Atharva-Veda Samhita/Book IV/Hymn 12

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Atharva-Veda Samhita , translated by William Dwight Whitney
Book IV, Hymn 12

12. To heal serious wounds: with an herb.

[Ṛbhu.—vānaspatyatn. ānuṣṭubham: 1. 3-p. gāyatrī; 6. 3-p. yavamadhyā bhuriggāyatrī; 7. bṛhatī.]

Found in Pāipp. iv. (in the verse-order 3-5, 1, 2, 7, 6). Used by Kāuç. (28. 5) in a healing rite: Keçava and the comm. agree in saying, for the prevention of flow of blood caused by a blow from a sword or the like; boiled lākṣā—water is to be poured on the wound etc. The schol. to Kāuç. 28. 14 also regard the hymn as included among the lākṣālin̄gās prescribed to be used in that rule.

Translated: Kuhn, KZ. xiii. 58, with Germanic parallels; Ludwig, p. 508; Grill, 18, 125; Griffith, i. 146; Bloomfield, 19, 384; Weber, xviii. 46.—Cf. Hillebrandt, Veda-chrestomathie, p. 48.


1. Grower art thou, grower; grower of severed bone; make this grow, O arundhatī́.

Arundhatī́, lit. 'non-obstructing,' appears to be the name of a climbing plant having healing properties; it is mentioned more than once elsewhere, and in v. 5 (vss. 5 and 9) along with lākṣā (vs. 7) 'lac'; and the comm. to the present hymn repeatedly declares lākṣā to be the healing substance referred to in it; probably it is a product of the arundhatī. Ppp. has every time rohiṇī instead of rohaṇī, and so the comm. also reads; the manuscripts of Kāuç., too, give rohiṇī in the pratīka, as does the schol. under 28. 14. There is evident punning upon the name and the causative rohaya- 'make grow'; perhaps the true reading of a is róhaṇy asi rohiṇī 'thou art a grower, O red one,' bringing in the color of the lac as part of the word-play; the comm. assumes rohiṇi, voc., at end of a (he lohitavarṇe lākṣe). Ppp. further reads çīrṇasya instead of chinnásya; and has, in place of our c, rohiṇyām arha ātā ’si rohiṇyā ’sy oṣadhe, making the verse an anuṣṭubh. The comm. gives asnas for asthnas in b.


2. What of thee is torn (riç), what of thee is inflamed (? dyut), is crushed (? péṣṭra) in thyself—may Dhātar excellently put that together again, joint with joint.

Ppp. reads in a çīrṇaṁ for riṣṭam; it reads tā ”tmanaḥ in b; and in c, d it has tat sarvaṁ kalpayāt saṁ dadat. The comm. (with one of SPP's mss.) reads preṣṭham (= priyatamam) for the obscure péṣṭram in b (found elsewhere only in vi. 37. 3 below, where the comm. has peṣṭam); the conjecture "bone" of the Pet. Lex. seems altogether unsatisfactory; it is rendered above as if from piṣ. The comm. paraphrases dyuttám by dyotitam, vedanayā prajvalitam iva, which seems acceptable.


3. Let thy marrow come together with marrow, and thy joint together with joint; together let what of thy flesh has fallen apart, together let thy bone grow over.

Ppp. rectifies the meter of a by omitting te, and has for d ⌊? b ?⌋ saṁstrāvam asu parva te. A few of the mss. (including our H.O.Op.) give viçrastam in c. The comm. reads çam instead of sam in every pāda. A couple of SPP's mss., by a substitution found also elsewhere ⌊see ii. 12. 7, note⌋, have manyā́ for majjñā́ in a. The Anukr. ignores the redundant syllable in the first pāda.


4. Let marrow be put together with marrow; let skin (cárman) grow (ruh) with skin; let thy blood, bone grow; let flesh grow with flesh.

The third pāda is translated as it stands ⌊cf. vs. 5 c⌋, but we can hardly avoid emending ásṛk to asthnā́, or else ásthi to asnā́, to agree with the others; the comm. ⌊as an alternative⌋ fills it out to two parallel expressions, for both blood and bone. Ppp. has, for b-d: asthnā ’sthi vi rohatu snāva te saṁ dadhmas snāvnā carmaṇā carma rohatu.


5. Fit thou together hair with hair; fit together skin (tvác) with skin; let thy blood, bone grow; put together what is severed, O herb.

The prolongation of the final vowel of a pāda is so anomalous that we can hardly help regarding kalpayā in a as wrong, perhaps imitated from b; Ppp. avoids the difficulty by reading in a saṁ dhīyatām. ⌊For c, compare vs. 4.⌋ Ppp. also has for d our 4 d.


6. Do thou here stand up, go forth, run forth, a chariot well-wheeled, well-tired, well-naved; stand firm upright.

Ppp. is very different: ut tiṣṭha pre ’hi samudhā hi te paruḥ: saṁ te dhātā dadhātu tan no viriṣṭaṁ rathasya cakra py upavaryathāir yathāi ’ti sukhasya nābhiṣ prati tiṣṭha evaṁ. The Anukr. scans the verse as 9 + 11: 5 = 25 syllables.


7. If, falling into a pit, he hath been crushed (sam-çṛ), or if a stone hurled (pra-kṛ) hath smitten [him]—as a Ṛbhu the parts of a chariot, may it put together joint with joint.

A number of the mss. (including our P.M.O.Op.) read kártum for kartám in a; the comm. explains kartam as meaning kartakaṁ chedakam āyudham, and makes it subject of saṁçaçré = saṁhinasti; he takes ṛbhus as one of the three Ṛbhus (quoting RV. i. 111. 1), not giving the word any general sense. Ppp. again has an independent text: yadi vajro visṛṣṭā sthārakā jātu patitrā yadi vā ca riṣṭam: vṛkṣād vā yadi vā vibhyasi çīrṣa rbhūr iti sa evaṁ saṁ dhāmi te paruḥ. The verse is a bṛhatī only by number of syllables (10 + 10: 8 + 8 = 36). ⌊The comm. makes the "Atharvanic spell" the subject in d.⌋