World Sanskrit Conference (WSC) (17th : 2018)

“Who Has Found Speech Having Entered into the Seers?” : On ṚV 10.71.3 and the Origin of Speech Köhler, Frank


Ṛgveda 10.71 is usually considered as easy to understand, but as is the case with any other ṛgvedic hymn, closer inspection reveals a number of difficulties. Among them is the problem of the unknown identity of the subjects of the first three stanzas: Although the activities described there are of fundamental importance within the ṛgvedic world view, no person is explicitly singled out as being responsible for them. It will be argued that one term in 10.71.3, padavī ́ya, suggests the kavís as the most likely subjects for activities related to it. After adducing ṛgvedic attestations of the combination of kaví and padá as supportive evidence, it will furthermore be argued that the kavís are the subjects of the first stanza as well, for the activity of distributing names is related to them in other stanzas as well. After considering in more detail some peculiar features of the first three stanzas it will be suggested to consider them as a metalinguistic reflection on the transition from myth via enigma to ritual.

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