If you are new to this site…

I present my findings and interpretations of the lives and times of the Rig Vedic people, based on my ongoing analysis of the Rig Veda. The content is organized by five main themes – Composers of the Rig Veda, Tribes, Dynasties and Kings, Battles, Wars and Legends, Society and Lifestyle and finally the Gods and Myths of the people of that time.

I would recommend, you visit each of the pages listed on the menu at the top, starting with  – The Rig Veda – A historical perspective. Reading the content of each of these pages would provide you a context and better insight into the breadth and depth of articles that are and will appear within each of the themes that the pages represent.

It is exciting and fun analyzing the Rig Veda – I get a Sherlock Holmes kind of high, trying to piece the puzzle together. I try to be as objective as possible and not bring the bias of my religion by birth (Hinduism) into my analysis and interpretation. I report it as I find it – good, bad, ugly.

I am neither a historian, an expert on religion or Sanskrit, so that is the BIG disclaimer for all readers. I am just an enthusiastic explorer desperate to uncover my past…

I hope you would want to share this journey and enjoy what you find along with way.


  1. The Rig Veda – A historical perspective
  2. Books & Composers of the Rig Veda
    1. Mandala IV – The Vamadeva family book
      1. The Vamadeva Danastutis
    2. Mandala V – The Atri family book
      1. The Atri Danastutis
      2. Indra – According to the Atris
      3. Hymn for safe and normal childbirth
    3. Mandala VI – The Bharadvaja family book
      1. Bharadvajas
      2. The Bharadvaja Danastutis
      3. Dundubhi Hymn – Origins of the War drum?
      4. Rjisvan shows us the power of homage
      5. Go Sukta (The Cow Hymn)
  3. Tribes, Dynasties and Kings
    1. Identity of the Dasa and Dasyu – Part I
    2. Identity of the Dasa and Dasyu – Part II
    3. Identity of the Pani
    4. Identity of the Raksasa – Part I
    5. Bharata – In search of an emperor
  4. Battles, Wars and Legends
    1. The Early Conflicts
    2. Foes and Enemies of the Puru tribe
    3. Conflicts between Arya tribes and amongst Puru tribes (based on Indra hymns, Mandala VI)
  5. Society and Lifestyle
    1. Science and Technology
      1. Account of a solar eclipse (How Rishi Atri rescued Surya from the demon Svarbhanu)
      2. Artificial limb replacement during vedic times
      3. Managing an epidemic
    2. Worship of tools and weapons
    3. The Dawn of Mankind – according to Rishi Vamadeva
    4. Indianization of the Vedic people during the time of Mandala VII
    5. Elephantiasis in Vedic times
  6. Gods and Myths
    1. The Vala and Vrtra Myths
    2. The birth of Indra – end of the last ice age?
    3. Echoes of the Stonehenge (in the Vala Myth)?
    4. The Vrtra Myth – A political interpretation – Creation of a Hero?
    5. Indra – A Samyu Bharadvaja profiling
    6. Agni – The Messenger God
    7. Pusan
    8. The Maruts

Diversity in ways of worship

That the vedic people worshiped several gods we know. That some of these gods, such as Indra and Agni, in particular, were considered more important, that is known as well.

But what about the practice of worshiping these gods? Was there just one established form across all the various families of rishis?

Let us examine verses 01 to 04 of Hymn 1 from Mandala VIII for clues:

RV 8.001.01 – 04
GLORIFY naught besides, O friends; so shall no sorrow trouble you.
Praise only mighty Indra when the juice is shed, and say your lauds repeatedly

Even him, eternal, like a bull who rushes down, men’s Conqueror, bounteous like a cow;
Him who is cause of both, of enmity and peace, to both sides most munificent.

Although these men in sundry ways invoke thee to obtain thine aid,
Be this our prayer, addressed, O Indra, unto thee, thine exaltation every day.

Those skilled in song, O Maghavan among these men o’ercome with might the foeman’s songs.
Come hither, bring us strength in many a varied form most near that it may succour us.

A reading of the first verse suggests that the various Kanva rishis who composed it, glorify and praise only Indra and no one else. But such a reading is misleading, because the same rishis are composers of hymns that praise other vedic gods as well.

In the second verse, Indra is said to be the cause of both enmity and peace among people. And yet both sides find Indra “most munificent”. So the two sides in this case cannot be ones who worshiped Indra and those that did not. And yet if Indra is the cause of enmity that must be on account of differences between groups on how to worship him.

That there were differences is clearly borne out in verse 3.
“Although these men in sundry ways invoke thee to obtain thine aid”

Do we know what those differences were?

I could not find any in this hymn and would require further research.

Hymn for peaceful sleep

Hymn 55 of Mandala VII, composed by Rishi Vasistha, is a prayer for a peaceful slumber for the inhabitants of the house.

As seen in verses 05-06 and 08, reproduced below, the prayer seeks to lull to sleep, the mother, the father, the master of the house, the women and matrons and every other relative (kinsmen) of the master of the house.

RV 7.055.05
Sleep mother, let the father sleep, sleep dog and master of the house.
Let all the kinsmen sleep, sleep all the people who are round about.

RV 7.055.06
The man who sits, the man who walks, and whosoever looks on us,
Of these we closely shut the eyes, even as we closely shut this house.

RV 7.055.08
The women sleeping in the court, lying without, or stretched on beds,
The matrons with their odorous sweets these, one and all, we lull to sleep.

Several aspects in these verses jumped at me:

The lack of mention of children or babies. I would have thought, a restful night for children would be of greater concern than for elders.

By all tokens, the description of the household in this hymn seems to be of a large one and/or a well to do one. Certainly large, since we find mention of parents and a rather large contingent of relatives. Could this then be a hymn used by a family priest for a person of nobility?

Verse 08 seems to suggest that might perhaps be the case. The house described appears to have a court, beds that women slept on and sweet smelling matrons in employment of the nobleman. I cannot imagine this to be indicative of a lifestyle of the entire population and thus constrained to conclude this hymn was indeed preserved for invocation by a well to do or powerful person in society.

There are several other interesting aspects in the hymn – particularly the mention of Vastospati – a vedic deity – considered to the guardian of the house. But that deserves an entirely separate article.

Hymn for safe and normal childbirth

Despite all the advances of modern medicine, the safe birth of a normal human child is not something we can take for granted.

It is no surprise then that the vedic civilization, with reams upon reams of hymns asking for heroic progeny should have hymns asking for the safe birth of their children. What is surprising though is that there is just one hymn of this nature in the main family mandalas and perhaps no more than 3 in all of the Rig Veda.

Hymn 78 in the Atri family Mandala – Mandala V has 9 verses, 6 of which make very clear reading and easy interpretation. The deities invoked are the Asvin twins, clearly by the time of this Mandala, the deities dealing with health and well being.

The first three verses implore the twin deities to accept the offering and grant what is being asked for in the verses that follow:

RV 5.078.01-03
YE Asvins, hither come to us: Nasatyas, be not disinclined.
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.

O Asvins, like a pair of deer, like two wild cattle to the mead:
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.

O Asvins rich in gifts, accept our sacrifice to prosper it:
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.

We will leave verses 4, 5 and 6 for now and go directly to the last three:

RV 5.078.07-09
Like as the wind on every side ruffles a pool of lotuses,
So stir in thee the babe unborn, so may the ten-month babe descend.

Like as the wind, like as the wood, like as the sea is set astir,
So also, ten-month babe, descend together with the after-birth.

The child who hath for ten months’ time been lying in his mother’s side,-
May he come forth alive, unharmed, yea, living from the living dame.

These verses clearly indicate what is being asked for through this hymn. What the last verse also seems to suggest is not just the safe coming forth of the child, but also that the mother come to no harm as well – “living from the living dame”.

Verses 4 to 6 have been deliberately omitted from this analysis due to some very interesting stories embedded within them and deserving of separate articles.

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