lördag 19 augusti 2017

Rig Veda 10:129 -- An Interpretation

Ego sum. And now it's time for me to publish a translation of Rig Veda 10:129.

The poem called "Rig Veda 10:129" is about creation. "Hymn of Creation" it's been called. The following translation is partly based on that of Avinash Sathaye, partly on that of Arthur Anthony MacDonell. The latter is found in A Vedic Reader for Students, Oxford 1917.

The poem has seven verses. First is given the Sanskrit text for each verse, then the English translation. The Sanskrit text is after MacDonell (ibid). That text has added periods, commas, and question marks to facilitate the reading. I, however, have ignored these, instead going for a pure Sanskrit text.

"ā", "ī", "ū" means long vocal. These, and other diacritical signs employed ("like "ṣ"), are in accordance with the IAST transliteration system.

So, here goes.


nāsad āsīn no sad āsīt tadānīṃ
nāsīd rajo no viomā paro yat
kim āvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmann
ambhaḥ kim āsīd gahanaṃ gabhīram

Then [= before creation] even nothingness was not, nor existence.
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?


na mṛtyur āsīd amṛtaṃ na tarhi
na rātriā ahna āsīt praketaḥ
ānīd avātaṃ svadhayā tad ekaṃ
tasmād dhānyan na paraḥ kiṃ canāsa

Then there was neither death nor immortality,
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
Other than that there was not anything beyond.


tama āsīt tamasā gūḷham agre
apraketaṃ salilaṃ sarvam ā idam
tuchyenābhu apihitam yad āsīt
tapasas tan mahinājāyataikam

Darkness was in the beginning hidden by darkness;
indistinguishable, this was all water.
That One which came to be [ābhu yad āsīt], enclosed in nothing [tuchyena apihitam],
arose at last, born of the power of heat.


kāmas tad agre sam avartatādhi
manaso retaḥ prathamaṃ yad āsīt
sato bandhum asati nir avindan
hṛdi pratīṣyā kavayo manīṣā

In the beginning desire descended on it --
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages seeking in their hearts with wisdom
found out the bond of the existent with the non-existent...


tirascīno vitato raśmir eṣām
adhaḥ svid āsīd upari svid āsīt
retodhā āsan mahimāna āsan
svadhā avastāt prayatiḥ parastāt

... and their cord extended across the void:
was there below or was there above?
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was energy, over it was impulse.


ko addhā veda ka iha pra vocat
kuta ājātā kuta iyaṃ visṛṣṭiḥ
arvāg devā asya visarjanena
athā ko veda yata ābabhūva

Who knows truly? Who shall here declare,
whence it all came, whence is this creation?
By the creation of this (universe) the gods (came) afterwards,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?


iyaṃ visṛṣṭir yata ābabhūva
yadi vā dadhe yadi vā na
yo asyādhyakṣaḥ parame vioman
so aṅga veda yadi vā na veda

Whence this creation has arisen;
whether he founded it or not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows -- or maybe even he does not know.


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