Ancient Sanskrit Online

Series Introduction

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

By Ancient Sanskrit we mean the oldest known form of Sanskrit. The simple name 'Sanskrit' generally refers to Classical Sanskrit, which is a later, fixed form that follows rules laid down by a grammarian around 400 BC. Like Latin in the Middle Ages, Classical Sanskrit was a scholarly lingua franca which had to be studied and mastered. Ancient Sanskrit was very different. It was a natural, vernacular language, and has come down to us in a remarkable and extensive body of poetry. (We have intentionally avoided the use of the traditional word "Vedic" to describe the language of these poems for reasons which are described below; see Karen Thomson's other publications for the detailed arguments.)

1. The earliest Indo-European poems.

The earliest surviving anthology of poems in any of the Indo-European languages is in Ancient Sanskrit. Composed long before Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, it consists of over a thousand songs of considerable merit celebrating the riches of nature, whose forces are frequently deified. The relationship that the poets describe with their environment is a sophisticated one. Their hymns serve as talismans, ensuring that the natural world will continue to provide welfare and shelter for man. The power of poetry and song is their primary theme.

    They indeed were comrades of the gods,
    Possessed of Truth, the poets of old:
    The fathers found the hidden light
    And with true prayer brought forth the dawn. (VII, 76, 4)

The circumstances of the original composition of these poems remain unknown. Believed to be of divine origin, this large body of material, in an archaic and unfamiliar language, was handed down orally, from generation to generation, by priests in ancient India. The highly metrical form of the poems, together with their incomprehensibility, made them ideally suited to ritual recitation by a religious elite. Faithfully preserved through the centuries as a sacred mystery, the text has come down to us in a state of considerable accuracy.

2. 'The Veda'.

Over time a body of dependent and scholastic material grew up around the poems, known loosely as 'the Veda'. Perhaps around 1000 BC (all dating in prehistoric India is only approximate), editors gathered the ancient poems together and arranged them, together with some more modern material, into ten books according to rules that were largely artificial (see section 4 below). They gave the collection the name by which it continues to be known, 'Rig-veda', or 'praise-knowledge'. Other collections came into being, based on this sacred material, and they were given parallel names. The editors of the 'Sāma-veda' arranged the poems differently, for the purpose of chanting, and introduced numerous alternative readings to the text. The sacrificial formulae used by the priests during their recitations, together with descriptions of their ritual practices, were incorporated into collections to which the general name 'Yajur-veda' was given. Later still, a body of popular spells was combined with passages from the Rigveda, again with variant readings, and was given the name 'Atharva-veda'. A continuously-growing mass of prose commentary, called the Brāhmaṇas, also came into being, devoted to the attempt to explain the meaning of the ancient poems. To the later Brāhmaṇas belongs the profusion of texts known as the Upanishads, which are of particular interest to Indologists, as Sanskrit scholars today often describe themselves, because of their important role in the development of early Indian religious thought.

2.1. The continuing influence of 'the Veda'.

This vast body of derivative material remains the subject of extensive study by Indologists. However, from the point of view of understanding the earliest Sanskrit text -- the Rigveda itself -- it has always been, and continues to be, crucially misleading.

Because the poems were put to ritual use by the ancient priests, much of their vocabulary was assumed by the authors of the later texts to refer in some way to ritual activity. The word paśú 'beast, cattle' came to designate a sacrificial victim in texts of the Brāhmaṇas, for example, and juhū́ 'tongue' was thought to mean 'butter ladle'. Abstract words of sophisticated meaning particularly suffered. The compound puro-ḷā́ 'fore-worship' (from purás 'in front' and √dāś 'worship') acquired the specific sense 'sacrificial rice cake', despite the fact that the word vrīhí 'rice', found in later texts, does not occur in the poems of the Rigveda. The complex noun krátu 'power, intellectual ability', discussed in the introduction to Lesson 7, was misunderstood to mean 'sacrifice' by the authors of the commentaries. Similarly, a number of important verbs of abstract meaning were thought by the editors of the Sāmaveda to be related solely to the production of milk, and to refer to cows (see section 50 of Lesson 10). Indology has always used the word 'Vedic', 'of the Veda', to describe pre-Classical Sanskrit, and the poems to which the name 'Rig-veda' had been given are studied in the context of 'the Veda'. Many ancient mistranslations continue to be maintained with unshakeable conviction by Vedic scholars.

With major pieces of the jigsaw firmly in the wrong place, the rest, inevitably, refuses to fit, and the comparison of passages in the attempt to establish word meanings appears to be a fruitless exercise. Indology has concluded that the Rigveda is not only uninteresting, "describing fussy and technical ritual procedures" (Stephanie Jamison On translating the Rig Veda: Three Questions, 1999, p. 3), but that it is also intentionally indecipherable. "One feels that the hymns themselves are mischievous translations into a 'foreign' language" (Wendy O'Flaherty The Rig Veda. An Anthology, Penguin, 1981, p. 16). Stephanie Jamison vividly portrays the frustrations inherent in the indological approach for a conscientious scholar. "The more I read the Rig Veda, the harder it becomes for me -- and much of the difficulty arises from taking seriously the aberrancies and deviations in the language" (op. cit. p. 9). Viewed through the eyes of Vedic scholars, this most ancient of Sanskrit texts is by turns tedious, and unintelligible: "One can be blissfully reading the most banal hymn, whose form and message offers no surprises -- and suddenly trip over a verse, to which one's only response can be 'What??!!'" (Jamison, op. cit. p. 10). The sophistication of the earliest Indo-European poetry lies buried beneath a mass of inherited misunderstandings that overlay the text like later strata at an archaeological site. Not surprisingly, few Sanskrit scholars today are interested in studying the Rigveda.

2.2. Existing translations.

The poems of the Rigveda are nonetheless of considerable interest to scholars in other fields, in particular linguists, archaeologists, and historians. Linguists regularly refer to Karl Geldner's translation into German made in the 1920s, which is the current scholarly standard; it was reprinted by Harvard University Press in 2003. Geldner's attempt to translate all the poems was however in his own view far from definitive, and it remained unpublished during his lifetime. As he wrote in the introduction to a selection of passages published in 1923, his versions are 'only a renewed attempt to make sense of it, nothing conclusive... where the translation appears dark to the reader, at that point the meaning of the original has also remained more or less dark to me'.

Geldner's struggle to make inherited mistranslations fit necessitates a considerable body of commentary. He notes, for example, to the third line of I, 162, 3, in which the word puroḷā́, mentioned above, appears to refer to a goat, that the line is "elliptical. puroḷā́ (the appetizer consisting of a flat cake of rice in the ritual, see Atharvaveda 9, 6, 12) is used here metaphorically to describe the first-offered goat." His unshakeable conviction that the word has the later specialisation of sense in the context may seem strange, but the translation 'sacrificial rice cake' is hallowed by centuries of later use. To a scholar at home in the later literature the word can have no other meaning.

Geldner's complete translation, and, more particularly, the passages where 'the translation appears dark', forms the basis for much of the selection into English for Penguin Classics by the religious historian Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, continuously reprinted since its first appearance in 1981. The Penguin selection has been the only version generally available in English for the past quarter of a century, and has introduced a generation of readers to the Rigveda. It perpetuates the belief that these ancient poems are full of arcane references to sacrificial practice, and that they are deliberately obscure.

The distance of O'Flaherty's interpretations from the text itself can be simply illustrated by her version of part of the opening verse of V, 85, "[the god spread the earth beneath the sun] as the priest who performs the slaughter spreads out the victim's skin" (op. cit. p. 211). These twelve words, "as the priest who performs the slaughter spreads out the victim's skin," translate śamitéva cárma 'like a worker a skin'. The word 'victim', together with others, is supplied to give the passage a 'sacrificial' interpretation (the text of V, 85, 1 is example 277 in Lesson 9 of this course). Despite the fact that there is no word for "victim" in the text, her index entry "victim, sacrificial (paśu)" cross-refers to this passage (she omits the accent throughout in conformity with the later language). The word paśú is not present; and what is more, the interpretation that she gives for paśú, "sacrificial victim," is the later, ritual sense used by the texts of the Veda. The word paśú is cognate with Latin pecus (Umbrian pequo, Gothic faihu 'money, moveable goods', Old High German fihu 'cattle', 'Vieh'). See the third verse of the Lesson 5 text, and examples 318 and 357, for passages where the word paśú 'beast, cattle' does appear in the poems.

Tradition colours translations in a number of ways that can be misleading for scholars in other fields. The archaeologist Colin Renfrew, in his stimulating and controversial book Archaeology and Language, chooses Rigveda I, 130, which he quotes in its entirety in Ralph Griffith's nineteenth-century translation, as typical of the whole "in its reference to Soma juice, and in its association of horses and chariots with the heroic practice of war." Leaving 'Soma juice' aside for the moment, is the second part of this conclusion valid? The only reference to human strife in the poem has svàr 'sunlight' as its prize (verse 8); 'chariots' only appear in similes describing streams running down to the sea (verse 5), and wise men fashioning a speech (verse 6); and the Sanskrit word áśva, related by linguists to other words for horse in the Indo-European language family, is absent from the poem. The three adjectives interpreted as 'horse' by the English translator could all have an entirely different meaning. The problem does not lie in the choice of a nineteenth-century translation; Geldner's version of I, 130 is similar, and Louis Renou, working in the 1960s, supplies a word for 'horse' to his French translation of this poem in two additional places.

What of Renfrew's other conclusion, about the typical reference to 'Soma juice'? Four pages on he quotes the first verse of Rigveda I, 102, again using Griffith's translation:

    "To thee the Mighty One I bring this mighty Hymn, for thy
    desire hath been gratified by my praise.
    In Indra, yea in him victorious through his strength,
    the Gods have joyed at feast, and when the Soma flowed."

The picture conjured up is pleasing, calling to mind Greek gods supping nectar on Mount Olympus, or Anglo-Saxon heroes feasting in the mead-hall. But "when the Soma flowed" translates a single word only, the abstract noun prasavé (for which see the Lesson 3 text). This same locative form, prasavé, is repeated eight verses later in the poem, where Griffith interprets it entirely differently, as 'in attack': may Indra make us prasavé puráḥ (purás 'in front' again) "foremost in attack." So is the Rigveda typically about the drinking of an intoxicating juice whose identity remains unidentified, or about warfare? Or is it about neither?

3. The decipherable Rigveda.

As this course is designed as an introduction to Ancient Sanskrit I have tried to avoid controversy in my translations, but the misinterpretations permeate the text, and it has not always been possible. In listing the nouns in -van I have included the word grā́van, as it is used by Arthur Macdonell in his Vedic Grammar for Students to illustrate the declension. But I do not believe, as Vedic scholars do, that it means 'ritual stone for pressing out the Soma juice', but that it describes a man who sings (see section 22 in Lesson 5). The traditional interpretation 'ritual pressing stone' produces translations throughout the Rigveda that are puzzling in the extreme. The translation in the first verse of the Lesson 8 text, V, 42, 13, of the feminine plural noun vakṣáṇā also differs significantly from that of Indology. My suggestion 'fertile places' is based on a survey of the contexts in which the word vakṣáṇā occurs. Antiquity understood the word differently, and as referring to part of the body, perhaps as a result of V, 42, 13 where it is traditionally translated 'womb'. But 'womb' fails to fit the other contexts in which vakṣáṇā occurs in the Rigveda, leading to a broad range of interpretations, and ingenious attempts by modern translators to explain them. The most recent dictionary by Manfred Mayrhofer suggests "belly, hollow, entrails; probably also 'bend of a river' and similar." Translators add 'udders' (Geldner and Renou, explaining that the rivers in one passage (my example 76) and the goddess of dawn in another (III, 30, 14) are pictured as cows), 'breasts' (Stephanie Jamison at X, 27, 16) and 'wagon-interiors' (Geldner at X, 28, 8, again citing the authority of a later text). Wendy O'Flaherty offers 'boxes' at X, 28, 8: "[the gods] laid the good wood in the boxes," but her note shows that she is following Geldner: "they take [it] home in boxes on wagons." For another occurrence of vakṣáṇā see example 151 in Lesson 6; and see also section 45.1 for the misreading by the Atharvaveda, in perplexity at a context that is clearly terrestrial, of the noun here as a participle.

My translation 'fertile places', however, is at variance with a strong tradition that explains the first verse of the Lesson 8 text as a description of primeval incest. This is an idea that Wendy O'Flaherty enthusiastically embraces elsewhere: she offers, for example, as an explanation of her perplexing translation of III, 31, 1 the note, "the priest pours butter into the spoon, and the father pours seed into his daughter" (p. 155). Not only is there no word for 'seed' in the passage glossed here, there is none for 'priest', 'spoon', or 'butter' either.

The Rigveda remains open to imaginative exegesis because Indologists continue to believe that its poems are deliberately obscure. "As the Brāhmaṇas tell us so often, 'the gods love the obscure'... and in investigating Vedic matters, we must learn to cultivate at least that divine taste" (Jamison The Ravenous Hyenas and the Wounded Sun. Myth and Ritual in Ancient India, 1991, p. 41). But the Brāhmaṇas came into existence because the meaning of the poems had become lost. The ancient commentators didn't understand the Rigveda, and they were trying to work out what the poems were about. The American linguist William Dwight Whitney, writing over a century ago, had little time for "their misapprehensions and deliberate perversions of their text, their ready invention of tasteless and absurd legends to explain the allusions, real or fancied, which it contains, their often atrocious etymologies" (Oriental and Linguistic Studies, 1873, p. 110), but to be fair to the authors of the Brāhmaṇas, they lacked modern resources: a written text and a concordance, for example. Without the ability to compare contexts decipherment is extremely difficult, and "ready invention" is a tempting alternative. Indology today, which has these resources, nonetheless adheres to the ancient methods of investigation. In her paper quoted at the beginning of this introduction, Stephanie Jamison propounds the thesis that "many of the most obscure images and turns of phrase in the Rig Veda make sense as poetic realisations of specific ritual activities, and whole hymns and hymn complexes can poetically encode the sequences and procedures of a particular ritual," citing as an example "Joel Brereton's recent brilliant explanation of the fiendishly opaque mythology of the divine figures, the R̥bhus, as reflecting in remarkable detail the Third Pressing of the Soma Sacrifice" (p. 7). This is the approach that first buried the Rigveda from view in ancient times, and in continuing to apply it modern Indology is simply throwing earth onto the mound.

As an editorial postscript to an article published in 1965 on the word vidátha, the Iranian scholar H.W. Bailey commented, "It should not pass unnoticed that the most recent translation of the Rigveda by L. Renou... knows nothing of vidátha- as 'congregation'... Each translator tends to read into the obscure texts his own theories." Only attention to the text itself, which has been out of print for much of the past century, will lift the mists that have always enveloped the Rigveda. Study of the earliest Indo-European poetry may have languished in recent times, but the parallel discipline of Old English studies has notably flourished as a result of the application of rigorous scholarship, deriving from the 'new philology' introduced into England from Germany in the 1830s. "The greatest strength of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Studies in general, I believe, is that by and large we have never lost our devotion to the text and to interpreting texts. We have not let theory estrange us from the life's blood of our enterprise, the texts and artifacts at the center of our study." (Fred C. Robinson, in the introduction to The Preservation and Transmission of Anglo-Saxon Culture, 1997). The Rigveda stands alone; unlike Old English it has not come down to us together with any artifacts that we know to be dateable to the same remote period in time. But it constitutes a considerable body of material, and remarkably, given its antiquity and importance, it remains largely undeciphered. This course has been written primarily to give access to the text to scholars from other disciplines, and to provide the means for a fresh approach to the decipherment of the earliest Indo-European poems.

4. The text, and the editorial tradition.

Until very recently the original poetic form of the Rigveda was also hidden. Luckily for modern students, this is no longer the case (see below). The artificial ordering of the poems by their ancient editors however remains in use today.

Books II to VII (of ten books) are arranged on a uniform pattern. Hymns addressed to Agni 'Fire' (Latin ignis) always come first: a frequent epithet of Agni in the Rigveda is puró-hita 'placed in front'. The Agni hymns are followed by hymns to Indra. Within these two groups the poems are arranged in order of diminishing length. Poems addressed to other gods form the third group of each book. Book VIII follows a more natural arrangement, and contains many poems of early date. The songs of Book IX are a special case, having been put together because of the similarity of their vocabulary, notably the obscure verb √pū, pávate and its derivatives. They contain many refrains (see section 40 in Lesson 8) that help to identify the groups to which they originally belonged. Books I and X appear to have been added later to the core collection. A different numbering system which is popular in India preserves this order but divides the material equally into eighths; still another, followed by Grassmann in his concordance (see the reading list in section 9), simply numbers the poems consecutively. (In the introduction to each lesson text the straightforward numerical references are also given.)

For much of its history this body of poetry was passed down orally. Even following the general introduction of writing, some time before the 3rd century BC, there was a strong reluctance to write down this sacred and cabalistic text, which was the exclusive and secret property of an elite. The date of the earliest written text that has come down to us, from which all others derive, is characteristically unknown. It is a 'continuous' text -- in Sanskrit, saṃ-hitā 'placed-together' -- in which adjacent sounds combine with each other across word boundaries according to strictly applied phonetic rules. This combining of sounds is known as sandhi, from the Sanskrit saṃ-dhi 'placing-together' (see section 7). A second ancient text, the pada or 'word' text, which gives all the words separately in their original form, appears to have been compiled at around the same time. The surviving manuscripts of these two texts in the Devanāgarī script were edited and published in a definitive edition by Max Müller in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was clear to Max Müller that the 'continuous' text obscured the original form of these poems. In 1869 he wrote, "if we try to restore the original form of the Vedic hymns, we shall certainly arrive at some kind of Pada text rather than at a Sanhitā text; nay, even in their present form, the original metre and rhythm of the ancient hymns are far more perceptible when the words are divided, than when we join them together throughout according to the rules of Sandhi." But it was not until 1994 that the metrically restored text, in a modern transliterated form, was published by the American scholars Barend van Nooten and Gary Holland. For the first time in its history, the Rigveda was clearly revealed, on the printed page, as poetry.

Van Nooten and Holland's edition has unfortunately been out of print for some years. In order to make the metrically restored text universally available, we have produced an edited online version, The Rigveda: Metrically Restored Text.

The system of modern transliteration used by van Nooten and Holland is also used in the full Unicode 3 versions of these lessons.

5. A note on methodology.

My aim throughout the grammar sections has been to provide a description of the language that is as straightforward as possible. Many factors have traditionally combined to make the Rigveda inaccessible to scholars in other fields, one of which is grammatical complexity. I have opted for the clearest presentation that I could find. As Arthur Macdonell's Vedic Grammar for Students is an excellent summary and remains in general use, I have tended to follow him in the attribution of verbal forms, but I have, for example, categorised the types of the aorist following Whitney, as his description seems more straightforward. Others may disagree with the choices that I have made, and I welcome comments. In addition, as Macdonell wrote in the Preface to his 1917 Vedic Reader (the immediate predecessor of this course), "freedom from serious misprints is a matter of great importance in a work like this." The Vedic Reader never reached a corrected edition, but one of the advantages of online publishing is the relative ease with which mistakes can be put right. I particularly welcome corrections.

Indologists have so far found no common ground for debate with my approach. I am very grateful therefore to Ramesh Krishnamurthy for constructive discussion and advice, and to Alexander Lubotsky for proof-reading the first four lessons and making some necessary corrections. Where however Professor Lubotsky urged the traditional interpretations over my revisions I have stuck to my guns: for example, in my translation of the feminine noun usríyā in the second verse of the Lesson 4 text (surely not 'cow'), and of páyas in a number of the examples (not, in my view, 'milk'; see section 50.2). Where my translation of words occurring in the lesson texts differs from the current consensus, the translation appears in italics in the glossaries. (Occasionally translations are in italics because there is no existing consensus.) Some retranslations are minor refinements of sense; others, like usríyā, and vakṣáṇā discussed in section 3 above, are more radical. Wherever possible, however, I have chosen passages that are free of problem words, and italicised translations of this kind are relatively few in number.

My greatest due of thanks is to Professor Winfred Lehmann and the Salus Mundi Foundation, for making it possible to put the course online.

6. The sounds of Sanskrit and the Sanskrit alphabet.

The 'dictionary' order of Sanskrit follows phonetic rules. The vowels come first.

    a, , i, , u, , , r̥̄,

The short vowel a is pronounced approximately as the a of English about, and i and u as in bit and put (in Classical Sanskrit the short a sound became even shorter, and is transliterated as a u sound). These vowels each have a long equivalent, , , , pronounced as in English bar, beat and boot. In addition Sanskrit has a vocalic r sound, , which occurs frequently and is pronounced like the r in British English interesting with accent on the first syllable, 'íntr̥sting'. The word Rigveda itself in Sanskrit begins with this vocalic r, which is why it is sometimes transliterated without the i, Rgveda. (In this course is transliterated both as ri and as ar.) There is also a longer sound, r̥̄, and a vocalic l sound, , which is very rare and is pronounced something like the l (with silent e) in table.

Four long vocalic sounds classified as diphthongs follow:

    e, ai, o, au

The equivalent English sounds are e (bait), ai (bite), o (boat), and au (bout).

The consonants are also arranged phonetically.

    k, kh, g, gh, , c, ch, j, jh, , , ṭh, , ḍh, , t, th, d, dh, n, p, ph, b, bh, m

These are ordered according to their physical production in speech. The sounds produced at the back of the mouth, k, kh, g, gh are listed first, and are described as 'velar' because they are made with the tongue touching the soft palate (velum in Latin). 'Palatal' consonants, c, ch, j, jh, are made slightly farther forward in the mouth, with the tongue touching the hard palate; 'dentals', t, th, d, dh, with the tongue touching the teeth; and 'labials', p, ph, b, bh, with the lips. This is given in tabular form below. Each sequence or class comprises a 'voiceless' sound, pronounced without the vibration of the vocal cords, like k; the same sound aspirated, kh, pronounced with a following h sound; a 'voiced' sound, g; the same sound aspirated, gh; and a nasal.

Between the palatal and dental classes appears another sequence. The dental t sound is in fact like a French t (tout), made with the tongue touching the teeth. The Indian retroflex sounds are made with the tip of the tongue curved backwards (hence the name) behind the upper teeth, and then flicked forward. To Indian ears the t of try is more like a retroflex than a dental sound.

The nasals belonging to each class simply represent the sounds produced in each part of the mouth. English also has a range of nasal sounds, but they are not generally reflected in writing. Compare, for example, the sound of the nasal in these five words, which changes because of the different adjacent consonants: hunger (velar), punch (palatal), unreal (retroflex), hunter (dental), and, with a written change, lumber (labial).

    Voiceless   Voiced    
Velar   k   kh   g   gh  
Palatal   c   ch   j   jh  
Retroflex     ṭh   /   ḍh/ḷh  
Dental   t   th   d   dh   n
Labial   p   ph   b   bh   m

Note: becomes (and ḍh ḷh) between vowels, as in the word puroḷā́ mentioned in the first section of the introduction.

At the end of the alphabet come semivowels and sibilants, and h:

    y, r, l, v, , , s, h

The semivowels and sibilants are again in phonetic order:

    Semivowel   Sibilant
Palatal   y  
Retroflex   r  
Dental   l   s
Labial   v    

The semivowels are closely related to vowels: y corresponds to i/, r to /r̥̄, l to , and v (pronounced like English w when preceded by a consonant) to u/. The same close vowel/semivowel relationship is reflected in the eighteenth-century spelling of persuade, 'perswade'. In the earliest 'continuous' text the written semivowel often represents an original vowel. Palatal and retroflex are both pronounced something like English sh, the second again with the tongue slightly curved backwards.

In addition there are two sounds that occur very frequently, and , which are not original but represent other sounds under the influence of sandhi (see below). In most dictionaries, that by Monier-Williams for example, is positioned alphabetically according to the original nasal that it represents, which can be confusing. In the course glossaries these two sounds have been arranged to follow the diphthongs and precede the consonants. (sometimes written ) is a pure nasal: táṃ is pronounced something like French teint. is an unvoiced breathing sound.

7. Sound changes, combination of sounds, or sandhi.

The word sandhi is used to describe the way in which sounds change as a result of adjacent sounds, both within words and across word boundaries, and it is a natural phenomenon in speech. Consider the English nasal sounds described in the previous section, for example. Because the extensiveness of its occurrence in Sanskrit is unparalleled in any other language, the Sanskrit name saṃ-dhi 'putting-together' has come to be used to describe this phenomenon in other languages.

The evidence of the Rigveda with respect to vowel sandhi (see section 45.1 of Lesson 9) suggests that many of the sandhi changes made by the later editors were in fact artificial, and the result of the imposition of fixed rules onto a language that was more naturally flexible. In English most sandhi changes are not written, but in Sanskrit they are extensively reproduced in writing. This, as Michael Coulson mildly expresses it in his guide to the Classical language, Teach Yourself Sanskrit, is "not necessarily a good thing." The complexity of the written sandhi system is potentially alienating for a beginner. This section therefore provides only a brief sketch of the principles involved to prepare the reader for the kinds of change that he will encounter in the lessons. Appendix 1 at the end of this course presents, in tabular form, the changes that occur.

7.1. Sandhi of vowels.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the form in which these poems were first written applied later rules of vowel sandhi which the metre indicates were inappropriate. Final i/ and u/, for example, when followed by another vowel were systematically turned into the related semivowels y and v in order to avoid hiatus, that is, to give a smooth, continuous sound. But the syllabic loss that this change entails destroys the rhythm of the poems and the vowels must nearly always be restored. A language of a different character emerges. "The text of the Rigveda, when metrically restored, shows us a dialect in which the vowels are relatively more frequent, and the syllables therefore lighter and more musical, than is the case in classical Sanskrit. The Homeric dialect differs just in the same way from classical Greek" (Arnold, Vedic Metre p. 106).

Certain vowels when juxtaposed nonetheless do change in the Rigveda. Two short vowels that are the same, for example, -i at the end of a word followed by i- at the beginning of a word, usually combine to give the long vowel, here -ī-. Long vowels, or a mixture of long and short vowels, combine in the same way. In example 226, aśvinā́ in fact represents two words, aśvinā ā́, and in example 234 ́gāt represents ́ ágāt. This does not always happen: in example 334, for instance, the two adjacent a sounds in evá agníḥ have not combined, nor in example 136, stotā́ amatīvā́. Sometimes at the end of a line ́ is written ́ to make clear that it does not combine with the initial vowel at the beginning of the next line. There are examples of this in the Lesson 4, 5, and 10 texts.

Some combinations of dissimilar vowels also regularly occur, particularly with final a/, which may combine with initial i/ to give e, and with initial u/ to give o. In example 26, for example, aśvinoṣásam = aśvinā uṣásam, and in example 277 śamitéva = śamitā́ iva. Again these rules are not invariably applied: see aśvinā ūháthuḥ in example 224.

7.2. Sandhi of consonants.

In the written system consonants are also regularly subject to change. s and m are frequently found at the end of words: nominative singular devás 'god', accusative singular devám. Final m, the labial nasal, under the rules of sandhi becomes the pure nasal if followed by anything other than a vowel, or another labial sound. Final s is regularly given as the unvoiced breathing sound by the editors -- this is the form it always takes at the end of a phrase or line. It is changed to r before a 'soft' sound like a vowel or a voiced consonant. With an immediately preceding a, however, it is treated differently: -as becomes -o before soft sounds. Examples of these changes in simple compound words have already been given: the word saṃ-dhi itself, saṃ-hitā 'placed-together', and Rigvedic puró-hita 'placed in front'.

Final t also occurs frequently, as in tát 'that, it'. When followed by a soft sound it becomes d, but before n or m it becomes n. This sounds complicated, but such changes soon become familiar. They occur naturally when a language is spoken at speed, and are a good source of the punning jokes beloved of children (as in "say iced ink very quickly").

The first line quoted in the introduction to the first lesson, agníṃ dūtám puró dadhe, shows sandhi effects at the end of the first and the third word. A word for word version would read agním dūtám purás dadhe (the m of dūtám was unchanged as it was followed by a labial consonant, p). The last two lines of the first lesson text,

    tán no mitró váruṇo māmahantām
    áditiḥ síndhuḥ pr̥thivī́ utá dyaúḥ

with sandhi removed and final s restored, read

    tát nas mitrás váruṇas māmahantām
    áditis síndhus pr̥thivī́ utá dyaús

All the lesson texts are glossed word for word with the sandhi changes removed, and sandhi changes are also regularly explained in square brackets when they occur in the examples.

7.3. Retroflexion.

Included within the scope of sandhi are changes known as retroflexion. The sounds , r̥̄, r and under certain circumstances make n retroflex, , even across word boundaries: see example 325, prá ṇaḥ for prá nas. Similarly, vowels other than a or , and k, r and , can change s to . See example 81, abhí ṣyāma [abhí syāma], and example 296, nū́ ṣṭutáḥ [nū́ stutáḥ], where the in turn has made the following t retroflex. This occurs very frequently within words: arká 'song', arkéṇa 'with song', arkéṣu 'in songs'.

8. Vowel gradation, or ablaut.

A characteristic feature of Indo-European languages is the variation of vowels in derivatives from a root. Found regularly in the verbal system, it also occurs in nouns, as in sing, sang, sung, and also song. This vowel variation is known as ablaut. Its occurrence in Sanskrit was recognised by the ancient grammarians, who described it as 'strengthening' of the vowel. The table shows how the simple vowel is strengthened.

Simple vowel   a ā   i ī   u ū  
First grade   a ā   e   o   ar
Second grade     ai   au   ār

Vowel strengthening is found in nominal derivatives, like the element vaiśvā- in the first word of the first lesson text, which is a derivative of víśva 'all', and pā́rthiva 'earthly' in the third verse of the Lesson 3 text, which is a derivative of pr̥thivī́ 'earth'. It is a feature of many parts of the verb, like the causative, viśáti 'he enters', veśáyati 'he causes to enter' (see section 33.1), and the aorist passive: ámoci 'it has been released' from √muc 'release' (see section 48.1).

9. Reading List.

With the exception of the text itself and the two works by Arnold, all the books listed here are either still in print or available in a modern reprint. The text can now be consulted in our online edition (see below).

Text.

The most important resource for studying the Rigveda is the text itself, and the metrically restored text is the first to show its original poetic form. Previous editions are misleading in masking both form and meaning, as explained in section 45 of Lesson 9.

Arnold's 1905 study goes well beyond its modest title, not only in disentangling the original metrical form but also in using the metre, together with vocabulary and grammatical forms, to attempt a chronological arrangement of the poems.

Concordances.

Grassmann's dictionary and analytical concordance remains invaluable; the recent concordance by Lubotsky is useful in listing all the word forms, without translation, in the context of the line in which they occur. Though deriving from van Nooten and Holland's metrical edition, the text in Lubotsky's concordance is quoted in unrestored form.

Grammars.

As a compendium of Rigvedic grammar, Macdonell's Vedic Grammar for Students remains extremely useful. The same author's earlier and fuller Vedic Grammar is an outstanding work of scholarship, and is currently available from India as a reprint (Munshiram Manoharal, 2000; the reprint however lacks the last gathering and therefore much of the index).

In addition to the works by Macdonell, Whitney's nineteenth-century Sanskrit Grammar, which includes the early language, is useful in regularly clarifying what may seem unduly complex. His supplementary volume, The Roots, Verb-forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language, arranges nominal forms under the verbal roots to which they belong, and is a guide to the regularly transparent word formation of Sanskrit (see section 49 in Lesson 10).

Arnold's Historical Vedic Grammar, while not for the beginner, is a rich statistical resource for the historical study of pre-Classical Sanskrit.

Dictionaries and semantic studies.

All dictionaries contain translations that are misleading for the Rigveda. With this caveat, the Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Monier Monier-Williams, based on the seven-volume Sanskrit-Wörterbuch by Otto Böhtlingk and Rudolph Roth, is a work of great erudition. The most recent dictionary of early Sanskrit, by the eminent linguist Manfred Mayrhofer, is useful for presenting the Rigveda in its Indo-European context, and is distinguished by the regular unwillingness of its author to accept traditional interpretations without question.

Those interested in the reconsideration of inherited interpretations may wish to look at my studies of some of the words mentioned in this introduction. Thomson, Karen, "The meaning and language of the Rigveda: Rigvedic grā́van as a test case," Journal of Indo-European Studies 29, 3 & 4, 2001, 295-349; "The decipherable Rigveda: a reconsideration of vakṣáṇā," Indogermanische Forschungen 109, 2004, 112-139; "Why the Rigveda remains undeciphered: the example of puroḷā́," General Linguistics 43, 2005 [2003], 39-59; and, a sister paper to the last, "The decipherable Rigveda: tiróahnyam as an example," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15, 1, 2005, 63-70 (the words puroḷā́ and the temporal adverb tiróahnyam, misunderstood by the authors of later Vedic texts as an adjective, frequently occur together).

Related Language Courses at UT

Most but not all language courses taught at The University of Texas concern modern languages; sometimes courses are offered in ancient languages, though more often at the graduate level. Indic language courses, including Sanskrit, are taught in the Department of Asian Studies (link opens in a new browser window). Other online language courses for college credit are offered through the University Extension (new window).

Indic Resources Elsewhere

Our Web Links page includes pointers to Indic resources elsewhere.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 1

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Agni, the god of fire whose name also means fire itself, is the messenger god, mediating between mankind and the other gods. He traditionally appears first in the Rigvedic pantheon: agníṃ dūtám puró dadhe 'I place Agni the ambassador at the head' (VIII, 44, 3), and agním īḷe puróhitam 'I praise Agni, who is placed first', the opening line of the Rigveda (I, 1, 1). The word agní is cognate with Latin ignis, from which English ignite and igneous derive. Agni represents fire in all its forms, and in this poem is invoked as the universal fire of heaven, which at dawn signals the approach of day and the renewal of life, which Agni also represents: "fire has entered all the plants" (verse 2).

Reading and Textual Analysis

This short poem, I, 98 (98), is from the first book of the Rigveda. The metre is triṣṭubh, verses of four lines of eleven syllables each, which is the most common metre in the Rigveda. The poem concludes with a refrain: nineteen of the poems in Book I end with the same two lines. Also characteristic of the style of the Rigveda is the repetition of sás 'he' in the last line of the second verse, literally 'He us by day, he from harm may protect by night'. In a highly inflected language the nominative form of the pronoun is rarely required by the grammar, but it is repeated here to both to stress Agni's importance and to give the line symmetry. In this first lesson the frequent parallels with more familiar Indo-European languages (English, Latin and Greek) are noted.

vaiśvānarásya sumataú siyāma
rā́jā hí kam bhúvanānām abhiśrī́
itó jātó víśvam idáṃ ví caṣṭe
vaiśvānaró yatate sū́riyeṇa

  • vaiśvānarásya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <vaiśvānará> for all men, universal -- of the Universal One # Originally a compound adjective vaiśvā-nará 'for all-men', but often, as here, used as a name of Agni. The first element is a derivative of víśva 'all', which occurs in line 3 and again in verse 2, and the second is cognate with Greek ἀνήρ 'man'.
  • sumataú -- noun; locative singular feminine of <sumatí> good thought, favour -- in the favour # The noun matí (f) 'thought', related to Latin mens, mentis and English mind, with prefix su- 'good', like Greek εὐ-.
  • syāma -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√as, ásti> be -- may we be # The metre tells us that this was pronounced as three syllables, restored in the verse line (siyāma).
  • rā́jā -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <rā́jan> king, ruler -- king # Familiar as modern rajah, and the cheeky use of the word Raj by the British in India; cognate with Latin rex, regis.
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- for
  • kam -- particle; <kam> indeed -- indeed # Often follows hí; compare Greek γὰρ δή.
  • bhúvanānām -- noun; genitive plural neuter of <bhúvana> being, existence -- of beings # From the verbal root √bhū, bhávati 'become, be'; compare English be and being.
  • abhiśrī́s -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <abhiśrī́> sustainer -- sustainer
  • itás -- adverb; <itás> from here -- from here
  • jātás -- verbal adjective; nominative singular masculine of past participle of <√jan, jánati> produce, create, bear -- born # Compare English genesis and genetics.
  • víśvam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <víśva> all -- all
  • idám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <ayám, iyám, idám> this -- this # Used here with special meaning 'this world', like itás earlier in the line.
  • ví caṣṭe -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√cakṣ, cáṣṭe> see + preverb; <ví> apart -- he views
  • vaiśvānarás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <vaiśvānará> for all men, universal -- the Universal One
  • yatate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√yat, yátate> take one's place -- takes his place
  • sū́ryeṇa -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- with the sun # As with syāma in the first line, the metre tells us that this was pronounced with an extra syllable.

pr̥ṣṭó diví pr̥ṣṭó agníḥ pr̥thivyā́m
pr̥ṣṭó víśvā óṣadhīr ā́ viveśa
vaiśvānaráḥ sáhasā pr̥ṣṭó agníḥ
sá no dívā sá riṣáḥ pātu náktam

  • pr̥ṣṭás -- verbal adjective; nominative singular masculine of past participle of <√prach, pr̥cháti> ask, ask for -- invoked # Compare the Latin deponent verb precor 'ask for, supplicate'. Agni is repeatedly supplicated in this verse.
  • diví -- noun; locative singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- in heaven
  • agnís -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- Agni
  • pr̥thivyā́m -- noun; locative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- on earth
  • víśvās -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <víśva> all -- all
  • óṣadhīs -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <óṣadhi> plant -- the plants
  • ́ viveśa -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of <√viś, viśáte> enter, come to rest + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- he has entered
  • vaiśvānarás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <vaiśvānará> for all men, universal -- the Universal One
  • sáhasā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <sáhas> might -- with might, mightily
  • agnís -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- Agni
  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- he # (The sandhi of sás is exceptional; the final s is dropped before all consonants.) Cognate with Greek ὁ, ἡ, τό. Note the characteristic repetition of the pronoun in this line (see Textual Analysis).
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • dívā -- adverb; <dívā> by day -- by day
  • riṣás -- noun; ablative singular feminine of <ríṣ> harm -- from harm
  • pātu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√pā, pā́ti> protect -- let him protect
  • náktam -- adverb; <náktam> by night -- by night # Compare Greek νύξ, νυκτός, Latin nox, noctis, English nocturnal, night.

vaíśvānara táva tát satyám astu
asmā́n rā́yo maghávānaḥ sacantām
tán no mitró váruṇo māmahantām
áditiḥ síndhuḥ pr̥thivī́ utá dyaúḥ

  • vaíśvānara -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <vaiśvānará> for all men, universal -- O Universal One # Note that the accent has moved from its usual position over the fourth syllable of this word to the first; see section 5 below.
  • táva -- personal pronoun; genitive singular of <tvám> you -- of you # Compare English thou, French tu.
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that
  • satyám -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <satyá> true -- true # From a participle of the verb √as 'to be' (see next word), like Greek τὰ ὄντα.
  • astu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√as, ásti> be -- may it be
  • asmā́n -- personal pronoun; accusative of <vayám> we -- us # Compare English we and us.
  • rā́yas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <rayí> possession, treasure -- treasures
  • maghávānas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <maghávan> gracious -- gracious
  • sacantām -- verb; 3rd person plural middle imperative of <√sac, sácate> accompany -- may they attend # Compare the Latin deponent verb sequor 'follow'.
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us
  • mitrás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <mitrá> friend, Mitra -- Mitra # The god Mitra, who regularly appears together with Varuna, as here.
  • váruṇas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <váruṇa> Varuna -- Varuna # The name is possibly related to Greek Οὐρᾰνός.
  • māmahantām -- verb; 3rd person plural middle imperative of <√maṃh, máṃhate> effect, bring about -- may they effect # The plural verb here joins the two final lines together. If the subject had simply been Mitra and Varuna it would have had a dual, not a plural form.
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • síndhus -- noun; nominative singular masculine/feminine of <síndhu> river -- Sindhu # Here deified.
  • pr̥thivī́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- Earth
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • dyaús -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- Heaven # Cognate with Greek Ζεύς.

Lesson Text

vaiśvānarásya sumataú siyāma
rā́jā hí kam bhúvanānām abhiśrī́
itó jātó víśvam idáṃ ví caṣṭe
vaiśvānaró yatate sū́riyeṇa

pr̥ṣṭó diví pr̥ṣṭó agníḥ pr̥thivyā́m
pr̥ṣṭó víśvā óṣadhīr ā́ viveśa
vaiśvānaráḥ sáhasā pr̥ṣṭó agníḥ
sá no dívā sá riṣáḥ pātu náktam

vaíśvānara táva tát satyám astu
asmā́n rā́yo maghávānaḥ sacantām
tán no mitró váruṇo māmahantām
áditiḥ síndhuḥ pr̥thivī́ utá dyaúḥ

Translation

May we be in the favour of the Universal One
For indeed he is king, sustainer of beings.
Born from here he views all this world,
The Universal One takes his place with the sun.
Agni, invoked in heaven, invoked on earth,
Invoked, he has entered all the plants.
The Universal One, Agni is mightily invoked,
Let him protect us day and night from harm.
O Universal One, of you may it be true,
May gracious treasures attend us.
May Mitra, Varuna, Aditi, Sindhu
Earth and Heaven, effect that for us.

Grammar

1 An introduction to the verb √as 'be'.

The fundamental words of a language, like the verb 'be', are the least liable to change, and offer the most valuable evidence in establishing relationships between languages. Compare the singular of the present tense of the Sanskrit verb 'be', ásmi, ási, ásti, with Homeric Greek εἰμί, ἐσσί (later εἶ), ἐστί or ἔστι, and with Latin est, Gothic ist, and English am and is.

Present Indicative   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   ásmi   [svás]   smási
2   ási   sthás   sthá
3   ásti   stás   sánti
             
Optative   Singular       Plural
1   syā́m       syā́ma
             
Imperative   Singular       Plural
3   ástu       sántu

In addition to the usual forms of the present tense, a sample of frequently occurring optative and imperative forms is given above. These 'moods' of the verb express wishes, entreaties, or even commands. In the poems of the Rigveda appeals to the gods are common. The most frequently occurring form of the optative, the mood of wishing, is found in the first line of the lesson text, syā́ma 'may we be'. The third person singular imperative in the first line of verse 3, ástu, is also a common form: táva tát satyám astu 'of you may it be true'.

These forms of the verb 'be' are worth committing to memory, as the endings are largely standard for the active voice (compare, for example, the third person singular imperative pā́tu in the last line of verse 2). There are exceptions, but this is a guide to the endings:

Present Indicative   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -mi   [-vas]   -masi, -mas
2   -si   -thas   -tha
3   -ti   -tas   -anti
             
Optative   Singular       Plural
1   -īyam or -yām       -īma or -yāma
             
Imperative   Singular       Plural
3   -tu       -antu

The plural is only used where the subject numbers three or more. The use of the dual is obligatory, as observed in the penultimate line of the poem, where the plural verb māmahantām leads the reader to look for further subjects in the last line. The gods are addressed singly and as a group, as in this poem, but also in pairs: yuváṃ kavī́ ṣṭhaḥ [sthaḥ] 'you two are sages' (X, 40, 6). (The retroflexion of the initial s and then of the following dental of the verb is caused by the preceding vowel, as described in section 7.3 of the Series Introduction.)

In the table the accented forms of the verb √as 'be', are given. In the lesson text, however, as in the example just quoted, the verbs are unaccented. The verb tends to lose its accent when it is the principal verb in the sentence; in other words, when it is not in a subordinate clause. Being able to identify the main verb is helpful when first looking at a passage.

2 The personal pronoun.

Although the verb is highly inflected, nominative forms of the personal pronoun occur frequently, unlike in Latin. In the example just given 'you two are sages', the personal pronoun yuvám 'you two' is not strictly necessary: kavī́ ṣṭhaḥ would have conveyed the same meaning. The personal pronoun and the verb 'be' are often interchangeable, and the verb is frequently omitted. yuváṃ kavī́ would have meant the same: 'you two (are) sages'.

The table shows a number of enclitic forms in addition to the accented forms. These often do duty for more than one case, as, for example, me, used for both the dative and genitive of ahám 'I'. There are clear parallels in English, Latin, and Greek. vayám and English we are related, as are asmā́n and us, and yūyám and you. Compare also nas and vas with Latin nos and vos, and the dative singular forms máhya and túbhya with mihi and tibi. me and te are cognate with Greek μοι and τοι, and English me and thee have the same origin.

1st Person   Singular   Plural
Nom   ahám 'I'   vayám 'we'
Acc   mā́m, mā   asmā́n, nas
Ins   máyā   asmā́bhis
Dat   máhya, máhyam, me   asmábhyam, asmé, nas
Abl   mát   asmát
Gen   máma, me   asmā́kam, nas
Loc   máyi   asmā́su, asmé
         
2nd Person   Singular   Plural
Nom   tvám 'you (sing)'   yūyám 'you (pl)'
Acc   tvā́m, tvā   yuṣmā́n, vas
Ins   tváyā   [yuṣmā́bhis]
Dat   túbhya, túbhyam, te   yuṣmábhyam, vas
Abl   tvát   yuṣmát
Gen   táva, te   yuṣmā́kam, vas
Loc   tvé   yuṣmé

Duals of the first person are uncommon, but duals of the second person occur frequently, as the gods are often invoked in pairs: nominative yuvám, as in the example yuváṃ kavī́ ṣṭhaḥ 'you two are sages', accusative yuvā́m, instrumental yuvábhyām and yuvā́bhyām, ablative yuvát, genitive/locative yuvós, and accusative/dative/genitive vām. Some forms that will soon become familiar are given in the sample passages below, which can also serve to illustrate the use of the oblique cases (instrumental, dative, ablative, genitive, locative). The use of the cases is parallel to their use in other ancient languages, with the addition of the instrumental, which is also found in Old Norse, Old English and Russian. This 'with' case indicates accompaniment, association, or means: see example 10 below, and 27 in section 4. Many of the words in these sentences can be found in the lesson text. Where the effect of sandhi might be confusing the word form is given in square brackets. The verbs are all unaccented.

  • aháṃ rā́jā váruṇaḥ (IV, 42, 2) 'I (nom sing) (am) King Varuna' [1]
  • tád ín [ít] náktaṃ tád dívā máhyam āhuḥ (I, 24, 12) 'that indeed they have said to me (dat sing) by night, that by day' [2]
  • tváṃ satyá [satyás] indra (I, 63, 3) 'you (nom sing) O Indra, (are) true' [3]
  • tvā́ṃ nakṣanta no [nas] gíraḥ (VIII, 92, 27) 'let our (gen pl, unaccented form) songs reach you (acc sing)' [4]
  • túbhyemā́ [túbhya imā́] víśvā bhúvanāni yemire (IX, 86, 30) 'to you (dat sing) all these beings stretch out' [5]
  • vaíśvānara táva tát satyám astu (lesson text, verse 3) 'O Universal One, of you may it be true (gen sing)' [6]
  • tvé ápi kratúr máma (VII, 31, 5) 'in you (loc sing) my (gen sing) power' [7]
  • vayáṃ devā́nāṃ sumataú syāma (VII, 41, 4) 'may we (nom sing) be in the favour of the gods'. Compare the first line of the lesson text. [8]
  • asmā́n rā́yo maghávānaḥ sacantām (lesson text, verse 3) 'may gracious treasures attend us (acc pl)' [9]
  • suṣṭutír [...] asmā́bhis túbhya śasyate (III, 62, 7) 'good praise through us (ins pl) is proclaimed to you (dat sing)' [10]
  • asmábhyaṃ śárma yachatam (I, 17, 8) 'extend shelter to us (dat pl)' [11]
  • asmé vo [vas] astu sumatíś [sumatís] cániṣṭhā (VII, 57, 4) 'may your (gen pl, unaccented form) most gracious favour be for/upon us (dat or loc pl)' [12]
  • mā́ sā́ te asmát sumatír ví dasat (I, 121, 15) 'let not (the prohibitive mā́, like Greek μή) that favour of yours (gen sing, unaccented form) fade away from us (abl pl)' [13]
  • tvám asmā́kaṃ táva smasi (VIII, 92, 32) 'you (nom sing) (are) ours (gen pl), we are yours (gen sing)'. This line illustrates the interchangable use of personal pronoun and verb 'be'. [14]
  • sá no [nas] dívā sá riṣáḥ pātu náktam (lesson text, verse 2) 'may he protect us (acc pl, unaccented form) day and night from harm' [15]
  • índro vaḥ [vas] śárma yachatu (X, 103, 13) 'may Indra extend shelter to you (dat pl, unaccented form)' [16]

The simple unaccented forms occur the most frequently. vas 'you', the form that serves as the accusative, genitive and dative plural, as in the last example, appears over 500 times in the Rigveda.

Note that in all the above examples the object of the sentence, when there is one, precedes the verb, unlike in English. The verb is most often found at the end of the line, as in the last example: 'Indra (subject) to you (indirect object) shelter (object) may he extend (verb)'.

3 Nominal stems in -i and -u.

The masculine declension of the adjective śúci 'pure, bright', a frequent epithet of Agni, is given to illustrate the forms usually found.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   śúcis   śúcī   śúcayas
Acc   śúcim   śúcī   śúcīn
Ins   śúcyā, śúcinā   śúcibhyām   śúcibhis
Dat   śúcaye   śúcibhyām   śúcibhyas
Abl   śúces   śúcibhyām   śúcibhyas
Gen   śúces   śúcyos   śúcīnām
Loc   śúcau   śúcyos   śúciṣu
Voc   śúce   śúcī   śúcayas

Many nouns follow the -i declension, the majority of which are masculine, like agní 'fire' and kaví 'sage', or feminine, like sumatí 'good opinion' and áditi 'Aditi' in the lesson text. Most of the feminine endings are the same as the masculine, although the instrumental singular shows irregularity, with alternative forms śúcī and śúci, and the feminine accusative plural ending is -īs, not -īn. The neuter forms differ from the masculine only in the nominative/accusative/vocative singular and plural: singular śúci, plural śúcī, śúci or śúcīni.

The declension of nominal stems in -u, like síndhu 'river' (m/f) in the third verse of the lesson text, is parallel to the -i declension in the masculine and feminine. Compare the singular forms occurring of mánu (m) 'man, mankind': nominative mánus, accusative mánum, instrumental mánunā, dative mánave, ablative/genitive mános, locative mánau, and the plural forms mánavas (nominative) and genitive mánūnām. The parallel vowel gradation shown in the declension, -i (-e, -ay) -u (-o, -av), has been described in section 8 of the Series Introduction.

There is some variation in the neuter endings of the -u declension. In addition to the parallel forms for the dative, ablative/genitive and locative singular, -ave, -os, -au, the following are also found: from mádhu 'sweet, sweetness' dative mádhune and ablative/genitive mádhunas, and from sā́nu 'top, summit' the locative sā́nuni. These alternative endings, -ne, -nas, -ni, come to prevail in the later language.

4 Verb inflection: active and middle forms of the present tense.

Half of the finite verbs in the lesson text, caṣṭe, yatate, sacantām and māmahantām, are in the middle, not the active voice. Middle forms of the verb occur as frequently as active forms, and some verbs are only found in the middle voice. The usual endings of the present active tense have already been given above, and here they are repeated with the usual endings of the middle voice in parallel.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -mi   [-vas]   -masi, -mas   -e   -vahe   -mahe
2   -si   -thas   -tha   -se   -ethe or -āthe   -dhve
3   -ti   -tas   -anti   -te   -ete or -āte   -ante or -ate

Some examples follow of verbs in the present tense together with nouns and adjectives from the -i and -u declensions. Parts of the verb 'be' and some personal pronouns will also by now be familiar.

  • kavī́n pr̥chāmi (I, 164, 6) 'I ask (1 sing active of √prach, pr̥cháti) the sages' [17]
  • tád íd agnī́ [tát ít agnís] rakṣati (III, 5, 6) 'that indeed Agni protects (3 sing active of √rakṣ, rákṣati)' [18]
  • rā́jā [...] apā́m ūrmíṃ sacate síndhuṣu (IX, 86, 8) 'the king accompanies (3 sing middle of √sac, sácate) the wave (ūrmí, masculine) of waters in the rivers' [19]
  • agníṃ víśvā [víśvās] abhí pŕ̥kṣaḥ sacante (I, 71, 7) 'all refreshments accompany (3 pl middle of √sac) Agni' [20]
  • túbhyam arṣanti síndhavaḥ (IX, 31, 3) 'the rivers flow (3 pl active of √arṣ, árṣati) for you' [21]
  • ví te [...] bhā́māsaḥ śuce śúcayaś [śúcayas] caranti (VI, 6, 3) 'O bright one (Agni), your bright beams spread (3 pl active of √car, cárati 'move' with preverb ví 'apart')' [22]
  • pátiḥ síndhūnām asi (X, 180, 1) 'you are the lord of rivers' [23]
  • agníṃ dūtám puró dadhe (VIII, 44, 3) 'I place (1 sing middle of √dhā, dádhāti) Agni the ambassador at the head (purás 'in front, at the head')' [24]
  • agníṃ dūtáṃ vr̥ṇīmahe (I, 12, 1) 'we choose (1 pl middle of √vr̥, vr̥ṇīté) Agni as ambassador' [25]
  • sácethe aśvinoṣásam [aśvinā uṣásam] (VIII, 5, 2) 'O Ashvins, you two accompany (2 dual middle of √sac) the dawn' [26]
  • purutrā́ hí vām matíbhir [matíbhis] hávante (VII, 69, 6) 'for they call upon (3 pl middle of √hū, hávate) you two in many places with thoughts' [27]
  • hí [...] mánavaḥ smási (VIII, 18, 22) 'because we are men' [28]
5 The Rigvedic accent.

Most words in the Rigveda carry an accent, which had disappeared by the time of Classical Sanskrit. The accent is an integral part of the word, and has nothing to do with the verse form. It frequently falls on the same syllable as in Greek, as for example, pátnī, πότνια 'lady', tatás, τατός, 'stretched', suggesting that the language from which these two derive may have been similarly accented. The accent is described as 'musical' by grammarians; that is, it represents vocal pitch, not stress.

Some accented words lose their accent under certain circumstances. The verb usually loses its accent when it is the main verb in the sentence, as we have seen. In all but the last three examples above the verb is in a main clause, and is unaccented. In the last two the verb is in a subordinate clause following hí 'for, because'. In VIII, 5, 2, however, sácethe aśvinoṣásam [aśvinā uṣásam] 'O Ashvins, you two accompany the dawn' (26), although the verb is the main verb in the sentence it keeps its accent because it is the first word in the verse line. A main verb also retains the accent if it is the first word in the grammatical sentence - often, but not necessarily, the same thing.

Vocatives are usually unaccented, like the dual aśvinā in the line just quoted, and indra in I, 63, 3, tváṃ satyá indra 'you (are) true, O Indra' (example number 3). But, as with main verbs, if the vocative is the first word in the verse line or grammatical sentence, it carries an accent. When a vocative is accented the accent invariably falls on the first syllable: the vocative of agní is ágne. So in the lesson text the word vaiśvānará 'the universal one' is usually accented on the fourth syllable (verse 1 lines 1 & 4, and verse 2 line 3). But at the beginning of the last verse the word is in the vocative case: vaíśvānara táva tát satyám astu 'O Universal One, of you may it be true' and the accent has moved to the first syllable.

As described in section 2, some monosyllabic forms of the personal pronoun are unaccented. They are enclitic, and cannot stand first in the sentence. There are a few other short words that never carry an accent and are enclitic. Two examples that occur very frequently are ca 'and' (compare Greek τε, Latin -que), and iva 'like'. iva always follows the word with which the comparison is made, and is treated in the Pada text of the Rigveda as if it were suffixal: mánus tókmeva [tókma iva, Pada tókma-iva] rohatu (X, 62, 8) 'let mankind spring up (√ruh, róhati) like young corn'.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 2

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Many of the gods in the Rigveda are solar deities. In the first lesson Agni was invoked as the universal fire of heaven accompanying the rising of the sun, and this second lesson text is addressed to the primum mobile, the divinity who is the driving force behind the solar cycle. Savitar's holy laws are absolute, and he has power both to bring the world to life and to set it at rest: ́paś cid asya vratá ā́ nímr̥grā, ayáṃ cid vā́to ramate párijman 'at his command even the waters are still, even this wind comes to rest in its circling' (II, 38, 2).

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text is the first six verses of a seven-verse poem, IV, 53 (349). The metre is jagatī, verses of four lines of twelve syllables each. The name Savitar is an agent noun (see grammar section 8.1) from the verb √sū, suváti 'generate, impel', and the poet plays on the name with other derivatives of the root: Savitar is the prasavītŕ̥, the bringer to life, in verse 5, rousing (prasuván) the world in verse 3 with his sávīman, his generative power.

The poem is characterized by antithesis. Savitar is both prasavītŕ̥ 'the bringer to life' and nivéśana, 'the source of rest', and such counterpointing runs through the verses, between divyá and pā́rthiva, heavenly and earthly, jágat and sthātŕ̥, the moving and the still, and between the dark regions of air and the spheres of light, rájāṃsi and rocanā́, in the version of one translator the espaces-sombres and the espaces-lumineux of the Rigvedic cosmos.

tád devásya savitúr vā́riyam mahád
vr̥ṇīmáhe ásurasya prácetasaḥ
chardír yéna dāśúṣe yáchati tmánā
tán no mahā́m̐ úd ayān devó aktúbhiḥ

  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • devásya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- of divine
  • savitúr -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- of Savitar
  • vā́ryam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vā́rya> choice (thing), precious gift -- precious gift # From the same root, √vr̥ 'choose, accept', as the verb in the next line, and in form a future passive participle, 'to be chosen'. The metre tells us that this was originally three syllables, vā́riya.
  • mahát -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <mahánt> great, mighty -- great
  • vr̥ṇīmáhe -- verb; 1st person plural middle present of <√vr̥, vr̥ṇīté> choose, accept -- we accept # This is the main verb in the sentence, accented as the first word in the verse line; see section 5 in the previous lesson.
  • ásurasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <ásura> spiritual lord -- of the spiritual lord
  • prácetasas -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <prácetas> mindful -- of the mindful
  • chardís -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <chardís> protection, shield -- shield
  • yéna -- relative pronoun; instrumental singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- with which
  • dāśúṣe -- noun; dative singular masculine of <dāśvā́ṃs> the one worshipping -- for the worshipper # In form a perfect participle (see section 27.1 in Lesson 6), regularly used as a noun.
  • yáchati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out -- he extends
  • tmánā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <tmán> nature, self -- by his nature
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- it
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • mahā́n -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <mahánt> great, mighty -- mighty
  • út ayān -- verb; 3rd person singular active sigmatic aorist of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out + preverb; <út> up -- he has proffered
  • devás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- the god
  • aktúbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <aktú> twilight ray -- with twilight rays # The light that gleams at dawn and at sunset; compare Greek ἀκτίς.

divó dhartā́ bhúvanasya prajā́patiḥ
piśáṅgaṃ drāpím práti muñcate kavíḥ
vicakṣaṇáḥ pratháyann āpr̥ṇánn urú
ájījanat savitā́ sumnám ukthíyam

  • divás -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- of the sky
  • dhartā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <dhartŕ̥> supporter, upholder -- upholder
  • bhúvanasya -- noun; genitive singular neuter of <bhúvana> being, existence -- of existence
  • prajā́patis -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <prajā́pati> creature-lord, lord of creatures -- Lord of creatures # A compound of prajā́ creature (see verse 4) and páti lord.
  • piśáṅgam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <piśáṅga> variegated -- variegated
  • drāpím -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <drāpí> mantle -- mantle
  • práti muñcate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√muc, muñcáte> make free + preverb; <práti> against -- spreads out
  • kavís -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <kaví> sage -- the sage
  • vicakṣaṇás -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <vicakṣaṇá> far-sighted, discerning -- far-sighted
  • pratháyan -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active causative participle of <√prath, práthate> spread -- extending # Causative verbal forms, marked by the suffix -áya, occur frequently. There is another causative participle in the last line of the next verse.
  • āpr̥ṇán -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active participle of <pr̥̄, pr̥ṇā́ti> fill + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- filling
  • urú -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <urú> broad, spacious -- space # The adjective urú here used nominally; compare Greek εὐρύς.
  • ájījanat -- verb; 3rd person singular active reduplicating aorist of <√jan, jánati> produce, create, bear -- he has created
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • sumnám -- noun; accusative singular neuter <sumná> favour, boon -- a boon # The prefix su- 'good' again, as in sumatí in the first line of the lesson one text.
  • ukthyàm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <ukthyà> worthy of holy song -- worthy of holy song # As with vā́rya in the first verse, and the verb syāma in the first line of the lesson one text, the metre tells us that this was pronounced as three syllables by the poets of the Rigveda, ukthíyam. The later writing convention follows Classical Sanskrit in representing the syllabic iy as a semivowel, y. As in this instance however the accent fell on the lost syllable, its place is traditionally marked by means of a following grave accent, to indicate the fall in pitch following the accent (this will be discussed more fully in section 45.1 in Lesson 9).

́prā rájāṃsi diviyā́ni pā́rthivā
ślókaṃ deváḥ kr̥ṇute svā́ya dhármaṇe
prá bāhū́ asrāk savitā́ sávīmani
niveśáyan prasuvánn aktúbhir jágat

  • ́ aprās -- verb; 3rd person singular active sigmatic aorist of <√prā> fill + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- he has filled # This verb is a secondary form of the root √pr̥̄ which occurred in the previous verse.
  • rájāṃsi -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <rájas> airy space, dark region -- the airy regions
  • divyā́ni -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <divyá> heavenly -- heavenly
  • pā́rthivā -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <pā́rthiva> earthly -- earthly # A derivative of pr̥thivī́ 'earth'.
  • ślókam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <ślóka> song of praise -- a song of praise
  • devás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- the god
  • kr̥ṇute -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- he brings forth
  • svā́ya -- possessive pronoun; dative singular neuter of <svá> own -- for his own # Compare Latin suus.
  • dhármaṇe -- noun; dative singular neuter of <dhárman> support, fixed order -- fixed order # Related to the word dhartŕ̥ in the previous verse.
  • bāhū́ -- noun; accusative dual masculine of <bāhú> arm -- arms
  • prá asrāk -- verb; 3rd person singular active sigmatic aorist of <√sr̥j, sr̥játi> let go + preverb; <prá> forth -- he has stretched out
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • sávīmani -- noun; locative singular neuter of <sávīman> bringing to life -- in giving life # Word play; the name Savitar comes from the root √sū, suváti 'generate, impel' as in the second participle in the next line.
  • niveśáyan -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active causative participle of <√viś, viśáte> enter, come to rest + preverb; <ní> down -- bringing to rest
  • prasuván -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active participle of <sū, suváti> generate, impel + preverb; <prá> forth -- rousing
  • aktúbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <aktú> twilight ray -- with twilight rays # The light that gleams at dawn and at sunset; compare Greek ἀκτίς.
  • jágat -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <jágat> moving world -- the moving world # Originally a present active participle, 'moving', from √gā, jígāti 'go, move'.

ádābhiyo bhúvanāni pracā́kaśad
vratā́ni deváḥ savitā́bhí rakṣate
prā́srāg bāhū́ bhúvanasya prajā́bhiyo
dhr̥távrato mahó ájmasya rājati

  • ádābhyas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <ádābhya> not to be deceived -- undeceivable # Another future passive participle in form. The semivowel y is again vocalised in the Rigveda and has syllabic value. The prefix a- is privative, like English un-, reversing the meaning of the adjective.
  • bhúvanāni -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <bhúvana> being, existence -- beings
  • pracā́kaśat -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active intensive participle of <√kāś, cā́kaśīti> observe, pay attention to + preverb; <prá> forth -- overseeing # The verb only occurs in the intensive.
  • vratā́ni -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <vratá> holy law, divine commandment -- the holy laws
  • devás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- divine
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • abhí rakṣate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√rakṣ, rákṣati> protect + preverb; <abhí> towards -- guards
  • prá asrāk -- verb; 3rd person singular active sigmatic aorist of <√sr̥j, sr̥játi> let go + preverb; <prá> forth -- he has stretched out
  • bāhū́ -- noun; accusative dual masculine of <bāhú> arm -- arms
  • bhúvanasya -- noun; genitive singular neuter of <bhúvana> being, existence -- of existence
  • prajā́bhyas -- noun; dative plural feminine of <prajā́> creature, progeny -- to the creatures # See verse 2, line 1 for the compound prajā́pati, 'Lord of creatures'.
  • dhr̥távratas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <dhr̥távrata> whose command is firm -- whose command is firm # More word play; the first part of this compound, in form the past participle of √dhr̥ 'hold firm', is related to the words dhartŕ̥ and dhárman that have already appeared in this poem.
  • mahás -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <máh> great -- of the great
  • ájmasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <ájma> course, path -- course
  • rājati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√rāj, rā́jati> rule, shine -- he rules shining

trír antárikṣaṃ savitā́ mahitvanā́
trī́ rájāṃsi paribhū́s trī́ṇi rocanā́
tisró dívaḥ pr̥thivī́s tisrá invati
tribhír vrataír abhí no rakṣati tmánā

  • trís -- adverb; <trís> thrice -- thrice
  • antárikṣam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <antárikṣa> airy space, atmosphere -- the atmosphere # The first part of the word is cognate with Latin inter.
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • mahitvanā́ -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <mahitvaná> majesty -- in majesty
  • trī́ -- numeral; accusative neuter of <trí> three -- three
  • rájāṃsi -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <rájas> airy space, dark region -- dark regions
  • paribhū́s -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <paribhū́> encompassing -- encompassing # From the root √bhū, bhávati 'be' with preverb pári 'around'.
  • trī́ṇi -- numeral; accusative neuter of <trí> three -- three # A variant of trī́ earlier in this line.
  • rocanā́ -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <rocaná> sphere of light -- spheres of light
  • tisrás -- numeral; accusative plural feminine of <tisŕ̥> three -- three # The feminine stem is different from that of the masculine and neuter.
  • dívas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- skies # The feminine gender here is anomalous; the word is usually masculine, but it is always feminine when it occurs with the numeral 'three'. It may be feminine by attraction, with parallel pr̥thivī́, or here have a slightly different sense.
  • pr̥thivī́s -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- earths
  • tisrás -- numeral; accusative plural feminine of <tisŕ̥> three -- three # The feminine stem is different from that of the masculine and neuter.
  • invati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√inv, ínvati> set in motion -- he gives motion to
  • tribhís -- numeral; instrumental plural neuter of <trí> three -- with the three
  • vrataís -- noun; instrumental plural neuter of <vratá> holy law, divine commandment -- holy laws
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • abhí rakṣati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√rakṣ, rákṣati> protect + preverb; <abhí> towards -- he guards
  • tmánā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <tmán> nature, self -- by his nature

br̥hátsumnaḥ prasavītā́ nivéśano
jágata sthātúr ubháyasya yó vaśī́
sá no deváḥ savitā́ śárma yachatu
asmé kṣáyāya trivárūtham áṃhasaḥ

  • br̥hátsumnas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <br̥hátsumna> lofty-favoured -- of high benevolence # Compound of br̥hánt 'lofty' and sumná 'favour' in the last line of verse 2.
  • prasavītā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <prasavītŕ̥> enlivener -- the bringer to life # Compare the participle prasuván in the last line of verse 3.
  • nivéśanas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <nivéśana> the source of rest -- the source of rest
  • jágatas -- noun; genitive singular neuter of <jágat> moving world -- of the moving world
  • sthātúr -- noun; genitive singular neuter of <sthātŕ̥> stander, standing world -- of the standing world # From the verb √sthā, tíṣṭhati 'stand'.
  • ubháyasya -- adjective; genitive singular neuter of <ubháya> both -- of both
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • vaśī́ -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <vaśín> having sway -- holds sway
  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- he # (The sandhi of sás is exceptional; the final s is dropped before all consonants.) Cognate with Greek ὁ, ἡ, τό. Note the characteristic repetition of the pronoun in this line (see Textual Analysis).
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • devás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- divine
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • śárma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <śárman> refuge, shelter -- refuge
  • yachatu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out -- may he extend
  • asmé -- personal pronoun; dative of <vayám> we -- for us
  • kṣáyāya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <kṣáya> home -- for home
  • trivárūtham -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <trivárūtha> with threefold protection -- with threefold security # The numeral trí with várūtha (n) 'protection, security'.
  • áṃhasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <áṃhas> trouble -- from trouble

Lesson Text

tád devásya savitúr vā́riyam mahád
vr̥ṇīmáhe ásurasya prácetasaḥ
chardír yéna dāśúṣe yáchati tmánā
tán no mahā́m̐ úd ayān devó aktúbhiḥ

divó dhartā́ bhúvanasya prajā́patiḥ
piśáṅgaṃ drāpím práti muñcate kavíḥ
vicakṣaṇáḥ pratháyann āpr̥ṇánn urú
ájījanat savitā́ sumnám ukthíyam

́prā rájāṃsi diviyā́ni pā́rthivā
ślókaṃ deváḥ kr̥ṇute svā́ya dhármaṇe
prá bāhū́ asrāk savitā́ sávīmani
niveśáyan prasuvánn aktúbhir jágat

ádābhiyo bhúvanāni pracā́kaśad
vratā́ni deváḥ savitā́bhí rakṣate
prā́srāg bāhū́ bhúvanasya prajā́bhiyo
dhr̥távrato mahó ájmasya rājati

trír antárikṣaṃ savitā́ mahitvanā́
trī́ rájāṃsi paribhū́s trī́ṇi rocanā́
tisró dívaḥ pr̥thivī́s tisrá invati
tribhír vrataír abhí no rakṣati tmánā

br̥hátsumnaḥ prasavītā́ nivéśano
jágata sthātúr ubháyasya yó vaśī́
sá no deváḥ savitā́ śárma yachatu
asmé kṣáyāya trivárūtham áṃhasaḥ

Translation

We accept that great, precious gift of divine Savitar,
Of the mindful, spiritual Lord,
With which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper.
The mighty god has proffered it to us with twilight rays.
Upholder of the sky, Lord of the creatures of existence,
The seer spreads out a variegated mantle.
Far-sighted, extending, filling space
Savitar has created a boon worthy of holy song.
He has filled the dark regions, heavenly and earthly,
The god brings forth a song of praise for his own fixed order.
Savitar has stretched out his arms in giving life -
Bringing to rest, rousing with twilight rays the moving world.
Undeceivable, overseeing beings,
Divine Savitar guards the holy laws.
He has stretched out his arms to the creatures of existence,
He whose command is firm rules shining over the great course.
Savitar, thrice in majesty encompassing the atmosphere,
The three dark regions, the three spheres of light,
Gives motion to threefold heaven and earth,
By his nature he guards us with the three holy laws.
The bringer to life, the source of rest, of high benevolence,
Who holds sway over both the moving and the standing world,
May he, divine Savitar, extend refuge to us,
With three-fold security for us, for home, from trouble.

Grammar

6 Nominal stems in -a.

Nouns and adjectives with stems in -a (masculine and neuter), and - (feminine), occur more frequently than any others. In the first lesson text the nouns bhúvana (n) 'being, existence', sū́rya (m) 'sun' and the names Mitra and Varuna all belong to this group, as do the adjectives vaiśvānará 'for all men' and satyá 'true'. In the second lesson text devá (m) 'divine, god', vā́rya 'precious', 'precious thing' (n), ásura (m) 'divine lord', ukthyà 'worthy of praise', prajā́ (f) 'creature' and vratá (n) 'holy law', among others, belong to this declension. Past participles, like jātá 'born', pr̥ṣṭá 'invoked', hitá 'placed', also follow this inflection. Participles are verbal adjectives, and agree with their subject. The table gives the forms that would occur if made from devá 'divine, god' and prajā́ 'creature', to illustrate the usual masculine and feminine endings.

        Singular           Plural    
    Masculine       Feminine   Masculine       Feminine
Nom   devás       prajā́   devā́s, devā́sas       prajā́s, prajā́sas
Acc   devám       prajā́m   devā́n       prajā́s
Ins   devéna, devā́       prajáyā, prajā́   devébhis, devaís       prajā́bhis
Dat   devā́ya       prajā́yai   devébhyas       prajā́bhyas
Abl   devā́t       prajā́yās   devébhyas       prajā́bhyas
Gen   devásya       prajā́yās   devā́nām       prajā́nām
Loc   devé       prajā́yām   devéṣu       prajā́su
Voc   déva       práje   dévās, dévāsas       prájās
Dual   Masculine       Feminine
Nom, Acc   devā́, devaú       prajé
Ins, Dat, Abl   devā́bhyām       prajā́bhyām
Gen, Loc   deváyos       prajáyos
Voc   dévā, dévau       práje

The declension of neuter nouns in -a follows the masculine declension, with the exception of the nominative singular which has the same form as the accusative, vratám, and the endings of the nominative/accusative/vocative dual and plural, which are the same in all three cases: dual vraté (vocative vráte, with the accent shifted to the first syllable), plural vratā́ and vratā́ni (vrátā, vrátāni).

7 Present active participles in -ant.

The inflection of past participles in -a, like jātá 'born', was mentioned above. Present participles, like finite verbs, are formed in both the active and middle voice. Those formed in the middle voice also follow the inflection of nouns in -a, and will be discussed in the next lesson. Present active participles have stems in -ant, as in Latin ferens, ferent- 'bearing'. The second lesson text is notable for the present active participles that it contains describing the influence of Savitar on the world, all of which are nominative and masculine, agreeing with their subject: ā-pr̥ṇán 'filling', pra-suván 'rousing', and the causative forms pratháyan 'causing to spread' and ni-veśáyan 'bringing to rest'. The table gives the masculine endings that would occur if formed from the verbal root √arc, árcati 'praise'. Note that the ablative/genitive singular and accusative plural have the same form.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   árcan   árcantā, árcantau   árcantas
Acc   árcantam   árcantā, árcantau   árcatas
Ins   árcatā       árcadbhis
Dat   árcate   árcadbhyām   árcadbhyas
Abl   árcatas       árcadbhyas
Gen   árcatas   árcatos   árcatām
Loc   árcati       árcatsu

The neuter endings differ only in the nominative/accusative/vocative, again the same in all three cases: singular árcat, plural árcanti (the noun jágat in the third verse of the lesson text is in form a neuter participle, as explained in the gloss). All dual neuter forms are rare in the Rigveda; as mentioned in Lesson 1 deities are often in pairs, but they are either masculine or feminine, and although eyes are neuter, other paired parts of the body -- ears, arms, hands and feet -- are all masculine. The only examples of neuter duals from present active participles are yatī́ 'going', and adjectival br̥hatī́, from br̥hánt -- see below. The feminine endings of present active participles are secondary, adding the suffix to the stem, and will be treated in Lesson 4.

Some verbs, primarily those that reduplicate their root in the present tense like √dā, dá-dā-ti 'give', do not show the distinguishing n of the masculine singular, and the nominative is the same as the neuter, dádat, with the accusative dádatam, nominative plural dádatas. Intensives, like pracā́kaśat 'overseeing' in verse 4 of the lesson text, are also formed by reduplication, and are characterised by the same masculine endings.

7.1 Adjectives participial in form: mahánt and br̥hánt.

Some adjectives that have lost the participial sense remain participial in form, like mahánt 'mighty' in the first and last lines of the first verse, and br̥hánt 'lofty', the first element of the compound br̥hát-sumna in the last verse. br̥hánt follows the declension given above, but mahánt lengthens the vowel of the suffix in some nominative and accusative forms: the masculine nominative singular, which occurs in the last line of the first verse, is mahā́n, accusative mahā́ntam, but neuter nominative and accusative mahát. Where the accent of the present active participle falls on the suffix rather than the stem, as with mahánt and br̥hánt, it moves to the ending in some cases: dative singular br̥haté, genitive plural br̥hatā́m.

The following lines illustrate the use of some present active participial forms. Commas in the text indicate poetic line ends.

  • niveśáyan prasuvánn aktúbhir jágat (lesson text, verse 3) 'bringing-to-rest, rousing the moving world (accusative) with twilight rays' [29]
  • pátiḥ síndhūnām bhávan (IX, 15, 5) 'he being (nom sing masc, from √bhū, bhávati) the lord of rivers' [30]
  • mahā́m̐ [mahā́n] asi sūrya (VIII, 101, 11) 'You are mighty, O sun' [31]
  • janáyan prajā́ [prajā́s] bhúvanasya rā́jā (IX, 97, 40) 'he, begetting (nom sing masc causative, from √jan, jánati) creatures, the king of existence' [32]
  • páśyema nú sū́ryam uccárantam [ut-cárantam] (VI, 52, 5; X, 59, 4) 'now we would see (1 pl optative of √paś, páśyati, accented as first word in the line) the sun rising (acc sing masc, from car, cárati 'move' with preverb út 'up')' [33]
  • bhávā [bháva] várūthaṃ gr̥ṇaté (I, 58, 9) 'be (2 sing imperative of bhū, again accented as first word in the line) protection for-the-one-singing (dative singular, from √gr̥, gr̥ṇā́ti)' [34]
  • árcantas tvā havāmahe (V, 13, 1) 'we, praising (nom pl masc), call upon (from √hū, hávate) you' [35]
  • janáyanto [janáyantas] daívyāni vratā́ni, āpr̥ṇánto [ā-pr̥ṇántas] antárikṣā (VII, 75, 3) '(the lights of dawn) begetting (nom pl masc causative) divine laws, filling the atmospheres' [36]
  • śr̥ṇvántā vām ávase johavīmi (I, 34, 12) 'we entreat (an intensive form of √hū) you two listening (acc dual masc from √śru, śr̥ṇóti) for help (dat sing neut of ávas 'help')' [37]
  • mahád [mahát] adyá mahatā́m ā́ vr̥ṇīmahe, ávo [ávas] devā́nām br̥hatā́m (X, 36, 11) 'we accept today the mighty help of the mighty, lofty gods' [38]
8 Nominal stems in -tr̥.
8.1 Agent nouns.

There are two main classes of stems in -tr̥. The 'agent' nouns (the English word derives from another Latin present participle, agens, agent- 'acting, doing something') relate closely to their verbal root: from √dā 'give' dātŕ̥ 'giver', like Greek δωτήρ; with vowel gradation netŕ̥ 'leader, guide' from √nī 'lead', stotŕ̥ 'praiser' from √stu 'praise'; and, with connecting -i-, janitŕ̥ 'male parent' from √jan 'produce, bear', avitŕ̥ 'helper' from √av 'help, favour' and jaritŕ̥ 'singer' from √jar 'sing, sing praise'. The name Savitar is an agent noun, 'enlivener', from √sū 'generate', and the lesson text plays on the name with related words, as described in the Textual Analysis. The majority of the agent nouns in -tr̥ are masculine, like dhartŕ̥ 'upholder', from √dhr̥ 'hold fast', one of the epithets of Savitar, and accented on the suffix. The table gives the forms that would occur if made from dhartŕ̥. The feminine endings are again secondary, and formed in the same way as the feminines of participles; see Lesson 4.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   dhartā́   dhartā́rā, dhartā́rau   dhartā́ras
Acc   dhartā́ram   dhartā́rā, dhartā́rau   dhartr̥̄́n
Ins   dhartrā́       dhartŕ̥bhis
Dat   dhartré   dhartŕ̥bhyām   dhartŕ̥bhyas
Abl   dhartúr       dhar̥tŕ̥bhyas
Gen   dhartúr       dhartr̥̄ṇā́m
Loc   dhartári       dhartŕ̥ṣu
Voc   dhártar   dhártārā, dhártārau   dhártāras
8.2 Nouns of relationship.

The declension of an important group of nouns of relationship is similar. pitŕ̥ 'father', mātŕ̥ 'mother', bhrā́tr̥ 'brother', and duhitŕ̥ 'daughter' are ancient words with clear parallels in other Indo-European languages. The masculine declension differs from that of the agent nouns only in having a short vowel in the second syllable of some forms of the nominative and accusative, as shown below:

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   pitā́, bhrā́tā   pitárā*, bhrā́tarā*   pitáras*, bhrā́taras*
Acc   pitáram*, bhrā́taram*   pitárā*, bhrā́tarā*   pitr̥̄́n, bhrā́tr̥̄n

In addition, the dual genitive and locative form pitarós is also regularly found in the Rigveda.

Feminine nouns of relationship in -tr̥ decline like the masculines, with the single difference of the accusative plural, which ends in -s not -n, so mātr̥̄́s (compare the feminine accusative plural of the -i and -u stems, -īs and -ūs, not -īn and ūn, described in section 3 in the first lesson). svásr̥ 'sister', the stem of which is without the t as in Latin, pater, mater, frater, but soror, shows the long a of the agent nouns in the nominative and accusative: svásāram, svásārā, svásāras (accusative plural svásr̥̄s). The word sūnú, which declines like mánu 'man', like English 'son' does not belong to this family group.

  • yó no [yás nas] dātā́ sá naḥ pitā́ (VIII, 52, 5) 'He who (is) a giver to us (is) a father to us' [39]
  • avitā́ jaritr̥̄ṇā́m (IV, 31, 3) 'the helper of the singers' [40]
  • yā́ dhartā́rā rájaso [rájasas] rocanásya (V, 69, 4) 'who (are) the two upholders of airy space, of the sphere of light' [41]
  • áprathatam pr̥thivī́m mātáraṃ ví (VI, 72, 2) 'you two spread out (imperfect, from √prath with preverb ví 'out') mother earth' [42]
  • ápa svásur uṣáso [uṣásas] nág jihīte (VII, 71, 1) 'Night withdraws (√hā, jíhīte 'move' with preverb ápa 'away') from sister dawn' [43]
  • tváṣṭā duhitré vahatúṃ kr̥ṇoti (X, 17, 1) 'Tvashtar ('the artificer') arranges (√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti 'make, do') a bridal (vahatú, masculine) for the daughter' [44]
  • ví uchā [ucha] duhitar divaḥ (I, 48, 1; V, 79, 3; V, 79, 9) 'shine out (imperative, from √vas, ucháti, with preverb ví 'out' and the second syllable metrically lengthened), O daughter of heaven' [45]
  • víśvasya sthātúr jágataś [jágatas] ca mántavaḥ (X, 63, 8) 'arbiters (nom pl masc of mántu) of all the standing and moving world' [46]
  • saptá svásāro [svásāras] abhí sáṃ navante (I, 164, 3) 'seven sisters implore together (√nū, návate 'call out' with preverbs abhí 'towards' and sám 'together')' [47]
9 Prepositions and preverbs.

Prepositions, used regularly in English to express direction or place ('we go to Italy', 'he is in the garden'), occur infrequently in Sanskrit, because many of the relations that they express are conveyed by the oblique cases. For example, in the sentence "The cat sat on the mat", "mat" in Sanskrit would simply appear in the locative case; there is no need for a preposition. So far we have encountered only one example, ápi in passage number 7 in the first lesson: tvé ápi kratú máma 'in you (locative) my power (kratú, masculine, a word that describes mental rather than physical ability)'. Such 'prepositions' in Sanskrit usually follow the word that they govern, as in this example, and are therefore more correctly called postpositions. Even here ápi is not required by the grammar and could have been omitted; it is supplied for poetic reasons.

However, the use of preverbs, prepositional prefixes with verbs, is very common in the Rigveda, and continues into the later language, when preverbs and verbs are compounded. In the group of sample passages given to illustrate the last grammar section most of the verbs are accompanied by preverbs, which may, like prepositions, follow the verb: áprathatam pr̥thivī́m mātáraṃ ví 'you two spread out mother earth' (42). The extensive use of preverbs enables the meaning of the verb to be modified in a rich variety of ways. They are listed here together with an indication of their underlying sense. However, as the examples that we have so far encountered show, this is only a loose guide to the way in which preverbs can shape and extend the meaning of the verb. Some preverb/verb combinations remain similar in meaning to the basic verb, but others have a very different sense, and ́, for example, can reverse the meaning of verbs of motion: √gam 'go', ́ √gam 'come'. Two preverbs may be used together with the verb, as in the last example above, saptá svásāro abhí sáṃ navante 'seven sisters implore together' (47).

    ácha   'towards'
    áti   'beyond, over'
    ádhi   'above, upon'
    ánu   'after, along'
    antár   'between' (Latin inter)
    ápa   'away' (Greek ἀπό)
    ápi   'on' (Greek ἐπί)
    abhí   'towards, against'
    áva   'down'
    ́   (intensifies or reverses meaning)
    út   'up'
    úpa   'up to' (Greek ὑπό)
    ní   'down, into' (related to English 'nether')
    nís   'out'
    párā   'away'
    pári   'around' (Greek περί)
    prá   'forth' (Greek πρό, Latin pro)
    práti   'against, in return' (Homeric προτί)
    ví   'apart, out'
    sám   'with, together'

Preverbs with verbs in subordinate clauses (which are therefore accented) combine if the preverb immediately precedes the verb, and similarly combine with active and middle present participles. The preverbs then lose their accent, as in the examples in the lesson text: ni-veśáyan, pra-suván, pra-cā́kaśat, and the forms ā-pr̥ṇántas and ut-cárantam from examples in section 7: āpr̥ṇánto antárikṣā 'filling the atmospheres' (36), páśyema nú sū́ryam uccárantam 'now we would see the sun rising' (33).

10 Simple nominal compounds.

Early Sanskrit combines pairs of nouns, a noun and an adjective, or a nominal form with a prefix, to form simple compounded words, usually singly accented, very much as English does: tea-pot, black-bird, in-appropriate. Many of these, as in English, become established as words in their own right, like the adjective dhr̥tá-vrata 'firm-command(ed)' in verse 4 of the lesson text, or the noun su-matí 'good-opinion' from the first lesson. A large number of the compounds in the Rigveda however occur once only in the text, like br̥hát-sumna 'lofty-favour(ed)' in verse 6 of the lesson text, which is a familiar feature of sophisticated poetry.

Some compounds of two nouns, like prájā́-pati 'creature-lord' in the lesson text, have an internal grammatical relationship, here 'lord of creatures', that can be determined by common sense, or by observing the usage. The same applies in English. A tree-top, for example, is the top of a tree, but a tree-house is used to mean a house in a tree, and a tree-surgeon is a surgeon for a tree. The Rigveda constructs compounds in a similar manner. The adjectival compound áśva-pr̥ṣṭha 'horse-back(ed)', which occurs in a simile at VIII, 26, 24, means 'on the back of a horse'; the god of wind is invited to come to men as if on horseback. But a parallel animal + body part formation, mayū́ra-roman 'peacock-hair(ed)' at III, 45, 1, means 'with the hair of a peacock'; in this passage the compound itself constitutes the metaphor. The meaning is usually clear from the elements making up the word, and the context.

Compounding was to become, over time, enormously complex and artificial in the later language, and is one of the notable features of Classical Sanskrit. Compounds of more than two elements are rare in the Rigveda, as in English, but in Classical Sanskrit compounds of as many as 30 elements are prized, and the rules laid down for their analysis are complicated. Dr. Seuss can serve to illustrate how such compounds are built up (quoted by Tom McArthur in his article on compounds in The Oxford Companion to the English Language 1992; I have supplied the hyphens for clarity): "When tweetle-beetles fight, it's called a tweetle-beetle-battle. And when they battle in a puddle, it's a tweetle-beetle-puddle-battle. AND when tweetle-beetles battle with paddles in a puddle, they call it a tweetle-beetle-puddle-paddle-battle..." (from Fox in Socks 1960). This multi-element compounding is a commonplace of the later language. It is however unknown to the Rigveda, where the compounds are similar in style and frequency to those found in Homer.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 3

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

The lesson text is from III, 33 (267), a poem of thirteen verses, which takes the form of a dialogue between the poet and the streams of two ancient rivers, which are named, in verse 1 of the poem, vípāś and śutudrī́. These are believed to be the modern rivers Beas (Arrian's Hyphasis, Ptolemy's Bibasis) and Sutlej, two of the five mighty rivers of the Punjab which meet in the great river system of the Indus (the name 'Indus' comes from the Sanskrit síndhu 'river'). The poem opens with a description of the rivers rushing down from the mountains like horses delighting in their freedom. The poet has reached the bank of the first river, and calls out to the streams to rest for a moment to allow him to cross safely.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The metre is again triṣṭubh, as in the first lesson text. The five verses of the lesson, 4-8, lie at the heart of the poem, and celebrate the myth that tells how, in the beginning, the mighty god Indra liberated the waters from the monstrous snake holding them prisoner, and brought fertility to the world. The relationship between gods and men is reciprocal in the Rigveda, and Indra's heroic deeds, his vīryā̀ni, are repeatedly praised. By doing so the poets guarantee that the rivers will always flow, and that fertility is constantly renewed.

enā́ vayám páyasā pínvamānā
ánu yóniṃ devákr̥taṃ cárantīḥ
ná vártave prasaváḥ sárgataktaḥ
kiṃyúr vípro nadíyo johavīti

  • enā́ -- adverb; <enā́> in this way -- in this way # In form the instrumental singular of the demonstrative pronoun ayám; see section 12.2.
  • vayám -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vayám> we -- we
  • páyasā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <páyas> fruitfulness, plenty -- with plenty
  • pínvamānās -- participle; nominative plural feminine present middle participle of <√pī, pínvati> swell, yield abundantly -- swelling
  • yónim -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <yóni> home -- to the home # The accusative of goal with a verb of motion.
  • devákr̥tam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <devákr̥ta> god-made -- made by the god
  • ánu cárantīs -- participle; nominative plural feminine present active participle of <√car, cárati> move + preverb; <ánu> after -- going towards # With the secondary feminine ending -ī, see section 17.3 in Lesson 4.
  • ná -- particle; <ná> not -- not
  • vártave -- infinitive; dative infinitive from <√vr̥, vr̥ṇóti> contain, hinder -- to be hindered # The dative infinitive regularly has a passive sense.
  • prasavás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <prasavá> (lit.) forth-impelling -- the flood # From the verb √sū, suváti 'generate, impel' with preverb prá 'forth'.
  • sárgataktas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sárgatakta> (lit.) outpouring-rushed -- in spate
  • kiṃyús -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <kiṃyú> what-desiring? -- desiring what? # The interrogative kím 'what?' with suffix -yu 'desiring'.
  • vípras -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <vípra> poet -- the poet
  • nadyàs -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <nadī́> stream -- streams
  • johavīti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present intensive of <√hū, hávate> invoke, call upon -- he entreats

rámadhvam me vácase somiyā́ya
ŕ̥tāvarīr úpa muhūrtám évaiḥ
prá síndhum áchā br̥hatī́ manīṣā́
avasyúr ahve kuśikásya sūnúḥ

  • rámadhvam -- verb; 2nd person plural middle imperative of <√ram, rámate> rest, stay -- rest
  • me -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive enclitic form of <ahám> I -- my
  • vácase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <vácas> word, speech -- for the speech
  • somyā́ya -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <somyá> inspired -- inspired
  • ŕ̥tāvarīs -- adjective; vocative plural feminine of <r̥tā́van> possessed of Truth, holy -- O holy ones # Accented as the first word in the line.
  • úpa -- preposition; <úpa> up to -- for
  • muhūrtám -- noun; accusative singular masculine/neuter of <muhūrtá> moment -- a moment
  • évais -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <éva> going, course -- in going
  • prá -- preverb; <prá> forth -- forth
  • síndhum -- noun; accusative singular masculine/feminine of <síndhu> river -- to the river
  • ácha -- preverb; <ácha> towards -- to # The last syllable of this word is regularly long in the Rigveda. A verb 'goes' or 'is sent' is understood with prá and ácha.
  • br̥hatī́ -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <br̥hánt> high, lofty -- lofty # With the secondary feminine ending -ī.
  • manīṣā́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <manīṣā́> thought, expression of thought -- poem
  • avasyús -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <avasyú> desiring help -- desiring help # ávas (n) 'help' with suffix -yu 'desiring'. The word answers the question kiṃ-yú? in the previous verse.
  • ahve -- verb; 1st person singular middle simple aorist of <√hū, hávate> invoke, call upon -- I have made the invocation
  • kuśikásya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <kuśiká> Kushika -- of Kushika
  • sūnús -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <sūnú> son -- son

índro asmā́m̐ aradad vájrabāhur
ápāhan vr̥trám paridhíṃ nadī́nām
devó anayat savitā́ supāṇís
tásya vayám prasavé yāma urvī́

  • índras -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- Indra
  • asmā́n -- personal pronoun; accusative of <vayám> we -- us # Compare English we and us.
  • aradat -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperfect of <√rad, rádati> dig -- dug
  • vájrabāhus -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <vájrabāhu> weapon-armed -- weapon-armed # Compound of vájra (m) 'weapon' and bāhú (m) 'arm'.
  • ápa ahan -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperfect of <√han, hánti> strike, destroy + preverb; <ápa> away -- he struck away
  • vr̥trám -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <vr̥trá> hindrance, demon, Vritra -- the demon
  • paridhím -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <paridhí> surrounder, imprisoner -- the imprisoner # From the root √dhā, dádhāti 'place', with preverb pári 'around'.
  • nadī́nām -- noun; genitive plural feminine of <nadī́> stream -- of the streams
  • devás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <devá> divine, god -- divine
  • anayat -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperfect of <√nī, náyati> lead, conduct -- conducted
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • supāṇís -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <supāṇí> lovely-handed -- lovely-handed # pāṇí (m) 'hand' with prefix su- 'good'.
  • tásya -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- his
  • vayám -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vayám> we -- we
  • prasavé -- noun; locative singular masculine of <prasavá> (lit.) forth-impelling -- at the impelling # Compare the use of the same compound in the first verse of this text.
  • yāmas -- verb; 1st person plural active present of <√yā, yā́ti> go, travel -- we go
  • urvī́s -- adjective; nominative plural feminine of <urú> broad, spacious -- broad

pravā́ciyaṃ śaśvadhā́ vīríyaṃ tád
índrasya kárma yád áhiṃ vivr̥ścát
ví vájreṇa pariṣádo jaghāna
́yann ā́po áyanam ichámānāḥ

  • pravā́cyam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <pravā́cya> to be celebrated -- to be celebrated # From the root √vac, vívakti 'speak' with preverb prá 'forth'. Another future passive participle (gerundive), like vā́rya 'to be chosen' in the last lesson text. See section 15.3.
  • śaśvadhā́ -- adverb; <śaśvadhā́> evermore -- evermore
  • vīryàm -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vīryà> heroic deed, manly strength -- heroic deed
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • índrasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- of Indra
  • kárma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <kárman> act, deed -- act
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- that # Originally the neuter of the relative pronoun; see section 11.1.
  • áhim -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <áhi> snake, dragon -- snake
  • vivr̥ścát -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperfect of <√vraśc, vr̥ścáti> cut up + preverb; <ví> apart -- he cut in pieces
  • vájreṇa -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <vájra> weapon -- with a weapon
  • pariṣádas -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <pariṣád> surrounding thing, coil -- the coils # From the root sad, sī́dati 'sit', with preverb pári 'around'.
  • ví jaghāna -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of <√han, hánti> strike, destroy + preverb; <ví> apart -- he struck apart
  • ́yan -- verb; 3rd person plural active imperfect of <√i, éti> go -- they went
  • ́pas -- noun; nominative plural feminine of <áp> water -- the waters
  • áyanam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <áyana> going, course -- the going # A nominal derivative from the same root as the main verb ́yan.
  • ichámānās -- participle; nominative plural feminine present middle participle of <√iṣ, icháti> long for, desire -- longing for

etád váco jaritar mā́pi mr̥ṣṭhā
́ yát te ghóṣān úttarā yugā́ni
ukthéṣu kāro práti no juṣasva
mā́ no ní kaḥ puruṣatrā́ námas te

  • etát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <eṣás, eṣā́, etát> this -- this
  • vácas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vácas> word, speech -- speech
  • jaritar -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <jaritŕ̥> singer -- O singer
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- do not # The prohibitive particle, like Greek μή.
  • ápi mr̥ṣṭhās -- verb; 2nd person singular middle simple aorist injunctive of <√mr̥ṣ, mŕ̥ṣyate> ignore, forget + preverb; <ápi> on -- do not forget
  • yát -- relative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- which
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- for you
  • ́ ghóṣān -- verb; 3rd person plural active subjunctive of <√ghuṣ, ghóṣate> sound + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- they will resound
  • úttarā -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <úttara> higher, future -- future
  • yugā́ni -- noun; nominative plural neuter of <yugá> generation -- generations
  • ukthéṣu -- noun; locative plural neuter of <ukthá> holy song -- in holy songs
  • kāro -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <kārú> bard -- O bard
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • práti juṣasva -- verb; 2nd person singular middle imperative of <√juṣ, juṣáte> enjoy + preverb; <práti> against -- honour
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- do not # The prohibitive particle, like Greek μή.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • ní kar -- verb; 2nd person singular active simple aorist injunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make + preverb; <ní> down -- do not let down
  • puruṣatrā́ -- adverb; <puruṣatrā́> as a man -- as a man
  • námas -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <námas> honour -- honour
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- to you

Lesson Text

enā́ vayám páyasā pínvamānā
ánu yóniṃ devákr̥taṃ cárantīḥ
ná vártave prasaváḥ sárgataktaḥ
kiṃyúr vípro nadíyo johavīti

rámadhvam me vácase somiyā́ya
ŕ̥tāvarīr úpa muhūrtám évaiḥ
prá síndhum áchā br̥hatī́ manīṣā́
avasyúr ahve kuśikásya sūnúḥ

índro asmā́m̐ aradad vájrabāhur
ápāhan vr̥trám paridhíṃ nadī́nām
devó anayat savitā́ supāṇís
tásya vayám prasavé yāma urvī́

pravā́ciyaṃ śaśvadhā́ vīríyaṃ tád
índrasya kárma yád áhiṃ vivr̥ścát
ví vájreṇa pariṣádo jaghāna
́yann ā́po áyanam ichámānāḥ

etád váco jaritar mā́pi mr̥ṣṭhā
́ yát te ghóṣān úttarā yugā́ni
ukthéṣu kāro práti no juṣasva
mā́ no ní kaḥ puruṣatrā́ námas te

Translation

[The streams:] In this way we, swelling with plenty,
Are going to the home made by the god.
The flood in spate is not to be hindered.
The poet entreats the streams; what does he want?
[The poet:] Rest for my inspired speech, O holy ones,
For a moment in your courses;
A lofty poem goes out to the river.
Desiring help I, son of Kushika, have made the invocation.
[The streams:] Weapon-armed Indra dug us,
He struck away the demon imprisoner of the streams.
Lovely-handed Savitar conducted us,
At his impelling we broad ones go.
[The poet:] That heroic deed is evermore to be celebrated,
Indra's act that he cut the snake in pieces.
He struck apart the surrounding coils;
Off went the waters, longing to be gone.
[The streams:] Do not forget this speech, O singer,
Which future generations will resound for you.
Honour us in holy songs, O bard;
Do not let us down, as a man. Honour to you.

Grammar

11 The relative pronoun yá.

Forms not found in the Rigveda are in square brackets.

        Singular           Plural    
    Masculine       Feminine   Masculine       Feminine
Nom   yás       yā́   yé       yā́s
Acc   yám       yā́m   yā́n       yā́s
Ins   yéna       yáyā   yébhis       yā́bhis
Dat   yásmai       [yásyai]   yébhyas       yā́bhyas
Abl   yásmāt       [yásyās]   [yébhyas]       [yā́bhyas]
Gen   yásya       yásyās   yéṣām       yā́sām
Loc   yásmin       yásyām   yéṣu       yā́su

The singular and plural neuter endings differ from the masculine only in the nominative/accusative, which are the same for both cases: singular yát, plural yā́ or yā́ni. The dual forms for the three genders are given below.

Dual   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
Nom, Acc   yā́, yaú   yé   yé
Ins, Dat, Abl   yā́bhyām   [yā́bhyām]   [yā́bhyām]
Gen, Loc   yáyos   [yáyos]   yáyos

The relative pronoun introduces a subordinate clause, and if there is a verb in the clause it retains its accent. The clause is however regularly without a verb, the verb 'be' being understood, as in the first two examples below. As in other Indo-European languages the relative pronoun appears in the case appropriate for its own clause, of which the first example is a straightforward illustration. The relative clause can precede or follow the main clause, as meaning or the craft of the poet dictates.

  • vívasvantaṃ huve yáḥ pitā́ te (X, 14, 5) 'I call on (√hū, huvé) Vivasvant (accusative), who (nominative) (is) your father' [48].
  • yáyor [yáyos] víśvam idáṃ jágat (VIII, 40, 4) '(praise Indra and Agni,) whose (is) all this moving world' [49]
  • chardír yéna dāśúṣe yáchati tmánā (Lesson 2 text) '(we accept the gift) with which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper' [50]
  • yásmin devā́ [devā́s] mánmani saṃcáranti (X, 12, 8) 'in what thought (loc sing neuter of mánman 'thought') the gods unite (we do not know)'. Note that the preverb has combined with the verb and lost its accent, as described at the end of section 9; see also 57 and 58 below. [51]
  • uraú vā yé antárikṣe mádanti, divó vā yé rocané sánti devā́ (III, 6, 8) 'either (vā) the gods who rejoice (from √mad, mádati) in the spacious atmosphere, or those who are in the sphere of light of heaven (come with them)' [52]
  • yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávāthaḥ (VII, 61, 2) '(to you the sage lifts his thoughts,) whose prayers (bráhman, neuter), O very able pair (su-kratū), you may favour (subjunctive, from √av, ávati 'favour')' [53]
  • yád [yát] diví cakráthuḥ páyaḥ, ténemā́m [téna imā́m] úpa siñcatam (IV, 57, 5) 'that plenty you make in heaven, sprinkle (imperative, from √sic, siñcáti 'pour' with preverb úpa) this (earth) with it' [54]
  • táṃ yuñjāthām mánaso yó [yás] jávīyān (I, 183, 1) 'may you two harness (imperative) that which is swifter than understanding (ablative of mánas, neuter)' [55]

As examples 50, 52 and 55 show, the relative pronoun does not have to stand at the head of its clause, although there are seldom more than a couple of words preceding it.

11.1 Use of yát as conjunction.

The neuter singular yát has acquired special use as a conjunction, with three main functions. It can introduce a clause that describes the purpose or result of the main clause, 'so that', as in the first example below, in which case it always follows the main clause. It can expand and explain what has gone before, 'that', as in the second example (taken from the lesson text), when again it always follows the main clause. And it also regularly introduces a temporal clause, 'when', as in the third example, when it may also precede the main clause. Once again, yát does not have to stand at the head of its clause. The verb in every case is accented.

  • yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávātha, ā́ yát krátvā ná śarádaḥ pr̥ṇaíthe (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour, so that you will fill (subjunctive) (his) autumns with capability, as it were (ná)'. The first line is repeated from 53. [56]
  • pravā́cyaṃ śaśvadhā́ vīryàṃ tád, índrasya kárma yád áhiṃ vivr̥ścát (lesson text) 'That heroic deed is evermore to be celebrated, Indra's act that he cut the snake in pieces' [57]
  • dívā cit támaḥ kr̥ṇvanti, parjányenodavāhéna [parjányena uda-vāhéna], yát pr̥thivī́ṃ vyundánti (I, 38, 9) '(the storm gods) make darkness (támas, neuter) even by day, when, together with Parjanya the water-bearer, they inundate (from √ud, unátti 'wet' with preverb ví) the earth' [58]
12 The demonstrative pronouns.
12.1 sás, sā́, tát 'that', eṣás, eṣā́, etát 'this'.

The demonstrative pronoun sás, sā́, tát 'that' also supplies the 3rd person of the personal pronoun, 'he, she, it'. It follows the declension of the relative pronoun throughout, as if from a stem tá-, with the important exceptions of the nominative singular masculine and feminine, sás (not *tás), and sā́ (not *tā́). Compare Greek ὁ, ἡ, το, Gothic sa, so, thata. There is in addition a derivative pronoun, meaning 'this', which declines exactly like sás, sā́, tát with prefixed e-, which causes retroflexion of the s: eṣás, eṣā́, etát.

  • tváṃ tásmād [tásmāt] varuṇa pāhi asmā́n (II, 28, 10) '(if a thief or a wolf would harm us,) do you, O Varuna, protect (imperative) us from that' [59]
  • tásya vayám prasavé yāma urvī́ (lesson text) '(Savitar conducted us,) at his impelling we broad ones go' [60]
  • té te deva netar (V, 50, 2) 'those (are) thine, O god the leader' [61]
  • téṣāṃ sú śr̥ṇutaṃ hávam (I, 47, 2) '(they pray to you,) listen well (dual imperative, from śru, śr̥ṇóti with particle sú 'well') (O two horsemen) to their (plural) call' [62]
  • etád [etát] váco jaritar mā́pi mr̥ṣṭhāḥ (lesson text) 'do not forget this speech, O singer' [63]
  • praíté [prá eté] vadantu (X, 94, 1) 'let these speak forth (imperative, from √vad, vádati with preverb prá)' [64]

The nominative masculine singular sás occurs twice as often as any other form. Its sandhi is exceptional: the final letter is dropped before all consonants. sás is regularly repeated in the Rigveda as a rhetorical device, generally to reiterate the power of a deity. There was an example of this in the first lesson text: sá no dívā sá riṣáḥ pātu náktam 'may he protect us day and night from harm': literally, 'he us by day, he from harm may protect by night'. Even when only used once sás 'he' is emphatic, as the inflected verb does away with the need for a first person pronoun; one might translate 'he it is', or, when it concludes an enumeration of qualities, 'being such'.

The neuter singular tát occasionally appears as correlative to yát 'when' meaning 'then', as in the third example below.

  • sá gā́ [gā́s] avindat só avindad áśvān, sá óṣadhīḥ só apáḥ sá vánāni (I, 103, 5) 'he it was found the cattle, he found the horses, he found the plants, the waters and the woods' [65]
  • sá no deváḥ savitā́ śárma yachatu (Lesson 2 text) 'being such, may divine Savitar extend refuge to us' [66]
  • yáj jā́yathā [yát jā́yathās] apūrvya [...] tát pr̥thivī́m aprathayaḥ (VIII, 89, 5) 'when you were born, O incomparable one, then you spread out the earth' [67]
12.2 ayám, iyám, idám 'this'.

More frequently used than eṣás, eṣā́, etát to mean 'this' is the irregular pronoun ayám, feminine iyám, neuter idám.

        Singular           Plural    
    Masculine       Feminine   Masculine       Feminine
Nom   ayám       iyám   imé       imā́s
Acc   imám       imā́m   imā́n       imā́s
Ins   enā́       ayā́   ebhís       ābhís
Dat   asmaí       asyaí   ebhyás       ābhyás
Abl   asmā́t       asyā́s   [ebhyás]       [ābhyás]
Gen   asyá       asyā́s   eṣā́m       āsā́m
Loc   asmín       asyā́m   eṣú       āsú

The singular and plural neuter endings differ from the masculine only in the nominative/accusative, which are the same for both cases: singular idám, plural imā́ or imā́ni. The dual forms for the three genders are given below.

Dual   Masculine   Neuter   Feminine
Nom, Acc   imā́, imaú   imé   imé
Ins, Dat, Abl   ābhyā́m   [ābhyā́m]   [ābhyā́m]
Gen, Loc   ayós   [ayós]   ayós

The pronoun is regularly used to mean 'this here', referring to the home of mankind as opposed to that of the gods. In example 49 the neuter idám agreed with jágat 'this moving world', but in the first lesson text idám occurred alone, víśvam idáṃ ví caṣṭe 'he perceives all this (world)', and jágat is understood. In the first example below the feminine pronoun also carries this sense: a noun is understood, here perhaps pr̥thivī́m 'earth'. Oblique cases of ayám, that is, those other than the nominative and accusative, regularly lose their accent when they refer to a subject that is apparent from the context, as in the final example in this section, where ayám is also used simply as equivalent to the personal pronoun.

  • ténemā́m [téna imā́m] úpa siñcatam (IV, 57, 5) 'sprinkle this (earth) with it'. Repeated from the second line of 54. [68]
  • śúnāsīrāv [śúnāsīrau] imā́ṃ vā́caṃ juṣethām (IV, 57, 5) 'O Shuna and Sira, enjoy (imperative, from √juṣ, juṣáte) this speech (acc sing fem of vā́c 'speech'; compare the related neuter noun vácas in the lesson text)' [69]
  • túbhyemā́ [túbhya imā́] víśvā bhúvanāni yemire (IX, 86, 30) 'to you all these beings (neuter) stretch out' [70] (=5)
  • tváṣṭāsmai [tváṣṭā asmai] vájraṃ svaryàṃ tatakṣa (I, 32, 2) 'Tvashtar fashioned a weapon of sunlight for him' [71]
13 The verb.

There is remarkable variety in the ways in which verb forms in early Sanskrit are composed. Grammarians describe four distinct 'systems' to explain how endings can be attached to the verbal root in different ways forming moods, like the imperative and optative, and participles, like those in -ant described in Lesson 2. These four 'systems' are named after four tenses of the verb: the present, the perfect, the aorist and the future. The most important of these systems, even in the earliest text, is the Present System, based on the present tense, whose forms occur more frequently than those of the other three put together.

The familiar names given to the tenses and moods of the verb by western grammarians can be misleading. They are based on parallel formations in other Indo-European languages, but the meaning that these parts of the verb convey in Sanskrit is often different. The 'present' tense, as in other languages, is used to convey present time, but the so-called 'imperfect' tense, for example, is the past tense of story-telling (ahan vr̥trám 'he struck the demon'), never having the continuous or unfinished sense ('I was running') that it has in English or in Latin. The 'subjunctive' mood, in early Sanskrit, is used much more frequently than the future tense simply to express future time: ́ yát te ghóṣān úttarā yugā́ni 'which future generations will resound for you' (lesson text). The name 'present system' is also potentially confusing: while based on the present tense, and forming moods and participles accordingly, it also includes the imperfect tense, and the subjunctive form just quoted. The Present System is given here with capital letters, to distinguish it from the tense of the same name.

13.1 Present System: thematic and athematic conjugations.

Verbs were classified by the ancient grammarians according to how the present tense is formed, a classification that relates only to the Present System. This classification may be simplified into two basic conjugations, thematic and athematic.

The 'thematic' conjugation [I] is characterised by the addition of a connecting a, known as the 'thematic' vowel, to the verbal root, to which the endings of the present tense, as given in section 4 of the first lesson, are attached. From the root √inv 'set in motion' the third person singular active is ínv-a-ti, and from √sr̥j 'let go', sr̥j-á-ti; from √juṣ 'enjoy' the third person singular middle is juṣ-á-te. Sometimes the root is 'strengthened', that is, it shows gradation of the vowel: √ruh 'spring up' róh-a-ti; and sometimes a y precedes the a, the accent then always falling on the root: √man 'think' mán-ya-te, √mr̥ṣ 'forget' mŕ̥ṣ-ya-te. Before endings beginning with m or v this vowel becomes long: sr̥j-ā́-mi, sác-ā-vahe.

The 'athematic' conjugation [II] connects the endings with the root differently, and in a variety of ways. Some verbs simply attach them directly to the root: √pā 'protect' pā́-ti, √as 'be' ás-ti. Others add a nasal and a vowel: √kr̥ 'make' kr̥-ṇó-ti, √gr̥ 'sing' gr̥-ṇā́-ti, √vr̥ 'choose' vr̥-ṇī-té. A few verbs insert the nasal into the root: √bhuj 'turn to account' bhuñjáte.

An important subgroup of athematic verbs was mentioned in the last lesson, in section 7. These verbs 'reduplicate' the root, as in the example given in that lesson: √dā 'give' dá-dā-ti. See section 13.2 below for the general rules of reduplication. This subgroup exceptionally drops the n of the ending of the third person plural of the present active voice, giving -ti instead of -nti: √pā, pā́nti 'they protect', but √dhā, dádhati 'they place'.

There are some general differences between the endings of the thematic [I] and athematic [II] conjugations. In the table of present indicative active and middle endings given in section 4 of the first lesson, for example, alternatives were shown for the middle forms of the second and third persons dual, and the third person plural. These represent the different endings of the two conjugations: -ethe, -ete, -nte [I], -āthe, -āte, -ate [II].

In these lessons a third person singular present form of the verb is given, if possible, at its first occurrence. This serves to distinguish verbs that have the same root, like √vr̥, vr̥ṇóti 'hinder', which occurs in this lesson text, and √vr̥, vr̥ṇīté 'choose' from the two previous lessons. Many verbs however form their present tense in more than one way, and sometimes in more than one conjugation: from √iṣ 'send', for example, both íṣyati [I] and iṣṇā́ti [II] are found.

13.2 General rules of reduplication.

Reduplication is an ancient phenomenon, occurring in many languages, and it is found in Sanskrit not only in a group of verbs of the Present System, but elsewhere, most importantly in the formation of the perfect. There are certain general rules about how reduplication occurs. The verb repeats the first consonant and vowel, which is usually shortened (sometimes a becomes i). But if the root begins with a sibilant followed by a hard consonant, the latter is reduplicated: √sthā 'stand', ta-sthé (a perfect form). Aspirated letters reduplicate as the corresponding unaspirated sound, √dhā 'place' dá-dhā-ti; and g and h both reduplicate as j, √gā 'go' jí-gā-ti, √hā 'leave' já-hā-ti.

14 The imperative mood.

Many of the examples given to illustrate the relative and demonstrative pronouns in section 11 have imperative verbs, in both the active (54, 59, 62, 64 and 66) and the middle (55, 69) voice. Both the imperatives in the lesson text were in the middle voice, rámadhvam and juṣásva. Below are examples of both voices in tabular form. Active forms are quoted for √inv, ínvati 'set in motion', and middle forms for √juṣ, juṣáte 'enjoy', both verbs of the thematic [I] conjugation.

As in the present tense, athematic [II] verbs, in the 2nd and 3rd persons dual of the middle voice, connect the endings to the root with -ā- not -e-. In addition, again as in the present tense, they drop the -n- from the 3rd person plural of the middle voice. With the exception of the second person dual imperative of √yuj 'yoke, harness', yuñjā́thām, an imperative addressed to the Ashvins 'the two horsemen', these forms are uncommon.

There is a further difference between the two conjugations in the imperative that is more frequently encountered. In the thematic conjugation the usual ending of the second person singular active imperative is simply the thematic vowel: bháva! 'be!', but in the second conjugation the usual ending is -dhi or -hi: pāhí 'protect!', stuhí 'praise!', daddhí 'give!', dhehí 'place!', śr̥ṇudhí or śr̥ṇuhí 'hear!'. As in the present tense, verbs that reduplicate the root exceptionally drop the -n- in the active third person plural: ínvantu [I] 'let them set in motion', pā́ntu [II] 'let them protect' but dádatu [II, reduplicating] 'let them give'. All these examples belong to the Present System.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
2   ínva   ínvatam   ínvata, ínvatana   juṣásva   juṣéthām   juṣádhvam
3   ínvatu   ínvatām   ínvantu   juṣátām   juṣétām   juṣántām

The final -a of the 2nd person singular and plural active is regularly long in the Rigveda (there are examples of this in the Lesson 5 text).

The verbs √inv 'set in motion' and √juṣ 'enjoy' exemplify the difference in meaning that regularly underlies the active and the middle voice. The term used by Sanskrit grammarians for the active voice, literally translated, means 'a word for another' (like 'set in motion'), and, for the middle voice, 'a word for oneself' (like 'enjoy'). Forms of √inv are always in the active voice, and of √juṣ usually in the middle.

Many verbs are however found in both voices, and often the difference in meaning appears to be slight. In the Lesson 2 text the verb √rakṣ 'protect' with preverb abhí occurs both in the active and in the middle voice: vratā́ni deváḥ savitā́bhí rakṣate 'divine Savitar guards the holy laws' (verse 4); tribhír vrataír abhí no rakṣati tmánā 'by his nature he guards us with the three holy laws' (verse 5). This may simply be poetic variation. But the use of the different voices may also convey a subtle difference in sense: Savitar guards the holy laws for his own sake in verse 4 (abhí rakṣate), enabling him to guard us, for our benefit (abhí rakṣati), with those same laws in the verse that follows.

There are in addition a few ancient second person singular imperative forms with the ending -si added directly to the root: √rā 'grant', rā́si, √mad, 'delight' mátsi.

  • tváṣṭā sudátro ví dadhātu rā́yaḥ (VII, 34, 22) 'may Tvashtar, the good giver (su-dátra), lay out riches' [72]
  • táṃ yuñjāthām mánaso yó jávīyān (I, 183, 1) 'may you two harness that which is swifter than understanding' [73] (=55)
  • ví uchā [ucha] duhitar divaḥ (I, 48, 1; V, 79, 3; V, 79, 9) 'shine out, O daughter of heaven' [74] (=45)
  • asmé rayíṃ viśvávāraṃ sám inva, asmé víśvāni dráviṇāni dhehi (V, 4, 7) 'bestow the all-precious (viśvá-vāra) treasure on us, lay on us all provisions' [75]
  • prá pinvadhvam iṣáyantīḥ surā́dhā [surā́dhās], ā́ vakṣáṇāḥ pr̥ṇádhvaṃ yātá śī́bham (III, 33, 12) 'swell forth refreshing, bringing good gifts, fill full the fertile places, travel swiftly' (the poet's concluding blessing to the streams of the lesson text) [76]
  • śúnāsīrāv imā́ṃ vā́caṃ juṣethāṃ, yád diví cakráthuḥ páyaḥ, ténemā́m úpa siñcatam (IV, 57, 5) 'O Shuna and Sira, enjoy (middle) this speech; that plenty you make in heaven, sprinkle (active) this (earth) with it'. The three lines, completing the verse, put together from 54 and 69. [77]
  • tā́ sūríbhyo gr̥ṇaté rāsi sumnám (VI, 4, 8) 'grant those things to the princes (sūrí, masculine), favour to the one singing (dative active participle)' [78]
  • urú jyótiḥ kr̥ṇuhi mátsi devā́n (IX, 94, 5) 'make a broad light (jyótis, neuter), delight the gods' [79]
15 Present middle participles, past participles, and future passive participles.

These non-finite verb forms ending in -a follow the declension of other adjectives in -a, as described in section 6 in Lesson 2.

15.1 Present middle participles.

The present middle participle in the Present System has the distinguishing suffix -māna for thematic verbs [I] and -āna for athematic verbs [II] in the Present System. Some middle participles are reflexive or passive in sense, as in the last two examples given below, but most often they can be translated simply as if active, as with pínvamāna 'swelling' and ichámāna 'desiring' in the lesson text.

  • agníṃ vr̥ṇānā́ [vr̥ṇānā́s] vr̥ṇate kavíkratum (V, 11, 4) 'choosing Agni they choose (NB pl) the sage-wise (kaví-kratum)' [80]
  • abhí ṣyāma [syāma] maható [mahatás] mányamānān (I, 178, 5) 'may we surpass those thinking themselves (acc pl) great' [81]
  • dhībhír víśvābhiḥ śácyā gr̥ṇānáḥ [gr̥ṇānás] (X, 104, 3) '(Indra) sung to with all thoughts, with power (instrumental of śácī, feminine)' [82]
15.2 Past participles.

Adjectives that are in form past participles usually have the suffix -tá, as in the examples from the first lesson, jātá 'born', pr̥ṣṭá 'invoked'. We have also seen past participles as elements of compounds: in the second lesson text dhr̥tá-vrata 'firm- (past participle of √dhr̥ 'hold fast') -command(ed)', and in this lesson devá-kr̥ta 'god-made', where the second element is the past participle of √kr̥ 'make, do', and the accent has moved to the first element. Some examples of past participles from verbs already encountered are: √juṣ 'enjoy' juṣṭá; √dhā 'place' (irregular) hitá; √iṣ 'long for' iṣṭá; √vas 'shine' uṣṭá, √viś 'enter' viṣṭá. A few roots add a connecting -i-, √rad 'dig' raditá, and a small number form the past participle with the alternative ending -ná: √tud 'urge' tunná. The formation of these participles is independent of the tense system.

15.3 Future passive participles.

The formation of this participle is also independent of the tense system. The usual ending of the future passive participle in the Rigveda is unaccented -iya, given in grammars as -ya, as in the later language. It corresponds in meaning to the Latin gerundive in -ndus, from which English referendum 'to be referred' derives. We have so far encountered three examples: in the second lesson text vā́rya 'to be chosen' and ádābhya 'not to be deceived'; and in the penultimate verse of this lesson pravā́cya 'to be celebrated'. As with present middle participles and past participles, these follow the adjectival declension in -a in all cases: in X, 118, 7 Agni burns ádābhyena śocíṣā 'with flame that is not to be deceived'.

An alternative form of the future passive participle made with the ending -tva is regularly juxtaposed with the past participle: abhí paśyati kr̥tā́ni yā́ ca kártvā (I, 25, 11) 'he discerns which things are done and which are yet to do'.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 4

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Twenty poems in the Rigveda are addressed to Ushas, the goddess of the dawn, who is sometimes invoked jointly with her sister, the goddess of night. The lesson text is the last of a group of seven poems, VII, 75-81, all of which are addressed to dawn.

Reading and Textual Analysis

VII, 75-80 are in triṣṭubh, but the metre of this poem, VII, 81 (597), is more complex, consisting of verses in the br̥hatī metre, lines of 8, 8, 12, and 8 syllables, alternating with satobr̥hatī, lines of 12, 8, 12, and 8 syllables. As in the Lesson 2 text the poet makes linguistic play on dawn's name, uṣás. The verb from which it derives is √vas, ucháti 'shine', and a feminine present participle of the verb, uchántī 'shining', describes her in verses 1 & 4. The sun's usríyās 'shining beams' that accompany dawn's vi-úṣ 'brightening' are described in the second verse, and the poet concludes with a radiant metaphor, the wish that dawn should 'shine misfortunes away'. This last line, together with the last line of the first verse, is repeated from a poem to dawn in Book I: víśvam asyā nānāma cákṣase jágaj, jyótiṣ kr̥ṇoti sūnárī, ápa dvéṣo maghónī duhitā́ divá, uṣā́ uchad ápa srídhaḥ 'all the moving world pays reverence to the sight of her; the fair lady makes the light. Let dawn, the gracious daughter of heaven, shine away hatred, shine misfortunes away' (I, 48, 8).

práty u adarśi āyatī́
uchántī duhitā́ diváḥ
ápo máhi vyayati cákṣase támo
jyótiṣ kr̥ṇoti sūnárī

  • u -- particle; <u> and, now -- now
  • práti adarśi -- verb; 3rd person singular passive aorist of <√dr̥ś> see, appear + preverb; <práti> against -- she has come into view # The present forms of √dr̥ś are understood to be supplied by another root, √paś, páśyati 'see'.
  • āyatī́ -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of <√i, éti> go + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- approaching
  • uchántī -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of <√vas, ucháti> shine -- shining
  • duhitā́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <duhitŕ̥> daughter -- the daughter
  • divás -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven
  • máhi -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <máh> great -- the great # In the early language there are a number of related adjectives meaning 'great' from a basic stem máh-; how these should be classified is debated.
  • ápa vyayati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√vyā, vyáyati> cover + preverb; <ápa> away -- she draws away
  • cákṣase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <cákṣas> seeing, sight -- for sight
  • támas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <támas> darkness -- the darkness
  • jyótis -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <jyótis> light -- the light
  • kr̥ṇoti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- she makes
  • sūnárī -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <sūnárī> fair lady -- the fair lady

úd usríyāḥ sr̥jate sū́riyaḥ sácām̐
udyán nákṣatram arcivát
távéd uṣo viúṣi sū́riyasya ca
sám bhakténa gamemahi

  • usríyās -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <usríyā> beam -- beams
  • út sr̥jate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√sr̥j, sr̥játi> let go + preverb; <út> up -- sends up
  • sū́ryas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- the sun
  • sácā -- adverb; <sácā> at the same time -- at the same time
  • udyát -- participle; nominative singular neuter present active participle of <√i, éti> go + preverb; <út> up -- rising # Compare the feminine of this participle in the first verse, with a different preverb.
  • nákṣatram -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <nákṣatra> star -- the star
  • arcivát -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <arcivánt> possessing rays, flaming -- flaming
  • táva -- personal pronoun; genitive singular of <tvám> you -- your
  • ít -- emphatic particle; <ít> indeed, just -- own # Stresses the previous word, here 'your'.
  • uṣas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uṣás> dawn -- O dawn
  • vyúṣi -- noun; locative singular feminine of <vyúṣ> brightening -- at the brightening # The word is made up of the preverb ví and -uṣ, from the root vas, ucháti 'shine', like dawn's name, uṣás.
  • sū́ryasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- of the sun
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and
  • bhakténa -- noun; instrumental singular of <bhaktá> what is apportioned -- with our share # The exact meaning is uncertain. In form bhaktá is the past participle of √bhaj, bhájati 'apportion, share', which occurs in the Rigveda only twice, here and at I, 127, 5, where it is adjectival: Agni's undying fires are described as seeking out ávas 'help' that is both bhaktá and ábhakta.
  • sám gamemahi -- verb; 1st person plural middle aorist optative of <√gam, gáchati> go + preverb; <sám> together -- may we partake of # sám + √gam 'partake of' takes the instrumental.

práti tvā duhitar diva
úṣo jīrā́ abhutsmahi
yā́ váhasi purú spārháṃ vananvati
rátnaṃ ná dāśúṣe máyaḥ

  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • duhitar -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <duhitŕ̥> daughter -- O daughter
  • divas -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven # Unaccented as forming part of the vocative, 'O daughter of heaven', within the sentence.
  • úṣas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uṣás> dawn -- O dawn
  • jīrā́s -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <jīrá> eager -- eager
  • práti abhutsmahi -- verb; 1st person plural middle sigmatic aorist of <√budh, bódhati> wake, observe + preverb; <práti> against -- we have wakened to meet
  • yā́ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • váhasi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of <√vah, váhati> conduct, bring -- brings
  • purú -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <purú> much, many -- much
  • spārhám -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <spārhá> desirable -- that is desirable
  • vananvati -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <vánanvant> lovely -- O lovely one
  • rátnam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rátna> treasure -- treasure
  • ná -- particle; <ná> like -- like # Compare ná 'not', which occurred in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text.
  • dāśúṣe -- noun; dative singular masculine of <dāśvā́ṃs> the one worshipping -- for the worshipper # In form a perfect participle (see section 27.1 in Lesson 6), regularly used as a noun.
  • máyas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <máyas> happiness -- happiness

uchántī yā́ kr̥ṇóṣi maṃhánā mahi
prakhyaí devi súvar dr̥śé
tásyās te ratnabhā́ja īmahe vayáṃ
syā́ma mātúr ná sūnávaḥ

  • uchántī -- participle; nominative singular feminine present active participle of <√vas, ucháti> shine -- shining
  • yā́ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • kr̥ṇóṣi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- you make
  • maṃhánā -- adverb; <maṃhánā> assuredly -- assuredly
  • mahi -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <máh> great -- great
  • prakhyaí -- infinitive; dative infinitive of <√khyā> look upon + preverb; <prá> forth -- to be gazed upon # This verb, like √dr̥ś, has no present forms in the Rigveda. As with vártave in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text, the dative infinitives in this line have a passive sense.
  • devi -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <devī́> divine, goddess -- O goddess
  • svàr -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <svàr> sunlight, heaven -- the sunlight
  • dr̥śé -- infinitive; dative infinitive of <√dr̥ś> see, appear -- to be seen
  • tásyās -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular feminine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- her
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • ratnabhā́jas -- adjective; genitive singular feminine of <ratnabhā́j> dispensing treasure -- dispensing treasure # The second element, 'dispensing', comes from the root √bhaj; compare the past participle bhaktá in verse 2.
  • īmahe -- verb; 3rd person plural middle present of <√yā, yā́ti> approach with longing, solicit -- we approach with longing # Considered to be a separate root from √yā, yā́ti 'go, travel' in the third verse of the Lesson 3 text.
  • vayám -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vayám> we -- we
  • syā́ma -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√as, ásti> be -- may we be
  • mātúr -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <mātŕ̥> mother -- of the mother
  • ná -- particle; <ná> like -- like # Compare ná 'not', which occurred in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text.
  • sūnávas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <sūnú> son -- sons

tác citráṃ rā́dha ā́ bhara
úṣo yád dīrghaśrúttamam
yát te divo duhitar martabhójanaṃ
tád rāsva bhunájāmahai

  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • citrám -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <citrá> bright, radiant -- radiant
  • rā́dhas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rā́dhas> favour, gift -- favour
  • ́ bhara -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√bhr̥, bhárati> bring, bear + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- bring hither
  • úṣas -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <uṣás> dawn -- O dawn
  • yát -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- which
  • dīrghaśrúttamam -- adjective; nominative singular neuter of <dīrghaśrúttama> most widely known, famed -- most famed
  • yát -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- which
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • divas -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- of heaven # Unaccented as forming part of the vocative, 'O daughter of heaven', within the sentence.
  • duhitar -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <duhitŕ̥> daughter -- O daughter
  • martabhójanam -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <martabhójana> mortal sustenance -- mortal sustenance
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • rāsva -- verb; 2nd person singular middle aorist imperative of <√rā> grant -- grant
  • bhunájāmahai -- verb; 1st person plural middle subjunctive of <√bhuj, bhuñjáte> turn to account -- may we turn to account # Accented as first word in the (grammatical) sentence.

śrávaḥ sūríbhyo amŕ̥taṃ vasutvanáṃ
vā́jām̐ asmábhyaṃ gómataḥ
codayitrī́ maghónaḥ sūnŕ̥tāvatī
uṣā́ uchad ápa srídhaḥ

  • śrávas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <śrávas> fame -- fame
  • sūríbhyas -- noun; dative plural masculine of <sūrí> prince -- to princes
  • amŕ̥tam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <amŕ̥ta> immortal, undying -- undying
  • vasutvanám -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vasutvaná> prosperity -- prosperity
  • vā́jān -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <vā́ja> power, strength -- strength
  • asmábhyam -- personal pronoun; dative of <vayám> we -- to us
  • gómatas -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <gómant> consisting of cattle -- in cattle
  • codayitrī́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <codayitrī́> rouser -- rouser
  • maghónas -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <maghávan> gracious -- of the gracious # The declension is irregular (see section 22 in the next lesson).
  • sūnŕ̥tāvatī -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <sūnŕ̥tāvant> possessing joy, joyous -- the joyous one
  • uṣā́s -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <uṣás> dawn -- dawn
  • ápa uchat -- verb; 3rd person singular active injunctive of <√vas, ucháti> shine + preverb; <ápa> away -- let her shine away
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

Lesson Text

práty u adarśi āyatī́
uchántī duhitā́ diváḥ
ápo máhi vyayati cákṣase támo
jyótiṣ kr̥ṇoti sūnárī

úd usríyāḥ sr̥jate sū́riyaḥ sácām̐
udyán nákṣatram arcivát
távéd uṣo viúṣi sū́riyasya ca
sám bhakténa gamemahi

práti tvā duhitar diva
úṣo jīrā́ abhutsmahi
yā́ váhasi purú spārháṃ vananvati
rátnaṃ ná dāśúṣe máyaḥ

uchántī yā́ kr̥ṇóṣi maṃhánā mahi
prakhyaí devi súvar dr̥śé
tásyās te ratnabhā́ja īmahe vayáṃ
syā́ma mātúr ná sūnávaḥ

tác citráṃ rā́dha ā́ bhara
úṣo yád dīrghaśrúttamam
yát te divo duhitar martabhójanaṃ
tád rāsva bhunájāmahai

śrávaḥ sūríbhyo amŕ̥taṃ vasutvanáṃ
vā́jām̐ asmábhyaṃ gómataḥ
codayitrī́ maghónaḥ sūnŕ̥tāvatī
uṣā́ uchad ápa srídhaḥ

Translation

Now she has come into view, approaching,
Shining, the daughter of heaven.
She draws away, for sight, the great darkness,
The fair lady makes the light.
The sun, at the same time, sends up beams,
Rising, a flaming star.
At your own brightening, O dawn, and the sun's,
May we partake of our share.
You, O daughter of heaven,
We have wakened eager to meet, O dawn.
Who brings much that is desirable, O lovely one,
Happiness, like treasure, to the worshipper.
You who, shining, assuredly, O great goddess,
Makes the sunlight to be gazed on, seen;
We approach you with longing, may we be
Like her sons, of the mother dispensing treasure.
Bring hither that radiant favour,
O dawn, which is most famed.
That mortal sustenance of yours, O daughter of heaven,
Grant; may we turn it to account.
Fame to princes, undying prosperity,
Strength in cattle to us,
Rouser of the gracious, may the joyous one,
Dawn, shine misfortunes away.

Grammar

16 Stems in -as, -is, and -us.
16.1 Stems in -as.

There are a number of stems in -as, accented on the first syllable and of neuter gender, most of which are abstract nouns. Many of these have been encountered in previous lessons: sáhas 'might', áṃhas 'trouble', ávas 'help', páyas 'plenty', vácas 'speech', námas 'honour', mánas 'understanding, spirit', dvéṣas 'enmity'; and in this lesson text cákṣas 'sight', śrávas 'fame', máyas 'happiness' and and rā́dhas 'favour'. In addition, támas 'darkness' and rájas 'airy space', words with a semi-concrete sense, also belong to this group. The forms that would occur if made from mánas 'understanding, spirit' are given to show the declension.

    Singular   Plural
Nom, Acc, Voc   mánas   mánāṃsi
Ins   mánasā   mánobhis
Dat   mánase   mánobhyas
Abl   mánasas   mánobhyas
Gen   mánasas   mánasām
Loc   mánasi   mánassu

Plural forms other than the nominative, accusative and instrumental are of infrequent occurrence, as are dual forms; the dual nominative/accusative/vocative would be mánasī.

Some of these abstract nouns shade into a more concrete sense in some passages: ́ na índro yātu ácha [...] ávase rā́dhase ca (IV, 20, 2) 'may Indra come towards us, for help and for favour' [83], tváṃ dātā́ prathamó rā́dhasām asi (VIII, 90, 2) 'you are the first giver of gifts' [84]; dádhānāś [dádhānās] cákṣasi priyám (IX, 17, 6) '(the poets) placing the beloved in sight' [85], távedáṃ [táva idám] víśvaṃ [...] yát páśyasi cákṣasā sū́ryasya (VII, 98, 6) 'all this (is) yours, which you see with the eye of the sun' [86]; enā́ vayám páyasā pínvamānāḥ (Lesson 3 text) 'in this way we, swelling with plenty' [87], páyo góṣu ádadhā [ádadhās] óṣadhī́ṣu (X, 73, 9) 'you placed fruitfulness in cattle, in plants (milk, sap)' [88].

The adjectives belonging to this declension are chiefly compounds, like mádhu-vacas 'sweetly speaking', devá-śravas 'having divine renown', and prá-cetas 'mindful' from the first verse of the Lesson 2 text, which when neuter inflect as above. The compounded su-mánas 'well-disposed' is given below to show the nominative, accusative and vocative masculine and feminine endings. The endings of the oblique cases are the same for all three genders.

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   sumánās   sumánasā   sumánasas
Acc   sumánasam   sumánasā   sumánasas
Voc   súmanas   súmanasā   súmanasas

A few of the neuter nouns have parallel adjectives, distinguished by a shift in accent: ápas 'work' apás 'active', yáśas 'glory' yaśás 'glorious'.

The feminine uṣás 'dawn', if it belongs in this group, is very irregular, not only in gender and accent, but also in optionally lengthening the second syllable in some forms of the nominative, vocative and accusative.

16.2 Stems in -is and -us.

These stems, fewer in number, are also chiefly neuter, and their inflection is similar to that of the stems in -as, although the final s becomes before vowel endings, and changes to r, not o, before the bh of the instrumental, dative and ablative plural endings: mánas, mánobhis, vápus 'marvel, marvellous', vápurbhis. Three nouns with stems in -is have been encountered so far: chardís 'protection, shield' in the Lesson 2 text, jyótis 'light' in this lesson, and śocís 'flame' in the example quoted at the end of the last lesson, ádābhyena śocíṣā (X, 118, 7) 'with flame that is not to be deceived'. Another noun in this group, neuter arcís 'ray (of light)', appears slightly more frequently than masculine arcí, with the same meaning. There is a similar parallel with mánu 'man' and mánus, like mánu in this instance necessarily of masculine gender.

  • chardír [chardís] yéna dāśúṣe yáchati tmánā (Lesson 2 text) 'with which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper' [89]
  • út sū́ryaṃ nayatho [nayathas] jyótiṣā sahá (VI, 72, 2) 'you two lead up the sun together with the light' [90]
  • tád ékaṃ, devā́nāṃ śréṣṭhaṃ vápuṣām apaśyam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest of the marvels of the gods' [91]
  • út sū́ryo br̥hád arcī́ṃṣi aśret (VII, 62, 1) 'the sun has shed rays up on high (the neuter br̥hát used adverbially)' [92]
17 Secondary nominal formation.
17.1 Secondary stems in -a, -ya, and -tvá.

Sanskrit has a remarkable facility for elaborating new words out of existing ones, like building blocks. Secondary formations, or derivatives, are made by adding suffixes to existing words to form new ones. Two common suffixes used in this way are -a and -ya (usually to be read -iya), often used to make adjectives from nouns; from the neuter vápus mentioned in the previous section both the adjectives vápuṣa and vapuṣyà (vapuṣíya) are formed. The first vowel may be strengthened in such derivative formations. The initial word of the first lesson text was an example: vaiśvānará 'for all men' is a secondary formation from the compound viśvā́nara, as the strengthening of the i of the first element to ai indicates. The adjective pā́rthiva 'earthly' in the third verse of the Lesson 2 text occurred alongside divyá 'heavenly', and these two words are secondary formations from pr̥thivī́ 'earth' and dív 'heaven, sky', the first with strengthened vowel. The secondary formation daívya 'divine' from example 36 in Lesson 2, daívyāni vratā́ni 'divine laws', is probably made from devá 'god, divine'; but devá itself has the form of a secondary formation of dív.

Another productive suffix is -tvá, added to nouns or adjectives to express the sense conveyed by English '-ness'. The neuter nouns mahi-tvá 'greatness, majesty', deva-tvá 'divinity', and amr̥ta-tvá 'immortality' appear frequently, but the regular way in which the suffix is applied permits nonce formations: bhrātr̥-tvá occurs three times, but the feminine equivalent only once: nā́háṃ [ná ahám] veda bhrātr̥tváṃ nó [ná u] svasr̥tvám (X, 108, 10) 'I know neither brotherhood nor sisterhood' [93].

17.2 Secondary stems in -vant and -mant.

The suffixes -vant and -mant both have the sense 'possessing, consisting of'. Of the two -vant is found more frequently, as in this lesson text: arcivánt in verse 2 (possessing arcí 'ray', rather than arcís), the feminine of vánanvant in verse 3, vánanvatī (of debated meaning as *vanan does not occur), and sūnŕ̥tāvatī, feminine of sūnŕ̥tāvant 'joyous' (possessing sūnŕ̥tā 'joy') in the last verse. The suffix -mant is also found in the last verse, in the word gómant 'consisting of cattle (gó)'. These forms decline like the present active participles in -ant described in section 7 of Lesson 2, with the exception of the vowel of the suffix in the nominative singular masculine, which is lengthened to (the vocative ending is -vas). Like present active participles they form their feminine in -ī; see below.

  • samudrā́d ūrmír mádhumām̐ [mádhumān] úd ārat (IV, 58, 1) 'from the sea the wave (ūrmí, masculine) of sweetness (consisting of mádhu) has arisen' [94]
  • prá parjányam īrayā [īraya] vr̥ṣṭimántam (X, 98, 8) 'lead forth (causative imperative of īr, ī́rte 'move' with preverb prá 'forth') Parjanya bearing rain (possessing vr̥ṣṭí)' [95]
  • dákṣiṇāvanto amŕ̥tam bhajante (I, 125, 6) 'the generous (possessing dákṣiṇā) share (√bhaj, bhájate) immortality' [96]
  • utédā́nīm [utá idā́nīm] bhágavantaḥ syāma (VII, 41, 4) 'and may we now be fortunate (possessing bhága)' [97]
  • páyasvatīr [páyasvatīs] óṣadhayaḥ, páyasvan [páyasvat] māmakáṃ vácaḥ (X, 17, 14) 'the plants (feminine) are fruitful (possessing páyas), my speech (neuter) is fruitful' [98]
17.3 Secondary feminine stems in -.

The suffix -ī is used to form the feminine of a large number of masculine stems, including the present participles in -ant and agent nouns in -tr̥, as mentioned in Lesson 2, and the possessive stems in -vant and -mant described above. The n of the possessive suffix, as the examples from the lesson text and number 98 above show, is dropped before the additional feminine suffix. Feminine participles of second conjugation verbs also drop the n: āyatī́ [ā-yatī́] 'approaching' (masculine ā-yánt) in the first verse of the lesson text is from the second conjugation verb √i, but √vas, which forms the participle uchántī 'shining' (masculine uchánt) in verses 1 & 4, belongs to the first conjugation.

A feminine agent noun, codayitrī́ 'rouser' (the masculine would be *codayitŕ̥), occurs in the last verse of the lesson text; others are jánitrī 'female parent' (masculine janitŕ̥ or jánitr̥), avitrī́ 'female helper' (avitŕ̥), and netrī́ 'female leader, guide' (netŕ̥).

The suffix - also forms the feminines of a number of stems in -a, like sūnárī in the first verse of the lesson text, masculine sūnára, devī́ 'divine, goddess', masculine devá, and vápuṣī, the feminine of the derivative adjective vápuṣa mentioned at the beginning of this section. It can similarly be used to form the feminine of stems in -u, like urú 'broad, wide', feminine urvī́, as in the Lesson 3 text: tásya vayám prasavé yāma urvī́ḥ [urvī́s] 'at his impelling we broad ones go', and purú 'much, many', feminine pūrvī́. The feminine of pr̥thú, also 'broad', pr̥thvī́, was used to describe the earth, and developed into the feminine noun pr̥thvī́ or, more usually, pr̥thivī́ 'earth' (urvī́ is also occasionally used with this meaning). Stems in -i however do not form their feminine in this way. As described in section 3, the feminine endings of the -i stems are generally the same as the masculine endings.

Also belonging to this secondary declension are a few independent feminine nouns, like śácī 'might' (see example 82 above, śácyā) and rā́trī 'night'. These are the forms that would occur if made from devī́ 'goddess'.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   devī́   devī́s
Acc   devī́m   devī́s
Ins   devyā́   devī́bhis
Dat   devyaí   devī́bhyas
Abl   devyā́s   devī́bhyas
Gen   devyā́s   devīnā́m
Loc   devyā́m   devī́ṣu
Voc   dévi   dévīs
  • prabodháyantī suvitā́ya devī́ (IV, 14, 3) 'the goddess (dawn) awakening (causative participle) for well-being (suvitá, neuter)' [99]
  • bhā́svatī netrī́ sūnŕ̥tānām (I, 92, 7; I, 113, 4) 'She (dawn,) possessing light (bhā́s, neuter 'light' with suffix -vant, feminine -vatī), leader of joys (sūnŕ̥tā; compare sūnŕ̥tāvatī in the lesson text)' [100]
  • hváyāmi rā́trīṃ jágato nivéśanīm (I, 35, 1) 'I call upon (√hvā, hváyati, a secondary form of √hū) night, the source of rest (feminine of nivéśana, see the last verse of the Lesson 2 text) of the moving world' [101]
  • pr̥ṣṭó diví pr̥ṣṭó agníḥ pr̥thivyā́m (Lesson 1 text) 'Agni invoked in heaven, invoked on earth' [102]
  • tisró dívaḥ pr̥thivī́s tisrá invati (Lesson 2 text) 'he gives motion to the three heavens, the three earths' [103]
  • rā́tryāś [rā́tryās] cid ándho áti deva paśyasi (I, 94, 7) 'O god (Agni), you see even beyond the darkness (ándhas, neuter) of night' [104]

Dual forms, particularly the nominative, accusative and vocative, occur frequently, referring to pairs of female deified bodies, like ródasī 'the two worlds'.

    Dual
Nom, Acc   devī́
Dat, Abl   devī́bhyām
Gen, Loc   devyós
Voc   dévī
  • asyá me dyāvāpr̥thivī [...] bhūtám avitrī́ vácasaḥ (II, 32, 1) 'O heaven-and-earth, be helpers of this my speech' [105]
  • huvé devā́nām ávasā jánitrī (I, 185, 6) 'I call upon the two parents (female, referring to heaven and earth) with the help of the gods' [106]
  • yásya śrávo ródasī antár urvī́ (VII, 18, 24) 'whose fame (is) between the two wide worlds' [107]
18 The imperfect.

The imperfect is the past tense of story-telling, and belongs to the Present System. It is characterised by a prefixed augment a-, like the Greek augment ε-, which always carries the accent if the verb is accented. The following table gives the endings of the imperfect tense.

The alternative second and third person plural active endings -tana and -ur are found in some verbs of the athematic conjugation. The ending -i of the first person singular middle combines with the -a- of the thematic conjugation to give -e.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -am   -va   -ma   -i   -vahi   -mahi
2   -s   -tam   -ta, -tana   -thās   -ethām (I), -āthām (II)   -dhvam
3   -t   -tām   -an, -ur   -ta   -etām (I), -ātām (II)   -anta (I), -ata (II)

The imperfect tense is described as belonging to the Present System because the stem of the verb, the part that follows the augment and precedes the endings as given in the table, corresponds to the stem of the present tense. So, from the thematic conjugation, √juṣ, juṣá-te 'he enjoys', á-juṣa-ta 'he enjoyed'; √ruh, róha-ti 'it springs up' á-roha-t 'it sprang up'; √man, mánya-te 'he thinks', á-manya-nta 'they thought'; from the athematic conjugation √as, ás-ti 'he is', ́[á+a]s-am 'I was'; √kr̥, kr̥ṇó-ti 'he makes', á-kr̥ṇo-ta 'you made'; √dā, dádā-ti 'he gives', á-dadā-s 'you (singular) gave'.

The phonology of Sanskrit does not permit more than one consonant at the end of a word, and when this might result the second consonant is dropped. As the endings of the 2nd and 3rd person singular imperfect are simply the consonants s and t, without a union vowel, the ending may therefore disappear. In the Lesson 3 text, for example, ápāhan [ápa ahan] 'he struck away' occurs for the phonologically impossible ápa *ahant.

In the third lesson text the streams told the story of their release from the demon using a series of 3rd person singular imperfects: áradat 'he dug' (present rádati), áhan 'he struck' (present hánti), ánayat 'he led' (present náyati). In the next verse, where the imperfect occurs with the preverb ví, the augment is omitted, as the narrative tense has become clear: vi-vr̥ścát 'he cut in pieces' (present vr̥ścáti).

  • sóṣā́m [sás uṣā́m] avindat sá svàḥ [svàr] só agním (X, 68, 9) 'he it was found (from √vid, vindáti) the dawn, the sunlight, the fire' [108]
  • páyo góṣu ádadhā [ádadhās] óṣadhī́ṣu (X, 73, 9) 'you placed fruitfulness in cattle, in plants' [109] (=88)
  • tát savitā́ vo amr̥tatvám ā́suvat [ā́ asuvat] (I, 110, 3) 'then Savitar generated immortality for you' [110]
  • áprathatam pr̥thivī́m mātáraṃ ví (VI, 72, 2) 'you two spread out mother earth' [111] (=42)
  • sukṣétrākr̥ṇvann [sukṣétrā akr̥ṇvan] ánayanta síndhūn [...] ápo hí eṣām ájuṣanta devā́ (IV, 33, 7, 9) 'they made good fields (kṣétra, neuter), they led the rivers... for the gods delighted in their work' [112]
  • yáj jā́yathā [yát jā́yathās] apūrvya [...] tát pr̥thivī́m aprathayaḥ (VIII, 89, 5) 'when you were born (imperfect without augment), O incomparable one, then you spread out (causative) the earth' [113] (=67)
19 The subjunctive mood.

The meaning of the subjunctive lies somewhere between that of the optative, the mood of wishing, and the imperative, the mood of command. It shows greater confidence in the future outcome than the optative, and is frequently used simply to express future time in the Rigveda. The endings of the subjunctive are attached to the stem with an added a or . Where this union vowel may be either long or short a is given in square brackets in the table.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -āni, ā   -āva   -āma   -ai   -āvahai   -āmahai, -āmahe
2   -[a]si, -[a]s   -[a]thas   -[a]tha   -[a]se   -aithe   -[a]dhve, -[a]dhvai
3   -[a]ti, -[a]t   -[a]tas   -[a]n   -[a]te   -aite   -anta, -ante

The subjunctive is formed in more than one system, but the examples below belong to the Present System.

  • yát te divo duhitar martabhójanaṃ, tád rāsva bhunájāmahai (lesson text) 'that mortal sustenance of yours, O daughter of heaven, grant; may we turn it to account' [114]
  • yás túbhyaṃ dā́śān [dā́śāt] ná tám áṃho aśnavat (II, 23, 4) 'he who will worship (from √dāś, dā́śati) you, may distress not reach (from √aṃś, aśnóti) him' [115]
  • yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávātha [ávāthas], ā́ yát krátvā ná śarádaḥ pr̥ṇaíthe (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour, so that you will fill (his) autumns with capability, as it were' [116] (=56)
  • tvā́ṃ nakṣanta no gíraḥ (VIII, 92, 27) 'let our songs reach you' [117] (=4)
20 Word order in the sentence.

As we saw in section 2 of the first lesson, in Sanskrit the object usually precedes the verb in the sentence, unlike in English. All the examples given in that grammar section followed this order. Sanskrit is described therefore as an Object Verb (OV) language; modern English is a Verb Object (VO) language. An example of a textbook sentence in an OV language appeared in section 8 of the second lesson: tváṣṭā duhitré vahatúṃ kr̥ṇoti (X, 17, 1), literally, 'Tvashtar for the daughter a bridal arranges' (44). The subject begins the sentence, the verb is at the end, the object, 'a bridal', immediately precedes the verb and the indirect object 'for the daughter' precedes the object.

The order of words in a Rigvedic sentence is however far from invariable. It is quite usual for a verb in the imperative mood to begin the sentence, giving it emphasis, as in the Lesson 3 text: rámadhvam me vácase somyā́ya 'rest for my inspired speech'. In two examples given to illustrate the use of participles, the first person plural form of the optative, the mood of wishing, began the sentence: páśyema nú sū́ryam uccárantam (VI, 52, 5 & X, 59, 4) 'now we would see the sun rising' (33); abhí ṣyāma maható mányamānān (I, 178, 5) 'may we surpass those thinking themselves great' (81). And we have seen a number of other sentences where a straightforward tense form precedes the object: sácethe aśvinoṣásam [aśvinā uṣásam] (VII, 5, 2) 'you accompany, O Ashvins, the dawn' (26); áprathatam pr̥thivī́m mātáraṃ ví (VI, 72, 2) 'you two spread out mother earth' (42 & 111).

The Rigveda is poetry, and there are frequently poetic reasons for the variety in word order. The following three lines from the grammar sections of the third lesson demonstrate a form of chiasmus, both OV and VO word order being used by the poet; in each case OV comes first. tā́ sūríbhyo gr̥ṇaté rāsi sumnám (VI, 4, 8) 'those things to princes, to the singer grant favour' (78); urú jyótiḥ kr̥ṇuhi mátsi devā́n (IX, 94, 5) 'a broad light make, delight the gods' (79); agníṃ vr̥ṇānā́ vr̥ṇate kavíkratum (V, 11, 4) 'Agni choosing, they choose the sage-wise' (80).

A distinguishing characteristic of an OV language is that the genitive regularly precedes the subject to which is belongs, as in the description of Savitar in the second lesson text: divó dhartā́ bhúvanasya prajā́patiḥ 'of heaven supporter, of existence creature-lord'. The grammar sections have shown a number of examples of this: devā́nāṃ sumataú syāma (VII, 41, 4) 'of gods in the favour may we be' (8); apā́m ūrmíṃ sacate (IX, 86, 8) 'of waters the wave he accompanies' (19); bhúvanasya rā́jā (IX, 97, 40) 'of existence the king' (32); devā́nām ávasā (I, 185, 6) 'of the gods with help' (106). But this word order can also be varied when the sense requires it, as in the first verse of II, 32 when the poet appeals to the gods to inspire him: bhūtám avitrī́ vácasaḥ 'be helpers of the speech' (105).

The adjective, in OV languages, like the dependent genitive, stands naturally before the noun it describes. In VO languages the adjective usually follows, as in French 'carte blanche', 'Le Bateau Ivre'. English, despite now being a VO language, still maintains an earlier word order: 'white feather', 'The Cruel Sea'. In French too examples of this survive: 'mauvaise honte', 'Grande-Bretagne'. In the Rigveda the adjective usually precedes the noun: citráṃ rā́dhaḥ 'radiant gift' (this lesson text, verse 5), úttarā yugā́ni 'future generations' (the last verse of the Lesson 3 text), and from section 16.2 in this lesson, ádābhyena śocíṣā 'with not to be deceived flame'. But we have also seen instances where the adjective follows: vájraṃ svaryàm 'a weapon of sunlight (svàr 'sunlight' with secondary suffix -ya)' (71); rayíṃ viśvávāraṃ sam inva 'treasure all-precious bestow' (75). In these passages this inverted word order is perhaps more poetic, as it is in English.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 5

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

The fears of the poets of the Rigveda revolve around darkness, confinement (for which see the second verse of this lesson text) and human ills, all of which they strive to overcome by means of their holy songs. The lesson 4 text concluded with the wish that dawn's light may "shine misfortunes away", and this lesson text is addressed to another goddess of light, jyótiṣmatīm áditim (I, 136, 3). The meaning of Aditi's name, á-diti, is debated. Elsewhere in the text it appears together with its opposite: cakṣāthe áditiṃ dítiṃ ca (V, 62, 8), perhaps 'you two see both freedom and limit', and at VII, 52, 1 as a plural adjective, áditayaḥ syāma. Aditi, or the abstraction that she regularly personifies, can also represent everything that is good, even all existence: áditir dyaúr áditir antárikṣam, áditir mātā́ sá pitā́ sá putráḥ, víśve devā́ áditiḥ páñca jánā, áditir jātám áditir jánitvam 'Aditi is the heaven, Aditi is the atmosphere, Aditi is mother, father, son; Aditi is all the gods, the five peoples, the born and the yet to be born' (I, 89, 10).

Reading and Textual Analysis

The lesson text is from VIII, 18 (638), a poem of 22 verses addressed to Aditi and her sons, the divine Adityas. The text is verses 4-12, and the metre is uṣṇih, three-line verses of 8, 8, and 12 syllables. The name Aditya is a derivative of Aditi, a patronymic formed according to the pattern described in the last lesson (17.1; the initial A is long). These heavenly princes are ásvapnajo animiṣā́ ádabdhāḥ (II, 27, 9) 'unsleeping, unblinking, undeceived', qualities that well equip them to watch over and protect mortals: pakṣā́ váyo yáthopári, ví asmé śárma yachata (VIII, 47, 2) 'as birds their wings overhead, stretch out shelter for us'.

devébhir devi adite
áriṣṭabharman ā́ gahi
smát sūríbhiḥ purupriye suśármabhiḥ

  • devébhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- with gods
  • devi -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <devī́> divine, goddess -- O divine
  • adite -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • áriṣṭabharman -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <áriṣṭabharman> (lit.) of unbroken-support -- unfailing in support
  • ́ gahi -- verb; 2nd person singular active aorist imperative of <√gam, gáchati> go + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- come hither
  • smát -- preposition; <smát> together with -- together with
  • sūríbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <sūrí> prince -- with the princes
  • purupriye -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <purupriyá> much loved -- O beloved
  • suśármabhis -- adjective; instrumental plural masculine of <suśárman> of good shelter, tutelary -- tutelary

té hí putrā́so áditer
vidúr dvéṣāṃsi yótave
aṃhóś cid urucákrayo anehásaḥ

  • té -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- they
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- for
  • putrā́sas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <putrá> son -- the sons
  • ádites -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- of Aditi
  • vidúr -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of <√vid, véda> know -- know
  • dvéṣāṃsi -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <dvéṣas> hatred -- enmities
  • yótave -- infinitive; dative infinitive from <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- to keep away
  • aṃhós -- noun; ablative singular of <aṃhú> narrowness, anxiety -- from anxiety # Related to áṃhas 'trouble', this word only occurs in the ablative, and always in opposition to urú 'spacious(ness)' (here, uru-cákri) or its derivative várivas 'space, freedom'. Latin angustus 'narrow' and angustiae 'anguish' and German eng 'narrow' and Angst show the same parallel of literal and figurative meaning, which also lies behind the English idioms to be in a tight spot or in dire straits.
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- all
  • urucákrayas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <urucákri> (lit.) space-making -- freeing
  • anehásas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <anehás> incomparable, peerless -- the peerless ones

áditir no dívā paśúm
áditir náktam ádvayāḥ
áditiḥ pātu áṃhasaḥ sadā́vr̥dhā

  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • dívā -- adverb; <dívā> by day -- by day
  • paśúm -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <paśú> cattle -- cattle # Cognate with Latin pecus.
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • náktam -- adverb; <náktam> by night -- by night # Compare Greek νύξ, νυκτός, Latin nox, noctis, English nocturnal, night.
  • ádvayās -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <ádvayas> not duplicitous, trustworthy -- trustworthy
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • pātu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√pā, pā́ti> protect -- may she protect
  • áṃhasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <áṃhas> trouble -- from trouble
  • sadā́vr̥dhā -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <sadā́vr̥dha> ever-beneficent -- ever beneficent

utá syā́ no dívā matír
áditir ūtiyā́ gamat
sā́ śáṃtāti máyas karad ápa srídhaḥ

  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • syā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <syás, syā́, tyát> that -- that # Another demonstrative pronoun derived from sás, sā́, tát, often used adjectivally with its subject.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • dívā -- adverb; <dívā> by day -- by day
  • matís -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <matí> thought -- thought
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • ūtyā́ -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <ūtí> help -- with help
  • ́ gamat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√gam, gáchati> go + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- she will come
  • sā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- she
  • śáṃtāti -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <śáṃtāti> blessed -- blessed
  • máyas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <máyas> happiness -- happiness
  • karat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- she will make
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

utá tyā́ daívyā bhiṣájā
śáṃ naḥ karato aśvínā
yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ

  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • tyā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative dual masculine of <syás, syā́, tyát> that -- those
  • daívyā -- adjective; nominative dual masculine of <daívya> divine -- divine
  • bhiṣájā -- noun; nominative dual masculine of <bhiṣáj> healer -- healers
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us
  • karatas -- verb; 3rd person dual active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- will make
  • aśvínā -- noun; nominative dual masculine of <aśvín> horseman, Ashvin -- the two horsemen
  • yuyuyā́tām -- verb; 3rd person dual active optative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- let them keep away
  • itás -- adverb; <itás> from here -- from here
  • rápas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rápas> sickness -- sickness
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

śám agnír agníbhiḥ karac
cháṃ nas tapatu sū́riyaḥ
śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ

  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • agnís -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- Agni
  • agníbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- with fires
  • karat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- will make
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • tapatu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√tap, tápati> heat, warm -- let it warm
  • sū́ryas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- the sun
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • vā́tas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <vā́ta> wind -- the wind
  • vātu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√vā, vā́ti> blow -- let it blow
  • arapā́s -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <arapás> without sickness, wholesome -- wholesome
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

ápā́mīvām ápa srídham
ápa sedhata durmatím
́dityāso yuyótanā no áṃhasaḥ

  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • ámīvām -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <ámīvā> affliction -- affliction
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • srídham -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortune
  • ápa sedhata -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√sidh, sédhati> drive away + preverb; <ápa> away -- drive far away
  • durmatím -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <durmatí> bad thought, envy -- envy
  • ́dityāsas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- O sons of Aditi
  • yuyótana -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- keep away # The long final vowel is not uncommon in the Rigveda (see also yuyotā in the next verse).
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • áṃhasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <áṃhas> trouble -- from trouble

yuyótā śárum asmád ā́
́dityāsa utā́matim
ŕ̥dhag dvéṣaḥ kr̥ṇuta viśvavedasaḥ

  • yuyóta -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- keep away # Note that the poet varies the form of the imperative here, and of the vocative plural in the next verse.
  • śárum -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <śáru> arrow -- the arrow
  • asmát -- personal pronoun; ablative of <vayám> we -- from us
  • ́ -- preposition; <ā́> from, in -- far # Used following an ablative or locative to intensify the sense.
  • ́dityāsas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- Adityas
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • ámatim -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <ámati> lack of thought -- lack of thought
  • ŕ̥dhak -- adverb; <ŕ̥dhak> separately, on one side -- on one side
  • dvéṣas -- noun; accusative neuter singular of <dvéṣas> hatred -- hatred
  • kr̥ṇuta -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- set
  • viśvavedasas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <viśvávedas> all-knowing one -- all-knowing ones

tát sú naḥ śárma yachata
́dityā yán múmocati
énasvantaṃ cid énasaḥ sudānavaḥ

  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- it
  • sú -- particle; <sú> well, surely -- surely
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • śárma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <śárman> refuge, shelter -- the refuge
  • yachata -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out -- extend
  • ́dityās -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- O sons of Aditi
  • yát -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- which
  • múmocati -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect subjunctive of <√muc, muñcáte> make free -- will free, freeing
  • énasvantam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <énasvant> possessing sin -- the sinful man
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- even
  • énasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <énas> sin -- from sin
  • sudānavas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <sudā́nu> generous, liberal -- O liberal

Lesson Text

devébhir devi adite
áriṣṭabharman ā́ gahi
smát sūríbhiḥ purupriye suśármabhiḥ

té hí putrā́so áditer
vidúr dvéṣāṃsi yótave
aṃhóś cid urucákrayo anehásaḥ

áditir no dívā paśúm
áditir náktam ádvayāḥ
áditiḥ pātu áṃhasaḥ sadā́vr̥dhā

utá syā́ no dívā matír
áditir ūtiyā́ gamat
sā́ śáṃtāti máyas karad ápa srídhaḥ

utá tyā́ daívyā bhiṣájā
śáṃ naḥ karato aśvínā
yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ

śám agnír agníbhiḥ karac
cháṃ nas tapatu sū́riyaḥ
śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ

ápā́mīvām ápa srídham
ápa sedhata durmatím
́dityāso yuyótanā no áṃhasaḥ

yuyótā śárum asmád ā́
́dityāsa utā́matim
ŕ̥dhag dvéṣaḥ kr̥ṇuta viśvavedasaḥ

tát sú naḥ śárma yachata
́dityā yán múmocati
énasvantaṃ cid énasaḥ sudānavaḥ

Translation

With gods, O divine Aditi,
Unfailing in support, come hither;
Together with the tutelary princes, O beloved.
For they, the sons of Aditi,
Know to keep enmities away;
Freeing from all anxiety, the peerless ones.
Let Aditi by day, Aditi by night
Trustworthy, guard our cattle --
Aditi, ever beneficent, protect from trouble.
And that our thought by day:
Aditi will come with help.
She will make blessed happiness, banish misfortunes.
And those divine healers,
The two horsemen, will bless us,
Let them keep sickness from here, keep away misfortunes.
Agni will bless with fires,
Let the sun warm a blessing for us;
Let the wholesome wind blow a blessing, blow away misfortunes.
Away affliction, away misfortune,
Drive envy far away.
O sons of Aditi, keep us from trouble.
Keep the arrow far from us,
Adityas, and lack of thought.
Set hatred on one side, all-knowing ones.
Extend it surely to us,
O liberal sons of Aditi,
The refuge freeing even the sinful man from sin.

Grammar

21 Prefixes a-, su- and dus-.

The name Aditi is characterised by the privative prefix a-, Greek α-, which, like English un- or in-, reverses the meaning of the noun or adjective, often a participle, that follows it: in-equality, un-forgiving. It can also be used to turn a noun into an adjective, like English -less: harm-less. Before vowels a- becomes an-. This lesson text contains a number of examples of this formation: an-ehás 'incomparable', á-dvayas 'unduplicitous', a-rapás 'without sickness, wholesome', á-mati 'lack of thought'.

Similar simple nominal compounds are formed with the prefixes su- 'good, well-' and dus- 'bad, ill-', which becomes dur- or duṣ- according to phonetic rules described in the Series Introduction. Compare Greek εὐ- in εὔ-φημος, English euphemism, δυς- in δυσ-μενής 'ill-disposed', and Latin dif- in dif-ficilis, English difficult. The prefix su- has appeared a number of times in the lessons: su-mánas 'well-disposed' (the opposite of Greek δυσ-μενής), su-pāṇí 'lovely-handed', and su-matí 'good thought, favour', and is found in this lesson text in su-śárman 'of good shelter, tutelary', and su-dā́nu 'generous'. Occasionally the u is lengthened, as in sū-nárī, an epithet of dawn in the Lesson 4 text, and sú/sū́ also occurs as an independent particle, as in the last verse of this lesson. The opposite of sumatí, durmatí 'bad thought, envy' also occurs in this passage: ápa sedhata durmatím 'drive envy far away'. Such oppositions are frequently juxtaposed in the text, as in example 125 below.

  • yátrā suparṇā́ [suparṇā́s] amŕ̥tasya bhāgám, ánimeṣaṃ vidáthābhisváranti [vidáthā abhisváranti] (I, 164, 21) 'where the fine-feathered ones unblinkingly sing out praise of wise judgements as a part of immortality' (parṇá (n) 'feather', and compare the adjective animiṣá 'unblinking' in the introduction to this lesson) [118]
  • ásataḥ sád [ásatas sát] ajāyata (X, 72, 2; X, 72, 3) 'being was born from non-being' (the prefix a- + ablative of the neuter present active participle of √as 'be') [119]
  • ádābhyena śocíṣā (X, 118, 7) '(Agni burns) with flame that is not to be deceived' (the prefix a- + future passive participle, see section 15.3) [120]
  • áriṣṭaṃ duṣṭáraṃ sáhaḥ (II, 34, 7) '(give to the bard) unbroken (the prefix a- + past participle of √riś 'harm, break') might, hard to conquer (from √tr̥̄, tárati 'cross, overcome')' [121]
  • suṣṭutír [...] asmā́bhis túbhyaṃ śasyate (III, 62, 7) 'good praise (stutí feminine) through us is proclaimed to you' [122] (=10)
  • yéna sūrya jyótiṣā bā́dhase támaḥ, [...] ápa duṣvápnyaṃ suva (X, 37, 4) 'with the light with which, O sun, you banish darkness, drive away the bad dream' (from svápna 'sleep, dream', related to Greek ὕπνος; compare ásvapnaj 'unsleeping' in the introduction to this lesson) [123]
  • sá naḥ parṣad áti durgā́ṇi víśvā, nāvéva [nāvā́ iva] síndhuṃ duritā́ti [duritā́ áti] agníḥ (I, 99, 1) 'so will Agni bear us over all hard ways (dur-gá, literally 'bad-going') and dangers (dur-itá), as with a boat (naú feminine) over a river' [124]
  • durgé cin naḥ sugáṃ kr̥dhi (VIII, 93, 10) 'even in the hard way make a good passage for us' [125]
22 Nouns in -man, -an and -van.

Another important class of abstract nouns, like those in -as discussed in the last lesson, are the neuter nouns in -man, which are similarly accented on the first syllable. A number of these have already been encountered: śárman 'refuge, shelter' in examples 11, 16, and in the last verse of the Lesson 2 text; dhárman 'support', also in the Lesson 2 text; kárman 'act, deed' in Lesson 3; and mánman 'thought' and bráhman 'prayer' in examples 51 and 53. sávīman 'bringing to life', found only in the locative sávīmani, also occurred in the Lesson 2 text. śárman 'refuge, shelter' appears once more, in a now familiar appeal to the gods, in the last verse of this lesson text: tát sú naḥ śárma yachata.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   bráhma   bráhmāṇi, bráhmā, bráhma
Acc   bráhma   bráhmāṇi, bráhmā, bráhma
Ins   bráhmaṇā   bráhmabhis
Dat   bráhmaṇe   bráhmabhyas
Abl   bráhmaṇas   bráhmabhyas
Gen   bráhmaṇas   bráhmaṇām
Loc   bráhmaṇi, bráhman   bráhmasu

The alternative locative singular form without ending, bráhman 'in prayer', is peculiar to this declension. As usual with neuter nouns dual forms are uncommon: the nominative/accusative would be bráhmaṇī.

The majority of masculine and feminine words ending in -man are compound adjectives formed from these abstract neuter nouns, as in the two examples in the first verse of this lesson text, feminine áriṣṭa-bharman 'of unbroken support' (neuter bhárman 'support'), and masculine su-śárman 'of good shelter, tutelary'. Many are formed using the three prefixes discussed in the previous grammar section: su-kárman 'of good action', a-karmán, su-bráhman, á-brahman, su-śárman, su-mánman, dur-mánman. Compare the formation of su-mánas 'well-disposed' from neuter mánas 'understanding', described in the last lesson (16.1). As with sumánas, the declension of the masculine and feminine forms differs from the neuter singular and plural only in the nominative, accusative, and vocative (the vocative neuter does not occur):

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   sukármā   sukármāṇā   sukármāṇas
Acc   sukármāṇam   sukármāṇā   sukármaṇas
Voc   súkarman   súkarmāṇā   súkarmāṇas

There are also a few uncompounded masculine stems in -man, with accent on the suffix: brahmán 'devout man', jarimán 'old age', and the two related nouns ātmán 'breath' and tmán 'nature, self'.

There are many fewer stems in -an, but one important one, rā́jan 'king'. The endings are the same as the masculine -man endings, except that there is syncopation of the vowel of the suffix in some cases: the written forms of the instrumental, dative, ablative and genitive singular are rā́jñā, rā́jñe, and rā́jñas, and the accusative and genitive plural rā́jñas and rā́jñām. This sycopation is also sometimes found in masculine stems in -man; the dative singular of jarimán for example is jarimné.

The suffix -van is most frequently used to form masculine compound adjectives, like á-rāvan 'not granting', deva-yā́van 'going to the gods', puro-yā́van 'going in front', r̥tā́-van 'holy', maghá-van 'gracious' (the noun maghá 'gift' has a sense of reciprocity, 'gift in return'). There are also a few nominal forms, like ádhvan 'way', átharvan 'priest', sátvan 'warrior' and grā́van 'chief singer, cantor' (see the Series Introduction for the indological translation of this word). When preceded by a vowel, syncopation of the vowel of the suffix may again take place: the accusative plural of ádh-van is ádhvanas, but of grā́-van grā́vṇas. The word maghávan is irregular, contracting -á-van- to -ón-: nominative singular maghávā, genitive maghónas. The feminine ending corresponding to masculine -van is is -varī, as in the vocative plural ŕ̥tāvarīs addressed to the streams in the Lesson 3 text. The feminine of maghávan is maghónī.

  • śárma yachata dvipáde cátuṣpade (X, 37, 11) 'extend protection to the two-footed, to the four-footed' [126]
  • sū́rya ātmā́ jágatas tasthúṣaś ca (I, 115, 1) 'the sun, the breath (masculine) of all that moves and stands' [127]
  • aháṃ rā́jā váruṇaḥ (IV, 42, 2) 'I am King Varuna' [128] (=1)
  • yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávāthaḥ (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour' [129] (=53)
  • brahmā́ṇa [brahmā́ṇas] índram maháyanto arkaíḥ (V, 31, 4) 'devout men (note accent and gender) magnifying Indra with eulogies' [130]
  • śúcijanmana [śúcijanmanas] uṣásaś cakāra (VI, 39, 3) '(Indra) makes the dawns of bright birth (accusative feminine plural compound of śúci 'bright' and jánman 'birth')' [131]
  • eṣá grā́veva [grā́vā iva] jaritā́ ta indra, íyarti vā́cam br̥hád āśuṣāṇáḥ (V, 36, 4) 'this singer of yours, Indra, like the cantor, sends his voice forth on high, sparing no effort (lit. 'breathing deeply')' [132]
  • mahó rā́jñaḥ [rā́jñas] suvasanásya dātr̥̄́n (VI, 51, 4) '(I approach the Adityas,) great kings, givers of good lodging (su-vasaná)' [133]
  • yád dha [yát ha] yā́nti marútaḥ, sáṃ ha bruvate ádhvan ā́ (I, 37, 13) 'when indeed (ha) the storm gods travel, indeed they speak among themselves on the way' (locative singular without ending) [134]
23 The verb: primary and secondary endings.

At the end of Lesson 1 a table was given to show the usual personal endings of the present tense. The same set of endings is used elsewhere. They are attached to derivative conjugations, like causatives (see Lesson 7), and are also the personal endings of the future tense, which is of rare occurrence in the Rigveda. These endings are traditionally known as 'primary'.

There is another important set of personal endings, known as the 'secondary' endings. They are in fact older than the so-called primary endings, and occur in many parts of the Rigvedic verb. These endings are given in tabular form below.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -am   -va   -ma   -i (-e)   -vahi   -mahi
2   -s   -tam   -ta, -tana   -thās   -āthām   -dhvam
3   -t   -tām   -an, -ur   -ta   -ātām   -anta, -ata

We have already encountered a tense that uses these endings. Compare the table given for the forms of the imperfect in the last lesson (section 18). The secondary endings are also used by the aorist, the other past tense characterised by the prefixed augment a-. In addition they form the usual personal endings of the injunctive and optative moods.

24 The optative mood.

The optative, the mood of wishing, often appears alongside verbs in the imperative and subjunctive moods, as in this lesson text. It adds yā́ or to the verbal stem, and then the secondary endings, as given above. In thematic [I] verbs, where the stem already has a connecting -a-, this -a- combines with -ī- to form -e-, as in the 1st person plural páśy-e-ma, from √paś, páśyati 'see', in example 139 below.

The optative occurs less frequently than the imperative and the subjunctive, although forms of the verb 'be' are regularly found, in particular syā́ma 'may we be', as in the first line of the first lesson text. Middle forms, with the exception again of the first person plural, an example of which occurred in the last lesson text, gamemahi 'may we go', are uncommon.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
1   syā́m   [syā́va]   syā́ma
2   syā́s   syā́tam   syā́ta
3   syā́t   syā́tām   syúr

The optative can be formed in more than one system, but all the examples below are from the Present System.

  • utédā́nīm bhágavantaḥ syāma (VII, 41, 4) 'and may we now be fortunate' [135] (=97).
  • ná me stotā́ amatīvā́ ná dúrhitaḥ, syā́d [syā́t] agne ná pāpáyā (VIII, 19, 26) 'let not my praiser be lacking in thought (amati-ván), nor ill-placed, Agni, nor in an evil way (pāpā́, feminine, occurs only in this instrumental form) [136]
  • suśármaṇo br̥hatáḥ śármaṇi syām (III, 15, 1) 'may I be in the shelter of the lofty tutelary one' [137]
  • yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ (lesson text) 'let them (dual) keep sickness from here, keep away misfortunes' [138]
  • páśyema nú sū́ryam uccárantam (VI, 52, 5; X, 59, 4) 'now let us see the sun rising' [139] (=33)
  • kathā́ dāśema námasā sudā́nūn (V, 41, 16) 'how may we worship (√dāś, dā́śati 'worship') the generous ones with honour?' [140]
  • tā́ vām adyá sumatíbhiḥ śubhas patī, áśvinā prá stuvīmahi (VIII, 22, 6) 'As such let us praise (middle) you today, twin horsemen, Lords of splendour (śúbh feminine), with good thoughts' [141]
25 Numerals.

Ways of counting are ancient, and provide clear evidence of the relationships between languages. In Sanskrit éka 'one' was originally a demonstrative pronoun (see below) but numbers 2 to 10 and 100, dvá, trí, catúr, páñca, ṣáṣ, saptá, aṣṭā́, náva, dáśa, and śatám (Latin centum), have a very familiar appearance. The word usually translated 1000, sahásra, in origin simply means 'a great number'.

éka 'one' follows the pronominal declension described in section 11, declining like yá except in the nominative/accusative singular neuter ékam, as in the first example below. Confirming its pronominal nature, it also occurs in the plural, with the meaning 'some', as in the second example.

  • tád ékaṃ, devā́nāṃ śréṣṭhaṃ vápuṣām apaśyam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest of the marvels of the gods' [142] (=91)
  • árcanta [árcantas] éke máhi sā́ma manvata, téna sū́ryam arocayan (VIII, 29, 10) 'some, praising, conceived the great harmony (sā́man); with it they caused the sun to shine' [143]

dvá 'two' (δύο, Latin duo, German zwei), like Greek δύο inflects regularly as a dual adjective. The adjective ádvayas 'unduplicitous' in the lesson text is a derivative of dvá, with the privative prefix a-. dvá becomes dvi- in compounds like dvi-pád 'two-footed' in example 126 in section 22, and dvi-jánman 'of double birth', an epithet of Agni.

  • víbhir dvā́ carataḥ (VIII, 29, 8) 'two move with the birds (ví, masculine)' [144]
  • tvám ékasya vr̥trahann, avitā́ dváyor asi (VI, 45, 5) 'you, O demon-slayer (Indra), are the helper of one, the helper of two' [145]

trí 'three' declines in the plural. In its masculine and neuter forms it follows the declension of śúci given in section 3, but it has a different feminine form, already encountered in Lesson 2, tisŕ̥, which declines like svásr̥ (see section 8.2) with the exception of the nominative and accusative tisrás.

  • tribhír vrataír abhí no rakṣati tmánā (Lesson 2 text) 'by his nature he guards us with the three holy laws' [146]
  • pr̥thivī́s tisrá [tisrás] invati (Lesson 2 text) 'he gives motion to the three earths' [147]

The declension of catúr 'four' is irregular. The nominative masculine is catvā́ras (compare Latin quattuor, French quatre), and like trí it has a different feminine stem, catasŕ̥. Numbers beyond four do not distinguish gender, and usually have no ending in the nominative and accusative.

  • pāhí gīrbhís tisŕ̥bhir ūrjām pate, pāhí catasŕ̥bhir vaso (VIII, 60, 9) 'protect, O lord of powers (́rj feminine), with three songs, with four songs, O generous one' [148]
  • víśve devā́ áditiḥ páñca jánā, áditir jātám áditir jánitvam (I, 89, 10, quoted in the introduction to this lesson) 'Aditi is all the gods, the five peoples, the born and the yet to be born' [149]
  • saptá svásāro abhí sáṃ navante (I, 164, 3) 'seven sisters implore together' [150] (=47)

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 6

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Indra, the mighty god whose heroic deeds first brought fertility to the world, is praised throughout the Rigveda. In killing the monstrous snake Vritra -- the name means 'hindrance', from the root √vr̥, vr̥nóti -- as described in the Lesson 3 text, he freed the waters and made terrestrial life possible: índra óṣadhīr asanod áhāni, vánaspátīm̐r asanod antárikṣam (III, 34, 10) 'Indra won the plants, the days, he won the trees ('forest-lords'), the atmosphere'. The relationship of the poets with the gods is reciprocal and complex. At the beginning of this lesson text Indra is described as yajñávr̥ddha 'strengthened by worship', and elsewhere in the Rigveda this too is explained as a divine gift: aháṃ dāṃ gr̥ṇaté pū́rvyaṃ vásu, ahám bráhma kr̥ṇavam máhyaṃ várdhanam (X, 49, 1) 'I shall give to the singer the ancient boon, I shall make prayer the means of growth for me'.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text is verses 2-6 of VI, 21 (462), from a powerful sequence of 30 songs addressed to Indra, many of which, like VI, 21, are among the oldest in the Rigveda. The metre is again triṣṭubh. The poets' perception of themselves as belonging to a continuum of worship and praise, as described in verses 5 and 6, is a constant theme of the Rigveda: úd īratām ávara út párāsa, ún madhyamā́ḥ pitáraḥ somyā́saḥ, ásuṃ yá īyúr avr̥kā́ r̥tajñā́s, té no avantu pitáro háveṣu (X, 15, 1) 'may they rise up, the more recent, the distant, and those from the middle past, the inspired fathers; may those who have left life, not harming, knowing Truth, the fathers, may they bring help at our invocations'.

tám u stuṣa índaraṃ yó vídāno
gírvāhasaṃ gīrbhír yajñávr̥ddham
yásya dívam áti mahnā́ pr̥thivyā́
purumāyásya riricé mahitvám

  • tám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- him
  • u -- particle; <u> and, now -- now
  • stuṣe -- verb; 1st person singular middle present of <√stu, stuṣé> praise -- I praise
  • índram -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- Indra # Often to be read as trisyllabic, índara.
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • vídānas -- participle; nominative singular masculine perfect middle participle of <√vid, véda> know -- knowing, wise
  • gírvāhasam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <gírvāhas> brought by song -- brought by song
  • gīrbhís -- noun; instrumental plural feminine of <gír> song -- by means of songs
  • yajñávr̥ddham -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <yajñávr̥ddha> strengthened by worship -- strengthened by worship
  • yásya -- relative pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- of whom
  • dívam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- heaven
  • mahnā́ -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <mahán> greatness -- in greatness
  • pr̥thivyā́s -- noun; ablative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- than the earth
  • purumāyásya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <purumāyá> wonderful -- wonderful
  • áti riricé -- verb; 3rd person singular middle perfect of <√ric, riṇákti> leave + preverb; <áti> beyond -- exceeds # As in the last lesson text, the preverb here does double duty.
  • mahitvám -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <mahitvá> greatness, majesty -- majesty

sá ít támo avayunáṃ tatanvát
sū́riyeṇa vayúnavac cakāra
kadā́ te mártā amŕ̥tasya dhā́ma
íyakṣanto ná minanti svadhāvaḥ

  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- he # (The sandhi of sás is exceptional; the final s is dropped before all consonants.) Cognate with Greek ὁ, ἡ, τό. Note the characteristic repetition of the pronoun in this line (see Textual Analysis).
  • ít -- emphatic particle; <ít> indeed, just -- it is
  • támas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <támas> darkness -- the darkness
  • avayunám -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <avayuná> without distinction, without certainty -- without distinction
  • tatanvát -- participle; accusative singular neuter perfect active participle of <√tan, tanute> stretch, stretch out -- extending
  • sū́ryeṇa -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- with the sun # As with syāma in the first line, the metre tells us that this was pronounced with an extra syllable.
  • vayúnavat -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <vayúnavant> possessing distinction, certainty -- distinct # The important word vayúna, with its derivatives a-vayuná and vayúna-vant, is as yet undeciphered. This translation is simply a suggestion.
  • cakāra -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- he makes
  • kadā́ -- interrogative adverb; <kadā́> when? -- when?
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • mártās -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <márta> mortal -- mortals
  • amŕ̥tasya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <amŕ̥ta> immortal, undying -- of the immortal
  • dhā́ma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <dhā́man> foundation, just law, precept -- precept
  • íyakṣantas -- participle; nominative plural masculine desiderative present active participle of <√yaj, yájati> worship -- longing to worship # (The verb from which this participle derives is debated by scholars.)
  • ná -- particle; <ná> not -- not
  • minanti -- verb; 3rd person plural active present of <√mī, minā́ti> vary, transgress -- do they transgress
  • svadhāvas -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <svadhā́vant> possessing inherent power, self-powerful -- O self-powerful one

yás tā́ cakā́ra sá kúha svid índraḥ
kám ā́ jánaṃ carati kā́su vikṣú
kás te yajñó mánase śáṃ várāya
kó arká indra katamáḥ sá hótā

  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • tā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- those things
  • cakā́ra -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- he does
  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that
  • kúha -- interrogative adverb; <kúha> where? -- where?
  • svit -- enclitic particle; <svit> pray? -- pray?
  • índras -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- Indra
  • kám -- interrogative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <kás, kā́, kát, kím> who, which, what? -- what
  • jánam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <jána> person, people -- people
  • ́ carati -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√car, cárati> move + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- he frequents
  • kā́su -- interrogative pronoun; locative plural feminine of <kás, kā́, kát, kím> who, which, what? -- among which
  • vikṣú -- noun; locative plural feminine of <víś> settlement, folk -- settlements
  • kás -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <kás, kā́, kát, kím> who, which, what? -- which?
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • yajñás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <yajñá> worship -- worship
  • mánase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <mánas> understanding, spirit -- to the understanding # The meaning 'spirit' is later; see Lesson 9.
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessed
  • várāya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <vára> wish -- to the wish
  • kás -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <kás, kā́, kát, kím> who, which, what? -- which
  • arkás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <arká> song of praise, eulogy -- eulogy
  • indra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- O Indra
  • katamás -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <katamás, katamā́, katamát> who, which (of many) -- which
  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- the
  • hótā -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <hótr̥> celebrant -- celebrant

idā́ hí te véviṣataḥ purājā́
pratnā́sa āsúḥ purukr̥t sákhāyaḥ
yé madhyamā́sa utá nū́tanāsa
utā́vamásya puruhūta bodhi

  • idā́ -- adverb; <idā́> at this moment -- at this moment
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- for
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- belonging to you
  • véviṣatas -- participle; genitive singular masculine present active intensive participle of <√viṣ, viveṣṭi> be active -- indefatigable
  • purājā́s -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <purājā́> born aforetime -- born aforetime
  • pratnā́sas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <pratná> ancient -- ancient
  • āsúr -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of <√as, ásti> be -- they are
  • purukr̥t -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <purukŕ̥t> doing much -- you who does much
  • sákhāyas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <sákhi> friend -- friends # The declension is irregular.
  • yé -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • madhyamā́sas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <madhyamá> middle, middle one -- those from the middle past
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • nū́tanāsas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <nū́tana> now existing -- those now existing
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • avamásya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <avamá> lowest, most recent -- the most recent one
  • puruhūta -- adjective; vocative singular nominative of <puruhūtá> much invoked -- O much invoked
  • bodhi -- verb; 2nd person singular active aorist imperative of <√budh, bódhati> wake, observe -- observe

tám pr̥chánto ávarāsaḥ párāṇi
pratnā́ ta indra śrútiyā́nu yemuḥ
árcāmasi vīra brahmavāho
yā́d evá vidmá tā́t tvā mahā́ntam

  • tám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- him
  • pr̥chántas -- participle; nominative plural masculine present active participle of <√prach, pr̥cháti> ask, ask for -- invoking
  • ávarāsas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ávara> lower, more recent -- the more recent
  • párāṇi -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <pára> former, farther -- former
  • pratnā́ -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <pratná> ancient -- ancient
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • indra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- Indra
  • śrútyā -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <śrútya> deed worthy of fame -- deeds of fame
  • ánu yemur -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out + preverb; <ánu> after -- they have reached out to
  • árcāmasi -- verb; 1st person plural active present of <√arc, árcati> praise -- we praise
  • vīra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <vīrá> hero, man, strong son -- O hero
  • brahmavāhas -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <bráhmavāhas> brought by prayer -- brought by prayer
  • yā́t -- adverb; <yā́t> so far as, in as much as -- in as much as
  • evá -- adverb; <evá> so, just -- just
  • vidmá -- verb; 1st person plural active perfect of <√vid, véda> know -- we understand
  • tā́t -- adverb; <tā́t> so -- so
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • mahā́ntam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <mahánt> great, mighty -- mighty one

Lesson Text

tám u stuṣa índaraṃ yó vídāno
gírvāhasaṃ gīrbhír yajñávr̥ddham
yásya dívam áti mahnā́ pr̥thivyā́
purumāyásya riricé mahitvám

sá ít támo avayunáṃ tatanvát
sū́riyeṇa vayúnavac cakāra
kadā́ te mártā amŕ̥tasya dhā́ma
íyakṣanto ná minanti svadhāvaḥ

yás tā́ cakā́ra sá kúha svid índraḥ
kám ā́ jánaṃ carati kā́su vikṣú
kás te yajñó mánase śáṃ várāya
kó arká indra katamáḥ sá hótā

idā́ hí te véviṣataḥ purājā́
pratnā́sa āsúḥ purukr̥t sákhāyaḥ
yé madhyamā́sa utá nū́tanāsa
utā́vamásya puruhūta bodhi

tám pr̥chánto ávarāsaḥ párāṇi
pratnā́ ta indra śrútiyā́nu yemuḥ
árcāmasi vīra brahmavāho
yā́d evá vidmá tā́t tvā mahā́ntam

Translation

Him now I praise, Indra, who is wise,
Brought by song, by means of songs, strengthened by worship;
Of whom -- beyond heaven in greatness, wonderful --
The majesty exceeds the earth.
He it is makes the darkness, extending without distinction
With the sun to be distinct.
When do mortals, longing to worship the just law of you, the immortal one,
Not transgress it, O self-powerful?
Who does those things, where pray is that Indra?
What people does he frequent, among which settlements?
Which worship is blessed, O Indra, to your understanding,
To your wish; which eulogy, which the celebrant of many?
For at this moment there are belonging to you, O indefatigable one, those born aforetime,
Ancient friends, you who does much;
Those who are from the middle past, and those now existing,
And, O much invoked, observe the most recent one.
Invoking him, the more recent ones
Have reached out to your former ancient deeds of fame, Indra.
Just in as much as we understand,
So do we praise you, hero brought by prayer, mighty one.

Grammar

26 The Perfect System: the perfect tense.

The sense of a continuum described in the introduction to the lesson, of both human and divine activity, is brought out by the usual function of the perfect tense. It can appear alongside the imperfect as a simple narrative tense, as in the Lesson 3 text: ví vájreṇa pariṣádo jaghāna 'he struck away the surrounding coils with a weapon'. It can also describe the present outcome of a previous action, as in the Lesson 1 text: pr̥ṣṭó víśvā óṣadhīr ā́ viveśa 'invoked, he has entered all the plants'. But most often it describes a past action that continues into the present, and can be translated by the present tense, with the implication 'and always has', as in the first verse of this lesson text, 'whose majesty exceeds (áti riricé) the earth'.

Forms of the perfect are marked by reduplication, like ri-ric-é, from the root √ric 'leave'. The general rules of reduplication were given in section 13.2. In addition, in the formation of the perfect, when the vowel of the root is it reduplicates as a or : √vr̥dh, vā-vr̥dh-. Reduplication is generally easy to recognise, but examples 156 and 157 below illustrate how a root with an initial sibilant followed by a hard consonant reduplicates.

The forms of the perfect tense that would occur from the root √kr̥ 'do, make', which reduplicates with a prefixed ca-, are given in the table in order to show the endings. The table also shows how the root between reduplicating prefix and ending can vary, in this case kr̥, kár, kā́r and kr. No first person dual forms occur, and the second person plural middle is formed from √dhā only, dadhidhvé. Note that the first and third persons singular middle are identical, and that the endings may be attached with a connecting -i-, as in the 3rd person middle plural.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   ca-kár-a       ca-kr̥-má   ca-kr-é       ca-kr̥-máhe
2   ca-kár-tha   ca-kr-áthur   ca-kr-á   ca-kr̥-ṣé   ca-kr-ā́the   ca-kr̥-dhvé
3   ca-kā́r-a   ca-kr-átur   ca-kr-úr   ca-kr-é   ca-kr-ā́te   ca-kr-i-ré

Roots ending in -ā, like √dhā, take the anomalous ending -au in the first and third persons singular active, as in example number 155 below. A few roots, including √yam 'extend, stretch out', in some forms contract the reduplication and the root to e, as in the last verse of the lesson text, ánu yemur 'they have reached out'.

  • áhann áhim ánu apás tatarda, prá vakṣáṇā abhinat párvatānām (I, 32, 1) 'he destroyed the dragon, released the waters, split open the fertile places of the mountains' [151]
  • yáḥ pūrvyā́bhir utá nū́tanābhir, gīrbhír vāvr̥dhé gr̥ṇatā́m ŕ̥ṣīṇām (VI, 44, 13) 'who grows with the ancient and the present songs of singing seers' [152]
  • agníṃ sumnā́ya dadhire puró jánāḥ (III, 2, 5) 'the people place (have always placed, and still do) Agni in front for favour' [153]
  • sá sū́ryaḥ [...] kr̥ṣṇā́ támāṃsi tvíṣyā jaghāna (X, 89, 2) 'he is the sun, he destroys the black darknesses with energy' (tvíṣi, f) [154]
  • yá imā́m máhya rātíṃ, devó dadaú mártyāya svadhā́vān (IV, 5, 2) 'the self-powerful god who has given (√dā 'give') this gift to me, a mortal' [155]
  • suvijñānáṃ cikitúṣe jánāya, sác cā́sac [sát ca ásat] ca vácasī paspr̥dhāte (VII, 104, 12) 'it is a clear distinction to an observant person, the true and the untrue (lit. 'being and non-being'), the two speeches are in conflict (√spr̥dh 'be in conflict')' [156]
  • idáṃ vápur nivácanaṃ janāsaś, cáranti yán nadyàs tasthúr ā́paḥ (V, 47, 5) 'this, people, is a marvellous saying, that the streams move but the waters stand still (√sthā 'stand')' (the perfect tense occurring with the present; the waters stand, have always stood, and always will) [157]

As in Greek, the root vid 'know' forms a perfect without reduplication and with present meaning. The form of the root is either vid- or ved-: véda 'I know, he knows', Greek οἶδα; vidmá 'we know', Greek ἴδμεν. In the same way √vid forms perfect participles without reduplication and with present meaning; see examples 165 and 169 in section 27.1 below, and vídānas in the first line of the lesson text.

  • nā́háṃ veda bhrātr̥tváṃ nó svasr̥tvám (X, 108, 10) 'I know neither brotherhood nor sisterhood' [158] (=93)
  • vidúr dvéṣāṃsi yótave (Lesson 5 text) 'they know to keep enmities away' [159]
  • védā [véda] yó vīnā́m padám, antárikṣeṇa pátatām, véda nāváḥ samudríyaḥ (I, 25, 7) '(Varuna) who knows the course of the birds flying through airy space, the course of the sea-faring boat' [160]
26.1 Moods of the Perfect System.

The endings are the same as the endings of the Present System, but the root is reduplicated.

  • stómo babhūtu agnáye (I, 127, 10) 'praise be to Agni' (perfect imperative) [161]
  • tát sú naḥ śárma yachata, ā́dityā yán múmocati (Lesson 5 text) 'extend for sure that refuge to us, O Adityas, that will make free' (perfect subjunctive) [162]
  • práti me stómam áditir jagr̥bhyāt (V, 42, 2) 'may Aditi welcome my praise' (perfect optative, from √grabh 'take') [163]
27 Perfect participles.
27.1 Perfect active participles in -vāṃs.

The table below shows the masculine forms that are found. Note that in the instrumental, dative, ablative and genitive singular, and the accusative and genitive plural, -vāṃs- becomes -uṣ-. These cases are often susceptible to change, and are called 'weak' -- compare the syncopation of the vowel in the same set of cases in the declension of rā́jan described in section 22 of the last lesson. Forms are given for cikitvā́ṃs, from √cit, cétati 'perceive, observe'.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   cikitvā́n   cikitvā́ṃsā   cikitvā́ṃsas
Acc   cikitvā́ṃsam   cikitvā́ṃsā   cikitúṣas
Ins   cikitúṣā       cikitvádbhis
Dat   cikitúṣe        
Abl   cikitúṣas        
Gen   cikitúṣas       cikitúṣām
Voc   cíkitvas        

The feminine is made from the weak stem with the secondary ending -ī, cikitúṣī, and declines like devī́, as described in section 17.3. Only two neuter forms, both accusative singular, occur in the Rigveda, one of them, tatanvát, in the second verse of this lesson text.

  • cikitvā́m̐ [cikitvā́n] abhí paśyati, kr̥tā́ni yā́ ca kártvā (I, 25, 11) '(Varuna) discerns, observant, which things are done and which are yet to do' [164] (quoted in section 15.3 above)
  • védad ávidvāñ chr̥ṇávac [ávidvān śr̥ṇávat] ca vidvā́n (V, 30, 3) 'the one not knowing will know, and the one knowing will hear' [165]
  • suvijñānáṃ cikitúṣe jánāya (VII, 104, 12) 'it is a clear distinction to an observant person' [166] (see 156)
  • chardír yéna dāśúṣe yáchati tmánā (Lesson 2 text) 'with which by his nature he extends a shield for the worshipper (from √dāś, which like √vid forms a perfect participle without reduplication. It is regularly used in a nominal sense)' [167]
  • sū́rya ātmā́ jágatas tasthúṣaś [tasthúṣas] ca (I, 115, 1) 'the sun, the breath of all that moves and stands (from √sthā)' [168] (=127)
  • tā́ vidvā́ṃsā havāmahe vāṃ, tā́ no vidvā́ṃsā mánma vocetam adyá (I, 120, 3) 'as such we call upon you two knowing ones, so, knowing, may you today speak (optative) the thought for us' [169]
27.2 Perfect middle participles.

Perfect middle participles are formed by adding the suffix -āna to the reduplicated stem, and follow the declension of adjectives in -a described in section 6.

  • abhí dvijánmā trī́ rocanā́ni, víśvā rájāṃsi śuśucānó [śuśucānás] asthāt (I, 149, 4) 'of double birth, (Agni) has risen above the three spheres of light, all the airy regions, shining bright (from √śuc 'be bright')' [170]
  • áhann áhim párvate śiśriyāṇám (I, 32, 2) 'he destroyed the dragon lying (from √śri 'lie') on the mountain' [171] (elsewhere, in IV, 19, 3, the dragon is described as suṣupāṇá, another perfect middle participle, from √svap 'sleep'; see example 123 in the last lesson)
  • samārāṇé ūrmíbhiḥ pínvamāne, anyā́ vām anyā́m ápi eti śubhre (III, 33, 2) 'going together (sam-ārāṇá, from √r̥ 'go'), swelling with waves, each of you approaches the other, you beautiful ones' [172]
28 Nouns of one syllable ending in consonants.

Monosyllabic nouns ending in consonants are ancient, and of frequent occurrence in Rigveda. Among the examples already encountered, all of which are feminine nouns, are vā́c 'voice, speech', gír 'song', áp 'water', ríṣ 'harm', vyúṣ 'brightening', srídh 'failure, misfortune' and víś 'settlement, folk'. Two more feminine abstract nouns, śúbh 'splendour' and ́rj 'power' occurred in the vocatives śubhas patī and ūrjām pate in examples 141 and 148. There are some masculines, like pád 'foot' (strong stem pā́d-) and mā́s 'moon, month', and a few neuter singulars, which have no ending in the nominative/accusative/vocative, like svàr 'sunlight' in the Lesson 4 text, and bhā́s 'light' -- bhā́svatī described dawn in example 100.

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Plural
Nom   [-s]   -as
Acc   -am   -as
Ins   -ā   -bhis
Dat   -e   -bhyas
Abl   -as   -bhyas
Gen   -as   -ām
Loc   -i   -su
Voc   -   -as

Because of the phonological rule that prohibits two consonants at the end of a word, as described in section 18 of Lesson 4, the -s of the nominative singular is always lost, giving a range of endings according to the rule of permitted finals: of the nouns listed above the forms vā́k, gī́r (the vowel is also long before endings beginning with consonants, see example 176 below), and víṭ (from víś) are found in the text. áp 'water' lengthens the initial vowel in the nominative plural, as in example 177. In the weak cases the accent often moves to the ending.

The dual masculine/feminine endings are similar to those for the masculine nouns in -a described in section 6: pā́dā or pā́dau 'two feet', ablative padbhyā́m, locative padós.

  • eṣá grā́veva jaritā́ ta indra, íyarti vā́cam br̥hád āśuṣāṇáḥ (V, 36, 4) 'this singer of yours, Indra, like the cantor, sends his voice forth on high, sparing no effort' [173] (=132)
  • kím etā́ vācā́ kr̥ṇavā távāhám [táva ahám] (X, 95, 2) 'what shall I do with this speech of yours?' [174]
  • tvā́ṃ nakṣanta no gíraḥ [gíras] (VIII, 92, 27) 'let our songs reach you' [175] (=4)
  • gírvāhasaṃ gīrbhír [gīrbhís] yajñávr̥ddham (lesson text) 'brought by song, accompanied by songs, strengthened by worship' [176]
  • ́yann ā́po [ā́pas] áyanam ichámānāḥ (lesson 3 text) 'off went the waters, longing to be gone' [177]
  • ahám etā́ [etā́s] mánave viśváścandrāḥ, sugā́ [sugā́s] apáś [apás] cakara vájrabāhuḥ (I, 165, 8) 'I, weapon-armed, have made for man these all-bright waters flowing freely (su-gá)' [178]
  • sá no dívā sá riṣáḥ [riṣás] pātu náktam (Lesson 1 text) 'may he protect us day and night from harm' [179]
  • sū́rye jyótir ádadhur māsí aktū́n (X, 12, 7) '(when the gods) placed light in the sun, twilight rays in the moon' [180]
  • śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ [srídhas] (Lesson 5 text) 'let the wholesome wind blow a blessing, blow away misfortunes' [181]
  • r̥ā́jā viśā́m ási (VIII, 95, 3) '(for) you are the king of settlements' [182]
  • kám ā́ jánaṃ carati kā́su vikṣú (lesson text) 'what people does he frequent, among which settlements?' [183]

Monosyllables are also regularly found at the end of simple compounds, as in the vocative puru-kr̥t 'doing much' in this lesson text, and ratna-bhā́j 'dispensing treasure' which occurs in the Lesson 4 text in the genitive, ratnabhā́jas.

  • prá vāṃ sá mitrāvaruṇāv r̥tā́vā, vípro mánmāni dīrghaśrúd [dīrgha-śrút] iyarti (VII, 61, 2) 'to you, Mitra and Varuna, he, the far-famed holy poet, sends forth his thoughts' [184] (the conclusion of the verse is example number 56 in Lesson 3)
  • śárma yachata dvipáde cátuṣpade (X, 37, 11) 'extend protection to the two-footed (dvi-pád), to the four-footed' [185] (=126)
29 Comparative and Superlative.

As in Greek, there are two ways of forming both the comparative (English better, wiser) and the superlative (best, most wise). The secondary formation, which adds the endings -tara (Greek -τερο) for the comparative, and -tama (compare Latin -timo, ultimo, English ultimate), for the superlative, occurs most frequently. The more ancient forms of the primary formation, -īyāṃs, like Greek -ιων, Latin -ior (comparative) and -iṣṭha, -ιστο, (superlative) occur only slightly less frequently in the Rigveda, but become progressively less common in the later language.

29.1 Primary formation.

The masculine endings of the comparative in -ī-yāṃs are parallel to those of the perfect active participle in -vāṃs, with the weak form -yas-: nominative singular návīyān 'newer', dative singular návīyase (vocative návīyas). In addition, neuter singular forms occur frequently: the nominative/accusative ending is -yas. The endings of the oblique cases are the same as for the masculine. The feminine again is formed by adding the secondary suffix -ī to the weak stem, návīyasī. The shorter form of the suffix without -ī- is also found, návyāṃs, and some comparatives, like vásyāṃs 'better', are always formed in this way. No dual forms occur.

  • táṃ yuñjāthām mánaso yó jávīyān (I, 183, 1) 'may you two harness that which is swifter (masculine) than understanding' [186] (=55, 73)
  • idám pitré marútām ucyate vácaḥ, svādóḥ svā́dīyo [svā́dīyas] rudrā́ya várdhanam (I, 114, 6) 'this speech is addressed to the father of the Maruts, sweeter (neuter) than the sweet (svādú), the means of growth for Rudra' [187]
  • ákr̥ṇutam antárikṣaṃ várīyo [várīyas], áprathataṃ jīváse no rájāṃsi (VI, 69, 5) 'You two made the atmosphere broader (neuter, from várīyāṃs, comparative of urú), you spread out the airy regions for us to live' [188]
  • mánma śrudhi návīyasaḥ (I, 131, 6) 'listen to the thought of a newer one' [189]

Superlatives in -iṣṭha follow the declension in -a given in section 6.

  • asmé vo astu sumatíś cániṣṭhā (VII, 57, 4) 'may your most gracious favour be upon us' [190] (=12)
  • śócā [śóca] śociṣṭha dīdihí viśé máyaḥ (VIII, 60, 6) 'be bright (√śuc, śócati), O brightest one, shine happiness for the folk' [191]
  • máno jáviṣṭham patáyatsu antáḥ (VI, 9, 5) 'among flying things the understanding is swiftest (compare jávīyāṃs, example number 186)' [192]
  • svā́diṣṭhā dhītír ucáthāya śasyate (I, 110, 1) 'the sweetest (compare svā́dīyāṃs, example number 187) thought is sung for praise' [193]
  • tád ékaṃ, devā́nāṃ śréṣṭhaṃ vápuṣām apaśyam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest (comparative śréyāṃs) of the marvels of the gods' [194] (=91, 142)
29.2 Secondary formation.

The majority of adjectives in -tara and -tama also decline regularly as adjectives in -a as described in section 6.

  • tác citráṃ rā́dha ā́ bhara, úṣo yád dīrghaśrúttamam (Lesson 4 text) 'bring hither that radiant favour, O dawn, which is most famed (superlative of dīrgha-śrút 'far-famed' in example 184 above)' [195]
  • īyúṣ ṭé [īyúr té] yé pū́rvatarām ápaśyan, vyuchántīm uṣásam mártyāsaḥ (I, 113, 11) 'those are gone, the mortal men who saw the earlier (comparative of pū́rva 'previous') dawn shining out' [196]
  • agnír íd dhí prácetā [ít hí prácetās], agnír vedhástama [vedhástamas] ŕ̥ṣiḥ (VI, 14, 2) 'for Agni is indeed mindful, Agni is the most honourable (superlative of vedhás) seer' [197]
  • ávidvāṃso [ávidvāṃsas] vidúṣṭaraṃ sapema (VI, 15, 10) 'may we, ignorant, honour the one who knows better (vidúṣṭara, from the weak form of the perfect participle vidvā́ṃs)' [198]
  • yád vo vayám praminā́ma vratā́ni, vidúṣāṃ devā [devās] áviduṣṭarāsaḥ (X, 2, 4) 'when we, more ignorant, O gods, neglect the holy laws of you, the wise ones' [199]

A few adjectives formed with -tara or the reduced forms -ra and -ma, having affinity with pronouns, exhibit some forms that are like yá, as described in section 11. The numeral éka 'one' in section 25 of the last lesson similarly showed elements of both declensions. The Lesson 3 text contains an example of such a word: úttara 'higher', used with a temporal sense, 'future', occurs with both adjectival and pronominal endings. In this lesson text the adjectives madhyamá, literally 'most in the middle', ávara 'lower, more recent' and avamá 'lowest, most recent', all similarly used in a temporal sense, behave in the same way. In the last verse of the lesson text ávarāsas 'the more recent ones' is the nominative plural masculine adjectival form. But in the first line of X, 15, quoted in the Textual Analysis at the beginning of this lesson, úd īratām ávara [ávare] út párāsaḥ 'may they rise up, the more recent, the distant (fathers)', ávare shows the nominative plural masculine pronominal ending.

30 Interrogatives.

Interrogatives are distinguished by an initial k-, like Latin qu- (quis, quid, quando, quomodo). The pronoun ká 'who, which, what?', repeated four times in the third verse of the lesson text, follows the usual pronominal declension described in section 11, with the addition of an alternative neuter nominative and accusative form, kím. This has already been encountered in a compound adjective in the first verse of the Lesson 3 text: kiṃ-yú 'what-desiring?' An old nominative singular masculine is preserved in the indeclinable forms nákis and mā́kis, Greek μήτις, 'not any one'.

ká forms a number of derivative interrogatives, like ka-tamá 'which of many?', also in the third verse of in the lesson text. The form is that of a secondary superlative in -tama, as described above, and there is a parallel comparative form, ka-tará 'which of two?' Both these follow the pronominal declension. Of other derivatives of ká, the indeclinables kadā́ 'when?', kúha 'where?', and kathā́ 'how?', the first two of which also occur in the lesson text, are regularly found.

The particle cit 'even, all' following ká gives an indefinite or general sense: 'whoever, whatever, anyone, anything'.

  • kó arká indra katamáḥ sá hótā (lesson text) 'which eulogy, Indra, which the celebrant of many?' [200]
  • katarā́ pū́rvā katarā́parāyóḥ [katarā́ áparā ayós], kathā́ jāté kavayaḥ kó ví veda (I, 185, 1) 'which of these two (heaven and earth) is earlier, which later, how were they born, O sages, who knows for certain?' [201]
  • kíṃ sá ŕ̥dhak kr̥ṇavad yáṃ sahásram, māsó jabhā́ra śarádaś ca pūrvī́ (IV, 18, 4) 'what will he (Indra) separately do, whom she bears for a thousand months and many autumns?' [202]
  • índra nákiṣ ṭvā [nákis tvā] práti asti eṣām, víśvā jātā́ni abhí asi tā́ni (VI, 25, 5) 'Indra, none of these equals you (práti + √as), you are above all those creatures' [203]
  • yád dha yā́nti marútaḥ, sáṃ ha bruvate ádhvan ā́, śr̥ṇóti káś cid [kás cit] eṣām (I, 37, 13) 'when indeed the storm gods travel, indeed they speak among themselves on the way; anyone hears them' (√śru 'hear' takes the genitive of the person heard) [204] (first two lines = 134)

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 7

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

The opening verse of this passage to the sun turns on two important words of complex meaning in the Rigvedic vocabulary, vratá and krátu. The word vratá (related to Greek ῥῆμα, and English word) previously occurred in the Lesson 2 text, where Savitar, the driving force behind the solar cycle, both guarded the vratā́ni and protected us with them, a passage that gives an indication of the double sense of the word. On the one hand it describes the unfathomable system that regulates the universe: amī́ yá ŕ̥kṣā níhitāsa uccā́, náktaṃ dádr̥śre kúha cid díveyuḥ, ádabdhāni váruṇasya vratā́ni, vicā́kaśac candrámā náktam eti (I, 24, 10) 'that far off constellation set on high that shows itself at night, wherever does it go by day? Inviolate are the holy laws of Varuna; the shining moon goes keeping watch by night'. But the vratā́ni are also divine commandments, obeyed not only by the waters and the wind in II, 38, 2 (see the introduction to Lesson 2) but also by man if he is wise, as indicated in X, 2, 4, quoted in example 199 in the last lesson.

The second verse of VII, 61, the two halves of which have appeared as examples 56 and 184, describes how a poet can acquire krátu with the help of the gods: prá vāṃ sá mitrāvaruṇāv r̥tā́vā, vípro mánmāni dīrghaśrúd iyarti, yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávātha, ā́ yát krátvā ná śarádaḥ pr̥ṇaíthe 'to you, Mitra and Varuna, he, the far-famed holy poet, lifts up his thoughts; whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour, so that you will fill his autumns with krátu, as it were'. The word is cognate with Greek κράτος 'strength', but significantly in the Rigveda has the sense of reasoning power or intellectual ability, not bodily strength. In another passage, X, 64, 2, the noun krátu is turned into a verb (see section 33.4 in this lesson), kratūyánti krátavo hr̥tsú dhītáyaḥ 'conceptual powers, thoughts, have power in our hearts'.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The lesson text forms the central section, verses 5-10, of X, 37 (863), a poem of 12 verses addressed to the sun. The name sū́rya, from svàr 'sunlight', is related to Old English svegle and also to Homeric Greek ἠέλιος. The poem is in the jagatī metre with the exception of verse 10, the last verse here, which is in triṣṭubh. The sun, which is víśvasya sthātúr jágataś ca gopā́ 'guardian of all that stands and moves' in VII, 60, 2, in protecting víśvasya vratám in this passage merits the praise of men, praise which will, thanks to their krátu, be commendable to all the gods.

víśvasya hí préṣito rákṣasi vratám
áheḷayann uccárasi svadhā́ ánu
yád adyá tvā sūrya upabrávāmahai
táṃ no devā́ ánu maṃsīrata krátum

  • víśvasya -- adjective; genitive singular masculine of <víśva> all -- of all
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- since
  • préṣitas -- participle; nominative singular masculine past participle of <√iṣ, íṣyati> send + preverb; <prá> forth -- sent forth # The past participle of √iṣ is iṣitá, and the initial i combines with the final a of the preverb to form e.
  • rákṣasi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of <√rakṣ, rákṣati> protect -- you protect
  • vratám -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vratá> holy law, divine commandment -- the holy law
  • áheḷayan -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active causative participle of <√hīḍ> be hostile + privative prefix; <a-> (reverses meaning) -- not invidious
  • uccárasi -- verb; 2nd person singular active present of <√car, cárati> move + preverb; <út> up -- you rise
  • svadhā́s -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <svadhā́> inherent power -- your own powers # Compare svadhā́vant in the last lesson text.
  • ánu -- preposition; <ánu> after -- according to
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • adyá -- adverb; <adyá> on this day, today -- today # a-dyá, compare Latin ho-die and English to-day.
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • sūrya -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- O sun
  • upabrávāmahai -- verb; 1st person plural middle subjunctive of <√brū, brávīti> say + preverb; <úpa> up to -- we address
  • tám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • devā́s -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- the gods
  • ánu maṃsīrata -- verb; 3rd person plural middle aorist optative of <√man, mányate> think + preverb; <ánu> after -- may they commend
  • krátum -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <krátu> power, intellectual ability -- wisdom

táṃ no dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ tán no ā́pa
índraḥ śr̥ṇvantu marúto hávaṃ vácaḥ
mā́ śū́ne bhūma sū́riyasya saṃdŕ̥śi
bhadráṃ jī́vanto jaraṇā́m aśīmahi

  • tám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ -- noun; nominative dual feminine of <dyā́vāpr̥thivī́> Heaven and Earth -- Heaven and Earth
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • ́pas -- noun; nominative plural feminine of <áp> water -- the waters
  • índras -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <índra> Indra -- Indra
  • śr̥ṇvantu -- verb; 3rd person plural active imperative of <√śru, śr̥ṇóti> hear -- may they hear
  • marútas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <marút> Marut, storm god -- the storm gods
  • hávam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <háva> call -- call
  • vácas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <vácas> word, speech -- speech
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- do not # The prohibitive particle, like Greek μή.
  • śū́ne -- noun; locative singular neuter of <śū́na> lack, want -- in want
  • bhūma -- verb; 1st person plural active aorist injunctive of of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- let us be
  • sū́ryasya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- of the sun
  • saṃdŕ̥śi -- noun; locative singular feminine of <saṃdŕ̥ś> sight -- in the sight
  • bhadrám -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <bhadrá> fortunate, happy -- happy
  • jī́vantas -- participle; nominative plural masculine present active participle of <√jīv, jī́vati> be alive -- living
  • jaraṇā́m -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <jaraṇā́> old age -- old age
  • aśīmahi -- verb; 1st person plural middle optative of <√aṃś, aśnóti> reach -- may we reach

viśvā́hā tvā sumánasaḥ sucákṣasaḥ
prajā́vanto anamīvā́ ánāgasaḥ
udyántaṃ tvā mitramaho divé-dive
jiyóg jīvā́ḥ práti paśyema sūriya

  • viśvā́hā -- adverb; <viśvā́hā> always -- always
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • sumánasas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sumánas> good-minded, well-disposed -- with good minds
  • sucákṣasas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sucákṣas> well-sighted -- with good sight
  • prajā́vantas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <prajā́vant> having progeny -- rich in projeny
  • anamīvā́s -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <anamīvá> without sickness -- free from sickness # ámīvā (f) 'sickness'.
  • ánāgasas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <ánāgas> without guilt -- free from guilt # ́gas (n) 'guilt'.
  • udyántam -- participle; accusative singular masculine present active participle of <√i, éti> go + preverb; <út> up -- rising
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • mitramahas -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <mitrámahas> friend-great, many-friended -- many-friended
  • divé-dive -- iterative compound; <divé-dive> day after day -- day after day
  • jyók -- adverb; <jyók> for a long time -- a long time
  • jīvā́s -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <jīvá> alive, living -- living
  • práti paśyema -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√paś, páśyati> see + preverb; <práti> against -- may we behold
  • sūrya -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- O sun

máhi jyótir bíbhrataṃ tvā vicakṣaṇa
bhā́svantaṃ cákṣuṣe-cakṣuṣe máyaḥ
āróhantam br̥hatáḥ pā́jasas pári
vayáṃ jīvā́ḥ práti paśyema sūriya

  • máhi -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <máh> great -- great
  • jyótis -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <jyótis> light -- light
  • bíbhratam -- participle; accusative singular masculine present active participle of <√bhr̥, bhárati> bring, bear -- bringing # From the alternative reduplicating form of the present tense.
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • vicakṣaṇa -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <vicakṣaṇá> far-sighted, discerning -- O far-seeing one
  • bhā́svantam -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <bhā́svant> possessing light, brightness -- with brightness
  • cákṣuṣe-cakṣuṣe -- iterative compound; <cákṣuṣe-cakṣuṣe> to every eye -- to every eye # Like cákṣas 'seeing, sight' and vicakṣaṇá in the previous line, from the root √cakṣ, cáṣṭe 'see'.
  • máyas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <máyas> happiness -- a joy
  • āróhantam -- participle; accusative singular masculine present active participle of <√ruh, róhati> rise up + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- rising up
  • br̥hatás -- adjective; ablative singular neuter of <br̥hánt> high, lofty -- from the lofty
  • pā́jasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <pā́jas> radiance, lustre -- radiance
  • pári -- preposition; <pári> around, out of -- out of
  • vayám -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vayám> we -- we
  • jīvā́s -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <jīvá> alive, living -- living
  • práti paśyema -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√paś, páśyati> see + preverb; <práti> against -- may we look upon
  • sūrya -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- O sun

yásya te víśvā bhúvanāni ketúnā
prá cérate ní ca viśánte aktúbhiḥ
anāgāstvéna harikeśa sūriya
áhnāhnā no vásyasā-vasyasód ihi

  • yásya -- relative pronoun; genitive singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- whose
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • víśvā -- adjective; nominative plural neuter of <víśva> all -- all
  • bhúvanāni -- noun; nominative plural neuter of <bhúvana> being, existence -- beings
  • ketúnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <ketú> appearance, shining out, ray -- with the appearance
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and
  • prá ī́rate -- verb; 3rd person plural middle present of <√r̥, íyarti> go, send + preverb; <prá> forth -- set out
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and
  • ní viśánte -- verb; 3rd person plural middle present of <√viś, viśáte> enter, come to rest + preverb; <ní> down -- come to rest
  • aktúbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <aktú> twilight ray -- with twilight rays # The light that gleams at dawn and at sunset; compare Greek ἀκτίς.
  • anāgāstvéna -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter of <anāgastvá> guiltlessness, innocence -- with innocence # From ánāgas in the second verse with suffix -tvá.
  • harikeśa -- adjective; vocative singular masculine of <hárikeśa> gold-tressed -- gold-tressed
  • sūrya -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- O sun
  • áhnāhnā -- iterative compound; <áhnā-ahnā> with repeated daylight -- every day with light
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us
  • vásyasā-vasyasā -- iterative compound; <vásyasā-vasyasā> with better and better -- better and better # From the comparative of vásu, vásyāṃs (superlative vásiṣṭha).
  • út ihi -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√i, éti> go + preverb; <út> up -- rise up

śáṃ no bhava cákṣasā śáṃ no áhnā
śám bhānúnā śáṃ himā́ śáṃ ghr̥ṇéna
yáthā śám ádhvañ chám ásad duroṇé
tát sūriya dráviṇaṃ dhehi citrám

  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • bhava -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- be
  • cákṣasā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <cákṣas> seeing, sight -- with sight
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • áhnā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <áhan> day, daylight -- with daylight
  • bhānúnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <bhānú> brightness, shining -- with brightness
  • himā́ -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <himá> cold, frost -- with frost # Compare Latin hiems.
  • ghr̥ṇéna -- noun; instrumental singular masculine of <ghr̥ṇá> warmth -- with warmth
  • yáthā -- conjunction; <yáthā> as, so that -- that
  • ádhvan -- noun; locative singular masculine of <ádhvan> way -- on the way
  • ásat -- verb; 3rd person singular active subjunctive of <√as, ásti> be -- there may be
  • duroṇé -- noun; locative singular neuter of <duroṇá> home -- at home
  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- that # Note that with sandhi tát followed by a word beginning with n becomes tán.
  • sūrya -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- O sun
  • dráviṇam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <dráviṇa> provision -- provision
  • dhehi -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√dhā, dádhāti> place, grant -- grant
  • citrám -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <citrá> bright, radiant -- radiant

Lesson Text

víśvasya hí préṣito rákṣasi vratám
áheḷayann uccárasi svadhā́ ánu
yád adyá tvā sūrya upabrávāmahai
táṃ no devā́ ánu maṃsīrata krátum

táṃ no dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ tán no ā́pa
índraḥ śr̥ṇvantu marúto hávaṃ vácaḥ
mā́ śū́ne bhūma sū́riyasya saṃdŕ̥śi
bhadráṃ jī́vanto jaraṇā́m aśīmahi

viśvā́hā tvā sumánasaḥ sucákṣasaḥ
prajā́vanto anamīvā́ ánāgasaḥ
udyántaṃ tvā mitramaho divé-dive
jiyóg jīvā́ḥ práti paśyema sūriya

máhi jyótir bíbhrataṃ tvā vicakṣaṇa
bhā́svantaṃ cákṣuṣe-cakṣuṣe máyaḥ
āróhantam br̥hatáḥ pā́jasas pári
vayáṃ jīvā́ḥ práti paśyema sūriya

yásya te víśvā bhúvanāni ketúnā
prá cérate ní ca viśánte aktúbhiḥ
anāgāstvéna harikeśa sūriya
áhnāhnā no vásyasā-vasyasód ihi

śáṃ no bhava cákṣasā śáṃ no áhnā
śám bhānúnā śáṃ himā́ śáṃ ghr̥ṇéna
yáthā śám ádhvañ chám ásad duroṇé
tát sūriya dráviṇaṃ dhehi citrám

Translation

Since you, sent forth, protect the holy law of all,
And, not invidious, rise according to your own powers;
When we address you today, O sun,
May the gods commend that wisdom of ours.
That call of ours may Heaven and Earth and the waters, hear,
Indra and the storm gods hear that speech;
Let us not be in want in the sight of the sun,
May we, living, reach a happy old age.
Always with good minds, with good sight
Rich in progeny, free from sickness and from guilt,
May we behold you rising day after day,
Living a long time, O many-friended sun.
Bringing great light, O far-seeing one
With brightness, a joy to every eye,
Rising all around from out the lofty radiance,
May we, living, look upon you, O sun.
With whose appearance all living things set out,
And come to rest with your twilight rays;
With innocence, O gold-tressed sun,
Rise up for us every day with better and better light.
Bless us with sight, bless with daylight,
Bless us with brightness, with frost and with warmth;
That there may be blessing on the way, or at home,
Grant that radiant provision, O sun.

Grammar

31 Iteration.

Iterative compounds, where the same word -- regularly in inflected form -- is repeated, express succession in time or space or repetition, and are a common feature of the Rigveda. Of the four in this lesson text divé-dive 'day after day' is ancient and occurs many times. Such compounds are however freely formed, and often appear only once. The dative cákṣuse-cakṣuse 'to every eye' from cákṣus 'eye, sight' (compare cákṣas 'seeing, sight', and its derivative sucákṣas in the third verse), and the instrumental áhnā-ahnā 'with repeated daylight', together with adjectival vásyasā-vasyasā, 'better and better', are only found in this passage. Any part of speech is capable of being compounded in this way: ihéha [ihá-iha] '(here-here) here and there, everywhere'; yád-yat [yát-yat] 'whatever'.

  • jyótiṣmatīm áditiṃ dhārayátkṣitiṃ, svàrvatīm ā́ sacete divé-dive, jāgr̥vā́ṃsā divé-dive (I, 136, 3) 'you accompany Aditi hither day after day, she who is made of light, sustaining the races of man, possessing sunlight, you two, watchful day after day' [205]
  • agníṃ náro ví bharante gr̥hé-gr̥he [...] agníṃ vr̥ṇānā́ vr̥ṇate kavíkratum (V, 11, 4) 'men distribute fire in every house... choosing Agni they choose the sage-wise' [206] (second line = 80)
  • yád-yad yā́mi tád ā́ bhara (VIII, 61, 6) 'whatever I solicit, bring that hither' [207]
  • samānó ádhvā svásror anantás, tám anyā́nyā [anyā́-anyā] carato deváśiṣṭe (I, 113, 3) 'The sisters (Night and Dawn) have the same unending course, they move along it alternately (other-other), god-instructed' [208]
  • bráhma-brahma yé jujuṣúḥ (IX, 77, 3) 'those who delight in all prayers' [209]

The same word may also be repeated in the sentence in a different case to convey a superlative sense, as in English 'king of kings'. In the last verse of X, 112 sákhe sákhīnām 'O friend of friends / best of friends' is addressed to Indra, and at VI, 61, 10 Sarasvati is described as priyā́ priyā́su 'dear among the dear (f)/ dearest of all streams'. Filial piety is praised as vápuṣo vápuṣṭaram 'more marvellous than a marvel' in X, 32, 3, and the example svādóḥ svā́dīyaḥ 'sweeter than the sweet', describing speech, was given in the last lesson (number 187).

32 Adjectives with pronominal declension.

Some adjectives displaying elements of the pronominal declension that ressemble comparatives and superlatives in form, like ávara 'more recent' and avamá 'most recent', were described in section 29.2 of the last lesson. Another, similarly temporal in meaning and exhibiting both pronominal and adjectival forms, is pū́rva 'former, previous'. The adjectives víśva 'every, all' and sárva 'whole, all' (Latin salvus), like éka 'one', follow the pronominal declension with the exception of the nominative/accusative singular neuter forms, víśvam and sárvam. The usual Rigvedic word meaning 'all', víśva, which is superseded in the later language by sárva, has appeared four times in the lesson texts, twice here and twice in Lesson 1, in forms that could be either pronominal or adjectival. In a passage quoted in the Introduction to the Lesson 5 text however it shows its pronominal nature: áditir mātā́ sá pitā́ sá putráḥ, víśve devā́ áditiḥ (I, 89, 10) 'Aditi is mother, father, son; Aditi is all the gods'.

The adjective anyá 'other' in the feminine iterative compound anyā́-anyā in example 208 above, like katará and katamá described in the last section of Lesson 6, follows the pronominal declension throughout. Further pronominal forms are illustrated below. The last example is from the second verse of the lesson text poem.

  • yé cid dhí [cit hí] tvā́m ŕ̥ṣayaḥ pū́rva [pū́rve] ūtáye, juhūré ávase mahi, sā́ na stómām̐ abhí gr̥ṇīhi rā́dhasā (I, 48, 14) 'as all those seers of old invoked you for help, for aid, O great goddess, so reciprocate (lit. 'sing towards') our songs of praise with generosity' [210]
  • prá vīryèṇa devátā́ti [devátā áti] cekite, víśvasmā [víśvasmai] ugráḥ kármaṇe puróhitaḥ (I, 55, 3) 'among the gods (Indra) is pre-eminent for heroism, strong, placed in front for every deed' [211]
  • víśvasmān [víśvasmāt] no áṃhaso níṣ pipartana (1, 106, 1-6) 'from all trouble deliver us' [212]
  • vayā́ [vayā́s] íd agne agnáyas te anyé, tvé víśve amŕ̥tā [amŕ̥tās] mādayante (I, 59, 1) 'other fires, Agni, are indeed your offshoots (vayā́, feminine), all the immortals delight in you' [213]
  • víśvam anyán [anyát] ní viśate yád éjati, viśvā́hā́po [viśvā́hā ā́pas] viśvā́hód [viśvā́hā út] eti sū́ryaḥ (X, 37, 2) 'all else that stirs comes to rest, always the waters, the sun always rises' [214]
33 Derivative verbs.

There are three derivative conjugations which give the verbal root an extended sense, forming tenses, moods and participles. By far the most common of these is the causative, which, by means of a suffix added to the root, turns 'he goes' into 'he causes to go'. Intensives and desideratives similarly extend the meaning of the root to something like 'he insists on going', and 'he wishes to go'. Allied to these is a class of verbs called denominatives which make verbs out of nouns, like English to holiday (to vacation), or to fish.

33.1 The causative.

Causatives are formed by adding -áya to the root, which is often in strengthened form. They are inflected like verbs of the thematic conjugation of the Present System. Several examples have already appeared in the lessons. Two masculine causative active participles described Savitar in the Lesson 2 text: from the root √prath 'spread' pratháyan 'extending', and from √viś with preverb ní, niveśáyan 'bringing to rest'. The feminine causative participle prabodháyantī 'causing to wake', from √budh 'wake' with preverb prá, described dawn in example number 99. Causative forms of the imperfect tense occurred in example 113, aprathayas 'you caused to spread' from √prath again, and example 143, arocayan 'they caused to shine' from √ruc; both verbs have lost the accent as the main verb in the sentence. Another masculine causative active participle describes the sun in the first verse of this lesson text, áheḷayan 'not causing hostility', where the causative element -áya has lost the accent to the privative prefix.

Some verbs which are causative in form however lack a causative sense, like mādayante 'they delight in' from √mad 'delight in' in example 213 in the last section. Two participles which are causative in appearance but have no causative sense have also occurred in the examples: the first element of the compound dhārayát-kṣiti 'sustaining the races of man' in example 205 at the beginning of this lesson is from the root √dhr̥ 'hold fast, sustain', and in example 192, máno jáviṣṭham patáyatsu antáḥ (VI, 9, 5) 'among flying things the understanding is swiftest', patáyatsu is locative plural of patáyant, from √pat 'fly, fall' (compare Greek πέτομαι). The verse that follows this, VI, 9, 6, quoted below in section 34, gives another example of patáya- without a causative sense, and √jan 'produce, create, bear', similarly uses the causative form without distinction of meaning, as in example 216.

  • yám vardháyanti íd gíraḥ (VI, 44, 5) '(Indra,) whom songs indeed make grow (from √vr̥dh 'grow')' [215]
  • gūḷháṃ jyótiḥ pitáro ánv [ánu] avindan, satyámantrā [satyámantrās] ajanayann [ajanayan] uṣā́sam (VII, 76, 4) 'the fathers found the hidden light, with true prayer (true-prayered) they brought forth (imperfect causative of √jan) the dawn' [216]
  • prá bodhayā [bodhaya] púraṃdhiṃ, jārá ā́ sasatī́m iva, prá cakṣaya ródasī vāsayoṣásaḥ [vāsaya uṣásas] (I, 134, 3) '(Wind,) wake up (causative imperative, from √budh) abundance, like a lover a sleeping girl (feminine participle, from sasánt 'sleeping'); make both worlds visible (from √cakṣ 'see'), make the dawns light up (from √vas 'shine')' [217]
33.2 The intensive.

The intensive, like the subgroup of athematic verbs described in section 13.1 and most verbs of the Perfect System, is marked by reduplication of the root. The distinguishing feature of the reduplication of the intensive is that the reduplicating vowel is usually strong: i and u reduplicate as e and o, a generally reduplicates as , and as ar. An example of an intensive participle occurred in the last lesson text, where Indra is described as véviṣat 'indefatigable', from √viṣ 'be active'. The inflection of intensives follows that of the reduplicating athematic verbs. Some verbs add a connecting i or before the endings, as in the first example below.

  • kiṃyúr vípro nadíyo johavīti (Lesson 3 text) 'the poet entreats (from √hū, hávate 'call upon') the streams; what does he want?' [218]
  • prá yā́ mahimnā́ mahínāsu cékite (VI, 61, 13) '(Sarasvati) who is pre-eminent for greatness among the great' (from √cit, cétati 'perceive'; mahimnā́ mahínāsu echoes priyā́ priyā́su from the same poem quoted above in section 31) [219]
  • ví pā́jasā pr̥thúnā śóśucāno, bā́dhasva dviṣó rakṣáso ámīvāḥ (III, 15, 1) '(O fire,) with broad lustre burning (intensive middle participle from √śuc 'be bright'), drive away hatreds, the afflictions of the fiend' (compare the perfect middle participle śuśucāná in example 170) [220]
  • evā́ [evá] na indra vā́ryasya pūrdhi, prá te mahī́ṃ sumatíṃ vevidāma (VII, 24, 6; VII, 25, 6) 'so, Indra, fill us with bounty, may we ever find (intensive subjunctive of √vid, vindáti 'find') great favour with you' [221]
33.3 The desiderative.

Desiderative forms are uncommon, and only one example, íyakṣantas 'desiring to worship' in the Lesson 6 text, has occurred so far. Like intensives they are marked by reduplication. The reduplicating syllable is in this case usually i, and carries the accent. Desiderative forms add the suffix -sa, often -ṣa, before the endings, which, as with causatives, are those of the thematic conjugation of the Present System.

  • prá yáṃ rāyé nínīṣasi, márto yás te vaso dā́śat (VIII, 103, 4) 'the one whom you desire to lead forth to treasure (from √nī with preverb prá), the mortal who will worship you, generous one' [222]
  • dídr̥kṣanta [dídr̥kṣante] uṣáso yā́man aktór, vivásvatyā [vivásvatyās] máhi citrám ánīkam, víśve jānanti mahinā́ yád ā́gād [ā́ ágāt], índrasya kárma súkr̥tā purū́ṇi (III, 30, 13) 'they long to see (from √dr̥ś), at the approach of the glimmering light of dawn, the great bright face of the radiant one; all know when she has come in her glory -- the many deeds of Indra are well done' [223]
33.4 The denominative.

Most nouns in Sanskrit are derived from verbal roots with the addition of suffixes: mánas, mánman, manīṣā́ and mántra, from which the compound satya-mantrá in example 216 above is formed, are all derivatives of the verbal root √man 'think'. Denominatives are formed the other way round; they are verbal formations made from nouns with the suffix -ya. Like causatives and desideratives, denominatives follow the inflection of thematic verbs of the Present System.

The first two examples below illustrate the chief functions of the twin horsemen, the Ashvins.

  • anārambhaṇé tád avīrayethām, anāsthāné agrabhaṇé samudré, yád aśvinā ūháthur bhujyúm ástaṃ, śatā́ritrāṃ nā́vam ātasthivā́ṃsam (I, 116, 5) 'you performed that heroic deed (avīrayethām, dual middle imperfect, from vīrá 'hero') in the unsteady, baseless, holdless sea, when, Ashvins, you brought Bhujyu home (ástam) aboard a ship with a hundred oars' [224]
  • tā́bhir no makṣū́ tū́yam aśvinā́ [aśvinā ā́] gatam, bhiṣajyátaṃ yád ā́turam (VIII, 22, 10) 'with these (aids), O Ashvins, come to us speedily, quickly, heal (dual active imperative, from bhiṣáj 'healer') what is sick' [225]
  • kratūyánti krátavo hr̥tsú dhītáyaḥ (X, 64, 2) 'conceptual powers, thoughts, have power in our hearts (hŕ̥d (n) 'heart')' [226]
34 The Future System.

The future tense is rare in the Rigveda, as its function is usually supplied by the subjunctive. It is formed by adding the suffix -syá or -iṣyá to the root, the inflection then again following the thematic conjugation of the Present System. Future participles, like kariṣyánt 'going to do', and the feminine vakṣyántī 'being about to speak' at VI, 75, 3, are only slightly less rare. Only one modal form (the subjunctive kariṣyā́s) is found in the Rigveda.

  • saúdhanvanā [saúdhanvanās] yádi evā́ kariṣyátha, sākáṃ devaír yajñíyāso bhaviṣyatha (I, 161, 2) 'Sons of Sudhanvan, when you will do so, you will become worthy of worship together with the gods' [227]
  • ví me kárṇā patayato ví cákṣur, vī́dáṃ [ví idám] jyótir hŕ̥daya [hŕ̥daye] ā́hitaṃ yát, ví me mánaś carati dūráādhīḥ, kíṃ svid vakṣyā́mi kím u nū́ maniṣye (VI, 9, 6) 'away fly my ears, off goes my sight, away this light which is set deep in the heart (hŕ̥daya (n), compare hŕ̥d in example 226); away goes my understanding with thoughts far away -- what pray shall I say (from √vac), what now then shall I think?' [228]
35 Further notes on the accent.
35.1 Finite verbs.

Verbs are accented if they begin the line or sentence, or if they are in subordinate clauses. In the first verse of the lesson text we know that the verb in the second line, 'you rise', is, like 'you protect' in the first line, dependent on hí 'since' because it too is accented. In addition, as a sentence is regarded as only able to have one main verb, subsequent main verbs tend to be accented, as in the first two examples.

In the third example the verb is accented because it is preceded only by a vocative, which is not considered to be part of the sentence. The verb becomes the first true word in the sentence.

  • śócā [śóca] śociṣṭha dīdihí viśé máyaḥ (VIII, 60, 6) 'be bright, O brightest one, shine happiness for the folk' [229] (=191)
  • prá pinvadhvam iṣáyantīḥ surā́dhā, ā́ vakṣáṇāḥ pr̥ṇádhvaṃ yātá śī́bham (III, 33, 12) 'swell forth, refreshing, bringing good gifts, fill full the fertile places, travel swiftly' [230] (=76)
  • vā́yo yāhí śivā́ [śiva ā́] diváḥ (VIII, 26, 23) 'O friendly wind, come from heaven' [231]
35.2 Verbs and participles with preverbs.

When a verb in a subordinate clause is immediately preceded by a preverb the two words are compounded and the preverb loses its accent, as in uccárasi and upabrávāmahai in the first verse of the lesson text. In the same way, when present participles and preverbs combine the preverb loses the accent, as illustrated by āróhant and udyánt in the lesson text, and the middle participle āśuṣānás 'breathing deeply' in example 132. The same is true of perfect participles: compare ātasthivā́ṃs in example 224 above.

The opposite however is generally the case when past participles combine with preverbs or prefixes. The verbal form then loses the accent, as with préṣita [prá-iṣita] in the first line of this lesson text, and níhitāsas in the introduction to this lesson and ́hita in example 228, both of which are formed with the irregular past participle of √dhā 'place', hitá.

  • yásmin devā́ mánmani saṃcáranti (X, 12, 8) 'in what thought the gods unite (we do not know)' [232] (=51)
  • yajñéna vācáḥ padavī́yam āyan, tā́m ánv avindann [avindan] ŕ̥ṣiṣu práviṣṭām (X, 71, 3) 'worshipfully they traced the footsteps of Speech; they found her entered (past participle of √viś 'enter' with preverb prá) among the seers' [233]
  • víśve jānanti mahinā́ yád ā́gād [ā́ ágāt], índrasya kárma súkr̥tā purū́ṇi (III, 30, 13) 'all know when she has come in her glory -- the many deeds of Indra are well done (past participle of √kr̥ 'do' with prefix su-)' [234] (=223)
  • agníṃ īḷe puróhitam (I, 1, 1) 'I praise Agni, placed at the head (past participle of √dhā with prepositional prefix purás 'in front')' [235]
35.3 Compounds with irregular double accentuation.

Most words are singly accented, even when they are compounds formed by combining two accented words: so from examples in this lesson dharayát-kṣiti (205), kaví-kratu (206), devá-śiṣṭa (208), satyá-mantra (216), and candrá-mās 'shining moon' in the lesson introduction. In such compounds the first word has the form of the uninflected stem. Iterative compounds, as described in section 31, always drop the accent from the second element: divé-dive, anyá-anya.

The names of deities that are regularly addressed together are often combined into ancient dual compounds, like the vocative mitrāvaruṇā in the lesson introduction, and when these compounds show the dual ending on both elements, as dyā́vā-pr̥thivī́ in the lesson text also does, some retain both accents (but not all: see example 238). Similarly vánas-páti 'forest-lord, tree', where the first element has preserved the genitive ending, is doubly accented, as is bŕ̥has-páti, perhaps an earlier form of bráhmaṇas páti 'lord of prayer', leading to the triply-accented dual compound índrā-bŕ̥haspátī at IV, 49, 5.

  • táṃ no dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ tán no ā́pa, índraḥ śr̥ṇvantu marúto hávaṃ vácaḥ (lesson text) 'that call of ours may Heaven and Earth, the waters, hear, Indra and the storm gods hear that speech' [236]
  • índra óṣadhīr asanod áhāni, vánaspátīm̐r [vánaspátīn] asanod antárikṣam (III, 34, 10) 'Indra won the plants, the days, he won the trees, the atmosphere' (quoted in the introduction to Lesson 6) [237]
  • svastí pánthām ánu carema, sūryācandramásāv [sūryā-candramásau] iva (V, 51, 15) 'with wellbeing may we follow the path, like the sun and shining moon' [238]

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 8

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

In many of the poems of the Rigveda divine powers are addressed devó-devaḥ 'god after god'. In this lesson text the poet's song praises gods of creation, weather and earthly provision in turn, concluding with an appeal to the twin horsemen, who of all gods are gámiṣṭha 'most willing to come', to convey all resulting gifts to man safely.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The text is verses 13-18 of V, 42 (396), an eighteen-verse poem addressed to víśve devā́ 'all the gods'. The metre is triṣṭubh, with the exception of the penultimate verse, which is a rare ekapadā ('one-line') virāj. The god of the first verse is unnamed, as often in such litanies, but the riddle is easily solved. The 'good shelterer' is the divine artificer Tvashtar (see example 267 in section 39), who moulds the 'forms' of existence, from Heaven and Earth to the beasts of the field: yá imé dyā́vapr̥thivī́ jánitrī, rūpaír ápiṃṣad bhúvanāni víśvā (X, 110, 9) 'who fashioned this Heaven and Earth, the two parents, with the forms, all living things'; tváṣṭā rūpā́ṇi hí prabhúḥ, paśū́n víśvān samānajé (I, 188, 9) 'for Tvashtar presides over the forms, he has made manifest all the beasts'.

The rain god of the next verse is often attended by the Maruts, the lightning-speared warriors of the storm (I, 168, 5 and V, 52, 13), named in the verse that follows. The Maruts inspire fear - prá vepayanti párvatān, ví viñcanti vánaspátīn (I, 39, 5) 'they make the mountains tremble, tear the trees apart', but when accompanied by the god of rain bring welfare: prá vā́tā vā́nti patáyanti vidyúta, úd óṣadhīr jíhate pínvate svàḥ, írā víśvasmai bhúvanāya jāyate, yát parjányaḥ pr̥thivī́ṃ rétasā́vati (V, 83, 4) 'the winds blow forth, the lightnings fall; the plants shoot up, heaven yields abundance; nourishment is born for all living things when Parjanya quickens the earth with seed'.

Although severally named in poems of this kind, the power of the gods is ultimately one, and the divine parents moulded by Tvashtar, dyaúṣ pitā́ (Greek Ζεὺς πατήρ, Latin Iupiter) and mātā́ pr̥thivī́, are united as the source of all saúbhagāni 'gifts of fortune': ́rjaṃ no dyaúś ca pr̥thivī́ ca pinvatām, pitā́ mātā́ viśvavídā sudáṃsasā (VI, 70, 6) 'power for us, may Heaven and Earth yield abundance, the Father, Mother, all-providing, wonderful'.

prá sū́ mahé suśaraṇā́ya medhā́
gíram bhare návyasīṃ jā́yamānām
yá āhanā́ duhitúr vakṣáṇāsu
rūpā́ minānó ákr̥ṇod idáṃ naḥ

  • sú -- particle; <sú> well, surely -- verily
  • mahé -- adjective; dative singular masculine of <máh> great -- to the great
  • suśaraṇā́ya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <suśaraṇá> good shelterer, good protector -- good shelterer
  • medhā́m -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <medhā́> wise thought -- a wise thought
  • gíram -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <gír> song -- a song
  • prá bhare -- verb; 1st person singular middle present of <√bhr̥, bhárati> bring, bear + preverb; <prá> forth -- I offer up
  • návyasīm -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <návyāṃs> newer -- newer
  • jā́yamānām -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of present middle participle of <√jā, jā́yate> be born -- being born
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • āhanā́s -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <āhanás> abundantly productive -- abundantly productive
  • duhitúr -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <duhitŕ̥> daughter -- of the daughter
  • vakṣáṇāsu -- noun; locative plural feminine of <vakṣáṇā> fertile place -- in the fertile places # See the Series Introduction for the indological translation of this word.
  • rūpā́ -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <rūpá> form -- the forms
  • minānás -- participle; nominative singular masculine present middle participle of <√mī, minā́ti> vary, transgress -- varying
  • ákr̥ṇot -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperfect of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- made
  • idám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <ayám, iyám, idám> this -- this world
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us

prá suṣṭutí stanáyantaṃ ruvántam
iḷás pátiṃ jaritar nūnám aśyāḥ
yó abdimā́m̐ udanimā́m̐ íyarti
prá vidyútā ródasī ukṣámāṇaḥ

  • suṣṭutís -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <suṣṭutí> fine hymn of praise -- a fine hymn of praise
  • stanáyantam -- participle; accusative singular masculine present active causative participle of <√stan> thunder -- thunder-maker
  • ruvántam -- participle; accusative singular masculine present active participle of <√ru, ruváti> roar -- roaring
  • iḷás -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <íḍ> refreshment -- of refreshment # In the Rigveda between two vowels becomes .
  • pátim -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <páti> lord -- lord
  • jaritar -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <jaritŕ̥> singer -- O singer
  • nūnám -- adverb; <nūnám> now -- now
  • prá aśyās -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist optative of <√aṃś, aśnóti> reach + preverb; <prá> forth -- may it reach # For *aśyāst, a precative form.
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • abdimā́n -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <abdimánt> consisting of storm-clouds -- storm-clouded
  • udanimā́n -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <udanimánt> rich in water -- rich in water
  • íyarti -- verb; 3rd person singular active of <√r̥, íyarti> go, send -- goes
  • vidyútā -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <vidyút> lightning flash -- with a lightning flash
  • ródasī -- noun; accusative dual feminine of <ródas> world -- the two worlds
  • prá ukṣámāṇas -- participle; nominative singular masculine present middle participle of <√ukṣ, ukṣáte> sprinkle + preverb; <prá> forth -- deluging

eṣá stómo mā́rutaṃ śárdho áchā
rudrásya sūnū́m̐r yuvanyū́m̐r úd aśyāḥ
kā́mo rāyé havate mā suastí
úpa stuhi pŕ̥ṣadaśvām̐ ayā́saḥ

  • eṣás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <eṣás, eṣā́, etát> this -- this
  • stómas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <stóma> eulogy -- eulogy
  • mā́rutam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <mā́ruta> of the storm gods, the Maruts' -- the Maruts' # See section 17.1 for this formation.
  • śárdhas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <śárdhas> troop -- troop
  • ácha -- preverb; <ácha> towards -- to # The last syllable of this word is regularly long in the Rigveda. A verb 'goes' or 'is sent' is understood with prá and ácha.
  • rudrásya -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <rudrá> Rudra -- of Rudra
  • sūnū́n -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <sūnú> son -- the sons
  • yuvanyū́n -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <yuvanyú> ever young -- ever young
  • út aśyās -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist optative of <√aṃś, aśnóti> reach + preverb; <út> up -- may it reach up to
  • kā́mas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <kā́ma> longing -- longing
  • rāyé -- noun; dative singular masculine of <rayí> possession, treasure -- for treasure
  • havate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle of <√hū, hávate> invoke, call upon -- calls to
  • mā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <ahám> I -- me
  • svastí -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <svastí> wellbeing -- with wellbeing
  • úpa stuhi -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√stu, stuṣé> praise + preverb; <úpa> up to -- send up praise to
  • pŕ̥ṣadaśvān -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <pŕ̥ṣadaśva> with white-flecked horses -- with white-flecked # The Maruts, or gods of the storm.
  • ayā́sas -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <ayā́s> nimble -- the nimble ones

praíṣá stómaḥ pr̥thivī́m antárikṣaṃ
vánaspátīm̐r óṣadhī rāyé aśyāḥ
devó-devaḥ suhávo bhūtu máhyam
mā́ no mātā́ pr̥thivī́ durmataú dhāt

  • eṣás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <eṣás, eṣā́, etát> this -- this
  • stómas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <stóma> eulogy -- eulogy
  • pr̥thivī́m -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- earth
  • antárikṣam -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <antárikṣa> airy space, atmosphere -- the atmosphere # The first part of the word is cognate with Latin inter.
  • vánaspátīn -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <vánaspáti> forest lord, tree -- the lords of the forest
  • óṣadhīs -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <óṣadhi> plant -- the plants
  • rāyé -- noun; dative singular masculine of <rayí> possession, treasure -- for treasure
  • prá aśyās -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist optative of <√aṃś, aśnóti> reach + preverb; <prá> forth -- may it reach # For *aśyāst, a precative form.
  • devó-devas -- iterative compound; <devó-devas> god after god -- god after god
  • suhávas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <suháva> easily invoked -- easily invoked
  • bhūtu -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist imperative of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- may he be
  • máhyam -- personal pronoun; dative singular of <ahám> I -- for me
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- not
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • mātā́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <mātŕ̥> mother -- Mother
  • pr̥thivī́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- Earth
  • durmataú -- noun; locative singular feminine of <durmatí> bad thought, envy -- in disfavour
  • dhāt -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist injunctive of <√dhā, dádhāti> place, grant -- let her place

uraú devā anibādhé siyāma

  • uraú -- adjective; locative singular masculine of <urú> broad, spacious -- in spacious
  • devās -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- O gods
  • anibādhé -- noun; locative singular masculine of <anibādhá> liberty -- liberty
  • syāma -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√as, ásti> be -- we would be

sám aśvínor ávasā nū́tanena
mayobhúvā supráṇītī gamema
́ no rayíṃ vahatam ótá vīrā́n
́ víśvāni amr̥tā saúbhagāni

  • aśvínos -- noun; genitive dual masculine of <aśvín> horseman, Ashvin -- of the two horsemen
  • ávasā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter of <ávas> help -- help
  • nū́tanena -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter of <nū́tana> now existing -- present
  • mayobhúvā -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter of <mayobhū́> bringing happiness -- bringing happiness
  • supráṇītī -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <supráṇīti> safe guidance -- with safe guidance
  • sám gamema -- noun; 1st person plural active aorist optative of <√gam, gáchati> go + preverb; <sám> together -- may we partake of # This combination of verb and preverb with a specialised sense has occurred before, in the second verse of the Lesson 4 text. It takes the instrumental case.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • rayím -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <rayí> possession, treasure -- treasure
  • ́ vahatam -- verb; 2nd person dual active imperative of <√vah, váhati> conduct, bring + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- convey
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • vīrā́n -- noun; accusative plural nominative of <vīrá> hero, man, strong son -- strong sons
  • víśvāni -- adjective; accusative plural neuter of <víśva> all -- all
  • amr̥tā -- adjective; vocative dual masculine of <amŕ̥ta> immortal, undying -- O immortal pair
  • saúbhagāni -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <saúbhaga> gift of fortune -- gifts of fortune # From subhága, with strengthened first syllable.

Lesson Text

prá sū́ mahé suśaraṇā́ya medhā́
gíram bhare návyasīṃ jā́yamānām
yá āhanā́ duhitúr vakṣáṇāsu
rūpā́ minānó ákr̥ṇod idáṃ naḥ

prá suṣṭutí stanáyantaṃ ruvántam
iḷás pátiṃ jaritar nūnám aśyāḥ
yó abdimā́m̐ udanimā́m̐ íyarti
prá vidyútā ródasī ukṣámāṇaḥ

eṣá stómo mā́rutaṃ śárdho áchā
rudrásya sūnū́m̐r yuvanyū́m̐r úd aśyāḥ
kā́mo rāyé havate mā suastí
úpa stuhi pŕ̥ṣadaśvām̐ ayā́saḥ

praíṣá stómaḥ pr̥thivī́m antárikṣaṃ
vánaspátīm̐r óṣadhī rāyé aśyāḥ
devó-devaḥ suhávo bhūtu máhyam
mā́ no mātā́ pr̥thivī́ durmataú dhāt

uraú devā anibādhé siyāma

sám aśvínor ávasā nū́tanena
mayobhúvā supráṇītī gamema
́ no rayíṃ vahatam ótá vīrā́n
́ víśvāni amr̥tā saúbhagāni

Translation

Verily I offer up a wise thought, a newer song being born,
To the great one, the good shelterer,
Who, abundantly productive, in the fertile places of the daughter
Varying the forms made this world for us.
May a fine hymn of praise now reach the roaring thunder-maker,
Lord of refreshment, O singer,
Who goes, storm-clouded, rich in water,
With a lightning flash deluging the two worlds.
This eulogy goes out to the Maruts' troop,
May it reach up to the ever-young sons of Rudra;
Longing for treasure with wellbeing calls to me,
Send praise up to the nimble ones with white-flecked horses.
May this eulogy reach the earth, the atmosphere,
The lords of the forest, the plants, for treasure;
May god after god be easily invoked for me,
Let not Mother Earth place us in disfavour.
We would be in spacious liberty, O gods.
May we partake of the present help of the two horsemen,
Bringing happiness with safe guidance;
Convey to us treasure, bring us strong sons,
Bring us all gifts of fortune, O immortal pair.

Grammar

36 Secondary stems in -ín.

Like the stems in -vant and -mant, this suffix, which carries the accent, usually has the sense 'possessing' (occasionally a v is interposed before the suffix). The majority of these adjectives are masculine; a feminine form is made, as with the -vant and -mant stems, using the secondary suffix -ī described in section 17.3. Examples of this formation are vajrín 'armed', from vájra 'weapon', manīṣín 'thoughtful' from manīṣā́ 'thought', pakṣín 'winged' from pakṣá 'wing', aśvín 'horseman' from áśva 'horse', and śatín 'a hundredfold', sahasrín 'a thousandfold'; with v interposed ádvayāvin 'not duplicitous', with the accent lost to the privative prefix. The table uses vājín 'strong', possessing vā́ja, to show the masculine forms that occur.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   vājī́   vājínā   vājínas
Acc   vājínam   vājínā   vājínas
Ins   vājínā   vājíbhyām   vājíbhis
Dat   vājíne   vājíbhyām    
Gen   vājínas   vājínos   vājínām
Abl   vājínas        
Loc   vājíni   vājínos   vājíṣu
Voc   vā́jin       vā́jinas
  • br̥hátsumnaḥ prasavītā́ nivéśano, jágata sthātúr ubháyasya yó vaśī́ (Lesson 2 text) 'the bringer to life, the source of rest, of high benevolence, who is the one who holds sway over (possesses váśa 'will, power') both the moving and the standing world' [239]
  • utá tyā́ daívyā bhiṣájā, śáṃ naḥ karato aśvínā (Lesson 5 text) 'and those divine healers, the two horsemen, will bless us' [240]
  • sám aśvínor [aśvínos] ávasā nū́tanena, mayobhúvā supráṇītī gamema (lesson text) 'may we partake of the present help of the two horsemen, bringing happiness with safe guidance' [241]
  • ní grā́māso avikṣata, ní padvánto ni pakṣíṇaḥ, ní śyenā́saś cid arthínaḥ (X, 127, 5) 'people have gone to rest, to rest the footed and the winged, even the purposeful (possessing ártha 'intention') eagles' [242]
  • sáṃ tvā rā́yaḥ śatínaḥ sáṃ sahasríṇaḥ, suvī́raṃ yanti vratapā́m adābhya (I, 31, 10) 'treasures a hundredfold, a thousandfold accompany you, not to be deceived, great hero protecting holy law' [243]
  • úṣo vā́jena vājini prácetā, stómaṃ juṣasva gr̥ṇató maghoni (III, 61, 1) 'O Ushas strong with power, the mindful one, enjoy the eulogy of the singer, O gracious lady' [244]
37 Introduction to the Aorist System: the aorist tense.

The aorist tense is used to describe an event in the immediate past. Like the imperfect, which is used to describe events in the distant past ("Indra destroyed the dragon"), it has a prefixed augment á- and the secondary verbal endings described in section 23. There are three distinct kinds of aorist: the simple, reduplicating, and the sigmatic aorist.

Many modal forms, that is, forms of moods like the subjunctive and optative, are assigned to the Aorist System, but of the aorist tense itself only six examples have so far been encountered in the lesson texts. Four of these are found in Lesson 2, where the poet is describing an event that he has just observed. Savitar "has proffered his gift to us" (úd ayān, a sigmatic aorist), "has filled the airy spaces" (aprās, a sigmatic aorist), "has stretched out his arms" (asrāk, another sigmatic aorist) and "has created (ájijanat, a reduplicating aorist) a boon worthy of holy song", which is the immediate cause of his poem, the 'holy song' itself. In the Lesson 3 text, similarly, the exchange between the poet and the streams is brought about by the appeal that the poet has just made: "Desiring help, I, son of Kushika, have made the invocation (ahve, a simple aorist)"; and the poem to dawn, the Lesson 4 text, is composed on the waking of the poets -- "You, O daughter of heaven, we have wakened (abhutsmahi, a sigmatic aorist) eager to meet, O dawn".

37.1 The simple aorist.

The simple aorist either adds the endings with a connecting -a- or directly to the root. Forms of the aorist can be distinguished from forms of the imperfect in that there is no corresponding present tense form. The following elementary table distinguishes sample forms of the third person active singular from those of the imperfect.

    Present   Imperfect   Aorist
√gam   gáchati   ágachat   ágam-a-t
√gā   jígāti   ájigāt   ágā-t
√dhā   dádhāti   ádadhāt   ádhā-t
√sthā   tíṣṭhati   átiṣṭhat   ásthā-t
√bhū   bhávati   ábhavat   ábhū-t

These are the forms that would occur if made from √vid, vindáti 'find', which adds the endings with a connecting -a-.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   ávidam   ávidāva   ávidāma   ávide   ávidāvahi   ávidāmahi
2   ávidas   ávidatam   ávidata   ávidathās   ávidethām   ávidadhvam
3   ávidat   ávidatām   ávidan   ávidata   ávidetām   ávidanta

Third person plural endings can vary. In roots which add the ending without connecting -a- the active ending is frequently -ur, águr, ádhur, ásthur (but ábhūvan), and the middle ending is often -ran, as ádr̥śran (from √dr̥ś) in example 250 below.

Forms of the simple aorist that have already occurred in examples are assembled below.

  • abhí dvijánmā trī́ rocanā́ni, víśvā rájāṃsi śuśucānó asthāt (I, 149, 4) 'of double birth, (Agni) has risen above the three spheres of light, all the airy regions, shining bright' [245] (=170)
  • víśve jānanti mahinā́ yád ā́gād [ā́ ágāt], índrasya kárma súkr̥tā purū́ṇi (III, 30, 13) 'all know when she has come in her glory -- the many deeds of Indra are well done' [246] (= 223)
  • út sū́ryo br̥hád arcī́ṃṣi aśret (VII, 62, 1) 'the sun has shed rays up on high (from √śri)' [247] (=92)
  • samudrā́d ūrmír mádhumām̐ úd ārat (IV, 58, 1) 'from the sea the wave of sweetness has arisen (from √r̥ 'go)' [248] (=94)
37.2 The reduplicating aorist.

The reduplicating vowel of this aorist is long, and is most often -ī-; compare the short -i- of the reduplicating syllable of desideratives. The endings are attached to the root with a connecting -a-. The table shows the active forms that would occur if made from √jan 'produce, create, bear'. No dual form occurs, and middle forms are rare. This aorist often has a causative sense.

Active   Singular   Plural
1   ájījanam   ájījanāma
2   ájījanas   ájījanata
3   ájījanat   ájījanan
  • satyásya nā́vaḥ sukŕ̥tam apīparan (IX, 73, 1) 'the ships of truth have borne across the virtuous one (sukŕ̥t (m); the verb is from √pr̥ 'pass')' [249]
  • etā́ u tyā́ḥ práty adr̥śran purástāj, jyótir yáchantīr uṣáso vibhātī́ḥ, ájījanan sū́ryaṃ yajñám agním, apācī́naṃ támo agād [agāt] ájuṣṭam (VII, 78, 3) 'now these have come into view before us (purástāt), the shining dawns, spreading light; they have given birth to the sun, to worship, to fire, the unloved dark has retreated (lit. 'has gone backwards')' [250]
37.3 The sigmatic aorist.

The sigmatic aorist adds a sibilant to the root, sometimes with a connecting -i-. As with the imperfect, the endings of the 2nd and 3rd person singular active often disappear because of the phonological law described in section 18 of Lesson 3. In the Lesson 2 text aprās 'he has filled' occurs for the phonologically impossible *aprāst, and asrāk and ayān, two more sigmatic aorists, have lost both the -s- and the -t. Where the sigmatic form is -iṣ- the second and third persons singular active ending becomes -īs (for iṣ-s) and -īt (for iṣ-t). The 3rd person plural active regularly ends in -ur. Middle forms, like ábhutsmahi in the Lesson 4 text, are of frequent occurrence. Dual forms are rare.

These are the middle forms of √stu 'praise' that would occur.

Middle   Singular   Plural
1   ástoṣi   ástoṣmahi
2   ástoṣṭhās   ástoḍhvam
3   ástoṣṭa   ástoṣata

The penultimate example below illustrates both simple and sigmatic aorists, and the last the three different types. Both verses conclude the poem in which they occur.

  • ní grā́māso avikṣata, ní padvánto ni pakṣíṇaḥ, ní śyenā́saś cid arthínaḥ (X, 127, 5) 'people have gone to rest (from √viś), to rest the footed and the winged, even the purposeful eagles' [251] (= 242)
  • ástoṣata svábhānavo, víprā náviṣṭhayā matī́ (I, 82, 2) 'the poets, self-luminous, have sung praises with their newest thought' [252]
  • ájaiṣmādyā́sanāma [ájaiṣma adyá ásanāma] ca, ábhūmā́nāgaso [ábhūma ánagāsas] vayám, úṣo yásmād duṣvápnyād, ábhaiṣmā́pa [ábhaiṣma ápa] tád uchatu, aneháso va ūtáyaḥ, suūtáyo va ūtáyaḥ (VIII, 47, 18) 'now we have conquered and won, we have become free of sin. O dawn, we have been afraid of a bad dream (from √bhī 'fear' which takes the ablative), may she shine that away; your aids are incomparable, your aids are good aids' [253]
  • ávarṣīr [ávarṣīs] varṣám úd u ṣū́ [sū́] gr̥bhāya, ákar dhánvāni átietavā́ [áti-etavaí] u, ájījana [ájījanas] óṣadhīr bhójanāya kám, utá prajā́bhyo avido [avidas] manīṣā́m (V, 83, 10) 'you have shed rain, now wholly cease; you have now made the deserts passable. You have produced plants for nourishment, and you have originated a poem for creatures' [254]
38 Omission of the verb.

Omission of the verb 'be' is a regular feature of the language of the Rigveda, as it is of Homeric Greek. A simple example was given in lesson 2: yó no dātā́ sá naḥ pitā́ (VIII, 52, 5) 'He who (is) a giver to us (is) a father to us' (example 39). Another regular characteristic is the omission, or elision, of the preceding verb. In the first example in the last section, ní grā́māso avikṣata, ní padvánto ni pakṣíṇaḥ, ní śyenā́saś cid arthínaḥ (X, 127, 5), the sense of the verb avikṣata is carried through all three lines of the verse simply by the repetition the preverb ní. Compare the use of út in the verse quoted in the introduction to Lesson 6, úd [út] īratām ávara út párāsa, ún [út] madhyamā́ḥ pitáraḥ somyā́saḥ (X, 15, 1), literally 'may they rise up, the more recent, up the distant, up those from the middle past, the inspired fathers', and of ́ in the last line of the lesson text: ́ no rayíṃ vahatam ótá [ā́ utá] vīrā́n, ā́ víśvāni amr̥tā saúbhagāni.

In the Rigveda elision of the verb is frequent, even when the elided verb has not just appeared, if it can be understood from the context. A preverb is often present to suggest the missing verb, as in the Lesson 3 text: prá síndhum áchā br̥hatī́ manīṣā́ 'a lofty poem (goes) forth to the river', and as in this lesson text, again with ácha: eṣá stómo mā́rutaṃ śárdho áchā.

  • prá ririce divá [divás] índraḥ pr̥thivyā́ [pr̥thivyā́s], ardhám íd asya práti ródasī ubhé (VI, 30, 1) 'Indra surpasses heaven and earth, indeed one half (ardhá masculine) of him equals both the two worlds' (omission of the verb 'be', here ásti with preverb práti in its specialised sense 'is equal to'; see example 203) [255]
  • ádha prá sū́ na úpa yantu dhītáyo, devā́m̐ áchā ná dhītáyaḥ (I, 139, 1) 'then may our thoughts surely go forth, thoughts (that go) as it were to the gods' [256]
  • índra [índre] okyàṃ didhiṣanta dhītáyo, devā́m̐ áchā ná dhītáyaḥ (I, 132, 5) 'thoughts will long to have (subjunctive desiderative of √dhā) a refuge in Indra, thoughts (that go) as it were to the gods' [257] (the formulaic last line occupies the same position in this and the previous example, in both concluding a long (atyaṣṭi) verse)
  • rádat pathó váruṇaḥ sū́ryāya, prá árṇāṃsi samudríyā nadī́nām (VII, 87, 1) 'Varuna hewed a pathway for the sun, (he sent) forth the floods of streams belonging to the sea' (the supplied second verb ásr̥jat, suggested by the preverb prá, is confirmed by the past participle sr̥ṣtá in the line that follows) [258]
  • ātmā́ devā́nām bhúvanasya gárbha, yathāvaśáṃ carati devá eṣáḥ, ghóṣā íd asya śr̥ṇvire ná rūpám (X, 168, 4) 'the breath of the gods, the germ of being, this god goes as he wills. His sounds indeed are heard, his form is not (seen)' (supplying dadr̥śe; compare I, 164, 44, also of the wind: dhrā́jir ékasya dadr̥śe ná rūpám 'of one the passage is seen, not the form') [259]

The vitality of preverbs is used to sophisticated poetic effect in the Lesson 5 text, where in two verses they indicate a change of verbal direction:

  • utá syā́ no dívā matír, áditir ūtiyā́ gamat, sā́ śáṃtāti máyas karad ápa srídhaḥ (VIII, 18, 7) 'and that (is) our thought by day: Aditi will come with help. She will make (karat) blessed happiness, banish (ápa [karat]) misfortunes' [260]
  • śám agnír agníbhiḥ karac, cháṃ nas tapatu sū́riyaḥ, śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ (VIII, 18, 9) 'Agni will bless with fires, let the sun warm a blessing for us, let the wholesome wind blow (vātu) a blessing, blow away (ápa [vātu]) misfortunes' [261]
39 Three nouns with mixed stems.

The word naú (f), Greek ναῦς, 'boat' declines as if from two stems, naú- and nā́v-, showing elements of both the vowel and consonantal declensions. These are the forms that occur in the Rigveda.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   naús   nā́vas
Acc   nā́vam    
Ins   nāvā́   naubhís
Gen   nāvás    
Loc   nāví    
  • sá naḥ parṣad áti durgā́ṇi víśvā, nāvéva [nāvā́ iva] síndhuṃ duritā́ti agníḥ (I, 99, 1) 'so will Agni bear us over all hard ways and dangers, as with a boat over a river' [262] (=124)
  • védā [véda] yó vīnā́m padám, antárikṣeṇa pátatām, véda nāváḥ samudríyaḥ (I, 25, 7) '(Varuna) who knows the course of the birds flying through airy space, the course of the sea-faring boat (lit. 'belonging to the sea'; compare example 258 above)' [263] (=160)
  • yā́s te pūṣan nā́vo [nā́vas] antáḥ samudré, hiraṇyáyīr antárikṣe cáranti, tā́bhir yāsi dūtyā́ṃ sū́ryasya (VI, 58, 3) 'O Pushan, those golden (hiraṇyáyī, feminine of hiraṇyáya) ships of yours that move within the sea, within the atmosphere, with those you travel on the sun's embassy' [264]
  • tám ūhathur naubhír ātmanvátībhiḥ (I, 116, 3) 'you (Ashvins) carried him with boats under sail' (lit. 'possessing breath'; compare example 259 above, where the wind is ātmā́ devā́nām) [265]

The word rayí 'treasure, precious thing', is usually masculine, but can also be of feminine gender. It declines as if from two stems, rayí- and rāy-. In the Rigveda the word is usually used in a non-material sense, and desire for treasure and offspring frequently go together, as in the lesson text. The table gives the usual forms.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   rayís   rā́yas
Acc   rayím   rāyás, rā́yas
Ins   rāyā́   rayíbhis
Dat   rāyé    
Abl   rāyás    
Gen   rāyás   rāyīṇā́m
  • niṣṣídhvarīs ta óṣadhīr utā́po, rayíṃ ta indra pr̥thivī́ bibharti (III, 55, 22) 'the plants and the waters are full of your benefits (feminine of niṣṣídh-van), earth bears your treasure, Indra' [266]
  • várūtrībhiḥ suśaraṇó no astu, tváṣṭā sudátro ví dadhātu rā́yaḥ, tán no rā́yaḥ párvatās tán na ā́pas, tád rātiṣā́ca óṣadhīr utá dyaúḥ, vánaspátibhiḥ pr̥thivī́ sajóṣā, ubhe ródasī pári pāsato naḥ (VII, 34, 22, 23) 'with protections may he be a good shelterer for us, may Tvashtar the good giver distribute treasures (acc); then there are treasures (nom) for us, the mountains, and the waters, the ones accompanied by gifts (rātiṣā́c), the plants and the sky, the earth in concert with the trees, may both worlds guard us safe' [267]

Of the ancient complex of meaning given as dyú, dív (m) 'sky, heaven, day' in the glossary the forms dyaús, dívam, divás (genitive singular), diví and dívas (an anomalous feminine accusative plural form) have occurred in the lesson texts, all with the meaning 'heaven, sky'. In the second verse of the Lesson 7 text Heaven and Earth appear together in the dual compound dyā́vāpr̥thivī́, and in the third the iterative compound divé-dive 'day after day' demonstrates the other, related sense of the word. The meaning 'day' has also been encountered in the fixed form dívā 'by day', often juxtaposed, as in the Lesson 1 text, with the accusative náktam 'by night'.

The alternative accusative plural dyū́n most frequently occurs in the formula ánu dyū́n, like divé-dive with the meaning 'day after day'. The dual dyā́vā is also occasionally found as an abbreviated form of the compound dyā́vāpr̥thivī́, as in example 270.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   dyaús   dyā́vas, dívas
Acc   dyā́m, dívam   dyū́n, dívas
Ins   divā́   dyúbhis
Dat   divé    
Abl   dyós, divás    
Gen   dyós, divás    
Loc   dyávi, diví    
  • ́pa óṣadhīr utá no avantu, dyaúr [dyaús] vánā giráyo vr̥kṣákeśāḥ (V, 41, 11) 'may the waters and the plants favour us, the sky, the woods, the tree-tressed hills (girí (m))' [268]
  • tváṃ dyā́ṃ ca mahivrata, pr̥thivī́ṃ cā́ti jabhriṣe (IX, 100, 9) 'you, mighty of law, bear yourself above heaven and above earth' [269]
  • sā́ mā satyóktiḥ pári pātu viśváto, dyā́vā ca yátra tatánann áhāni ca (X, 37, 2) 'so may true praise safeguard me on every side, where Heaven and Earth and days will stretch out' (the two lines that complete the verse are example 214 in the last lesson) [270]
  • ágne ví paśya br̥hatā́bhí [br̥hatā́ abhí] rāyā́, iṣā́ṃ no netā́ bhavatād [bhavatāt] ánu dyū́n (III, 23, 2) 'O fire, discern with lofty treasure, be for us leader of refreshments day after day' (the rare imperative in -tāt has a sustained future sense, like the Latin forms in -to, -tote)' [271]
40 Formulaic cadences and repetitions.

The conclusion of this lesson text is formulaic in nature, and its lines are repeated elsewhere. The poem that immediately follows this one, V, 43, is also addressed to a range of divinities, and has the same coda, repeating the text from mā́ no mātā́ pr̥thivī́ durmataú dhāt to the end. The last verse of the lesson text, verse 18, is also used to conclude two poems to the Ashvins later in the same book, V, 76 and V, 77. This use of formulae has already been encountered, in the introduction to Lesson 4, where two lines describing dawn in VII, 81 also occurred in I, 48. The last two lines of the first lesson text, I, 98, are a familiar refrain: tán no mitró váruṇo māmahantām, áditiḥ síndhuḥ pr̥thivī́ utá dyaúḥ concludes 19 poems between I, 94 and I, 115, and supplies the end of the last verse of IX, 97, indicating that it originally also belonged with the poems in the first book.

Repetition frequently takes place within the same poem, as in example 212 in the last lesson. Each of the first six verses of a seven-verse supplication, I, 106, has as its last line víśvasmān no áṃhaso níṣ pipartana 'from all trouble deliver us', the seventh ending with the usual refrain of this group described in the last paragraph.

  • evā́ na indra vā́ryasya pūrdhi, prá te mahī́ṃ sumatíṃ vevidāma (VII, 24, 6; VII, 25, 6) 'so, Indra, fill us with bounty, may we ever find great favour with you' (concluding two successive poems) [272] (=221)
  • úṣo yásmād duṣvápnyād, ábhaiṣmā́pa tád uchatu, aneháso va ūtáyaḥ, suūtáyo va ūtáyaḥ (VIII, 47, 18) 'O dawn, we have been afraid of a bad dream, may she shine that away; your aids are incomparable, your aids are good aids' (the last two lines conclude every verse of this eighteen-verse poem) [273] (=253)
  • niṣṣídhvarīs ta óṣadhīr utā́po, rayíṃ ta indra pr̥thivī́ bibharti, sákhāyas te vāmabhā́jaḥ syāma, mahád devā́nām asuratvám ékam (III, 55, 22) 'the plants and the waters are full of your benefits, earth bears your treasure, Indra; may we be friends who share in your weal. Mighty is the single sovereignty of the gods' (the final verse of a poem addressed, like the lesson text, to víśve devā́, each verse of which ends with this line affirming the unified power of the gods) [274] (the first two lines =266)

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 9

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

Study of the language of the Rigveda, the earliest surviving Sanskrit text, shows that it is an anthology of poems that were composed over a period of many centuries. Some of its hymns are believed to date from the beginning of the second millennium BC, or even earlier according to some scholars.

The most detailed study of the internal chronology of these poems, based on an analysis of vocabulary, grammatical forms, and metre, was carried out by E. Vernon Arnold a century ago, building on the work of his nineteenth-century predecessors (see the reading list in section 9 of the Series Introduction). Arnold assigns the poems to five basic periods: Archaic (the earliest poems), Strophic, Cretic, Normal, and Popular, the last consisting of poems significantly later than the rest, most of which are found towards the end of Books I to IX, or in Book X. The periods of composition of the lesson texts are as follows:

  • Archaic (Lessons 5, 6 and 10)
  • Strophic (Lesson 4)
  • Cretic (Lessons 1, 7 and 8)
  • Normal (Lessons 2 and 3)

This lesson text consists of two poems, II, 42 (233), the penultimate poem in Book II, and X, 58 (884). Both belong to what Arnold termed the Popular Rigveda, which he describes as later additions to the original collection.

Reading and Textual Analysis

II, 42 is in the triṣṭubh metre, like the last lesson text, while X, 58 is in anuṣṭubh, verses of four lines of 8 syllables each. Both clearly exhibit characteristics of the later language. The word pradíś 'direction' in both poems is late, for example, as are the verbal adjectives bhávya 'future', and bhūtá 'past' in the last verse of X, 58. Some words shifted in meaning over time: pitáras 'fathers' acquired the sense 'ancestors' (II, 42), and mánas 'understanding' the meaning 'spirit' (X, 58). The similiar change in meaning of sárva 'whole' to mean 'all' was mentioned in section 32 of Lesson 7. In the first verse of X, 58 yamá appears as a proper name, which is also characteristic of a late poem. In earlier poems yamá means 'twin': samānó vāṃ janitā́ bhrā́tarā yuváṃ, yamā́v [yamaú] ihéhamātarā (VI, 59, 2) '(Indra and Agni,) your parents are the same, you are brothers, twins whose mother is everywhere'.

The first poem, II, 42, is addressed to a bird of good omen, and has only three verses. The second, X, 58, to the wandering spirit, is twelve verses long, but only the first line changes - lines 2-4 are a repeated refrain. After the first verse of X, 58 therefore only the new first line of each verse is glossed.

[II, 42] - kánikradaj janúṣam prabruvāṇá
íyarti vā́cam aritéva nā́vam
sumaṅgálaś ca śakune bhávāsi
mā́ tvā kā́ cid abhibhā́ víśvyā vidat

  • kánikradat -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active intensive participle of <√krand, krándati> cry out -- calling out repeatedly
  • janúṣam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <janús> descent, kind -- kind
  • prabruvāṇás -- participle; nominative singular masculine present middle participle of <√brū, brávīti> say + preverb; <prá> forth -- proclaiming
  • íyarti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√r̥, íyarti> go, send -- he urges
  • vā́cam -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <vā́c> voice, speech -- his voice
  • aritā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <aritŕ̥> oarsman -- oarsman
  • iva -- particle; <iva> like -- like
  • nā́vam -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <naú> boat -- a boat
  • sumaṅgálas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sumaṅgála> auspicious, bringing luck -- bringing luck
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- if # A specialised use of ca, which accents the verb.
  • śakune -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <śakúni> (a kind of bird) -- shakuni-bird
  • bhávāsi -- verb; 2nd person singular active subjunctive of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- you will be
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • kā́ cit -- interrogative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <kás, kā́, kát, kím> who, which, what? + particle; <cit> even, all -- any
  • abhibhā́ -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <abhibhā́> lit. shining-against -- prying light
  • víśvyā -- indeclinable; <víśvyā> anywhere -- anywhere # Like abhibhā́, this word occurs only in this passage, and its meaning and form are debated.
  • vidat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist injunctive of <√vid, vindáti> find -- find

mā́ tvā śyená úd vadhīn mā́ suparṇó
mā́ tvā vidad íṣumān vīró ástā
pítryām ánu pradíśaṃ kánikradat
sumaṅgálo bhadravādī́ vadehá

  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • śyenás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <śyená> eagle -- the eagle
  • út vadhīt -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist injunctive of <√vadh> slay + preverb; <út> up -- slay
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • suparṇás -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <suparṇá> finely-plumed -- the fine-feathered one
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • tvā -- personal pronoun; accusative singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- you
  • vidat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist injunctive of <√vid, vindáti> find -- find
  • íṣumān -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <íṣumant> bearing arrows -- bearing arrows
  • vīrás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <vīrá> hero, man, strong son -- the man
  • ástā -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <ástr̥> shooter, hunter -- hunter
  • pítryām -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <pítrya> of the fathers -- of the fathers
  • ánu -- preposition; <ánu> after -- towards
  • pradíśam -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <pradíś> direction, region -- in the direction
  • kánikradat -- participle; nominative singular masculine present active intensive participle of <√krand, krándati> cry out -- calling out repeatedly
  • sumaṅgálas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sumaṅgála> auspicious, bringing luck -- bringing luck
  • bhadravādī́ -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <bhadravādín> of fortunate pronouncement -- speaking good fortune
  • vada -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√vad, vádati> speak -- speak
  • ihá -- adverb; <ihá> here, here on earth -- down to us

áva kranda dakṣiṇató gr̥hā́ṇāṃ
sumaṅgálo bhadravādī́ śakunte
mā́ na stená īśata mā́gháśaṃso
br̥hád vadema vidáthe suvī́rāḥ

  • áva kranda -- verb; 2nd person singular active imperative of <√krand, krándati> cry out + preverb; <áva> down -- call down
  • dakṣiṇatás -- adverb; <dakṣiṇatás> from the right side -- from the right side # From dákṣiṇa 'right', compare Greek δεξιός.
  • gr̥hā́ṇām -- noun; genitive plural masculine of <gr̥há> house -- of the houses
  • sumaṅgálas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sumaṅgála> auspicious, bringing luck -- bringing luck
  • bhadravādī́ -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <bhadravādín> of fortunate pronouncement -- speaking good fortune
  • śakunte -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <śakúnti> (a kind of bird) -- dear shakuni-bird # A variant of śakúni in verse 1.
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • stenás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <stená> thief -- the thief
  • īśata -- verb; 3rd person singular middle aorist injunctive of <√īś, ī́śe> have mastery over -- triumph over
  • mā́ -- particle; <mā́> not, that not -- let not
  • agháśaṃsas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <agháśaṃsa> of wicked praise -- the impious man
  • br̥hát -- adverb; <br̥hát> on high -- aloud
  • vadema -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√vad, vádati> speak -- may we speak
  • vidáthe -- noun; locative singular neuter of <vidátha> confident knowledge, wise judgement -- in wisdom
  • suvī́rās -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <suvī́ra> of good manhood -- good men # The last line is formulaic, ending 22 poems in Book II, together with IX, 86, 48.

[X, 58] - yát te yamáṃ vaivasvatám
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • yamám -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <yamá> twin, Yama -- to Yama # The accusative of goal with a verb of motion. Yama is the saṃgámanaṃ jánānām (X, 14, 1) 'the gatherer of men' who presides over the ancestral fathers in the kingdom of the dead.
  • vaivasvatám -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <vaivasvatá> son of Vivasvat -- son of Vivasvat # Literally 'of the radiant one'; see the feminine form in example 223 in Lesson 7.
  • mánas -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <mánas> understanding, spirit -- spirit
  • jagā́ma -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect of <√gam, gáchati> go -- goes
  • dūrakám -- adverb; <dūrakám> far away -- far away
  • tát -- adverb; <tát> then -- then
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- to you
  • ́ vartayāmasi -- verb; 1st person plural active causative of <√vr̥t, vártate> turn + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- we turn it back
  • ihá -- adverb; <ihá> here, here on earth -- here
  • kṣáyāya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <kṣáya> home -- to dwell
  • jīváse -- infinitive; dative infinitive from <√jīv, jī́vati> be alive -- to live # See section 44.

yát te dívaṃ yát pr̥thivī́
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • dívam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- to the sky
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • pr̥thivī́m -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <pr̥thivī́> earth -- to the earth...

yát te bhū́miṃ cáturbhr̥ṣṭim
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • bhū́mim -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <bhū́mi> earth, land -- to the land
  • cáturbhr̥ṣṭim -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <cáturbhr̥ṣṭi> four-cornered -- four-cornered...

yát te cátasraḥ pradíśo
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • cátasras -- numeral; accusative plural feminine of <catúr> four -- in the four
  • pradíśas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <pradíś> direction, region -- directions...

yát te samudrám arṇavám
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • samudrám -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <samudrá> gathering place of waters, sea -- sea
  • arṇavám -- adjective; accusative singular masculine of <arṇavá> billowing, foaming -- to the foaming...

yát te márīcīḥ praváto
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • márīcīs -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <márīci> particle of light, gleaming light -- to the gleaming lights
  • pravátas -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <pravát> mountain slope, height -- of the distant slope...

yát te apó yád óṣadhīr
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • apás -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <áp> water -- to the waters
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • óṣadhīs -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <óṣadhi> plant -- to the plants...

yát te sū́ryaṃ yád uṣásam
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • sū́ryam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- to the sun
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • uṣásam -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <uṣás> dawn -- to the dawn...

yát te párvatān br̥ható
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • párvatān -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <párvata> mountain -- to the mountains
  • br̥hatás -- adjective; accusative plural masculine of <br̥hánt> high, lofty -- lofty...

yát te víśvam idáṃ jágan
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • víśvam -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <víśva> all -- to all
  • idám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <ayám, iyám, idám> this -- this # Used here with special meaning 'this world', like itás earlier in the line.
  • jágat -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <jágat> moving world -- world...

yát te párāḥ parāváto
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • párās -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <pára> former, farther -- still farther
  • parāvátas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <parāvát> distance -- to distances...

yát te bhūtáṃ ca bhávyaṃ ca
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • te -- personal pronoun; dative/genitive singular enclitic form of <tvám> you -- your
  • bhūtám -- verbal adjective; accusative singular neuter of past participle of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- to what has been
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and
  • bhávyam -- verbal adjective; accusative singular neuter of future passive participle of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- what is to be
  • ca -- conjunction; <ca> and -- and...

Lesson Text

[II, 42] - kánikradaj janúṣam prabruvāṇá
íyarti vā́cam aritéva nā́vam
sumaṅgálaś ca śakune bhávāsi
mā́ tvā kā́ cid abhibhā́ víśvyā vidat

mā́ tvā śyená úd vadhīn mā́ suparṇó
mā́ tvā vidad íṣumān vīró ástā
pítryām ánu pradíśaṃ kánikradat
sumaṅgálo bhadravādī́ vadehá

áva kranda dakṣiṇató gr̥hā́ṇāṃ
sumaṅgálo bhadravādī́ śakunte
mā́ na stená īśata mā́gháśaṃso
br̥hád vadema vidáthe suvī́rāḥ

[X, 58] - yát te yamáṃ vaivasvatám
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te dívaṃ yát pr̥thivī́
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te bhū́miṃ cáturbhr̥ṣṭim
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te cátasraḥ pradíśo
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te samudrám arṇavám
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te márīcīḥ praváto
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te apó yád óṣadhīr
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te sū́ryaṃ yád uṣásam
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te párvatān br̥ható
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te víśvam idáṃ jágan
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te párāḥ parāváto
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

yát te bhūtáṃ ca bhávyaṃ ca
máno jagā́ma dūrakám
tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

Translation

[II, 42]
Calling out repeatedly, proclaiming his kind,
He urges his voice like an oarsman a boat.
O shakuni-bird, if you will bring us luck
Let not any prying light anywhere find you.
Let the eagle not slay you, not the fine-feathered one,
Nor the man bearing arrows, the hunter, find you.
Calling out repeatedly in the direction of the fathers
Bringing luck, speaking good fortune, speak down to us.
Call down from the right side of the houses
Bringing luck, speaking good fortune, dear shakuni-bird;
Let the thief not triumph over us, nor the impious man,
May we, good men, in wisdom speak out loud.
[X, 58]
When your spirit goes
Far away, to Yama son of Vivasvant;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far way, to the sky, to the earth;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the four-cornered land;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, in the four directions;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the foaming sea;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the gleaming lights of the distant slope;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the waters, the plants;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the sun, to the dawn;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to the lofty mountains;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to all this world;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to still farther distances;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.
When your spirit goes
Far away, to what has been and what is to be;
Then we turn it back to you,
Here to dwell, to live.

Grammar

41 Similes introduced by iva and ná.
41.1 iva, va.

The poetry of the Rigveda is regularly metaphorical, and similes are not uncommon. The example in the first verse of the lesson text is typical of the use of iva -- the bird íyarti vā́cam aritéva [aritā́ iva] nā́vam (II, 42, 1) 'urges his voice like an oarsman a boat'. A similar example was given at the end of Lesson 7, svastí pánthām ánu carema, sūryācandramásāv iva (V, 51, 15) 'with wellbeing may we follow the path, like the sun and shining moon'. Usually iva follows a noun in the simile, but it can also follow other parts of speech, as in the first and penultimate examples below. These are not long similes of the Homeric kind, but short pithy comparisons, as is stressed by the treatment of iva in the ancient 'word by word', or Pada text, which attaches it to the preceding word as if it were a suffix.

In a number of places the metre indicates that although the earliest texts give the reading as iva, it should in fact be va. Example 279 is an instance of this. The metre of these poems shows numerous ways in which the ancient texts need to be corrected, some examples of which will be discussed in the section on metre at the end of this lesson.

  • prá bodhayā púraṃdhiṃ, jārá ā́ sasatī́m iva (I, 134, 3) 'wake up abundance, like a lover a sleeping girl' [275] (= first 2 lines of 217)
  • mánus tókmeva [tókma iva] rohatu (X, 62, 8) 'let mankind spring up like young corn' (quoted at the end of Lesson 1; 'corn' here is of course used in its collective sense) [276]
  • ví yó jaghā́na śamitéva [śamitā́ iva] cárma, upastíre pr̥thivī́ṃ sū́ryāya (V, 85, 1) '(Varuna,) who struck out the earth like a worker a skin to spread it before the sun' [277]
  • tád indra préva [prá iva] vīryàṃ cakartha, yát sasántaṃ vájreṇā́bodhayó 'him [vájreṇa ábodhayas áhim] (I, 103, 7) 'then, Indra, you initiated your heroic deed, so to speak, when you roused the sleeping dragon with your weapon' (the participle is from √sas 'sleep'; compare the feminine sasatī́ in 275 above) [278]
  • máyo vā́po [máyas va ā́pas] ná tŕ̥ṣyate babhū́tha (I, 175, 6; I, 176, 6) 'you were like happiness, like water (waters) to a thirsty man' [279]
41.2 ná 'like'.

The particle ná has two distinct meanings in Ancient Sanskrit, ná, 'not' and ná 'like', the second of which is found in the last example above. The use of ná 'like' is common in the Rigveda, with well over a thousand occurrences, but this meaning is already rare by the time of the Atharvaveda where it is found only 18 times, and it has disappeared entirely from Classical Sanskrit. The two meanings are often differentiated in pronunciation: ná 'not' combines with a following vowel, but ná 'like', being closely connected with the preceding word, does not, as the metre makes clear. In addition, ná 'like' cannot stand first in the line, although ná 'not' regularly does. Compare the use of the two together in examples 281 and 284.

Like iva, ná 'like' usually follows a noun in the simile, as in the Lesson 4 text: syā́ma mātúr ná sūnávaḥ 'we would be like of-the-mother sons'. The sense may however extend over the whole clause, as in example 56 in Lesson 3, yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávātha, ā́ yát krátvā ná śarádaḥ pr̥ṇaíthe (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you will favour, so that you will fill his autumns with capability, as it were'. The ancient Pada text does not treat ná as suffixal, unlike iva, possibly because of uncertainty about the distinction from ná 'not' in some passages. The two words, ná 'like' and ná 'not', are listed together in Alexander Lubotsky's concordance to the Rigveda for the same reason.

The last example in this section, the first verse of a poem addressed to víśve devā́, illustrates how a sustained metaphor can grow out of a simile. The poet uses figurative language throughout the verse to describe his willingness to engage in his task of praising the gods in turn.

  • sahasríyāso apā́ṃ ná ūrmáyaḥ (I, 168, 2) 'like the countless waves of the waters' [280]
  • yásyā́mitāni vīryā̀, ná rā́dhaḥ párietave, jyótir ná víśvam abhí ásti dákṣiṇā (VIII, 24, 21) 'who heroic deeds are measureless, his favour not to be surpassed, his liberality, like light, is over all' [281]
  • tváṃ dhíyam manoyújaṃ, sr̥jā́ vr̥ṣtíṃ ná tanyatúḥ (IX, 100, 3) 'may you send forth the thought harnessed by understanding, as thunder (tanyatú (m)) the rain' [282]
  • práti me stómam áditir jagr̥bhyāt, sūnúṃ ná mātā́ hŕ̥dyaṃ suśévam (V, 42, 2) 'may Aditi welcome my praise, like a mother a beloved son dear to her heart (hŕ̥dya, from hŕ̥d)' [283] (first line = 163)
  • háyo ná vidvā́m̐ ayuji svayáṃ dhurí, tā́ṃ vahāmi pratáraṇīm avasyúvam, nā́syā [ná asyās] vaśmi vimúcaṃ nā́vŕ̥tam [ná āvŕ̥tam] púnar, vidvā́n patháḥ puraetá rjú [puraetā́ r̥jú] neṣati (V, 46, 1) 'like a draught-animal that knows I have harnessed myself to the pole. I draw that which promotes (feminine of pratáraṇa, from √tr̥̄ with preverb prá, elsewhere always figurative) and brings help. I do not wish for freeing (vimúc (f), from √muc with preverb ví, again always metaphorical), nor turning back again; may he who knows the way, the one going in front (pura-etŕ̥), guide me straight! (r̥jú, used both literally and metaphorically, here in both senses)' [284]
42 yáthā and yathā.

The word yáthā, like ná, has two distinct senses. It is used as a conjunction meaning 'so that', as at the end of the Lesson 7 text: yáthā śám ádhvañ chám ásad duroṇé 'that there may be blessing on the way, or at home'. It can also, like ná and iva, mark a comparison. An example was given in the introduction to Lesson 5 -- pakṣā́ váyo yáthopári [yáthā upári], ví asmé śárma yachata (VIII, 47, 2) 'as birds their wings overhead, stretch out shelter for us' [285]. The compound yathāvaśám 'according to will (váśa (m) 'will')' derives from this second meaning, as in example 259 in the last lesson: ātmā́ devā́nām bhúvanasya gárbha, yathāvaśáṃ carati devá eṣáḥ (X, 168, 4) 'the breath of the gods, the germ of being, this god goes as he wills'.

In both senses yáthā introduces a subordinate clause, accenting the verb if there is one, and can stand first in the sentence or line unlike iva and ná 'like'. It is also sometimes used as a simple comparative at the end of a line, when it loses its accent, as in the last verse of II, 43 (which forms a pair with the lesson text poem II, 42), the last example in this section.

The three words of comparison, yáthā, ná and iva, can be used together for poetic effect, as in the first example.

  • yáthā pū́rvebhyo jaritŕ̥bhya indra, máyo vā́po ná tŕ̥ṣyate babhū́tha, tā́m ánu tvā nivídaṃ johavīmi (I, 175, 6; I, 176, 6) 'as you were to the singers of old like happiness, Indra, like water to the thirsting man, I entreat you for that knowledge' (second line = 279) [286]
  • yátheyám [yáthā iyám] pr̥thivī́ mahī́, dādhā́remā́n [dādhā́ra imā́n] vánaspátīn, evā́ dādhāra te máno, jīvā́tave ná mr̥tyáve (X, 60, 9) 'just as this mighty earth holds firm these trees, so does it hold firm your spirit, for life not death' [287]
  • tát-tad agnír váyo dadhe, yáthā-yathā kr̥paṇyáti (VIII, 39, 4) 'every life-force fire grants, to each exactly as he yearns (a denominative verb, from kr̥paṇá)' [288]
  • gr̥hā́n gacha gr̥hápatnī yáthā́so [yáthā ásas], vaśínī tváṃ vidátham ā́ vadāsi (X, 85, 26) 'go home so that you will be lady of the house, having sway may you pronounce wise judgement' [289]
  • āvádaṃs [āvádan] tváṃ śakune bhadrám ā́ vada, tūṣṇī́m ā́sīnaḥ sumatíṃ cikiddhi naḥ, yád utpátan vádasi karkarír yathā (II, 43, 3) 'may you, shakuni-bird, speaking out pronounce good fortune, sitting silently observe favour for us, when flying off you speak like a karkari' ('a charivari'? The word karkarí occurs only here. It has been related to the Homeric verb καρκαίρω in Iliad 20, 157: 'the plain was filled with the men and their horses... the earth reverberated, κάρκαιρε δὲ γαῖα, under their feet') [290]
43 Injunctives.

The verbal forms known as injunctives are ancient. They are identical with forms of the imperfect and the aorist, the augmented past tenses, but without the augment, being residues of the period before the augment was added to indicate past tense. These unaugmented verbal forms developed in two distinct directions, with different meanings. They remain in use in the Rigveda as alternatives to the augmented past forms. In addition, many are used modally, with an exhortatory, or injunctive, sense, from which the name derives. They survive in Classical Sanskrit only with the particle mā́ 'not', Greek μή, as negative injunctions or prohibitions. The context usually makes clear the function of the verb.

43.1 Unaugmented past forms.

These three examples are taken from earlier lessons.

  • yáj jā́yathā [jā́yathās, = ájāyathās] apūrvya [...] tát pr̥thivī́m aprathayaḥ (VIII, 89, 5) 'when you were born, O incomparable one ... then you spread out the earth' (=67, 113) [291]
  • árcanta éke máhi sā́ma manvata [= amanvata], téna sū́ryam arocayan (VIII, 29, 10) 'some, praising, conceived the great harmony, with which they caused the sun to shine' (=143) [292]
  • pravā́cyaṃ śaśvadhā́ vīryàṃ tád, índrasya kárma yád áhiṃ vivr̥ścát [= ví ávr̥ścat] (Lesson 3 text) 'that heroic deed is evermore to be celebrated, Indra's act that he cut the snake in pieces' [293]
43.2 Modal forms.

In the first three passages below the context shows that vocam, sāvīs and pīpes have an injunctive, not a past sense. The fourth is less clear; but the imperative in the first line of the verse that follows, úṣa ā́ bhāhi bhānúnā 'O dawn, shine out with brightness', suggests an injunctive sense for uchat.

  • índrasya nú vīryā̀ṇi prá vocaṃ, yā́ni cakā́ra prathamā́ni vajrī́ (I, 32, 1) 'now let me praise Indra's heroic deeds, the first ones that he did, the armed one' (the opening line of a poem to Indra) [294]
  • adyā́ no deva savitaḥ, prajā́vat sāvīḥ [sāvīs] saúbhagam, párā duṣvápnyaṃ suva (V, 82, 4) 'today prompt fortune with progeny for us, O divine Savitar, banish the bad dream' [295]
  • nū́ ṣṭutá [stutás] indra nū́ gr̥ṇāná, íṣaṃ jaritré nadyò ná pīpeḥ [pīpes] (IV, 16, 21) 'now praised, now lauded, Indra, yield refreshment abundantly for the singer, like streams' (final verse) [296]
  • víśvam asyā nānāma cákṣase jágaj, jyótiṣ kr̥ṇoti sūnárī, ápa dvéṣo maghónī duhitā́ divá, uṣā́ uchad [uchat] ápa srídhaḥ (I, 48, 8) 'all the moving world pays reverence to the sight of her; the fair lady makes the light. Let dawn, the gracious daughter of heaven, shine away hatred, shine misfortunes away' (quoted in the introduction to Lesson 4) [297]
43.3 Negative modal forms with mā́.
  • mā́ śū́ne bhūma sū́ryasya saṃdŕ̥śi (Lesson 7 text) 'let us not be in want in the sight of the sun' [298]
  • mā́ no mātā́ pr̥thivī́ durmataú dhāt (Lesson 8 text) 'let Mother Earth not place us in disfavour' [299]
  • sárasvati abhí no neṣi vásyo, mā́pa [mā́ ápa] spharīḥ [spharīs] páyasā mā́ na ā́ dhak [...] mā́ tvát kṣétrāṇi áraṇāni ganma (VI, 61, 14) 'O Sarasvati, lead (a -si imperative) us to better, do not spurn us (from √sphr̥), do not deprive us (from √dagh with preverb ́) of your plenty... let us not go away from you to foreign fields' [300]
44 Infinitives.

All forms of what is called the infinitive in the Rigveda are in origin case forms of old abstract nouns, datives being by far the most common. They frequently appear in parallel with datives of more familiar nouns, as jīváse does with the dative of kṣáya in the refrain in the lesson text: ihá ksáyāya jīváse, literally 'here for home, for living'. The majority are formed from ancient abstract nouns in -tu, like vártave 'to be hindered' in the Lesson 3 text, from vártu, yótave 'to keep away' in Lesson 5 from yótu, and párietave 'to be surpassed' in example 281, from pári-etu.

One line of the Lesson 4 text contains two dative infinitive forms from different stems: prakhyaí devi svàr dr̥śé 'O goddess, (you make) the sunlight to be gazed on (from pra-khyā́), seen (from dŕ̥ś; compare the locative of saṃdŕ̥ś in example 298 in the last section)'. Because infinitives in fact derive from abstract nouns, when translated as infinitives they often have to be rendered as passive, as in these examples: vártave 'to be hindered' is literally 'for hindrance', prakhyaí 'for gazing on', and dŕ̥śe 'for sight'.

Two peculiarities of the infinitive are worthy of note. Some, ending in -tavaí, are doubly accented, as in example 254 in the last lesson, ákar dhánvāni átietavā́ [átietavaí] u (V, 83, 10) 'you have now made the deserts passable (from áti-etu)', and hántavaí in example 304 below. The second is that the regular accusative infinitive form of Classical Sanskrit, ending in -tum or -itum, despite its coincidence of form with the Latin infinitive, appears not to owe its origin to the ancient Rigvedic dialect: only four forms in -tum are found, of which only dā́tum, from dā́tu 'giving', occurs more than once (twice; the dative dā́tave, as in example 303, five times).

  • ́ no nāvā́ matīnā́ṃ, yātám pārā́ya gántave (I, 46, 7) 'approach, (Ashvins), with the ship of our thoughts, to go to the far shore' (from gántu 'going') [301]
  • ví yó jaghā́na śamitéva [śamitā́ iva] cárma, upastíre pr̥thivī́ṃ sū́ryāya (V, 85, 1) '(Varuna,) who struck out the earth like a worker a skin to spread it before the sun' (from upa-stír 'spreading before') (= 277) [302]
  • yé te mádā āhanáso víhāyasas, tébhir índraṃ codaya dā́tave maghám (IX, 75, 5) 'what delights, richly productive, mighty, are yours, with them encourage Indra to give the reciprocal gift' [303]
  • brahmā́ṇa índram maháyanto arkaír, ávardhayann áhaye hántavā́ [hántavaí] u (V, 31, 4) 'devout men magnifying Indra with eulogies, strengthened him for destroying the dragon' (áhaye, from áhi, is dative by attraction; first line =130) [304]
  • kr̥dhī́ [kr̥dhí] na ūrdhvā́ñ caráthāya jīváse (I, 36, 14) 'raise us up to move ('for moving'; carátham, caráthām, and caráthā also occur), to live ('for living', jīvás, only found in the dative)' [305]
  • utá vāta pitā́si na, utá bhrā́totá naḥ sákhā, sá no jīvā́tave kr̥dhi (X, 186, 2) 'Wind, you are to us a father, and a brother, and our friend, so make us to live' (dative of jīvā́tu 'life'; also occurs in the nominative and accusative, and see example 287 above where the dative was juxtaposed with the dative of mr̥tyú 'death'. In later texts jīvā́tave becomes established as an independent infinitive) [306]
45 Metre.

The metre of the Rigveda has an underlying iambic rhythm, that is, a rhythm characterised by a repeated pattern of a short followed by a long syllable, v- v- v- v-. This is also the natural rhythm of English, and Milton's line describing the progress of Satan,

And swims/ or sinks/ or wades/ or creeps/ or flies

is an example of an entirely regular iambic line. Milton wrote chiefly in iambic pentameters, lines of 5 iambs (v-) or ten syllables, as in this example. Lines of 10 syllables are however rare in the Rigveda where lines of 8, 11 or 12 syllables predominate.

The second of the two poems of the lesson 9 text, X, 58, is in a metre traditionally called anuṣṭubh, which consists of four-line iambic verses of 8 syllables. (If , or any two consonants, which do not have to be in the same word, follow, they render a syllable long, and aḥ is always long.) As in all good poetry, there are many variations to the underlying rhythm. The cadence, or closing phrase, however tends to be regular, as in the line concluding every verse of this poem:

    yát te yamáṃ vaivasvatám   -- v- -- vv
    máno jagā́ma dūrakám   v- v- v- vv
    tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi   -v -- v- vv
    ihá kṣáyāya jīváse   v- v- v- v-

This is the prevailing metre of later Sanskrit verse. A more usual Rigvedic metre is one line shorter, with verses of three lines of 8 syllables, as in example 251 in the last lesson, repeated below. This is called gāyatrī:

    ní grā́māso avikṣata   -- -- v- vv
    ní padvánto ni pakṣíṇaḥ   v- -- v- v-
    ní śyenā́saś cid arthínaḥ   -- -- v- v-

The first text poem in this lesson, II, 42, is in triṣṭubh, which is the most common metre of the Rigveda. It is also the metre of the texts of lessons 1, 3, 6 and 8. It consists of four-line verses of 11 syllables, with a varied rhythmic pattern as a result. The cadence is regularly trochaic, that is, characterised by an inversion of the iambic rhythm, (-v), but the opening is usually iambic, as in the first two lines.

    kánikradaj janúṣam prabruvāṇá   v- v- vv- -v -v
    íyarti vā́cam aritéva nā́vam   v- v- vvv -v -v

Another metre in frequent use by the ancient poets adds a syllable to the 11 triṣṭubh syllables, restoring the iambic cadence. This is called jagatī, and is the metre of the Lesson 2 text, and most of the Lesson 7 text.

The metres of the Lesson 4, 5, and 10 texts combine lines of different lengths, and are known as lyric metres. The Lesson 5 text consists of verses of 8, 8 and 12 syllables, a metre called uṣṇih. Both the Lesson 4 and 10 texts alternate verses of 8, 8, 12, 8 syllables (br̥hatī) and 12, 8, 12, 8 syllables (satobr̥hatī). These song-like verse patterns are characteristic of early poems. In addition, many poems interpose verses in different metres for poetic effect, as in the texts of Lessons 7 and 8.

The above is a highly condensed outline of the metre used by the poets of the Rigveda. A comprehensive study in the context of the chronology of the poems was published by E. Vernon Arnold in 1905 (see the reading list at the end of the Series Introduction).

45.1 The importance of the metrical evidence.

The Rigveda has come down to us in two textual forms. The primary text is the saṃhitā 'placed together', or continuous text. Its date is unknown. The accompanying Pada 'word' text derives from the continuous text, analysing all its sandhi combinations (Sanskrit saṃdhi, related to saṃhitā) to provide a word by word gloss. The later Vedic texts, also handed down from remote antiquity, largely derive from the Rigveda. The earliest of these quote extensively from the Rigveda, sometimes introducing variations to the saṃhitā text, replacing words that have become archaic, and occasionally giving readings that are incorrect. Example 151 in Lesson 6, lines 3 and 4 of the first verse of a triṣṭubh poem in praise of Indra -- the opening two lines are example 294 above -- provides a simple illustration:

    áhann áhim ánu apás tatarda
    prá vakṣáṇā abhinat párvatānām
     
    He destroyed the dragon, released the waters,
    Split open the fertile places of the mountains.

The Atharvaveda (AVP 13.6.1) repeats the verse, but replaces the plural noun vakṣáṇās with a participle, vakṣámānās. This not only destoys the metre of the line but makes no grammatical sense, and is clearly simply an error. The saṃhitā text is the most authoritative text that we have.

However, study of the metre of the poems of the Rigveda demonstrates that the ancient editors of this continuous text systematically applied rules of pronunciation that were regularly wrong. They were dealing with material composed in a period when the language was less rigidly regulated than it was in theirs, and it is apparent that this freer form was unfamiliar to them.

Some of these misapplied rules have already been mentioned in the lessons. For example, the first person plural optative of the verb 'to be' is regularly trisyllabic in the Rigvedic poems, siyā́ma, as in the first line of the first lesson text. The ancient editors always render it syā́ma, with loss of a syllable. Syllabic value has to be restored to the semivowels y and v in this way in a large number of words. (Many of the illustrations that follow are drawn from the examples given in the first grammar section of this lesson.) The word hŕ̥dya, which occurs in example 283, must always be read hŕ̥diya, and tvám must regularly be read tuvám, particularly in poems from the Archaic period, as in example 282. In ten of its twelve occurrences in the lesson texts sū́rya has to be read sū́riya. The syllabic loss is most apparent where the dropped vowel carried the accent, and the ancient text supplies a grave accent to the following syllable to indicate that it is missing. The accented vowel must be restored in nearly every case: svàr should always read súvar, ukthyà, ukthíya, vīryà, vīríya (see examples 278 and 281). (However, as words from which these syllables were systematically dropped by the saṃhitā text have entered dictionaries and grammars only in this later form, this is the form given both in the examples and in the glosses, to enable cross-referencing.) Other rules are similarly imposed on the Rigvedic vocabulary by its earliest editors. Later rules of syncopation are consistently applied to oblique cases of neuter nouns in -man: dhā́man and sā́man appear fifteen times in the text with the second vowel syncopated, but in every instance the vowel is restored by the metre. In the same way, the genitive/locative pitarós is always written pitrós.

Some examples of rules misapplied between words follow, to illustrate the many ways in which the ancient editors obscured the poetry of the Rigveda.

Rules of combination, designed to avoid hiatus, were systematically applied to adjoining vowels in different words, often destroying the rhythm of the line. These combinations occur even over line ends, obscuring the metrical form. Every lesson text contains at least one example of this combining of words over line ends; the Lesson 10 text has five. The refrain in each of the twelve verses of X, 58 in this lesson provides a typical example:

    tát ta ā́ vartayāmasi
    ihá kṣáyāya jīváse

The saṃhitā text combines the i at the end of one line with the i at the beginning of the next, and reads

tát ta ā́ vartayāmasīhá kṣáyāya jīváse,

and the anuṣṭubh verse pattern of 8-syllable lines, with a reiterated regular iambic cadence in the last line, is lost.

Example 277 reads

    ví yó jaghā́na śamitéva cárma
    upastíre pr̥thivī́ṃ sū́ryāya

The poem is in triṣṭubh throughout, and sū́riyāya must be read for sū́ryāya, as often. The saṃhitā text, in addition to regularising the last word to sū́ryāya, combines the a at the end of one line with the u at the beginning of the next. The couplet then reads

ví yó jaghā́na śamitéva cármopastíre pr̥thivī́ sū́ryāya,

and again the metrical form, together with in this instance two syllables, disappears. In the third verse of the Lesson 8 text,

    kā́mo rāyé havate mā suastí
    úpa stuhi pŕ̥ṣadaśvām̐ ayā́saḥ

su-astí 'well-being' -- which the continuous text gives as svastí -- at the end of one line is combined with úpa at the beginning of the next to read svastyúpa. The replacement by the saṃhitā text of final i or u with the semivowels y or v before a vowel, which happens twice in this line, has to be corrected more than 5,000 times in the text.

The last illustration is example 280, from an Archaic poem in the jagatī metre.

sahasríyāso apā́ṃ ná ūrmáyaḥ

The line is a syllable short. The syllable can be restored here, and in over 500 similar places, by reading the genitive plural ending as bisyllabic, -aam. It seems probable that this was the earlier pronunciation. However, in the saṃhitā text another syllable is lost. It applies sandhi between the two words ná and ūrmáyas, reading nórmayás,

sahasríyāso apā́ nórmáyaḥ

But ná here means 'like', 'like the countless waves of the waters', and unlike ná 'not', ná 'like' does not combine with a following word in pronunciation. In this example, and in three other places in the same poem, the systematic rule applied by the ancient editors obscures not only the metre, but also the meaning of the line.

The editors of the saṃhitā 'continuous' text regularly turned the poetry of the Rigveda into prose, masking both its form and its meaning. The Pada 'word' text is often, quite by chance, closer to the original. Only careful study of the metre has enabled scholars to reconstruct the form in which these poems were composed, and it was not until 1994 that an attempt at a complete reconstruction was published (see the reading list at the end of the Series Introduction). Gary Holland and Barend van Nooten's metrically reconstructed text provides a long-needed resource for renewed study of the Ancient Sanskrit of the Rigveda. Throughout these lessons misleading sandhi combinations between words in the saṃhitā text have been removed according to the 1994 metrical text.

Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 10

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

The world of the poets of the Rigveda was governed by laws of Newtonian orderliness, represented by a group of abstract nouns of complex meaning. One of these, vratá 'holy law, divine commandment', was described in the introduction to Lesson 7. Of similar complexity are dhā́man 'foundation, just law, precept', related to Greek θέμις and English doom, and dhárman 'support, fixed order', both of which are found in the Lesson 10 text, together with r̥tá (see below), a word which is repeated in the last two verses, joining them together into one grammatical sentence.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The lesson text is verses 10-20 of an Archaic poem, VIII, 27 (647) which, like the Lesson 4 text, is in the alternating lyric br̥hatī/satobr̥hatī metre. The poem apostrophizes all the gods, beginning in traditional style with Agni: agnír ukthé puróhitaḥ 'Agni is placed first in holy song' (verse 1). Verses 10-20 are specifically addressed to the gods of Truth and Order, in particular Aryaman, Mitra and Varuna, who are named in the passage. The most important of the network of words describing the abstract concepts that these deities embody is r̥tá, perhaps best translated 'Truth', but also having the sense 'Cosmic Order'. Poetry itself is born from r̥tá: prá bráhma etu sádanād [sádanāt] r̥tásya, ví raśmíbhiḥ sasr̥je sū́ryo gā́ (VII, 36, 1) 'let prayer go forth from the seat of Truth; the sun despatches singers with his rays (raśmí (m))'. And through their attention to Truth, and the wisdom that results, mortals become allied with the gods -- an alliance that is the theme of the Lesson 10 text.

ásti hí vaḥ sajātíyaṃ riśādaso
dévāso ásti ā́piyam
prá naḥ pū́rvasmai suvitā́ya vocata
makṣū́ sumnā́ya návyase

  • ásti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√as, ásti> be -- there is
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- because
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- with you
  • sajātyàm -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <sajātyà> kinship -- kinship
  • riśādasas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <riśā́das> benign -- O benign # The meaning of the epithet remains uncertain.
  • dévāsas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- gods
  • ásti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√as, ásti> be -- there is
  • ́pyam -- noun; nominative singular neuter of <ā́pya> alliance -- alliance
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us # Compare Latin nos. The word enclitic means 'leaning'. An enclitic word cannot stand first in a sentence or line. It 'leans' on the previous word, and loses its accent.
  • pū́rvasmai -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <pū́rva> former, previous -- of old
  • suvitā́ya -- noun; dative singular neuter of <suvitá> well-being -- to well-being
  • prá vocata -- verb; 2nd person plural active simple aorist imperative of <√vac> speak + preverb; <prá> forth -- admit
  • makṣū́ -- adverb; <makṣū́> swiftly, soon -- soon # Always given as makṣú in the Pada text. Compare Latin mox.
  • sumnā́ya -- noun; dative singular neuter of <sumná> favour, boon -- to favour
  • návyase -- comparative adjective; dative singular neuter of <návyāṃs> newer -- newer

idā́ hí va úpastutim
idā́ vāmásya bhaktáye
úpa vo viśvavedaso namasyúr ā́
ásr̥kṣi ániyām iva

  • idā́ -- adverb; <idā́> at this moment -- at this moment
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- for
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- to you
  • úpastutim -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <úpastuti> paean of praise -- a paean of praise
  • idā́ -- adverb; <idā́> at this moment -- this moment
  • vāmásya -- noun; genitive singular neuter of <vāmá> dear, beloved thing -- of weal
  • bhaktáye -- noun; dative singular feminine of <bhaktí> distribution -- for a share
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- you
  • viśvavedasas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <viśvávedas> all-knowing one -- all-knowing ones
  • namasyús -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <namasyú> honouring -- honouring
  • úpa ā́ ásr̥kṣi -- verb; 1st person singular middle sigmatic aorist of <√sr̥j, sr̥játi> let go + preverb; <úpa> up to + preverb; <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- I have sent up
  • ányām -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <ánya> inexhaustible -- inexhaustible
  • iva -- particle; <iva> like -- seemingly

úd u ṣyá vaḥ savitā́ supraṇītayo
ásthād ūrdhvó váreṇiyaḥ
ní dvipā́daś cátuṣpādo arthíno
áviśran patayiṣṇávaḥ

  • u -- particle; <u> and, now -- now
  • syás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <syás, syā́, tyát> that -- that
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- of you
  • savitā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <savitŕ̥> enlivener, Savitar -- Savitar
  • supraṇītayas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <supráṇīti> guiding safely -- you sure guides # Compare the feminine noun supráṇīti 'safe guidance' in the Lesson 8 text.
  • út ásthāt -- verb; 3rd person singular active simple aorist of <√sthā, tíṣṭhati> stand + preverb; <út> up -- he has risen
  • ūrdhvás -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <ūrdhvá> upright, straight -- straight # Often occurs with the verb √sthā, as in Homeric στῆ δ' ὀρθός.
  • váreṇyas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <váreṇya> beloved -- beloved
  • dvipā́das -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <dvipád> two-footed -- two-footed creatures
  • cátuṣpādas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <cátuṣpad> four-footed -- four-footed creatures
  • arthínas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <arthín> purposeful -- purposeful
  • ní áviśran -- verb; 3rd person plural middle simple aorist of <√viś, viśáte> enter, come to rest + preverb; <ní> down -- they have come to rest
  • patayiṣṇávas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <patayiṣṇú> flying -- winged ones

deváṃ-devaṃ vo ávase
deváṃ-devam abhíṣṭaye
deváṃ-devaṃ huvema vā́jasātaye
gr̥ṇánto deviyā́ dhiyā́

  • deváṃ-devam -- iterative compound; <deváṃ-devam> god after god -- god after god
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- you
  • ávase -- noun; dative singular neuter of <ávas> help -- for aid
  • deváṃ-devam -- iterative compound; <deváṃ-devam> god after god -- god after god
  • abhíṣṭaye -- noun; dative singular feminine of <abhíṣṭi> being at hand, ready help -- for ready help
  • deváṃ-devam -- iterative compound; <deváṃ-devam> god after god -- god after god
  • huvema -- verb; 1st person plural active optative of <√hū, hávate> invoke, call upon -- may we call upon
  • vā́jasātaye -- noun; dative singular feminine of <vā́jasāti> lit. strength-winning -- that we may gain strength
  • gr̥ṇántas -- participle; nominative plural masculine present active participle of <√gr̥, gr̥ṇā́ti> sing -- singing
  • devyā́ -- adjective; instrumental singular feminine of <devī́> divine, goddess -- with divine
  • dhiyā́ -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <dhī́> thought -- thought

devā́so hí ṣmā mánave sámanyavo
víśve sākáṃ sárātayaḥ
té no adyá té aparáṃ tucé tú no
bhávantu varivovídaḥ

  • devā́sas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- the gods
  • hí -- particle; <hí> for, because -- for
  • smā -- particle; <sma, smā> indeed -- indeed
  • mánave -- noun; dative singular masculine of <mánu> man, mankind -- with man
  • sámanyavas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sámanyu> of the same mind -- of one mind
  • víśve -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <víśva> all -- all
  • sākám -- preposition; <sākám> together -- united
  • sárātayas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sárāti> giving together -- giving together
  • té -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- as such
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us
  • adyá -- adverb; <adyá> on this day, today -- today # a-dyá, compare Latin ho-die and English to-day.
  • té -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- as such
  • aparám -- adverb; <aparám> in the future -- in future
  • tucé -- noun; dative singular feminine of <túc> offspring -- for offspring
  • tú -- particle; <tú> then, but -- then
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • bhávantu -- verb; 3rd person plural active imperative of <√bhū, bhávati> be -- may they be
  • varivovídas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <varivovíd> providers of space -- providers of spacious freedom

prá vaḥ śaṃsāmi adruhaḥ
saṃsthá úpastutīnām
ná táṃ dhūrtír varuṇa mitra mártiyaṃ
yó vo dhā́mabhyo ávidhat

  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- to you
  • prá śaṃsāmi -- verb; 1st person singular present active of <√śaṃs, śáṃsati> praise + preverb; <prá> forth -- I sing out praises
  • adruhas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <adrúh> not betraying -- guileless
  • saṃsthé -- preposition; <saṃsthé> in amongst -- in amongst # Takes the genitive.
  • úpastutīnām -- noun; genitive plural feminine of <úpastuti> paean of praise -- paeans of praise
  • ná -- particle; <ná> not -- not
  • tám -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- him
  • dhūrtís -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <dhūrtí> injury -- injury # The verb is understood: 'injury will not (befall) him' (see section 38 in Lesson 8).
  • varuṇa -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <váruṇa> Varuna -- O Varuna
  • mitra -- noun; vocative singular masculine of <mitrá> friend, Mitra -- O Mitra
  • mártyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <mártya> mortal man -- the mortal
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- your # The pronoun refers to the trilogy of gods, Mitra, Varuna, and Aryaman (see below).
  • dhā́mabhyas -- noun; dative plural neuter of <dhā́man> foundation, just law, precept -- precepts
  • ávidhat -- verb; 3rd person singular active simple aorist of <√vidh> pay homage to, honour -- he has honoured # The verb takes the dative.

prá sá kṣáyaṃ tirate ví mahī́r íṣo
yó vo várāya dā́śati
prá prajā́bhir jāyate dhármaṇas pári
áriṣṭaḥ sárva edhate

  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- the one
  • kṣáyam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <kṣáya> home -- domestic life
  • prá tirate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√tr̥̄, tiráti> cross + preverb; <prá> forth -- he prolongs
  • ví -- preverb; <ví> apart -- (he is afforded) # The preceding verb tiráte is understood with the preverb ví in its special sense 'afford, bestow', here with passive sense (see grammar points 38 in Lesson 8, and 48 in this lesson).
  • mahī́s -- adjective; accusative plural feminine of <máh> great -- fine
  • íṣas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <íṣ> refreshment -- refreshments
  • yás -- relative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- who
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- your # The pronoun refers to the trilogy of gods, Mitra, Varuna, and Aryaman (see below).
  • várāya -- noun; dative singular masculine of <vára> wish -- according to wish
  • dā́śati -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√dāś, dā́śati> worship -- worships
  • prajā́bhis -- noun; instrumental plural feminine of <prajā́> creature, progeny -- in his progeny
  • prá jāyate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√jā, jā́yate> be born + preverb; <prá> forth -- he is born anew
  • dhármaṇas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <dhárman> support, fixed order -- established order
  • pári -- preposition; <pári> around, out of -- according to
  • áriṣṭas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <áriṣṭa> unharmed -- unharmed
  • sárvas -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <sárva> whole, all -- whole
  • edhate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√edh, édhate> thrive -- he thrives

r̥té sá vindate yudháḥ
sugébhir yāti ádhvanaḥ
aryamā́ mitró váruṇaḥ sárātayo
yáṃ trā́yante sajóṣasaḥ

  • r̥té -- preposition; <r̥té> without -- without # Takes the ablative.
  • sás -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- he # (The sandhi of sás is exceptional; the final s is dropped before all consonants.) Cognate with Greek ὁ, ἡ, τό. Note the characteristic repetition of the pronoun in this line (see Textual Analysis).
  • vindate -- verb; 3rd person singular middle present of <√vid, vindáti> find -- he achieves his ends
  • yudhás -- noun; ablative singular feminine of <yúdh> fighting -- fighting
  • sugébhis -- adjective; instrumental plural neuter of <sugá> good passage -- by good paths
  • yāti -- verb; 3rd person singular active present of <√yā, yā́ti> go, travel -- he travels
  • ádhvanas -- noun; accusative plural masculine of <ádhvan> way -- on his ways
  • aryamā́ -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <aryamán> Aryaman -- Aryaman
  • mitrás -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <mitrá> friend, Mitra -- Mitra # The god Mitra, who regularly appears together with Varuna, as here.
  • váruṇas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <váruṇa> Varuna -- Varuna # The name is possibly related to Greek Οὐρᾰνός.
  • sárātayas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sárāti> giving together -- giving together
  • yám -- relative pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- whom
  • trā́yante -- verb; 3rd person plural middle present of <√trā> rescue, protect -- they protect
  • sajóṣasas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <sajóṣas> accordant -- joining together

ájre cid asmai kr̥ṇuthā niáñcanaṃ
durgé cid ā́ susaraṇáṃ
eṣā́ cid asmād aśániḥ paró nú sā́
ásredhantī ví naśyatu

  • ájre -- noun; locative singular masculine of <ájra> plain, flatland -- on flat land # Greek ἀγρος, Latin ager.
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- even
  • asmai -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine of <ayám, iyám, idám> this -- for him # Unaccented, like asmāt in the third line, as referring back to the subject of the previous verse.
  • kr̥ṇutha -- verb; 2nd person plural active present of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- you make
  • nyáñcanam -- noun; accusative singular of <nyáñcana> downward slope -- a gentle slope
  • durgé -- noun; locative singular neuter of <durgá> hard way -- on the hard way
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- even
  • ́ -- preposition; <ā́> from, in -- in
  • susaraṇám -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <susaraṇá> good passage -- an easy passage
  • eṣā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <eṣás, eṣā́, etát> this -- this
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- even
  • asmāt -- demonstrative pronoun; ablative singular masculine of <ayám, iyám, idám> this -- from him
  • aśánis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <aśáni> thunderbolt -- thunderbolt
  • parás -- adverb; <parás> in the distance -- in the distance
  • nú -- adverb; <nú> now -- now
  • sā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- it
  • ásredhantī -- participle; nominative singular feminine active participle of <√sridh, srédhati> slip, fail + privative prefix; <a-> (reverses meaning) -- unfailing
  • ví naśyatu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√naś, náśyati> be lost + preverb; <ví> apart -- let it disappear

yád adyá sū́rya udyatí
príyakṣatrā r̥táṃ dadhá
yán nimrúci prabúdhi viśvavedaso
yád vā madhyáṃdine diváḥ

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • adyá -- adverb; <adyá> on this day, today -- today # a-dyá, compare Latin ho-die and English to-day.
  • sū́rye -- noun; locative singular masculine of <sū́rya> sun -- at the sun's # Locative by attraction.
  • udyatí -- participle; locative singular masculine present active participle of <√i, éti> go + preverb; <út> up -- rising
  • príyakṣatrās -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <priyákṣatra> ruling benevolently -- O benevolent rulers
  • r̥tám -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <r̥tá> Truth -- Truth
  • dadhá -- verb; 2nd person plural active perfect of <√dhā, dádhāti> place, grant -- you grant
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • nimrúci -- noun; locative singular feminine of <nimrúc> setting, sunset -- at sunset
  • prabúdhi -- noun; locative singular feminine of <prabúdh> wakening -- at wakening
  • viśvavedasas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <viśvávedas> all-knowing one -- O all-knowing ones
  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • vā -- conjunction; <vā> or -- or
  • madhyáṃdine -- noun; locative singular masculine of <madhyáṃdina> midday, middle time -- at the midpoint
  • divás -- noun; genitive singular masculine of <dyú, dív> sky, heaven, day -- of the day

yád vābhipitvé asurā r̥táṃ yaté
chardír yemá ví dāśúṣe
vayáṃ tád vo vasavo viśvavedasa
úpa stheyāma mádhya ā́

  • yát -- conjunction; <yát> that, when -- when
  • vā -- conjunction; <vā> or -- or
  • abhipitvé -- noun; locative singular neuter of <abhipitvá> homecoming -- at homecoming
  • asurās -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ásura> spiritual lord -- Lords
  • r̥tám -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <r̥tá> Truth -- of Truth # The accusative here used adverbially, literally 'going according to Truth'.
  • yaté -- participle; dative singular masculine present active participle of <√i, éti> go -- who follows the path
  • chardís -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <chardís> protection, shield -- a shield
  • ví yemá -- verb; 2nd person plural active perfect of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out + preverb; <ví> apart -- you proffer
  • dāśúṣe -- noun; dative singular masculine of <dāśvā́ṃs> the one worshipping -- for the worshipper # In form a perfect participle (see section 27.1 in Lesson 6), regularly used as a noun.
  • vayám -- personal pronoun; nominative of <vayám> we -- we
  • tát -- adverb; <tát> then -- then
  • vas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <yūyám> you (pl.) -- of you
  • vasavas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <vásu> good, beneficent -- gentle
  • viśvavedasas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <viśvávedas> all-knowing one -- all-knowing ones
  • úpa stheyāma -- verb; 1st person plural active simple aorist optative of <√sthā, tíṣṭhati> stand + preverb; <úpa> up to -- may we stand closely
  • mádhye -- noun; locative singular neuter of <mádhya> middle -- in the midst # Latin medius, Greek μέσσος.
  • ́ -- preposition; <ā́> from, in -- in

Lesson Text

ásti hí vaḥ sajātíyaṃ riśādaso
dévāso ásti ā́piyam
prá naḥ pū́rvasmai suvitā́ya vocata
makṣū́ sumnā́ya návyase

idā́ hí va úpastutim
idā́ vāmásya bhaktáye
úpa vo viśvavedaso namasyúr ā́
ásr̥kṣi ániyām iva

úd u ṣyá vaḥ savitā́ supraṇītayo
ásthād ūrdhvó váreṇiyaḥ
ní dvipā́daś cátuṣpādo arthíno
áviśran patayiṣṇávaḥ

deváṃ-devaṃ vo ávase
deváṃ-devam abhíṣṭaye
deváṃ-devaṃ huvema vā́jasātaye
gr̥ṇánto deviyā́ dhiyā́

devā́so hí ṣmā mánave sámanyavo
víśve sākáṃ sárātayaḥ
té no adyá té aparáṃ tucé tú no
bhávantu varivovídaḥ

prá vaḥ śaṃsāmi adruhaḥ
saṃsthá úpastutīnām
ná táṃ dhūrtír varuṇa mitra mártiyaṃ
yó vo dhā́mabhyo ávidhat

prá sá kṣáyaṃ tirate ví mahī́r íṣo
yó vo várāya dā́śati
prá prajā́bhir jāyate dhármaṇas pári
áriṣṭaḥ sárva edhate

r̥té sá vindate yudháḥ
sugébhir yāti ádhvanaḥ
aryamā́ mitró váruṇaḥ sárātayo
yáṃ trā́yante sajóṣasaḥ

ájre cid asmai kr̥ṇuthā niáñcanaṃ
durgé cid ā́ susaraṇáṃ
eṣā́ cid asmād aśániḥ paró nú sā́
ásredhantī ví naśyatu

yád adyá sū́rya udyatí
príyakṣatrā r̥táṃ dadhá
yán nimrúci prabúdhi viśvavedaso
yád vā madhyáṃdine diváḥ

yád vābhipitvé asurā r̥táṃ yaté
chardír yemá ví dāśúṣe
vayáṃ tád vo vasavo viśvavedasa
úpa stheyāma mádhya ā́

Translation

Because there is kinship with you,
O benign gods -- there is alliance --
Admit us to our well-being of old,
And soon to newer favour.
For at this moment I have sent up to you --
This moment, for a share of weal,
Honouring you, all-knowing ones,
A paean of praise, seemingly inexhaustible.
Now he has risen straight up, you sure guides,
The one beloved of you, that Savitar;
Two-footed, and four-footed creatures,
Purposeful winged ones have come to rest.
May we call upon you, god after god, for aid,
God after god, for ready help,
God after god that we may gain strength,
Singing with divine thought.
For indeed the gods are of one mind with man,
All united, giving together.
As such may they be today for us, then in future for our offspring
Providers of spacious freedom.
I sing out praises to you, guileless ones,
In amongst paeans of praise;
No injury will befall, O Varuna, O Mitra,
The mortal who has honoured your precepts.
The one who worships according to your wish
Prolongs his domestic life, is afforded fine refreshments.
He is born anew in his progeny, according to established order
Unharmed and whole he thrives.
Without fighting he achieves his ends;
He travels on his ways by good paths
Whom Aryaman, Mitra, and Varuna, giving together,
Joining together, protect.
Even on flat land you make a gentle slope for him,
On the hard way an easy passage,
From him even this thunderbolt, now in the distance
Unfailing -- let it disappear.
When today at the sun's rising
O benevolent rulers, you grant Truth,
When at sunset, at wakening, all-knowing ones
Or at the midpoint of the day --
-- Or when at homecoming, Lords, you proffer a shield
For the worshipper who follows the path of Truth;
Then may we stand, gentle, all-knowing ones,
Closely within the midst of you.

Grammar

46 Primary stems in long vowels.
46.1 Primary stems in -ī and -ū.

The declension of secondary feminine stems in -ī was given in Lesson 4 (17.3). There are three important monosyllabic feminine abstract nouns that follow the primary -ī declension: dhī́ 'thought', bhī́ 'respect, fear' and śrī́ 'splendour, glory'. The usual endings are given below, as they would be if made from from dhī́ 'thought'. When the case endings begin with a vowel -ī- changes to -iy-. Dual forms (nominative/accusative dhiyā́, instrumental dhībhyā́m, gen/loc dhiyós) are rare.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   dhī́s   dhíyas
Acc   dhíyam   dhíyas
Ins   dhiyā́   dhībhís
Dat   dhiyé   dhībhyás
Gen   dhiyás   dhīnā́m
Loc       dhīṣú

A number of compounds follow this declension, like the masculine adjectives su-dhī́ 'of good thought' and brahma-prī́ 'delighting in prayer'.

There are in addition some uncompounded polysyllabic nouns which belong to this declension, and are always accented on the -ī- or -iy- of the suffix, although in the ancient texts -iy- is consistently changed to y with displacement of the accent. Of this group nadī́ (feminine) 'stream' is of frequent occurrence: it appeared in the Lesson 3 text in the accusative plural nadyàs (correctly nadíyas) and genitive plural nadī́nām, again in examples 296 and 258 in these two forms, and in example 157 in the nominative plural nadyàs, (nadíyas).

The endings of the primary -ū stems are parallel to those of the primary -ī stems. When the case ending begins with a vowel -ū- changes to -uv-. Many of the words that follow this declension are adjectival compounds, like nominative singular masculine pari-bhū́s 'being around, encompassing' in the Lesson 2 text, and mayo-bhū́ 'bringing happiness', which occurs in the instrumental singular neuter mayobhúvā in the Lesson 8 text.

Compounds formed with these primary endings show a tendency to be transferred to more common declensions. The -ī or -ū regularly appears in shortened form, the compound then following the declension given in section 3 of Lesson 1. An example of this, the alternative adjective mayobhú, occurs in example 325, in the accusative singular neuter mayobhú, in section 47.3 of this lesson.

  • puró agnī́ṃ dhiyā́ dadhe (1, 139, 1) 'with thought I place Agni first' [307]
  • pátir vacasyate dhiyáḥ (IX, 99, 6) 'the lord of thought speaks fluently' (the denominative verb vacasy-, from vácas) [308]
  • dhīnā́m antáḥ [antár] sabardúghaḥ, hinvānó mā́nuṣā yugā́ (IX, 12, 7) 'producing clarity of thoughts within, encouraging the generations of men' (The first element of the compound sabar-dúgha 'producing clarity' is related to Greek σαφής 'clear' and σοφός 'wise', Latin sapor 'savour, taste' and sapiens 'judicious') [309]
  • té anyā́m-anyāṃ nadyàṃ saniṣṇata (I, 131, 5) 'they win (an intensive form of √san, sanóti 'win') of you (Indra) stream after stream' (nadíyam) [310]
  • tád víśvam abhibhū́r [abhibhū́s] asi (VIII, 89, 6) 'you (Indra) surpass all that' [311]
  • agníṃ juhvā̀ vacasyā́, madhupŕ̥caṃ dhanasā́ [dhanasā́s] johavīmi (II, 10, 6) 'With fluent tongue, winning wealth, I entreat Agni, shedding sweetness' (properly juhúvā, from juhū́ (f) 'tongue, call'; the adjective is formed from the denominative verb vacasy- in example 308 above)' [312]
46.2 Primary stems in -ā.

Secondary stems in -ā, which form the feminine of masculine/neuter nouns and adjectives in -a as described in section 6 of Lesson 2, are very common. There are in addition a few primary -ā stems, many of which occur as compounds, like the masculine adjectives dhana-sā́ 'winning wealth' in the last example above, vrata-pā́ 'protecting holy law' in example 243, and purā-jā́ 'born aforetime' in the Lesson 6 text. The forms that are found, if made from the monosyllable jā́ 'child' (m/f), are given below. All oblique cases are rare, and only the nominative/accusative/vocative dual forms, jā́ or jaú, occur.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   jā́s   jā́s
Acc   jā́m   jā́s
Ins   jā́   jā́bhis
Dat   jé   jā́bhyas
Gen   jás    
Loc       jā́su
Voc   jā́s    

As with the stems in -ī and -ū, there is a tendency for compounds to be transferred to the secondary declension. The compound prajā́ 'creature', for example, has been assimilated to the secondary -ā declension throughout, and indeed was used to illustrate that declension in Lesson 2. As a result the primary -ā stems are uncommon, and have on occasion been differently assigned: the feminine rā́ 'gift', for example, which appears only in the accusative rā́m in X, 111, 7, the first example below, has been taken to be an irregular form of rayí, and in the concluding verse of X, 127, the only poem in the Rigveda addressed to dawn's sister, the goddess of night, I follow Professor Lanman (Noun-inflection, JAOS vol. x, 1880, p. 443) in taking gā́s to be from a monosyllabic gā́ 'singer', rather than the accusative plural 'cows' (example 316 below). I have also interpreted the word form in this way at its occurrence in VII, 36,1 quoted in the introduction to this lesson.

  • sácanta yád uṣásaḥ sū́ryeṇa, citrā́m asya ketávo rā́m avindan (X, 111, 7) 'when the dawns accompanied (imperfect without augment; √sac here takes the instrumental) the sun, his rays discovered a bright gift' [313]
  • ásuṃ yá īyúr avr̥kā́ r̥tajñā́s, té no avantu pitáro háveṣu (X, 15, 1) 'may those who have left life, not harming, knowing Truth (r̥ta-jñā́, from √jñā 'know'), the fathers, may they bring help at our invocations' (quoted in the introduction to Lesson 6) [314]
  • ubhé vā́cau vadati sāmagā́ [sāmagā́s] iva, gāyatráṃ ca traíṣṭubhaṃ cā́nu rājati (II, 43, 1) 'he speaks both voices, like a harmony (sā́man)-singer; he commands both sacred song and triple praise' (see example 290 for the last verse of this poem) [315]
  • úpa te gā́ ivā́karaṃ [gā́s iva ā́ akaram], vr̥ṇīṣvá duhitar divaḥ, rā́tri stómaṃ na jigyúṣe (X, 127, 8) 'I have offered up to you, daughter of heaven, like a singer; accept, O Night, as it were a song of praise to the victor' [316] (see example 242 for verse 5)
47 Aorist System: participles and moods.

The examples below are given to illustrate the forms. Participles and moods made from the reduplicating or sigmatic aorists are clearly aorist forms; when made from the simple aorist the Present System forms are given in parentheses for comparison.

47.1 Aorist participles.
  • abhí yáṃ devī́ áditir gr̥ṇā́ti, saváṃ devásya savitúr juṣāṇā́ (VII, 38, 4) 'to whom goddess Aditi sings, enjoying the encouragement of divine Savitar' (simple aorist middle participle from √juṣ, juṣáte; compare juṣámāṇā) [317]
  • sá yó ví ásthād abhí dákṣad [dákṣat] urvī́m, paśúr ná eti svayúr ágopāḥ (II, 4, 7) 'he (fire), who has spread out, burning up the broad earth, like a beast without a herdsman he goes at will' (sigmatic aorist active participle from √dah, dáhati 'burn') [318]
47.2 The aorist imperative.

The first two examples are simple aorist imperative forms without connecting -a-, from verbs whose forms in the Present System belong to the thematic (-a-) conjugation. As the endings are added directly to the root in the Aorist System, they are those of the athematic conjugation (compare the aorist middle participle juṣāṇá in example 317 above).

  • devébhir devi adite, áriṣṭabharman ā́ gahi (Lesson 5 text) 'with gods, O goddess Aditi, unfailing in support, come hither' (from √gam, gáchati; compare gacha) [319]
  • utā́vamásya puruhūta bodhi (Lesson 6 text) 'and, O much invoked, observe the most recent one' (from √budh, bódhati; compare bodha) [320]
  • devó-devaḥ suhávo bhūtu máhyam (Lesson 8 text) 'may god after god be easily invoked for me' (simple aorist imperative from √bhū, bhávati; compare bhavatu) [321]
  • mánma śrudhi návīyasaḥ (I, 131, 6) 'listen to the thought of a newer one' (simple aorist imperative from √śru, śr̥ṇóti; compare śr̥ṇuhi, śr̥ṇudhi) [322] (=189)
  • aviṣṭáṃ dhíyo jigr̥tám púraṃdhīḥ (IV, 50, 11) 'favour (dual) thoughts, waken abundance' (sigmatic aorist imperative from √av, ávati 'favour', and reduplicating aorist imperative from √gr̥ 'wake') [323]
47.3 The aorist subjunctive.

The sigmatic aorist is regularly used to make subjunctive forms.

  • sá naḥ parṣad [parṣat] áti durgā́ṇi víśvā, nāvéva síndhuṃ duritā́ti agníḥ (I, 99, 1) 'so will Agni bear us over all hard ways and dangers, as with a boat over a river' (sigmatic aorist subjunctive, from √pr̥, píparti 'pass' with preverb áti) [324] (=124)
  • vā́ta ā́ vātu bheṣajáṃ, śambhú mayobhú no hr̥dé, prá ṇa ā́yūṃṣi tāriṣat (X, 186, 1 ) 'may the wind blow healing hither, kind, bringing happiness to us in the heart, it will prolong our lives' (sigmatic aorist subjunctive, from √tr̥̄, tiráti 'cross' with preverb prá) [325]
  • ápād itá [itás] úd u naś citrátamo, mahī́m bharṣad [bharṣat] dyumátīm índrahūtim (VI, 38, 1) 'the brightest one has drunk from here, now he will carry up our great, splendid appeal to Indra (Indra-call)' (sigmatic aorist subjunctive, from √bhr̥, bhárati 'bring, bear' with preverb út) [326]
  • utá syā́ no dívā matír, áditir ūtyā́ gamat (Lesson 5 text) 'and that our thought by day, Aditi will come with help' (simple aorist subjunctive from √gam, gáchati; compare gachāt) [327]
47.4 The aorist optative.

A rare form of the aorist optative, the precative, adds an -s- before the endings, which when simply consonantal are then lost, as explained in section 18. An example occurred in the Lesson 8 text, repeated below (example 330).

  • távéd uṣo vyúṣi sū́ryasya ca, sám bhakténa gamemahi (Lesson 4 text) 'at your own brightening, O dawn, and the sun's, may we partake of our share' (simple aorist optative of √gam, gáchati; compare gáchemahi) [328]
  • táṃ no devā́ ánu maṃsīrata krátum (Lesson 7 text) 'may the gods commend that wisdom of ours' (sigmatic aorist optative of √man, mányate with preverb ánu) [329]
  • prá suṣṭutí stanáyantaṃ ruvántam, iḷás pátiṃ jaritar nūnám aśyāḥ (Lesson 8 text) 'may a fine hymn of praise now reach (aśyās, = aśyās-t) the roaring thunder-maker, lord of refreshment, O singer' (precative of √aṃś, aśnóti 'reach') [330]
48 The passive.

The passive is formed with the suffix -yá-, and the endings of the middle voice. The middle voice, without the suffix, can also be used with passive sense, as in the seventh verse of the lesson text, ví tirate, and the last two examples below.

  • idám pitré marútām ucyate vácaḥ (I, 114, 6) 'this speech is addressed to the father of the Maruts' (from √vac 'speak') [331] (=187)
  • svā́diṣṭhā dhītír ucáthāya śasyate (I, 110, 1) 'the sweetest thought is sung for praise' (from √śaṃs 'sing praise') [332] (=193)
  • vibhrā́jamāna uṣásām upásthād, rebhaír úd eti anumadyámānaḥ (VII, 63, 3) 'refulgent, from the lap of dawns (the sun) rises, delighted in by the singers' (passive participle from √mad 'delight in' with preverb ánu) [333]
  • evá agnír gótamebhir r̥tā́vā, víprebhir astoṣṭa jātávedāḥ (I, 77, 5) 'so Agni, possessed of Truth, knowing created things, has been praised by the poets, the Gotamas' (sigmatic aorist middle of √stu 'praise') [334]
  • ātmā́ devā́nām bhúvanasya gárbha, yathāvaśáṃ carati devá eṣáḥ, ghóṣā íd asya śr̥ṇvire ná rūpám (X, 168, 4) 'the breath of the gods, the germ of existence, this god goes as he wills, his sounds are heard but his form is not (seen)' (from √śru 'hear', and supplying dadr̥śe from √dr̥ś 'see') [335] (=259)
48.1 The aorist passive.

This passive is found only in the 3rd person singular. It is formed with the augment, and the suffix -i is added to the verbal root, which is usually strengthened. An example occurred at the beginning of the Lesson 4 text: práty u adarśi āyatī́, uchántī duhitā́ diváḥ 'now she has been seen (a-darś-i, from √dr̥ś 'see, appear'), approaching, shining, the daughter of heaven'. The aorist passive is characteristic of poems of early date.

  • ásarji vāṃ sthávirā vedhasā gī́ (I, 181, 7) 'a steadfast song has been sent (from √sr̥j) to you, honourable pair' [336]
  • ádhāyi agnír mā́nuṣīṣu vikṣú (III, 5, 3) 'fire has been placed (from √dhā) among settlements of men' (the adjective mā́nuṣī, feminine of mā́nuṣa in example 309 above) [337]
  • mátsi ápāyi te máhaḥ (I, 175, 1) 'rejoice (Indra), your greatness has been drunk (from √pā, píbati 'drink')' (for the last verse of this poem, concluding the image, see example 279: '... you were like happiness, like water to a thirsty man') [338]
  • áceti ketúr uṣásaḥ purástāt 'the sign of dawn has been seen (from √cit) up ahead' (VII, 67, 2) [339]
  • uṣā́ [uṣā́s] adarśi raśmíbhir vyàktā 'dawn has come into view, made bright with rays' (VII, 77, 3) [340]
  • víśvaṃ jīváṃ támaso nír amoci, máhi jyótiḥ pitŕ̥bhir dattám ā́gāt (X, 107, 1) 'all life has been released (from √muc 'make free' with preverb nís 'out') from darkness, the great light given by the fathers has come' [341]
  • iyáṃ vām asyá mánmana, índrāgnī pūrvyástutiḥ, abhrā́d vr̥ṣṭír ivājani [iva ajani] (VII, 94, 1) 'this praise of old has been produced (from √jan) for you from this one's thought, O Indra and Agni, like rain from the storm-cloud' [342]
49 Primary nominal formation.

The formation of nominal (noun and adjective) stems from verbs in Sanskrit is more regular and clear than in any other Indo-European language. The ancient grammarians therefore set up a body of verbal roots, describing the regular processes by which these roots become nouns and adjectives by means of the addition of suffixes.

The table below gives a sample of three verbal roots, √kr̥ 'do', √jan 'produce', and √man 'think', and the nouns and adjectives that they form by means of four common suffixes: -ana, -as, -tu and -man. The position of the accent often differentiates meaning: for example, kar-aṇá 'active' exists alongside root-accented kár-aṇa 'deed'. The form that the root takes can vary depending on the suffix, as √kr̥ demonstrates: *kr̥-aṇá and *kŕ̥-as are not possible word forms.

    √kr̥ 'do'   √jan 'produce'   √man 'think'
-ana   kar-aṇá 'active'   ján-ana 'producer'   man-ána 'thoughtful'
-as   kár-as 'deed'   ján-as 'race'   mán-as 'understanding'
-tu   krá-tu 'power'   jan