Arts and Cultures - Hymn to the Goddess from Rig Veda

Arts and Cultures
Dr Archana Verma

This is an Odissi (Classical dance from Orissa) enactment of the Vedic hymn to the Goddess. This is one of the most ancient hymns dedicated to the Goddess, datable to c1500 BCE or earlier, since then, continuously sung and recited in India, visualised by the woman sage Vak, who is said to have achieved a mystical oneness with the Goddess and described her as if the Goddess herself was speaking through her. Hence, this hymn is in the first person. It also shows that in the Vedic period, women were involved in composing sacred hymns. Briefly, the hymn conceptualises the Goddess as a formless energy, from whom the universe is born and to whom the universe returns - 
"I am the energy of the blazing Suns,
I'm the soothing light of the moon,
I am the first among the ones who are worshipped,
I alone grant the results of the sacred acts of the people,
I turn ordinary humans into powerful beings,
I am formless and remain aloof from the universe,
Yet I take innumerable forms at will and roam the universe as I please,
All the other divinities are born from me,
I am the power that pulls the bow of the great divinities,
I am the energy that causes all actions in the universe,
Even the harsh actions are caused by me,
The universe is born from me and it also returns to me after destruction,
I am the speech, the speaker and the listener,
I set the cosmic cycle of creation into motion,
Try to understand my nature,
Those who don't understand my nature are perished in the whirlpool of darkness caused by ignorance..."