RigVeda X 127 – Ratri (Night)


[There are many mentions for Ratri Devi in the verses of the RigVeda; but this Hymn, addressed to Ratri Herself, is unquestionably the grandest. Following on from this morning’s article the coterminities of ‘rulership’ and ‘night/darkness’ in both PIE and subsequent mytholinguistics, it seemed only appropriate to present this Hymnal. This time, in three translations of the same verses, to better convey the meaning of the Sanskrit original. Additionally appropriate, given the subject-matter, as it’s ten to six in the morning here, and therefore just a little before Dawn [Ushas] [-C.A.R.] ]

“1. Here comes the Night; with Her twinkling eyes
the Goddess has lit many places,
adorned once again with all Her beauty.
2. The immortal Goddess enwraps the world,
its valleys and lofty peaks.
By the shining of her light she repels all darkness.
3. Advancing quietly, the Goddess has restored
once again Her Sister the Dawn.
The shadows will now also steal away.
4. Be gracious this night! At your approach
we now repair to our homes,
like birds seeking their roosting places.
5. The villagers likewise and all that walks
or flies have gone to their rest.
Even the hungry hawks are still.
6. Ward off wild beasts, the wolf and his mate
or the robber, O Night undulating.
May your passage bring us safely to the other side!
7. The shades of night enfold me now,
arrayed in black apparel.
Banish them, Dawn, like haunting debts!
8. O Daughter of Heaven, to you I direct
my hymn like a precious offering.
Accept it, O Night, as a paean of praise.”
[Raimon Pannikar sourced translation]

“1. OM! The Goddess Ratri (Night), approaching, illumines every direction with Her eyes. She has put on all Her glories.
2. The immortal Goddess has filled the world’s breadth, heights, and depths with Her light. She drives away the darkness.
3. The approaching goddess follows upon Her sister, Usha (Dawn), at Whose coming the darkness likewise departs.
4. Now She is upon us: at Her coming we go to rest as birds to their nest in a tree.
5. The villagers have gone to rest, and so, too, all the creatures that walk or fly, even the ravenous hawks.
6. Ward off the she-wolf and the wolf, ward off the thief, O wave of darkness, and be easy for us to pass through.
7. For now, the palpable blackness crushes down upon me, O Dawn, collect it dutifully.
8. As you would accept a precious herd of cattle, O Daughter of Heaven, O Night, accept this hymn, offered as if to a conqueror.”
[ Devadatta Kali sourced translation]

“1. WITH all Her eyes the Goddess Night looks forth approaching many a spot: She hath put all Her glories on.
2 Immortal. She hath filled the waste, the Goddess hath filled height and depth: She conquers darkness with her light.
3 The Goddess as She comes hath set the Dawn Her Sister in Her place: And then the darkness vanishes.
4 So favour us this night, O Thou whose pathways we have visited As birds their nest upon the tree.
5 The villagers have sought their homes, and all that walks and all that flies, Even the falcons fain for prey.
6 Keep off the she-wolf and the wolf, O Urmya, keep the thief away; Easy be Thou for us to pass.
7 Clearly hath She come nigh to me who decks the dark with richest hues: O Morning, cancel it like debts.
8 These have I brought to Thee like kine. O Night, Thou Child of Heaven, accept This laud as for a conqueror.”
[ Griffith translation]

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