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Ancient Sanskrit Online

Lesson 5

Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum

The fears of the poets of the Rigveda revolve around darkness, confinement (for which see the second verse of this lesson text) and human ills, all of which they strive to overcome by means of their holy songs. The lesson 4 text concluded with the wish that dawn's light may "shine misfortunes away", and this lesson text is addressed to another goddess of light, jyótiṣmatīm áditim (I, 136, 3). The meaning of Aditi's name, á-diti, is debated. Elsewhere in the text it appears together with its opposite: cakṣāthe áditiṃ dítiṃ ca (V, 62, 8), perhaps 'you two see both freedom and limit', and at VII, 52, 1 as a plural adjective, áditayaḥ syāma. Aditi, or the abstraction that she regularly personifies, can also represent everything that is good, even all existence: áditir dyaúr áditir antárikṣam, áditir mātā́ sá pitā́ sá putráḥ, víśve devā́ áditiḥ páñca jánā, áditir jātám áditir jánitvam 'Aditi is the heaven, Aditi is the atmosphere, Aditi is mother, father, son; Aditi is all the gods, the five peoples, the born and the yet to be born' (I, 89, 10).

Reading and Textual Analysis

The lesson text is from VIII, 18 (638), a poem of 22 verses addressed to Aditi and her sons, the divine Adityas. The text is verses 4-12, and the metre is uṣṇih, three-line verses of 8, 8, and 12 syllables. The name Aditya is a derivative of Aditi, a patronymic formed according to the pattern described in the last lesson (17.1; the initial A is long). These heavenly princes are ásvapnajo animiṣā́ ádabdhāḥ (II, 27, 9) 'unsleeping, unblinking, undeceived', qualities that well equip them to watch over and protect mortals: pakṣā́ váyo yáthopári, ví asmé śárma yachata (VIII, 47, 2) 'as birds their wings overhead, stretch out shelter for us'.

devébhir devi adite
áriṣṭabharman ā́ gahi
smát sūríbhiḥ purupriye suśármabhiḥ

  • devébhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <devá> divine, god -- with gods
  • devi -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <devī́> divine, goddess -- O divine
  • adite -- noun; vocative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • áriṣṭabharman -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <áriṣṭabharman> (lit.) of unbroken-support -- unfailing in support
  • ā́ gahi -- verb; 2nd person singular active aorist imperative of <√gam, gáchati> go +preverb <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- come hither
  • smát -- preposition; <smát> together with -- together with
  • sūríbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <sūrí> prince -- with the princes
  • purupriye -- adjective; vocative singular feminine of <purupriyá> much loved -- O beloved
  • suśármabhis -- adjective; instrumental plural masculine of <suśárman> of good shelter, tutelary -- tutelary

té hí putrā́so áditer
vidúr dvéṣāṃsi yótave
aṃhóś cid urucákrayo anehásaḥ

  • -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative plural masculine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- they
  • -- particle; <> for, because -- for
  • putrā́sas -- noun; nominative plural masculine of <putrá> son -- the sons
  • ádites -- noun; genitive singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- of Aditi
  • vidúr -- verb; 3rd person plural active perfect of <√vid, véda> know -- know
  • dvéṣāṃsi -- noun; accusative plural neuter of <dvéṣas> hatred -- enmities
  • yótave -- infinitive; dative infinitive from <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- to keep away
  • aṃhós -- noun; ablative singular of <aṃhú> narrowness, anxiety -- from anxiety # Related to áṃhas 'trouble', this word only occurs in the ablative, and always in opposition to urú 'spacious(ness)' (here, uru-cákri) or its derivative várivas 'space, freedom'. Latin angustus 'narrow' and angustiae 'anguish' and German eng 'narrow' and Angst show the same parallel of literal and figurative meaning, which also lies behind the English idioms to be in a tight spot or in dire straits.
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- all
  • urucákrayas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <urucákri> (lit.) space-making -- freeing
  • anehásas -- adjective; nominative plural masculine of <anehás> incomparable, peerless -- the peerless ones

áditir no dívā paśúm
áditir náktam ádvayāḥ
áditiḥ pātu áṃhasaḥ sadā́vr̥dhā

  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • dívā -- adverb; <dívā> by day -- by day
  • paśúm -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <paśú> cattle -- cattle # Cognate with Latin pecus.
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • náktam -- adverb; <náktam> by night -- by night
  • ádvayās -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <ádvayas> not duplicitous, trustworthy -- trustworthy
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • pātu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√pā, pā́ti> protect -- may she protect
  • áṃhasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <áṃhas> trouble -- from trouble
  • sadā́vr̥dhā -- adjective; nominative singular feminine of <sadā́vr̥dha> ever-beneficent -- ever beneficent

utá syā́ no dívā matír
áditir ūtiyā́ gamat
́ śáṃtāti máyas karad ápa srídhaḥ

  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • syā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <syás, syā́, tyát> that -- that # Another demonstrative pronoun derived from sás, sā́, tát, often used adjectivally with its subject.
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- our
  • dívā -- adverb; <dívā> by day -- by day
  • matís -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <matí> thought -- thought
  • áditis -- noun; nominative singular feminine of <áditi> freedom, Aditi -- Aditi
  • ūtyā́ -- noun; instrumental singular feminine of <ūtí> help -- with help
  • ā́ gamat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√gam, gáchati> go + preverb <ā́> (intensifies or reverses meaning) -- she will come
  • ́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular feminine of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- she
  • śáṃtāti -- adjective; accusative singular neuter of <śáṃtāti> blessed -- blessed
  • máyas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <máyas> happiness -- happiness
  • karat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- she will make
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away # The use of the preverb in the third line here, and in the last lines of the next three verses, is sophisticated. As in the second verse of the third lesson text a verb is understood with the preverb, which is here supplied by the immediately preceding karat. It gives the sense of a repeated verb with contrary sense: Aditi will both 'make happiness', máyas karat, and will 'make away with misfortunes', [karat] ápa srídhaḥ.
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

utá tyā́ daívyā bhiṣájā
śáṃ naḥ karato aśvínā
yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ

  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and # Together with the following pronoun makes a parallel between this and the preceding verse.
  • tyā́ -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative dual masculine of <syás, syā́, tyát> that -- those
  • daívyā -- adjective; nominative dual masculine of <daívya> divine -- divine
  • bhiṣájā -- noun; nominative dual masculine of <bhiṣáj> healer -- healers
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- for us
  • karatas -- verb; 3rd person dual active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- will make
  • aśvínā -- noun; nominative dual masculine of <aśvín> horseman, Ashvin -- the two horsemen
  • yuyuyā́tām -- verb; 3rd person dual active optative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- let them keep away
  • itás -- adverb; <itás> from here -- from here
  • rápas -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <rápas> sickness -- sickness
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

śám agnír agníbhiḥ karac
cháṃ nas tapatu sū́riyaḥ
śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ

  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • agnís -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- Agni
  • agníbhis -- noun; instrumental plural masculine of <agní> fire, Agni -- with fires
  • karat -- verb; 3rd person singular active aorist subjunctive of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- will make
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us
  • tapatu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√tap, tápati> heat, warm -- let it warm
  • ́ryas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <́rya> sun -- the sun
  • śám -- indeclinable; <śám> blessing, blessed -- blessing
  • ́tas -- noun; nominative singular masculine of <́ta> wind -- the wind
  • vātu -- verb; 3rd person singular active imperative of <√vā, vā́ti> blow -- let it blow
  • arapā́s -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <arapás> without sickness, wholesome -- wholesome
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away
  • srídhas -- noun; accusative plural feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortunes

ápā́mīvām ápa srídham
ápa sedhata durmatím
ā́dityāso yuyótanā no áṃhasaḥ

  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away
  • ámīvām -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <ámīvā> affliction -- affliction
  • ápa -- preverb; <ápa> away -- away
  • srídham -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <srídh> failure, misfortune -- misfortune
  • ápa sedhata -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√sidh, sédhati> drive away + preverb <ápa> away -- drive far away
  • durmatím -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <durmatí> bad thought, envy -- envy
  • ā́dityāsas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- O sons of Aditi
  • yuyótana -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- keep away # The long final vowel is not uncommon in the Rigveda (see also yuyotā in the next verse).
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- us
  • áṃhasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <áṃhas> trouble -- from trouble

yuyótā śárum asmád ā́
ā́dityāsa utā́matim
ŕ̥dhag dvéṣaḥ kr̥ṇuta viśvavedasaḥ

  • yuyóta -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yu, yuyóti> keep away -- keep away # Note that the poet varies the form of the imperative here, and of the vocative plural in the next verse.
  • śárum -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <śáru> arrow -- the arrow
  • asmát -- personal pronoun; ablative of <vayám> we -- from us
  • ā́ -- preposition; <ā́> from, in -- far # Used following an ablative or locative to intensify the sense.
  • ā́dityāsas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- Adityas
  • utá -- conjunction; <utá> and -- and
  • ámatim -- noun; accusative singular feminine of <ámati> lack of thought -- lack of thought
  • ŕ̥dhak -- adverb; <ŕ̥dhak> separately, on one side -- on one side
  • dvéṣas -- noun; accusative neuter singular of <dvéṣas> hatred -- hatred
  • kr̥ṇuta -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√kr̥, kr̥ṇóti> do, make -- set
  • viśvavedasas -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <viśvávedas> all-knowing one -- all-knowing ones

tát sú naḥ śárma yachata
ā́dityā yán múmocati
énasvantaṃ cid énasaḥ sudānavaḥ

  • tát -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <sás, sā́, tát> that; he, she, it -- it
  • -- particle; <> well, surely -- surely
  • nas -- personal pronoun; accusative/dative/genitive enclitic form of <vayám> we -- to us
  • śárma -- noun; accusative singular neuter of <śárman> refuge, shelter -- the refuge
  • yachata -- verb; 2nd person plural active imperative of <√yam, yáchati> extend, stretch out -- extend
  • ā́dityās -- noun; vocative plural masculine of <ādityá> of Aditi, son of Aditi -- O sons of Aditi
  • yát -- relative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <yás, yā́, yát> who, which -- which
  • múmocati -- verb; 3rd person singular active perfect subjunctive of <√muc, muñcáte> make free -- will free, freeing
  • énasvantam -- noun; accusative singular masculine of <énasvant> possessing sin -- the sinful man
  • cit -- particle; <cit> even, all -- even
  • énasas -- noun; ablative singular neuter of <énas> sin -- from sin
  • sudānavas -- adjective; vocative plural masculine of <sudā́nu> generous, liberal -- O liberal

Lesson Text

devébhir devi adite
áriṣṭabharman ā́ gahi
smát sūríbhiḥ purupriye suśármabhiḥ

té hí putrā́so áditer
vidúr dvéṣāṃsi yótave
aṃhóś cid urucákrayo anehásaḥ

áditir no dívā paśúm
áditir náktam ádvayāḥ
áditiḥ pātu áṃhasaḥ sadā́vr̥dhā

utá syā́ no dívā matír
áditir ūtiyā́ gamat
́ śáṃtāti máyas karad ápa srídhaḥ

utá tyā́ daívyā bhiṣájā
śáṃ naḥ karato aśvínā
yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ

śám agnír agníbhiḥ karac
cháṃ nas tapatu sū́riyaḥ
śáṃ vā́to vātu arapā́ ápa srídhaḥ

ápā́mīvām ápa srídham
ápa sedhata durmatím
ā́dityāso yuyótanā no áṃhasaḥ

yuyótā śárum asmád ā́
ā́dityāsa utā́matim
ŕ̥dhag dvéṣaḥ kr̥ṇuta viśvavedasaḥ

tát sú naḥ śárma yachata
ā́dityā yán múmocati
énasvantaṃ cid énasaḥ sudānavaḥ

Translation

With gods, O divine Aditi,
Unfailing in support, come hither;
Together with the tutelary princes, O beloved.
For they, the sons of Aditi,
Know to keep enmities away;
Freeing from all anxiety, the peerless ones.
Let Aditi by day, Aditi by night
Trustworthy, guard our cattle --
Aditi, ever beneficent, protect from trouble.
And that our thought by day:
Aditi will come with help.
She will make blessed happiness, banish misfortunes.
And those divine healers,
The two horsemen, will bless us,
Let them keep sickness from here, keep away misfortunes.
Agni will bless with fires,
Let the sun warm a blessing for us;
Let the wholesome wind blow a blessing, blow away misfortunes.
Away affliction, away misfortune,
Drive envy far away.
O sons of Aditi, keep us from trouble.
Keep the arrow far from us,
Adityas, and lack of thought.
Set hatred on one side, all-knowing ones.
Extend it surely to us,
O liberal sons of Aditi,
The refuge freeing even the sinful man from sin.

Grammar

21. Prefixes a-, su- and dus-.

The name Aditi is characterised by the privative prefix a-, Greek α-, which, like English un- or in-, reverses the meaning of the noun or adjective, often a participle, that follows it: in-equality, un-forgiving. It can also be used to turn a noun into an adjective, like English -less: harm-less. Before vowels a- becomes an-. This lesson text contains a number of examples of this formation: an-ehás 'incomparable', á-dvayas 'unduplicitous', a-rapás 'without sickness, wholesome', á-mati 'lack of thought'.

Similar simple nominal compounds are formed with the prefixes su- 'good, well-' and dus- 'bad, ill-', which becomes dur- or duṣ- according to phonetic rules described in the Series Introduction. Compare Greek εὐ- in εʼύ-φημος, English euphemism, δυς- in δυσ-μενής 'ill-disposed', and Latin dif- in dif-ficilis, English difficult. The prefix su- has appeared a number of times in the lessons: su-mánas 'well-disposed' (the opposite of Greek δυσ-μενής), su-pāṇí 'lovely-handed', and su-matí 'good thought, favour', and is found in this lesson text in su-śárman 'of good shelter, tutelary', and su-dā́nu 'generous'. Occasionally the u is lengthened, as in sū-nárī, an epithet of dawn in the Lesson 4 text, and /́ also occurs as an independent particle, as in the last verse of this lesson. The opposite of sumatí, durmatí 'bad thought, envy' also occurs in this passage: ápa sedhata durmatím 'drive envy far away'. Such oppositions are frequently juxtaposed in the text, as in example 125 below.

  • yátrā suparṇā́ [suparṇā́s] amŕ̥tasya bhāgám, ánimeṣaṃ vidáthābhisváranti [vidáthā abhisváranti] (I, 164, 21) 'where the fine-feathered ones unblinkingly sing out praise of wise judgements as a part of immortality' (parṇá (n) 'feather', and compare the adjective animiṣá 'unblinking' in the introduction to this lesson) [118]
  • ásataḥ sád [ásatas sát] ajāyata (X, 72, 2; X, 72, 3) 'being was born from non-being' (the prefix a- + ablative of the neuter present active participle of √as 'be') [119]
  • ádābhyena śocíṣā (X, 118, 7) '(Agni burns) with flame that is not to be deceived' (the prefix a- + future passive participle, see section 15.3) [120]
  • áriṣṭaṃ duṣṭáraṃ sáhaḥ (II, 34, 7) '(give to the bard) unbroken (the prefix a- + past participle of √riś 'harm, break') might, hard to conquer (from √tr̥̄, tárati 'cross, overcome')' [121]
  • suṣṭutír [...] asmā́bhis túbhyaṃ śasyate (III, 62, 7) 'good praise (stutí feminine) through us is proclaimed to you' [122] (=10)
  • yéna sūrya jyótiṣā bā́dhase támaḥ, [...] ápa duṣvápnyaṃ suva (X, 37, 4) 'with the light with which, O sun, you banish darkness, drive away the bad dream' (from svápna 'sleep, dream', related to Greek ʽύπνος; compare ásvapnaj 'unsleeping' in the introduction to this lesson) [123]
  • sá naḥ parṣad áti durgā́ṇi víśvā, nāvéva [nāvā́ iva] síndhuṃ duritā́ti [duritā́ áti] agníḥ (I, 99, 1) 'so will Agni bear us over all hard ways (dur-gá, literally 'bad-going') and dangers (dur-itá), as with a boat (naú feminine) over a river' [124]
  • durgé cin naḥ sugáṃ kr̥dhi (VIII, 93, 10) 'even in the hard way make a good passage for us' [125]
22. Nouns in -man, -an and -van.

Another important class of abstract nouns, like those in -as discussed in the last lesson, are the neuter nouns in -man, which are similarly accented on the first syllable. A number of these have already been encountered: śárman 'refuge, shelter' in examples 11, 16, and in the last verse of the Lesson 2 text; dhárman 'support', also in the Lesson 2 text; kárman 'act, deed' in Lesson 3; and mánman 'thought' and bráhman 'prayer' in examples 51 and 53. sávīman 'bringing to life', found only in the locative sávīmani, also occurred in the Lesson 2 text. śárman 'refuge, shelter' appears once more, in a now familiar appeal to the gods, in the last verse of this lesson text: tát sú naḥ śárma yachata.

    Singular   Plural
Nom   bráhma   bráhmāṇi, bráhmā, bráhma
Acc   bráhma   bráhmāṇi, bráhmā, bráhma
Ins   bráhmaṇā   bráhmabhis
Dat   bráhmaṇe   bráhmabhyas
Abl   bráhmaṇas   bráhmabhyas
Gen   bráhmaṇas   bráhmaṇām
Loc   bráhmaṇi, bráhman   bráhmasu

The alternative locative singular form without ending, bráhman 'in prayer', is peculiar to this declension. As usual with neuter nouns dual forms are uncommon: the nominative/accusative would be bráhmaṇī.

The majority of masculine and feminine words ending in -man are compound adjectives formed from these abstract neuter nouns, as in the two examples in the first verse of this lesson text, feminine áriṣṭa-bharman 'of unbroken support' (neuter bhárman 'support'), and masculine su-śárman 'of good shelter, tutelary'. Many are formed using the three prefixes discussed in the previous grammar section: su-kárman 'of good action', a-karmán, su-bráhman, á-brahman, su-śárman, su-mánman, dur-mánman. Compare the formation of su-mánas 'well-disposed' from neuter mánas 'understanding', described in the last lesson (16.1). As with sumánas, the declension of the masculine and feminine forms differs from the neuter singular and plural only in the nominative, accusative, and vocative (the vocative neuter does not occur):

Masculine/Feminine   Singular   Dual   Plural
Nom   sukármā   sukármāṇā   sukármāṇas
Acc   sukármāṇam   sukármāṇā   sukármaṇas
Voc   súkarman   súkarmāṇā   súkarmāṇas

There are also a few uncompounded masculine stems in -man, with accent on the suffix: brahmán 'devout man', jarimán 'old age', and the two related nouns ātmán 'breath' and tmán 'nature, self'.

There are many fewer stems in -an, but one important one, ́jan 'king'. The endings are the same as the masculine -man endings, except that there is syncopation of the vowel of the suffix in some cases: the written forms of the instrumental, dative, ablative and genitive singular are ́jñā, rā́jñe, and ́jñas, and the accusative and genitive plural ́jñas and ́jñām. This sycopation is also sometimes found in masculine stems in -man; the dative singular of jarimán for example is jarimné.

The suffix -van is most frequently used to form masculine compound adjectives, like á-rāvan 'not granting', deva-yā́van 'going to the gods', puro-yā́van 'going in front', r̥tā́-van 'holy', maghá-van 'gracious' (the noun maghá 'gift' has a sense of reciprocity, 'gift in return'). There are also a few nominal forms, like ádhvan 'way', átharvan 'priest', sátvan 'warrior' and grā́van 'chief singer, cantor' (see the Series Introduction for the indological translation of this word). When preceded by a vowel, syncopation of the vowel of the suffix may again take place: the accusative plural of ádh-van is ádhvanas, but of grā́-van grā́vṇas. The word maghávan is irregular, contracting -á-van- to -ón-: nominative singular maghávā, genitive maghónas. The feminine ending corresponding to masculine -van is is -varī, as in the vocative plural ŕ̥tāvarīs addressed to the streams in the Lesson 3 text. The feminine of maghávan is maghónī.

  • śárma yachata dvipáde cátuṣpade (X, 37, 11) 'extend protection to the two-footed, to the four-footed' [126]
  • ́rya ātmā́ jágatas tasthúṣaś ca (I, 115, 1) 'the sun, the breath (masculine) of all that moves and stands' [127]
  • aháṃ rā́jā váruṇaḥ (IV, 42, 2) 'I am King Varuna' [128] (=1)
  • yásya bráhmāṇi sukratū ávāthaḥ (VII, 61, 2) 'whose prayers, O very able pair, you may favour' [129] (=53)
  • brahmā́ṇa [brahmā́ṇas] índram maháyanto arkaíḥ (V, 31, 4) 'devout men (note accent and gender) magnifying Indra with eulogies' [130]
  • śúcijanmana [śúcijanmanas] uṣásaś cakāra (VI, 39, 3) '(Indra) makes the dawns of bright birth (accusative feminine plural compound of śúci 'bright' and jánman 'birth')' [131]
  • eṣá grā́veva [grā́vā iva] jaritā́ ta indra, íyarti vā́cam br̥hád āśuṣāṇáḥ (V, 36, 4) 'this singer of yours, Indra, like the cantor, sends his voice forth on high, sparing no effort (lit. 'breathing deeply')' [132]
  • mahó rā́jñaḥ [rā́jñas] suvasanásya dātr̥̄́n (VI, 51, 4) '(I approach the Adityas,) great kings, givers of good lodging (su-vasaná)' [133]
  • yád dha [yát ha] yā́nti marútaḥ, sáṃ ha bruvate ádhvan ā́ (I, 37, 13) 'when indeed (ha) the storm gods travel, indeed they speak among themselves on the way' (locative singular without ending) [134]
23. The verb: primary and secondary endings.

At the end of Lesson 1 a table was given to show the usual personal endings of the present tense. The same set of endings is used elsewhere. They are attached to derivative conjugations, like causatives (see Lesson 7), and are also the personal endings of the future tense, which is of rare occurrence in the Rigveda. These endings are traditionally known as 'primary'.

There is another important set of personal endings, known as the 'secondary' endings. They are in fact older than the so-called primary endings, and occur in many parts of the Rigvedic verb. These endings are given in tabular form below.

        Active           Middle    
    Singular   Dual   Plural   Singular   Dual   Plural
1   -am   -va   -ma   -i (-e)   -vahi   -mahi
2   -s   -tam   -ta, -tana   -thās   -āthām   -dhvam
3   -t   -tām   -an, -ur   -ta   -ātām   -anta, -ata

We have already encountered a tense that uses these endings. Compare the table given for the forms of the imperfect in the last lesson (section 18). The secondary endings are also used by the aorist, the other past tense characterised by the prefixed augment a-. In addition they form the usual personal endings of the injunctive and optative moods.

24. The optative mood.

The optative, the mood of wishing, often appears alongside verbs in the imperative and subjunctive moods, as in this lesson text. It adds ́ or ī to the verbal stem, and then the secondary endings, as given above. In thematic [I] verbs, where the stem already has a connecting -a-, this -a- combines with -ī- to form -e-, as in the 1st person plural páśy-e-ma, from √paś, páśyati 'see', in example 139 below.

The optative occurs less frequently than the imperative and the subjunctive, although forms of the verb 'be' are regularly found, in particular syā́ma 'may we be', as in the first line of the first lesson text. Middle forms, with the exception again of the first person plural, an example of which occurred in the last lesson text, gamemahi 'may we go', are uncommon.

    Singular   Dual   Plural
1   syā́m   [syā́va]   syā́ma
2   syā́s   syā́tam   syā́ta
3   syā́t   syā́tām   syúr

The optative can be formed in more than one system, but all the examples below are from the Present System.

  • utédā́nīm bhágavantaḥ syāma (VII, 41, 4) 'and may we now be fortunate' [135] (=97).
  • ná me stotā́ amatīvā́ ná dúrhitaḥ, syā́d [syā́t] agne ná pāpáyā (VIII, 19, 26) 'let not my praiser be lacking in thought (amati-ván), nor ill-placed, Agni, nor in an evil way (pāpā́, feminine, occurs only in this instrumental form) [136]
  • suśármaṇo br̥hatáḥ śármaṇi syām (III, 15, 1) 'may I be in the shelter of the lofty tutelary one' [137]
  • yuyuyā́tām itó rápo ápa srídhaḥ (lesson text) 'let them (dual) keep sickness from here, keep away misfortunes' [138]
  • páśyema nú sū́ryam uccárantam (VI, 52, 5; X, 59, 4) 'now let us see the sun rising' [139] (=33)
  • kathā́ dāśema námasā sudā́nūn (V, 41, 16) 'how may we worship (√dāś, dā́śati 'worship') the generous ones with honour?' [140]
  • ́ vām adyá sumatíbhiḥ śubhas patī, áśvinā prá stuvīmahi (VIII, 22, 6) 'As such let us praise (middle) you today, twin horsemen, Lords of splendour (śúbh feminine), with good thoughts' [141]
25. Numerals.

Ways of counting are ancient, and provide clear evidence of the relationships between languages. In Sanskrit éka 'one' was originally a demonstrative pronoun (see below) but numbers 2 to 10 and 100, dvá, trí, catúr, páñca, ṣáṣ, saptá, aṣṭā́, náva, dáśa, and śatám (Latin centum), have a very familiar appearance. The word usually translated 1000, sahásra, in origin simply means 'a great number'.

éka 'one' follows the pronominal declension described in section 11, declining like except in the nominative/accusative singular neuter ékam, as in the first example below. Confirming its pronominal nature, it also occurs in the plural, with the meaning 'some', as in the second example.

  • tád ékaṃ, devā́nāṃ śréṣṭhaṃ vápuṣām apaśyam (V, 62, 1) 'I saw that one, the finest of the marvels of the gods' [142] (=91)
  • árcanta [árcantas] éke máhi sā́ma manvata, téna sū́ryam arocayan (VIII, 29, 10) 'some, praising, conceived the great harmony (́man); with it they caused the sun to shine' [143]

dvá 'two' (δύο, Latin duo, German zwei), like Greek δύο inflects regularly as a dual adjective. The adjective ádvayas 'unduplicitous' in the lesson text is a derivative of dvá, with the privative prefix a-. dvá becomes dvi- in compounds like dvi-pád 'two-footed' in example 126 in section 22, and dvi-jánman 'of double birth', an epithet of Agni.

  • víbhir dvā́ carataḥ (VIII, 29, 8) 'two move with the birds (, masculine)' [144]
  • tvám ékasya vr̥trahann, avitā́ dváyor asi (VI, 45, 5) 'you, O demon-slayer (Indra), are the helper of one, the helper of two' [145]

trí 'three' declines in the plural. In its masculine and neuter forms it follows the declension of śúci given in section 3, but it has a different feminine form, already encountered in Lesson 2, tisŕ̥, which declines like svásr̥ (see section 8.2) with the exception of the nominative and accusative tisrás.

  • tribhír vrataír abhí no rakṣati tmánā (Lesson 2 text) 'by his nature he guards us with the three holy laws' [146]
  • pr̥thivī́s tisrá [tisrás] invati (Lesson 2 text) 'he gives motion to the three earths' [147]

The declension of catúr 'four' is irregular. The nominative masculine is catvā́ras (compare Latin quattuor, French quatre), and like trí it has a different feminine stem, catasŕ̥. Numbers beyond four do not distinguish gender, and usually have no ending in the nominative and accusative.

  • pāhí gīrbhís tisŕ̥bhir ūrjām pate, pāhí catasŕ̥bhir vaso (VIII, 60, 9) 'protect, O lord of powers (ū́rj feminine), with three songs, with four songs, O generous one' [148]
  • víśve devā́ áditiḥ páñca jánā, áditir jātám áditir jánitvam (I, 89, 10, quoted in the introduction to this lesson) 'Aditi is all the gods, the five peoples, the born and the yet to be born' [149]
  • saptá svásāro abhí sáṃ navante (I, 164, 3) 'seven sisters implore together' [150] (=47)