description here of
the forest fire seems inappropriate unless it is meant that they
got the idea by seeing Agni burning widely and beautifully as a
forest fire or that they discovered it by seeing the fire produced
by the clashing of boughs or that they first lit it in the shape of a
forest fire. Otherwise it is an ornamental and otiose description.
But if we assume for the moment that behind this image Agni
is hinted at as the Hotri of the inner sacrifice, then it is worth
seeing what these images mean. The first words tell us that this
flame of conscient Will, this great thing within us, ayEmh, has
been set here in man by the Gods, the creators of the order of the
world, to be the power by which he aspires and calls the other
divine Forces into his being and consecrates his knowledge, will,
joy and all the wealth of his inner life as a sacrificial action to the
Lords of the Truth. These first words then amount for the initiate
to a statement of the fundamental idea of the Vedic mysteries,
the meaning of the sacrifice, the idea of a God-will in man, the
q;. This flame is spoken of as
Immortal in mortals, am(y m(y
the supreme or first power. The godward will leads all the other
godward powers; its presence is the beginning of the movement
to the Truth and Immortality and the head too of the march. It is
the greatest power in the conduct of the mystic discipline, yEjS,
the most mighty for sacrifice. Man's sacrifice is a pilgrimage and
the divine Will its leader; therefore it is that which we must
adore or pray to or ask for its presence in each sacrificial action.
The second line of the Rik gives us a statement of the first
discovery or birth of this Flame among men. For the spirit is there
concealed in man, guha hita as it is said in Veda and Upanishad,
in the inner cave of our being; and his will is a spiritual will,
hidden there in the spirit, present indeed in all our outward
[being] and action, - for all being and action are of the spirit,
but still its real nature, its native action is concealed, altered, not
manifest in the material life in its true nature of a spiritual force.
This is a fundamental idea of Vedic thinking; and if we keep it
well in mind, we shall be able to understand the peculiar imagery
of the Veda. Earth is the image of the material being; material
being, delight, action etc are the growths of earth; therefore their


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

image is the forests, the trees, plants, all vegetation, vn, vn-pEt,
aoqED. Agni is hidden in the trees and plants, he is the secret heat
q;. All that we take
and fire in everything that grows on earth, vn
pleasure in in the material life, could not be or grow without
the presence of the secret flame of the spirit. The awakening
of the fire by the friction of the Aranis, the rubbing together
of the two pieces of tinder-wood is one way of making Agni
, but this is said elsewhere to
to shine out in his own form, !p
have been the work of the Angiras Rishis. Here the making of
Agni so to shine is attributed to Apnavana and the Bhrigus and
there is no indication of the method. It is simply indicated that
they made him to shine out so that he burned with a beauty of
varied light in the woodlands, a pervading presence, vn
q; Ec/\
manifestation of the flame of divine will and knowledge in the
physical life of man, seizing on its growths, all its being, action,
pleasure, making it its food, a3\, and devouring and turning it
into material for the spiritual existence. But this manifestation
of the spirit in the physical life of man was made available by the
, - we must presume,
Bhrigus to each human creature, Evf
by the order of the sacrifice. This Agni, this general flame of
the divine Will-force, was turned by them into the Hotri of the
The question remains, who are the Bhrigus of whom we
may suppose that Apnavana is in this action at least the head
or chief? Is it simply meant to preserve a historical tradition
[that] the Bhrigus like the Angiras Rishis were founders of the
esoteric Vedic knowledge and discipline? But this supposition,
possible in itself, is contradicted by the epithet BgvAZ\ in verse
4 which evidently refers back to this first Rik. Sayana interprets
there, "acting like Bhrigu" and to act like Bhrigu is to shine. We
find this significant fact emerge, admitted even by the ritualistic
commentator in spite of his attachment to rational matter of
fact, that some at least of the traditional Rishis and their families are symbolic in their character. The Bhrigus in the Veda
(Bj^ to burn) are evidently burning powers of the Sun, the Lord
of Knowledge, just as the Angiras Rishis are very evidently the

Mandala Four


seven lustres of Agni, sP DAmAEn - S. says the live coals of the
fire, but that is a mere etymological ingenuity - the hints are
everywhere in the Veda, but it is made quite clear in the tenth
Mandala. The whole idea, then, comes out with a convincing
luminosity. It is the powers of the revelatory knowledge, the
powers of the seer-wisdom, represented by the Bhrigus, who
make this great discovery of the spiritual will-force and make
it available to every human creature. Apnavana means he who
acts or he who attains and acquires. It is the seer-wisdom that
scales and attains in the light of the revelation which leads the
Bhrigus to the discovery. This completes the sense of the Rik.
It will at once be said that this is an immense deal to read
into this single Rik, and that there is here no actual clue to any
such meaning. No actual clue, indeed, only covert hints, which
it is easy to pass over and ignore, - that was what the Mystics
intended the profanum vulgus, not excluding the uninitiated
Pundit, should do. I bring in these meanings from the indications
of the rest of the Veda. But in the hymn itself so far as this first
Rik goes, it might well be a purely ritualistic verse. But only if
it is taken by itself. The moment we pass on, we land full into
a mass of clear psychological suggestions. This will begin to be
apparent even as early as the second verse.

kdA t aAn;qg^ B;v:
v-y c
Rik 2. a`n
aDA Eh (vA jgEB}r
mtAso Ev#vFX^y\

dv-y c
tn\ the awakening to knowla`n
O Agni kdA when t
edge (consciousness) of thee the god aAn;qk^ B;vt^ may it be
continuously (in uninterrupted sequence). aDA Eh for then (or,
have seized (taken and
now indeed) mtAs, mortals (vA jgEB}r
held) thee Ev"; IX^y\ adorable in (human) beings (or among the
Critical Notes

dv-y. Sayana takes
dv sometimes in the sense of god, sometimes
as equivalent simply to an epithet "shining". The Gods are called

dvA, because they are the Shining Ones, the Children of Light;


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

and the word may well have recalled always that idea to the
Rishis; but I do not think
dv is ever in the Veda merely a colourless epithet; in all passages the sense "god" or "divine" gives
excellent sense and I see no good reason for taking it otherwise.
tn\. S. takes = t
j,, but Ect^ does not mean to shine, it
tEt, c
tyEt =
means always "to be conscious, aware, know", c
ts^ = heart, mind, knowledge, c
knows, causes to know, c
tnA consciousness, Ec1\ heart, consciousness, mind. To take it
here = light, except by figure, is deliberately to dodge without
any justification the plain psychological suggestion.
aDA. a-DA = in this or that way, thus, but also then or now.
S. takes it = therefore with B;vt^, preparing for Eh = because ("For
this reason when should thy light be continuous? because... "), a
very forced structure absolutely unnatural and contrary to order,
movement and the plain sequence of sense.
. A Vedic form, taken by the grammarians as derived
from g}h^ to seize, by change of h^ to B^, more probably an old
] The
root gB^ and a peculiar archaic formation. Cf [
force is "For him they seize", the perfect giving the sense of
an already completed action; in English one would [say] "will
have seized", ie "when thou knowest continuously". Or take
aDA = now, "Now indeed they have seized" but have not yet the
aAn;qk^ c
tn\. But this does not make so good a sense and brings
in besides an awkward inversion and ellipse.
Tr. O Flame, when shall thy awakening to knowledge be a continuous sequence? For then shall men have seized on thee as one
to be adored in creatures.
Here we get the first plain psychological suggestion in the
tn\. But what is the sense of this continuous knowing or
word c
awaking to knowledge of Agni? First, we may try to get rid of
tn\ = consciousness, and the
the psychological suggestion, take c
consciousness of the fire as simply a poetic figure for its burning.
But against this we have the repetition of the phrase aAn;qk^ c
in the aAn;qk^ EcEk(vA\s\ of v. [5] which certainly means continuous knowledge and not merely burning, next verse 3 in which

dv-y c
tn\ is taken up and the word itself echoed
the idea of a`n

Mandala Four


in the two opening words -tAvAn\ Evc
ts\, possessed of truth,
complete in knowledge (wisdom) applied to the god. To shut
tn\ = merely
one's eyes to this emphatic indication and take c
>vln\ would be a mere dodge. Does it then mean the continuous
burning of the flame of the physical sacrifice, but with this idea
that the flame is the body of the god and indicates the presence
of the conscious deity? But in what then does the knowledge or
wisdom of Agni consist? It may be said that he is wise only as the
hotA, a seer, kEv, who knows exactly how to take the offerings
and get the sacrifice rightly done or one who knows the way
ts\? That
to heaven (verse 8). But what then of the -tAvAn\ Evc
must surely refer to some greater knowledge, some great Truth
which Agni possesses. Does it at all refer to a god of physical
Fire alone or to the knowledge and wisdom of an inner Fire, the
flame of the God-Force or God-Will in man and the world,
the Shining One, the Guest, the Seer, aEtET, kEv,?
I take it in this sense. The Rishi cries to this inner Flame,
"when wilt thou shine in me continuously, on the altar of my
sacrifice, when wilt thou be a constant force of knowledge to
give all the uninterrupted sequence, relation, order, completeness
of the revelations of wisdom, speaking always and wholly its
words, kA&yAEn?" If it refers at all to the inner flame, this must
be the sense. We must remember that in the Vedic symbolism
it was by the continuous sacrifice all round the symbolic year,
the nine or the ten months of the sacrifice of the Angirases,
that the Sun, Master of the Truth, the Wisdom, was recovered
from the cave of darkness. The repeated single sacrifice is only
a preparation for this continuity of the revealing Flame. It is
only then that men not only awake Agni from time to time,
by repeated pressure, but have and hold continuously the inner
flame of will and knowledge, a present godhead, the one whom
we then see and adore in all conscious thinking beings. Or we
may take the last two padas in the sense "now indeed they seize"
etc and we will have to take it in the opposite sense, ie, that for
the present men do not have this continuous flame, but only lay
hold of him for the actual duration [of] the effort of sacrifice.
This is possible, but does not make so natural a sense; it arises


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

less simply and directly from the actual words. It is in the next
two riks (3, 4) that the present action of Agni before his aAn;qk^
tn\ is described, while in Rik 5 the Rishi returns to the idea of
the greater continuous flame of knowledge, repeating the aAn;qk^
tn\ still more significantly in the aAn;qk^ EcEk(vA\s\ of that verse.
This seems to me the evident natural order of the thought in the

ts\ p
y\Et AEmv -tEB,.
Rik 3. -tAvAn\ Evc
qAm@vrAZA\ h-ktAr\ dm

y\Et They see him -tAvAn\ (-tv\t\) having the truth, Evc
completely wise AEmv -tEB, like heaven with stars, h-ktAr\
the maker to shine Ev
qAm@vrAZA\ of all (pilgrim) sacrifices dm

h g
h) in house and house.
Critical Notes

-tAvAn\. -t + vn^ = -tAvn^. The Vedic suffix vn^ has the same
force as the classical vt^. -tAvA = -tvAn^. -t from root - to
go. Hence the sense "water". The sense "truth" may = what is
learned, literally what we go in search of and attain or what we
go over and so learn (cf -Eq); but it may also come from the idea
of straightness, Lat. rectum, -j;. How it comes to mean sacrifice
is not so clear, perhaps from the idea of rite, observance, rule,
EvED, or a line followed, cf Latin regula, rule; or again action,
km and so the sacrificial action; verbs of motion often bear also
the sense of action, cf cErt\, v1\. -tAvA says S. often may mean
possessed of truth or possessed of sacrifice. But here he takes
it = truthful, free from deceit, amAEyn\. Elsewhere he takes s(y
used as an epithet of Agni = s(yPl, giving a true fruit of the
sacrifice. Oftenest he takes -t = y.. But it is perfectly evident
here that -tAvAn\ must mean truth-having, in whatever sense we
may take the truth of Agni.
ts\. S. EvEf.An\ having a special, a great knowledge.
tA, and Evc
tA, are distinguished very much as .An
In Veda c
and Ev.An in the Upanishads and later Sanscrit; c
t, or EcE1
stands for .An, the latter word being classical and not Vedic.

Mandala Four


gives the idea of knowledge directed towards an object, c
= intelligent, wise in a general sense (thus S. takes k.An,
and makes no distinction between the words). Ev means widely,
tA, means then having a
pervadingly or else in high degree; Evc
complete or great or perfect knowledge, knowledge of the whole
and the parts.
h-ktAr\. hs^ to shine, shining (from which comes the sense,
to smile) and k to make. S. says BAsk\ illuminer of the sacrifices.
. The Vedic word (G. domos, Lat. domus) means always
"house"; it is not used in the later classical sense of "subduing,
control", etc.
Tr. They see the master of truth, the complete in wisdom like a
heaven with stars, the illuminer of all pilgrim sacrifices in house
and house.
ts\ evidently takes up the c
tn\ of the
In this rik the word Evc
last verse; it means complete in knowledge and is coupled with
-tAvAn\ truth-having, possessed of truth. It is the god Agni, not
the physical fire who is described by these epithets. Therefore
tn\ in the last verse must mean Agni "awakening to knowltyEt
edge" or Agni's awakening of man to knowledge, - for c
means either to know or to cause to know, and cannot mean
the burning of the physical flame. But what is this truth and
knowledge of Agni? It is associated again in the next verse with
his function of illumining the sacrifice, a@vrAZA\ h-ktAr\. What
is the illumination he gives to the sacrifice? And what is meant
by saying that he is seen "like a heaven with stars"? Sayana
with much scholastic ingenuity, but a characteristic disregard
of all good taste and literary judgment, says that the scattering
sparks of the fire are like stars and therefore Agni is like heaven
- though there is no reason to suppose that the -tEB, here are
shooting stars; I cannot imagine any poet with eyes in his head
and a judgment and sense of proportion in his brain so describing
a fire burning on an altar. But if it does mean that, then we have
here a purely ornamental description and very bad, exaggerated
and vicious ornament at that. All that the verse will then mean
is that men see this wise and truthful Agni in the physical form


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of the sacrificial fire shedding light by its flames on the whole
business of the sacrifice. The two epithets are also then otiose
ornament; there is then absolutely no connection between the
idea of Agni's wisdom and the image of the heaven with stars
or the illumination of the sacrifice which is the main idea of the
I go on the hypothesis, not, I think, an unfair one, that the
Vedic Rishi Vamadeva like other poets wrote with some closer
connection than that between their ideas. We must remember
that in the last verse he has desired, what he has not yet, the continuous knowledge of Agni and said that then indeed men hold
and possess him. But how do they see him before that continuity,
though after the Bhrigus have found him for the utility of each
human being? They see him as the master of truth, the complete
in knowledge, but - we must suppose - they do not yet possess
him in all his truth or his complete knowledge; for he is seen only
as a heaven with stars and as an illuminer of their sacrifices. A
heaven with stars is heaven at night without the light of the
sun. Agni in the Veda is described as shining even in the night,
giving light in the night, burning through the nights till there
comes the dawn, - which too is brought by him aiding Indra
and the Angirases. If the meaning of Agni is the inner flame, this
gets a striking, appropriate and profound meaning. In the Veda
darkness or night is the symbol of the ignorant mentality, as is
the day and its sunlight of the illumined mentality. But before
there is the day or the continuous knowledge, the illuminations
of Agni are like stars in the nocturnal heavens. Heaven is the
mental as earth is the physical being; all the truth and knowledge
of Agni is there, but hidden now by the darkness of night. Men
know that the Light is there pervading the skies but see only by
the stars which Agni has kindled as his fires of illumination in
those heavens.

Mandala Five
[RV V.1]
Fifth Mandal.
Translation and Explanation.
1. Agni by the fuel heaped by the peoples has awakened towards the coming Dawn as towards the Sun-cow coming; like the waters spouting up for wide flowing, his flames move towards the heaven.

2. The Priest of the offering awoke for sacrifice to the gods, Agni stood up high in the dawn and perfect-minded; the gathered force of him was seen reddening when he was entirely kindled; a great god has been released out of the darkness.

3. When so he has put forth the tongue of his multitude, pure is the activity of Agni with the pure herd of his rays; then is the goddess discerning yoked to her works in a growing plenty; she upward-straining, he high-uplifted, he feeds on her with his flaming activities.

4. Towards Agni move the minds of the seekers after the Godhead, as their eyes move in Surya; when the two unlike Dawns bring him forth, he is born a white steed of being in the van of the days (or, at the head of our forces).

5. He is born full of delight at the head of the days helpful in the helpful gods, active in those that take their joy; in each of our homes establishing his seven ecstasies Agni, priest of the offering, takes seat in his might for the sacrifice.

6. Mighty for sacrifice Agni of the offerings takes his seat in the lap of the Mother, in that rapturous middle world, young and a seer, seated in many homes of his dwelling, full of the Truth, upholding our actions and therefore kindled in the mid-spaces.

7. Verily, it is this Agni, the illumined seer who perfects us in these lower activities, the master of offering, that they adore with obeisances and submission; who stretched out the double firmament by the force of the Truth; him they strengthen (or brighten) with the rich droppings, the eternal master of substance.

8. Strong ever, he grows stronger housed in his own seat
in us & home, our guest auspicious to us; master-bull with the
thousand horns of thy flame, strong with that Strength, O Agni,
by thy might thou art in front of all others.
9. At once, O Agni, thou passest beyond all others in him
to whom thou makest thyself manifest in thy splendid beauty,
adorable and full of body and widely luminous, the beloved
guest of the human peoples.
10. To thee, O vigorous Agni, the continents (or the peoples)
bring their oblation from near and bring from afar; perceive the
perfected mind in one most happy, for wide and mighty is the
blessed peace of thee, O Agni.
11. O luminous Agni, mount today thy perfect and luminous
chariot with the masters of the sacrifice; thou knowest those
paths, bring then hither through the wide mid-world the gods
to eat of our offerings.
12. Utterance have we given to the word of our delight for
the seer who hath understanding, for the lord who is mighty;
firm in the light one by submission to him reaches in Agni a fixity,
even as in heaven, so here golden bright and vast-expanding.
The awakening of the divine Force and its action in a man is in
this hymn rather indicated than described. The sukta is purely
lyric in its character, vacho vandaru, an expression of delight and
adoration, a stoma or stabilising mantra intended to fix in the
soul the sevenfold delight of Agni, dame dame sapta ratna (Rik
5), and assure that state of perfected and happy mentality, pure
in perception, light and calm in the emotional parts, - the bhandishthasya sumatim of the tenth rik, - which the divine force
dwelling in us abidingly assures to our conscious being. The

Mandala Five


image of the physical morning sacrifice is maintained throughout the first two riks, but from its closing phrase, mahan devas
tamaso niramochi, the Rishi departs from the ritualistic symbol
and confines himself to the purely psychological substance of his
thought, returning occasionally to the physical aspects of Agni
but only as a loose poetical imagery. There is nothing of the
close symbolic parallelism which is to be found in some hymns
of the Veda.
Abodhi Agnih samidha jananam, Prati dhenum ivayatm
Yahva iva pra vayam ujjihanah, Pra bhanavah sisrate
nakam achchha.
Force, pure, supreme & universal has, in man, awakened; divine
power is acting, revealed, in the consciousness of creatures born
into matter, jananam. It wakes when the fuel has been perfectly
heaped, abodhi samidha, - that power, plenty and richness of
being on which this cosmic Force in us is fed and which minister
to its intensity and brightness. It wakes towards the coming
dawn of illumination, as to the Sun-cow, the cow of Surya, the
illumination of the ideal life & the ideal vision entering the soul
that works imprisoned in the darkness of Matter. The flames of
the divine activity in us are pointing upwards towards heaven,
mounting up from the lower levels of our being to the heights
of the pure mind, sisrate nakam achchha, and their rising is like
the wide gushing up into manifestation of waters that have been
hidden. For it is a great god that has been released out of the
darkness, mahan devas tamaso niramochi.
The two familiar images in dhenu & in yahva are intended
to convey directly in one, suggest obliquely by the simile in the
other, the inseparable companionship of divine power with the
divine light and the divine being. All the gods are indeed usharbudhah; with the morning of the revelation all divine faculties
in us arise out of the night in which they have slept. But the
figure here is that of awakening towards the coming dawn. The
illumination has not yet touched the mortal mind, it is on its way,
approaching, ayatm, like a cow coming from the distance to its


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

pasture; it is then that the power divine stirs in its receptacle,
seizes upon all that is available in the waking consciousness
of the creature and, kindled, streams up towards the altitudes
of the pure mind in the face of the coming divine knowledge
which it rises to meet. Divine knowledge, revealing, inspiring,
suggesting, discerning, calls up the godlike ideal activity in us
which exceeds man's ordinary motions, - wakes it even before
it actually occupies this mortal system, by its far-off touch and
glimmer on the horizon; so too divine, inspired and faultless
activity in us rises heavenward & calls down God's dawn on
His creature.
This great uprush of force is in its nature a great uprush
of divine being; for force is nothing but the power of being
in motion. It is the secret waters in us that released, gush up
openly & widely from their prison & their secrecy in our mortal
natures; for in vitalised matter, in mind emmeshed in material
vitality, the ideal & spiritual self are always concealed and await
release and manifestation; in this mortal that immortal is covered
& curtained in and lives and works behind the veil, martyeshu
devam amartyam. Therefore is the uprush of divine force in
the great release felt to be the wide uprush of divine being &
consciousness, yahva iva pra vayam ujjihanah.
Abodhi hota yajathaya devan, Urdhwo Agnih sumanah
pratar asthat,
Samiddhasya rusad adarsi pajo, Mahan devas tamaso
The purpose of the waking is next emphasised. It is for divine
action in man that God's force awakes in us. It is the divine priest
of the offering who stands up in the dawn of the illumination to
offer to the gods, to each great god his portion, to Indra a pure
& deified mentality, to Vayu a pure & divine vital joy & action,
to the four great Vasus, Varuna, Mitra, Bhaga & Aryama the
greatnesses, felicities, enjoyments & strengths of perfected being,
to the Aswins the youth of the soul & its raptures & swiftnesses,
to Daksha & Saraswati, Ila, Sarama & Mahi the activities of the
Truth & Right, to the Rudras, Maruts & Adityas, the play of

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physical, vital, mental & ideative activities. Agni has stood up
in the dawning illumination high uplifted in the pure mentality,
urdhwa, with a perfected mind, sumanah. He purifies in his
rising the temperament and fixes on it the seal of peace & joy;
he purifies the intellectuality & makes it fit to receive the activity
of the illuminating Truth & Infinite Rightness which is beyond
intellect. Great is the god who has been released out of the
darkness of this Avidya, out of this our blind bodily matter,
out of this our smoke-enveloped vital energy, out of this our
confused luminous murk of mortal mind and sense-enslaved intelligence. Mahan devas tamaso niramochi. For now that he has
been perfectly kindled, it is no longer God's occasional flamings
that visit our nature, but His collected and perfect force, pajah,
is seen reddening in our heavens.
The first verse is preoccupied with the idea of the selfillumination of Agni, the bhanavah, the flames of Force manifesting Knowledge as its essential nature - for Force is nothing
but Knowledge shaped into creative energy & the creations of
energy & veiled by its shape, as a man's soul is veiled by his
mind & body which are themselves shapes of his soul. In the
words abodhi, vayam, nakam, in the relation of Agni to Usha
and the emphasis on the illuminative character of Usha as the
Sun Cow, this aspect of illumination & manifestation is stressed
& enlarged. In the second verse the native aspect of the divine
Force as a mighty power of action, consummating & purifying,
is brought out with an equal force and insistence. It is as the
hota that Agni awakes; in this illumination of the dawn that
comes with him to man, pratah, he stands up with the intellect
and emotional temperament perfected & purified, sumanah, for
the great offering of man's whole internal & external life & activity to God in the gods, yajathaya devan, fulfilling the upward
impulse, urdhwa, which raises matter towards life, life towards
mind, mind towards ideality & spirit, and thus consummating
God's intention in the creature. In the next verse the nature of
this human uplifting, this upward straining of the mind through
heart & intellect to ideal Truth & Love & Right, is indicated &
particularised in an image of great poetical force and sublimity.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations
Yad m gan.asya rasanam ajgah, Sucir ankte suchibhir
gobhir Agnih,
Ad dakshin.a yujyate vajayant, Uttanam urdhwo adhayaj juhubhih.

When so he has put forth the tongue of enjoyment of his host,
yad m gan.asya rasanam ajgah, Agni has put forth his collected
power for an uplifted and perfect activity, rusad adarsi pajo, -
for redness is always the symbolic colour of action and enjoyment. This pajas, Agni's force or massed army, is again described
in the gan.asya rasanam, but while the idea in the second verse
is that of their indistinctive mass, here the gan.ah or host of
Agni's powers, the devatas of his nature who apply themselves
to his particular works, are represented as brought out in their
individuality collected in a mass, - for this is always the force
of gan.ah, - each with his tongue of flame licking the mid-air,
(surabha u loke .. madhye iddhah in v. 6), enjoying that is to say
the vital energies & vital pleasure (aswa and ghritam), which
support this higher action. Supported by this vital joy & force
Agni acts, ankte agnir; but the enjoyment is not the impure
& unilluminated enjoyment of the unuplifted creature, - he is
suchih, purely bright, not smoky with the unpurified Pranic impulses, and his flames of action are in their nature pure flames
of illumination, suchibhir gobhir. In modern diction, when the
divine force has so far purified us, our activities & enjoyments
are not darkened and troubled with striving & clouded vital
desires which strain dimly towards a goal but, not being ritajna,
know not what they should seek, how they should seek it, in
what force & by what method and stages; our action becomes
a pure illumination, our enjoyment a pure illumination; by the
divine illuminations, as their motive force, essence & instrument,
our actions & enjoyments are effected. We see the just, curious
and delicate literary art of the Vedic style in its symbolism, by
this selection of the great word, go, in this context, in preference
to any other, to describe the flames of Agni. In the next line, with
an equally just delicacy of selection juhu is used for the same
flames instead of bhanu or go.

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It is in this state of pure activity & enjoyment that the
characteristic uplifting action of Agni is exercised; for then, ad,
the discriminative intellect, dakshin.a, growing in the substance
of its content and havings, vajayant, is yoked or applied to
its work under these new conditions. Dakshina the discriminative intellect is the energy of Daksha, master of the viveka
or unerring right discernment, but unerring in the ideality, in
mahas or vijnana, his and her own home, not unerring in the
intellect, but only straining towards the hidden truth & right
out of the mental dualities of right & wrong, truth & falsehood.
This deputy & messenger of the Ritam brihat seated in manas as
reason, discernment, intellect, can only attain its end and fulfil
its mission when Agni, the divine Force, manifests in the Prana
and manas and uplifts her to the ideal plane of consciousness.
Therefore in this new activity she is described as straining &
extending herself upwards, uttanam, to follow & reach Agni
where are his topmost flames, urdhwa, in the ideal being. From
there he leans down and feeds on her, adhayaj, through the
flames of his divine activity, juhubhih, burning in the purified
and upward aspiring activities of the intellectual mind. This
essential relation of the divine force and the purified mind is
brought out in a more general thought and figure in the first line
of the succeeding rik.
Agnim achchha devayatam manansi, Chakshunshva
Surye san charanti,
Yad m suvate ushasa virupe, Sweto vaj jayate agre
Iva in the Veda is not always a particle of similitude and comparison. Its essential meaning is truly, verily, so, thus, and it is from
this sense that it derives its conjunctive uses, sometimes meaning
and or also, sometimes as, like. Its force here is to distinguish
between the proper activity of Agni & Surya, of manas and
chakshu, & to confine the latter to their proper sphere and
thus by implication to confine the former also. When we are
mortals content with our humanity, then we are confused in our
functions; the manas or sense-mind attempts to do the work of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the mahas or idea-mind, to effect original knowledge, to move
in Surya, in the powerful concrete image of the Veda. The idea
also confuses itself with sense and moves in the sense-forces, the
indriyas, instead of occupying itself in all purity with its own
function. Hence the confusions of our intellect and the stumblings of our mental activity in its grappling with the contacts
of the outer world. But when we rise from our mortal nature
to the nature of godhead, devayantah, amritam sapantah, then
the first change is the passage from mortal impurity to immortal
purity, and the very nature of purity is a clear brightness and
rightness, in which all our members work perfectly in God & the
gods, each doing its own function & preserving its right relation
with its superior and inferior fellows. Therefore in those who
are attaining this nature of godhead, devayatam, their senseminds strain towards Agni, the divine force of Right Being &
Right Action, satyam ritam, - they tend that is to say to have
the right state, bhava or temperament, out of which the right
action of the indriyas spontaneously proceeds; the seeings of the
Yogin who attains, move in Surya, the god of the ideal powers,
all that he perceives, creates, distinguishes, is worked out by
the pure ideal mentality, which then uses its four powers of
self-revelation, self-inspiration, self-intuition, self-discernment
without suffering obscuration by the clouds of vital desire &
impulse or deflection by the sense-impacts & sense-reactions.
The sensational mind confines itself then to its proper work of
receiving passively the impacts of the vital, material & mental
outer world & the illuminations of Surya and of pouring out
on the world in its reaction to the impacts, not its own hasty
& distorted responses, but the pure force & action of Agni
which works on the world, pure, right & unerring & seizes
on it to possess & enjoy it for God in the human being. This
is the goal towards which Dakshina is striving in her upward
self-extension which ends by her taking her place as viveka or
right discernment in the kingdom of Surya, and this she begins
already in her new activities by discerning the proper action
of the mind from the proper action of idea in the mind. The
purified intellect liberates itself from the obscurations of desire,

Mandala Five


the slavery to vital impulse, and the false reports and false values
of the matter-besieged sense-powers.
The essential nature of Agni's manifestation which is at the
root of this successful distinction, is then indicated. Night &
Dawn are the two unlike mothers who jointly give birth to Agni,
Night, the avyakta unmanifest state of knowledge & being, the
power of Avidya, Dawn, the vyakta manifest state of knowledge
& being, the power of Vidya. They are the two dawns, the two
agencies which prepare the manifestation of God in us, Night
fostering Agni in secret in the activities of Avidya, the activities
of unillumined mind, life & body, by which the god in us grows
out of matter towards spirit, out of earth up to heaven, Dawn
manifesting him again, more & more, until he is ready here
for his continuous, pure & perfect activity. When this point
of our journey towards perfection is reached he is born, sweto
vaj, in the van of the days. We have here one of those great
Vedic figures with a double sense in which the Rishis at once
revealed & concealed their high knowledge, revealed it to the
Aryan mind, concealed it from the unAryan. Agni is the white
horse which appears galloping in front of the days, - the same
image is used with a similar Vedantic sense in the opening of
the Brihad Aranyak Upanishad; but the horse here is not, as
in the Upanishad, Aswa, the horse of vital & material being
in the state of life-force, but vaj, the horse of Being generally,
Being manifested in substance whether of mind, life, body or
idea or the three higher streams proper to our spiritual being.
Agni therefore manifests as the fullness, the infinity, the brihat
of all this sevenfold substantial being that is the world we are,
but white, the colour of illumined purity. He manifests therefore
at this stage primarily as that mighty wideness, purity & illumination of our being which is the true basis of the complete &
unassailable siddhi in the Yoga, the only basis on which right
knowledge, right thinking, right living, right enjoyment can be
firmly, vastly & perpetually seated. He appears therefore in the
van of the days, the great increasing states of illuminated force &
being, - for that is the image of ahan, - which are the eternal
future of the mortal when he has attained immortality.


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

In the next rik the idea is taken up, repeated & amplified
to its final issues in that movement of solemn but never otiose
repetition which is a feature of Vedic style.
Janishta hi jenyo agre ahnam, Hito hiteshu arusho
Dame dame sapta ratna dadhano, Agnir hota ni shasada
This divine force is born victorious by its very purity & infinity
over all the hostile forces that prevent, obstruct, limit or strive
to destroy our accomplished freedoms, powers, illuminations
& widenesses; by his victory he ushers in the wide days of the
siddha, for which these nights & dawns of our human life are
the preparatory movements. He is effective & helpful in the
effective powers that work out for our good the movements
[of] this lower life towards immortal strength & power, he is
active & joyous, arusho, in those that take the delight of these
movements and so prepare us for the immortal bliss & ecstasy
of the divine nature. Manifesting progressively that Ananda the
force of God establishes and maintains in each house of our
habitation, in each of our five bodies, in each of our seven levels
of conscious existence, the seven essential forms of Ananda, the
bliss of body, the bliss of life, the bliss of mind & the senses,
the bliss of ideal illumination, the bliss of pure divine universal
ecstasy, the bliss of cosmic Force, the bliss of cosmic being. For
although we tend upwards immediately to the pure Idea, yet not
that but Ananda is the goal of our journey; the manifestation
in our lower members of the divine bliss reposing on the divine
force & being is the law of our perfection. Agni, whether he
raises us to live in pure mind or yet beyond to the high plateaus
of the pure ideal existence, adhi shnuna brihata vartamanam,
establishes & supports as the divine force that divine bliss in its
seven forms in whatever houses of our being, whatever worlds of
our consciousness, have been already possessed by our waking
existence, life, body & mind, or life, body, mind and idea, dame
dame dadhanah. Thus manifesting God's bliss in us he takes his
seat in those houses, domiciled, damunah, as we have it in other

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Suktas, and in those worlds, to perform as the hota in his greater
might for the sacrifice, greater than the might of other gods or
greater than he has hitherto possessed, the offering of human
life into the immortal being, a daivyam janam, yajathaya devan.
In a culminating rik which at once completes the first half of
the Sukta and introduces a new movement, the Rishi once more
takes up the closing thought of this last verse and carries it out
into a fuller conclusion.
Agnir hota ni asdad yajyan, Upasthe matuh surabha u
Yuva kavih purunihshtha ritava, Dharta krishtnam uta
madhye iddhah.
Agni thus takes his seat in us and, because it is through human
activity that he is to fulfil the sacrifice, because the ascending
movement is not completed, he takes it in the lap of his Mother in
that rapturous middle world. For the middle world, the Bhuvah,
including all those states of existence in which the mind and the
life are interblended as the double medium through which the
Purusha acts and connects Heaven & Earth, is the proper centre
of all human action. Mind blended with the vital energies is
our seat even here in the material world. The bhuvah or middle
regions are worlds of rapture & ecstasy because life-energy &
the joy of life fulfil themselves there free from the restrictions
of the material world in which it is an exile or invader seeking
to dominate & use the rebellious earthly material for its own
purposes. Agni sits in the lap of the mother, on the principle of
body in the material human being, occupying there the vitalised
mind consciousness which is man's present centre of activity &
bringing into it the mightier bliss of the rapturous middle world
to support & enlarge even the vital and physical activities &
enjoyments of our earthly existence. He sits there in the human
sacrifice, full of eternal youth and vigour, yuva, in possession of
the ideal truth & knowledge, in possession of the unerring rightness of the liberated pure ideal life & consciousness, kavir ritava,
& realising that truth & right in many purposes & activities,
purunihshthah. For he works all these results as the upholder


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of men in their actions, efforts & labours, dharta krishtnam, -
he is that in all his forms of force from the mere physical heat
in earth & in our bodies to the divine Tapas in us & without us
by which God effects & supports the existence of the cosmos,
- and because he is thus supremely the upholder of human life
& activity, therefore he is kindled in the mid-space; his seat is
on the fullness of the vitalised mind-consciousness in the microcosm, in the rapturous mid-world of fulfilled life-energy in the
macrocosm. There kindled, awakened & manifested in man,
samidha buddhah, samiddhah, he does his work for upwardclimbing humanity. Thus by the return in iddhah to the words
& the idea with which he started, the Rishi marks the close of
his first movement of thought.

[RV V.10]
Gaya Atreya's Hymn to Agni -
1. O Agni, Light of our embodied being, bring to us an
illumination most full of force; do thou by power of an allenvironing felicity cleave for us towards the goal of possession
our path in front.
2. Thou, O wonderful Agni, becomest by the Will the fullness in us of discernment and in thee the doer climbeth up to the
might divine as Mitra of the sacrifice.
3. Do thou for us, O Agni, increase attainment and plenty
in these who by the confirming mantras of praise, as Purushas
of the Sun, enjoy the fullnesses.
4. They, O Agni rapturous, who by delight of the Steed of
Life have joy of the words, are Purushas strong in all energies
for whom even in heaven the full perfection of the vaster Being
awakens of itself.
5. These, O Agni, are thy burning rays that go violently
like lightnings that pervade, like a chariot sounding towards the

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6. Now do thou prepare, O Agni, us hampered & opposed
for having, for delight and may our Powers of Light pass beyond
all desires (or overpass all the regions).
7. Thou, O Agni, lord of might, confirmed by praise and
while yet we hymn thee bring to us felicity that bears the pervading god, let it be for firm-establishment to those who establish
thee with the hymn. And do thou flourish in our battles for our
Gaya, the Rishi, prays to Agni, Lord of Tapas, the representative in Nature of the Divine Power that builds the worlds
& works in them towards our soul's fulfilment in and beyond
heaven - Agni, as jatavedas, the self-existent luminosity of
knowledge in this Cosmic Force - for Force is only Chitshakti,
working power of the Divine Consciousness & therefore Cosmic
Force is always self-luminous, all-knowing force. Agni Jatavedas
then is the ray of divine knowledge in this embodied state of existence; - he is Adhrigu - the Light in our embodied being. For
this reason all action offered by us to Agni as a work of divine
tapas becomes in its nature a self-luminous activity guiding
itself whether consciously in our minds or super-consciously,
guhahitam, to the divine goal. All Tapas is self-effective and
God-effective. As Adhrigu, the divine Light in our embodied
being, Agni is to bring to us an illumination of knowledge in
our mentality which is ojistha, most full of ojas, superabundant
in effective puissance. By God-directed action our heart &
intellect become suffused with power & light, or rather with
light that is power and power that is light, since knowledge &
force are in the divine nature one entity. Agna ojistham a bhara
dyumnam asmabhyam adhrigo.
This puissant light brought to us by Agni is attended with the
other divine phenomenon or manifestation (vayunam, vayas),
bliss, felicity, Ananda. Divine Ananda is the inseparable companion of the divine strength and divine knowledge; Chit, Tapas &
Ananda constitute the nature of Sat, the divine Being. The state
of divine being is one & infinite embracing all existences, sarvabhutani, in one unifying self-consciousness, Atmani; therefore,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

divine bliss also is infinite & embracing, raya parn.asa. It environs all our sensations, states & actions, it environs also for us all
the vishayas of our sensations, all the beings who come into contact with our soul states, all the objects & fields of our action. We
come to take in all these equally the same pure & divine delight.
Because the Lord of Tapas brings to us this wonderful felicity,
he is called in this hymn "Agne chandra", Agni rapturous, Agni
delightful, and in other hymns ratnadhatama, utter disposer of
delight, or madhuhastya, he who brings wine of sweetness in
his hand. In this puissant light, by this all-environing felicity
Agni is to cleave for us through the darknesses & obstructions
of this world of Avidya a path towards our goal. Vaja means in
Veda either possession or having, plenty or a goal; we find it in
this latter sense in such expressions as raghavo na vajam, like
swift horses to a goal or, in this very Sukta, ratho na vajayuh,
like a chariot that moves towards its goal. Here, as often in
the Vedic language which uses freely the devices of symbolism,
involved double metaphor and double suggestion, the sense is
goal, but there is intended to be some suggestion of the other
idea of vaja, possession. The path is action of knowledge, the
goal is vaja, possession or plenteous having, magha, fullness or
plenty, of Asurya, the divine might, Force or Tapas of the divine
Nature, - magha & vaja, full & assured having as opposed to
the partial visitations which we receive in this mortal state &
mortal nature and cannot invariably use or certainly hold. And
this path Agni is to cleave for us, pra, in front of us. The Might of
God goes before us on its Tapasya, not remaining content with
any limited realisation but pressing forwards towards [............]
consciousness & knowledge, [............] force & an infinite joy.
It dispels the darkness in front & lights, [as] it advances, new
reaches of thought, consciousness & knowledge to which our
minds were blinded; it scatters spiritual foes ambushed in front;
it creates footholds for us in the pathless void, apade pada. We
follow & enjoy its fruits, maghani anasuh. Pra no raya parn.asa
ratsi vajaya pantham.
Gaya, the Rishi, then proceeds to describe the path & the
goal. He addresses the god as Agne adbhuta, O marvellous Agni

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or O Supreme Agni; for adbhuta means that which stands out
from other things, is different from them, superior or wonderful.
This is the marvellous or supreme nature of Agni that by will in
action he becomes in us the fullness & force of discernment in
knowledge. We have here two capital terms of the Veda, kratu
and daksha. Kratu has several shades of significance, action or
activity, more especially, the yajna or action of sacrifice; power
that expresses itself in action, the Greek kratos; & power as a
mental force corresponding very nearly to the European conception of Will. We have in our philosophy no exact synonym
of the English word Will, because Will to us, as opposed to
mere wish, ichchha, is simply Conscious Force; it is Shakti or,
more precisely, Chit-shakti, & its nature in action is Tapas or
the concentration of consciousness on action & its object or
its results. Now the nature of Agni, kratu or active power is
precisely this Tapas or Chit-shakti, Conscious Being in concentration of action. It is then by Tapas or Will that Agni creates in
us Knowledge. But how can Action be said to transform itself
into Knowledge, kriyashakti into jnanashakti? We can see dimly
this transmutation in our ordinary psychological experience;
for we know that each time we act, bodily or mentally, the
action is automatically registered in us as an experience and by
the accumulation of experiences transforms itself into state of
knowledge. But in mortal knowledge & mortal nature the act &
the knowledge are separated from each other and can be joined
or disjoined; in divine knowledge & divine nature the two go
always together and are one entity. When God acts, each act is
a play of effective self-knowledge. When He creates Light, He
conceives of Himself as a Light & Light becomes. The action
of creation is really a play of self-conception. He knows at the
same time the whole conception of Light, its nature, properties,
possibilities, functionings; when therefore He acts or creates,
the process of action is a process of conception, the result of
action is a result of conception. For this reason when a tree
grows out of a seed, the evolution of the right tree out of the
right seed is as inevitable as Fate, although the tree has no
knowledge and control of its own growth; but the evolution


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& the form of the tree evolved are merely manifestations of the
divine conception. The Cosmic Self-Consciousness knows itself
in the form of a Tree & that vijnana or typal idea is manifested
by the sure action of the nature or swabhava attached to the
conception. This sureness of self-fulfilment based on a secret
self-knowledge is the kratu or action of Agni, the divine Power
in things. It is a secret Will in things fulfilling itself in motion
of activity & in form. But though Agni in the tree knows, the
tree knows nothing. When man comes in with his mind, he
still does not know but only seeks to know, - for he feels that
attached to every object is a right knowledge of that object
& in every action is a right knowledge of that action. This
knowledge he seeks to bring out, to make conscious in his mind.
But mortal knowledge is sense knowledge, a deduction from
forms of things; divine knowledge is self-existent knowledge,
spontaneously manifested by the identity in consciousness of
the knower with the thing known. Mortal knowledge is derived
in nature, deferred in time, indirect in means; divine knowledge
is spontaneous, direct and self-manifesting. Mortal knowledge is
like hearing of a man from others & inferring many things about
him which may & must, indeed, be largely or wholly incorrect;
divine knowledge is the seeing & hearing of the man himself &
knowledge of him by personal experience. Mortal knowledge
is crooked, hvara or vrijina; divine knowledge is straight, riju.
Mortal knowledge proceeds from & by limitation, by getting
hold of & adding up details, dwayena, by duality; divine knowledge is comprehensive & unifying, containing subordinates in
the principal, details in the whole, attributes in the thing itself.
Mortal knowledge advances step by step over uneven ground
in a jungle where it does not know the way; divine knowledge
advances over straight & open levels, vtani prishthani, where
it sees the whole prospect before it, its starting-point, its way
& its goal. Mortal knowledge bases itself on martya or manasa
ketu, sense perception or intelligence; divine knowledge bases
itself upon daivya ketu, self-perception. Mortal knowledge is
manas, divine knowledge is vijnana, self-true ideation or soulknowledge. Even when Agni works from below upward, from

Mandala Five


mind up to vijnana, & the daivya ketu has to follow the action
of mind & act partially & in details, it does not lose its characteristics of self-existence, self-truth & direct perception. When
therefore vijnana acts in the human mind, he associates every
action, every will with the knowledge that is the core of the
action & the true substance of the will, but this he does at first
dimly & obscurely in the nervous impressions, the emotional
response, the sense knowledge, as in a smoke-obscured flame.
He has then archayo dhuminah, smoky rays; he acts as a force in
Avidya, putro, a son of the crookednesses although
always rijuyuh, moving towards the straightnesses. But when he
can get beyond the sense mind into pure mind, then he begins
to show his true nature entirely & the higher knowledge begins;
he has his archayo bhrajantah, his intense clear burning rays, he
drives his straight-muscled steeds, rijumushkan ashwan. Then
every act of will is attended with right discernment, with daksha
& transmutes itself into right knowledge.
Vijnana, true ideation, called ritam, truth or vedas, knowledge in the Vedas, acts in human mind by four separate functions; revelation, termed drishti, sight; inspiration termed sruti,
hearing; and the two faculties of discernment, smriti, memory,
which are intuition, termed ketu, and discrimination, termed
daksha, division, or viveka, separation. By drishti we see ourselves the truth face to face, in its own form, nature or selfexistence; by sruti we hear the name, sound or word by which the
truth is expressed & immediately suggested to the knowledge; by
ketu we distinguish a truth presented to us behind a veil whether
of result or process, as Newton discovered the law of gravitation
hidden behind the fall of the apple; by viveka we distinguish
between various truths and are able to put them in their right
place, order and relation to each other, or, if presented with
mingled truth & error, separate the truth from the falsehood.
Agni Jatavedas is termed in the Veda vivichi, he who has the
viveka, who separates truth from falsehood; but this is only a
special action of the fourth ideal faculty & in its wider scope,
it is daksha, that which divides & rightly distributes truth in its
multiform aspects. The ensemble of the four faculties is Vedas


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

or divine knowledge. When man is rising out of the limited
& error-besieged mental principle, the faculty most useful to
him, most indispensable is daksha or viveka. Drishti of Vijnana
transmuted into terms of mind has become observation, sruti appears as imagination, intuition as intelligent perception, viveka
as reasoning & intellectual judgment and all of these are liable
to the constant touch of error. Human buddhi, intellect, is a
distorted shadow of the true ideative faculties. As we return
from these shadows to their ideal substance viveka or daksha
must be our constant companion; for viveka alone can get rid of
the habit of mental error, prevent observation being replaced by
false illumination, imagination by false inspiration, intelligence
by false intuition, judgment & reason by false discernment. The
first sign of human advance out of the anritam of mind to the
ritam of the ideal faculty is the growing action of a luminous
right discernment which fixes instantly on the truth, feels instantly the presence of error. The fullness, the manhana of this
viveka is the foundation & safeguard of Ritam or Vedas. The
first great movement of Agni Jatavedas is to transform by the
divine will in mental activity his lower smoke-covered activity
into the bright clearness & fullness of the ideal discernment.
Agne adbhuta kratwa dakshasya manhana.
This, then, is the path. It is the development by divine Tapas
in the mind of Ritam or Vedas, the supra-intellectual knowledge
or unveiled face of Truth, Ritasya pantha - the path of Truth is
always in Veda the road which the Ancestors, the Pitris, the great
forefathers, the Ancients, pratnasah, puratanah, have trodden
before us & their descendants, the new seers, have to follow
after them. What then is the goal? It is Asuryam, the might of
the divine Nature. In thee, says Gaya, the doer, - kran.a, the
sadhaka, the seeker after perfection, who conducts or for whom
Agni conducts the inner sacrifice, - ascends to the divine Might
as Mitra of the sacrifice. Asuryam is the principle of divine
Power, Chit-Shakti or Tapas in which divine Being or Sat formulates itself for cosmic activity; Mitra is the Lord of Love who
with Bhaga, the Lord of Enjoyment, most intimately represents
in human temperament the principle of Ananda, which is the

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base of the divine Being & divine Power in world-manifestation.
Sat, Chit, Ananda (for Chit & Tapas are one) are the Vedic
formula of divine Existence. By the action of Agni, kratwa, the
soul achieving Truth merges itself in the divine principle of Love
poured out into the offering to God of human life, Mitro na
yajniyah, and with it in that principle, realising throughout our
consciousness the divine Beatitude, rises into the free play of the
infinite Tapas of the divine Existence. In that Tapas the sacrificial activity of Agni in man, the kratu, becoming Godward will
finds its manhana, its absolute fullness & fulfilment. Sat, Tapas,
Ananda, Vijnana, Manas - this is the Indian ladder of Jacob by
which one descends & ascends again to heaven. Man the Doer,
the Manu, the Krana, perfecting himself by works, is lifted by
the divine will to Vijnana, to the ideal self of true knowledge
& right action & emotion, attains by Truth to Divine Love &
Bliss, Mayas, the dhama or seat of Mitra, and thus ascends to the
Tapas where Agni is [............]. This ascension Gaya, the Rishi, is
enabled by the fixed symbolic style of the Veda, to express with
a masterly economy of words in the second rik of this Sukta.
Agne adbhuta,
kratwa dakshasya manhana;
Tve asuryam aruhat,
kran.a mitro na yajniyah.
The Rishi next proceeds to dwell on this Ritam or Truth which
is the path in order that he may return again to the goal with a
greater fullness of significance. We have seen that as the divine
Tapas Agni is typified in the symbol of the sacrificial flame,
so his activities are typified in the flames or rays of that fire,
jwala or archis, and these rays or brightnesses [are] of two
kinds, dhuminah, smoke-enveloped in the heart & sense mind
& burning & brilliant, bhrajantah in the pure mind. The stage
now considered is that of Agni in the pure mind awakening in
it the activities of the vijnana. The god of the vijnana, its Nri or
Purusha, is the Lord of the Sun, Sur or Surya. Those who possess
the illumination of the vijnana are called, therefore, surayah,
the Illuminati, and the word may be applied to either class of


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

Nri (Purushas), the human Purushas who evolve upwards by
the Vedic sacrifice or the luminous gods of the vijnana, the solar
gods, the host of Surya, surayo narah, who aid him in his ascent.
It is these Solar Purushas who are the archayo bhrajantah, the
bright-burning brilliances of Agni. The divine Tapas entering
the vijnana manifests itself in Surya & his hosts, in the powers,
faculties & activities of the self-luminous & self-true ideal mind.
The Rishi occupies himself with these luminous Powers in his
next three verses.
"O Agni," cries the Rishi, "increase in us the attainment of
light & the full plenty of these active gods of the solar illumination." Gayam pushtim cha. The word gaya, Sayana tells us,
means that which is reached or attained; it is dhanam, wealth.
But gaya, as is usually the case with these early Sanscrit vocables,
is capable of several shades of significance. It may mean the
act or process of attaining; it may mean the thing reached or
attained, whether material wealth or spiritual attainment, &
especially it signifies knowledge, just as ritam from the word
ri to go signifies truth or rishi, similarly derived, signifies the
seer or knower; or it may signify the knower himself, the Rishi.
It certainly bears the latter sense in the name Gaya which is
borne by the Rishi of this sukta; the habits of style of the Vedic
seers justify us even in seeing a covert introduction of his own
name by the Seer in the choice of this word Gaya. In any case
Gaya here can no more mean material wealth than pushti can
mean corporeal fatness; it implies spiritual gain or attainment
&, occurring in close connection with the surayo narah and
recalling the name of the Rishi, may be taken in this passage
as specially signifying Knowledge. Agni has already established
the fullness of the viveka. He has now to increase in Gaya &
his fellow worshippers the light of knowledge & the full growth
of all the powers of the vijnana; he has to help in man the
gods of revelation, inspiration & intuition as well as of viveka.
How is this to be done? By the mantras of the hymn of praise,
The importance & effectiveness, psychological, spiritual,
even physical, of the Word, Vachas, Gih, Uktha, may almost

Mandala Five


be described as the fundamental thought of the Vedic seers, and
this initial psychic perception of our forefathers has dominated
Indian religious thought & discipline ever since. The name of
God, the mantra, is still the keystone of all Indian yoga. We
shall not realise the full bearing & rationale of this great Vedic
conception unless we first impress on our minds the Vedic idea
of existence & creation, for Vak, the Word, is in that idea the
effective agent of creation. All created existence is in the Vedic
philosophy a formation by force of consciousness, Chit-shakti,
not, as modern thought supposes it to be, a formation by Force
of unconscious inanimate Being. Creation itself is only a manifestation, phenomenon or appearing in form, vayas, vayunam,
vti, [of] that which is already existent as consciousness, but
latent as form in universal Being. It is srishti, a loosing forth,
vachas, vyachas or shasti, an expressing or bringing out, not a
creation in the modern sense, not a new manufacture of that
which never before had any sort of existence. Sat or Being in
the universe contains all forms as things in themselves in its
Chit or self-consciousness, but for all cosmic purposes avyakta,
unexpressed, undefined. To define it is first necessary that the
general undifferentiated self-consciousness should dwell by particular concentration of consciousness, by Tapas or Force of
self-knowledge, on the thing in itself latent in undifferentiated
Cosmic Being. This self-dwelling of Tapas is, first, an act of
seeing, kshanam, drishti. "The Being saw, Let me bring forth
worlds", as the Aitareya Upanishad expresses the original Will
to create. But a second agent is also needed, Ananda or delight of
creation & in the thing created, for without this creative Delight
in conscious things nothing could come into existence or once
being created remain in existence. "Who could exist or live" asks
the Taittiriya Upanishad "if there were not this all-pervading &
all-supporting ethereal atmosphere of the divine Bliss around
it?" - yad esha akasha anando na syat. Therefore as Tapas or
Will is the working principle of cosmic Consciousness, (therefore
the divine world in which infinite Consciousness is the basic
factor is called by the Puranic writers, Tapoloka), so Jana, Birth
or Joy of Procreation is the working principle of cosmic Bliss,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

(therefore the divine world in which infinite Bliss is the basic
factor is called by the Puranic writers, Janaloka). But even so
the agents are not sufficient; for Being, Consciousness, Bliss are
universal & infinite in nature, indivisible & undividing realities.
[There] is a particular faculty of Consciousness, Vijnana, which
brings in the element of differentiation. Vijnana, pure Idea, is
that which perceives the thing itself as thing in itself, as a whole
& in its parts. It introduces the element of Nama, name. The
Vedic word Nama connotes definition, distribution & law, (cf
from nam, Greek nomos, law, nemo, to distribute, Latin numerus, number) & is, in its nature, defining idea. The Nama,
the name of a thing, the defining idea about it, is both its nomen
& numen, & carries in itself the swabhava of the thing, its nature
or self-being and prakriti or natural working; as soon as thing
in itself gets its nama, it gets also its swaha & swadha - swaha,
self-luminous self-existence manifested in self-force & swadha,
self-fixity in that self-being; & these two, the self-force & the
self-fixity, produce naturally & inevitably all the workings of the
thing-in-itself, its vratani, by the guna or gana, quality or number
(ratio) of the nature, the swadha. The Nature works out by three
processes, Manas, the measuring or limiting of thing in itself in
consciousness by the number or ratio, the gana, Prana (Ashwa,
the Horse) the energy of the swaha, movement of consciousness
accommodating itself to the limitations of the Idea & confining
itself to an action appropriate to the single form of the Idea
which has been separated by distributing Manas & numbering
Ratio, and Annam, existence in form of substance created by
the limiting Mind & the self-confining energy of the Prana. This
form of substance presents itself to the human mind as Matter;
cosmic energy of being working in form of substance presents
itself to us most strikingly in the phenomenon of animate Life
but is also present in what we see as inanimate forms; Manas
working through the nervous Life-energies & their organs, the
senses, presents itself to us as human & animal Mind, but is a
constant force by other workings & other instruments even in
lifeless forms which have not organised nervous energies. These
seven principles constitute the world, & are known in Veda as

Mandala Five


the apas or sapta sindhavah, the waters of creative being, the
seven elements of one ocean, the sapta dhenavah or sapta gavah,
the seven fostering forms of divine consciousness and each of
them forms for itself a separate world in which it predominates
& is the governing principle of consciousness & existence but to
which it necessarily admits its six sisters. These seven worlds are
the sapta dhamani or padani, seven established places or seats of
being, the seven footholds or goals of existence, with the sapta
ratnani, the seven forms of [delight]; five of them give entrance
to the human soul in its present workings and are the pancha
janah or pancha kshitayah, five births or five inhabitable worlds
& their peoples.
Consciousness is the base of all world existence, but
consciousness develops itself in two forms, manifestion &
non-manifestation, Dawn & Night, or from our point of view,
Knowledge & Ignorance, Chittam & Achittam, Vidya & Avidya,
consciousness illumined in the form it has taken as in the seer,
consciousness dark & involved in the form it has taken as in the
clod & less rigidly in the tree. For it is evident that in the highest
principles of Sat, Chit, Ananda, there is universal knowledge,
unlimited, inherent in the self-luminous unity of the Cosmic
Being; even in Vijnana the element of limitation or bheda has
not really entered, for differentiation by Vijnana exists in the
cosmic sense of oneness as a play of oneness & is not a real
difference; the knowledge of the many is illumined always by
the knowledge of the one. The Gods of Sat, Tapas & Jana know
themselves as one, Agni there is Varuna & Varuna is Agni; even
in Mahas or Brihat, the uru loka, the wide & vast world, the
world of Vijnana, the devas know themselves as one even in
their multitude. There, however, the first possibility of limitation
in consciousness is adumbrated. But it is not till Manas gets full
play that limitation sets in, but so long as Manas is pure
rishimedha, not separated from Vijnana, [the] movement from
[.................................................................] Therefore in Swar,
the world of pure Mind [...........................................................]
the stress is not yet a bondage. There is a limited working of
being, knowledge & power, which may ignore for the time being


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

the wider being, knowledge & action & thus generate ignorance,
but is not fatally ignorant of it & is not therefore bound by its
self-chosen ignorance. The gods know themselves as one, as
Purushas of the universal Deva even when they act as if they
were entirely different personalities. In this world, therefore,
there is no real birth & death, no real day & night, but only
the taking & putting off [of] forms, the bringing forward & the
putting back of Light from the frontal outward action of the
consciousness. In Bhuvar, the worlds of Prana, the conscious
energy put out seems to be really absorbed in her outward
workings only, in the energy itself, in the form of her own works
& to forget her own more universal reality; a veil falls between
manas & vijnana, the veil of Achitti or ignorance. In Bhu, the
world of Matter, this movement is complete. Consciousness is
involved in its forms & has to be rescued out of it by beings
who bring conscious life & mind into the mechanism of its
formal energies & the inertia of its substantial forms. Man
is the nodus, the agent & instrument of the gods for the full
recovery of Consciousness in material Energy, universal being in
particular Form. Man, the mental being in Bhu, shares with the
Gods the appellation, Nri, the Purusha; he too is a guiding Soul
of consciousness & not the mere gana, formal executive energy
& mechanical ratio of things which is the outward aspect of
Man is able to bring out, to express the divine consciousness
& nature in the prison of matter or, as the Vedic hymns express it,
to manifest the gods - he is devavyachah, effects by the yajna
the devavti, god-manifestation, in himself, because he is able
to use fully the principle of Mind with its powers of mental
realisation and verbal expression, manma & vachas, mati &
gh. In the lower forms of life this is not possible. Mind there is
dumb or only partly vocal; it is therefore unable to bring into
expression, into shansa, the secret name of things, their guhyam
nama; he first is able to define them in mind by speech & to
arrive from this mental definition to the divine idea in them
and from the divine idea to the one truth of which all ideas are
expressions. By vachas in mati one arrives at Nama in vijnanam.

Mandala Five


For all sound has a creative & expressive power; each activity of
sound in existence creates its corresponding physical & mental
forms; all activity of forms in their turn creates a corresponding
vibration of sound. But human speech informed with mind is the
highest creative & expressive power of sound. It tends to bring
about in life & being that which it expresses in thought. We can
see this easily enough in psychological phenomena. By dwelling
on an idea, by tapas on it, we can create not only the image
of that idea in our minds, but its form in emotion, its truth in
quality of character, its experience in terms of inner being. By
dwelling with the will on the idea of courage or virtue it has
been found that we can create courage or virtue in ourselves
where they were formerly wanting. By brooding on an object
with the will in mind in a state of masterful concentration it has
been found that we can command the knowledge we need about
the object. But the Indian theory of concentration goes farther
& asserts that even events, things, objects can be controlled
by this inner Tapas & brought about or reduced to subjection
without any ostensible material means. This concentration in
mind is the manma of the Vedic rishis. The concentration may
be on the object or idea itself or on the name of the object
or on some form of words which expresses the idea. But even
when the concentration is on idea or object & not on name or
word, there is still, in all mental concentration, a silent or halfexpressed word or vak by which the idea or object is brought
before mind. The vak may be repeated aloud and then it becomes
the hymn, sukta or rik of the Vedic Rishi, or the namakrtana
of the modern devotee; or it may be repeated only by subtle
sound in the subtle matter of mind, then it is the mantra of the
silent Yogin; or it may be involved and silent at the back of
the image, object or unexpressed idea in the mind. The Vedic
manma or mantra is of the first variety, - although we need
not assume that the Rishis were ignorant of the more silent
forms of meditation. Nevertheless, they attached a preeminent
importance to the vak, the expressed mental realisation.
The process of the Vedic mantra involves three movements,
corresponding to three psychological activities necessary to the


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

act of meditation or realisation, a movement from soul into
mind, a movement from mind into speech, & the movement
of speech itself reacting on mind and soul. In all forms there
is the soul or [....................................] partially expressed in
the two primary constituents [................................................]
& temperament sometimes called manyu or more widely mati,
and [an] intellectual part, usually termed dh or mansha. The
mansha first brought out the Nama out of the soul in which all
things are latent into the heart where the general bhava (character, temperament, sense & feeling) of the Nama manifested
itself to the sensationally perceiving mind & then raised it by
distinct concept into the thinking mind. The mind by dwelling
on the vak brings out the thing defined by Nama into being in
the experience of the thinker & there establishes it as a living
& acting presence. The mantra then, when it is thought of as
operating to bring out the ukthyam, the thing desired & to be
expressed, out of the soul into the mind state, mati, is called
brahma or angusham brahma or, briefly, angusham; when it is
thought of as mentalising the ukthyam, it is called manma or
mantra, when it is thought of as expressing by speech the ukthyam in the thinker's practical experience it is called vachas or
gir. Moreover, the vachas may be either of the nature of prayer or
praise; as prayer, it is called uktha; as praise it has two functions,
the expression in the sadhaka of the divine activity, when it is
termed shansa, and the confirmation or firm establishment of
the activity once expressed, when it is termed stoma. All these
expressions, brahma, manma, vachas, shansa, stoma, stava or
stavas, can be and are often used to express the effect of the
mantra no less than the mantra itself, - brahma then means the
soul-movement or soul-state expressed in the heart or temperament, manma the mental realisation, vachas the expression of
the god or his divine activities in the mortal nature, shansa the
expression of the man's higher being which is brought about by
the mantra, stoma the firm established condition of the manifest
god in the man. Nor are these the only terms which are applied
to the mantra in the Vedic suktas. It is also called rik, gayatram,
gatha or sama. It is the rik when it is considered as the mantra

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of realisation & the word arka is used to express the act of
divine realisation by the mantra; gayatram when it is considered
as the means of attainment to the power, felicity or wideness
of the divine being or nature through the path of the Truth or
Ritam manifested by the mantra; sama when it brings about the
harmony or equality of the different constituents of our nature,
body, life-energy, mind, pure ideation in one divine anandamaya
consciousness. By the mantra the god, entering into the speech
and the thought, the soul-state, takes possession of his seat in
man & makes manifest there his activities.
The Lords of Light, the Solar Purushas, are already active
in the mind purified by the activities of Agni. They have there
already not only their rare illuminations, but their established
working and their increasing strength, gayam pushtim cha. The
expression by vachas, by the girah has been attained. It is their
fullnesses, maghani that the Rishi now covets, for the word
magha in Veda means a full & copious state or satisfying and
abundant possession as opposed to rare & exceptional visitations or enjoyments and to small & limited seeings. These
fullnesses the Solar Purushas enjoy by means of the stomas, the
mantras of praise which help to confirm the gods in possession of
their manifested activities. The wide illuminations of the Ritam,
the supra-intellectual revelatory, inspirational, intuitional truth
come to man first by rare visitations as the purified mind meditates on the godhead above our mortal minds, above even the
pure levels of Swar. These visitations increase in frequency and
intensity and leave behind a store of ideal knowledge, of vision
& inspiration, & an increasing power of the ideal faculties.
By these increasing & repeated confirmations they arrive at an
assured and abundant fullness of the divine faculty & its results
in the human mind. Ye stomebhih pra surayo naro maghani
The Rishi proceeds to dwell more fully on the whole process
by which the knowledge in man is changed & elevated from the
mental or sensational to the ideal type. It is done by a process
of natural awakening out of the joy & strength of the divine
Tapas generated by the inner sacrifice. The joy of Agni by his


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self-expression in thought & verbal form of thought is the first
necessary condition. Agne chandra te girah. When we feel the
divine, the immortal force working in us & lifting us beyond
mortality, the divine joy comes with it, - the joy that wakes in
the poet, the artist, the saint, the seer, the hero, in all who have
any sort of communion with the divine Nature & draw from
it their force of vision or their force of being or their force of
action. They are the girah of Agni, his self-expressions through
the word into which human [.................] form themselves or
from which our actions draw their force and inspiration. The
second requisite is the joy of our nervous & vital parts in this
divine activity. The Narah, the Purushas, must be aswaradhasah.
Aswa, the Horse, the Steed, is the Vedic figure for the Prana, for
the Life-Energy pouring itself through nature & through man's
nervous activities, the strong impetuous swift galloper of the
worlds that bears gods & men on the journey of life, up the
ascent of spiritual evolution, through the battles of the great war
which is the Cosmos. Without a strong & joyous vital energy
to support it, human mind cannot bear the tremendous shocks
of the divine activity, the divine knowledge, the divine [?vision].
The mortal system would break down under the intense touch
of the immortal powers, [?sink] back into disintegration, darkness & suffering more intense than the ordinary [?conditions] of
mortality. But with a strong & rapturous vital energy & activity
supporting the play of a joyous divine energy in the mind, the
Solar Purushas become strong with the strengths, mental & vital,
which the expressions of Agni Chandra generate and are able to
feel an unmixed sense of pleasure & well-being in all Agni's selfexpressions in man, - this, I think, is the meaning of sumbhanti
in this passage. Or, if it has an active sense, it must mean, as
Sayana suggests, that they make those expressions entirely auspicious & pleasurable, sobhanah kurvanti; free from the touch
of pain & suffering or the ill-results which may come from a premature activity of the higher elements in an ill-prepared & unfit
receptacle. Ye Agne chandra te girah sumbhanti aswaradhasah.
Sushmebhih sushmin.o naro.
When there is this strong & blissful action, blissful in the

Mandala Five


vital energy supporting it, blissful in the divine force working in
the mind, blissful in the easy & auspicious self-expressions of
that force, then the perfection of the illuminative Powers awakes
of itself or by the force of the Self in the pure mentality. This
spontaneous self-action of the power, the knowledge, the being,
the bliss of the Godhead in man, no longer secured or assured
by struggle, no longer needing to be protected against legions of
spiritual enemies who seek to perpetuate the reign of darkness,
suffering, limitation & mortality, but assured & established, but
easily, swiftly & mightily developing & reaching its glorious selfperfection, sukrtih, is the last stage of the Vedic Yoga and the
desired state of the Vedic sadhaka. This natural awakening in
the human consciousness of the perfected divine knowledge in
the comprehensive wideness, brihat, natural to the Mahas, the
vijnana, takes place divas chid, even in the heaven of pure mind,
even without man rising in himself to the plane of consciousness
above pure mind, brihad div, mahas, vijnana. For if man were
once on that plane, then there could be no question of struggle.
There intellect & its hosts are quiescent, or have left their mortal
parts and been transfigured back into the divine elements from
which they came. Imagination is at rest or has been transfigured
into inspiration, sense observation or insight of intelligence at
rest or transfigured into revelation & luminous vision, judgment,
reasoning & intelligent divination at rest or transfigured into
sure intuition & illuminated discrimination. The Solar Purushas
are there swe dame in their own home; the self-awakening of
their perfect activity, sukrti, is there natural & inevitable. The
necessity of struggle for man comes from this that he lives on
the lower plane of mind and has to idealise & illumine his mental activities. The Purushas have to enter a foreign territory &
conquer & hold it against its established inhabitants & natural
possessors. But even in mind, not the sense mind, not Bhuvar in
man, but in the purified mind, the pure self-intelligence this easy,
natural & victorious awakening is possible under the conditions
of a joyous & illuminated vitality, a joyous & illuminated action
of Agni in the mind & the assured sense of ease & well-being
brought into his activities in us by the delightful consciousness


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

of a higher knowledge & illumination. Divas chid yesham brihat
sukrtir bodhati tmana.
The final movement of the Solar Purushas is then described
by the Rishi, the movement which takes place when there is the
awakening by self-action of its vast vijnanamaya perfection in
the pure intelligence. These Solar Purushas, these bright illuminations of Vijnana, are the bright-burning flames of the divine
Tapas. Agni, the Divine Being in His aspect of Force, is masked in
our nervous energies as the Aswa, in the mind takes the forms of
the mental gods, in the activities of Surya, he is the divine Power
expressed in Surya himself and these luminous hosts of the Sungod are his own brilliant liberated energies. Free from the smoke
of the lower regions, free from the excitement and distress of his
lower emotional & sensational movements, the thoughts of the
Rishi, joyous & liberated, move freely in [the] whole heaven of
mind boldly [...........................................................................]

Mandala Six
[RV VI.1.1 - 4]
Rigveda Book VI. Annotations
First Draft.
I. Hymn to Agni
1. Thou, O Agni, art the supreme (or first) thinker (or giver of
thought); and art the priest of invocation of this thinking, O doer
of works (or, O Puissant); thou hast made an impassable strength
for thyself to every side, O bull, that thou mayst overpower every
(v\ Eh Tmo (m;Hy, prm, p$vtmo vA) mnotA (m\tA mns,
codEytA vA) (
h) d-m (kt, kmf?t vA) ((v\) a-yA EDy, (2;Et!p-y
mnn-y m\/-y vA) hotA4AtABv,. (
h) vqn^ (vEqS blvn^
dv). (v\ sF\
(svto) d;rFt; (d;B
\ d;l]y\) sho (bl\) akZo, (ckTA,) Ev
{ shs

(sv bl\) sh@y
{ (aEBBEvt;\ y
n bl
n svmy'lmEBBv
,) |
2. Then didst thou take up thy seat in the place of revelation
as the priest of invocation mighty for the sacrifice, adorable of
men, thence impelling them to their journey (or to the work).
aDA (aT) IX^y, sn^ (IX^y, p$jnFyo vA) yjFyAn^ (y;\ smTtro)
hotA sE30, (.An-y) pd
iqyn^ (codyn^) ysFd, (c
tso\_tEnq@ZvA nEs) |
The Strong Ones (of old) seeking the godhead, turning to
knowledge, followed after thee, the first and supreme, to the
great felicity.
t\ (vA that thee (tAdf\ (vA\) Tm\ the first or supreme nr,
men or the Strong Ones
dvy\t, seeking the godhead (
for the great felicity (mht

dv(vkAmA vA) mho rAy
BdAy) Ecty\to waking to or in knowledge (EcE1\ .An\ vty\to)


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

an;`mn^ (avgQCn^) followed.
3. They with wakeful hearts followed thee, and thou travelledst
as on a path with thy many colonists, and they attained to felicity
in thee; yea they followed the blazing Flame which is visioned
and vast and full of substance, and shines with all manner of
an; after thee, in thy wake ((vA\ understood) bh;EBvs&y
with many who were to be lodged (in the divine seats bh;EBd
v EnvAsyo`y
{, sh) vt
v y\t\ going as by a road (mAg
Z iv gQC\t\)
is understood) jAgvA\s, wakeful (.An
jAg}t,) (v
rEy\ `mn^
they (t
attained to felicity in thee ((vEy Bd\ A=n;vn^) - aE`n\ after Agni
zf\t\ blazing (svZ otmAn\ sr?tvZ vA) dft\ visioned (dEy;?t\
y\t\ dfnFy\ vA) bh\t\ vast vpAv\t\ substantial (vpA [
vhA dFEdvA\s\ every way shining (svTA svkAl\ vA
4. They came by adoration to the seat of the godhead; they
desired inspired knowledge and they attained to an inviolate
knowledge; yea, even, they held in them the sacrificial Names;
they took delight in thy blissful power of vision.
dv-y To the place of the god nmsA by obeisance
&y\t, arriving (gQC\t,) 2v-yv, desiring inspired knowledge
(s(y2;EtEmQC\t,) am?t\ 2v aApn^ they got an untouched inspi{r-pAmbAEDtA\ s(y2;Et\ A=n;vn^) Ecd^ even yE.yAEn
ration (v/
nAmAEn the sacrificial names (y.PldAnsmTAEn y.yo`yAEn
dv nAmAEn) dEDr
they held in themselves (aA(mn, k(vA DAryAmAs;,);
BdAyA\ s\dO t
in thy happy vision ((vdFyAyA\ aAn\dtvs\y;?tAyA\
vA) rZy\t they took delight (armyn^ aAn\d\
1. (v\ V`n
Tmo mnotA. a`n
(O Agni) (v\ Eh ((v\ Kl; thou
verily) Tm, mnotA (art the first or supreme thinker).
Sayana here differs only in the sense of mnotA which means
in his view
dvAnA\ mno y/ot\ BvEt tAdf, he on whom the mind
) or else mn^ +
of the gods is sewn. mnotA is therefore mn + Ut (v
aot (aAv
), a very hazardous and forced etymology; besides the
termination is not t but t. I take it as a verbal agent, an archaic
derivative from mn^ with an archaic connecting gunated u as in

Mandala Six


tnoEt. We find this form surviving from O.A. in Greek forms in
wthc. It will mean the thinker or else the giver of thought, the

S. quotes Ai. Br. 2.10 aE`n, svA mnotA a`nO mnotA, s\gQC\t
and says Eh shows that the verse is a reference to the Brahmana.
This is chronologically impossible.
a-yA EDyo aBvo d-m hotA. d-m (O active, or, O powerful)
a-yA, EDy, (of this thought) hotA aBv, (thou hast become the
priest of invocation).
d-m Sayana takes as dfnFy beautiful. ds^ means to cut,
divide, bite (like d\f^), injure, rob, destroy; give, (like dA, dAf^,
dt^); to see (like df^); to shine. It may therefore mean (1) robber, destroyer, destructive, cf d-y;,, dAs,, (2) giver, bountiful, (3)
seeing, visible, beautiful, (4) shining. None of these senses is
suitable in the context; the epithet is otiose therefore in Veda.
But also ds^ or d\s^ must have meant to do, work, toil, cf d\snA,
d\Es, p;zd\sA, dAs, a servant, slave; or, like other words having the
sense of cutting, striking etc it may develop the sense of strength,
force, power. We have then two other possible senses, active, and
powerful or forceful, both of which come in perfectly wherever
d-m or d* occurs in the Veda.
EDy, Sayana takes = kmZ,. I see no reason for attaching
this sense to the word in the Rig Veda. S. himself frequently
admits for DF the sense thought or understanding. At most times
he renders it -t;Et prayer. DF means thought, and may mean
especially the thought expressed in the mantra, therefore the
mantra or hymn itself; and in that sense we may justify this
interpretation. But I take it always as thought in a particular or
a general sense. See Appendix. Agni is the supreme thinker; in
that capacity he has become the priest of the present (godward)
thought in the mind of the Rishi. S's sense is "Thou art the
summoning priest of this rite", mine, "Thou hast become the
priest of invocation of this thinking."
(v\ sF\ vq3kZod;rFt; sho Ev
{ shs
{. vqn^ (O
bull), (v\ (thou) d;rFt; sh, (a hard-to-pierce or hard-to-cross
{ shs

force), sF\ (on every side) akZo, (akro, hast made) Ev
{ (Ev
v\ sh, sVAEBBEvt;\ to force every force). d;rFt; -


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

d;s^ + trFt; (t gunated + t; with connecting I), t to pierce,
{, an old Vedic infinitive form,
wound, cross, pass beyond. sh@y
expressing the infinitive of purpose; modified into thai (sthai) it
remained the ordinary middle and passive infinitive termination
{ shs
{ not Ev
vAy because Ev
v like sv
in Greek. Ev
is a pronominal word in V.S.); the dative of the object instead of
the accusative is a common Vedic idiom.
vqn^ Sayana here as ordinarily, kAmAnA\ vEqt,. The word
means Bull or Male; it is used of horses. It is the strength of
Agni that is in immediate question, not his bounty. vqA bull,
male is constantly applied to Indra and Agni, as to other gods,
often with a direct reference to the rays or energies or human
beings as the herd they lead. Ev shs
sh. S. to overpower every
strong enemy. shs^ may be used as an adjective as well as a noun
like yfs^ = strength or strong, but there is no clear instance in
the R.V. and no need here for the adjectival sense. Agni's is the
supreme strength or force, which overpowers and dominates all
forces in the world.
S's sense, "O rainer (of desires), thou hast made on all
sides an invulnerable strength to overcome every strong one
(ie enemy)", mine, "Thou hast made an impassable strength for
thyself on every side, O Bull, that thou mayst overpower every
Translation. S. Thou art the supreme (or ancient) mind-sewn
(on whom is sewn the mind of the gods); thou art the summoning
priest of this (ritual) work; O rainer (of desires), thou hast made
on all sides an invulnerable strength to overcome every strong
Thou art the supreme thinker, and thou hast become the
priest of invocation of this thinking. Thou hast made an impassable strength for thyself on every side, O Bull, that thou mayst
overpower every force.
Explanation. For the esoteric sense of the Veda, we start
with the premiss that Agni is the Flame or Force, base of all
action, formation, creation, not only, as he very evidently is
in the surface exoteric sense, in the material universe, but in all
being, in spirit and mind and life as well as in matter. But how do

Mandala Six


we arrive at or justify this premiss? At first sight it seems not at all
obvious, but rather a very considerable assumption. It appears
from the very first expression in this first hymn of Bharadwaja.
"O Flame (Agni), thou art the supreme or first thinker." Material
fire or its god cannot be so described; the phrase at once gives
Agni a psychological function - a flame or fire-god cannot be
called thus significantly the supreme or first thinker unless we
suppose that in the fiery principle which pervades the universe
there is a consciousness which thinks out all the works attributed
to it by the Vedic Rishis, such as the creation of the worlds, the
guardianship of Truth and Immortality. Sayana's interpretation,
"the first in whom the mind of the gods is inwoven", imposes
the same idea. We see too that Agni is everywhere designated
the Seer, kavi. Not only so, but for Vamadeva (IV.3.16) he is
the seer to whom the secret words of seer-wisdom (En@yA vcA\Es
kA&yAEn) are spoken and to whom their hidden sense expresses
its meaning, EnvcnA. This would have no sufficient sense, if it
were spoken only of a godhead of cosmic physical flame. It
is quite evident from the most literal sense of the Veda that
Agni is a godhead characterised by a supreme power of divine
knowledge. This can be nothing else than the conscious Force
of divine Knowledge which creates (Enmm
) the worlds. We shall
find from other passages that he is the divine Flame also in the
q;, the immortal in
thoughts and in the heart of man, amto mt
mortal beings.
This godhead of divine active Force is the supreme thinker
or the first mentaliser of things. He is then an immortal flame
of Power that makes for knowledge. As this thinker, this active
Puissance, d-m, he has become the Hotri of this thought, a-yA
EDyo hotA. The thought may be the thought expressed in the
hymn = a-y s$?t-y; even if we take EDy, = kmZ,, still it is as
the supreme thinker that he works in the sacrifice, and the sense
therefore is that it is by his power of thought that he conducts
the sacrifice, brings into it the other gods and gives its fruit,
- unless we take the two padas as unconnected in sense. The
Hotri is the priest of invocation and also the priest who gives
the offering. This divine Power of the sacrificial thought and


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

action brings in the powers of the other gods into the sacrifice
and conducts the sacrificial action. Is this spoken of the inner or
only of the outer ritual sacrifice?
And the Flame is a flame not of effective thought, but of
invincible and inviolable Power. It is the Vrishan, the Bull, the
Leader of the Herds, the Strong and Mighty One. In the abundance of its strength [it] makes all around it and us and the
sacrifice a force which is hard to pierce or whose defences none
can pass, and this invulnerable force is not only defensive but
aggressive; it overpowers every force. This may mean that the
force of this flame of the divine Will in the sacrificial thought
and action overcomes every other hostile force or, more simply
and generally, it dominates all surrounding powers and makes
the sacrifice master of a movement which nothing can resist,
degrade or violate.
2. aDA hotA ysFdo yjFyAn^. aDA (Then, or now) ysFdo (thou
tookest thy seat) yjFyAn^ hotA as the priest of invocation and
offering very capable for the sacrifice.
aDA. Sayana takes "now", aD;nA. But aDA may mean like
at,, then, next, after this; after making the invulnerable strength
all round. yjFyAn^, yEjS he takes sometimes in a passive sense,
yjnFy; but not here, and it would not be appropriate here,
for Agni is here the sacrificing priest, not the god to whom
sacrifice is given. I find no passage in which yjFyAn^ or yEjS
must mean yjnFy, - ytm makes always a good and often the
only possible sense. I take it for that reason always in this active
iqy3FX^y, sn^. i0-pd
(in the place of knowledge)
iqyn^ (impelling), IX^y, sn^ (being adorable or desirable).
. Sayana takes in the place of earth, that is in the
place of the altar-earth, meaning simply, on the altar. This is a
very forced and artificial rendering. pd cannot be so neutral and
otiose a word. It means always the footprint or footstep, the
dv-y pd\ (below), or
place attained to or the proper seat, as in
EvZo, prm\ pd\. iX^ or i0^ means originally to go to, approach,
may mean exoterically,
(i family), so to ask, pray, adore; i0-pd

Mandala Six


place of prayer or adoration. But also verbs with this sense give constantly the sense of knowing, eg -Eq etc. Ila is a goddess who teaches or gives knowledge, mn;q, fAsnF. I suggest that i0^ means knowledge, especially, revelation, -k^, aEc,, the illumining knowledge imparted by i0A, who is the goddess or female must be a very archaic phrase. The wordenergy of i0^. i0-pd itself only occurs in this form i0,.
iqyn^. S. takes as if a nominal from iq^ food as if it were
dvy\t,; here in the sense, desiring
"fooding" or "foodifying" like
food, elsewhere, making food. I doubt whether iq^ in the Veda
really means food, and in any case there is no compelling reason
tyn^ etc,
for taking this verb as a nominal form. It is like c
from iq^ which means to throw, drive, impel, send. We shall see
immediately that the hymn speaks of the journey to Swar, to the

dv-y pd\. Agni thinker, priest, active power sitting as Hotri in
the seat of knowledge impels or sends the sacrifice and by its
v y\t\, by which as Envoy of
power the sacrificer on the way, vt
the Gods, mover between earth and heaven, he takes them to
dv-y pd\.
the home and seat of the Gods, his own home
t\ (vA nr, Tm\
dvy\to mho rAy
Ecty\to an; `mn^ t\ Tm\ (vA
v prm\ m\tAr\ (vA\) thee that supreme nr, men (of old) or, the
dvy\t, (
dvAn^ kAmy\to
dv(v\ vA) seeking the godheads
strong ones,
Ecty\t, seeking knowledge mho rAy
{ B$(y
{ aAndAy) to or for
great felicity an;`mn^ followed.
t\ (vA. t\ has the force of tAdf\ - thee who hast these qualities
and doest these actions, Tm\ recalling the Tmo mnotA of the
opening pada.
nr,. Sayana takes this word sometimes as simply meaning
"men" (mn;yA,), but here as most often he explains n
tAro mn;yA,,
men who lead, Ritwiks and Yajamanas, priests and sacrificers.

This is a sense which is quite inappropriate in many passages and n could not have come to mean men, if it had meant leaders. n meant originally to move (cf nt^ to dance, nAr water etc.), n must have meant mobile, active and so strong. This sense is proved by the word nMZ which is certainly used in the Veda in the sense of strength. n is a word applied to the gods, the Males, Strong Ones, Purushas as opposed to the `nA,, the females, goddesses (Gr. gune, woman); it is applied to the fathers, the Angirases or others; it is used as an equivalent to vFr, as in nvd^ vs; for vFrvd^ vs;. These are, it seems to me, conclusive indications of the Vedic sense of n. Here it is used for the Fathers or ancient Seers as can be seen from many parallel passages. Tm\. S. takes "before the other gods", but that has no force in this passage, - what would be the sense of desiring Agni and following him to Heaven first, the other gods afterwards, as if the journey had to be undertaken many times, - and it ignores the Tm of the first line of which this is an evident resumptive repetition.

dvy\t,. Nominal vb. from
dv a god. Sayana takes "desiring
thee the god", but I do not know where he gets his "thee" in the
word, and if he takes it from (vA, then there is no instance of an
dvyEt. The word is quite general;
accusative of this kind after
it must mean divinising, god-seeking or else making themselves
divine. Ecty\t,. S. knowing Agni or else making known by the
hymn of praise; a very feeble sense in itself and not warranted
by other passages. Ect^ is to become conscious of a thing, get
to know or know, Ecty\t, expresses either an awakening to
knowledge or a continuous activity of getting knowledge. The
Fathers or ancient Rishis desired godhead or immortality or
companionship with the gods, amt(v\, a growing in knowledge
was the means by which they pursued it, and Agni, the first
thinker, was the leader of the way to the home of immortaldv-y, where men too became
ity, the seat of the godhead, pd\
divine and immortal. Cf [
] This is the very obvious, the
straightforward, the most literal sense of the passage. mho rAy
Dative of purpose or objective. mh, (for mht^) is one of the few
curious indeclinable adjectives. rA, like rEy, is taken by Sayana
as meaning wealth; so taking it he misses the whole sense of
the passage and its connection with the two Riks that follow.
It means obviously a divine riches or spiritual felicity, as we see
in the next line, where the Rishis follow Agni as on a path to a
great riches rEy\ which they find in him, and again in 4, where
the thought is expanded and made quite clear, for there it is said
the Rishis travel to (&y\t,) the seat of the god and the wealth they
find is 2v, (2v aAp3m?t\), the fullness of the outflowing of the

Mandala Six


Truth which Agni leads us to and which is found in the very self
of Agni, (v
Translation. Then didst thou take thy seat, a priest of the
invocation very mighty for sacrifice, in the seat of knowledge
(or, of adoration), impelling, one desirable (or, adorable). The
strong ones (of old) seeking godhead, growing in knowledge,
followed after thee, even that supreme (thinker) to great riches.
S. Now thou hast taken thy seat, a priest of the offering and
great sacrificer, in the place of earth (ie on the altar), desiring
food, being worthy of praise. The leaders desiring thee, such a
godhead, for themselves, knowing thee (or making thee known),
followed thee first (of the gods) for a great wealth.
The Rishi then takes up again and expands the expression of
the second pada of the first verse in order to restore the sequence
of the idea. It is when he has made around him an invulnerable force to secure the sacrifice and its progress that the divine
Flame takes up, as now, his seat as the priest of the invocation
and offering and in that fulfilled strength he is very mighty for
the works of sacrifice. He sits in the seat of knowledge as the
supreme thinker - the Seer Will, may we not say, in the plane
, from there he gives the
of revelatory thought and seeing, i0-pd
impulsion to the works and the journey of the sacrifice. This
is the desirable Godhead, the Flame that men pray for which
by its power of knowledge lifts them to immortality. And the
Rishi takes up the suggestion of the word "impelling", iqyn^,
and indicates the nature of the great journey on whose paths
the Flame of the divine Force marches himself and impels the
human being. It is the great march which was undertaken by
the strong semi-divine men of old. They found this supreme
Thinker within, awakened by him to knowledge and growing
constantly in knowledge they followed after him to divinise
themselves in the planes of immortal being, their objective a
felicity of vast riches, an immense wealth of spiritual being. This
sense is inevitable, if we accept the psychological indications
dvy\t,, Ecty\t, and all that immediately follows this
in mnotA,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

verse. How, in any case, can this insistence on the god-seeking,
on knowledge, [on the] thought-aspect of the Flame God, on
the wakeful following of the seer Agni on his march and on the
reaching of the
dv-y pd\ mean only a following after Agni for
food and material wealth? This is not only wilfully to degrade
and materialize the lofty language of the poetry, but to make the
whole sense and expression clumsy, blundering and incoherent,
where in the original it is admirably developed, straightforward
and as natural and flowing as a limpid stream.

v y\t\ bh;EBvs&y
3. vt
zf\tmE`n\ dft\ bh\t\

rEy\ jAgvA\so an; `mn^.
vpAv\t\ Ev
vhA dFEdvA\s\

zf\t\ (BA-v\t\) dft\ bh\t\ vpAv\t\ Ev
vhA dFEdvA\s\ (En(y\ svTA vA

ddF=ymAn\) an; Agni blazing with light, visible (or visioned), vast,
having substance, always (or altogether, in all ways) shining,
bh;EB, vs&y
{, vtA iv (mAg
v) y\t\ in the wake of (thee) going as
on a path with many colonists or accompanied by many wealthy
jAg}t, s\t,) (v
rEy\ `mn^ ((vEy B$Etm@ygQCn^)
Powers, jAgvA\s, (t
in thee they went to (attained) the wealth.
iv. Sayana takes iv = now, s\Et. He interprets it thus, that
the last verse referred to former priests and sacrificers, an; `mn^
having there a past sense p$v, but this verse to present priests
and sacrificers, an; `mn^ having here a present sense. This is
an unusual and here quite unwarranted sense of iv. There is
nothing to indicate a new subject for the verb or a change in its
tense significance. The repetition of the verb is a quite common
feature of the Vedic style and it sustains a continuity in the sense
and subject; it does not indicate a break in it or turning to a
new subject. iv simply indicates that the path, vt^, p\TA so often
referred to in the Veda, is a symbol; this use of iv is common
enough in the hymns. vtA. S, the path between earth and
heaven: no doubt, but it is not a physical path, but the path of
]). vs&y
Truth by which Agni goes, -t-y p\TA, (cf [
S. says this may mean the Vasus, or "those who are fit to dwell
among the Yajamanas"! He takes an; `mn^ here, as following
. But vtA
after in the sense of being devoted to or serving, s\Bj\t
y\t\ surely demands the plain natural sense for the verb. vs&y

Mandala Six


may mean "wealthy" from vs; or "those who are for the vAs,"
cf v-y\. Agni is accompanied by many powers that hold or amass
dv-y pd\ with many
the wealth, rEy, vs; or he marches to the
who, like the Rishis following him, have to be lodged there.
rEy\ jAgvA\s,. S. interprets, giving wealth to Agni! This is
a portentous feat of learning! I fail to understand how "being
wakeful" can mean giving, or how it can govern the accusative
rEy\. Evidently rEy\ is governed by the sense of "going to" in
an; `mn^, an accusative of the destination reached, - in literal
English, they followed Agni to the wealth, or in the wake of
Agni reached the wealth.
zf\t\. S. "of a shining colour". zft^ is opposed to kZ in
IV.3.9 and means bright of hue as opposed to black or simply
bright as opposed to dark. dft. S. says "beautiful", his usual
interpretation. dft from df^ to see may be passive, visible, or fit
to be seen, beautiful (but this second sense has here no force or
bearing on the context), or, active = seeing. See App. vpAv\t\. S.
does not here explain the word, but elsewhere he says v=\. See
Appendix. Ev
vhA. S. "always". It may however mean "in all
ways of light", hA = dA or hA = DA or TA.
Translation. In thy wake as thou travelledst as on a path with
thy many colonists (or lords of riches) they followed wakeful
after thee and came in thee to (those) riches, - (in the wake of)
Agni blazing, visible (or, full of sight), vast, full of substance,
ever luminous (or, shining in all ways of light).
Explanation. The ancient Rishis pursued the leading divine
Power on its ways, with a full wakefulness of the mind of
knowledge, Ecty\t,, not falling into error or deviating from the
path (this psychological sense is extremely frequent in all Vedic
literature, it does not mean keeping lively and awake during the
sacrifice) and attained in that Power those great riches, - that is
to say, in the full flame of the divine Force and Knowledge on its
own divine plane,
dv-y pd\. This plane, we find elsewhere, is the
home of the Truth, s(y\ -t\ bht^. I take it to be a symbol of the
supramental plane of existence, bhd^ O, which is beyond the two
firmaments of heaven and earth. The divine Flame marches as if
on a path; the oft-mentioned path of Truth by which the Rishis,


Commentaries and Annotated Translations

we are told, attained to immortality. He goes surrounded by the
souls that aspire to transcend the two firmaments and have to
be lodged in that supreme dwelling place, "y,, "
/\ etc. He is
bright and vast, a visible or a seeing might of the divine force
and consciousness, full of the body and substance (vpAv\t\, vp;q\,
vp;y\) of its light and flame, always lifting up its lustres or else
shining with a manifold and universal light of knowledge. The
epithets in the second line are all applicable to the physical Fire
and but for the context they might be taken of the flame on the
physical altar; but how does the physical Fire march as if on a
path, - for it is not a forest fire that is being here described, or,
if it is, how do the sacrificers or the priests follow wakefully the
forest fire and get in it a great riches? If it be said that all this
is a figure for getting wealth by constant sacrifice, I can only
say that it is a most amazing figure and a most excited, violent,
tortured, indirect and unprimitive style of writing. Certainly the
epic exaltation of the style would lead us to think that it meant
something much more exalted and inspiring. Pass, but what of
dv-y &y\t, in the next verse? And if that means the altar,
the pd\
what are we to make of the 7th rik, (v\ Evfo anyo dFAno Edvo
bhtA rocn
n, where Sayana himself is obliged to translate,
thou shining leadst men to heaven? Is not this exactly the same
idea and an echo of the same language as in this verse, "men
followed thee shining as on a path, and came to the seat of the
godhead"? How can the idea of men following the shining god
dv-y pd\ and the idea of the shining god leading men to the
to the
heavens, mean two quite different things? Absolutely, the only

difficulty in the way of the plain sense is the refusal to take rAy
and rEy\ in a figurative significance. This plain and natural figure
is denied to the Rishis, but a much more violent figure forced on
them in order to arrive at a materialistic meaning.
4. pd\
dv-y nmsA &y\t,

2v-yv, 2v aAp3m?t\.

dv-y the seat (world) of the god nmsA &y\t, going to
by adoration, 2v-yv, (s(y2;EtkAmA,) (they) desiring inspired
knowledge 2v, am?t\ aApn^ (aDEqtA\ s(y2;Et\ A=n;vn^) attained
an inviolate knowledge.

Mandala Seven
[RV VII.1.1]
Hymns of Vasishtha
1. Men have brought the Flame to birth by their thinkings from
the tinders by the movement of the two hands, expressed by the
word, the far-seer, the master of the house, the traveller.

aE`n\ nro dFEDEtEBrr@yoh-tQy;tF jny\t f-t\.
d$rdf\ ghpEtmTy;
Heaven and Earth = mind and physical being, are the two
The two hands are the two hands of the Sun, sEvt
v bAh$
dFEDEt = thought, light, finger. All mean the same thing, for
the fingers are those of the two hands of the Sun, df EDy,
Well-expressed (fs^) by the word: external sense = praised.
aT^ to move, cf at^ or aTr^ - Greek a jr - the plane of
flaming light

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