Rigveda 7.103 is a hymn dedicated to frogs.

1 They who lay quiet for a year, the Brahmans who fulfil their vows, The Frogs have lifted up their voice, the voice Parjanya hath inspired.

2 What time on these, as on a dry skin lying in the pool's bed, the floods of heaven descended, The music of the Frogs comes forth in concert like the cows lowing with their calves beside them.

3 When at the coming of the Rains the water has poured upon them as they yearned and thirsted, One seeks another as he talks and greets him with cries of pleasure as a son his father.

4 Each of these twain receives the other kindly, while they are revelling in the flow of waters, When the Frog moistened by the rain springs forward, and Green and Spotty both combine their voices.

5 When one of these repeats the other's language, as he who learns the lesson of the teacher, Your every limb seems to be growing larger as ye converse with eloquence on the waters.

6 Onc is Cow-bellow and Goat-bleat the other, one Frog is Green and one of them is Spotty. They bear one common name, and yet they vary, and, talking, modulate the voice diversely.

7 As Brahmans, sitting round the brimful vessel, talk at the Soma-rite of Atiratra, So, Frogs, ye gather round the pool to honour this day of all the year, the first of Rain-time.

8 These Brahmans with the Soma juice, performing their year-long rite, have lifted up their voices; And these Adhvaryus, sweating with their kettles, come forth and show themselves, and none are hidden.

9 They keep the twelve month's God-appointed order, and never do the men neglect the season. Soon as the Rain-time in the year returneth, these who were heated kettles gain their freedom.

10 Cow-bellow and Goat-bleat have granted riches, and Green and Spotty have vouchsafed us treasure. The Frogs who give us cows in hundreds lengthen our lives in this most fertilizing season.

In particular, I had a question about the meaning of verse 10: what does it mean that the frogs have granted riches, cows, and longevity?

Now as almost all of the Rigvedic hymns are dedicated to the devas, there must be a special reason why one hymn is dedicated to frogs.

The only other mentions of frogs in the Vedas that I have found is in the Yajur Veda Taittiriya Samhita 4.6.1, requesting a female frog to sanctify the yajna, and in Atharva Veda 4.15.14, in a prayer to hasten the rain (frogs are universally considered a sign of the rain). Atharva Veda 4.15.13 also mentions frogs, but it is a repeat of Rigveda 7.103.1.

This American Oriental Society article from 1917 mentions the possibility that the Rigvedic hymn was comparing the frogs to Brahmanas, since the frogs were considered auspicious. But why were they considered auspicious in the first place?

Beyond this, is there any special reason why frogs are mentioned in the Vedas? Why are frogs held auspicious? If the Vedas were handed down from God, why would God choose to mention such a mundane and worldly thing in scripture--something that does not concern spirituality but seems firmly rooted in the environment of those who first recorded the Vedas in this age?

  • 1
    I don't think there's any need for explanation - frogs are auspicious because they herald the coming of rain, and rain is necessary for the sustenance of crops and animals and so on. Mar 20, 2015 at 21:01
  • @KeshavSrinivasan: Even if this is so, why is this considered a spiritual thing?
    – AdityaS
    Mar 21, 2015 at 22:37
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    Because Parjanya bringing down rain to nourish humanity is a spiritual thing. The Brahmanas perform the Soma Yagna all year long, and as a result Parjanya rewards the people for their good deeds. So the frogs are revered insofar as they are associated with what Parjanya is doing; they're like angels, heralding the blessings of the gods. Mar 21, 2015 at 23:14
  • By the way, you may be interested in my question here about two other hymns to Parjanya: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/6578/36 May 4, 2015 at 21:39
  • gau is veda the frog which give cows in hundreads Muduka rishi who gave many hymns in hundreds bless us with long life sri krishnarapnamasthu
    – Prasanna R
    Oct 19, 2020 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


If the Vedas were handed down from God, why would God choose to mention such a mundane and worldly thing in scripture--something that does not concern spirituality but seems firmly rooted in the environment of those who first recorded the Vedas in this age?

This is a common dogma of medieval times coming down to modern times. The Vedas are not a monolithic single piece "handed down" by "God". I'm not saying there was no value in this belief - such deep reverence is what preserved the Vedas unchanged through thousands of years. However, in the Vedas, there is no monotheistic "God" speaking in the first person to give commands, unlike the Bible or Quran. The Vedas contain the inspired statements of many different rishis in many different contexts and circumstances.

Here is what Niruktam says about the contents of the Vedas (7.1-3):

यत्काम ऋषिर्यस्यां देवतायामार्थपत्यमिच्छन्स्तुतिं प्रयुङ्क्ते तद् दैवतः स मन्त्रो भवति - The mantra belongs to the deity who is eulogized by the rishi with a specific desire that the deity can fulfill.

तास्त्रिविधा ऋचः । परोक्षकृताः । प्रत्यक्षकृताः । आध्यात्मिक्यश्च - They are of three types - ones where the object is in the third person, or second person or first person. (examples)

अथापि स्तुतिरेव भवति नाशीर्वादः - And also, they may only be eulogies, and not wishes. (examples)

अथाप्याशीरेव न स्तुतिः - And also, they may only be wishes, and not eulogies. (examples)

अथापि शपथाभिशापौ - And also, they may be vows and curses. (examples)

अथापि कस्यचिद्भावस्याचिख्यासा - And also, they may express a certain metaphysical state or concept. (examples)

अथापि परिदेवना कस्माच्चिद्भावात् - And also, they may express a lamentation or sorrow due to a particular circumstance. (examples)

अथापि निन्दाप्रशंसे - And also, they may be criticisms and recommendations (example)
एवमक्षसूक्ते द्यूतनिन्दा च कृषिप्रशंसा च - Likewise, in the Akṣasūktam there is criticism of gambling and recommendation of agriculture.

एवमुच्चावचैरभिप्रायैर्ऋषीणां मन्त्रदृष्टयो भवन्ति - Thus, the rishis have the visions of mantras with various high and low intentions.

As regards the frog hymn, again this is what Niruktam says (9.6):

वसिष्ठो वर्षकामः पर्जन्यं तुष्टाव । तं मण्डूका अन्वमोदन्त । स मण्डूकानन्वमोदमानान्दृष्ट्वा तुष्टाव ।

Vasiṣṭha was desirous of rain and prayed to Parjanya. (After it rained,) the frogs became happy. Seeing the frogs happy, he was inspired to praise them.

The commentator Sāyaṇācārya says that this entire hymn is a metaphor. The frogs who wait patiently for a whole year for the rains, appear like Brāhmaṇas who patiently and studiously perform their year-long ritual.

As regards the last verse, it is clearly poetic imagery. When the frogs are happy and croaking, it means rains are plentiful, and hence the cows will multiply, crops will grow and wealth will increase. So asking the frogs to give wealth is an indirect poetic way to ask for more rains.

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