RIG VEDIC POET’S UNIQUE DIALOGUE WITH TWO RIVERS (Post No.10,123)- part 1

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,123

Date uploaded in London – 22 September   2021           

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There are nearly twenty dialogue poems in the Rig Veda . They are spread over the Ten Mandalas.  Of them Visvamitra’s dialogue with two rivers (RV.3-33) in Punjab is unique. I don’t think any other ancient literature has such a dialogue poem with the Rivers. Later Indian literature has many odes to birds, cloud and insects; this unique poem reveals a lot about Hindu Way of Thinking. First read the poem and then read my commentary: –

1. FORTH from the bosom of the mountains, eager as two swift mares with loosened rein contending,

     Like two bright mother cows who lick their youngling, Vipas and Sutudri speed down their waters.

2. Impelled by Indra whom ye pray to urge you, ye move as ’twere on chariots to the ocean.

     Flowing together, swelling with your billows, O lucid Streams, each of you seeks the other.

3. I have attained the most maternal River, we have approached Vipas, the broad, the blessed.

     Licking as ’twere their calf the pair of Mothers flow onward to their common home together.

4. We two who rise and swell with billowy waters move forward to the home which Gods have made us.

     Our flood may not be stayed when urged to motion. What would the singer, calling to the Rivers?

5. Linger a little at my friendly bidding rest, Holy Ones, a moment in your journey.

     With hymn sublime soliciting your favour Kusika’s son hath called unto the River.

6. Indra who wields the thunder dug our channels: he smote down Vrtra, him who stayed our currents.

     Savitar, God, the lovely-handed, led us, and at his sending forth we flow expanded.

7. That hero deed of Indra must be lauded for ever that he rent Ahi in pieces.

     He smote away the obstructors with his thunder, and eager for their course forth flowed the waters.

8. Never forget this word of thine, O singer, which future generations shall reecho.

     In hymns, O bard, show us thy loving kindness. Humble us not mid men. To thee be honour!

9. List quickly, Sisters, to the bard who cometh to you from far away with car and wagon.

     Bow lowly down; be easy to be traversed stay, Rivers, with your floods below our axles.

10. Yea, we will listen to thy words, O singer. With wain and car from far away thou comest.

     Low, like a nursing mother, will I bend me, and yield me as a maiden to her lover.

11. Soon as the Bharatas have fared across thee, the warrior band, urged on and sped by Indra,

     Then let your streams flow on in rapid motion. I crave your favour who deserve our worship.

12. The warrior host, the Bharatas, fared over the singer won the favour of the Rivers.

     Swell with your billows, hasting, pouring riches. Fill full your channels, and roll swiftly onward.

13. So let your wave bear up the pins, and ye, O Waters, spare the thongs;

     And never may the pair of Bulls, harmless and sinless, waste away.

There are 13 Manrtras or stanzas . My commentary is as follows:

The legend cited by Sayana says that VIsvamitra , the family priest of  King Sudas, having obtained wealth by means of his office, took the whole of it and came to the confluence of Vipas and Sutudri. Others followed him. In order to make the rivers fordable, he lauded them with the first three verses of the hymn. The hymn has poetic beauty and is interesting as a relic of the traditions. This shows the westward expansion of Vedic Hindus. Elsewhere in the  Rig Veda we see the link between Sudas and the River Jamuna. That means Sudas rule spread up to River Yamuna or beyond in the eastern direction.

Vipas is the modern Beas and Sutudri is modern Sutlej. Vipas falls into Sutudri near Amritsar.

xxx

RV 3-33-1

Rishi Visvamitra is talking to fast flowing rivers Sutudri and Vipas.

Visvamitra knew the origin of rivers is in the mountains. And later he sings that they are running towards sea. Vedic poets referred to SEA in at least 100 places. They knew very well that all the rivers run towards sea. Hindu Brahmins repeat thrice a day a mantra saying “like the falling rain water  from the sky runs towards sea, all the salutations go to Kesava/God.” The speed of the horse gave us the word Horse Power. The cow gave us the word Vaccine. It came from Vatsa/calf with which Edward Jenner did experiment to find a cure for diseases, such as small pox. Now vaccine is applied to any Vaccie.

Hindus greatest contribution to humanity is in four fields 1. They domesticated cows and showed that is the closest to mother’s milk. No other animal can give milk equal to cow’s milk.

2.They domesticated horse and revolutionised the transport. Even today we use the word ‘Horse Power’.

3. They discovered numerals (1,2, 3,…….0) and Zero. They developed decimal numbers. Now the computers use 1 and 0.

4.Last but not the least they discovered iron and created industrial revolution.  Though they knew gold, silver, copper and zinc they developed the iron industry. Now the whoe world use it. The very word Iron came from Ayas in the Rig Veda. No wonder we find so many references to cow andhorse

Throughout the Vedas cows and horses are mentioned at  least 1000 times. Here the poet compares them for their speed and love and affection.

Xxx

3-33-2

Here Indra is referred as the one who commands the rivers. Indra in the Rig Veda stands for Thunder and rain and so he is associated with rivers.

3-33-3

Hindus praise rivers as Mothers or Sisters. This is found throughout the Vedas. Most of the river names end with the suffix VATI. We see this in Saras Vati and Par Vati and innumerable feminine names (Shara Vati, Charman Vati).

The respect shown to rivers and waters shows their concern for environment. In stanza also the motherly love of cows are praised. The word ‘Vatsalyam’ for affection came from Vatsa/calf.

3-33-4

God has made the rivers a ‘home’ (Sea). Poetic way of saying! Some idiots in the West argue tat Vedic Hindus did not know Sea. They thought Sindhu meant only River Indus. They have no knowledge of Tamil where AAZI means sea and 17 other meanings. The word Sindhu means river and 15 other meanings. Lack of knowledge in Indian languages made them to bluff.

To be continued………………………………..

tags- Dialogue poem, Rivers, Vipas, Sutudri, Visvamitra, Rigveda,

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