Post No. 10,264

Date uploaded in London – 27 OCTOBER  2021         

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(Partly Autobiography of London Swaminathan)

RIG VEDA is the oldest anthology in the world, oldest religious scripture in the world. Though I have been reading ‘about’ it for 60 years, I ‘read’ it fully in 2021.  I started ‘reading’ it on 28-4-2021 and finished it on 24-10-21. It took me nearly six months to ‘read’ it in Tamil (M R Jambunathan’s Translation). It contains over 1020 hymns and 10,552 mantras. Even the people who have ‘translated’ them added ‘we don’t understand, it is obscure, the meaning is not clear, probably it mans, perhaps the seer says. I only read it; not studied it or fully understood it. But it makes very interesting reading. I read it only one hour every day scribbling with pencil all through the pages.

I would tell all my friends to read it at least once. Please start with Asvins or Viswedevas; full of miracles and full of history. Reading is easy; for studying it or understanding it you need Hindu mindset. You need to be a Hindu in spirit, not necessary  religiously Hindu. Above all you must believe what Hindus believed at least 6000 years ago. That is the date given to the Rig Veda by Herman Jacobi and Bala Gangadhara Tilak. Max Muller gave it any date over 1500 BCE. Prof. Wilson and others dated it around 2000 BCE.

It has ten books. As you reach the final book (No.10), it becomes more interesting. A lot of subjects are discussed there. From Big Bang Theory to birds and animals in the forest. THE RV ends with a beautiful Nationaal Anthem for the UNO (united nations organisation)


BEAUTIFUL FOREST (RV 10-146 Aranyani)

As a nature lover, I have been reading books on Nature for the past 50 years. I started collecting stamps from very early age. Now at the age of 73, still I collect stamps. I was fascinated by the forest stamp issued in India in 1961. I used to look at it for hours along with the wild life stamps issued by India immediately after that in 1963.


Aranyak or Vanavasi by Bibhutibhushan Bandhyopadhyay

All our brothers used to read Vanavasi/Aranyak by Bibhutibhushan Bandhyopadhyay, Thekkadi Raja by M.P.Subhrahmanyan, Blackpanther of Sivanipalli by Kenneth Anderson etc and discuss them for hours and hours.

Then came Ziaudeen or Jiyawodeen into our life . He was a Forest Ranger in Thekkadi area and used to come to see my father V Santanam, News Editor, Dinamani, Madurai, to give his poems or stories to be published in Dinamani Sudar Weekly Supplement. He used to tell us all the adventures he did in the Periyar Dam area; we would listen to him for hours with open mouth in amazement. He used to tell how he escaped from a chasing elephant, how they saved a person from the python that tightened its grip on him, the leeches that stuck to his body sucking blood etc. In spite of this scary things, he encouraged us to visit him in the forest.

Unfortunately when I went to Thekkadi on my own several years after this I could only see some elephants at a distance, nothing else. To do RSS propaganda, I went to Kambam, from there to Kumuli and Thekkadi. When I visited Vedanthangal bird Sanctuary near Chennai, I could see only a few hundred birds, because I went there out of season. All due to over enthusiasm.

Malgudi Days of R K Narayan (in India) and BBC documentaries (in UK from 1987) also made me to stick to TV like a leech.

So the stamps and books on Nature hooked me to forests and plants. This made me to take Botany as major subject in my B.Sc course in Madurai University.

Then came the poems of William Wordsworth Daffodils and The Tables Turned. I memorised them and recited them so many times. When I recited it in my dream, my family listened to it and laughed and gave me the nick name ‘Daffodils’! I knew only about it when I woke up in the morning.


Now to Rig Veda Forest Poem (RV 10-146 Aranyani)

With this background, I read the poem on Aranyani in the Rig Veda a few days back.

Here is the poem:- Ode to Forest Goddess

1. GODDESS of wild and forest who seemest to vanish from the sight.

     How is it that thou seekest not the village? Art thou not afraid?

2. What time the grasshopper replies and swells the shrill cicala’s voice,

     Seeming to sound with tinkling bells, the Lady of the Wood exults.

3. And, yonder, cattle seem to graze, what seems a dwelling-place appears:

     Or else at eve the Lady of the Forest seems to free the wains.

4. Here one is calling to his cow, another there hath felled a tree:

     At eve the dweller in the wood fancies that somebody hath screamed.

5. The Goddess never slays, unless some murderous enemy approach.

     Man eats of savoury fruit and then takes, even as he wills, his rest.

6. Now have I praised the Forest Queen, sweet-scented, redolent of balm,

     The Mother of all sylvan things, who tills not but hath stores of food.

I will compare it with Daffodils, The Tables Turned- both by William Wordsworth and a few other poms on Forest by Oscar Wilde and others in the next part. This is not the only poem on Nature in the RV. The whole world knows the humorous poem on Frogs. A lot of poems on Forest Fire and Dawn (Lady Usha) re there for Nature lovers.


Same Poem in Sanskrit……………………….

10.146.01   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

अर॑ण्या॒न्यर॑ण्यान्य॒सौ या प्रेव॒ नश्य॑सि ।

क॒था ग्रामं॒ न पृ॑च्छसि॒ न त्वा॒ भीरि॑व विंदती३ँ ॥

araṇyāni ǀ araṇyāni ǀ asau ǀ yā ǀ pra-iva ǀ naśyasi ǀ

kathā ǀ grāmam ǀ na ǀ pṛcchasi ǀ na ǀ tvā ǀ bhīḥ-iva ǀ vindatīm̐ ǁ

10.146.02   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

वृ॒षा॒र॒वाय॒ वद॑ते॒ यदु॒पाव॑ति चिच्चि॒कः ।

आ॒घा॒टिभि॑रिव धा॒वय॑न्नरण्या॒निर्म॑हीयते ॥

vṛṣa-ravāya ǀ vadate ǀ yat ǀ upa-avati ǀ ciccikaḥ ǀ

āghāṭibhiḥ-iva ǀ dhāvayan ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ mahīyate ǁ

10.146.03   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

उ॒त गाव॑ इवादंत्यु॒त वेश्मे॑व दृश्यते ।

उ॒तो अ॑रण्या॒निः सा॒यं श॑क॒टीरि॑व सर्जति ॥

uta ǀ gāvaḥ-iva ǀ adanti ǀ uta ǀ veśma-iva ǀ dṛśyate ǀ

uto iti ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ sāyam ǀ śakaṭīḥ-iva ǀ sarjati ǁ

10.146.04   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

गामं॒गैष आ ह्व॑यति॒ दार्वं॒गैषो अपा॑वधीत् ।

वस॑न्नरण्या॒न्यां सा॒यमक्रु॑क्ष॒दिति॑ मन्यते ॥

gām ǀ aṅga ǀ eṣaḥ ǀ ā ǀ hvayati ǀ dāru ǀ aṅga ǀ eṣaḥ ǀ apa ǀ avadhīt ǀ

vasan ǀ araṇyānyām ǀ sāyam ǀ akrukṣat ǀ iti ǀ manyate ǁ

10.146.05   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

न वा अ॑रण्या॒निर्हं॑त्य॒न्यश्चेन्नाभि॒गच्छ॑ति ।

स्वा॒दोः फल॑स्य ज॒ग्ध्वाय॑ यथा॒कामं॒ नि प॑द्यते ॥

na ǀ vai ǀ araṇyāniḥ ǀ hanti ǀ anyaḥ ǀ ca ǀ it ǀ na ǀ abhi-gacchati ǀ

svādoḥ ǀ phalasya ǀ jagdhvāya ǀ yathā-kāmam ǀ ni ǀ padyate ǁ

10.146.06   (Mandala. Sukta. Rik)

आंज॑नगंधिं सुर॒भिं ब॑ह्व॒न्नामकृ॑षीवलां ।

प्राहं मृ॒गाणां॑ मा॒तर॑मरण्या॒निम॑शंसिषं ॥

āñjana-gandhim ǀ surabhim ǀ bahu-annām ǀ akṛṣi-valām ǀ

pra ǀ aham ǀ mṛgāṇām ǀ mātaram ǀ araṇyānim ǀ aśaṃsiṣam ǁ

To be continued………………….

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tags- Forest, Aranyani, Rig Veda, My autobiography, London swaminathan

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