The Vedic Mitra: a resume of theses and references

Georges Dumezil

Over the past forty years I have put forward a number of provisional propositions, which have continually been revised, concerning the insights we can derive from a comparison of the belief systems of the Indo-European peoples. Constrained by advancing years to present them in a form, which, though by no means definitive, will for me be final, I am now preparing a general study, to be published both in English and in French, whose emphasis will be on the divine patrons of what I term the 'first function': The Sovereign Gods of the Indoeuropeans. The Indian and Iranian evidence will naturally be the primary focus of this study, especially the Indian, since the Gods of the pre-Zoroastrian Iranian peoples cannot be studied directly and because one of the conditions necessary in forming a plausible understanding of them is to determine the oldest form of the Vedic Pantheon, with which they surely shared many common elements. As regards the problems posed by Mitra, the concern of this J ournal, there are three aspects of the Vedic evidence to be considered.

I Mitra, closely associated with Varuna, is one, and normally the first, of the three elements of a divine structure, 'Mitra-Varuna, Indra (either alone or associated with some other divinity), the twin Nasatya (or Asvin)' which, although not dominant, is certainly attested in Vedic hymns and rituals of differing kinds. 2 The fact that these Gods, occurring in the regular order, are the only para-Indian Gods invoked by a king of the Mitanni to witness his undertakings in an official document in the fourteenth century E.C.E. (the Mitanni-Hittite treaty in the Bogazki:iy archives) proves that before the separation of the para-Indians of the West and the future Indians of the East, this structure was more important than it is in the Veda. 3 The fact that these gods are mentioned as a group in different contexts prevents us from explaining each occurrence in isolation: we need an explanation valid for all the occurrences taken as a whole. 4 In several of the Vedic passages the context allows us to judge directly the value of this structure. It comprises two sovereign Gods (in the religious sense given to this expression by Abel Bergaigne), a warrior God, and a pair of gods who perform services, more precisely gods who bestow health, peace and prosperity - in other words the divinities which govern the three fundamental 'functions', as I term them, which every society must

Journal of Mithraic Studies

Volume I No.


pages 26-35

?VIO. while Varuna is stern. types of action (i) In the physical sphere.The Vedic Mitra: a resume of theses and references 27 assure if it is to be viable. reassuring. Reference Until The Sovereign Gods is published (where the explanation of l.I25 in particular will be brought up to date). in Avestan the appellative miera. and in the prose texts are common. But the evidence is consistent. following in the pattern of nature (there are many instances in the liturgical treatises and in the commentaries). in this role. with I. their character: the two Gods are linked with rtd (the cosmic. and are therefore complementary. to the extent of attributing to just one the characteristics of the two constituent parts. the hymns of the Rg'Veda retain. Varuna usually acts in a violent sudden. dramatic way. I can only implore those who are interested in the problem to persevere over those thirty pages or so. 2 As a whole the differences constitute antitheses whose two terms are both equally necessary to the world or to man. 'contract'). formidable. None of the passages of different periods reveals a break or transformation of the structure of ideas: the terms used in the RgVeda are all to be found later. friendly.{?v. (b) Second. reference can be made to (1961: 263-298 [summarized in 1968 and 1974: 49-52]). gentle. However. Mitra. the first of the hymns to Varuna. (c) Third. a little later in U. progressively. kind. Mitra calmly. in the interest of brevity. harsh. as at Bogazkoy and in many comparable Vedic formulae: 'Mitra-Varuna as a pair' (that is the force of the double dual MitriivarU1Jii). This study was a reply to Paul Thieme (1960: 3°1-317). generally by allusion. 59. Compare. 25. which is a continual declaration of trust. Mitra determines the true place of men in their inter-personal relations (causative of )Iat-) and presides over their agreements/harmony (cf. we must examine the two Gods from the different points of view which are necessary in any theological study: (a) First. Varuna acts on the whole in a punitive manner. My English and American critics frequently quote Thieme's article as if it had settled the question and my reply is generally ignored. express or imply only the joint activity of Mitra and Varuna. the power to bring into existence forms whether substantial (creation) or illusory (magic). social and moral order) and assure respect for it. 3. sometimes their distinguishing qualities are mentioned. (ii) in the moral and ritual sphere. their means of action: in statistical terms and within the sovereign level.S. the only hymn (or rather two hymns joined together) addressed to Mitra alone. Mitra eMS . I suppose: in England and America French is no longer read with ease. which is a long deprecation. What is the basis of this intimate and regular association? I For the most part. In the Atharva Veda these differences are more clearly in evidence. whom they sometimes actually equate. 3 To list these antitheses. is termed benevolent. as 'the sovereign level' or 'Sovereignty') is generally a double concept. by sheer inadvertence. peculiar to Varuna are the knots in which he entraps things (p-asii/:l) and the miiyd. whose dominant tone is an appeal for pity. Note: The Sovereign Gods is to appear in France early in 1977. II The first element of the structure (which will be referred to here. whether or not the elements are differentiated or the ideas elaborated by philosophical speculation.A.

1IIIIItii . 2} x enlargement. Tehran. Approx. Tehran. (Scale 111 rnillimetrcs) II Ii IIII :111111' II: IIIII .III! 11111·11 uI J. Obverse. 2~ x enlargement. (Scale in millimctres) 11111111111111 iIIlllIlll t 1111111111 iii 11111 I Plate Ib Bronze cast from a medieval (Buyid) medallion. Reverse. Approx.Plate Ia Bronze cast from a medieval (Buyid) medallion.

CIMRM 1972 .Plate II Cult relief from Apulum.

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CIMRM 1985 Plate VII (left) Detail from Marino cult fresco .Plate IV Cautcs on the side wall at Marino Plate V Cautopates on the side wall at Marino P late VI (far left) Limestone base from Apulum.

they cannot . (b) Mitra has an affinity with the day. our explanations for which run the risk of contrivance. In other words. Mitra is likened to the brahman (the principle of the priestly caste) and Varuna to the esatra (both temporal power and the principle of the warrior caste). depending upon the significance attributed to each.). the 'distant' being everything outside. Mitra and Varuna have been linked to one or other stage. he writes: . with black. an element both multiform and changeable. and also with the 'great expanses of water'. not Mitra. Obviously. it is Varuna. are frequently termed 'Kings' (as is Indra. 5 Fifth. especially the sky. Varuna's affinity is with the night. nor be any other world in so far as it is opposed to our own. progressive action. all these pairs work together to the same end. the ocean. Mitra and Varuna are equally affected by the mighty operations and the binary divisions of Time and Space. ways. their social and theological affinities: Mitra and Varuna.28 Georges Dumezil in a gracious one. the 'close' being everything within the society. (c) Learned speculation associated Mitra and Varuna with many other polarized concepts. Varuna is concerned with the test of the world. like the Aditya in general. Having correctly noted an Indian commentator's description of Mitra as 'friendly' and Varuna as 'formidable' (kriira) and the identification in the same passage of the one with day and the other with night. speculations of this kind will not be of great value in throwing light on early theology. 4 Fourth. But when on the other hand they are viewed separately (a) Mitra is 'our world'.change places. scaled down to the limits and the needs of an individual society. their cosmic affinities: when they are viewed as a pair or when one is taken to stand for both. Varuna with another. the case of fire. with white (or red). although there is never conflict. Mitra sometimes is made to limit in a sense. the benevolent Mitra cannot be darkness in as much as darkness is opposed to light. an action which left to Varuna alone would be excessive. sometimes inconsistent. or to steer in a useful direction. with light. In as much as the successive phases of a burning fire can be interpreted in binary terms whose elements are opposed in various. concerned with everything with which man has a close relationship. a similar uncertainty is to be found in relation to the various periods of the lunar cycle. I do not understand Jan Gonda's desire to correct Bergaigne's wording and my own (1972: 40f. More generally. the consecrati?n of kings is supposed to be patterned on the consecration of Varuna). everything unfamiliar. in the absence of a specific statement by the authors themselves: thus Mitra has been associated with a certain prosodic rhythm. violent action as against a calm. for example. (iii) in consequence. concerned with the earth and its different environments. In some places the brahmanic literature offers contradictory solutions in these intellectual games: take. with darkness.except in special cases like those mentioned at the end of § 4 . nor can he be associated with the warrior function as against the office of priesthood. but in a different sense). who shows an affinity with Indra. The preceding classification of the evidence should make clear the underlying unity of the many formulae in which the relationship of the two complementary Gods has been expressed: given their characters. their relationship remains the same. Varuna has most affinity with terrestrial kings (for this reason. In a text from the Satapathabrahmana where an appeal is made to the two Gods to work together. however. nor can he be responsible for any sudden.

Hence also Durnezil's formulation: 'Mitra est le souverain sous son aspect.. samaya"" nuiyd). 'soma' is to be replaced by 'lai t'. 29 Here Gonda is keeping only the form..after a brief outline of the main accounts . I have rejected this extreme simplification of the evidence. bienveillant. 'conceveur' might be more appropriate than 'raisonnant'. I ask my critics to examine the first chapter. terrible. References When The Sovereign Gods (which I am summarizing here) is published.. had usually been accepted (19482: 85): Mitra est Ie souverain sous son aspect raisonnant. which is quite inappropriate). referring not only to the spatial and concrete but also to the moral and figurative levels. guerrier. . but of the same type. the best formulation.. have recognized that my account has developed? Yet they have fastened stubbornly on to the double list of descriptive adjectives in my Mitra-Varufla. sombre. violent. calme. it is hard to characterize this uniform orientation in terms of a unitary proposition.. 1958: 63-64. As a matter of fact. Varuna est le souverain sous son aspect assaillant. as are the abbreviated expressions I have sometimes used as a short-hand (for example. bienveillant . I have substituted for it since 1949. 1952: 42 [line 7 of § I. Varuna more distant from man'. and it is easy to justify. for example in (1949: 26.' In my opinion we had better say that the pair of Gods represents in a complementary way the two-sided aspect of the idea they stand for. This is not. 19482). 'aspect propice') to formulate the relation of both gods as that between the 'well-disposed friend' and the severe one.('aspect severe' . JiataydJjana. Since 1949. I once thought it adequate (1940. by means of quotations from the Veda or Gonda's own translations and commentaries. But could they not. inspire. the last two lines of § 4 are to be omitted. Varuna souverain magicien': cf. both of them being 'sovereigns'.. in giving rise to the others. of course. I have sometimes thought that the briefest but most comprehensive expression might be 'Mitra is closer to. at first sight and if one looks at the problem intuitively. as though my work on this divine pair had stopped there: the list has been taken to task half-a-dozen times in Gonda's most recent castigationes. . But that would mask something just as characteristic as the common orientation: the large number of significant particularities in the antithetical structure. and ignores the uniform orientation of the different constituents of the structure. Varuna est le souverain sous son aspect . . sombre. regle. the binary framework. or sum them up? If one takes 'close' and 'distant' in a very broad sense. 'Mitra souverain juriste.The Vedic Mitra. but at least it is correct...a rCsunu! of theses and references It was this opposition which led Bergaigne (1883: II5) . each of the attributes of the two Gods which occur in this formulation (though 'reflechi'. over a quarter of a century. from Bergaigne to Giintert. and 'soudain' should replace 'inspire'. 1968 and 19742: 147-149). But one might ask whether it is possible to pick out one of the different formulae which could either be considered primary. collect some epithets that summarized the doctrine which.. terrible. and my sole method has been to draw up tables and lists less detailed than the one proposed here. in different forms. see now 1970J. sacerdotal. in which nevertheless he does not once mention the tabular account which.

not through his name simply. the latter exhibiting traits which associate them with Varuna. Bhaga) are fully realized divinities. I at first adopted Hermann Giintert's explanation 'the Binder'. except to remind us that. 4 Aryaman is so close to Mitra that many modern students of mythology have actually considered him to be a doublet of this god. More generally. and he finds marriage partners for single people. The most ancient formula is Mitra-Varuna. The first terms. In my opinion this interpretation is by far the most plausible. (c) He ensures that men may travel freely on the roads and among the people. illustrated by an aetiological myth: they come in pairs. Aryaman-Daksa. Moreover. (b) Although absent from the known rituals of reception and hospitality. it should not any longer be included in a preliminary discussion of the god. and are indeed frequently invoked as such. stating my reasons in (I958: 62). meaning 'to cover'. threefold. they are simply the two principal Aditya. his behaviour and relationships. are placed together in the list of gods. For the name Varuna. it does not matter very much: any god of wide-ranging powers cannot fail to exceed the proper meaning of his name. as the prototype of the officiants of all sacrificial ceremonies. and indeed his name as an appellative indicates a type of friend (different from mitrd and sdkhi). 3 Only the Aditya on the 'Mitra-side' (Aryaman. and in 1949 rejected etymological analysis altogether. it is probable that he was the divine patron of this type of relationship. based on the role of 'knots' in the god's activities. the 'Mitra-side'. I have become convinced that theology and mythology are not provinces or protectorates of linguistics: we must appreciate the significance of a god through his nature. he .30 Georges Dum/zit Etymology Etymology has not entered into the preceding sketch. The terms on the Varuna side (especially Amsa) are hardly personified at all outside the lists of Gods. dvandva. in the Yist of Mi8ra itself. This meaning was one of the foundations of Meillet's interpretation. the appellative midra means 'contract'. of these pairs have close affinities with each other (they are mentioned together. (d) He is the bestower par excellence and blesses gifts between men. III Mitra and Varuna are not the only gods in the first category. Bhaga-Amsa. and here I diverge more and more from other scholars. and have similar characters) and no affinity with the second terms. Like Mitra. 2 A cross-cutting. I very early ceased to base any argument upon it. classification is no less important. they work together. though no more so than those which refer to other roots. 'to choose' or 'to declare'. He is the 'God of good unions'. in Iranian. but because it has been disputed. How is this group organized? 1 The number of the Aditya varies at different dates but usually it is an even number in conformity with an explicit rule. he is in essence benevolent towards men. Consequently. He presides over the dextratio the bride performs around 'Aryaman's fire'. But this explanation is uncertain. (e) In mythical times. This benevolence is revealed in the following ways: (a) He joins people together in marriage. in the presence of her father-in-law and brothers-in-law.

These are the two special portfolios held by Aryaman and Bhaga in Mitra's general government. in Iran. if each god is considered as part of the pair he forms either with Aryaman or with Bhaga (or bhdga). that of head of the 'Fathers'. They seem to have been secondary inventions. granted in most cases without strife. in accordance with Mitra's character as defined earlier (benevolent. the gathic appellative airyaman. Bhaga presides over the fair division of material goods. But the existence of a neuter appellative aryaman in Vedic is very doubtfu1. must have been essentially distant ancestors of present-day society. This account suggests that we should recognize in Aryamdn as its first element. (f) bluiga and Bhaga have little connection with Indra. several goddesses. close to man. The appellative d1J1sa'a share' is in certain regards the opposite of bhdga. (b) Words indicating wealth and material goods are very often applied to him. According to epic mythology. spirits. the widest of the concentric divisions of a society ('family. (c) His affinities beyond the Aditya are with the divinities of the third function. 7(a) Beyond the divine lists we know too little about the two Aditya on Varuna's side for a general pattern to be evident. predictable. and that. justified by a myth in the prose Vedic texts.aman').. to judge by their name. Daksa and Amsa justify the choice of their names. ordered. The hymns make no mention of this idea. Another passage makes the . 6 This summary of their functions has shown that. a connection with Indra in explicit relation to battle. certainly according to an early para-Vedic tradition. etc.The Vedic Mitra. also in the after-life. air). who. attributes another function to him. in this society. and where they do the violent means by which Indra bestows wealth is rarely emphasized. Aryaman is the patron of all relations assuring the cohesion and continuation of an arya society. (e) bhdga (in contrast to bhiigd) never indicates a (sacrificial) portion ascending from men to the gods. among the lesser Aditya. Plants and Waters. which is contrary to their optimistic conception of the god. the content suggests what Bhaga (and bhdga) shuns. (f) The Epic. complex of families. cf. in the other world the road taken by the dead who have observed the traditional rites (as opposed to the ascetics) is called 'Aryaman's Road'. to declare 'Bhaga is blind'. but there is no reason to doubt its antiquity.). as a god he divides and distributes (vi-dhar-. sea) The rgvedic Bhaga is the divinization of the appellative bhdga '(happy) lot'.' a resume of theses and references 3I took care of the 'milking' of the mystic Cow. (d) The appellative bhdga generally indicates a lot that is stable. to make the two aspects of the first function symmetricaL The original form was probably asymmetrical: Varuna (alone) { Mitra + Aryaman + Bhaga (b) Nevertheless. (g) The same practical reason which blindfolded our Fortune leads a proverbial expression. vi-bhag-. 'lot'. diiy-). Piisan. In more than half the passages where it occurs. like Mitra and Varuna the model pair. and as this pair must express an antithesis. ar)'d in the sense of an ethnic name. whatever the force of the second. vi-dha-.

If we take the appellative ddksa. One such attack concerns the role of Dharma as the father of Yudhisthira. I9742). the collective marriage of the five brothers with Draupadi transposes on to a narrative level the conceptual relation which. correspond to two of the duties performed by Aryaman in the human world: (i) through the marriages of his fifty daughters. unfortunately for himself. 170ff. except one whom he. Vayu. successive fathers of the Pandava brothers. except by Paul Thieme (I957) (where Mitra with all his functions is reduced to '(god of) Contract' and Aryaman with all his functions to 'God of Hospitality') . with a single goddess who is herself the synthesis of the three functions. ISlf. in different passages it belongs to the 'Varunian' vocabulary (in opposition either to Mitrian krdtu or to bhdga) and. IV The discovery made by Stig Wikander concerning the mythical basis of the Mahabharata (I947: 27-39) has presented us with a new problem. the Veda of the legends. in more than one Vedic text. forgot to invite and who forces his presence upon them. and to at least one of his sons-in-law. to show that his argument is beside the point. in (1959: I7I-173).. notably those I outlined in the first part of MJlthe et epopee (1968. despite some mistranslations. he is a vigilant father-in-law. Another terms d~nsii. Similarly. as a god. with an archaism in the second function (the insertion of Viiyu in the list before Indra) and an alteration in the first (the substitution of Dharma for the sovereign gods). in the dual number. in I970]). dlflsa can indicate the portion dedicated to the god in the sacrificial ceremony. in the world of the gods. by discussing two basic problems. The reaction of my habitual critics to this discovery has been to ignore it for twenty years. and further after a curious intervention by Ilya Gershevitch. A short time ago the attacks began cautiously. Assuming that this article is known to my readers I propose. Finally.32 Georges Dumizil 'share' called dmsa the consequence of a sudden. Daksa appears in two mythical roles which. then to minimize the consequences. I 'In his important book My the et epopee Dumezil (146. has published a general discussion entitled 'The Vedic Mitra and the Epic Dharma' (1971: 120-133). Indra and the Asvin pair. who has set himself up as my indefatigable preceptor and the devout protector of the public against my errors and my sophistries. unpredictable gift. The hymns make no allusion to these myths. who analytically and distributively are in charge of the three functional levels. meaning 'productive energy'. when the hymns were composed. References The second chapter of The Sovereign Gods will be devoted to analysis of the minor Aditya.) recently asserted . 1952 43-59 [improved upon. make up a list closely related to the canonical. The matter has scarcely been discussed at all. Wikander pointed out that the gods Dharma. Gonda. My first attempts at an outline appeared in (1949. but this does not prove they were not present in the 'fifth Veda'. he is the supreme father-in-law god. the double glory which a horse can win that is bred for racing or for war. I replied to him in (I958: 67-84). violent. associates the male gods. (ii) in the well-known story of the daksayajiiabadha he is host (Wirt) to all the gods (Gaste). Vedic and para-Indian list studied above (in I).

then another of these estates (as it were). take over first one. Bhaga. although rarely. 57. simultaneously abandoned by their former owners? But since the rule of the game. I briefly outlined (1959: I3-14) the explanation later to be developed in My the et epopee: 'Yudhisthira est le fils de Dharma. Dharma here. at the beginning of the book.ou le moins inadequat . Arguing "la substitution de Dharma Mitra en tant que pere de Yudhisthira" the French savant is of the opinion (152) that "i I'epoque de la redaction definitive de l'epopee. though this does not prevent him on other occasions. according to the requirements of the legends. from 'binding' (Gonda. concept divinise qui est certainement ici un rajeunissernent de Mitra'. dharma etait certainement Ie mot Ie meilleur . all the principal gods procreate heroes or are incarnated in them.The Vedic Mitra: a resume of theses and references 33 that the god Dharma as he appears in the Mahabharata is a continuation of the Vedic Mitra." Or. from which the heroic characters are transposed. 2 The problem of the relation between Mitra and Dharma. In the poem in which. I had indeed less reason for doing so inasmuch as archaic theology. ten years earlier. Aryaman. Mitra sans doute. and since Yudhisthira is a Mitra-king. is not . I have no more formulated a complete theory of 'Dharma in the Mahiibhiirata' than I have of Vayu in the epic. as usual. My view of the problem is as follows. a bien d'autres incarnations dans le Mitra "under a rejuvenated name" I shall limit myself here to a discussion of the question as to how far some form of identity of both divine figures can be substantiated or made acceptable. Indra in the epic. .' I have not maintained that 'the god Dharma as he appears in the MahiibJuirata is a continuation of the Vedic Mitra'. treats in isolation must be read in these limiting contexts. la Loi Morale. p. namely that dharma. Moreover. What could be more natural than that the epic Dharma should. that is fathers of the other Pandavas.. depuis Ie serpent qui fait passer un examen de sagesse i Yudhisthira jusqu'au chien qui l'accompagne dans son dernier voyage . Varuna. See for instance p. Aryaman.except in easily discernible insertions . des deux grands souverains de Ia mythologie vedique et prevedique. and. Should I waste the reader's time by dwelling on the evidence for this? I have limited myself to a couple of passages.pour exprimer la substance du Mitra vedique et prevedique. as Gonda presents it. or the Asvins in the epic. Varuna. 195) and generally acting in accordance with Varuna's character.' See also p. viewed as his father. d'ailleurs devenu le seul heritier de tout l'ancien personnel divin de la souverainete. takes on especially Mitra's heritage. as I have just mentioned.the theology of 'dawning Hinduism' which generally dominates the poem. expressing himself briefly (174) Dharma . how could I fail to agree with the point that Gonda belabours me with. 174. Dharma in the Mahiibhiirata is the only survivor (changed and rejuvenated) of the entire Vedic vocabulary and theology of the first function? The gods Mitra. It is not mine. is a mutilated problem. before the analysis '[La structure des peres des Pandava] est en revanche rajeunie au premier niveau: l'abstraction Dharma y remplace l'un ou l' of those so-called abstract figures of the "classical" pantheon which have no counterpart in the Veda . (a) at the level of the gods: none of the Vedic Aditya (Mitra. substance dont le Mitra epique avait ete vide. a rule abundantly evidenced. Bhaga) is made use of but Dharma is a . It has three inseparable elements. is that each hero-son should reflect the character of his father-god. after the analysis: 'Dharma. The phrases and expressions which Gonda. not a Varuna-king.'. all the principal 'good' characters are the sons or the incarnations of gods and in which reciprocally. have been removed under their own names from the divine game of incarnations and procreations.

If it is not too tiring for them. but he is also. with the normal implica- . though there are many. the other half-caste). 2 Gonda maintains (1972: 133) that the five brothers do not constitute a homogeneous group: does not one iloka. (c) now. 'represents the whole. procreated to assume the functions of royalty. Dhrtarastra and Vidura). I shall give only two examples.66). declares himself ready to make vast concessions provided that his rights are acknowledged in principle and symbolically satisfied. the sole representative of the Aditya level in the Mahabharata. the nearest relations that could be imagined (three brothers and the presumed son of one of them). What is the significance of this configuration? To this complex but unitary problem. quoting an as yet unpublished phrase from another of my perennial censors: 'He is the tree that keeps all the parts together and gives them their particular order and meaning. negotiates till the very last moment. but what I have actually written. compare Yudhisthira to a tree. in the introduction of the poem (1. if not the whole of Part One of My the et epopee 12. naturally observes Justice and Humanity. he concludes. I He argues (I972: I32) that Yudhisthira cannot be thought of as associated with 'Mitra' and opposed to 'Varuna' : Yudhisthira is simply without differentiation the 'ideal king'. being neither sons nor incarnations of the gods. From the beginning to the end of the action in this vast poem. I can only implore my English-speaking readers to read not what a quaint embarrassment of mistakes has attributed to me. benevolent character.34 Georges Dumezil twice. of conciliation and of general reconciliation. the homogeneity of their natures is manifest . PaI). the only ones to be kings.uand Dhrtarastra.underlined. His few bursts of anger. are kings in succession (the father PaI).as is differentially the case for PaI). by their common wife who accompanies them to her own and their death.9. the dharmaraja'. two. furthermore. at least chapters II and V. where Arjuna is the trunk. not a part of the whole. are exceptions to the rule. the other two (the father's two brothers.u. and indeed primarily. re-establishes the rule of procreation or incarnation for the second king and the second of the virtual kings. uniting the type of Varuna and that of Mitra. Yudhisthira. a punisher and an avenger and war forms an important part of his activity . during his brief reign. 1.9. understanding. and Dharma's two interventions produce Yudhisthira (as a son) and Vidura (as an incarnation). are statistically insignificant when compared with the hundreds of references to his gentle.the father of Yudhisthira. He has no vocation and no particular skills in the theory and practice of warfare. I have proposed a general solution. of these four heroes. The theses which Gonda sets up against me distort the most obvious facts. the twins the flowers and the fruit? 'So. performing merely adequately in these fields. which Gonda high-lights (ibid. the first king and the first of the virtual kings having no corresponding divinity.' Further. In other words. Bhima the branches. He does his utmost to avoid conflict.9Uand his presumed son. of which my critic has made no mention whatever. Dharma. from the description of the birth of the Pandava to the description of their death. (b) at the level of the heroes: two of the most important characters. Yudhisthira is certainly the principal. and who is complete in himself.). are prevented from doing so by a congenital defect (one is blind. The 'ideal king' as described by the Laws of Manu for example.' That is to draw a sweeping conclusion from a cursory comparison which simply states that everything in a kingdom finds its principle and end in the king. But what ideal does he embody? An ideal of peace. Yudhisthira). whose natural outcome is prosperity.

Dumezil. 1972. P. Durnezil. Paris. Les dieux des Indo-Europeens. 36. 1968. 19482. J. J. 1878-83. My the et ipopie. Gonda. se serie. 1959b• La transposition des dieux souverains rnineurs en heros dans Ie Mahabharara.JAOS. Brussels. REL 35. La Religion vedique d'apres les hymnes du Rigveda. 53. the relation between the Vedic ajas and the Latin augur. Mitra-VarU1Ja. 1952. Thieme. 47. 19742. Paris. At the beginning of an article (1957: 126-151. n. Thieme. A. The Vedic Mitra and the Epic Dharma. 1..Traiectina. The least one can say is that my cease-fire has remained unilateral. 1971. Vol. Bulletin de l'Acadimie Royale de Belgique. Dumezil. G. Dumezil. Dumezil. Dumezil. 1957. Paris. The Vedic God Mitra. Classe des Lettres. Dumezil. JA. Le troisieme Souverain.27-39' . Augustus. the same destiny. I observed (1969: 82. itself ridiculous. 246. Idees romaines. G. Gordon Bibliography Bergaigne. College de France Georges Dumezil Translated by Susan Caporn and R. Paris. Asian. 1949.of misinterpretations. IIJ. Los Dioses de los Indoeuropeos. New Haven. J. 1883. Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes nos. 6. Leiden. 54: 3 vols. Les trois fonctions dans Ie Rgveda et Ies dieux indiens de Mitani. L'ldio!ogie tripartite des Indo-Europeens. G. Orientalia Rheno. J. Addendum it art. Remarques sur augur. Paris. following upon his study (1952). 1961. 3. 1970. Collection Latomus 31. Mitra and Aryaman. in a list of five people subject to the same rules. 1947. G. Aryaman. Dumezil. 1958a. 67-84. Gonda. Once again Gonda attributes to me a thesis. Wikander. Piindavasagan och Mahabhfiratas mytiska forutsattninger.his logic differs too greatly from my own. 80. Latin *augos and the Indo-European nouns in -esj-os. 126-151. leaving it to the general advance of the subject to decide between us. G. 34. G. P. G. Dumezil. but differing from him. mais je ne citerai nornmement l'auteur que sur les points ou nous nous trouvons d'accord. L. 171-73. rather. I will examine in an appendix to The Sovereign Gods the hundred pages of Triads in the Veda (1976) devoted to me. 1940. ]. 1952. 139-149. Nos lecteurs communs reconnaitront au passage la refutation de quelques exegeses. Paris. Paris. JRAS. G. G. 1-16. 1974· Dumezil's tripartite ideology: some critical observations. mais sur la rnaniere merne d'etablir et de lire les statistiques. Durnezil. I have maintained this principle. G. art. Aryaman. JA. Gonda. 247. Conn. 120-133. 1958b. Gonda. G. Religion och Bibel. Utrecht. 1957. I have given up the idea . Stud. Dumezil. Last but one.The Vedic Mitra: a resume of theses and references 35 tions of the title. After almost twenty years and several attempts at discussion with Gonda. S.' Since then. 2): 'Cet auteur et rnoi-meme sommes separes non seulement sur la conception des faits reIigieux [allusion to the theory of "powers"]. G. reprinted 1969: 78-102) in which I examined. Ancient Indian ojas. 1959a. Barcelona (Seix-Barral).301-317. 1969. which is not mine at all. 13. III. Durnezil. But my adversary has not yet learned to select his ammunition: his last bombardment (1974: 139-149) turned out to be a firework display . The 'Aryan' Gods of the Mitanni treaties. 1960. 263-298.