Hymn to Vāc (RV X 125)

  • Rosa Ronzitti University of Genova


The present article is concerned with the famous hymn to Vāc (RV X 125). Vāc is the Vedic goddess of voice, and the hymn is composed in the ātmastuti (self-praising) style, which heavily relies on the polyptoton of first-person pronoun aham. Phonological puns such as anagrams and alliterations enrich the message of the poet, who depicts Voice/Speech as the world’s primordial principle. The famous expression ‘Me have the gods distributed in many places’ (v. 3c) is interpreted as a grammatical allusion to name inflection. The second part focuses on the actual emission of sound waves and its conceptualization in ancient cultures, particularly with reference to Vedic and Greek thought and to the imagery of speech as a sharp arrow that strikes the air.