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HYMN OF THE GAMBLER - 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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HYMN OF THE GAMBLER
This is one, among the secular hymns, of a group of four which have a didactic character. It is the lament of a gambler who, unable to resist the fascination of the dice, deplores the ruin he has brought on himself and his family. The dice (akṣá̄s) consisted of the nuts of a large tree called vibhí̄daka (Terminalia bellerica), which is still utilized for this purpose in India.
x. 34. Metre: Triṣṭubh; 7. Jagatī.
See Page Number 186, Hymn Number 1 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The dangling ones, born in a windy place, of the lofty (tree) gladden me as they roll on the dice-board. Like the draught of the Soma from Mūjavant, the enlivening Vibhīdaka has pleased me.
várvṛtānās: int. pt. of vṛt turn. Maujavatásya: coming from Mount Mūjavant as the best. achān: 3. s. s ao. of chand (p. 164, 5). Verbs meaning to please take the dat. (p. 311 h).
See Page Number 186, Hymn Number 2 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
She does not scold me, she is not angry: she was kind to friends and to me. For the sake of a die too high by one I have driven away a devoted wife.
mimetha: pf. of mith dispute. jihīḷa: pf. of hīḍ be angry(cp. p. 3, f. n. 2). sákhibhyas: dat. (p. 313, 3). ekaparásya: according to the accent this is a Tp. adj., exceeding by one, alluding to an unlucky throw (called kali) in which when the number of dice thrown is divided by four one remains over (while in the best throw, the kṛta, nothing remains over). ápa arodham: root ao. of rudh obstruct. The meaning of the stanza is: ‘rejecting the kindly advice of my wife, I gambled and lost’.
See Page Number 188, Hymn Number 3 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
My mother-in-law hates me; my wife drives me away: the man in distress finds none to pity him: ‘I find no more use in a gambler than in an aged horse that is for sale.’
ápa ruṇaddhi (3. s. pr. of rudh): turns him away when he asks for money to gamble with. nāthitás: the gambler speaks of himself in the 3. prs. áśvasyaᴗiva: agreeing with kitavásya. járatas: pr. pt. of jṝ waste away. kitavásya bhógam: objective gen. (p. 320, B b).
See Page Number 188, Hymn Number 4 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Others embrace the wife of him for whose possessions the victorious die has been eager. Father, mother, brothers say of him, ‘we know him not, lead him away bound’.
ágṛdhat: a ao. of gṛdh be greedy, governing védane, loc. of the object (p. 325, 1 c). vājí̄: to be read with a short final (p. 437, a 4, cp. p. 441, 4 a); accent, p. 450, b. āhur: pf. of ah say. jānīmas: 1. pl. pr. of jñā know. náyatā: accented as beginning a new sentence (p. 466, 19 a); final vowel metrically lengthened (cp. p. 441, line 2). baddhám: as a debtor.
See Page Number 189, Hymn Number 5 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
When I think to myself, ‘I will not go with them; I shall be left behind by my friends as they depart (to play)’, and the brown ones, thrown down, have raised their voices, I go straight, like a courtesan, to their place of assignation.
ā-dí̄dhye: 1. s. pr. Ā. of dhī think. daviṣāṇi: iṣ ao. sb. of du go (of which other forms occur in the AA. and the YV.); some scholars think the sense of play to be so necessary that this must be an irr. form (iṣ ao. sb.) from div play (like a-ṣṭhaviṣam, in a Sūtra, from ṣṭhiv spit). ebhis: with the friends. áva hīye: ps. of 1. hā leave; I am left behind with abl. (cp. 201 A 1). uptās: pp. of vap strew. ákrata: 3. pl. Ā. root ao. of kṛ, accented because still dependent on yád. Here we have a Jagatī Pāda interposed in a Triṣṭubh stanza (cp. p. 445, f. n. 7); the same expression, vá̄cam akrata, by ending a Pāda in vii. 103, 8 produces a Jagatī Pāda in a Triṣṭubh stanza. The final vowel of the vb. is here nasalized to avoid the hiatus at the end of the Pāda (cp. i. 35, 6 a); viii. 29, 6 a; see p. 23, f. n. 1). émi íd: I go at once(p. 218). eṣām: of the dice.
See Page Number 189, Hymn Number 6 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The gambler goes to the assembly hall, asking himself, ‘shall I conquer’, trembling with his body. The dice run counter to his desire, bestowing on his adversary at play the lucky throws.
tanvà̄: accent, p. 450, 2 b. śú̄śujānas: as this pt. is the only form of the vb. occurring, and is itself only found in one other passage (also with tanvà̄), its exact meaning is doubtful; but it must express either fear or confidence. tiranti: 3. pl. pr. of tṝ cross. pratidí̄van: dec., 90, 3; dat. with verbs of giving (200 A 1). á̄ dadhatas: N. pl. pr. pt. of dhā (156, p. 181, top) agreeing with akṣá̄sas; with prp. following (p. 462, 13 a α). kṛtá̄ni: probably in the specific sense of the highest throws, pl. of n. kṛtám.
See Page Number 190, Hymn Number 7 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
The dice are hooked, piercing, deceitful, burning and causing to burn; presenting gifts like boys, striking back the victors, sweetened with honey by magic power over the gambler.
tāpayiṣṇávas: causing the gambler to pain others by his losses. kumārá-deṣṇās: giving gifts and then taking them back like children. punarháṇas: winning back from the winner, equivalent in sense to the preceding word; Sandhi, 65 b. sáṃ-pṛktās: pp. of pṛc mix. barháṇā: inst. s. (p. 77); with objective gen. (p. 320).
See Page Number 191, Hymn Number 8 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Their host of three fifties plays like god Savitṛ whose laws are true: they bow not before the wrath of even the mighty; even a king pays them obeisance.
tripañcāśás: the evidence is in favour of interpreting this word as meaning consisting of three fifties, not consisting of fifty-three, as the number of dice normally used. devá iva Savitá̄: the point of the comparison is that the action of the dice is as independent of the will of others as the action of Savitṛ, who observes fixed laws of his own (iv. 53, 4; x. 139, 3), and whose will and independent dominion no being, not even Indra, Varuṇa, Mitra, Aryaman, Rudra can resist (ii. 38, 7. 9; v. 82, 2). ná̄: the only example in the RV. of the metrical lengthening of ná. namante, námas: with dat. (p. 311, k and 312, 2 a).
See Page Number 191, Hymn Number 9 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
They roll down, they spring upward. Though without hands, they overcome him that has hands. Divine coals thrown down upon the gaming-board, being cold, they burn up the heart.
Every Pāda in this stanza contains an antithesis: nīcá̄—upári; ahastá̄saḥ — hástavantam; divyá̄ḥ — íriṇe; śītá̄ḥ — nír dahanti. divyá̄s: alluding to their magic power over the gambler; cp. barháṇā in 7 d. áṅgārās: the dice are compared with bits of charcoal lying in a hollow; cp. ŚB. v. 3, 1, 10: adhidévanaṃ vá̄ agnís, tásya eté ’ṅgārā yád akṣá̄ḥ the gaming-board is fire, the dice are its coals.
See Page Number 192, Hymn Number 10 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Forsaken the wife of the gambler is grieved, the mother (too) of the son that wanders who knows where. Indebted, fearing, desiring money he approaches at night the house of others.
hīná̄: pp. of hā leave. putrásya: the gambler. tapyate must be supplied with mātá̄. ṛṇā-vá̄: lengthening of final a before v (15, 1 c). bíbhyat: pr. pt. of bhī fear. úpa eti: probably for the purpose of stealing, to explain c. náktam: see 178, 2; 195 A 5 a.
See Page Number 192, Hymn Number 11 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
It pains the gambler when he sees a woman, the wife of others, and their well-ordered home. Since he yokes the brown horses in themorning, he falls down (in the evening) near the fire, a beggar.
tatāpa: used impersonally with the acc.; this and the following two perfects may be translated as presents, because they express habitual actions continued into and included in the pr. (213 A a). dṛṣṭvá̄ya: gd. of dṛś see, agreeing with kitavám as the virtual subject (210). stríyam (p. 88, β): jāyá̄m as apposition, a woman who is the wife of others; that is, when he sees the wives of others and their comfortable homes, he is reminded of the unhappiness of his own wife and the bareness of his own home. áśvān: the brown dice are here figuratively called horses, which he yokes; that is, he begins a long spell of gambling with them. papāda: he consequently falls down, exhausted and overcome, on the ground beside the fire in the evening, having lost everything.
See Page Number 193, Hymn Number 12 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
To him who as the general of your great throng, as king has become the first of your host, I stretch forth my ten fingers—‘I withhold no money—this is truth I say’.
yó vaḥ: no specific die is meant, the expression only implying a chief, in the abstract, of the total number of dice played with. dáśa kṛṇomi prá̄cīḥ: I put the ten (sc. fingers) forward, that is, I stretch out my two hands. prá̄cīs: A. pl. f. of prá̄ñc, used predicatively (198, 1). tásmai: dat. of advantage (200 B 1). ná dhaná̄ ruṇadhmi: that is, ‘I have no money left for you;’ these words in sense come after prá̄cīs, expressing what is implied by that gesture. ṛtám: predicative, I say this as true(198, 1).
See Page Number 194, Hymn Number 13 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
‘Play not with dice; ply thy tillage; rejoice in thy property, thinking much of it; there are thy cattle, O gambler, there thy wife’: this Savitṛ here, the noble, reveals to me.
This stanza is spoken by the gambler, who in a-c quotes the advice of Savitṛ. dīvyas: 2. s. inj. of div play with má̄ (p. 240). ramasva: with loc. (204, 1 a). tátra: cattle and wife can be regained by acquiring wealth. caṣṭe: 3. s. pr. of cakṣ. me: dat. (200 A c). ayám: as actually present. aryás: noble, as upholder of moral law.
See Page Number 194, Hymn Number 14 in PDF for Sanskrit Version
Pray make friendship, be gracious to us. Do not forcibly bewitch us with magic power. Let your wrath, your enmity now come to rest. Letanother now be in the toils of the brown ones.
mṛḷátā (2. pl. ipv. of mṛḍ, p. 3, n. 2): accented as beginning a new sentence; with final vowel metrically lengthened. nas: dat. (p. 311, f). carataᴗabhí: with prp. following the vb. (p. 468, 20 A). dhṛṣṇú: acc. adv. (p. 301, b). In this final stanza the gambler adjures the dice to release him from their magical power.