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RigVeda - Mandala 5

Introduction :
What is RigVeda ?

The Rigveda or Rig Veda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns (sūktas). It is one of the four sacred canonical Hindu texts (sruti) known as the VedasThe Rigveda is the oldest known Vedic Sanskrit text. Its early layers are among the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. The sounds and texts of the Rigveda have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE. The text is layered consisting of the SamhitaBrahmanasAranyakas and Upanishads. The Rigveda Samhita is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books (maṇḍalas) with 1,028 hymns (sūktas) in about 10,600 verses (called ṛc, eponymous of the name Rigveda). In the eight books – Books 2 through 9 – that were composed the earliest, the hymns predominantly discuss cosmology, rites, rituals and praise deities. The more recent books (Books 1 and 10) in part also deal with philosophical or speculative questions, virtues such as (charity) in society, questions about the origin of the universe and the nature of the divine, and other metaphysical issues in their hymns.

What are Mandalas ? 

The text is organized in ten "books", or mandalas ("circles"), of varying age and length. The "family books", mandalas 2–7, are the oldest part of the Rigveda and the shortest books; they are arranged by length (decreasing length of hymns per book) and account for 38% of the text. The hymns are arranged in collections each dealing with a particular deity: Agni comes first, Indra comes second, and so on. They are attributed and dedicated to a rishi (sage) and his family of students. Within each collection, the hymns are arranged in descending order of the number of stanzas per hymn. If two hymns in the same collection have equal numbers of stanzas then they are arranged so that the number of syllables in the metre are in descending order. The second to seventh mandalas have a uniform format.

About Mandala 5 :

The fifth Mandala of the Rigveda has 87 hymns. Most hymns in this book are attributed to the Atri family. The mandala is one of the "family books" (mandalas 2-7), the oldest core of the Rigveda, which were composed in early vedic period(1500-1000 BCE).

The hymns are dedicated mainly to Agni and Indra, the Visvadevas, the Maruts, the twin-deity Mitra-Varuna and the Asvins. Two hymns each are dedicated to Ushas (the dawn) and to Savitar, one each to the Apris, Parjanya (rain), Prithvi(the Earth) and Varuna. 5.40 addresses Surya and Atri besides Indra.