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Among Vedanta philosophies, Advait of Shankaracharya, Vishishtadvait of Ramanujacharya and Dvait of Madhvacharya are most famous and widely followed.

Dvaitins believe Madhwa to be the avatar (incarnation) of Vayu, the wind God. They often quote Balitha Suktam from Rigved.

  • Some are of opinion that Balitha Suktam does not refer to Vayu but rather Agni.
  • While others are of opinion that it's later addition.

This answer here quotes the very same verse stating that Sayanacharya attributes the verse to Agni.

So to sum up my question

  1. Does Balith suktam appear in any version prior to Madhvacharya?
  2. If yes how have the others (Sayanacharya) interpreted it? Basically i'm looking for how the word "Madhwa" in Suktam is translated.

Here is balitha suktam in sanskrit:

अथ बळित्थासूक्तम्

बळित्थेति पश्चर्चस्य सूक्तस्य दीर्घतमा ऋषिः । वायुर्देवता । जगती छन्दः। बळित्था तद्वपुषे धायि दर्शतं देवस्य भर्गः सहसो यतो जनि । यदीमुप ह्वरते साधते मतिर्ऋतस्य॒ धेना अनयन्त सस्रुतः ॥१॥

पृक्षो वपुः पितुमान् नित्य आ शये द्वितीयमा सप्तर्शिवासु मातृषु । तृतीय॑मस्य वृषभस्य॑ दोहसे दमतिं जनयन्त योषणः ॥२॥

निर्यदर्दी बुध्नान्महिषस्य वर्पस ईशानासः शव॑सा क्रन्त सूरयः ।। यदीमर्नु प्रदिवो मध्वं आधवे गुहा सन्तं मातरिश्वा मायति ॥ प्र यत् पितुः परमान्नीयते पर्या पृक्षुधौ वीरुधो दंसु रोहति । उभा यदस्य जनुषं यदिन्वत आदिद् यविष्ठो अभवद् घृणा शुचिः ॥ आदिन्मातृराविशद् यास्वा शुचिरहिंस्यमान उर्विया वि वावृधे । अनु यत् पूर्वा अरुहत् सनाजुवो नि नव्य॑सीष्ववरासु धावते ॥५॥

॥ इति बळित्थासूक्तम् ॥

Edit1: This might help the users look up Sukt in Rigved :

  1. After little research I found this to be a in Book 1 Hymn 141
  2. However the English translation by Griffith attributes the Hymn to Agni as i have mentioned above and also Hymn looks completely different.
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    When dashavatara are not mentioned how will these be mentioned? Low quality post full of spelling mistakes Mar 26, 2020 at 10:56
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    Sri Suktam itself is not from the core Rig veda. Many later day additions were made in the name of Khilanis (appendices ) of Rig veda. Mar 26, 2020 at 13:22
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    Good question indeed. In my opinion, the word madhva - मध्व, indicates sweetness of honey. In RV 8.59.3 the word मध्व was used (सत्यं तदिन्द्रावरुणा कर्शस्य वां मध्व ऊर्मिं दुहते सप्त वाणीः |). It was translated by Jamison Brereton as - "This is really true, Indra and Varuṇa: the seven “voices” of Krśa milk out a wave of honey for you two.". It may not indicate Sri Madhvacharya.@Vishalprabhulawande Mar 26, 2020 at 16:04
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    Madhwacharya spelling is wrong. Suktam spelling is wrong. No translation included. Mar 26, 2020 at 18:48
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2 Answers 2

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The OP stated in one his comments as follows;


1) I'm looking for interpretation of this suktam by anyone prior to Madhwa (and if possible some counter to Madhwas interpretation if any).

2) Secondly I need to know if this Suktam as quoted by Madhwa exists in mool rigved or is latter addition*


1) Interpretation of this suktam by anyone prior to Madhwa

Madhvacharya (CE 1238–1317) was born on the west coast of Karnataka state in 13th-century India.

Much before Sri Madvacharya came into existence, Bṛhaddevatā by Shaunaka was in existence.

Bṛhaddevatā is an enlarged catalogue of the Rigvedic deities worshipped in the individual suktas (hymns) of the Rigveda. It also contains the myths and legends related to the composition of these suktas.

It consists eight adhyayas (chapters), mostly written in Anuṣṭubh meter, though a number of verses are in Triṣṭubh meter also. Each adhyaya comprises about 30 vargas, each consisting of five verses. The text begins with a long introduction embracing the complete first adhyaya, and twenty-five vargas of the second. The main body of the text beginning from the twenty-sixth varga of the second adhyaya, for the most part, is concerned with stating the deities, in their successive order, for the hymns and stanzas of the Rigveda. It also comprises nearly forty legends, described to explain the circumstances under which the hymns they are concerned with were composed.

In Bṛhaddevatā, Shaunaka briefly narrates about Hymns 140 to 144 of Mandala I. It was the Hymn I.141, which was quoted by Sri Madvacharya to prove that he was the incarnation of Vayu.

Shaunaka says about I.141 that it was dedicated to Agni, but not to Vayu. Extract of that page from Bṛhaddevatā was posted below.

enter image description here


2) Whether this Suktam as quoted by Madhwa exists in mool rigved

Yes. It exists in Rig Veda at I.141. These 2 sites are showing this sukta here and here.


madhvaḥ is the genitive case of madhu - Honey, (meaning “of madhu”) and has nothing to do with madhwacharya.

It was translated by Jamison Brereton as -

"This is really true, Indra and Varuṇa: the seven “voices” of Krśa milk out a wave of honey for you two."

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  • You could also add shayanacharya interpretation, specially the word "madhwa"; that would make it more complete. Thanx Apr 10, 2020 at 11:56
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Since I don't have enough reputation to put this as comment I am putting it here.

The answer by Srimannarayana K V gives the required information but I don't agree on one point. I think it is not true that Madhwacharya uses this hymn to prove that he is Vayu avatar. It is his devotees that use the hymn to prove the point. In fact Madhwacharya does not even try to prove it in any way but rather he just declares himself so in the end of some bhashyas/commentaries.

I also feel it is shameful to seek validation from a foreign author on this matter.

I suggest one should first refer and understand the Madhwa interpretation of the hymn. I got one succinct one in a blog. See the excerpt below for reference.

Doubts about baLitha sUkta:

When one comapres the baLitha sUkta & Madhwacharya’s biography would notice that Madhwacharya’s Ashrama nAma was pUrnaprajna & later he was named AnandatIrtha. But these names don’t find mention in baLitha sUkta. It mentions the words – Dashapramati & Madhwa. Hence some people accuse that he named himself as Madhwa to claim that he is avatar of vAyu. The explanation for this is as follows:

The language used in Vedas are cryptic. For ex, Purusha sUkta says “pAdOsya vishwA bhUtAni” which literally means God created universe with 25% of himself. In actual it means, God created universe with a negligible part of himself. Another ex, Taittariya Upanishad says that paramAtmA’s Ananda is 100 times greater than that of brahma devaru. Whereas it doesn’t mean exactly 100 times but means many folds higher. This is justified in the continuation part of the same context where it is said that paramAtmA’s Ananda can’t be defined in numbers, it is infinite. In this context, Dasha = pUrna Pramati = prajna (known) Hence, dashapramati means pUrnaprajna. Coming to AnandatIrtha, Madhu = sweet = AnandadAyaka Va = sacred water/ tirtha [Vam is the beejamantra for jala (water)] Hence, Madhu + va = Ananda + tirtha. Madhwa = AnandatIrtha

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