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Daily वे॑द Quote #46: 2022 November 25 द॑स्यवेवृ॑क 11/24/2022 (Thu) 22:25:17 ID:4ff7c7 No. 2288
नि॑ अक्रतू॑न् • ग्रथि॑नो मृध्र॑वाचः। पणीँ॑रश्रद्धाँ॑ • अवृधाँ॑ अयज्ञा॑न्। प्र॑प्र ता॑न्द॑स्यूँर् • अग्नि॑र्विवाय। पू॑र्वश्चकार • अ॑पराँ अ॑यज्यून्॥ —ऋग्वेद॑ 7.6.3 . (This is the metrically restored version. The सं॑हिता has three deficient syllables with न्य᳚क्रतू॑न् and चकारा॑पराँ; the deficient syllable in the third line points to अग्नि॑र् being trisyllabic here, अगनि॑र्, just as इ॑न्द्र must sometimes be read trisyllabically as इ॑न्दर. But it could also simply be one of the rare lines with a deficient syllable in the original poetry.) . Translation: "Down with the mindless, the crooked, the blasphemers, the miserly, the infidels, who do not strengthen (the Gods) with sacrifice! On and on अग्नि॑ chased those द॑स्युs. The eastern one turned the non-sacrificers westwards." . Word-by-word: नि॑ "down", अ- < अ॑- "not", क्रतू॑न् < क्र॑तु "will", ग्रथि॑नस् < ग्रथि॑न् "crooked", मृध्र॑ "insult", वाचस् < वा॑च् "speech", पणी॑न् < पणि॑ "miserly", अ- < अ॑- "not", श्रथ् < श्र॑थ् "faith", धा॑न् < ध॑ < धा "put", अ- < अ॑- "not", वृधा॑न् < वृध॑ "strengthener", अ- < अ॑- "not", यज्ञा॑न् < यज्ञ॑ "sacrifice", प्र॑प्र < प्र॑ "forth", ता॑न् < स॑ "he", द॑स्यून् < द॑स्यु, अग्नि॑स् < अग्नि॑, विवाय < वी "chase", पू॑र्वस् < पू॑र्व "first"/"east", चकार < कृ "make", अ॑परान् < अ॑पर "last"/"west", अ॑- "not", यज्यून् < य॑ज्यु "sacrificing". . Ritual context: According to शाङ्खायनश्रौतसू॑त्र 10.5.24, this hymn of the ऋग्वेद॑ is recited on the fourth day of the द्वादशाह॑, a twelve-day sóma-sacrifice. This hymn comprises the आग्निमारुत॑ शस्त्र॑ (praise to अग्नि॑ and the मरु॑त्s) for that day. . Interpretation: Since yesterday was the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I decided to discuss a verse describing those faithless ones who refuse to be grateful to the Gods Who created them. . The first part of the verse is fairly straightforward, describing the enemy द॑स्यु tribesmen with several adjectives related to their lack of will (क्र॑तु), honesty, piousness, and sacrifice. Contrary to Hindu revisionist views, we were not originally tolerant of blasphemers and infidels, who are treated with utmost contempt in the वे॑द. . अग्नि॑, the God honored by this hymn, is then described as chasing down the द॑स्युs to exterminate them. The last line is very enigmatic because पू॑र्व (doubtless referring to अग्नि॑) and अ॑पर (doubtless referring to the द॑स्युs) have multiple meanings, and translators have treated the sentence variously. सायण and Geldner, for example, give a meaning like "The first/foremost has made the non-sacrificers last/lowest"—we've discussed previously why अग्नि॑ is often called the "first". Jamison switches the objects: "The first has made the last to be without sacrifices." Griffith says: "in the east, [अग्नि॑] hath turned the godless westward," the translation that I more or less follow here. . Jamison's translation of this line is the least compelling—अग्नि॑ does not cause anyone to be a non-sacrificer, but punishes people for their own decision to be non-sacrificers. The traditional सायण–Geldner translation suffers from no problems necessarily, but I prefer the east–west geographic translation because it fits better with the previous imagery of अग्नि॑ literally chasing away or pursuing the द॑स्युs, more specifically than just making them low. We know from independent evidence that the original द॑स्युs were Iranic tribes lying in a westerly direction, so it makes sense that the historical situation would be reflected in an early Vedic verse like this one. . I've translated पणि॑ as the common adjective "miserly" because it's seemingly used here to describe the द॑स्युs, but note that पणि॑ is also the name of a miserly tribe inimical to इ॑न्द्र. Geldner and Jamison leave the word as a proper noun here. . Interesting Vedic grammar: The संधि/assimilation is a bit inconsistent here. If it were applied consistently, अक्रतू॑न् and ता॑न् would be अक्रतूँ॑र् and ताँ॑. In Classical Sanskrit, of course, all of these would take the -न् form: पणी॑न्, अश्रद्धा॑न्, etc.