Atharva-Veda Samhita/Book II/Hymn 36

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36. To get a husband for a woman.

[Pativedana.—aṣṭarcam. āgnīṣomīyam. trāiṣṭubham: 1. bhurij; 2, 5-7. anuṣṭubh; 8. nicṛtpurauṣṇih.]

Found (except vss. 6,8) in Pāipp. ii. (in the verse-order 1, 3, 2, 4, 5, 7). Used by Kāuç. (34. 13 ff.) among the women's rites, in a ceremony for obtaining a husband; vss. 5 and 7 are specially referred to or quoted, with rites adapted to the text. It is further regarded by the schol. and the comm. as signified by pativedana (75. 7), at the beginning of the chapters on nuptial rites, accompanying the sending out of a wooer or paranymph.

Translated: Weber, v. 219; xiii. 214; Ludwig, p. 476; Grill, 55, 102; Grifiith, i. 78; Bloomfield, 94, 322.—Cf. Zimmer, p. 306.


1. Unto our favor, O Agni, may a wooer come, to this girl, along with our fortune (bhága). Enjoyable (juṣṭá) [is she] to suitors (vará), agreeable at festivals (sámana); be there quickly good-fortune for her with a husband.

The text is not improbably corrupt. Ppp. reads in a, b sumatiṁ skandaloke idam āṁ kumāryāmāno bhagena; but it combines c and d much better into one sentence by reading for d oṣaṁ patyā bhavati (-tu?) subhage ’yam. The comm. explains sambhalas as sambhāṣakaḥ samādātā vā; or else, he says, it means hiṅsakaḥ pūrvam abhilāṣavighātī kanyām anicchan puruṣaḥ. He quotes ĀpGS. i. 4 to show that vará also means paranymph. Juṣṭā́ he quotes Pāṇini to prove accented júṣṭā. In d he reads ūṣam, and declares it to signify sukhakaram. ⌊Bergaigne, Rel. véd. i. 159, takes sámana as = 'marriage.'⌋


2. Fortune enjoyed by Soma, enjoyed by Brahman, brought together by Aryaman; with the truth of divine Dhātar, the husband-finder I perform (kṛ).

Ppp. has a mutilated first half-verse: somajuṣṭo aryamṇā saṁbhṛto bhaga; and at the end patirvedanam. The comm. understands in a brahma- to mean the Gandharva, who and Soma are the first husbands of a bride (xiv. 2. 3, 4). He does not see in bhaga anything but kanyārūpam bhāgadheyam; but the meaning "favors" is not impossible.

⌊Both bhagam ("fortune" or "favors") and pativedanam (the ceremony called "husband-finder") are objects of kṛṇomi; which, accordingly, needs to be rendered by 'make' or 'procure' for the one combination and by 'perform' for the other. It is hardly a case of zeugma.—Bloomfield notes that saṁbhṛta contains a conscious allusion to sambhala, vs. 1.⌋


3. May this woman, O Agni, find a husband; for king Soma maketh her of good-fortune; giving birth to sons, she shall become chief consort (máhiṣī); having gone to a husband, let her, having good-fortune, bear rule (vi-rāj).

Three mss. (including our P.O.) read nā́ri in a. ⌊For videṣṭa in a (Grammar2 §850 a),⌋ Ppp. has videṣṭu; at end of b it reads -gaṁ kṛṇotu; and it changes the second half-verse into an address by reading bhavāsi, and subhage vi rājā. The comm. explains mahiṣī as mahanīyā çreṣṭhā bhāryā. The fourth pāda is best scanned as jagatī, with resolution ga-tu-ā́ ⌊or insert sā́ before subhágā⌋.


4. As, O bounteous one (maghávan), this pleasant covert hath been dear to the well-settled (suṣád) wild beasts, so let this woman be enjoyed of Bhaga, mutually dear, not disagreeing with her husband.

The translation here involves emendation of the unmanageable suṣádā in b to suṣádām, as suggested by iii. 22. 6. SPP. has in his pada-text. su॰sádāḥ (as if nom. of suṣádas), and makes no note upon the word—probably by an oversight, as of our pada-mss. only Op. has such a reading; the comm. understands suṣádās, and explains it by sukhena sthātuṁ yogyaḥ 'comfortable to dwell in'; which is not unacceptable. The comm. also has in a maghavān, and in d abhirādhayantī (= abhivardhayantī, or else putrapaçvādibhiḥ samṛddhā bhavantī). Ppp. has at the beginning yathā khaṁraṁ maghavaṅ cārur eṣu, and, in c, d, yaṁ vayaṁ juṣṭā bhagasyā ’stu saṁpr-. All our saṁhitā-mss. save one (H.), and half of SPP's, give eṣáḥ pr- in a-b; but the comment to Prāt. ii. 57 quotes this passage as illustration of the loss of its final visarga by eṣás. Kāuç. (34. 14) evidently intends an allusion to this verse in one of its directions: mṛgākharād vedyām mantroktāni 'the articles mentioned in the text on the sacrificial hearth from a wild beast's covert,' but the comm. does not explain the meaning. The Anukr. ignores the redundancy of a syllable in c. ⌊Pronounce juṣṭā iyam and reject nārī?—The use of sámpriya in dual and plural is natural: its extension to the singular is rather illogical (cf. TS. iv. 2. 4), unless we assign intensive value to sam ('very dear').⌋


5. Ascend thou the boat of Bhaga, full, unfailing; with that cause to cross over hither a suitor who is according to thy wish.

Or pratikāmyà may perhaps mean 'responsive to thy love.' Ppp. has in a ā ruha, in b anuparas-, and for c, d trayo pūṣā hitaṁ yaṣ patiṣ patikāmyaḥ. The comm. understands upa- in c as an independent word. With this verse, according to the comm., the girl is made to ascend a properly prepared boat.


6. Shout to [him], O lord of riches; make a suitor hither-minded; turn the right side to every one who is a suitor according to thy wish.

Circumambulation with the right side toward one is a sign of reverence. Ā krandaya in a is perhaps a real causative, 'make him call out to us'; the comm. takes it so. His explanation ⌊page 332⌋ of the accompanying rite is: "offering rice in the night, one should make the girl step forward to the right."


7. Here [is] gold, bdellium; here [is] āukṣá, likewise fortune; these have given thee unto husbands, in order to find one according to thy wish.

Āukṣá (cf. āukṣagandhi, iv. 37. 3) seems to be some fragrant product of the ox; or it may perhaps come from ukṣ 'sprinkle,' but not through ukṣan. The mss. vary here, as everywhere else, in an indiscriminate manner between gúggulu and gúlgulu; here the majority of ours have -lg-, and the great majority of SPP's have -gg-; but -gg- is accepted (as elsewhere) in our edition, and -lg- in the other; Ppp. reads -lg-, the comm. -gg-. Ppp. has further vayam ukṣo atho bhaga; and, in c-d, adhuḥ patik-. The comm. defines guggulu as "a well-known kind of article for incense," and for āukṣa he quotes from Keçava (kāuçikasūtrabhāṣyakārās) the couplet given in Bloomfield's Kāuçika on p. 335 (but reading surabhīn gandhān kṣīraṁ). The comm., p. 332, explains that with this verse is to be performed a binding on and fumigation and anointing of the girl with ornaments, bdellium, and āukṣa respectively. ⌊BR., iv. 947, suggests pratikāmyā̀ya.⌋


8. Hither let Savitar conduct for thee, conduct a husband that is according to thy wish; do thou assign [him] to her, O herb.

The second nayatu is a detriment equally to sense and to meter; the Anukr. counts it to a, and the pada-mss. mark the division accordingly. Emendation of tvám in c to tám is strongly suggested. The verse hardly belongs to the hymn as originally made up; there has been no reference elsewhere to an "herb"; nor does Kāuç. introduce such an element.

In the concluding anuvāka ⌊6.⌋ are 5 hymns, 31 verses: the Anukr. says accordingly triṅçadekādhiko ‘ntyaḥ.

This is the end also of the fourth prapāṭhaka.

⌊One or two mss. sum up the book as 36 hymns and 207 verses.⌋