The vaishvadeva riddle of manu

In 8th maNDala of the R^igveda there is famous vaishvadeva riddle of father manu vaivasvata (RV 8.29) in the peculiar partial virAT (dvipada virAT) meter. In our tradition the one who identifies all the deva-s in it becomes the knower of the deva-s.

babhrur eko viShuNaH sUnaro yuvA~njy a~Nkte hiraNyayam ||

One is a brown, many-formed merry youth, anointing [himself] with a golden hue.

yonim eka A sasAda dyotano .antar deveShu medhiraH ||

One is seated at the source of light, the wise one in midst of the deva-s.

vAshIm eko bibharti hasta AyasIm antar deveShu nidhruviH ||

One bears in his hand a metal ax, the resolute one among the deva-s.

vajram eko bibharti hasta AhitaM tena vR^itrANi jighnate ||

One bears a vajra, firmly in his hand, with which he slays the vR^itra-s

tigmam eko bibharti hasta AyudhaM shuchir ugro jalASha bheShajaH ||

One bears a sharp weapon in his hand, and is shining and fierce, with soothing medicines.

patha ekaH pIpAya taskaro yathAM eSha veda nidhInAm ||

One makes the paths prosperous, like a thief this one knows the sites of treasures.

trINy eka urugAyo vi chakrame yatra devAso madanti ||

One taking three steps with his wide stride has reached where the deva-s rejoice.

vibhir dvA charata ekayA saha pra pravAseva vasataH ||

On birdlike vehicles, two fly in along with one goddess, like travellers going to a dwelling.

sado dvA chakrAte upamA divi samrAjA sarpirAsutI ||

Two, have set up their seat in the highest heaven, supreme rulers, drinking melted butter.

archanta eke mahi sAma manvata tena sUryam arochayan ||

Some sing the great sAman they have conceived, with which they have made the sun shine.

The complete and correct interpretation of all the deva-s in the riddle has not been achieved by sAyaNa. Though, to one familiar with vaidika tradition and ritual the answers should be clear. He, who fails to grasp these deva-s, will see his vaidika krama-s to be futile as Ahuti-s made on ash.

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