The Eternal Varna Asrama Dharma – Part 16


 Interpretations often come up based on personal perceptions. It is very hard to interpret a data without an element of ‘bias’ going into it. The data as it exists is ‘fact’. It has no properties or attributes. It is ‘Nirguna’. The interpretation of it is ‘truth’. ‘Truth’ has infinite attributes. We live and die by our ‘truths’ of life.

Once we understand this, we will try to see the multiple ‘truths’ of life. By understanding multiple dimensions of ‘truth’, one can try to minimize the errors of judgement.

Writing about the translation of Rigveda to his wife in 1866, Max Muller observed “… this edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years”.

This is not to denigrate Max Muller or prescribe motives to how Max Muller ‘translated’ the Rig Veda. But then we need to understand that Vedas, Upanishads and a lot of our literature has been ‘translated’ with truths as seen by the translators.

Emerging of Civilizations as seen from Rig Veda

 As the Civilizations evolved it does NOT seem to have originated in one particular tribe or group and spread to other groups. It seems to have evolved across multiple groups or tribes all across the Indian Sub-continent, from North to South, East to West.

Let’s understand what the Rig Veda Mandala 7, Hymn 18, which Griffith stated as ‘dedicated to Indra’. In this hymn there are references to multiple tribes or groups of people.

Here are some translations of mine. These translations match for the most part, in a literary sense, with translations provided by western scholars. Yet they differ in their final meaning.

These verses, as we would see describe the way in which the Sudasas migrated to regions of Dard and further beyond Yamuna, with the help of Rishis. It also talks about how the various groups integrate, follow the Rishis and then divided into two groups. This is how the Aryan Civilization started, in my view.

It started not by conquests, though conquests could have played a role. It started by integrating the various groups and went evolving with the guidance of Rishis, which this hymn explains.

Key differences in my translations

There are several words, which I have translated differently, but then those translations are also valid. For eg., I don’t translate ‘Go’ as cow or cattle. I translate it as property that multiplies or a thing that multiples and evolves. Lord Balaji is ‘Go’ (property/wealth) ‘Vinda’ (finder/seeker) because Balaji seeks wealth.

 I don’t translate Indra blindly as a person except in specific cases. I translate Indra as subdue, conquer, which are also valid meanings of Indra.

I don’t translate Parushni as a river in this hymn. ParuSya means variegated, manifold. It indicates a spotty nature (divided into multiple small groups), rough, harsh and divided into multiple small groups. Parushnim indicates a set of people who are divided into multiple small groups and are rough/harsh.

The word ‘das’ indicates people who are in the position of receiving (alms/gifts). Hence ‘dasa’ becomes a slave. For eg. a slave of god, who expects/receives gifts from God.

‘Su’das are those people who are good people who received the knowledge from Rishis. Sudas indicate not one tribe, but all people/groups who received the knowledge from the Rishis.

This hymn is addressed to Vasishta in my view, contrary to popular translation of being addressed to Indra.

The previous era ancestors

tve ha yat pitarashcin na indra vishvA vAmA jaritAro asanvan 
tve gAvaH sudughAstve hyashvAstvaM vasu devayatevaniSThaH

tve ha yat – you that(those)

pitar – ancestor

akS – eye, key, remark, mark

cinna – thread, banner, symbol

akScinna – Key symbol or Core symbol or Key contribution or Key Mark

Thy ancestor’s key symbol 

indra – subdue, conquer

vishvA –world

vAma – Emit, vomit, left side of Arthanareeswar (that emits milk), pleasant (as it represents a mother),  unfavorable (as it represents the left hand symbolizing excretion, not clean)

jaritAro – old, decayed

san – gain, asan – loss, asanvan – losshood


(is) Conquering of the old/decaying unfavorable lossy world


Thy ancestor’s key symbol is the conquest of old unfavorable lossy world


tve- thy, your

gAvaH – cows, the animals, wealth, gifts

sudughAstave – abundant yield

hyashvastvam – yesterday’s left remaining, previous era’s remainings

vasudevayate – divine dwelling

vanishTa – imparts most, munificent, liberal, generous


Your abundantly yielding gifts of (your) previous era’s remains (of your) divine dwelling benefits us the most.

rAjeva hi janibhiH kSeSyevAva dyubhirabhi viduS kaviH san
pishA giro maghavan gobhirashvaistvAyataH shishIhirAye asmAn


rAjeva hi janibhiH – Like kings with their wives

kSeSye – they resided

vAva – Indeed


Lived like kings with their wives indeed


Dyubhirabhi – People of sheen/glow/heaven

viduS – weak form of Vidvas – Learned

kaviH – wise, thinking

san – bestowed


the people of sheen/glow/heaven bestowed with learning and thinking


pishA –  adorn

giro – human voice, speaking


maghavan – distributing gifts, bountiful, gifting, gifter

gobhir – associates, companions (gobhi is interpreted as rays, senses, cows, bulls, oxen, women based on the meaning it reperesents the associates or companions)

akS – key, source, eye, penetrate, pass through, mark


gobhirakS – key associates (of giro, of human voice)


adorn the human voice gifting us its key associates (knowledge)


vais – through

tvAyataH – longing for thee

vaistvAyataH – through the longing for thee


shishihi rAye – refreshing

asMan  – us


through the longing for thee, refreshing us


Living like kings with wives indeed (royally), the people of sheen/glow/heaven bestowed with learning and thinking adorn the human voice gifting us the key associates (of human voice, which is knowledge) through their longing for thee, refreshing us.

imA u tvA paspRdhAnAso atra mandrA giro devayantIrupa sthuH
arvAcI te pathyA rAya etu syAma te sumatAvindra sharman


imA – in this manner, this way

u tva – thy people

pas – bind

pRdh- gladden, delight

anAso – no face (not with face), mother


In this manner thy people delight facelessly


atra – in this respect, there, then, that time

mandrA – sounding pleasantly

giro – human voice

devayanti – divinely restrained or simply divine

rupa – form

astu – be it 

there sounding pleasantly in human voice which is of a divine form.


In this manner thy people delight facelessly there sounding pleasantly in a human voice with a divine form


arvAcite – turn towards, favoring, being on the side

pathya – path, way

rAya – princely, royal

arvAcite pathya rAya etu – turning towards that royal way or being on the side of that royal way

etu – approach, we near

syAmate – go, reflect, consider

etu syAmate – we consider or we go


mata vat- aim for a purpose, follow a doctrine or way

sumatava – aim for a good purpose or doctrine

indra – subdue, conquer, lead

sumatavindra –Conquer a good doctrine/method/purpose/way

sharman  –  happy, prosperous

etu syamate sumatavindra sharman –  we go happily conquering a good aim/method


Turning towards that royal way we go conquering a purpose/aim/method happily

dhenuM na tvA sUyavase dudukSannupa brahmANi sasRje vasiSThaH 
tvAmin me gopatiM vishva AhA na indraH sumatiM gantvacha

dhenuM – Yielding or giving Milk, Earth, the ultimate provider

na tva– not your

sUyavase – good pasturage (vilaichal), abounding in grass, fertile, good fodder

duduksanupa – of wild ox, bull


Earth and not thy pasturage for the wild bull


brahmAni – evolving, expanding one

sasRje – let loose

vasisthah – the best, excellent, richest, superlative


lets loose the evolution/growth, Vasistah (The excellent one).


tvamin me gopatiM – You my/our guide of the people/herd

vishvAhA – at all times


You (multiple people) are our guide at all times


Na – not

indraH – the chief, the leader of, subdue, conquer

sumatiM – well versed, clever, good knowledge, well intentioned

gantva- pass, moving, accomplish, attain, approach

accha – transparent, clear, not dark

gantvaccha – clearly passed, transparently gone


Not conquerors, well intentioned, transparently accomplishing


Earth and Not grass for the wild bull lets loose the evolution/growth, Vasistah (The excellent one). You (multiple people) are our guide at all times who are not subdueing,  well intentioned and transparently accomplishing.


Summary till now.. 

The above hymns address the Rishis who had come down from the previous eras, where they lived life like Kings, to guide the people of this era.  The name ‘Vasishta’ could be taken for a Single Rishi named ‘Vasishta’ or to indicate the group of Rishis who came down to indicate ‘The excellent ones’.

The hymns say that our ancestors who are bestowed with learning and thinking have won over the unfavorable, lossy world. They have adorned our voice (our languages), giving the companion of Voice, which is knowledge to us. (We have gained knowledge through voice).

The hymns also specifically say that the remaining knowledge of their yester-years divine dwelling has abundantly helped us in our life.

The hymns say that Earth provides the evolution, though it appears that pasturage for the bull is what provides the growth.  It’s true that pasturage for bull provides the growth of cattle/property. 

But it is the Earth that is the ultimate provider, as could be seen by the fact that even when that pasturage becomes unavailable and civilizations become extinct, evolution continues, bringing us the past wisdom from the Rishis. 

The hymn also says that Sudas, the receivers adopted the way shown by the Vasishta (The excellent one) and conquer a purpose of life.

And it is for this reason that Sudasas start expanding their area of living or go on Conquest.

Next – The Conquest of Sudasas


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