RV, 10:129-6 
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The hymn has attracted a large body of literature of commentaries both
in Indian darshan and in Western philology.
The Creation Hymn begins by paradoxically stating "not the
non-existent existed, nor did the existent exist then" (ná ásat
āsīt ná u sát āsīt tadânīm), paralleled in verse 2 by "then
not death existed, nor the immortal" (ná mṛtyúḥ āsīt amŕtam
ná tárhi). But already in verse 2 mention is made that there was
"breathing without breath, of its own nature, that one" ânīt
avātám svadháyā tát ékam). In verse 3, being unfolds, "from heat
(tapas) was born that one" (tápasaḥ tát mahinâ ajāyata ékam).
Verse 4 mentions desire (kāma) as the primal seed, and the first
poet-seers (kavayas) who "found the bond of being within non-being
with their heart's thought".
yádi vā dadhé yádi vā ná "if he has created it; or if not [...]"
Brereton (1999) argues that the defect is a conscious device employed by the rishi to express puzzlement at the possibility that the world may not be created, parallel to the syntactic defect of pada 7d, which ends in a subordinate clause without a governing clause:
só aṅgá veda yádi vā ná véda "he verily knows; or if he does not know [...]"
नासदासीन्नो सदासीत्तदानीं नासीद्रजो नो व्योमा परो यत्
किमावरीवः कुह कस्य शर्मन्नम्भः किमासीद्गहनं गभीरम् ॥ १॥
न मृत्युरासीदमृतं न तर्हि न रात्र्या अह्न आसीत्प्रकेतः
आनीदवातं स्वधया तदेकं तस्माद्धान्यन्न परः किञ्चनास ॥२॥
तम आसीत्तमसा गूहळमग्रे प्रकेतं सलिलं सर्वाऽइदम्
तुच्छ्येनाभ्वपिहितं यदासीत्तपसस्तन्महिनाजायतैकम् ॥३॥
कामस्तदग्रे समवर्तताधि मनसो रेतः प्रथमं यदासीत्
सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन्हृदि प्रतीष्या कवयो मनीषा ॥४॥
तिरश्चीनो विततो रश्मिरेषामधः स्विदासीदुपरि स्विदासीत्
रेतोधा आसन्महिमान आसन्त्स्वधा अवस्तात्प्रयतिः परस्तात् ॥५॥
को अद्धा वेद क इह प्र वोचत्कुत आजाता कुत इयं विसृष्टिः
अर्वाग्देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यत आबभूव ॥६॥
इयं विसृष्टिर्यत आबभूव यदि वा दधे यदि वा न
यो अस्याध्यक्षः परमे व्योमन्त्सो अङ्ग वेद यदि वा न वेद ॥७॥
Then even nothingness was not, nor existence, There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping? Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?
Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there then the torch of night and day. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other.
At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined cosmic water. That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat.
In the beginning desire descended on it - that was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not.
And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below. Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces. Below was strength, and over it was impulse.
But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened? the Devas (gods) themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen?
Whence all creation had its origin, he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows - or maybe even he does not know.
—Translated by A. L. Basham
In popular culture
The title track of the popular Indian documentary series Bharat Ek
Khoj features a rendering of part the Nasadiya Sukta, both in the
original Sanskrit, and in
God in Hinduism
^ Kenneth Kramer (January 1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to
Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. pp. 34–.
^ David Christian (1 September 2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to
Big History. University of California Press. pp. 18–.
^ Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India:
From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. Pearson Education India.
pp. 206–. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
Ranganathananda (1991). Human Being in Depth: A Scientific
Approach to Religion. SUNY Press. p. 21.
^ Wendy Doniger says of this hymn (10.129) "This short hymn, though
linguistically simple... is conceptually extremely provocative and
has, indeed, provoked hundreds of complex commentaries among Indian
theologians and Western scholars. In many ways, it is meant to puzzle
and challenge, to raise unanswerable questions, to pile up paradoxes."
The Rig Veda. (Penguin Books: 1981) p. 25. ISBN 0-14-044989-2.
^ Werner, Karel (1977). "Symbolism in the
Joel P. Brereton, Edifying Puzzlement: Ṛgveda 10. 129 and the Uses
Journal of the American Oriental Society
External links Carl Sagan's 'COSMOS' mentioning Nasadiya Sukta.YouTube link
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