Rigvedic rivers

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Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu ("seven rivers"),e.g. RV 2.12; RV 4.28; RV 8.24 play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion. It is likely that they are derived from older Proto-Indo-Iranian or Proto-Indo-European hydronyms as cognate names exist in Avestan language and other Indo-European languages.


A recurring theme in the Rigveda is that of Indra slaying Vritra (literally "the obstacle"), liberating the rivers; in a variant of the myth, Indra smashes the Vala cave, releasing the cows that were within. The two myths are separate however, rivers and cows are often poetically correlated in the Rigveda, for example in 3.33, a notable hymn describing the crossing of two swollen rivers by the chariots and wagons of the Bharata tribe,
3.33.1cd Like two bright mother cows who lick their youngling, Vipas and Sutudri speed down their waters. (trans. Griffith) http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv03033.htm

Sapta Sindhu

The Sapta Sindhu are a group of seven chief rivers of uncertain or fluctuating identification (the number seven is of greater importance than the exact members of the group, compare the Saptarishi, and also the (later) seven seas and the seven climes) of the Avesta. The Avesta's are generally equated with the Vedic Sapta SindhavaŠł•: in Vendidad 1.18 these are described to be the...
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