Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/142

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exclaims: "How many a maiden is an object of affection to her wooer for the sake of her admirable wealth!" (x. 27, 12); while another addresses the kine he desires with the words: "Ye cows make even the lean man fat, even the ugly man ye make of goodly countenance" (vi. 28, 6). A third observes: "Indra himself said this, 'The mind of woman is hard to instruct, and her intelligence is small'" (viii. 33, 17); and a fourth complains: "There are no friendships with women; their hearts are those of hyenas" (x. 95, 15). One, however, admits that "many a woman is better than the godless and niggardly man" (v. 61, 6).

Allied to the didactic poems are the riddles, of which there are at least two collections in the Rigveda. In their simplest form they are found in a poem (29) of the eighth book. In each of its ten stanzas a different deity is described by his characteristic marks, but without being mentioned, the hearer being left to guess his name. Vishṇu, for instance, is thus alluded to:—

Another with his mighty stride has made three steps
To where the gods rejoice in bliss.

A far more difficult collection, consisting of fifty-two stanzas, occurs in the first book (164). Nothing here is directly described, the language being always symbolical and mystical. The allusions in several cases are so obscurely expressed that it is now impossible to divine the meaning. Sometimes the riddle is put in the form of a question, and in one case the answer itself is also given. Occasionally the poet propounds a riddle of which he himself evidently does not know the solution. In general these problems are stated as enigmas. The subject of about one-fourth of them is the sun. Six or seven deal