Translator Ralph T.H. Griffith
THE THIRD BOOK page 1
HYMN I. Agni.
1. THOU, Agni, who wilt have the strong, hast made me the Soma’s priest, to worship in assembly.
Thou shinest to the Gods, I set the pressstones. I toil; be joyful in thyself, O Agni.
2. East have we turned the rite; may the hymn aid it. With wood and worship shall they honour Agni.
From heaven the synods of the wise have learnt it: c’en for the quick and strong they seek advancement.
3. The Prudent, he whose will is pure, brought welfare, allied by birth to Heaven and Earth in kinship.
The Gods discovered in the midst of waters beautiful Agni with the Sisters’ labour.
4. Him, Blessed One, the Seven strong Floods augmented, him white at birth and red when waxen mighty.
As mother mares run to their new-born you ling, so at his birth the Gods wondered at Agni.
5. Spreading with radiant limbs throughout the region, purging his power with wise purifications,
Robing himself in light, the life of waters, lie spreads abroad his high and perfect glories.
6. He sought heaven’s Mighty Ones, the unconsuming, the unimpaired, not clothed and yet not naked.
Then they, ancient and young, who dwell together, Seven sounding Rivers, as one germ received him.
7. His piles, assuming every form, are scattered where flow sweet waters, at the spring of fatness;
There stood the milch-kine with full-laden udders, and both paired Mighty Mothers of the Wondrous.
8. Carefully cherished, Son of Strength, thou shoncst assuming lasting and refulgent beauties.
Full streams of fatness and sweet juice descended, there where the Mighty One grew strong by wisdom.
9. From birth he knew even his Father’s bosom, he set his voices and his streams in motion;
Knew him who moved with blessed Friends in secret, with the young Dames of heaven. He stayed not hidden.
10. He nursed the Infant of the Sire and Maker: alone the Babe sucked many a teeming bosom.
Guard, for the Bright and Strong, the fellow-spouses friendly to men and bound to him in kinship.
11. The Mighty One increased in space unbounded; full many a glorious flood gave strength to Agni.
Friend of the house, within the lap of Order lay Agni, in the Sister Rivers’ service.
12. As keen supporter where great waters gather, light-shedder whom the brood rejoice to look on;
He who begat, and will beget, the dawnlights, most manly, Child of Floods, is youthful Agni.
13. Him, varied in his form, the lovely Infant of floods and plants the blessed wood hath gendered.
Gods even, moved in spirit, came around him, and served him at his birth, the Strong, the Wondrous.
14. Like brilliant lightnings, mighty luminaries accompany the light-diffusing Agni,
Waxen, as ’twere in secret, in his dwelling, while in the boundless stall they milk out Amrta.
15. I sacrificing serve thee with oblations and crave with longing thy good-will and friendship.
Grant, with the Gods, thy grace to him who lauds thee, protect us with thy rays that guard the homestead.
16. May we, O Agni, thou who leadest wisely, thy followers and masters of all treasures,
Strong in the glory of our noble offspring, subdue the godless when they seek the battle.
17. Ensign of Gods hast thou become, O Agni, joy-giver, knower of all secret wisdom.
Friend of the homestead, thou hast lightened mortals: carborne thou goest to the Gods, fulfilling.
18. Within the house hath sate the King immortal of mortals, filling full their sacred synods.
Bedewed with holy oil he shineth widely, Agni, the knower of all secret wisdom.
19. Come unto us with thine auspicious friendship, come speeding, Mighty, with thy mighty succours.
Grant us abundant wealth that saves from danger, that brings a good repute, a glorious portion.
20. To thee who art of old these songs, O Agni, have I declared, the ancient and the later.
These great libations to the Strong are offiered: in every birth is Jatavedas stablished.
21. Stablished in every birth is Jatavedas, kindled perpetual by the Visvamitras.
May we rest ever in the loving-kindness, in the auspicious grace of him the Holy.
22. This sacrifice of ours do thou, O Mighty, O truly Wise, bear to the Gods rejoicing.
Grant us abundant food, thou priestly Herald, vouchsafe to give us ample wealth, O Agni.
23. As holy food, Agni, to thine’invoker give wealth in cattle, lasting, rich in marvels.
To us he born a son, and spreading offspring. Agni, be this thy gracious will to us-ward.
HYMN II. Agni.
1. To him, Vaisvanara, who strengthens Holy Law, to Agni we present our praise like oil made pure.
With thoughtful insight human priests bring him anear, our Herald from of old, as an axe forms a car.
2. He made the heaven and earth resplendent by his birth: Child of two Mothers he was meet to be implored,
Agni, oblation-bearer, gracious, ever-young, infallible, rich in radiant light, the guest of men.
3. Within the range of their surpassinq power, by might, the Gods created Agni with inventive thought.
I, eager to win strength, address him, like a steed, resplendent with his brilliance, with his ample light.
4. Eager to gain, we crave from him the friendly God strength confident, choiceworthy meet to be extolled:
The Bhrgus’ bounty, willing, strong with sages’ lore, even Agni shining forth with light that comes from heaven.
5. For happiness, men, having trimmed the sacred grass, set Agni glorious for his strength before them here;
Yea, with raised ladles, him bright, dear to all the Gods, perfecting aims of works, Rudra of solemn rites.
6. Around thy dwelling-place, O brightly-shining Priest, are men at sacrifice, whose sacred grass is trimmed.
Wishing to do thee service, Agni, they are there, desirous of thy friendship grant them store of wealth.
7. He hath filled heaven and earth and the great realm of light, when at his birth the skilful held him in their hold.
He like a horse is led forth to the sacrifice Sage, graciously inclined, that he may win us strength.
8. Honour the oblation-bearer, him who knows fair rites, serve ye the Household Friend who knows all things that be.
He drives the chariot of the lofty ordinance: Agni most active, is the great High Priest of Gods.
9. They who are free from death, fain for him, purified three splendours of the mighty Agni, circling all.
To man, for his enjoyment, one of these they gave: the other two have passed into the sister sphere.
10. Man’s sacrificial food hath sharpened like an axe, for brightness, him the Sage of men, the people’s Lord,
Busied with sacred rites he mounts and he descends. He hath laid down his vital germ within these worlds.
11. He stirs with life in wombs dissimilar in kind, born as a Lion or a loudly-bellowing Bull:
Vaisvanara immortal with wide-reaching might, bestowing goods and wealth on him who offiers gifts.
12. Vaisvanara, as of old, mounted the cope of heaven, heaven’s ridge, well greeted, by those skilled in noble songs.
He, as of old, producing riches for the folk, still watchful, traversesthe common way again.
13. For new prosperity we seek to Agni, him whose course is splendid, gold-haired, excellently bright,
Whom Matarisvan stablished, dweller in the heaven, meet for high praise and holy, sage and true to Law.
14. As pure and swift of course, beholder of the light, who stands in heaven’s bright sphere a sign, who wakes at dawn,
Agni, the head of heaven, whom none may turn aside-to him the Powerful with mighty prayer we seek.
15. The cheerful Priest, the pure, in whom no guile is found, Friend of the House, praise-worthy, dear to all mankind,
Fair to behold for beauty like a splendid car,- Agni the Friend of men we ever seek for wealth.
HYMN III. Agni.
1. To him who shines afar, Vaisvanara, shall bards give precious things that he may go on certain paths:
For Agni the Immortal serves the Deities, and therefore never breaks their everlasting laws.
2. He, wondrous envoy, goes between the earth and heaven, firm seated as the Herald, great High Priest of men.
He compassethwith rays the lofty dwelling-place, Agni, sent forward by the Gods, enriched with piayer.
3. Sages shall glorify Agni with earnest thoughts, ensign of sacrifice, who fills the synod full:
In whom the singers have stored up their holy acts to him the worshipper looks for joy and happiness.
4. The Sire of sacrifice, great God of holy bards, Agni, the measure and the symbol of the priests,
Hath entered heaven and earth that show in varied form: the Sage whom many love rejoiceth in his might.
5. Bright Agni with the bright car, Lord of green domains, Vaisvanara dweller in the floods, who finds the light,
Pervading, swift and wild, encompassed round with powers, him very glorious have the Gods established here.
6. Agni, together with the Gods and Manu’s folk by thought extending sacrifice in varied form,
Goes, car-borne, to and fro with those who crown each rite, the fleet, the Household Friend, who turns the curse aside.
7. Sing, Agni, for long life to us and noble sons: teem thou with plenty, shine upon us store of food.
Increase the great man’s strength, thou ever-vigilant: thou, longing for the Gods, knowest their hymns full well.
8. The Mighty One, Lord of the people and their guest, the leader of their thoughts, devoted Friend of priests,
Our solemn rites’ announcer, Jatavedas, men with worship ever praise, with urgings for their weal.
9. Agni the God resplendent, giver of great joy, hath on his lovely car compassed the lands with, might.
Let us with pure laudations in his house approach the high laws of the nourisher of multitudes.
10. I celebrate thy glories, O Vaisvanara, wherewith thou, O farsighted God, has found the light.
Thou filledst at thy birth both worlds, the earth and heaven: all this, O Agni, hast thou compassed of thyself.
11. By his great skill the Sage alone hath brought to pass a great deed, mightier than Vaisvanara’s wondrous acts.
Agni sprang into being, magnifying both his Parents, Heaven and Earth, rich in prolific seed.