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Harmony – The Last Hymn of Rigveda

The last hymn of Rigveda (X.191) is dedicated to the god producing harmony: संज्ञान देवता. It has four verses.

सं used as prefix means together, completeness, or beauty according to Apte. Together, these three ideas mean Harmony. संज्ञान, the devata to whom three of the four verses are dedicated, also means, producing harmony AitBr. Hence, these three verses have to be interpreted as relating to harmony.

Even the first verse which is dedicated to Agni, uses the imagery of fire to deliver the message of harmony.

Verse 1

The first verse reads:

संसमिद्युवसे वृषन्नग्ने विश्वान्यर्य आ | इळस्पदे समिध्यसे स नो वसून्या भर || (X.191.1)[1]

Free Translation:

Together wood combines to make residence (संसमिद्युवसे), mighty fire (वृषन्नग्ने) (similarly let) everyone (effort, interests) be united in the master/lord somewhat (विश्वान्यर्य आ). Just as Agni’s characteristic (इळस्पदे) is flame to heat (समिध्यसे), knowledge, prosperity, and radiance should deliver (स नो वसून्या) and support (भर).

Comment:

The first line emphasizes the idea of combination of social units. It begins by pointing out that together sticks of wood make a residence or a mighty fire. Likewise, everyone should be “in” the master/lord, somewhat. Presumably, the sage means that the interests and efforts of everyone should be somewhat reflected in the master or lord. This engenders harmony in society or in a household.

The second line says: Just as Agni’s marks are flame and heat, knowledge’s marks are prosperity and radiance, which it should deliver and support. Thus, the sage likens knowledge to Agni, and likens prosperity and radiance produced by knowledge to the heat and flame characteristic of Agni. Harmonious Knowledge which combines insights into the external and internal worlds, creates harmony between prosperity and radiance.

Verse 2

The second verse reads:

सं गच्छध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनासि जानताम् | देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संजानाना उपासते || (X.191.2)[2]

Free translation:

NOTE : सं means knowledge or meditation when used separately. When used as a prefix, it means together, completeness, etc.

Meditation is a resort to a path (सं गच्छध्वं); Meditation is for evaluating the means (सं वदध्वं), meditation binds auspiciousness and devotion in the wise, verily (सं वो मनासि जानताम्).

Give to the gods their portion as it was in olden times (देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे) and attach oneself to the universal God, or even to breath indeed (संजानाना उपासते).

Comment:

Meditation generates inner harmony in life and intellect.

The first line deals with it. It says: meditation is the way, meditation helps find the means. In order to meditate, man has to follow some rules of behaviour and travel along a certain path. Hence, it is the way. Meditation also develops the ability to find the spiritual resources that one needs. Hence, it evaluates the means.

Moreover meditation binds three aspects of the personality, namely: auspiciousness, devotion and wisdom.

Thereby it produces spiritual harmony in man.

When the hymn was composed, there seems to have been the possibility of disharmony in religious quests, due to a possible neglect of traditional gods, in the search of a Universal God, or attachment to yogic practices like breath control or pranayama. The second line of verse addresses this and says:  give to the gods their due as it was in the olden times, and then attach oneself to the Universal God or even to yogic exercises like breath control.

This helps to produce harmony in spiritual – religious matters.

Verse 3

Verse 3 of the sookta reads:

समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम् |   समानं मन्त्रमभि मन्त्रये वः समानेन वो हविषा जुहोमि || (X.191.3)[3]

Free translation:

Just like (समानं) an assembly is united by a advice of friends (समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी), so is a mind in which intellect and desire act in concert (मनः सह चित्तमेषाम्).

Similarly (समानं), for the sake of consecrating with sacred texts or to connect oneself (with divinity)(मन्त्रमभि), we have to reflect on the three fold knowledge (मन्त्रये), and addressing honoured gods, make an oblation of reverence and offer it to fire (वः समानेन वो हविषा जुहोमि), i.e., knowledge and worship must go hand in hand.

Comment:

This verse addresses harmony in personality and spiritual matters.

The mind is likened to an assembly, and the mind is unified by intellect and desire acting in concert, advising each other as friends. In other words, in a personality in which intellect and desire are friends, advising each other, acting in concert, the mind is unified.

A harmonious personality in which intellect and desire act in tandem has an integral mind.

Similarly, Knowledge and bhakti (or worship) must go hand in hand. Thus, the second line says, if we want to consecrate with sacred texts, or if we want to connect ourselves with the divine, we must reflect on the threefold knowledge on the one hand, and on the other hand, address the numerous gods, and offer oblations of reverence to them in fire.

This too creates harmony between jnana and bhakti.

Verse 4

समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः | समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति || (X.191.4)[4]

Free Translation

To assemble power (समानी व), intentions should be constant indeed (आकूतिः समाना), while the heart should be steeped in auspiciousness (हृदयानि वः).

Let it be virtuous (समानमस्तु). Reverence and thought suitably reconciled (वो मनो यथा वः), help the unreality of existence to be easily borne (सुसहासति).

Comments:

This verse talks of the effect of harmony in personality – of harmony between resolve and spirituality;  and harmony between bhakti and jnana.

It is well known that a firm mind and strong heart make for effective action. The first line of the verse says that if intentions are unchanging while the heart is filled with auspiciousness, action becomes powerful. Thus powerful action is born of firm resolve and a spiritual heart. This line links spirituality to social practice.

The second line says that if reverence and thought, i.e., bhakti and jnana are suitably reconciled, it helps to bear easily the unreality of existence. It adds that let the combination be in service of virtue. This will be so, if the thought (manas) is virtuous. This line also binds spirituality and social practice.


[1] सं – समिद् – यु – वसे वृषन् – अग्ने विश्वा – नि – अर्य आ | इळस् – पदे समिध् – यसे स नो वसू – न्या भर || 

Together (सं) wood (समिद् = समिध्) combine (यु) residence (वस = वसे) mighty (वृषन्) fire (अग्नि = अग्ने) everyone (विश्वः = विश्वा) in (नि) lord (अर्य) somewhat (आ) |  Agni (इळस्) characteristic (पद = पदे) flame (समिध्) to heat (यस् = यसे) knowledge (स) prosperity (नः) radiance (वसु = वसू) deliver (न्य = न्या) supporting (भर)

[2] सं गच्छ् – अध्वं सं वद् – अध्वं सं वो मना – सि जानत् – आम् | देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संज – अनः – अना उपासते ||   Meditation (सं) resort to (गच्छ्) way (अध्वं) Meditation (सं) to adjudge (वद्) means (अध्वं) meditation (सं) auspiciousness (वः = वो) devotion (मना) bind (सि) wise (जानत् = ज्ना) verily (आम्) | Gods (देव = देवा) portion (भागं) as it was (यथा) olden times (पूर्व = पूर्वे) universal creator (संज) breath (अनः) indeed (अना) attach oneself to (उपास् = उपासते)

[3] समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तम् – एषाम् | समानं मन्त्र् – अम् – अभि मन् – त्रये वः समान – इन वो हविषा जु – होमि || 

Friend (समानः = समानो) advice (मन्त्रः) assembly (समिति) unite (समानी) like (समानं) mind (मनस् = मनः) in concert (सह) intellect (चित्तं) desire (एषां) |

Like (समानं) to consecrate with sacred texts (मन्त्र्) to connect oneself (अम्) for the sake of (अभि) reflect upon (मन्) threefold knowledge or knowledge of three Vedas (त्रय) addressing (वः) honoured (समान)  lords (इन) reverence (वः = वो) make an oblation of (हविष् = हविषा) to go (जु) fire (होमि)

[4] समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः | समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ||

To assemble (समानी) powerful (व) intention (आकूतिः) constant (सम) indeed (अना) heart (हृदयः) in (नि) auspiciousness (वः) | Virtuous (समानं) let it be (अस्तु) reverence (वः = वो) thought (मनस् = मनो) suitably (यथा) reconciliation (वः) easy to be suffered (सुसह) unreal (असत् = असति)

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