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Daily वे॑द Quote #23: 2022 November 2 द॑स्यवेवृ॑क 11/02/2022 (Wed) 02:26:52 ID:60654f No. 2195
अहं॑ वदामि ने॑त्तुव॑म्। सभा॑याम॑ह त्वं॑ व॑द। म॑मे॑द॑सस्त्वं॑ के॑वलः। ना॑न्या॑सां कीर्त॑याश्चन॑॥ —अथर्ववेद॑ 7.38.4 . (This is the metrically restored version. The सं॑हिता has a deficient syllable with ने॑त्त्व॑म्.) . Translation: "I am speaking, not you. In the assembly, surely, speak! May you be mine alone. May you not even mention other (women)." . Word-by-word: अह॑म् "I", वदामि < वद् "speak", न॑ "not", इ॑त् "indeed", तुव॑म् < त्व॑म् "you", सभा॑याम् < सभा॑ "assembly", अ॑ह "surely", त्व॑म् "you", व॑द < वद् "speak", म॑म < अह॑म् "I", इ॑त् "indeed", अ॑सस् < अस् "be", त्व॑म् "you", के॑वलस् < के॑वल "alone", न॑ "not", अन्या॑साम् < अन्य॑ "other", कीर्त॑यास् < कीर्त् "mention" , चन॑ "even". . Meter: अनुष्टु॑भ् . Context: This verse comes from an अथर्ववेद॑ hymn for a plant that, when bound to the head of a woman, will enable her to win a man's love. There are many such hymns in the अथर्ववेद॑, magical spells to make a man choose a woman over all of her competitors. . An interesting thing about this verse is the second line. I first encountered it when a Hindu feminist used it to try proving that women were leaders of the Vedic political assembly, but this verse actually shows the exact opposite of that: "In the assembly you, the man, will be the one speaking, but I, the woman, am speaking now," implying that women did not lead the assembly. . The last line of the verse should not be interpreted as some sort of Vedic injunction on polygyny, which of course was a common and honored practice among the Vedic nobility. This is merely a spell expressing the desire of a woman, just as there are other hymns expressing similar possessiveness over the husband and explicitly mentioning co-wives. . Interesting Vedic grammar: अ॑सस् ("may you be") is a conjugation called the "conjunctive" not normally found in Classical Sanskrit. It is formed by taking the लुङ्/aorist (a past tense), in this case आ॑सस्, and removing the अ-/augment at the beginning, giving it an irrealis aspect (i.e. something didn't happen, but one wishes for it to happen). But sometimes it is used identically to the aorist. . Note also that in general the grammar of the अथर्ववेद॑ is quite anomalous in many places (one might argue "incorrect"), including in the accents. Main verbs are normally unaccented in Sanskrit; really there's no reason why this verse should have व॑द, अ॑सस्, कीर्त॑यास् instead of वद, असस्, कीर्तयास्.

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