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Rig-Veda - Creation

( Originally Published 1939 )

THEN there was no entity nor non-entity; no world, no sky, nor aught above it; nothing anywhere, involving or involved; nor water deep and dangerous. Death was not, and therefore no immortality, nor distinction of day or night.

BUT THAT ONE breathed calmly alone with Nature, her who is sustained within him. Other than Him, nothing existed which since has been. Darkness there was; for this universe was enveloped with darkness, and was indistinguishable waters; but that mass, which was covered by the husk, was at Iength produced by the power of contemplation. First desire was formed in his mind; and that became the original productive seed; which the wise, recognizing it by the inteIIect in their hearts, distinguish as the bond of nonentity with entity.

DID the luminous ray of these creative acts expand in the middle, or above, or below? That productive energy became providence (or sentient souls), and matter (or the elements) ; Nature, who is sustained within, was inferior; and he who sustains was above.

WHO knows exactly, and who shall in this world declare, whence and why this creation took place? The gods are subsequent to the production of this world; then who can know whence it proceeded, or whence this varied world arose, or whether it upholds itself or not? He who in the highest heaven is the ruler of this universe, he knows, or does not know.


LET me not yet, 0 Varuna, enter into the house of clay; have mercy, almighty, have mercy.

If I go along trembling, like a cloud driven by the wind, have mercy, almighty, have mercy!

Through want of strength, thou strong and bright god, have I gone to the wrong shore; have mercy, almighty, have mercy!

Thirst came upon the worshipper, though he stood in the midst of the waters; have mercy, almighty, have mercy !

Whenever we men, 0 Varuna, commit an offence before the heavenly host; whenever we break thy law through thoughtlessness; have mercy, almighty, have mercy !


IN the beginning there arose the Source of golden light. He was the only born lord of all that is. He established the earth, and this sky. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

HE who gives Iife. He who gives strength; whose blessing all the bright gods desire; whose shadow is immortality, whose shadow is death. Who is the God to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

HE who through his power is the only king of the breathing and awakening world. He who governs all, man and beast. Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

HE whose power these snowy mountains, whose power the sea proclaims, with the distant 'river. He whose these regions are, as it were his two arms. Who is the god to whom we shall ! Offer our sacrifice?

HE through whom the sky is bright and the earth firm. He through whom heaven was stablished; nay, the highest heaven. He who measured out the Iight in the air. Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

HE to whom heaven and earth, standing firm by his will, look up, trembling inwardly. He over whom the rising sun shines forth, Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

WHEREVER the mighty water clouds went, where they placed the seed and lit the fire, thence arose he who is the only life of the bright gods. Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

HE who by his might looked even over the water clouds, the clouds which gave strength and little the sacrifice; he who is God above all gods. Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifice?

MAY he not destroy us, he the creator of the earth, or he, the righteous, who created heaven; he who also created the bright and mighty waters. Who is the god to whom we shall offer our sacrifices?


LET no one, not even those who worship thee, delay thee far from us! Even from afar come to our feast! Or, if thou art here, listen to us!

For these who here make prayers for thee, sit together near the libation, Iike flies round the honey. The worshippers, anxious for wealth, have placed their desire upon Indra, as we put our foot upon a chariot.

Desirous of riches, I call him who holds the thunderbolt with his arm, and who is a good giver, like as a son caIIs his father.

These libations of Soma, mixed with milk, have been prepared for Indra; thou, armed with the thunderbolt, come with the steeds to drink of them for thy delight; come to the house!

May he hear us, for he has ears to hear. He is asked for riches; will he despise our prayers? He could soon give hundreds and thousands; no one could check him if he wishes to give.

Make for the sacred gods a hymn that is not small, that is well set and beautiful! Many snares pass by him who abides with Indra through his sacrifice.

What mortal dares to attack him who is rich in thee? Through faith in thee, 0 mighty, the strong acquires spoil in the days of battle.

Thou art wellknown as the benefactor of every one, whatever battles there be. Every one of these kings of the earth implores thy name when wishing for help.

If I were lord of as much as thou, I should support the sacred bard, thou scatterer of wealth, I should not abandon him to misery.

I should award wealth day by day to him who magnifies; I should award it to whosoever it be.

We have no other friend but thee, no other happiness, no other father, 0 mighty !

We call for thee, 0 hero, like cows that have not been milked; we praise thee as ruler of all that moves, 0 Indra, as ruler of all that is immovable.

There is no one like thee on heaven and earth; he is not born, and will not be born. 0 mighty Indra, we call upon thee as we go fighting for cows and horses.


WITH fortune shine forth upon us, 0 Dawn, daughter of Heaven,

With mighty splendour, 0 Iustrous one, with wealth, bounteous goddess.

Horse-bringing, kine-bringmg, well finding all

things, they ofttimes have sped to shine.

Send forth blessings to me, 0 Dawn; stir up the

bounty of the generous.

Maiden-like, gracious, Dawn cometh shewing kindness,

Bestirring all beings; foot-faring things go forth; she maketh birds to fly up.

She who breaketh up the gathering and sendeth forth men in business, the dewy one, brooketh not a resting place.

The birds at thy dawning, 0 mighty one, fly forth and stay not still.

She hath ridden from afar, from the rising place of the Sun;

This blessed Dawn cometh forth with an hundred cars toward men.

The whole world boweth for sight of her; gracious, she maketh light.

May Dawn, Heaven's bounteous daughter, shine away feud and enmities!

O Dawn, beam thou with bright beam, daughter of Heaven.

Bringing us abundant fortune, shining forth on holy rites.

For the breath, the life of every being is with thee,

when thou shinest forth, 0 gracious one;

Lustrous, marveIIous of bounty, do thou with thy mighty ear hearken to our call.

O Dawn, do thou win thee power that is marvellous among mankind;

Bring therewith the righteous to the sacrifices, the guides who sing of thee.

Bring thou all the gods to drink the Soma from the sky, 0 Dawn;

Bestow on us praiseworthy possession of kine and horses, 0 Dawn, gain with goodly manhood.


AS soon as he enters that life, he will become the servant of the gods.

MAY the eye go to the sun, the breath to the wind; go to the sky and the earth, as is right, or go to the waters, if it is good for thee there; rest in the plants.

THE unborn part, warm it with thy warmth, may thy heat warm it and thy flame! 0 Gatavedas, carry him in thy kindliest shape to the world of those who have done well.

O AGNI, send him back to Pitris, he who comes sacrificed with offering to thee! When clothed with life, may what remains come back, may he be joined with a body, 0 Gatavedas!

WHATEVER the black bird injured, the ant, the snake, or a wild beast, may Agni make that whole from all mischief, and Soma who has entered into the Brahmans!

CREEP close to the mother, that earth there, the broad, the all embracing, the blissful! She is Iike a maiden, soft like wool to the pious; may she guard thee from the Iap of Nirriti (destruction).

0 EARTH, open wide, do not press him, be kind in admitting and in embracing him! Cover him, O Earth, as a mother covers her son with her cloth.

MAY the opened earth stand firm, and may a thousand supports stand near; may these dwellings be running with ghrita-offerings, and may there always be safety for him there!

TIME carries us forward, a steed with seven rays, a thousand eyes, undecaying, full of fecundity. On him intelligent sages mount; his wheels are all the worlds.

Thus time moves on seven wheels; he has seven naves; immortality is his axle.

It is he who drew forth the worlds and encircled them. Being the father, he became their son. There is no other power superior to him.

Time generated the sky and these earths. Set in motion by Time, the past and the future subsist.


THE gamester comes to the assembly glowing in body and inquiring, "Shall I win?" The dice inflame his desire, making over his winnings to his opponent.

Deceitful, vexatious, delighting to torment, the dice dispense transient gifts, and again ruin the winner; they are covered with honey but destroy the gambler.

Their troop of fifty-three disports itself (disposing men's destinies) like the god Savitri whose ordinances never fail. They bow not before the wrath even of the fiercest. The king himself makes obeisance to them. They roll downward. They bound upward. Having no hands, they overcome him who has. These celestial coals when thrown on the diceboard scorch the heart though cold themselves.

The destitute wife of the gambler is distressed and so too is the mother of a son who goes she knows not whither. In debt and seeking after money, the gambler approaches with trepidation the houses of other people at night.

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