Vedic Lore Age of the Vedas Upanishads Brahma Devas I Devas II Rta and Satya Yajña RIGVEDA Mandala I Mandala III Mandala V Mandala X Author e-mail me

Mandala X

The Rig Veda

Mandala X

Suktas 71, 90, 121, 129, 164, 190

 God jñĀna (Holy speech)

Rishi Brihaspati (Brhaspati) (RV X.71)


O Brihaspati (Lord of the Vedas and Speech)! Among speeches, the one

That is primal (first), eminent, impeccable and revealed [by you] as an act of grace

Lay hidden within the heart cave; that Holy Speech assigned precise names to objects. ¶1

The name for object in Sanskrit is padārtha (= pada+artha), suggesting the priority of speech.

Like seiveing of corn flour, sagacious scrupulously uttered the Speech;

The understood the merited relation between words and means (i.e. sakhya).

Their Speech alone bears what is noble (bhadra) and fortunate (lakshmī). ¶2

People avid for tracking true meaning of Speech,

With Yajña (sacrifice), they discover her dwelling in sages (rishis).

Adopting her, they then propagated her who goes draped in seven poetic metres. ¶3

One ordinarily seeing may not see Speech, one ordinarily hearing may not hear her.

While for one she may reveal herself completely,

Like attractively-dressed young bride does for her lover. ¶4

One called eloquent in assemblies of the learned may still be lacking in profundities of speech.

Such person, merely verbose and vain, cultivates speech that bears no flower, no fruit. ¶5  

Who forsakes the true companion [Holy Speech, or study of the Vedas],

Has his speech lacking in merit and bliss (bhāga);

Whatever he listens, he listens in vain,

Nor he know the path (secret) of right (liberating) deeds. ¶6

Similar in eyes, ears and demeanour, still people differ in intellectual aptitude;

They are seen like bath-tanks of head or shoulder depth,

With water hardly suitable for drink. ¶7

The learned purse thought objects devoutly,

The intellectuals whereas investigate rationally;

Both these do leave behind others who fail to measure up to them. ¶8

Those who secure neither this world nor next,

Nor do they faithfully or ritually pursue the Vedas;

Stumbling on speech beguiling and fallacious (pāpa),

Deservedly they make living that is unworthy and money-spinning. ¶9

All learned friends hail their friend who in debates comes out victorious and decisive.

But the one who averts sins and donates food [shares with others]

Is the one who truly outshines all of them. ¶10

Practice is better than mere profession.

Among four priests at Yajña, Hotā rallies the Riks (or Rig Veda),

Udgātā sings the Gāyatra (or Sama Veda),

Priest Adhvaryu actually prepares for the rite [reciting hymns from Yajur Veda],

Priest Brahmā addresses its direction [reciting hymns from Atharva Veda].

This suggests that four Vedas alone comprise Holy Speech and are objects of faithful study and practice.

God purusha

Rishi Nārāyana (RV X.90)


Purusha is explained in the Nirukta as one resting within the body (puri-saya) or one pervading (filling) the whole universe. He, being Prajāpati, lord of contingent beings, is extolled and venerated as Yajña, the cosmic sacrifice or upkeep.

Thousand [countless] heads has the Purusha, so he has thousand eyes and thousand feet;

Pervading earth on all side [spanning 10 directions] and

Heart measuring 10 fingers [or spanning 10 senses],

He yet exceeds all, within and without. ¶1

Purusha verily is all this that exists (in this creation) and

What had been (in earlier creations cycles) and would be (in future);

He exceeds the body that grows with food. Indeed, the lord of immortality he is! ¶2

Such [aforesaid] is his pre-eminence, greater still sand the Purusha.

A quarter of him is all beings here, three quarters of him sits immortal in heaven. ¶3

‘A quarter’ is explained as first quarter (waking state) mentioned in the Mandukya Upanishad.

Three quarters can refer to existence, consciousness and bliss. Nature (Prakriti) refers to existence; creatures or individuals, the first two; universal self (Purusha), all the three.

With three quarters, Purusha sits above;

His one quarters alone manifests here, over and again.

He pervades all spaces and becomes all beings

That eat and eat not (i.e. worldly and liberated ones). ¶4

Thence emerged Virāt [Hiranyagarbha],

Still sovereign is the Purusha; for he exceeds his creations.

Next, [in the process] appeared the creations: terrestrial and corporeal. ¶5

Yajña that gods performed with offerings of [creations of] Purusha;

Spring was its purified butter, summer its fagots, autumn its oblation. ¶6  

Contemplating first-born Purusha in heart or sacrifice, gods, rishis and

Sādhyas (perfect ones) worshipped him as Yajña (= venerable). ¶7

From venerable Purusha invoked by all, there appeared edible foods.

He created animals and birds and what are domestic and wild. ¶8

From venerable Purusha invoked by all, issued forth the Rik and Sāma hymns.

From him issued the chhandas (Atharva hymns),

So too from him issued the Yajus hymns. ¶9

From him were born the horses (or energy)

And also the cattle with two rows of teeth (or senses behaving dually).

Form him were born the cows; from him, the sheep and goats too. ¶10

In what ways was he conceived the stated Purusha:

What called his mouth, what arms, what thighs, what feet! ¶11

Brahmin (priest) was his mouth; arms were made kshatriya (warrior);

His thighs, merchant class; from feet were menial workers (sūdra) born. ¶12

Division of society is natural, not forced. In a vibrant society, people move freely between roles.

Moreover, as in human body, all organs are useful and collectively serve the self, so in the Purusha, the cosmic body.

From mind, the Moon was born; from eyes, the Sun;

From mouth, Indra and Agni; from breath, Wind (Vayu) was born). ¶13

From navel, came the space (mid-region); from head, the heavens emerged.

From feet, the Earth; from ears, the directions; thus the worlds were conceived. ¶14

Seven are the boundaries, and twenty-one are the fuel-sticks;

The Yajña with Purusha as its subject of veneration/contemplation

Was elaborated by gods in the beginning. ¶15

With Yajña (in which offering of the creations of Purusha alone are made),

Gods worshipped the Yajña (venerable) Purusha [One manifesting in all and still exceeding];

These verily were the first canons/dicta (dharmas)

[Like Brahmacharya, or treating all as Brahma or Purusha].

They became eminent ones and attained the highest heaven (nāka)

In which the former gods and sādhyas were dwelling as well. ¶16

God ka (or prajapati)

Rishi Hiranyagarbha of Prājāpati (RV X.121)


In the beginning, celebrated Golden Embryo (Hiranyagarbha)

Emerged as sole lord of creatures;

He alone held firm the earth and heaven;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶1

Giver of self-concept (ego) and Self-knowledge and

Giver of vital breath (life) and vigour;

Whose rule the gods and world together celebrate;

Whose patronage is eternity (bliss) and death otherwise;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶2

Who by his eminence became

The sole ruler of all that breathe and blink (i.e. inanimate);

Who is the lord of men and cattle;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶3

By sheer eminence are said to be his

These snow-clad mountains, the ocean along with rivers,

These directions as his arms;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶4

By whom are created firm earth and bright heavens

And worlds of pleasures and of immortal bliss;

Who moves giant heavenly bodies through space;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶5

Whom carefully-held (or upholding creatures) and moving Earth and Heaven

Owe their birth; and wherein the rising Sun shines warmly;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶6

As the mighty Apas (waters/particles) pregnant and stimulating (fiery)

Encompassed the entire vast universe;

Therein emerged One who happened to be the Life (Soul) of all gods,

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶7

He (Almighty) with his eminence surveyed the Apas

Which were efficient and supporting cosmic upkeep (Yajña);

Who was alone God above all gods;

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶8

He never harms us; who is the creator of Earth and

Who, the truth-natured, indeed created these heavens,

Who stirs up the vast, thrilling Apas,

That lord of creation and felicity we revere with oblation or thoughtful surrender. ¶9

O Prajapati, none other than you overshadows the entire creation and objects;

With whatever desires we pray to you, those be ours!

We be lords of riches [and not slaves]! ¶10  

God creation (bhĀvĀvrtta)

Rishi Prājāpati Parameshthī (RV X.129)


NOR THAT unreal it was, NOR it existed as world (posited reality) then;

Ere there was NO becoming/activity (rajas), NOR were the far-reaching skies.

Enveloped in mist (mystery), in whose protection;

Wherein rested the fathomless waters (particles) then! ¶1

There was neither [concept] of death and immortality; no signs of day and of night either.

[But] That One alone, unmoving, existed, one with His power (Nature):

Other than (or outside) Him, nothing indeed existed. ¶2

Nature was initially rapt in utter inertial (tamas), then It flooded all regions with activity.

Nature that remains subordinate, material cause of manifested world,

Was stirred by His eminent Tapas (enlightened Will). ¶3

Thus, in the beginning, Desire (Kāma) emerged, which became the primal seed of mind.

Propelled by intuitive mind, seers grasped

The mysterious link between transitory world and the Eternal. ¶4

Light (or manifestation) of these (causes) pervaded all directions,

Far above and deep underneath;

There were creatures smitten by desired, and liberated ones too were there;

Below was the Nature (Energy), and above (His) Will. ¶5

Who (or Lord of Creatures) knows with certainty or can describe exactly:

By whom and by what means this creation is brought forth!

Along creation were born gods (the keepers of universe),

Then who can verily know wherefrom of this creation! ¶6

Night (called vikalpa) is the time referred to here as before creation.

That is comparable to sound sleep (susushpti) because the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: the gods are no more gods, worlds no more worlds. The Mandukya Upanishad explains that state as unified and where only the lord of all, omniscient, inner controller and source of contingent beings is there.

Where from this creation has come! Whether He held it out or He did not!

O dear, only He, the Overseer in the highest heavens, knows.

[But anyone who says] else knows, does not know. ¶7  

‘Whether He held it out’ suggests whether He is blamable for creation.

Else can not know, because manifested beings or even gods were not there before creation. Some translate the last two lines as ‘Only Overseer knows or does not know.’ This translation does not fit well with the omniscient Overseer.

God duhshvapnaghna (Evil dream dispeller)

Rishi Prachetas (RV X.164)


O mental trip (stumble)! Make way, move away, fly off.

Presage unforeseen Error (un-right, or that goes against Rta)

[Or drive it away far from Earth]. Man’s mind behaves in myriad ways. ¶1

People seek auspicious boon, they strive for auspicious mastery;

They regard Sun as auspicious. Man’s mind roams myriad places. ¶2

Averting bad and seeking good is a mental trip or pitfall (samkalpa)! Bad brings in misery. Good can bring in ego, or it could be our perception (or speculation). Save us from seeking good too! For example, a boon of mere long life could end up with your near and dear ones departing before you do.

Anyhow, except from Vedic hymn, you have no authority to seek separately.

Wittingly, unwittingly, and obsessively, we while awake or in dream entertain whatever;

Agni may eliminate those unworthy wrongdoings (intentions) from us! ¶3

O Indra, O Brahmanaspati (= Brihaspati),

When we [possessed by mental trip] are tempted to rebel,

May the discerning (prachetas) Āngirasa (of or bearing Angiras)

Protect us from the sin of (inner) enemies! ¶4

Alternatively, we rebel because we are not surrendered.

(We) vanquished [ill omen], became today [what we aspired]. And we are sin-free.

[For] waking and dream pursuit of mind (sam-kalpa)

[being speculative in nature] is erroneous (pāpa).

That be pastime of our opponents or of those who hate/oppose us! ¶5

God creation (bhĀvĀvrtta)

Rishi Aghamarshana of Madhuchhandas (RV X.190)


FROM enkindled Tapas [Brahma-consciousness] were born

Rta (Truth, literally Right) and Satya (Truth or Law or the Vedas);

FROM IT was born the Night (Quiescence, or vikalpa);

FROM IT the Ocean of Water and Ocean of Space. ¶1

From Tapas alone issue forth the Rta, the Satya, the Brahmā’s Day (creation or kalpa) and Night (vikalpa) &c. [Night is comparable to sound sleep (sushupti) experienced every night by us.]

See also discussions on Rta and Satya.

Under the Oceans of Water and Space, was born the Year (samvatsara).

The obvious Controller of Universe then

Brought forth [human] Days and Nights (ahorātra). ¶2

The Creator, as on earlier occasions, created Sun and Moon,

Heavens (stars), Earth, Mid-region and the Heaven (paradise). ¶3

‘As on earlier occasions’ suggests creation is cyclic.