Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unity in Diversity: Rig Veda(10.129)" nAsadIya sUkta (5)

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

tirashchIno vitato rashmireShAmadhaH | svidAsI duparisvidAsI |
retodhA AsanmahimAn Asanna | svadho avastAt prayatiH parastAt || 5 ||

Vivekananda:
Creative then became the glory,
With self-sustaining principle below.
And Creative Energy above.

Krishnananda:
And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

Wilson, HH:
Their ray was stretched out, whether across,
or below, or above;
(some) were shedders of seed, (others) were mighty;
food was inferior, the eater was superior.

Max Mueller:
Their ray which was stretched across,
was it below or was it above?
There were seed bearers,
there were powers, self-power below, and will above.
Raimundo Panikkar
A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,
thrust from below and forward move above.

tiras - across, apart; vitata - spreading, extending; rashmi - a string or cord, a beam or ray of light; and 'reSha' is 'to howl, yell'; adhas - there, in that (remote) place'; svid - whether, or; upari - upward; AsIt - it was'.

My thoughts: 'tiras' is 'across, apart', 'vitata' is 'spreading, extending', 'rashmi' is 'a string or cord, a beam or ray of light' and 'reSha' is 'to howl, yell'. As the rays of 'kAma' spread in all directions, further creation happened by insemination, signifying the advent of duality.

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