Atharva-Veda Samhita/Book VI/Hymn 118

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118. For relief from guilt.

[Kāuçika (anṛṇakāmaḥ).—āgneyam. trāiṣṭubham.]

Found also in Pāipp. xvi. ⌊The Kaṭha-version of vss. 1 and 2 is given by v. Schroeder, Tübinger Kaṭha-hss., p. 70 f.⌋ Is not used by Vāit., nor by Kāuç. otherwise than with ⌊the whole anuvāka and⌋ hymn 117: ⌊see under hymns 114 and 117⌋.

Translated: Ludwig, p. 455; Griffith, i. 310.

1. If (yát) with our hands we have done offenses, desiring to take up the course (?) of the dice, let the two Apsarases, fierce-(ugrá-)seeing, fierce-conquering, forgive today that guilt (ṛṇá) of ours.

Our mss., like SPP's, waver in b between gatnúm and gattúm or gantúm, but it is a mere indistinctness of writing, and gatnúm (which not even Böhtlingk's last supplement gives) is doubtless the genuine reading, as given by SPP.; our gaṇám is an unsuccessful conjecture. The comm. paraphrases the word with gantavyaṁ çabdasparçādiviṣayam, and upalips- with anubhavitum icchantaḥ: 'desiring to sense the sound, feeling, etc'; our knowledge of the ancient Hindu game of dice is not sufficient to enable us to translate the pāda intelligently. The verse is found also in several Yajus texts, TB. (iii. 7. 123), TA. (ii. 4. 1), and MS. (iv. 14. 17); all read cakára in a, and vagnúm (MS. vagmúm) for gatnúm in b, and TB.TA. end b with upajíghnamānaḥ (while MS. has the corrupt reading ávajighram ā́paḥ); in c, d, TB.TA. have the version dūrepaçyā́ (TA. ugrampaçyā́) ca rāṣṭrabhṛ́c ca tā́ny apsarásāv ánu dattām ṛṇā́ni, and MS., very corruptly, ugrám paçyā́c ca rāṣṭrabhṛ́c ca tā ny apsarásām ánu dattā́ ’nṛṇāni. The comm., heedless of the accent, takes the first two words in c as vocatives. Ppp. reads, in a, b, kilviṣam akṣam aktam avilipsamānāḥ.

2. O fierce-seeing one! realm-bearing one! [our] offenses, what happened at the dice—forgive ye that to us; may there not come in Yama's world one having a rope on, desiring to win from us debt (ṛṇá) from debt.

Two of the other texts (TA.MS., as above) have this verse also, and with unimportant variations in the first half: TA. simply omits nas in b, thus rectifying the meter; MS. does the same, but it is also corrupt at the beginning, reading ugrám paçyéd rāṣṭrabhṛ́t k-. Ppp. reads u. rāṣṭrabhṛtas kilviṣaṁ y. a. a. dattan vas tat. But in the difficult and doubtful second half, the readings are so diverse as to show themselves mere corrupt guesses: thus, TA. nén na ṛṇān ṛṇáva ít samāno y. l. a. ā́ya; MS. némna (p. nét: naḥ) ṛṇā́n ṛṇávān ī́psamāno y. l. nidhír ájarāya; Ppp. (c) nṛṇvāno nṛṇvā yad ayacchamāno. The comm. explains ṛṇā́n (naḥ) as either for ṛṇā́n or for ṛṇā́t; the pada-text gives the latter, of course. The pada-text does not divide érts-, as it doubtless should, into ā॰ī́rts-, in c; the comm. reads instead ecchamānas (= ṛṇaṁ grahītum abhita icchan) and explains adhirajjus by asmadgrahaṇāya pāçahastaḥ. The other texts, it will have been noticed, mentioned rāṣṭrabhṛt instead of ugrajit as second Apsaras in the first verse. The irregularities of meter are passed unnoticed by the Anukr. ⌊Böhtlingk, ZDMG. lii. 250, discusses the vs. at length. He suggests for c, ṛṇāvnó no ná ṛṇám értsamāno, or perhaps níd ṛṇám.⌋

3. To whom [I owe] debt, whose wife I approach, to whom I go begging (yāc), O gods—let them not speak words superior to me; ye (two) Apsarases, wives of gods, take notice!

Ppp. has a different version (mostly corrupt) of b, c, d: yaṁ yājamānāu abhyetnahe: vāte vājin vājibhir mo ’ttarām mad devapatnī apsarasāpadītam. The comm. reads abhyemi in b. By analogy with abhyāími, the pada-text understands upāími as upa-āími in a. Our pada-mss. also leave unaccented in c. The comm. paraphrases adhī ’tam with madvijñāpanaṁ citte ‘vadhārayatam.