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I am talking about following verse of Rigveda:

त्रिभिः पवित्रैरपुपोद्ध्यर्कं हृदा मतिं ज्योतिरनु प्रजानन्।
वर्षिष्ठं रत्नमकृत स्वधाभिरादिद्द्यावापृथिवी पर्यपश्यत्॥ ३.०२६.०८

Transliteration:

tri̱bhiḥ pa̱vitrai̱rapu̍po̱ddhya1̱̍rkaṃ hṛ̱dā ma̱tiṃ jyoti̱ranu̍ prajā̱nan .
varṣi̍ṣṭha̱ṃ ratna̍makṛta sva̱dhābhi̱rādiddyāvā̍pṛthi̱vī parya̍paśyat .. 3.026.08

English translation:

8 Bearing in mind a thought with light accordant, he purified the Sun with three refinings;
By his own nature gained the highest treasure, and looked abroad over the earth and heaven.

What are three refining things or three kind of purification mentioned by "tri̱bhiḥ pa̱vitra..." in this verse of Rigveda?

  • This is a translation by Ralph Griffiths, an early orientalist with bad translations. – Swami Vishwananda Sep 12 at 4:37
  • @Swami can you suggest another English Translation? – Pandya Sep 12 at 15:46
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They are Agni, Surya and Vayu

  • Here is the Hindi translation to the mentioned verse by Gayatri Pariwar:

    enter image description here

    English translation of it would be as follows:

    Sadhakas refine their Atman which is Venerable like fire, water and sun, by knowing the supreme light in their antahkarana (inner cause). They excel their Atman with the help of these three forms of Agni. And then after they look earth from everywhere.

  • This translation matches with Sanskrit commentary by Sayanacharya with a minor change (click on image to magnify):

    enter image description here

    Here Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Surya (sun) are considered as three refining.


The interpretation mentioned above can be considered as Yājñikā interpretations. There exists other interpretations also which can be considered Adhyatmika interpretations. For example,

  • The interpretation by Swami Dayananda Saraswati is as follows:

    PURPOT: A person who is pure in body, speech and mind, and takes pure food, he acquires and learns about real heaven after death.

  • This interpretation matches with that of Damodar Saatvalekar who wrote Subodha Bhashya on Rigveda.

  • Another interpretation by scholar Tulsi Ram is :

    With threefold cleansing of body, mind and soul, through the purity of thought, word and deed, by inculcation of right knowledge (jnana), right conduct (karma) and right prayer and meditation (upasana), I purify the holy light of the self, thereby lighting the flame of the spirit in the intelligence with honesty and sincerity of the heart, and with these foods and fortifications of the spirit, I redeem the diamond purity and generosity of the soul, and then watch the immensity of heaven and earth participating in the Infinity of the Supreme Self.

  • Vedic Sukta Sanmgraha, book from Gitapress translated this verse as follows:

    enter image description here

    Here three measures are Yajna (sacrifice), Dana (donation) and Tapa (perseverance) or Shravana, Manana and Nididhyasana.


Hence, considering reliable interpretation by Sayanacharya and Dayananad Saraswati whose commentary are most followed and widely accepted, the answer to the question is:

  • Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Surya (sun) according to Yajnika interpretation.
  • Mind/thought, speech/word and Karma (deeds) according to Adhyatmika interpretation.
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