Nadistuti sukta

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The Nadistuti sukta (Sanskrit: नदिस्तुति सूक्त), "hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.

It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization. Sindhu (the Indus) is addressed as the mightiest of rivers and addressed specifically in verses 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9.

In verse 5, the rishi enumerates ten rivers, beginning with the Ganges and moving westwards:

O Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Shutudri (Sutlej), Parushni (Iravati, Ravi), follow my praise! O Asikni (Chenab) Marudvridha, Vitasta (Jhelum), with the Arjikiya (Haro) and Sushoma (Sohan), listen! Translation: Griffith

  1. Ganges
  2. Yamuna
  3. Sarasvati
  4. Sutudri
  5. Parusni
  6. Asikni
  7. Marudvrdha
  8. Vitasta
  9. Arjikiya
  10. Susoma

verse 6 adds northwestern rivers (tributaries of the Indus flowing through Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan),

"First thou goest united with the Trishtama on this journey, with the Susartu, the Rasa ( Ramha Araxes ?), and the Sveti, O Sindhu with the Kubha (Kophen, Cabul river) to the Gomoti (Gomal), with the Mehatnu to the Krumu ( Kurum) with whom thou proceedest together." Translated by Max Mueller.

Griffith translates: "First united with the Trishtama in order to flow, with the Susartu and Rasa, and with this Svetya (you flow), O Sindhu (Indus) with the Kubha (Kabul R.) to the Gomati (Gomal), with the Mehatnu to the Krumu (Kurram), with whom you rush together on the same chariot."

  1. Trstama
  2. Susartu
  3. Rasā
  4. Shvetya
  5. Sindhu
  6. Kubha
  7. Gomati
  8. Krumu
  9. Mehatnu

According to Max Mueller on 10.75.5 in the book India: What Can It Teach Us? : "Satadru (Sutlej)". "Parushni (Iravati, Ravi)". "Asikni, which means black". "It is the modern Chinab". " Marudvridha, a general name for river. According to Roth the combined course of the Akesines and Hydaspes". Vitasta, the last of the rivers of the Punjab, changed in Greek into Hydaspes"."It is the modern Behat or Jilam". "According to Yaska the Arjikiya is the Vipas". "Its modern name is Bias or Bejah". "According to Yaska the Sushoma is the Indus".

Griffith (1896) in his footnote to 10.75.5, explains this arrangement as follows:

"the poet addresses first the most distant rivers. Ganga: the Ganges is mentioned, indirectly, in only one other verse of the Rigveda, and even there, the word is said by some to be the name of a woman. See 6.45.31."

More recent interpretations take the arrangement to corresponds to the eastward expansion of the Vedic culture. Recent linguistic reconstruction suggests that Book 6 is one of the earliest of the Rigveda, while book 10 is one of the youngest, so that it would appear that the Ganges still fell within the area of Vedic culture before the codification of the Rigveda.

The list of ten rivers in the Nadistuti sukta should not be confused with the Sapta Sindhu, the "Seven Rivers" of uncertain identification of the earlier Rigveda.

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