Mathomathis would like to continue from the previous article on Rishikas | Female Rishis In Vedanta Dharma | 101. The following article was been referred from the Assam university library. In the following article mathomathis would be describing on the VEDIC GODDESSES
Usha Devi: The most beautiful conception of a goddess which the Rig Veda presents to us in Usha, the goddess dawn. The entire hymn 75 and 76 – 81 of VIIth book is credited with Usha. She has been inspired the finest lyrical hymns in the Rigveda. She is the daughter of the heaven, the lady of the light. In a verse of the hymn 76 of the VIIth book of Rigveda, who find her describing as: “The Dawn, the daughter of heaven, has risen, she comes manifesting her magnificence in light, she scatters our foes as well as the odious darkness and relumes the path that are to be trodden by living beings”. Moreover, she has been described by the hymn, as the goddess usha is awakening creatures and sending them off to their respective deities is a more or less passive act. The goddess Usha has described as beautiful, fresh and ever young, dressed in a red garment, glowing with youth, freshness and beauty. She is who awakens men to new life on a new day. As many as twenty hymns are addressed to her which made the best part of the Rigvedic poetry. Amongst the hymns, which are assigned to her, we find her in a verse as a wife who is taking care of a vagrant husband.
The verse records as – ‘Many are the days that have dawned before the rising of the Sun, on which you. Ushas, have been beheld like a wife repairing to an inconstant husband and not like one deserting him. In a verse, we find her as ‘The laughing Usha reveals her body as the smiling wife who desires her husband ; she dressed beautifully for his sake and reveals herself to him. Rigveda poetry presents a sense of ardour, grandeur, lofty ideals and poetic portrayal of various emotions, which can be proved by the description of Usa in several verses of the hymn 76 of VII Mandala.
In a verse, the goddess Usha has been described as ‘smiling young maiden’ who go to the resplendent Sun ; like a youthful bride before her husband. Whose mother has decorated her as a bride. The goddess, Dawn appears as fresh as ever in each day uninterruptedly, each day the goddess usa resembling the other new dawn. So sometime it is difficult to determine which is the most earliest? The naive wonder of the each day arriving in the same glory, finds an expression in the following verse as: Unimpending divine rites, although wearing away the ages of mankind the dawn shines the resemblance of the mornings that have passed.
Aditi: Who is known as a goddess of Rigveda and also known as mother of Lord Indra, Mitra and Adityas. In Rigveda many times she is spoken of protecting men from distress and danger. A hymn runs as: May Savita drive away our disease may the mountains keep off our sin, where the stone (the effliser) of the sweet juice us abundantly praised.
We long for the universal Aditi in a verse of Rv, we come across a description of Aditi as: This spacious for pervading and perfect Goddess is not only the mother of Indra, Mitra and Adityas but has like her son Varuna. Hence, in the Rigveda the motherhood is no doubt, the essential and the most characteristic platform in the domestic social context.
Saraswati: Saraswati is one of a goddesses of the Rigveda. The stanzas 1-14 of the hymn 61 of the VP Mandala and the verses 49 of the hymn 164 of 1st Mandala of Rigveda are credited with Saraswat. Beyond this, we find her as a female deity with other gods and goddess. Such as she appeared as a goddess in the verses (Rv. 1: 164 : 49, Rv. I: 3 : 11 – 12 and in Rv X. 1 7 : 7 – 9 ) . To describe the nature of this goddess a verse has been cited as follows:
With impetus and mighty waves she breaks down the precipices of the mountains, like a digger for the lotus fibres, we adore for our protection with sacred rites, Saraswati the underminer of both her banks. In this verse, she has been praised as a river. Again in the verse 49 of the hymn 164 of the 1st mandala she has been described as Saraswati that retiring breast, which is the source delight, with which you bestow all good things, the container of wealth, the distributor of riches, the giver of good fortune.
Sarparanji: Who is the lady seer of hymn 189 of the Xth book of the Rigveda. She is known as the mother of the serpent race. In the hymn we find her as a deity too. Although the form and nature of the hymn are hazy and not clear.
Prithvi: Prithvi is recognised as a goddess in the Rigveda. The verse 15 of the hymn 22 is ascribed to her as Earth be your wide spreading, free from thorns and our abiding place; give us great happiness. A few passages of the Rigveda, mention has made celestial nymph called Apsaras. Urvasi is one of them. In the category of Apsaras Urvashi is worth mentioning.
The hymn 95 of the Xth book of Rigveda has depicted the anecdote of pururava Urvashi. In this hymn we come across the dialogues between the Pururava and Urvashi. In this hymn there are eighteen verses in all containing a conversation between the nymph Urvasi and the king Pururava. Out of the eighteen verses, Urvasi is said to have composed nine verses. In the hymn, we find the passage referring to a story of contractual marriage.
Here we find a sort of agreement for the breach of which the king had to ruin afterwards when Urvasi would disappear from the earth. The story narrates that Urvasi got engaged with Pururavas in an alliance. The permanence of which depends on a condition.
She had consented to live with the king on the condition that the latter must watch her ewes and must not go naked before her eyes. But unfortunately in a certain circumstance in one night a flash of lightning revealed the naked king to Urvasi and she was free from the contract. Repairing to the stipulation of the agreement she addressed the king as: Return purusava, to your dwelling; I am as hard to catch as the wind.
Yami: The hymn 10 of the Xth book of Rv is ascribed to Yama and Yami. In this hymn both Yami and Yama are the rishikas and rishi respectively and at the sometime we found them as the devatas of the hymn. The dialogue of Yama and Yami has been pointed out to contain a reference to incest. But in fact, it is entirely a metaphysical dialogue.
Yama and Yami, are the sons and daughters of Vivasvan. In the dialogue of Yama and Yami, we come across the conversation of Yama and Yami as, the eternal laws of gods, which forbid the union of blood relations, the sister Yami draws the brother on to love. We fmd Yami as praying her brother to obtain a child from their union but Yama repels her uttering this following verse: Thy friend love not the friendship which considers her who is near in kindred as a stranger.
This passage shows that exogamy was the rule and order of the society. In the dialogue of yami with her brother she puts another plea – that the principles of law are meant for the mortals and not for the gods and so Yama could be her husband. But Yama retorted that invest had never been a practice among the Aryans. Finally, Yami herself realises the implications of social laws.