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God as Director in Rigveda

There are several verses in Rigveda that refer to the Director or (यन्ति, यन्तृ, यन्त).

Sage Vaisvamitra begins the tenth hymn with an exhilarating appeal to himself, in which he links up the threefold knowledge, Realisation, knowledge of Brahman and Union in a stirring verse.

He calls upon himself to sing of the Director (गायन्ति[1] त्वा) implying that the world is a play director by the One. Then he continues: (sing) the song of the threefold knowledge (गायत्रिणो).[2] This song of threefold knowledge, he says shines ‘before the flash of lightning bright’(अर्चन्त्यर्कमर्किणः).[3].

Sage Medatithi Kaanva, in another verse also refers to a Director who plays behind the scene. The attitude one must have toward him should be one of reverence and fear. This invigorates and produces auspiciousness. This is stated in the following:

प्र वो भ्रियन्त इन्दवो मत्सरा मादयिष्णवः | द्रप्सा मध्वश्चमूषदः  || (1.014.4)[4]

Before the Director, (I have) reverence and fear (प्र वो भ्रियन्त); invigorating, causing auspiciousness (इन्दवो); from me cascades delight (मत्सरा) wishing knowledge and auspiciousness (मादयिष्णवः); (Pray) gift a drop of nectar for the mouse also, to experience (द्रप्सा मध्वश्चमूषदः).

Sensing the blessings of the Director, the sage says that delight cascades through him, and he is induced to desire knowledge and auspiciousness. Touchingly he asks for a drop of this nectar for the mouse (himself) to experience.

Devi is to be approached for Union with the One or ‘Director’, as he is called frequently. Thus:

विश्रयन्तामृतावृधो द्वारो देवीरसश्चितः |  अद्या नूनं च यष्टवे || (1.013.6)[5]

To find repose in the Director, Eternal, Friend (विश्रयन्तामृतावृधो), Devi is the medium inexhaustible (द्वारो देवीरसश्चितः); To this day, therefore, she is also to be worshipped (यष्टवे).

One verse says that yoga has its swings determined by the Director, and therefore one should practice secrecy.

य इङ्ख्यन्ति पर्वतान्तिरः समुद्रमर्णवम् |(1.019.7.1)[6]

The ups and downs of Yoga are in the hands of the Director (य इङ्ख्यन्ति); therefore worship secretly (पर्वतान्तिरः) like a sea full of water (समुद्रमर्णवम्).


[1] Sing (गा) Director (यन्तृ = यन्ति)(गा-यन्तृ = गायन्ति)

[2] song  (गायः) three (त्रि) knowledge (णः = णो)

[3] shine (अर्च्) before (अन्ति) flash of lighting (अर्क = अर्कं) bright (अर्किन् = अर्किणः)(अर्च्-अन्ति-अर्कम्-अर्किन् = अर्चन्त्यर्कमर्किणः)

[4] प्र वो भ्रि – यन्त इन् – द् – वो मत् – सरा माद – इष् – ण – वः | द्रप्सा मधु – अश् – च – मूष – दः  ||

Before (प्र) reverence (वः = वो) fear (भ्र = भ्रि) Director (यन्त) to invigorate (इन्) causing (द) auspiciousness (वः) from me (मत्) cascade (सर) delight (माद) wishing (इष्) knowledge (ण) auspiciousness (वः) | A drop (द्रप्सा) nectar (मधु) experience (अश्) also (च) mouse (मूष) gift (दः)

[5] विश्र – यन्त – अमृता – वृधो द्वारो देवीर् – असश्चितः |  अद्या नूनं च यष्टवे ||

To repose (विश्रम् = विश्र) Director (यन्त = यन्तृ) eternal (अमृत) friend (वृधो) medium (द्वारो) Devi (देवीर्) inexhaustible (असश्चत् = असश्चतः) | To this day (अद्य = अद्या) therefore (नूनं) also (च) to be worshipped (यष्टव्य = यष्टवे)

[6] इङ्ख्यन्ति पर्व – अत – अन् – तिरः समुद्रम् – अर्णवम् |

Yoga (यः) ups and downs (इङ्ख्) Director (यन्तृ = यन्ति) to fill (पर्व्) therefore (अतस् = अत) worship (अन्) secretly (तिरस् = तिरः) sea (समुद्रम्) full of water (अर्णवम्) |

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