A hymn to all the gods

What follows is my own translation of Rig Veda Mandala 1 Sūkta 89 (आ नो᳚ भ॒द्राः). The opening line of this verse is a well-known and well-loved one, quoted in the Baudhāyana Gṛhya Sūtra and many other later texts. The later verses include the famous lines भ॒द्रं कर्णे᳚भिः श‍ृणुयाम देवा etc. which appear in rearranged form in one of the Śānti Mantras that are recited daily.

The hymn is in praise of all the gods (viśvadevāḥ) and the ṛṣi responsible for this verse is Ṛṣi Gotama Rāhūguṇa, one of the descendants of Ṛṣi Aṇgiras, whose family contributed many verses to the Rig Veda, and especially to Mandala 6.

In making this translation, I consulted the excellent translation and notes by Professors Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton. I translated the words ‘ṛjū’, ‘śubhaṃ’ and ‘bhadram’ all as ‘good’, which like the Sanskrit terms has a very capacious range of meanings, including a moral dimension which is certainly present in these Sanskrit terms.

The accented Sanskrit text can be found here.

Let us get good ideas from across the world,
Unimpaired, unobstructed, bursting through.
Let the gods always be for our growth,
Our unceasing protectors day after day.

Let the gods be favourable towards the good
Let the gods reciprocate [in giving] gifts to us
We crave the fellowship of the gods
Let the gods carry us through life so that we remain alive

With the ancient prayer we call them,
Bhaga, Mitra, Aditi, unfailing Dakṣa
Aryaman, Varuṇa, Soma, the two Aśvins.
Let Sarasvatī delight us.

Let the wind blow to us a delighting remedy
[Let] Mother Earth [do] this; [Let] Father Heaven [do] this
[Let] the delighting soma-pressing stones [do] this;
Benevolent Aśvins, hear this!

We call upon that power who is the master of the moving and the still,
Who impels the mind, to favour [us].
Let Pūṣan increase our wealth,
The unimpaired guard [and] protector of our well-being.

[Let] Indra [grant] our well-being!
[Let] wealth-giving Pūṣan [grant] our well-being!
[Let] secure-wheeled Tārkṣya [grant] our well-being!
[Let] Bṛhaspati grant our well-being

The dappled-horsed Maruts whose mother is Pṛśni,
The good riders who always come to the vidatha [events]
Fire-tongued sun-eyed men;
May all the gods come here according to our wish

O gods, may we hear with our ears what is good!
O you to whom we sacrifice, may we see with our eyes what is good!
Praising with firm limbs and bodies,
May we attain the lifespan fixed by the gods

So surely one hundred autumns are before [us], O gods,
Until you cause the decay of our bodies
[And] when sons will become fathers.
Let our life not be harmed mid-way.

Aditi is Heaven; Aditi is the sky;
Aditi is the mother, the father [and] the son
Aditi is all the gods [and] the five tribes;
Aditi is what has been; Aditi is what will be

Iyengar Vedic students 1909 — Wikimedia Commons (W. M. Zumbro)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s