Sanskrit Poetry- A quick survey from Rigveda

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#1
Indians ( i.e hindus ) treat the four Vedas as the most ancient literature of their civilisation.
The Vedas are certainly ancient, however estimates of their time vary. Of the four Vedas, Rigveda is the oldest. Its Sanskrit is called Arsha Sanskrit or archaic Sanskrit. While there are poems on many topics here, basically the poems express wonder about Nature and the world ( apart from philosophical musings about this world and God ) ; which surrounded the ancient poets who composed the various Suktas , literally meaning ' well said '. There 1028 Suktas in the Rig Veda. There are various composers of these Suktas mentioned therein by their names. In later years, the Vedas, came to be known not as creations of humans but were said to be words of God. And the Suktas came to be known as a part of ' Shruti s " or ' Stuff that was Heard '. The art of writing being unknown, when the Suktas were composed, these came to be committed to memory by repeated recitations, and to break the monotony, in various styles of pronunciations.
The present versions have been intact for the last four thousand years at least.
Each of the Suktas is devoted to one of the many gods that populated the theology of this ancient version of Hinduism.
These are, mainly, Indra ( the King of Gods ), Agni ( God of Fire ), Varuna ( God of Water ), Usha ( The Goddess of dawn ), Savita / Mitra ( the Sun God ), and there are Suktas addressed to Ratri ( Night ), Parjanya ( Rains ) and even Akshadeva ( the God of Dice ).
There is even a Sukta for the Manduka s ( the Frogs ).
There are dialogue type Suktas, such as the famous Yama-Yami Sukta, a dialogue between Yama the God of Death and his sister Yami who asks him to satisfy her carnal desire about him and which he refuses, advising her to select a suitable husband instead saying further such type relations as she was requesting are forbidden by gods.
For your initial reactions, queries and comments please. I will certainly give some brief translations on request.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#2
The Akshadevan Sukta :In the tenth Mandala of the Rigveda, the thirty fourth sukta is the Akshadevan Sukta. It is a prayer to the God of the dice, a heartfelt urging by a gambler who wants to get rid of his gambling habit. Composed by a sage ( Rishi ) called Kavash Ailush, it expresses a genuine remorse that the poet had felt when he finds that there is now nothing left in his hands to gamble with. He cries about his loving wife who never protested about his bad habit but borne every sorrow, but in his lust for the game he had turned her out, so as to be able to go on with the game. He says that the dice are like the the thorny bits at the end of the angler's tackle which bite deeply into your flesh and never let you go. The dice do not care for the anger of the gambler and even a king is afraid of them. The gambler takes a look at the happy families who are not affected by this vice and prays to the dice " please let go of me, I have nothing left ! "
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#3
There is an old translation of the 10th Sukta of the 10th Mandala of Rig Veda. This is the Yama-Yami Sukta. Please see it here.Rig Veda: Rig-Veda, Book 10: HYMN X.Yama Yami.
The dialogue starts in earnest at hymn 5, when the woman Yami says to her brother that when we were united in the womb of our mother by the god Tvastra ( the Fabricator ), what is the harm in now sleeping together on a couch. Her twin brother Yama, the first mortal to die and hence by seniority the God of Death, says this is improper language and asks his sister to offer her arm as a pillow to another suitable husband. Read on.
 

Vajra

Ad Honorem
May 2013
4,332
India
#5
Yes,Yama and Yami are twins and were the first mortals.Yami asked Yama to unite with her in order to gain progeny.Both of them were children of Vivasvan(another aspect of Surya or sun).The river Yamuna got its name from Yami.

King Manu is also a brother of Yama and Yami because he too was the son of Vivasvan.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#6
Yes,Yama and Yami are twins and were the first mortals.Yami asked Yama to unite with her in order to gain progeny.Both of them were children of Vivasvan(another aspect of Surya or sun).The river Yamuna got its name from Yami.

King Manu is also a brother of Yama and Yami because he too was the son of Vivasvan.
Thanks, Vajra for your comment. Yama the God of Death ( Even though his being God of Death may be taken as poetic liberty ) was probably the first human who resisted incest and then the entire Vedic community started to avoid incest and even Sagotra Vivah ( Marriage within the same clan or sub clan. ) Yama is also portrayed as the teacher of the boy Nachiketa who asks him what is death, in Kathopanishad, a later composition than the Veda s.
 

Vajra

Ad Honorem
May 2013
4,332
India
#7
Thanks, Vajra for your comment. Yama the God of Death ( Even though his being God of Death may be taken as poetic liberty ) was probably the first human who resisted incest and then the entire Vedic community started to avoid incest and even Sagotra Vivah ( Marriage within the same clan or sub clan. ) Yama is also portrayed as the teacher of the boy Nachiketa who asks him what is death, in Kathopanishad, a later composition than the Veda s.
Yes.But Yama is also the king of Svarga(a theme later applied to Indra in post-Vedic texts).It is in Yama's realm that we find the final liberation according to the Vedas.His realm is also the abode of ancestors(Pitrs).I have written a note in detail about this on Facebook,I would be more than happy to mail you the link :)

Indeed,the fruitful conversation b/w Yama and Nachiketa from Kathopanoishad is famous and has a special place in Vedanta :)
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#8
I will be happy to receive the link. I have not come across any mention in the Rig Veda regarding Yama being lord of Swarga. So please do point it out.Thanks.I am going to give bits of translations of some Suktas, now and then.
 

SSDD

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
3,900
India
#9
All of Vedas are written in very beautiful of poetic style while same time containing very high philosophical values.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,014
India
#10
The Purusha Sukta and the Nasadiya Sukta are well known example of the heights to which the Vedic hymns reached in both style as well as the contents.
 

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