Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/134

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The frogs have lifted up their voice,
Excited when Parjanya comes.
When one repeats the utterance of the other
Like those who learn the lesson of their teacher,
Then every limb of yours seems to be swelling,
As eloquent ye prate upon the waters.
As Brahmans at the mighty soma offering
Sit round the large and brimming vessel talking,
So throng ye round the pool to hallow
This day of all the year that brings the rain-time.
These Brahmans with their soma raise their voices,
Performing punctually their yearly worship;
And these Adhvaryus, sweating with their kettles,
These priests come forth to view, and none are hidden.
The twelvemonth's god-sent order they have guarded,
And never do these men neglect the season.
When in the year the rainy time commences,
Those who were heated kettles gain deliverance.

This poem has usually been interpreted as a satire upon the Brahmans. If such be indeed its purport, we find it difficult to conceive how it could have gained admittance into a collection like the Rigveda, which, if not entirely composed, was certainly edited, by priests. The Brahmans cannot have been ignorant of the real significance of the poem. On the other hand, the comparison of frogs with Brahmans would not necessarily imply satire to the Vedic Indian. Students familiar with the style of the Rigveda know that many similes which, if used by ourselves, would involve contempt or ridicule, were employed by the ancient Indian poets only for the sake of graphic effect. As the frogs are in the last stanza besought to grant wealth and length of days, it is much more likely that we have here a panegyric of frogs believed to have the magical power of bringing rain.