“He gives Victory to some,
Money to others,
Eloquence to many,
and Common Sense to all.
He gives Waves to the Sea,
Word-Skill to Poets,
He gives many the Happiness of Love”
- Freyja, speaking of Odin, apparently from the Völuspá hin skamma per Dr Jackson Crawford’s translation … which appears to be extracted from Hyndluljóð
Interested to see this particular verse drawn to my recent attention by an associate. Why? Because, of course, we find an array of coterminous understandings in the Vedas for Rudra.
Now, many of these are obvious – so I wish to focus upon the less obvious one. That “He gives many the happiness of love”.
We could reason this a few ways for Lord Shiva. For instance, we could take Lord Shiva’s theonym as Kameshvara – Lord of Kama – at directly face value. Which would, of course, be overlooking the manner in which ‘Desire’, ‘Wish’, ‘Choosing’ could be rendered out of the same understanding.
Yet I instead think merely of the Vedic notions. Where we find Lord Rudra hailed for His Role in finding Husbands for Women – an act that is, interestingly enough, linked to the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.
To quote from the White Yajurveda [III 60]:
“Tryambaka we worship, sweet augmenter of prosperity.
As from its stem a cucumber, may I be freed from bonds of
death, not reft of immortality.
We worship Him, Tryambaka, the husband-finder, sweet to
As from its stem a cucumber, hence and not thence may I
Now, of course, that rendering for the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is, perhaps, not the best (I have presented my own .. relatively more lengthy .. interpretation elsewhere) – yet it gets the point across.
And in just such a fashion – we find the concept of finding one’s ‘Other Half’ eminently excellent to invoke here. Because, after all, as some Greek no doubt once observed: the Quest for Love is most definitely and enduringly … the Quest for Immortality.
Now, some might ask … “So that’s all good for the Wives – what about the Gentlemen?”
And to this, we reply : RV VI 74 1
Which, in the Griffith rendering:
“Hold fast your Godlike sway, O Soma-Rudra: let these our sacrifices quickly reach You.
Placing in every house Your seven great treasures, bring blessing to our quadrupeds and bipeds.”
A learned associate pointed out that in amidst these Sapta Ratna – Seven Gems or Seven Jewels – is to be found, of course, a Wife. His source upon this was the Brhaddevata commentary of Shaunaka, which covers an extensive array of RigVedic scripture – providing commentary upon the purport, meaning, and mythic correlation of various Vedic verses.
Now there are, no doubt, an array of further substantiations to be found out there within the Hindu ritualine and mythological spheres for what we have but briefly outlined here.
And, of course, further points to be made concerning the direct concordancy of the other elements attributable to Odin , with the Hindu understanding of Lord Rudra.
But for now, I think that it is a good start !
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Now it should, of course, be noted that the Crawford translation is .. interesting.
The relevant line of the Hyndluljóð which he has translated as “He gives many the Happiness of Love”, is in the Old Norse:
“gefr hann mannsemi / mörgum rekki.”
The word we are interested in here is “mannsemi” – as it has, understandably, generally been approached quite differently.
Instead being rendered as ‘Valour’, ‘Bravery’, etc.
“Manliness”, “Manfulness” we may say.
However, ‘Semi’ also has another meaning. And so, yes, it is a viable rendering to present ‘Mannsemi’ in this rather different light.
An associate noted that given Old Norse’s … incredibly poetic quality, the idea of the same term simultaneously meaning both things to the listener is certainly not impossible.