LAST PART OF RIG VEDIC POET’S UNIQUE DIALOGUE WITH TWO RIVERS-3 (Post No.10,131)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,131

Date uploaded in London – 24 September   2021           

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THIS IS THE THIRD AND LAST PART OF RIG VEDIC POET’S UNIQUE DIALOGUE WITH TWO RIVERS.

 We saw in the past two days a unique conversation between the seer Visvamitra and two rivers Vipas and Sutudri. They are identified with modern day rivers Beas and Sutlej.

Here is my commentary on the last five mantras of 3-33

3-33-9

Visvamitra addresses the rivers as Sisters! In the third mantra/stanza we saw the rivers as Mother. Hindus are the only people in the world who worship rivers as Goddesses. All the rivers have feminine names and each one has a legend. The poet requests the rivers to flow below the axle of the wagon and car.

3-33-10

Here the rivers speak. They use two beautiful similes. Yes ; we would lower our level ‘like a nursing mother and yield like a maiden to her lover.

These types of similes are seen throughout the Rig Veda. We see well-knit family connections with love and affection between the relatives. Similes of husband and wife coming together, children running into the garments of mother, son getting the warmth of his father, lover and lady love hugging together etc are found in Vedas. Very often cow and calf are compared to mother and child.

3-33-11

Here we read about the poet and his clan the Bharatas crossing the river.  The poet urges the rivers to flow rapidly (after their crossing). Indra’s help in feeding the rivers (through rain) is also mentioned. Poet’s words “ I crave your favour who deserve our worship” are to be noted. In the eighth stanza we saw rivers saying NAMASTE. Even today this greeting is used by all Indians. Here Visvamitra says they/the rivers deserve worship.

Today Hindus worship not only rivers but also water. Hindu brahmins sprinkle water on their head thrice a day praising water as medicine and the take water in sips as well.

3-33-12

Here the poet concludes saying they have all crossed the river and it can roll swiftly onward.

Hindus believe that saints and seers like Visvamitra can control natural forces such as rivers, rain and wind, even ocean. In the Ramayana we read about Rama commanding the sea to obey. In the Bhagavata Purana we see river Yamuna parting away to give way to Vasudeva carrying Baby Krishna. In Adi Shankara’s life we see his command over flooded river. In Sangam Tamil literature Rama commands the birds in a banyan tree and then they shut their mouths. It happened when Rama was consulting Civil engineer Nala about building a bridge across the sea. So I would take these stanzas as water miracle performed by Visvamitra. Two rivers obeyed his commands and the additional message is to show respect and reverence to Rivers.

3-33-13

Griffith has added a foot note saying that it is in different metre and so a later addition. Stanzas with different metres occur in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Not only the differences in metre but also the repetitions. Here in 13th mantra we see the same message repeated.

Prof . Wilson following Sayana, gives a somewhat different version of the stanza:

Let your waves/rivers so flow that the pin of the yoke may be above their waters; leave the trace full, and may the two streams exempt from misfortune or defect and uncensured, exhibit no (present) increase.

I take it as a blessing to the rivers given by Visvamitra.

This hymn shows the environmental awareness among ancient Indians. ‘Humble us not mid men’ in the eighth stanza is the message Visvamitra gives to humanity through the rivers. Never treat rivers with contempt; never pollute them.

Confluence of Sutudri/Sutlej and the Vipas/Beas takes place near Amritsar in Punjab.

–subham–

tags- Visvamitra, Dialogue with rivers, Vipas, Sutudri, last part, RV 3-33

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