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Finally the last nail on the coffin of the Hindu centric view of the Origin of Vedic culture -has been driven

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Finally the last nail on the coffin of the Hindu centric view of the Origin of Vedic culture -has been driven

Hello! I have a question, and I would really appreciate it if you could help me with it. In the Rig Veda, Book 1, Hymn XXXIL Indra, there is a description of the deeds of Indra. According to the English translation of the text by Ralph Griffith, Indra defeated Vrtra, who seems to be regarded as a dragon or the firstborn of dragons in that version. However, I don't know if in the original Sanskrit or Hindi texts the word "dragon" is used. Do you know what word is used in the Sanskrit or Hindi texts?
Thank you very much!

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Purusha Sukta - 2

Entering deep into the Vedic philosophy to get the implications of the personal concept of God and impersonal Reality, the One centralized and the One perfectly infinite.

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But who is Indra? - He, O People!, is Indra
Rigveda 2.12
Composer : Gr̥tsamadaḥ Bhārgavaḥ śaunakaḥ
Metre : Tr̥ṣṭubh

He who emerged as the only one born first, encapsulating the mind, as
The God of the divine concepts by inspiration,
By the hissing of whose heroic greatness the two realms shook,
He, O folks, is Indra.

He who tied together the shattered width, He who fixed calm the outraged hurdles,
He who measured out the great middle region and fixed support for the sky,
He, O folks, is Indra.

He who, weakening the cloud, released the seven streams
And drove the kine from Vala's cave
He who created the fire between the two rubbing clouds (or stones or hurdles), the spoiler in battles,
He, O folks, is Indra.

By whom this oscillating universe was created, He who chased the silenced group of separated Dasas,
He who, like a gambler collecting the lakhs of wealth, seized the foe's abundances,
He, O folks, is Indra.

Of Him the frightful one, they usually ask, "where is he?" or even say of Him, "He does not exist"
He sweeps away, like birds, the abundances of the hostile one,
Put your faith in him, for He, O folks, is Indra.

He who is the stirrer of the oppressed and lowly, of the poet and his suppliant who recites loud,
He the great sage who envelopes the one with sowed soma and singers,
He, O folks, is Indra.

In whose direction are all the Ashvas, cows, villages and the chariots,
He who created the sun and the dawn, He who leads the waters,
He, O folks, is Indra.

To whom the two crying armies call out in battle, both enemies - the strong and the weak,
He whom two invoke, in a common mind-chariot, each for himself,
He, O folks, is Indra.

From without his whose orders, people don't conquer,
He whom the fighting ones invoke for protection,
He who has become the model of the whole world, He who MOVES the ACHYUTA (motionless), He, O folks, is Indra.

He who weakens the perpetually disregarding sinners through his weakening force,
He who, without giving way, ridicules the mocking ones,
He who is the weakener of Dasyus, He, O folks, is Indra.

He who found the quiet Shambara among the hurdles, in the fortieth autumn,
He who through his vigour, slayed the water-born resting-cloud, He, O folks, is Indra.

He who with seven rays, the Mighty bull, caused to flow the flowing seven waters;
He who, thunder-hurling, made shine the uprising one as he scaled the sky,
He, O folks, is Indra.

To him whom the sky and earth bow, on whose breath the hurdles tremble,
He who is the drinker of the inspired essence, the observed, the thunder-armed,
Yea He who is thunder armed, He, O folks, is Indra.

He who envelopes sowing, the one nurturing, the sacrificing and the toiling person,
Him whom the sowed gift of poem magnifies, He, O folks, is Indra.

You indeed, are the Fierce One and the Truth, you give the strength to the sowing and nurturing,
So may we, forever, thy beloved ones, O Indra,
Speak in the assembly bravely.

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Kiron Krishnan's answer to :

Note that first you should be eligible for reading Rigveda. Do I sound sarcastic? No. Rigveda itself tells that its verses reveal only to the poet. Do you like to read poetry, riddles and enjoying them? If yes, you can continue, else Rigveda is not for you, you can try out the Upanishads that talk of simpler things in simpler words. No, am not joking - to get what I mean, just check out Rigveda 1.164, and see if you understand anything. People till this date haven’t completed its interpretation! So, you are going to “read” such a book, come on.

Reading Rigveda.. I hope you are really meaning it. That is a very long process. I remember starting reading this book, but haven’t yet closed it. It is not that I haven’t covered the book’s words; but I haven’t covered yet the book’s meanings completely. And none can do that easily.

There will be a time when you realize why Rigveda is composed as poems - only poetry can enclose the complete nature of truth in it. And to understand it, one should be much spiritual, much thinking (you should think free without any limitations of religion, culture), should have a good poetic perception and must be an appreciator of philosophy that is beyond the limits of Indian Vedanta or Greek philosophy. And don’t try to seek your Vedantic theory or Puranic conjectures or your fancy history theories in Rigveda. It is absolutely senseless.

To start with, go for purely literal translations of Rigveda. I would ask you to take Griffith. And don’t start from 1.1. Because you are not trained to that level so as to appreciate those. So, start from the more literal and simpler poems in Mandala 10, like :

Any translation of “Nasadiya suktam”. Note that most are literal and will not and cannot cover all the realms intended by the poet in Rigveda. You will find it to be like “agnostic” if you singularly follow the last lines of ordinary translations. However, note that in actual verses, there is a poetic device used there - the incomplete clause of yadi vaa. There, the poet actually tries to tell that however you think - God knows / does not know or whether the world was created for us / not, there exists the God as the surveyor in the highest realms. Note that the poem speaks both about spiritual and physical creation.
The Hiranyagarbha hymn. Note that the “who” is actually the name of the deity of this mantra. And the “who” is just not a deity, but is the name of the Reality that is the cause of everything. It is hidden behind the blinding light of the spiritual sun. Thus, it is called the source (garbha) of golden lustre (hiranya). And the Reality is best called “who” (kaH) because you get to know God only by his effects, you don’t know the identity of Reality. Once you see the poem in this light, you will start appreciating the poem, and understand why the refrain comes as : “who” is the God we worship with offerings.
Now, take up the Gambler’s lament poem (RV 10.34); it is an entirely different poem, based on the story of how dice destroys the life of a man. The man warns us about how gambling can destroy the life, and is a very touching and emotional poem too.
Read Rigveda’s last poem, called the “aikamatya suktam” or “samvada suktam” (RV 10.191). It is pretty literal in meaning except for first verse that has a myriad of meanings. (In most literal translations, the meanings are destroyed by bad choice of words) Still, you will appreciate the sense of unity and peace the poem instills in humanity.
Once you feel you are comfortable with these poems that are much easily literally translatable, you need to learn some more before you take up the next series of poems. You need to know some basic metaphors of Vedic poetry now. And you need to know some basic ways of decoding common Rigvedic poems. For example, consider “cow”. Cow is an Indo European symbol of solar rays in physical realm. Vedas further take it to spiritual realm, where the solar rays or cows mean to be the “spiritual light” from the “spiritual sun” at the “spiritual dawn”. (Please don’t ask me to elaborate what spiritual sun or dawn or light exactly means in simple words - there exists no language other than poetry that can explain these words in their entirety. They have lots and lots of meanings) Sometimes, the cows are the milch cows of sky (solar light) that milk out light (at dawn) for the Ashvins. (Ashvins symbolize the arrival of fast dawn) In some other areas, cows that represent light, also stand for knowledge, whereas the “cave” from which they may be released will refer to darkness (of ignorance).

Now, you should also start viewing nature, appreciating its beauty. Just wake up early before sunrise and get a calm view of dawn and sunshine. As the sun rises, you think, and try to relate it with instances from spiritual life, physical life. You can see sun as a “herdsman” with cows going to graze all over the sky. You see the Ashvins coming with in horses with the rudravartani (ruddy trail) of the dawn. You see the dawn driving every creature, every man from sleep. You see the “red cows” and “bay horses” in the sky. Now, equate this process to spiritual realms where sun is the embodiment of our concepts of God and Reality that shines with its light. It emerges from the earth of our physical mind, and rises to the heavens of spiritual mind. The spiritual dawn is created, which has created life in us seekers. It inspires us, and puts the knowledge in us. Thus, we find the Lord of Brahman (brahman here means word of Reality, not the Vedantic stuff), the brhaspati enlightening the sky of our brain by creating the “cows and horses” of knowledge. And we find the beauty of dawn, we find how the God Indra props the spiritual sun out of the cave of darkness.

Now that you can think in this angle, just take poems to dawn in Rigveda, and try reading them. You will find them much deep and poetic, and to an extent appreciate them. In every poem, there will be a stanza where the key to think will be hidden. If you still feel confident and that you can continue, well and fine - continue your great journey and you are entering into the beautiful world of Rigvedic poetry and philosophy. If you cannot see the meaning in the lines, the metaphors, well realize that however you try, this piece is not for your solitary reading. Try reading Yajurveda 40 which at least presents some fraction understandable to non poets. And continue your reading of Rigvedic poems not directly, but through secondary translations and interpretations like that of David Frawley’s Wisdom of the Ancient Seers: Mantras of the Rig Veda, Aurobindo’s Secret of the Veda. AC Bose’s The Call of the Vedas is also a good suggestion to start to realize the Vedic poems, Rigveda in particular.

Those who are well without the need for reading the above books, should also just read them, to develop your thinking ability. Different people interpret the same metaphors differently, and you will also realize that you can also interpret the metaphors in Rigvedic poems your own beautiful (and sometimes due to ignorance, in an awful) way. (But kindly note that neither you nor me can limit the Rigvedic poems - they are limitless) Now, you should try thinking about the mind, thought process, how God as Reality is different from our concepts, how each Vedic concepts of God (called devas or shining ones, as we have seen that they represent the rays of the spiritual sun of inspirer - Savitr, whose cause is Indra - the net concepts of God) So, we realize that God (or say the primal Reality) has sacrificed itself to become the cosmos. But it is from the cosmos that the concept of God is born. This kind of “sacrificial” and “dual” paradoxes are common in Rigveda. Now, take the Purusha sukta (10.90) and read. Note how Purusha (the manifesting “person” who is the entire cosmos) sacrifices himself to create the world, and how from that energy the All Emperor concept of God (Viraj) is born. Alternatively, you should also note that Viraj as God creates Purusha too. :) You see the creation of world being told as a division of the primal entity to form the entire cosmos and then creating meaning of the original form. And note the functional poetic metaphors used for creation of different skills. If you find them as “castes”, “animals”, “Vedas” etc. being created from a being called Purusha, shut the Rigveda up and do your business.

Now you should have understood the key points in how to approach Rigveda. Now, try finding the spiritual symbols of each concept of God. You may refer to David Frawley’s work, or Aurobindo’s, if you can’t do it by yourself, but never ever consider them to be the last words or limits. Begin from them. And slowly, start reading Rigveda.

Even now when you can get the sense behind Rigvedic lines, you have not fully reached even basics of Rigveda. Rigveda is life. It explains how every natural phenomena is to be decoded so as to understand ourselves, the society, the spiritual life, God etc.

You may follow my blog in Quora or google+ community “The Vedas” for discussing on Rigvedic poems. However, read from the beginning in both places, as to realize some concepts of Rigveda, it takes many things and metaphors to explain, and for decoding each poem, your thought is moulded to a definite angle even with same metaphors.

Things you should not do :

Do NOT read dishonest translations or extrapolating translations because you lose the sense of understanding and realizing Rigvedic poetic metaphors. So, kindly avoid Dayanand’s or Doniger’s or similar translations which deviate from literal translations in anyway. Read the Rigvedic cow as cow, and then decide whether it should mean rays of sun, knowledge, streams of speech or food in the hymn.
Do NOT read historical interpretations when your aim is for philosophy. Do NOT fall for philosophy when you need to search for history. And, most importantly, never read any of the historical interpretations based on secondary sources, that will force you to look things in Rigveda wrongly with biased eyes - either as nomadic white Aryans invading or culturally super-imposing civilized blacks (if you happen to read a AIMT or AIT version) or as rishis trying to fly with soma-yielded aeroplanes (if you happen to read some apologetic non sense).
Do NOT try to hunt up Vedas for your presumptions.
Do NOT try to interpret Rigveda literally. Understand that while a literal translation is the best, the literal interpretation is the worst for a poem. Hope you get me right.
Avoid reading independent catchy “quotes” from Rigveda by people across online and deciding Rigvedic philosophy on that basis, as most of them omit the philosophical, spiritual context and sometimes are even mistranslations.
Avoid looking Rigveda for Puranic stuffs. Rigvedic devas are not gods, they are concepts of God and all are rays of the Supreme. It is difficult to; but still acknowledge the fact that the Vishnu and other later gods are not gods or demigods in Rigveda - they are just other concepts of the same supreme God. There is no trinity or any element of Puranic or Hindu theosophy in Rigveda. And thus, never confuse them. Most important, don’t fail to acknowledge the supremacy of Indra (as anyother Rigvedic concept of God is the Supreme). vishvasmA indra uttaraH. No, neither Indra is, nor are other Rigvedic concepts of God polytheistic anthropomorphic gods. All of them are the part of same supreme God, and God is best represented by Indra concept in whom all concepts of God can be found. (3.54) They are just different names (1.164) and concepts (10.113) of the same Reality.
Rigveda is not even decoded fully till now. And kindly don’t take Sayana’s or other Brahmanical interpretations or Indological interpretations or even ritualistic interpretations that have no spiritual basis or inclination towards poetry. Note that rituals were made by literal interpretation and misuse of Vedic poetry words, and it is not the other way round. (Purusha sukta itself hints the order in which things happened)
Note that soma is a poetic symbol of spiritual life, immortality and revival. Note that soma is not a physical drink in Rigveda. It will be clear when you read the third verse of 10.85.
There are lots more to tell. But yes, only after you can complete at least this much stages. So, bon voyage, and take care.

which hymn specifies that "Indra" is one and only supreme God?

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Notable points about Hymn 11, other than the usual cow metaphor
The conqueror applies to Indra conquering the mind successfully.
 This indirectly shows the absence of any Satan or similar Evil in Vedas.
Indra himself conquers the mind, Indra is responsible ultimately for all we do. This is a hypothesis in Vedas that is much friendly.
But, in several hymns to Varuna, we see that the Aryans did not just put the blame on God for their deeds, or cook up a karma  theory.
Several hymns admit the sins : "we are evil, Varuna, we are evil doers!"
But they believed that praying to God and repenting would have an effect. The same hymns also tell that our soul is not responsible for our deeds; but certain practices like anger, wine, dice, meat, women affairs that cause us sins. Ultimately, though, we are the evil doers, and God is "blameless" (anagha, apApaviddham, ...)
But on the other view, it is the God Himself who makes us do this and that, so Veda presents this idea too, paradoxically.
Karma concept is absent in Vedas.
The "demolisher of forts" (pura-bhindu) is a title that is commonly applied to Indra. In Rig Veda, this is further said as "destroyer of  forts, esp. of Sambara" many times in Rig Veda.
The forts of Shambara (magic, sorcery) are the "forts" of false thoughts, superstitions etc in our mind. Shambara's fort blinds our mind.
In physical interpretation, Shambara also means cloud, signifying blinded sky. It may also mean war, in the context of blinded peace.
And Vedas use such words to tell many things simultaneously.
(Note that here Veda shuns magic and sorcery as superstitions. Only those who rise above the superstitions can attain God.
God demolishes the ignorant ideas in the mind.
The actual context meaning of destroyer of superstitions should be inferred from the next epithet "sage".
The bursting of Vala's cave has been discussed earlier. In physical interpretation, it refers to Indra releasing the cows of sun (rays) from darkness of Vala's cave, or can also be the poetic expression for sun rays coming from the eastern rocks at dawn.
It also refers to the cows of rivers (another cow, yes!!! we shall meet these river cows many places later!!) from the glacier rocks of Vala.
Vala means blocker, rock, blinder.
The fear in 5th verse refers to terror, not "fear due to respect".
By thy aids, I am come to sindhu and saying all this... what does it mean?
Sindhu means stream, and also features as the name of Indus river.
Here, it refers to the streams of knowledge, obtained by shattering of superstitions, releasing of cows of stream of knowledge, by bursting the cave of the blinder.
Hence by Indra's aids, the sage has come to the stream of knowledge, and therefore the sage praises Indra.

The word you might have felt alien could be "Shushna"
Shushna refers to "shrinker" or "drier". Usually used for sun or fire, used to shrink things by drying, here it refers to the magician sorcerer Shushna, a poetic personification of the shrink of mind due to blind faiths and beliefs.
Indra dilates this narrow mind, and makes it an abode of knowledge.
In short, it is not a physical person Indra who is going to do this for us; it is the thought of God, the birth of Indra in our minds that leads to this wisdom.
 His gifts are thousands worth, hey, even much more....

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Rig Veda series
Mandala 1
Hymn 11

1.All praise songs have magnified Indra, as large as the ocean :
 The best of heroes who've cars, Lord of strength, The Lord Himself.
2. Being in Your friendship, O Indra, we're not afraid, O Lord of power and energy!
To You we bow, O conqueror, who has never failed.
3.  From yore, Indra's gifts, His aids, have not malfunctioned 
To the praising sages, as He gives them boon of power that is rich in kine.
4. Demolisher of forts, as a young sage, as "over-powerful" was He born :
 Indra, Fashioner of all, the Sustainer, Thundering, most praised.
5. You burst Vala's cave, rich in kine, O thunderer!
    To You, the God - ordained ones arrive without fear. (+Das Mookken!!!)
6. By thy aids, O hero, am I come to the Sindhu and saying all this;
     The wise poets stand here, O song lover!, and testify to You.
7. By magic, Indra, You sent afar the magician ShuShNa,
   wise have told this Great deed, yea, now go beyond what we heard from them.
8. Indra, the Lord by Might, has been glorified through the praises.
   whose gifts are thousands, yea even more to us.
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