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Rica or Rik – Explanation Of Hymn In Vedas

Rica or Rik is a stanza in Rig Veda, the oldest sacred book, consists of ten mandalas (books) containing 1,017 hymns that comprise different numbers of verses. These verses, called riks or ricas (literally meaning hymn, praise or worship), are especially sacred verses, recited in praise of some deity. They give us a glimpse of the earliest form of poetry that has survived. Sabdakalpadruma defines it as ‘a verse that pleases’. Vacaspatyam defines a rk as a verse that has a fixed number of syllables, parts and pauses. There are 10,580 riks (rks) in all.

The rik is composed in certain meters. There are 15 meters in all in the whole of Rig Veda. Out of them gayatri, anustup, jagati, tristup, pankti, usnik, and brhati are frequently used. Out of these seven, gayatri is found to be the most frequently used one. As many as 2,450 riks are composed in the gayatri meter. Jaiminiya Nyayamala defines a rik as ‘a mantra composed in a certain meter with a pause of half a pada.’

The samanas (mantras from Samaveda) are nothing but the riks chanted in a particular way. A samana is sung when it is employed in a sacrifice. Thus, melody originates out o a stanza. So, rica is called the yoni (source) out of which melody comes forth.

When the riks are employed in the sacrifice the hotr (one of the sixteen priests required for a sacrifice) is the dominant figure.