Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, , at sacred-texts.com
1. IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
2 Giver of vital breath, of power and vigour, he whose commandments all the Gods acknowledge -.
The Lord of death, whose shade is life immortal. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
3 Who by his grandeur hath become Sole Ruler of all the moving world that breathes and slumbers;
He who is Loord of men and Lord of cattle. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
4 His, through his might, are these snow-covered mountains, and men call sea and Rasā his possession:
His arms are these, his are these heavenly regions. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
5 By him the heavens are strong and earth is stedfast, by him light’s realm and sky-vault are supported:
By him the regions in mid-air were measured. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
6 To him, supported by his help, two armies embattled look while trembling in their spirit,
When over them the risen Sun is shining. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
7 What time the mighty waters came, containing the universal germ, producing Agni,
Thence sprang the Gods’ one spirit into being. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
8 He in his might surveyed the floods containing productive force and generating Worship.
He is the God of gods, and none beside him. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
9 Neer may he harm us who is earth’s Begetter, nor he whose laws are sure, the heavens’ Creator,
He who brought forth the great and lucid waters. What God shall we adore with our oblation?
10 Prajāpati! thou only comprehendest all these created things, and none beside thee.
Grant us our hearts’ desire when we invoke thee: may we have store of riches in possession.
Nasadiya: The Creation Hymn of Rig Veda
by Wendy Dongier O’Flaherty
There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly 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.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
The life force that was covered with emptiness,
that One arose through the power of heat.
Desire came upon that One in the beginning,
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom
found the bond of existence and non-existence.
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were powers.
There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
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 even He does not know.
Translation by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty. From the Book “The Rig Veda – Anthology”
Image (c) Gettyimages.com