The Rig Veda Book 3 - Verses 1 to 10
HYMN I. Agni.
1. THOU, Agni, who wilt have the strong, hast made me the
Soma's priest, to worship in assembly.
Thou shinest to the Gods, I set the pressstones. I toil; be joyful in thyself, O Agni.
2 East have we turned the rite; may the hymn aid it. With wood and worship shall they honour Agni.
From heaven the synods of the wise have learnt it: c'en for the quick and strong they seek advancement.
3 The Prudent, he whose will is pure, brought welfare, allied by birth to Heaven and Earth in kinship.
The Gods discovered in the midst of waters beautiful Agni
with the Sisters' labour.
4 Him, Blessed One, the Seven strong Floods augmented, him white at birth and red when waxen mighty.
As mother mares run to their new-born you ling, so at his birth the Gods wondered at Agni.
5 Spreading with radiant limbs throughout the region, purging his power with wise purifications,
Robing himself in light, the life of waters, lie spreads abroad his high and perfect glories.
6 He sought heaven's Mighty Ones, the unconsuming, the unimpaired, not clothed and yet not naked.
Then they, ancient and young, who dwell together, Seven sounding Rivers, as one germ received him.
7 His piles, assuming every form, are scattered where flow sweet waters, at the spring of fatness;
There stood the milch-kine with full-laden udders, and both paired Mighty Mothers of the Wondrous.
8 Carefully cherished, Son of Strength, thou shoncst assuming lasting and refulgent beauties.
Full streams of fatness and sweet juice descended, there where the Mighty One grew strong by wisdom.
9 From birth he knew even his Father's bosom, he set his voices and his streams in motion;
Knew him who moved with blessed Friends in secret, with the young Dames of heaven. He stayed not hidden.
10 He nursed the Infant of the Sire and Maker: alone the Babe sucked many a teeming bosom.
Guard, for the Bright and Strong, the fellow-spouses friendly to men and bound to him in kinship.
11 The Mighty One increased in space unbounded; full many a glorious flood gave strength to Agni.
Friend of the house, within the lap of Order lay Agni, in the Sister Rivers' service.
12 As keen supporter where great waters gather, light-shedder whom the brood rejoice to look on;
He who begat, and will beget, the dawnlights, most manly, Child of Floods, is youthful Agni.
13 Him, varied in his form, the lovely Infant of floods and plants the blessed wood hath gendered.
Gods even, moved in spirit, came around him, and served him at his birth, the Strong, the Wondrous.
14 Like brilliant lightnings, mighty luminaries accompany
the light-diffusing Agni,
Waxen, as 'twere in secret, in his dwelling, while in the boundless stall they milk out Amrta.
15 I sacrificing serve thee with oblations and crave with longing thy good-will and friendship.
Grant, with the Gods, thy grace to him who lauds thee, protect us with thy rays that guard the homestead.
16 May we, O Agni, thou who leadest wisely, thy followers and masters of all treasures,
Strong in the glory of our noble offspring, subdue the godless when they seek the battle.
17 Ensign of Gods hast thou become, O Agni, joy-giver, knower of all secret wisdom.
Friend of the homestead, thou hast lightened mortals: carborne thou goest to the Gods, fulfilling.
18 Within the house hath sate the King immortal of mortals, filling full their sacred synods.
Bedewed with holy oil he shineth widely, Agni, the knower of all secret wisdom.
19 Come unto us with thine auspicious friendship, come speeding, Mighty, with thy mighty succours.
Grant us abundant wealth that saves from danger, that brings a good repute, a glorious portion.
20 To thee who art of old these songs, O Agni, have I declared, the ancient and the later.
These great libations to the Strong are offiered: in every birth is Jatavedas stablished.
21 Stablished in every birth is Jatavedas, kindled perpetual by the Visvamitras.
May we rest ever in the loving-kindness, in the auspicious grace of him the Holy.
22 This sacrifice of ours do thou, O Mighty, O truly Wise, bear to the Gods rejoicing.
Grant us abundant food, thou priestly Herald, vouchsafe to give us ample wealth, O Agni.
23 As holy food, Agni, to thine'invoker give wealth in cattle, lasting, rich in marvels.
To us he born a son, and spreading offspring. Agni, be this thy gracious will to us-ward.
HYMN II. Agni.
1. To him, Vaisvanara, who strengthens Holy Law, to Agni
we present our praise like oil made pure.
With thoughtful insight human priests bring him anear, our Herald from of old, as an axe forms a car.
2 He made the heaven and earth resplendent by his birth: Child of two Mothers he was meet to be implored,
Agni, oblation-bearer, gracious, ever-young, infallible, rich in radiant light, the guest of men.
3 Within the range of their surpassinq power, by might, the Gods created Agni with inventive thought.
I, eager to win strength, address him, like a steed, resplendent with his brilliance, with his ample light.
4 Eager to gain, we crave from him the friendly God strength confident, choiceworthy meet to be extolled:
The Bhrgus' bounty, willing, strong with sages' lore, even Agni shining forth with light that comes from heaven.
5 For happiness, men, having trimmed the sacred grass, set Agni glorious for his strength before them here;
Yea, with raised ladles, him bright, dear to all the Gods, perfecting aims of works, Rudra of solemn rites.
6 Around thy dwelling-place, O brightly-shining Priest, are men at sacrifice, whose sacred grass is trimmed.
Wishing to do thee service, Agni, they are there, desirous of thy friendship grant them store of wealth.
7 He hath filled heaven and earth and the great realm of
light, when at his birth the skilful held him in their hold.
He like a horse is led forth to the sacrifice Sage, graciously inclined, that he may win us strength.
8 Honour the oblation-bearer, him who knows fair rites, serve ye the Household Friend who knows all things that be.
He drives the chariot of the lofty ordinance: Agni most active, is the great High Priest of Gods.
9 They who are free from death, fain for him, purified three splendours of the mighty Agni, circling all.
To man, for his enjoyment, one of these they gave: the other two have passed into the sister sphere.
10 Man's sacrificial food hath sharpened like an axe, for brightness, him the Sage of men, the people's Lord,
Busied with sacred rites he mounts and he descends. He hath laid down his vital germ within these worlds.
11 He stirs with life in wombs dissimilar in kind, born as a Lion or a loudly-bellowing Bull:
Vaisvanara immortal with wide-reaching might, bestowing goods and wealth on him who offiers gifts.
12 Vaisvanara, as of old, mounted the cope of heaven, heaven's ridge, well greeted, by those skilled in noble songs.
He, as of old, producing riches for the folk, still watchful, traversesthe common way again.
13 For new prosperity we seek to Agni, him whose course is splendid, gold-haired, excellently bright,
Whom Matarisvan stablished, dweller in the heaven, meet for high praise and holy, sage and true to Law.
14 As pure and swift of course, beholder of the light, who stands in heaven's bright sphere a sign, who wakes at dawn,
Agni, the head of heaven, whom none may turn aside-to him the Powerful with mighty prayer we seek.
15 The cheerful Priest, the pure, in whom no guile is found, Friend of the House, praise-worthy, dear to all mankind,
Fair to behold for beauty like a splendid car,- Agni the Friend of men we ever seek for wealth.
HYMN III. Agni.
1. To him who shines afar, Vaisvanara, shall bards give precious
things that he may go on certain paths:
For Agni the Immortal serves the Deities, and therefore never breaks their everlasting laws.
2 He, wondrous envoy, goes between the earth and heaven, firm seated as the Herald, great High Priest of men.
He compassethwith rays the lofty dwelling-place, Agni, sent forward by the Gods, enriched with piayer.
3 Sages shall glorify Agni with earnest thoughts, ensign of sacrifice, who fills the synod full:
In whom the singers have stored up their holy acts to him the worshipper looks for joy and happiness.
4 The Sire of sacrifice, great God of holy bards, Agni, the measure and the symbol of the priests,
Hath entered heaven and earth that show in varied form: the Sage whom many love rejoiceth in his might.
5 Bright Agni with the bright car, Lord of green domains, Vaisvanara dweller in the floods, who finds the light,
Pervading, swift and wild, encompassed round with powers, him very glorious have the Gods established here.
6 Agni, together with the Gods and Manu's folk by thought extending sacrifice in varied form,
Goes, car-borne, to and fro with those who crown each rite, the fleet, the Household Friend, who turns the curse aside.
7 Sing, Agni, for long life to us and noble sons: teem thou with plenty, shine upon us store of food.
Increase the great man's strength, thou ever-vigilant: thou, longing for the Gods, knowest their hymns full well.
8 The Mighty One, Lord of the people and their guest, the leader of their thoughts, devoted Friend of priests,
Our solemn rites' announcer, Jatavedas, men with worship ever praise, with urgings for their weal.
9 Agni the God resplendent, giver of great joy, hath on his lovely car compassed the lands with, might.
Let us with pure laudations in his house approach the high laws of the nourisher of multitudes.
10 I celebrate thy glories, O Vaisvanara, wherewith thou, O farsighted God, has found the light.
Thou filledst at thy birth both worlds, the earth and heaven: all this, O Agni, hast thou compassed of thyself.
11 By his great skill the Sage alone hath brought to pass a great deed, mightier than Vaisvanara's wondrous acts.
Agni sprang into being, magnifying both his Parents, Heaven and Earth, rich in prolific seed.
HYMN IV Apris.
1. BE friendly with each kindled log of fuel, with every
flash bestow the boon of riches.
Bring thou the Gods, O God, unto our worship: serve, well-inclined, as Friend thy friends, O Agni.
2 Agni whom daily Varuna and Mitra the Gods bring thrice a day to this our worship,
Tanunapat, enrich with meath our service that dwells with holy oil, that offers honour.
3 The thought that bringeth every boon proceedeth to worship first the Priest of the libation,
That we may greet the Strong One with our homage. Urged, may he bring the Gods, best Sacrificer.
4 On high your way to sacrifice was made ready; the radiant flames went upward to the regions.
Full in the midst of heaven the Priest is seated: sirew we the sacred grass where Gods may rest them.
5 Claiming in mind the seven priests' burntoblations, inciting all, they came in settled order.
To this our sacrifice approach the many who show in hero beauty at assemblies.
6 Night and Dawn, lauded, hither come together, both smiling, different are their forms in colour,
That Varuna and Mitra may accept us, and Indra, girt by Maruts, with his glories.
7. I crave the grace of heaven's two chief Invokers: the seven swift steeds joy in their wonted manner.
These speak of truth, praising the truth eternal, thinking on Order as the guards of Order.
8 May Bharati with all her Sisters, Ila accordant with the Gods, with mortalls Agni,
Sarasvati with all her kindred Rivers, come to this grass, Three Goddesses, and seat them.
9 Well pleased with us do thou O God, O Tvastar, give ready issue to our procreant vigour,
Whence springs the hero, powerful, skilled in action, lover of Gods, adjuster of the press-stones.
10 Send to the Gods the oblation, Lord of Forests; and let the Immolator, Agni, dress it.
He as the truer Priest shall offer worship, for the Gods' generations well he knoweth.
11 Come thou to us, O Agni, duly kindled, together with the potent Gods and Indra.
On this our grass sit Aditi, happy Mother, and let our Hail delight the Gods Immortal.
HYMN V. Agni.
1. Agni who shines against the Dawns is wakened. The holy
Singer who precedes the sages.
With far-spread lustre, kindled by the pious, the Priest hath thrown both gates of darkness open.
2 Agni hath waxen mighty by laudations, to be adored with hymns of those who praise him.
Loving the varied shows of holy Order at the first flush of dawn he shines as envoy.
3 Amid men's homes hath Agni been established, fulfilling with the Law, Friend, germ of waters.
Loved and adored, the height he hath ascended, the Singer, object of our invocations.
4 Agni is Mitra when enkindled duly, Mitra as Priest, Varuna, Jatavedas;
Mitra as active minister, and House-Friend, Mitra of flowing rivers and of mountains.
5 The Earth's, the Bird's dear lofty place he guardeth, he guardeth in his might the course of Surya,
Guardeth the Seven-headed in the centre, guardeth sublime the Deities enjoyment.
6 The skilful God who knows all forms of knowledge made for himself a fair form, meet for worship.
This Agni guards with care that never ceases the Sonia's skin, the Bird's place rich in fatness.
7 Agni hath entered longingly the longing shrine rich with fatness, giving easy access.
Resplendent, pure, sublime and purifying, again, again he renovates his Mothers.
8 Born suddenly, by plants he grew to greatness, when tender shoots with holy oil increased him,
Like waters lovely when they hasten downward may Agni in his Parents' lap protect us.
9 Extolled, the Strong shone forth with kindled fuel to the earth's centre, to the height of heaven.
May Agni, Friend, adorable Matarisvan, as envoy bring the Gods unto our worship.
10 Best of all luminaries lofty Agni supported with his flame the height of heaven,
When, far from Bhrgus, Matarisvan kindled the oblation-bearer where he lay in secret.
11 As holy food, Agni to thine invoker give wealth in cattle, lasting, rich in marvels.
To us be born a son and spreading offspring. Agni, be this thy gracious will to us-word.
HYMN VI. Agni.
1. URGED on by deep devotion, O ye singers, bring, pious
ones, the God-approaching ladle.
Borne onward to the right it travels eastward, and, filled with oil, to Agni bears oblation.
2 Thou at thy birth didst fill both earth and heaven, yea, Most Adorable, thou didst exceed them.
Even through the heaven's and through the earth's expanses let thy swift seventongued flames roll on, O Agni.
3 Both Heaven and Earth and Gods who should be worshipped establish thee as Priest for every dwelling,
Whenever human families, God-devoted, bringing oblations; laud thy splendid lustre.
4 Firm in the Gods' home is the Mighty seated, between vast Heaven and Earth the well-beloved-
Those Cows who yield, unharmed, their nectar, Spouses of the Far-Strider, everyoung, united.
5 Great are the deeds of thee, the Great, O Agni: thou by thy power hast spread out earth and heaven.
As soon as thou wast born thou wast an envoy, thou, Mighty One, was Leader of the people.
6 Bind to the pole with cords of holy Order the long-maned ruddy steeds who sprinkle fatness.
Bring hithier, O thou God, all Gods together: provide them noble worship, Jatavedas.
7 Even from the sky thy brilliant lights shone hither: still hast thou beamed through many a radiant morning,
That the Gods praised their joyous Herald's labour eagerly burning, Agni, in the forests.
8 The Gods who take delight in air's wide region, or those the dwellers in heaven's realm of brightness,
Or those, the Holy, prompt to hear, our helpers, who, carborne, turn their horses hither, Agni---
9 With these, borne on one ear, Agni, approach us, or borne on many, for thy steeds are able.
Bring, witb their Dames, the Gods, the Three and-Thirty, after thy Godlike nature, and be joyful.
10 He is the Priest at whose repeated worship even wide Heaven and Earth sing out for increase.
They fair and true and holy coming forward stand at his sacrifice who springs from Order.
11 As holy food, Agni, to thine invoker give wealth in cattle, lasting, rich in marvels.
To us be born a son and spreading offspring. Agni, be this thy gracious will to usward.
1. THE seven tones risen from the whitebacked viand have
made their way between the pair of Mothers.
Both circumjacent Parents come together to yield us length of days they hasten forward.
2 The Male who dwells in heaven hath Mares and Milchkine: he came to Goddesses who bring sweet treasure.
To thee safe resting in the seat of Order the Cow alone upon her way proceedeth.
3 Wise Master, wealthy finder-out of riches, he mounted those who may with case be guided.
He, dark-backed, manifold with varied aspect, hath made them burst forth from their food the brush-wood.
4 Strength-giving streams bear hither him eternal, fain to support the mighty work. of Tvastar.
He, flashing in his home with all his members, hath entered both the worlds as they were single.
5 They know the red Bull's blessing, and are joyful under the flaming-coloured Lord's dominion:
They who give shine from heavenwith fair effulgence, whose lofty song like Ila must be honoured.
6 Yea, by tradition from the ancient sages they brought great strength from the two mighty Parents,
To where the singer's Bull, the night's dispeller, after his proper law hath waxen stronger.
7 Seven holy singers guard with five Adhvaryus the Bird's beloved firmly-settled station.
The willing Bulls, untouched by old, rejoice them: as Gods themselves the ways of Gods they follow.
8 I crave the grace of heaven's two chief Invokers: the seven swift steeds joy in their wonted manner.
These speak of truth, praising the Truth Eternal, thinking on Order as the guards of Order.
9 The many seek the great Steed as a stallion: the reins obey the Lord of varied colour.
O heavenly Priest, most pleasant, full of wisdom, bring the great Gods to us, and Earth and Heaven.
10 Rich Lord, the Mornings have gleamed forth in splendour, fair-rayed, fair-speaking, worshipped with all viands,
Yea, with the glory of the earth, O Agni. Forgive us, for our weal, e'en sin cornmitted.
11 As holy food, Agni, to thine invoker, give wealth in cattle, lasting, rich in marvels.
To us be born a son, and spreading offspring Agni, be this thy gracious will to usward.
HYMN VIII Sacrificial Post.
1. GOD-SERVING men, O Sovran of the Forest, with heavenly
meath at sacrifice anoint thee.
Grant wealth to us when thou art standing upright as when reposing on this Mother's bosom.
2 Set up to eastward of the fire enkindled, accepting prayer that wastes not, rich in hero.
Driving far from us poverty and famine, lift thyself up to bring us great good fortune.
3 Lord of the Forest, raise. thyself up on the loftiest spot of earth.
Give splendour, fixt and measured well, to him who brings the sacrifice.
4 Well-robed, enveloped he is come, the youthful: springing to life his glory waxeth greater.
Contemplative in mind and God-adoring, sages of high intelligence upraise him.
5 Sprung up he rises in the days' fair weather, increasing in the men-frequented synod.
With song the wise and skilful consecrate him: his voice the God-adoring singer utters.
6, Ye whom religious men have firmly planted; thou Forest Sovran whom the axe hath fashioned,-
Let those the Stakes divine which here are standing be fain to grant us wealth with store of children.
7 O men who lift the ladles up, these hewn and planted in the ground,
Bringing a blessing to the field, shall bear our precious gift to Gods.
8 Adityas, Rudras, Vasus, careful leaders, Earth, Heaven, and Prthivi and Air's mid-region,
Accordant Deities shall bless our worship and make our sacrifice's ensign lofty.
9 Like swan's that flee in lengthened line, the Pillars have come to us arrayed in brilliant coIour.
They, lifted up on high, by sages, eastward, go forth as Gods to the God's dwelling-places.
10 Those Stakes upon the earth with rings that deck them seem to the eye like horns of horned creatures;
Or, as upraised by priests in invocation, let them assist us in the rush to battle.
11 Lord of the Wood, rise with a hundred branches. with thousand branches may we rise to greatness,
Tlou whom this hatchct, with an edge well whetted for great felicity, hath brought before us.
1. WE as thy friends have chosen thee, mortals a God, to
be our help,
The Waters' Child, the blessed, the resplendent One, victorious and beyond compare.
2 Since thou delighting in the woods hast gone unto thy mother streams,
Not to be scorned, Agni, is that return of thine when from afar thou now art here.
3 O'er pungent smoke host thou prevailed, and thus art thou benevolent.
Some go before, and others round about thee sit, they in whose friendship thou hast place.
4 Him who had passed beyond his foes, beyond continual pursuits, Him the unerring Ones, observant, found in floods, couched like a lion in his lair.
5 Him wandering at his own free will, Agni here hidden from our view,
Him Matarisvan brought to us from far away produced by friction, from the Gods.
6 O Bearer of Oblations, thus mortals received thee from the Gods,
Whilst thou, the Friend of man, guardest each sacrifice with thine own power, Most Youthful One.
7 Amid thy wonders this is good, yea, to the simple is it clear,
When gathered round about thee, Agni, lie the herds where thou art kindled in the morn.
8 Offer to him who knows fair rites, who burns with purifying glow,
Swift envoy, active, ancient, and adorable: serve ye the God attentively.
9 Three times a hundred Gods and thrice a thousand, and three times ten and nine have worshipped Agni,
For him spread sacred grass, with oil bedewed him, and stablished him as Priest and Sacrificer.
HYMN X. Agni.
1. THEE Agni, God, Imperial Lord of all mankind, do mortal
With understanding kindle at thesacrifice.
2 They laud thee in their solemn rites, Agni, as Minister and Priest,
Shine forth in thine own home as guardian of the Law.
3 He, verily, who honours thee with fuel, Knower of all life,
He, Agni! wins heroic might, he prospers well.
4 Ensign of sacrifices, he, Agni, with Gods is come to us,
Decked by the seven priests, to him who bringeth gifts.
5 ToAgni, the Invoking Priest, offer your best, your lofty speech,
To him Ordainer-like who brings the light of songs.
6 Let these our hymns make Agni grow, whence, meet for laud, he springs to life,
To mighty strength and great possession, fair to see.
7 Best Sacrificer, bring the Gods, O Agni, to the pious man:
A joyful Priest, thy splendour drive our foes afar
8 As such, O Purifier, shine on us heroic glorious might:
Be nearest Friend to those who laud thee, for their weal.
9 So, wakeful, versed in sacred hymns, the holy singers kindly thee.
Oblation-bearer, deathless, cherisher of strength.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- The Rig Veda translation by Griffith, Introduction
- Hymns of the Sama veda translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith
- Yajur Veda: The Veda Of The Black Yajus School
- Hymns Of The Atharva-Veda
- Anugita English Translation
- THE Sanatsugâtîya, A Spiritual Dialogue
- Dharmashastras, the Sacred Law Books of Hindus
- The Hindu Dharmashastras, Subject Index
- The Grihya Sutras, The Vedic Domestic Ritual Texts
- The Sankhya Sutras of Kapila, Index page
- Translation of Upanishads by Swami Paramananda, Index
- A History Of Indian Philosophy - Chapter Index
- The Upanishads translated by Max Muller
- Vedic Reader for Students
- The Bhagavad-gita in a nutshell
- Essays On Dharma
- Esoteric Mystic Hinduism
- Introduction to Hinduism
- Hindu Way of Life
- Essays On Karma
- Hindu Rites and Rituals
- The Origin of The Sanskrit Language
- Symbolism in Hinduism
- Essays on The Upanishads
- Concepts of Hinduism
- Essays on Atman
- Hindu Festivals
- Spiritual Practice
- Right Living
- Yoga of Sorrow
- Mental Health
- Concepts of Buddhism
- General Essays
Source: An English translation of the Vedas by Ralph T.H. Griffith, 1896.
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