Front Page Titles (by Subject) SAVITṚ́ - A Vedic Reader for Students
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
SAVITṚ́ - Misc (Rigveda), A Vedic Reader for Students 
A Vedic Reader for Students, by Arthur Anthony MacDonnell. Containing Thirty Hymns of the Rigveda in the original Samhita and Pada Texts, with Transliteration, Translation, Explanatory Notes, Introduction, Vocabulary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1917).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
This god is celebrated in eleven entire hymns and in many detached stanzas as well. He is pre-eminently a golden deity: the epithets golden-eyed, golden-handed, and golden-tongued are peculiar to him. His car and its pole are golden. It is drawn by two or more brown, white-footed horses. He has mighty golden splendour which he diffuses, illuminating heaven, earth, and air. He raises aloft his strong golden arms, with which he arouses and blesses all beings, and which extend to the ends of the earth. He moves in his golden car, seeing all creatures, on a downward and an upward path. Shining with the rays of the sun, yellow-haired, Savitṛ raises up his light continually from the east. His ancient paths in the air are dustless and easy to traverse, and on them he protects his worshippers; for he conveys the departed spirit to where the righteous dwell. He removes evil dreams, and makes men sinless; he drives away demons and sorcerers. He observes fixed laws; the waters and the wind are subject to him. The other gods follow his lead; and no being can resist his will. In one stanza (iii. 62, 10) he is besought to stimulate the thoughts of worshippers who desire to think of the glory of god Savitṛ. This is the celebrated Sāvitrī stanza which has been a morning prayer in India for more than three thousand years. Savitṛ is often distinguished from Sūrya (vii. 63), as when he is said to shine with the rays of the sun, to impel the sun, or to declare men sinless to the sun. But in other passages it is hardly possible to keep the two deities apart.
Savitṛ is connected with the evening as well as the morning; for at his command night comes and he brings all beings to rest.
The word Savitṛ is derived from the root sū to stimulate, which is constantly and almost exclusively used with it in such a way as to form a perpetual play on the name of the god. In nearly half its occurrences the name is accompanied by devá god, when it means the ‘Stimulator god’. He was thus originally a solar deity in the capacity of the great stimulator of life and motion in the world.
i. 35. In this hymn Savitṛ appears as the regulator of time, bringing day and especially night.
The metre of this hymn is Triṣṭubh (p. 441), the commonest in the RV., about two-fifths of which are composed in it. It consists of four verses of eleven syllables identical in construction, and is divided into two hemistichs. The cadence (the last four syllables) is trochaic (–ᴗ–); the opening, consisting of either four or five syllables followed by a caesura or metrical pause, is predominantly iambic (–– or ––), and the break between the caesura and the cadence is regularly ᴗᴗ– or ᴗᴗ. Thus the scheme of the whole normal verse is either ––, ᴗᴗ– | –ᴗ– | or ––, ᴗᴗ | –ᴗ– |. The metre of stanzas 1 and 9 is Jagatī (p. 442), which consists of four verses of twelve syllables. The Jagatī is identical with the Triṣṭubh verse extended by one syllable, which, however, gives the cadence an iambic character (–ᴗ–ᴗ). In the first stanza the caesura is always after the fifth syllable, in the second Pāda following the first member of a compound.
See Page Number 11, Hymn Number 1 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
I call on Agni first for welfare; I call on Mitra-Varuṇa here for aid; I call on Night that brings theworld to rest; I call on god Savitṛ for help.
hváyámi: pr. ind. from hvā call; note the anaphoric repetition of this word at the beginning of each verse. prathamám is in apposition to Agním. su-astáye: this, ávase, and ūtáye are final datives (p. 314, B 2); the last two words are derived from the same root, av help. svastí (cp. note on i. 1, 9 c) evidently means well-being; by Sāyaṇa, following Yāska (Nirukta, iii. 21), it is explained negatively as a-vināśa non-destruction. Mitrá̄-váruṇā: one of the numerous Dvandvas both members of which are dual and accented (p. 269); note that Dv. cds. are not analysed in the Pada text. ihá̄vase for ihá ávase: on the accent see p. 464, 17, 1. jágatas: the objective gen. (p. 320, B 1 b), dependent on nivéśanīm = that causes the world to ‘turn in’ (cp. x. 127, 4. 5); the cs. niveśáyan is applied to Savitṛ in the next stanza.
See Page Number 12, Hymn Number 2 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Rolling hither through the dark space, laying to rest the immortal and the mortal, on his golden car god Savitṛ comes seeing (all) creatures.
á̄ vártamānas: the prp. may be separated from a pt. as from a finite vb., p. 462, 13 a; when it immediately precedes, as in niveśáyan, it is usually compounded, ibid. kṛṣṇéna rájasā: = through the darkness; loc. sense of the inst., 119 A 4. amṛ́taṃ mártiaṃ ca s. m. used collectively = gods and men. ráthená̄ must of course be read ráthena|á̄; see note on Ágne, i. 1, 9 b. á̄ devó yāti: cp. note
on á̄ íhá vakṣati, i. 1, 2 c. In this and the two following stanzas Savitṛ is connected with evening.
See Page Number 13, Hymn Number 3 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The god goes by a downward, he goes by an upward path; adorable he goes with his two bright steeds. God Savitṛ comes from the distance, driving away all hardships.
In this stanza a Jagatī verse is combined with a Triṣṭubh in each hemistich. This is quite exceptional in the RV.: see p. 445, β 1 and f. n. 7. pra-vát-ā and ud-vát-ā: local sense of the inst. (199 A 4); note that the suffix vat (p. 263) is in the Pada text treated like the second member of a cd. The downward and upward path refer to the sun’s course in the sky. The second yá̄ti is accented as beginning a new sentence. háribhyām: inst. in sociative sense; cp. devébhis in i. 1, 5. On the different treatment of śubhrá̄bhyām and háribhyām in the Pada text see note on pú̄rvebhis in i. 1, 28. parāvátó ५ pa: see note on Ágne in i. 1, 9. parāvátas: abl. with verb of motion (201 A 1). ápa bá̄dhamānas: cp. note on á̄ in 2 c. víśvā duritá̄: this form of the n. pl. is commoner in the RV. than that in āni; p. 78, f. n. 14.
See Page Number 13, Hymn Number 4 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
His car adorned with pearls, omniform, with golden pins, lofty, the adorable Savitṛ brightly lustrous, putting on the dark spaces and his might, has mounted.
The final vowel of abhí is lengthened in the Saṃhitā text, as often when a long vowel is favoured by the metre. The prp. is also accented, this being usual when a prp. is compounded with a pp. (p. 462, 13 b). kṛ́śanais: stars are probably meant, as is indicated by x. 68, 11: ‘the Fathers adorned the sky with stars, like a dark horse with pearls’. viśvá-rūpam: on the accent cp. note on i. 1, 4 b. -śamyam: inflected like rathí̄, p. 87; the śamī is probably a long pin fixed at each end of the yoke to prevent its slipping off the horse’s neck. á̄ asthāt: root ao. of sthā. kṛṣṇá̄ rájāṃsi: = darkness. dádhānas (pr. pt.; the pf. would be dadhānás) governs both rájāṃsi and táviṣīm = clothing himself in darkness(cp. 2 a)and might, that is, bringing on evening by his might.
See Page Number 14, Hymn Number 5 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
His dusky steeds, white-footed, drawing his car with golden pole, have surveyed the peoples. For ever the settlers and all creatures have rested in the lap of divine Savitṛ.
ví: separated from vb.; see note on á̄ vakṣati, i. 1, 2 c. jánāñ chyāvá̄ḥ: for jánān śyāvá̄ḥ (40, 1). śiti-pá̄das: on the accentuation of this Bv. on the final member, see p. 455, c α. Note that the initial a of akhyan remains after o (cp. note on i. 1, 9 b). akhyan: a ao. of khyā see(p. 168, a 1), cp. 7 a and 8 a, and páśyan in 2 d; the ao. expresses a single action that has just taken place (p. 345 C); the pf. tasthur expresses an action that has constantly (śáśvat) taken place in the past down to the present (113 A a). In -praügam (analysed by the Pāda text of x. 130, 3 as pra-uga), doubtless = pra-yugam (as explained in a Prātiśākhya), there is a remarkable hiatus caused by the dropping of y. víśvā bhúvanāni: here the old and the new form of the n. pl. are used side by side, as very often. On the Sandhi of dáivyasyopásthe cp. note on Ágne, i. 1, 9 b. dáivya divine is a variation of the usual devá accompanying the name of Savitṛ. upásthe: the idea that all beings are contained in various deities, or that the latter are the soul (ātmá̄) of the animate and inanimate world, is often expressed in the RV.
See Page Number 15, Hymn Number 6 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
(There are) three heavens: two (are) the laps of Savitṛ, one overcoming men, (is) in the abode of Yama. All immortal things rest (on him) as on the axle-end of a car: let him who may understand this tell it here.
The interpretation of this stanza is somewhat difficult; for it is meant, as the last Pāda indicates, as an enigma (like several others in the RV.). The first Pāda is evidently intended to explain the last two of the preceding stanza: of the three worlds Savitṛ occupies two (air and earth). The second Pāda adds: the third world (the highest heaven) is the abode of Yama, in which dwell men after death (that is, the Pitṛs). The third Pāda means: on Savitṛ, in these two (lower) worlds, the gods rest. dyá̄vas: N. pl. of dyó, here f. (which is rare); probably an elliptical pl. (193, 3 a) = heaven, air, and earth. dvá̄: for dváu before u (22); after tisró dyá̄vaḥ the f. form dvé should strictly be used (like ékā in b), but it is attracted in gender by the following upásthā (cp. 194, 3). upásthāṁ̆: the dual ending ā (which in the RV. is more than seven times as common as au), appears before consonants, in pausā at the end of a Pāda, and in the middle of a Pāda before vowels, with which it coalesces. Here it is nasalized (as often elsewhere) before the initial vowel of the following Pāda to avoid the hiatus; this is another indication (cp. note on Ágne, i. 1, 9 b) that there was in the original text of the RV. no vowel Sandhi between the Pādas of a hemistich. virā-ṣá̄ṭ: N. s. of virā-sáh (81 b), in which there is cerebralization of s by assimilation to the final cerebral ṭ (for -sá̄ṭ); in the first member the quantity of the vowels (for vīra) is interchanged for metrical convenience; the Pada text does not analyse the cd. because the form virā does not occur as an independent word (cp. note on ṛtvíj, i. 1, 1 b). amṛ́tā: n. pl. = the gods. āṇíṃ ná: on him, as the car rests on the two ends of the axle which pass through the nave of the wheels. ádhi tasthur: the pf. of sthā here takes the acc. by being compounded with ádhi; in 5 d the simple verb takes the loc. The third Pāda is only a modification in sense of 5 c d. bravītu: 3. s. ipv. of brū speak(p. 143, 3 c). The pcl. u is always written in the Pada text as a long vowel and nasalized: ūṁ̆ íti. cíketat: pf. sb. of cit observe.
See Page Number 16, Hymn Number 7 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The bird has surveyed the atmospheric regions, the divine spirit, of deep inspiration, of good guidance. Where is now the sun? Who has understood (it)? To what heaven has his ray extended?
7-9 deal with Savitṛ as guiding the sun.
ví . . . akhyat: cp. 5 a and 8 a. suparṇás: Savitṛ is here called a bird, as the sun-god Sūrya (vii. 63) often is. On the accent of this Bv. and of su-nīthás see p. 455, c a. antárikṣāṇi: equivalent to kṛṣṇá̄ rájāṃsi (4 d), the aerial spaces when the sun is absent. ásuras: this word, which is applied to various gods in the RV., but especially to Varuṇa, and in the Avesta, as ahura, is the name of the highest god, means a divine being possessed of occult power; towards the end of the Rigvedic period it gradually lost this sense and came to mean a higher hostile power, celestial demon. sunīthás: guiding well here means that the sun illumines the paths with his light. kvèdá̄nīm: when an independent Svarita is in the Saṃhitā text immediately followed by an Udātta, the Svarita vowel, if long, has added to it the figure 3, which is marked with both Svarita and Anudātta (p. 450 b). idá̄nīm: now = at night. ciketa: pf. of cit observe(139, 4). dyá̄m: acc. of dyó (p. 94, 3), here again (cp. 6 a) f. asyá̄: = asya á̄. tatāna: pf. of tan stretch(cp. 137, 2 b). The question here asked, where the sun goes to at night, is parallel to that asked about the stars in i. 24, 10: ‘those stars which are seen at night placed on high, where have they gone by day?’
See Page Number 17, Hymn Number 8 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
He has surveyed the eight peaks of the earth, the three waste lands, the leagues, the seven rivers. Golden-eyed god Savitṛ has come, bestowing desirable gifts on the worshipper.
The general meaning of this stanza is that Savitṛ surveys all space: the mountains, the plains, the rivers, and the regions between heaven and earth. aṣṭáu: 106 b. pṛthivyá̄s: on the accentuation see p. 458, 2. trí̄: n. pl. (105, 3) to be read disyllabically. dhánva: acc. pl. of dhánvan n., 90, 3 (p. 70; cp. p. 67, bottom). The long syllable after the caesura in b and d (–ᴗ– for ᴗᴗ–) is rare in the RV. (p. 440, 4 B). yójanā: probably the thirty leagues that Dawn traverses in the sky (i. 123, 8), the number of each of the other features being expressly stated. hiraṇyākṣás: the accent of this cd. as a Bv. is quite exceptional: p. 455 c. á̄-agāt: root ao. of gā go. dádhat: on the accent cp. 127, 2; on the formation of the stem, 156.
See Page Number 18, Hymn Number 9 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Golden-handed Savitṛ, the active, goes between both heaven and earth. He drives away disease; he guides the sun; through the dark space he penetrates to heaven.
Dyá̄vā-pṛthiví̄: with the usual double accent of Devatā-dvandvas (p. 457, e β) and not analysed in the Pada text (cp. note on 1 b). Its final ī, as well as the e of ubhé, being Pragṛhya (25 a, 26 a), is followed by íti in the Pada text (p. 25, f. n. 2). antár (46) combined with ī go governs the acc.; cp. the two laps of Savitṛ in 6 a. ápa bá̄dhate: he drives away disease, cp. 3 d; contrary to the general rule (p. 466, 19 A) the vb. is here accented; this irregularity not infrequently occurs when in the same Pāda a compound verb is immediately followed by a simple vb. véti: accented because it begins a new sentence; Savitṛ guides the sun: cp. 7 c. kṛṣṇéna rájasā: cp. 2 a and 4 d. abhí . . . dyá̄m ṛṇoti: cp. 7 d. The metre of d is irregular: it is a Triṣṭubh of twelve syllables, the first two syllables (abhí) taking the place of a long one. Cp. p. 441, 4 a and p. 445, B 1.
See Page Number 19, Hymn Number 10 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Let the golden-handed divine spirit, of good guidance, most gracious, aiding well, come hither. Chasing away demons and sorcerers, the god being lauded has arisen towards eventide.
ásuras: cp. 7 b. svávān: the analysis of the Pada text, svávān = possessed of property, is followed by Sāyaṇa who renders it by dhanavān wealthy; this would mean that Savitṛ bestows wealth (cp. dádhad rátnā in 8 d, and vi. 71, 4 á̄ dāśúṣe suvati bhú̄ri vāmám he, Savitṛ, brings much wealth to the worshipper). This nom. occurs several times in the RV., and is always analysed in the same way by the Padapāṭha. On the other hand, three oblique cases of su-ávas giving good help occur (svávasam, svávasā, svávasas). Roth takes svávān to be a nom. of this stem irregularly formed by analogy for su-ávās (cp. 83, 2 a). I follow the Pada text as the meaning is sufficiently good. Final ān, which regularly becomes āṁ̆ before vowels (39), sometimes undergoes the same change before y (40, 4). rakṣásas has the accent of a m. in as (83, 2 a); the n. form is rákṣāṃsi. yātudhá̄nān is added, as is often the case, without a connecting ca: cp. note on rayím, in i. 1, 3 a; note that the Sandhi of ān before vowels (39) does not apply at the end of an internal Pāda. If Savitṛ in this stanza is connected with morning rather than evening, ásthāt would here be equivalent to úd asthāt; cp. RV. vi. 71, 4: úd u ṣyá deváḥ Savitá̄ dámunā híraṇyapāṇiḥ pratidoṣám ásthāt that god Savitṛ, the domestic friend, the golden-handed, has arisen towards eventide; it may, however, be equivalent to á̄ asthāt, that is, he has mounted his car, cp. 4 c. gṛṇānás: pr. pt. Ā., with ps. sense, of 1. gṛ sing, greet.
See Page Number 20, Hymn Number 11 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Thine ancient paths, O Savitṛ, the dustless, the well made, in the air, (going) by those paths easy to traverse protect us to-day, and speak for us, O god.
te: the dat. and gen. of tvám, is always unaccented; while té, N. pl. m. and N. A. du. f. n. of tá, is always té. pánthās: N. pl. of pánthā, m. path, which is the only stem (not pánthān) in the RV. (99, 1 a). Savitaḥ: when final Visarjanīya in the Saṃhitā text represents original r, this is always indicated by the word being written with r followed by íti in the Pada text; here Savitar íti. ’reṇávas: the initial a must be restored (see note on Ágne, i. 1, 9 b; but a is not elided after o in c and d); on the accent of a Bv. formed with privative a, see p. 455, c α. sú-kṛtās: Karmadhārayas, in which the first member is an adv. and the last a pp., accent the former; p. 456, 1 α. tébhis: inst. of tá, p. 106; p. 457, 11 b. In c nǒ adyá should be pronounced because e and o are shortened before a (p. 437, α 4); this rule does not apply when e and o are separated from a by the caesura; hence in d ō, ádhi should be pronounced. sugébhī: see 47. The final a of rákṣā is lengthened because the second syllable of the Pāda favours a long vowel. ádhi . . . brūhi: be our advocate; the meaning of this expression is illustrated by other passages: in i. 123, 3 Savitṛ is besought to report to Sūrya that his worshippers are sinless; in vii. 60, 2 Sūrya is implored to make a similar report to the Ādityas.
[P. 14, line 27,]for śitipá̄do read śitipādǒ.