7/13/2011 Banquet of the gods, Book II, on Soma and the Rig Veda,
as relating to an Indo-European rite portrayed on the walls of Etruscan tombs.
Part of a work relating to Etruscan Phrases.

Banquet of the Gods
by Mel Copeland
Book II, Hindus & the Celts

Generally, as Margaret Mead so aptly pointed out in her "Patterns of Cultures," the furthest reaches of a culture tend to hold to the original. That is to say, as a culture spreads across continents and seas it mixes with other peoples and in the blending becomes unlike the original. But on the outposts of a culture the people tend to cling to the original way. They tend to be conservative with regard to the inherited traditions of their ancestors. We may use the American people in this regard, who established a new culture to reestablish old British traditions of freedom. The British believed that they were of the stock of Brutus, a patriarch who came from the region of Troy, Lydia with his kindred after the Trojan war. The Aeneid of Virgil follows the same thesis, claiming that the early settlers of Rome were also refugees from Lydia as a result of the Trojan war. Like them the Etruscans who made the same claim but arrived in Italy much earlier than the refugees of Aeneis had established a new culture in a new land, keeping in remembrance the early patriarchs of their migration. Like them also were the patriarchs of the Parisians who claimed ancestry from the Trojans.

In the case of America, in place of the original British patriarchal tradition is an "American" Constitution of the United States of America, a history that describes how the Constitution came about, and a sacred city, its sacred lands and sacred images, in which the Constitution is preserved. Thus, in the American sacred city, Washington D.C., one can discover everything one needs to know about the ancestors of the Americans, what they promise, and how inviolable that promise is. In simple terms we can call the process so recently experienced in the American way, the founding of a new, sacred, law. And at the heart of all of its arguments with regard to why it exists and its destiny, is its sacred law. Behind the Sacred Law is the sacred lore that generated it, and venerated in the sacred lore are the founders who established it. And this Sacred Law is the thing that at the moment establishes the legitimacy of American actions and influence in the world today.

In like manner can we compare the ancient Aryans that blossomed in India ~1,500 - 1,200 B.C. They brought with them their old Sacred Law and adapted it to their new environment, an environment that initially was quite hostile to them, since all around them were "brown-skinned" unbelievers. The new Sacred Law is called the Rig Veda [normally spelled Rg Veda, with an interpolated vowel between the r and g a custom of the Etruscan writings as well]. What separated them from those who were their enemies was initially the belief and respect for this Sacred Law. Other works followed behind the Rig Veda: the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. All were invoked and transmitted from one generation to another through bards who would memorize the sacred texts and retell them, as may be required by their sacred tradition and law. The bards of the Vedas were no different than Homer or the Greek bards who passed on the Iliad and the Odyssey: the story of the great war between the Greeks and the Trojans and what happened to them. The Vedic bards ran ahead of kings armies to record the events that would transpire, so to pass them down. The Mahabharata is, in fact, such a history and, like the Iliad, is about the great Bharata War. Bharata means "brother" in Sanskrit and maha, is "great," and maharsi means "great sage." The people that conducted the ceremonies of the Rig Veda, which we shall now discuss, were called, "rsi."

The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns to be recited as the rsi may discern during the three rites of each day and special festivals. The three rites were held at dawn, high-noon and sunset. The hymns refer to their body as the "law" and those who do not obey the law are condemned by the gods. Condemned by the rsi was the niggardly man who did not give or gave well below his means to the priests or bards conducting the sacrifice. Connected with them was the profession and caste of the Brahmins whose only purpose in life was to remember the sacred hymns and lore and school others in it. They were representatives of the god, Brahma, "the creator of the Universe, Lord of the highest heaven which is indestructible." (1)

Key to every sacred ceremony conducted to celebrate the Sacred Law and its gods and lore is the rite of offering sacrifice in the context of a Banquet for the god(s). Among the Indo-European peoples specifically but it may apply as a general rule to all cultures over the ages gods were represented by images. The images can be cast in stone, wood, gold, silver or iron; and in all cases the images are cast through a name. We have seen Herodotus speak of a people who did not have any gods, as the people did not have any names for their gods. They practiced a primitive religion, from Herodotus' point of view. The Jews and later Christians that developed out of Judaism were likewise called "godless" by the Romans and persecuted for being "godless." Many Moslems today persecute others using the same kind of logic, that if someone does not believe in "Allah," for instance, one is an infidel, godless. "Allah" is the name for God in the Koran that has the meaning of surprise, such as Latin "ai" meaning "hail, behold," and in Sanskrit this word is "jaya" and used frequently in the Rig Veda. In the Old Testament scriptures God has many names, such as YHVH, Jehovah, meaning "I am that I am." So much for the names of God or gods. A closing line in the Rig Veda ought to be kept in mind as we inquire into the Aryans who composed the Rig Veda, to compare them to the Indo-European ethos, to understand a bit more about the Etruscans and their contribution to the ethos. The closing line is a warning: ..Time is the root and the seed, it gives and it takes away. I bow to God, who lives in this world within us; whoever calls Him by any name, by that name does He come." (2) Another charming line, among many, in the Rig Veda is, "When there is a stain, and nothing will remove it Time will take it away." (3)

The time of the Rig Veda is claimed to be about 1,500 B.C. but Hindu scholars have advocated that India was the source of all Indo-European culture, that the Indo-Europeans spread from India eastward to China and westward into Europe. We suspect the time of the Rig Veda is Iron Age, probably ~1,200 B.C. but not earlier, although the the use of iron as a precious metal dates back as early as 3,000 B.C. By 1,200 B.C. it was recognized as being superior to bronze, and by 800 B.C. in common use. (4) We compare references in the Iliad, Odyssey and Rig Veda in our Bronze-Age-Collapse.html. References to the use of iron in the Rig Veda are more of a utilitarian nature than those in the Iliad (which has about eleven references to iron, most of which involve arrows and spears given as gifts). In contrast to the Iliad the Odyssey begins with Athena visiting the house of Odysseus, appearing as a ship captain transporting a load of iron, suggesting that by the time of the Odyssey iron was traded in abundance. On these merits it appears that the Iliad is the older of the three documents.

The setting of the Rig Veda

Where the ancient site of Harappa is now located, may be the southern boundary of the initial Aryans of the Rig Veda. For the Aryans referred to their source of Soma as being from the mountains, and to sustain three ceremonies each day by each of the five tribes of Aryans mentioned in the Rig Veda, it presumes that they initially would have been within a few days travel of the mountain source. A source of the main ingredient of Soma is believed to be "Saryanavan's bank." The river basin where the Aryans lived is the Saraswati which is now in the middle of a desert. But then it was lush and the Saraswati river led from the Himalayas, probably where the Indus and Ganges rivers are closest together, to the Indian Ocean. See http://www.haryana-online.com/Districts/Kurukshetra.htm which describes where Soma may have been gathered, a place described in the Rig Veda, Book IX.65.22.

A port city important to the culture, Dwaravati, is mentioned and becomes the "home" of Krishna, a hero and god of the Mahabharata. Archeologists have recently excavated that site and what they found confirms a description of the site in the Mahabharata. Here is what the Mahabharata describes of that mysterious place:

Dwaravati, the eight-sided City of Gates, touched the silver sands of the dancing sea. Under the high white seas all were boat-gardens, and there the water was never salt, but always fresh. The city walls were of adamant, surrounded by a circular moat of sea water lined by trees and bamboo, where ducks and cranes lived and the tide never fell. Her towers were topped by blue sapphire domes that made stars of the sun by day and drew the rays of constellations by night. Her gates bore red copper stars set in bronze panels, or round brass suns set on gold, or silver moons and planets on polished steel, or spacious pearls engraved with the forgotten stories of vanished men.

Near Dwaravati was Raivataka Hill. There, in the evening, Krishna and Subhadra and the broad-shouldered Satyaki arrived from the east and saw the hill decorated for his yearly festival. Flowers and colored rice were strewn about; flags and bells trembled in the ocean wind; colored elephants kept time to the lutes and drums; lighted lamps were hung from poles and trees, making the caves and fountains and valleys bright as day. Everywhere the birds were singing and eating the rice.

...Near Indraprastha [up north] Arjuna found his way blocked by a man wearing a ratty black deerskin and a wide, flat necklace of pitted brass. he was tall and his hair was yellow and free. Agni said quietly, 'I have already taken your chariot Give me Gandiva bow and all the thousand arrows.' When the Fire Lord touched the weapons they fell into ashes

Arjuna sent a letter to Yudhishthira, saying:
Khandava forest has grown up again, and Maya's magic
palace lies broken in the tall grass that reaches over my
head. Yudhishthira, for you it is also time.

Joined with Arjuna, Yudhishthira with his brothers and Draupadi, all wearing bark, walked into the north.
In Dwaravati, one day when the wind sounded like the ocean, and the waves of the sea like the wind, the city was drowned under the salt waters. All perished but Krishna and Balarama.

Since we have thus introduced you to Agni, let us begin with introducing the ceremony involving the dawn and Soma with the first hymn to Agni. Agni was found to be created via two ways: from lightning, fire from heaven as it were, and man-made, by rubbing two sticks together. The sticks themselves were given names and treated as gods. The entire ceremony of offering Soma to the gods, inviting them to a banquet at dawn, depended upon Agni bringing his fire to the ceremony, since in reality the people believed that of all the gods Agni is the only one who is self-created and, thus, must be the creator of the other gods and man. He also can destroy, but more appropriately he is the messenger of the gods. You invite Agni to your banquet first, and then, after pouring oblation of Soma to him, invite him to bring the other gods. At the same time, just as Achillês prayed to the gods, through the messenger goddess Iris, that the wind would go away, so that his sacrificial fire would continue, the priests (rsis) of the Rig Veda were ready to appeal to Vayu, the god of the wind, to assure an auspicious sacrifice (banquet). The first two hymns quoted here are ascribed to the Rsi or seer Madhucchandas Visvamitra. Agni is the most prominent god prayed to in the Rig Veda, the next being the god Indra (6). As we proceed through the hymns, we shall also learn how to make Soma.

Rig Veda
Hymn I Agni

1. I laud Agni, the chosen Priest, God,
minister of sacrifice,
The hotar, lavishest of wealth.

2. Worthy is Agni to be praised by living as
by ancient seers.
He shall bring hitherward the Gods
3. Through Agni man obtaineth wealth, yea,
plenty waxing day by day.
Most rich in heroes, glorious
4. Agni, the perfect sacrifice, which thou
encompassest about
Verily goeth to the Gods.
(5) May Agni, sapient-minded Priest, truthful,
most gloriously great,
The God, come hither with the Gods.
(6) Whatever blessing, Agni, thou wilt grant
unto thy worshipper,
That, Angiras, is indeed thy truth
(7) To thee, dispelleer of the night, O Agni,
day by day with prayer
Bringing thee reverence, we come;
(8) Ruler of sacrifices, guard of Law eternal,
radiant One,
Increasing in thine own abode.
(9) Be to us easy of approach, even as a father
to his son:
Agni, be with us for our weal.

Hymn II Vayu

1. Beautiful Vayu, come, for thee these Soma
drops have been prepared:
Drink of them, hearken to our call.
2. Knowing the days, with Soma juice poured
forth, the singers glorify
Thee, Vayu, with their hymns of praise.
3. Vayu, thy penetrating stream goes forth
unto the worshipper.
Far-spreading for the Soma draught.
4. These, Indra-Vayu, have been shed;
come for our offered dainties sake:
The drops are yearning for you both.
5. Well do ye mark libations, ye Vayu
and Indra, rich in spoil!
So come ye swiftly hitherward.
(6) Vayu and Indra, come to what the Soma-
presser hath prepared:
Soon, Heroes, thus I make my prayer.
(7) Mitra, of holy strength, I call, and foe-
destroying Varuna,
Who make the oil-fed rite complete.
(8) Mitra and Varuna, through Law, lovers
and cherishers of Law,
Have ye obtained your mighty power.
(9) Our Sages, Mitra-Varuna, of wide dominion,
strong by birth,
Vouchafe us strength that worketh well.

Imagine a circle of men, in the center of which is a fire-altar, and nearby a post to which the sacrificial victim is tied. The outside of the circle is marked by a trench and probably stakes, since stakes are mentioned in the Rig Veda. Imagine them all singing, or chanting these first two hymns, during which time the priests are pouring oblations of butter and then Soma on the fire. They may at that moment also have assistants pouring Soma into beakers held by those present, chief among them being, of course, the chief or king of the congregation, next to whom would be the person who was there with the wealthiest sacrifices. He who brought the most for the sacrifice was the most blessed (a practice, alas, of both ancient and modern religions). It is interesting that Jesus the Christ complained about this practice among the Jews and noted, much as the priests of the Rig Veda did as well, that a rich man does not get to heaven through his riches.

The most important god, another creator god in the Rig Veda, next to Agni, was Indra. He could change shape, like the Greek and Celtic gods, and was capable of remarkable feats. We can compare him to Cúchulainn, the Celtic high hero. The youth donned his armor preparing for battle (I hope you are delighted in his tale, as I was; imagine men, women and children sitting around the hearth hearing this! And every bard had a another tale to tell, as well!):

Táin - Then the high hero Cúchulainn, Sualdam's son, builder of the Badb's fold with walls of human bodies, seized his warrior's battle-harness. This was the warlike battle-harness he wore: twenty-seven tunics of waxed skin, plated and pressed together, and fastened with strings and cords and straps against his clear skin, so that his senses or his brain wouldn't burst their bonds at the onset of his fury. Over them he put on his heroic deep battle-belt of stiff, tough, tanned leather from the choicest parts of the hides of seven yearlings, covering him from his narrow waist to the thickness of his armpit; this he wore to repel spears or spikes, javelins, lances or arrows – they fell from it as though dashed at stone or horn or hard rock. Then he drew his silk-smooth apron, with its light-gold speckled border, up to the softness of his belly. Over this silky skin-like apron he put on a dark apron of well-softened black leather from the choicest parts of the hides of four yearlings, with a battle-belt of cowhide to hold it. Then the kingly champion gripped his warlike battle-weapons. These were the warlike weapons he chose: eight short swords with his flashing, ivory-hilted sword; eight small spears with his five-pronged spear, and a quiver also; eight light javelins with his ivory javelin; eight small darts with his feat-playing dart, the del chliss; eight feat-playing shields with his dark-red curved shield that could hold a prize boar in its hollow, its whole rim so razor sharp it could sever a single hair against he stream. When Cúchulainn did the feat of the shield-rim, he could shear with his shield as sharply as spear or sword.
He placed on his head his warlike, crested battle-helmet, from whose every nook and cranny his longdrawn scream re-echoed like the screams of a hundred warriors and heroes. His concealing cloak was spread about him, made of cloth from Tir Tairngire, the Land of Promise. It was given to him by his magical foster-father. (8)
The first warp-spasm seized Cúchulainn, and made him into a monstrous thing, hideous and shapeless, unheard of. His shanks and his joints, every knuckle and angle and organ from head to foot, shook like a tree in the flood or a reed in the stream. His body made a furious twist inside his skin, so that his feet and shins and knees switched to the rear and his heels and claves switched to the front. The balled sinews of his calves switched to the front of his shins, each big knot the size of a warrior's bunched fist. On his head the temple-sinews stretched to the nape of his neck, each mighty, immense, measureless knob as big as the head of a month-old-child. His face and features became a red bowl: he sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn't probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek. His mouth weirdly distorted: his cheek peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared, his lungs and liver flapped in his mouth and throat, his lower jaw struck the upper a lion-killing blow, and fiery flakes large as a ram's fleece reached his mouth from his throat. His heart boomed loud in his breast like the baying of a watch-dog at its feed or the sound of a lion among bears. Malignant mists and spurts of fire
the torches of the Badb flickered red in the vaporous clouds that rose to kill in that first attack, his first full battle with the provinces of Ireland. Then he circled the outer lines of the four great provinces of Ireland in his chariot and he attacked them in hatred. He had the chariot driven so heavily that its iron wheels sank into the earth. So deeply the chariot-wheels sank in the earth that clods and boulders were torn up, with rocks and flagstones and the gravel of the ground, in a dyke as high as the iron wheels, enough for a fortress-wall. He threw up this circle of the Badb round about the four great provinces of Ireland to stop them fleeing and scattering from him, and corner them where he could wreak vengeance for the boy-troop. He went into the middle of them and beyond, and mowed down great ramparts of his enemies' corpses, circling completely around the armies three times, attacking them in hatred. They fell sole to sole and neck to headless neck, so dense was that destruction. He circled them three times more in the same way, and left a bed of them six deep in a great circuit, the soles of three to the necks of three in a ring around the camp. This slaughter on the Táin was given the name Seisrech Bresligi, the Sixfold Slaughter. It is one of the three uncountable slaughters on the Táin: (9)

The Aryans, like other Indo-Europeans, had similar tales, fragments added by the bards to an ever-growing body of literature or mythology. The battle between Karna and Arjuna in the Mahabharata is one we can relate to the Táin. Arjuna, the hero of the Bhagavad Gita, a section of the Mahabharata, is here given a magic bow and Karna is equipped with the magic arrow of Indra. Karna is the son of the sun-god, Surya; he and Arjuna are brothers, born of the same mother, Kunti. Arjuna is the son of the god Indra. Here we see demigods, as in the Iliad fighting as substitutes of their fathers. It is Indra that wins and is the dominant god besides Agni, who has special attributes as a messenger of the gods in the Rig Veda. In later times the gods Shiva and Vishnu become more dominant. In mortal combat the loser loses because his god is not as strong as his opponent's god. This thesis carries on to modern times where nations join battle in the belief that their god will arm and equip them to overthrow their "evil" opponent. In the battle between the two brothers, Karna and Arjuna, neither is evil. It is destiny that holds sway in this story. Karna loses because he was destined to lose, since Indra, the god of thunder (or weather) is in the times of the Rig Veda the dominant god. Mitra, another god associated with the sun becomes the dominant god of the Persians under the name, Mithra. His symbol is the bull.

When the immortal Dawn had pervaded the wide spaces, the depths, and the high places with her brilliance on the fourth morning, I saw the sky over Kurukshetra so crowded with the gods who had come to watch us that their heavenly chariots could hardly squeeze by one another. (10)
With his hands marked with thunder-wheels Karna strung the bow Vijaya that only he could bend. He strung flower garlands of dead black iron over his chariot and made King Salya his charioteer, to balance Krishna, and filled a second car with long arrows winged with vulture feathers, to balance Arjuna's unfailing quivers.
Karna's arms were red with sandal paste; blue and gold champa flowers hung round his shoulders. He mounted his chariot carrying Indra's winged dart that lay alone in sandal dust in its long golden box, the fatal dart Karna had worshipped for a year with lights and beads and food and flowers and incense, and had long kept it for Arjuna's death. Its wings were bright as sunlight, to hold it was sweet as childhood remembered; to face it was bitter as Time.
We looked at him as at a Wishing Tree. Karna terrified even me, but I could scarcely keep from calling out to him: 'Do not Go!' as we followed him onto the field in silence, without music, walking round the dead that lay on the Earth like bits of fire, still seeming to be alive. There Karna stopped, with sixty million arrows of iron and steel and wood and silver, bearing arrowheads pointed or barbed or cleft, or shaped like a calf's tooth, or a boar's ear, or a crescent, or the head of a snake or a frog.
Karna bent over and said to Salya, 'Who will win and who will embrace the Earth he has died for, desiring her no longer? Even the storm-wind cannot move the mountains; even the sea-waves die on the shore. Go a little farther and wait there for him.'
By his tent, Arjuna put plowers over his armor and drank deeply from a bowl of wine till his eyes shone bright as the arch diadem on his head. He touched a brazen mirror that gave him back his strength redoubled, and fastened on his arms the bracelets of good fortune, the flawless jewels and life-giving herbs sealed in golden capsules strung together on silver chains. Then Arjuna in his car, and Krishna was driving the silver-white horses in their pearl harness over to Karna, while the rest of the Pandava army followed a little behind. At a sign from Drishtadyumna they stopped far from us, and all together we watched, with the forest ascetics who were sitting at the edge of the wood and the plain, and with the gods above.
Karna loudly slapped his armpit and Arjuna answered him. The sky became overcast, hiding Arjuna in mist and fog; lightning clouds higher than mountains towered above; thunder rolled across heaven, and the rain and dew of Lord Indra fell gently down. Indra's rainbow hung over Arjuna, and the dark heavy clouds seemed to laugh as rows of white cranes flew through them. Arjuna strung his bow and whispered to Krishna, 'Will you and I walk together any more?' And Krishna answered, 'Ah, be still!'
Then Surya angrily burnt away the clouds and bathed Karna in sunlight that shone from his armor and earrings as dancing sparks of colored fire and burning streaks of liquid gold. Arjuna called out, 'If I am a worthy guest, grant me the hospitality of battle.'
'I am honored,' cried Karna, 'I could never turn you away!' Arjuna's horses were still walking slowly, when suddenly Karna's chariot raced at him, crashing over the plain, jarring the Earth under its wheels, and Karna gave that desirable guest a million arrows striking all at once to pierce his armor, like the charity of a perfect host who offers all his home to the wayfarer. Death himself would have felt pain from those arrows.
Arjuna danced on his car like Shiva dancing covered with blood in the burning ghats at night. He clapped his hands and there was darkness, but we could still see his bowstring flash as he drew it back to his ear. I thought, 'Now arrows are the dice, and Gandiva bow the throwing box. Who else will forgive what Arjuna will? And whose anger is more unbearable?'
Down from the sky boulders flew at Karna, who crushed and shattered them with his arrows and ground them to sand that fell sparking and burning through the night sky. He surrounded Arjuna with crackling flames, and from that weapon the robes of the Pandava warriors caught fire, though they stood far away, and the Earth was scorched black. They were ready to run when Arjuna quickly spoke some mantra and the fire was gone, and we were in cold water up to our shoulders.
From Karna's bow a hot desert wind swept the plain to dry the water. The sun returned; the wind was gone swirling away; there was no sign from the fire, no fallen sand, and we stood again as before the beginning.
Arjuna's white arrows, their wings of peacock feathers blazing, pierced Karna like new-sluffed serpents with downbent heads entering the earth. With an arrow sticking in his forehead, Karna cut Gandiva's bowstring with a snap that made my ears ring. Then for awhile those two archers filled the sky with death in perfect balance, with arrows long and thick and short, while the gods sometimes said: 'Excellent, Karna!'
and sometimes: 'Excellent, Arjuna!' Tired in the afternoon, they stopped to rest beneath the shadow of their arrows locked together in the sky, looking at one another while the Apsarasas of heaven fanned them with young palmyra leaves and sprinkled cool sprays of sandalwater over their bodies.
And after, Arjuna began the battle again. Before Karna could reply, Time invisibly told him: 'The Earth is devouring your wheel.' Karna's chariot tipped over to the left, and the wheel on that side was locked fast. When Karna jumped down and pulled at the axle hub with his feet on the ground, Earth that had swallowed his wheel rose four fingers' breadth, with her seven islands and her hills and waters and forests, but the wheel would not come free.
Then Karna saw Arjuna take aim at him, and wept with anger and said, 'I am afoot and unarmed. Arjuna, wait for me now; be not a coward."
Yet Arjuna would not wait, so that Karna thought, 'Now my life is in peril,' and abandoning his war against the Earth he leapt onto his chariot and opened the long box.
Karna shook the dust from Naikartana dart; rumbling thunder shook again in the clear, empty sky; and all creatures that were able fled away in fear. I ran, but still I saw the keen and polished dart with golden bells in Karna's hand, inspired with anger, able to destroy whatever it met. And before Arjuna could think, Karna threw the dart and cried: 'Arjuna, you are slain!'
That shock brought the lattice of arrows crashing down. Indra's dart threw off flames from its wings; fire circled its head; and always it gained speed, blasting the air from its way, aimed true at Arjuna's breast.
Krishna pressed his foot down so that Arjuna's car sank into the Earth and the horses fell down. The awful dart struck to bits the diadem of lightnings atop Arjuna's head and flew flaming into a starry constellation in the sky of heaven. Arjuna's crown, a guardian and a fragrance to its wearer, lay broken on the Earth.
Wet with blood, Arjuna's long hair fell over his face and down his back. Flames show out from every pore of his body. 'Oh, may it kill him!' wept Arjuna, and shot from Gandiva an arrow irresistible as a Rakshasa at night –an arrow with a flat crescent head, razor-sharp and broad as two-hands held out hollowed.
As Karna fell beheaded, so fell our fame and happiness and pride and hope and also our hearts. Karna's head was as unwilling to abandon his body as a treasure owner all his wealth, but Arjuna stood victorious. Karna never expected Indra's dart to fail, and so he took no guard to himself.
The wheel was free, and Salya drove the empty car away. It was evening, the deep metal drums of heaven roared untouched in the air, and Lord Surya, forever kind to his son, with his last ray touched Karna's body and sank crimson with grief behind Sunset Hill. The gods left the sky and victory left our side forever.
Duryodhana wept, 'Oh, karna...,' and Arjuna bound his head with a white cloth. Yudhishthira drove over to Karna and wondered, 'Who was he?'
Your army was a death-field. We were pale and ready to run again; our mouths were dry and emptiness was before our restless eyes. Not one man still wished to fight for you. The enemy made no move, but steadily looked at us in silence as the sunset died, and the wind sighed in my ears: 'Alas.'
From both armies were gathered round Karna by lamplight. He was still beautiful to us, still frightening to them, not very changed. For a moment the rivers stood still and every man felt pain in his heart. Duryodhana came, and then rode slowly away, often glancing backwards at Arjuna's car, and at Kurukshetra covered with iron tiger-claws held by severed hands, covered with hammers and bearded darts, with yokes and fans and chains, with broken spears and wheels, with swords .. and blood-dyed arrows and bells and dead flowers and fallen heads with bright crystal earrings whose open mouths were filled with blood.
His head bent, Duryodhana told us, 'Who can win always? The dart was baffled like the hope of an unfortunate man. But now rest for the night.'
Yudhishthira told Arjuna, 'I cannot believe that the strongest warrior in all the world is dead. Thirteen years I have not slept without thinking of Karna.'
The gentle night wind smelled of the Earth and her green plants; the stillness of evening became the silence of night; and under the stars Karna's body stiffened and grew cold. (11)

Following the battle between the two heros the armies joined in fierce determination, leaving the field strewn with bodies and body parts. The field, called Kuru's Plain, was foreknown and the bard reminds us:

Duryodhana said, ..'I am fallen and your words will not raise me. Why did you lead us here?'
'To Kuru's Plain?'
'When hundreds of years ago Kuru plowed this field without leading in any watercourse or sowing one seed, curiosity led Indra to approach. He asked why Kuru walked through dust when he could as well spend his days in the cool honeysuckle houses of the palace garden in Hastinapura.'
'Not as well,' answered Kuru. 'This is a dust bowl,' said Indra. 'No,' said Kuru, 'It is a future battlefield that will lead to heaven.'
'It is a wilderness,' said Indra, 'Your Majesty's time is far too valuable for this.' But Kuru kept right on plowing until Indra returned and said, 'Murder is evil and war is a sin, or where is the field for the assassins of kings?'
'Lord,' answered Kuru, 'I will stop every sacrifice and fire; I will lead the Kurus into the forest where there are no books.'

The main book to which Kuru referred, of course, is the book of prayers, the Rig Veda. And the Rig Veda was the connection to the gods, to heaven and a long life. In the Rig Veda the prayers are for wealth, health, children, victory over the enemy, and long life the usual stuff making up prayers even these days. And it is perhaps appropriate to note that even the final battle mentioned in the Old Testament and repeated in the Koran results in the same realization: a scorched earth, a dust bowl. Thus is the appetite of the gods.

Rig Veda
Book I, Hymn V Indra

1. O come ye hither, sit ye down: to Indra
sing ye forth, your song,
Companions, bringing hymns of praise
2. To him the richest of the rich, the Lord of
treasures excellent,
Indra, with Soma juice outpoured.
3. May he stand by us in our need and in
abundance for our wealth:
May he come nigh us with his strength.
4. Whose pair of tawny horses yoked in
battles foremen challenge not:
To him, to Indra sing your song.
5. Nigh to the Soma-drinker come, for his
enjoyment, these pure drops,
The Somas mingled with the curd.
6. Thou, grown at once to perfect strength,
wast born to drink the Soma juice
Strong Indra, for preeminence.
7. O Indra, lover of the song, may these quick
Somas enter thee:
May they bring bliss to thee the Sage.
8. Our chants of praise have strengthened thee,
O Satakratu, and our lauds:
So strengthen thee the songs we sing.
9. Indra, whose succour never fails, accept
these viands thousandfold,
Wherein all manly powers abide.
10. O Indra, thou who lovest song, let no man
hurt our bodies, keep
Slaughter far from us, for thou canst.

Book I, Hymn VI Indra

7. Still higher, at each strain of mine,
thunder-armed Indra's praises rise:
I find no laud worthy of him.
8. Even as the bull drives on the herds, he
drives the people with his might,
The Ruler irresistible.
9. Indra who rules with single sway men,
riches, and the fivefold race
Of those who dwell upon the earth.
10. For your sake from each side we call Indra
away from other men:
Ours, and none others,' may he be.

Book I, Hymn IX Indra

3. O Lord of all men, fair of cheek, rejoice
thee in the gladdening lauds,
Present at these drink-offerings.

Book 1, Hymn X Indra

1. The chanters hymn thee, they who say
the word of praise magnify thee.
The priests have raised thee up on high,
O Satakratu, like a pole.
2. As up he climbed from ridge to ridge and
looked upon the toilsome task,
Indra observes this wish of his, and the
Ram hastens with his troop
3. Harness thy pair of strong bay steeds,
long-maned, whose bodies fill the girths
And, Indra, Soma-drinker, come to listen
to our songs of praise.

Book 1, Hymn XI Indra

3. The gifts of Indra from of old, his saving
succors never fail,
When to the praise-singers he gives the
boon of substance rich in kine.
4. Crusher of forts, the young, the wise, of
strength unmeasured, was he born
Sustainer of each sacred rite, Indra, the
Thunderer, much-extolled.
5. Lord of thunder, thou didst burst the
cave of Vala rich in cows.
The Gods came pressing to thy side, and
free from terror aided thee.

Book 1, Hymn XII Agni

1. We choose Agni the messenger, the herald,
master of all wealth,
Well skilled in this our sacrifice.
2. With callings ever they invoke Agni, Agni,
Lord of the House,
Oblation-bearer, much beloved.
3. Bring the Gods hither, Agni, born for him
who strews the sacred grass:
Thou art our herald, meet for praise.
4. Wake up the willing Gods, since thou,
Agni, performest embassage:
Sit on the sacred grass with Gods.
9. Whoso with sacred gift would fain call Agni
to the feast of Gods,
O Purifier, favour him.
10. Such, Agni, Purifier, bright, bring hither
to our sacrifice,
To our oblation bring the Gods.

Book I, Hymn XIII Agni

4. Agni, on thy most easy car, glorified, hither
bring the Gods:
Manu appointed thee as Priest
5. Strew, O ye wise, the sacred grass that
drips with oil, in order due
Where the Immortal is beheld.
6. Thrown open be the Doors Divine,
unfailing, that assist the rite,
For sacrifice this day and now.

Book 1 Hymn XIV Visvedevas

4. For you these juices are poured forth that
gladden and exhilarate,
the meath-drops resting in the cup.
9. Away, from the Sun's realm of light,
the wise invoking Priest shall bring
All Gods awaking with the dawn.

Book 1, Hymn XVI Indra

2. Here are the grains bedewed with oil:
hither let the Bay Coursers bring
Indra upon his easiest car.
5. Come thou to this our son of praise,
to the libation poured for thee:
Drink of it like a stag athirst. (20)

Book 1, Hymn XVII Indra-Varuna

7. O Indra-Varuna, on you for wealth in
many a form I call:
Still keep ye us victorious.

Book 1, Hymn XIX Agni, Maruts

1. To This fair sacrifice to drink the milky
draught thou art invoked:
O Agni, with the Maruts come.

Book 1, Hymn XX Rbhus

6. The sacrificial ladle, wrought newly by
the God Tvastar's hand

Four ladles have ye made thereof.
7. Vouchasafe us wealth, to him who pours
thrice seven libations, yea, to each.
Give wealth, pleased with our eulogies.

Book 1, Hymn XXIII Vayu and Others

1. Strong are the Somas; come thou nigh;
These juices have been mixt with milk:
Drink, Vayu, the presented draughts.
5. Those who by Law uphold the Law,
Lords of the shining light of Law,
Mitra I call, and Varuna.

Book 1, Hymn XXIV Varuna & Others

13. Bound to three pillars captured Sunahsepa
thus to the Aditya made his supplication.
Him may the Sovran Varuna deliver, wise,
never deceived, loosen the bonds that bind him.

Book 1, Hymn XXVIII Indra

1. There where the broad-based stone is
raised on high to press the juices out,
O Indra, drink with eager thirst the
droppings which the mortar sheds.
7. Best strength-givers, ye stretch wide jaws,
O Sacrificial Implements
Like two bay horses champing herbs.
8. Ye Sovrans of the Forest, both swift, with
swift pressers press today
Sweet Soma juice for Indra's drink.
9. Take up in beakers what remains: the
Soma on the filter pour,
And on the ox-hide set the dregs.

Book 1, Hymn XXIX Indra

1. O Soma drinker, ever true, utterly hopeless
though we be,
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous
horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
5. Destroy this ass, O Indra, who in tones
discordant brays to thee:
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous
horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.
7. Slay each reviler, and destroy him
who in secret injures us:
Do thou, O Indra, give us hope of beauteous
horses and of kine,
In thousands, O most wealthy One.

Book 1, Hymn XXX1 Agni

6. Agni, thou savest in the synod when pursued
even him, farseeing One! who walks
in evil ways.
Thou, when the heroes fight for spoil
which men rush round, slayest in war
the many by the hands of few.
7. For glory, Agni, day by day, thou liftest
up the mortal man to highest immortality,
Even thou who yearning for both races
givest them great bliss, and to the prince
grantest abundant food.
13. Agni, thou art a guard close to the pious
man; kindled art thou, four-eyed! for
him who is unarmed.
With fond heart thou acceptest even the
poor man's prayer, when he hath brought
his gift to gain security.
14. Thou, Agni, gainest for the loudly-praising
priest the highest wealth, the object of
a man's desire.
Thou art called Father, caring even for
the weak, and wisest, to the simple one
thou teachest lore.
16. Pardon, we pray, this sin of ours, O Agni

the path which we have trodden,
widely straying,
Dear Friend and Father, caring for the pious,
who speedest nigh and who inspirest mortals.

Book 1, Hymn XXXII Indra

1. I will declare the manly deeds of Indra,
the first that he achieved, the Thunder-wielder.
He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters,
and cleft the channels of the
mountain torrents.
2. He slew the Dragon lying on the mountain:
his heavenly bolt of thunder
Tvastar fashioned.
Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending
the waters glided downward to the ocean.
3. Impetuous as a bull, he chose the Soma
and in three sacred beakers drank the
Maghavan grasped the thunder for the
weapon and smote to death this first-
born of the dragons.
4. When, Indra, thou hadst slain the dragon's
firstborn, and overcome the charms of
the enchanters,
Then, giving life to Sun and Dawn and
Heaven, thou foundest not one foe to
stand against thee.
9. Then humbled was the strength of Vrtra's
mother: Indra hath cast his deadly
bolt against her.
The mother [Danu] was above, the son was under,
and like a cow beside her calf lay Danu.
15. Indra is King of all that moves and moves not,
of creatures tame and horned,
the Thunder-wielder.
Over all living men he rules, as Sovran,
containing all as spokes within the felly.

Book 1, Hymm XXXIII Indra

4. Thou slewest with thy bolt the wealthy
Dasyu alone, yet going with thy helpers,
Far from the floor of heaven in all directions,
the ancient riteless ones fled to destruction.
5. Fighting with pious worshippers, the rite-
less turned and fled, Indra! with averted faces.
When thou, fierce Lord of the Bay Steeds,
the Stayer, blewest from earth and
heaven and sky the godless.

Book 1, Hymn XC Soma

5. Thou, Soma, art the Lord of heroes, King,
yea, Vrtra-slayer thou:
Thou art auspicious energy

Book 1, C Indra

18. He, much invoked, hath slain Dasyu and
Simyus, after his wont, and laid them
low with arrows.
The mighty Thunderer with his fair-complexioned
friends won the land, the
sunlight, and the waters.

Book 1, CI Indra

1. Sing, with oblation, praise to him who
maketh glad, who with Rjisvan drove
the dusky brood away.

Book 1, CII Indra

10. Thou has prevailed, and hast not kept
the booty back in trifling battles or
in those of great account.

Book 1, CIII Indra

3. Armed with his bolt and trusting in his
prowess he wandered shattering the forts
of Dasas.
Cast thy dart, knowing, thunderer, at the
Dasyu: increase the Arya's might and
glory, Indra.
6. To him the truly strong, whose deeds are
many, to him the strong Bull let us
pour the Soma.
The Hero, watching, like a thief in ambush,
goes parting the possessions of
the godless.

Book 1, Hymn CXXI Indra

6. There is born. May the Swift give us
rapture, and like the Sun shine forth
from yonder dawning,
Indu, even us who drank, whose toils are
offerings, poured from the spoon, with
praise, upon the altar.
7. When the wood-pile, made of good logs,
is ready, at the Sun's worship to bind
fast the Bullock,
Then when thou shinest forth through days
of action for the Car-borne, the Swift,
the Cattle-seeker.
8. Eight steeds thou broughtest down from
mighty heaven, when fighting for the well
that giveth splendour,
That men might press with stones the
gladdening yellow, strengthened with
milk, fermenting, to exalt thee.
9. Thou hurledst forth from heaven the iron
missile, brought by the Skilful, from the
sling of leather,

Book 1, Hymn CXXIII Dawn

2. She before all the living world hath wakened,
the Lofty One who wins and gathers
Revived and ever young on high she glances,
Dawn hath come first unto our
morning worship.
6. Let our glad hymns and holy thoughts rise
upward, for the flames brightly burning
have ascended.
13..Shine thou on us today, Dawn, swift to
listen. With us be riches and with chiefs
who worship.

Book 1, Hymn CXXIV Dawn

5. There in the east half of the watery region
the Mother of the Cows hath shown her
10. Rouse up, O Wealthy One, the liberal
givers; let niggard traffickers sleep on

Book 1, Hymn CXXV Svanaya

3. Longing, I came this morning to the pious,
the son of sacrifice, with car wealth-laden.
Give him to drink juice of the stalk that
gladdens; prosper with pleasant hymns
the Lord of Heroes.
6. ..The givers of rich meeds are made
immortal; the givers of rich fees pro-
long their lifetime.
7. Let not the liberal sink to sin and sorrow,
never decay the pious chiefs who worship!
Let every man besides be their protection,
and let affliction fall upon the niggard.

Book 1, Hymn Agni

1. ...He, when the flame hath sprung forth
from the holy oil, the offered fatness,
longeth for it with his glow.
4. To him, as one who knows, even things
solid yield: unrough fire-sticks heated
hot he gives his gifts to aid. Men
offer Agni gifts for aid..
6. He, roaring very loudly like the Maruts'
host, in fertile cultiveated fields adorable,
in desert spots adorable.

Book 1, Hymn CXXVIII Agni

6. Vast, universal, good he was made messenger;
the speeder with his right hand
hath not loosed his hold, through love
of fame not loosed his hold.
He bears oblations to the Gods for who-
soever supplicates.
Agni bestows a blessing on each pious
man, and opens wide the doors for him.

Bool 1, Hymn CXXIX Indra

5...Guide us, thou Hero, as of old, so art
thou counted blameless still.
Thou drivest, as a Priest, all sins of man
away, as Priest, in person, seeking us.
8. ...The weapon which devouring fiends cast
at us shall destroy themselves.(31)
10. ...O strongest saviour, helper thou,
Immortal! of each warrior's car.
Hurt thou another and not us, O Thunder-
armed, one who would hurt, O Thunder-armed!

Book 1, Hymn CXXXI Indra

1....For Indra all libations must be set apart,
all man's libations set apart.
4. This thine heroic power men of old time
have known, wherewith thou breakest
down, Indra, autumnal forts, breakest
them down with conquering might.
Thou hast chastised, O Indra, Lord of
Strength, the man who worships not.
And made thine own this great earth and
these water-floods; with joyous heart
these waterfloods.

Book 1, Hymn CXXXII Indra

3. This food glows for thee as of old at
sacrifice, wherein they made thee
chooser of the place, for thou choosest
the place of sacrifice.

4. ...To him who pours the juice give up the
lawless man, the lawless who is wroth
with us.
5. When with wise plan the Hero leads the
people forth, they conquer in the ordered
battle seeking fame.

Book 1, Hymn CXXXIII Indra

2. O thou who castest forth the stone,
crushing the sorceresses' heads..
5. O Indra, crush and bray to bits the
fearful fiery-weaponed fiend:
Strike every demon to the ground.

Book 1, Hymn CXXXIV Vayu

6. Thou, Vayu, who hast none before thee,
first of all hast right to drink these
offerings of Soma juice, hast right to
drink the juice out-poured,
Yea, poured by all invoking tribes who
free themselves from taint of sin
For thee all cows are milked to yield the
Soma-milk, to yield the butter and the milk.

Book 1, Hymn CXXXV Vayu, Indra-Vayu

2. Purified by the stones the Soma flows for
thee, clothed with its lovely splendours,
to the reservoir, flows clad in its
refulgent light.

6. These Soma juices pressed for you in
waters here, borne by attendant priests,
are offered up to you: bright, Vayu,
are they offered up.
Swift through the strainer have they
flowed, and here are shed for both of you.
Soma-drops fain for you, over the wether's
fleece, Somas over the wether's fleece.
7. O Vayu, pass thou over all the slumberers,
and where the press-stone rings enter
ye both that house, yea, Indra, go ye
both within.
8. Ride hither to the offerings of the pleasant
juice, the holy Fig-tree which victorious
priests surround: victorious be they
still for us.
At once the cows yield milk, the barley
meal is dressed...

Book 1, Hymn CXXXVI Mitra-Varuna

2. For the broad Sun was seen a path more
widely laid, the path of holy law hath
been maintained with rays, the eye
with Bhaga's rays of light (35)

Book 1, Hymn CXLVI Agni

1. I laud the seven-rayed, the triple-headed,
Agni, all-perfect in his Parent's bosom,
Sunk in the lap of all that moves and
moves not, him who hath filled all
luminous realms of heaven.

Book 1, Hymn CXLIX Agni

Priest doubly born, he through his love of
glory hath in his keeping all things worth
the choosing.

Book 1, Hymn CLXIII The Horse

1. What time, first springing into life, thou
neighedst, proceeding from the sea or
upper waters,
Limbs of the deer hadst thou, and eagle-
pinions. O Steed, thy birth is high and
must be lauded.
2. This Steed which Yama gave hath Trita
harnessed, and him, the first of all,
hath Indra mounted.
His bridle the Gandharva grasped. O
Vasus, from out the Sun ye fashioned
forth the Courser.
9. Horns made of gold hath he: his feet are
iron: less fleet than he, though swift as
thought, is Indra.
The Gods have come that they may taste
the oblation of him who mounted, first
of all, the Courser.
12. The strong Steed hath come forward to
the slaughter, pondering with a mind
directed God-ward.
The goat who is his kin is led before him:
the sages and the singers follow after.
13. The Steed is come unto the noblest mansion,
is come unto his Father and his Mother.
This day shall he approach the Gods,
most welcome: then he declares good
gifts to him who offers.

Book 1, Hymn CLXIV Visvedevas

1. Of this benignant Priest, with old grey-
coloured, the brother midmost of the
three is lightning.
The third is he whose back with oil is
sprinkled. Here I behold the Chief with
seven male children.
2. Seven to the one-wheeled chariot yoke the
Courser; bearing seven names the single
Courser draws it.
3. The seven who on the seven-wheeled car
are mounted have horses, seen in tale,
who draw them onward.
Seven Sisters utter songs of praise together,
in whom the names of the Seven Cows
are treasured.
33. Dyaus is my Father, my begetter: kinship
is here. This great earth is my
kin and Mother.
Between the wide-spread world-halves is
the birth-place: the Father laid the
Daughter's germ within it.
34. I ask thee of the earth's extremest limit,
where is the centre of the world, I ask thee.
I ask thee of the Stallion's seed prolific,

I ask of highest heaven where Speech abideth.
35. This altar is the earth's extremest limit:
this sacrifice of ours is the world's center.
The Stallion's seed prolific is the Soma;
This Brahman highest heaven where
Speech abideth.
36. Seven germs unripened yet are heaven's
prolific seed: their functions they
maintain by Visnu's ordinance.
Endued with wisdom through intelligence
and thought, they compass us about
present on every side.
37. What thing I truly am I know not
clearly: mysterious, fettered in my mind
I wander.
When the first-born of holy Law approached
me, then of this speech I first
obtain a portion.
39. Upon what syllable of holy praise-song, as
'twere their highest heaven, the Gods
repose them,
Who knows not this, what will he do with
praise-song? But they who know it
well sit here assembled.
43. I saw from far away the smoke of fuel
with spires that rose on high over that
beneath it.
The Mighty Men have dressed the spotted
bullock. These were the customs in the
days aforetime.
46. They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni,
and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman.
To what is One, sages give many a title:
they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan.
50. By means of sacrifice the Gods accomplished
their sacrifice: these were the earliest ordinances.
These Mighty Ones attained the height of
heaven, there where the Sadhyas, Gods
of old, are dwelling.
51. Uniform, with the passing days, this water
mounts and falls again.
The tempest-clouds give life to earth, and
fires re-animate the heaven.
52. The Bird Celestial, vast with noble-pinion,
the lovely germ of plants, the germ of
Him who delighteth us with rain in
season, Sarasvan I invoke that he may
help us.

Book 1, Hymn CLXVI Maruts

9. O Maruts, in your cars are all things that
are good: great powers are set as 'twere
in rivalry therein.
Rings are upon your shoulders when ye
journey forth: your axle turns together
both the chariot wheels.
10. Held in your manly arms are many goodly
things, gold chains are on your chests,
and glittering ornaments,
Deer-skins are on the shoulders, on their
fellies knives: they spread their glory
out as birds spread out their wings.

Book 2, Hymn III Apris

7. Let the two heavenly Heralds, first, most
wise, most fair, present oblation duly
with the sacred verse.
Worshipping God at ordered seasons decking
them at three high places at the center
of the earth.

Book 2, Hymn V Agni

3. When swift he follows this behest, bird-
like he chants the holy prayers.
He holds all knowledge in his grasp even
as the felly rounds the wheel.

Book 2, Hymn XXXIII Rudra

8. To him the strong, great, tawny, fair-complexioned
I utter forth a mighty hymn of praises.
We serve the brilliant God with adorations,
we glorify the splendid name of Rudra.

Book 2, Hymn XXXVIII Savitar

1. Uprisen is Savitar, this God, to quicken,
Priest who neglects not this most constant
To the Gods, verily, he gives rich treasure,
and blesses him who calls them to the



(1) All quotes are from the Mahabharata, retold by William Buck, University of California Press, 1973.
(2) ibid, Part III, Chapter 20, p. 411.
(3) ibid, frontispiece to Part III, Chapter 19.
(4) Encyclopaedia Britannica
(5) ibid, Part III, Chapter 20, p. 405
(6) Sacred Writings, The Rig Veda, Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith, Quality Paperback Book Club, NY, 1992, copyright Motilal Banarsidass Publishers PVT. LTD. All quotes from the Rig Veda are from this volume.
(7) The Angirases appear to have been regarded as a race of higher beings between Gods and men, the typical first sacrificers, whose ritual is the pattern which later priests must follow [Griffith's note, p. 1]. In like manner the Tavola Eugubine (Scripts N, Q, R, G) refer to Atigiras in a similar context.
(8) A practice of the Celts was the placement of noble children under the care of foster-parents, who would teach them all they needed to know in lore, fighting, and magic. Later in the Arthurian Romances, written beginning in the late 12th century, we find the heroes of the Holy Grail, such as Sir Galahad and (the last of them) Sir Parzival, were raised by foster-parents or fatherless. For instance, Galahad, the son of Sir Lancelot, was raised by his mother, the Queen of Ireland, as his father went off in his Quest.
(9) The Tain, translated from the Irish Epic Tain Bo Cuailnge by Thomas Kinsella, Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 150-155.
(10) The gods watch the battle with great interest, just as the gods of Mount Olympos, headed by Zeus, watched the battle of Troy.
(11) Krishna is also a god and clan chief of the Yadavas. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells Arjuna that no matter what he does the end result has been predestined, so he must go to battle. At the end of the Mahabharata Krishna tells Arjuna that the two of them had had many former lives, too many to relate.
(12) Mahabharata, Part III, Chapter 20, pp. 288-294
(13) Mahabharata, Part II, Chapter 15, p. 314
(14) Here we have mention of the ingredient, Curds, to Soma. Below is the recipe as we gather the ingredients.
(15) Many references to Indra and other gods in the Rig Veda make it clear that the people of the Rig Veda and there gods were fair-skinned. Their enemies were brown-skinned, who occupy the land which they are attempting to conquer. This information is relative to who was where in the beginning, with regard to Indo-European roots. Like the Greek Iliad and Odyssey referring to the Pelasgians, the indigenous population whom the Achaeans (Greeks) ousted from Greece, the Aryans of the Vedas recount the same situation, and the names of some of the brown-skinned indigenous peoples are listed in the Rig Veda, as we shall discover. The evidence on the origin of the people of the Rig Veda points to a place outside of India that is mountainous and given to pastoral use. The eastern Russian steppes would appear to be their source. What is clear in the Rig Veda is that the bards consider the hymns that they sing to be already ancient. However, it is just as clear that the Rig Veda does not know of any other land, other than the Saraswati River basin, as the source of the five tribes of Aryans.
(16) The bull is the sign of the sun-god; the ram is the sign of the Thunder-god. Why is the ram such a sign? Rams butting heads in contest atop a ridge sound like thunder. It is a loud, clapping noise. This may in part be the answer, in any event. If this is true, as an Indo-European theological precept, then the god Cernunnos who is portrayed holding a serpent with a ram's head may be an Indra-like character. In fact, because the Rig Veda is so old that it holds Indra formost in its pantheon of 33 gods, it suggests that the Horned God character, Cernunnos among the Celts, as named by the Romans; we don't know his real name, who resembles the Horned God character of the Indus Seals may very well be a Thunder-god. The god with the antlers is referred to as "the Lord of the Beasts."
(17) Here we are told that we are participating in a feast of Gods. The people and the Gods are given grass, strewn upon the ground upon which to sit.
(18) Manu is the first man, patriarch of the Aryans, like Adam is the first man in the Old Testament scriptures.
(19) "thrown open be the doors;" here and in other places the Doors are mentioned and in view of the Dawn Sacrifice those doors would be aligned to the East, the Dawn. The double-doors suggest a hall which was probably made of wood, in the center of which was an altar. Around the altar sat the guests and grass matting for the gods. This curiously brings to mind the temples on Malta that were designed in alignment with the sun. The altar appears to be located in a niche at the back wall, where the rays of the sunrise would land as they enter through the doors. The impression from the Rig Veda is that the fire is the agent and symbol of the sun, that it must be lit first before the sunrise, and the ceremony demanded oblations put directly onto the fire. This would require placement of the fire, as relating to the inside of a building, probably in the center where the smoke would rise, allowing for a pitched roof. If the early Aryans were pastoral and lived initially in Kurgans, circular tents, perhaps the initial structures looked like a Kurgan. Whatever the structurs were is lost, since we know they did not survive time (or are currently under the foundations of modern temples and sacred sites (such asmosques).

Cernunnos, found on a cornerstone under Notre Dame, Paris

In Britain and Europe churches were built adjacent to or over pagan temples. A temple of Cernunnos, for instance, was directly under Notre Dame in Paris, for instance.

(20) "Drink of it like a stag athirst." If there is a connection between Indra and the Horned God of the Indus Seals, it would be through the stag – this and other references.
(21) Tvastar is the
artisan of the gods, like the Greek god Hephaestus, who made the shield for Achillês; Vulcan in Roman mythology. The Greek and Roman artisan is associated with volcanos and their forge is generally held to be under Mount Etna in Sicily. While earthquakes are known in the Rig Veda, vulcanism is not a paramount concern. The paramount concern is the drying up of the land. They arrived when the Saraswati river was, according to the Rig Veda, a viable source, continually flowing to the sea. Today it is dried up. Indra is known in the Rig Veda for having defeated the dragon in the mountains that had blocked the flow of water into the Sarawati river. "Dragon-slayer" is a main characteristic of Indo-European thunder-gods, as illustrated in the case of Zeus, Beowulf, and probably Cernunnos. The Rhbus were disciples of Tvastar, according to Sayana [Griffith's note].
(22) Here the bards are complaining about those who revile them, who bray at them like asses, and prays for many horses. Their wealth was measured in cattle and, like the Scythians, gold. The prevalent theory on the language of the Scythians is that it is related to Persian (and thus Sanskrit). Herodotus tells us a couple of words of the Scythians, with the term, pappas, appropriate and familiar. Herodotus was raised in a dominion of the Persian Empire and thus would have been literate in Persian.
(23) Agni is the foremost god in terms of immortality, since he is self-created in the view of the Rig Veda. Thus, merged with Agni, carried up to heaven, one becomes immortal. The union begins in the ritual and is finally consummated at death when the body is put upon a pyre. In the Mahabharata, after the war the dead are gathered, put on pyres and poured into mother Ganga, the Ganges river. Hence there are no Aryan, Vedic tombs nor would they be expected. Interestingly in southern India was a tradition of raising mounds, since dolmens exist there. Cremation was practiced by the British as well as the Etruscans. We highlight this from the standpoint that in the ceremony involving Agni, being the messenger of the gods, he is also the one who transports the soul to the gods. This is important since it is germanic to the Hindu belief in eternal life. The Celts were fanatically attached to the concept, from the standpoint that they held it a greater honor to die in battle and willingly committed entire tribes to suicidal ends. An entire tribe of Helveti, being overwhelmed and surrounded by Julius Caesar, for instance, committed suicide. Caesar, in his Gallic Wars, notes that there were 50,000 men plus their women and children. The entire lot chose death as a better option to being taken captive and enslaved. But to them there was no such thing as death. As we see in the Illiad, it was better to die in battle than to die in peace. This is also true in the Mahabharata, and we see in the teaching of that story the pathos of losing so many lives over a game of dice. In the Tain Bo Cuailnge the bard reminds us of the nobility in Cúchulainn's word, to defend the cattle, though in the youth's naivity keeping his word meant the destruction of thousands of heroes from the four counties of Ireland that thought to make the cattle-raid. In those days, the heroes were given an eulogy and thrown on a funeral pyre, returned to heaven, regardless of which side of the cattle-raid one was on. The same is true in the Illiad. There were heroes on both sides, and both Achillês and Hector were entitled to their funeral pyre, the crux of which involved sending them off to be with the gods with a banquet of the gods.
(24) Agni looks in the four cardinal directions and is the protector of the poor. He has to be since he serves both the poor in their hearths as well as the rich. Note also the eulogy to those who loudly-praise him. The ritual must have been noisier than an American Protestant service! Also, the fact that the participants were drinking Soma – in a euphoric drunkeness, as it were – recalls the rites of Dionysus, the "twice-born" (once sewn in the thigh of Zeus, then reborn) god who brought the vine and is represented by the goat and accompanied by maenads, satyrs and seileni. Seileni and satyrs frequently appear on antefixes of Etruscan buildings. Among many of his travels and adventures Dionysus took his rite to India. His origin is believed to be Thracian or Phrygian. One of his more well-known feats was granting King Midas of Lydia the gift of turning everything he touched to gold. It was in Egypt, caught in the battle between the gods and the Giants, that Dionysus and the other gods, fleeing the monster Typhöeus, disguised themselves as animals, Dionysus, himself, taking on the appearance of a goat.
(25) In praying for the forgiveness of sins, the greatest sin is to stray from the Law – as is true of both ancient and modern faiths.
(26) Indra is the Dragon-slayer who brings forth rain, also testifying to the effect that the sacred Saraswati river then flowed to the ocean.
(27) The slaying of the dragon precisley parallels the slaying of the dragon Grendel by Beowulf; after slaying Grendel Beowulf had to slay his mother! Grendel lived at the bottom of a lake and would come up and enter the Danish King Hrothgar's palace and devour anyone it found sleeping there; his fire-breathing mother lived deep in a shaft below a cliff:

..."But of Grendel: you need to
Know more to know everything; I ought to
go on. It was early in the evening, Heaven's
Jewel had slid to its rest, and the jealous
Monster, planning murder, came seeking us
Out, stalking us as we guarded Hrothgar's
Hall. Hondshew, sleeping in his armor,
Was the first Geat he reached: Grendel
Seized him, tore him apart, swallowed him
Down, feet and all, as fate
Had decreed
a glorious young soldier, killed
In his prime. Yet Grendel had only begun
His bloody work, meant to leave us
With his belly and his pouch both full, and Herot
Half-empty. Then he tested his strength against mine,
Hand to hand. His pouch hung
At his side, a huge bag sewn
From a dragon's skin, worked with a devil's
Skill; it was closed by a marvelous clasp.
The monster intended to take me, put me
Inside, save me for another meal.
He was bold and strong, but once I stood
On my feet his strength was useless,
And it failed him (Boewulf, chapter 29, 2077-2092)
...Then Beowulf rose, still brave, still strong,
And with his shield at his side, and a mail shirt
on his breast,
Strode calmly, confidently, toward the tower, under
The rocky cliffs: no coward could have walked there!
And then he who'd endured dozens of desperate
Battles, who'd stood boldly while swords and shields
Clashed, the best of kings, saw
Huge stone arches and felt the heat
Of the dragon's breath, flooding down
Through the hidden entrance, too hot for anyone
To stand, a streaming current of fire
And smoke that blocked all passage. And the Geats'
Lord and leader, angry, lowered
His sword and roared out a battle cry,
A call so loud and clear that it reached through
The hoary rock, hung in the dragon's
Ear. The beast rose, angry,
Knowing a man had come
and then nothing
But war could have followed. Its breath came first,
A steaming cloud pouring from the stone,
Then the earth itself shook. Beowulf
Swung his shield into place, held it
In front of him, facing the entrance. The dragon
Coiled and uncoiled, its heart urging it
Into battle. Beowulf's ancient sword
Was waiting, unsheathed, his sharp and gleaming
Blade. The beast came closer; both of them
Were ready, each set on slaughter. The Geats'
Great prince stood firm, unmoving, prepared
Behind his high shield, waiting in his shining
Armor. The monster came quickly toward him,
Pouring out fire and smoke, hurrying
To its fate. Flames beat at the iron
Shield, and for a time it held, protected
Beowulf as he'd planned; then it began to melt,
And for the first time in his life that famous prince
Fought with fate against him, with glory
Denied him. He knew it, but he reaised his sword
And struck at the dragon's scaly hide.
The ancient blade broke, bit into
The monster's skin, drew blood, but cracked
And failed him before it went deep enough, helped
Less than he needed. The dragon leaped
With pain, thrashed and beat at him, spouting
Murderous flames, spreading them everywhere.
And the Geats' ring-giver did not boast of glorious
Victories in other wars: his weapon
Had failed him, deserted him, now when he needed it
Most, that excellent sword. Edgetho's
Famous son stared at death... (Beowulf, Chapter 35, 2538-2587)

(28) A symbol of Indra is a wheel, as is the case with Cernunnos.
(29) The Dasyu are sometimes a class of demons, enemies of gods and men, and the word may mean savage, a barbarian [Griffith's note]. When Beowulf slayed the dragon he and his Geats (his tribe) reaped vast treasures stored within the deep chambers of the dragon. Here the Dasyu may refer to the indigenous peoples against whom the Aryans were fighting who, following this thesis, were wealthy and riteless. It is apparent that the Indus Valley seals show rites involving in particular a god like Indra or Shiva, and in one seal, Banquet.html, there is a horned god sitting midst a plant with about four branches on either side. Before him is another character with horns, kneeling as if before an altar. Below are seven associates, all having bangles on their arms. Each branch where the Horned God sits has a flower head that resembles a poppy bud (capsule). The plant in the Indus seal certainly does not look like Cannabis. Poppy impressions (looking like hash marks in a circular line with a pit in the circle) have been found on pendants and clay models in Greece, including Crete. Archeologists have taken dried poppy capsules and impressed them in clay and obtained the same impression found in ancient Greek seals. Guido Majno describes the ancient Greek artifacts as follows: "A woman's pendants in the shape of poppy capsules were found in Sparta. The precise shape recurs in objects found all over Greece: pottery, jewels, even clay models that may have been offerings to the gods (figure 4.4)...in Crete..they were greeted by the raised arms of an ancient Minoan goddess. She had strange eyes, perhaps closed. Before her were the remains of a heap of coals and some pottery; she wore three hairpins shaped as beautiful, well-slit poppy capsules (figure 4.6)," The Healing Hand, a guide to ancient healing practices, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1975, p.144. The field Poppy is found in southeastern Europe, Turkey and western Asia and is grown in rotation with barley and wheat. There are many uses of the plant, as pain relievers, expectorants, etc. According to http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/popwhi64.html#des this is how the Poppy is cultivated and used in India today: The shape of the plant in the Indus seal, in the midst of which the god is sitting, may be a Poppy, but the extraction process and medicinal action does not coincide very well to the Rig Veda's manufacture and use of Soma. The process of collecting Opium also involves bleeding of the sap exuded and dried from the capsule from two or three incisions. Based upon the criteria of www.botanical.com it is not likely that grinding, or pressing, the stalks of a Poppy plant would yield the rapturous effects claimed in the Rig Veda.

Medicinal Action and Uses Hypnotic, sedative, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, antispasmodic....Opium is extracted from the poppy heads before they have ripened, and from Poppies grown in the East, those grown in Europe yielding but little of the drug. When the petals have fallen from the flowers, incisions are made in the wall of the unripe capsules, care being taken not to penetrate to the interior. The exuded juice, partially dried, is collected by scraping - the scrapings being formed eventually into cakes, which are wrapped in poppy leaves or paper and further dried in the sun, the white milky juice darkening during the drying....

The capsules are left on the stems after the petals have fallen, until they cease to enlarge. The stems should then be bent in the middle and the capsules left on the plant until they are firm, which will be about September.

...In India, when the flowers are in bloom, the first step is the removal of the petals, which are used in packing the prepared drug. After a few days, the imperfectly ripened capsules are scarified from above downwards by two or three knives tied together and called 'mushturs.' These make a superficial incision, or series of incisions, into the capsule, whereupon a milky juice exudes, which is allowed to harden and is then removed and collected in earthen pots. The time of day chosen for slicing the capsules is about two o'clock in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun causes the speedy formation of a film over the exuded juice; great attention is also paid to the weather, as all these causes modify the quantity, quality, or speediness of exudation of the opium.

The capsules are submitted to two or three slicing processes at intervals of a few days, and the drug is ultimately conveyed to the government factory where it is kneaded into a homogeneous mass by native workmen.

The capsules contain the principal constituents of opium, the most important of which is the alkaloid Morphine, which exists in combination with meconic and sulfuric acids. The seeds are free from morphine; their principle constituent is the pale yellow fixed oil, used as a drying oil by artists, as well as for culinary and various technical purposes.

The action of poppy capsules is the same as that of opium, anodyne and narcotic, but much weaker.

The crushed capsules are used as a poultice, together with chamomile.

A syrup is prepared from the capsules, prescribed as an ingredient in cough medicine. Syrup of Poppy is often employed to allay cough and likewise as an opiate for children; in the latter case it should be used with great caution.

Decoction of Poppy, made from the bruised capsules and distilled water, is not given internally, but is employed as an external application to allay pain and soothe.

The broken capsules are sold at a cheaper rate, for making fomentations.

The grey seeds are sold for birds' food, under the name of 'maw' seed, and are derived from the dark-red flowered form of Papaver Somniferum; the var. album having white seeds.

The The Harappa civilization existed ~1,800 B.C., prior to the Aryan incursion, and the Dasyu may refer to those peoples' progeny. They obviously had rites and their rites resemble the worship of Indra. But comparing their god to Indra may be like Moslems, Christians and Jews comparing Allah to JHVH, most of whom – being unlearned in each other's faith – would agree that there is no similarity between the two.
(30) "in desert spots adorable," shows the Saraswati basin like a riverine oasis, surrounded by desert, like the Nile river. The Saraswati, is now dry.
(31) "the weapons of the priests shall destroy themselves," is a precept and foundation of the Old Testament: "the wicked shall be caught in the very snares they set for others." Indra is also called, Savatar, and is the Savior of the world. "Hurt thou another and not us," calls to mind the phrase in the Lord's prayer, the prayer Christ taught, "lead us not into temptation."
(32) "thou choosest the place of sacrifice," seems to suggest that the seer or rsi owes the place of sacrifice to a vision or sign given by Indra, through reading lightning bolts, the place where they occur, for instance. This calls to mind the Etruscan seers called,"fulguriator," seen in Script AP, Inscription from Pesaro, Miscellaneous_Short_scripts.html, of a man named Matius who read lightning bolts, removing the wrath from Veronia.
(33) The Ramayana, a story of King Rama, chapter 4, Rama, in exile in the forest, is enticed by Kamavalli (also called Soorpanaka), who is the sister of the king of demons, Ravana. Kamavalli ordinarily was huge, fat and had voracious teeth, constantly dripping with blood from feeding on men in the forest. Seeing Rama she fell instantly in love with him, not knowing that the beautiful woman in his cottage, named Sita, was Rama's wife. She changed herself into a beautiful woman, tried on many occasions to seduce Rama, but Rama's brother Lakshmana saw through the plot and caught Kamavalli as she was stalking Sita with the intention to devour her. Lakshmana pounced upon the demon and cut off her nose, ears and breasts. But this still did not stop her, in her attempts to capture Rama's heart. She complained to her brother that Rama had come with the intention of destroying him and all the demons that plague man, thus causing a battle between Rama and Ravana's horrid tribe. The Ramayana is believed to be ~1,500 B.C., dating with the Rig Veda. The hymns of the Rig Veda refer to events and stories that are explained in other books such as The Ramayana.
(34) the wether's fleece is the filter made of wool [Griffith's note]. The Fig-tree is probably the source of the two sticks from which the fire is made.
(35) "with Bhaga's rays of light": 'the ancient god, Bhaga,' says Mr. Wallis, 'has become in the Rgveda little more than a source from which descriptions of the functions of other gods are obtained, or a standard of comparison by which their greatness is enhanced. His name has survived in the Slavonic languages as a general name for god, a sense which it also has in the Avesta. To judge from the Rgveda, Bhaga would seem to be a survival from an ancient Sun-worship' [Griffith's note].
(36) Agni as a three-headed god seems to recall an Indus seal, "Shiva" identified as Shiva, but the Horned god has three faces. Note that the Greek god Geryon, from whom Hercules stole cattle, had three heads or faces (see the Tomb of Orcus murals). This was Hercules' tenth labor, which involved driving the herd of cattle from Geryon's country (Cadiz, Spain) back to Greece. This was no small feat. We must keep in mind that the greatest wealth in those days was measured in cattle; and in the case of Geryon Hercules was asked to drive off what would have appeared to have been the richest and most powerful of the Carthaginian's cattle, for Cadiz was the first Phoenician colony outside of Carthage. On the way home Hercules stopped off and rested in Rome, where the giant Cacus took the opportunity to steal the stolen cattle, hiding them in his cave. Hercules heard the lowing of one of the cows and got his cattle back, killing Cacus, but one of his bulls escaped and swam to Sicily. In the process of presenting the cattle to Eurystheus in Greece Hercules, according to Herodotus somehow Hercules ended up north of the Black Sea where he met a beautiful woman whose lower body was that of a snake. She managed to get him in bed with her and the result was the birth of three sons, one of whom was Scythes, the father of the Scythians. Hercules left one of his two bows with her and told her that when the three boys reached manhood, the son who could craw it should become king in her land. Only Scythes could draw the bow. This story recalls the story of Rama, in The Ramayana, how he became king; it being reported that whoever could draw the bow Indra left in the kingdom would be the rightful heir of king Dasaratha and entitled to marry his beautiful daughter, Sita.

The three faces of this god in the Indus Valley seal also recalls Janus, the Roman god of ports, who faced two directions: both sides of a door. The Etruscans also worshipped the god of ports. Based upon the antiquity of the Indus Valley seals and the Rig Veda, the first god to come to mind to match a three-faced or three-headed god is Agni, not Shiva.
(37) "doubly born," from the fire-sticks and again at consecration [Griffith's note]. See note (24) above. Agni sees in all four directions and he can be compared to Dionysus who was "twice born." There are several versions to his birth. According to the Orphic account, known from late Classical writers, Zeus lay with Persephone in the form of a snake. They produced a child, Zagreus (Dionysus). Hera, Zeus' wife, reacted in her usual jealous spirit persuaded in one case to have the Titans tear the child to bits and eat him. Athena saved his heart, however, who brought it to Zeus who swallowed it. He then fathered the child a second time by seducing Semele, a daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes. In another version of the story Zeus put the child in a drink which he gave to Semele, and she conceived. The god's second birth at Thebes is the most common version of Dionysus' epithet of "twice-born." In another version
and one that corresponds to the story of Rama in The Ramayana Hera discovers that Semele was pregnant by Zeus and decides to pose as a wetnurse, Beroë. She easily persuades Semele to insist that her divine lover appear to her in his full majesty, as he did to his wife. The rash girl made Zeus promise to grant whatever boon she asked, then demanded what Hera had suggested. (In The Ramayana a jealous wife, Kaikeyi, of King Dasaratha persuaded the king who had promised deliverance of his kingdom to Rama, son of his wife, Kausalya – to send Rama into exile, giving the kingdom to her son, Bharatha. She was able to get Dasaratha to go back on his word to Rama by insisting that he provide her with the two boons he had promised her when she had long ago saved his life; and when he succombed to her approach one of the boon's insisted on the exile of Rama he died, and Rama left the kingdom for the forest.) Unable to dissuade Semele, Zeus reluctantly agreed and visited her as a thuderbolt, or else in a chariot amid thunder and lightning. Semele in the blast died of fright. Zeus snatched the unborn child from her womb and the flames of the burning chamber and sewed it into his own thigh. When it was time he opened the stitches and removed the infant.
(38) The horse is the symbol of the Sun as it races on its course through heaven [Griffith's note]. the horse is frequently depicted on the coins of the Celts, generally the reverse side. While the horse has held a high position in all "horsed" cultures, the White Horse of Uffington brings to mind how important the horse was to such cultures. The White Horse of Uffington matches the stylized horse images on British coins. According to legend this horse was maintained every seven years. For British tourist information click on the photo (arial view). Sites dedicated to the White Horse of Uffington are: http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/majorsites/uffington.html and http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/hillfigs/uff/uffing.htm. In the Rig Veda we are told that Indra was the first to mount the Courser. "His Father and Mother": Heaven and Earth [Griffith's note]. In this hymn the horse is brought to sacrifice, preceded by the goat and following him are the sages and singers. This was a special ceremony.
(39) In this hymn the Stallion is Dyaus, or Father Heaven; Garutman is the Celestial Bird, the Sun [Griffith's note]. The Eagle or hawk is used frequently in Indo-European motifs, especially coinage: the American eagle, holding a snake in its claw, the Roman eagle that marched ahead of Roman armies (an emperor unsuccessfully attempted to place the Roman Eagle over the sacred Golden Gate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem), and the Celtic solar bird. Birds were favorite effigies riding atop ancient Indo-European helmets, including the Thracians. There are two "universal" creation myths: one is that god spun the Tree of Life and as it spun around all the animals within it were scattered around the world. The image of this spinning Tree of Life evolved in Mesopotamia (Iraq) from about 6,000 B.C. to a geometric design in the form of a swastika at the tips of which were tiny branches or trees. Finally, in this evolution of the swastika on Mesopotamian pottery the tiny branches at the end of each branch of the swastika were deleted, leaving the swastika as we know it. The other version of this story can also be found around the world where god took a raven by a leg and spun it, from which all the animals of creation were scattered. This hymn is very mystical in tone, where the end of it reminds us how all thought and spirit are animated by the rays of the sun. And sacrificing the horse is the same as honoring him. No matter what you call the God, the bard reminds us that the cycle is always there, the water brought by the sun ascends to heaven and returns in season, Him that giveth also taketh, etc. "The seven" is used variously in the hymns, but at the least, with regard to this one God to which this hymn relates, the seven must be attendants serving in various capacities, representing seven seasons, days, etc. {based on Griffith's note]. The Indus Valley seal that has the Horned God sitting midst a Soma plant has seven attendants below him, apart from the other horned person kneeling to him. "these were the earliest ordinances," tells us that from the bard's point of view the gods he listed and in the context listed are the earliest of their tradition: Agni, the horse, the solar-bird, all pointing to an early solar-diety tradition.
(40) The Maruts are the clouds who appear with Indra. The chariot with knife-blades coming out of the wheel
s appears to point to early Iron Age, the time of the Iliad.
(41) "the three high places" would appear to relate to sun-worship.
(42) The fair-complected Rudra is the father of the Maruts. His tawny hair recalls the tawny hair of the heroes of the Iliad.
(43) "to quicken," the meaning of Savitar, as a name of the Sun, being the great generator or vivifier [Griffith's note].

Soma recipe:

Arrangement & facilities:
1. Precisely cut grass laid upon which the guests will sit
2. Sacred grass that drips with oil [on which the gods to sit?], Book I, Hymn XIII.5
3. Doors, Book 1, Hymn XIII
4. Sacred grass upon which are expressed drops of Soma juice, Book 1, Hymn XVI.6
5. Wood-pile, made of good logs upon which to bind fast the Bullock, Book1, Hymn CXXI.7
6. Reservoir, Book 1, Hymn CXXXV.2, vats made of wood (Book 8, Hymn LXXXI.7)
7. House where the Soma is pressed, Book 1, Hymn CXXXV.7

Sacrificial Equipment:
1. Four (4) each Ladles with which to make offerings to Agni (upon the fire) and to the gods; pour 21 offerings to each; Book 1, Hymn XX6, 7
2. Cups in which to pour the Soma, also called meath or mead, Book 1, Hymn XIV; serve Indra with a chalice of Soma, Book 3 XXXII.14; chalices, Book 8, Hymn LXX.7.
3. Sacrificial Post to which the victims are tied. Here there are three mentioned, [possibly in a tripod per Griffith], Book 1, Hymn XXIV.13; located eastward of the fire, Book 3, Hymn VIII
4. Mortar stones, broad-based, Book 1, Hymn XXVIII.1, used to crush the Soma plant
5. Beakers, to take up what remains from the mortar pressing, and pour the juice on a woolen filter, Book 1, Hymn XXVIII.8,9; the meeting place (where Soma and milk are mixed), Book 9, Hymn XCII.2
6. Pitchers: flowing to the pitcher, he with a roar hath passed into the beakers, Book 9, XCVI.20; let him flow..through the filter..and rest in the pitcher, Book 9, Hymn XCVII.4 – the Soma is poured through the filter to rest in the beaker; the pitcher and the beaker are the same thing.
7. Jars, under which the woolen strainer is placed, Book 9, Hymn LXVIII, where the Soma is mingled with the milk, Book 9, Hymn LXXII
8. Woolen strainer or filter, Book 1, Hymn XXVIII.9; Book 8, I.15; Book 9, II.5
9. Ox-hide upon which to set the dregs of the Soma from the pressing, Book 1, Hymn XXVIII.9
10. Unrough fire-sticks from which to make the fire, Book 1, Hymn CXXVII.4
11. Sheepskin..flowing through the fleece He flows about the sheep-skin, longing for a bride.
12. Sacred cauldron for heating the contents of the fatty membrane Book 5, XLIII.7
13. Vats, casks of wood (Book 9, XXXVII.6)
14. Bowls: in the bowls sits the Gold-hued like a roosting bird, Book 9, Hymn LXXII.5; Book 9, Hymn LXXVIII.2; when, Indu, thou art balmed with milk within the bowl, thou sinkest in the jars.., Book 9.LXXXVI.47; cleansed hath reached the bowls, Book 9, Hymn CIII.4; they have poured out a bowl to him, to Indra (Book 10, Hymn XXIX.7); the bowls, cups and chalices are from which to drink; (Book 10, Hymn XLIII.4)
15. Sanctifying gear: with sanctifying gear they sit around the song, Book 9, Hymn LXXIII.3
16. Pail: ...thou flowest to the pail, bellowing as a steer upon the water's lap, Book 9, LXXVI.5
17. Saucers: as thou art purified, flow to the saucers, Book 9, XCVII.48

Offerings in addition to Soma:
1. Viands or meat, free from disease (Book 3, Hymn XXII.4): cattle, goats, sheep, horses; goats were part of the sacrifice of horses (Book 1, Hymn CLXIII.12).
2. Butter, Book 1, Hymn CXXXIV.6; from spotted cows (Book 8, Hymn VI.19)
3. Sacrificial cake of meal, Book 3, Hymn XXVIII, for midday sacrifice
4. Contents of a fatty membrane, Book 5, Hymn XLIII.7

1. Soma plant out of which Soma juice is pressed; the juice is sweet, Book 1, XXVIII.8; it is a stalk that gladdens, Book 1, CXXV.3; ; the pressing of the stalk is like pressing a skin, Book 5, XXXIII.7; the Indus Valley Seal with the Horned God in the center of the stalks of a plant might be the plant in question; Soma that is foaming forth = fermented, Book 9, Hymn I.6
2. Curds, Book 1, Hymn V; mix the curds with the barley-meal, Book 6, Hymn LVII.2
3. Grains bedewed with oil, Book 1, Hymn XVI.2; barley-meal, Book 1, Hymn CXXXV.8; fried grains of barley, Book 4, Hymn XXIV.7; the Soma juice with barley mixt, Book 8, LXXXI.4
4. Milk, Book 1, Hymn XIX.1; XXIII.1, to mix with the juices of Soma; pour it on the fire
, Book 1, Hymn XXIII.23; milk-blent draughts of Soma, Book 1, Hymn XXX.2; juice divine with milk commingled, Book 7, Hymn XXI; milk from spotted cows (Book 8, Hymn VI.19)
5. Water, Book 1, Hymn CXXXV.6; press out the Soma with the stones and in the waters wash it clean, Book 8, Hymn I.15
6. Honey of the bee, blend it in the milk, Book 8, IV.8

Collect Soma stalks from the mountains (Book 3, XLVIII.2); Grind stalks of Soma between broad-based grinding stones (Book 1, Hymn XXVIII.1). Let the sap drain onto an oxhide placed under the stones. Press the Soma with water with the stones (Book 9, Hymn XXX.5); Strain the sap with water through a woolen filter (Book 1, Hymn CXXXV.6), (Book 8, Hymn II.2); the speckled sap runs like a flood..through the sieve..enrobed in water (Book 9, Hymn XVI.1,2); Mix the Soma juice with milk (Book 8, Hymn II.2); Soma in the jar is mingled with the milk (Book 9, Hymn LXXII); blended with milk and curds he flows on through the long wool (Book 9, Hymn CIII);the Soma flows tawny to the straining-cloth (Book 9, III.9) [into the beakers]; [from the beakers] Pour the sap into a large wooden vat; and settles in the wood (Book 9, Hymn VII.6); when through the filter poured, clothed with milk (Book 9, Hymn VIII.5); Swelling, as 'twere, to heights of heaven, the stream of the creative juice falls lightly on the cleansing sieve (Book 9, Hymn XVI.7); the swelling wave..flows into the sieve..hastens to the pitchers, poured upon the sieve (Book 9, Hymn XVII.3,4); when purified within the jars, bright red and golden-hued, hath clothed him with a robe of milk (Book 9, Hymn VIII.6) blend in the midst with milk and curd (Book 8, Hymn II.9); ..And pour the sweet milk in the meath..blend the libation with the curds (Book 9, Hymn XI 5,6); Blend the milk into the Soma juice (Book 1, XXX.2); Fry the barley-meal (Book 4, Hymn XXIV); Mix the milk with barley-meal (Book 1, CXXXV.8), (Book 3, XXXII.2); the brilliant juices blent with meal..cook with milk..(Book 9, Hymn XLVI.4); mix the milk with honey of the bee (Book 8.IV.8); Mix the barley-meal and milk with Soma juice (Book 3, XLII.7); Somas mixed with butter (Book 10, Hymn XXIX.6(; Let the Soma ferment for three days? (Book 3, Hymn XXVIII); ..poured upon the filtering-cloth, the men conduct him..effused into the vats of wood (Book 9, Hymn XXVII.2,3), (Book 9, Hymn XXVIII.1,4), (Book 9, Hymn XXX 1,4); the living Somas being cleansed..turned to the vat (Book 9, Hymn XXIII.4); Men beautify him in the vats..(Book 9, XV.7); heat the cauldron (Book 3, Hymn LII); keep the Soma in three reservoirs (Book 8. Hymn II.8); pour into the Soma the milk, prepare the cake and mix the Soma-draught (Book 8, Hymn II.11); Pour three times seven = 21 Soma libations to each god. Pour libations of milk on the fire (Book 1, XXIII.23). ; serve three beakers of Soma to Indra (Book 1, XXXII.3), three beakers filled to the brim (Book 8, II.8). When sacrificing the Steed, bring forth a goat, followed by the Steed, following him are sages and singers. The wise Priest sits to complete the sacrifice (Book 5, XI.2). Sing, and the priest dances (like Indra) around the fire-altar. The sages form a ring, looking and singing to the Ram [Indra] ( Book 8, Hymn LXXXVI.12);The color of the Soma mixture is brown (Book 8.IV.14) pressed from yellow stalks (Book 8, IX.19)

Benefits & other characteristics based on the Persian Hoama

(From the Avesta, Yasna 9) 16. Good is Haoma, and the well-endowed, exact and righteous in its nature, and good inherently, and healing, beautiful of form, and good in deed, and most successful in its working, golden-hued, with bending sprouts. As it is the best for drinking, so (through its sacred stimulus) is it the most nutritious for the soul.
17. I make my claim on thee, O yellow one! for inspiration. I make my claim on thee for strength; I make my claim on thee for victory; I make my claim on thee for health and healing (when healing is my need); I make my claim on thee for progress and increased prosperity, and vigor of the entire frame, and for understanding, of each adorning kind, and for this, that I may have free course among our settlements, having power where I will, overwhelming angry malice, and a conqueror of lies.
(From the Avesta Yasna 10) 3. I praise the cloud that waters thee, and the rains which make thee grow on the summits of the mountains; and I praise thy lofty mountains where the Haoma branches spread.
5. Grow (then) because I pray to thee on all thy stems and branches, in all thy shoots (and tendrils) increase thou through my word!
8. All other toxicants go hand in hand with Rapine of the bloody spear, but Haoma's stirring power goes hand in hand with friendship. [Light is the drunkenness of Haoma (Pazand).]..
12. There, Haoma, on the ranges dost thou grow of many kinds. Now thou growest of milky whiteness, and now thou growest golden; and forth thine healing liquors flow for the inspiring of the pious.
13. Praise be to thee, O Haoma, (for he makes the poor man's thoughts as great as any of the richest whomsoever.) Praise be to Haoma, (for he makes the poor man's thoughts as great as when mind reacheth culmination.) With manifold retainers dost thou, O Haoma, endow the man who drinks thee mixed with milk; yea, more prosperous thou makest him, and more endowed with mind.
17. Thereupon spake Zarathushtra: Praise to Haoma, Mazda-made. Good is Haoma, Mazda-made. All the plants of Haoma praise I, on the heights of lofty mountains, in the gorges of the valleys, in the clefts (of sundered hill-sides) cut for the bundles bound by women. From the silver cup I pour Thee to the golden chalice over. Let me not thy (sacred) liquor spill to earth, of precious cost.

Priests of the Persian Rite of Hoama
(from http://www.avesta.org/vendidad/vd5sbe.htm) This passage has to do with the cleanliness of a woman, her clothes, etc. whose child is born dead. The assignment of duties to those offering sacrifice in the Persian rite can be compared to the Hotar (the Herald, officially Agni, fire) and Zotar and Rsi of the Rig Veda's rites. Here there is a Zaotar with eight assistants. The note to Fargard 61 is particularly interesting, since, if the ritual is in any way like that performed by the Etruscans, we have the issue of the Zagreb Mummy which was wrapped in linen with Etruscan writings throughout. The linen wrapping was torn into segments. To observe a purity law similar to the Persian the wrapping would have had to have been old and thoroughly clean, then written upon and used for wrapping the dead. See Zagreb Mummy_Translation.html. Following this logic the [written] mummy wrapping could not have been used before, and following this precept much of the content of the wrapping should have had to do with the purification of the deceased and those involved with the wrapping of the Zagreb mummy. An article on Egyptian Mummification is at: http://www.crystalinks.com/mum.html. A comprehensive site on Egyptian mummies by Wm. Max Miller is at: http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/17A.htm. Coffins and mummy wrappings were either reused or rededicated from one person to another, as will be discovered at Miller's site. Writings on mummy wrappings, called
"Linen Dockets," describe this activity. A Linen Docket of Djedptahiufankh's mummy (~935 B.C.) is: "Year 10 of Shoshenq I/Iuput: "Noble linen which the dual king (nsw bity) lord of he two lands Hedjkheperre son of Re lord of appearings Shoshenq-meramun made for his father Amun (in) year 10; noble linen which the high priest of Amon-Re, great chief of the army Iuput, true of voice, king's son of the lord of the two lands Shoshenq-meramun, made for his father Amun (in) Year 10" [(Source Bibliography: DRN, 239; MR, 573 [transcr.]; RNT, 253 [32].) Wm. Max Miller's Theban Royal Mummy Project website, http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages1/21B.htm].

Fargard 57. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Can those clothes, when once washed and cleansed, ever be used either by a Zaotar, or by a Havanan, or by an Atare-vakhsha, or by a Frabaretar, or by an Abered, or by an Asnatar, or by a Rathwiskar, or by a Sraosha-varez (68), or by any priest, warrior, or husbandman?

Translator's Note:
(68). These are the names of the different priests who were engaged in the sacrifices. The Havanan strains the Haoma; the Atarevakhsha kindles the fire; the Frabaretar brings to the Zaotar all that he needs; the Aberet brings the water; the Asnatar washes and strains the Haoma; the Rathwishkar mixes the Haoma and the milk; the Zaotar chants the hymns and says the prayers; the Sraosh-varez superintends the sacrifice. Nowadays there are only two priests, the Zaotar (Zot) and the Rathwishkar (Raspi), the latter performing all the accessory services formerly performed by several priests. Cf. Nirangistan, 71 sq.

61. 'Whosoever throws any clothing on a dead body (75), even so much as a maid lets fall in spinning, is not a pious man whilst alive, nor shall he, when dead, have a place in Paradise.

Translator's Note:
75). Cf. Vd8.23 seq. It appears from those passages that the dead must lie on the mountain naked, or 'clothed only with the light of heaven' (Vd6.51). The modern custom is to clothe them with old clothing (Dadabhai Naoroji, Manners and Customs of the Parsis, p. 15). 'When a man dies and receives the order (to depart), the older the shroud they make for him, the better. It must be old, worn out, but well washed: they must not lay anything new on the dead. For it is said in the Zand Vendidad, If they put on the dead even so much as a thread from the distaff more than is necessary, every thread shall become in the other world a black snake clinging to the heart of him who made that shroud, and even the dead shall rise against him and seize him by the skirt, and say, 'That shroud which thou madest for me has become food for worms and vermin' (Saddar 12). After the fourth day, when the soul is in heaven, then rich garments are offered up to it, which it will wear in its celestial life (Saddar 87).

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