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 MacDonnell. 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 MacDonnell (ibid). That text has added periods, commas and question marks to facilitate the reading.

"â", "î" etc. means long vocal. Due to technical limitation retroflex sounds etc. have not been transcribed.

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 âsît tamasâ gulham agre;
apraketam salilam sarvam â idam.
tuchyenâbhu apihitam yad âsît,
tapasas tan mahinâjâyataikam.

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


kâmas tad agre sam avartatâdhi,
manaso retah prathamam yad âsît.
sato bandhum asati nir avindan
hridi pratîshyâ kavayo manîshâ...

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...


... tirascîno vitato rashmir eshâm:
adhah svid âsîd, upari svid âsît?
retodhâ âsan, mahimâna âsan;
svadhâ avastât, prayatih parastât.

... 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 addhâ veda? ka iha pra vocat,
kuta âjâtâ, kuta iyam visristih?
arvâg devâ asya visarjanena:
athâ ko veda yata âbabhûva?

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?


iyam visristir yata âbabhûva;
yadi vâ dadhe yadi vâ na:
yo asyâdhyakshah parame vioman
so anga veda, yadi vâ 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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