Translation of RV 10.146.6

Jan E.M. Houben JHOUBEN at
Wed Aug 6 13:50:04 UTC 1997

(posted earlier, a few times, but message somehow did not come through)

On Saturday 5 July S. Palaniappan wrote: 


Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 13:12:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Palaniappa at
To: indology at
Subject: Translation of RV 10.146.6
Message-ID: <970705131246_472972654 at>

Can anybody give the correct translation of RV 10.146.6? I have seen four

"AraNyAnI is lauded by the worshipper as the mother of wild, the
unctuous-scented, the fragrant, who fields abundance of food though has no
hinds to till her."  Translated by V. Muir

"Now have I praised the Forest Queen, 
sweet-scented, redolent of balm,
The Mother of all sylvan things, who tills 
not but hath stores of food." Translated by R. T. Griffith

"Adorned with fragrant perfumes and balms, 
she needs not to toil for food.
Mother of untamed forest beasts,
Sprite of the wood, I salute you." by Translated by R. Panikkar

"Now I have praised the Lady of the Forest, 
who is perfumed with balm, and fragrant,
who is well-fed, although she tills not,
the mother of all things of the wild."  Translated by A. L. Basham

Is there a translation accepted by Vedists as the best translation? Thanks in


S. Palaniappan


For the sake of completeness and as a supplement to D. Thillaud's reaction I 
point out that H.W. Bodewitz wrote an article entitled "Rgveda 10,146: the hymn 
to Ara.nyaanii" which was published in 
Dr. D.N. Shastri Felicitation Volume, Indological Studies, presented to Dr. 
Dharmendra Nath Shastri, in 85th year of his life by hi students, admirers and 
friends, dhief editor Keshav Ram Pal, Ram Nagar, Ghaziabad: Vimal Prakashan, 
1982, pp. 3-15. 

Bodewitz (B.) discusses earlier views on this hymn and argues that Ara.nyaanii 
should not be seen as a female deity or even just as a forest-genius. It is 
rather a (poetic) personification. 

B. is mainly interested in verse 2 of this hymn (on which Thieme wrote in 1968 
in Pratidaanam, Felicitation Volume F.B.J. Kuiper). 

On p. 6 of his article B. translates stanza 6 as follows: 

"I have praised the forest, the mother of the animals, who smells of cosmetics 
and is fragrant (like a young woman), the forest who yields much food though 
not being cultivated." 

It is perhaps interesting to note that ara.nyaanii as the feminine counterpart 
to ara.nya is for Bhart.rhari expressive of "greatness" (so: "a large forest or 
wilderness"), just as himaanii (counterpart of hima) means "mass of snow"), see 
Vaakyapadiiya 3.13.25 and Helaraaja's comm. 

Jan E.M. Houben

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