[advaitin] RigVeda and the Indian Systems of Approaches to the One

H.B.Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Wed Aug 16 01:00:11 CDT 2000

rajuateam at aol.com wrote:

>   You have intensified our curiosity!  Please do explain the other 4 lines of
> the mantra.  Hari Om!
>                                 - Chidambaram

Here is explanation of the remaining four mantras going with Hansavati Rik.
-- Himanshu
-------------- next part --------------
Hansavati Rik and Dadhikraa

Addendum to :
RigVeda and the Indian Systems of Approach to the One
------------------------------------------------------ H.B. Dave
Some List Members have desired that they would like to have an
explanation of remaining mantras of [RV IV-40], which contains
Hansavati Rik. Though the series on "RigVeda and the Indian Systems
of Approach to the One" was terminated with its posting no. 13,
here is given the desired explanation.

We start with a Shantipatha :
.o vaa"n me manasi prati.s.thitaa mano me vaaci prati.s.thitam |
aaviraaviirma edhi | vedasya ma aa.niistha.h |
"sruta.m me maa prahaasii.h |
anenaadhiitena ahoraatraan sandadhaami |
.rta.m vadi.syaami | satya.m vadi.syaami |
tanmaam avatu tat vaktaaramavatu |
avatu maam | avatu vaktaaram avatu vaktaaram ||
.o "saanti.h "saanti.h "saanti.h ||

{Aum. May my speech be according to my mind and my mind be as per
my vaak. O Brahman! be manifest to me. Please do bring the knowledge
to me. May the knowledge do not leave me. I make the Day and Night one
due to this study. I shall speak the Law. I shall speak the Truth. May
that truth protect me; may it protect the Speaker [who is speaking
through me]. May it protect me. May it protect the Speaker.
Aum. Let there be peace, peace, peace.}

In order to understand this sukta, we should at least summarise the
previous two suktas, viz., [RV IV-38] and [RV IV-39], as these three,
38, 39 and 40 form a triad of suktas, addressed to dadhikraa.h. The
.rs.i is vaamadeva. The "devata" of these sukta, dadhikraa.h, is said
to be a horse, but a special horse. It is necessary to understand its

Our plan in this posting is as follows :
1.  What is dadhikraa.h according to Nirukta (Yaskacharya);
2.  A brief summary of [RV IV-38] and [RV IV-39];
3.  Explanation of [RV IV-40-1 to 4]; the last [RV IV-40-5] is already
    given in posting no. 11, so its explanation is not repeated here.

1.  What is dadhikraa.h according to Nirukta (Yaskacharya) :

Yaskacahrya explains dadhikraa.h at two places in Nirukta -- in [2-27,28]
as a synonyme of a"sva.h (a horse) and in [10-30,31] as a devata.
The later explanation also contains an extremely interesting etymology of
the word madhu (honey, waters, ...), but that will be subject of a future
posting !
Nirukta [2-27,28] : dadhikraa.h etad dadhat kraamati iti vaa |
{it runs while bearing [a rider on its back]}

dadhat krandati iti vaa |
{it neighs while bearing [a rider on its back]}

dadhadaakaarii bhavati iti vaa |
{looks beautiful while bearing [a rider on its back]}

tasya a"svavat devataavat ca nigamaa bhavanti |
{Its etymologies can be given as if a horse or as a divinity.}
Yaska then proceeds to give [RV IV-40-4] as an example of use of the
word as if a horse. We shall refer to that explanation in what follows.

Nirukta [10-30,31] :
Yaska takes up [RV IV-38-10] as an example while explaining use of the
word as a devata. We shall utilize that in our summary given below.

2.  A brief summary of [RV IV-38] and [RV IV-39] :
>From the meaning of the word dadhikraa.h given above, what do we conclude?
Does it indicate :
jiiva? (rider is aatmaa) or,
mana? (rider is jiiva) or,
Soma? (bliss during deep meditation, rider is the Ego, Indra).
To help our better understanding we look at the previous two suktas.

Summary :
[RV IV-38] : (10 mantras)
Basic characteristics of dadhikraa.h are -- he is a cognizer
who collects inputs from the external world; he is the thinker, describer,
one who is able to express the internal world; he is a "weapon", powerful,
conquering the foes, at the highest levels of consciousness. Rodasii, the
Heaven & Earth, has created him.
rodasii -- rudrapatni, "wife" (Shakti) of rudra, the "moving" aspect of
           brahman (rudra) which seems to create this world.
He obtains "straightness" (.rjipyam), i.e. synchronization of the whole
According to Tantra and Yoga, Kundalini the Serpent, becomes straight
when it enters su.sum.naa naadii, i.e. in deep meditation.
He is moving gracefully, resplendent, spread out. He gives everything,
goes downwards like water on a slope, desiring to reach various spaces,
moving in chariots (annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, etc.). He gives mixed
fruits. He has manifested tools or power (mental abilities). He is
something to be known well.

Various regions of the brain emit messages due to him, after the first
filtering is done at vaikharii vaak level. Like a hungry hawk, he swoops
down on thoughts and "eats" them. (This is characteristic of Soma.)

Having chariots, goes to various Lokas in them. He makes the abstracted
thoughts absorbed at paraa vaak level. He spread out in five classes of
"men" (the four "priests" plus the yajamana); establishes consciousness.

He gives madhu, the agreeable.

[RV IV-39] : (6 mantras)

Rodasii genrates all the following gods as manifestations of dadhikraa.h :
u.sasa.h, mitra, varu.na, agni.h, aditi($), maruta.h, indra.h, etc.
($) Sayanacharya says that here aditi means akha.n.daniiya dadhikraa.h,
i.e. an indivisible Dadhikra.
May our speech become fragrant (thinking become fruitful and powerful).
May our meditation be sustained for longer duration (may the clear
Knowledge does not leave me.)

Thus dadhikraa.h seems to be everything that "I" denotes, all its states,
working regions of the brain, abilities, etc. including the innermost self,
the Self (jiiva). We say it is jiiva (and not aatmaa) because rodasii has
created it.

With this you may have now some idea of the nature of dadhikraa.h, so we
move on to ...

3.  Explanation of [RV IV-40-1 to 4] :

[RV IV-40] : vaamadevo gautama.h | dadhikraa.h, 5 suurya.h | jagatii, 1
tri.s.tup |

dadhikraav.na id u nu carkiraama vi"svaa in maam u.sasa.h suudayantu |
apaam agner u.sasa.h suuryasya b.rhaspater aa"ngirasasya ji.s.no.h || (1)

{May we recite again and again to Dadhikra. May all the rising dawns
arouse me towards waters, Agni, Ushas, Surya, Brihaspati and Jishnu, son
of Angiras. (1)}

ji.s.nu.h       -- jaya"siila.h, the winner; denotes Soma or Indra;

When I am in meditation, may I understand clearly these various gods,
may I have friendship with them.

satvaa bhari.so gavi.so duvanyasac chravasyaad i.sa u.sasas tura.nyasat |
satyo dravo dravara.h pata"ngaro dadhikraave.sam uurja.m sva`r janat || (2)

{ May Dadhikra, the active, the friend, who gives cows, who stays with the
worshipper, fast moving, may he accept food at the desirable dawn.
May he who is true, moving fast and leaping like a grass-hopper, produce
food, strength and heaven. (2)}

Words :
satvaa          -- one who moves;
bhari.sa.h      -- one who is good at satisfying, a friend;
gavi.sa.h       -- go + i.sa.h,  one who directs or gives cows;
duvanyasat      -- duvanyaa.h = a worshipper; one who stays with or within
                   the worshipper;
i.sa.h          -- fast moving; or desirable;
u.sasa.h        -- at the time of dawn; when the yajamaana is in meditative
"sravasyaat     -- may [he] desire or accept food;
tura.nyasat     -- sit or arrive quickly;
satya.h         -- the true, existing;
drava.h dravara.h -- moving rapidly;
pata"ngara.h    -- patanena utplavanena patana.m iti pata"nga.h tadvaan iti
                   pata"ngara.h; falling and then flying again before
                   falling -- that is Patanga; one having such movement;
                   dadhikraa.h flies to higher consciousness during
                   meditation and falls back to the waking, dreaming or
                   sleeping states, that is why it is compared to a
Also, as you read this explanation and reach the final climax, mantra (5),
(the high level region), you will find yourself refering back to (1) to (4),
the "low region", like a grass-hopper. Our meditation, our life, our search
of the One, are all having this "grass-hopper" movements. That is the
RigVedic homology for you!

Incidently, if you experience this phenomena, you will realize the meaning
of a very important mantra that we started with .rto ak.sare parame vyoman
[RV I-164-39]. Each sukta/group set up its own field, Loka and you have to
get "tuned" to that field to absorb the meaning, the knowledge contained.
i.sam           -- annam, food; i.e. information inputs at various levels
                   of consciousness;
uurja.m         -- energy, strength; strength coming from self-realization;
sva.h           -- heaven; access to the highest level of consciousness;
janat           -- janayet, please do generate;

Now comes the most difficult mantra in this sukta. First a straight
translation is given, which may not make much sense.
Prof. H.H.Wilson, one of the translator of RigVeda, says :"This is a very
elliptical passage ... it is not easy to make any sense of this even with
help of the Scholiast, though there is nothing very difficult in the words."
The difficulty with him was that he misunderstood some important word/s.
But be patient and open minded, we shall understand it all.

uta smaasya dravatas tura.nyata.h par.na.m na ver anu vaati pragardhina.h |
"syenasyeva dhrajato a"nkasa.m pari dadhikraav.na.h sahorjaa taritrata.h

{After him who is fast moving, quick, eager, [men] follow like [other birds]
follow the flight of a fast [bird], making effort to be by the side of
Dadhikra, the conveyor, "as fast as a hawk".  (3)}

Words :
dravata.h       -- gacchata.h, going;
tura.nyata.h    -- fast, quicky;
pragardhina.h   -- eager, eagerly desiring something;
ve.h            -- flying birds;
par.na.m na     -- just as other birds fly following the flight or wings;
anu vaati       -- follow other moving (active) people;
dhrajata.h      -- gacchata.h, going;
taritrata.h     -- making others float, giving support to others; by being
                   one amongst them;
"syenasya iva   -- like a hawk; a Reverve Analogy (RA) here;
a"nkasa.m       -- paadaadhaaram ura.hprade"sa.m vaa; like a bent claws
                   holding the support or bent chest of the hawk;
pari            -- parita.h; encircling, on periphery;
Here is the word, a"nkasam, a significant one, not understood by HHW.
                   the original word simply means "bend" or "bent";
                   Like bent claws holding the support, being united with
                   strength, food or something else, by encircling it,
                   without actually making it as a part of itself. The word
                   pari is significant here. See below.
uurjaa          -- by or with strength, or by implication annam, food;
saha            -- with, along with, becoming one with;

All the regions of the brain, which are active, follow the movements of
Dadhikra, moving with high speed, eager. Dadhikraa brings or conveys various
inputs (food) or the bliss (strength), by as if encircling it, without they
becoming part of Dadhikra. The .r.si wants to illustrate how Dadhikra
conveys strength or food, without they becoming part of itself and for that
purposes uses a picturous analogy of a hawk holding by its bent claws a

uta sya vaajii k.sipa.ni.m tura.nyati griivaayaam baddho apikak.sa aasani |
kratu.m dadhikraa anu sa.mtaviitvat pathaam a"nkaa.msy anv aapaniipha.nat

{The horse bound by its neck, its sides, its mouth, quickens his stride.
Dadhikra increases in strength after the yajna, following the bends in the
path, goes on still more quickly. (4)}

Words :
sya.h vaajii    -- that speedy [horse];
griivaayaa.m baddha.h -- bound at the neck; griivaa is derived : to swallow;
                   to call out; or to seize; here denotes inelligence;
apikak.se       -- [bound] at the flanks; mind, thinking;
aasani          -- [bound] at the mouth; the sense organs;
k.sipa.ni.m anu tura.nyati -- increases its pacing for speed;
kratu.m         -- karma praj~naa vaa; action or intelligence;
anu sa.mtaviitvat -- following and becoming strong;
pathaa.m        -- on the paths;
a"nkaa.msi      -- bends; stages or obstructions in meditation; chakras like
                   mulaadhaara, svadhi.s.thaana, anaahat, aj~naa, sahasraara,
                   etc. or, we can interprete it as stages in a life of a
aapaniipha.nat  -- goes even more speedily or goes everywhere more speedily;

The Dadhikra, the Self, bound three ways -- at highest level by its
intelligence, at mid level in his thinking and desiring mind and at lowest
level at its sense organs -- moves over various objects of the world. It
becomes stronger after meditation, crossing various stages of upward
movement (called chakras in Yoga and Tantra), goes still more quickly, i.e.
with vigour.

ha.msa.h "suci.sad vasur antarik.sasad dhotaa vedi.sad atithir duro.nasat |
n.r.sad varasad .rtasad vyomasad abjaa gojaa .rtajaa adrijaa .rtam || (5)
[RV IV-40-5] [IV-4-8-5]

{He is Hansa, dwelling in light; Vasu, dwelling in the Antariksha; invoker
of the gods, dwelling on the altar; the guest, dwelling in the house; the
dweller amongst men; the dweller in the most excellent; the dweller in the
truth; the dweller in the sky; born in waters, in the rays of Light, in the
variety [of manifestations] in the mountain, the Truth [itself]. (5)}

This was already explained in posting no. 11, "Self-Realization".

>From mantra (1) to (4), we were as if talking about jiiva, but suddenly in
(5), we are talking about aatmaa, suurya. This is also pointed to by the
devata of mantra (5), which is suurya, as if the .r.si of the sukta is
saying :

jiivo brahmaiva na apara.h |

.o bhadra.m no apivaataya mana.h |

-- Himanshu

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list