RIDDLE POEM IN THE RIG VEDA (8-29)- Post No.7586


Post No.7586

Date uploaded in London – 17 February 2020

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There are several poems in the Rig Veda addressed to Visve Devaas. ‘Visve Devaas’ mean ‘All Gods’. The seers make it a point to include all the important deities such as Mitra and Varuna, Indra and Agni. The verses of this hymn are in the form of riddles. None of these deities is mentioned by name in the following poem. Generally, Rig Vedic seers enjoy speaking in symbolic language or coded language. Visve Devas hymns always have challenges to scholars. Strange names are used leading to various interpretations by scholars.

This feature in the religious or mythological thought of many peoples is a significant factor in the invention and development of myths. This shows that the story telling tendency is not a mere blind impulse or a mis understood interpretation of natural phenomena , but that the poets could be deliberately invent and imagine, and just for that reason we cannot expect to trace myths back to a primitive  stock of ideas, any more  than we can derive all words from a primitive stock of roots.


Also note one Doctor is ready with medicines in one of the following Mantras!!!

Also note there is a god who knows hidden treasures!!

Here is a poem (RV. 8-29) from the eighth mandala of the Rig Veda:-

1.One is tawny, of changing form, bountiful, young; with golden ornament he decks himself .

2. One shining has taken his seat in the lap- the altar- a wise one among the gods.

3. One bears in his hand a bronze axe; constant among the gods.

4. One bears grasped in his hand a thunderbolt, wherewith he slays his enemies.

5. One bears in his hand a sharp weapon; a pure One, mighty, bearing healing medicines.

6. One makes the paths prosperous, like a thief; one knows of hidden treasures.

7. One, wide going, makes three steps; thither where the gods enjoy exhilaration.

8. With birds two go together with one woman; faring forth as on a journey.

9. Two highest ones made their seat in the sky; lords sipping ghee

10. Some singing hymns conceived a great Sama song ;ith it they made the sun to shine.



Xxx subham xxx


Geek Sphinx from Thebes

Research article Written by London Swaminathan

Uploaded in London on  – 1 JANUARY 2020

Post No.7408

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pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.


Another interesting thing about the hymn is that it has the Greek Sphinx Riddle. Sangam Tamil literature verses and post Sangam Tamil Tirukkural reflects the views in the hymn. Bhagavad Gita also shared the same thoughts. Let me compare the riddle first.

Gigantic 187 feet tall Egyptian Sphinx is a famous edifice with a long history. It has been dated a monument from 2600 BCE. It has the face of a man and the body of a lion. Greeks had a different Sphinx with a feminine face and wings. We have such figures from 500 BCE.

In the Greek conception, sphinx is the monstrous daughter of Typhon and Echidna. The sphinx demanded human sacrifice from the Thebans every time her riddle concerning the three ages of man was unanswered. when Oedipus answered, she committed suicide. It was adopted as an emblem of wisdom.

Her riddle was ‘which animal  went on four, then two and finally three legs’; the answer being humanity- crawling baby, adult and old man with a stick. Oedipus gave the right reply.

Rig veda 10-117-8 says

“He with one foot surpasses Two foot; and Two foot leaves Three foot behind. Four foot comes at the call of

Two foot watching his herds and serving him where five met together.”

Probably the Greeks copied it like they copied the Sarama dog story in Hermes episode.

The explanation given by the Vedic commentators is

One foot – Sun (Aja Ekapada is another word for Sun)

Two Feet – human being;

Three foot – old person with a walking stick (staff);

Four feet – Dog and other animals.

Five foot – Many people who watch all these things.


Before this stanza, there are other stanzas illustrating very high thoughts. This is from the 10th Mandala of the Rig Veda.

Rig Veda 10-117-1

The gods have not ordained hunger to be our death; even to the well-fed man comes death in varied shape.

Here the poet Bitsu Angiras says that don’t condemn the begging people that they have to suffer like this because of their past sins. That is not right. Death is not only for the poor. Even well-fed rich men die.



The man with food in store, who when the needy comes in miserable case begging for food

Hardens his hear against him – though in the past he had made use of him- he surely finds  no one with sympathy.

Tamil poet Tiruvalluar says,

Wealth in the hands of a liberal person is like a useful tree bearing fruits in the middle of a town square – Kural 216

The man who is in the habit of sharing his food with others will never be afflicted with the dire disease called hunger – 227


10-117- 3

The man who is truly generous gives to the beggar  who approaches him. He puts himself at the service of the man and makes him a friend for times to come.



That man is not a friend who does not give of his own nourishment to his friend. Let the friend turn away from him. Let him find another man who gives freely.

Here also we can compare a couplet from Tirukkural-

Genuine friendship hastens to redress distress like the hand that picks up the garment quickly that slips –788


10-117- 5

Let the rich satisfy the poor and bend his eyes upon a longer path way.

Riches come now to one, now to another  like the wheels of the rolling chariot.

This simile of wheel is used by several ancient poets. Naladiyar , another moral book, also uses this wheel simile for ever moving wealth.

Longer pathway means that the rich also can face ups and downs in future and so he must look into it.



The foolish man wins food without labour; I speak the truth; it will bring ruin to him. He cultivates neither a friend nor a patron. All guilt is who he eats alone without sharing.

Lord Krishna illustrates this point in harsher terms. He says that who he eats aloe is a thief; he eats nothing but sin.

The good people who eat what is left from sacrifice are released from all sins but those wicked people who prepare food for their own sake – verily they eat sin – Bhagavad Gita 3-13

He who enjoys the god given gifts without giving to them/gods in return is verily a thief – 3-12

Tiruvalluvar also says,

Enjoying one’s food, sharing it with others, and sustaining other lives is held out as the highest virtue by learned sages – Kural 322

Here Valluvar echoes the Vedic sages.



A man gets food by ploughing the field; the legs that walk puts the road behind them. The priest who speaks is better than the one who does not speak. The friend who gives surpasses the one who does not.

Griffith comments on it,

Active exertion is necessary for success.

The speaking brahman priest – the priest who duly discharges his task of recitation for which he is engaged.



Already given in the Greek Riddle comparison (see above)



The two hands though same, do not do the same thing.

Two cows from the same mother do not give the same amount of milk

The strength and valour of the twins are not the same.

Two kinsmen do not give with the same generosity.

Griffith explains,

All men should be liberal; but we must not expect all to be equally generous.

Here we see the ways of the world beautifully explained.

The similes of twins, ploughing field give a pen picture of the agricultural society.


Last but not the least, we may compare this with the 2000 year old Tamil Sangam Poems.

A Pandya king by name Ilamperu Valuthi says that Tamils share everything that is eatable, even if its Amrta from the world of Indra. He adds that they would do anything that brings fame and name for one and never do anything wrong even if they are given the entire world.- See Puranaanuru verse-182

In another verse a philanthropist was praised as a ‘Doctor who cures the disease of Hunger’ by a Chola king – See Puram. Verse 173.

The thought of sharing and giving  is praised from the Rig Vedic days till today, from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari.


Sphinx in Egypt

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.
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