Amazing Animal Lesson in Atharvana Veda (Post No.10,393)


Post No. 10,393

Date uploaded in London – –   29 NOVEMBER  2021         

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In one hymn of the Atharvana Veda one seer/rishi is giving an amazing lesson about Nature, particularly animals.

I have already written about Wordsworth and Dattareya in Bhagavatha Purana using Nature to teach us different things. But thousands of years before the Bhagavatha Purana, and epics , Atharvana Veda use animals in a hymn to teach us certain virtues. Probably that is the first verse in human history using animals and their qualities to teach human beings.

We have already seen the pigeons sacrificing their lives to save a refugee (Mahabharata), eagle and dove showing the great qualities of Sibi Chakravarti (Sangam Tamil literature Purananuu and later epic Silappadikaram), squirrel helping Rama in building a bridge to Sri Lanka (Alvar Hymns) and monkeys, bears and eagle helping Rama to destroy demons (Ramayana). Hundreds of stories about snakes are also in the Hindu mythologies.

But look at this unique hymn:-

The saint has used at least 22 animals and objects. If you give the topics to a school student for essay writing exercise , he would write something good about each of the topics. Tamils have used them as well; though Tamil is at least 1000 year junior to Sanskrit, that is the second ancient language in India, probably in the whole world (I have shown through 150 articles that Tamil and Sanskrit are the mothers of all ancient languages)



3.Adder /Snake














17.Rain God



20.Drawn arrow

21.Man’s roar

22.Horse’s vigour

38. For brilliance (AV. Book 6, hymn 38; sukta 211)

[Atharvan (varcashāmaḥ).—caturṛcam. bṛhaspatidevatyam uta tviṣidevatyam. trāiṣṭubham.]

1. What brilliancy (tvíṣi) is in lion, in tiger, and what in adder, in fire, in the Brāhman, what in the sun: the fortunate goddess that gave birth to Indra—let her come to us, in union with splendor.

2. What brilliancy is in elephant, in leopard, what in gold, in waters, in kine, what in men (púruṣa): the fortunate goddess etc. etc.

3. In chariot, in dice, in the bull’s strength (vā́ja), in wind, in rain-god, in Varuṇa’s vehemence (çúṣma): the fortunate goddess etc. etc.

4. In a noble (rājanyà), in the drum, in the drawn [arrow], in the horse’s vigor, in man’s roar (?): the fortunate goddess etc. etc.


My comments

This is a Prayer for Strength, Energy and Glory

The beauty lies in the fact that the seer used only four mantras to give you 22 messages or more

You can see the refrain in all the four mantras. That means it was sung by the poets in chorus; all oral literature will have this refrain. We see it in bhajans and vocal music. Indian singers never use books or written scripts like westerners. They keep 100s of songs in their memory. A big difference between the westerners and Hindus.

Most important point is it is a prayer to the greatest Goddess Aditi; even I have a friend by name  Aditi in London. Aditi  is the mother of Gods including Indra. She is praised all through the Rig Veda, the oldest book in the world. Hindus are the only race in the world, who did not send their goddesses to Museums. All other Goddesses are in the Museums! Aditi is used through out South Asia and South East Asia in naming girls.

Now I am not going to write essays on 22 topics. Actually I can even write a book on each topic just by using the ancient Tamil Sanskrit literature . Here is only a sample

1.Lion- ‘Swayameva Mrgendratha’ is the Sanskrit saying. No one need to democratically elect lion as the King of the Forest. By its own virtue it is the king accepted by all animals. The word Caesar came from Kesa Ari (Hairy Animal) Cesa Ari= Caesar. I even saw stone Simhasana in Rome/  Museum. It is a typical Hindu concept.

2.Tiger- Valmiki praised Rama as a tiger. That formed the first sloka of famous Venkateswara Subrabatham of Tirupati Balaji. Narasardoola = manly tiger= Lord Rama

Sangam Tamil literature say, that the tiger wont eat its prey if it falls on its left side.

3.Adder /Snake- snake is used for good and bad things; even today we use snake poison as antidote. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa fable shows that snakes can still hiss to protect itself. Through snake he teaches us a lesson. Be good but don’t be timid.

4.Fire- Fire is used in 1000s of mantras in the Four Vedas. The main prayer  is “I should become bright as Light/Fire”. Everyday orthodox Brahmins use Fire for getting Varchas, Ojas, Tejas and Medhas

5.Brahmin- Brahmin stands for scholars. Buddha in his last chapter in “Dhammapada” explains the greatness of Brahmins. Tamil kings gave Brahmins land and gold. The lesson is scholars with character will be honoured. A Tamil verse says Fire and Brahmins are same. Don’t go too close or too far. Like getting the warmth of fire , stand at an optimum distance.

6.Sun- every culture has something good to say about Sun. Hindus pray to him for eye sight and general health; they sing the glory of sun as killing virus, germs and perhaps of giving Vitamin D. Hindus worship Sun every day.

7.Elephant- Mighty power of elephant and  good memory of elephant are praised. Using one elephant to catch another is used by Kautilya and Tiruvalluvar. Five blind men and the elephant is in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain literature. The elephant that sought help from Vishnu is a famous episode found in the sculptures of Gupta period.

8.Leopard- like tiger, its ferocious attack is praised and compared to the heroism of kings.

9.Gold- used for good and bad things. Gold (basma) is used as medicine; gold also stands for greediness. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gives lot of quotations on Kamini Kanchana (Women and Gold) Bhagavad Gita and Tamil devotional hymns say Gold and  broken tile look the same for a saint. But the brightness of gold is praised even by Tamil Valluvar

10.Waters; Everyday Brahmins praise the magical and medical qualities  of water in their thrice a day Water oblation . Tamil poet Vallvular praised it as ‘Amrit’ using the same Sanskrit word.

11.Kine/Cows- Go matha/ Mother Cow is praised through out the Vedas. Cow dung is used as anti-bacterial stuff and fuel. Cow’s urine in small quantity is drunk by Hindus for maintaining health. Milk is one of the greatest Hindu discoveries. Throughout Vedas milk is praised. No other literature comes nearer to Vedas in praising Milk and Cows.

12.Men- Great men inspire all of us; we all follow in the foot prints of Great Men.

13.Chariot- Even Tamil Tiruvalluvar use the Axis of a chariot as a simile. (Achu/axis used by Tiru valluvar is a Sanskrit word);  don’t belittle short fellows; they are like axis of a chariot. So even chariot’s axis can teach you a lesson.

14.Dice- Playing with dice sung by Tamil Valluvar and Mahabharata show how bad is gambling. There is a beautiful poem on the evil of gambling in  the Rig Veda.

15.Bull- used through out Tamil and Sanskrit poems as symbol of heroism .

16.Wind- used for speed as Vayu vegam; in Tamil and Sanskrit songs,  poets use Wind for its Speed. Many Tamil kings are praised possessing the qualities of Pancha Bhutas- Water, Fire, Earth, Wind and Sky/ether.

17.Rain God- Rain god is praised and prayed for rains.

18.Noble- they are the philanthropists. They support poets and singers.

19.Drum- Drum symbolises King in Tamil literature. Rig Veda describes the drumming that scares the enemies. Tamil literature says a king who is going to wage a war will move the White Umbrella and the Drum on an auspicious day.  The biggest drum called Bhumi Dundubhi is praised in the Rig Veda.

20.Drawn arrow-  there are a few proverbs and sayings about it. The meaning is It never stops; it must hit the target.

21.Man’s roar- This is what Hindu Kings do before go to war. They make war cries and vows to inspire their fellow fighters

22.Horse’s vigour – it is the basis of Asvameda Yaga. The speed of the horse as well as the sexual vigour of the horse are used as similes in the Vedas.

All these points are easily understood by the Hindus. In one hymn with only 4 mantras the seer teaches so much!

My old articles:-

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7 Nov 2013 — The motto is LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER. … Sri Adi Shankara is the author of Viveka Chudamani in Sanskrit. He also gives lot of similes …

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10 Nov 2018 — We see William Wordsworth and Oscar Wilde singing the beauty of forests in English. xxx. Now let us compare … Let Nature be your teacher.

Bhumi Dundhubi: Drums in Rig Veda and Sangam Tamil Poems › 2014/11/02 › bhumi-dund…

2 Nov 2014 — The most interesting information comes from the Rig Veda about Bhumi Dundubhi! It means Earth Drum. jaffna. Temple Drum in Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Xxx Subham xxx

tags – tags- animal lesson, Atharvana Veda, 22 things