Mandala 6

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The sixth Mandala of the Rigveda is the very first book or Mandala of the Rigveda in the relative chronology. It has 75 hymns, mainly to Agni and Indra. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the bārhaspatya family of Angirasas, especially to Bharadvaja. It is one of the "family books" (mandalas 2-7), the oldest core of the Rigveda. Mandala 6 is likely the oldest of the Mandalas.

Deities addressed besides Indra and Agni include the Vishvadevas, Pushan, the Asvins, Ushas (Dawn), the Maruts, Dyaus and Prthivi (Heaven and Earth), Savitar, Brhaspati and Soma-Rudra.

The rivers mentioned in the sixth Mandala are the Sarasvati, Yavyavati and Hariupiya. RV 6.61 is entirely dedicated to Sarasvati. In RV 6.45.31 the term Ganga occurs whichrefer to the River Ganges.

  • Brbu hath set himself above the Panis, o'er their highest head,
    Like the wide bush on Ganga's bank.
    • VI.45.31

In Book 6, hymn 45, with 33 verses, contains the archaic word sīm (found 50 times in the first nine Books of the Rigveda, but only once in the last Book 10, and not even once in the Atharvaveda); and does not contain a single word of late date. On the other hand, hymn 28, with only 8 verses, has no particular mark of early date, but abounds in late words like khila, riś, bhak ṣ , k ṛ ś and taskara. Yet, hymn 45 is included in Oldenberg‘s list of ―unordered‖ hymns, and hymn 28 (counted by Arnold as one of only four ―late hymns‖ in Book 6, along with hymns 47, 74 and 75) is included in Oldenberg‘s list of ―ordered‖ hymns. (Talageri 2008)

Talageri (2000), based on his proposition of an westward expansion early Rigvedic culture from Harayana (contrary to the nearly universally assumed eastward expansion from Gandhari) and his identification of some Rigvedic rivers, claims this Mandala as the oldest of the family books.[1]

The rivers mentioned in the sixth Mandala are the Sarasvati, the Yavyavati and possibly the Ganges. The YavyAvatI River is only mentioned in RV 6.27.6 and in the Pancavimsa Brahmana (25.7.2). In the Pancavimsa Brahmana the river is associated with the Vibhinduka region (Kuru-Pancala region). Some scholars suggest that the rigvedic Yavyavati is the Drsadvati River[2], while others hold that it may be the Zhob river in N. Baluchistan.[3]

In RV 6.61, the Sarasvati River is placed between the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers.[4]

According to Talageri, this Mandala contains the oldest hymns of the Rig Veda.[5]

Let us take Mandala 6, in the case of which Witzel has already (as we have seen) clarified that the late or “interpolated” hymns, according to Oldenberg’s principles, are 15,16, 44-48, 49-52, 59-61, 74, 75 (and the “original” hymns, therefore, are 1-14, 17-43, 53-58, 62-73). Although (as we have also seen) this classification collapses like a house of cards at the slightest touch, nevertheless, if we examine the geographical data as per this classification, we get the following situation: Witzel’s “interpolated” hymns refer to the Ganga (45) and the Sarasvati (49,50,52,61). Witzel’s “original” hymns refer to the Hariyupiya and Yavyavati (27), Ilaspada (1), the elephant (4 and 20) and the buffalo (8 and 17). (Talageri 2001)

Late additions[edit]

VI.20.10 may be a late addition (Talageri 2008).


Eastern places in Book 6: 1. Iḷaspada-2. 4. vāraṇa-5. 8. mahiṣa-4. 17. mahiṣa-11. 20. ibha-8. 27. Hariyūpīyā-5, Yavyāvatī-6. 45. Gangā-31. 49. Sarasvatī-7. 50. Sarasvatī-12. 52. Sarasvatī-6. 61. Sarasvatī-1-7,10-11,13-14.

Source:Talageri 2008


  1. Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
  2. e.g. Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis
  3. Michael Witzel, Rgvedic history: poets, chieftains and politics, in: Language, Material Culture and Ethnicity. The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. G. Erdosy, Berlin/New York (de Gruyter) 1995, 307-352.
  4. Kazanas, Nicholas. 1999. The Rgveda and Indo-Europeans.; pp. 15-42 in ‘Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute’, vol. LXXX. Poona; Scharfe, Hartmut. 1996. Bartholomae’s Law Revisited. pp. 351-377 of Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik, vol. XX (Festschrift Paul Thieme)
  5. Talageri, Shrikant. (2000) The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis

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