Oldest Riddle in the World! Rig Veda Mystery –3


Research Paper written by London Swaminathan
Post No. 1330; Dated 6 October 2014.

Rig Veda is the oldest religious book in the world. Even if we agree with the date given by the Western Scholars –1200 BCE, there was no other book at that time with huge a volume hymns on Gods like the Rig Veda in any part of the world. Modern Indologists in western countries slowly moving up the date of the Vedas to 1700 BCE. And archaeological proof for the Rig Vedic hymn is available from 1380 BCE from Bogazkoy in Turkey. Freedom fighter and great scholar B G Tilak and German scholar Jacobi have independently arrived at a date of 6000 BCE for the Vedas.

Vedas are full of mysteries. No scholar was able to interpret them in full. All the western scholars did not agree on a single hymn. Each hymn was interpreted differently by them. Some were honest to admit that the meaning was obscure, unintelligible, uncertain or not understood.

The first Indian scholar who tried a full commentary on it was Sayana who did write it around 14th century CE. By that time there was a big gap between the original “composition” and the commentary (Composition: Hindus never believe that they were composed like the Smritis. They were ‘heard’ like radio wavelengths by the sages). So he couldn’t know what the sages said or meant. But one positive thing was that Sayana was a believer in the Vedas. Other western scholars were like spectators in a film or a circus. Some wanted to have fun in reading the Vedas, some more wanted to belittle or denigrate them and a very few wanted to actually understand the meaning.

They all believed in their own religious books and thought the world was created in 4100 BCE. Their knowledge was shallow ss far as other religions were concerned. They saw Hindus as Kafirs and Pagans. They did NOT believe that the Hindu gods were GODS. They thought GOD can be reached ONLY through their religion. They were very narrow in their outlook. They did not follow Hindu values or respect Hindu values. They never criticized their own religions or other religions except Hinduism. They never scrutinised their religious books the way they did with Hindu scriptures. Their motive was very clear which they expressed it in articles without any hesitation (Please read what Max Muller said about Vedas in the beginning and what Macaulay said about English education in India).

Vedas flow chart

What is the Riddle?
Vedas can be interpreted at different levels: symbolic, allegorical, didactic or mythical. Many people believed that the sound effect of the Mantras is more important than the meaning. There are many puzzles and riddles in the Vedas. In fact all the minor deities have umpteen interpretations. I will give one hymn which puzzled many scholars:

Four are his horns, three are the feet that bear him; his heads are two, his hands are seven in number.
Bound with a triple bond the steer roars loudly; the mighty god hath entered in to mortals (R.V.4-58-3)
Translated by Ralph T H Griffith

There are ten Mandalas (divisions) in the Rig Veda (RV). The fourth Mandala is Vamadeva Mandala. Sage Vamadeva was the son of Gautama. Many scholars dated it as the oldest part of RV or one of the oldest Mandalas in the RV. Hymn 4-58 (quoted above) is in praise of Grta, clarified butter or oil used in sacrifices, but a choice of deities is offered in the Index – Agni or Surya, Waters, Cows or Ghrtra.

Prof. Wilson observes, “it is a good specimen of Vaidik vagueness and mystification, and of the straits to which commentators are put to extract an intelligible meaning from the text”.

Professor Ludwig says, “it would be fruitless to repeat all the various explanations which Sayana gives of the first line of this stanza – they only show the utter uncertainty of tradition in reference to the passage. For instance ‘samudrd’ ocean, is said to mean, sacrificial fire or celestial fire or the firmament or the udder of the cow; and ‘urmi’ wave or reward or rain or butter.
A .Gillebrandt explains it differently, says Griffith.

So far I have used four names of foreign “ scholars” . Griffith who summarised other three views did not say anything.

vedas music
What do we know from this one Rik of a hymn?

1. Vedic Hindus are not “barbaric Aryans” or illiterate cowherds. In the previous hymns by the same sage/Rishi we read about agriculture. This type of number symbolism is used by Tamil Siddhas a lot in very late periods. Tirumular who lived around seventh century used it in hundreds of verses. Without a proper commentary no one will know what they are saying.

2. The second point is Vedic hymns are very difficult to interpret. Even Hindu Sayana gives different possibilities adding OR, OR several times.

3. Foreign “Scholars” were very confused and make their own guesses according to their own whims and fancies. So they are NOT scholars and they are most unreliable.

4. Vedas have lot of hymns like this or hymns totally not understood by anyone. Hindus should not believe some half baked statements on Dasas, Dasyus, Sisna Devah etc. Many of the kings had names like Sudasa, Divodasa, Dirga Tamas (long or total dark or darkness) like we had Kalidasa and Tulsidasa in later periods.

5. The words in the given passage like Samudra (ocean), Urmi (woman’s name ‘Wave’) are used even today. So Vedic Sanskrit is not dead. It is a living language. Thousands of words in The Rig Veda, the oldest scripture in the world, are used by Tamils and others from Kashmir to Kandy in Sri Lanka. I have already pointed out the use of Indra and Indrani in nook corner of Indian subcontinent including tribal communities in one of my posts on Indra. Those who read the Vedas without any bias can ‘enjoy’ the rubbish jokes of Foreign, Marxist and so called Dravidian scholars!!!


Sayana’s Commentary
Now let me give Sayana’s two different explanations for the above Rik:
Four horns of Agni, if identified with sacrifice, are said by Sayana to be the four Vedas.
The three feet are the three daily sacrifices
The two heads are the Brahmaudana and the Pravargya ceremonies
Seven hands are explained as seven metres of the Vedas.
Triple bonds are Mantra, Kalpa and Brahmana

If identified with Aditya, the four cardinal points.
Three feet are Morning, Noon and Evening
The two heads are Day and Night
Seven hands are Seven Rays of Sun
Three bonds are Heaven, Firmament and Earth.

Mahidhara’s explanation differs from that of Sayana
Vedic commentator Mahidhara lived in the sixteenth century.

The four horns:— are priests or nouns, verbs, prepositions and particles
The three feet:— are the three Vedas or the first, second and third person or the past, present and future tenses.
The two heads:– are tow sacrifices or the agent and the object
The seven hands:– are the metres or the cases of the nouns
The three bonds:– are the three daily sacrifices or the singular, dual and plural numbers.

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My previous research articles on RV and AV:-
1.The Mysterious Vedic Homa Bird: Does it exist? – posted on 10-12-2011
2.Vedic Hymn better than National Anthems
3.Vedas and Egyptian Pyramid Texts – posted on 29-8-2012
4.Kapinjala Bird Mystery –posted on 23-5-2014 (Post No 1060)
5. Most misinterpreted words : Asva and Ayas
6.Confusion about Vedic Soma Plant –posted on 5-5-2013
7.Horse Headed Seer: Rig Veda Mystery- 1 -posted 27-8-2-14
8.Cucumber in the Rig Veda – posted on 2-42014 (post no 950)
9.Origin of Horse race and Chariot Race –posted 25-8-2014
10.Creation: Vedic Hymn and Babylonian Hymn –posted 6-8-2013
11.Sex Mantras and Talismans in Egypt and the Atharva Veda –posted 26 Sept. 2012
12.Gems from the Atharva Veda – posted 27 Sept. 2013
13.Mysterious Atharva Veda: Part 1 –posted 30 Sept. 2013
14. Mysterious Atharva Veda: Part 2 – posted 7 Oct 2013
15).27 Similes in one Vedic Hymn! – posted on18-8-2012
16) 107 Miracle Herbs in Rig Veda – posted on16-9-2013
17)Vedic Origin of 1000 Pillar Halls in Indian and Mayan Culture – 5 July 2014
18.Two seers saved by Asvins: Stories from the Rig Veda – posted 7 Aug. 2014.
19.Herbs and Diseases in the Veda – posted on 1 July 2014.
20) 31 Quotations from the Vedas – posted on 26 June 2014.
21.Talismans in Atharva Veda and Ancient Tamil Literature — posted on 17 June 2014.
22)Why did Indra kill Brahmins? – posted on 25 May 2014.
23)Ode to Sky Lark: Shelley, Kalidasa and Vedic Poet Grtsamada– posted on 3/5/14
24)Vedic Poet Medhathithi’s Quotations — Posted on22/5/2014
25)Pearls in the Vedas and Tamil Literature –posted on 18/5/2014
26.Important Vedic Quotations on Rivers and Water –posted on 8/5/14
27) 40 Important Quotations from the Atharva Veda –posted on 2-5/14
28.Oldest and Longest patriotic Song – 20 Sept. 2013
29)King and 8 Ministries in Vedic Period – posted on 28 May 2013
30)Numbers in the Rig Veda: Rig Veda Mystery – 2 –posted on 3rd Sep.2014
31) Mystery about Swan: Can it separate Water from Milk? (6 July 2014)

And several other articles regarding Vedic Gods Agni, Varuna and Indra in the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam and the Indus Valley Civilization. Please read my 1000+ articles.
Contact swami_48@yahoo.com