Vedic Hymn of Creation       Rigveda, X. 129

Appendix 2 - Three Translations

 

1

 

            The unmanifest was not then, or the Manifest; spatial depths or heaven beyond were not. What encompassed, where, who nurtured it? What ocean, profound, unfathomable, pervaded?

Death was not then or immortality. Neither night’s nor day’s confine existed. Undisturbed, self-moved, pulsated the One alone. And beyond that, other than that, was naught.

Darkness there was; at first hidden in darkness this all was undifferentiated depth. Enwrapped in voidness, that which flame-power kindled to existence emerged.

Desire, primordial seed of mind, in the beginning, arose in That. Seers, searching in their heart’s wisdom , discovered the kinship of the created with the uncreate.

Their vision’s rays stretched afar. There was indeed a below, there was indeed an above. Seed-bearers there were, mighty powers there were. Energy below, will above.

Who knows the truth, who can here proclaim whence this birth, whence this projection? The gods appeared later in this world’s creation. Who then knows how it all came into being?

Whence this creation originated; whether He caused it to be or not, He who in the highest empyrean surveys it, He alone knows, or else, even He knows not!

 

                        (Jeanine Miller, The Vedas; B.I. Publications, 1974)

 

 

 

2

 

At first was neither Being nor Nonbeing.

There was not air not yet sky beyond.

What was its wrapping? Where? In whose protection?

Was Water there, unfathomable and deep?

 

There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness;

of night or day there was not any sign.

The One breathed without breath, by its own impulse.

Other than that was nothing else at all.

 

Darkness was there, all wrapped around by darkness,

and all was Water indiscriminate. Then

that which was hidden by the Void, that One, emerging,

stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.

 

In the beginning Love arose,

which was the primal germ cell of the mind.

The seers, searching in their hearts with wisdom,

discovered the connection of Being in Nonbeing.

 

A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.

What was described above it, what below?

Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,

thrust from below and forward move above.

 

Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?

Whence was it born? Whence issued this creation?

Even the Gods came after its emergence.

Then who can tell from whence it came to be?

 

That out of which creation has arisen,

Whether it held it firm or it did not,

He who surveys it in the highest heaven,

He surely knows—or maybe He does not!

                                                 (Raimundo Panikkar, The Vedic Experience,

                                     All India Books, Pondicherry, 1977)

 

 

3

 

Then was neither Existent nor Non-Existent.

The mid-world was not, nor the sky nor what is beyond.

What enveloped it? And where? In whose protection?

What was the Water, unfathomable and deep?

 

Then was neither death nor deathlessness,

Nor any indication of day and night.

The One breathed without breath by its self-law.

Other than that was nothing else, nor aught beyond it.

 

In the beginning was darkness hidden by darkness,

And all was an ocean of Inconscience. When

That lay concealed by endless fragmentation, the One came

To be by the power of his infinite austerity.

 

In the beginning that moved as desire within,

Which was the first seed of mind.

The seers, having meditated in their hearts

Discovered the connection of the Existent in the Non-Existent.

 

A ray stretched out that cut the Existent from the Non-Existent;

 

What was there below? What was above?

There were impregnators, there were mighty forces,

There was self-law below, and a Will above.

 

Who truly knows? Who here may declare it?

Whence it is born? Whence indeed this creation?

Even the gods were subsequent to the world’s emergence;

Then who knows from whence it arose?

 

That out of which this creation has come into being,

Whether it upheld it or if it did not?

He who is the Lord of all this in the highest heaven

Surely knows it, or perhaps He does not!

                                                (V. Madhusudan Reddy, The Vedic Epiphany,

                                                Vol. 1; Institute of Human Study, 1991)

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