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FUNERAL HYMN - 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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The RV. contains a group of five hymns (x. 14-18) concerned with death and the future life. From them we learn that, though burial was also practised, cremation was the usual method of disposing of the dead, and was the main source of the mythology relating to the future life. Agni conveys the corpse to the other world, the Fathers, and the gods. He is besought to preserve the body intact and to burn the goat which is sacrificed as his portion. During the process of cremation Agni and Soma are besought to heal any injury that bird, beast, ant, or serpent may have inflicted on the body. The way to the heavenly world is a distant path on which Savitṛ (i. 35) conducts and Pūṣan (vi. 54) protects the dead. Before the pyre is lighted, the wife of the dead man, having lain beside him, arises, and his bow is taken from his hand. This indicates that in earlier times his widow and his weapons were burnt with the body of the husband. Passing along by the path trodden by the Fathers, the spirit of the dead man goes to the realm of light, and meets with the Fathers who revel with Yama in the highest heaven. Here, uniting with a glorious body, he enters upon a life of bliss which is free from imperfections and bodily frailties, in which all desires are fulfilled, and which is passed among the gods, especially in the presence of the two kings Yama and Varuṇa.
x. 14. Metre: Triṣṭubh; 13. 14. 16. Anuṣṭubh; 15. Bṛhatī.
See Page Number 164, Hymn Number 1 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Him who has passed away along the mighty steeps and has spied out the path for many, him the son of Vivasvant, the assembler of people, Yama the king, do thou present with oblation.
a is a Jagatī (see p. 445, f. n. 7). pareyivá̄ṃsam: pf. pt. act. īyivá̄ṃsam (89 a) of i go, with párā away. pravátas: the steep paths leading to the highest heaven where Yama dwells; cp. ix. 113, 8, yátra rá̄jā Vaivasvató, yátrāvaródhanaṃ diváḥ . . tátra má̄m amṛ́taṃ kṛdhi where the king, the son of Vivasvant, and where the secret place of heaven is, there do thou (Soma) make me immortal. mahí̄s: A. pl. f. of máh great. pánthām: 97, 2 a. Vaivasvatám: Yama is in several passages called by this patronymic; cf. also 5 c, and x. 17, 1: Yamásya mātá̄, paryuhyámānā mahó jāyá̄ Vívasvataḥ the mother of Yama being married as the wife of the great Vivasvant. bahúbhyas: for the many that die and go to the other world. anu-paspaśānám: pf. pt. Ā. of spaś see. saṃgámanam: as gathering the dead together in his abode. rá̄jānam: Yama is several times called a king, but never expressly a god. duvasya: addressed to the sacrificer.
See Page Number 165, Hymn Number 2 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Yama has first found out the way for us: this pasture is not to be taken away. Whither our former fathers have passed away, thither those that have been born since (pass away) along their several paths.
Yamás: a explains what is said of Yama in the preceding stanza. viveda: pf. of 2. vid find. gávyūtis: used figuratively to express the abode which Yama has found for those who die. ápa-bhartavái: dat. inf. with double accent (p. 452, 7); here it has a passive force (p. 335, α). b is most naturally to be taken as forming a hemistich with a, not as beginning a new sentence antecedent to yátra. The exact sense of cd is uncertain owing to the doubtful interpretation of ená̄ and jajñāná̄s. The former word is probably corr. to yátra, and the latter the frequent pf. pt. Ā. of jan generate. It might be from jñā know (from which, however, this pt. does not seem to occur elsewhere): the meaning would then be, ‘knowing the way thereby (ená̄),’ because Yama found it for them. svá̄s: by their own paths, each by his own, each going by himself.
See Page Number 166, Hymn Number 3 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Mātalī having grown strong with the Kavyas, Yama with the Aṅgirases, Bṛhaspati with the Ṛkvans, whom the gods have made strong and who (have made strong) the gods, some rejoice in the call Svāhā, others in the offering to the dead.
Má̄talī: mentioned only here; one of seven m. stems in ī (100, 1 b). Sāyaṇa thinks this means Indra because that god’s charioteer (in later times) is mātali and therefore má̄talī (N. of má̄talin) is ‘he who is accompanied by mātali’; but the accent of words in in is invariably on that syllable (p. 454 B a). Kavyáis: name of a group of ancestors; the inst. used in the sociative sense (199 A 1). Áṅgirobhis: another group of ancestors, otherwise associated with Bṛhaspati (who exclusively is called Āṅgirasá). Ṛ́kvabhis: another group of ancestors; cp. sá ṛ́kvatā gaṇéna he (Bṛhaspati) with the singing host(iv. 50, 5). vāvṛdhānás: by means of oblations. yá̄ṃś ca: the ancestors whom the gods strengthened by their aid, and who strengthened the gods with their offerings. svá̄hā anyé: some, by their association with the gods, rejoice in the call svá̄hā, which is addressed to the gods, others in the funeral oblations offered to them as ancestors. madanti: with inst. (p. 308, 1 c).
See Page Number 167, Hymn Number 4 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Upon this strewn grass, O Yama, pray seat thyself, uniting thyself with the Aṅgirases, the fathers. Let the spells recited by the secrs bring thee hither. Do thou, O king, rejoice in this oblation.
á̄ sí̄da: 2. s. ipv. of sad sit w. acc. hí: p. 252, 2; cp. p. 467, B. pitṛ́bhis: apposition to Áṅgirobhis (cp. 3 a). saṃvidānás: pr. pt. Ā. of 2. vid find according to the root class (158 a α). kavi-śastá̄s: on the accent cp. p. 456, 2 a and p. 462, f. n. 4. ená̄: here (cp. 2 d) inst. of ena (112 a) agreeing with havíṣā; accented because beginning the Pāda (and always as an adv., cp. 2 d). mādayasva: with inst., cp. madanti in 3 d.
See Page Number 167, Hymn Number 5 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Come hither with the adorable Aṅgirases; O Yama, with the sons of Virūpa do thou here rejoice. I call Vivasvant who is thy father, (let him rejoice), having sat himself down on the strew at this sacrifice.
Áṅgirobhis: sociative inst. (199 A 1). á̄ gahi: root ao. ipv. of gam (148, 5). Vairūpáis: sociative inst.; this patronymic form occurs only here; Virūpa occurs once in the sing. as the name of one who praised Agni (viii. 64, 6), and three times in the pl. as of seers closely connected with the Aṅgirases, as sons of heaven or of Aṅgiras. huve: 1. s. pr. Ā. of hū call. yás: supply ásti. c is defective by one syllable (p. 441, 4 B a). barhíṣi á̄: to be taken together (cp. 176, 1, 2). níṣádya: gd. of sad sit; agreeing with Vívasvantam (cp. 210): it is not the priest who sits down on the strew, but the god; d occurs in iii. 35, 6 as applied to Indra.
See Page Number 167, Hymn Number 6 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The Aṅgirases, our fathers, the Navagvas, the Atharvans, the Bhṛgus, the Soma-loving: we would abide in the favour, the good graces of them the adorable ones.
naḥ pitáraḥ: in apposition to the names; cp. 4 b. Návagvās &c., names of ancient priestly families. ápi syāma to be taken together; ápi as = to take part in.
See Page Number 169, Hymn Number 7 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Go forth, go forth by those ancient paths on which our fathers of old have passed away. Thou shalt see both kings rejoicing in the offering to the dead, Yama and Varuṇa the god.
préhi préhi: addressed to the dead man; note that this repeated cd. vb. is not treated as an Āmreḍita; in fact only one repeated verbal form is so treated in the RV., viz. píba-piba (p. 282, g). Note the remarkable alliteration in a b; cp. the repetition of -ā in c and of -am in d; of a- in 9 c d, and of -au in 10-12. pú̄rve: prn. adj. (p. 116). rá̄jānā: note that both Yama and Varuṇa are called kings, but Varuṇa alone a god (cp. note on 1 d). svadháyā: cp. 3 d. paśyāsi: 2. s. pr. sb. of paś see(cp. p. 353).
See Page Number 169, Hymn Number 8 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Unite with the Fathers, unite with Yama, with the reward of thy sacrifices and good works in the highest heaven. Leaving blemish behind go back to thy home; unite with thy body, full of vigour.
iṣṭā-pūrténa: note that this old Dvandva cd. (see vocab.) is not analysed in the Pada text. paramé: the abode of Yama and the Fathers is in the highest heaven; mádhye diváḥ in x. 15, 14. víoman: loc. without i (p. 69). hitvá̄ya: gd., 163, 3. ástam: the home of the Fathers; cp. 9 b-d. tanvá̄ suvárcāḥ: being free from disease and frailties, the dead man unites with a body which is complete and without imperfections. The AV. often speaks of such being the state of things in the next life. In d the rare resolution of v in -sva is required.
See Page Number 170, Hymn Number 9 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Begone, disperse, slink off from here: for him the Fathers have prepared this place. Yama gives him a resting-place distinguished by days and waters and nights.
This stanza is addressed to the demons to leave the dead man alone. vì̄ta: for ví ita (see p. 464, 17, 1 a). asmái: accented because emphatic at the beginning of a Pāda, but unaccented at the end of d (cp. p. 452, A c). akran: 3. pl. act. root ao. of kṛ make. áhobhir adbhíḥ: cp. ix. 113, where the joys of the next world are described, yátra jyótir ájasraṃ, tásmin má̄ṃ dhehi amṛ́te lóke where there is eternal light, in that immortal world place me (7), and yátra amú̄r yahvátīr á̄pas, tátra má̄m amṛ́taṃ kṛdhi where are those swift waters, there make me immortal (8). aktúbhis: nights as alternating with days. vyàktam: pp. of ví + añj adorn, distinguish.
See Page Number 171, Hymn Number 10 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Run by a good path past the two sons of Saramā, the four-eyed, brindled dogs; then approach the bountiful Fathers who rejoice at the same feast as Yama.
sārameyáu: in this and the following duals (including 11 a b) the ending au is irregularly used; in the old parts of the RV. ā is employed before consonants and at the end of a Pāda. śvá̄nau: to be read as a trisyllable (cp. 91, 3). caturakṣáu: doubtless meant to imply keen sight; thus this epithet is also applied to Agni. In the Avesta a four-eyed dog watches at the head of the bridge by which the souls of the dead pass to the other world, and scares away the fiend from the holy ones. b is a Jagatī (cp. p. 445, f. n. 7). áthā: the second syllable metrically lengthened. Yaména: sociative inst. (p. 306, 1). sadhamá̄dam: cognate acc. with mádanti (p. 300, 4).
See Page Number 171, Hymn Number 11 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Give him over to those two, O King, that are thy dogs, O Yama, the guardians, four-eyed, watchers of the path, observers of men; bestow on him welfare and health.
yáu: au in this and the following duals for ā, as in 10. nṛcákṣasau: as Yama’s messengers (cp. 12 b). b is a Jagatī (cp. 10 b). enam: the dead man. dehi (2. s. ipv. of dā give): that they may guide him to Yama’s abode. dhehi: 2. s. ipv. of dhā put.
See Page Number 171, Hymn Number 12 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Broad-nosed, life-stealing, . . the two as messengers of Yama wander among men; may these two give us back here to-day auspicious life that we may see the sun.
urū-ṇasáu: the second syllable is metrically lengthened; on the cerebralization of the dental n see 65 b; here we have the normal use of au as āv before a vowel within a Pāda; broad-nosed, that is, keen-scented. asutṛ́pā u-: on the Sandhi see 22; the literal meaning delighting in lives implies delighting in taking them, while they wander among men as Yama’s messengers. udumbaláu: this word occurs here only, and there is no means of throwing any light on its sense; the au of this dual, as of dūtáu, for ā, shows the same irregularity as in the preceding stanzas. caratas: in order to seek out the lives of those about to go to the abode of Yama. asmábhyam: dat. pl. of ahám. dṛśáye: dat. inf., with attracted acc. (200 B 4). dātām: 3. du. ipv. root ao. of dā give; as having already marked us for their victims, let them give back our life to-day.
See Page Number 173, Hymn Number 13 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
For Yama press the Soma, to Yama offer the oblation; to Yama goes the sacrifice well prepared, with Agni as its messenger.
juhutā: with metrically lengthened final vowel; 2. pl. ipv. of hu sacrifice addressed to those officiating at the sacrifice. Yamám: acc. of the goal (197, 1; cf. 204, 1 b). Agnídūtas: the idea underlying this figurative expression is that the smoke of the sacrificial fire goes up to heaven where Yama dwells.
See Page Number 173, Hymn Number 14 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
To Yama offer the oblation abounding in ghee, and step forth; may he guide us to the gods that we may live a long life.
juhóta: the irr. strong form (p. 144, B. 3 α) with a long vowel in the second syllable is here utilized for metrical purposes, as the regular form juhuta has its final vowel lengthened in 13 b. prá tiṣṭhata: step forward, in order to offer the oblation; cp. the use of prá bhṛ bring forward an oblation. á̄ yamat: inj. of root ao. of yam extend; this form constitutes a play on the name of Yama. nas: acc. governed by á̄ yamad; cp. ix. 44, 5, sá naḥ Sómo devéṣu á̄ yamat may he, Soma, guide us to the gods; on the loc., cp. 204 B 1 b. á̄yus: cognate acc. (197 A 4). prá jīváse: cp. p. 463, f. n. 8. The meaning of cd is: ‘may he keep us (the survivors) to the worship of the gods (and not lead us to the Fathers), so that we may enjoy long life on earth’ (cp. 12 c, d).
See Page Number 174, Hymn Number 15 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
To Yama the king offer the most honied oblation. This obeisance is for the seers born of old, the ancient makers of the path.
juhotana: again the strong form to suit the metre (cp. 14 b). pathikṛ́dbhyas: because they were the first, after Yama had shown the way, to tread the path leading to Yama’s abode (the pitṛyá̄ṇa the road of the Fathers). This stanza is a Bṛhatī in the middle of Anuṣṭubhs, differing from them only by the addition of four syllables in the third Pāda (see p. 444, 9 b).
See Page Number 174, Hymn Number 16 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
It flies through the three Soma vats. The six earths, the one great (world), triṣṣubh, gāyatrī and (the other) metres, all these are placed in Yama.
The meaning of a b in this final stanza is obscure, partly because the subject is not expressed in a, and partly because it is uncertain whether b is syntactically connected with a or not. The probability is that here we have two sentences, one consisting of a, the other of b-d. The first then probably means that the Soma draught is ready for Yama; the second expresses the greatness of Yama by stating that all things are contained in him. tríkadrukebhis: this word, occurring six times in the RV., always appears in the pl., and always except here in the locative. It is four times directly connected with Soma, and once alludes to it; e. g. tríkadrukeṣu apibat sutásya he (Indra) drank of the pressed Soma in the three vessels(i. 32, 3). The term tríkadruka in the ritual of the Brāhmaṇas is the name of three days in a Soma ceremony. The metaphor of flying is applied to the flowing Soma compared with a bird, as ‘the god flies like a bird to settle in the vats’ (ix. 3, 1). The allusion therefore seems to be to the Soma which the priests are called upon to press in 13 a. ṣáḍ urví̄ḥ: this expression is probably equivalent to the three heavens and three earths: cp. tisró dyá̄vaḥ níhitā antár asmin, tisró bhú̄mīr úparāḥ, ṣáḍvidhānāḥ the three heavens are placed within him (Varuṇa) and the three earths below, forming a sixfold order(vii. 87, 5). ékam íd bṛhát: by this expression is probably meant the universe, otherwise spoken of as víśvam ékam, idám ékam &c., the one being contrasted with the six; cp. i. 164, 6, ví yás tastámbha ṣáḷ imá̄ rájāṃsi . . kím ápi svid ékam? who propped asunder these six spaces; what pray is the one? triṣṭúbh, gāyatrí̄: these two names of metres are only mentioned in this and one other hymn of the tenth Maṇḍala. This and the following four hymns (x. 15-18) are among the latest in the RV. The concluding stanza here, as in some hymns addressed to other deities, sums up the greatness of the god by saying that he embraces all things; cp. i. 32, 15 (Indra); v. 13, 6 (Agni).