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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Hymns of the Rig-Veda
Indian Literature
 
Translation of Edward Washburn Hopkins

First Hymn Addressed to Agni, the Sacrificial Fire

I WORSHIP Agni, who is the priest of the house, the divine priest of the sacrifice, and the priest of oblations. He gives wealth. He is the god Agni, who was adored by the ancient Seers, and he is fit to be worshiped by those [that live] to-day. May he conduct the gods to us. By means of Agni one can acquire wealth, prosperity from day to day, and the glory of excellent heroes. O Agni, whatever be the rite that thou surroundest on every side, that sacrifice reaches the gods. May the Agni who gives oblations, who is the wisest priest, the true one, the most famous, may this god in company with all the other gods approach to us. Thou doest good to every one that worships thee, O Agni, and this is thy real virtue. Unto thee, O Agni, day by day, at evening and at morning, we come with prayer bringing obeisance to thee—to thee, who art the lord of sacrifice and the brilliant protector of the rite, who art magnified in thine own dwelling. Be thou easy of access to us and lead us on to happiness, as if thou wert father and we thy sons.  1
 
Hymn to the Deified Moon-Plant Soma

THOU, O Soma, art the wisest in understanding; thou guidest us by the straightest pathway; and it is through thy direction that our wise fathers got happiness among the gods. Thou didst become wisest in wisdom, O Soma; most skillful in skill. Thou obtainest all things; thou art a bull in strength and in greatness; thou art splendid in thy splendor, O thou that seest man. The laws of the god of heaven are thine; high and deep are thy places, O Soma, thou art bright as the sun; thou deservest our worship. Whatever places thou hast, whether in earth or in heaven, whether in the mountains, the plants, or the waters, do thou in all of these meet our oblations, and accept them, King Soma, being kindly disposed and not hurtful to us. Thou, O Soma, art the true lord, thou art the king, thou art the slayer of the demon who withholds the rain; thou art the strength that gives success…. Thou bestowest bliss upon old and young; and to the pious thou givest power to live. Guard us, then, O Soma, upon all sides, guard us from him that sins; may no harm touch the one who is thy friend. Be our benefactor, and help us to all the enjoyments wherever thou canst aid thy worshiper. Accept this our sacrifice, and this our song; be well pleased with us, and come to us; do us good, O Soma. We magnify thee in song, we who are clever in words. Be merciful and come to us.
  2
 
Vedic Hymn to Indra, the Storm God

INDRA hath grown great, he hath grown great for heroic deeds. He alone is without age, he alone hath riches to give. Indra hath extended himself beyond earth and heaven; the half of him is equal to both the worlds. So great is he, so high is his godly nature. There is none that can impair what he hath established. He is a Sun, conspicuous day by day, and being wisely strong he divides his wide dominions. To-day, even now, thou hewest a pathway for the rivers. The hills bow down [before thee] as were they friends; the wide spaces of the universe are knit together by thee. ’Tis true that no other is like unto Indra; nor is any god or mortal more venerable. Thou didst slay the great snake that hemmed in the rain; thou didst let out the waters to the ocean. Thou didst free the waters, opening wide the doors; thou didst break the stronghold of the mountains. Thou hast become the king of all that moves, bringing to light the sun, the dawn, and heaven.
  3
 
Vedic Hymn to Dawn

ALOFT the lights of Dawn, gleaming for beauty, have risen splendid as waves of water. Ushas [Aurora] makes fair the paths, she makes all things accessible. She is good, munificent, and kindly disposed. Thou art lovely in appearance; thou shinest through the wide spaces; up to heaven fly thy fiery glowing beams. Thou revealest thy bosom, adorning thyself, O Dawn, and gleamest bright in thy greatness. The red clouds bear her along, her the blessed one, who extendeth far and wide. She compels the darkness as a hero armed with arrows routs his foes. Thy ways are fair, thy paths upon the mountains. Thou goest in calm across the waters, self-shining one. O thou, whose paths are wide, thou lofty daughter of the sky, bring to us wealth and nourishment. Bring sustenance, O Dawn, who dost bring us good as thou willst. Though thou art indeed the daughter of the sky, yet dost thou come to us bright and early every morning, when we pray to thee [to come]. At thy clear dawning the birds fly from their nests; and [from their homes come] men who seek for food. And even when a man stays at home, thou bringest him much good, if he worships thee.
  4
 
Vedic Hymn to the Sun

ALOFT the beams of light bear now this all-wise shining god, so that every one may see the Sun. Yonder stars, with the night, withdraw, as were they thieves, before the Sun, who seeth all. His beams of light have been beheld afar, among all creatures, rays of light as brilliant as altar fires. Impetuously swift, O Sun, beheld of all, maker of light, art thou. Thou illuminest all the gleaming sky. Thou risest up before the people of the shining gods, before men also, before all, to be seen as pure light; to be thy eye, O pure bright Heaven, wherewith thou gazest down on busy man among all creatures. Thou goest across the broad spaces of the sky, measuring out the days with thy beams, O Sun, and watching pass the generations of men. Seven are the steeds that bear thee on thy car, O thou god whose hair is flame, shining god, O Sun seen afar. Now the Sun has yoked his seven fair steeds, daughters of his car, and with these, his own steeds yoked only by him, he comes hither.
  5
 
Vedic Hymn to Heaven (Varuna)

ALTHOUGH we who are thy people, O Heaven, thou resplendent god, injure thy laws day by day, yet do thou not give us over to death, nor to the blow of angry foe. By means of a song we free thy thought for mercy as a charioteer [frees] a steed that is bound…. He knows the path of the birds that fly in air; he knows the ships upon the sea; and he knows also, he, the god of unvarying order, the twelve months and the little [intercalated] month. He knoweth also the path of the wind, the high, the mighty [wind]; and he knows [the gods] who sit above [the wind]. Varuna, the god of unvarying order, the very wise one, sits down in his home to be the lord of all. Thence he looks down upon all things that are concealed, and considers what has been done and what is still to be done. May he, the wise son of [the goddess] Boundlessness [infinity?] make our cattle-pasture good every day, and prolong our lives. Varuna is clothed in a garment of gold and jewels. Round about him sit his spies, for he is a god whom no injurer can injure, no cheater among the people can cheat, and no plotter can plot against. He hath gained glory unequaled among [other] men and also among us. My thoughts go out to him afar, as go the eager cows that seek the meadow-grass, and I long to see the wide-eyed god. Now that I bring the sweet offering thou lovest, let us converse together again, while thou like a priest dost partake of it. Behold I see the god, the wide-eyed god, I see his chariot on the earth! He hath accepted my song with joy. Hear this my call, O Varuna. Be merciful to-day to me. I long for thee, desiring thy help. Thou, O wise one, art the king of sky and earth alike, thou art the lord of all. Being such a god, do thou upon thy way give ear to us, and loose from us the bonds [of sickness], [every bond] upper, middle, and lower, in order that we may live.
  6
 
Vedic Hymn to Earth

THOU, O broad extended earth, dost in truth endure even the [lightning], the render of thy hills. Thou, O mighty mountainous one, quickenest with might all created things. The Hymns that accompany the light [of dawn] praise thee, far-going goddess. Thou sendest the gushing rain like eager steeds. Thou holdest up mightily the forest trees when the rains come from the clouds and from the far-gleaming lighting of Dyaus [Zeus].
  7
 
 
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