While I was searching about cows in the Vedas and Grihya sutras, I came across a mantra from Vajasaneyi Samhita of Shukla Yajurveda. This mantra is chanted by the bridegroom during the madhuparka ceremony in marriages.

I say this to Rudra's mother, to the Vasu's daughter, to Aditya's sister, to the navel of immortality- to the one who understands: Do not kill the innocent cow, the Aditi, the knower of the speech who raises her voice.... Let loose the cow. Don’t kill this cow for me release her, let her drink water and eat grass!" - (And) gives order (to the people), 'Om! Let it loose

Hiranya Keshin Grihya sutras I prashna, 4 Patala Section 13

This is talking about Madhuparka ceremony where the guests are offered meat and then he refuses. In these mantras, there is a mention of Rudra's mother, Vasu's daughter, Aditya's sister and the navel of immortality. Who are these? Is it a reference to a single person or different persons talked about here?

I couldn't find a detailed translation and explanation of these mantras. I could only find that these are examples of mercy and sanctity towards cows by naming them as Goddess in the Vedas and other scriptures. What is the complete meaning of the mantras and complete context these mantras were heard by the rishis?


1 Answer 1


This verse is also found in Rig Veda, Mandala 8, Sukta 101, Verse 15-16 as given below:

माता रुद्राणां दुहिता वसूनां सवसादित्यानामम्र्तस्य नाभिः |
पर नु वोचं चिकितुषे जनाय मा गामनागामदितिं वधिष्ट ||

  1. (She who is) the mother of the Rudras, the daughter of the Vasus, the sister of the Adityas, the home of ambrosia, I have spoken to men of understanding,-kill not her, the sinless inviolate cow.

वचोविदं वाचमुदीरयन्तीं विश्वाभिर्धीभिरुपतिष्ठमानाम |
देवीं देवेभ्यः पर्येयुषीं गामा माव्र्क्त मर्त्यो दभ्रचेताः ||

  1. The divine cow, who herself utters, speech and gives speech to others, who comes attended by every kind of utterance, who helps me for my worship of the gods,-it is only the fool who abandons her.

Devata of the verse 15 and 16 is Gau (cow) and Chhanda is Trishtup. Since these verses are dedicated to Gau, so I think Mother of Rudras, daughter of Vasus and sister of Adityas are not many women but is Gau.

According to the story of Shiva Purana, Section 3 - Śatarudra-saṃhitā, Chapter 18, Eleven Rudras were the children of Kashyapa and Surabhi (celestial cow). When all Devas were defeated by Danavas, sage Kashyapa eulogized Lord Shiva, then Lord Shiva promised him to born as his child. So, Gau is said to be mother of Rudras.

  1. On being thus requested, lord, Śiva said “So be it” and?ven as he was watching he vanished there.

  2. Kaśyapa too was delighted. Immediately he returned to his abode. He eagerly intimated to the gods all the details.

  3. Then, in order to keep his promise Śiva was born of Surabhi assuming eleven forms.

  4. There was great jubilation then. Everything became auspicious. The gods and the sage Kaśyapa became delighted.

26-27. These are the eleven Rudras born of Surabhī (1) Kapālin (2) Piṅgala (3) Bhīma (4) Virūpākṣa (5) Vilohita (6) Śāstṛ (7) Ajapād (8) Ahirbudhnya (9) Śiva (10) Caṇḍa and (11) Bhava. They were born for the aid to the gods. They are identical with Śiva and the cause of happiness.

  • 1
    seems possibility bcz Surabhi is mentioned differently in scriptures.. wife of Brahma (i.e. mother of Rudras), daughter of Kashyapa (i.e. sister of Adityas), and Vasus stole cows so may be can be called their daughter.... though surprisingly few scriptures mention Surabhi as Prajapati Daksha's daughter, Kashyapa's wife...may be all possible due to Kalpa/Manvantara bheda....
    – YDS
    Dec 26, 2018 at 2:29
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    How is Gau mother of Rudras, daughter of Vasus or sister of Adityas? Can you back up that? Dec 28, 2018 at 6:05

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