Hymns of the Atharvaveda - Book 10

Atharva Veda

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

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HYMN I Scroll Up

A charm against witchcraft

1Afar let her depart: away we drive her whom, made with hands,
Skilled men prepare and fashion like a bride amid her nuptial
2Complete, with head and nose and ears, all-beauteous, wrought
with magic skill
Afar let her depart: away we drive her.
3Made by a Sidra or a Prince, by priests or women let her go.
Back to her maker as her kin, like a dame banished by her lord.
4I with this salutary herb have ruined all their magic arts,
The spell which they have cast upon thy field, thy cattle, or thy
5Ill fall on him who doeth ill, on him who curseth fall the
We drive her back that she may slay the man who wrought the
6Against her comes the Angirasa, the Priest whose eye is over us.
Turn back all witcheries and slay those practisers of magic arts.
7Whoever said to thee, Go forth against the foeman up the
To him, O Krityā, go thou back. Pursue not us, the sinless
8He who composed thy limbs with thought as a deft joiner builds
a car,
Go to him: thither lies thy way. This man is all unknown to

9The cunning men, the sorcerers who fashioned thee and held thee
fast,— p. 2
This cures and mars their witchery, this, repellent, drives it back
the way it came. With this we make thee swim.
10When we have found her ducked and drenched, a hapless cow
whose calf hath died,
Let all my woe depart and let abundant riches come to me.
11If, as they gave thy parents aught, they named thee, or at sacri-
From all their purposed evil let these healing herbs deliver thee.
12From mention of thy name, from sin against the Fathers or the
These herbs of healing shall by prayer release thee, by power,
by holy texts, the milk of .Rishis.
13As the wind stirs the dust from earth and drives the rain cloud
from the sky,
So, chased and banished by the spell, all misery departs from
14Go with a resonant cry, depart, like a she-ass whose cords are
Go to thy makers: hence! away! Go driven by the potent
15This, Krityā, is thy path, we say, and guide thee. We drive thee
back who hast been sent against us.
Go by this pathway, breaking loose for onslaught even as a host
complete with cars and horses.
16No path leads hitherward for thee to travel. Turn thee from us:
far off, thy light is yonder.
Fly hence across the ninety floods, the rivers most hard to pass.
Begone, and be not wounded.
17As wind the trees, so smite and overthrow them: leave not cow,
horse, or man of them surviving
Return, O Krityā, unto those who made thee. Wake them from
sleep to find that they are childless.
18The charm or secret power which they have buried for thee in
sacred grass, field, cemetery,
Or spell in household fire which men more cunning have
wrought against thee innocent and simple,—
19That tool of hatred, understood, made ready, stealthy and buried
deep, have we discovered, p. 3
Let that go back to whence it came, turn thither like a horse
and kill the children of the sorcerer.
20Within our house are swords of goodly iron. Krityā, we know
thy joints and all their places.
Arise this instant and begone! What, stranger! art thou seek-
ing here?

21O Krityā, I will cut thy throat and hew thy feet off. Run, be-
Indra and Agni, Guardian Lords of living creatures, shield us
22May Soma, gracious friend, imperial Sovran, and the world's
Masters look on us with favour.
23Bhava and Sarva cast the flash of lightning, the weapon of the
Gods, against the sinner who made the evil thing, who deals
in witchcraft!
24If thou hast come two-footed or four-footed, made by the
sorcerer, wrought in perfect beauty,
Become eight-footed and go hence. Speed back again, thou evil
25Anointed, balmed, and well adorned, bearing all trouble with
thee, go.
Even as a daughter knows her sire, so know thy marker, Krityā,
26Krityā, begone, stay not. Pursue as 'twere the wounded crea-
ture's track.
He is the chase, the hunter thou he may not slight or humble thee.
27He waits, and aiming with his shaft smites him who first would
shoot at him,
And, when the foeman deals a blow before him, following strikes
him down.
28Hearken to this my word; then go thither away whence thou
hast come; to him who made thee go thou back.
29The slaughter of an innocent, O Krityā, is an awful deed. Slay
not cow, horse, or man of ours.
In whatsoever place thou art concealed we rouse thee up there-
from: become thou lighter than a leaf.
30If ye be girt about with clouds of darkness, bound as with a
We rend and tear all witcheries hence and to their maker send
them back. p. 4
31The brood of wizard, sorcerer, the purposer of evil deed.
Crush thou, O Krityā spare not, kill those practisers of magic
32As Sūrya frees himself from depth of darkness, and casts away
the night and rays of morning,
So I repel each baleful charm which an enchanter hath pre-
And, as an elephant shakes off the dust, I cast the plague aside.

HYMN II Scroll Up

Purusha, Primeval Man or humanity personified

1Who framed the heels of Pūrusha? Who fashioned the flesh of
him? Who formed and fixed his ankles?
Who made the openings and well-moulded fingers? Who gave
him foot-soles and a central station?
2Whence did they make the ankles that are under, and the knee-
bones of Pūrusha above them?
What led them onward to the legs' construction? Who planned
and formed the knees' articulations?
3A fourfold frame is fixt with ends connected, and up above the
knees a yielding belly.
The hips and thighs, who was their generator, those props where-
by the trunk grew firmly stablished?
43Who and how many were those Gods who fastened the chest of
Pūrusha and neck together?
How many fixed his breasts? Who formed his elbows? How
many joined together ribs and shoulders?
5Who put together both his arms and said, Let him show manly
Who and what God was he who set the shoulderblades upon
the trunk?
6Who pierced the seven openings in the head? Who made these
ears, these nostrils, eyes, and mouth,
Through whose surpassing might in all directions bipeds and
quadrupeds have power of motion?
7He set within the jaws the tongue that reaches far, and thereon
placed Speech the mighty Goddess.
He wanders to and fro mid living creatures, robed in the waters.
Who hath understood it?
8Who was he, first, of all the Gods who fashioned his skull and
brain and occiput and forehead,
The pile that Pūrusha's two jaws supported? Who was that
God who mounted up to heaven?
9Whence bringeth mighty Pūrusha both pleasant and unpleasant
Of varied sort, sleep, and alarm, fatigue, enjoyments and de-
10Whence is there found in Pūrusha want, evil, suffering, dis-
tress? p. 6
Whence come success, prosperity opulence, thought, and utte-
11Who stored in him floods turned in all directions, moving diverse
and formed to flow in rivers,
Hasty, red, copper-hued, and purple, running all ways in
Purusha, upward and downward?
12Who gave him visible form and shape? Who gave him magni-
tude and name?
Who gave him motion, consciousness? Who furnished Pūrusha
with feet?
13Who wove the vital air in him, who filled him with the down-
ward breath?
What God bestowed on Pūrusha the general pervading air?
14What God, what only Deity placed sacrifice in Pūrusha?
Who gave him truth and falsehood? Whence came Death and
15Who wrapped a garment round him? Who arranged the life he
hath to live?
Who granted him the boon of speech? Who gave this fleetness
to his feet?
16Through whom did he spread waters out, through whom did he
make Day to shine?
Through whom did he enkindle Dawn and give the gift of even-
17Who set the seed in him and said, Still be the thread of life spun
Who gave him intellect besides? Who gave him voice and
gestic power?
18Through whom did he bedeck the earth, through whom did he
encompass heaven?
Whose might made Pūrusha surpass the mountains and created
19Through whom seeks he Parjanya out, and Soma of the piercing
Through whom belief and sacrifice? Through whom was spirit
laid in him?
20What leads him to the learned priest? What leads him to this
Lord Supreme?
How doth he gain this Agni? By whom hath he measured out
the year? p. 7
21He, Brahma gains the learned priest, he Brahma, gains this Lord
As Brahma, Man wins Agni here Brahma hath measured out the
22Through whom doth he abide with Gods? Through whom with
the Celestial Tribes?
Why is this other called a star? Why is this called the Real
23Brahma inhabits with the Gods, Brahma among the Heavenly
Brahma this other star is called. Brahma is called the Real
24By whom was this our earth disposed? By whom was heaven
placed over it?
By whom was this expanse of air raised up on high and stre-
tched across?
25By Brahma was this earth disposed: Brahma is sky arranged
Brahma is this expanse of air lifted on high and stretched
26Together, with his needle hath Atharvan sewn his head and
And Pavamāna hovered from his head on high above his brain.
27That is indeed Atharvan's head, the well-closed casket of the
Spirit and Food and Vital Air protect that head from injury.
28Stationed on high, Purusha hath pervaded all regions spread
aloft and stretched transversely.
He who knows Brahma's cattle, yea, the fort whence Purusha is
29Yea, knows that fort of Brahma girt about with immortality,
Brahma and Brāhmas have bestowed sight, progeny, and life on
30Sight leaves him not, breath quits not him before life's natural
Who knows the fort of Brahma, yea, the fort whence Purusha
is named.
31The fort of Gods, impregnable, with circles eight and portals
nine, p. 8
Contains a golden treasure-chest, celestial, begirt with light.
32Men deep in lore of Brahma know that Animated Being which
Dwells in the golden treasure-chest that hath three spokes and
three supports.
33Brahma hath passed within the fort, the golden castle; ne'er
Bright with excessive brilliancy, compassed with glory round

HYMN III Scroll Up

Purusha, Primeval Man or humanity personified

1Here is my charm the Varana, slayer of rivals, strong in act.
With this grasp thou thine enemies, crush those who fain would
injure thee.
2Break them in pieces; grasp them and destroy them. This Amu-
let shall go before and lead thee.
With Varana the Gods, from morn to morning, have warded off
the Asuras' enchantment.
3This charm, this Varana healeth all diseases, bright with a thou-
sand eyes and golden glister.
This charm shall conquer and cast down thy foemen. Be thou
the first to slay the men who hate thee.
4This will stay witchcraft wrought for thee, will guard thee from
the fear of man:
From all distress and misery this Varana will shield thee well.
5Guard against ill of varied kind is Varana this heavenly Plant.
The Gods have stayed and driven off Consumption which had
seized this man.
6If in thy sleep thou see an evil vision, oft as the beast repeats his
loathed approaches,
This Amulet, this Varana will guard thee from sneeze, and from
the bird's ill-omened message.
7From Mischief, from Malignity, from incantation, from alarm,
From death, from stronger foeman's stroke the Varana will
guard thee well.
8Each sinful act that we have done,—my mother, father, and my
friends,— p. 10
From all the guilt this heavenly Plant will be our guard and
sure defence.
9Affrighted by the Varana let my rivals near akin to me
Pass to the region void of light: to deepest darkness let them
10Safe are my cattle, safe am I, long-lived with all my men
This Varana, mine Amulet, shall guard me well on every side.
11This Varana is on my breast, the sovran, the celestial Plant.
Let it afflict my foemen as Indra quelled fiends and Asuras.
12Through hundred autumn seasons, long to live, I wear this
May it bestow on me great strength, cattle, and royalty and
13As with its might the wind breaks down the trees, the sovrans
of the wood,
So break and rend my rivals, born before me and born after.
Let the Varana protect thee well.
14As Agni and the wind devour the trees, the sovrans of the wood,
Even so devour my rivals, born before me and born after. Let
the Varana protect thee well.
15As, shattered by the tempest, trees lie withering ruined on the
Thus over throw my rivals thou, so crush them down and ruin.
them, those born before and after. Let this Varana protect
thee well.
16Cut them in pieces, Varana! before their destined term of life,
Those who would hurt his cattle, those who fain would harm.
the realm he rules.
17As Sūrya shines with brightest sheen, as splendour hath been
stored in him,
So may the Charm, the Varana, give me prosperity and fame.
With lustre let it sprinkle me, and balm me with magni-
18As glory dwelleth in the Moon and in the Sun who vieweth
So may the Charm, etc.
19As glory dwelleth in the Earth, and in this Jātavedas here,
So may the Charm etc. p. 11
20As glory dwelleth in a maid, and in this well-constructed car,
So may the Charm, etc.
21As glory dwelleth in the draught of Soma and the honeyed.
So may the Charm, etc.
22As glory dwells in sacrifice to Agni, and the hallowing word,
So may the Charm, etc.
23As glory is bestowed upon the patron and this sacrifice,
So may the Charm, etc.
24As glory dwelleth in the Lord of Life and in this God Supreme,.
So may the Charm, etc.
25As immortality and truth have been established in the Gods,
So may the Charm, the Varana, give me prosperity and fame.
With lustre let it sprinkle me, and balm me with magnificence.

HYMN IV Scroll Up

A charm to destroy venomous serpents

2The first of all is Indra's car, next is the chariot of the Gods
the third is Varuna's alone.
The last, the Serpents' chariot, struck the pillar and then sped
away. p. 12
2Their lustre is the Darbha-grass, its young shoots are their
horse's tail: the reed's plume is their chariot seat.
3Strike out, white courser! with thy foot, strike both with fore
and hinder foot,
Stay the dire poison of the Snakes, and make it weak as soaking
-4. Loud neighing he hath dived below, and rising up again replied,
Stayed the dire poison of the Snakes, and made it weak as
soaking wood.
5Paidva kills Kasarnila, kills both the white Serpent and the
Paidva hath struck and cleft in twain Ratharvi's and the Viper's
6Go onward, horse of Pedu! go thou first: we follow after thee.
Cast thou aside the Serpents from the pathway whereupon we
7Here was the horse of Pedu born: this is the way that takes him
These are the tracks the courser left, the mighty slayer of the
8Let him not close the opened mouth, nor open that which now
is closed.
Two snakes are in this field, and both, female and male, are
9Powerless are the serpents here, those that are near and those
I kill the scorpion with a club, and with a staff the new-come
10This is the remedy against Aghāsva and the adder, both:
Indra and Paidva have subdued and tamed the vicious snake for
11We fix our thoughts on Pedu's horse, strong, off-spring of a
stedfast line.
Behind our backs the vipers here crouch down and lie in wait
for us.
12Bereft of life and poison they lie slain by bolt-armed Indra's
hand. Indra and we have slaughtered them.
013. Tiraschirājis have been slain, and vipers crushed and brayed to
bits. p. 13
Slay Darvi in the Darbha-grass, Karikrata, and White and
14The young maid of Kirāta race, a little damsel, digs the drug,
Digs it with shovels wrought of gold on the high ridges of the
15Hither the young uuconquered leech who slays the speckled
snake hath come.
He verily demolishes adder and scorpion; both of them.
16Indra, Mitra and Varuna, and Vāta and Parjanya both have
given the serpent up to me.
17Indra hath given him up to me, the female viper and the male,
The adder, him with stripes athwart. Kasarnila, Dasonasi.
18O Serpent, Indra hath destroyed the sire who first engendered
And when these snakes are pierced and bored what sap and
vigour will be theirs?
19Their heads have I seized firmly as a fisher grasps the spotted
Waded half through the stream and washed the poison of the
serpents off.
20Let the floods hurry on and bear the poison of all snakes afar.
Tiraschirājis have been slain and vipers crushed and brayed to
21As from the salutary plants I deftly pick the fibres out, And
guide them skilfully like mares, so let thy venom, Snake!
22All poison that the sun and fire, all that the earth and plants
Poison of most effectual power—let all thy venom pass away.
23Serpents which fire or plants have generated, those which have
sprung from waters or the lightning,
Whose mighty broods are found in many places, these serpents
we will reverently worship.
24Thou art a maid called Taudi, or Ghritāchi is thy name. Thy
Is underneath my foot. I take the poison-killing remedy.
25From every member drive away the venom, and avoid the heart.
Then let the poison's burning heat pass downward and away-
from thee. p. 14
26The bane hath fled afar. It wept, and asked the poison how it
27Agni hath found the venom of the serpent, Soma drawn it out.
Back to the biter hath returned the poison, and the snake hath

HYMN V Scroll Up

A charm to overthrow a rival and gain strength, dignity, long life, children, and general prosperity

1Ye are the power of Indra, ye the force and strength of Indra,
ye his hero might and manliness.
I join you with the bonds of Prayer to the victorious enterprise.
6For the victorious enterprise let all creation stand by me. For
me ye, Waters, are prepared. p. 15
7Ye are the share of Agni. Grant, O heavenly Waters unto us the
Waters' brilliant energy.
By statute of Prajāpati I set you down for this our world.
15Waters, your ceremonial share of Waters which the waters hold,
which aids our sacrifice to Gods,
This as a remnant here I leave. Do not thou wash it clean away.
With this we let the man go by who hates us and whom we
Him would I fain o'erthrow and slay with this our ceremonial
act, with this our prayer, our thunder-bolt.
22Whatever evil I have done within this last triennium,
From all that woe and misery let the waters shield and guard
me well.
23Onward I urge your gathered floods: enter your own abiding-
Uninjured and with all your strength. Let nothing bend or bow
us down.
24May the pure Waters cleanse us from defilement,
Fair to behold remove our sin and trouble, and bear away ill-
dream and all pollution.
25Thou art the step of Vishnu, rival-slayer, sharpened by earth,
aglow with fire of Agni,
Earth have I ranged: from earth we bar him who hates us and
whom we hate.
26Ours is superior place and ours is conquest: may I in all fights
tread down spite and malice.
Let him not live, let vital breath desert him.
36With this I here invest the power and splendour, the life of that
man and his vital breathing, the son of such a sire and such a
woman, here do I overthrow and cast him downward.
37I follow Sūrya's course in heaven, the course that takes him to
the South.
May that bestow upon me wealth and glory of a Brāhman's
38I turn me to the regions bright with splendour.
May they bestow upon me wealth and glory of a Brāhman's
39I turn me to the Rishis Seven. May they, etc.
40I turn me unto Prayer. May that, etc.
41I turn me unto Brāhmans. May they etc. p. 16
42We hunt that man, we beat him down and slay him with our
murderous blows.
We with the spell have hurried him to Parameshthin's opened
43Let the shot missile catch him with Vaisvānara's two mighty
This offering, and the mightiest Goddess, the Fuel, eat him up!
44Thou art the bound of Varuna the King.
Bind, such an one, the son of such a woman, in vital breath and
in the food that feeds him.
45All food of thine, O Lord of Life, that lies, upon the face of
Thereof bestow thou upon us. O Lord of Life, Prajāpati!
46Celestial Waters have I sought: with juice have I besprinkled
With milk, O Agni, have I come; bestow upon me splendid
47Give me the boon of splendid strength; give, Agni! progeny
and life.
May the Gods know this prayer of mine, may Indra with the
Rishis know.
48What curse soever couples launch against us, whatever bitter
speech the chatterers utter,
With Manyu's arrow, offspring of the spirit, transfix thou to the
heart the Yātudhānas,
49Destroy the Yātudhānas with thy fervour, consume the demons
with thy wrath, O Agni.
Destroy the fool's gods with thy fiery splendour, destroy the
blazing ones, the insatiable.
50Well-skilled, against this man I hurl the Water's bolt with four
spikes, to cleave his head asunder.
May it destroy all members of his body. Let the whole host of
Gods approve my purpose.

HYMN VI Scroll Up

The glorification of an all-powerful amulet

1With power I cut away the head of my malignant rival, of mine
evil-hearted enemy.
2This Amulet of citron-wood shall make for me a trusty shield
Filled with the mingled beverage, with sap and vigour hath it
3What though the strong-armed carpenter have cleft thee with
his hand and axe.
Pure animating waters shall cleanse thee and make thee bright
4This Amulet, decked with chain of gold, shall give faith,
sacrifice, and might, and dwell as guest within our house.
5To this we give apportioned food, clarified butter, wine, and
May it provide each boon for us as doth a father for his sons. p. 18
Again, again, from morn to morn, having approached the
6The Charm Brihaspati hath bound, the fatness-dropping citron-
wood, the potent Khadira for strength,
This Agni hath put on: it yields clarified butter for this man.
Again, again, from morn to morn. With this subdue thine
7The Charm Brihaspati hath bound, the fatness-dropping citron-
wood, the potent Khadira, for strength,
This Charm hath Indra put on him for power and manly
It yieldeth strength to strengthen him, again, again, from morn
to morn, having approached the deities.
8The Charin Brihaspati, etc.
This Charm hath Soma put on him for might, for hearing, and
for sight.
This yields him energy indeed, again, again, etc.
9The Charm Brihaspati, etc.
This Sūrya put on him, with this conquered the regions of the
This yieldeth him ability, again, etc.
10The Charm Brihaspati, etc.
This Charm did Chandra wear, with this conquered the forts of
Asuras, the golden forts of Dānavas.
This yields him glory and renown, again, etc.
11The Amulet Brihaspati bound on the swiftly-moving Wind.
This yieldeth him a vigorous steed, again, etc.
12The Asvins with this Amulet protect this culture of our fields.
This yields the two Physicians might, again, etc.
13Savitar wore this Amulet: herewith he won this lucid heaven.
This yields him glory and delight, again, etc.
14Wearing this Charm the Waters flow eternally inviolate. This
yieldeth them ambrosia, again etc.
15King Varuna assumed and wore this salutary Amulet.
This yieldeth him his truthfulness, again, etc.
16Wearing this Amulet the Gods conquered in battle all the
This yieldeth victory for them, again, etc.
17The Amulet Brihaspati formed for the swiftly-moving Wind,
This salutary Amulet the Deities assumed and wore. p. 19
This yieldeth them the universe, again, again, from morn to
morn. With this subdue thine enemies.
18The seasons formed that Amulet, the Groups of Seasons fashion-
ed it.
The Year having constructed it preserveth everything that is.
19The regions of the heaven, the points that lie between them
fashioned it.
Created by Prajāpati, may the Charm cast my foemen down.
20Atharvan made the Amulet, Atharvan's children fashioned it.
With them the sage Angirases broke through the Dasyus'
fortresses. With this subdue thine enemies.
21Dhātar bound on this Amulet: he ranged and ordered all that
is. With this do thou subdue thy foes.
22The Amulet Brihaspati formed for the Gods, that slew the
That Amulet here hath come to me combined with sap and
23The Amulet, etc.
That Amulet here hath come to me, hath come with cows, and
goats, and sheep, hath come with food and progeny.
24The Amulet, etc.
That Amulet here hath come to me with store of barley and of
rice, with greatness and prosperity.
25The Amulet, etc.
That Amulet here hath come to me with streams of butter and
of mead, with sweet delicious beverage.
26The Amulet, etc.
That Amulet here hath come to me with power and abundant
strength, hath come with glory and with wealth.
27The Amulet, etc..
That Amulet here hath come to me with splendour and a blaze
of light, with honour and illustrious fame.
28The Amulet Brihaspati made for the Gods, that slew the fiends,
That Amulet here hath come to me combined with all
29That Amulet may the Deities bestow on me to win success,
The conquering, strength-increasing Charm, the damager of
30I bind on me my happy fate with holy prayer and energy.
Foeless destroyer of the foe, it hath subdued mine enemies. p. 20
31May this Chaim, offspring of the Gods, make me superior to my
So may this charm whose milk expressed these three worlds
longingly await,
Be fastened on me here, that it may crown me with surpassing
32The Charm to which men, Fathers, Gods look ever for their
May this be fastened on me here, to crown me with surpassing
33As, when the plough hath tilled the soil, the seed springs up in.
fertile land,
Let cattle, progeny, and food of every kind spring up with me.
34Charm, forwarder of sacrifice, who hast a hundred priestly fees.
Speed to preeminence him to whom I have attached thy happy
35Love thou, O Agni, pleased with burnt oblations, this sacred
fuel that is ranged in order.
In him may we find grace and loving-kindness, happiness,
progeny, and sight and cattle, in Jātavedas kindled with

HYMN VII Scroll Up

Skambha, the Pillar or Fulcrum of all existence

1Which of his members is the seat of Fervour: Which is the base
of Ceremonial Order? p. 21
Where in him standeth Faith? Where Holy Duty? Where, in
what part of him is truth implanted?
2Out of which member glows the light of Agni? Form which
proceeds the breath of Mātarisvan?
From which doth Chandra measure out his journey, travelling
over Skambha's mighty body?
3Which of his members is the earth's upholder? Which gives the
middle air a base to rest on?
Where, in which member is the sky established? Where hath
the space above the sky its dwelling?
4Whitherward yearning blazeth Agni upward? Whitherward
yearning bloweth Mātarisvan?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom with long-
ing go the turning pathways?
5Whitheward go the half-months, and, accordant with the full
year, the months in their procession?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons
and the groups of seasons?
6Whitherward yearning speed the two young Damsels, accordant,
Day and Night, of different colour?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom the Waters
take their way with longing?
7Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha,
On whom Prajāpati set up and firmly stablished all the worlds?
8That universe which Prajāpati created, wearing all forms,, the
highest, midmost, lowest,
How far did Skambha penetrate within it? What portion did
he leave unpenetrated?
9How far within the past hath Skambha entered? How much of
him hath reached into the future?
That one part which he set in thousand places,—how far did
Skambha penetrate within it?
10Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha in whom men
recognize the Waters, Brahma,
In whom they know the worlds and their enclosures, in whom
are non-existence and existence?
11Declare that. Skambha, who is he of many,
In whom, exerting every power, Fervour maintains her loftiest
vow; p. 22
In whom are comprehended Law, Waters, Devotion and Belief
12Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
On whom as their foundation earth and firmament and sky are
In whom as their appointed place rest Fire and Moon and Sun
and Wind?
13Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities?
14Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha.
In whom the Sages earliest born, the Richas, Sāman, Yajus,
Earth, and the one highest Sage abide?
15Who out of many, tell me, is the Skambha.
Who comprehendeth, for mankind, both immortality and death,
He who containeth for mankind the gathered waters as his
16Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha,
He whose chief arteries stand there, the sky's four regions, he irk
whom Sacrifice putteth forth its might?
17They who in Purusha understand Brahma know Him who is.
He who knows Him who is Supreme, and he who knows the
Lord of Life,
These know the loftiest Power Divine, and thence know Skam-
bha thoroughly.
18Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
Of whom Vaisvānara became the head, the Angirases his eye,
and Yātus his corporeal parts?
19Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
Whose mouth they say is Holy Lore, his tongue the Honey-
sweetened Whip, his udder is Virāj, they say?
20Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha
From whom they hewed the lichas off, from whom they
chipped the Yajus, he
Whose hairs are Sāma-verses and his mouth the Atharvāngi-
21Men count as 'twere a thing supreme nonentity's conspicuous
And lower man who serve thy branch regard it as an entity.
22Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha p. 23
In whom Ādityas dwell, in whom Rudras and Vasus are
In whom the future and the past and all the worlds are firmly
23Whose secret treasure evermore the three-and thirty Gods
Who knoweth now the treasure which, O Deities ye watch and
24Where the Gods, versed in Sacred Lore, worship the loftiest
Power Divine
The priest who knows them face to face may be a sage who
knows the truth.
25Great, verily, are those Gods who sprang from non-existence
into life.
Further, men say that that one part of Skambha is nonentity.
26Where Skambha generating gave the Ancient World its shape
and form,
They recognized that single part of Skambha as the Ancient
27The three-and-thirty Gods within his body were disposed as
Some, deeply versed in Holy Lore, some know those three-and-
thirty Gods.
28Men know Hiranyagarbha as supreme and inexpressible:
In the beginning, in the midst of the world, Skambha poured
that gold.
29On Skambha Fervour rests, the worlds and Holy Law repose on
Skambha, I clearly know that all of thee on Indra is imposed.
30On Indra Fervour rests, on him the worlds and Holy Law
Indra, I clearly know that all of thee on Skambha findeth rest.
31Ere sun and dawn man calls and calls one Deity by the other's
When the Unborn first sprang into existence he reached that
independent sovran lordship; than which aught higher never
hath arisen.
32Be reverence paid to him, that highest Brahma, whose base is
Earth, his belly Air, who made the sky to be his head. p. 24
33Homage to highest Brahma, him whose eye is Sūrya and the
Moon who groweth young and new again, him who made
Agni for his mouth.
34Homage to highest Brahma, him whose two life-breathings were
the Wind,
The Angirases his sight: who made the regions be his means of
35Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha
maintained the ample air between them.
Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world
Skambha entered and pervaded.
36Homage to highest Brahma, him who, sprung from Fervour and
from toil,
Filled all the worlds completely, who made Soma for himself
37Why doth the Wind move ceaselessly? Why doth the spirit take
no rest?
Why do the Waters, seeking truth, never at any time repose?
38Absorbed in Fervour, is the mighty Being, in the world's centre,
on the waters' surface.
To him the Deities, one and all betake them. So stand the tree-
trunk with the branches round it.
39Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha.
To whom the Deities with hands, with feet, and voice, and ear,
and eye.
Present unmeasured tribute in the measured hall of sacrifice?
40Darkness is chased away from him: he is exempt from all dist-
In him are all the lights, the three abiding in Prajāpati.
41He verily who knows the Reed of Gold that stands amid the
flood, is the mysterious Lord of Life.
42Singly the two young Maids of different colours approach the
six-pegged warp in turns and weave it.
The one draws out the threads, the other lays them: they break
them not, they reach no end of labour.
43Of these two, dancing round as 'twere, I cannot distinguish
whether ranks before the other.
A Male in weaves this web, a Male divides it: a Male hath
stretched it to the cope of heaven p. 25
44These pegs have buttressed up the sky. The Sāmans have turned
them into shuttles for the weaving.


Speculations on the Supreme Being and Cosmogonical and theological subjects

1Worship to loftiest Brahma, Lord of what hath been and what
shall be,
To him who rules the universe, and heavenly light is all his own!
2Upheld by Skambha's power these two, the heaven and the earth,
stand fast.
Skambha is all this world of life, whatever breathes or shuts an.
3Three generations have gone by and vanished and others near
have entered into sunlight.
There stood on high he who metes out the region into green,
plants hath passed the Golden-coloured.
4One is the wheel, the tires are twelve in number, the naves are
three What man hath understood it?
Three hundred spokes have thereupon been hammered, and sixty
pins set firmly in their places. p. 28
5Discern thou this, O Savitar. Six are the twins, one singly born.
They claim relationship in that among them which is born alone.
6Though manifest, it lies concealed in the vast place they call the
Therein is firmly stationed all the moving, breathing universe.
7Up, eastward downward in the west, ‘it rolleth, with countless
elements, one-wheeled, single-fellied.
With half it hath begotten all creation. Where hath the other half
become unnoticed?
13In front of these the five-horsed car moves onward: side-horses,
harnessed with the others draw it.
No one hath seen its hither course untravelled; the height sees
it more near, the depth more distant.
9The bowl with mouth inclined and bottom upward holds stored
within it every form of glory.
Thereon together sit the Seven Rishis who have become this
mighty One's protectors
10The Verse employed at opening and conclusion, the Verse
employed in each and every portion;
That by which sacrifice proceedeth onward. I ask thee which is
that of all the Verses.
11That which hath power of motion, that which flies, or stands,
which breathes or breathes not, which, existing, shuts the eye
Wearing all forms that entity upholds the earth, and in its close
consistence still is only one.
12The infinite to every side extended, the finite and the infinite
around us,
These twain Heaven's Lord divides as he advances, knowing the
past hereof and all the future
13Within the womb Prajāpati is moving: he, though unseen, is
born in sundry places.
He with one half engendered all creation. What sign is there to
tell us of the other?
14All men behold him with the eye, but with the mind they know
not him.
Holding aloft the water as a water-bearer in her jar.
15With the full vase he dwells afar, is left far off what time it fails,
A mighty Being in creation's centre: to him the rulers of the
realms bring tribute. p. 29
16That, whence the Sun arises, that whither he goes to take his
That verily I hold supreme: naught in the world surpasses it.
17Those who in recent times, midmost, or ancient, on all sides.
greet the sage who knows the Veda,
One and all, verily discuss Āditya, the second Agni, and the
threefold Hansa.
18This gold-hued Haiisa's wings, flying to heaven, spread o'er a
thousand days' continued journey.
Supporting all the Gods upon his bosom, he goes his way behol-
ding every creature.
19By truth he blazes up aloft by Brahma, he looks down below:
He breathes obliquely with his breath, he on whom what is.
highest rests.
20The sage who knows the kindling-sticks whence by attrition
wealth is drawn,
Will comprehend what is most high, will know the mighty
21Footless at first was he produced, footless he brought celestial
Four-footed grown, and meet for use, he seized each thing
22Useful will he become, and then will he consume great store of
The man who humbly worshippeth the eternal and victorious
23Him too they call eternal; he may become new again to-day.
Day and Night reproduce themselves, each from the form the
other wears.
24A hundred, thousand, myriad, yea a hundred million stores of
wealth that passes count are laid in him.
This wealth they kill as he looks on, and now this God shines
bright therefrom.
25One is yet finer than a hair, one is not even visible. And hence
the Deity who grasps with firmer hold is dear to me.
26This fair one is untouched by age, immortal in a mortal's house.
He for whom she was made lies low, and he who formed her
hath grown old.
27Thou art a woman, and a man; thou art a damsel and a boy. p. 30
Grown old thou totterest with a staff, new-born thou lookest
every way.
28Either the sire or son of these, the eldest or the youngest child.
As sole God dwelling in the mind, first born, he still is in the
29Forth from the full he lifts the full, the full he sprinkles with
the full.
Now also may we know the source from which the stream is
sprinkled round.
30Brought forth in olden time, the everlasting, high over all that
is was she, the Ancient.
The mighty Goddess of the Morn, refulgent with one eye, looketh
round with one that winketh,
31Known by the name of Guardian Grace the Deity sits girt by
The trees have taken from her hue, green-garlanded, their robe
of green.
32When he is near she leaves him not, she sees him not though he
is near.
Behold the wisdom of the God; he hath not died, he grows not
33Voices that never were before emitted speak as fitteth them.
Whither they go and speak, they say there is the mighty Brāh-
34I ask thee where the waters' flower by wondrous magic art was
Thereon the Gods and men are set as spokes are fastened in the
35Who gave command unto the wind that blowet!
Who ranged the five united heavenly regions?
Who were the Gods who cared not for oblations!
Which of them brought the sacrificial waters?
36One God inhabiteth the earth we live on; another hath encom-
passed air's mid-region.
One, the Supporter, takes the heaven and bears it: some keep-
ing watch guard all the quarters safely.
37The man who knows the drawn-out string on which these crea-
tures all are strung,
The man who knows the thread's thread, he may know the
mighty Brāhmana. p. 31
38I know the drawn-out string, the thread whereon these creatures
all are strung.
I know the thread's thread also, thus I know the mighty Brah-
ma na.
39When Agni passed between the earth and heaven devouring with
his flame the all-consumer,
Where dwelt afar the spouses of one husband, where at that
moment, where was Mātarisvan?
-40. Into the floods had Mātarisvan entered, the deities had past in-
to the waters.
There stood the mighty measurer of the region: into the ver-
dant plants went Pavamāna.
41Over the Gāyatri, above the immortal world he strode away.
Those who by Song discovered Song—where did the Unborn see
that thing?
42Luller to rest, and gatherer-up of treasures, Savitar like a God
whose laws are constant, hath stood like Indra in the war for
43Men versed in sacred knowledge know that living Being that
In the nine-portalled Lotus Flower, enclosed with triple bands
and bonds.
44Desireless, firm, immortal, self-existent, contented with the es-
sence, lacking nothing,
Free from the fear of Death is he who knoweth that Soul cou-
rageous, youthful, undecaying.

HYMN IX Scroll Up

The Sataudanā or Hundredfold Oblation

1Binding the mouths of those who threaten mischief, against my
rivals cast this bolt of thunder,
Indra first gave the Hundredfold Oblation, welfare of him who
worships, foe-destroying.
2Thy skin shall be the Altar; let thine hair become the Sacred
This cord hath held thee firmly: let this pressing-stone dance
round on thee:
3The holy water be thy hair: let thy tongue make thee clean, O
Go, Hundredfold Oblation, made bright and adorable, to hea-
ven. p. 34
4He who prepares the Hundredfold Oblation gains each wish
For all his ministering priests, contented, move as fitteth them.
5He rises up to heaven, ascends to younder third celestial
Whoever gives the Hundredfold Oblation with the central
6That man completely wins those worlds, both of the heavens
and of the earth,
Whoever pays the Hundredfold. Oblation with its golden light.
7Thine Immolators, Goddess! and the men who dress thee for
the feast, all these will guard thee, Hundredfold Oblation!
Have no fear of them.
8The Vasus from the South will be thy guards, the Maruts from
the North,
Ādityas from the West; o'ertake and pass the Agnishtoma,
9The Gods, the Fathers, mortal men, Gandharvas, and Apsara-
All these will be the guards: o'ertake and pass the Atirātra,
10The man who pays the Hundredfold Oblation winneth all the
Air, heaven, and earth, Ādityas, and Maruts, and regions of the
11Sprinkling down fatness, to the Gods will the beneficent God-
dess go.
Harm not thy dresser, Cow! To heaven, O Hundredfold Obla-
tion, speed!
12From all the Gods enthroned in heaven, in air, from those who
dwell on earth,
Draw forth for evermore a stream of milk, of butter, and of
13Let thy head, let thy mouth, let both thine ears, and those two
jaws of thine.
Pour for the giver mingled curd, and flowing butter, milk, and
14Let both thy lips, thy nostrils, both thy horns, and these two
eyes of thine. p. 35
Pour for the given, etc.
15Let heart and pericardium, let thy lungs with all the bronchial
tubes, etc.
16Let liver, and let kidneys, let thine entrails, and the parts within,
17Let rectum and omentum, let thy belly's hollows, and thy skin,
18Let all thy marrow, every bone, let all thy flesh, and all thy
blood, etc.
19Let both thy shoulders and thy hump, thy forelegs, and their
lower parts, etc.
20Let neck and nape and shoulder-joints, thy ribs and inter-costal
parts, etc.
21So let thy thighs and thy knee-bones, thy hinder quarters, and
thy hips, etc.
22So let thy tail and all the hairs thereof, thine udder, and thy
teats, etc.
23Let all thy legs, the refuse of thy feet, thy heelropes, and thy
Pour for the giver mingled curd, and flowing butter milk, and
24Let all thy skin, Sataudanā! let every hair thou hast, O Cow,
Pour for the giver mingled curd, and flowing butter, milk, and
25Sprinkled with molten butter, let the two meal-cakes be sport
for thee.
Make them thy wings, O Goddess, and bear him who dresses
thee to heaven.
26Each grain of rice in mortar or on pestle, all on the skin or in
the winnowing-basket,
Whatever purifying Mātarisvan, the Wind, hath sifted, let the
Hotar Agni make of it an acceptable oblation.
27In the priest's hands I lay, in separate order, the sweet celestial
Waters, dropping fatness.
As here I sprinkle them may all my wishes be granted unto me
in perfect fulness. May we have ample wealth in our posses-

HYMN X Scroll Up

A glorification of the sacred Cow as representing the radiant heavens

1Worship to thee springing to life, and worship unto thee when
Worship, O Cow, to thy tail-hair, and to thy hooves, and to thy
2The man who knows the Seven Floods, who knows the seven
Who knows the head of sacrifice, he may receive the holy Cow.
3I know the Seven Water-floods, I know the seven distances,
I know the head of sacrifice, and Soma shining bright in her.
4Hitherward we invite with prayer the Cow who pours a thou-
sand streams,
By whom the heaven, by whom the earth, by whom these waters
are preserved.
5Upon her back there are a hundred keepers, a hundred metal
bowls, a hundred milkers.
The Deities who breathe in her all separately know the Cow. p. 37
6Her foot is sacrifice, her milk libation, Svadhā her breath, Mahï-
lukā the mighty:
To the God goes with prayer the Cow who hath Parjanya for
her lord.
7Agni hath entered into thee; Soma, O Cow, hath entered thee.
Thine udder is Parjanya, O blest Cow; the lightnings are thy
8Thou pourest out the Waters first, and corn-lands afterward,
O Cow.
Thirdly thou pourest princely sway. O Cow, thou pourest food
and milk.
9When, Holy One, thou camest nigh invited by the Ādityas' call,
Indra gave thee to drink, O cow, a thousand bowls of Soma
10The Bull, what time thou followedst the way of Indra, summon-
ed thee:
Thence the Fiend-slayer, angered, took thy water and thy milk
11O Cow, the milk which in his wrath the Lord of Riches took
from thee,
That same the vault of heaven now preserveth in three reser-
12The Cow Celestial received that Soma in three vessels, where.
Atharvan, consecrated, sate upon the Sacred Grass of gold.
13Come hither with the Soma, come with every footed thing; the
With Kalis and Gandharvas by her side hath stepped upon the
14Come hither with the Wind, yea, come with every creature borne
on wings.
Laden with holy verse and song the Cow hath leapt into the
15Come with the Sun, come hitherward with every creature that
hath eyes,
Bearing auspicious lights with her the Cow hath looked across
the sea.
16When, covered round about with gold, thou stoodest there, O
Holy One,
The ocean turned into a horse and mounted on thy back, O
Cow, p. 38
17Then came and met the Blessed Ones, Deshtri, the Cow, and
Svadhā, where
Atharvan, consecrated. sate upon the Sacred Grass of gold.
18The Kshatriya's mother is the Cow, thy mother, Svadhā! is the
Sacrifice is the weapon of the Cow: the thought arose from,
19From Brahma's summit there went forth a drop that mounted
up on high:
From that wast thou produced, O Cow, from that the Hotar
sprang to life.
20Forth from thy mouth the Gāthās came, from thy neck's nape
sprang strength, O Cow.
Sacrifice from thy flanks was born, and rays of sunlight from.
thy teats,
21From thy fore-quarters and thy thighs motion was generated,
Food from thine entrails was produced, and from thy belly came
the plants.
22When into Varuna's belly thou hadst found a passage for thy-
The Brāhman called thee thence, for he knew how to guide and
lead thee forth.
23All trembled at the babe that came from him who brings not to
the birth.
He hath produced her—thus they cried—He is a cow, and formed
by spells, he hath become skin to her.
24He only joineth battle, yea, he who alone controlleth her.
Now sacrifices have become victories, and the Cow their eye.
25The Cow hath welcomed sacrifice: the Cow hath held the Sun
in place.
Together with the prayer the mess of rice hath passed into the
26They call the Cow immortal life, pay homage to the Cow as
She hath become this universe, Fathers, and Rishis, hath become
the Gods, and men, and Asuras.
27The man who hath this knowledge may receive the Cow with.
welcoming. p. 39
So for the giver willingly doth perfect sacrifice pour milk.
28Within the mouth of Varuna three tongues are glittering with
That which shines midmost of them is this Cow most difficult to
29Four-parted was the Cow's prolific humour.
One-fourth is Water, one-fourth life eternal, one-fourth is sacri-
fice, one-fourth are cattle.
30The Cow is Heaven, the Cow is Earth, the Cow is Vishnu, Lord
of Life.
e The Sādhyas and the Vasus have drunk the out-pourings of the
31When these, Sādhyas and Vasus, have drunk the out-pourings of
the Cow,
They in the Bright One's dwelling-place pay adoration to her
32For Soma some have milked her: some worship the fatness she
hath poured.
They who have given a cow to him who hath this knowledge
have gone up to the third region of the sky.
33He who hath given a Cow unto the Brāhmans winneth all the
For Right is firmly set in her devotion, and religious zeal.
34Both Gods and mortal men depend for life and being on the
She hath become this universe: all that the Sun surveys is she.

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Suggestions for Further Reading

Source: The Hymns of the Atharvaveda. translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith [1895-6]. The text has been reformatted by Jayaram V for Hinduwebsite.com.  As far as the presentation of the material is concerned, this online version does not follow the original book. While all possible care has been taken to reproduce the text accurately, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or the authenticity of the text produced. We strongly recommend to  use this text for general reading and understanding and refer the original edition for serious studies and academic projects .

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