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VİṢṆU - 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).
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This deity occupies a subordinate position in the RV., being celebrated in only five or six hymns. The only anthropomorphic traits mentioned about him are the strides he takes, and the description of him as a youth vast in body who is no longer a child. The central feature of his nature consists in his three steps, connected with which are his exclusive epithets ‘wide-going’ (uru-gāyá) and ‘wide-striding’ (uru-kramá). With these steps he traverses the earth or the terrestrial spaces. Two of his steps are visible to men, but the third or highest is beyond the flight of birds or mortal ken. His highest step is like an eye fixed in heaven; it shines brightly down. It is his dear abode, where pious men and the gods rejoice. There can be no doubt that these three steps refer to the course of the sun, and in all probability to its passage through the three divisions of the world: earth, air, and heaven. Viṣṇu sets in motion like a revolving wheel his ninety steeds (= days) with their four names (= seasons), an allusion to the three hundred and sixty days of the solar year. Thus Viṣṇu seems to have been originally a personification of the activity of the sun, the swiftly-moving luminary that with vast strides passes through the whole universe. Viṣṇu takes his steps for man’s existence, to bestow the earth on him as a dwelling. The most prominent secondary characteristic of Viṣṇu is his friendship for Indra, with whom he is often allied in the fight with Vṛtra. In hymns addressed to Viṣṇu alone, Indra is the only other deity incidentally associated with him. One hymn (vi. 69) is dedicated to the two gods conjointly. Through the Vṛtra myth the Maruts, Indra’s companions, are drawn into alliance with Viṣṇu, who throughout one hymn (v. 87) is praised in combination with them.
The name is most probably derived from viṣ be active, thus meaning ‘the active one’.
i. 154. Metre: Triṣṭubh.
See Page Number 31, Hymn Number 1 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
I will now proclaim the heroic powers of Viṣṇu, who has measured out the terrestrial regions; who established the upper gathering-place, having, wide-paced, strode out triply.
kam: this pcl. as an encl. always follows nú, sú or hí (p. 225, 2). vīryá̄ṇi: the syllable preceding the so-called independent Svarita (p. 448) is marked with the Anudātta in the same way as that preceding the Udātta; here we have, as usual, in reality the dependent Svarita, the word having to be pronounced vīríà̄ṇi. prá vocam: inj. ao. of vac, 147, 3. pá̄rthivāni rájāṃsi: the earth and the contiguous air. vi-mamé: this refers to the sun traversing the universe; cp. what is said of Varuṇa in v. 85, 5: má̄neneva tasthivá̄ṁ̆ antárikṣe ví yó mamé pṛthiví̄ṃ sú̄ryeṇa who standing in the air has measured out the earth with the sun, as with a measure. áskabhāyat: ipf. of skabh prop; the cosmic action of supporting the sky is also attributed to Savitṛ, Agni, and other deities. úttaraṃ sadhástham: that is, heaven, as opposed to the terrestrial spaces in b, according to the twofold division of the world. vicakramāṇás: pf. pt. Ā. of kram. tre-dhá̄: with his three steps; the first syllable must be pronounced with a slur equivalent to two short syllables (ᴗᴗ); the resolution tredhá̄ urugāyáḥ would produce both an abnormal break and an abnormal cadence (p. 441, top).
See Page Number 32, Hymn Number 2 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
By reason of his heroic power, like a dread beast that wanders at will, that haunts the mountains, Viṣṇu is praised aloud for that: he in whose three wide strides all beings dwell.
prá stavate: Ā. of stu in the ps. sense, as is often the case when the pr. stem is formed according to the first (and not the second) class. tád: the cognate acc. (p. 300, 4) referring to the heroic powers of Viṣṇu attributed to him in the preceding stanza. vīryèṇa: cp. note on vīryà̄ṇi in 1 a. mṛgás: Sāyaṇa here interprets this word to mean a beast of prey such as a lion; but though bhīmá occurs as an attribute both of siṃhá lion and of vṛṣabhá bull in the RV., giriṣṭhá̄ is found three or four times applied to the latter and never to the former, and in the next stanza Viṣṇu is called a ‘mountain-dwelling bull’; hence the simile appears to allude to a bull rather than a lion. ku-cará: Yāska, followed by Sāyaṇa, has two explanations of this word, doing ill (ku = kutsitaṃ karma blameworthy deed) or going anywhere (kva ayaṃ na gachati where does he not go?). Note that the word is not analysed in the Pada text because ku does not occur as an independent word. Sāyaṇa has two explanations of giriṣṭhá̄s: dwelling in a lofty world or always abiding in speech (giri as loc. of gir) consisting of Mantras, &c. (!); on the inflexion see 97, 2; note that in the analysis of the Pada text the change caused by internal Sandhi in the second member is, as always, removed. vikrámaneṣu: note that the final vowel of the Pāda must be restored at the junction with the next Pāda. adhi-kṣiyánti: the root 1. kṣi follows the ad class (kṣéti) when it means dwell, but the bhū class (kṣáyati) when it means rule over. With c and d cp. what is said of Savitṛ in i. 35, 5.
See Page Number 33, Hymn Number 3 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Let my inspiring hymn go forth for Viṣṇu, the mountain-dwelling wide-pacing bull, who alone with but three steps has measured out this long far-extended gathering-place;
śūṣám: the ū must be slurred disyllabically (= ᴗᴗ). idáṃ sadhástham: of course the earth as opposed to úttaraṃ sadhástham in 1 c. ékas and tribhís are antithetical. íd emphasizes the latter word: with only three. The second Pāda of this stanza is parallel to the third of the preceding, the epithets in the former being applied direct to Viṣṇu, in the latter to the wild beast to which Viṣṇu is compared: girikṣít = giriṣṭhá̄; urugāyá = kucará; vṛ́ṣan = mṛgó bhīmáḥ. This correspondence of kucará (besides V.’s alternative exclusive epithet urukramá in 5 c and elsewhere) confirms the explanation of urugāyá as wide-pacing from gā go (Yāska, mahāgati having a wide gait), and not widely sung from gā sing (Sāyaṇa).
See Page Number 34, Hymn Number 4 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Whose three steps filled with mead, unfailing, rejoice in bliss; and who in threefold wise alone has supported earth and heaven, and all beings.
trí̄: n. pl. of trí (105, 3). padá̄ny: the final vowel of the Pāda must be restored; cp. 2 c. pūrṇá̄: cp. p. 308 d. ákṣīyamāṇā: never failing in mead; the privative pcl. a is almost invariably accented in Karmadhārayas, p. 456 a (top); such negative cds. are not analysed in the Pada text. svadháyā: inst. with verbs of rejoicing (p. 308 c). mádanti: his footsteps rejoice, that is, those dwelling in them do so. u: = also(p. 221, 2). tri-dhá̄tu: this n. form is best taken adverbially = tredhá̄ in 1 d, in a threefold way, by taking his three steps. It might, however, mean the threefold world, loosely explained by the following earth and heaven. ékas: alone in antithesis to víśvā, cp. 3 d. dādhá̄ra: pf. of dhṛ, with long red. vowel (139, 9), which is here not shortened in the Pada text.
See Page Number 35, Hymn Number 5 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
I would attain to that dear domain of his, where men devoted to the gods rejoice: for that, truly akin to the wide-strider, is a well of mead in the highest step of Viṣṇu.
abhí aśyām: op. root ao. of aṃś reach. yátra: in the third step of Viṣṇu = heaven, where the Fathers drink Soma with Yama (cp. i. 35, 6). náras: that is, pious men who dwell in heaven; N. pl. of nṛ́, 101, 1. sá: referring to pá̄thas is attracted in gender to bándhus, 194, 3. itthá̄: p. 218. mádhvas (gen., p. 81, n. 12): cp. 4 a, where the three steps are filled with mead; but the third step is its special abode.
See Page Number 35, Hymn Number 6 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
We desire to go to those abodes of you two, where are the many-horned nimble kine: there indeed that highest step of the wide-pacing bull shines brightly down.
vām: of you two, that is, of Indra and Viṣṇu. The former, being the only other god with whom Viṣṇu is intimately associated, would easily be thought of incidentally in a hymn addressed to Viṣṇu alone; this dual also anticipates the joint praise of these two gods as a dual divinity (Índrā-Víṣṇū) in the first two stanzas of the next hymn (i. 155). uśmasi: 1. pl. pr. of vaś desire(134, 2 a). gámadhyai: dat. inf., p. 193, 7. gá̄vas: N. pl. of gó cow(102, 2); it is somewhat doubtful what is meant by the cows; they are explained by Yāska and Sāyaṇa as rays; this is a probable sense, as the rays of dawn are compared with cattle, and something connected with sunlight is appropriate to the third step of Viṣṇu, the realm of light. Roth explains gá̄vas as stars, but there is little to support this interpretation. bhú̄ri-śṛṅgās: many-horned would allude to the diffusion of the sunbeams in many directions. ayá̄sas: this form is understood as a N. pl. of aya (from i go) by Yāska, who explains it as ayanās moving, and by Sāyaṇa as gantāras goers = ativistṛtās very widely diffused; but the occurrence of the A. s. ayá̄sam, the G. pl. ayá̄sām, as well as the A. pl. ayá̄sas, indicates that the stem is ayá̄s; while its use as an attribute of siṃhá lion, áśva horse, and often of the Maruts, shows that the meaning must be active, swift, nimble. áha: on the use of this pcl. see p. 216. vṛ́ṣṇas: cp. 3 b.
[P. 31, line 29, and p. 46, l. 29,]for yó read yố.