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Daily वे॑द Quote #17 द॑स्यवेवृ॑क 10/27/2022 (Thu) 12:58:33 ID:66d64e No. 2169
शतं॑ श्वेता॑स उक्ष॑णः। दिवि॑ ता॑रो न॑ रोचन्ते। मह्ना॑ द॑वं न॑ तस्तभुः॥ —ऋग्वेद॑ 8.55.2 . Translation: "A hundred white oxen shine like stars in the Heavens, as if holding up the Heavens with their might." . Word-by-word: शत॑म् < शत॑ "hundred", श्वेता॑सस् < श्व॑त "white", उक्ष॑णस् < उक्ष॑न् "ox", दिवि॑ < दि॑व् "Heavens", ता॑रो < स्तृ॑ "star", न॑ "like", रोचन्ते < रुच् "shine", मह्ना॑ < मह॑न् "might", द॑वम् < दि॑व् "Heavens", न॑ "like", तस्तभुस् < स्तम्भ् "hold up". . Meter: गायत्र॑ . Interpretation: Like yesterday's verse, today's is from a दानस्तुति॑. This five-verse hymn (पञ्चर्च॑) was written by a group of ऐन्द्र॑ (इ॑न्द्र-worshiping) ऋ॑षिs known as the वालखिल्य॑s, who were patronized and given many presents by the royal war-heroes of northwestern India. . In this hymn, the वालखिल्य॑s are expressing their gratitude to the king द॑स्यवेवृ॑क (Wolf-to-the-द॑स्यु), son of पूत॑क्रता, for a very generous gift indeed: a hundred oxen, a hundred bamboos, a hundred dogs, a hundred tanned skins, a hundred tufts of goosegrass, and four hundred red horses. (The next hymn also mentions a hundred donkeys, a hundred sheep, a hundred slaves, and a hundred wreaths.) This verse in particular celebrates the strength and the bright color of the oxen. . Hymns like this are good evidence for the important role played by ब्राह्मण॑s in the earliest stages of आ॑र्य society, serving as bards who praised and immortalized the great conquests of mighty kings, and were given gifts in return for their poetic genius. Well-deserved gifts!—for over three millennia later, the name of द॑स्यवेवृ॑क is still known and honored. . Why I like this verse: For several reasons. I'm particularly fond of the वालखिल्य॑s, who wrote some of the most elegant and inspiring poetry of the ऋग्वेद॑, and even a simple दानस्तुति॑ like this is full of beautiful metaphors with euphonic use of छ॑न्दस्/meter. मह्ना॑ द॑वं न॑ तस्तभुः is probably my favorite पा॑द/line of the entire ऋग्वेद॑, for its rhythm and content both. . Another interesting thing about this verse is that every word but दि॑व् has a clear English cognate: शत॑ ~ "hundred", श्व॑त ~ "white", उक्ष॑न् "ox", स्तृ॑ ~ "star", न॑ "not", रुच् ~ "light", मह॑न् ~ "might", स्तम्भ् ~ "staff". . Interesting Vedic grammar: Like with yesterday's verse, the Vedic बहुवचन/plural is used here: श्वेता॑सस् rather than श्वेता॑स्. . Notice that दिवि॑ gets the उदात्त/accent on the second syllable but दि॑वम् on the first. This is because दिवि॑ is in the सप्तमी/locative, whose ending begins with a vowel (-इ) and is considered one of the "weakest cases".

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