Wordle, the word cloud generator of Jonathan Feinberg offers a delectable means of generating some art as well as capturing the essence of certain texts in a pictures. It uses the visually pleasing Gentium font to render Unicode. It can render Devanagari too, but I had already begun in Romanized transliteration and had deleted to source files before running the conversion scripts. Below is a display of the first 4 upa-maNDala-s of the R^igveda. Not surprising pronouns and particles dominate the field. Yet beyond their clutter interesting patterns become apparent.

madhuchChandas the son of vishvAmitra

indra is the dominant deity of his compositions. We also note that he has a proclivity to use the word “gira”/girvan to describe his invocations.

medhAtithi kANva

Here the deity agni seems dominant. He predominantly uses the root ‘hve’ in his invocatory phrases. With sandhi it should correctly be marudbhir – the marut-bhir is an artefact of my processing macro.

shunaHshepa Ajigarti

As one would expect for shunaHshepa, along with indra, varuNa also plays a prominent place in his hymns. We also note that he tends to use some repetitive phrases due to the over-representation of rare words like shubhri (great brightness) and shaMsaya (invoke). He tends to use namaH as an invocatory phrase, which usually others do not. He also tends to use ava (protect).

hiraNyastupa A~Ngirasa

agni, indra, ashvinau, savitar are his primary devatA-s. We immediately notice that he has composed hymn/s with a distinctive style either addressing a god repeatedly in second person or frequently using the primitive Indo-European construct of tripartation (triH). vajra is also relatively over-represented in his compositions. Interestingly we also note the over-representation of the word hiraNya in his sUkta-s relative those of others. Could this be a cryptic signature of his own name?

Beyond the idiosyncrasies which come out quite well, we see some pervasive elements of R^igvedic composition. Except hiraNyastUpa we note that the remaining 3 vipra-s tend to use terms related to the soma rite (soma, pItaye, suta etc.) suggesting that they were composed in that context. Not that hiraNyastupa is unaware of it (one can find soma) but perhaps his sUkta-s were predominantly used in a distinct ritual context like the fire offering (e.g the oblations to agni and savitar).

This text is to be guessed by the reader: A reasonable test for basic familiarity with Sanskritic thought :-)

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