REFERENCE OF GANGA IN RIG VEDA
In Rigveda we could find four references related to Ganga. They are like this: -
1) Rig Veda 1-116-19
रयिं सुक्षत्रं स्वपत्यमायुः सुवीर्यं नासत्या वहन्ता ।
आ जह्नावीं समनसोप वाजैस्त्रिरह्नो भागं दधतीमयातम् ॥
2) Rig Veda 3-58-6
पुराणमोकः सख्यं शिवं वां युवोर्नरा द्रविणं जह्नाव्याम् ।
पुनः कृण्वानाः सख्या शिवानि मध्वा मदेम सह नू समानाः ॥
3) Rig Veda 6-45-31
अधि बृबुः पणीनां वर्षिष्ठे मूर्धन्नस्थात् । उरुः कक्षो न गाङ्ग्यः ॥
4) Rig Veda 10-75-5
इमं मे गङगे यमुने सरस्वति शुतुद्रि स्तोमं सचता परुष्ण्या ।
असिक्न्या मरुद्वृधे वितस्तयार्जीकीये शृणुह्यासुषोमया ॥
Let us see the word meaning of 1-116-19.
Rishi of this Sukta – Kakshovaan, Chandas – Trishtup, Devata – Ashwinau. There are 25 Riks in this Sukta.
नासत्यौ = O Ashvins (twins)
सुक्षत्रम् = with power (rule)
रयिम् = wealth
स्वपत्यम् = with auspicious children
सुवीर्यम् = with good powerful
आयुः = food
वहन्ता = bearing
समनसा = with equal thoughts
जह्नावीम् = children related to Rishi Jahnu
आ अयातम् = went facing them
उप वाजैः = who possess the food to be offered
अह्नः = of Soma Yaga
त्रिः = thrice everyday
दधतीम् = offering.
Meaning :- O Ashwins, having borne good power, wealth, the food with qualities of giving good children, and power having equal thoughts went towards the children of Jahnu, who possess and offer food (Havish) of Soma Yaga thrice a day.
Ashwins approached the children of Jahnu who offer Havish in Soma Yaga thrice a day. What are the qualities of Ashwins? Ashwins have good power, wealth and food with the qualities of giving good children and power and have equal thoughts.
My view: This reference of जह्नावीम् can not be a reference of Ganga for the reasons 1) Here, the word जह्नावीम् is defined as the children of Rishi Jahnu (जह्नोः प्रजाम्). Hence, there is no scope of concluding that this word refers to Ganga. It is a common reference and not particular reference of the River Ganga. Here जह्नावीम् derived from the word जह्नु with suffix अण्. It should be जाह्नवीम्, however, in Vedas VarNavyatya (exchange of letters) is common. 2) Further, here it is said that the children of Jahnu used to offer Havish thrice a day in the Soma Yaga, hence it cannot be the River Ganga, it must be other children or descendents of Jahnu.
Now, let us see the word meaning of 3-58-6
Rishi – Vishvamitra, Chandas – Trishtup, Devata – Ashwins. This Sukta has Nine Riks.
वाम् = (O Ashwins) Your
पुराणम् = old
सख्यम् = friendship (is)
ओकः = to be nurtured
शिवम् = and good
नरा = (further) leader of our deeds
युवाः = your
द्रविणम् = wealth
जह्नाव्याम् = is with the daughter of Jahnu
शिवानि = (your) good
सख्या = friendship
पुनः = again
कृण्वानाः = rebuilding
समाना = we by offering Havish become one (we together)
मध्वा = with invigorating Soma Juice
वाम् = you
सह = simultaneously
नु = at once
मदेम = please (we)
Meaning : We please you with invigorating Soma Juice simultaneously offering Havish at once. We rebuild your good friendship. O Ashwins, leader of our deeds, your old friendship is to be nurtured and good. Your wealth is with the girl related to (daughter of) Jahnu.
My views : Here, the word जह्नाव्याम् refers to the girl related to Rishi Jahnu (daughter of Jahnu). Apart from this word जह्नाव्याम्, there is no sufficient evidence to conclude that जह्नाव्याम् refers to Ganga, except that Ganga is released by Jahnu thereby become his daughter. This जह्नाव्याम् may also refer to the daughter of Jahnu. Here, Sayana gives meaning for जह्नाव्याम् as जह्नुकुलजातायाम् meaning the girl born in the race of Jahnu. However, in the previous Rik (1-116-19) Sayana defined जह्नावीम् as प्रजाम् meaning children not specifically mentioning girl or boy. So there is a chance that this word जह्नाव्याम् may also be taken as the reference towards Ganga. There is a possibility for such conclusion, however, no clear or assertive evidence is found except Sayanas definition as जह्नुकुलजातायाम्.
Let us now see the meaning of 6-45-31
There are 33 Riks in this Sukta. Rishi – Shamyu:, Chandas – 29th Rik = AtinicRt, 33rd Rik = Anushtup, other Riks = Gayatri, Devata – first 30 Riks = Indra, Last 3 Riks = BRbu Taksha.
For this particular Rik (6-45-31) Rishi = Shamyu:, Chandas = Gayatri, Devata = BRbu Taksha.
पणीनाम् = of businessmen or of demons
बृबुः = BRbu by name - Taksha
वर्षिष्ठे = showered
मूर्धन् = over the highest head
अधि अस्थात् = well established
गाङ्ग्यः = on the highest bank of Ganga
कक्षो न = like the bush
उरुः = extended
Meaning :- In this Rik BRbu - Takshaa (carpenter) of businessmen (or demons) has established himself over the highest head of PaNis (businessmen or demons) like the bush on the highest bank of Ganga. Here the BRbu is praised though he is belonged to the group of demons having acknowledging his Daanam (philanthropy).
My views : Here the banks of Ganga is referred as गाङ्ग्यः. Though this word गाङ्ग्यः is used as an example, it directly refers to the banks of Ganga. Sayana defines the word गाङ्ग्यः as गङ्गायाः कूले उन्नते भवः meaning which is on the highest banks of Ganga. Hence, anybody can easily conclude that this word गाङ्ग्यः refers to Ganga only. Though it refers to the banks of Ganga, it could be established as a reference to Ganga.
Now let us see 10-75-5.
There are Nine Riks (10.75.1-9) in this Sukta having the following Rishi Chandas and Devata. 1) Sinhdukshita Rishi, 2) Jagatii Chandas and 3) Nadii Devataa. Here the fifth Rik is mention-worthy as it enumerates the Seven Major Rivers along with their three tributaries. Here, seven major Rivers and their three tributaries are prayed.
Word by word meaning is given under –
गङ्गे = O Ganga,
यमुने = O Yamunaa
सरस्वति = O Sarasvati
शुतुद्रि = O Shutuduri
परुष्णि = O ParuSNi
असिक्न्या मरुद्वृधे = O Marudvridhe with the tributary Asiknii
वितस्तया सुषोमया आर्जिकीये = O Arjikiiye with the two tributaries Vitastaa and Sushomaa
मे = (You all) my
इमम् = this
स्तोमम् = prayer
आ सचत = appreciate
आ शृणुहि = and hear.
Meaning - O Ganga, O Yamuna, O Saraswati, O Shutudri, O Parushni, O Marudvridh along with tributary Asikni, O Arjikiyaa along with two tributaries Vitasta and Sushomaa, You all appreciate and hear my this prayer. Here Sayana quotes निरुक्त (९-२६) "गङ्गा गमनात्" ॥
My views : These seven Riks under this 75th Sukta pray Nadiis. Hence, these Riks are known as Nadii-Devataakas, having Nadis (Rivers) as Goddesses. Sayana gives meaning as Ganga and quotes in support of his explanation from Nirukta (9-26) गङ्गा गमनात्.
Here, in the first Rik, general information is given about seven Rivers which flow in the Earth, Space and Heaven. Particularly the River Sindhu is prayed. The second Rik also praises the qualities of Sindhu. In the third Rik the sound of Sindhu is described. In the Fourth Rik, Sindhu is parised as other Rivers approach Sindhu as if their mother. Fifth Rik describes seven Rivers and their three tributaries. Sixth Rik also describes about Sindhu along with other three Rivers – Gomati, Kubha and Mehatnu. Seventh Rik describes the speed of Sindhu that flows rapidly without hurting anybody among the rapid flow rivers and is to be seen as a beautiful woman. Eighth Rik praises Sindhu as Rich in good steeds, cars, robes, gold, and rich in wealth. Ninth Rik praises Sindhu about power, mighty and unrestrained, her roar as she runs.
Thus this 75th Sukta of 10th Mandala describes the River Sindhu in particular and mentions seven names of other Rivers along with their tributaries. Here, Ganga is directly referred and Sayana and other commentators also give the same meaning.
Thus, the Riks 6-45-31 and 10-75-5 directly mention Ganga and the other two references do not directly mention Ganga and those Riks could not be concluded as the reference to Ganga except these two Riks