The Atri Danastutis
September 29, 2013 Leave a comment
This article is a compilation of the Atri family danastutis.
A Danastuti, or “hymns in praise of donors”, recounts the gifts or donations received from a king or prince. Such gifts and donations were made in appreciation of services rendered, especially at the end of a successful battle or war. Kings and princes were counseled on strategy, in addition, the seers were known to consecrate arms and weapons to be used in the war as well as use battle charms (often magical) for their patrons and against the enemies.
The danastuti reproduced below – RV 5.030.12-15, mentions cattle numbering 4000 received by Rishi Babhru Atri from King Rnancaya of the Rusama tribe perhaps at the end of a grand Pravargya yagna. Aside from the cattle, the cauldron used to perform the yagna was also offered to the Rishi. These were cauldrons mould in the shape of an hour glass, made specifically for use in just one yagna and later texts suggest that they were lined with gold and silver.
This good deed have the Rusamas done, Agni! that they have granted me four thousand cattle.
We have received Rnancaya’s wealth, of heroes the most heroic, which was freely offered.
The Rusamas, O Agni, sent me homeward with fair adornment and with kine in thousands.
The strong libations have made Indra joyful, when night, whose course was ending, changed to
Night, well-nigh ended, at Rnancaya’s coming, King of the Rusamas, was changed to morning.
Like a strong courser, fleet of foot, urged onward, Babhru hath gained four thousand as his guerdon.
We have received four thousand head of cattle presented by the Rusamas, O Agni.
And we, the singers, have received the caldron of metal which was heated for Pravargya.
The danastuti reproduced below – RV 5.033.08-10, recounts Rishi Samvarana Prajapatya receiving gifts from several kings, including the renowned Trasadasyu.
Note: The rishi’s lineage belongs to the Visvamitras and in that sense, this should perhaps appear as a danastuti to that family, however, since it appears in the Atri family book, I present it here.
And these ten steeds which Trasadasyu gives me, the goldrich chief, the son of Purukutsa,
Resplendent in their brightness shall convey me. Gairiksita willed it and so came I hither.
And these, bestowed as sacrificial guerdon, the powerful tawny steeds of Marutasva;
And thousands which kind Cyavatana gave me, abundantly bestowed for my adornment.
And these commended horses, bright and active, by Dhvanya son of Laksmana presented,
Came unto me, as cows into the Rsi Samvarana’s stall, with magnitude of riches.
The great King Trasadasyu offered the Rishi 10 steeds.
Yet another king, Cyavatana appears to have offered a thousand steeds, orange-brown in colour. The term “Marutasva” seems to suggest a breed of horses, that were particularly swift (in keeping with the connotation of Maruts).
A third king, Dhvanya, presented the Rishi with an unknown number of horses as well.
What is interesting to note is the association of this Rishi with several kings, each perhaps from different tribes/clans and regions. Unlike the Bharadvajas, this rishi certainly did not have a loyalties bound to a single patron.
Maruts, let all the people in obeisance bow down before this youthful Srutaratha,
Who, rich in steeds, gave me two dark red horses together with three hundred head of cattle.
A young king or prince by name Srutarahta offers Rishi Prabhuvasu Angiras two dark red horses and three hundred head of cattle.