I'm trying to find exact verse where shyama-ayas and/or krishna-ayas are mentioned in Vedic samhitas, brahmanas, aranyakas and upanishads.

I could find a lot of pages claiming such references exist. Many say that they exist in Atharvaveda. But I haven't actually found any page with actual verse.

Searching Vedas using the following didn't yield any results.

Search Results for कृष्णा (Krishna) in all Vedas

Search Results for स्यामा (Syama) in all Vedas

I think this website does not have all the shlokas.

Many references to iron in answer here are really references to "ayas" and not shyama ayas.

Can someone give specific details about where such verses are?

Perhaps these indexes might help:

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  • The time gap between Rig Veda and the subsequent literature like Upanishads,Atharva veda, etc, is disputable. Some say it is a few hundred years and some others say, it is a thousand years, few others say it is thousands of years. Many scholars could not find the actual meaning of much of the vocabulary used in Rig Veda, which mantras were composed in an esoteric manner. So trying to find the vocabulary of subsequent literature in Rig Veda is like trying to find the Puranic Indra in Rig Veda. @WilliamLiamSmith Aug 24, 2020 at 9:27
  • Not looking for it necessarily in Rig Veda. In fact I can see there is no mention of it in the 10 mandalas at all. I am asking for any references of these words in any of the Vedic Literature (but not particularly interested in Puranas or Itihasas). Some say Atharvaveda has one of these words). Any references if you have come across will be helpful. Aug 24, 2020 at 19:09
  • Another book you might want to check: Iron in Ancient India Aug 25, 2020 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


Here's a reference to Iron from Atharvaveda although the wording is a bit different:

(AVŚ_11,3.7a) śyāmám áyo 'sya māṃsā́ni lóhitam asya lóhitam ||7||
(AVŚ_11,3.8a) trápu bhásma háritaṃ várṇaḥ púṣkaram asya gandháḥ ||8||

Griffith's translation:

  1. Grey iron is its flesh, copper its blood.
  2. Tin is its ashes, gold its colour, the blue lotus flower its scent.

And from R. L. Kashyap's translation:

11.3.7: Dark metal is its flesh, Red (copper) is its blood.
11.3.8: Tin is ash, golden colour is its varna (hue), blue lotus is its smell.

You can find more references in Vedic Index of Names and Subjects by Macdonell and Keith. Look under Ayas, Kārṣṇāyasa, Kṛṣṇāyasa and Śyāma.

Search Results for स्यामा (Syama) in all Vedas

You really want to search for श्याम (śyāma) and not स्याम (syāma). And the website वेद.com has only a single mantra from Atharvaveda so you will not get any results for श्याम from AV.

  • I’m surprised that लोहितम् is not getting translated as iron (most Indian languages have लोह = iron) and हरितम् is not green. Compare हरा, हिरवा, हेरो, all meaning green (although हिरण्य = gold). Any insight on this? Aug 26, 2020 at 5:22
  • In Sanskrit, लोहित means red, so can mean copper or iron/rust, depending on the context. As for हरितम् in Vedic times it probably meant yellow/gold then later changed to green. Aug 26, 2020 at 14:29
  • Possible. Could refer to turmeric. The link you sent for Vedic index does not seem to refer to ताम्र, which is another interesting omission. Aug 26, 2020 at 16:38
  • Did you mean Trapu (tin)? It's there. Aug 26, 2020 at 17:07
  • ताम्र = copper (rather than लोहिता = copper). Most modern Indian languages have common word for copper derived from Tamra, and land grants written on copper plates are called ताम्रपत्रा tamrapatra. Most Indian languages have words of iron derived from लोह. It is curious therefore, that ताम्र is missing from the index of words. Aug 26, 2020 at 19:41

As you have enquired I am herewith providing the reference only of Krishna-ayas or iron from Chandogya Upanishad, which is part of Sama Veda and embedded in the Chandogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda. This Sanskrit name for iron is mentioned in Chandogya Upanishad mantra No. 6.1.6. Krishna-ayas is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms Krsna and ayas (अयस्).

यथा सोम्यिकेन नखनिकृन्तनेन सर्वं कार्ष्णायसं विज्ञातं स्याद्वाचारम्भणं
विकारो नामधेयं कृष्णायसमित्येव सत्यमेवंसोम्य स आदेशो भवतीति ॥ ६.१.६ ॥

yathā somyikena nakhanikṛntanena sarvaṃ kārṣṇāyasaṃ vijñātaṃ syādvācārambhaṇaṃ
vikāro nāmadheyaṃ kṛṣṇāyasamityeva satyamevaṃsomya sa ādeśo bhavatīti || 6.1.6 ||

6 - O Somya, it is like this: By knowing a single nail-cutter you know all objects made of iron. All changes are mere words, in name only. But iron is the reality. O Somya, this is the teaching I spoke of.

  • Thank you, BTW, have you come across similar word in Atharvaveda by any chance? Aug 24, 2020 at 19:15

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