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Rigveda

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By Krishna Maheshwari

Rigveda is a Veda in form of Sukti's, which mean 'beautiful statements'. A collection of very beautifully composed incantations itself is a Sukta. The Sukta is a hymn and is composed of a set of Riks. 'Rik' means - an incantation that contains praises and Veda means knowledge. The knowledge of the Suktas itself is the literal meaning of Rigveda.

The Rigveda Richas comprises mainly of the praises of God. Other than this it also has incantations containing thoughts which are evolved by the sages through their minute observation, contemplation and analysis. Every element of nature was an issue to contemplate upon for the sages. In this process they have randomly even spoken about the mysteries of the universe, which are not only worth reading but also for practical usage.

Rigveda is the oldest Veda and like all of the Vedas, it is organized into three parts:

  • Samhita
  • Brahmana
  • Aranyaka

These mantras are filed with good thoughts and they have the ability to inspire us greatly. The ultimate aim of all these mantras is to purify the human mind through knowledge. Darkness is symbol of lack of knowledge or illusionary living, which makes us devoid of justness and sagacity.

Vedavyaas transmitted the Rig-Veda to Paila, the Yajur-Veda to Vaishampaayana, the Sama-Veda to Jaimini, and the Atharva-Veda to Sumantu. In due course, they transmitted them to their pupils, and thereafter there developed the tradition of transmission by oral tradition from teacher to pupil. In this fashion, there came about a development of various recensions or sakhas of various Vedas. In the Bhagavata and in several Puraanas there is a detailed description of the various sakhas of the Vedas; we have a similar description in Saantiparva (Chapter 342) of the Mahabharata.

Only two shakas of the Rig-Veda, Shakala sakha and Baskala shaka, remain alive out of the 21 which existed at one time.

The Samhita of the Rigveda is generally presented in one of two classification schemes

  1. Mandal, Anuvak, and Sukta (known as the Mandala-Sukta scheme)
  2. Ashtak, Adhyaya, and Sukta (known as the Ashtaka-Adhyaya scheme)

Of these two schemes, the Mandala-Sukta scheme is most popular. According to it, the Rigveda consist of 10 Mandalas. There are Suktas that comprise the Mandalas. In every Sukta there are mantras or Richas. The quantity of Suktas is 1017 and the other additional Suktas account to 11. In this way, the total number is unequal. There seem to be maximum Suktas in the 1st and 10th Mandala and there are very few Suktas in the 2nd Mandala.

The following tables show the no. of Suktas and mantras in every Mandala

MandalaSuktaNumber of Mantras
M11912006
M243429
M362617
M458589
M587727
M675765
M7104841
M81031716
M91141108
M101911754
Total102810,552

Inclusively in 10 Mandalas there are 1028 Suktas which in turn comprise of 10,552 mantras.

The Brahmana of the Rig Veda presents the procedure for yajna and tells how to use the riks for yagnas. There are two Brahmana texts named Kausheetki and Aitereya. In these 2 texts, the primary topics of discussion are the Soma and the Rajasuya Yagya.

There are also two Aranyakas named Aitereya and Kausheetki.

The Aitereya is composed of 5 texts - each known as Aranyaka. The 2nd and 3rd are independent Upanishads. In the 2nd half of the last 4 paragraphs are counted as Vedanta texts and referred to as the Aitereya Upanishad. The Kausheetki Aranyaka has 3 parts-2 parts are filled with rituals and the third is often referred to as the as Kausheetki Upanishad.

First Mandala

(1) MAHO ARNAHA SARASWATI PRA CHETAYATI KETUNA | DHIYO VISHWA VI RAJATI || (3/12, Rigveda)

Only education can help us to understand the knowledge of the universe, which is alike, an ocean. It enlightens everyone's minds.

It is because of education that one can absorb knowledge. The best method to imbibe maximum knowledge is reading and self study and as a result of knowledge, the mind becomes enlightened. We should regularly study books having a lot of knowledge because it is through study only that the mind is filled with good thoughts, that inspire us to seek good company which is equally beneficial in acquiring knowledge. This is the sure way for growth of the mind and also to acquire eternal happiness and peace.

(2) ASMANTSU TATRA CHODYENDRA RAYE RABHSTHAVAHA TU VIDYUMNA YASHSTHAVAHA ||  (9/6, Rigveda)

O radiant! Inspire the diligent and the successful only to yearn for wealth.

Those who are industrious and successful only, earn wealth. Those who try, definitely acquire wealth. One who is having, their aims fixed are the ones who are prosperous, wealthy and successful. They should realise that efforts never go in vain.

(3) ELA SARASWATI MAHI TISRO DEVIRMAYO BHUVAHA BARHIHI SEEDANTVA STRIDHAHA ||  (13/9, Rigveda)

The 3 goddesses Earth, Saraswati and Vani are the givers of happiness who never become less. They are seated on their seats.

One should regularly worship your motherland, the basic culture and the mother tongue because they are givers of happiness. That person who has a humanistic approach towards his land, civilization and Vani realises the greatness and he acquires all the happiness. He should indulge in those types of deeds that make the motherland, the culture and language proud.

(4) GARHAPATYEN SANTYA RITUNA YAGYANIRASI ||  (15/12, Rigveda)

The householders who can do good work only if he remains like seasons.

If a person (householder) moulds himself alike a season and indulges in the Karma of householder then only shall he acquire happiness. One should understand the meaning of seasons and should love his family. As a result he shall benefit monetarily and materially. A householder who practices restraint in taking care of his family only shall acquire family happiness and achieve higher social status.

(5) DEVAN DEVYATE YAGYA  (15/12, Rigveda)

A person who desires godliness should worship gods.

A person who desires godliness should respect scholars. By doing so they can attain some knowledge and can be inspired to do good Karma. By attaining godliness one shall be blessed with happiness and growth.

(6) YUVAKU HI SHACHINAM, YUVAKU SUMATINAM BHUYAM VAJADANNAMA ||  (14/4, Rigveda)

May all our energies become one and may all the good thoughts come together and may we become the greatest amongst the mighty.

Scholars who are intelligent, valiant who are brave, and businessman who donate food, if come together and have no difference of opinion then the nation shall grow.

The intelligent on the basis of their knowledge shall become mighty and great as a result of the fusion of food and energy.

(7) YASMADRUTE NA SIDDHYATI YAGYO VIPASHRIT SHRANA SA DHINAM YOGAMINVATI ||  (18/7, Rigveda)

May that divine knowledgeable person inspire us without whose inspiration the knowledgeable does not attain complete knowledge.

Without the blessings of the knowledgeable even the knowledgeable shall cease to attain complete knowledge. It is knowledge only that enlightens our mind. It is well known that, the president of the league of scholars himself is very knowledgeable and it is this authenticity which proves that the knowledgeable has attained total knowledge.

Only scholars can decide whether the knowledgeable has imbibed complete knowledge or no.

(8) DATA RADHANSI SHUMBHATI |  (22/8, Rigveda)

The sun, the giver of all Siddhis (powers) is rising. The rising sun is the giver of Energy, heat and is the giver of all powers. In the same way you also alike the rising sun (Sun God) give all equal knowledge and inspiration by which we benefit. Alike the energy and heat of the sun which beneficial, you also can realise the importance and be blessed by happiness and prosperity.

(9) SADYO DASHUSHE KSHARASI  (27/6, Rigveda)

You bless the donor instantly with wealth.

One who donates definitely gets something or the other in return. By imparting knowledge there is a rise in knowledge. So one definitely benefits by donation. Only after giving does the feeling of gaining something come to the mind, By performing Karma we do Shram Dan meaning donation of hard work. The benefits or returns of hard work are relative to the good or bad deeds performed, which one shall definitely gain sooner or later.

(10) TVAMAGNA URUSHANSAAYA VAGHATE SPARHA YAD REKNAHA PARAMAM VANOSHITAT ||  (31/14, Rigveda)

You give good and anticipated wealth to those who worship, praise you with devotion.

When a person chooses a deed and performs if with devotion, he as a result of that benefits accordingly. He who yearns with mind and soul for his aim or goal, attains totality and attains his objective. In true worship a good objective is priorly determined and accordingly good Karma is performed to result in its fruits.

(11) SA TVAM NOM ADYE SUMANA EHAVITA BHAVA VAJESHUSANTYA |  (36/2, Rigveda)

May you be pleased with us and protect us. The protector himself should be of good nature and disposition otherwise, he would end up as the destructor. One should always remain in the company of people that facilitate in making the mind pure and protect the goods thoughts in our mind, those who help us to be neutral in all states of happiness or pain.

Those who do not help us in this way can never be our protectors. Let him be anyone but he should be a person of good intellects and thought. Then only shall one be blessed with happiness, peace and be successful.

(12) MAHASTE SATO VI CHARANTYARCHAYO DIVI SPRISHANTI MAHAVAHA ||  (36/3, Rigveda)

Your flames are spreading which are great and are like embodiments of truths. Your rays are reaching the sky.

It is the inherent characteristic of fire to throw its flames and illuminate all the four directions as far as possible. Those great souls who tread on the path of truth become famous and successful. Those who owe allegiance towards truth are called great and exalted souls. Even though we may try to hide the truth, it cannot be concealed. It destroys the darkness of untruth and comes into light sooner or later.

(13) ABHUDU PARAMETAVE PANTH RITASYA SADHUYA|   (46/11, Rigveda)

One can emancipate oneself only by treading on the path of truth.

Satya Yagya basically means treading on the path of truth. It is by this only that one can be liberated from pain and misery and this path is undoubtedly the best path.

One should never fear unhappiness because unhappiness is the stepping stone to happiness, One shall have to undergo suffering to reach truth. That is why it is said that truth is eternally victorious.

(14) VI YA SRUJATI SAMANAM VYARTHINAHA PADAM NA VETVODATI ||  (48/6, Rigveda)

The morning encourages and inspires scholars to work and those who desire wealth. But the morning is not stationary or static. The morning is the giver of energy. Relatively one gets more success that expected. Scholar and thinkers get up early in the morning and contemplate. Even those who desire wealth wake up early and get to work, It is the giver of life and light.

(15) ANARVANAM SHLOKMA ROHASE DIVI ||  (51/12 Rigveda)

Indra! You reside in heaven because of your success.

Indra is the lord of the sky and controls the clouds, rains. He through rains makes the earth green and beautiful. It is because of his Karmas that Indra dwells in heaven. That is why we should also work in such a way as to attain eternal name and fame. It is this only that shall lead to the well being of all.

(16) ASAMAM KSHATRAMASAMA MANISHA PRA SOMPA APSA SANTU NEME |  (54/8, Rigveda)

O Indra! Your valiance is incomparable and your intelligence is second to none. These souls who drink Soma Rasa become prosperous because of their deeds.

There is no might as the intelligence. Those who have intelligence they bring that quality into use and strive incessantly to get the anticipated. They only possess might, importance and capabilities.

(17) DHANASPRITMUKATYAM VISHWACHARSHANIM TOKAM PUSHYEM TANAYAM SHATAM HIMAHA ||  (64/14, Rigveda)

Those people who are wealthy and do good to all because of their Karmas, are praised. May they be blessed with sons and grandsons.

May all nurture their children and grand children properly and be blessed with 100 years of healthy life.

(18) RITASYA DEVA, ANUVRATA GURBHUVAT PARISHTIRDYON BHUM  (65/2, Rigveda)

The gods adhered to all types of penances such as truth and fulfillment of other vows. It is because of their constant efforts that earth became happy as the heaven.

If we all perform of all our duties meticulously then we are surely on the path of prosperity.

(19) RISHIRNA STHUBHVA, VIKSHU PRASHASTO VAJI NA PRITO VAYO DADHATI ||  (66/2, Rigveda)

The leader sacrifices his life for the well being of all people. The true leader is he who vanquishes his enemies and always remains happy, is respected by one and all, and who sacrifices his life for the welfare of all his followers.

(20) VASTUBHYAM DASHAD, YO VA TE SHIKSHAT CHIKITVAN RAYIM DAYASVA |   (68/3, Rigveda)

O Fire! He who offers the right oblation and attains knowledge from you, you reward him wealth accordingly.

Fire is the one who inspires and protects truth. He who acquires humbleness and knowledge from him becomes wealthy according to merit. Without knowledge's humans are ignorant and devoid of wisdom. By acquiring knowledge he becomes desirous of something and consequently achieves the fruits and benefits of that.

(21) UPAKSHETI HITMITRO NA RAJA |  (73/3, Rigveda)

A person only having trust worthy friend's lives and dwells in happiness on this earth, one should make good people their friends. One, who keeps good friends, benefits and dwells in peace.

(22) BHADRAM KARNEBHIHI SHRUNUYAM DEVA BHADRAM PASHYAMAKSHAR BHIYAJATRAHA STHIRAI RANGAISTUSHTUVASASTANU BHIRVYASHEM DEVHITAM YADAYUHU ||  (89/8, Rigveda)

O Lord! May we listen to good by our ears, may we see good by our eyes, may be have healthy bodies and praise you, and be blessed with long life.

By doing so only can one benefit. Those who detach themselves from bad and yearn for the good of gods and scholars for life only shall be blessed.

(23) JEEVATAVE PRATARAM SADHYA DHIYOAGNE SAKHYE MARISHAMA VAYAM TAVA  (94/4, Rigveda)

O Agni! May we offer oblation to you, please make our minds sharp and good so that we may be blessed with good long life, may we benefit by your worship and be devoid of sorrow and pain.

All the work done is only possible because of our sharp intellect and relentless Karma. A healthy body results in happiness and is primary to everything else.

(24) TAMIT PRICHCHANTI NA SMO VI PRICHCHATI SWENEVA DHEERO MANASAMA YADAGRABHEET| NA MRISHYATE PRATHAMAM NAPAR VACHOASYA RITYA SACHATE APRADRIPITAHA||  (145/2, Rigveda)

Only Scholars question Agni because others cannot do so. Patient people who are working incessantly and have perseverance perform the work before itself and do not defer things because they are most influenced by others remarks. A person devoid of ego and pride acquires the strength of Agni.

Only the person having firm conviction and iron volition can attain strength and energy. At no stage of Karma does he ever hesitate.

(25) AGNE TVAM PARYA NAVYO ASMAN TSVASTIBHIRATI DURGANI VISHWA ||  (189/2, Rigveda)

O Agni! You are absolutely new, please eliminate all our evil sins committed on the path of welfare and good.

It states that one can be liberated from all sins only by treading on the path of good. Those who do so keep the good of others as the first priority and consequently free themselves from sorrow and pain.

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