World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0010216678
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mayabheda  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hindu philosophy, Indian philosophy, Rigveda
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Mayabheda, (Sanskrit:मायाभेद:), means the breaching or removal of Avidya ("ignorance"). It means the destruction of the illusion caused by Maya which occurs coinciding with the gain/dawn of Right Knowledge, the knowledge of Brahman. The Rig Veda Sukta R.V.X.177 addressed to Mayabheda in its three Mantras in its own cryptic way serves this purpose. The central theme of this hymn is the discernment of Maya or illusion, the cause of material creation.[1] Mayabheda is also one of the Rigvedic deities.[2]


  • About Sukta R.V.X.177 1
  • Sukta - text 2
  • Import 3
  • References 4

About Sukta R.V.X.177

The Rig Veda is an ancient anthology of Sanskrit poems mostly in the form of prayers to the Vedic gods. It is the oldest available literature in the world and consists of Ten Books or Mandalas. The Vedas are the first texts of mankind. The Tenth Mandala contains 191 Suktas addressed to Agni, Indra and many other deities. The Purusha sukta (R.V.90), the Hiranyagarbha sukta (R.V.X.121) and the Nasadiya Sukta (R.V.X.129) are a part of this Mandala in which there are many more important hymns.

The Tenth Mandala of the Rig Veda also contains Sukta R.V.X.177 of Rishi Patanga Prajapati which is addressed to the Vedic deity, Mayabheda. It is a very short Sukta consisting of just three mantras. The first mantra is in Jagati chhanda to be sung or recited in Nishad Swara, the second mantra is in Virat-trishtup chhanda to be sung in Dhaivata Swara and the third, in Nichrit-trishtup chhanda also to be sung in Dhaivata Swara. The third mantra also appears in the First Mandala in the "Riddle Hymn" as Sukta R.V.I.164.31 in the hymn addressed to the Vishwadevas, in which regard it is said that in this mantra is to be found the culminating point of the whole doctrine of the Transmigration of souls.[3]

Sukta - text

(Translated into English a) by Ralph T.H.Griffith [4] and b) by Laurie L. Patton[5] and c) freely as per Swami Dayananda Saraswati’s interpretation.) [6]

पतङ्गम्क्तमसुरस्य मायया हृदा पश्यन्ति मनसा विपश्चितः |
समुद्रे अन्तः कवयो वि चक्षते मरीचीनां पदमिच्छन्ति वेधसः || ||1||
a) The sapient with their spirit and their mind behold the Bird adorned with all an Asura’s magic might. Sages observe him in the ocean’s inmost depth: the wise disposers seek the station of his rays.
b) The wise behold with their mind in their heart the Sun, made manifest by the illusion of the Asura. The sages look into the solar orb, the ordainers desire the region of his rays.
c) The one who has entered the Prana, who is the Prana of the Pranas, owing to His grace the wise ones whole-heartedly (devotedly) observe with great interest the constant (observable) activity in the life (empirical existence) of the Jiva (the individual self); but those who are blessed with sharper and deeper insight are able to see stationed within (merged with) the Lord (the supreme Self) all those Jivas that have attained moksha (liberation); therefore, the wise adore the Lord who rests shining ever so brightly.
पतङ्गो वाचं मनसा बिभर्ति तां गन्धर्वोअवदद गर्भे अन्तः |
तां द्योतमानां स्वर्यं मनीषामृतस्य पदे कवयो नि पान्ति || ||2||
a) The flying Bird bears Speech within his spirit: erst the Gandharva in the womb pronounced it. And at the seat of sacrifice the sages cherish their radiant, heavenly-bright invention.
b) The Sun bears the word in his mind; the Gandharva has spoken it within the wombs; sages cherish it in the place of sacrifice, brilliant, heavenly, ruling the mind.
c) The Jiva sincerely employs its ability to speak ("speech"); the speech which emerges from within in the form of (various/numerous) words is impelled by the Prana residing within the body having been inspired by it; the all-spreading brilliant light-rays and the vibrant air (collectively) together gathering that word-form speech lifts that speech carrying it to all corners of space (for it to be heard).
अपश्यं गोपाम निद्यमानमा च परा च पथिश्चरन्तम |
स्ध्रीचि: स विषूचीर्वसान आ वरीवर्ति भुवनेष्वन्तः || ||3||
a) I saw the Herdsman, him who never resteth, approaching and departing on his pathways. He, clothed in gathered and diffusive splendour, within the worlds continuously travels.
b) I beheld the protector, never descending, going by his paths to the east and the west; clothing the quarters of the heaven and the intermediate spaces. He constantly revolves in the midst of the worlds.
c) The lord of the senses, the all-knowing one, as the witness, watches the imperishable Jiva who in accordance with its past and present works is repeatedly born in this world and passes through many types of agreeable and disagreeable births.


According to the Asvalayana Srauta Sutra IV.6, Mantra ||2|| of this Rigvedic hymn is the inviting verse of the immolated to Vac (speech), and is used in the parvargya rites along with Mantra ||3||. Mantra ||1|| does refer directly to the Sun. In the Vidhana literature the richness and ambivalence contained within the rite is lost when vide IV.115 it is said that one should constantly mutter that which is destructive of ignorance (ajnanabheda), and which begins with patangam (the mantras of R.V.X.177) which hymn is indeed destructive of illusion (mayabheda) and repels all sorts of illusion; and vide IV.116 it is suggested that one should, by means of this hymn, prevent illusion, be that of Sambara or Indrajala; one should, by means of this, ward off the illusion caused by unseen beings. Here the enemy is one that can create maya, and interfere with the abilities to discern what is true and what is not.[7]

The language of the Rig Veda is no ordinary language. Moreover, the meaning that is not found in the ordinary language but is in a poet’s language is to be found in its words. Thus, in the first mantra the Jiva, the individual self, is referred to as antah. The expression asurasyah refers to Brahman, the Prana of all pranas, the Life-principle, that having entered the body brings it to life as the individual self. Those having already gained the highest knowledge see the individual self within the universal self, meaning, they do not see any difference between the Jiva, the atman, and the Paramatman whom they adore as the Light of all lights. These are the three threads that have been used to weave the entire fabric of Indian thought. In the second mantra the word patanga stands for the Jiva, the embodied soul, who resorts to speech only when he wants to speak; the Prana, the Life-principle, which governs the mind and all feelings of the heart, infuses meanings and makes speech be heard. The third mantra talks about the learned person who constantly sees (notices) the eternal Jivatman without undergoing any change passing through many births in accordance with the past karmas. The Sanskrit expression gopam used in this mantra refers to the controller of the senses Brahman, the Sole Witness of all activities, but this word also refers to those liberated souls who continuously witness the repeated transmigrations of the unliberated souls.[8]

According to Wash Edward Hale the first mantra could refer to the myth of the Svarbhanu hiding the Sun with darkness until it was found by the Atris; if so, this is the only occurrence of asura, in the singular, referring to a mythological evil or demonic being.[9]


  1. ^ Mahendra Kulsreshta. The Golden Book of Rig Veda. Lotus Press. p. 9. 
  2. ^ Shantha N.Nair. Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom. Pustak Mahalpage=95. 
  3. ^ Ramachandra Dattatreya Ranade. A constructive survey of Upanishadic philosophy. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 106. 
  4. ^ "The Rig Veda Translator Ralph T.H.Griffith". 
  5. ^ Laurie L. Patton. Bringing the Gods to Mind:Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice. University of California Press. p. 132. 
  6. ^ The Rig Veda Translator Swami Dayananda Saraswati. p. 1218,1219. 
  7. ^ Laurie L. Patton. Bringing the Gods to Mind:Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice. University of California Press. p. 132. 
  8. ^ Ravinder kumar Soni. The Illumination of Knowledge. GBD Books. p. 190,191. 
  9. ^ Wash Edward Hale. Asura:In Early Vedic Religion. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 78. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.