Mandala 5

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The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns.[1] Most hymns in this book are attributed to the Atri family. The mandala is one of the "family books" (mandalas 2-7), the oldest core of the Rigveda.

The hymns are dedicated mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas (the dawn) and to Savitar, one each to the Apris, Parjanya (rain), Prthivi (the Earth) and Varuna. 5.40 addresses Surya and Atri besides Indra.[2]

Mandala 5 knows three Western rivers (the same rivers appear also in Mandala 4), however, one poet, Śyāvāśva, in one hymn, names many "new" rivers, including the Central Paruṣṇī and the Eastern Yamunā. Scholars have concluded that is indicative of the poet's travels.

Book 5, though a family book, shares all its characteristics with the later non-family books rather than with the earlier family books. As Proferes notes after detailed analysis of the data: “there were important interactions between the priestly groups represented in Books 1, 5 and 8. As Oldenberg [1888b:213-215] has shown, evidence from the hymns themselves supports this conclusion” (PROFERES 1999:75). “The pavamāna collection consists primarily of late authors, those from Books 1, 5, 8 and in a limited number of cases, 10” (PROFERES 1999:69). In a more recent paper, he repeats the above point: “The clan book composers, except those from Book 5, are not well represented among the pavamāna composers of Book 9” (PROFERES 2003:12). “These circles are represented by the Kāṇva, Ātreya and Āngirasa authors from Books 1, 5 and 8, as well as by descendants of these authors” (PROFERES 2003:16). “The breakdown of the strict separation of the ritual poetry of different clans and the preservation of that poetry together in a single collection began with the Kāṇva, Ātreya and Āngirasa poets of Books 1, 5 and 8” (PROFERES 2003:18). [Most significantly]: “The connections of Book 5 with Books 1 and 8 and not with the other clan books (2-4, 6-7) is interesting.” (PROFERES 2003:16, fn).[1]

  • Furthermore, there is the extraordinary distinction between the system of ascriptions for Mandala 5 (which falls in line with the non-family Mandalas) and the system of ascriptions for the other Family Mandalas (6,3,7,4 and 2).

As per our analysis of the data in the Anukramanis and the RV, Mandala 5 is the latest of the Family Mandalas and hence closest in time to the non-family Mandalas (and in fact, unlike the other Family Mandalas, belongs to the Late Period). This is proved by many other factors, apart from those listed in my book. For example, the apri-sukta of the Atris in Mandala 5 has verses in common with the apri-sukta of the Kanvas (of Mandala 8) in Mandala 1; the language of Mandala 8 is closest, among the Family Mandalas, to that of Mandala 5 (Prof. Hopkins, in his 1896 study of the vocabulary of Mandala 8, “Pragathikani” in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, calls it “the intermediate character of v. between viii and the other family books”, and proceeds to give a discussion of the similarities between the two Mandalas – pp. 88-89, JAOS, 1896); even the meters used in Mandala 5 distinguish it from the other Family Mandalas: the pankti meter, rare in the other Family Mandalas, is very common in Mandala 5 and in the non-family Mandalas. (Talageri 2001)

Rivers and places[edit]

Eastern regions in Book 5: 5. Sarasvatī-8. 29. mahiṣa-7,8.. 42. Sarasvatī-12, pṛṣatī-15. 43. Sarasvatī-11. 46. Sarasvatī-2. 52. Yamunā-17. 55. pṛṣatī-6. 57. pṛṣatī-3. 58. pṛṣatī-6. 60. pṛṣatī-2.

Western: 41. Rasā-15. 53. Sarayu-9, Kubhā-9, Krumu-9, Anitabhā-9, Rasā-9, Sindhu-9.

Central rivers: 52. Paruṣṇī-9.

Source:Talageri 2008


  1. Gurupriya, P. A treatise on the Vedas. Chennai: Kadalangudi Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Shukla, Sidh Nath. The Rigveda Mandala: v. III: A Critical Study of the Sayana Bhashya and Other Interpretation. India: Sharada Books. ISBN 8185616736.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>