# Nivid Mantras are riddles

What are Nivid Mantras? How do some of these represent the numbers of Devas to be 33?

*Nivid*s are a class of Vedic mantras. Some Indologists believe Nivids to predate the other mantras in the Vedas. The performers of the *Soma* Yagna remember this story even today. According to the story, a complex Yagya hid itself from the Devas. Therefore, the Devas performed a simpler fire ritual. However, towards the end of the Yagna they realized that they could remember the steps for the complex Yagna. Consequently, they announced their success through the Nivid mantras.

Nivids are expressions of wonder. Secondly, they contain the word “Aho”. Thirdly, Nivids express hints about the secret workings of the universe. Certainly, we can use Nivids to decode important Vedic mantras. Nivids are named after Devas. Indologists made a special note of the Nivids of *Vishe Devas*.

These Nivids give the number of Vedic Gods in the form of a riddle. It says that the number of Devas is 33, or 303, or 3003 … BG Sidharth of Birla Science Institute considers this to be an astronomical hint. He provides an elegant explanation. Each progression in this arithmetic sequence adds a step of refinement to the estimate of the length of a year.

##### The Nivid with the sequence 33, 303, 3003 refers to Devas

Lunar cycle offers the simplest time measure of a month, especially in ancient times. However, a year is more than 12 such month units. Calendar makers faced a similar challenge even in the medieval centuries. They solved this with the help of leap years. In times of antiquity, calendar makers chose to synchronize Lunar month counts to equinoxes. They added Intercalary or extra days after a fixed count of months. 33 intercalary days approximate the year measure to 365 days and 303 to 365.2421 and so on. Some claim that the sequence can extend to three crores.

Rishi Vishwamitra in the Rig Veda gives the number of Gods to be 3339. Certainly, this is the sum of 3003+303+33. This number when considered as the number of intercalary days gives the average year length to be 365.2424. We find the number 6663 in another Nivid. It is the number of Gandharvas. This refers to a second method to estimate the average length of a solar year. The Chanting of these Nivids find a place in the Soma Yagya. Coincidentally, a Soma Yagna begins on a winter solstice and extends to the next.

##### Companion Mantras

We saw how the Nivid mantra announces a discovery as an expression of wonder. Two other types of mantras are companions to the Nivid. Certainly, we find these Mantras in Soma Yagna. Firstly, the *Adhvaryu, *the most experienced performer in the Yagna put out the *Sankalpa* (intention) for discovery through the *Praishas* mantras. Secondly, the *Hotr*, the chief chanter in the Yagna refines this intention with the *Puroruk *mantras at the *Vedi*. Thirdly, the word *Vedi *(fire altar) itself means a place of discovery. Finally, the vessels used in the Yagya are the *Grahas* representing the repositories in which the discovery materializes. There is more to Yagnas than we believe!