Friday 8 October 2021

Ratri Suktam Rig Veda - Word to Word Meaning and Commentary

Ratri Suktam is recited as a portion of Devi Maahaatmyam.It is actually from the Rig Veda.

Origin of Vedas

The entire Universe is a reverberation.Reverberation means sound energy.The sages of the past through deep penance,activated the non-mechanical parts of their brains.This enabled them to access and download all forms of knowledge from the cosmos directly.

They did this by tapping into the Akasha ( ether ) which is the cosmic archive.They downloaded the truths of the universe in the form of sounds which they envisioned.

These were referred to as 'shruti-s'.The knowledge was in the form of sound codes.They then recited and taught these sound-bound knowledge to their disciples .Over time,many sages downloaded various truths and contributed to an ocean of Vedas.

The Vedas were then organised and branched by Veda Vyasa.

This is also why recitation is a must in order to learn the Vedas.The sound ( mantra ) is the pendrive through which data is transferred / transmitted.A disciple who recites the particular Veda portion imbibes himself with the very frequency of a particular knowledge and realises it.

So Ratri Suktam occurs in the Rig Veda samhita in the 10th Mandala,127th Sukta.The Sage(s) who downloaded it is the Rishi kuśika saubhara / rātri bhāradvājī.

Video : My whatsapp Veda Learner Shravanthi reciting Ratri suktam

Word to word meaning and commentary

Raatrii vyakh yadaayatii purutra devyaa.akshabhiH

vishvaa adhish shriyoo.adhita

Raatrii = nishaa : night

vi-akhyat = well-known.

aa-yatii = approaching

puru-traa = in several places

devii = feminine term for deva - comes from root 'div',literally 'one who shines'

aksha-bhiH = by means of her eyes ( which are the stars )

vishvaha = everything

adhi = inherent

shriyaHa = wealth

adhita = adorned

Commentary :

Ratri Devi,the well-known One approaches in several places.She 'sees' with her eyes which are the infinite stars that decorate the skies.She adorns all inherent wealth as she approaches.

Ratri Devi is the dimension of Kala.She is infinite as the formless night sky which is beyond measurement.She is all-pervasive,as she adorns the infinite stars as Her very eyes.She makes Her presence with such inherent wealth and glory ( the glory of the night sky which reflects the entire cosmos )

orvapraa amartyaa nivato devyuu udvataH

jyotishha baadhate tamaH

a-apraa = pervaded

uru = the wide one ( Earth )

a-martyaa = those not subject to mrtyu ( death )

ni-vataH = those living below

devii = devi

ut-vataha = those who live higher up

jyotishha = by her inherent light

baadhate = obstructs

tamaha = tamas ( ignorance )

Commentary :

She pervades the wide dimension of space-time continuum of the Universe.She pervades and sustains all beings and entities of all loka-s.By Her inherent light,she illuminates everyone and obstructs darkness in the form of ignorance.

Kali is the Goddess of Akasha.Without Akasha,the whole structure of the Universe will collapse.Akasha is the component which manifests as the very vibration of universe ( this explains why the Vedas were received in the form of soun energy ).

This reverberation is the skeleton to the body we call 'universe'.Without this reverberation,the entire structure of the universe will collapse.That is to say,without Raatri Devi,the entire Universe will collapse.

nirus svasaa aaramaskrtoshhasan devyaa.aayatii

apedu haasate tamaH

nihi = near and dear

svasaaram = sister

um = too

akrta = made,prepared

ushhasam = dawn

devii = devii

aa-yatii = approaching

apa = in a negative manner

it = cognition

um = too

haasate = laughingly

tamaha = ignorance

Commentary : 

So too,for Her dear and near sister, the approaching dawn ( ushha ),she prepared the way.Ushha laughs ridiculously at the ignorance of tamas.

Ratrii ( night ) prepares the way for Ushha ( dawn ) to approach ( who is verily the sister of raatri ),who laughs at the ignorance we carry,thus making us powerful.

Our sensory perception is impaired in the state of Raatri ( night ).We cannot distinguish objects and places.Raatri is the state of absolute consciousness which is infinite,which often puts us into a state of powerlessness.When we cannot use our logic to comprehend pure darkness which is infinite,we start to fear.Humans generally fear anything which they do not know : that which is uncertain.

Our sensory function re-establishes with dawn,when light bestows the planet.This ignorance of ours is 'laughed upon' by ushha because our fears and powerlessness are meaningless.The same world we live in appears so different during day and night.This is because we rely on our senses to perceive the cosmos.

This is ignorance.When we look within and realise that we are consciousness, and when we operate from consciousness,all forms of fear vanishes.We are able to embrace Raatri Devi and Ushha Devi equally.

saa no adyayasyaavayan ni te yaaman na vikshhmahi

vrkshhena vaasatim vayaH

saa = she

naha = us

adya = today

yasyaaha = She whose

vayam = us

ni = near

te = for you

yaaman = upon coming

avikshhmahi = reside securely

vrkshhe = in the trees

na = ni : securely

vasatim = reside

vayaha = those of vaayuhu ( birds ) 

Commentary :

Ratri Devi has approached us today.We feel secure and reside comfortably upon Her arrival just like the birds who nest and reside in the trees.

Night in the form of darkness ( Kali ) is a motherly figure.We were nurtured in the void of darkness within the amniotic sac in our mother's womb.

As we grow and begin to interpret existence with logic,we fear the very darkness which nurtured us.We fear darkness because it is infinite - formless,shapeless without boundary.Anything uncertain is feared by us.

However,when we settle in the state of absolute consciousness - like a foetus being in complete oneness with its mother ,we embrace darkness as our mother and become one with it.We become One with the supreme consciousness.

ni graamaaso avikshhata nipad vanto ni pakshhiNaha

ni shyenaa sash chidarthinaha

ni = near

graamaasaha = the graamyaa-s , villagers

avikshhata = resided securely

ni = near

pat-vantaha = those with feet

ni = near

pakshhiNaha = birds

ni = near

shyenaasaha = hawks and falcons

chit = minded

arthinaha = take shelter

Commentary :

The nearby villagers head home as Raatri approaches.So too,those creatures that walk,so too,those that fly.Why ? even the avaricious-minded hawk too !

Darkness reminds us on the origin of every being.Every being,be it the walking,flying or minded ones, are nurtured in the womb of darkness.

This reminds us that our origin is of the absolute consciousness ( Parabrahman - Ratri Devi ).Brahman expanded into infinite components and we are part of it.We are a wave in the ocean,not realising that we are the very ocean itself.

So,whether it is an animal,bird or human, all entities are bound to attain self-realisation and go back to their original state of godhood through conscious evolution.From Ratri we come,back to Ratri we go.

yavayaa vrkyaa amvrkan yavayas stenamuurmye

athaa naH sutaraa bhava

yavaya = ward off

vrkyam = she wolf

vrkam = he wolf

yavaya = ward off

stenam = burglars

uurmye = O uurmi ( wave )

atha = hence

naha = us

su-taraa = sushhThu taraa = most excellent rescuer

bhava = become

Commentary :

Ward off the shewolf and the hewolf.Ward of the thieves-burglars.O wave of darkness ! Hence, O Nisha Devi, become our rescuer

Meditating and connecting with Ratri Devi will raise our consciousness.As atma,we assume many bodies throughout the evolution of consciousness.The residue of the bodily memories of these low-conscious beings still resides in us.

We still have qualities of cunningness,greed,envy and lust of the animals.When we realise that we are god - consciousness,we are freed from all these luggage of the past bodies we assumed.

Ratri Devi,acts our rescuer from these low-consciousness qualities.

upa ma pepishattamaH krshhNaM vyaktamasthita

ushha rNeva yaataya

upa = approach near

ma = maam ; me

pepishat = intending to devour

tamaH = ignorance

krshhNaM = thickly black

vi-aktam = nisha ; night

sthita = situated

ushaH = dawn

rNaa = debt

iva = just like

yaataya = drive away


Oh Raatri Devi,grace me and drive away the thick black sheath of ignorance which is deluding me away from my true nature as consciousness - god.Just as how we clear our debts,clear away the luggages in me as I invoke you.

This reminds us of the great enlightened master,Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who 'attained' simply by being devoted to Mahakali.

upa te gaa ivaakaram vrNiishhva duhitardivaH

ratriH stomam na jigyushhe 

upa = approach near

te = to you

gaaha = cows / vedas

iva = alike

aa = aa + vrNiishhva = do select

akaram = prepared

duhitaha = daughter

divaha = heavens

raatri = O night !

stomam = songs of praise

na = as , just like

jigyushhe = victor

Commentary :

We follow the Vedas ( Vedic path ) to reach You.O Ratri Devi,do select the daughter of heavens ( daylight ).We sing songs of praise just like how we do to a victor.

We use the Vedas as a means to reach you,O Ratri. Do impart us your grace.Upon enlightenment from You,we sing songs of praise to You !

Image : Tantrik Yogini Raatrini , 11th century

Recitation of the Sukta and meditating upon it is the means to realise the meaning and depth of Vedas.

Credits to mentor Shri Maunish Vyas for imparting the word to word meaning of this Sukta

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the enlightening translation of and comments on Ratri Suktam, which I am presently learning as part of Devi Mahatmyam!