I was reading the Rig Veda and saw that a lot of versions leave out lines 5-9 in book 10 hymn 61. Is there a reason why? (Did Ralph T.H. Griffith forget to translate them?)

I believe these are the correct lines,

Membrum suum virile, quod vrotentum fuerat, mas ille retraxit. Rursus illud quod in juvenem filiam sublatum fuerat, non aggressurus, ad se rerahit.

परथिष्ट यस्य वीरकर्ममिष्णदनुष्ठितं नु नर्योपौहत
पुनस्तदा वर्हति यत कनाया दुहितुरानुभ्र्तमनर्वा ||

Quum jam in medio connessu, semiperfecto opere, amorem in puellam pater impleverat, ambo discedentes seminis paulum in terrae superficiem sacrorum sede effusum emiserunt.

मध्या यत कर्त्वमभवदभीके कामं कर्ण्वाणेपितरि युवत्याम |
मनानग रेतो जहतुर्वियन्ता सानौनिषिक्तं सुक्र्तस्य योनौ ||

Quum pater suam nilam adiverat, cum eā congressus suum semen supra viram effudit. Tum Dii benigni precem (brahma) progenuerunt, et Vastoshpatim, legum sacrarum custodem, formaverunt.

पिता यत सवां दुहितरमधिष्कन कष्मया रेतःसंजग्मानो नि षिञ्चत |
सवाध्यो.अजनयन बरह्म देवावास्तोष पतिं वरतपां निरतक्षन ||

Ille tauro similis spumam in certamine jactavit, tunc discedens pusillaximis huc profectus est. Quasi dextro pede claudus processit, "inutiles fuerunt illi mei complexus," ita locutus.

स ईं वर्षा न फेनमस्यदाजौ समदा परैदपदभ्रचेताः |
सरत पदा न दक्षिणा पराव्रं न ता नुमे पर्शन्यो जग्र्भ्रे ||


1 Answer 1


There is a reason why Ralph T.H. Griffith chose to translate these four verses into Latin rather than English: it's because they have inappropriate content. I'm largely in agreement with Griffith's choice (although we should take note that Latin was more widely understood in Griffith's day than in ours). Still, since you're interested, here is how the newly released 3-volume Oxford University Press translation of the Rig Veda renders these verses (I put it in a spoiler tag because of the inappropriate content)

enter image description here

This is a reference to the story of how Brahma attempted to commit incest with his daughter Saraswati, and to stop him Shiva cut off Brahma'a fifth head.

Here is what the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda says about these verses:

Pragâpati conceived a passion for his own daughter... 'May I pair with her!' thus (thinking) he united with her. This, assuredly, was a sin in the eyes of the gods. 'He who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister, [commits a sin],' they thought. The gods then said to this god who rules over the beasts (Rudra), 'This one, surely, commits a sin who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister. Pierce him!' Rudra, taking aim, pierced him. Half of his seed fell to the ground. And thus it came to pass. Accordingly it has been said by the Rishi with reference to that (incident), 'When the father embraced his daughter, uniting with her, he dropped his seed on the earth.'

I put the last sentence in bold because the statement that "has been said by the Rishi" is just the first line of verse 7 above. By the way, in case you're wondering the Rishi who heard this Rig Vedic hymn from the gods is Nabhanedistha son of Manu (as you can see in the Rig Veda Anukramani in my answer here) which is why this hymn is often called the Nabhanedistha Sukta.

EDIT: MGM pointed out in the comments that Griffiths also omitted parts of Rig Veda Book 10 Hymn 86, and this time he didn't even put them into Latin. So here is the new Oxford translation's rendering of the hymn (again, in a spoiler tag due to inappropriate content):

enter image description here

  • @MGM You're welcome. By the way, there are two hymns in book 1 where Griffith does the same thing: sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01126.htm and sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01179.htm Oct 20, 2014 at 16:49
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    Is there an open source version of the complete texts in English? The text in Mandala 8 sections 49-103 don't really match up at all in the Ralph T.H. Griffith version. He added ten lines in chapter 49 and just left out nine lines in chapter 102.
    – MGM
    Oct 26, 2014 at 22:51
  • @MGM Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by an "open source" version. And what do you mean the hymns "don't really match up"? Match up with what? Are you saying they don't match up with the Sanskrit, or what? Oct 26, 2014 at 23:20
  • I figured it out. Mandala 8 line order in English is out-of- order because of how the appendix is incorporated. Now I'm searching for Mandala 10 Chapter 86 lines 16-17, which seem to be missing. I was wondering if there was only the Griffith translation online.
    – MGM
    Oct 27, 2014 at 4:42
  • @MGM No, Horace Hyman Wilson's translation of the Rig Veda is also freely available online: geocities.ws/ravi_sans Note that Wilson's translation hues much closer to Sayana's commentary on the Rig Veda, whereas Griffith tries to stay more faithful to the original Sanskrit. But I think the best Rig Veda translation is the new Oxford 3-volume one, although it's really expensive. (And the ebook of it is equally expensive for some reason!) Oct 29, 2014 at 5:59

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