Atharva-Veda Samhita/Book VIII

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Book VIII.

⌊The second grand division of the Atharvan collection comprehends books viii.-xii. It consists wholly of hymns of more than twenty verses, and contains all the hymns of that length except such as for especial reasons were placed in the later books. Leaving out of account the later books, there are forty-five such hymns; and these have been divided into five books, of which the first four, books viii., ix., x., and xi., have ten hymns each, while the remaining five hymns make up the twelfth book. Disregarding ix. 6 and xi. 3 (paryāya-hymns), it may be noted that books viii.-xi. contain all the hymns of from twenty to fifty verses to be found in the first two grand divisions, and that book xii. contains all of more than that number in the same divisions. "Of any other principle of arrangement dependent on the length of the different hymns, no trace is to be observed," says Whitney. For the divisions of book viii., see below. The whole book has been translated by Victor Henry, Les livres VIII et IX de l'Atharva-véda traduits et commentés, Paris, 1894. The commentary ("of Sāyaṇa") breaks off at the end of hymn 6 and we have no more of it till the beginning of book xi. But in lieu of the missing introductions, Shankar Pandurang Pandit gives introductions of his own, modelled on those of the bhāṣya, and drawn from the same sources, the Kāuçika, the Keçavī, etc.⌋

⌊The Major Anukramaṇī, at the beginning of §2 of its treatment of book viii., says that, 'up to the end of book xi., the artha-sūktas constitute the norm and the paryāyas, beginning with virāḍ vā (viii. 10. 1), the exception': yāvad ekādaçakāṇḍāntam arthasūkta-prakṛtis, tāvad vihāya paryāyān virāḍvā-prabhṛtīn iti. And in fact, all through books viii.-xii., and even to the end of book xviii., every arthasūkta is by one ms. or another designated as an arthasūkta (xviii. 2 is an exception, solitary and doubtless casual).—In this place it may be well to enumerate the paryāya-hymns (including those also of the next division) and to print an account of the way in which the mss. present them. The account (barring slight changes) is by Mr. Whitney, and is Written on a loose slip of paper found in his Collation-book at viii. 10. 1.⌋

⌊The paryāya-hymns are eight in number and are scattered over seven different books. Specifically, and with the number of paryāyas in each, they are as follows: viii. 10 (with 6 paryāyas); ix. 6 (with 6); ix. 7 (with 1); xi. 3 (with 3); xii. 5 (with 7); xiii. 4 (with 6); book xv. (18 paryāyas); book xvi. (9 paryāyas).⌋

They are called paryāya-sūktas in distinction from those among which they occur and which are named artha-sūktas. The separate portions of which they are composed are called each a paryāya ⌊or also paryāya-sūkta⌋. Each ⌊paryāya taken separately⌋ is in the mss. numbered as to its verses separately; but they ⌊the paryāyas of a given group taken together⌋ so evidently constitute each a whole, as shown by the sense and likewise by the manner in which the Anukramaṇīs treat them, that we ⌊R. and W.⌋ regarded it as beyond question that they should be numbered continuously, to save a citation by more than three numbers. ⌊In this connection should be consulted SPP's "Critical Notice," prefixed to vol. i., p. 19 ff.⌋ ⌊See pages cxxxiii-vii.⌋

⌊Each paryāya has its own summing up at the end: if a numbered division corresponding to an ṛc is composed of more than one divided portion, it is called a gaṇa, and its subdivisions avasāna-rcas or gaṇā ’vasāna-rcas. Thus the first division of viii. 10.⌋ is summed up as follows: paryāyaḥ 1, gaṇāḥ 6, gaṇāvasānarcaḥ 13; and it is by the latter number that the Anukr. treats it. Similarly the third paryāya of viii. 10⌋ is summed up as paryāya-sūktam 1, gaṇāḥ 4, gaṇāvasānarcaḥ 8. ⌊Cf. the summation at the end of viii. 10.⌋

In xii. 5 the divisions are called vacanāni or vacanā ’vasāna-rcas. In paryāyas 5 and 6 of xiii. 4 a distinction is made between avasānarcaḥ and gaṇāvasānarcaḥ, those which have the refrain receiving the latter designation.

The divisions of books xv. and xvi. are likewise paryāyas, and their subdivisions are styled avasānarcaḥ or ganāvasānarcaḥ in the same manner.

⌊The anuvāka-division of each of the ten-hymned books viii.-xi. is into five anuvākas of two hymns each; and that of book xii. (consisting of five long hymns) is also into five anuvākas, but these are of one hymn each, so that here the anuvāka-dison and the hymn-division coincide. The comm. divides the anuvākas into hymns in a manner nearly like that described for book vii. (see p. 3S8): that is, his "hymns" are mechanical decads of verses, with an overplus or shortage in the last "decad" when the total for the hymn (not—as in book vii.—for the anuvāka) is not an exact multiple of ten. A tabular conspectus for book viii. follows:







Hymns 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Verses 21 28 26 25 22 26 28 24 26 33 ¶
Decad-div. 10+11 10+10+8 10+10+6 10+10+5 10+12 10+10+6 10+10+8 10+14 10+10+6 6 P

Here ¶ means "paragraph of a paryāya" (such as is numbered as a "verse" in the Berlin edition) and P means "paryāya." The last line shows the "decad"-division. These divisions are shown also in the Berlin edition. Of these "decads," anuvākas 1, 2, 3, and 4 contain respectively 5, 6, 5, and 5 (in all, 21 "decads"); while anuvāka 5 has 3 "decads" and 6 paryāyas. The sum is 24 "decad"-sūktas and 6 paryāya-sūktas or 30 sūktas. Cf. again the summation at the end of hymn 10.⌋

VIII. Book the eight
1 For some one's continued life 472
2 To prolong some one's life 476
3 To Agni: against sorcerers and demons 481
4 Against sorcerers and demons: to Indra and Soma 486
5 Against withcraft etc.: with an amulet 490
6 To guard a pregnant woman from demons 493
7 To the plants: for some one's restoration to health 498
8 To conquer enemies 502
9 Mystic: extolling the virā́j 507
10 Extolling the virā́j (first paryāya-hymn, with 6 paryāyas) 511