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Differences in the Rituals of the gvedic Families

Author(s): J. Gonda
Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 42,
No. 2, In Honour of Thomas Burrow (1979), pp. 257-264
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies
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Scholars seem to be almost unanimous in admitting that there must have

existed striking differences between the ritual institutions which are more or

less clearly alluded to in the hymns of the Rgveda-samhitd and the systematized

rituals described and discussed in the brahmanias and ritual satras.' It has

even been surmised 2 that in rgvedic times there did not yet exist one elaborated

and practically homogeneous ritual system. The probabilities would rather be

in favour of the supposition that the chief Vedic families--in the first place

those to which we owe some important collections of hymns--performed divine

service according to substantially parallel but partly divergent traditions of

their own, which, however, did not fail to influence each other. Evidence of

these differences is expected from a careful comparison of the relevant facts

found in the so-called family books of the Rgveda.

That there did exist ritual differences between the chief rgvedic families

and groups of worshippers is indeed according to expectation. First, because

in the later Vedic period divergent ritual and textual particulars appear to

have given rise to the development of numerous 'schools ', traditions 3 and

groups of worshippers; and secondly, because in the ritual of one and the

same school exceptions to general rules or ordinary practices are sometimes

made for members of a definite family.4 In corroboration of the thesis that

the ritual reflected by the family books 5 was not completely homogeneous,

attention has been invited 6 to the presence in the collection of the Visvamitras

(book III) of some liturgical sfaktas which have no counterparts in other

family books; e.g. 3, 8; 28; 52. Moreover, the metres, which were closely

associated with definite divisions of the ritual, and definite priestly functions

seem to a certain extent to have been a subject for disagreement.7 For instance,

the apri sfiktas s 2, 3 ; 3, 4 and 7, 2 are in the tristubh, 5, 5 in the gayatri metre.

Now, as always in historical studies, what can be attempted is largely

1 Abbreviations used: AiA - Aitareya Arainyaka; Ap.S - Apastambadrautasitra; BhAS

- Bhdradvdjasrautasitra; JB - Jaiminiyabrhman.a ; KAthGS - Kdthakagrhyasitra; KdtySS

- Kdtydyanadrautasitra; KB - Kausitaki- or Ai?khdyanabrahmazna; KhGS - Khadiragrhya-

sftra; PB - Paiicavimdabrdhmaa; "RV - Rgvedasamhit5; RVKh. -- gvedakhila; ?B-

,atapathabrahman.a; &S - A?dkhyanar'rautasetra; TB- Taittiriyabrahman.a; TS - Tait-

tirfyasarmhit5; VS - Vdjasaneyisa.nhitd.

2 See especially A. Bergaigne, ' Recherches sur I'histoire de la liturgie v'dique ', Journal

asiatique, viii, 13, Paris, 1889, 5 ff., 121 ff.; and recently T. Ja. Elizarenkova, Rigveda, Moscow,

1972, 37 f.

2 I refer to J. Gonda, Vedic literature (A History of Indian Literature, I, 1), Wiesbaden, 1975,

29 f.

4 See, e.g., for a ritual peculiarity of the Bhiradvija family - which developed into a

'school ' with sfitra works of their own (J. Gonda, The ritual suftras (A History of Indian Litera-

ture, I, 2), Wiesbaden, 1977, 518) - ApS 1, 14, 10. A modification of the full and new moon

sacrifices (KB 4, 6, 1-11 Sarma; SMS 3, 11, 1 ff.; ApeS 3, 17, 12) was called after Vasistha;

a similar modification was customary in the D~ksayana family (ApeS 3, 17, 4); and see ApeS

22, 18, 12; 14. Compare also references such as ApS"S 2, 16, 5 (see also 24, 6, 13); 5, 11, 7. For

special initiatives, achievements, situations of founders or members of families bearing upon

ritual see e.g. 8B 4, 3, 4, 21; PB 6, 6, 8; 11; JB 1, 80; KdtyoS 10, 2, 21; - KatyoS 1, 9, 3;

A vGS 17, 9;- ApdS 10, 20, 12; Bh6S 1, 15, 11; KhGS 2, 1, 17; 24; KSthGS 40, 2 ff.;

AiA 1, 2, 2.

For reasons of space I shall confine myself to Rigveda II-VII.

6 Bergaigne, op. cit., 20 ff.

SSee Gonda, op. cit., 177; Bergaigne, op. cit., 16; 18.

8 See below.

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258 J. GONDA

determined by the range of source material available. It may be true that the

mandlalas II-VII fill several hundred pages and are an irreplaceable mine of

information on religious belief and practice, but there are many aspects of

religious life in the Vedic past left largely untouched in that source material

and therefore inaccessible to examination. How far, therefore, will it be

possible to gauge the extent of differences between groups within the same

population and the same religion ? It should be clear that the silence of the

poets belonging to a definite family as to certain points of religious or ritual

interest cannot be explained as proving that family to be unacquainted with

these customs or practices. No Vedic group can be expected to give a more

or less complete account of its religious ceremonial within the compass of forty

or even eighty pages of hymns. Too often Vedic scholars have been inclined to

rely on the argumentum e silentio. Only if two or more family books furnish us

with pieces of information that are absolutely incompatible with one another

can we be reasonably confident that, at least with respect to the relevant

details, these families used different ceremonies or believed in different methods

of worshipping the gods.

Leaving out of account those many functions, terms and concepts which

the mandalas II-VII have in common and the parallels between these books

and the other parts of the Rgveda-samhita I propose to sketch some of the

questions to be considered when a study of these problems is attempted.

Attention has more than once been drawn to the priestly functions

mentioned in the Samhitd and their incomplete correspondence with the officiants

of the later ritual.9 As to the adhvaryu, this appellation occurs (17 times) in

the singular, in all mandalas except VII; (35 times) in the plural,10 in all

ma4dalas except VI; and once (2, 16, 5) in the dual. If the poet of 2, 16, 5

refers to the same pair of functionaries as KityorS 9, 8, 9, the adhvaryu and his

first assistant of the later ritual, there called pratiprasthdtar, may be meant (see

also Sayana on .RV 2, 16, 5 and the commentary on KatyirS).11 If so, the

conclusion that the presence of this helper in the adhvaryu's occupation was a

peculiarity of the ritual as performed by the Grtsamadas may be worth con-

sidering. I would, however, be very reluctant to believe that the Bharadvdjas

never spoke of adhvaryavah (in the plural), and the Vasisthas never of one

single officiant of that name. Nor could I readily subscribe to the thesis that

the rgvedic adhvaryu, who in a large majority of cases is said to occupy himself

with the offering of soma to Indra (or sometimes to another god), was only in

the ritual of the Vasisthas entrusted with the cleaning and sprinkling of the

barhis (only 7, 2, 4) and concerned with the pravargya ritual (7, 103, 8 in a

simile), or only in the Atri family employed to operate the pressing stones

(5, 31, 12). In view of the fact that adhvaryus are described as offering soma to

VYyu also in 1, 135, 3; 6 and 8, 101, 10, the conclusion that the 'families'

other than the Atris (5, 43, 3) and the Vasisthas (7, 90, 1) did not present the

draught to this god would be as hasty as the inference, on the strength of

2, 5, 6 and 3, 5, 4 that only two families believed that Agni, who is so often

called a hotar, could also function as an adhvaryu. It seems, on the other hand,

difficult to refute the supposition that the five adhvaryus in the curious and

9 See e.g. A. B. Keith, The religion and philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads (Harvard

Oriental Series, xxxI-xxxII), Cambridge, Mass., 1925, I, 294 f.

10Which in Ap&S 10, 29, 7 denotes the adhvaryu and his assistants; in the R.gveda the

singular may have had a somewhat more general meaning.

11 For another use of the dual (in connexion with the Advins) see .VKh. 5, 7, 5, 11; VS 14,

1-5; TS 2, 6, 4, 1, etc.

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isolated reference at 3, 7, 7 were, unlike the other 'group of priests' 12 with

which they are coupled, as such not generally recognized by those who con-

tributed their poems to the family books.

As to the other officiants, the term hotar-often applied to Agni-is also

frequent in the mangdalas II-VII; no importance should be attached to the

comparative rarity of its compounds such as hotrviirya 'election of the hotar'

(only 6, 70, 4); hotram 'the function or office of the hotar' is found only in

II and III. The name maitravaruna of one of the hotar's assistants in the later

ritual is wanting but prasistar, another name of this functionary, does occur

(2, 5, 4) in a s-ikta dealing with 'functional identifications ' 13; another name,

upavaktar, occurs at 4, 9, 5 and 6, 71, 5; mention of the udgatar is made at

2, 43, 2, of the samagJ at 2, 43, 1, of the nestar at 2, 5, 5 (cf. 2, 37, 3; 4), of the

potar at 2, 5, 2; 4, 9, 3; 7, 16, 5; for an allusion to the brahman see 2, 5, 3, to

the agnidhra 2, 36, 4. No conclusions based on the argumentum e silentio-for

instance as to a larger number of officiants employed by the Grtsamadas or

Vamadevas and to different stages in the development of the rituals-should

be ventured. As already observed by Bergaigne 14 the absence of the names

acchdvika and brdhman.aiccham.sin 15 should not necessarily induce us to infer

that their functions were unknown to the rgvedic Indians. The term purohita

denoting the person who by being 'placed before' wards off evil and fulfils

priestly functions is applied to Agni and other gods in II, III, V, VI; purohiti,

his function, occurs at 7, 60, 12; 83, 4, but puras and forms of the verb dha-

in all six mandalas. The conclusion that the Vasisthas-whose ancestor was

king Sudas's priest-did not know the term purohita would be absurd.

Although references to the soma draught are very numerous the family

books contribute little to our knowledge of the process of its preparation.16

The conclusion that it was largely unknown to the poets of II-VII is as

unacceptable as for instance the supposition that the addition of milk to the

filtered soma was not generally practised by the rgvedic ritualists because the

terms gavclir 'mixed with milk' and adir 'the milk which is mixed with the

soma juice' occur only in poems of the Vi*vamitras (3, 32, 2; 42, 1; 7;

53, 14). With regard to the much less frequent yavSsair 'mixed with corn'

which is found at 2, 22, 1 ; 3, 42, 7 (and 1, 187, 9; 8, 92, 4), I am not so certain

that such a supposition would be hazardous, the less so as trydsir ' with three

kinds of admixture '-the third term is dadhydsir ' mixed with sour milk' at

5, 51, 7; 7, 32, 4-is only used in 5, 27, 5. The only reference to soma's three

backs is found at 7, 37, 1 where tripyrsha is applied to the juice; since however

this epithet is elsewhere always found to characterize objects to which soma

is compared, the question may arise whether the former use was really peculiar

to the Vasisthas.

As to the words derived from or composed with soma, somadhana 'con-

taining soma' and somavrddha 'invigorated by soma' occur in III and VI;

somapati ' lord of soma ' (Indra) in III and V ; the noun somapiti ' the drinking

or draught of soma' is common to all six mandalas, but somapeyac 'soma

libation' is not found in IV; somamad ' intoxicated with soma' and soma-ita

'sharpened by soma' occur once in VII; somasut 'pressing soma' and the

12 K. F. Geldner, Der Rig- Veda ilbersetzt (Harvard Oriental Series, xxxIII-xxxv), Cambridge,

Mass., 1951, I, 345; see also pp. 339 f. on 3, 4, 7.

13 L. Renou, Eltudes vidiques et panindennes (EVP), xII, Paris, 1964, 111.

14 Bergaigne, op. cit., 138.

15 Nor is mention made of the grivastut, prastotar (cf. 1, 153, 2), pratihartar, subrahmanya

(cf. 10, 62, 4), unnetar, and pratiprasthatar.

6e For this see Geldner, op. cit., III, 1 ff.

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more frequent somin 'having or offering soma' in IV and VII, but the noun

somasuti only in VII. Attention may be invited to somapa 'drinking soma'

in II, III, IV, VI and the synonymous somapavan in V and VII. All due to

the merest chance.

Like the noun soma the much less frequent amn 'the stalk of the soma

plant which is pressed' and andhas 'the soma plant and its juice' as well as

mada 'intoxicating draught', madhu 'sweet drink', indu 'the bright drop,

i.e. soma' occur in all six family books. On the other hand, piyisa ' beestings '

is applied to the soma only in II, III and, probably, VI ; drapsa ' drop '-much

less common than indu-only at 6, 41, 3 ; the extraction of the juice is described

by duh- 'to milk' (cf. e.g. 9, 80, 5) in III, V, VII (e.g. 7, 98, 1 the only place

in the family books where the juice itself is qualified as a ruddy (arun.a) liquid).

The verbs m.rj- and the much less frequent 5-dhav- used to express the ' washing '

in and admixture of water occur-no doubt by chance-only in II, III and

V, VII respectively. The abode (sadhastha) of the draught, more than once

mentioned in IX, is referred to at 3, 62, 15. The question may arise whether

the practice of placing the pressing stones on the vedi-' the sacrificial bank',

not mentioned in III and IV-which is attested by the poet of 5, 31, 12 does

not only differ from that of the later ritual 17 but also from that of the rgvedic

ritualists other than the Atris. References to all three daily soma services

occur in III and IV, but a conclusion drawn from 5, 34, 3; 6, 47, 6 (where

only two of them are mentioned) that other families pressed the soma only

once or twice a day would no doubt be deceptive.

Mention of the small wooden sacrificial ladle (sruva) is made only in

mandala I, of the large ladle (sruc) in V, VI (and I, VIII, X), of the compound

yatasruc 'stretching out the sruc' however in II, III, IV (and I, VIII). The

curved wooden ladle called juhft- occurs only at 2, 27, 1 and perhaps at 6, 11, 2,

in both cases in a double entendre (juhlti' tongue ').18 The ghrtaci, the sacrificial

ladle with which the ghee is poured out, is mentioned in all family books

except II; the camil, a vessel (one of the receptacles) into which the soma is

poured, in all except II and VII; the kalada 'jar' in III, IV, VI, but the

wooden vessel (trough) called drona only in VI. For 'Indra's goblet' (pdtram

indrapdnam) see 6, 44, 16. Although the above facts may point to certain

differences in the relevant terminology or rather to a preference for definite

terms, it is difficult to suppose that the 'families' had no perfect knowledge

of the technicalities of the preparation of soma. References to technicalities

are, it is true, few in number. Significantly enough, pavitra 'filter, strainer',

frequent in IX and not absent in I, VIII, X, occurs only at 3, 36, 7 (and also

in III 3 times metaphorically); vdra 'hair-sieve', almost limited to IX, is

wanting. So are the application of samudra 'ocean' to the juice in the vat

which is frequent in IX (compare however 6, 69, 6) and that of the adjectives

babhru ' brown ' and hari ' tawny '. The drinking vessel of the gods, camasa, is

only mentioned in connexion with the Rbhus, who are said to have made the

one wooden cup which was the work of Tvastar into four (3, 60, 2; 4, 33; 35;

36); in I the word is connected with the Rbhus or otherwise, in X these

mythical artisans are left unmentioned.

The picture of the pravargya ritual in honour of the Advins presented by

the Rgveda-sa.mhiti is widely different from the ceremony of the same name

known from the ritual saitras.'9 References to this ritual-that is, in most

17 Cf. A. Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, 2nd ed., Breslau, 1927, I, 411.

18 For juht ' ladle ' in I, VIII and X, see Renou, EVP, ii, Paris, 1956, 107.

1 I refer to J. A. B. van Buitenen, The pravargya, Poona, 1968, ch. 1.

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cases to the gharma, the kettle in which the milk was heated and the hot milk

itself-are casual and incidental, part of them belonging to the books I, VIII

and X. Is it due to the merest chance that most of the references found in the

family books occur in V (cf. 5, 19, 4; 30, 15; 43, 7; 73, 6; 76; 77), one

(3, 53, 14) in III and two in similes in IV and VII ? Should we rather not

shrink from the daring attempt at proving the poets of II and VI as well as

Grtsamadas and Bharadvajas generally to have been as averse to or ignorant

of this ritual as the Kikatas of 3, 53, 14 ?

References to particular rites, sacrificial ceremonies other than the above

as well as to the relevant technical terms are too rare to admit of any con-

clusion 20: atir2dtre"... s6me 'at the over-night soma sacrifice' (7, 103, 7);

upasad ' worship, adoration'. Is the statement ubhd k.rnvdnto vahatd miyddhe

' performing a double procession on the occasion of the sacrificial repast' at

7, 1, 17 the poet's, does it refer to a custom of the Vasisthas or was it a ceremony

performed by the generality of the Vedic Indians ? One would almost be

tempted to regard the name of a patron, viz. Advamedha, in 5, 27, 4-6 as an

indication of the author's acquaintance with the horse-sacrifice, but can a

similar inference be drawn from the occurrence at 5, 1, 8 of the adjective

mdrjaliya ' fond of purification' with regard to the heap of earth of that name

on which the sacrificial vessels are cleansed ?

In cases where a term in the Samhita as well as other Vedic texts is com-

paratively rare, certainty cannot always be in sight. The etymologically and

semantically difficult divisti, translated by 'longing for heaven, worship,

sacrifice', ' Opfer des (heutigen) Tages', 'sacrifice quotidien', 'Friihopfer',

etc.,21 occurs at .RV 4, 9, 3; 46, 1; 47, 1; 7, 74, 1 (and 5 times in I, 3 times

in VIII) 22 ; were this term and the concept denoted peculiar to the Vamadevas

and Vasisthas ?

In trying to discover the traces of differences between the rituals of the

Vedic families we must rely almost entirely on their vocabulary. In doing so

we are confronted with various difficulties. The collections are too short to

make the application of statistical methods a success. The texts as we possess

them have no doubt been subject to foreign influence. The vocabulary of the

poets cannot be regarded as a true reflection of the language of their com-

munities or of the lexical peculiarities of the ritualists employed by these

communities. Yet it seems worth while to collect a number of terms of ritual

interest even though most of them can serve no other purpose than to warn

against hazardous conclusions. The absence of a technical term does not always

point to the authors' ignorance of the idea denoted. For instance, references

or allusions to the ceremony of carrying fire round a sacred place or object

are not lacking in the Samrhita (1, 73, 1; 173, 3; 4, 9, 3; 10, 155, 5 and

especially 4, 15, 1-3) but neither the adjective paryagnikyrta and the verb

forms paryagnikaroti etc. nor the noun paryagnikarana are found to exist in

its hymns, the former occurring in the later samhitas and the brahmainas, the

latter not before the ritual s-itras.

The solitary instances of purvapva 'drinking first (before others)' at

RV 4, 46, 1 (cf. 8, 1, 26) and of pirvapeya ' precedence in drinking' at 7, 92, 1

(also 1, 135, 4) in connexion with Vayu should not suggest that the families

20 Some terms occur in other mandtalas, especially X, not in II-VII: avabhrtha, cjya, isti,

graha, praydja, medha.

21 See Geldner, op. cit., I, 55; Renou, EVP, III, Paris, 1957, 23 f. (with many references),

Iv, Paris, 1958, 32; xv, Paris, 1966, 103.

22 Moreover, in VS 27, 30 taken from RV 4, 47, 1, etc., in AiB 5, 6, 7 quoting RV 7, 47, 1-3;

TB 2, 4, 7, 6 quoting VRV 4, 47, 1.

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262 J. GONDA

other than the Vamadevas and the Vasisthas were ignorant of this privilege of

the god of wind 23 (cf. also 8, 26, 35): at 5, 43, 3 he is explicitly invited to

drink first (prathamdh. pShi) ; compare also 3, 58, 7.

The word for the pieces of wood used for kindling fire, arani or arani, is

met with at 3, 29, 2; 5, 9, 3; 7, 1, 1 (and twice in I, once in X); the verb

math- (and its compounds) 'to produce fire by rotating a stick' only in III,

V and VI; that the technical term adhimanthanam '(part of the) implement

for producing fire ' 24-which in the sarmhitas is a hapax-should occur only in

3, 29, 1 is not surprising, because this poem deals with the production of the

ritual fire. The term daksiyn. 'offering presented to the officiants' and its

derivative daksiniSvant occur only in III and VI; prayatadaksina 'having

made such presents' only in VI (and I, X); vrjana 'a group of men occupied

with the performance of a rite' 25 in II and VII and probably also in III

and VI; nrsadana 'assemblage of (sacrificing) men' in V and VII; brahmakrt

'producing a manifestation of brahman' and the likewise rare namovrdh(a)

' increased, increasing, by adoration' in III and VII; the verb sam- 'to exert

oneself in performing ritual acts ', which occurs 19 times in the man.dialas II-VI,

and the noun sami are not found in VII, the infrequent nomen agentis samitar

not in IV, VI and VII; the fairly frequent saparyati 'to worship ' is wanting

in IV and VII.

Words for 'not sacrificing' applicable to those enemies of gods and men

who neglect their religious duties (ayajia, ayajiasdc, ayajyu, ayajvan) occur

in VI (once), VII (4 times) and I, VIII, X; asunvat 'not pressing out (the

soma juice)' is found in IV and V as well as I (3 times), VIII and X; the

infrequent asusir, which expresses the same idea, only in IV and VI; the

likewise comparatively rare asuta 'not pressed out (of the soma)' only in

VI, VII (and VIII).

The combination ... yajdthaya devdn '... the gods, to worship (them), to

worship the gods' (e.g. 3, 5, 9; 5, 1, 2) is foreign to II, IV, VI; taks- ' to form

in the mind' with ' eulogy etc.' to III and IV; yaj~disya ketit 'the banner of

the sacrifice' to II, IV, VII; the expression ' a new eulogy' attesting to the

belief that a new text is a means par excellence of exercising influence upon

the powers that are responsible for renewal does not appear in III, IV, V. The

phrase adhvardsya h6tid 'the priest of the sacrifice' is not found in II; the

rare adhvdrasya praketdh 'the light of the sacrifice' occurs only at 7, 11, 1

(applied to Agni), the phrase krtd svadhvard 'now a good sacrifice has been

made ready' only at 5, 17, 1; h6tairam mandrdjihvam 'the pleasant-voiced

priest' only at 5, 25, 2; the expression vidh- havis? ' to worship or serve with

an oblation' only in II and VI (and VIII, X).

In some of the cases, the rarity of an otherwise frequent ritual term in the

sa.mhitd or in its family books may be ascribed to the individual character of

that corpus which, unlike the brihman, as, etc., is not concerned with a dis-

cussion of the theory or a more or less regular account of the intricacies of the

sacrificial ritual to which it alludes time and again rather than to the ignorance,

on the part of some of the 'families', of the existence of a term and of the

ritual detail which it denotes.26 Thus the exclamation vasat and its compounds

2a See J. Gonda, The dual deities in the religion of the Veda, Amsterdam Academy, 1974, 223.

4Cf. ~B 3. 6. 3. 10; Ap6S 7, 3, 3; 12, 12.

25 See Renou, E VP, III, 19 f.; iv, 69.

26 If one wishes to call special attention to combinations of rare expressions in the same

context one is studying stylistics rather than religion or ritual. So instances such as 5, 42, 1

pfsadyoniL pdiicahota ' being in the spotted (sacrificial butter), attended by five hotars '-both

recorded only once in the Rgveda-can be left out of consideration.

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(see e.g. TS 2, 6, 2, 5; 5, 1, 5, 2; 7, 5, 5, 2) occur only at 2, 36, 1 and three

times in VII (also in I, VIII, X); purodds'(a) 'a mass of ground rice rounded

into a sacrificial cake' is not found in II, V and VII; svaru 'the stake used

as a sacrificial post' not in II, V and VI.

There are good reasons for thinking that some of the minor gods and divine

figures belonged, not to the pantheon of all Vedic Indians, but only to that of

limited groups of worshippers. Although, here again, the absence of definite

names in some of the family books does not prove that the corresponding

'families' ignored the figures that bore these names, it is worth dilating upon

the distribution of these figures in the mandalas under discussion. While the

name of Vivasvat is not found in V, Savitar and Apdam Napat not in IV, Rudra

not in III, Ahir Budhnya and Brahmanaspati not in III and IV, Trita belongs

only to II, V, VI, Aja Ekapad to II, VI, VII, Parjanya to V, VI, VII; Vata,

Aramati, Nirrti and Vastospati occur in V and VII, Ksetrasya pati in IV and

VII, the name Matarisvan in III and VI and Sita only in IV. It strikes us

that these occurrences do not completely correlate to the length of the mandalas

and the numbers of their siiktas. It is true that the longest ma4ndala (VII,

104 hymns, 79 pages in Aufrecht's edition) has 13 different names, V (87 hymns,

67 pages) has 11 names and VI (75 hymns, 70 pages) has 10, but the shortest

mandala (II, 43 hymns, 42 pages) has 8 of them and the longer books III

(62 hymns, 56 pages) and IV (58 hymns, 54 pages) only 4 each. An examination

of the names of the dual deities does not lead to wholly dissimilar results.

Whereas Heaven and Earth and Mitra and Varuna belong to all family books,

Dawn and Dusk are found in II, IV, V, VII, Indra and Agni in III, V, VI, VII,

Indra and Soma in II, VI, VII, Indra and Visnu in IV, VI, VII, Indra and

Vayu in II, IV, VII, Indra and Varuna in III, VI, VII, Sun and Moon in V,

Indra and Brhaspati in IV, Indra and Brahmanaspati, Indra and the Maruts

and Soma and Pfisan in II, Indra and Pfisan in VII, Soma and Rudra, Agni

and Parjanya, Parjanya and Vata in VI, and Indra and Parvata in III.27

Here VI, VII, and II head the list with 9, 9, and 8 different names; III has

5 of them; IV has 6 and V has only 5. If one would like to leave chance out

of account, one might hazard the conjecture that the Grtsamadas were most

and the Vi'vamitras and Vamadevas least inclined to invoke or mention

minor and dual deities, while the Vasisthas recognized the largest and the

Vi'vamitras the smallest number of them.

In view of the fact that the majority of the passages of the hymns dealing

with Rudra are concerned with deprecating his wrath and averting his weapon

and malevolence 28 and of the frequent occurrence of the verb nir-ava-dati

(dyati) 'to appease or satisfy (him) by giving him (a share) '-less frequently

ava-dyati (PB. 16, 1, 12; 9B. 1, 7, 2, 6)-the absence of the former and the

rarity of the latter compound, which occurs only in 2, 33, 5 in the Rgveda-

samhita (for the act compare 7, 40, 5), cannot in my opinion be regarded as a

weighty argument in favour of the supposition that most rgvedic families

were hardly acquainted with this practice.

Unlike Agni's names and epithets jatavedas 'knower of beings', silnuh

sahasah 'son of overwhelming power', and yavistha 'the youngest' which

occur in all six maindalas, vailvanara 'belonging to all men' is wanting in II;

apim napit 'descendant of waters' and irjo napat 'descendant of strength'

in IV; g.rhapati ' master of the house ' in III; vispati ' chief of the settlement'

27 There are some names of single and dual deities that are foreign to these mandalas.

28 See especially H. Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda, 4th ed., Stuttgart and Berlin, 1927, 307 f.


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in IV; damilnas ' belonging or devoted to the house ' in II and VI ; trisadastha

'having a triple seat ' occurs in V and VI; vedisad ' sitting on the vedi ' in IV.

Whereas I would attach no importance 29 to the above names there cannot be

dispute over the fact that the opinions of the 'families' were divided over a

representative of Agni in the comparatively old Apri formulary. With two

exceptions (3, 29, 11; 10, 92, 2) Agni's epithet taninapit always occurs in the

second stanza of the Apri hymns (also in 3, 4, 2), but not in the Apri hymns

of II, V and VII (2, 3, 2; 5, 5, 2; 7, 2, 2); in IV and VI there are no Apri

hymns. These facts may suggest that the Vi'vamitras had a predilection for

this name, while the other families tried to avoid or ignore it. Another name

for the same god, nardsamsa, occurs in the second stanzas of the AprI hymns

2, 3; 5, 5; 7, 2 and at 2, 3, 2 and 3, 29, 11.30

29 Most compounds with the very frequent rta '(sacred) Order' are, though rather rare,

fairly well distributed: rtacit ' conversant with Order' (4 occurrences) is found in IV, V, VII;

rtajita ' born of rta ' in III, V, VI, VII; rtajiia ' knowing rta ' in IV, V, VII; rtani ' leading in

accordance with rta ' only in II; rtapdi 'guarding rta ' in VI and VII, etc.

30 See also Bergaigne, op. cit., 18.

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