The Veda four aspects, of which the Ṛgveda is first. As per the hoary tradition, it was the sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana who gathered all the extant Vedic mantras of his times and divided them into four groups, thereby acquiring the honorific, ‘Vedavyāsa,’ or ‘Vyāsa’. This division was necessitated by the practical needs of the time. All the mantras used by the priest hotā to invite the various deities to a sacrifice, were collected together and collectively called the Ṛgveda. Each of its mantras are known as a ‘ṛc’ or ‘ṛk’.
Ṛgveda is in the form of Sukta-s, which mean 'beautiful statements'. A collection of beautifully composed ṛk-s itself is a Sukta. Ṛk refers to an mantras that 'praises' and Veda means 'knowledge'. The knowledge of the Suktas itself is the literal meaning of Ṛgveda. The Ṛgveda ṛks mostly praise God -- they are filed with good thoughts and have the ability to inspire. 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.
The Ṛgveda is considered to be both the first scripture and a authentic, brief and poetic record of life of contemporary society.
Vedavyaas transmitted the Ṛgveda 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 Mahabharata. The Vedic mantras were handed down by oral tradition. What the teacher would chant, the student had to attentively listen and repeat. Hence the Vedas have come to be known as ‘Śruti’ also. The Vedic ṛṣis had evolved a system of orally teaching and learning these mantras so that they could be preserved flawlessly, especially the svaras or intonations, and transmitted to the posterity. As a result, there are pundits today that are capable of reciting the entire Ṛgveda faultlessly.
Only two shakas of the Ṛgveda, Shakala sakha and Baskala shaka, remain alive out of the 21 which existed at one time.
Date of the Ṛgveda
The task of fixing a definite date or period for the Ṛgveda or any of the ancient scriptures is as arduous as mapping the movement of a bird after it has settled down in its nest! Some of the dates suggested by various scholars follow:
|Scholar||Dating of Ṛgveda|
|S. Srikanthasastri||10,000 B.C.|
|S. V. Venkateshvara||10,000 B.C.|
|B. G. Tilak||6,000 B.C.|
|Hermann Jacobi||4,500 B.C.|
|Haug M||2,400 B.C.|
|Winternitz, Moriz||2,000 B.C.|
Most of these scholars have based their research findings wholly or primarily on assumptions that cannot be be validated. These include things like the evolution of the language, astronomical data, noticeable changes in sociopolitical systems in the text of the Ṛgveda. Hence none of these dates can be averred to be true beyond reasonable doubt.
Tradition states that the Veda are a compilation of knowledge that pre-existed it. This knowledge was revealed by the Creator at the beginning of each cycle of Creation to many enlightened rishis. Hence dating the text is not a meaningful exercise. Serious and devoted study is more profitable than dry polemical discussions which lead to nowhere.
Organization of the Ṛgveda
Each of the four Vedas has again been subdivided internally into two parts:
- Samhitā (also referred to as mantra)
More often, this division is raised to four, adding two more sections:
In fact, the word ‘Veda’ is often used to indicate the samhitā portion. Thus, Ṛgveda is often used to refer to the Ṛgveda-samhitā, the other three being known by their specific names. The samhitā of the Ṛgveda is generally presented in one of two classification schemes
- Mandal, Anuvak and Sukta (known as the Mandala-Sukta scheme)
- Ashtak, Adhyaya and Sukta (known as the Ashtaka-Adhyaya scheme)
The Brāhmaṇas of the Ṛgveda presents the procedure for yajna and instructs how to use the ṛk-s for yagnas. Only two of the Brahmana texts (Kausheetki and Aitereya) are available today. In these 2 texts, the primary topics of discussion are the Soma and the Rajasuya Yagya.
Only two of the āraṇyakas are availbale today: the Aitereya and Kausitaki (also known as Sāhkhāyana).
The Aitereya itself is composed of 5 texts - each known as an individual āraṇyaka. The 2nd and 3rd are also considered independent Upanishads. In the 2nd book, the last four chapters are considered to be a Vedantic text 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.
Organization of Ṛgveda Samhitā
Ancient tradition has divided the Ṛgveda samhitā in two different ways. They are:
- Aṣtaka method - It has been designed to facilitate easy memorization by apportioning more or less equal number of mantras to each section.
- Mandala method - In this method, the subject is more important.
Of these two schemes, the Mandala-Sukta scheme is most popular. According to it, the Ṛgveda consist of 10 Mandalas. There are suktas that comprise the Mandalas. In every sukta there are multiple mantras or ṛks. There are 1,017 suktas and 11 additional suktas. In this way, the total number is unequal between the two recensions. The most suktas are in the 1st and 10th Mandala and there are very few Suktas in the 2nd Mandala.
The following table give the details of both the methods:
Śākhās or Branches
Since the Vedic mantras were continually revealed to the great sages in their mystical states and since they had to be kept in memory for transmitting them orally to the next generation, a saturation point was fast approaching, endangering the storing and transmission of Vedic wisdom. Realizing this, Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana or Vedavyāsa divided the extant material into four groups and taught them to his four chief disciples:
However, each of these four disciples had their own disciples and some minor alterations and adjustments were made by them while teaching the Veda. This was done mostly by rearrangement of the mantras to suit their local or ritualistic needs. Such modified forms came to be known as śākhās.
Branches of Ṛgveda
Though the Ṛgveda is said to have had 21 śākhās, only five have survived. They are:
Obviously these have derived their nomenclatures from the sages of those names such as Śākala and Bāṣkala. These five śākhās got further sub-divided by the same process. The Visnu-purāna declares that the ṛṣi Śākala created five more śākhās and gave them to his five disciples:
This process was adopted by the teachers of the other three Vedas also.
Ṛṣi or Sages
The word ṛṣi has been derived from the root ṛṣ which has two meanings:
When the sages were performing severe austerities to please īśvara or God and get spiritual wisdom, he appeared before them. This indicates movement on his part and gave that knowledge which they were seeking in the form of Vedic mantras. Hence they became ‘ṛṣis’.
A ṛṣi need not always be the mantra-draṣṭā, the original seer of the mantra. This title is offered to all those who are:
- One who rediscovered a mantra
- One who expounded its meaning and significance
- One who used it first in a Vedic sacrifice
According to the ancient tradition, no Vedic mantra should be recited without first uttering the name of the ṛṣi to whom it was revealed, the chandas or the meter in which it is composed, and the deity or god to whom it is addressed. The number of the ṛṣis of the Ṛgveda is very large. There are nearly thirty women among them, such as:
Classification of Sages
The ancient commentators and compilers of subsidiary Vedic treatises sometimes classify these ṛṣis into various groups. They are:
- Śatarcins - These sages are the gurus to whom a hundred ṛks or more were revealed. They can be further classified as:
- Mahāsuktas - propagators of longer or bigger or more important suktas
- Mādhyamas - the middlings who got less ṛks
- Kṣudrasuktas - propagators of small suktas
- Maharṣis - These gurus are the great ṛṣis. They can be further classified as:
- Śrutarṣis - famous ṛṣis
- Rṣīkas - sons of the ṛṣis
- Ṛṣis - sages of second grade, mostly the sons of the maharṣis
Successor of Kulas
Descendants of these seven are many great sages who became very well-known in later literature include:
Devatās or Deities
As per the tradition of chanting the Vedic mantras, especially the ones from the Ṛgveda, a knowledge of the ṛṣi, the devatā and the chandas is absolutely necessary. Most of the suktas of the Ṛgveda are hymns of prayer addressed to the various deities. There are statements in the Ṛgveda itself that Truth or God is one and all these devatās are its various aspects.
These deities are generally enumerated as thirty-three:
- Eight Vasus
- Eleven Rudras
- Twelve Adityas
Quite a few other deities also find an important place. They are:
There are also several female deities like:
Many inanimate objects like grinding stone, qualities like faith and emotions like anger have also been deified and described. These deities are conscious entities with their own individuality and have the power to supervise certain aspects of the universe. They are usually classified into three groups depending on their areas of operation.
Deities of Earth
The devas of pṛthvī or earth are:
Deities of Intermediary space
Those operating in the antarikṣa or intermediary space are:
Deities of Heavenly region
The Ṛgveda is not only the oldest scripture in the world, but also a literary masterpiece. The entire work is in verse. There are a total of fifteen meters used of which seven are common. Of these seven, only three have been used extensively, they are:
The selection of appropriate words and the ease with which they have been used are admired. Since large compound words have been totally avoided, the verses are easy to comprehend. Description of the physical beauty of the Maruts and the goddess Uṣas  is quite enchanting. Another verse on the same goddess also reveals her ‘cruel’ nature since she ‘cuts away’ the lives of human beings just as 'the daughter of a hunter cuts off the wings of a captured bird so that it can fly no more'.
The seven verses in the second maṇḍala describe the twin deities, the Āśvins, in great detail with several similes like 'two great charioteers' or 'two beautiful women who are always together' or the 'two wheels of a chariot'. The prayer addressed to them is for long life, strength and protection. There are several Samvādasuktas, suktas dealing with the conversations between Pururava and Urvaśī, Yama and Yarn. Agastya and Lopāmudrā, Viśvāmitra and Nadīs Agni and the gods. There is also an interesting soliloquy of a gambler unburdening his piteous condition. The Urvaśī-Pururava samvāda reveals the deep mutual love and attachment a married couple possess for each other.
The Yama-yamī-samvāda reflects the glory of mature spiritual wisdom and its victory over carnal passions. The Agastya-Lopāmudrā-samvāda depicts the duty of a householder to have worthy offspring. In the Viśvāmitra-nadī-sariivāda, Viśvāmitra who is traveling with the king Sudāsa and others prays to the river Vipāt and Śutudrī to make way by lessening their flow. The rivers, being pleased with his prayer oblige him by doing it. In the Agni-devatā-samvāda, the gods discover Agni hiding in waters and pray to him to return, to take up once again his duties of carrying the havis to them.
There are also several other suktas wherein sentiments such as heroism or beauties of nature or humility and devotion to God or war-scenes have been described. All these may be considered as precursors to the later theories about the navarasas found in the works now known as Alañkāraśāstra.
The Sanskrit language of the Vedas in general and of the Ṛgveda in particular is highly archaic and arcane. Without the help of ancient commentaries it is difficult to decipher them. The Nighantu and its commentary are the earliest available sources of interpretation of the Vedic names and concepts. Nirukta refers to some very ancient schools of Vedic interpretation such as :
- Adhi-daivatapaddhati - a system that recognizes the presiding deity behind even physical objects
- Ākhyāna-samayapaddhati - inquiring into the historical aspects and fixing periods of time, taking the ākhyānas or stories as the basis
- Yājñikapaddhati - interpretation according to the needs of a yajña or sacrifice
- Naidānapaddhati - attempts to discover a basic or permanent meaning behind the Vedic words
- Vaiyākaraṇapaddhati - the school of interpretation according to grammar
Commentary by Skanda-Svāmi
The earliest commentary on the Ṛgveda available now is that of Skanda-svāmi. He belonged to the deśa or the country Valabhī. His father was Bhartṛdhruva. His disciple was Harisvāmi who has written a commentary on the Satapatha Brāhmana of the Śukla Yajurveda. His available commentary is incomplete.
Commentary by Veñkaṭamādhava
Veñkaṭamādhava is an another author whose commentary on the whole of the Ṛgveda is available. He belonged to the Kauśikagotra and was the son of Veṅkaṭārya and Sundarī. His commentary is very brief. It has been printed also.
Commentary by Madhvācārya
Madhvācārya lived in A. D. 1238-1317. He is also known as Ānandatīrtha. He has written a commentary in verse on the first forty suktas. It is generally known as the Rgbhāsya. Madhvācārya's commentary deals with the mantras from three different angles and tries to show that the entire Veda teaches about Nārāyaṇa.
Jayatīrtha has written a gloss on it called Sambandhadīpikā.
Commentary by Sāyaṇācārya
The greatest of all the commentators on the Ṛgveda is Sāyaṇācārya who has the unique distinction of having composed bhāṣyas or commentaries on all the four Vedas. He was the second son of Māyaṇa and Srīmatī. He belonged to the Bhāradvāja-gotra. The renowned monk Vidyāraṇya was his elder brother and Bhoganātha was the younger one. All the three brothers had served the empire as prime-ministers and ministers. He has composed commentaries not only on the Samhitās of the Vedas but also on the Brāhmaṇas and the Araṇyakas.
For a correct understanding of the Vedas a thorough knowledge of the six Vedāṅgas and the Purvamīmānsā system based on the Sutras of Jaimini along with the bhāṣya of Sabarasvāmin is absolutely necessary. To be brought up in the sampradāya is equally important. Sāyaṇa had the advantage of both. Hence his commentaries should be considered as the most authoritative in every sense of the term.
During the 18th and the 19th centuries, quite a few European scholars have contributed to the Vedic Studies. These scholars are:
- Bloomfield - A. D. 1855-1928
- Grassman - A. D. 1809-1877
- Kaegi - A. D. 1849-1925
- Keith - A. D. 1879-1944
- Ludwig - A. D. 1832- 1912
- Max Muller - A. D. 1823-1900
- Macdonell - A. D. 1854-1930
- Muir - A. D. 1810-1882
- Wilson - A.D. 1786-1860
The conclusions drawn by these scholars are often off the mark, since they were not grounded in ‘sampradāya,’ the all-important ancient tradition transmitted meticulously from generation to generation and provides context and support in interpretation & understanding. There are also enough grounds of suspicion to conclude that these scholars were motivated more to prove the superiority of Christianity over Hinduism than to study, understand and interpret the Vedas.
Philosophy of the Ṛgveda
The greatness of religion lies in the fact that its value system at the core has remained intact in spite of centuries of vicissitudes wrought about by external aggression or internal upheavals. If Vedānta is the pinnacle of all the philosophical systems, the Ṛgveda is it's mother-root. Almost all the ideas found later in the Upaniṣads and allied scriptures are already there in the Ṛgveda in a seed form, though not in one place.
Ṛgveda praises several gods like Agni, Indra, Maruts and others. However, they are not, like the Greek gods, separate and independent individuals in conflict with one another. They are all different aspects or facets of one and the same Supreme Being which has been declared in several places.
There is a clear reference to God the Supreme in several places even though different appellations have been used. They are, for instance:
- Ātmā - Self
- Chāyā - light
- Deva - Being of light
- Hiraṇyagarbha - Golden Egg
- Ka - Prajāpati
- Pitā - Father
- Puruṣa - Being
- Savitā - Sun, Creator
- Tvaṣtā - one who shapes
- Vidhātā - Giver
- Viśvakarmā - Creator of the world
Indra, Agni and Varuṇa have often been praised as the Supreme Lord. God alone existed before creation and he is the creator, protector and ruler of this world is clearly mentioned in several mantras. Regarding the mode of creation, what is described in the three famous suktas is almost the same as the one found in the Upanisads. These Suktas are:
God is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. He does it as per his own free will. He is both the upādāna or the material cause and the nimitta or the efficient cause. He is not only immanent in the world because he has created it out of himself, but also transcendent. Hence, he himself is everything he has created.
Qualities of God as per Ṛgveda
The Ṛgveda also describes the several infinitely good and great qualities of God like:
- God possess many attributes including:
- He is the greatest friend and protector of his devotees.
- He is very generous and fulfills all their desires.
- He is supremely adorable.
Identity of Jiva as per Ṛgveda
The desire to attain the world of the immortal gods show that the sages believed in an eternal soul and an eternal world. The aim of life is to attain God. What keeps the human beings away from him is pāpa or sin, evil ways of living. Hence one should pray to him for forgiveness, for being freed from sins and be guided on the path of righteousness. The spiritual disciplines that lead the aspirants to him are:
- Faith in him as the only support of life
- Prayer to him for being guided in the path of truth
- Prayer for spiritual wisdom before old-age comes
- Prayer for serving the Lord always
- Appeal for eternal protection
- Devotion as the best means
- Intense longing to see him
Concept of Moksa as per Ṛgveda
The concept of moksa or liberation as described in the Upaniṣads is not found here in that form. Breaking up of the physical body, after death and it's being merged in the five elements thereby freeing the jīva. It has been mentioned. The deity Agni leads the jīva by the path of the gods to the world of pitṛs ruled by Yama, wherein he lives happily.
Society of the Rgvedic Times
The society of those times, as seen through the eyes of the Ṛgveda, was a virile and dynamic society. Its basic spirit was ṛta, the cosmic law and order, reflected in social and personal life. This made the people forge a strong relationship with the Vedic deities (i.e., Indra, Agni, Varuṇa and others), especially through the widely practice of system of yajñas.
Temples may or may not have existed at that time. Scholars are inclined to think that group prayers might have existed based on one mantra in the Ṛgveda,. The sages of the Ṛgveda had realized the importance of life and it afforded man a great opportunity for a glorious life after death, if they lived life properly. They never despised life. Hence they prayed for a strong body, pure sense-organs and long life. At the same time, they also recognized the importance of moral and ethical values in personal and social life.
An important aspect of life in this world is earning wealth by right means and sharing the good things of life with others, especially the less fortunate ones, through dāna or giving gifts. Dāna was valued highly and hence hailed profusely. Marriage was considered as a sanskāra or sacrament and a woman had an honorable place in the family, not only as wife but also as mother. The Vivāhasukta gives an idea of the Vedic concept of marriage. Woman, under certain circumstances, had the freedom to choose her husband and a widow could remarry, the groom being the younger brother of her husband.
Even by the time of the Ṛgveda, sahagamana was a symbolical ritual. Monogamy and polygamy were both common. Father was the head of the family. Couples wanted male off spring to continue the family line but did not look down upon daughters. Both cremation and burial existed as the modes of disposal of the dead.
The Vedic society had attained a high degree of civilization and culture. People lived in villages and towns, often protected by forts. Though agriculture and dairy farming were the main occupations, other vocations like carpentry, smithy, medical profession, weaving, building ships, and leather work were also practiced. Good methods of irrigation were known to the farmers.
With regards to food, clothing, jewels, decorative materials, weapons of war, animals like cows, horses and elephants, quite a high standard had been achieved. Drinking of the soma juice in sacrifices was highly eulogized. Eating of meat was quite common. Music and dance were well- known means of entertainment. References to drinking wine and gambling, to thieves and robbers as also a few diseases are also there, from which protection was sought, from the gods. Great kings and heroes, and also their valiant deeds, especially in battles and wars, find mention in quite a few places.
The division of the society into the four varṇas are discussed:
The brāhmaṇas wielded great influence on the whole society by their intellectual and spiritual power. On the whole, it can be said that Ṛgvedic society had attained a high degree of civilization and culture.
(1) MAHO ARNAHA SARASWATI PRA CHETAYATI KETUNA | DHIYO VISHWA VI RAJATI || (3/12, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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 Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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.
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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, Ṛgveda )
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.
- Hotā means ‘one who calls upon’.
- Shantiparva, Chapter 342 of the Mahabharata
- Śruti means ‘what is beard'.
- Ṛṣis means sages.
- Visnu-purāna 3.4.21, 22
- Rṣis are the sages to whom God Himself came and granted that knowledge.
- Kulas means vanśas or lineages.
- Rṣi means sage
- Devatā means deity.
- Chandas means meter.
- Ṛgveda 164.46; 7.58.2; 10.114.5
- Ṛgveda 5.54.11
- Ṛgveda 1.92.4
- Ṛgveda 1.92.10
- Ṛgveda 2.39.2-7
- Ṛgveda 10.95
- Ṛgveda 10.10
- Ṛgveda 1.179
- Ṛgveda rivers, 3.33
- Ṛgveda 10.51
- Ṛgveda 10.34
- It is the river Beas and Sutlej.
- Havis means oblations.
- Navrasas means nine sentiments.
- Nighantu is a Vedic dictionary of hoary antiquity.
- It is the Nirukta of Yāska (800 B. C.)
- Skanda-svāmi lived in circa A. D. 630.
- He lived in 11th century A. D.
- Kauśikagotra means lineage.
- Jayatīrtha means 14th century A. D.
- Sāyaṇācārya lived in A. D. 1315- 1387.
- Vidyāraṇya was the founder of the famous Vijayanagara empire.
- Bhoganātha was another great scholar.
- Sabarasvāmin lived in circa 100 B. C.
- Sampradāya is an ancient and continuous tradition, handed down from the guru to the disciple.
- The number of mantras devoted to Indra and Agni are the maximum in this list.
- Ṛgveda 1.164.46; 7.58.2; 10.114.5
- Ṛgveda 1.115.1
- Ṛgveda 5.44.6
- Ṛgveda 10.121
- Ṛgveda 10.221.1
- Ṛgveda 10.121
- Ṛgveda 10.81.1
- Ṛgveda 10.90.2
- Ṛgveda 3.62.10
- Ṛgveda 3.55.19
- Ṛgveda 10.123
- Ṛgveda 10.82.3
- Ṛgveda 10.82.2
- Ṛgveda 10.221.1-4; 10.82.1-6; 10.129
- Ṛgveda 10.221.1-4
- Ṛgveda 10.90
- Ṛgveda 10.129
- Ṛgveda 10.81.1; 10.5.7; 10.82.1
- Ṛgveda 3.59.1; 1.24.6
- Ṛgveda 8.93.11
- Ṛgveda 6.51.2
- Ṛgveda 6.47.15
- Ṛgveda 8.81.51
- Ṛgveda 1.13.10
- Ṛgveda 1.67.34
- Ṛgveda 6.21.10
- Ṛgveda 1.75.4; 6.7.7
- Ṛgveda 10.80.1
- Ṛgveda 2.35.12
- Pitṛloka, the world of manes; Ṛgveda 10.14
- Ṛgveda 10.16
- Ṛgveda 6.31.4
- Ṛgveda 1.24.14
- Ṛgveda 8.45.34; 5.82.5
- Ṛgveda 8.45.20
- Ṛgveda 10.133.6
- Ṛgveda 1.71.10
- Ṛgveda 6.45.9
- Ṛgveda 8.1.13; 8.61.17
- Ṛgveda 8.70.3
- Ṛgveda 6.3.4
- These five elements are earth, water, fire, air and ether.
- Jīva means soul.
- Pitṛs means manes.
- Ṛgveda 1.80.9
- Ṛgveda 1.8.98; 3.53.18; 2.21.6
- Ṛgveda 9.73.1; 9.73.6; 8.31.13
- Ṛgveda 5.24.2; 2.21.6; 3.14.6
- Ṛgveda 10.107.2; 10.117.3, 4
- Ṛgveda 10.85.27, 44
- Ṛgveda 10.85
- Ṛgveda 10.27.12
- Ṛgveda 10.40.2
- Sahagamana means a ritual in which a widow dying on the funeral pyre of her dead husband.
- Contrary to the opinions expressed by the Western writers of the colonial era that Vedic society was uncivilized
- Ṛgveda 1.114.1; 7.3.7
- Ṛgveda 9.112.1
- Ṛgveda 9.112.2
- Ṛgveda 9.112.1
- Ṛgveda 6.9.2
- Ṛgveda 10.101.2
- Ṛgveda 7.63.1
- Ṛgveda 3.45.3; 7.49.2
- Ṛgveda 10.18.3
- Significant portions of this article are reproduced (w/ permission) from the The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore