Medha Suktam -A Vedic Prayer

Seeking abundance and well-meaning knowledge

Sujatha R
3 min readFeb 6, 2024

Came across the decoding of Medha Suktam at ‘Tatvam’ channel. The meaning is hidden in the etymology of Saraswati, Indra, Ashwini, and so on. It is a simple Suktam with a beautiful meaning.

Parts of the Suktam resonated with Isha Upanishad. “You are the all-pervasive vishwachi.. You are the movement and vibrancy jagat. You are that hiranmayi tejas. Grant me that badra kalyana well-meaning auspicious knowledge and prosperity.”

A simple poetic understanding of the suktam.

मे॒धादे॒वी जु॒षमा॑णा न॒ आगा᳚-द्वि॒श्वाची॑ भ॒द्रा सु॑मन॒स्य मा॑ना

“Medha Devi be pleased with us.. Oh Vishwaachi all pervasive one.. Grant us bhadra, sumanas, the well meaning knowledge!”

त्वया॒ जुष्टा॑ नु॒दमा॑ना दु॒रुक्ता᳚न् बृ॒हद्व॑देम वि॒दथे॑ सु॒वीराः᳚ ।

“When you are pleased.. we duruktaa.. uncapable of speaking good words, have now transformed and become fearless suveera.. and meditate.”

त्वया॒ जुष्ट॑ ऋ॒षिर्भ॑वति देवि॒ त्वया॒ ब्रह्मा॑ऽऽग॒तश्री॑रु॒त त्वया᳚ । त्वया॒ जुष्ट॑श्चि॒त्रं-विँ॑न्दते वसु॒ सा नो॑ जुषस्व॒ द्रवि॑णो न मेधे ॥

“By your grace.. one becomes a seer/rishi.. one becomes brahma.. one is endowed with wealth draviNa.”

“Oh Medha! Grant us that wealth and intellect.”

मे॒धां म॒ इन्द्रो॑ ददातु मे॒धां दे॒वी सर॑स्वती । मे॒धां मे॑ अ॒श्विना॑वु॒भा-वाध॑त्तां॒ पुष्क॑रस्रजा ।

Understanding of vedas is to be done along with the vedangas. Etymology/nirukta is one such vedanga which throws light on the inner meanings.

Sarati is to flow. The river of knowledge Saraswati flows from higher potential to its seeker. She is pure knowledge and hence colorless. Indra is that mighty force that illumines and powers the senses and mind. Ashwini kumaras are the 2 nostrils or the 2 breaths, and hence signify youth and vitality. The following line is like give me good knowledge, intelligence, and health.

“May Indra give me Medha.. May Saraswati give me Medha.. May Ashwini Kumars give me Medha”

अ॒प्स॒रासु॑ च॒ या मे॒धा ग॑न्ध॒र्वेषु॑ च॒ यन्मनः॑ । दैवीं᳚ मे॒धा सर॑स्वती॒ सा मां᳚ मे॒धा सु॒रभि॑-र्जुषता॒ग्॒ स्वाहा᳚ ॥

Apsaras are beautiful aesthetic folks and Gandharvas the gifted musicians with mind of passion and feelings. And knowledge with aesthetics is charming, fragrant, and pulls/attracts people.

“May Apsaras give us Medha. May we have mind of Gandharvas.

“May this surabhi Medha spread like fragrance.”

आमां᳚ मे॒धा सु॒रभि॑-र्वि॒श्वरू॑पा॒ हिर॑ण्यवर्णा॒ जग॑ती जग॒म्या । ऊर्ज॑स्वती॒ पय॑सा॒ पिन्व॑माना॒ सा मां᳚ मे॒धा सु॒प्रती॑का जुषन्ताम् ॥

“Medha Intelligence is fragrant surabhi.. It is all pervading, golden in color and causing the world to move. Vishwaroopa.. Hiranyavarna.. Jagati Jagamya..”

“Let this Medha come to me ”

मयि॑ मे॒धां मयि॑ प्र॒जां मय्य॒ग्नि-स्तेजो॑ दधातु॒,
मयि॑ मे॒धां मयि॑ प्र॒जां मयीन्द्र॑ इन्द्रि॒यं द॑धातु॒,
मयि॑ मे॒धां मयि॑ प्र॒जां मयि॒ सूर्यो॒ भ्राजो॑ दधातु ॥

“Grant me Medha, progeny, luster of Indra, Agni, Tejas, Surya”

[ॐ हं॒स॒ हं॒साय॑ वि॒द्महे॑ परमहं॒साय॑ धीमहि । तन्नो॑ हंसः प्रचो॒दया᳚त् ॥ (हंसगायत्री)]

“May we know her as Hamsa (so-ham breath).. May we meditate on that Parahamsa.. May Hamsa emerge from that.”

Perhaps swan is white, colorless, pure.. It is said to eat the milky flesh of lotus stalk without water coming in its way. And this symbolism.

https://a-z-animals.com/animals/swan/

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Sujatha R

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