The blog post Equality In Vedas lists these two hymns from the Rigveda in support of its view that all men are equal.

The Vedas teach equality among the people in society. No one is superior or no one is inferior. We find Samaanatha in the Vedas.

Te ajyesthaa akanisthaasa udbhido amadhyamaaso mahasaa vi vavridhuh |
sujaataaso janushaa prishnimataro divo marya aa no achaa jigatana || – Rig: 5-59-6

Among these men there are no superiors or no inferiors, no middle ones either. They become great from small beginnings. They make progress in different ways by dint of their merits. By birth they are all highborn because they are all children of Mother-Earth. O you men of the Lord Refulgent! be available to us in a loveable manner or grow into praise-worthy souls in fair ways.

Ajyesthaaso akanislliaasa ete sam bhraataro vaavridhuh saubhagaaya|
yuva pita swapaa rudra eshaam sudhughaa prishnih sudinaa marudbhayah|| – Rig: 5-60-5

These men are without superiors and without inferiors. They are mutually brothers. They march onwards for prosperity. The eternally youthful, the soul protecting, grief alleviating God is their father. The richly feeding Mother-Earth produces happy days to these mortals.

What does 'these men' here really mean? If these hymns are actually praising a certain class of gods (Maruts?), is 'men' the right word to use?

Are these verses taken out of context by the blog writer and (incorrectly) applied to all men?

  • There is no word related to 'men' in the first verse. It says literally: 'These male entities are not superiors, not inferiors...'. I have mentioned 'entities' while it literally says 'these males'. In english, the word 'males' refers to humans so it's tough to exactly translate. The second comment is also similar. Aug 31 '18 at 23:16
  • Likewise there is no reason given to why they are highborn. It just says 'highborn children of'. The 'because' is added by the author. Aug 31 '18 at 23:27

''These men'' definitely refers to Maruts, because Marut is term which refers to a group of people/ warrior every where in Rig Veda. Besides at many places in Rig Veda Prishni is referred as mother of Marut and Rudra as father and both are mentioned in these two verses mentioned in the question.

The translation is also incorrect as Prishni does not mean ' Mother-Earth' in Rig Veda, but as a group of women. As Prishis were beautiful and lived in caves (ref.RV.4.5.10), also beautiful Prishnis used to seat on animal skins and gave form to Jabaaru ( ref. RV.4.5.7) [both translations are mine,since no further reference about Jabaaru is available,it may be initial name of Maruts]. Also Rudra is translated as God without qualifying it.

Let us see the word by word translation of the verse RV.5.59.6 -

te ajyesthA akanisthAs udbhido amadhyamAso mahasA vi vAvridhu.

sujAtAso janusA prishnimAtaro divo maryA A no achhA jigAtan.

They no superior no junior developed among twelve greatly then flourished.

having good birth men prishni mother light of mortals come us good approach.

note. - the term mAs is usually translated as 'month' but it has also a symbolic meaning of 'twelve' which symbolises twelve Aditya here and more appropriate than 'month'.(see - www.spokensanskrit.org )

Now this verse in current grammatical form -

They have no superior and no junior, they developed in the midst of twelve Aditya and greatly flourished.

These men having good birth from mother Prishni, the light of mortals, come to us in a good approach.

Thus the Rishi Shyaavashava Aatreya describes equality among Maruts and not about all men. In the mandala 5 the Rishi devotes hymns 52 to 61 exclusively to Maruts.

  • 'As Prishis were beautiful and lived in caves (ref.RV.4.5.10)' - Whose translation are you using for your conclusions/commentary? Can you post link to it? Or is the answer based your own translation of the original hymns (if so please mention the same in your answer). Right now the answer seems as though you're speaking from authority as you have not provided English meaning of Sanskrit words used in the hymns nor the complete translation of any hymns. Sep 2 '18 at 15:19
  • @sv. okay I will provide complete translation of the hymn , would you please specify which one - the one which is mentioned in the question or the one which I quoted in the answer ? It's my own translation, that too I will mention. since I am workinng on the localisation of Rig Veda for last 6 years, I find most of the translations fraught with misinterpretation. Thanks for asking. Sep 2 '18 at 16:57
  • 1
    Thanks for updating your answer with some translations. Since my question mentioned two verses I was hoping a good answer will start off providing the "correct" translation of those two and also of any additional hymns used as reference. Good luck with your work! Sep 3 '18 at 19:26
  • @B.N.Bhaskar: Pṛśni is just one person and not many "females". The verses you refer to all use the singular "pṛ́šner" etc. Please edit your answer to correct this serious and misleading mistake. Thanks! Sep 28 '18 at 5:35
  • @PeriannanChandrasekaran Can you please specify what makes you think Prisni as singular ? Oct 2 '18 at 1:38

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