Categories: Hindu Scripture

Apah Suktam:The Vedic Hymn to the Water Deity

“Ap” is the Vedic Sanskrit word for “water.” The Apah Suktam is a hymn from the ancient Rigveda that honors the water deity. The Apah mantra is recited to seek blessings from the water deity. This hymn, the Apah Suktam, aims to rejuvenate the mind, purify the soul, and cleanse one’s sins. Let’s learn the lyrics of this hymn along with their meaning.

Verse 1

Aapo Hi Sstthaa Mayo-Bhuvasthaa Na Uurje Dadhaatana |
Mahe Rannaatha Cakssase ||

Line 1

Aapo Hi Sstthaa Mayo-Bhuvasthaa Na Uurje Dadhaatana

Aapo: Waters
Hi: Indeed
Sstthaa: You are
Mayo-Bhuvasthaa: Source of joy
Na: Not
Uurje: For nourishment/energy
Dadhaatana: Impart
Meaning: Do not impart (harm) to the nourishment/energy. The waters, indeed, you are the source of joy.

Line 2

Mahe Rannaatha Cakssase

Mahe: Great
Rannaatha: For the purpose of drinking
Cakssase: For vision
Meaning: Great for the purpose of drinking, for the vision.

Combined Meaning

“O waters, you are indeed the ones who bring happiness. Bestow upon us strength and vigor so that we may look upon the great light (the divine vision) with reverence.”

Overall Explanation

This verse is a prayer to the waters, which in Vedic tradition are considered life-giving and purifying. The supplicant asks the waters to provide strength and vitality, enabling them to perceive the divine presence.

Verse 2

Yo Vah Shivatamo Rasas-Tasya Bhaajayate-Ha Nah |
Ushatiiriva Maatarah ||

Line 1

Yo Vah Shivatamo Rasas-Tasya Bhaajayate-Ha Nah

Yo: He who
Vah: You all
Shivatamo: Most auspicious
Rasas: Essence
Tasya: His, of him
Bhaajayate: Grants
Ha: Indeed (an emphatic particle)
Nah: To us
Meaning: “He who grants you all the most auspicious essence indeed to us.”

Line 2

Ushatiiriva Maatarah

Ushatiih: Longing
Iva: Like
Maatarah: Mothers
Meaning: “Like mothers longing (for their children).”

Combined Meaning

“He who grants you all the most auspicious essence indeed to us, like mothers longing (for their children).”

Overall Explanation

In this verse, the one who divides or shares the offerings is likened to a nurturing mother cow, emphasizing the nurturing and sustaining nature of the act. The context often involves the sharing of sacred offerings in a sacrificial ritual, highlighting the importance of sustenance and care in the community.

Verse 3

Tasmaa Aram Gamaama Vo Yasya Kssayaaya Jinvatha |
Aapo Janayathaa Ca Nah ||

Line 1

Tasmaa Aram Gamaama Vo Yasya Kssayaaya Jinvatha

Tasmaa: Therefore
Aram Gamaama: May we reach the state of contentment
Vo: (An emphasis or call, often used in prayers, can be translated as “you” or “O”)
Yasya Kssayaaya: For the destruction (of whose sin or suffering)
Jinvatha: O conqueror (referring to a divine entity, one who conquers)
Meaning: “Therefore, let us diligently proceed for the destruction of that which you conquer.”

Line 2

Aapo Janayathaa Ca Nah

Aapo: Waters
Janayathaa: May generate or produce
Ca: And
Nah: For us or to us
Meaning: “O Waters, generate (life or prosperity) for us.”

Combined Meaning

“Therefore, let us go to the water source, which is intended for our well-being and growth. May the waters bring us life and prosperity.”

Overall Explanation

The verse is a prayer or invocation for reaching a state of peace and contentment, asking for the destruction of sin or suffering, and invoking the divine (addressed as “Jinvatha,” the conqueror) to bless with prosperity and happiness, symbolized by the waters.

Verse 4

Sham No Deviir-Abhissttaya Aapo Bhavantu Piitaye |
Sham Yorabhi Sravantu Nah ||

Line 1

Sham No Deviir-Abhissttaya Aapo Bhavantu Piitaye

Sham: Peace or well-being
No: To us
Deviir: Goddesses
Abhissttaya: most desirable
Aapo: Waters
Bhavantu: May they be
Piitaye: For drinking
Meaning: “May the most desirable goddesses of the waters be for our drinking.”

Line 2

Sham Yorabhi Sravantu Nah

Sham: Peace or well-being
Yorabhi: Streams or flowing waters
Sravantu: May they flow
Nah: To us
Meaning: “May the streams flow to us with peace.”

Combined Meaning

“May the most desirable goddesses of the waters be for our drinking. May the streams flow to us with peace.”

Overall Explanation

The verse reflects the ancient Vedic understanding of the critical role of water in sustaining life and the respect and reverence it commands. It highlights a harmonious relationship with nature, seeking not only physical sustenance but also spiritual well-being through the auspiciousness of natural elements.

Verse 5

Iishaanaa Vaaryaannaam Kssayantiish-Carssanniinaam |
Apo Yaacaami Bhessajam ||

Line 1

Iishaanaa Vaaryaannaam Kssayantiish-Carssanniinaam

Iishaanaa: Lord, ruler, or deity
Vaaryaannaam: Of waters or of the flowing elements
Kssayantiish: Destructive, those who bring decay or destruction
Carssanniinaam: Of creatures, living beings
Meaning: “I, with arrows from those who have harmed me.”

Line 2

Apo Yaacaami Bhessajam

Apo: Waters, generally refers to water or liquid
Yaacaami: I request or I ask
Bhessajam: Medicine, remedy, or healing
Meaning: “I seek water as medicine.”

Combined Meaning

“I seek water as medicine for those whose arrows have wounded me.”

Overall Explanation

The overall meaning of the verse is a prayer to the divine lord of waters, requesting that the waters, which have the power to cause destruction to living beings, instead be a source of healing and medicine. This verse highlights the dual nature of water as both a destructive and healing force, and seeks the latter for the benefit of living beings.

Verse 6

Apsu Me Somo Abraviid-Antar-Vishvaani Bhessajaa |
Agni Ca Vishva-Shambhuvam ||

Line 1

Apsu Me Somo Abraviid-Antar-Vishvaani Bhessajaa

Apsu: In the waters
Me: Me or my
Somo: the Moon (also refers to Soma, a Vedic deity associated with the moon and ritual drink)
Abraviid: has spoken
Antar-Vishvaani: within all beings
Bhessajaa: remedies or medicines
Meaning: “Soma said to me, ‘In the waters are all remedies.'”

Line 2

Agni Ca Vishva-Shambhuvam

Agni: Fire
Ca: and
Vishva-Shambhuvam: the creator of the universe
Meaning:Agni (the fire god) and all that is beneficial (or auspicious).”

Combined Meaning

“In the waters, Soma spoke to me: within them are all remedies. And Agni, the all-beneficent, is there too.”

Overall Explanation

This verse illustrates the divine presence of Soma (the moon or sacred essence) within the waters and all beings, offering remedies and linked to Agni (fire). It emphasizes that these elements are manifestations of Vishva-Shambhu, the creator of the universe, highlighting the unity and divine orchestration in the cosmos.

Verse 7

Aapah Prnniita Bhessajam Varuutham Tanve Mama |
Jyokca Suuryam Drshe ||

Line 1

Aapah Prnniita Bhessajam Varuutham Tanve Mama

Aapah: Waters
Prnniita: Bring
Bhessajam: Remedy
Varuutham: Protection
Tanve: For the body (to me)
Mama: Mine
Meaning: “O Waters, bring the remedy and protection for my body.”

Line 2

Jyokca Suuryam Drshe

Jyok: Directly
Suuryam: Sun
Drshe: To see
Meaning: “So that I may see the Sun clearly.”

Combined Meaning

“O Waters, bring forth the remedy and protection for my body, so that I may see the Sun clearly.”

Overall Explanation

In this verse, the speaker is invoking the waters, considered sacred and purifying in Vedic literature, to bestow healing and protection upon his body. The ultimate goal of this healing is to be able to see the Sun clearly, which symbolizes light, vision, and knowledge.

Verse 8

Idam-Aapah Pra Vahata Yat-Kim Ca Duritam Mayi |
Yad-Vaaham-Abhidu-Droha Yadvaa Shepa Uta-[A]anrtam ||

Line 1

Idam-Aapah Pra Vahata Yat-Kim Ca Duritam Mayi

Idam: This
Aapah: Waters (referring to the purifying waters)
Pra Vahata: Carry away
Yat-Kim Ca: Whatever
Duritam: Sin, misdeeds, or impurities
Mayi: In me
Meaning: “May these waters carry away whatever sin or impurities are in me.”

Line 2

Yad-Vaaham-Abhidu-Droha Yadvaa Shepa Uta-[A]anrtam

Yad – Whatever
Va – Or
Aham – I
Abhidhu-Droha – Hostility or harm (towards others)
Yadvaa – Or
Shepa – Abuse or curse
Uta – And
Anrtam – Falsehood or untruth
Meaning: “Whatever hostility or harm I have caused, or curses and falsehoods (I have spoken),”

Combined Meaning

“O Waters, carry away all my sins, whatever wrong I have done, whether I have been unkind or cruel or uttered false words.”

Overall Explanation

In this verse, the speaker prays to the waters to cleanse them of all sins and wrongdoings. They seek forgiveness for any acts of unkindness, cruelty, or false speech, trusting in the purifying power of water to wash away their transgressions.

Verse 9

Aapo Adya-Anv[nnu]-Acaarissam Rasena Sam-Agasmahi |
Payasvaan-Agna Aa Gahi Tam Maa Sam Srja Varcasaa ||

Line 1

Aapo Adya-Anv[nnu]-Acaarissam Rasena Sam-Agasmahi

Aapo: Waters
Adya: Today/Now
Anvanna (likely meant to be “Anv-annam”):  Following food/nourishment
Acaarissam: I will perform (from the root “aacar” meaning to practice/perform)
Rasena: With essence/juice/flavor
Sam: Together/with
Agasmahi: We have come
Meaning: “Today, I will perform with the waters, following food/nourishment, with essence/flavor, together we have come.”

Line 2

Payasvaan-Agna Aa Gahi Tam Maa Sam Srja Varcasaa

Payasvaan: Possessing milk or nourishment
Agna: O Fire (addressing the fire deity, Agni)
Aa Gahi: Come towards
Tam: That
Maa: Me
Sam Srja: Bestow, grant, or release
Varcasaa: With radiance or brilliance
Meaning: “O Agni, who possesses nourishment, come towards me. Bestow upon me that radiance.”

Combined Meaning

“We have reached the place where you, resplendent one, are nourished. O radiant one, come to us with your nourishment. Fill us with your brilliance and strength.”

Overall Explanation

This verse is a hymn that invokes the waters and Agni (the fire deity). It speaks about the essential and nourishing nature of water and calls upon Agni to come and bestow radiance and splendor. It highlights the importance of both water and fire in rituals and their role in sustaining life and imparting vitality.

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Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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