1. The Problem and its Solution
2. A Retrospect of Vedic Theoriy (1)
­ The Scholars (2)
3. Modern Theories
4. The Foundations of the Psychological Theory
5. The Philological Method of the Veda
6. Agni and the Truth
7. Varuna-Mithra and the Truth
8. The Ashwins ­ Indra ­ The Vishwadevas
9. Saraswati and Her Consorts
10. The Image of the Oceans and the Rivers
11. The Seven Rivers
12. The Herds of the Dawn
13. Dawn and the Truth
14. The Cow and the Angirasa Legend
15. The Lost Sun and the Lost Cows
16. The angirasa Rishis
17. The Seven-Headed Thought, Swar and the Dashagwas
18. The Human Fathers
19. The Victory of the Fathers
20. The Hound of Heaven
21. The Sons of Darkness
22. The Conquest over the Dasyus
23. Summary of Conclusions


1. The Colloquy of Indra and Agstya: I.170
2. Indra, Giver of Light: I.4
3. Indra and the Thought-Forces: I.171
4. Agni, the Illumined Will: I.77
5. Surya Savitri, Creator and Increaser: V.81
6. The Divine Dawn: III.61
7. The Bhaga Savitri, the Enjoyer: V.82
8. Vayu, the Master of the Live Energies: IV.48
9. Brihaspati, Power of the Soul: IV.50
10. The Ashwins, Lords of Bliss: IV.45
11. The Ribhus, Artisans of Immortality: I.20
12. Vishnu, the All-Pervading Godhead: I.154
13. Soma, Lord of Delight and Immortality: IX.83


Agni, the Divine Will-Force
Hymns 1 to 28 to Agni
Surya, Light and Seer
The Divine Dawn
Pushan the Increaser
Savitri the Creator
The Four Kings
Hymns 1 to 11 to Mitra-Varuna


Hymn in Praise of Indra: I.5
Hymn to Indra: I.7-11
Hymn to Indra: VIII.54
Hymn to Indra: X.54
A Vedic Hymn: I.3
From a Vedic Hymn: I.15
Hymn to Brahmanaspati: I.18
Hymns to the Dawn: V.79,80
A Hymn to Savitri: V.81
Hymn to Varuna (two version): V.85
A Vedic Hymn: VII.60
The God of the Mystic Wine: IX.42,75
A Hymn of the Thought-Gods: V.52-58
Interpretation of the Veda
The Origins of Aryan Speech


Agni and the Truth (Excerpt)


The Rig-veda is one in all its parts. Whichever of its ten Mandalas we choose, we find the same substance, the same ideas, the same images, the same phrases. The Rishis are the seers of a single truth and use in its expression a common language. They differ in temperament and personality; some are inclined to a more rich, subtle and profound use of Vedic symbolism; others give voice to their spiritual experience in a barer and simpler diction, with less fertility of thought, richness of poetical image or depth and fullness of suggestion. Often the songs of one seer vary in their manner, range from the utmost simplicity to the most curious richness. Or there are risings and fallings in the same hymn; it proceeds from the most ordinary conventions of the general symbol of sacrifice to a movement of packed and complex thought. Some of the Suktas are plain and almost modern in their language; others baffle us at first by their semblance of antique obscurity. But these differences of manner take nothing from the unity of spiritual experience, nor are they complicated by any variation of the fixed terms and the common formulae. In the deep and mystic style of Dirghatamas Auchathya as in the melodious lucidity of Medhatithi Kanwa, in the puissant and energetic hymns of Vishwamitra as in Vasishtha's even harmonies we have the same firm foundation of knowledge and the same scrupulous adherence to the sacred conventions of the Initiates.

From this peculiarity of the Vedic compositions it results that the method of interpretation which I have described can be equally well illustrated from a number of scattered Suktas selected from the ten Mandalas or from any small block of hymns by a single Rishi. If my purpose were to establish beyond all possibility of objection the interpretation which I am now offering, a much more detailed and considerable work would be necessary. A critical scrutiny covering the whole of the ten Mandalas would be indispensable. To justify, for instance, the idea I attach to the Vedic term rtam, the Truth, or my explanation of the symbol of the Cow of Light, I should have to cite all passages of any importance in which the idea of the Truth or the image of the Cow are introduced and establish my thesis by an examination of their sense and context. Or if I wish to prove that Indra in the Veda is really in his psychological functions the master of luminous mind typified by dyauh, or Heaven, with its three shining realms, rocana, I should have to examine similarly the hymns addressed to Indra and the passages in which there is a clear mention of the Vedic system of worlds. Nor could this be sufficient, so intertwined and interdependent are the notions of the Veda, without some scrutiny of the other Gods and of other important psychological terms connected with the idea of the Truth and of the mental illumination through which man arrives at it. I recognise the necessity of such a work of justification and hope to follow it out in other studies on the Vedic Truth, on the Gods of the Veda and on Vedic symbols. But a labour of this scope would be beyond the range of the present work, which is confined merely to an illustration of my method and to a brief statement of the results of my theory.

In order to illustrate the method I propose to take the first eleven Suktas of the first Mandala and to show how some of the central ideas of a psychological interpretation arise out of certain important passages or single hymns and how the surrounding context of the passages and the general thought of the hymns assume an entirely new appearance in the light of this profounder thinking.

The Sanhita of the Rig-veda, as we possess it, is arranged in ten books or Mandalas. A double principle is observed in the arrangement. Six of the Mandalas are given each to the hymns of a single Rishi or family of Rishis. Thus the second is devoted chiefly to the Suktas of the Rishi Gritsamada, the third and the seventh similarly to the great names of Vishwamitra and Vasishtha respectively, the fourth to Vamadeva, the sixth to Bharadwaja. The fifth is occupied by the hymns of the house of Atri. In each of these Mandalas the Suktas addressed to Agni are first collected together and followed by those of which Indra is the deity; the invocations of other Gods, Brihaspati, Surya, the Ribhus, Usha, etc. close the Mandala. A whole book, the ninth, is given to a single God, Soma. The first, eighth and tenth Mandalas are collections of Suktas by various Rishis, but the hymns of each seer are ordinarily placed together in the order of their deities, Agni leading, Indra following, the other Gods succeeding. Thus the first Mandala opens with ten hymns of the seer Madhuchchhandas, son of Vishwamitra, and an eleventh ascribed to Jetri, son of Madhuchchhandas. This last Sukta, however, is identical in style, manner and spirit with the ten that precede it and they can all be taken together as a single block of hymns one in intention and diction.

A certain principle of thought-development also has not been absent from the arrangement of these Vedic hymns. The opening Mandala seems to have been so designed that the general thought of the Veda in its various elements should gradually unroll itself under the cover of the established symbols by the voices of a certain number of Rishis who almost all rank high as thinkers and sacred singers and are, some of them, among the most famous names of Vedic tradition. Nor can it be by accident that the tenth or closing Mandala gives us, with an even greater miscellaneity of authors, the last developments of the thought of the Veda and some of the most modern in language of its Suktas. It is here that we find the Sacrifice of the Purusha and the great Hymn of the Creation. It is here also that modern scholars think they discover the first origins of the Vedantic philosophy, the Brahmavada.

In any case, the hymns of the son and grandson of Vishwamitra with which the Rig-veda opens strike admirably the first essential notes of the Vedic harmony. The first hymn, addressed to Agni, suggests the central conception of the Truth which is confirmed in the second and third Suktas invoking Indra in company with other gods. In the remaining eight hymns with Indra as the sole deity, except for one which he shares with the Maruts, we find the symbols of the Soma and the Cow, the obstructor Vritra and the great role played by Indra in leading man to the Light and overthrowing the barriers to his progress. These hymns are therefore of crucial importance to the psychological interpretation of the Veda.


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