Saturday, March 13, 2010

Unity in Diversity: Rig Veda(10.129)" nAsadIya sUkta (3)

Unity in Diversity in SanAtana is grounded in the Rig Veda, It may well have originated in the charming humility of the Nasadiya verse :Rig Veda(10.129)
“[In the beginning] there was neither being nor non-being … [but] who really knows? … [for] the gods came afterwards.” This questioning attitude, might also have led to the invention of a god whose name was the interrogative pronoun, [ka.] For the creator once asked Indra, “Who am I?” Indra replied, “Just what you said: Who.” And this is how the creator got the name, Ka or Who.
In all humility, and with due reverence to all the sages and scholars who have interpreted the famous 'nAsadIya sUkta', I have attempted a compilation of some interpretations of the SUkta, adding my own thoughts to the discussions.
It is intended to lay a basis for further meditation on it.All the seven verses will be taken up one by one.
To gain consensus on translation, many available ones are given.

Text Interpretations

tama AsIttamasA gUhLamagre praketaM | salilaM sarvamAidam |
tuchChenAbhvapihitaM yadAsIt | tamasastanmahinA jAyataikam || 3 ||

At first in darkness hidden darkness lay,
Undistinguished as one mass of water,
Then That which lay in void thus covered
A glory did put forth by Tapah!

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

Wilson, HH:
There was darkness covered by darkness in the beginning,
all this (world) undistinguishable water;
that empty united (world) which was covered by a mere nothing,
was produced through the power of austerity.

Max Mueller:
Darkness there was, in the beginning;
all this was a sea without light;
the germ that lay covered by the husk,
that One was born by the power of heat (tapas).

Raimundo Panikkar
Darkness was there, all wrapped around by darkness,
and all was Water indiscriminate, Then
that which was hidden by Void, that One, emerging,
stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.

The literal meaning is perhsps 'Darkness (tama) lay in darkness (tamasa) hidden (guha) at first (agre), (or so) it appeared (praketa).' All the four interpretations covey same meaning.

'salilaM' means 'water', 'sarvamAidam' is 'all, everywhere'. The interpretations correspond to each other.

tuchCha=void, empty, abhva=immense, monstrous, pihita=covered, concealed; Max Mueller takes 'tuch' for 'germ, offspring, children' and 'tuchCha' for 'husk'.

'tapasa' is 'heat' and 'stan' as 'crackle (as of fire)' corroborates it; 'mahina' means 'sovereignty, dominion' and 'mahIna' is 'earth-ruler'; 'jAyate' is 'born of' and 'aikam' is 'the One'. Thus, the personal god, the 'earth-ruler' was born of It by its own heat of 'tapas' caused by the earlier 'vibration' in verse 2.

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