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RV, 10:129-6 [1][2][3]

The Nasadiya Sukta
Nasadiya Sukta
(after the incipit ná ásat, or "not the non-existent"), also known as the Hymn of Creation, is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala
Mandala
of the Rigveda
Rigveda
(10:129). It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe.[4]

Contents

1 Interpretations 2 Metre 3 Nasadiya Sukta
Nasadiya Sukta
with English translation 4 In popular culture 5 See also 6 Notes 7 Further reading 8 External links

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The hymn has attracted a large body of literature of commentaries both in Indian darshan and in Western philology.[5] 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". Karel Werner
Karel Werner
describes the author's source for the material as one not derived from reasoning, but a "visionary, mystical or Yogic experience put into words." Werner writes that prior to creation, the Creation Hymn does not describe a state of "nothingness" but rather "That One (tad ekam)" which is, "Spaceless, timeless, yet in its own way dynamic and the Sole Force, this Absolute..."[6] Brereton (1999) argues that the reference to the sages searching for being in their spirit is central, and that the hymn's gradual procession from non-being to being in fact re-enacts creation within the listener (see sphoṭa), equating poetic utterance and creation (see śabda). According to one source,[7] the hymn is undoubtedly late within the Rigveda, and expresses thought more typical of later Indian philosophy. An atheist interpretation sees the Creation Hymn as one of the earliest accounts of skeptical inquiry and agnosticism.[8] Astronomer Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
quoted it in discussing India's "tradition of skeptical questioning and unselfconscious humility before the great cosmic mysteries."[9] Metre[edit] Nasadiya Sukta
Nasadiya Sukta
consists of seven trishtubhs, although pada 7b is defective, being two syllables short,

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 [...]"[10]

Nasadiya Sukta
Nasadiya Sukta
with English translation[edit]

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.[11]

—Translated by A. L. Basham

In popular culture[edit]

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 Hindi
Hindi
translation.[12] Verse 1 is quoted verbatim in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War during the loading screen prior to the missions in the game's second act.[citation needed] In Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
quotes the poem in episode 10, 'The Edge of Forever' [13]

See also[edit]

Creation myth Ex nihilo God in Hinduism Hindu
Hindu
cosmology Indian logic List of suktas and stutis Neti neti Purusha Sukta
Purusha Sukta
(RV, 10:90), Hiranyagarbha sukta (RV, 10:121), Narayana sukta

Notes[edit]

^ Kenneth Kramer (January 1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-8091-2781-8.  ^ David Christian (1 September 2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. University of California Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2.  ^ 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.  ^ Swami Ranganathananda (1991). Human Being in Depth: A Scientific Approach to Religion. SUNY Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-7914-0679-2.  ^ 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 Vedas
Vedas
and Its Conceptualisation". Numen. 24 (3): 223–240. doi:10.2307/3269600.  ^ "Although, no doubt, of high antiquity, the hymn appears to be less of a primary than of a secondary origin, being in fact a controversial composition levelled especially against the Sāṃkhya theory." Ravi Prakash Arya and K. L. Joshi. Ṛgveda Saṃhitā: Sanskrit Text, English Translation, Notes & Index of Verses. (Parimal Publications: Delhi, 2001) ISBN 81-7110-138-7 (Set of four volumes). Parimal Sanskrit Series No. 45; 2003 reprint: 81-7020-070-9, Volume 4, p. 519. ^ Patri, Umesh and Prativa Devi. "Progress of Atheism in India: A Historical Perspective Archived 2014-06-29 at WebCite". Atheist Centre 1940-1990 Golden Jubilee. Vijayawada, February 1990. Retrieved 2007-04-02. ^ Carl Sagan, Carl Sagan's: Cosmos
Cosmos
Part 10 - The Edge of Forever 44:08 ^ Brereton, Joel (1999). "Edifying Puzzlement: Ṛgveda and the Uses of Enigma". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 10 (129).  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Avinash Sathaye, Translation of Nasadiya Sukta ^ " Bharat Ek Khoj - Starting Track". Retrieved 16 May 2012.  ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160402152055/http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=cosmos-carl-sagan&episode=s01e10

Further reading[edit]

Joel P. Brereton, Edifying Puzzlement: Ṛgveda 10. 129 and the Uses of Enigma, Journal of the American Oriental Society
Journal of the American Oriental Society
(1999) P. T. Raju, The Development of Indian Thought, Journal of the History of Ideas (1952) Karel Werner, Symbolism in the Vedas
Vedas
and Its Conceptualisation, Numen (1977)

External links[edit] Carl Sagan's 'COSMOS' mentioning Nasadiya Sukta.YouTube link[1]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Nasadiya Sukta
Nasadiya Sukta
translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith

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