Mandala 10 – Hymn 34 [Rig Veda]

1. SPRUNG from tall trees on windy heights, these rollers transport me as they turn upon the table. The enlivening Vibhīdaka has pleased me like the draught of Soma from Mūjavant. 2. She never vexed me nor was angry with me, but was ever gracious to my friends and me. For a dice which scored one too much, I drive away my own devoted wife. 3. My wife drives me away, her mother hates me: the wretched man finds none to give him comfort. [They say:] “I find no more use in a gambler than in an aged horse which is for sale.” 4. Others embrace the wife of him whose riches the victorious dice have coveted: Father and mother and brothers say about him [to the landlord’s men]: “We know him not: tie him up and take him away.” 5. When I resolve “I will not play with them, I will remain behind when my friends [= fellow-gamblers] depart [to play]”, and the brown dice, thrown on the board, have rattled, like a fond girl I seek the place of meeting. 6. The gamester seeks the gambling-house, and wonders, his body all afire, “Will I be lucky?” The dice run against his desire, giving the best throws to his adversary. 7. Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe. They give gifts like boys [do], and then snatch them back from the winner, [they are] sweetened [as] with honey with magic power over the gambler. 8. Their troop of three-times-fifty plays [as undefeatably] as Savitr the god whose ways are faithful. They bend not even to the anger of the mighty: the King himself pays homage and reveres them. 9. Downward they roll, and then spring quickly upward, and, handless, force the man with hands to serve them. Cast on the board, like lumps of magic charcoal, though cold themselves they burn the heart to ashes. 10. The gambler’s wife is left forlorn and wretched: the mother mourns the son who wanders homeless. In constant fear, in debt, and seeking money, he goes by night to the home of others [probably to steal]. 11. Sad is the gambler when he sees a woman, another man’s wife, and his well-ordered dwelling. He yokes the brown horses [= the dice] in the early morning, and in the evening he sinks down beside [his] fire, a beggar. 12. To the great captain of your mighty army [of dice], who has become the host’s imperial leader, To him I show [my] ten [extended fingers]: “I speak the truth: No wealth am I withholding.” 13. “Play not with dice, [but] cultivate your corn-land. Enjoy the gain, and deem that wealth sufficient. There are your cattle, there your wife, O gambler”: So this good Savitr himself has told me. 14. Make me your friend: show us some little mercy. Do not forcibly bewitch us with magic power. Let your wrath [and] emnity now come to rest. Let the brown [dice] now snare some other captive.



Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The Rig Veda is intended to be chanted (rather than read). Here is a link to: Rig Veda Full Chanting.
Translation revised 25 April 2006 by Anthony Appleyardfollowing Arthur Anthony Macdonnell’s book “A Vedic Reader”, publ Motilal BanarsidassISBN 81-208-1017-1 (cloth bound), ISBN 81-208-1018-X (paperback). See Talk:The Rig Veda/Mandala 10/Hymn 34 for notes.

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