Hymns of the Atharvaveda - Book 12

Atharva Veda

Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith

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HYMN I Scroll Up

A hymn of prayer and praise to Prithivī or deified Earth

1Truth, high and potent Law, the Consecrating Rite, Fervour,
Brahma, and Sacrifice uphold the Earth.
May she, the Queen of all that is and is to be, may Prithivī
make ample space and room for us.
2Not over awded by the crowd of Manu's sons, she who hath
many heights and floods and level plains;
She who bears plants endowed with many varied powers, may
Prithivī for us spread wide and favour us.
3In whom the sea, and Sindhu, and the waters, in whom our food
and corn-lands had their being,
In whom this all that breathes and moves is active, this Earth.
assign us foremost rank and station!
4She who is Lady of the earth's four regions, in whom our food
and corn-lands had their being,
Nurse in each place of breathing, moving creatures, this Earth.
vouchsafe us kine with milk that fails not!
5On whom the men of old before us battled, on whom the Gods
attacked the hostile demons,
The varied home of bird, and kine and horses, this Prithivī
vouchsafe us luck and splendour!

6Firm standing-place, all-bearing, store of treasures, gold-breasted,
harbourer of all that moveth.
May Earth who bears Agni Vaisvānara, Consort of mighty
Indra, give us great possessions
7May Earth, may Prithivī, always protected with ceaseless care by
Gods who never slumber,
May she pour out for us delicious nectar, may she bedew us
with a flood of splendour.
8She who at first was water in the ocean, whom with their wond-
rous powers the sages followed,
May she whose heart is in the highest heaven, compassed about
wit h truth, and everlasting, p. 76
May she, this Earth, bestow upon us lustre, and grant us power
in loftiest dominion.
9On whom the running universal waters flow day and night with
never-ceasing motion,
May she with many streams pour milk to feed us, may she
bedew us with a flood of splendour.
10She whom the Asvins measured out, o'er whom the foot of
Vishnu strode,
Whom Indra, Lord of Power and Might, freed from all foemen
for himself,
May Earth pour out her milk for us, a mother unto me her son.
11O Prithivī, auspicious be thy woodlands, auspicious be thy hills
and snow-clad mountains.
Unslain, unwounded, unsubdued, I have set foot upon the
On earth brown, black, ruddy and every-coloured, on the firm
earth that Indra guards from danger.
12O Prithivī, thy centre and thy navel, all forces that have issued
from thy body
Set us amid those forces; breathe upon us. I am the son of
Earth, Earth is my Mother. Parjanya is my Sire; may he
promote me.
43Earth on whose surface they enclose the altar, and all-performers
spin the thread of worship;
In whom the stakes of sacrifice, resplendent, are fixed and raised
on high before the oblation, may she, this Earth, prospering,
make us prosper.
14The man who hates us, Earth! who fights against us, who
threaten us with thought or deadly weapon, make him our
thrall as thou hast done aforetime.

15Produced from thee, on thee move mortal creatures: thou
bearest them, both quadruped and biped.
Thine, Prithivī, are these Five human Races, for whom, though
mortal, Sūrya as he rises spreads with his rays the light that is
16In concert may these creatures yield us blessings. With honey of
discourse, O Earth, endow me.
17Kind, ever gracious be the Earth we tread on, the firm Earth,
Prithivī, borne up by Order, mother of plants and herbs, the
all-producer. p. 77
18A vast abode hast thou become, the Mighty. Great stress is on
thee, press and agitation, but with unceasing care great Indra
guards thee.
So make us shine, O Earth, us with the splendour of gold. Let
no man look on us with hatred.
19Agni is in the earth, in plants; the waters hold Agni in them,
in the stones is Agni.
Agni abideth deep in men: Agnis abide in cows and steeds.
20Agni gives shine and heat in heaven: the spacious air is his, the
Lover of fatness, bearer of oblation, men enkindle him.
21Dark-kneed, invested with a fiery mantle, Prithivī sharpen me
and give me splendour!
22On earth they offer sacrifice and dressed oblation to the Gods.
Men, mortals, live upon the earth by food in their accustomed
May that Earth grant us breath and vital power. Prithivī give
me life of long duration!
23Scent that hath risen from thee, O Earth, the fragrance which.
growing herbs and plants and waters carry,
Shared by Apsarases, shared by Gandharvas therewith make
thou me sweet: let no man hate me.
24Thy scent which entered and possessed the lotus, the scent
which they prepared at Sūryā's bridal,
Scent which Immortals Earth! of old collected, therewith make
thou me sweet: let no man hate me.

25Thy scent in women and in men, the luck and light that is in.
That is in heroes and in steeds in sylvan beasts and elephants,
The splendid energy of maids, therewith do thou unite us,.
Earth! Let no man look on us with hate.
26Rock earth, and stone, and dust, this Earth is held together,.
firmly bound.
To this gold-breasted Prithivī mine adoration have I paid.
27Hither we call the firmly held, the all-supporting Prithivī,
On whom the trees, lords of the wood, stand evermore immov-
28Sitting at ease or rising up, standing or going on our way.
With our right foot and with our left we will not reel upon the
earth. p. 78
29I speak to Prithivī the purifier, to patient Earth who groweth
strong through Brahma.
O Earth, may we recline on thee who bearest strength, increase,
portioned share of food, and fatness.
30Purified for our bodies flow the waters: we bring distress on
him who would attack us.
I cleanse myself, O Earth, with that which cleanseth.
31Earth, be thine eastern and thy northern regions, those lying
southward and those lying westward.
Propitious unto me in all my movements. Long as I tread the
ground let me not stumble.
32Drive us not from the west or east, drive us not from the north
or south,
Be gracious unto us, O Earth: let not the robbers find us; keep
the deadly weapon far away.
33Long as, on thee, I look around, possessing Sūrya as a friend,
So long, through each succeeding year, let not my power of
vision fail.
34When, as I lie, O Earth, I turn upon my right side and my left,
When stretched at all our length we lay our ribs on thee who
meetest us.
Do us no injury there, O Earth who furnishest a bed for all.
35Let what I dig from thee, O Earth, rapidly spring and grow
O Purifier, let me not pierce through thy vitals or thy heart.
36Earth, may thy summer, and thy rains, and autumn, thy winter,
and thy dewy frosts, and spring-time.
May thy years, Prithivī! and ordered seasons, and day and
night pour out for us abundance.
37The purifier, shrinking from the Serpent, she who held fires that
lie within the waters,
Who gives as prey the God-blaspheming Dasyus, Earth choosing
Indra for her Lord, not Vritra, hath clung to Sakra, to the
Strong and Mighty.
38Base of the seat and sheds, on whom the sacrificial stake is
On whom the Yajus-knowing priests recite their hymns and
chant their psalms,
And ministers are busied that Indra may drink the Soma juice; p. 79
39On whom the ancient Rishis, they who made the world, sang
forth the cows,
Seven worshippers, by session, with their fervent zeal and
40May she, the Earth, assign to us the opulence for which we
May Bhaga share and aid the task and Indra come to lead the
41May she, the Earth, whereon men sing and dance with varied
shout and noise,
Whereon men meet in battle, and the war-cry and the drum
May she drive off our foemen, may Prithivī rid me of my foes.
42On whom is food, barley and rice, to whom these Races Five
Homage to her, P arjanya's wife, to her whose marrow is the
43Whose castles are the work of Gods, and men wage war upon
her plain
The Lord of Life make Prithivī, who beareth all things in her
womb, pleasant to us on every side!
44May Earth the Goddess, she who bears her treasure stored up
in many a place, gold, gems, and riches,
Giver of opulence, grant great possessions to us bestowing them
with love and favour.
45Earth, bearing folk of many a varied language with divers rites
as suits their dwelling-places,
Pour, like a constant cow that never faileth, a thousand streams
of treasure to enrich me!
46Thy snake, thy sharply stinging scorpion, lying concealed, be-
wildered, chilled with cold of winter,
The worm, O Prithivī, each thing that in the Rains revives and
Creeping, forbear to creep on us! With all things gracious bless
thou us.
47Thy many ways on which the people travel, the road for car and
wain to journey over,
Thereon meet both the good and bad, that pathway may we
attain without a foe or robber. With all things gracious bless
thou us. p. 80
48Supporting both the foolish and the weighty she bears the death
both of the good and evil.
In friendly concord with the boar, Earth opens herself for the
wild swine that roams the forest.
49All sylvan beasts of thine that love the woodlands, man-eaters,.
forest-haunting, lions, tigers,
Hyena, wolf, Misfortune, evil spirit, drive from us, chase the
demons to a distance.
50Gandharvas and Apsarases, Kimīdins, and malignant sprites,
Pisāchas all, and Rākshasas, these keep thou, Earth! afar from
51To whom the winged bipeds fly together, birds of each various
kind, the swans, the eagles;
On whom the Wind comes rushing, Mātarisvan, rousing the
dust and causing trees to tremble, and flame pursues the blast.
hither and thither;
52Earth, upon whom are settled, joined together, the night and
day, the dusky and the ruddy, Prithivī compassed by the rain
about her,
Happily may she stablish us in each delightful dwelling place.
53Heaven, Earth, the realm of Middle Air have granted me this
ample room,
Agni, Sun, Waters, all the Gods have joined to give me mental
54I am victorious, I am called the lord superior on earth,
Triumphant, all-o'erpowering the conqueror on every side
55There, when the Gods, O Goddess, named thee, spreading thy
wide expanse as thou wast broadening eastward,
Then into thee passed many a charm and glory: thou madest
for thyself the world's four regions.
56In hamlets and in woodland, and in all assemblages on earth,
In gatherings, meeting of the folk, we will speak glorious things
of thee.
57As the horse scattereth the dust, the people who dwelt upon
the land, at birth, she scattered,
Leader and head of all the world, delightful, the trees' protectress
and the plants' upholder.
58Whate'er I say I speak with honey-sweetness, whatever I behold
for that they love me.
Dazzling, impetuous am I: others who fiercely stir I slay. p. 81
59Mild, gracious, sweetly odorous, milky, with nectar in her breast,
May Earth, may Prithivī bestow her benison, with milk, on me.
60Whom Visvakarman with oblation followed, when she was set
in mid-air's billowy ocean
A useful vessel, hid, when, for enjoyment, she was made mani-
fest to those with mothers.
61Thou art the vessel that containeth people, Aditi, granter of the
wish, far-spreading.
Prajāpati, the first-born Son of Order, supplieth thee with what-
soe'er thou lackest.
62Let thy breasts, frec from sickness and Consumption, be.
Prithivī, produced for our advantage.
Through long-extended life wakeful and watching still may we
be thy tributary servants.
63O Earth, my Mother, set thou me happily in a place secure.
Of one accord with Heaven, O Sage, set me in glory and in

HYMN II Scroll Up

A funeral hymn, and deprecation of Agni the Consumer of corpses

1This is no place to hold thee; mount the Nāda: this lead is
thine appointed share. Come hither.
Together with Consumption in the cattle, Consumption in our
men, go henee, go southward.
2With this we chase and banish all consumptive malady and
With sinner andamalicious man, with helper and with minister,
3Death and Misfortune we expel, Malignity we drive away.
O Agni, thou who eatest not the corpse, eat him who hateth us:
him whom we hate we send to thee. p. 83
4If the corpse-eating Agni, or a tiger leaving his lair, hath entered
this our homestead,
With beans prepared in butter I expel him: far let him go to
fires that lie in waters.
5When, angered that a man hath died, we in our wrath have
banished thee,
That deed is easily set right through thee: we kindle thee again.
6Again have the Ādityas, Rudras, Vasus, the Brāhman, bringer
of good things, O Agni,
Again hath Brāhmanaspati disposed thee for long life lasting
through a hundred autumns.
7I sweep afar, for sacrifice to Fathers, corpse-eating Agni who
hath come among us,
Although he saw this other, Jātavedas: in loftiest space let him
inflame the caldron.
8I drive corpse-eating Agni to a distance: sin-laden let him go to
Yamas vassals.
Here let this other, Jātavedas, carry oblation to the Deities, fore-
9I quickly sweep away corpse-eating Agni, Death, with his bolt
potdepriving men of motion.
From household fire, well-knowing, I divide him: so in the
world of Fathers be his portion.
10Corpse-eating Agni, toil-worn, meet for praises, I send away
bypaths used by the Fathers.
Stay there; keep watch among the Fathers: come not again to
us by ways whereon Gods travel.
11They being cleansed and bright, the purifiers, kindle Sankasuka
for our well-being.
Impurity leaveth us and sin departeth: lighted by the good
cleanser Agni cleanseth.
12Agni the God, the Breaker-up, hath mounted to the heights of
Released from all transgression, he hath from the curse delivered
13On Agni here, the Breaker-up, we wipe impurities away.
Cleansed, fit for sacrifice have we become: may he prolong our
14The Breaker-up, the Burster, the Destroyer, and the Silent One, p. 84
These have expelled Consumption far, far off from thee ānd all
thou hast,
15Corpse-eating Agni we expel, the Agni who bewilders men,
Him who is in our horses, in our heroes, cows, and goats, and
16We drive thee forth to other folk, to alien cattle, alien steeds,
Thee the corpse-eating Agni, thee the Agni who bewilders men,
17Whereon the Deities, whereon men too have purified themselves,
Exalting fatness, cleanse thyself, Agni, therein and mount to
18O Agni, kindled and adored, turn not away to visit us.
Shine brightly even there in heaven, so that we long may see the
19Wipe all away on lead and reed, on Agni, him who breaketh up,
Then on a black-hued sheep, and on a cushion pain that racks.
the head,
20Wipe off pollution, lay it in the lead and in the black-hued
And headache in the cushion; then be cleansed and fit to sacri-
21Go onward, Death, pursue thy special pathway apart from that
which Gods are wont to travel.
To thee I say it who hast eyes and hearest: great grow the
number of these men around us!
22Divided from the dead are these, the living: now is our calling
on the Gods successful.
We have gone forth for dancing and for laughter: may we with
brave sons speak to the assembly.
23Here I erect this rampart for the living: let none of these, none
other, reach this limit.
May they survive a hundred lengthened autumns, and may they
bury Death beneath this mountain.
24Live your full lives and find age delightful, all of you striving,
one behind the other.
May Tvashtar, maker of fair things, be gracious, and lead your
whole lives on to full existence.
25As the days follow days in close succession, as with the seasons
duly come the seasons.
As each successor fails not his foregoer, so constitute the lives of
these, Ordainer! p. 85
26Gather your strength, my friends; the stream flows stony:
acquit yourselves as men, and cross the river.
Abandon here the powers that were malignant, and let us cross
to powers exempt from sickness.
27Rise up erect, cross over, my companions: the stream is stony
that flows here before us.
Abandon here the powers that were ungracious, and let us cross
to powers benign and friendly.
28Becoming pure and bright and purifying begin the Vaisvadevi
strain for splendour..
May we rejoice, o'erpassing troublous places, with all our heroes
through a hundred winters.
29On pathways swept by wind, directed upward, passing beyond
the lower, on the higher,
Thrice seven times have the Rishis, the Departed, forced Mrityu
backward with the fastened fetter.
30Effecting Mrityu's footstep ye came hither, to further times pro-
longing your existence,
Seated, drive Mrityu to his proper dwelling: then may we,
living, speak to the assembly.
31Let these unwidowed dames with goodly husbands adorn them-
selves with fragrant balm and unguent,
Decked with fair jewels, tearless, sound and healthy, first let the
dames go up to where he lieth.
32I with oblation separate both classes, and with my prayer dis-
part their several portions.
I offer food that wastes not to the Fathers, a nd to these men
give life of long duration.
33That Agni, Fathers! who, himself immortal, hath entered and
possessed our mortal bosoms,
Even him I grasp and hold the God with me, Let him not hate
us, may we never hate him.
34When ye have left the household fire, with the Corpse-eater
southward go.
Do that which is delightful to the Fathers, Brāhmans, and your-
35Agni, the banqueter on flesh, not banished, for the eldest son
Taketh a double share of wealth and spoileth it with poverty.
36What man acquires by plough, by war, all that he wins by toil
of hand, p. 86
He loses all if Agni the Carnivorous be not set aside,
37Unholy, splendour-reft is he, his sacrifice unfit to eat. Krayād
deprives of tilth of cow, of riches him whom he pursues,
38Oft as a greedy beggar speaks the mortal who has brought
Those whom Carnivorous Agni close at hand runs after and
39When a dame's husband dies the house is tangled fast in
Grāhi's net.
A learned Brāhman must be sought to drive Carnivorous Agni,
40From any evil we have done, act of impurity or sin,
Let waters purge me and from all that comes from Agni
41By pathways travelled by the Gods these waters, well-knowing,
from below have mounted upward.
High on the summit of the raining mountain the ancient rivers
fresh and new are flowing.
42Drive off Carnivorous Agni, thou Agni who eatest not the flesh;.
carry oblation paid to Gods.
43The Flesh-eater hath entered him: he hath pursued the Flesh-
Making two tigers different-wise, I bear away the ungracious
44He who holds Gods within himself, the rampart and defence of
Agni, the sacred household fire, hath come and stands between
them both.
45Prolong the lives of those who live, O Agni, Let the dead go
unto world of Fathers.
As goodly household fire burn up Arāti; give this man dawn
brighter than all the mornings.
46Subduing all our adversaries, Agni, give us their food, their
strength and their possessions.
47Grasp ye this Indra, furtherer, satisfier: he will release you
from disgrace and trouble.
With him drive back the shaft that flies against you, with him.
ward off the missile shot by Rudra.
48Seize with firm hold the Ox who boundeth forward: he will
uplift you from disgrace and trouble. p. 87
Enter this ship of Savitar; let us flee from poverty over all the
six expenses.
49Thou followest the day and night, supporting, standing, at
peace, promoting, rich in heroes.
Long bearing undiseased and happy sleepers, be ours, O Bed,
with smell of man about thee,
50They sever from the Gods, they live in sin and misery evermore,
Those whom from very near at hand Carnivorous Agni casteth
down as a horse tramples down the reeds.
51The faithless, who from lust of wealth abide with him who feeds
on flesh,
For ever set upon the fire an alien caldron, not their own.
52Forward in spirit would he fly, and often turns he back again,
Whomso Carnivorous Agni from anear discovers and torments.
53Among tame beasts the black ewe is thy portion, and the bright
lead is thine, they say, Flesh-eater!
Mashed beans have been assigned thee for oblation go seek the
dark wood and the wildernesses.
54I sought the rustling sugar-cane, white Seasamum, and cane and
I made this Indra's fuel, and the Fire of Yama I removed.
55Against the sinking western Sun I set them; each sundered path,
knowing my way, I entered.
I have warned off the ghosts of the Departed: to these I give
the boon of long existence.

HYMN III Scroll Up

An accompaniment to the preparation and presentation of sacrificial offerings by a householder and his wife, with prayer for prosperity and happiness on earth and in heaven

1Mount, male from male, the skin. Go thither: summon those
whom thou lovest, one and all, to meet thee,
Strong as ye were when first ye met each other, still be your
strength the same in Yama's kingdom.
2So strong your sight, so many be your powers, so great your
force, your energies so many,
When fire attends the body as its fuel, then may, ye gain full
chargers, O ye couple.
3Together in this world, in God-ward pathway, together be ye in
the realms of Yama.
Invite, made pure with means of purifying, whatever seed of
yours hath been developed.
4Do ye, O sons, unite you with the waters, meeting this living
man, ye life-sustainers,
Allot to them the Odana your mother is making ready, which
they call immortal.
5That which your mother and your sire, to banish sin and un-
cleanness from their lips, are cooking.
That Odana with hundred streams, sky-reaching, hath in its
might prevaded earth and heaven.
6Live with your sons, when life on earth is ended, live in the
sphere most rich in light and sweetness.
In skies that have been won by sacrificers make both the worlds,
earth, heaven, your habitation.
7Approach the eastern, yea: the eastern region, this is the
sphere to which the faithful turn them,
Your cooked oblation that in fire was offered, together, wife and
husband, meet to guard it. p. 90
8Now, as your steps approach the southern quarter, move in.
your circling course about this vessel.
Herein, accordant with the Fathers, Yama shall mightily protect
your cooked oblation.
9Best of the regions is indeed this western wherein the King and
gracious Lord is Soma.
Thither resort for rest, follow the pious. Then gain the laden
chargers, O ye couple.
10Ever victorious is the northern region: may the east quarter set
us first and foremost.
The Man became the five-divisioned metre. May we abide wit .
all our members perfect.
11This stedfast realm is Queen. To her be homage! To me and
to my sons may she be gracious.
Guard thou, O Goddess Aditi, all-bounteous, our cooked oblation
as an active warder.
12Embrace us as a father clasps his children. Here on the Earth
let kindly breezes fan us.
Let the rice-mess these two cook here, O Goddess, know this
our truthfulness and zealous fervour.
13If the dark bird hath come to us and, stealing the hanging. .
morsel, settled in his dwelling,
Or if the slave-girl hath, wet-handed, smearing the pestle and
the mortar, cleansed the waters,
14This pressing-stone, broad-based and strength-bestowing, made
pure by cleansing means, shall chase the demon.
Mount on the skin: afford us great protection, Let not the sons'
sin fall on wife and husband.
15Together with the Gods, banning Pis5chas and demons, hath
Vanaspati come hither.
He shall rise up and send his voice out loudly. May we win all
the worlds with him to help us.
16Seven victims held the sacrificial essence, the bright one and the
one that hath grown feeble.
The three-and-thirty Deities attend them. As such, conduct us
io the world of Svarga.
17Unto the world of Svarga shalt thou lead us: there may we dwell
beside our wife and children.
I take thy hand Let not Destruction, let not Malignity come
hither and subdue us. p. 91
18We have subdued that sinful-hearted Grāhi. Thou shalt speak
sweetly having chased the darkness.
Let not the wooden gear made ready fail us, nor harm the grain
of rice that pays due worship.
19Soon to be, decked with butter, all-embracing, come to this
world wherewith birth unites thee.
Seize thou the winnowing-fan which rains have nourished, and
let this separate the chaff and refuse.
20Three worlds hath Power Divine marked out and measured,
Fheaven yonder, and the earth, and airs mid-region.
Grasp ye the stalks and in your hands retain them: let them be
watered and again be winnowed.
21Manifold, various are the shapes of victims. Thou growest uni-
form by great abundance.
Push thou away this skin of ruddy colour: the stone will cleanse
as one who cleanses raiment.
22Earth upon earth l set thee. This thy body is con-substantial,.
but in form it differs.
Whate'er hath been worn off or scratched in fixing, leak not
thereat: I spread a charm to mend it.
23Thou for thy son shalt yearn as yearns a mother. I lay thee
down and with the earth unite thee.
Conjoined with sacrificial gear and butter may pot and jar stand
firmly on the altar.
24Eastward may Agni as he cooks preserve thee. Southward may
Indra, grit by Maruts, guard thee,
Varuna strengthen and support thee westward, and Soma on
the north hold thee together.
25Drops flow, made pure by filters, from the rain-cloud: to heaven
and earth and to the worlds they travel,
May Indra light them up, poured in the vessel, lively and sted-
fast, quickening living creatures.
26From heaven they come, they visit earth, and rising from earth
unite themselves with air's mid-region,
Purified, excellent, they with shine in beauty. Thus may they lead us
to the world of Svarga.
27Yea, and supreme, alike in conformation, and brilliant and
refulgent and immortal,
As such, enjoined, well-guarding, water-givers, dress ye the
Odana for wife and husband. p. 92
28Numbered, they visit earth, these drops of moisture, commensu-
rate with plants and vital breathings,
Unnumbered, scattered, beautiful in colour, the bright, ones
have pervaded all refulgence.
29Heated, they rage and boil in agitation, they cast about their
foam and countless bubbles
Like a fond woman when she sees her husband—what time ye
waters and these rice-grains mingle,
30Take up these rice-grains lying at the bottom: led them be blent
and mingled with the waters.
This water I have measured in the vessel, if as mid-points the
rice-grains have been meted.
31Present the sickle: quickly bring it hither. Let them out plants
and joints with hands that harm not.
So may the plants be free from wrath against us, they o'er
whose realm Soma hath won dominion.
32Strew ye fresh grass for the boiled rice to rest on: fair let it be,
sweet to the eye and spirit.
Hither come Goddesses with Gods, and sitting here taste in
proper season this oblation.
33On the strewn grass. Vanaspati, be seated; commensurate with
Gods and Agnishtomas.
Let thy fair form, wrought as by Tvashtar's hatchet, mark these
that yearn for thee within the vessel.
34In sixty autumns may the Treasure-Guardian seek to gain
heavenly light by cooked oblation.
On this may sons and fathers live dependent. Send thou this
mess to Fire that leads to heaven.
35On the earth's breast stand firmly as supporter: may Deities
stir thee who ne'er hast shaken.
So living man and wife with living children remove thee from
the hearth of circling Agni.
36All wishes that have blessed those with fulfilment, having won
all the worlds have met together.
Let them plunge in both stirring-spoon and ladle: raise this and
set it in a single vessel.
37Pour out the covering butter, spread it eastward: sprinkle this
vessel over with the fatness.
Greet this, ye Deities, with gentle murmur, as lowing cows wel-
come their tender suckling. p. 93
38Thou hast poured oil and made the worlds: let heaven, unequal-
led, be spread out in wide extension.
Herein be cooked the buffalo, strong-pinioned: the Gods shall
give the Deities this oblation.
39Whate'er thy wife, away from thee, makes ready, or what, O
wife, apart from thee, thy husband,
Combine it all: let it be yours in common while ye produce one
world with joint endeavour.
40All these now dwelling on the earth, mine offspring, these whom,
this woman here, my wife, hath borne me,
Invite them all unto the vessel: knowing their kinship have the
children met together.
41Swollen with savoury meath, the stream of treasures, sources of
immortality blent with fatness
Soma retains all these; in sixty autumns the Guardian Lord of
Treasures may desire them.
42The Lord of Treasures may desire this treasure: lordless on.
every side be all the others.
Our mess, presented seeking heaven, hath mounted in three
divisions all three realms of Svarga.
43May Agni burn the God-denying demon: let no carnivorous.
Pis icha drink here.
We drive him off, we keep him at a distance. Ādityas and
Angirases pursue him!
44This meath do I announce, mingled with butter, to the Angi-
rases and the Ādityas.
With pure hands ne'er laid roughly on a Brahman go, pious.
couple, to the world of Svarga.
45Of this have I obtained the noblest portion from that same
world whence Parmeshthin gained it.
Pour forth, besprinkle butter rich in fatness: the share of
Angiras is here before us.
46To Deities, to Truth, to holy Fervour this treasure we consign,.
this rich deposit,
At play, in meeting led it not desert us, never give out to anyone
besides me.
47I cook the offering, I present oblation: only my wife attends
the holy service.
A youthful world, a son hath been begotten. Begin a life that
brings success and triumph. p. 94
48There is no fault in this, no reservation, none when it goes with
friends in close alliance.
We have laid down this vessel in perfection: the cooked mess
shall re-enter him who cooked it.
49To those we love may we do acts that please them. Away to
darkness go all those who hate us!
Cow, ox, and strength of every kind approach us! Thus let
them banish death of human beings.
50Perfectly do the Agnis know each other, one visitor of plants
and one of rivers,
And all the Gods who shine and glow in heaven. Gold is the
light of him who cooks oblation.
51Man hath received this skin of his from nature: of other
animals not one is naked.
Ye make him clothe himself with might for raiment. Odana's
mouth is a home-woven vesture.
52Whatever thou may say at dice, in meeting, whatever falsehood
through desire of riches,
Ye two, about one common warp uniting, deposit all impurity
within it.
53Win thou the rain: approach the Gods. Around thee thou from
the skin shalt make the smoke rise upward.
Soon to be, decked with butter, all-embracing, come to this
world wherewith one birth unites thee.
54In many a shape hath heaven transformed its body, as in itself
is known, of varied eolour.
Cleansing the bright, the dark form hath it banished: the red
form in the fire to thee I offer.
55To the eastern region, to Agni the Regent, to Asita the Protector,
Āditya the Archer, we present thee, this offering of ours. Do
ye preserve it from aggression
To full old age may Destiny conduct us; may full old age deliver
us to Mrityu. Then may we be with our prepared oblation.
56To the southern region, to Indra the Regent, to Tiraschirāji the
Protector, to Yama the Archer, we present, etc. (as in stanza
57To the western region, to Varuna the Regent, to Pridāku the
Protector, to Food the Archer, we present, etc.
58To the northern region, to Soma the Regent, to Svaja the Protec-
tor, to Thunderbolt the Archer, we present, etc. p. 95
59To the stedfast region, to Vishnu the Regent, to Kalmāshagriva
the Protector, to Plants the Archers, we present, etc.
60To the upper region, to Brihaspati the Regent, to Svitra the
Protector, to Rain the Archer, we present thee, this offering
of ours. Do ye preserve it from aggression.
To full old age may Destiny conduct us, may full old age deliver
us to Mrityu. Then may we be with our prepared oblation.

HYMN IV Scroll Up

On the duty of giving cows to Brāhmans, and the sin and danger of withholding the gift

1Give the gift, shall be his word: and straightway they have bound
the Cow
For Brāhman priests who beg the boon. That bringeth sons and
2He trades and traffics with his sons, and in his cattle suffers loss.
Who will not give the Cow of Gods to Rishis children when
they beg.
3They perish through a hornless cow, a lame cow sinks them in a
Through a maimed cow his house is burnt: a one-eyed cow
destroys his wealth.
4Fierce fever where her droppings fall attacks the master of the
So have they named her Vasa, for thou art called uncontrollable.
5The malady Viklindu springs on him from ground whereon she
And suddenly, from fell disease, perish the men on whom she
6Whoever twitches up her ears is separated from the Gods.
He deems he makes a mark, but he diminishes his wealth
7If to his own advantage one applies the long hair of her tail, p. 98
His colts, in consequence thereof. die, and the wolf destroys his
8If, while her master owneth her, a carrion crow hath harmed her
His young boys die thereof, Decline o'ertakes them after fell
9What time the Dāsi woman throws lye on the droppings of the
Misshapen birth arises thence, inseparable from that sin.
10For Gods and Brāhmans is the Cow produced when first she
springs to life,
Hence to the priests must she be given: this they call guarding
private wealth.
11The God-created Cow belongs to those who come to ask for
They call it outrage on the priests when one retains her as his
12He who withholds the Cow of Gods from Rishis' sons who ask
the gift
Is made an alien to the Gods, and subject to the Brāhmans'
13Then let him seek another Cow, whate'er his profit be in this.
The Cow, not given, harms a man when he denies her at their
14Like a rich treasure stored away in safety is the Brāhmans' Cow.
Therefore men come to visit her, with whomsoever she is born.
15So when the Brāhmans come unto the Cow they come unto their
For this is her withholding, to oppress these in another life.
16Thus after three years may she go, speaking what is not under-
He, Nārads! would know the Cow, then Brāhmans must be
sought unto.
17Whoso calls her a worthless Cow, the stored-up treasure of the
Bhava and Sarva, both of them, move round and shoot a shaft
at him.
18The man who hath no knowledge of her udder and the teats
thereof, p. 99
She yields him milk with these, if he hath purposed to bestow
the Cow.
19If he withholds the Cow they beg, she lies rebellious in his stall.
Vain are the wishes and the hopes which he, withholding her,
would gain.
20The Deities have begged the Cow, using the Brāhman as their
The man who gives her not incurs the enmity of all the Gods.
21Withholding her from Brāhmans, he incurs the anger of the
When mortal man appropriates the destined portion of the
22If hundred other Brāhmans beg the Cow of him who owneth
The Gods have said, She, verily, belongs to him who knows the
23Whoso to others, not to him who hath this knowledge, gives the
Earth, with the Deities, is hard for him to win and rest upon.
24The Deities begged the Cow from him with whom at first she
was produced:
Her, this one, Nārada would know: with Deities he drove her
25The Cow deprives of progeny and makes him poor in cattle who
Retains in his possession her whom Brāhmans have solicited.
26For Agni and for Soma, for Kāma, Mitra and Varuna,
For these the Brāhmans ask: from these is he who giveth not
27Long as her owner hath not heard, himself, the verses, let her
Among his kine: when he hath heard, let her not make her
home with him;
28He who hath heard her verses and still makes her roam among
his kine.
The Gods in anger rend away his life and his prosperity
29Roaming in many a place the Cow is the stored treasure of the
Make manifest thy shape and form when she would seek her
dwelling-place. p. 100
30Her shape and form she manifests when she would seek her
Then verily the Cow attends to Brāhman priests and their
31This thought he settles in his mind. This safely goeth to the
Then verily the Brāhman priests approach that they may beg the
32By Svadhā to the Fathers, by sacrifice to the Deities,
By giving them the Cow, the Prince doth not incur the mother's.
33The Prince's mother is the Cow: so was it ordered from of old.
She, when bestowed upon the priests, cannot be given back, they
34As molten butter, held at length, drops down to Agni from the
So falls away from Agni he who gives no Cow to Brāhman
35Good milker, with rice-cake as calf, she in the world comes
nigh to him,
To him who gave her as a gift the Cow grants every hope and.
36In Yama's realm the Cow fulfils each wish for him who gave her
But hell, they say, is for the man who, when they beg, bestow
her not.
37Enraged against her owner roams the Cow when she hath been
He deemed me fruitless is her thought; let him be bound in,
snares of Death!
38Whoever looking on the Cow as fruitless, cooks her flesh at
Brihaspati compels his sons and children of his sons to beg.
39Downward she sends a mighty heat, though amid kine a Cow
she roams.
Poison she yields for him who owns and hath not given her away.
40The animal is happy when it is bestowed upon the priests:
But happy is the Cow when she is made a sacrifice to Gods.
41Nārada chose the terrible Vilipti out of all the cows Which the p. 101
Gods formed and framed when they had risen up from sacri-
42The Gods considered her in doubt whether she were a Cow or
Mirada spake of her and said, The veriest Cow of cows is she.
43How many cows, O Nārada, knowest thou, born among man-
I ask thee who dost know, of which must none who is no
Brāhman eat?
44Vilipti, cow, and she who drops no second calf, Brihaspati!
Of these none not a Brāhmana should eat if he hope for emi-
45Homage, O Nārada, to thee who hast quick knowledge of the
Which of these is the direst, whose withholding bringeth death
to man?
46Vilipti, O Brihaspati, cow, mother of no second calf—Of these
none not a Brāhman should eat if he hope for eminence.
47Threefold are kine, Vilipti, cow, the mother of no seeond calf:
These one should give to priests, and he will not offend Prajā-
48This Brāhmans! is your sacrifice: thus should one think when he
is asked,
What time they beg from him the Cow fearful in the with-
holder's house.
49He gave her not to us, so spake the Gods, in anger, of the Cow.
With these same verses they addressed Bheda: this brought
him to his death.
50Solicited by Indra, still Bheda refused to give this Cow.
In strife for victory the Gods destroyed him for that sin of his.
51The men of evil counsel who advise refusal of the Cow,
Miscreants, through their foolishness, are subjected to Indra's
52They who seduce the owner of the Cow and say, Bestow her
Encounter through their want of sense the missile shot by
Rudra's hand.
53If in his home one cooks the Cow, sacrificed or not sacrificed.
Wronger of Gods and Brāhmans' he departs, dishonest, from
the world.

HYMN V Scroll Up

On the duty of giving cows to Brāhmans, and the sin and danger of withholding the gift

1Created by toil and holy fervour, found by devotion, resting in
2Invested with truth, surrounded with honour, compassed about
with glory;
3Girt round with inherent power, fortified with faith, protected,
by consecration, installed at sacrifice, the world her resting-
4Brahma her guide, the Brāhman her lord and ruler;
5Of the Kshatriya who taketh to himself this Brāhman's cow and
oppresseth the Brāhman.
6The glory, the heroism, and the favouring fortune depart.
7The energy and vigour, the power and might the speech and
mental strength, the glory and duty;
8Devotion and princely sway, kingship and people, brilliance and
honour, and splendour and wealth;
9Long life and goodly form, and name and fame, inbreathing and
expiration, and sight, and hearing;
10Milk and flavour, and food and nourishment, and right and
truth, and action and fulfilment, and children and cattle;
11All these blessings of a Kshatriya depart from him when he
oppresseth the Brāhman and taketh to himself the hhman's
12Terrible is she this Brāhman's cow, and fearfully venomous,
visibly witchcraft.
13In her are all horrors and all death.
14In her are all dreadful, deeds, all slaughters of mankind.
15This, the Brāhman's cow, being appropriated, holdeth bound in
the fetter of Death the oppressor of the Brāhman, the blas-
phemer of the Gods.
16A hundred-killing bolt is she: she slays the Brāhman's injurer.
17Therefore the Brāhmans' cow is held inviolable by the wise.
18Running she is a thunderbolt, when driven away she is Vaisvā-
19An arrow when she draweth up her hooves, and Mahādeva when
she looketh around;
20Sharp as a razor when she beholdeth, she thundereth when she
belloweth. p. 104
21Death is she when she loweth, and a fierce God when she whis-
keth her tail;
22Utter destruction when she moveth her ears this way and that,
Consumption when she droppeth water;
23A missile when milking, pain in the head when milked;
24The taking away of strength when she approacheth, a hand-to-
hand fighter when roughly touched;
25Wounding like an arrow when she is fastened by her mouth,
contention when she is beaten;
26Fearfully venomous when falling, darkness when she hath fallen
27Following him, the Brāhman's cow extinguisheth the vital breath
of the injurer of the Brāhman.
28Hostility when being cut to pieces, woe to children when the
portions are distributed,
29A destructive missile of Gods when she is being seized,
misfortune when carried away;
30Misery while being additionally acquired, contumely and abuse
while being put in the stall;
31Poison when in agitation, fever when seasoned with condi-
32Sin while she is cooking, evil dream when she is cooked;
33Uprooting when she is being turned round, destruction when she
hath been turned round;
34Discord by her smell, grief when she is being eviscerated: ser-
pent with poison in its fang when drawn;
35Loss of power while sacrificially presented, humiliation when she
hath been offered;
36Wrathful Sarva while being carved. Simidā when cut up:
37Poverty while she is being eaten. Destruction when eaten.
38The Brāhman's cow when eaten cuts off the injurer of Brāhmans
both from this world and from the world yonder.
39Her slaughter is the sin of witchcraft, her cutting-up is a thunder-
bolt, her undigested grass is a secret spell.
40Homelessness is she when denied her rights.
41Having become Flesh-eating Agni the Brāhman's cow entereth
into and devoureth the oppressor of Brāhmans.
42She sunders all his members, joints, and roots.
43She cuts off relationship on the father's side and destroys mater-
nal kinship. p. 105
44The Brāhman's cow, not restored by a Kshatriya, ruins the
marriages and all the kinsmen of the Brāhman's oppressor.
45She makes him houseless, homeless, childless: he is extinguished
without posterity to succeed him.
046. So shall it be with the Kshatriya who takes to himself the cow
of the Braman who hath this knowledge.
47Quickly, when he is smitten down by death, the clamorous vul-
tures cry:
48Quickly around his funeral fire dance women with dishevelled
Striking the hand upon the breast and uttering their evil shriek.
49Quickly the wolves are howling in the habitation where he
50Quickly they ask about him, What is this? What thing hath
happened here?
51Rend, rend to pieces, rend away, destroy, destroy him utterly.
52Destroy Angirasi! the wretch who robs and wrongs the Brah-
mans, born.
53Of evil womb, thou witchcraft hid, for Vaisvadevi is thy name,
54Consuming, burning all things up, the thunderbolt of spell and
55Go thou, becoming Mrityu sharp as razor's edge pursue thy
56Thou bearest off the tyrants' strength, their store of merit, and
their prayers.
57Bearing off wrong, thou givest in that world to him who hath
been wronged.
58O Cow, become a tracker through the curse the Brāhman hath
59Become a bolt, an arrow through his sin, be terribly venomous.
60O Cow, break thou the head of him who wrongs the Brāhmans,
criminal, niggard, blasphemer of the Gods.
61Let Agni burn the spiteful wretch when crushed to death and
slain by thee.
62Rend, rend to bits, rend through and through, scorch and con-
sume and burn to dust,
63Consume thou, even from the root, the Brāhmans' tyrant, god-
like Cow!
64That he may go from Yama's home afar into the worlds of sin.
its p. 106
65So, Goddess Cow, do thou from him, the Brāhmans' tyrant,
criminal, niggard, blasphemer of the Gods,
66With hundred-knotted thunderbolt, sharpened and edged with
67Strike off the shoulders and the head.
68Snatch thou the hair from off his head, and from his body strip
the skin:
69Tear out his sinews, cause his flesh to fall in pieces from his
70Crush thou his bones together, strike and beat the marrow out
of him.
71Dislocate all his limbs and joints.
72From earth let the Carnivorous Agni drive him, let Vayu burn.
him from mid-air's broad region.
73From heaven let Sūrya drive him and consume him.

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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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