Mandala VI – The Bharadvaja family book

Last updated: 31st Dec., 2013

All the hymns in Mandala VI are composed by a member of the Bharadvaja family. The book has a total of 75 hymns. According to the analysis presented by Shrikant Talageri in his book The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, Mandala VI is the oldest book of the Rig Veda. The implications are that the references to historical events, places, people and lifestyle are thus some of the most ancient records we have, not just of the people of the Rig Veda, but of people anywhere in the world. The analysis and interpretations from this Mandala are therefore particularly interesting from that standpoint.

Table below lists the name of the author of each hymn in Mandala VI

Hymns Author
1 – 30, 37-43, 53-74 Bharadvaja Barhaspatya
31-32 Suhotra Bharadvaja
33-34 Sunahotra Bharadvaja
35-36 Nara Bharadvaja
44-46,48 Samyu Bharadvaja
47 Garga Bharadvaja
49-52 Rjisvan Bharadvaja
75 Payu Bharadvaja

Synopsis of analysis of Mandala VI

Hymn Summary
  • Composed perhaps after the Dasyus were subdued by the Arya. Dasyu referred to as “people”
  • Mention of Vala and Vrtra
  • By now, Indra has crushed Cumuri, Dhuni, Sambara, Pipru, and Susna
  • Kutsa, Ayu and Atithigva are “laid low” for Turvayana
  • Allusion to the miraculous events surrounding Indra’s birth
  • Repeated invocations to Indra to grant riches and victory over both kinds of foe
  • Mention of Vrtra legend
  • Defeat of Panis and liberation of light, killing of Susna for wise Dasoni
  • Susna legend in some detail – probably a Pani, also referred to as a great Druh. Mention of Kutsa at the time the light was liberated
  • Indra killing of Namuci the Dasa
  • Guarding of Nam, son of Sayya
  • Destruction of the forts of Pipru, who knows the wiles of serpents
  • Rjisvan rewarded with imperishable wealth
  • Assistance to the crafty Vetasu, the swift Dasni, and Tugra who had servants
  • Parus (Purus ??) laud Indra for slaying Dasa tribes and aided Purukutsa
  • Indra as a lord and savior of Usana, son of Kavi of old
  • Navavastva is given  as a present either to his “great” father or grand father
  • Indra is extolled for bringing to safety the Turvasa and the Yadu
  • Sending Dhuni and Cumuri to sleep and slumber, perhaps for his devotee Dabhiti
  • Appears to be one of older hymns
  • Reference to Navagvas and seven sages of old
  • Indra is known to dwell on heights and also referred to as Asura slayer
  • The Dasas are not yet subdued and Indra is asked to let the arms of Nahusa to be mighty
  • Mention of Vrtra slaying
  • Putting Dasyus to death, Dasyus referred to as daring
  • Soma mentioned in several verses and most of the hymn is in praise of Indra
  • Appears to be composed at the time of ongoing conflicts with the Dasyus
  • Indra is able to stand up to the bold incited (inspired ??) by the Dasyu
  • Like 23, it is a hymn with a lot of praise of Indra
  • The Pratardani yagna
  • Praise of Indra
  • Indra invoked to smite down the many Vrtras and Dasyus
  • Indra as the supreme God that men invoke with contending voices for seed, water, progeny and sunlight
  • Portrayal of Susna as the bane of crops and with his being destroyed in fight for cattle by Indra with the help of Kutsa
  • Indra helps Divodasa to destroy 100 impregnable castles of Sambara the Dasyu (yes, here Sambara is referred to as a Dasyu)
  • Reference to the Vala myth
  • Reference to Indra as a destroyer of Dasa puras
  • Reference to the Vrtra myth
  • Praise of Indra
  • Indra, invoked with loud voice by the tribes and who, along with the singers (??) pierced through the Panis
  • Arya and Dasa mentioned as races of opposing foemen, thus vindicating rivalry with Dasas as well as between Arya tribes
  •  Praise of Indra
  • Mention of desert
  •  Mention of the material comforts that the Bharadvajas seek
  •  Praise of Indra
  • Mention of the word “Sovran”
  •  Praise of Indra
  • Mention of brown drops – could this be the colour of Soma??
  •  Praise of Indra
  •  Vala myth
  • Indra subdues the Panis with “words of might”
  •  Indra offered Soma and invoked to protect the sacrifice along with the Maruts??
  • Indra offered Soma and invoked to guard the priests in war and guard them among their people
  • Indra offered Soma to protect the offerers from the spiteful curse of the “presumptuous high-born foe”
  • Indra extolled as one who made Sambara a prey for Divodasa, set the cattle free from Vala’s cave, who after consuming Soma guards all regions and gains the might of Maghavan
  •  These two hymns may be treated as prayers (and praises) to Indra. There are several instances where Indra is asked to protect the Bharadvajas’ and their patrons from both kinds of foe – meaning, Arya and Panis. There is no mention of Dasas at all, however the Panis are mentioned several times.
  • Rjisvan’s hymn to the power of Homage.
  • Reference to the three ranks and order of the Arya pantheon of Gods.
  • Mention of wolf as an evil creature.
  • Mention of the Pani and characterizing them as greedy and equating them with wolves.
  • Rjisvan expressing disgust and frustration at other forms of worship that were perhaps evolving during his time.
53 – 58
  • Collectively the Pusan Hymns
  • Pusan as the 3rd most important Vedic deity of the Bharadvajas
  • Pusan as the Nourisher
  • Pusan’s appearance and food habits
  • Pusan as the Charioteer – Par Excellence
  • Pusan – Lord of the Paths
  • Guide and Protector
  • Indra’s brother and friend
  • Legend of Pusan as the “lover of his sister”
  • Utter hatred for the Pani expressed, particularly in Hymn 53.

More in this Section


The Bharadvaja Danastutis

Origins of the War Drum?

Go Sukta (The Cow Hymn)

The power of Homage

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