The third Mandala of the Rigveda has 62 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. It is one of the "family books" (mandalas 2-7), the oldest core of the Rigveda. Is is likely the second oldest Mandala. Most hymns in this book are attributed to viśvāmitra gāthinaḥ
The Ganges is mentioned in Rigveda III.58.6.
It mentions the establishment of the sacred fire at ―the centre of the earth‖ in Kurukṣetra by the ancestors of Sudās (in III.23).
The Aitareya Brāhmaṇa VI.18 specifies that six hymns: III.30-31, 34, 36, 38, 48 — are interpolated (later additions). One of these interpolated hymns mentions gandharva in the Far West.
Talageri writes about “interpolated” hymns as per Oldenberg’s principles: Let us go to the next oldest Mandala, Mandala 3. I assume (and am open to correction) that the “interpolated” hymns as per Oldenberg’s principles would be 26-29, 51-53, 62 (and, therefore, the “original” hymns would be 1-25, 30-50, 54-61). Witzel’s “interpolated” hymns refer to Ilaspada (29) and the spotted deer (26). Witzel’s “original” hymns refer to the Vipash (23), Shutudri(23), Sarasvati (4 and 23), Ilaspada (5 and 23), the buffalo (46) and the peacock (45). (Talageri 2001)
When the number of verses in these six hymns is deducted from the verse count of Book 3, we get the following original number of verses in the Family Books 2-7, in serial order: 429, 536, 589, 727, 765, 840. The six Family Books were clearly arranged according to increasing number of verses. (Talageri 2008)
Talageri writes: As we saw, of the only eight hymns in the Early and Middle Books, which are associated with the late names and name-elements common to the Rigveda and the Avesta, six are late as per Oldenberg, and the other two are late as per the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. And the only hymn (of these eight) which mentions a Western geographical word is a hymn which is late as per the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. (Talageri 2008)
Places and rivers
- Ancient your home, auspicious is your friendship: Heroes, your wealth is with the house of Jahnu.
Forming again with you auspicious friendship, let us rejoice with draughts of meath together.
- RV III.58.6
- “Your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes, your wealth is on (the banks of the JahnAvI.”
- RV III.58.6 (trs. Talageri 2000)
- The references to the eastern rivers (Sarasvatī, Āpayā and Drṣadvatī), in the second oldest book, in III.23.4, speak of the establishment of sacred fires on the banks of these rivers by ancestors; and the reference to the Jahnāvī (Gangā), in III.58.6, refers to the area of the river as the ancient and auspicious homeland of the Vedic gods (the Aśvins). (Talageri 2008)
Book 3 refers to the two easternmost of the five rivers of the Punjab, the Vipāś and the Śutudrī. (Talageri 2008) RV III.33,
- Western : Book 3: 38. (gandharva-6).
- [This, the only word pertaining to the West appearing in the Early Books (Mandala 6, 3, 7), appears in a hymn which, as we have already seen in the course of our analysis of the Avestan names, is one of the six hymns in the Rigveda for which we actually have a categorical mention in the Vedic texts themselves about the hymns concerned being interpolations or late additions into the text: i.e. hymns added into the original core Rigveda of the Family Books (II-VII) at the time of inclusion of Books I and VIII into the collection. The Aitareya Brāhmaṇa VI.18 specifies these six hymns: III.30-31, 34, 36, 38, 48 — See TALAGERI 2000:73-74, and earlier in this book in the chapter on the Avestan names]. (Talageri 2008)
Eastern places in Book 3: 4. Sarasvatī-8. 5. (nābhā-pṛthivyāh-9). 23. Sarasvatī-4, Dṛṣadvatī-4, Āpayā-4, Iḷāyāspada-4, Mānuṣa-4, (vara-ā-pṛthivyāh-4). 26. pṛṣatī-4,6. 29. Iḷāyāspada-4, (nābhā-pṛthivyāh-4). 45. mayūra-1. 46. mahiṣa-2. 53. Kīkaṭa-14, (vara-ā-pṛthivyāh-11). 54. Sarasvatī-13. 58. Jahnāvī-6.
Central: 33. Vipāś-1, Śutudrī-1.
- e.g. McDonell and Keith 1912, Vedic Index; Rahurkar, V.G. 1964. The Seers of the Rgveda. University of Poona. Poona; Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis