Jesters in Rig Veda (Post No.4365)

Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 4 NOVEMBER 2017


Time uploaded in London- 14-21



Post No. 4365

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.



Rig Veda is an encyclopaedia of ancient India. Hindu playwrights, actors and dramatists believe that the drama originated in India. Though we have dramas in ancient Egypt, if one believes the date (4500 BCE or before that) given to the Rig Veda by Herman Jacobi and B G Tilak, then India can claim the credit. Whatever be the origin of drama, we have very clear drama scenes in the Rig Veda in the form of dialogue hymns:


RV 10-51: Agni and Varuna
RV 10-10 Yama- Yami
RV 1-179 Agastya and Lopamudra
RV 10-95: Pururuvas and Urvasi
RV 10-86 Indra and Vrsakapi
We have such conversation hymns in RV 10-135; 10-124; 4-26; 10-108; 10-28 and many more. ( I have dealt with this in detail in  my old article; see the link at the bottom)
I was reading Hazra Commemoration Volume (Pages 505, 506) and found an interesting article which shows that even jesters (Vidushaka) in the Vedic period. The author quotes the following information:

Rig Veda (9-112-4) says,

“Just as a draught horse desires a light chariot, the jesters desire such appropriate words to excite others laughter. The male desires his mate’s approach and a frog desires food”


Vajasaneyi Samhita

In the long list of persons to be offered to relevant deities in a Purusha Medha Yajna (human sacrifice), there Is even a person sacrificed to the God of Laughter. The God was Hasa VS 30-6 and T S 3-41.


Though Purusha medha yajna did mention over 200 persons belonging to various professions, none was sacrificed. But the long list shows that there were so mam types of workers during Vedic period and one of them was a jester No culture had a separate God for laughter. It says a Kari should be sacrificed to Hasa, the god of laughter.


From the word KARI, it is evident that among the people of the Vedic age there were some who practised the art of Joking.


Classical drama has jesters. So it is no wonder that Vedic Hindus also had such a character in the dramas. This shows the Vedic civilization was well advanced in art and culture. They were not primitive as foreigners projected them. More over when we put all the facts together, we see a well cultured and civilized society.

Origin of Drama in Ancient India and Egypt


Vedic dramas | Tamil and Vedas

Where did dramas originate? Did the first play was enacted in Egypt or India? We have dialogue hymns in the RigVeda and several scholars believe those …