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Sacred Books of the East by Various

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Including Selections from the Vedic Hymns, Zend-Avesta, Dhammapada,
Upanishads, the Koran, and the Life of Buddha, with Critical and
Biographical Sketches by Epiphanius Wilson, A.M.




To the Unknown God
To the Maruts
To the Maruts and Indra
To Indra and the Maruts
To Agni and the Maruts
To Rudra
To Rudra
To Agni and the Maruts
To Vayu
To Vayu
Indra and Agastya: A Dialogue
To Soma and Rudra
To Rudra
To Vata
To Vata


Discovery of the Zend-Avesta
The Creation
Myth of Yima
The Earth
Contracts and Outrages
Funerals and Purification
Cleansing the Unclean
Spells Recited During the Cleansing
To Fires, Waters, Plants
To the Earth and the Sacred Waters
Prayer for Helpers
A Prayer for Sanctity and its Benefits
To the Fire
To the Bountiful Immortals
Praise of the Holy Bull
To Rain as a Healing Power
To the Waters and Light of the Sun
To the Waters and Light of the Moon
To the Waters and Light of the Stars


I.--The Twin-Verses
II.--On Earnestness
V.--The Fool
VI.--The Wise Man
VII.--The Venerable
VIII.--The Thousands
XI.--Old Age
XIII.--The World
XIV.--The Buddha--The Awakened
XIX.--The Just
XX.--The Way
XXII.--The Downward Course
XXIII.--The Elephant
XXV.--The Bhikshu
XXVI.--The Brahmana



The Couch of Brahman
Knowledge of the Living Spirit
Life and Consciousness


Mohammed and Mohammedanism
Chapter I.----Entitled, the Preface
Chapter II.---Entitled, the Cow
Chapter III.--Entitled, the Family of Imran
Chapter IV.---Entitled, Women
Chapter V.----Entitled, the Table



The Birth
Living in the Palace
Disgust at Sorrow
Putting Away Desire
Leaving the City

The Return of Kandaka
Entering the Place of Austerities
The General Grief of the Palace
The Mission to Seek the Prince

Bimbisara Raga Invites the Prince
The Reply to Bimbisara Raga
Visit to Arada Udrarama
Defeats Mara
O-wei-san-pou-ti (Abhisambodhi)
Turning the Law-wheel

Bimbisara Raga Becomes a Disciple
The Great Disciple Becomes a Hermit
Conversion of the "Supporter of the Orphans and Destitute"
Interview Between Father and Son
Receiving the Getavana Vihara
Escaping the Drunken Elephant and Devadatta
The Lady Amra Sees Buddha

By Spiritual Power Fixing His Term of Years
The Differences of the Likkhavis
Praising Nirvana
Division of the Sariras


Translation by F. Max Mueller.


The Vedic Hymns are among the most interesting portions of Hindoo
literature. In form and spirit they resemble both the poems of the
Hebrew psalter and the lyrics of Pindar. They deal with the most
elemental religious conceptions and are full of the imagery of nature.
It would be absurd to deny to very many of them the possession of the
truest poetic inspiration. The scenery of the Himalayas, ice and snow,
storm and tempest, lend their majesty to the strains of the Vedic poet.
He describes the storm sweeping over the white-crested mountains till
the earth, like a hoary king, trembles with fear. The Maruts, or
storm-gods, are terrible, glorious, musical, riding on strong-hoofed,
never-wearying steeds. There is something Homeric, Pindaric in these
epithets. Yet Soma and Rudra are addressed, though they wield sharp
weapons; and sharp bolts, i.e., those of the lightning, are spoken of as
kind friends. "Deliver us," says the poet, "from the snare of Varuna,
and guard us, as kind-hearted gods." One of the most remarkable of these
hymns is that addressed to the Unknown God. The poet says: "In the
beginning there arose the Golden Child. As soon as he was born he alone
was the lord of all that is. He established the earth and this heaven."
The hymn consists of ten stanzas, in which the Deity is celebrated as
the maker of the snowy mountains, the sea and the distant river, who
made fast the awful heaven, He who alone is God above all gods, before
whom heaven and earth stand trembling in their mind. Each stanza
concludes with the refrain, "Who is the God to whom we shall offer

We have in this hymn a most sublime conception of the Supreme Being, and
while there are many Vedic hymns whose tone is pantheistic and seems to
imply that the wild forces of nature are Gods who rule the world, this
hymn to the Unknown God is as purely monotheistic as a psalm of David,
and shows a spirit of religious awe as profound as any we find in the
Hebrew Scriptures.

It is very difficult to arrive at the true date of the Vedas. The word
Veda means knowledge, and is applied to unwritten literature. The Vedas
are therefore the oldest Sanscrit writings which exist, and stand in the
same class with regard to Hindoo literature as Homer does with regard to
Greek literature. Probably the earliest Vedas were recited a thousand
years before Christ, while the more recent of the hymns date about five
hundred before Christ. We must therefore consider them to be the most
primitive form of Aryan poetry in existence.

There is in the West a misunderstanding as to the exact meaning of
"Vedic" and "Sanscrit"; for the latter is often used as if it were
synonymous with Indian; whereas, only the later Indian literature can be
classed under that head, and "Vedic" is often used to indicate only the
Vedic Hymns, whereas it really denotes Hymns, Brahmanas, Upanishads, and
Sutras; in fact, all literature which orthodox Hindoos regard as sacred.
The correct distinction then between the Vedic and the Sanscrit writings
is that of holy writ and profane literature.




In the beginning there arose the Golden Child. As soon as born, he alone
was the lord of all that is. He established the earth and this
heaven:--Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

He who gives breath, he who gives strength, whose command all the bright
gods revere, whose shadow is immortality, whose shadow is death:--Who is
the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

He who through his might became the sole king of the breathing and
twinkling world, who governs all this, man and beast:--Who is the God to
whom we shall offer sacrifice?

He through whose might these snowy mountains are, and the sea, they say,
with the distant river; he of whom these regions are indeed the two
arms:--Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

He through whom the awful heaven and the earth were made fast, he
through whom the ether was established, and the firmament; he who
measured the air in the sky:--Who is the God to whom we shall offer

He to whom heaven and earth, standing firm by his will, look up,
trembling in their mind; he over whom the risen sun shines forth:--Who
is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

When the great waters went everywhere, holding the germ, and generating
light, then there arose from them the breath of the gods:--Who is the
God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

He who by his might looked even over the waters which held power and
generated the sacrifice, he who alone is God above all gods:--Who is the
God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

May he not hurt us, he who is the begetter of the earth, or he, the
righteous, who begat the heaven; he who also begat the bright and mighty
waters:--Who is the God to whom we shall offer sacrifice?

Pragapati, no other than thou embraces all these created things. May
that be ours which we desire when sacrificing to thee: may we be lords
of wealth!



Come hither, Maruts, on your chariots charged with lightning, resounding
with beautiful songs, stored with spears, and winged with horses! Fly to
us like birds, with your best food, you mighty ones! They come
gloriously on their red, or, it may be, on their tawny horses which
hasten their chariots. He who holds the axe is brilliant like
gold;--with the tire of the chariot they have struck the earth. On your
bodies there are daggers for beauty; may they stir up our minds as they
stir up the forests. For yourselves, O well-born Maruts, the vigorous
among you shake the stone for distilling Soma. Days went round you and
came back, O hawks, back to this prayer, and to this sacred rite; the
Gotamas making prayer with songs, pushed up the lid of the cloud to
drink. No such hymn was ever known as this which Gotama sounded for you,
O Maruts, when he saw you on golden wheels, wild boars rushing about
with iron tusks. This comforting speech rushes sounding towards you,
like the speech of a suppliant: it rushed freely from our hands as our
speeches are wont to do.


Let us now proclaim for the robust host, for the herald of the powerful
Indra, their ancient greatness! O ye strong-voiced Maruts, you heroes,
prove your powers on your march, as with a torch, as with a sword! Like
parents bringing a dainty to their own son, the wild Maruts play
playfully at the sacrifices. The Rudras reach the worshipper with their
protection, strong in themselves, they do not fail the sacrificer. For
him to whom the immortal guardians have given fulness of wealth, and who
is himself a giver of oblations, the Maruts, who gladden men with the
milk of rain, pour out, like friends, many clouds. You who have stirred
up the clouds with might, your horses rushed forth, self-guided. All
beings who dwell in houses are afraid of you, your march is brilliant
with your spears thrust forth. When they whose march is terrible have
caused the rocks to tremble, or when the manly Maruts have shaken the
back of heaven, then every lord of the forest fears at your racing, each
shrub flies out of your way, whirling like chariot-wheels. You, O
terrible Maruts, whose ranks are never broken, favorably fulfil our
prayer! Wherever your glory-toothed lightning bites, it crunches cattle,
like a well-aimed bolt. The Maruts whose gifts are firm, whose bounties
are never ceasing, who do not revile, and who are highly praised at the
sacrifices, they sing their song for to drink the sweet juice: they know
the first manly deeds of the hero Indra. The man whom you have guarded,
O Maruts, shield him with hundredfold strongholds from injury and
mischief--the man whom you, O fearful, powerful singers, protect from
reproach in the prosperity of his children. On your chariots, O Maruts,
there are all good things, strong weapons are piled up clashing against
each other. When you are on your journeys, you carry the rings on your
shoulders, and your axle turns the two wheels at once. In their manly
arms there are many good things, on their chests golden chains, flaring
ornaments, on their shoulders speckled deer-skins, on their fellies
sharp edges; as birds spread their wings, they spread out splendors
behind. They, mighty by might, all-powerful powers, visible from afar
like the heavens with the stars, sweet-toned, soft-tongued singers with
their mouths, the Maruts, united with Indra, shout all around. This is
your greatness, O well-born Maruts!--your bounty extends far, as the
sway of Aditi. Not even Indra in his scorn can injure that bounty, on
whatever man you have bestowed it for his good deeds. This is your
kinship with us, O Maruts, that you, immortals, in former years have
often protected the singer. Having through this prayer granted a hearing
to man, all these heroes together have become well known by their
valiant deeds. That we may long flourish, O Maruts, with your wealth, O
ye racers, that our men may spread in the camp, therefore let me achieve
the rite with these offerings. May this praise, O Maruts, this song of
Mandarya, the son of Mana, the poet, ask you with food for offspring for
ourselves! May we have an invigorating autumn, with quickening rain!


For the manly host, the joyful, the wise, for the Maruts bring thou, O
Nodhas, a pure offering. I prepare songs, like as a handy priest, wise
in his mind, prepares the water, mighty at sacrifices. They are born,
the tall bulls of heaven, the manly youths of Rudra, the divine, the
blameless, pure, and bright like suns; scattering raindrops, full of
terrible designs, like giants. The youthful Rudras, they who never grow
old, the slayers of the demon, have grown irresistible like mountains.
They throw down with their strength all beings, even the strongest, on
earth and in heaven. They deck themselves with glittering ornaments for
a marvellous show; on their chests they fastened gold chains for beauty;
the spears on their shoulders pound to pieces; they were born together
by themselves, the men of Dyu. They who confer power, the roarers, the
devourers of foes, they made winds and lightnings by their powers. The
shakers milk the heavenly udders, they sprinkle the earth all round with
milk. The bounteous Maruts pour forth water, mighty at sacrifices, the
fat milk of the clouds. They seem to lead about the powerful horse, the
cloud, to make it rain; they milk the thundering, unceasing spring.
Mighty they are, powerful, of beautiful splendor, strong in themselves
like mountains, yet swiftly gliding along;--you chew up forests, like
wild elephants, when you have assumed your powers among the red flames.
Like lions they roar, the wise Maruts, they are handsome like gazelles,
the all-knowing. By night with their spotted rain-clouds and with their
spears--lightnings--they rouse the companions together, they whose ire
through strength is like the ire of serpents. You who march in
companies, the friends of man, heroes, whose ire through strength is
like the ire of serpents, salute heaven and earth! On the seats on your
chariots, O Maruts, the lightning stands, visible like light.
All-knowing, surrounded with wealth, endowed with powers, singers, men
of endless prowess, armed with strong rings, they, the archers, have
taken the arrow in their fists. The Maruts who with the golden tires of
their wheels increase the rain, stir up the clouds like wanderers on the
road. They are brisk, indefatigable, they move by themselves; they throw
down what is firm, the Maruts with their brilliant spears make
everything to reel. We invoke with prayer the offspring of Rudra, the
brisk, the pure, the worshipful, the active. Cling for happiness-sake to
the strong company of the Maruts, the chasers of the sky, the powerful,
the impetuous. The mortal whom ye, Maruts, protected, he indeed
surpasses people in strength through your protection. He carries off
booty with his horses, treasures with his men; he acquires honorable
wisdom, and he prospers. Give, O Maruts, to our lords strength glorious,
invincible in battle, brilliant, wealth-acquiring, praiseworthy, known
to all men. Let us foster our kith and kin during a hundred winters.
Will you then, O Maruts, grant unto us wealth, durable, rich in men,
defying all onslaughts?--wealth a hundred and a thousand-fold, always
increasing?--May he who is rich in prayers come early and soon!


Sing forth, O Kanvas, to the sportive host of your Maruts, brilliant on
their chariots, and unscathed,--they who were born together,
self-luminous, with the spotted deer, the spears, the daggers, the
glittering ornaments. I hear their whips, almost close by, when they
crack them in their hands; they gain splendor on their way. Sing forth
the god-given prayer to the wild host of your Maruts, endowed with
terrible vigor and strength. Celebrate the bull among the cows, for it
is the sportive host of the Maruts; he grew as he tasted the rain. Who,
O ye men, is the strongest among you here, ye shakers of heaven and
earth, when you shake them like the hem of a garment? At your approach
the son of man holds himself down; the gnarled cloud fled at your fierce
anger. They at whose racings the earth, like a hoary king, trembles for
fear on their ways, their birth is strong indeed: there is strength to
come forth from their mother, nay, there is vigor twice enough for it.
And these sons, the singers, stretched out the fences in their racings;
the cows had to walk knee-deep. They cause this long and broad unceasing
rain to fall on their ways. O Maruts, with such strength as yours, you
have caused men to tremble, you have caused the mountains to tremble. As
the Maruts pass along, they talk together on the way: does anyone hear
them? Come fast on your quick steeds! there are worshippers for you
among the Kanvas: may you well rejoice among them. Truly there is enough
for your rejoicing. We always are their servants, that we may live even
the whole of life.


To every sacrifice you hasten together, you accept prayer after prayer,
O quick Maruts! Let me therefore bring you hither by my prayers from
heaven and earth, for our welfare, and for our great protection; the
shakers who were born to bring food and light, self-born and
self-supported, like springs, like thousandfold waves of water, aye,
visibly like unto excellent bulls, those Maruts, like Soma-drops, which
squeezed from ripe stems dwell, when drunk, in the hearts of the
worshipper--see how on their shoulders there clings as if a clinging
wife; in their hands the quoit is held and the sword. Lightly they have
come down from heaven of their own accord: Immortals, stir yourselves
with the whip! The mighty Maruts on dustless paths, armed with brilliant
spears, have shaken down even the strong places. O ye Maruts, who are
armed with lightning-spears, who stirs you from within by himself, as
the jaws are stirred by the tongue? You shake the sky, as if on the
search for food; you are invoked by many, like the solar horse of the
day. Where, O Maruts, is the top, where the bottom of the mighty sky
where you came? When you throw down with the thunderbolt what is strong,
like brittle things, you fly across the terrible sea! As your conquest
is violent, splendid, terrible, full and crushing, so, O Maruts, is your
gift delightful, like the largess of a liberal worshipper,
wide-spreading, laughing like heavenly lightning. From the tires of
their chariot-wheels streams gush forth, when they send out the voice of
the clouds; the lightnings smiled upon the earth, when the Maruts shower
down fatness. Prisni brought forth for the great fight the terrible
train of the untiring Maruts: when fed they produced the dark cloud, and
then looked about for invigorating food. May this praise, O Maruts, this
song of Mandarya, the son of Mana, the poet, ask you with food for
offspring for ourselves! May we have an invigorating autumn, with
quickening rain!


The Maruts charged with rain, endowed with fierce force, terrible like
wild beasts, blazing in their strength, brilliant like fires, and
impetuous, have uncovered the rain-giving cows by blowing away the
cloud. The Maruts with their rings appeared like the heavens with their
stars, they shone wide like streams from clouds as soon as Rudra, the
strong man, was born for you, O golden-breasted Maruts, in the bright
lap of Prisni. They wash their horses like racers in the courses, they
hasten with the points of the reed on their quick steeds. O golden-jawed
Maruts, violently shaking your jaws, you go quick with your spotted
deer, being friends of one mind. Those Maruts have grown to feed all
these beings, or, it may be, they have come hither for the sake of a
friend, they who always bring quickening rain. They have spotted horses,
their bounties cannot be taken away, they are like headlong charioteers
on their ways. O Maruts, wielding your brilliant spears, come hither on
smooth roads with your fiery cows whose udders are swelling; being of
one mind, like swans toward their nests, to enjoy the sweet offering. O
one-minded Maruts, come to our prayers, come to our libations like Indra
praised by men! Fulfil our prayer, like the udder of a barren cow, and
make the prayer glorious by booty to the singer. Grant us this strong
horse for our chariot, a draught that rouses our prayers, from day to
day, food to the singers, and to the poet in our homesteads luck,
wisdom, inviolable and invincible strength. When the gold-breasted
Maruts harness the horses to their chariots, bounteous in wealth, then
it is as if a cow in the folds poured out to her calf copious food, to
every man who has offered libations. Whatever mortal enemy may have
placed us among wolves, shield us from hurt, ye Vasus! Turn the wheels
with burning heat against him, and strike down the weapon of the impious
fiend, O Rudras! Your march, O Maruts, appears brilliant, whether even
friends have milked the udder of Prisni, or whether, O sons of Rudra,
you mean to blame him who praises you, and to weaken those who are
weakening Trita, O unbeguiled heroes. We invoke you, the great Maruts,
the constant wanderers, at the offering of the rapid Vishnu; holding
ladles and prayerful we ask the golden-colored and exalted Maruts for
glorious wealth. The Dasagvas carried on the sacrifice first; may they
rouse us at the break of dawn. Like the dawn, they uncover the dark
nights with the red rays, the strong ones, with their brilliant light,
as with a sea of milk. With the morning clouds, as if with glittering
red ornaments, these Maruts have grown great in the sacred places.
Streaming down with rushing splendor, they have assumed their bright and
brilliant color. Approaching them for their great protection to help us,
we invoke them with this worship, they whom Trita may bring near, like
the five Hotri priests for victory, descending on their chariot to help.
May that grace of yours by which you help the wretched across all
anguish, and by which you deliver the worshipper from the reviler, come
hither, O Maruts; may your favor approach us like a cow going to her


I come to you with this adoration, with a hymn I implore the favor of
the quick Maruts. O Maruts, you have rejoiced in it clearly, put down
then all anger and unharness your horses! This reverent praise of yours,
O Maruts, fashioned in the heart, has been offered by the mind, O gods!
Come to it, pleased in your mind, for you give increase to our worship.
May the Maruts when they have been praised be gracious to us, and
likewise Indra, the best giver of happiness, when he has been praised.
May our lances through our valor stand always erect, O Maruts! I am
afraid of this powerful one, and trembling in fear of Indra. For you the
offerings were prepared--we have now put them away, forgive us! Thou
through whom the Manas see the mornings, whenever the eternal dawns
flash forth with power, O Indra, O strong hero, grant thou glory to us
with the Maruts, terrible with the terrible ones, strong and a giver of
victory. O Indra, protect thou these bravest of men, let thy anger be
turned away from the Maruts, for thou hast become victorious together
with those brilliant heroes. May we have an invigorating autumn, with
quickening rain!


O Maruts, that man in whose dwelling you drink the Soma, ye mighty sons
of heaven, he indeed has the best guardians. You who are propitiated
either by sacrifices or from the prayers of the sage, hear the call, O
Maruts! Aye, the powerful man to whom you have granted a sage, he will
live in a stable rich in cattle. On the altar of this strong man Soma is
poured out in daily sacrifices; praise and joy are sung. To him let the
mighty Maruts listen, to him who surpasses all men, as the flowing
rain-clouds pass over the sun. For we, O Maruts, have sacrificed at many
harvests, through the mercies of the storm-gods. May that mortal be
blessed, O chasing Maruts, whose offerings you carry off. You take
notice either of the sweat of him who praises you, ye men of true
strength, or of the desire of the suppliant. O ye of true strength, make
this manifest with might! strike the fiend with your lightning! Hide the
hideous darkness, destroy every tusky fiend. Make the light which we
long for!


Endowed with exceeding vigor and power, the singers, the never
flinching, the immovable, the impetuous, the most beloved and most
manly, have decked themselves with their glittering ornaments, a few
only, like the heavens with the stars. When you have seen your way
through the clefts, like birds, O Maruts, on whatever road it be, then
the clouds on your chariots trickle everywhere, and you pour out the
honey-like fatness for him who praises you. At their racings the earth
shakes, as if broken, when on the heavenly paths they harness their deer
for victory. They the sportive, the roaring, with bright spears, the
shakers of the clouds have themselves glorified their greatness. That
youthful company, with their spotted horses, moves by itself; hence it
exercises lordship, invested with powers. Thou indeed art true, thou
searchest out sin, thou art without blemish. Therefore the manly host
will help this prayer. We speak after the kind of our old father, our
tongue goes forth at the sight of the Soma: when the singers had joined
Indra in deed, then only they took their holy names;--these Maruts,
armed with beautiful rings, obtained splendors for their glory, they
obtained rays, and men to celebrate them; nay, armed with daggers,
speeding along, and fearless, they found the beloved domain of the


What then now? When will you take us as a dear father takes his son by
both hands, O ye gods, for whom the sacred grass has been trimmed? Where
now? On what errand of yours are you going, in heaven, not on earth?
Where are your cows sporting? Where are your newest favors, O Maruts?
Where the blessings? Where all delights? If you, sons of Prisni, were
mortals, and your praiser an immortal, then never should your praiser be
unwelcome, like a deer in pasture grass, nor should he go on the path of
Yama. Let not one sin after another, difficult to be conquered, overcome
us; may it depart together with greed. Truly they are terrible and
powerful; even to the desert the Rudriyas bring rain that is never dried
up. The lightning lows like a cow, it follows as a mother follows after
her young, when the shower of the Maruts has been let loose. Even by day
the Maruts create darkness with the water-bearing cloud, when they
drench the earth. Then from the shouting of the Maruts over the whole
space of the earth, men reeled forward. Maruts on your strong-hoofed,
never-wearying steeds go after those bright ones, which are still locked
up. May your fellies be strong, the chariots, and their horses, may your
reins be well-fashioned. Speak forth forever with thy voice to praise
the Lord of prayer, Agni, who is like a friend, the bright one. Fashion
a hymn in thy mouth! Expand like the cloud! Sing a song of praise.
Worship the host of the Maruts, the terrible, the glorious, the musical.
May they be magnified here among us.


Let your voice-born prayers go forth to the great Vishnu, accompanied by
the Maruts, Evayamarut, and to the chasing host, adorned with good
rings, the strong, in their jubilant throng, to the shouting power of
the Maruts. O Maruts, you who are born great, and proclaim it yourselves
by knowledge, Evayamarut, that power of yours cannot be approached by
wisdom, that power of theirs cannot be approached by gift or might; they
are like unapproachable mountains. They who are heard with their voice
from the high heaven, the brilliant and strong, Evayamarut, in whose
council no tyrant reigns, the rushing chariots of these roaring Maruts
come forth, like fires with their own lightning. The wide-striding
Vishnu strode forth from the great common seat, Evayamarut. When he has
started by himself from his own place along the ridges, O ye striving,
mighty Maruts, he goes together with the heroes, conferring blessings.
Impetuous, like your own shout, the strong one made everything tremble,
the terrible, the wanderer, the mighty, Evayamarut; strong with him you
advanced self-luminous, with firm reins, golden colored, well armed,
speeding along. Your greatness is infinite, ye Maruts, endowed with full
power, may that terrible power help, Evayamarut. In your raid you are
indeed to be seen as charioteers; deliver us therefore from the enemy,
like shining fires. May then these Rudras, lively like fires and with
vigorous shine, help, Evayamarut. The seat of the earth is stretched out
far and wide, when the hosts of these faultless Maruts come quickly to
the races. Come kindly on your path, O Maruts, listen to the call of him
who praises you, Evayamarut. Confidants of the great Vishnu, may you
together, like charioteers, keep all hateful things far, by your
wonderful skill. Come zealously to our sacrifice, ye worshipful, hear
our guileless call, Evayamarut. Like the oldest mountains in the sky, O
wise guardians, prove yourselves for him irresistible to the enemy.


O Syavasva, sing boldly with the Maruts, the singers who, worthy
themselves of sacrifice, rejoice in their guileless glory according to
their nature. They are indeed boldly the friends of strong power; they
on their march protect all who by themselves are full of daring. Like
rushing bulls, these Maruts spring over the dark cows, and then we
perceive the might of the Maruts in heaven and on earth. Let us boldly
offer praise and sacrifice to your Maruts, to all them who protect the
generation of men, who protect the mortal from injury. They who are
worthy, bounteous, men of perfect strength, to those heavenly Maruts who
are worthy of sacrifice, praise the sacrifice! The tall men, coming near
with their bright chains, and their weapon, have hurled forth their
spears. Behind these Maruts there came by itself the splendor of heaven,
like laughing lightnings. Those who have grown up on earth, or in the
wide sky, or in the realm of the rivers, or in the abode of the great
heaven, praise that host of the Maruts, endowed with true strength and
boldness, whether those rushing heroes have by themselves harnessed
their horses for triumph, or whether these brilliant Maruts have in the
speckled cloud clothed themselves in wool, or whether by their strength
they cut the mountain asunder with the tire of their chariot; call them
comers, or goers, or enterers, or followers, under all these names, they
watch on the straw for my sacrifice. The men watch, and their steeds
watch. Then, so brilliant are their forms to be soon, that people say,
Look at the strangers! In measured steps and wildly shouting the gleemen
have danced towards the cloud. They who appeared one by one like
thieves, were helpers to me to see the light. Worship, therefore, O
seer, that host of Maruts, and keep and delight them with your voice,
they who are themselves wise poets, tall heroes armed with
lightning-spears. Approach, O seer, the host of Maruts, as a woman
approaches a friend, for a gift; and you, Maruts, bold in your strength,
hasten hither, even from heaven, when you have been praised by our
hymns. If he, after perceiving them, has approached them as gods with an
offering, then may he for a gift remain united with the brilliant
Maruts, who by their ornaments are glorious on their march. They, the
wise Maruts, the lords, who, when there was inquiry for their kindred,
told me of the cow, they told me of Prisni as their mother, and of the
strong Rudra as their father. The seven and seven heroes gave me each a
hundred. On the Yamuna I clear off glorious wealth in cows, I clear
wealth in horses.


Those who glance forth like wives and yoke-fellows, the powerful sons of
Rudra on their way, they, the Maruts, have indeed made heaven and earth
to grow; they, the strong and wild, delight in the sacrifices. When
grown up, they attained to greatness; the Rudras have established their
seat in the sky. While singing their song and increasing their vigor,
the sons of Prisni have clothed themselves in beauty. When these sons of
the cow adorn themselves with glittering ornaments, the brilliant ones
put bright weapons on their bodies. They drive away every adversary;
fatness streams along their paths;--when you, the powerful, who shine
with your spears, shaking even what is unshakable by strength--when you,
O Maruts, the manly hosts, had yoked the spotted deer, swift as thought,
to your chariots;--when you had yoked the spotted deer before your
chariots, hurling thunderbolt in the fight, then the streams of the
red-horse rush forth: like a skin with water they water the earth. May
the swiftly-gliding, swift-winged horses carry you hither! Come forth
with your arms! Sit down on the grass-pile; a wide seat has been made
for you. Rejoice, O Maruts, in the sweet food. Strong in themselves,
they grew with might; they stepped to the firmament, they made their
seat wide. When Vishnu saved the enrapturing Soma, the Maruts sat down
like birds on their beloved altar. Like heroes indeed thirsting for
fight they rush about; like combatants eager for glory they have striven
in battles. All beings are afraid of the Maruts; they are men terrible
to behold, like kings. When the clever Tvashtar had turned the
well-made, golden, thousand-edged thunderbolt, Indra takes it to perform
his manly deeds; he slew Vritra, he forced out the stream of water. By
their power they pushed the well aloft, they clove asunder the rock,
however strong. Blowing forth their voice the bounteous Maruts
performed, while drunk of Soma, their glorious deeds. They pushed the
cloud athwart this way, they poured out the spring to the thirsty
Gotama. The Maruts with beautiful splendor approach him with help, they
in their own ways satisfied the desire of the sage. The shelters which
you have for him who praises you, grant them threefold to the man who
gives! Extend the same to us, O Maruts! Give us, ye heroes, wealth with
valiant offspring!


Who are these resplendent men, dwelling together, the boys of Rudra,
also with good horses? No one indeed knows their births, they alone know
each other's birthplace. They plucked each other with their beaks; the
hawks, rushing like the wind, strove together. A wise man understands
these secrets, that Prisni, the great, bore an udder. May that clan be
rich in heroes by the Maruts, always victorious, rich in manhood! They
are quickest to go, most splendid with splendor, endowed with beauty,
strong with strength. Strong is your strength, steadfast your powers,
and thus by the Maruts is this clan mighty. Resplendent is your breath,
furious are the minds of the wild host, like a shouting maniac. Keep
from us entirely your flame, let not your hatred reach us here. I call
on the dear names of your swift ones, so that the greedy should be
satisfied, O Maruts, the well-armed, the swift, decked with beautiful
chains, who themselves adorn their bodies. Bright are the libations for
you, the bright ones, O Maruts, a bright sacrifice I prepare for the
bright. In proper order came those who truly follow the order, the
bright born, the bright, the pure. On your shoulders, O Maruts, are the
rings, on your chests the golden chains are fastened; far-shining like
lightnings with showers, you wield your weapons, according to your wont.
Your hidden splendors come forth; spread out your powers, O racers!
Accept, O Maruts, this thousandfold, domestic share, as an offering for
the house-gods. If you thus listen, O Maruts, to this praise, at the
invocation of the powerful sage, give him quickly a share of wealth in
plentiful offspring, which no selfish enemy shall be able to hurt. The
Maruts, who are fleet like racers, the manly youths, shone like Yakshas;
they are beautiful like boys standing round the hearth, they play about
like calves who are still sucking. May the bounteous Maruts be gracious
to us, opening up to us the firm heaven and earth. May that bolt of
yours which kills cattle and men be far from us! Incline to us, O Vasus,
with your favors. The Hotri priest calls on you again and again, sitting
down and praising your common gift, O Maruts. O strong ones, he who is
the guardian of so much wealth, he calls on you with praises, free from
guile. These Maruts stop the swift, they bend strength by strength, they
ward off the curse of the plotter, and turn their heavy hatred on the
enemy. These Maruts stir up even the sluggard, even the vagrant, as the
gods pleased. O strong ones, drive away the darkness, and grant us all
our kith and kin. May we not fall away from your bounty, O Maruts, may
we not stay behind, O charioteers, in the distribution of your gifts.
Let us share in the brilliant wealth, the well-acquired, that belongs to
you, O strong ones. When valiant men fiercely fight together, for
rivers, plants, and houses, then, O Maruts, sons of Rudra, be in battles
our protectors from the enemy. O Maruts, you have valued the praises
which our fathers have formerly recited to you; with the Maruts the
victor is terrible in battle, with the Maruts alone the racer wins the
prize. O Maruts, may we have a strong son, who is lord among men, a
ruler, through whom we may cross the waters to dwell in safety, and then
obtain our own home for you. May Indra then, Varuna, Mitra, Agni, the
waters, the plants, the trees of the forest be pleased with us. Let us
be in the keeping, in the lap of the Maruts; protect us always with your


Sing to the company of the Maruts, growing up together, the strong among
the divine host: they stir heaven and earth by their might, they mount
up to the firmament from the abyss of Nirriti. Even your birth was with
fire and fury, O Maruts! You, terrible, wrathful, never tiring! You who
stand forth with might and strength; everyone who sees the sun, fears at
your coming. Grant mighty strength to our lords, if the Maruts are
pleased with our praise. As a trodden path furthers a man, may they
further us; help us with your brilliant favors. Favored by you, O
Maruts, a wise man wins a hundred, favored by you a strong racer wins a
thousand, favored by you a king also kills his enemy: may that gift of
yours prevail, O ye shakers. I invite these bounteous sons of Rudra,
will these Maruts turn again to us? Whatever they hated secretly or
openly, that sin we pray the swift ones to forgive. This praise of our
lords has been spoken: may the Maruts be pleased with this hymn. Keep
far from us, O strong ones, all hatred, protect us always with your


Come hither, do not fail, when you march forward! Do not stay away, O
united friends, you who can bend even what is firm. O Maruts,
Ribhukshans, come hither on your flaming strong fellies, O Rudras, come
to us to-day with food, you much-desired ones, come to the sacrifice,
you friends of the Sobharis. For we know indeed the terrible strength of
the sons of Rudra, of the vigorous Maruts, the liberal givers of rain.
The clouds were scattered, but the monster remained, heaven and earth
were joined together. O you who are armed with bright rings, the tracts
of the sky expanded, whenever you stir, radiant with your own splendor.
Even things that cannot be thrown down resound at your race, the
mountains, the lord of the forest--the earth quivers on your marches.
The upper sky makes wide room, to let your violence pass, O Maruts, when
these strong-armed heroes display their energies in their own bodies.
According to their wont these men, exceeding terrible, impetuous, with
strong and unbending forms, bring with them beautiful light. The arrow
of the Sobharis is shot from the bowstrings at the golden chest on the
chariot of the Maruts. They, the kindred of the cow, the well-born,
should enjoy their food, the great ones should help us. Bring forward, O
strongly-anointed priests, your libations to the strong host of the
Maruts, the strongly advancing. O Maruts, O heroes, come quickly hither,
like winged hawks, on your chariot with strong horses, of strong shape,
with strong naves, to enjoy our libations. Their anointing is the same,
the golden chains shine on their arms, their spears sparkle. These
strong, manly, strong-armed Maruts, do not strive among themselves; firm
are the bows, the weapons on your chariot, and on your faces are
splendors. They whose terrible name, wide-spreading like the ocean, is
the one of all that is of use, whose strength is like the vigor of their
father, worship these Maruts, and praise them! Of these shouters, as of
moving spokes, no one is the last; this is theirs by gift, by greatness
is it theirs. Happy is he who was under your protection, O Maruts, in
former mornings, or who may be so even now. Or he, O men, whose
libations you went to enjoy; that mighty one, O shakers, will obtain
your favors with brilliant riches and booty. As the sons of Rudra, the
servants of the divine Dyu, will it, O youths, so shall it be. Whatever
liberal givers may worship the Maruts, and move about together as
generous benefactors, even from them turn towards us with a kinder
heart, you youths! O Sobhari, call loud with your newest song the young,
strong, and pure Maruts, as the plougher calls the cows. Worship the
Maruts with a song, they who are strong like a boxer, called in to
assist those who call for him in all fights; worship them the most
glorious, like bright-shining bulls. Yes, O united friends, kindred, O
Maruts, by a common birth, the oxen lick one another's humps. O ye
dancers, with golden ornaments on your chests, even a mortal comes to
ask for your brotherhood; take care of us, ye Maruts, for your
friendship lasts forever. O bounteous Maruts, bring us some of your
Marut-medicine, you friends, and steeds. With the favors whereby you
favor the Sindhu, whereby you save, whereby you help Krivi, with those
propitious favors be our delight, O delightful ones, ye who never hate
your followers. O Maruts, for whom we have prepared good altars,
whatever medicine there is on the Sindhu, on the Asikni, in the seas, on
the mountains, seeing it, you carry it all on your bodies. Bless us with
it! Down to the earth, O Maruts, with what hurts our sick
one--straighten what is crooked!


Full of devotion like priests with their prayers, wealthy like pious
men, who please the gods with their offerings, beautiful to behold like
brilliant kings, without a blemish like the youths of our hamlets--they
who are gold-breasted like Agni with his splendor, quick to help like
self-harnessed winds, good leaders like the oldest experts, they are to
the righteous man like Somas, that yield the best protection. They who
are roaring and hasting like winds, brilliant like the tongues of fires,
powerful like mailed soldiers, full of blessings like the prayers of our
fathers, who hold together like the spokes of chariot-wheels, who glance
forward like victorious heroes, who scatter ghrita like wooing youths,
who chant beautifully like singers, intoning a hymn of praise, who are
swift like the best of horses, who are bounteous like lords of chariots
on a suit, who are hastening on like water with downward floods, who are
like the manifold Angiras with their numerous songs. These noble sons of
Sindhu are like grinding-stones, they are always like Soma-stones,
tearing everything to pieces; these sons of a good mother are like
playful children, they are by their glare like a great troop on its
march. Illumining the sacrifice like the rays of the dawn, they shone
forth in their ornaments like triumphant warriors; the Maruts with
bright spears seem like running rivers, from afar they measure many
miles. O gods, make us happy and rich, prospering us, your praisers, O
Maruts! Remember our praise and our friendship, for from of old there
are always with you gifts of treasures.


O Indra, a thousand have been thy helps accorded to us, a thousand, O
driver of the bays, have been thy most delightful viands. May thousands
of treasures richly to enjoy, may goods come to us a thousandfold. May
the Maruts come towards us with their aids, the mighty ones, or with
their best aids from the great heaven, now that their furthest steeds
have rushed forth on the distant shore of the sea; there clings to the
Maruts one who moves in secret, like a man's wife,[2] and who is like a
spear carried behind, well grasped, resplendent, gold-adorned; there is
also with them Vak,[3] like unto a courtly, eloquent woman. Far away the
brilliant, untiring Maruts cling to their young maid, as if she belonged
to them all; but the terrible ones did not drive away Rodasi, for they
wished her to grow their friend. When the divine Rodasi with dishevelled
locks, the manly-minded, wished to follow them, she went, like Surya,[4]
to the chariot of her servant, with terrible look, as with the pace of a
cloud. As soon as the poet with the libations, O Maruts, had sung his
song at the sacrifice, pouring out Soma, the youthful men placed the
young maid in their chariot as their companion for victory, mighty in
assemblies. I praise what is the praiseworthy true greatness of those
Maruts, that the manly-minded, proud, and strong one drives with them
towards the blessed mothers. They protect Mitra and Varuna from the
unspeakable, and Aryaman also finds out the infamous. Even what is firm
and unshakable is being shaken; but he who dispenses treasures, O
Maruts, has grown in strength. No people indeed, whether near to us, or
from afar, have ever found the end of your strength, O Maruts! The
Maruts, strong in daring strength, have, like the sea, boldly surrounded
their haters. May we to-day, may we tomorrow in battle be called the
most beloved of Indra. We were so formerly, may we truly be so day by
day, and may the lord of the Maruts be with us. May this praise, O
Maruts, this song of Mandarya, the son of Mana, the poet, ask you with
food for offspring for ourselves! May we have an invigorating autumn,
with quickening rain!


Who knows their birth? or who was of yore in the favor of the Maruts,
when they harnessed the spotted deer? Who has heard them when they had
mounted their chariots, how they went forth? For the sake of what
liberal giver did they run, and their comrades followed, as streams of
rain filled with food? They themselves said to me when day by day they
came to the feast with their birds: they are manly youths and blameless;
seeing them, praise them thus; they who shine by themselves in their
ornaments, their daggers, their garlands, their golden chains, their
rings, going on their chariots and on dry land. O Maruts, givers of
quickening rain, I am made to rejoice, following after your chariots, as
after days going with rain. The bucket which the bounteous heroes shook
down from heaven for their worshipper, that cloud they send along heaven
and earth, and showers follow on the dry land. The rivers having pierced
the air with a rush of water, went forth like milk-cows; when your
spotted deer roll about like horses that have hasted to the
resting-place on their road. Come hither, O Maruts, from heaven, from
the sky, even from near; do not go far away! Let not the Rasa, the
Anitabha, the Kubha, the Krumu, let not the Sindhu delay you! Let not
the marshy Sarayu prevent you! May your favor be with us alone! The
showers come forth after the host of your chariots, after the terrible
Marut-host of the ever-youthful heroes. Let us then follow with our
praises and our prayers each host of yours, each troop, each company. To
what well-born generous worshipper have the Maruts gone to-day on that
march, on which you bring to kith and kin the never-failing seed of
corn? Give us that for which we ask you, wealth and everlasting
happiness! Let us safely pass through our revilers, leaving behind the
unspeakable and the enemies. Let us be with you when in the morning you
shower down health, wealth, water, and medicine, O Maruts! That mortal,
O men, O Maruts, whom you protect, may well be always beloved by the
gods, and rich in valiant offspring. May we be such! Praise the liberal
Maruts, and may they delight on the path of this man here who praises
them, like cows in fodder. When they go, call after them as for old
friends, praise them who love you, with your song!


You have fashioned this speech for the brilliant Marut-host which shakes
the mountains: celebrate then the great manhood in honor of that host
who praises the warm milk of the sacrifice, and sacrifices on the height
of heaven, whose glory is brilliant. O Maruts, your powerful men came
forth searching for water, invigorating, harnessing their horses,
swarming around. When they aim with the lightning, Trita shouts, and the
waters murmur, running around on their course. These Maruts are men
brilliant with lightning, they shoot with thunderbolts, they blaze with
the wind, they shake the mountains, and suddenly, when wishing to give
water, they whirl the hail; they have thundering strength, they are
robust, they are ever-powerful. When you drive forth the nights, O
Rudras, the days, O powerful men, the sky, the mists, ye shakers, the
plains, like ships, and the strongholds, O Maruts, you suffer nowhere.
That strength of yours, O Maruts, that greatness extended as far as the
sun extends its daily course, when you, like your deer on their march,
went down to the western mountain with untouched splendor. Your host, O
Maruts, shone forth when, O sages, you strip, like a caterpillar, the
waving tree. Conduct then, O friends, our service to a good end, as the
eye conducts the man in walking. That man, O Maruts, is not overpowered,
he is not killed, he does not fail, he does not shake, he does not drop,
his goods do not perish, nor his protections, if you lead him rightly,
whether he be a seer or a king. The men with their steeds, like
conquerors of clans, like Aryaman, the Maruts, carrying waterskins, fill
the well; when the strong ones roar, they moisten the earth with the
juice of sweetness. When the Maruts come forth this earth bows, the
heaven bows, the paths in the sky bow, and the cloud-mountains with
their quickening rain. When you rejoice at sunrise, O Maruts, toiling
together, men of sunlight, men of heaven, your horses never tire in
running, and you quickly reach the end of your journey. On your
shoulders are the spears, on your feet rings, on your chests golden
chains, O Maruts, on your chariot gems; fiery lightnings in your fists,
and golden headbands tied round your heads. O Maruts, you shake the red
apple from the firmament, whose splendor no enemy can touch; the hamlets
bowed when the Maruts blazed, and the pious people intoned their
far-reaching shout. O wise Maruts, let us carry off the wealth of food
which you have bestowed on us; give us, O Maruts, such thousandfold
wealth as never fails, like the star Tishya from heaven! O Maruts, you
protect our wealth of excellent men, and the seer, clever in song; you
give to the warrior a strong horse, you make the king to be obeyed. O
you who are quickly ready to help, I implore you for wealth whereby we
may overshadow all men, like the sky. O Maruts, be pleased with this
word of mine, and let us speed by its speed over a hundred winters!


The chasing Maruts with gleaming spears, the golden-breasted, have
gained great strength, they move along on quick, well-broken
horses;--when they went in triumph, the chariots followed. You have
yourselves, you know, acquired power; you shine bright and wide, you
great ones. They have even measured the sky with their strength;--when
they went in triumph, the chariots followed. The strong heroes, born
together, and nourished together, have further grown to real beauty.
They shine brilliantly like the rays of the sun;--when they went in
triumph, the chariots followed. Your greatness, O Maruts, is to be
honored, it is to be yearned for like the sight of the sun. Place us
also in immortality;--when they went in triumph, the chariots followed.
O Maruts, you raise the rain from the sea, and rain it down, O yeomen!
Your milch-cows, O destroyers, are never destroyed;--when they went in
triumph, the chariots followed. When you have joined the deer as horses
to the shafts, and have clothed yourselves in golden garments, then, O
Maruts, you scatter all enemies;--when they went in triumph, the
chariots followed. Not mountains, not rivers have kept you back,
wherever you see, O Maruts, there you go. You go even round heaven and
earth;--when they went in triumph, the chariots followed. Be it old, O
Maruts, or be it new, be it spoken, O Vasus, or be it recited, you take
cognizance of it all;--when they went in triumph, the chariots followed.
Have mercy on us, O Maruts, do not strike us, extend to us your manifold
protection. Do remember the praise, the friendship;--when they went in
triumph, the chariots followed. Lead us, O Maruts, towards greater
wealth, and out of tribulations, when you have been praised. O
worshipful Maruts, accept our offering, and let us be lords of


O Agni, on to the strong host of the Maruts, bedecked with golden chains
and ornaments. To-day I call the folk of the Maruts down from the light
of heaven. As thou, Agni, thinkest in thine heart, to the same object my
wishes have gone. Strengthen thou these Maruts, terrible to behold, who
have come nearest to thy invocations. Like a bountiful lady, the earth
comes towards us, staggering, yet rejoicing; for your onslaught, O
Maruts, is vigorous, like a bear, and fearful, like a wild bull. They
who by their strength disperse wildly like bulls, impatient of the yoke,
they by their marches make the heavenly stone, the rocky mountain cloud
to shake. Arise, for now I call with my hymns the troop of these Maruts,
grown strong together, the manifold, the incomparable, as if calling a
drove of bulls. Harness the red mares to the chariot, harness the ruddy
horses to the chariots, harness the two bays, ready to drive in the
yoke, most vehement to drive in the yoke. And this red stallion too,
loudly neighing, has been placed here, beautiful to behold; may it not
cause you delay on your marches, O Maruts; spur him forth on your

We call towards us the glorious chariot of the Maruts, whereon there
stands also Rodasi, carrying delightful gifts, among the Maruts.

I call hither this your host, brilliant on chariots, terrible and
glorious, among which she, the well-born and fortunate, the bounteous
lady, is also magnified among the Maruts.


O Rudras, joined by Indra, friends on golden chariots, come hither for
our welfare! This prayer from us is acceptable to you like the springs
of heaven to a thirsty soul longing for water. O you sons of Prisni, you
are armed with daggers and spears, you are wise, carrying good bows and
arrows and quivers, possessed of good horses and chariots. With your
good weapons, O Maruts, you go to triumph! You shake the sky and the
mountains for wealth to the liberal giver; the forests bend down out of
your way from fear. O sons of Prisni, you rouse the earth when you, O
terrible ones, have harnessed the spotted deer for triumph! The Maruts,
blazing with the wind, clothed in rain, are as like one another as
twins, and well adorned. They have tawny horses, and red horses, they
are faultless, endowed with exceeding vigor; they are in greatness wide
as the heaven. Rich in rain-drops, well adorned, bounteous, terrible to
behold, of inexhaustible wealth, noble by birth, golden-breasted, these
singers of the sky have obtained their immortal name. Spears are on your
two shoulders, in your arms are placed strength, power, and might. Manly
thoughts dwell in your heads, on your chariots are weapons, and every
beauty has been laid on your bodies. O Maruts, you have given us wealth
of cows, horses, chariots, and heroes, golden wealth! O men of Rudra,
bestow on us great praise, and may I enjoy your divine protection! Hark,
O heroes, O Maruts! Be gracious to us! You who are of great bounty,
immortal, righteous, truly listening to us, poets, young, dwelling on
mighty mountains, and grown mighty.


I praise now the powerful company of these ever-young Maruts, who drive
violently along with quick horses; aye, the sovereigns are lords of
Amrita the immortal. The terrible company, the powerful, adorned with
quoits on their hands, given to roaring, potent, dispensing treasures,
they who are beneficent, infinite in greatness, praise, O poet, these
men of great wealth! May your water-carriers come here to-day, all the
Maruts who stir up the rain. That fire which has been lighted for you, O
Maruts, accept it, O young singers! O worshipful Maruts, you create for
man an active king, fashioned by Vibhvan; from you comes the man who can
fight with his fist, and is quick with his arm, from you the man with
good horses and valiant heroes. Like the spokes of a wheel, no one is
last, like the days they are born on and on, not deficient in might. The
very high sons of Prisni are full of fury, the Maruts cling firmly to
their own will. When you have come forth with your speckled deer as
horses on strong-fellied chariots, O Maruts, the waters gush, the
forests go asunder;--let Dyu roar down, the bull of the Dawn. At their
approach, even the earth opened wide, and they placed their own strength
as a husband the germ. Indeed they have harnessed the winds as horses to
the yoke, and the men of Rudra have changed their sweat into rain. Hark,
O heroes, O Maruts! Be gracious to us! You who are of great bounty,
immortal, righteous, truly listening to us, poets, young, dwelling on
mighty mountains, and grown mighty.


They truly tried to make you grant them welfare. Do thou sing praises to
Heaven, I offer sacrifice to the Earth. The Maruts wash their horses and
race to the air, they soften their splendor by waving mists. The earth
trembles with fear from their onset. She sways like a full ship, that
goes rolling. The heroes who appear on their marches, visible from afar,
strive together within the great sacrificial assembly. Your horn is
exalted for glory, as the horns of cows; your eye is like the sun, when
the mist is scattered. Like strong racers, you are beautiful, O heroes,
you think of glory, like manly youths. Who could reach, O Maruts, the
great wise thoughts, who the great manly deeds of you, great ones? You
shake the earth like a speck of dust, when you are carried forth for
granting welfare. These kinsmen are like red horses, like heroes eager
for battle, and they have rushed forward to fight. They are like
well-grown manly youths, and the men have grown strong, with streams of
rain they dim the eye of the sun. At their outbreak there is none among
them who is the eldest, or the youngest, or the middle: they have grown
by their own might, these sons of Prisni, noble by birth, the boys of
Dyaus; come hither to us!

Those who like birds flew with strength in rows from the ridge of the
mighty heaven to its ends, their horses shook the springs of the
mountain cloud, so that people on both sides knew it. May Dyaus Aditi
roar for our feast, may the dew-lighted Dawns come striving together;
these, the Maruts, O poet, the sons of Rudra, have shaken the heavenly
bucket cloud, when they had been praised.

[Footnote 1: The Maruts are the "Storm-Gods".]

[Footnote 2: The lightning.]

[Footnote 3: The voice of thunder.]

[Footnote 4: The dawn.]


The Prologue

The sacrificer speaks:

To what splendor do the Maruts all equally cling, they who are of the
same age, and dwell in the same nest? With what thoughts?--from whence
are they come? Do these heroes sing forth their own strength, wishing
for wealth? Whose prayers have the youths accepted? Who has turned the
Maruts to his own sacrifice? By what strong desire may we arrest them,
they who float through the air like hawks?

The Dialogue

The Maruts speak:

From whence, O Indra, dost thou come alone, thou who art mighty? O lord
of men, what has thus happened to thee? Thou greetest us when thou
comest together with us. Tell us then, thou with thy bay horses, what
thou hast against us!

Indra speaks:

The sacred songs are mine, the prayers; sweet are the libations! My
strength rises, my thunderbolt is hurled forth. They call for me, the
hymns yearn for me. Here are my horses, they carry me hither.

The Maruts speak:

From thence, in company with our strong friends, having adorned our
bodies, we now harness our fallow deer with all our might;--for, Indra,
according to custom, thou hast come to be with us.

Indra speaks:

Where, O Maruts, was that custom with you, when you left me alone in the
killing of Ahi? I indeed am terrible, powerful, strong,--I escaped from
the blows of every enemy.

The Maruts speak:

Thou hast achieved much with us as companions. With equal valor, O hero!
let us achieve then many things, O thou most powerful, O Indra! whatever
we, O Maruts, wish with our mind.

Indra speaks:

I slew Vritra, O Maruts, with Indra's might, having grown powerful
through my own vigor; I, who hold the thunderbolt in my arms, have made
these all-brilliant waters to flow freely for man.

The Maruts speak:

Nothing, O mighty lord, is strong before thee: no one is known among the
gods like unto thee. No one who is now born comes near, no one who has
been born. Do what thou wilt do, thou who art grown so strong.

Indra speaks:

Almighty strength be mine alone, whatever I may do, daring in my heart;
for I indeed, O Maruts, am known as terrible: of all that I threw down,
I, Indra, am the lord.

O Maruts, now your praise has pleased me, the glorious hymn which you
have made for me, ye men!--for me, for Indra, for the joyful hero, as
friends for a friend, for your own sake, and by your own efforts.

Truly, there they are, shining towards me, bringing blameless glory,
bringing food. O Maruts, wherever I have looked for you, you have
appeared to me in bright splendor: appear to me also now!

The Epilogue

The sacrificer speaks:

Who has magnified you here, O Maruts? Come hither, O friends, towards
your friends. Ye brilliant Maruts, welcoming these prayers, be mindful
of these my rites. The wisdom of Manya has brought us hither, that he
should help as the poet helps the performer of a sacrifice: turn hither
quickly! Maruts, on to the sage! the singer has recited these prayers
for you. May this your praise, O Maruts, this song of Mandarya, the son
of Mana, the poet, bring offspring for ourselves with food. May we have
an invigorating autumn, with quickening rain.


Those who stand around him while he moves on, harness the bright red
steed; the lights in heaven shine forth. They harness to the chariot on
each side his two favorite bays, the brown, the bold, who can carry the
hero. Thou who createst light where there was no light, and form, O men!
where there was no form, hast been born together with the dawns.
Thereupon they (the Maruts), according to their wont, assumed again the
form of new-born babes, taking their sacred name. Thou, O Indra, with
the swift Maruts, who break even through the stronghold, hast found even
in their hiding-place the bright ones. The pious singers have, after
their own mind, shouted towards the giver of wealth, the great, the
glorious Indra. Mayest thou, host of the Maruts, be verily seen coming
together with Indra, the fearless: you are both happy-making, and of
equal splendor. With the beloved hosts of Indra, with the blameless,
hasting (Maruts), the sacrificer cries aloud. From yonder, O traveller,
Indra, come hither, or from the light of heaven; the singers all yearn
for it;--or we ask Indra for help from here, or from heaven, or from
above the earth, or from the great sky.


Thou art called forth to this fair sacrifice for a draught of milk; with
the Maruts come hither, O Agni! No god indeed, no mortal, is beyond the
might of thee, the mighty one; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni! They
who know of the great sky, the Visve Devas without guile; with those
Maruts come hither, O Agni! The strong ones who sing their song,
unconquerable by force; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni! They who
are brilliant, of terrible designs, powerful, and devourers of foes;
with the Maruts come hither, O Agni! They who in heaven are enthroned as
gods, in the light of the firmament; with the Maruts come hither, O
Agni! They who toss the clouds across the surging sea; with the Maruts
come hither, O Agni! They who shoot with their darts across the sea with
might; with the Maruts come hither, O Agni! I pour out to thee for the
early draught the sweet juice of Soma; with the Maruts come hither, O

[Footnote 5: Agni is the "God of Fire."]


We offer these prayers to Rudra, the strong, whose hair is braided, who
rules over heroes that he may be a blessing to man and beast, that
everything in this our village may be prosperous and free from disease.
Be gracious to us, O Rudra, and give us joy, and we shall honor thee,
the ruler of heroes, with worship. What health and wealth father Manu
acquired by his sacrifices, may we obtain the same, O Rudra, under thy
guidance. O bounteous Rudra, may we by sacrifice obtain the good-will of
thee, the ruler of heroes; come to our clans, well-disposed, and, with
unarmed men, we shall offer our libation to thee. We call down for our
help the fierce Rudra, who fulfils our sacrifice, the swift, the wise;
may he drive far away from us the anger of the gods; we desire his
good-will only. We call down with worship the red boar of the sky, the
god with braided hair, the blazing form; may he who carries in his hand
the best medicines grant us protection, shield, and shelter! This speech
is spoken for the father of the Maruts, sweeter than sweet, a joy to
Rudra; grant to us also, O immortal, the food of mortals, be gracious to
us and to our kith and kin! Do not slay our great or our small ones, our
growing or our grown ones, our father or our mother, and do not hurt our
own bodies, O Rudra! O Rudra, hurt us not in our kith and kin, nor in
our own life, not in our cows, nor in our horses! Do not slay our men in
thy wrath: carrying libations, we call on thee always. Like a shepherd,
I have driven these praises near to thee; O father of the Maruts, grant
us thy favor! For thy good-will is auspicious, and most gracious, hence
we desire thy protection alone. Let thy cow-slaying and thy man-slaying
be far away, and let thy favor be with us, O ruler of heroes! Be
gracious to us, and bless us, O god, and then give us twofold
protection. We have uttered our supplication to him, desiring his help;
may Rudra with the Maruts hear our call. May Mitra, Varuna, Aditi, the
River, Earth, and the Sky, grant us this!

[Footnote 6: Rudra is the "Father of the Maruts."]


O father of the Maruts, let thy favor come near, and do not deprive us
of the sight of the sun; may the hero (Rudra) be gracious to our horse,
and may we increase in offspring, O Rudra! May I attain to a hundred
winters through the most blissful medicines which thou hast given! Put
away far from us all hatred, put away anguish, put away sickness in all
directions! In beauty thou art the most beautiful of all that exists, O
Rudra, the strongest of the strong, thou wielder of the thunderbolt!
Carry us happily to the other shore of our anguish, and ward off all
assaults of mischief. Let us not incense thee, O Rudra, by our worship,
not by bad praise, O hero, and not by divided praise! Raise up our men
by thy medicines, for I hear thou art the best of all physicians. He who
is invoked by invocations and libations, may I pay off that Rudra with
my hymns of praise. Let not him who is kind-hearted, who readily hears
our call, the tawny, with beautiful cheeks, deliver us to this wrath!
The manly hero with the Maruts has gladdened me, the suppliant, with
more vigorous health. May I without mischief find shade, as if from
sunshine, may I gain the favor of Rudra! O Rudra, where is thy softly
stroking hand which cures and relieves? Thou, the remover of all
heaven-sent mischief, wilt thou, O strong hero, bear with me? I send
forth a great, great hymn of praise to the bright tawny bull. Let me
reverence the fiery god with prostrations; we celebrate the flaring name
of Rudra. He, the fierce god, with strong limbs, assuming many forms,
the tawny Rudra, decked himself with brilliant golden ornaments. From
Rudra, who is lord of this wide world, divine power will never depart.
Worthily thou bearest arrows and bow, worthily, O worshipful, the
golden, variegated chain; worthily thou cuttest every fiend here to
pieces, for there is nothing indeed stronger than thou, O Rudra. Praise
him, the famous, sitting in his chariot, the youthful, who is fierce and
attacks like a terrible lion. And when thou hast been praised, O Rudra,
be gracious to him who magnifies thee, and let thy armies mow down
others than us! O Rudra, a boy indeed makes obeisance to his father who
comes to greet him: I praise the lord of brave men, the giver of many
gifts, and thou, when thou hast been praised, wilt give us thy
medicines. O Maruts, those pure medicines of yours, the most beneficent
and delightful, O heroes, those which Manu, our father, chose, those I
crave from Rudra, as health and wealth. May the weapon of Rudra avoid
us, may the great anger of the flaring one pass us by. Unstring thy
strong bows for the sake of our liberal lords, O bounteous Rudra, be
gracious to our kith and kin. Thus, O tawny and manly god, showing
thyself, so as neither to be angry nor to kill, be mindful of our
invocations, and, rich in brave sons, we shall magnify thee in the


I implore Agni, the gracious, with salutations, may he sit down here,
and gather what we have made. I offer him sacrifice as with racing
chariots; may I, turning to the right, accomplish this hymn to the
Maruts. Those who approached on their glorious deer, on their easy
chariots, the Rudras, the Maruts--through fear of you, ye terrible ones,
the forests even bend down, the earth shakes, and also the mountain
cloud. At your shouting, even the mountain cloud, grown large, fears,
and the ridge of heaven trembles. When you play together, O Maruts,
armed with spears, you run together like waters. Like rich suitors the
Maruts have themselves adorned their bodies with golden ornaments; more
glorious for glory, and powerful on their chariots, they have brought
together splendors on their bodies. As brothers, no one being the eldest
or the youngest, they have grown up together to happiness. Young is
their clever father Rudra, flowing with plenty is Prisni, always kind to
the Maruts. O happy Maruts, whether you are in the highest, or in the
middle, or in the lowest heaven, from thence, O Rudras, or thou also, O
Agni, take notice of this libation which we offer. When Agni, and you,
wealthy Maruts, drive down from the higher heaven over the ridges, give
then, if pleased, you roarers, O destroyers of enemies, wealth to the
sacrificer who prepares Soma-juice. Agni, be pleased to drink Soma with
the brilliant Maruts, the singers, approaching in companies, with the
men, who brighten and enliven everything; do this, Agni, thou who art
always endowed with splendor.


Come hither, O Vayu, thou beautiful one! These Somas are ready, drink of
them, hear our call! O Vayu, the praisers celebrate thee with hymns,
they who know the feast-days, and have prepared the Soma. O Vayu, thy
satisfying stream goes to the worshipper, wide-reaching, to the
Soma-draught. O Indra and Vayu, these libations of Soma are poured out;
come hither for the sake of our offerings, for the drops of Soma long
for you. O Indra and Vayu, you perceive the libations, you who are rich
in booty; come then quickly hither! O Vayu and Indra, come near to the
work of the sacrificer, quick, thus is my prayer, O ye men! I call
Mitra, endowed with holy strength, and Varuna, who destroys all enemies;
who both fulfil a prayer accompanied by fat offerings. On the right way,
O Mitra and Varuna, you have obtained great wisdom, you who increase the
right and adhere to the right; These two sages, Mitra and Varuna, the
mighty, wide-ruling, give us efficient strength.


O Vayu, may the quick racers bring thee towards the offerings, to the
early drink here, to the early drink of Soma! May the Dawn stand erect,
approving thy mind! Come near on thy harnessed chariot to share, O Vayu,
to share in the sacrifice! May the delightful drops of Soma delight
thee, the drops made by us, well-made, and heaven-directed, yes, made
with milk, and heaven-directed. When his performed aids assume strength
for achievement, our prayers implore the assembled steeds for gifts,
yes, the prayers implore them. Vayu yokes the two ruddy, Vayu yokes the
two red horses, Vayu yokes to the chariot the two swift horses to draw
in the yoke, the strongest to draw in the yoke. Awake Purandhi (the
morning) as a lover wakes a sleeping maid, reveal heaven and earth,
brighten the dawn, yes, for glory brighten the dawn. For thee the bright
dawns spread out in the distance beautiful garments, in their houses, in
their rays, beautiful in their new rays. To thee the juice-yielding cow
pours out all treasures. Thou hast brought forth the Maruts from the
flanks, yes, from the flanks of heaven. For thee the white, bright,
rushing Somas, strong in raptures, have rushed to the whirl, they have
rushed to the whirl of the waters. The tired hunter asks luck of thee in
the chase; thou shieldest by thy power from every being, yes, thou
shieldest by thy power from powerful spirits. Thou, O Vayu, art worthy
as the first before all others to drink these our Somas, thou art worthy
to drink these poured-out Somas. Among the people also who invoke thee
and have turned to thee, all the cows pour out the milk, they pour out
butter and milk for the Soma.


Indra: There is no such thing to-day, nor will it be so to-morrow. Who
knows what strange thing this is? We must consult the thought of
another, for even what we once knew seems to vanish.

Agastya: Why dost thou wish to kill us, O Indra? the Maruts are thy
brothers; fare kindly with them, and do not strike us in battle.

The Maruts: O Brother Agastya, why, being a friend, dost thou despise
us? We know quite well what thy mind was. Dost thou not wish to give to

Agastya: Let them prepare the altar, let them light the fire in front!
Here we two will spread for thee the sacrifice, to be seen by the

Agastya: Thou rulest, O lord of treasures; thou, lord of friends, art
the most generous. Indra, speak again with the Maruts, and then consume
our offerings at the right season.

[Footnote 7: Agastya is a worshipper of Indra.]


Soma and Rudra, may you maintain your divine dominion, and may the
oblations reach you properly. Bringing the seven treasures to every
house, be kind to our children and our cattle. Soma and Rudra, draw far
away in every direction the disease which has entered our house. Drive
far away Nirriti, and may auspicious glories belong to us! Soma and
Rudra, bestow all these remedies on our bodies. Tear away and remove
from us whatever evil we have committed, which clings to our bodies.
Soma and Rudra, wielding sharp weapons and sharp bolts, kind friends, be
gracious unto us here! Deliver us from the snare of Varuna, and guard
us, as kind-hearted gods!


Offer ye these songs to Rudra whose bow is strong, whose arrows are
swift, the self-dependent god, the unconquered conqueror, the
intelligent, whose weapons are sharp--may he hear us! For, being the
lord, he looks after what is born on earth; being the universal ruler,
he looks after what is born in heaven. Protecting us, come to our
protecting doors, be without illness among our people, O Rudra! May that
thunderbolt of thine, which, sent from heaven, traverses the earth, pass
us by! A thousand medicines are thine, O thou who art freely accessible;
do not hurt us through our kith and kin! Do not strike us, O Rudra, do
not forsake us! May we not be in thy way when thou rushest forth
furiously. Let us have our altar and a good report among men--protect us
always with your favors!


Now for the greatness of the chariot of Vata. Its roar goes crashing and
thundering. It moves touching the sky, and creating red sheens, or it
goes scattering the dust of the earth. Afterwards there rise the gusts
of Vata, they go towards him, like women to a feast. The god goes with
them on the same chariot, he, the king of the whole of this world. When
he moves on his paths along the sky, he rests not even a single day; the
friend of the waters, the first-born, the holy, where was he born,
whence did he spring? The breath of the gods, the germ of the world,
that god moves wherever he listeth; his roars indeed are heard, not his
form--let us offer sacrifice to that Vata!


May Vata waft medicine, healthful, delightful to our heart; may he
prolong our lives! Thou, O Vata, art our father, and our brother, and
our friend; do thou grant us to live! O Vata, from that treasure of the
immortal which is placed in thy house yonder, give us to live!


I magnify Agni, the Purohita, the divine ministrant of the sacrifice,
the Hotri priest, the greatest bestower of treasures. Agni, worthy to be
magnified by the ancient Rishis and by the present ones--may he conduct
the gods hither. May one obtain through Agni wealth and welfare day by
day, which may bring glory and high bliss of valiant offspring. Agni,
whatever sacrifice and worship thou encompassest on every side, that
indeed goes to the gods. May Agni the thoughtful Hotri, he who is true
and most splendidly renowned, may the god come hither with the gods.
Whatever good thou wilt do to thy worshipper, O Agni, that work verily
is thine, O Angiras. Thee, O Agni, we approach day by day, O god who
shinest in the darkness; with our prayer, bringing adoration to thee who
art the king of all worship, the guardian of Rita, the shining one,
increasing in thy own house. Thus, O Agni, be easy of access to us, as a
father is to his son. Stay with us for our happiness.


We implore with well-spoken words the vigorous Agni who belongs to many
people, to the clans that worship the gods, whom other people also
magnify. Men have placed Agni on the altar as the augmenter of strength.
May we worship thee, rich in sacrificial food. Thus be thou here to-day
gracious to us, a helper in our striving for gain, O good one! We choose
thee, the all-possessor, as our messenger and as our Hotri. The flames
of thee, who art great, spread around; thy rays touch the heaven. The
gods, Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, kindle thee, the ancient messenger. The
mortal, O Agni, who worships thee, gains through thee every prize. Thou
art the cheerful Hotri and householder, O Agni, the messenger of the
clans. In thee all the firm laws are comprised which the gods have made.
In thee, the blessed one, O Agni, youngest god, all sacrificial food is
offered. Sacrifice then thou who art gracious to us to-day and
afterwards, to the gods that we may be rich in valiant men. Him, the
king, verily the adorers approach reverentially. With oblations men
kindle Agni, having overcome all failures. Destroying the foe, they
victoriously got through Heaven and Earth and the waters; they have made
wide room for their dwelling. May the manly Agni, after he has received
the oblations, become brilliant at the side of Kanva; may he neigh as a
horse in battles. Take thy seat; thou art great. Shine forth, thou who
most excellently repairest to the gods. O Agni, holy god, emit thy red,
beautiful smoke, O glorious one! Thou whom the gods have placed here for
Manu as the best performer of the sacrifice, O carrier of oblations,
whom Kanva and Medhyatithi, whom Vrishan and Upastuta have worshipped,
the winner of prizes. That Agni's nourishment has shone brightly whom
Medhyatithi and Kanva have kindled on behalf of Rita. Him do these
hymns, him do we extol. Fill us with wealth, thou self-dependent one,
for thou, O Agni, hast companionship with the gods. Thou art lord over
glorious booty. Have mercy upon us; thou art great. Stand up straight
for blessing us, like the god Savitri, straight a winner of booty, when
we with our worshippers and with ointments call thee in emulation with
other people. Standing straight, protect us by thy splendor from evil;
burn down every ghoul. Let us stand straight that we may walk and live.
Find out our worship among the gods. Save us, O Agni, from the sorcerer,
save us from mischief, from the niggard. Save us from him who does us
harm or tries to kill us, O youngest god with bright splendor! As with a
club smite the niggards in all directions, and him who deceives us, O
god with fiery jaws. The mortal who makes his weapons very sharp by
night, may that impostor not rule over us. Agni has won abundance in
heroes. Agni and the two Mitras have blessed Medhyatithi. Agni has
blessed Upastuta in the acquirement of wealth. Through Agni we call
hither from afar Turvasa, Yadu, and Ugradeva. May Agni, our strength
against the Dasyu, conduct hither Navavastva, Brihadratha, and Turviti.

Manu has established thee, O Agni, as a light for all people. Thou hast
shone forth with Kanva, born from Rita, grown strong, thou whom the
human races worship. Agni's flames are impetuous and violent; they are
terrible and not to be withstood. Always burn down the sorcerers, and
the allies of the Yatus, every ghoul.


We choose Agni as our messenger, the all-possessor, as the Hotri of this
sacrifice, the highly wise. Agni and Agni! again they constantly invoked
with their invocations, the lord of the clans, the bearer of oblations,
the beloved of many. Agni, when born, conduct the gods hither for him
who has strewn the sacrificial grass; thou art our Hotri, worthy of
being magnified. Awaken them, the willing ones, when thou goest as
messenger, O Agni. Sit down with the gods on the Barhis. O thou to whom
Ghrita oblations are poured out, resplendent god, burn against the
mischievous, O Agni, against the sorcerers. By Agni Agni is kindled, the
sage, the master of the house, the young one, the bearer of oblations,
whose mouth is the sacrificial spoon. Praise Agni the sage, whose
ordinances for the sacrifice are true, the god who drives away sickness.
Be the protector, O Agni, of a master of sacrificial food who worships
thee, O god, as his messenger. Be merciful, O purifier, unto the man who
is rich in sacrificial food, and who invites Agni to the feast of the
gods. Thus, O Agni, resplendent purifier, conduct the gods hither to us,
to our sacrifice and to our food. Thus praised by us with our new
Gayatra hymn, bring us wealth of valiant men and food. Agni with thy
bright splendor be pleased, through all our invocations of the gods,
with this our praise.


With reverence I shall worship thee who art long-tailed like a horse,
Agni, king of worship. May he, our son of strength, proceeding on his
broad way, the propitious, become bountiful to us. Thus protect us
always, thou who hast a full life, from the mortal who seeks to do us
harm, whether near or afar. And mayest thou, O Agni, announce to the
gods this our newest efficient Gayatra song. Let us partake of all booty
that is highest and that is middle; help us to the wealth that is
nearest. O god with bright splendor, thou art the distributor. Thou
instantly flowest for the liberal giver in the wave of the river, near
at hand. The mortal, O Agni, whom thou protectest in battles, whom thou
speedest in the races, he will command constant nourishment: Whosoever
he may be, no one will overtake him, O conqueror Agni! His strength is
glorious. May he, known among all tribes, win the race with his horses;
may he with the help of his priests become a gainer. O Garabodha!
Accomplish this task for every house: a beautiful song of praise for
worshipful Rudra. May he, the great, the immeasurable, the
smoke-bannered, rich in splendor, incite us to pious thoughts and to
strength. May he hear us, like the rich lord of a clan, the banner of
the gods, on behalf of our hymns, Agni with bright light. Reverence to
the great ones, reverence to the lesser ones! Reverence to the young,
reverence to the old! Let us sacrifice to the gods, if we can. May I
not, O gods, fall as a victim to the curse of my better.


I press on for you with my prayer to the all-possessing messenger, the
immortal bearer of offerings, the best sacrificer. He, the great one,
knows indeed the place of wealth, the ascent to heaven; may he conduct
the gods hither. He, the god, knows how to direct the gods for the
righteous worshipper, in his house. He gives us wealth dear to us. He is
the Hotri; he who knows the office of a messenger, goes to and fro,
knowing the ascent to heaven. May we be of those who have worshipped
Agni with the gift of offerings, who cause him to thrive and kindle him.
The men who have brought worship to Agni, are renowned as successful by
wealth and by powerful offspring. May much-desired wealth come to us day
by day; may gains arise among us. He, the priest of the tribes, the
priest of men, pierces all hostile powers by his might as with a tossing


He has brought down the wisdom of many a worshipper, he who holds in his
hand all manly power. Agni has become the lord of treasures, he who
brought together all powers of immortality. All the clever immortals
when seeking did not find the calf though sojourning round about us. The
attentive gods, wearying themselves, following his footsteps, stood at
the highest, beautiful standing-place of Agni. When the bright ones had
done service to thee, the bright one, Agni, with Ghrita through three
autumns, they assumed worshipful names; the well-born shaped their own
bodies. Acquiring for themselves the two great worlds, the worshipful
ones brought forward their Rudra-like powers. The mortal, when beings
were in discord, perceived and found out Agni standing in the highest
place. Being like-minded they reverentially approached him on their
knees. Together with their wives they venerated the venerable one.
Abandoning their bodies they made them their own, the one friend waking
when the other friend closed his eyes. When the worshipful gods have
discovered the thrice seven secret steps laid down in thee, they
concordantly guard with them immortality. Protect thou the cattle and
that which remains steadfast and that which moves. Knowing, O Agni, the
established orders of human dwellings, distribute in due order gifts
that they may live. Knowing the ways which the gods do, thou hast become
the unwearied messenger, the bearer of oblations. They who knew the
right way and were filled with good intentions, beheld from heaven the
seven young rivers and the doors of riches. Sarama found the strong
stable of the cows from which human clans receive their nourishment. The
Earth has spread herself far and wide with them who are great in their
greatness, the mother Aditi, for the refreshment of the bird, with her
sons who have assumed all powers of their own dominion, preparing for
themselves the way to immortality. When the immortals created the two
eyes of heaven, they placed fair splendor in him. Then they rush down
like streams let loose. The red ones have recognized, O Agni, those
which are directed downwards.


Forward goes your strength tending heavenward, rich in offerings, with
the ladle full of ghee. To the gods goes the worshipper desirous of
their favor. I magnify with prayer Agni who has knowledge of prayers,
the accomplisher of sacrifice, who hears us, and in whom manifold wealth
has been laid down. O Agni, may we be able to bridle thee the strong
god; may we overcome all hostile powers. Agni, inflamed at the
sacrifice, the purifier who should be magnified, whose hair is
flame--him we approach with prayers. With his broad stream of light the
immortal Agni, clothed in ghee, well served with oblations, is the
carrier of offerings at the sacrifice. Holding the sacrificial ladles,
performing the sacrifice they have with right thought, pressingly
brought Agni hither for help. The Hotri, the immortal god goes in front
with his secret power, instigating the sacrifices. The strong is set at
the races. He is led forth at the sacrifices, the priest, the
accomplisher of sacrifice. He has been produced by prayer, the excellent
one. I have established him, the germ of beings, forever the father of
Daksha. I have laid thee down, the excellent one, with the nourishment
of Daksha, O thou who art produced by power, O Agni, thee the
resplendent one, O Usig. The priests, eager to set to work the Rita,
kindle with quick strength Agni the governor, him who crosses the
waters. I magnify the child of vigor at this sacrifice, who shines under
the heaven, the thoughtful Agni. He who should be magnified and adored,
who is visible through the darkness, Agni, the manly, is kindled. Agni,
the manly, is kindled, he who draws hither the gods like a horse. The
worshippers rich in offerings magnify him. We the manly ones will kindle
thee the manly god, O manly Agni, who shinest mightily.


Produce thy stream of flames like a broad onslaught. Go forth impetuous
like a king with his elephant, thou art an archer; shoot the sorcerers
with thy hottest arrows. Thy whirls fly quickly. Fiercely flaming touch
them. O Agni, send forth with the ladle thy heat, thy winged flames;
send forth unfettered thy firebrands all around. Being the quickest,
send forth thy spies against all evildoers. Be an undeceivable guardian
of this clan. He who attacks us with evil spells, far or near, may no
such foe defy thy track. Rise up, O Agni! Spread out against all foes!
Burn down the foes, O god with the sharp weapon! When kindled, O Agni,
burn down like dry brushwood, the man who exercises malice against us.
Stand upright, strike the foes away from us! Make manifest thy divine
powers, O Agni! Unbend the strong bows of those who incite demons
against us. Crush all enemies, be they relations or strangers. He knows
thy favor, O youngest one, who makes a way for a sacred speech like
this. Mayest thou beam forth to his doors all auspicious days and the
wealth and the splendor of the niggard. Let him, O Agni, be fortunate
and blessed with good rain, who longs to gladden thee with constant
offerings and hymns through his life in his house. May such longing ever
bring auspicious days to him. I praise thy favor; it resounded here. May
this song, which is like a favorite wife, awaken for thee. Let us
brighten thee, being rich in horses and chariots. Mayest thou maintain
our knightly power day by day. May the worshipper here frequently of his
own accord approach thee, O god who shinest in darkness, resplendent day
by day. Let us worship thee sporting and joyous, surpassing the splendor
of other people. Whoever, rich in horses and rich in gold, approaches
thee, O Agni, with his chariot full of wealth--thou art the protector
and the friend of him who always delights in showing thee hospitality.
Through my kinship with thee I break down the great foes by my words.
That kinship has come down to me from my father Gotama. Be thou
attentive to this our word, O youngest, highly wise Hotri, as the friend
of our house. May those guardians of thine, infallible Agni, sitting
down together protect us, the never sleeping, onward-pressing, kind,
unwearied ones, who keep off the wolf, who never tire. Thy guardians, O
Agni, who seeing have saved the blind son of Mamata from distress--He
the possessor of all wealth has saved them who have done good deeds. The
impostors, though trying to deceive, could not deceive. In thy
companionship we dwell, protected by thee. Under thy guidance let us
acquire gain. Accomplish both praises, O thou who art the truth! Do so
by thy present power, O fearless one! May we worship thee, O Agni, with
this log of wood. Accept the hymn of praise which we recite. Burn down
those who curse us, the sorcerers. Protect us, O god who art great like
Mitra, from guile, from revilement, and from disgrace.


Bright, flaming, like the lover of the Dawn,[8] he has, like the light
of the sky, filled the two worlds of Heaven and Earth which are turned
towards each other. As soon as thou wert born thou hast excelled by thy
power of mind; being the son of the gods thou hast become their father.
Agni is a worshipper of the gods, never foolish, always discriminating;
he is like the udder of the cows; he is the sweetness of food. Like a
kind friend to men, not to be led astray, sitting in the midst, the
lovely one, in the house; like a child when born, he is delightful in
the house; like a race-horse which is well cared for, he has wandered
across the clans. When I call to the sacrifice the clans who dwell in
the same nest with the heroes, may Agni then attain all divine powers.
When thou hast listened to these heroes, no one breaks those laws of
thine. That verily is thy wonderful deed that thou hast killed, with thy
companions, all foes; that, joined by the heroes, thou hast accomplished
thy works. Like the lover of the Dawn, resplendent and bright, of
familiar form: may he thus pay attention to this sacrificer. Carrying
him they opened by themselves the doors of heaven. They all shouted at
the aspect of the sun.


Like unto excellent wealth, like unto the shine of the sun, like unto
living breath, like unto one's own son, like unto a quick takvan Agni
holds the wood, like milk, like a milch cow, bright and shining. He
holds safety, pleasant like a homestead, like ripe barley, a conqueror
of men; like a Rishi uttering sacred shouts, praised among the clans;
like a well-cared-for race-horse, Agni bestows vigor. He to whose flame
men do not grow accustomed, who is like one's own mind, like a wife on a
couch, enough for all happiness. When the bright Agni has shone forth,
he is like a white horse among people, like a chariot with golden
ornaments, impetuous in fights. Like an army which is sent forward he
shows his vehemence, like an archer's shaft with sharp point. He who is
born is one twin; he who will be born is the other twin--the lover of
maidens, the husband of wives. As cows go to their stalls, all that
moves and we, for the sake of a dwelling, reach him who has been
kindled. Like the flood of the Sindhu he has driven forward the
downward-flowing waters. The cows lowed at the sight of the sun.


The Hotri goes forward in order to fulfil his duty by his wonderful
power, directing upwards the brightly adorned prayer. He steps towards
the sacrificial ladles which are turned to the right, and which first
kiss his foundation. They have greeted with shouts the streams of Rita
which were hidden at the birthplace of the god, at his seat. When He
dwelt dispersed in the lap of the waters, he drank the draughts by the
power of which he moves. Two beings of the same age try to draw that
wonderful shape towards themselves, progressing in turns towards a
common aim. Then he is to be proclaimed by us like a winner in a
contest. The charioteer governs all things as if pulling in the reins of
a draught-horse. He whom two beings of the same age serve, two twins
dwelling together in one common abode, the gray one has been born as a
youth by night as by day, the ageless one who wanders through many
generations of men. The prayers, the ten fingers stir him up. We, the
mortals, call him, the god, for his protection. From the dry land he
hastens to the declivities. With those who approached him he has
established new rules. Thou indeed, O Agni, reignest by thy own nature
over the heavenly and over the terrestrial world as a shepherd takes
care of his cattle. These two variegated, great goddesses striving for
gloriousness, the golden ones who move crookedly, have approached thy
sacrificial grass. Agni! Be gratified and accept graciously this prayer,
O joy-giver, independent one, who art born in the Rita, good-willed one,
whose face is turned towards us from all sides, conspicuous one, gay in
thy aspect, like a dwelling-place rich in food.

[Footnote 8: The sun.]


Translation by James Darmestetter


The study of religion, like the study of poetry, brings us face to face
with the fundamental principles of human nature. Religion, whether it be
natural religion or that which is formulated in a book, is as universal
as poetry, and like poetry, existed before letters and writing. It is
only in a serious and sympathetic frame of mind that we should approach
the rudest forms of these two departments of human activity. A general
analysis of the "Zend-Avesta" suggests to us the mind of the Persian
sage Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, fixed upon the phenomena of nature and
life, and trying to give a systematized account of them. He sees good
and evil, life and death, sickness and health, right and wrong, engaged
in almost equal conflict. He sees in the sun the origin of light and
heat, the source of comfort and life to man. Thus he institutes the
doctrine of Dualism and the worship of Fire. The evil things that come
unexpectedly and irresistibly, he attributes to the Devas: the help and
comfort that man needs and often obtains by means which are beyond his
control, he attributes to the "Holy Immortal Ones," who stand around the
Presence of Ormuzd. As he watches the purity of the flame, of the limpid
stream, and of the sweet smelling ground, he connects it with the moral
purity which springs from innocence and rectitude, and in his code it is
as reprehensible to pollute the fire by burning the dead, or the stream
by committing the corpse to its waves, or the earth by making it a
burial-place, as it is to cheat or lie or commit an act of violence. The
wonders of Nature furnish abundant imagery for his hymns or his
litanies, and he relies for his cosmogony on the faint traditions of the
past gathered from whatever nation, and reduced into conformity with his
Dualistic creed.

"Zend-Avesta" is the religious book of the Persians who professed the
creed of Zarathustra, known in classic and modern times as Zoroaster.
Zoroaster is to be classed with such great religious leaders as Buddha
and Mohammed. He was the predecessor of Mohammed and the worship and
belief which he instituted were trampled out in Persia by the forces of
Islam in the seventh century of our era. The Persian Zoroastrians fled
to India, where they are still found as Parsis on the west coast of
Hindostan. The religion of Zoroaster was a Dualism. Two powerful and
creative beings, the one good the one evil, have control of the
universe. Thus, in the account of the creation, the two deities are said
to have equal though opposite share in the work. This is indicated by
the following passage--

The third of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda
(Ormuzd) created, was the strong, holy Mouru (Merv).

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), who is all death, and he
counter-created plunder and sin.

This constant struggle of the two divinities with their armies of good
and bad spirits formed the background of Zoroastrian supernaturalism.
The worship of the Persians was the worship of the powers of Nature, and
especially of fire, although water, earth, and air, are also addressed
in the litanies of the "Zend-Avesta." The down-falling water and the
uprising mist are thus spoken of in one passage:--

As the sea (Vouru-kasha) is the gathering place of the waters,
rising up and going down, up the aerial way and down the earth,
down the earth and up the aerial way: thus rise up and roll
along! thou in whose rising and growing Ahura Mazda made the
aerial way.

The sun is also invoked:--

Up! rise up and roll along! thou swift-horsed Sun, above Hara
Berezaiti, and produce light for the world.

The earth was considered to be polluted by the burial of the dead, who
are to be exposed in high places to be devoured by the birds of the air
and swept away by the streams into which the rain should wash their
remains. But the principal subjects of Zoroaster's teaching was the
struggle between Ormuzd and Ahriman and their hosts "The Holy Immortal
Ones" and the Devas, or evil spirits. This is the basis of all the
activities of the world and, according to Zoroaster, is to result in a
triumph of the good.

Zoroaster taught that the life of man has two parts, that on earth and
that beyond the grave. After his earthly life each one should be
punished or rewarded according to his deeds.

The "Zend-Avesta" cannot be dated earlier than the first century before
our era. It consists of four books, of which the chief one is the
Vendidad; the other three are the liturgical and devotional works,
consisting of hymns, litanies, and songs of praise, addressed to the
Deities and angels of Goodness.

The Vendidad contains an account of the creation and counter-creation of
Ormuzd and Ahriman, the author of the good things and of the evil things
in the world. After this follows what we may call a history of the
beginnings of civilization under Yima, the Persian Noah. The revelation
is described as being made directly to Zoroaster, who, like Moses,
talked with God. Thus, in the second fargard, or chapter, we read:--

Zarathustra (Zoroaster) asked Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd):--

"O Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd), most beneficent Spirit, Maker of the
material world, thou Holy One! Who was the first mortal, before
myself, Zarathustra, with whom thou, Ahura Mazda, didst
converse, whom thou didst teach the religion of Ahura, the
Religion of Zarathustra?"

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"The fair Yima, the good shepherd, O holy Zarathustra! he was
the first mortal before thee, Zarathustra, with whom I, Ahura
Mazda, did converse, whom I taught the Religion of Ahura, the
Religion of Zarathustra. Unto him, O Zarathustra, I, Ahura
Mazda, spake, saying: 'Well, fair Yima, son of Vivanghat, be
thou the Preacher and the bearer of my Religion!' And the fair
Yima, O Zarathustra, replied unto me, saying: 'I was not born, I
was not taught to be the preacher and the bearer of thy

The rest of the Vendidad is taken up with the praises of agriculture,
injunctions as to the care and pity due to the dog, the guardian of the
home and flock, the hunter and the scavenger. It includes an elaborate
code of ceremonial purification, resembling on this point the Leviticus
of the Bible, and it prescribes also the gradations of penance for sins
of various degrees of heinousness.



The "Zend-Avesta" is the sacred book of the Parsis; that is to say, of
the few remaining followers of that religion which reigned over Persia
at the time when the second successor of Mohammed overthrew the
Sassanian dynasty (A.D. 642), and which has been called Dualism, or
Mazdeism, or Magism, or Zoroastrianism, or Fire-worship, according as
its main tenet, or its supreme God, or its priests, or its supposed
founder, or its apparent object of worship has been most kept in view.
In less than a century after their defeat, most of the conquered people
were brought over to the faith of their new rulers, either by force, or
policy, or the attractive power of a simpler form of creed. But many of
those who clung to the faith of their fathers, went and sought abroad
for a new home, where they might freely worship their old gods, say
their old prayers, and perform their old rites. That home they found at
last among the tolerant Hindoos, on the western coast of India and in
the peninsula of Guzerat. There they throve and there they live still,
while the ranks of their co-religionists in Persia are daily thinning
and dwindling away.[9]

As the Parsis are the ruins of a people, so are their sacred books the
ruins of a religion. There has been no other great belief in the world
that ever left such poor and meagre monuments of its past splendor. Yet
great is the value which that small book, the "Avesta," and the belief
of that scanty people, the Parsis, have in the eyes of the historian and
theologian, as they present to us the last reflex of the ideas which
prevailed in Iran during the five centuries which preceded and the seven
which followed the birth of Christ, a period which gave to the world the
Gospels, the Talmud, and the Qur'an. Persia, it is known, had much
influence on each of the movements which produced, or proceeded from,
those three books; she lent much to the first heresiarchs, much to the
Rabbis, much to Mohammed. By help of the Parsi religion and the
"Avesta," we are enabled to go back to the very heart of that most
momentous period in the history of religious thought, which saw the
blending of the Aryan mind with the Semitic, and thus opened the second
stage of Aryan thought.

Inquiries into the religion of ancient Persia began long ago, and it was
the old enemy of Persia, the Greek, who first studied it. Aristotle,
Hermippus, and many others wrote of it in books of which, unfortunately,
nothing more than a few fragments or merely the titles have come down to
us. We find much valuable information about it, scattered in the
accounts of historians and travellers, extending over ten centuries,
from Herodotos down to Agathias and Procopius (from B.C. 450 to A.D.
550). The clearest and most faithful account of the Dualist doctrine is
found in the treatise _De Iside et Osiride_, ascribed to Plutarch. But
Zoroastrianism was never more eagerly studied than in the first
centuries of the Christian era, though without anything of the
disinterested and almost scientific curiosity of the earlier times.
Religious and philosophic sects, in search of new dogmas, eagerly
received whatever came to them bearing the name of Zoroaster. As Xanthos
the Lydian, who is said to have lived before Herodotos, had mentioned
Zoroastrianism, there came to light, in those later times, scores of
oracles, styled "Oracula Chaldaica sive Magica," the work of
Neo-Platonists who were but very remote disciples of the Median sage. As
his name had become the very emblem of wisdom, they would cover with it
the latest inventions of their ever-deepening theosophy. Zoroaster and
Plato were treated as if they had been philosophers of the same school,
and Hierocles expounded their doctrines in the same book. Proclus
collected seventy Tetrads of Zoroaster and wrote commentaries on them;
but we need hardly say that Zoroaster commented on by Proclus was
nothing more or less than Proclus commented on by himself. Prodicus, the

Book of the day: