Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/105
in the Rigveda. One hymn (x. 75) celebrates the Sindhu or Indus, while another (iii. 33) sings the praises of the sister streams Vipāç and Çutudrī. Sarasvatī is, however, the most important river goddess, being lauded in three entire hymns as well as in many detached verses. The personification here goes much further than in the case of other streams; but the poets never lose sight of the connection of the goddess with the river. She is the best of mothers, of rivers, and of goddesses. Her unfailing breast yields riches of every kind, and she bestows wealth, plenty, nourishment, and offspring. One poet prays that he may not be removed from her to fields which are strange. She is invoked to descend from the sky, from the great mountain, to the sacrifice. Such expressions may have suggested the notion of the celestial origin and descent of the Ganges, familiar to post-Vedic mythology. Though simply a river deity in the Rigveda, Sarasvatī is in the Brāhmaṇas identified with Vāch, goddess of speech, and has in post-Vedic mythology become the goddess of eloquence and wisdom, invoked as a muse, and regarded as the wife of Brahmā.
Earth, Pṛithivī, the Broad One, hardly ever dissociated from Dyaus, is celebrated alone in only one short hymn of three stanzas (v. 84). Even here the poet cannot refrain from introducing references to her heavenly spouse as he addresses the goddess,
- Who, firmly fixt, the forest trees
- With might supportest in the ground:
- When from the lightning of thy cloud
- The rain-floods of the sky pour down.
The personification is only rudimentary, the attributes of the goddess being chiefly those of the physical earth.
The most important of the terrestrial deities is Agni,