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.

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6 Responses to Hymn for peaceful sleep

  1. Sonal Tambaku says:

    I kind l of agree that it all makes sense to not mention babies and the concern of their sleep. Simply because it’s natural to them.. But your observation about the description of people at service for the affluent sounds logical.. And hence the concern for their sleep since they possess more worldly things to worry about than the ordinary people..

  2. Rohiniprija says:

    my guess is that this hymn was used by thieves, whose primary cincern was that the adults and the dog should sleep – babies do not disturb their operations.

    • Entirely possible, but why would a rishi compose a hymn for thieves? Also, verse 03, which i did not reproduce is as under:

      Sarama’s Son, retrace thy way: bark at the robber and the thief.
      At Indra’s singers barkest thou? Why dust thou seek to terrify us? Go to sleep.

      In this verse, Vastospati is asked to “bark at the robber and the thief”, which therefore suggest, it could not have been used.

      Finally, there is a variation in the Atharva Veda of this hymn – called “A lover’s sleep charm”:

      http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/av/av04005.htm

  3. srinidhi says:

    Fascinating! With no traffic noise to disturb them I wonder why they needed lullabies? That too from a great rishi!

  4. sunerjee says:

    Mention of Children is not necessary when it mentions about all the inmates.
    Kindly also permit me to post my understanding of this complete relevant sookt s RV 7.54 & 7.55 for complete context. .I will welcome comments from learned friends,

    .RV7.54 Architectural Science
    ऋषि: मैत्रार्वरुणिर्वसिष्ठ:। देवता:- वास्तोष्पति ।छंद:- त्रिष्टुप
    1. ॐ वास्तोष्पदे प्रति जानीह्यस्मान्‌ त्स्वावेशो अनमीवो भवा न: ।
    यत्वेमहे प्रति तन्नो जुषस्व शं नो भव द्विपदे शं चतुष्पदे स्वाहा ॥ ऋग्वेद
    7.54.1.पा गृ 3.4.7.1
    मैं इस नये भवन में प्रवेश करता हूं। मेरा यह प्रवेश मंगलमय हो । हमारी रक्षा का भार तुम पर है। इस के लिए तुम आशीर्वाद दो कि मेरी देह, श्रेष्ठ, नीरोगी और स्वस्थ रहे। जिस किसी वस्तु की हमें अभिलाषा हो वह यथाशीघ्र प्राप्त हों । यह निवास हम सब के लिए कल्याणकारी हो.
    I occupy this house and may this house bring me good luck. This house may provide to me with healthy ambiance to ensure good health. All my needs for this house may get fulfilled at appropriate times.

    2. वास्तोष्पते प्रतरणो न एधि गयस्फानो गोभिरश्वेभिरिन्दो।
    अजरासस्ते सख्ये स्याम पितेव पुत्रान्प्रति नो जुषस्व।। RV7.54.2
    (शं नो भव द्विपदे शं चतुष्पदे स्वाहा ।। पागृ 3.4.7.2 Is added to this Rigved Mantra by Paraskar Grih Sookt in Grih pravesh Yajna )
    हमारी चल सम्पत्ति की रक्षा करो । दुर्घटनाओं से सुरक्षा प्रदान करो । मित्र भाव से हमारे स्वास्थ्य और सम्पत्ति की वृद्धि करो । हम चिरतरुण बने रहें । इस घर से हम प्रेम की डोर से बंधे रहें ।
    This house should provide complete safety to all fixtures, furnishings and fittings against accidents, to ensure for us a relaxed carefree living, to make us feel always cheerful and attached to this place.
    3. वास्तोष्पते शग्मया संसदा ते सक्षीमहि रण्वया गातुमत्या।
    पाहि क्षेम उत योगे वरं नो यूयं पात स्वस्तिभिः सदा नः।। RV7.54.3
    अति रमणीय और सुखदायक उत्तम वाणी, सहवास , और सभा पड़ोस से सदा सुख सम्बंध बनाए रखें । हमारे प्राप्त धन और भविष्य में हमारी आय की रक्षा करो । इस प्रकार हमारे कल्याण के सब साधनों की रक्षा करो ।
    This house should ensure for us a very pleasant happy homely family and sweet atmosphere. Being relaxed and to to be on friendly terms with all our neighbors, ensure complete safety and protection of our entire well being and living here.
    4. ॐ अमीवहा वास्तोष्पते विश्वा रूपाण्याविशन्‌ ।
    सखा सुशेव एधि न: स्वाहेति ॥ ऋग्वेद 7.55.1 पागृ3.4.7.4
    इस भवन में हमें रोगादि सुक्ष्माणुओ से सुरक्षा प्राप्त हो। सुंदर स्वास्थ्य दायक
    वातावरण प्रदान करो ।
    This house may always have healthy ambiance-positive energy.

    RV7.55
    ऋषि: मैत्रार्वरुणिर्वसिष्ठ:। देवता:- वास्तोष्पति = Architect

    अमीवहा वास्तोष्पते विश्वा रूपाण्याविशन्।
    सखा सुशेव एधि नः।। ७.०५५.०१
    मेरा यह निवास स्थान रोगाणुओं से शुद्ध करने वाला हो । ( हमारी रक्षा का भार तुम पर है। इस के लिए तुम आशीर्वाद दो कि मेरी देह, श्रेष्ठ, नीरोगी और स्वस्थ रहे।) सब प्रकार की विश्व में सुंदर रूपवान वस्तुओं से सुसज्जित हो. जिस किसी वस्तु की हमें अभिलाषा हो वह यथाशीघ्र प्राप्त हों । ( यह निवास हम सब के लिए कल्याणकारी हो).
    I occupy this house and this house to bring me good luck. This house may rid itself of all the unhealthy environments (pollutants) and be beautifully decorated and furnished (to provide to me with healthy ambiance to ensure good health.) All my needs for this house may get fulfilled at appropriate times.
    ऋषि: – मैत्रावरुणिर्वसिष्ठ: देवता: – वास्तोष्पति इन्द्रश्च
    यदर्जुन सारमेय दतः पिशङ्ग यच्छसे।
    वीव भ्राजन्त ऋष्टय उप स्रक्वेषु बप्सतो नि षु स्वप।। RV7.55.2
    Make use of your well earned income, in taking appropriate measures to keep the (housing colonies) neighborhoods in presentable, neat and clean conditions, well protected to enable you peaceful sleep.
    अपने अर्जित धन का सदुपयोग कर के अपने निवास और आस पास के नगर की व्यवस्था को स्वच्छ , सुरक्षित और सुंदर बनाएं और चैन की नींद सो पाएं .
    2. स्तेनं राय सारमेय तस्करं वा पुनःसर।
    स्तोतॄनिन्द्रस्य रायसि किमस्मान्दुच्छुनायसे नि षु स्वप।। RV7.55.3
    It is duty of the administration to go after the unsocial elements, thieves and robbers, catch them and punish them. Protect the honest dutiful householders from any harassment, in order that they may sleep peacefully.
    शासन का यह दायित्व है कि चोर उचक्के अपराधी तत्वों के पीछे जाएं और उन्हें पकड़ कर दण्ड दें. जो साधारण जन अपने दायित्व का ठीक से पालन करते हैं उन्हें कष्ट न पहुंचे., और वे चैन की नींद सो पाएं.
    3. त्वं सूकरस्य दर्दृहि तव दर्दर्तु सूकरः।
    स्तोतॄनिन्द्रस्य रायसि किमस्मान्दुच्छुनायसे नि षु स्वप।। RV7.55.4
    Administration should locate the offenders, thieves, smugglers and finish them, at the same time ensure that good law abiding people feel encouraged to lead a peaceful life.
    शासन व्यवस्था मे बाधा डालने वाले,तस्करी ,चोरी करने वाले अपराधी तत्वों को शासन ढूंड कर नष्ट कर देना चाहिए. न्यायपूर्वक अपना दायित्व निभाने वाले जनों को प्रोत्साहित करना चाहिए, जिस से वे चैन की नींद सो सकें .

    4. सस्तु माता सस्तु पिता सस्तु श्वा सस्तु विश्पतिः।
    ससन्तु सर्वे ज्ञातयः सस्त्वयमभितो जनः।। RV7.55.5,AV4.5.6
    All the hose holders even their pet dogs engaged to watch over their security and safety should be able to enjoy good sleep. And thus the administrative staff may also live in peace.

    माता,पिता,घर की रखवाली करने वाले कुत्ते सब सुख से सोवें. प्रजाओं के स्वामी राजा भी सुख से सोवें. सब सम्बंधी चारों ओर बसे सब प्रजाजन सुख से सोवें .

    5. य आस्ते यश्च चरति यश्च पश्यति नो जनः।
    तेषां सं हन्मो अक्षाणि यथेदं हर्म्यं तथा।। RV7.55.6,AV4.5.5
    The accommodation of all the people should enjoy their privacy from intruding eyes.
    जहां सब जन रहते हैं ,उन के घरों के बाहर और भीतर आंख का परदा गोपनीयता (शिष्ठाचार के अनुसार ) रहना चाहिए.

    6. सहस्रशृङ्गो वृषभो यः समुद्रादुदाचरत्।
    तेना सहस्येना वयं नि जनान्स्वापयामसि।।RV7.55.7, AV4.5,1
    Administration should ensure bounties of welfare evenly distributed among all the men in society.
    जिस प्रकार सूर्य की सहस्रों किरणों द्वारा समुद्र के जल को उठा कर वर्षा द्वारा समस्त संसार का (बिना भेद भाव के सब से एक जैसा बर्ताव द्वारा) कल्याण करती है, उसी प्रकार तेजस्वी बलवान शासन द्वारा सब जनों का कल्याण करो.
    7. प्रोष्ठेशया वह्येशया नारीर्यास्तल्पशीवरीः।
    स्त्रियो याः पुण्यगन्धास्ताः सर्वाः स्वापयामसि।। RV7.55.8, AV4.5.3
    Females, wherever they be in their homes, in traveling, whether attractively attired wearing pleasant perfumes should feel completely safe and comfortable.
    महिलाएं जहां भी कहीं,अपने कक्ष में,यात्रा में रथ आदि में, सज संवर के आकर्षक सुगंध धारण किए हुए जैसी भी परिस्थिति में हों सर्वदा सुरक्षित रहें.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your understanding and research. Please give me some time and i will certainly be more than happy to include this in the respective articles along with mention of your contribution.

      Regards,

      Yatin

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