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Veda Study


Puranic Nahusha
Career Highlights


Shraddha Chauhan and Fatah Singh

17E/257, Nandanvan, Chaupasani, Jodhpur(India) 342008



Nahusha, the son of Manu,happens to be the seer of Rigvedic mantras 9.101.7-9 :

Ayam Puushaa rayir bhagah somah punano arshati. Patir vishvasya  bhuumano vyakhyad rodasee ubhe.Samu Priyaa anuushata gaavo madaaya ghrishvayah. Somaasah krinvate pathah pavamaanaas indavah. Ya ojishthas-tamaa bhara pavamaan shravaayyam. Yah pancha charshaneerabhi rayim yen vanaamahe.

            Earlier three mantras(9.101.4-6) happen to be of seer yayaati, the son of Nahusha. Nahusha is desirous of such a soma which is the controller of all happiness and is the most powerful. Nahushah word is actually a transformation of the word Nahuh which is derived from the root Nah. The element Manu tries to bond together personal intelligence, mind and five sense organs. He gradually reaches from Nahuh to Nahustar, then leaves all these seven and then declares himself as Nahushah, the killer of the seven(Rigveda 10.49) :

Aham saptahaa nahusho nahustarah praashraavayam shavsaa turvasham yadum. Aham nyanyam sahsaa sahaskaram nava vradhato navatim cha vakshyam.

This Nahusha is actually Indrah  Vaikunthah who is the god of Rigveda 10.47 and is both seer and god for Rigveda 10.48-50. According to one anecdote (Brihad Devataa 7.49 and Rigveda 10.47 Sayana Bhashya), the lady Vikunthaa  made hard penances to get a progeny equivalent to Indra, hence she got a son like Indra. It is heard about Vaikunthaa Indra that in the beginning, he destroys demons, but gradually he gets influenced with demonical powers and starts to obstruct divine work( Brihad Devata 7.49-57).

This gives us a picture where there is a continuity of the duality of Sat and Asat or divine and non divine. At this level is required the penance for going from Nahusha to Nahustara. In a way, it is the path of leaving non divine individuality and reaching to a central point or Naabhi. The duty of a Nahusha type individual is to control all the bodily defects and then control the pranic progeney. It can be said that Nahus is related in the beginning to the gross body. Proceeding from multiplicity of the gross body towards integrity gives rise to the birth of Nahusa the Indra. This nahusha the Indra is able to penetrate the seven abodes of seven top pranas (Rigveda 10.99.7) :

Sa nritmo nahusho asmat sujaatah puro abhinad arhan dasyuhatye.

And he helps in development of ninety nine abodes of Shambara( Actually, Mahendra, and not Nahusha, destroys 99 abodes of demons) (Rig.1.122.10) :

Aham nyanyam sahasaa sahaskaram nava vradhto navatim cha vakshayam

            There is one more quality of Nahusha mentioned in Rigveda 1.122.10.

Adha gmanta nahusho havam suureh shrotaa raajaano amritasya mandrah. - - - - - -Etam shardham dhaam yasya suureh ityavochan dashatayasya nanshe

Here shardham is symbolic of some higher state of a crowd. The purpose of nahusha is to control all the bodily defects so that these may be able to offer oblations to gods. These controlled progeny have been called at other places as maanushee vishah.

            Even after reaching the higher stage of development, Nahusha could not attain the stage of Indra, the husband of Shachee. Hence, in the anecdote of Nahusha in Puranas, there is a fall of Nahusha who tries to make Shachee her wife. Actually, Shachee is the name of a big power of the highest god or parbrahman. The godly power Shachee is attainable for every person by the gesture of God. She is the power of not only her husband Indra, but of every other person also. Still, she can not remain confined to a particular individual. Though Indra the god can reside in every individual body sea of consciousness as a seer of atman, but her Shachee wants to get integrated only with his infinite form. On the other hand, though Nahusha has attained human qualities, he is still bound to his own individuality. Thus, though Nahusha is symbolic of higher state of humanity or higher state of mind(Manu), he is not highest.



In vedic glossary of terms, all the terms which are symbolic of man or human qualities, happen to exist in their plural form. It seems as if Nahushah is a singular form, but actually this also happens to be a plural form. This is clear from the following mantra(Rigveda 10.80.6) :

Agnim visha eedate maanusheeryaa agnim manusho nahusho vijaataah.

Here the human progeny are said to have taken birth in different forms by the names of Manushah and Nahushah. Hence, along with manushah, nahushah is also to be taken as a plural word. Nahushah is a plural of Nahus. That is why there is reference in Rigveda of Nahushee vishah, just like Manushee vishah.



Shraddha Chauhan

Vedic Exploration of Human Personality ( In Hindi). (Gaveshnaa Prakashan, 17E/257, Nandanvan, Chaupaasani, Jodhpur, India, 3420008). Price Rs.225/-


The above write up is an English language sample of the numerous writings of elderly vedic scholar Dr. Fatah Singh.