Post No. 9260

Date uploaded in London – –13 FEBRUARY 2021
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Number symbolism is found throughout Vedic hymns. Hymn 114 of Tenth Mandala also has lot of numbers in it and the Vedic “scholars” found it very difficult to translate it or interpret it. Many of the translators differ from traditional commentator Sayana. I read more in this hymn/ poem from another angle.
First let us look at the numbers in the Ten Mantras in the hymn RV 10-114
Here is Ralph T H Griffith’s translation who is very honest and admits that he is unable to understand hundreds of mantras in the Rig Veda. Others such as Max Muller, Dr Muir, Wilson and Ludwig give their own views. Like no two clocks agree they don’t agree with each other. Later day Tamil siddhas also followed this style and gave just numbers in their verses. At the end of this article I give two examples from Siva Vakkiyar and Tirumazisai Alvar where they repeat number 8 or 5 umpteen times in their verses they leave it to solve the number puzzle.

RV 10-114
The Rig Veda/Mandala 10/Hymn 114
Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith

  1. Two perfect springs of heat pervade the Three fold, and come for their delight is Matarisvan.
    Craving the milk of heaven the Gods are present: well do they know the praise song and the Saman.
  2. The priests beard far away, as they are ordered, serve the three Nirrtis, for well they know them.
    Sages have traced the cause that first produced them, dwelling in distant and mysterious chambers.
  3. The Youthful One, well-shaped, with four locks braided, brightened with oil, puts on the ordinances.
    Two Birds of mighty power are seated near her, there where the Deities receive their portion.
  4. One of these Birds hath passed into the sea of air: thence he looks round and views this universal world.
    With simple heart I have beheld him from anear: his Mother kisses him and he returns her kiss.
  5. Him with fair wings though only One in nature, wise singers shape, with songs, in many figures.
    While they at sacrifices fix the metres, they measure out twelve chalices of Soma.
  6. While they arrange the four and six-and-thirty, and duly order, up to twelve, the measures,
    Having disposed the sacrifice thoughtful sages send the Car forward with the Rc and Saman.
  7. The Chariot’s majesties are fourteen others: seven sages lead it onward with their Voices.
    Who will declare to us the ford Apnana, the path whereby they drink first draughts of Soma?
  8. The fifteen lauds are in a thousand places that is as vast as heaven and earth in measure.
    A thousand spots contain the mighty thousand. Vak spreadeth forth as far as Prayer extendeth.
  9. What sage hath learned the metres’ application? Who hath gained Vak, the spirit’s aim and object?
    Which ministering priest is called eighth Hero? Who then hath tracked the two Bay Steeds of Indra?
  10. Yoked to his chariot-pole there stood the Coursers: they only travel round earth’s farthest limits.
    These, when their driver in his home is settled, receive the allotted meed of their exertion.



1.In Mantra 8, Griffith talks about 15 types of prayers/lauds. Sayana talks about Indriyas/ sense organs.

2.In Mantra 3, we come across Two Birds; In another Upanishad mantra two bird sitting and one eats the berries- is interpreted as Paramatma and Jeevatma; Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994) says it was taken by the Christians and given in Adam and Eve (Atma and Jeeve atma) story Mantra 9, we come across 8th hero. Some describe it as Agni. Others differ.
4.In Mantra 8 , three times 1000 is repeated. Translators struggle to explain it.
5.Mantras 5, 6, 7 also have many numbers
6.Mantra three is very interesting Four Braided Woman is described as Vedic altar with four sides!
7.In Mantra we have Three Nirritis, who are usually associated with Death
8.Mantra two probably talks about the Big Bang and the expanding Univers whe they say “Sages have traced the cause that first produced them, dwelling in distant and mysterious chambers.”
9.Mantra 10 also stress this cosmological point when they say “Yoked to his chariot-pole there stood the Coursers: they only travel round earth’s farthest limits”
10.Mantra seven describe a place called Apnana (water ford?) which is rare.
11.Mantra 4 talks about one bird goes into the sea and looks around which reminds us of the bird that sailors use to fined out whether they are near shore/land. This bird is in Indus boat seal and Alvar song.
12.Mantra 4 has a beautiful expression “his Mother kisses him and he returns her kiss.”
This hymn is addressed to Visvedevas, but stress One God is seen as many/1000
Very interesting Hymn, but not translated correctly by the “scholars”
Translators’ views
Mantra 1
Springs of heat – Agni and Surya ; Three fold- the universe , sky, firmament and earth; Matariswan – Vayu according to Sayana;
Three fold- Agni, Vayu, Surya says Ludwig.
Mantra 2
Nirritis -heaven, mid air an earth according to Sayana. Dawn , which by their regular appearance bring men nearer to death . Nirritis are linked to death.
Mantra 3
Four braided youth – Vedic altar
Two birds – probably Agni and Soma
According to Sayana husband and wife
Mantra 4
One – Agni as the sun. his mother, perhaps as prof. Ludwig says dawn
Mantra 6
Thirty six grahas are chalices or saucers for soma juice and four extra for Atyagniistoma sacrifice. The car = sacrifice.
Mantra 7
Majesties- may be mighty priests;
The ford Apanana – passage leading to sacrifice
Mantra 8
The mighty thousand – meaning is uncertain.
Wilson says 1000 places.
Dr muir says thousand times 15 Ukthas/ words.
According to Sayana every function of the body had its appropriate object.
Mantra 9
Eighth hero – Agni


घ॒र्मा समं॑ता त्रि॒वृतं॒ व्या॑पतु॒स्तयो॒र्जुष्टिं॑ मात॒रिश्वा॑ जगाम ।
दि॒वस्पयो॒ दिधि॑षाणा अवेषन्वि॒दुर्दे॒वाः स॒हसा॑मानम॒र्कं ॥

ति॒स्रो दे॒ष्ट्राय॒ निर्ऋ॑ती॒रुपा॑सते दीर्घ॒श्रुतो॒ वि हि जा॒नंति॒ वह्न॑यः ।
तासां॒ नि चि॑क्युः क॒वयो॑ नि॒दानं॒ परे॑षु॒ या गुह्ये॑षु व्र॒तेषु॑ ॥
Samhita Devanagari Accented
चतु॑ष्कपर्दा युव॒तिः सु॒पेशा॑ घृ॒तप्र॑तीका व॒युना॑नि वस्ते ।
तस्यां॑ सुप॒र्णा वृष॑णा॒ नि षे॑दतु॒र्यत्र॑ दे॒वा द॑धि॒रे भा॑ग॒धेयं॑ ॥
एकः॑ सुप॒र्णः स स॑मु॒द्रमा वि॑वेश॒ स इ॒दं विश्वं॒ भुव॑नं॒ वि च॑ष्टे ।
तं पाके॑न॒ मन॑सापश्य॒मंति॑त॒स्तं मा॒ता रे॑ळ्हि॒ स उ॑ रेळ्हि मा॒तरं॑ ॥
Samhita Devanagari Accented
सु॒प॒र्णं विप्राः॑ क॒वयो॒ वचो॑भि॒रेकं॒ संतं॑ बहु॒धा क॑ल्पयंति ।
छंदां॑सि च॒ दध॑तो अध्व॒रेषु॒ ग्रहा॒न्त्सोम॑स्य मिमते॒ द्वाद॑श ॥
ष॒ट्त्रिं॒शांश्च॑ च॒तुरः॑ क॒ल्पयं॑त॒श्छंदां॑सि च॒ दध॑त आद्वाद॒शं ।
य॒ज्ञं वि॒माय॑ क॒वयो॑ मनी॒ष ऋ॑क्सा॒माभ्यां॒ प्र रथं॑ वर्तयंति ॥
चतु॑र्दशा॒न्ये म॑हि॒मानो॑ अस्य॒ तं धीरा॑ वा॒चा प्र ण॑यंति स॒प्त ।
आप्ना॑नं ती॒र्थं क इ॒ह प्र वो॑च॒द्येन॑ प॒था प्र॒पिबं॑ते सु॒तस्य॑ ॥
Samhita Devanagari Accented
स॒ह॒स्र॒धा पं॑चद॒शान्यु॒क्था याव॒द्द्यावा॑पृथि॒वी ताव॒दित्तत् ।
स॒ह॒स्र॒धा म॑हि॒मानः॑ स॒हस्रं॒ याव॒द्ब्रह्म॒ विष्ठि॑तं॒ ताव॑ती॒ वाक् ॥
Samhita Devanagari Accented
कश्छंद॑सां॒ योग॒मा वे॑द॒ धीरः॒ को धिष्ण्यां॒ प्रति॒ वाचं॑ पपाद ।
कमृ॒त्विजा॑मष्ट॒मं शूर॑माहु॒र्हरी॒ इंद्र॑स्य॒ नि चि॑काय॒ कः स्वि॑त् ॥
भूम्या॒ अंतं॒ पर्येके॑ चरंति॒ रथ॑स्य धू॒र्षु यु॒क्तासो॑ अस्थुः ।
श्रम॑स्य दा॒यं वि भ॑जंत्येभ्यो य॒दा य॒मो भव॑ति ह॒र्म्ये हि॒तः ॥


tags- number symbolism, Rig Veda, RV 10-114

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