Rigveda

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The Rigveda or Rig Veda is a collection of over 1000 Vedic Sanskrit hymns to the Hindu gods, probably written between 1700 BC and 1000 BC.

Quotations are cited from Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (trans.) The Rig Veda: An Anthology (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981).

  • When they divided the Man, into how many parts did they apportion him? What do they call his mouth, his two arms and thighs and feet? His mouth became the Brahmin; his arms were made into the Warrior, his thighs the People, and from his feet the Servants were born. The moon was born from his mind; from his eye the sun was born. Indra and Agni came from his mouth, and from his vital breath the Wind was born. From his navel the middle realm of space arose; from his head the sky evolved. From his two feet came the earth, and the quarters of the sky from his ear. Thus they set the worlds in order.
    • Mandala 10, hymn 90, verses 11-14.
  • There was neither non-existence nor existence then; there was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What stirred? Where? In whose protection? Was there water, bottomlessly deep? There was neither death nor immortality then. There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day. That one breathed, windless, by its own impulse. Other than that there was nothing beyond.
    • Mandala 10, hymn 129, verses 1-2.
  • Whence this creation has arisen – perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not – the one who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows – or perhaps he does not know.
    • Mandala 10, hymn 129, verse 7.

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