Durga Suktam.. A Vedic Prayer

May you help us navigate this difficult world!

Sujatha Ratnala
4 min readFeb 5, 2024

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A poetic outline based on two readings. And some familiar vocabulary..

O Agni! O flame of JataVeda! O flame of Durga! We churn and meditate in our mind.

Help us cross this difficult ocean of the world. Help us lead a happy life. Grant us prosperity and physical abundance.

Burn the enemies and help us win difficult battles! (ignorance, inner battles included)

May you be our destination. May you emerge from the kilns of our contemplation!

The words and sounds of this suktam are quite musical as if dancing in the ears.. It is a prayer to Goddess Durga.. and she has been called out as जातवेदस (born of Vedas), दुर्गा (difficult to get) and अग्नि..

On the topic of frequent words, अति/too much, दुर्/difficult, जुष्ट/pleased, नः/अस्मद/us, पृ/protect is seen. Happy Reading..

जातवेदसे सुनवाम सोममरातीयतो निदहाति वेदः ।

Oh जातवेदस!
Oh, Flame of Knowledge Durga!

The soma plant [सोम] we crush [सुनवाम], referring to deep contemplation and churning?] and offer to you..
Do burn [निदहाति] our hostile enemies [अरातिय]!

स नः पर्षदति दुर्गाणि विश्वा नावेव सिन्धुं दुरितात्यग्निः ॥१॥

Oh protecting अग्नि! [पर्षदति]

Like a boat [नावेव], help us [नः] cross this very difficult ocean of the world [दुर्गाणि विश्वा.. सिन्धुं.. दुरिता अति]

तामग्निवर्णां तपसा ज्वलन्तीं वैरोचनीं कर्मफलेषु जुष्टाम् ।

That flaming and radiating [तामग्निवर्णां ज्वलन्तीं] Devi..
who is born out of the fire of tapas [तपसा वैरोचनीं],
we offer and please[जुष्ट] her with our कर्मफल..

दुर्गां देवीँशरणमहं प्रपद्ये सुतरसि तरसे नमः ॥२॥

We take shelter in her [दुर्गां देवीँ.. शरणमहं प्रपद्ये]
Easily you can help us cross सुतरसि..
Salutations to the great sailor! तरसे नमः

अग्ने त्वं पारया नव्यो अस्मान् स्वस्तिभिरति दुर्गाणि विश्वा ।

O praiseworthy Agni! [अग्ने नव्यो]
Please help us [अस्मान्] cross this extremely difficult world [पारया अति दुर्गाणि विश्वा]
by auspicious and easy means [स्वस्तिभि]

पूश्च पृथ्वी बहुला न उर्वी भवा तोकाय तनयाय शंयोः ॥३॥

The foremost[पुर्] and fertile abundant lands on earth [बहुला उर्वी पृथ्वी]..
May you unite auspiciousness[शंयोः] to us [नः] and our progeny [तोकाय तनयाय][fulfill our material needs so that we can progress]

विश्वानि नो दुर्गहा जातवेदः सिन्धुं न नावा दुरितातिपर्षि ।

O जातवेद!
With your boat[नावा], protect us [नः] cross this difficult ocean of world.. विश्वानि दुर्गहा सिन्धुं

अग्ने अत्रिवन्मनसा गृणानोऽस्माकं बोध्यविता तनूनाम् ॥४॥

O अग्ने..
Like the contemplating sage atri [अत्रिवत्], we now extol and capture [गृणानोऽस्माक] our mind and body [बोध् तनूनाम्] charged at your devotion.

पृतनाजितँसहमानमुग्रमग्निँ हुवेम परमात्सधस्थात् ।

Let us invoke[हुवेम] from the highest pedestal [परम], the unconquerable formidable fire of the Devi [अजित उग्र अग्नि] of the battles [पृतना]

स नः पर्षदति दुर्गाणि विश्वा क्षामद्देवो अति दुरितात्यग्निः ॥५॥

May that purifying divine fire [स पृ देव अग्नि] forgive and burn [क्षाम] the very heinous mistakes [अति दुरिता], and help us [नः]conquer the difficult world [दुर्गाणि विश्वा]

प्रत्नोषि कमीड्यो अध्वरेषु सनाच्च होता नव्यश्च सत्सि ।

स्वां चाग्ने तनुवं पिप्रयस्वास्मभ्यं च सौभगमायजस्व ॥६॥

O priest होता
O maiden नव्य!
O seat of sacrifice! [सद्]
[You are the altar.. the body, the priest, the giver, the destination.. like Gita’s ब्रह्मार्पणं.. ब्रह्म हविः.. ब्रह्माग्नौ.. ब्रह्मणा हुतम्]

You have always[सनात्] been lauded[ईड्य] for spreading[प्रत्नोषि] bliss[कम्]..
May your fiery conscious form [स्वां अग्नि तनुवं] grant us welfare [प्रयस् अस्मभ्यम्] and auspiciousness [सौभगम]!

गोभिर्जुष्टमयुजो निषिक्तं तवेन्द्र विष्णोरनुसंचरेम ।

नाकस्य पृष्ठमभि संवसानो वैष्णवीं लोक इह मादयन्ताम् ॥७॥

With our senses and mind [गोभिर्, इन्द्र] gratified with you [जुष्टम], and detached [अयुज] to the external world.. May we follow your all-pervading form [विष्णो अनुसंचर]

O वैष्णवी!
May you delight us [माद], and reside [संवसानो] in the upper space of heaven [नाकस्य पृष्ठम] [or chidAkasha of contemplation]

[Sounds like चिदग्नि-कुण्डसम्भूता of Lalita SahasranAmam.. Born from the pit of chid-agni.. उद्यद्भानु-सहस्राभा.. The rising sun with a radiance of 1000 rays]

ॐ कात्यायनाय विद्महे कन्याकुमारि धीमहि

तन्नो दुर्गिः प्रचोदयात् ॥

May we get to know [विद्महे] that Katyayini Devi
May we meditate [धीमहि] on that virgin Goddess कन्याकुमारि
May Durga emerge [प्रचोदयात्] from that contemplation of ours!

NASA picture of the Universe?

Have extrapolated a few verses based on the two sources. Hope you find it an easy read, and somewhere later connect to a deeper meaning. kshama yaache for any aparaadha!

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Sujatha Ratnala

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Patterns, Science, Linguistics, Sanskrit et al..