View Full Version : brahma-pratinidhis--brahman's deputees, in the shruti--vedas and upanishads

01 December 2009, 11:16 AM
This thread is meant to be a compilation of the references to the popular Hindu Gods kRShNa, shiva, viShNu, gaNapati and possibly other Gods, who are represented as Brahman in the sampradAyas--traditions of their worship. And this compilation is meant to serve as a repository of the knowlegebase at HDF as well as quick reference for our discussions in other threads.

The Gods of these sampradAyas are represented as Brahman, usually by identifying their mukhya--distinct, and saguNa--manifest, features and actions in the shrutis--vedas and upanishads. For example, the shruti word 'shyAmAt', where it occurs, is thought to represent shrI KRShNa, as his very name indicates his black color; the word 'sattva'--purity and goodness, is usually correlated with viShNu; the word 'shivam'--auspiciousness, is usually a chief attribute of God shiva.

Our objective is to collect the mukhya--primary references, which, as far as possible, unequivocally represent the God we seek to find. We might also collect gauNa--secondary references, and references that are vyatireka--negative, contrasted, and anvaya--positive, associated, but still can be taken to represent the God.

Since the aim is chiefly compilation, let us NOT discuss the merits and demerits of each case vis-a-vis another. Let us also confine our collections to the shruti only: the four divisions of the four vedas, namely: mantra saMhitAs, brAhmaNas, AraNyakas and upaniShads. And then, let us give the exact references of the shruti passages and the addresses of any Internet links that we seek to extract text from.

Since I can't do it all by myself, I invite our esteemed members to participate in this task, subjecting their good selves to the requirements I have mentioned above. I also request Satay and other moderators to move any controversial discussions that seek to thrash the purpose of this thread to a separate thread, where any discussions would be welcome.

As true Sanatana Hindus, we appreciate and also belong to all the sampradAyas until we become jnAnis, who are past the worship of saguNa brahman.


We start our collections with shrI kRShNa paramAtma:

shrI kRShNa paramAtma: mukhya--primary references

shrI KrShNa by his very name, and as 'devakI putra'--DevakI's son, is referred to in the ChAndogya upaniShad. This source also serves as a historical reference.

ChAndogya upaniShad 3.17.6

taddhaitadghora A~girasaH kRUShNAya devakIputrAyoktvo vAchApipAsa
eva sa babhUva so&ntavelAyAmetattrayaM pratipadyetAkShitamasyachyutamasi
prANasa~MshitamasIti tatraite dve Ruchau bhavataH ||3.17.6||

SwAmi SvAhAnanda of shrI RAmakRShNa MaTham translates this verse and explains it in his book on the Upanishad as follows:

Ghora Angirasa expounded this well-known doctrine to Devaki's son Krishna and said, 'Such a knower should, at the time of death, repeat this triad-–"Thou art the imperishable, Thou* art unchangeable, Thou art the subtle essence of Prana". (On hearing the above) he** became thirstless. There are these two Rik stanzas in regard to this.

*'Thou' is the Person residing in the sun and identified with prANa. The PuruSha is the divine form of the prANas.

**That is, DevakI's son KRShNa. There are three kinds of explanations as to who or what the term 'kRShNa' means in this verse:

• Sri ShankarAchArya states that the mention of KRShNa is only for the purpose of bringing out the excellence of this VidyA. He says that desire for VidyAs was quenched in the mind of KRShNa after listening to the instruction of Ghora Angirasa.

• The MImAMsakas would consider the reference to KRShNa as an ArthavAda and not as an allusion to the historical personality.

• Students of the history of thought, however, find a definite reference to the teacher of the GItA in the epithet DevakIputra. This conclusion is strengthened by the long life of KRShNa, who lived for 128 years according to the BhAgavatam, while a period of 116 years is considered normal in this VidyA. Historians see the earliest reference to shrI KRShNa in this passage.


ChAndogya upanishad 8.13.1

shyAmAch-ChavalaM prapadye
shavalAch-ChyAmaM prapadye

From the dark (shyAmAt) I attain (prapadye) to the variegated (shavalam), from the variegated (shavalAt) I attain the dark (shyAmam).

svAmi svAhAnanda discusses this text as follows in his book on the Upanishad, published by the Ramakrishna Mission.

• This mantra-text, which is purifying in itself, is recommended for meditation.

• Here, the dark stands for Brahman seated in the heart, because Brahman is extremely incomprehensible. The variegated is the Brahmaloka whose grey shades are due to the mixture of desires.

• Interestingly, this mantra contrasts with the text of the famous mantra "asatoma sadgamaya, tamasoma jyotir gamaya" which prays for leading the soul from darkness to light.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his book 'dasha mUla tattva' (ch.3) translates this mantra as:

"In surrendering to shyAma, KrShNa I take shelter of the essence of the pleasure potency. In taking shelter of the pleasure potency, I surrender to KrShNa."

Identifying the term shyAma with shrI KRShNa paramAtma, he states, "shavala means the variegated svarUpa shakti of KRShNa. The abhidhA vRitti or primary meaning of the word shyAma is KRShNa."


Rig Veda: 1.164.31

apashyaM gopAmanipadyamAnamA cha parA cha pathibhishcharantam |
sa sadhrIchIH sa viShUchIrvasAna A varIvarti bhuvaneShvantaH ||1.164.31||

I have beheld the unwearied protector of the universe, the sun travelling upwards and downwards by various paths; invested with aggregative and diffusive radiance, he revolves in the midst of the regions.

This verse occurs in Yajus, 37.17; MahIdhara explains it in the like manner.
--HH Wilson based on the bhAShya of sAyaNa.

I saw the Herdsman, him who never stumbles, approaching by his pathways and departing. He, clothed with gathered and diffusive splendour, within the worlds continually travels.
--Ralph T.H. Griffith

I saw a cowherd. He never falls from his position; sometimes he is near, and some times far, wandering on various paths. He is a friend, decorated with a variety of clothes. He comes again and again to the material world.
--Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

"In this Vedic statement KRShNa's eternal pastimes are directly described", according to Srila Thakur.


Rig Veda: 1.154.06

tA vAM vAstUnyushmasi gamadhyai yatra gAvo bhUrishR^i~NgA ayAsaH |
atrAha tadurugAyasya vR^iShNaH paramaM padamava bhAti bhUri ||1.154.06||

We pray (to ViShNu) that you may both go to those regions where the many-pointed and wide-spreading rays (of light) expand; for here the supreme station of the many-hymned, the showerer (of benefits), shines (with) great (splendour).
--HH Wilson based on the bhAShya of sAyaNa.

Srila Thakur translates this verse as below

"I desire to go to the houses of Radha and Krishna, where the cows have big horns and fulfill the desires of the devotees. This supreme abode of Krishna reveals itself completely."

and says, "In this Vedic mantra, KRShNa in Gokula is described very nicely. There are many more direct descriptions of Krishna in the Vedas."

shvetAshvatara upanishad

tam IshvarANAM paramaM maheshvaram
tam devatAnAM paramam cha daivatam |
patiM patInAM paramaM parastAd
vidAma devaM bhuvaneshamIDyam ||7||

VI-7: May we realize Him – the transcendent and adorable master of the universe – who is the supreme lord over all the lords, the supreme God above all the gods, and the supreme ruler over all the rulers.
--Swami Tyagisananda

You are the Lord of all other controllers such as Brahma and Siva. You are the Lord of all the devatas such as Indra. You are the Lord of all the prajapatis. You are superior to the supreme. We know you as the worshipable Lord, master of all the worlds, and absorbed [some text appears to be missing].
--Srila Thakur

Srila Thakur has other negative and positive references that he believes speak of kRShNa, which might be read at:


I shall post the references I have found to Shiva in my next post. Meantime, members might post any other references to shrI kRShNa, especially of the mukhya--primary nature.

02 December 2009, 10:11 AM
The Hindu Trinity in the Vedas

The Vedic prototypes and originals of the Hindu trimUrti--Trinity, brahmA--viShNu--shiva, are the brahmaNaspati--viShNu--rudra-shiva. While the Vedic gods indra, agni, varuNa and others seem to hold the primary place in the Vedas instead of the Trinity, in the Hindu theogony of the purANas, the Trinity is given their due prominence and authority as the firstline Gods.

shrI kapAli shAstri of the SAKSI--shrI aurobindo kapAli shAstri Institute, has published a series of introductory books that teach the proper way of reading and understanding the Vedas. In one of those booklets titled 'Explaining the Gods', he explains the trimUrtis as below:

• Brahmanaspati is the creator by the Word; he calls light and visible cosmos out of the darkness of the inconscient ocean and speeds the formations of conscious being upward to their supreme goal. It is from this creative aspect of Brahmanaspati that the later conception of Brahma the Creator arose.

• For the upward movement of Brahmanaspati’s formations Rudra supplies the force. He is named in the Veda the Mighty One of Heaven, but he begins his work upon the earth and gives effect to the sacrifice on the five planes of our ascent. He is the Violent One who leads the upward evolution of the conscious being; his force battles against all evil, smites the sinner and the enemy; intolerant of defect and stumbling he is the most terrible of the gods, the one of whom alone the Vedic Rishis have any real fear.

Agni, the Kumara, prototype of the Puranic Skanda, is on earth the child of this force of Rudra. The Maruts, vital powers which make fight for themselves by violence, are Rudra's children. Agni and the Maruts are the leaders of the fierce struggle upward from Rudra's first earthly, obscure creation to the heavens of thought, the luminous worlds.

But this violent and mighty Rudra who breaks down all defective formations and groupings of outward and inward life, has also a benigner aspect. He is the supreme healer. Opposed, he destroys; called on for aid and propitiated he heals all wounds and all evil and all sufferings. Tile force that battles is his gift, but also the final peace and joy. In these aspects of the Vedic god are all the primitive materials necessary for the evolution of the Puranic Shiva-Rudra, the destroyer and healer, the auspicious and terrible, the Master of the force that acts in the worlds and the Yogin who enjoys the supreme liberty and peace.

• For the formations of Brahmanaspati's word, for the actions of Rudra's force Vishnu supplies the necessary static elements, - Space, the ordered movements of the worlds, the ascending levels, the highest goal. He has taken three strides and in the space created by the three strides has established all the worlds. In these worlds he the all-pervading dwells and gives less or greater room to the action and movements of the gods. When Indra would slay Vritra, he first prays to Vishnu, his friend and comrade in the great struggle (1.22.19), "O Vishnu, pace out in thy movement with an utter wideness", (4.18.11), and in that wideness he destroys Vritra who limits, Vritra who covers.

The supreme step of Vishnu, his highest seat, is the triple world of bliss and light, paramam padam, which the wise ones see extended in heaven like a shining eye of vision (1.22.20); it is this highest seat of Vishnu that is the goal of the Vedic journey. Here again the Vedic Vishnu is the natural precursor and sufficient origin of the Puranic Narayana, Preserver and Lord of Love.

With this background, let us proceed to collect the primary references to rudra-shiva, in the Rig Veda.


rudra-shiva in the Rig Veda: mukhya--primary references

In the Rig Veda, in some maNDalas, whole sUktas--hymns comprising a series of riks--verses are devoted to the praise of rudra.

RV 1.43

In this sUkta--hymn, rudra (contrary to his popular image as the howler who makes us weep, and the destroyer) is identified as a beneficient deity, presiding over everything, specially medicinal plants. (This healing aspect of rudra is later expounded in 'shrI rudraprashnam' of the kRShNa yajur veda, which is said to contain secret codes for preparation of ayurvedic drugs, during which time the Rudram is sung. More on the Rudram later.)

Here is the transliterated text of this sUkta:

kadrudrAya prachetase mILhuShTamAya tavyase |
vochema shaMtamaM hR^ide ||1.043.01||
yathA no aditiH karatpashve nR^ibhyo yathA gave |
yathA tokAya rudriyam ||1.043.02||
yathA no mitro varuNo yathA rudrashchiketati |
yathA vishve sajoShasaH ||1.043.03||
gAthapatiM medhapatiM rudraM jalAShabheShajam |
tachChaMyoH sumnamImahe ||1.043.04||
yaH shukra iva sUryo hiraNyamiva rochate |
shreShTho devAnAM vasuH ||1.043.05||
shaM naH karatyarvate sugaM meShAya meShye |
nR^ibhyo nAribhyo gave ||1.043.06||
asme soma shriyamadhi ni dhehi shatasya nR^iNAm |
mahi shravastuvinR^imNam ||1.043.07||
mA naH somaparibAdho mArAtayo juhuranta |
A na indo vAje bhaja ||1.043.08||
yAste prajA amR^itasya parasmindhAmannR^itasya |
mUrdhA nAbhA soma vena AbhUShantIH soma vedaH ||1.043.09||

Here is the translation by HH Wilson, with the commentary of sAyaNa:

01. When may we repeat a most graceful hymn to the wise, the most bountiful and mighty Rudra, who is (cherished) in our hearts?

02. By which earth may (be induced to) grant the gifts of Rudra to our cattle, our people, our cows, and our progeny.

aditiH is here said to mean the earth, who, it is wished, may so act (karat) that RudrIya may be obtained. The meaning of RudrIya, according to the Scholiast, is, rudra saMbandhi bheShajam--medicament in relation to or presided overing the Rudra, conformably to the (shrI rudram) text, ya te rudra shiva tanuH, bheShaji shiva, rudrasya bheShajiti--whatever are your auspicious forms, O Rudra, they are all auspicious; auspicious are medicaments, the medicaments of Rudra.

03. By which Mitra and VaruNa and Rudra, and all the gods, being gratified, may show lus (favour).

04. We ask the felicity of ShaMyu, from Rudra, the encourager of hymns, the protector of sacrifices, possessed of medicaments that confer delight.

ShaMyu is said to be the son of BRhaspati, nothing more is related of him.

jalAShabheShajam, he who has medicament conferring delight; from ja, one born, and laSha, happiness; an unusual word except in a compound form, as abhilAShA, which is of current use; or it may mean, sprung from water (jala), all vegetables depending over water for their growth.

05. Who is so brilliant as Shanyu (SUrya), who gratifies like gold, the best of the gods, the provider of habitations?

06. Who bestows easily-obtained happiness on our steeds, our rams, our ewes, our men, our women and our cows?

07. Soma, grant us prosperity more than (sufficient for) a hundred men, and much strength-engendering food.

08. Let not the adversaries of Soma, let not our enemies, harm us: cherish us, Indra, with (abundant) food.

09. Soma, who are immortal, and abide in an excellent dwelling, have regard for your subjects, when at their head in the hall of sacrifice you observe them (engaged in) decorating you.

Apparently there is some confusion of objects in this place, Soma, the moon being confounded with Soma, libation.

RV 1.114

imA rudrAya tavase kapardine kShayadvIrAya pra bharAmahe matIH |
yathA shamasaddvipade chatuShpade vishvaM puShTaM grAme asminnanAturam ||1.114.01||
mR^iLA no rudrota no mayaskR^idhi kShayadvIrAya namasA vidhema te |
yachChaM cha yoshcha manurAyeje pitA tadashyAma tava rudra praNItiShu ||1.114.02||
ashyAma te sumatiM devayajyayA kShayadvIrasya tava rudra mIDhvaH |
sumnAyannidvisho asmAkamA charAriShTavIrA juhavAma te haviH ||1.114.03||
tveShaM vayaM rudraM yaj~nasAdhaM va~NkuM kavimavase ni hvayAmahe |
Are asmaddaivyaM heLo asyatu sumatimidvayamasyA vR^iNImahe ||1.114.04||
divo varAhamaruShaM kapardinaM tveShaM rUpaM namasA ni hvayAmahe |
haste bibhradbheShajA vAryANi sharma varma chChardirasmabhyaM yaMsat ||1.114.05||
idaM pitre marutAmuchyate vachaH svAdoH svAdIyo rudrAya vardhanam |
rAsvA cha no amR^ita martabhojanaM tmane tokAya tanayAya mR^iLa ||1.114.06||
mA no mahAntamuta mA no arbhakaM mA na ukShantamuta mA na ukShitam |
mA no vadhIH pitaraM mota mAtaraM mA naH priyAstanvo rudra rIriShaH ||1.114.07||
mA nastoke tanaye mA na Ayau mA no goShu mA no ashveShu rIriShaH |
vIrAnmA no rudra bhAmito vadhIrhaviShmantaH sadamittvA havAmahe ||1.114.08||
upa te stomAnpashupA ivAkaraM rAsvA pitarmarutAM sumnamasme |
bhadrA hi te sumatirmR^iLayattamAthA vayamava itte vR^iNImahe ||1.114.09||
Are te goghnamuta pUruShaghnaM kShayadvIra sumnamasme te astu |
mR^iLA cha no adhi cha brUhi devAdhA cha naH sharma yachCha dvibarhAH ||1.114.10||
avochAma namo asmA avasyavaH shR^iNotu no havaM rudro marutvAn |
tanno mitro varuNo mAmahantAmaditiH sindhuH pR^ithivI uta dyauH ||1.114.11||

01. We offer these praises to the mighty Rudra, with the braided hair, the destroyer of heroes, in order that health may be enjoyed by bipeds and quadrupeds, and that all beings in this village may be (well) nourished and exempt from disease.

We have a repetition here of the usual etymologies of Rudra, with some additions:

• He causes all to weep (rodayati) at the end of the world;
• or 'rut' may signify 'pain',--the pain of living, which he drives away (dravayati);
• or 'rut' may mean 'word' or 'text', or the UpaniShads of the Vedas, by which he is approached, or propiated (druyate);
• or 'rut' may mean 'holy or divine speech', or 'wisdom', which he confers (rati) upon his worshippers;
• or 'rut' may 'darkness', that which invests or obstructs (RNaddhi) all things, and which he dissipates (vRNAti);

• or again, it is said, that while the gods were engaged in battle with the Asuras, Rudra, identified with Agni, came and stole their treasure; after conquering the enemy, the gods searched for the stolen wealth, and recovered it from the thief, who wept (arudat), and Agni was thence called Rudra. (taittirIya samhitA,

with braided hair--kapardine, from kaparda, which has a meaning 'jaTa', or 'braided hair' of Shiva, whence the Scholiast gives, as its equivalent, 'jaTilaya'. This identifies Rudra as Shiva; it is not easy to suggest any other interpretation, unless the term be an interpolation.

the destroyer of heroes--kShayadvIrAya, in whom heroes (vIra) perish (vinashyanti); or it may mean, of whom the imperial (kShayantaH prAptaiShvaryaH) heroes, (that is, the Maruts) are the sons. The epithet is repeated in the following verses.

02. Be gracious to us, Rudra; grant us happiness, for we worship the destroyer of heroes with oblations; and, by your directions, Rudra, may we obtain that freedom from disease and exemption from dangers which our progenitor, Manu, bestowed upon us, (having obtained them from the gods).

03. Rudra, showerer (of benefits), may we obtain, through our worship of the gods, the favour of you, who are the destroyer of heroes; come to our posterity, purposing to promote their happiness, while we, having our sons in safety, offer you oblations.

04. We invoke for our preservation the illustrious Rudra, the accomplisher of sacrifices, the tortuous, the wise; may he remove far from us his celestial wrath, for we earnestly solicit his favour.

the accomplisher of sacrifice--yaj~nasAdhaM, i.e., sAdhayitaram, he who makes the sacrifice well-desired, or perfect (sviShTam, or su iShTam).

the tortuous--va~NkuM, he who goes crookedly, what is meant by this is not explained.

05. We invoke, from heaven, with reverence, him who has excellent food, who is radiant, and has braided hair, who is brilliant, and is to be ascertained (by sacred study), holding in his hands excellent medicaments; may he grant us health, defensive armour, and a (secure) dwelling.

he who has excellent food--the phrase is 'varAha', literally a boar, and one who has a hard body, like a boar's, may be intended; but the Scholiast prefers considering it as an abbreviation of 'varAhAra', from 'vara', good, 'AhAra', food.

06. This praise, the sweetest of the sweet, and cause of increase (to the reciter), is addressed to Rudra, the father of the Maruts: immortal Rudra, grant us food sufficient for mortals, and bestow happiness on me, my son and my grandson.

07. Injure not, Rudra, those amongst us who are old or young, who are capable of begetting, or who are begotton, nor a father, nor a mother, nor afflict our precious persons.

08. Harm us not, Rudra, in our sons or grandsons, or other male descendants, nor in our cattle, nor in our horses; inflamed with anger, kill not our valient men, for we, presenting clarified butter perpetually invoke you.

09. I restore to you the praises (derived from you), as a shepherd (returns the sheep to their owner); father of the Maruts, bestow happiness upon me; your auspicious benignity is the cause of successive delight, therefore we especially solicit your protection.

10. Destroyer of heroes, may your cow-killing or man-slaying (weapen) be far away, and let the felicity granted by you be ours; favour us; speak, brilliant hero, in our behalf, and grant us, you who are mighty over the two (realms of heaven and earth), prosperity.

11. Desirious of protection, we have said: reverence be to him; may Rudra, with the Maruts, hear our invocation; and may Mitra, VaruNa, Aditi--ocean, earth and heaven, be favourable to this (our prayer).


To continue with the rudra pArAyaNam in the other Rig Veda MaNDalas...

02 December 2009, 12:06 PM
hariḥ oṁ


saidevo was kind enough to offer the following from HH Wilson,

Here is the translation by HH Wilson, with the commentary of sAyaNa:

01. When may we repeat a most graceful hymn to the wise, the most bountiful and mighty Rudra, who is (cherished) in our hearts?

02. By which earth may (be induced to) grant the gifts of Rudra to our cattle, our people, our cows, and our progeny.

aditiH is here said to mean the earth, who, it is wished, may so act (karat) that RudrIya may be obtained.

Mr. HH Wilson's offering, albeit interesting is ( for me ) missing the mark. How so?

1st śloka
The 1st sutra by HH Wilson suggests offering the hymn to the wise. Yet the hymn is being offered to Rudra.
It is Rudra who 'cherishes' the hymn in His heart , not the ṛṣi's heart or the yajamana ( for whom the vedic rite is being performed, if any). I also think HH Wilson using the word 'cherished' vs. 'pleasing' ( some say exceedingly pleasing) also misses the mark of translation.

2nd śloka
How HH Wilson attains 'earth' from āditi is beyond my ability to take apart the word or the śloka and find 'earth' in it.
'Earth' is boundaries, aditi (some write āditi) is unbounded . Let's look at aditi: its composite -> a = not + diti = limit, so a+diti is not (or is without) limits, unbounded. Where is 'earth' in this word?

Perhaps , and this is a long shot (really long) - 'dī' is to decay and perish, this is the 3rd definition of dī , and perhaps HH Wilson moved away all the other clues in the beautiful word of aditi to find/uncover 'dī' inside of it and associate this decay with earth - a thing that has beginning and end - yet this takes quite a 'poetic liberty' to get to this definition.

That said, this śloka is asking for Rudra's grace , even to our animals ; pāśa is used in the śloka meaning anything roped or tied; and may aditi help facilitate this. The request of aditi's help would be of great interest to review at a future date, but not for this post.

Are there other incongruencies? Yes, but will leave it here for now. I applaud HH Wilson's attempts as he has done more then I will ever do on veda-s translation. Yet the accuracy of the words is where the truth is hidden, and it seems they remain hidden in this translation.

The joy of reading and appreciating the ved is getting the words as close to their original intent as possible. The perfect alignment comes when one only knows the truth ( ritam -some write ṛta).


02 December 2009, 11:15 PM
namaste Yajvan.

Perhaps, and this is a long shot (really long) - 'dI' is to decay and perish, this is the 3rd definition of dI, and perhaps HH Wilson moved away all the other clues in the beautiful word of aditi to find/uncover 'dI' inside of it and associate this decay with earth - a thing that has beginning and end - yet this takes quite a 'poetic liberty' to get to this definition.

I am a bit surprised that you should take such an exception to let the word 'aditi' mean 'earth'.

• In fact, both Monier and Apte in their dictionaries clearly give the meaning 'earth' for 'aditi' (no.3 in MWD and no.1 in Apte's).

• You have derived 'aditi' from 'a+diti' where 'diti' means 'limit', and this is correct. But the meaning of 'limit' for 'diti' in turn, is derived from the root 'da'--'the act of cutting off' (no.3 in MWD).

• Now, 'da' also means 'giving, granting, offering, effecting, producing' (no.2 in MWD). It is in this sense, IMO, that 'aditi' is identified with 'earth'. Thus, 'aditi' is not only applied to the 'boundless' but also to the 'bountiful'.

• That 'aditi' is 'sarvam'--everything is clear from this mantra in the Rig Veda:

aditir dyaur aditir antarikSham aditirmAtA sa pitA sa putraH |
vishve devA aditiH pa~ncha janA aditir jAtam aditir janitvam ||1.089.10||

10. Aditi is heaven; Aditi is the firmament; Aditi is mother, father and son; Aditi is all the gods; Aditi is the five classes of men; Aditi is generation and birth.

Aditi, literally meaning the independent or the indivisible, may here signify either the earth or the mother of the gods, according to the Scholiast. According to YAska, the hymn declares the might of Aditi--aditer vibhutim AchaShte--Nirukta 4.23; or as SAyaNa, "Aditi is hymned as the same with the universe."

The five classes of men signify the four varNas--classes plus the outcastes; it is also interpreted as five classes of beings: Gods, Men, Gandharvas (including ApsarAsas), NAgas, and PitRs; or as it occurs in the Nirukta 3.8: Gandharvas, PitRs, Gods, Asuras, and RAkShasas.

• Since 'aditi' is essentially a mother, mother earth eminently fits as one of her meanings. If ad infinitum is bhUma--filled and not shUnya--empty, that bhUma is also the bhUmi--the earth, and thus 'aditi'.

03 December 2009, 11:11 AM
hariḥ oṁ

Namasté saidevo

Thank you for your post. My surprise is predicated upon the hymn being offered to Rudra , yet for some curious reason it is suggested by HH Wilson to be offered to the wise.

Regarding aditi, you offer the following:

aditir dyaur aditir antarikSham aditirmAtA sa pitA sa putraH |
vishve devA aditiH pa~ncha janA aditir jAtam aditir janitvam ||1.089.10||

10. Aditi is heaven; Aditi is the firmament; Aditi is mother, father and son; Aditi is all the gods; Aditi is the five classes of men; Aditi is generation and birth
Yes, I am in agreement with this hymn. There is no doubt that aditi is this and more... She is continuous, without pause. There is no place She is not. Hence to find a 'particular' quality as father, son, heaven, sure, makes sense, because she is without limitation.

That said, to have HH Wilson use 'aditi' for earth misses the beauty and application of this word… but this is my opinion on how I view this hymn. Now one must ask, what are you basing your opinion on yajvan?

Looking at the hymns offered by the seer of this section (1.36 to 1.43) , ṛṣi kaṇvaḥ ghauraḥ is clearly in possession of what words aptly apply. Please consider reading the hymns from 1.36 to 1.43 and enjoy the subject, but also the richness of his words selected.

Please consider hymn 1.37. He offers a hymn to the maruts, yet within this offering (1.37.8) he offers a śloka regarding the earth. Does he use aditi as the epithet for the earth? No he does not, he specifically uses pṛthivī. He also could have used bhū¹ भू, , that too would have easily met the mark, yet he used pṛthivī.

What of this pṛthivī ? In the feminine gender it is 'earth' and as an element ( tattva) it is earth. ṛṣi kaṇvaḥ ghauraḥ demonstrates to me ( again and again) he choice of words are impeccable, and this is shown through the 8 hymns offered in this section.

But one word does not make a trend, is it used again? Does he use pṛthivī again for 'earth' ? Yes , please see hymn 1.38.2 Another? Yes , 1.39.3 pṛthivī is once again used.

IMHO to use aditi for 'earth' when pṛthivī and bhū are available tells me ṛṣi kaṇvaḥ ghauraḥ has more to offer, more to say then the notion of 'earth'. This is my point all along. Aditi is there for a reason, not convenience.

I will rely on ṛṣi ghaura-ji's words first and leave HH Wilson's insights for support to compare-and-contrast how others may translate this wisdom.

Let me leave it here for now as there are other examples we can review, but I do not wish to derail your forward motion on this string.

Thank you for taking the time to offer your position. Points well made.


bhū भू, - in the feminine gender is earth; as a substance, ground , soil , land. yet this word too in the masculine and neuter gender is 'being, becoming', etc. - a very robust word as I see it.

04 December 2009, 08:45 AM
Rudra-shiva's several distinctive attributes are adored in the Rig Veda sUkta 2.33, which has fifteen verses. Rudra-shiva is essentially the god of dissolution, coupled with regeneration; in the physical world, he is the Father of Storms (the Maruts); at the spiritual level he is the vajrabAhu--the thunder wielding god who destroys our worldly attachements with flashes of jnAnam--true knowledge. Although he is the red and angry Rudra as he conducts his dance of fury, he is also the white and auspicious Shivam, signifying the pure light of sat-chit-Ananda.

Some of the attributes of Rudra adored here are: pitarmarutAM--father of Maruts, the storm gods; R^idUdaraH--having a soft or plesant inner nature; apabhartA rapaso daivyasya--remover of chastisements of the gods (this he can do only if he is above the gods); shvitIche maho mahIM--shining white, being greater than the great; vishvarUpa--of many forms (shrI rudram would elaborate his many forms); satpati--true master; chekitAna--all-knowing, as SAyaNa explains it, or chikitvan--always attentive (so who never slumbers).

RV 2.33
Translation by Prof. Raimon Panikkar in his book 'The Vedic Experience':
notes supplemented with those found along with HH Wilson's translation.

A te pitarmarutAM sumnametu mA naH sUryasya saMdR^isho yuyothAH |
abhi no vIro arvati kShameta pra jAyemahi rudra prajAbhiH ||2.033.01||

01. O Father of Storms, may your favour flash (be measured out) upon us!
Do not deprive us of the sight of the Sun.
May the hero mounted on his charger spare us!
Grant us, O God, to live forth in our children.

pitR--father marutaM--Maruts, Storm-Gods; sumnaH--invoking favour or protection; mA--measure out ('flash' in the translation probably indicates transmission by a flash, as with lightning).

The word 'God', used for Rudra in the whole of this sUkta, according to Prof.Panikkar, is based on the references in the shvetAshvatara upaniShad. He quotes from there:

o devAnAM prabhavashchodbhavashcha vishvAdhipo rudro maharshhiH |
hiraNyagarbhaM janayAmAsa pUrvaM sa no buddhyA shubhayA saMyunaktu ||3.4||

3.4. He who is source and origin of the Gods,
the Lord of all, Rudra, the mighty sage,
who produced in ancient days the Golden Germ--
may he endow us with purity of mind!


tvAdattebhI rudra shaMtamebhiH shataM himA ashIya bheShajebhiH |
vyasmaddveSho vitaraM vyaMho vyamIvAshchAtayasvA viShUchIH ||2.033.02||

02. Thanks to your wholesome remedies, O God,
may I attain the span of a hundred winters!
Drive far from us all hatreds and troubles;
scatter to the four winds every sort of sickness.


shreShTho jAtasya rudra shriyAsi tavastamastavasAM vajrabAho |
parShi NaH pAramaMhasaH svasti vishvA abhItI rapaso yuyodhi ||2.033.03||

03. O thunder-wielding God, you of all beings
are most renowned and mightiest of the mighty.
Conduct us to the further shore of sorrows
in peace and frustrate all assaults of evil.

vajrabAho--thunder-wielding God, an epithet usually applied to Indra.


mA tvA rudra chukrudhAmA namobhirmA duShTutI vR^iShabha mA sahUtI |
unno vIrA.N arpaya bheShajebhirbhiShaktamaM tvA bhiShajAM shR^iNomi ||2.033.04||

04. May we not anger you, O God, in our worship
by praise that is unworthy or by scanty tribute.
Restore our warriors with your medicaments.
I know, O mightiest, you are the best of healers.

vR^iShabha--signifies 'the bull', rudra-shiva's vAhanam--vehicle and also stands for 'manly, mighty, vigorous, strong'.


havImabhirhavate yo havirbhirava stomebhI rudraM diShIya |
R^idUdaraH suhavo mA no asyai babhruH sushipro rIradhanmanAyai ||2.033.05||

05. With invocation and offering I approach him,
eager to appease this God with my praises.
May the God of mercy, of dark, handsome looks,
who is easy of entreaty, spare us his anger!

R^idUdaraH--having a soft or plesant inner nature (MWD: also RV 3.54.10, 8.48.10); yAska interprets this phrase as mRdu udara--soft belly--Nir.6.4.


unmA mamanda vR^iShabho marutvAntvakShIyasA vayasA nAdhamAnam |
ghR^iNIva chChAyAmarapA ashIyA vivAseyaM rudrasya sumnam ||2.033.06||

06. His Mightiness, escorted by the Storms, has brought me
strong comfort in distress. May I unharmed
find shelter with him as from glaring heat!
May I secure the goodwill of God!

His Mightiness, escorted by the Storms: literally, this bull, escorted by the Maruts.


kva sya te rudra mR^iLayAkurhasto yo asti bheShajo jalAShaH |
apabhartA rapaso daivyasyAbhI nu mA vR^iShabha chakShamIthAH ||2.033.07||

07. How I long, O God, for the gracious touch
of your hand which heals and brings refreshment,
which softens all chastisements of the Gods.
Regard me, O Mighty One, with an indulgent eye.


pra babhrave vR^iShabhAya shvitIche maho mahIM suShTutimIrayAmi |
namasyA kalmalIkinaM namobhirgR^iNImasi tveShaM rudrasya nAma ||2.033.08||

08. To the great one, the brown and whitish Bull,
I offer a powerful hymn of praise.
Adore his splendor with adorations!
We glorify the mighty name of God.

whitish--shvitIche-shvaityam anjchate, he who goes to or obtains whiteness. This verse has the origin for rudra-shiva's white complexion.


sthirebhira~NgaiH pururUpa ugro babhruH shukrebhiH pipishe hiraNyaiH |
IshAnAdasya bhuvanasya bhUrerna vA u yoShadrudrAdasuryam ||2.033.09||

09. This God of firm limbs, of many forms, the brown one,
the mighty, has decked himself with golden ornaments.
The power divine of this sovereign God,
the ruler of the universe, never dwindles.

power divine--asurya. (asuryA: 1. spiritual, divine; 2. demoniacal;--MWD)


arhanbibharShi sAyakAni dhanvArhanniShkaM yajataM vishvarUpam |
arhannidaM dayase vishvamabhvaM na vA ojIyo rudra tvadasti ||2.033.10||

10. Worthy are you of the bow and arrows,
worthy of the many-colored, noble insignia;
worthy are you to combat every horror,
for none, O God, is more powerful than you.

many-colored--vishvarUpa; or of all forms (cf BG 11.16); every horror--vishvam abhvaM


stuhi shrutaM gartasadaM yuvAnaM mR^igaM na bhImamupahatnumugram |
mR^iLA jaritre rudra stavAno.anyaM te asmanni vapantu senAH ||2.033.11||

11. Praise to the youthful, far-famed God,
enthroned on high, who slays like a wild beast!
Have mercy on your singer when he sings your praises!
May your hosts spare us and cast down some other!


kumArashchitpitaraM vandamAnaM prati nAnAma rudropayantam |
bhUrerdAtAraM satpatiM gR^iNIShe stutastvaM bheShajA rAsyasme ||2.033.12||

12. As a son salutes with reverence his father,
so I bow down, O God, at your approach.
I praise you, mighty Lord, giver of treasures.
Grant us your medicines when we extol you.

Lord--satpati--true master


yA vo bheShajA marutaH shuchIni yA shaMtamA vR^iShaNo yA mayobhu |
yAni manuravR^iNItA pitA nastA shaM cha yoshcha rudrasya vashmi ||2.033.13||

13. Your remedies so pure, O powerful Storms,
afford us relief and bring us joy.
Those which our father Manu chose
I beg from the Lord for my own well-being.

powerful Storms--Maruts; Manu: probably an allusion to the legend according to which Manu selected and saved certain herbs during the great flood (for the deluge cf.V 17 of the book).


pari No hetI rudrasya vR^ijyAH pari tveShasya durmatirmahI gAt |
ava sthirA maghavadbhyastanuShva mIDhvastokAya tanayAya mR^iLa ||2.033.14||

14. May God's missile be deflected from us,
may the anger of the blazing God overshoot us!
Relax your bow of wrath toward our well-wishers.
Have pity on our sons and on their children!


evA babhro vR^iShabha chekitAna yathA deva na hR^iNIShe na haMsi |
havanashrunno rudreha bodhi bR^ihadvadema vidathe suvIrAH ||2.033.15||

15. O mighty Power, the God who never slumbers,
be here attentive, O Lord; hear our cry.
Not for you, O God, to be angry or destroy!
May we speak, as men of valor, a strong word!

O mighty Power--literally, O brown-hued Bull; Lord--Rudra; A strong word--literally, in the assembly (vidathe).


To continue with the rudra-shiva pArAyaNam...