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|Grundriss der Indo-arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde 

(ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INDO-ARYAN RESEARCH) 

BEGRUNDET VON G. BOHLER, FORTGESETZT VON F. KIELHORN, 

, HERAUSGEGEBEN VON H. LCDERS UND J. WACKERNAGEL. 

rn. BAND, I. HEFT B. 


EPIC MYTHOLOGY 


H. WASHBURN HOPKINS 

49363 


STRASSBURG 

VERLAG VON KARL J. TROBNER 

1915 

All rights reserved. 



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Jjq3><o 3 



GRUNDRISS DER INDO-ARISCHEN PHILOLOGIE UND ALTERTUMSKUNDE 

(ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INDO-ARYAN RESEARCH) 

BEGRUNDET VON G. BUHLER, FORTGESETZT VON F. KIELHORN, 
HERAUSGEGEBEN VON H. LUDERS UND J. WACKERNAGEL. 

III. BAND, I. HEFT B. 


EPIC MYTHOLOGY 


BY 

E. WASHBURN HOPKINS. 


I. INTRODUCTION. 

§ i. Date of Epic Poetry. — The mythology of the two epics of 
India represents in general the belief of the people of Northern India |\ 
along the lower Ganges within a few centuries of the Christian era. For 
the Mahabharata the time from 300 B. C. to 100 B. C. appears now to be 
thd most probable date, though excellent authorities extend the limits from 
400 B. C. to _4po AJD. The Mahabharata as a whole is later than the 
‘Ramay'ana; but R is metrically more advanced, the work of one author, 
a skilled metrician, who has improved the rougher epic form of the 
Mahabharata, as his work represents a life less rude than that depicted in 
the great popular epic, this being the work of many hands and of different 
times. Both epics have received long additions. The germ of the Maha¬ 
bharata has been referred to the Vedic period and the Ramayana has been 
assigned to pre-Buddhistic times (its germ also recognised as Vedic), but 
the data, in part negative, oppose the assumption that either epic poem 
existed before the fourth century B. C. Discussion is futile without a careful 
definition of the word “germ”. That the Ramayana was the norm, according 
to which the Mahabharata was built, or that the Ramayana was completed 
as it is to-day (barring the first and last books) before the Mahabharata was 
begun, are theses impossible to establish. The Ramayana has two flagrant 
additions, books one and seven. The Mahabharata has been increased by 
the late addition of the HarivaqiSa (perhaps 200 A. D.), and much of the)] 
first book is late. By the fourth century this epic was recognised as a 
poem of one hundred thousand verses, and it has been argued ‘) that this 
implies the existence of the HarivaipSa at that time. Such may be the case, 

') For example, by Professor Macdoneli, Sanskrit Literature, p.267. The reasons 
for assuming an earlier date for both epics than that accepted above are set forth in this 
chapter of Macdonell’s work. In regard to the kernel of the great epic, referred to about 
1000 B. C., it may be questioned whether the war between Kurus and Paficalas is the 
historical germ of the epic at all. Professor Winternitz, Geschichte der Indischen 
Literatur, p. 396, arguing from the fact that the Tipifaka does not know either epic, 
though it shows acquaintance with the story of Rama, assumes the termini 400 B. C. to 
400 A. D. for the present Mahabharata. The Ramayana, he thinks, was "made by Valmlki 
probably in the fourth or third century B. C.” (p. 439), before the Mahabharata had its 
present form. Professor Jacobi in his excellent work, Das Ramayana, regarding the 
Mbh. as due to the influence of Valmlki (p. 78), is inclined to assign a much greater age 
to the Ramayapa..The germ of the Mbh. appears, however, to be older than the Ram.; it 
represents a ruder age as well as a ruder art. 

Indo-arische Philoiogie III. i b. 


1 



2 


III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


since the (corrected) Northern version contains 84,126 verses, which, with 
the 16,375(526) verses of the HarivaipSa, make 100,501(651) verses. But, 
on the other hand, it might be said, from the off-hand way the Hindus 
have- of assigning a round number of verses to a poem, that they would 
be quite likely to refer to an epic even approximating one hundred thousand 
verses as a poem of a lakh of verses. Now the Southern recension, in so 
far as the recently published text represents it, has twelve thousand more 
verses than the Northern recension and, without the HarivaipSa, contains 
96,578 verses (or prose equivalents) 1 ), not including the circa two hundred 
extra verses of single manuscripts. It is therefore doubtful whether the 
attribution of a lakh of verses necessarily implies the existence, as part 
of the lakh, of the Harivaip^a. Yet on the whole this is probable, owing 
to the fact that the expansion in S appears for the most part to be due 
rather to the inclusion of new material than to the retention of old pas¬ 
sages. Important is the fact for the mythologist that the HarivaipSa is more 
closely in touch with Puranic than with epic mythology. It is in fact a 
Purana, and “epic mythology” may properly exclude it, as it may exclude 
the Uttara in the Ramayana, though both are valuable here and there to 
complement epic material. In no case, however, may passages from either 
of these additions be assumed to represent epic ideas, although of course 
epic ideas may be contained in them. It is most probable that ^anti and 
AnuSasana were books (XII and XIII) added to the original epic, but 
equally clear that they were included in the Mahabharata containing a 
lakh of verses. They may be looked upon in general as later though not 
modern additions 2 ), yet as we know that one portion of Santi has been 
enlarged in quite, moderti times *), there should be no hesitation in granting 
that passages may have been added at any time within the last few cen¬ 
turies. The palpable additions made in the interest of sectarian belief in 
the Southern recension are merely an indication of what has probably 
happened in both epics. — Geographically, the Mahabharata represents the 
western and the Ramayana the eastern districts of Northern India, but 
only in a limited sense (circa Delhi to Benares). In general it may be 
said that middle India between the Ganges and Nerbudda was the country 
most familiar to the poets of both epics. North and South are fabulous but 
travelled lands. The Punjab is better known but lies remote. 

' § 2. The Concept Deva. — Epic mythology, however, is fairly consis¬ 

tent. There is no great discrepancy between the character of any one god 
in Mbh. and that of the .same god in R. Nor is the character of gods very 
different in different parts of Mbh., save ,for the sectarian tendency to 
invert the positions of the three highest gods in favor of the sect. There 
are of course differences, but not such as to imply that we are dealing 
with totally diverse conceptions or traditions. In both epics the older gods 


*) In reckoning the verses of the Northern recension, account must he taken of the 
egregious typographical errors in the Calcutta edition, which in Vana fnake eleven thousand 
odd into seventeen thousand odd verses, in Udyoga convert six thousand one hundred into 
seven thousand, etc. The Bombay Vana has 11,712 verses as contrasted with 12,082 in the 
Southern (S) recension. The total sum 84,126 is the number for C as corrected by B. As 
an indication of the difference between S and B-C, Adi has 11,080 verses in S, 8479 in C. 

*) Sand in S has 15,030 and AnuSasana 11,184 verses, as contrasted with 13,943 and 
7,796 in the Northern recension. Holtzmann, Das Mahabharata, I, 194, argued for a 
modem epic throughout, but this view has not been substantiated. 

5 ) In Sand, Parv. 342 to 353, S has many more sectarian additions in honor of the 
Narayatja lauded in these interpolated chapters. 


II. The Lower Mythology. 


3 


are reduced in estate, in so far as they represent personifications of nature; 
in both, new gods are throned above the old. The conception Deva, god, 
embraces all spiritual characters, as it is said, "the gods beginning with 
Brahman 1 and ending with PiSacas" (Brahmadayafi PiSacanta ya - ip hi 
deva upasate) 1 ), but loosely, so that in the very clause thus specifying 
the host of gods, &va, as the greatest god, is set in antithesis to them 
all as the one being through devotion to whom even Krsna-Vi§nu' per¬ 
vades the universe. Nor is the world of men without close kinship withl 
the gods, who descend to earth and are reborn as mortals. Not Vi§nu| 
alone but those who worship him become earthly Avatars. KuSika is per¬ 
meated with Indra, and Gadhi, son of KuSika, is in reality son of Indra; 
in other words, for the purpose of having a son Gadhi, Indra becomes 
incorporate; Gadhi is Indra on earth (putratvam agamad rajarps tasya 
loke^vareSvaralj, Gadhir nama 'bhavat putralj KauSikab Paka- 
Sasanab, 12,49,6). 

II. THE LOWER MYTHOLOGY. 

§ 3. Definition. — It is obvious that a mythology which on the one hand 
touches upon that of the Puranas and on the other reaches back to the 
Vedic age may best be presented chronologically, and this would be the 
casi were it not that there is -an aspect of mythology which does not fit 
into this scheme. This will be referred to again under the head of General 
Characteristics. At present it will suffice to say that at all times in India 
there has been under the higher'mythology of gods and great demons a 
lower mythology of spiritualised matter less remote than the gods of sun, 
storm, etc., and less remote even than the recognised spirits inhabiting 
yet not confined to such matter, spirits that receive their proper recognition 
in the pantheon. Though this lower mythology has various aspects which 
blend it with the higher, as in the case of the Corn-mother already absorbed 
into a title of a high goddess, yet in part it stands aloof and may be 
treated separately, at least in its broad divisions of river- and mountain- 
mythology, the lesser traits of divine trees and pools being more con¬ 
veniently discussed under the head of the divinities into whose province 
the lower spirits have been drawn. 

§ 4. Divine Rivers. — Water has always had a healing (hence 
supernatural or divine) power. The epic recognises this, but in conjunction 
with the act of a god. Thus a god revives, the dead with a handful of 
water, though a divine fiat is sufficient for this purpose, or the use of a 
magical plant*). But as a self-conscious power, aiding the right, water also 
dries up before a sinful priest, who tries to escape by way of water (as 
a guard against evil influence; compare the popular notion that evil spirits 
cannot pass running water). Water is also a divine witness against wrong, 
for which reason one who curses or takes any oath touches water, as 
one does in accepting a gift. In fact in any solemn event a sort of bap- 

*) This inclusion of PHacas under Devas occurs in the exaltation of Siva in 13,14, 4 
and verses added in S to 13,45. Ordinarily the Devas exclude the demons; they are as 
light to darkness, but (as shown below) all spiritual beings are sons of the Father-god and 
so all are divine. It is rather the nature of the individual which determines whether he is 
"god" or “demon", than the class to which he is assigned. 

*) See the writer's paper on Magic Observances in the Hindu Epic (Am. 
Philosophical Society, vol. XLIX). In 12,153,113,8 has papina for caksu§a, For 
the other examples, see 3, 136,•■gf.; 1, 74, 30; 3, no, 32; and the cases cited, loc. cit. 

1 * 



4 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


tism of water takes place, for water is one of the "three purities”. As 
truth is another "purity", a speaker of the truth can walk over water 
without sinking 1 ). The priestly influence predominant in the epics pro¬ 
claims (3, 193, 36) the sin-expelling quality of water sprinkled by the hand 
of a priest, and this is the idea of the Tirtha, that it has been made 
effective through an outer influence, priestly or divine, which imparts 
power to wash away ill-luck and sin or to bestow upon the bather “beauty 
and fortune” (3, 47, 29:82, 43 f.). But the cult of such powers, though 
constantly recommended by the less orthodox writers of the epic, is not 
in conformity with the sacred writings and is not infrequently depreciated, 
as a degatithi or “cultivator of places” stands opposed to the view that 
“all rivers are Sarasvatls” (12, 264, 40), that is, all rivers are Holy in them¬ 
selves; though certainly the modified view, for example that “rivers are 
hallowed if Rama bathes in them” (R 2, 48, 9), is normal. This example 
also shows that rivers and ponds are regarded as living persons, to whom 
ithe predicate krtapunyah (blessed or hallowed) can properly apply. Es¬ 
pecially holiness attaches to the Payo§ni, because of its relics; to the 
Cauvery, because of its nymphs; to the Godavari, because of its saints and 
^contact with Rama; to the Ganges, because of Rama’s passage over it; 
and -to any union of river with river or with ocean, because the sacred 
Inature of each is doubled by contact with the other (3, 85, 22 f. and 
R 4, 4 1 , 15). The Cauvery is “half the Ganges” but at the same time is 
wife of Jahnu and daughter of YuvanaSva (H 1421 f.), as all rivers are 
wives of ocean, though not always so completely anthropomorphised 2 ). 
Offerings are made to rivers and they are invoked for aid as divine beings 
(R 2, 55, 4 f.; ibid. 4, 40, 9), the offerings when made by Sita being a 
thousand cows and a hundred jars of brandy, perhaps intended eventually 
,for the priests. Although over a hundred and sixty divine rivers are 
fjmentioned by name (6, 9, 14f.; ibid. 11, 31 f.,' 3, r88, 102f.; ibid. 222, 22f.; 
V13, 166, 19f.) and the Ramayana says that five hundred rivers furnished 
water for Rama’s consecration (R < 5 , 131, 53), yet the time-honored designa¬ 
tion Five Rivers is still used (Indus being the sixth) to designate a group 
sometimes also vaguely called the Seven Rivers, this latter group including 
the Ganges (see below). The Five are named as the (modern) Sutlej, Beas, 
Ravi, Chinab, and Jhelum (8, 44, 31 f.). As the rivers are recipients of 
offerings, so in turn they make to Indra an offering of praise .but are 
overawed by the presence of ^iva and, like the birds, when he appears, 
cease to make a sound (3, 96, 6; 5, 17, 22). Their bestowal of purification 
Imay be unconscious, owing to their divine purity, but they consciously 
\save as well. Thus the Beas and Samaftga (3, 139, 9f.; 13, 3 , 13) act 
consciously in saving a man from drowning. All these rivers used to 
bear gold, but now only Ganges has that bye-product of diva’s seed (7, 
56, 6, etc.). The mental state of rivers is often alluded to as a matter 
of course. They are troubled in mind, run backward in fear, or cease to 
flow in mental distress .(8, 94, 49; R 5> 16, 4, etc.). Ganges converses 
with Ocean and explains why huge trees but not slender reeds are carried 
on her waves (the trees resisting are overwhelmed, the reeds by bending 

*) Both Pj-thu Vainya and Difipa, as "speakers of truth” pass over water without 
sinking, even in a battle-car (7, 61, 9 f-; 69, 9). 

2 ) For further references, see The Sacred Rivers of India in (the Toy volume) 
Studies in the History of Religions, p.215. Few rivers are masculine, though male 
rivers, Indus, Oxus, Lohita, 809a, etc., are representatives of the masculine form (but also 
Sona, fem.) and Ocean is ‘‘lord of rivers male and rivers female" (R 3, 35, 7, etc.). 




II. The Lower Mythology. 


5 


escape destruction, 12,. 113, 2 f.); she also explains to Uma the habits of 
good women (13, 146, 17 f.). The river is sometimes a reborn saint, as the 
Cosy (KauiikI) is an Avatar of Satyavati, wife of ViSvamitra (R 1, 34, 8), 
As in the Puranas Gauri, wife of Prasenajit, became the river Bahuda. On 
the other hand, the Nerbudda (Narmada) became the wife of the king 
Purukutsa (15, 20, 13). This river fell in love with a Duryodhana, by 
whom she had a fair daughter, SudarSana, whose son in turn married 
Oghavatl and “half of her became a river” (13, 2, 18 f.). A crooked river, 
hence evil, may be in effect an evil woman reborn. Thus Amba remained 
in life half as a human .being and half as a crooked river (5, 186, 41). 
Sons of rivers are human heroes. Bhisma is son of Ganges; Srutayudha 
is son of the river ParnaSa, by Varuna (cf. § 63; 7, 92, 44 f.); Dusyanta 
is great-great-grandson of the Sarasvatl, whose son was Sarasvata. £ukti- 
matl was a river who became the mother of a son by a mountain (1, 63, 
35f.; ibid. 95, 27; 9, 51, I 7 f.). As intimated apropos of Amba, a river 
may represent sinful power, but the Vaitarani is the only river leading 
to hell, under' the name Puspodaka (Vaitarani being a sacred stream of 
Kalinga as well as the river of hell, 3, 200, 58; 8, 77, 44). The Yamuna 
(Jumna) is called Kalindl from the mountain Kalinda, and its place of union 
with the Ganges is celebrated as holy (Bharadvaja’s hermitage is there); but it 
is often omitted from lists where it might be expected to appear, as in 13,146, 
x8f.', where Ganges is the glorious last of a list of sacred rivers: VipaSa 
ca Vitasta ca Candrabhaga Iravatl,’fsatadrur Devika Sindhub 
KauSiki GautamI tatha, tatha devanadi ce ’yaip sarvatlrtha- 
bhisaqibhrta, gaganad garp gata dev! Ganga sarvasaridvara. 
Ganges is here apparently derived from her "going” (cf. Sarasvatl and 
European parallels from roots meaning go or run). She is the most com¬ 
pletely personified of all the holy rivers, not only as mother of Bhisma, 
Gaugeya, apagasuta, apageya, nadija, and ofKumara (Kumarasu, 
H 1081) but as co-wife with Uma of fsiva, and as assuming human form, 
to become wife of fsantanu (1, 98, 5). She is called "daughter of Jahnu” 
(ibid. 18), Jahnusuta and Jahnavl, and “daughter of Bhaglratha”, by adoption, 
though her true patronymic it not Bhagirathl but Haimavatl (6, 119, 97), 
as she is the daughter of the Himalaya mountain. Her title among the 
gods is Alakananda, and as she is regarded as identified with other streams 
so she is identified with Puspodaka Vaitarani (1, 170, 22). Usually she is 
spoken of as threefold, three-pathed, as in 6, 6 , 28 f., where Sarasvatl, 
Ganges, is said to issue from the world of Brahman and to fall like milk 
from Mount Meru into the lake of the moon, which her own fall has created, 
after being upheld for one hundred thousand years on- diva’s head. She 
is said to be both visible and invisible and is represented as divided into 
seven streams, the names of which vary but appear in the Mahabharata 
as (6, 6, 50) Vasvaukasara, NalinI, PavanI, JambunadI, Slta, Ganga, and 
Sindhu. In the Ramayana (1, 43, 12) the HladinI and Sucaksu take the 
place of the first and fourth. She appeared first at Bindusaras (6, 6, 44b; 
R l) 43 > 10),, when Bhaglratha induced her to come to earth to baptise the 
bones of Sagara’s sons, since till that was done these sons could not attain 
to heaven ( 3 , 108, 18). The famous story of her descent is told in R 1, 43. 
As she sank when weary upon the lap of Bhaglratha, she is said to have 
chosen him for her father (cf. 3, 109, 18f.; and 7, 60, 6f.). The Southern 
recension says that she was angry at being forced to go to hell and got 
caught in diva’s hair (cf. R 1, 43, 5). She is three-fold as the river of 


Ac 



6 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

sky, earth, and the lower regions, tripathaga, trilokaga, etc., and her 
titles incorporated into Tirthas called Tri-Gaiiga and Sapta-Gaiiga, Sapta- 
Sarasvata-Tfrtha (3,84, 29; 13, 25, 6f.) preserve the double account. As 
the three-pathed Ganges, she is called venlkrtajala (R 2, 50, 16, here 
“wife of Ocean"), but the post-epical Triveni refers to the mystic union 
of “three-stranded” Ganges with the Yamuna and (lesser) Sarasvati at 
Prayaga (Allahabad), At this place the holiness of the river exceeds all 
bounds. A bath at Prayaga, “the lap of earth”, imparts more virtue than 
do all the Vedas, and Ganges is here “the one Tirtha of the (Kali) age” 
( 3 ) 85, 75 and 90). Ganges and Yamuna are invoked together by Sita 
(R 2, 52, 82 f.). At the entrance to the ocean (it is said, 1, 170, I9f.), Ganges 
divides into seven streams (cf. 6, 119, 76 and 7, 36, 13) and “one is purified 
from sin who drinks the waters of Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati (Plak§ajata), 
Rathastha, Sarayu, Gomati, or Gandaki.” According to R 1, 43, 12 f., there 
is a (later) division into the three Ganges of the East, namely the HladinI, 
PavanI, and Nalini; those of the West, Sucaksu (Oxus?), Sita, andSindhu ; 
and, seventh, “she who became Bhagiratha’s daughter". In this epic too 
the origin of Ganges’s title Jahnavf is explained. Jahnu swallows Ganges 
because he is disturbed by her flood but lets her out through his ears on 
condition that she be known as his issue. The same late book of R makes 
Manorama (or Mena) the lAother of Ganges (R 1, 35, 16). This nymph was 
daughter of Mount Meru, and wife of Himavat, and bore him two daughters, 
Ganga and Uma (a Puranic legend). Ganges’s place of origin (Gangotri), the 
so-called Gate, Gangadvara (Hardwar), the place of her union with Yamuna, 
and, fourth, the place where she "unites with Ocean” (debouches into 
the gulf of Bengal), have always been the most sacred spots in her course. 
Gangadvara (13, 166, 26) and Prayaga are the most famous in the epic. 
The river has stairs (ghats), gold in her bosom, etc. As a divine being 
she is “destroyer of sin”, identical with PrSni (“mother of Visnu”) and 
with Vac, and renowned as “daughter of Himavat, wife of &va, and mother 
of Skanda”. She is also called VisnupadI (coming from Visnu’s toe? See 
13, 26, a chapter devoted to her, and R 2, 50, 26; VP. 4, 4, 15.) As above, 
she is also “wife of Ocean” as well as wife of £iva (3, 99, 32; 187, 19; 

R 2, 50, 25). Mandakinl is a name she shares with earthly rivers (5, HI, 
12, etc.). AkaSaganga ("of the air”) is her heavenly name (3, 142, 11). On 
the special adoration paid by Skanda’s form to Ganges, see Skanda (§ 161). 
DevanadT and SuranadI, “river of the gods”, are common titles in both 
epics; LokanadI, river of the world, is found S 1, 186, 2. Shejs so anthro- 
pomorphised that when her son is fighting she appears on his chariot, 
holding the reins for him and guarding his life, as she previously gives 
him advice (5, 178, 68; 182, 12 f.). There is no epic authority for the belief 
that children were flung into the Ganges as sacrifices, though jhasas 
abound there (1, 228, 32). 

§ 5. Divine Trees and Groves. — Many trees are holy from association ♦ 
with the gods. Thus the £aml is the birth-place of Agni (13,85,44) and 
the ASvattha, representing the male element in the production of fire, is 
also tabu (only ascetics live on its fruit), while all the samidhas, wood 
for sacrificial fires, £fre sacrosanct, PalaSa as well as Pippala (A 3 vattha), 
and £ami, and perhaps the tabu-trees, pratisiddhanna, the “fruit.of 
which is forbidden”, have a previous religious use as the reason for the 
tabu. These include besides those just mentioned the Vata (ficus indica), 
^aija (cannabis sativa), isaka (tectona grandis) and the Udumbara (ficus 



II. The Lower Mythology. 


7 


~ glomerata) ’). The ASvattha is the chief of trees (it represents the life-tree) 
and typifies that tree of life which is rooted in God above (6, 34, 26; 
39, 1 f.). To revere this tree is to worship God. Visnu is identified with 
the Nyagrodha and Udumbara and ASvattha (13,126, 5 and 149, 101). The 
famous Nyagrodha ofVrndavana (mentioned only in S 2, 53, 8 f.) is called 
Bhancjira. Otherwise no local tree except the Ak§aya-Vata of Gaya is 
noticed in the texts. It is so called because it immortalises the offerings 
given there to the Manes, marking the spot where the Asura Gaya fell 
or made sacrifice. It is not interpreted to mean an undying tree 2 ). A mound 
or sacred edifice makes holy the tree upon it and in a village the “one 
tree” which is conspicuous is said to be caitya arcanTyalj supujitafi, 
that is, revered like a divinity (1,151,33, grama-druma). An unholy tree 
is the Vibhitaka (entered by Kali; see 3, 66, 41). Trees are sentient beings, 
able to hear, move, see, feel, as philosophically proved in 12, 184,10 f. 
The trees themselves wish to do this or that (S 7 , 16, 14), as distinct from 
the dryads or spirits in the tree, “goddesses born in trees, to be wor¬ 
shipped by those desiring children” (S 3, 231, 16, has Vrksika as dryad; 

B Vrddhika). The ten Pracetas married a “tree-girl”, Vark$T (1, 196, 15). 
Such spirits.of trees are revered especially in the Karanja tree (3, 230, 55), 
where dwells the tree-mother. The “daughter of the Red Sea”, Lohitayani, 
the nurse of Skanda, is worshipped under a Kadamba tree (3, 230,41). 
isiva himself is not only the “tree” par excellence (S 7, 203, 32); he is 
formally identified with the Bakula, sandal-wood, and Chada trees (13, 
17, 110). Gods, saints, and demi-gods live in and resort to trees (1, 30,2; 
13,58, 29). It is, however, not the spirits in trees but the trees themselves 
that beg boons, enjoy marriage (with human beings), talk (§ 12 c), grant 
wishes, and, in some favored localities, go about at will. 3 ) A lamp is offered 
to the Karanjaka tree itself, and to cut down trees on the day of the new > 
moon is a sin equal to that of murdering a priest (13, 123, 8 and 127,3). 
The moo n is here the sou rce o fvegetal energy. The five trees of Paradise 
can be transplanted to earth, and Krsna thus robs Indra of the Parijata 
tree ( 5 , 130,49). The Saqitanaka tree is found also in the world of cows 
(13, 81, 23) and in the heavenly hills of the North (5, hi, 13); it is mentioned 
with the Parijata (3,231,23). The Parijata in H7i68f., is identified with 
the Mandara tree, another heavenly, divya, tree, the flowers of which are 
offered by the Vidyadharas to the sun (3,3,42; all the allusions are late). 
The trees that grant wishes, Kalpavrksas (1,219, 3 ), are either magical or 
heavenly, but on occasion are to be found on earth (1, 29, 40; cf. kappa- 

') See the account in 13,104,92, and'cf. 12, 40, II; 13,14,58; the Palana is butea 
frondosa and the Pippala is the ficus religiosa. One may not use Palana wood to make a 
seat nor Tindukawood for toothpicks, though sinners do so (7, 73, 38; omitted in C but 
found in B and S). 

z ) See the writer's Great Epic of India, p. 83, note 2, and the references 3,84, 
83; 87, it; 95, 14; 7, 66, 20; 13, 88, 14; R 2, 107, 13. In general, all Caitya trees are homes 
of spirits (12, 69, 41 f.). 

3 ) Compare 7, 69, 5 f.; 3, 115, 35 f. Tree-marriages are still practiced (JAOS. 22, 
pp. 228 and 328) to avoid the evil effect of a marriage with a third human bride (the tree 
is made to receive the threatened disaster). Trees going about at will (5, 100, 15, etc.) 
generally produce any kind of fruit or flower, i. e. they are magical trees belonging to 
some superior region. They are called kamacarin and kamapuspaphala in Hiraijtyapur 
(loc, cit.). The dryads are vegetal divinities that eat human flesh and have to be appeased 
with offerings, though the tree-mother is kind (3, 230, 356), but the sentient trees are 
usually kindly, as all of them used to be (7, 69, 5 f.). On seeing golden trees, as a sign 
of death, cf. JAOS. 30, p. 35 b 




8 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


rukkho). The Kalamra tree~is a mango a league high east of Meru (6, 
7, 14 f.). Its juice gives immortal youth. SudarSana is the name of the 
Jambuvrk§a, which grants all desires. It is one thousand and one hundred 
leagues high, touching the sky, and like the preceding tree (of BhadraSva 
Dvipa) is frequented by saints and heavenly beings. It bears red gold in 
its juice which makes a river flowing around Meru to the Uttara (Northern) 
Kurus (6,7, 20 f.). The Ganges rises from the root of the great jujube tree 
on Kailasa (3, 142,4^; 145,51). 

These individual heavenly trees grow between earth and heaven and 
it is on the mountains that the divine groves are found. The grove of 
Deodars (13,25,27), the grove of Kadalis on Mt. Gandhamadana (3,146, 
51 f.) are typical of the vanaip divyam or devaranyani (5, 14,6; 186, 
27), which are sacred to the gods and in which the gods perform religious 
rites. Such a sacred grove is found by Yudhisthira on his journey (3,118,9f.), 
where there are_ altars (shriries) of saints and gods, Vasus, Maruts, (Ganas), 
ASvins, Yama, Aditya, Kubera, Indra, Visnu, Savitr, Bhava, Candra, the 
maker of day (Surya), the lord of waters (Varuna), the troops of Sadhyas, 
Dhatr, the Pitrs, Rudra with his troop, Sarasvati, the troop of Siddhas, 
“and whatever immortals there be”. These groves are the parallel to the 
nemus and lucus of the Roman, Teuton, etc. 

§ 6. Divine Mountains. — Every mountain is a potential divinity, 
as well as a resort of the gods, Gandharvas, etc. The mountains north of 1 
India lend themselves especially well to the hotion that snow-clad hills 
pierce heaven, but as these mountains are invisible from the lower habitat 
of the epic poets, most of the particular descriptions must have been 
generalised from hearsay. The range south of the Ganges is treated more 
familiarly. Here lies, for example, the mountain referred to above, who 
begot a son on a river (1,63,35!.) and a daughter who became wife of 
Vasu, Girika. This mountain, Kolahala, is expressly "intelligent”. Mountains 
speak (R 5, 1, ill, Mainaka in human form; cf. 12, 333, 30 as echo, 334, 25); 
they revere ^iva and Indra (13, 14, 399; 5, 17, 22); and they are themselves 
revered (1, 220, 6; 13, 166, 31 f.; 14, 59, 4f.), as is one in a mahas tasya 
mahagireh or “feast in honor of the mountain”, by the offerings of fruits, 
flowers, etc. In 2, 21, 20, a hill called Caityaka is revered as the place 
where a maipsada f§abha (minotaur) was slain, the help of the mountain 
being perhaps implied. Hills bewail Slta (R 3, 52, 39). The mountain Ari$ta 
wakes at dawn, opens his eyes of metal, stretches his arms of Deodars; 
yawns with peaks; speaks in waters (R 5, 56, 10f.). The high place espe¬ 
cially favored by the gods as their meeting-ground as well as dwelling- 
place, is always a hill, the higher the better; hence a preference for the 
northern mountains as tridaSanaip samagamaff, “assembly of gods” 
( 3 , 39 . 40), where, on the top of Himavat, they sacrificed of old (7, 54, 25), 
for this is the locality “beloved of gods” (3, 37, 39). “Seven Mountains” 
(like other sevens) designates the several ancient “doors of.heaven”, 
renowned as Kulaparvatas in 6, 9, 11. The Seven are the Orissa chain, 
the southern part of the Western Ghats, and the northern part (these three 
beeing called Mahendrd, Malaya, and Sahya), the range called ^uktimat 
(in the east), the Gondwana range called Rk§avat, the (Eastern) Vindhya, 
and the Northern/ and Western Vindhya called Pariyatra; among which 
Mahendra (from which Hanumat leaps, R 4, 67, 43) is best known to the 
epic poets as a sacred place (R 5, 43, 5; Mbh. 1, 215, 13; 3, 85, 16, etc.; 
R 4, 42, 18 f., Pariyatra as Western). In 14, 43 , 3 f., seven trees and twelve 



II. The Lower Mythology. 


9 


mountains are called “kings", but in calling Arjuna the "eighth mountain” 
(S 4i 3, 36) the epic reverts to the old phraseology*). Legends abound in 
regard to the mountains as holy beings as well as holy places. Like saints 
and gods they perform sacrifice (12, 321, 182). “Wingless” (and winged) 
mountains refers to the legend (R 5, I, 125) of Tndra cutting off the wings 
(clouds) of mountains and making «arth firm (RV.,2,,12, 2; MS. 1, io, 13), 
as this expression is used e. g. in 7, 26, 65 and ib. 37; also 7, 103, 6 (at 
the present day mountains do not move as of old); R 3, 51, 4, etc. Himavat 
is ioailaguru (9, 51, 34) and his son is Mainaka, whose son in turn is 
Kraunca, who, however, is also called son of Himayat. Mainaka alone 
escaped when Indra cut off the wings of other mountains, and this mountain 
appears as type of stability (7, 3, 4f.; 9, I2f.), as it sto&d firm against 
Nagari (Indra). It lies north of Kailasa, beyond Kraunca (R 4, 43, 31); a 
barrier against Asuras (R 5, I, 93) and in it Maya deposited, near Bindu- 
saras, a mass of gems. It has a vinaSana (cleft), where Aditi cooked 
food for the sake of her son of old (3, 135, 3). It escaped Indra’s design 
and Ocean gave it refuge (1, 21, 15). Mainaka’s son, Kraunca (R 6, 67, 19), 
is the White Mountain of silver as contrasted with “golden Himavat” (3, 
188, 112; 13, 166, 30f.)J but also "golden” (R 6, 126, 14). Seven-headed 
dragons guard it and - in it is a golden lake, where the mothers of (Skanda) 
Kumara nursed him. Shot at by Skanda, Kraunca fled but returned and 
was pierced and “fell shrieking” and then again fled (3, 225, iof.; 9, 46, 
84). Though son of Himavat and Menaka it is called “Rudra’s seed” (3, 
229, 28), that is, it consists in the seed of the god, elsewhere described 
as the seed of Agni-Rudra cast into Ganges (8, 90,68; 9, 17, 51; 44, 9 \ 
13, 85, 68). R 7, 104, 6, however, makes all mountains from the bones of 
Madhu and Kaitabha (creation of Rama-Visnu). Mainaka leaps out of ocean 
to hinder Hanumat (R 5, 1, 92 f.; “mountains under the sea”, ib. 3, 33, 6). 
It lies “in the West” according to 3,89, 11. 

The Vindhya legend represents that home of plants and metals (13, 
166, 31) as angry with the sun for refusing to walk the deasil around it 
(as men and gods should “walk the deasil” around a divine mountain, 
x, 220, 6) and hence as growing to obstruct the sunlight despite the request 
of the gods to stop. Agastya persuaded it to let him pass over and not 
grow till he returned and the Vindhya still awaits the saint’s return (3, 
103, 16 and 104, 12 f.). The belief in a totem-mountain obtains. Baladhi, 
the Saint, desired an immortal son; the gods granted a son whose life 
should not end till the object in which his life was bound up should perish. 
The life of the son Medhavin was therefore bound up in an “indestructible” 
mountain, but being sinful he provoked Dhanusaksa, a saint who took the 
form of a buffalo and destroyed the mountain, and therewith Medhavin 
also. Dhanu$ak§a in S transforms himself into the buffalo; other versions 
make the animals the means used by the saint (S 3, 135, 52f.). Other 
mountains sacred if not so personally conceived as is the case with Mandara, 
Krauffca, Mainaka, and Himavat, are the mount where the ark landed 
( 3 ,i 11 87 i 5 °» N aubandhana); the hill Govardhana, upheld by Kr§na (5, 130, 

*) The Seven Mountains, known as doors of heaven, appear in Veche literature (TS. 3, 
12, 2, 9; 6, 2, 4, 3). Viftiu is here the lord of hills, not Siva (3, 4, 5, 1). In Sakadvipa the 
seven remain in epic descriptions (6, 11, 13). BhrgutuAga, Agastyavata and Mt. Kuftjara, 
"Vasistha’s mountain”, and other peaks show that saints as well as gods live on the hills, 
the sanctity of which destroys sin, as in the case of Hemakufa (Rsabhakuta), the “divine 
grove of Brahman”, where silence must be observed, tustjiTm assva (3, 114, 16). Hariv. has 
Purajjic additions (Meghagiri, 12846, etc.). 


io III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


46, etc.); Mahendra, where~Rama lived after extirpating the warriors (7, 
70, 21 f.); the beryl-mountain on the Narmada where KauSika drank Soma 
with the Alvins and Cyavana paralysed Indra (3, 89, 13 and 121, 19); Man- 
dara (R 3, 47, 39), used by the gods to churn the ocean (i, 18, 13; R 1, 
45=46, 18 f.); Gandhamadana, home of medicinal plants and groves leading 
to heaven (7, 139, 86, etc.). Mandara lies east of Meru and Gandhamadana 
and is the home of Kubera and his Yaksas, hurled to its place in the 
east by the hand of Visnu (3, 139, 5; 163, 4; 101, 15). Although placed in 
the north and south as well as the east (5, hi, 12 and 109, 9) and even in 
the west (ib 110,9), it is more regularly an eastern hill and is probably 
the modern Mandaragiri near Bhagalpur. Its ‘‘western’’ location implies 
that its roots extend to the western ocean, as Himavat does also. Gan¬ 
dhamadana is especially the abode of Kubera, though also of Indra; Kailasa 
of fsiva; Meru of Brahman; but all the gods live on occasion on any of 
these. The gods seeking faiva find him on Mandara (7, 94, 57 ), and Brahman 
receives audience on Gandhamadana (6,65,42). Certain mountains, however, 
are formally assigned to certain gods. The demons also live where gods 
live. Raksasas live on Himavat; Guhyakas on Kailasa; serpents and Nagas 
on Nisadha; all the gods and Asuras on the White Mountain (^veta); 
Gandharvas on Nisadha; and Brahmarsis on Nila, ‘‘but the resort of gods 
is the peaked hill” (6,6, 51 f.). As the hills are all peaked with three or 
a hundred peaks assigned to different hills, and only devi ^STndili, 
Agni's mother, is ascribed to Mt. fsrugavat (like Meru it has three peaks), 
a special or general range of peaked hills may be meant. 1 ) Mandara has 
two peaks, is shaped like a bow (R 4, 31, 11; R 5, 22, 27). Himavat is 
described as “a mine of gems of all sorts, cultivated by saints and singers, 
called the holy father-in-law of Sankara” (£>iva, R 4, 11, I2f.; 13, 25, 62). He 
is father of Ganges and Uma (above) and father of Mt. Abu (3, 82, 55). 
Kailasa is the most famous range in Himavat and lies beside the upper 
Ganges near Mt. Mainaka beyond the Northern Kurus (3, 145, 17 f.; \S 1, 
243, 31). Both Kailasa and Gandhamadana have the monster jujube; Krsna 
once lived on Kailasa (3, 12, 43, not S). Later the two are different hills. 
In 6,6, r f., Gandhamadana lies north of Malyavat (the ‘‘flame-encircled” 
home of saints who precede Aruna, 6, 7, 28), which is north of Nisadha, 
which in turn lies west of Kailasa. Mt. Meru has three peaks, reaches 
higher than the sun, has rocks and red sides like other mountains (e. g. 
Citrakuta, R 2, 94, 46), is self-luminous, the abode of gods, etc., and is 
thirty-three thousand leagues in extent and eighty-four thousand'high. On 
its slopes and top sit saints and gods. It lies north of Gandhamadana and 
is especially the home of Prajapati and the spiritual sons of Brahman, and 
there rise and set the seven divine seers. But above its peak is the home 
of Visnu. The sun and stars revolve around it. Yet it is like other hills, 
“beaten by rain”, and appears to be thought of as one among many northern 
hills, having a vinaSana like Mainaka’s (above). Sumeru in Mbh. is not an 
antithetic mountain but an epithet of Meru itself. Meru forms one of seven 
ranges running across Jambudvlpa and is represented by the flag-staff in 
the gods’s allegorical car. Only R Uttara knows Sumeru as the name of 
an independent mountain (R 7, 3$, 19), the home of Kesarin. South and 


*) Cf. 6, 8, 9 and 13, 123, 2 f. &iva and Uma live by predilection in the Karnikara 
grove on Meru; Garuda lives on Hiraumaya; the Gandharvas on Mandara, Meru, etc. 
Harigiri is in KudadvTpa (6, 6, 24f. to 12, II). 



II. The Lower Mythology. 


ii 


east of Meru lie the ranges Ni$adha, Hemakuta (Kailasa), and Himavat, 
the thousand leagues between each making a valley, varsa; and north 
and west of it lie Nila, Ibveta, and ^rngavat (on the sea). KaSyapa (Cas¬ 
pian?) lies farther west and Nagadvipa (S, £aka-) lies south of the whole 
group (6, 6, 56). The oceans are four or seven (several). The original 
cohception is that of four seas around earth, into which run four rivers 
from the middle mountain, and round the flanks of Meru lie the four lands 
BhadraSva, Ketumala, Jambudvipa, and the Northern Kurus (Hyperboreans), 
ib. 12. But the peak of Himavat joins that of Meru (they clash together 
like Symplegades, 12, 334,9 f.). The epic knows nothing of the seven plane¬ 
tary spheres as such (even 13, 16, 34 and 52 do not imply them), and 
nothing of Meru as axis of the world. *) The addition of Maharloka, Jana- 
loka, Tapoloka, and Satyaloka to the epic three, Bhtirloka, Svarloka, and 
Bhuvarloka, is Puranic; it names the previously (Vedic-Epic) seven bhu- 
vanas or worlds hitherto sufficiently understood as a group. Ram. treats 
Meru as if one of the mountains of earth (one flying looks down upon 
Himavat, Vindhya, and Meru from above, R 4, 61, 9), it is “a very big 
hill", a range “like a snake lying in water" (ib.). Its “three peaks" may 
be conventional (cf. R 6, 91, 34). Later epic poets (RG 4, 44, 46; H 12853) 
know a hill Trisrnga (perhaps Himavat, cf. R 6, 69, 24). Mainaka has a 
hundred golden peaks (R 5, I, 105). The Sunrise and Sunset Mountains 
appear to be unmythological; they are merely where the sun may set and 
rise (udyadgiri is unique, R 7, 36, 44), unless Parvata Udyanta = Udaya 
( 3 ) 84, 93 ) whereon the “track of Savitri" is found. Himavat’s "three 
daughters" are known only in H 940 f. Their mother was Mena, spiritual 
daughter, of the Rsis. One, Aparna-Uma, married Siva (q. v.), one, Ekaparna, 
married Asita Devala, and the last, Ekapatala, married Jaigisavya. 

§ 7. Vegetal Divinities. — The epic poets naturally ignore as sepa¬ 
rate divinities those of whom they disapprove and those whom they do 
not understand. Such divinities are sometimes found hidden away in the 
sacred watering-places and sometimes they remain as titles of gods who 
have absorbed them; for the process of absorbing divinities into the name 
and glory of greater divinities began before history and continues to this 
day. In this manner are concealed both vegetal and animal gods. Of the 
magic of the Tirtha tales this is not the place to speak. 2 ) They contain, 
however, traces of many deities lost or ignored. Thus with the Buddhist 
goddess loankhim is to be compared the passage in 3, 83, 51, where a 
Tirtha pilgrim is strongly advised to “go to the £>aiikhim Tirtha and bathe 
in the Tirtha of the goddess”, in order to acquire a beautiful form. Although 
it is not expressly said that the Devi is Isankhim, yet the implication is 
that such is the case, not that Devi is one of the higher goddesses (in 
masculine form the epithet Sankhin is a title of Visnu). Then there is the 
Tirtha of the goddess ^akambhari (3, 84, 13), which must be the holy place 
of the local Corn-mother, utilised or adopted as a title of Durga (6, 23, 9), 


*) See for the details the references in JAOS. 30, 366 f. Only S adds to 6,6, 10 the 
words of VP. 2, 2, 8, to the effect than the apex of Meru is twice the size of its base. On 
plants and mountains as the fat and bones of ancient giant demons, see Raksasas, § 17. 
On gold and trees made by Agni, see § 49 f. In R 6, 67, 67, Lahkamalaya is apparently the 
trikuta (a peak is broken off); ib. 3, 73 , 3Z, Rsyamuka is a mountain in the South where 
the dreams of the good come true; ib. 4, 37, 2f. has a list of southern hills. 

! ) Compare a paper on this subject in the Proc. Amer. Philosophical Society, 
vol. XLIX, 1910, p. 24f. 


12 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


for Devi ^akambharf stands by herself as an independent 1 ) goddess, though 
the narrator knows her only as a form of the great goddess into whom 
she was absorbed, and tells that the Tirtha was so named because Durga 
lived there on Saka or vegetable produce aud entertained her guests with 
vegetarian fare (3, 84, 16.) Slta herself is a Corn-mother. She “rose in 
the field where the ploughshare brake, it, rending the earth” (R 5, 16, 16 
and ib. 2, 118, 28). She is represented by the ploughshare, which serves 
as Balya’s battle-sign and is likened to Slta for its golden beauty sarvabija- 
virudhe 'va yatha Slta Sriya ’vrta (7,105,20). 2 ) To this category belongs 
also the youngest wife of the great fiend, whose son is Atikaya, the “giant” 
(It 6, 71, 30). She herself is called Dhanyamalini, "corn-crowned”, and 
appears in R 5, 22, 39f., as endeavoring to divert her lord from his attention 
to the Furrow (Sita). These are but faint traces of a cult of vegetal deities 
who may be added to the divine trees and tree-spirits already discussed. 
No one of them qua goddess is of epical importance, but that is not to 
be expected in a poem of warring men and'higher gods. They are to 
be considered somewhat in the light of those animal gods who remain in 
the shadow of the great divinities. But there are no vegetal deities so 
important as are several independent animal gods. Compare also the 
bucolic god enshrined in Balarama (q. v.). Perhaps the use of the tilaka 
sign may revert to the tila as holy (sesamum-oil is used for embalming 
the dead, R 2, 66, 14). ' 

§ 8. Animal Divinities. — Animals are divinities partly by birth, 
parfly because they are forms of demoniac or divine powers, and partly 
because they are the life-givers of any community. Human beings, especially 
saints or others potentially fearful, may also become incorporate as animals 
and thus make them divinely terrible. Even when no divinity is ascribed 
to an animal it is often looked upon as a supernatural being and as any 
man may be cursed to become an animal, this animal-man is looked upon 
with the reverence which is paid to any superhuman creature. Certain 
animals also have a quasi divinity or devilry in being potent to bring 
bad luck. As all animals talk, the gods appear as talking animals in many 
fables, but this is only one side of the belief that an animal anyway may 
incorporate a higher power. At the very beginning of the great epic two 
seers curse each other to become an elephant and a tortoise, respectively 
(1, 29, 15 f.). The later Ramayana relates that Saudasa shot a tiger not 
knowing that it was a man-tiger, puru§avyaghra, as Rak§asa, and that 
its mate assumed in turn a human form to avenge it (R-7, 65, 10f., a later 
form of the legend; see Rsis). This'man-tiger is a spirit recognised in 
Vedic literature (a.madman is offered to it, VS. 30, 8). All animals have 
divine creative powers assigned to them as their particular ancestors, but 
these are for the most part abstract creative energies regarded as daughters 

*) SakambharT is from £aka and bhar, “bearer of herbs” (vegetables), as the native 
commentators admit. There seems to be no reason for confounding this ^aka with £aka 
in Sakambhara (an epithet meaning "dung-bearer" obscurely applied to a people or clan 
in AV. 5, 22, 4), as* is done in PW. 

*) Slta occasionally is recognised in her human role in Mbh. apart from the formal 
Ramakatha. In S3, 114, 24, an added verse cites her as an example of the faithful wife. 
In Vedic theology she was wife of Savilr or of Indra, TB. 2, 3, 10, 1, Savitrl; and Par. 
G. 2, 17, 13 (or 9), IndrapatnT. The orthodox Sltayajfia, “sacrifice in honor of Slta” is 
recognised in the Harivarp 3 a as especially offered by ploughmen (H 3816) in contrast to 
the "sacrifice in honor of the hill” offerred by cowherds (though, characteristically, Ktstta 
became the hill, so that the sacrifice as described was made to him, ib. 3876). 




II. The Lower Mythology. 


13 


•or grand-daughters of Dak$a and wives of KaSyapa (see § 139, Creation). 
Some animals are sons of higher divinities (see Garuija) or forms of Vi§nu 
(§ 143). Of the abstract generators only Surabhi, ‘‘mother of cows”, has 
reality, evinced by dramatic scenes and dialogues in which she appears 
(see Indra). Independent actors in the epics are the semi-divine apes and 
bears, of whom only the chief in each class is of mythological importance, 
the others acting like ordinary demi-god heroes and being content with 
divine origin. As the bear was created before the ape, he may take 
precedence here. Jambavat or Jambava (R) is “king of bears", rk§araja, the 
son of Prajapati Brahman, in appearance like a dark cloud (R 4, 39, 27, 
etc.). He was born of the yawn of Brahman and hence is called son of 
gadgada, “stammer” (R 1, 17, 6 a.nd 6, 30, 21). On account of his wisdom 
he is chief of Vidyadharas (q. v.) and at the bidding of the gods he coursed 
over earth twenty-one times, collecting herbs from which ambrosia was 
made (R 4, 66, 31). He once helped Indra, and revered Vi§nu (q. v.) by 
walking the deasil around him. His brother is Parjanya-like (R 6, 27, 9) 
and is called Dhumra, “smoke-colored”, which, however, is a common 
epithet of bears. Jambavat is not prominent as sage or warrior in the 
great epic, though he leads millions of black bears with white faces into 
battle (3, 280, 23; ib. 283, 8; ib. 284, 26), to help Rama. He was brought 
up beside the Narmada in the Rk§avat (bear) mountain and i$ stronger 
than his brother, but by Rama’s time had become so feeble that he could 
jump only ninety leagues (R 4, 65, 13 f.). Dazed by Indrajit’s blow he sends 
Hanumat for magic healing herbs (R6, 74, 21 f.) as soon as he revives. 
He is the father of Jambavat! in Mbh., who was wife of Krsna and mother 
of Samba (3, 16, 12; see Vi§nu). It is curious that he appears as an ape 
as well as a bear (R 5, 60, 6, harisattama, etc.). Jambavat! is called 
Kapindraputri, yet with v. 1 . Narendraputr! (13,629 in C = B 14,41 and 
S 45, 25); but Kapindra is also Visnu in 13, 149, 66 (B). The Hariv. tells 
how Kr§na overcame Jambavat, king of bears, and took away his daughter 
and the syamantaka jewel (H 2073). In H 6701, Jambavat! may be called 
Rohini, “taking any form” (doubtful). With Jambavat’s origin from Brahman’s 
yawn may be compared Ksupa’s origin from the same god’s sneeze (12, 
122, 16 f.), and that of Prajapati Kardama, born of his shadow (Bh.P. 3,12,27; 
Kardama also as Naga, r, 35, 16). 

§ 8 b. Hanumat and the Divine Apes. — The great epic recognises 
Hanumat as the ape perched on Arjuna's staff, who fights on the side of 
Kf§na-Visiiu. The Ram. in both versions makes him one of the efficient 
aiders of Rama-Kr§na. Apart from the Ramakatha, the Mbh. knows him 
as “foe of the groves of the lord of Lanka” (4, 39, 10, LankeSavana- 
riketu = Arjuna). Sita calls him her “son”, but this is (conventional) only 
in showing her grace: “O my son, thy life shall be commensurate with 
Rama’s glory, and through my grace heavenly enjoyments shall be at thy 
command” (3, 148, 18 and ib. 291, 45). On Ariuna’s standard the ape is 
no mere figure; it opens its mouth and roars (7, 88, 26). “As Hanumat 
. lifted Gandhamadana”, so Bhima lifted an elephant (7, 129, 139, 86), though 
the brotherhood of the pair is not here suggested; but it is explained in 
3, 146,65 f., where the Rama-story is known. He is described here as having 
a tail like Indra’s banner and as making a noise like the bolt of Indra, 
tsakradhvaja, IndraSani, with a short thick neck, small lips, red face and 
ears, sharp white fangs, a moon-like face, and a mane like a 3 oka-flowers. 
He is son of Vayu, the “life of the world” (wind as breath), by the wife 





14 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. ICunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


of Kesarin, his strength being so great that Bhlma cannot even move 
his tail (ib. 147, 24 f.). Subsequently he expands his size till he is larger 
than a mountain. His nature here is not that of a god but of a pious 
monster, "glorious as the sun” who worships Visnu (as Rama, 3, 151, 7). 
He is, however, also a philosopher, lecturing his brother on the character 
of the four ages, and present-day customs and duties. He says he is to 
live as long as the story of Rama will endure (ib. 148, 17), and will roar 
on the Pandu’s standard (ib. 151, 17). In the later Mbh. Rama-story, Hanumat 
crosses the ocean by his father’s aid and so burns Lanka (3, 282, 59 f.). His 
name appears as Hanumat when metrically convenient. His mother in R 
is Afijana (Pufijikasthala, q. v.), unknown in Mbh. When new-born he sprang 
up to eat the rising sun supposing it to be edible. With one jump he 
can go a thousand times around Mt. Meru, etc. These and other extra¬ 
vagances of R 4, 66 and 67 seem to belong to the Narayana period when 
Visnu was All-god (ib. 67, 3). They are later traits than those of the Mbh., 
as are the statements that his death depends on his own wish (ib. 66, 28); 
that his left jaw was broken on a mountain-peak after he had leaped lip 
three hundred leagues and then been prevented by Indra from seizing 
the sun (ib. 66, 21 f.); and that in leaping to Lanka he followed the “path 
of Svati” (ib. 67, 29). The legend here is that Hanumat was begotfen by 
Vayu (Maruta) on the Apsaras who had been cursed to become the wife 
of the ape Kesarin after she was born on earth as daughter of the king- 
ape Kuiijara; while in R 1, 17, 15 Hanumat is simply one of a lot of 
monkeys begotten by various gods at Brahman’s exhortation. The former 
account agrees with R 7, 35, which also makes his mother Afijana wife 
of Kesarin who lived on Sumeru. As Rahu alone is entitled to devour 
the sun, Vayu here chases Hanumat pnd it is Rahu who induces Indra 
to smite Hanumat (thus injuring his jaw). This latest account describes 
him as a sort of evil being, who having received a boon of safety acts 
like any Raksasa in like circumstances, till the seers curse him to lose 
the knowledge of his own power. He is called indifferently Vayusuta, 
Maruti, Anjanasuta, and, as a child touched by Brahman’s healing hand, 
SiSuka, and 3 i£u, having in fact a resemblance to &Su in his leaping 
and roaring, and being formally likened to him, “roaring like £iSu on his 
bed of reeds” (ib. 7, 35, 22; 36, 3 and 33). Owing to his ignorance, he 
failed to aid Sugriva against Valin, but when released from his curse he 
became a distinguished scholar, astrologer, and grammarian. In leaping 
from Lanka he dashes down Mt. Arista on his way back, as Mainaka 
rising from the ocean to give him place to rest was also* crushed by him. 
He takes a human form, as do the othei- apes, on reaching Ayodhya (R6, 
128, 19 f.; ib. D30, 42). In RG 6, 160, where Hanumat goes to Gandhamadana 
to collect herbs he releases Gandhakall, after killing Talajaiigha. She had 
been cursed to be a grahl till Hanumat’s arrival, a new phase, shared 
with Rama etc., showing a growing cult. He is here called Gandhavahat- 
maja, Vasavadutasunu (son of the messenger-god, R 6, 74, 62 and 77). 
The other texts have merely the account of the collecting of four healing 
herbs at Jambavat’s instance; but all accounts agree in saying that being 
unable to find the hidden plants he breaks off the hill-top and brings it 
with him. He is'no god here, only a giant ape, under bond of friendship 
to execute his master’s commands; and so in R 4, 41, 2 Sugriva sends 
Nila, Jambavat, and Hanumat together to search for Sita under the command 
of Afigada, though he has particular faith in Anilatmaja, Pavanasuta 




II. The Lower Mythology. 


i5 


(Hanumat), so that Rama entrusts to him the “recognition-ring”; but an 
ape he does not cease to be (haripungava, mahakapi) and at most 
is equal to his father in gait and energy (ib. 44, 3 f.). His incidental exploits 
are to find the cave of Maya fib. 51); to evade the mother of serpents 
by slipping into her mouth, after becoming the size of a thumb; to evade 
Siothika’s attempt to arrest his soul-shadow; and to.set fire to Lanka (ib. 5, 
1 to 57)i after getting caught, by magic and having had blazing wool fas¬ 
tened to his tail. In his fighting he resembles Bhfma or Ghatotkaca who 
also smite legions with a club and also expand and reduce their forms. 
Hanumat thus slays 80,000 fiends at one stroke; kills Aksa (Ravana’s son), 
Dhumraksa, Akampana, Nikumbha (R 4, 42 and 47; ib. 6, 52 and 57 and 77), 
and goes under any form, as he will (R 4, 3, 24) when appearing as an 
ambassador “learned in grammar". The recognition-ring "marked with the 
name of Rama” is another late touch not found in the Mbh. version but 
found in R 4, 42, 12 and 5, 32, 44 (=C 44, 12 and 36, 2). Hanumat disap¬ 
pears from the scene in Uttara with , a necklace given him by Rama (R 7, 
40, 24), as at the end of the real epic Sita gave him a necklace from her 
own neck (R 6, 131, 76). HanumaUsJ.ik.ened. to_Gar.ucjla.(R 4, 66, 4), but he 
is not distinguished for divinity. He is inviolable because he has received 
.a boon of the gods. He is exhorted to leap as “hero-son of Kesarin and 
Vayu, by grace of the seers and Gurus' and consent of the elder apes” 
(R 4, 67, 34). He is like Garucja in swiftness, like wind in strength, like a 
bull, a Naga, an elephant, the moon (R 4, 67, 28 and ib. 5, 1, 2f.). He is 
huge as a mountain or small as a cat or as four fingers (ib. 196 and 2,49). 
His father killed Ssamba, a demon appearing as an elephant (hereditary 
antagonism, R 5, 35, 81; ib. 6, 27, 25). All the great apes boast a divine 
paternity. Suseija was son of Dharma; Sugriva’s uncle, Dadhimukha, of 
the Moon; Valin and Sugrlva, of JJk§arajas (son of Visnu), or they were 
respectively sons of Indra and Surya; Nila was son of Agni; Dvivida and 
Mainda, of the ASvins, etc., though different writers give different fathers 
(Dharma or Varuna as father of -Suseija). In all this there does not seem 
to be sufficient ground for the ingenious suggestion put forward by Pro¬ 
fessor Jacobi (Ramayana, p. 132) that Hanumat was a village reduction 
of Indra Sipravat. Hanumat has no peculiar Indra-tfaits, for such as he 
has he shares with other apes, giants, and fiends. No one knows certainly 
what Sipravat means, but if hanumat means “big-jaw-beat” it is appro¬ 
priate enough to the ape. Hanumat appears to be merely the typical strong 
and clever beast in demi-apotheosis standing in this regard with Jambavat, 
Sampati, £esa, etc. He is not descending but ascending the scale of epic 
religious, beings and appears to have lost nothing. He is not particularly 
drunken, does not use a bolt, does not reflect Indra in any striking way. 
He simply skips and throttles (Aksa) and throws things, and gradually! 
becoming cleverer ends as a priestly grammarian (RS 7, 36, 46 adds: so 
‘yaip navavyakaranarthavetta brahma bhavisyaty api). His intelli¬ 
gence is primarily craftiness and cunning, as belongs to an ape, and his 
village-popularity seems to point to his original habitat as bordering on 
the forest where apes live. The Mbh. recognises as the great ape (Kapi) 
Surya (q. v. and other sun-gods), which probably reverts to the Vedic 
Vrsakapi.') 


') In JRAS. April, 1913, p. 398 , Mr. F. E. Pargitcr proposes to derive Hanumat from 
nu-mandi (Dravidian) — Vrsakapi. 




16 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


§ 9. The Cow. — The divinity of the cow rests on the element in 
totemism which consists in the deification of that class of animals which 
provides a livelihood. A pastoral people naturally recognises its herds as 
its means of life and h<bnce as in the case of the classic troglodytes regards 
them as its “sacred parents”, or, as in the case of the Todas, as its divi¬ 
nity. This is brought out very clearly in the speech of the herder who 
says (H 3 8o8f.): “We are herdsmen, living in the wood and living on 
wealth got from cows, we recognise as our divinity cows and hills and 
woods. The object of one’s closest knowledge (with whatever knowledge 
one is united) that becomes his divinity, supreme, to be revered and wor¬ 
shipped, for that (skill) alone assists him. We herdsmen make sacrifice 
to the mountain, for it is worthy of sacrifice. We will sacrifice sanctified 
cattle at a tree or a hill on a holy altar . . the cows shall walk the deasil 
around this best of hills". Here the hill is an object of worship because 
the herdsmen live upon it, and the cows themselves are their divinity 
because the cow-herders life on the wealth which comes from their cattle 
(vayaqi godhanajivinah, gavo 'smaddaivataip viddhi). Thus as 
early as the Rgveda the cow (less often the bull) is aghnya, “not to' 
be killed”. By the time of the epics to kill a cow was worse than murder, 
excusable only when to do so was to obey a higher law. Such a higher law, 
says Rama, is filial obedience, and for this reason, because Kandu obeyed 
his father in killing a cow he did not sin (R 2, 21, 30).^Doubtless the sage 
objected to killing a cow even for sacrificial purposes, as the vegetarian 
substitutes for animal sacrifice were already-part of the Vi§nu cult; for 
the universal orthodox rule is that cows may be slain only for sacrifice 
and the epic doubts even this (pa£utvad vinirmukta gavafi, 13,66,43). 
No Brahman may eat beef, cow-flesh being usually implied, though a formal 
tabu specifies as forbidden food fish, swans, frogs, etc., and anadvan 
(mrttika-cai ’va, 12, 36, 21 f.; S, anu§pa), or bull’s flesh. Especially 
sanctity attaches to a “blue bull”, nllasanda, which is sacred-to the 
Manes (13, 125,73 b), though also sacred to Siva (9. v.). To set loose a 
nila vr§abha and to sacrifice a horse are equally meritorious (3,84,97). 
Despite the compassion for the suffering of the mother of cows, Surabhi, 
no blame or remorse is expressed for killing thousands of cows -in sacri¬ 
fice, whose flesh presumably is eaten (only S speaks of the cow as “mother, 
of the world”, 3, 131, 6); but the offer of the arghya cow is purely con¬ 
ventional hospitality (3, 295, 6, etc.), and cows are said now to be only for 
giving (13,66,43) to priests. Surabhi lives under earth dearth as cow is a 
common synonym), but the goloka or'world of cows is Visnu’s heaven 
above the three worlds (5, 102, 1 f.; 13, 83, 37). To slay a priest or a cow 
is equally sinful (12,145,9); they are avadhyafi, “not to be slain” (5, 
36,66). The later epic has a gomati vidya, inculcating the doctrine of 
giving cows to priests for the sake of certain worlds (see § 23) to be 
gained by the giver hereafter. Cows had at first no horns but got them 
from Brahman; loiva clove the hoofs of the bull; the river Carmanvatl is 
made of the blobd of sacrificed cows (8,34,104b; 13,66,38b; ib. 78, 22 
and 80, if.; ib.-81,13 and 44). As goddesses, cows are a source of good 
luck and are not to be struck or kicked; but bullocks may-be goaded, 
for gods use a goad. A sonless man is rescued from his evil state by the 
gift of three Cbws (13,22,30b; ib.67, 7b). Such gifts are to be made 
especially on the holy eighth day of the moon, when wish-getting cere¬ 
monies are performed (Kamya§tami, 13, 71, 49). In lieu of the real thing, 


II. The Lower Mythology. 


one may give cow-cakes made of sesamum or even a water-cow (jala- 
dhenu, 13,71,41). Cow-dung is used to smear the house, but it is also 
to be worshipped as an emblem of the discus of Visnu, as is the yellow 
pigment from the cow (ib. 146, 48 and ib. 126, 3 f.). Siva has the bull- 
standard because he approves of cows, which are the root of prosperity, 
the food of gods, the support of sacrifice, revered in heaven (13, 51, 27f.; 
ib.' 126, 38f.; cf. 3, 133, 6 and ib. 130, 31, on the gift of a kapila cow). 

*■ Though severity is permitted in handling bulls (5, 4, 5), they are not 
to be castrated nor to have their nostrils pierced (12,263,37 and 45 f-). 
It is not regarded as cruel to kill animals for sacrifice, since it ensures 
their going to heaven (12, 34, 28). Even a worm is induced by Kr$na 
Dvaipayana to die for the attainment of bliss (13, 117, 7 Q- Besides the 
mythical mother-cow, the kamadhug dhenu Nandini is extolled as the 
wonder-cow whose possession by Vasi§tha (§ 124) caused a war of caste 
resulting in ViSvamitra becoming a priest. Anything desirable, from milk 
to militia, can be milked out of her. She has all the female beauties and 
"the six flavors of ambrosia”; her milk rejuvenates for ten thousand years 
(1,99, 2of.). On the magical effect of bull’s urine, see Magic Obser¬ 
vances in the Hindu epic (op. cit.). On Surabhi and the cow-guardians 
of space, see § 92, § 139. On cows as born of the Sun, see § 36. 

§ 10. The Elephant. — There is no myth of a world-upholding elephant. 
•Divine elephants are mythological guardians of the quarters. They were 
originally four, afterwards, when the quarters became subdivided, they too 
appear as eight, to embrace the districts between East and South, etc. 
They are called diggajas, diSagajas (R 5, 37, 65), dihnagas, digva- 
ranas; the word, naga, meaning also the serpent, causes confusion be¬ 
tween the two sets of beings. The chief elephant is Airavata, belonging 
to Indra (§66). The four chiefs are called (6,64, 57 f.) Airavata (Airavana), 
Vamana, Anjana (cf. R 4, 37, 5 and 20), and Supratika (also the name of 
Bhagadatta’s elephant), or Sarvabhauma (R 4, 43, 36, etc., ridden by Kubera). 
But Mahapadma is also named among these magical "three-fold rutting", 
four-tusked steeds, which are ridden by demons (6,64, 57). Supratika is 
mentioned in 6, 12, 34; he is especially known as the ancestor of "king 
Airavana and of Vamana, Kumuda, and Anjana” (5,99, 15). S4, 3, 26 calls 
him best of gajendras or chief elephants (as elephant of the North, see 
Indra). In 7, 121, 25, Anjana, Vamana, Supratika, Mahapadma, and Airavata 
appear as progenitors of earthly elephants, though the theory of creation 
(1,66,60 f.) assigns them to Matangi, Jsveta, and similar powers, £veta as 
son of £veta being particularly mentioned as guardian of the quarters. 
Elsewhere loveta is a name of a Naga, a demon, etc., but as appellative 
it describes the white elephant of Indra. Kumuda is known to the epic 
only as mentioned above; Anjana and his (western) progeny are praised 
in 7, 112,23. The name of the elephant later kown as guardian of the 
North-West, namely Puspadanta, appears only as a title of loiva (R 7, 23, 
pr. 4, 49) and as the name of one of that god’s followers (Mbh. 7, 202,73). 
Siva is “elephant-eared” (12, 285, 77). Both this and Puncjarlka are Naga 
names ( 5 , 36, 29; cf. Airavata). R recognises the usual four and Sarva¬ 
bhauma; but also gives a later technical list (R 1,6,25, bhadrair mandrair 
mrgaiS cai ’va), and another list, viz. Virupak§a in the East, Mahapadma 
in the South, Saumanasa in the West, and Bhadra in the North (ib. 24 and 
40, 12 f.). The late grouping of’the eight is not recognised in either epic, 
but for convenience may be given here: East, Airavata; SE., Pundarlka; 

Tndo-arische Philologie III. ib. 2 




18 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


South, Vamana; SW., Kumuda; West, Anjana; NW., Puspadanta; North, 
Sarvabhauma. The space-elephants carry the (§ 91) Lokapaias and are 
divine; they blow the winds out of their trunks (7, 94, 47; 6, 12,36); they 
are described as living, in Sama(-land, Sumeria? 6,12,32), in Himavat (3, 
108, 10), where they have rubbed the mountains bare with their tusks 
(ib.); and elsewhere on occasion. Morally the protective elephants are 
always good, fighting against evil demons. In 8, 82, 25, a battle is likened 
to one between the lord of Daityas and the lords of directions, DigISvaras 
(may be gods). Demons take the form of elephants, such as the one whom 
Indra killed at Benares (3, 173, 50), and there are Danavanagas, “demoniac 
elephants” (8, 18, 6). Elephants weep in battle and show three temporal 
streams, but Airavata and Bhagadatta’s Supratika show seven (6, 95, 24 
and 33). Other than the divine elephants have four tusks, but they live in 
Lanka (R 5,9, 5) or in the mythological North (3,158,90). Ordinary elephants 
spurt water in war, throw weapons with the hand (7, 26, 50; 1, 81, 13, but 
for dvipahastaih S has dvipastaih), and even sing verses (R6, 16,6). 
See also § 5 L § 93 - 

§ 11. Demoniac Animals. — Animals “possessed” by demons are com¬ 
mon and are to be distinguished from animals which are merely temporary 
forms of demons, though to make the distinction is not always possible. 
In 12, 114, 17, manusyasalavrka is a human jackal but apparently only 
in a metaphorical sense, a mean man. In 3, 269, 7 f., salavfka — gomayu, 
announcing disaster because appearing on the left; ib. 173,48, salavrkas 
are demoniac forms in battle, but as these include apes, elephants, and 
bears, as well as ^arabhas, Bhurupdas, and ghosts, they may be animals. 
Only in 12, 33, 29 they appear as forms of Brahmanas called Salavrkas 
because they fought, eighty-eight thousand in number, against the gods. 
The demons killing Kaca in 1, 76, 29 "gave him to the salavrkas”, but 
here, as in the earlier tale of Indra giving the ascetics to the same beasts, 
there is no reason to suppose that the animals were other than those in 
6, 59, 127; 7, 30, 19 (etc., etc.) or in 10, 9, 5, i. e. real jackals or jackal- 
forms of demons 1 ). 

The ^arabha: This animal is represented as one whose roar, garjita, 
frightens other animals in the forest. In similes, it appears as a fighter 
and combatants “fight like tigers, hawks, and 3 arabhas” (7,127,41 and 
132, 11). The Ram. knows a monkey-chief of that name, easily overthrown 
by Kumbhakarna (R 6, 67). Sarabha is a proper name but also a monster 
in Mbh., with eight feet, and slays lions (astapadah Sarabhafi sirpha- 
ghatl, 3, 134, 15; 7, 1, 28, etc.). Yet it ,is found on MtrKraunca (9, 46, 
87), but not as a monster; and on Gandhamadana, with lions, tigers, etc. 
(5, 158, 40), as if one of the ordinary animals of the wood and mountain. 
The later epic increases its monstrosity; it has both eight legs and one 
eye above, urdhvanayanah, and eats raw flesh (12, 117, 13 f.), where 
it has part in the fable of the dog turned into a Sarabha. It is, however, 
listed among edible animals as belonging to mrgajatis which a gentleman 
offers his guest for dinner (antelope, Sarabha, hare, bear* ruru-deer, 


') On the conception of the salavyka as wehrwolf, cf. RV. 10,95, 15; Brunnhofer, 
Arische Urzeit, 284 f. (Hyrcanians); and Oertel, JAOS. 19, 123 f., on the Vedic legend 
concerning Indra and the ascetics. S ed. has s, the Bombay ed. i>. Demons may be bom 
beasts as well as assume temporarily beast-forms. So Bali is reborn as the son of an ass 
(12, 224, 6). Conversely, horses and cows become gods (3,181, 13). For the divine horse, 
see sub Indra (§ 68). 


II. The Lower Mythology. 


*9 


epi, pr§ata, nyafiku, £ambara, gayal, boar, and buffalo meat, 3, 267, 13). 
Besides being a personal name of heroes (not uncommon), it is one of 
the names of Visnu (§ 143 f.), as of honored apes, demons, and Nagas 
(cf. £arabha as title of Buddha). As an Asura the name said to be equi¬ 
valent to u§tra, also an Asura, may be dialectic for karabha, camel 
(which suggests Zarathustra). A camel's roar would frighten any beast and 
on first appearance so queer an animal would be apt to breed queer 
stories. H 2651 has U§tra as Asura; Sarabha is a Danava 1,65,26, and 
a Daiteya, reborn as Paurava, in 1, 67, 27. The intimate relation between 
man, beast, and gods, may be illustrated by the story of Sarameya, son 
of Sarama, the devaiunl, who herself has a place in Brahman’s heaven 
(2, 11., 40). When the sons of Janamejaya beat Sarameya, he induces his 
mother to curse the seer and the latter chooses as priest to allay the 
papakftya a young sage whose mother was a snake (sarpi = Nagif 1, 
3, 1 f.). The mythology of other real animals, except as regards their 
creation (§ 139 f.) through mediate powers, has to do with them as omens 
and cause of good luck. To touch a bull brings good fortune. The skin 
and teeth of others avert demons, Pramathas, etc. The tortoise, cat, and 
goat, and the skin and teeth of a hyena guard from such evil (“smiting”) 
influence. The color is of importance: "He (say the evil Pramathas) is 
free from our influence who harbors in his house as rakpoghnani a cat 
or goat, black -or brown-yellow” (13, 131, iof.). The destruction of the 
crab by its young, the destruction of the silkworm by its own coils, the 
rising of the spider from its destroyed web to a new home (life), and 
the fresh growth of horns in deer and skin in snake, are all genuine or 
erroneous epic (and pre-epic) observations of natural history utilised for 
philosophical reflection rather than mythological data, and need not be 
illustrated here. 

§ 12. Divine and Demoniac Birds. — a) Many birds can talk, but 
the effect on the parrot of the curse of Agni (§ 49 f.) introduces myth. 
v Religiously and mythologically the goose, haipsa, is the most exalted bird, 
its high flight, loneliness (above other birds), and white color making it 
an emblem of the pure soul and of God, the supreme bird of a thousand 
wings (5, 46, I4f.); yet because of RV. 10, 123, 6 the soul-bird is golden¬ 
winged (12, 47, 17 and 45), so geese that talk, qua spiritual beings, are 
golden (3, 53, 19), but usually the haqisa is white (3, 304, 17; 7, 132, 2gf.). 
The goose goes to Meru, lives at lake Manasa; its form is assumed by 
Varuna (§ 59 f.), etc. It flies high (R 2, 9, 44) and represents the sun (hence 
golden). The haipsa separates milk from water (l, 74, 91 and passim), but 
so do other birds (VS. 19, 73). Not every-goose is godly; the kalahaipsa 
lacks this distinction (it is grey not white). The haipsa is the vehicle of 
Visnu, but also of Kubera (§ 22); its flight is exceeded only by Garuda 
(R 4, 58, 28). Luck in omens is indicated by position and sex of the 
observer (right side lucky for men), yet in a house, turtle-doves, parrots, 
sarikas, and cockroaches bring luck; but vultures, pigeons, fire-flies, 
and bees are unlucky (13, 104, 114!.). A red-brown owl with green eyes 
attacking crows (cf. R 6, 17, 26) portends misfortune (10, 1, 37). Yet unlucky 
birds are used as standard-figures, apparently without thought of danger. 
Some of Garuda’s sons are birds (byname), Sarasa, Kapota ( 5 , 101, uf-). 
The first is auspicious, the second inauspicious, for vultures, crows 
(v. I. cranes), hawks (and especially pigeons) are unlucky, while peacocks, 
geese, sarasas, catakas, and jivaipjivakas are very auspicious 


2* 


20 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


( 5 » r 43 » i8f.); as are ca§as, Satapatras, and krauficas. Herons, hawks, 
vultures, cranes, crows, though inauspicious, are auspicious (nimittani 
dhanyani) if they precede a ,warrior into battle (8, 72, Ilf.), as these 
affect not the warrior behind, but the enemy who are advancing against 
him from the opposite direction. When one starts into battle, the rear 
is the auspicious position as is the left side. Before starting, the right 
is the auspicious side; omens which in general are favorable (good birds 
and agreeable sounds) are better in the rear, because from there they 
urge the troops on to victory, while in front they obstruct success (12, 
102, iof.). Red-footed birds and pigeons are particularly inauspicious 
(5, 143, i8f. and R 7, 6, 56). In R 6, 108, 21, a gfdhracakram circles 
over the doomed man and follows wherever he goes (also grdhrakulam, 
“flock of vultures”). The pigeon is most feared, which made Sibi espe¬ 
cially courageous in harboring this (Vedic) death-messenger, for it is a 
“horrible portent” if a pigeon alights on one (ghoraip kapotasya 
nipatam ahulj, 3, 197, S; cf. R 2, 12, 43; ib. 14, 4, etc.; the tale is told 
in four different forms in the epic). Other birds are typical rather than 
ominous, catakas typifying thirst; cakravakas the longing of love; the 
peacock, shameless, dances in joy of rain, etc. There is a tabu against 
eating the flesh of goats, parrots, and peacocks (13, 104,93; on the 
indecency of the peacock, see 5, 73, 10 and 12, 114, 10), but peacocks, 
deer, goats, and boars are provided as a feast for Rama (which shocks 
the scholiast, R 2, 91, 69, who says that they were not for Rama to eat 
personally, but for the low-caste men, Ni§adas). The later interpretation 
of the cakora as a betrayer of blood is not mentioned by epic writers, 
who regard it as a red-eyed but pleasant singing bird (7, 126,40; cf. 3, 
158, 86 and 13, 54, n). The curlew inspires Valmiki (R 1, 2, 2gf.). See 
also bird-forms assumed by the gods (Indra, etc.), and on Vi§nu as sun- 
bird see § 143. 

b) Of quite different character is the Bharunda bird. It is the function 
of this bird to bury the Hyperboreans, when these near-immortals die 
(like Rama they live ten thousand and ten hundred years, 6, 7, 12). 
Bharundas have strong beaks and bodies and take up the corpses of 
the Northern Kurus and “bury them in caves”. But along with the 
salavrkas, etc., which appear with ghosts and demons in the tumult of 
battle, are certain Bhurundas (3, 173, 48) and probably these are the 
same as the Bharundas, as soul-seizers, sirens or harpies (cf. 3, 207, 36, 
bherunda). The runda is a mangled headless corpse, a late equi¬ 
valent of the epic kabandha, a torso which 'dances on the battle-field. 
Like sirens, the Bharundas sing (in the western and northern wilds) and 
have human faces, their songs being described as “exceedingly pleasant”. 
They are here associated with the Bhulinga-bird, which cries “beware” 
while picking the lion’s teeth (2, 41, 18; ib. 44, 28; 12, 169, 10). S omits 
Bhulingas (in isanti), thus ascribing human traits and sweet song only to 
the Bharundas. Birds that talk are not mythological, as parrots, crows, 
sarikas, jivajivakas, etc. are kept in cages and mimic all sounds and 
talk. Compare in Mbh. the story of PujanI (12, 139, 4f.), and in R the 
tale of the talking crow (R 2,95, pra. 13), for late exaggerations of the 
theme (R 2, 35, 18). Demons take bird-forms ( 3 uka, etc.), to act as spies 
(R 6, 20, 35, etc,). The birds tell a saint all that is going on (vayasi 
vidya, 12, 92, 7f.). The talkative vulture who lived a thousand years 
belongs to fable rather than to myth (12, 153, 54)- 



II. The Lower Mythology. 


21 


c) The lord of the feathered race is the mythological “fair bird”, 
called Garutmat Suparna, the form Garu<la being, however, the common 
one in the epics. “Garutmat carries off the ambrosia” (R 3, 30, 5) and, 
at the conclusion of the same rape of ambrosia in Mbh. 1, 33, 16, taxp 
vavre vahanaip Visnur Garutmantaip mahabalam. Compare 3, 12, 
90 , Vainateyo yatha pak§i Garutman patataqi varab (also 5, 105, 19). 
In such passages Garuda is formally identified with the (Vedic) Garutmat. 
He is brother of Aruna, the foregoer of the Sun-god (§ 38), and may have 
been originally a form of the sun (as bird), but the epic shows no other 
distinguishing solar traits in the character of Garuda. He is the egg-born 
son of Vinata, hatched after a thousand years, the younger brother of 
Aruna, created, according to a late tradition, because the Valakhilya 
saints, angry with Indra for insulting them, wished a rival "king of birds" 
to humiliate the god. Garuda is always son of KaSyapa, and an Aditya, 
though called Vainateya from his mother (1, 16, 24; R 3, 14, 31), swift as 
wind or thought (1, 31, 13f.; 3, 155, 19; R 6, 34, 4, etc.), and especially 
distinguished as a rending, tearing, snake-devouring monster (I, 102, 
46, etc.). The fulsome hymn in Adi, in which he is called the sun, 
tapanab suryab (1, 23, gf. and 16), calls him also creator, destroyer, 
fire, Daksa, Brahman, Vi§nu, etc, and is no index of the usual epic con¬ 
ception, which it marvellously exaggerates. This conception is that of a 
giant bird, whose most persistent traits are those expressed by the epithets 
bhujagari, pannagaSana, etc., and suparna, that is, “a bird of 
beautiful feathers that eats snakes” (2, 24, 24, Garutman pannaga- 
Sanab; 1, 16, 24, pannagabhojanab). The peacock is the only bird 
recognised by the epic as bhujagagana (12, 120, 4, yatha barhani 
Citrani bibharti bhujaga^anab; N. mayurab), and sarpagana 
(sarpabhuj) is a later name for peacock 1 ). The peacock is Garucja’s 
gift to Skanda, “his dear son, the fair-feathered peacock” (the fighting 
cock being Aruna's gift, 9, 46, 51). Garuda may mean “devourer”. But 
the epic makes a typical roc out of him. He frightens all, as he falls 
out of the sky, with claws extended, and the rush of his “double wings”, 
which are like double gates of a city (x, 207, 32;*22, 227, 21), beats down 
forests (8, 76, 37; R 3, 25, 28), and even the sea is stirred by him (Tarksya, 
7, 14,60). His shape gives a name to a weapon, an army-formation, 
a fire-altar, etc. (R 6, 193, 21; ib. 1, 14, 27; Mbh. 6, 25, 2f.). He is best 
of birds or “the bird” (2,19,8; 5,113,2; vihangama, pataga, also the 
sun, I, 173, 23; 6, 12, 45). The eyes of the race of Vinata are remarked 
upon by Sampati, who says he can see a hundred leagues because he 
comes from that stock (R 4, 58, 29). Epic etymology connects his name, 
with guru, “load”, because (1, 30, 7) he carries a branch of the talking 
tree, heavy as earth, and an elephant and tortoise as big as mountains.' 
In H xo775f., he fights with Mayura dlptatejas. His great feat was to 
carry off ambrosia, of which however he did not eat, so that he remains 
mortal, but he won Vi$nu’s favor, who made him his vehicle (1, 23, 5 f.; 
R 3 , 35 , 2 7f,). He is here called Tarksya as well as Vainateya (Aruna 
also has the last title, R 4, 58, 28). The epic formally distinguishes as 


i) On Gasuda and Vistju, see § 143. The peacock as sun-bird (cf. Johansson, Sol- 
f&geln i Indien, p. 77f., referring to Jat. 2, 33 and 4, 332 f.) is the connecting link 
between the sun-bird, reflected in Garutmat-Garuda, and the epic roc that devours (Nagas 1 
and other) snakes. The theft of Soma by Garuda is thus the oldest epic trait, parallel to' 
that of the eagle (sun) Visbu (Johansson). 



22 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Vainateyas, “Tarksya, Aristanemi, Garuda, Aruna, Arupi, and Varuni” 
(1,65,40; cf. 5, 71, 5; H 12468), yet distinction is lost when Garuda- 
dhvaja = Tark§ya-ketana (2,45,61), and “Tarksya” is the vehicle of 
Visnu-Krsna (13, 14, 43), as is Garuda (2, 24, 23). “As the ass cannot 
equal the speed of the horse, <so no bird can equal the speed of Tarksya’’ 
(R 2, 105,6; S 12, 117, 24 says that garudarp balam may be given to 
other birds by divine power). Also in 5, 105, 18 f. Garutmat = Tarksya, 
and so generally. The tarksyas are birds (as a race "Tarksyas” in 2, 
-52, 15, with Persians, may be Turks; it is a late insertion, not in S). 
Only S has the proverb preserved in Pane. I, 474: “Men honor not Tarksya, 
who kills snakes, but the snakes” (S 3, 28, 16; see Ind. Spr. 39), that is, 
they honor those they fear; but it brings out the chief function of Garuda 
(Tarksya). Tarksya as “antidote to poison” (in later use) suggests garuda as 
for garada = vi§ad. The emerald is elsewhere a "foe of poison” and “stone 
of Garuda” (garalari, garudaSman), the first reminding one of bhu- 
jagari as Vainateya (S 5, 94, 16). Garuda becomes the vehicle of Visnu 
only afier a struggle, in which the greater god showed that the great 
bird could not even move his arm (5, 105, 10f.), though in Adi this 
happens as the result of Garuda’s complaisance (1, 33). Garuda helps 
Visnu by carrying him and even by fighting for him (R 7, 8, 19f-)- Garuda 
makes friends with Indra by respecting the bones of his bolt (1, 33, 17f*)- 
He shares with Hanumat the glory of sitting on a flag-staff of Kr§na 
(2, 24, 23). In Ram. he is not active except as the “vehicle of Visnu” and 
type of speed and robber of ambrosia, save that he frightens away the 
snake-arrows of Indrajit and cures Rama and his brother (R 6, 50, 33 f.). 
Brahman’s shaft is feathered with his lovely feathers (R6, ill, 12). The 
blessing at Mbh. 1, 28, 14 is referred to in R 2, 25, 33, and Vainateya is 
said to have told Sagara how his sons might be revived, as he was the 
brother of Sagara’s second wife Sumati (R 1, 38, 14). The Mbh. gives 
a series of his adventures, on the journey with Galava (5, 107, i6f.), in 
which Garuda loses his wings, owing to his evil designs on Sandili 
(ib. 113, if.). In the later epic he brings Uparicara to heaven at Visnu’s 
command (12, 333, 32f.). Already in 7, 143, 48, Kr§na bids BhuriSravas go 
to heaven on the back of Garuda, but the warrior does not seem to have 
availed himself of the bird as psychopomp. Visnu having kicked on to 
Garucja’s breast the Naga Sumukha, whom Garuda was going to eat, 
“since then Garuda lives at peace with Sumukha” (5,_ 104—5). In 6, 6, 
14, Sumukha is a son of Garuda, the eldest of six (5, ioi,~2), sires of all 
snake-eating birds: Sumukha, Sunaman, Sunetra, Suvarcas, Siu;uc, and 
Subala; though in the line, vaipga, of Kapila, and family, kula, ofVinata 
there are thousands, all with the grivatsa sign, and all worshippers of 
Visnu; all ate K§atriyas also, but, because they destroy their “kindred” 
(by eating snakes), they cannot become Brahmans. The names are partly 
sun-, fire-, and Visnu-names with many others, Valmiki, Ni£akara, Diva- 
kara, etc. The plural Garudas and Garutmats are demoniac forms of 
battle (3, 173,48), or birds of prey (R 6, 131, 51; ib. 105,22). Garucji = 
Suparni = Svaha (3, 225, 9,f.; see § l6lf.). The Vainateyas live either in 
the sixth (upper) world (R 4, 58, 28) or, usually, in Patala (5, 101, 6f.) or 
south of the Ni$adhas in'the Golden Valley (varsa, 6, 8, 6),- or on Himavat 
(12, 328, 7, “which Garucja regularly occupies”). In R 4, 40, 38, however, 
V igvakarman builds “the house of Vainateya” beside the Red Sea. .Both 
Mbh. 1, 66, 69; 3, 279, 1, and R 3, 14, 31 derive Jatayus and Sampati from 


II. The Lower Mythology. 


23 


Aruiia and Syeni, which makes the two brothers solar birds, nephews of 
Garu<Ja. Sampati, the elder, protects the younger when flying to the sun, 
but the sun burns him and he falls wingless upon Malaya (3, 282, 47 f.) 
or Vindhya (R 4, 58, 1 f.). This happened “after Vrtra's death”. The two 
are "vultures” (R 4, 60, 19), but monstrous, changing shape at will. In 
R 7, 5, ^4, Sampati is a demon. Those fleeing with yibhisana include 
Sampati, seven in all, appearing as men or birds in battle (R 3, 37, 7f.). 
Sampati’s son, who brought him food, is SuparSva JB- 4 . 59, 8f.). The 
wings of these monster birds, who are all like rocs, are red, and two or 
more in number (ib. 63, 8 f.). Jatayus, who helps Sita, converses learnedly 
on genealogy (R 3, 14), contends with Ravana (ib. 51), tells his own story 
and then dies (ib. 67 f.). The brothers, Sampati and Jatayus, seem like 
under-studies of Garuda and Aruna (next generation, sons of Aruna), but 
the generalised birds called “warriors”, Garudas and Tarksyas may con¬ 
ceivably have been human_chieftains of the western coast, though mytho¬ 
logically they are all atmajas of Garuda and scarcely present as strong 
a claim to euhemeristic interpretation as do their natural foes the Nagas. 
The remaining members of the direct family of Vinata, Aristanemi, Varuni, 
and Aruni, are reckoned conventionally as belonging to the same bird- 
race, but each of them is a well-known seer of the epic, or rather, 
a well-known seer is called Aruni, etc. Ari§tanemi alone, however, is 
(Vedic) Tarksya (3, 184, 3f.; ib. 186, if.; 12, 289, 2f.) and may be equi¬ 
valent to Garu<Ja in RG 5, 2, 10; but the v. 1 . putro for bhrata (R 4, 66, 
4, and B) makes the exact bearing of this passage uncertain. In R 1, 
38, 4 and 14, he is father of Sumati, "sister of Suparna”, and appears 
also in Jatayus’ genealogy (R 3, 14) as a Prajapati. He is the brother 
of Prthu in Hariv. 1921. Garuda is also name of a son of Krsna by the 
same late authority (PI 9196). 

§ 13. Serpents. — All serpents are of divine extraction, since one 
of KaSyapa’s eight wives was Tamra, whose daughter Suki was mother 
of Nata and thus grandmother of Vinata, and Vinata was mother of Surasa, 
who bore the Nagas, and of Kadru, who bore serpents (pannagas; R 3, 
14, 28f., Mbh. 1,66, 70). The distinction between Nagas and serpents here 
indicated is lost, however, when Kadru herself, as sister of Vinata, is called 
the mother of the Naga or Nagas and Vinata is mother of Garuda and 
Aruiia (§ 12). _The genera l abode of these^divine serpentsJis below earth; 
and here is usually to be found Se§a, the Naga of a thousand mouths, 
who "supports earth from beneath” (5, 103, 2f.; 7, 94, ^8, adhastad 
dharanim .. sada dharayate). He is here conceived as an inhabitant of 
Bhogavatf, where he is “best of serpents", pannagas, rather than as 
upholding or entwining Vi§nu. It is the "endless serpent lying upon the 
waters” that gets the name Ananta (bhogavat) and-is regarded by later 
writers (R 7, 104, 5) as a creation ofVisnu’s illusion, udakegaya, “lying 
on the water", like Visnu himself as Narayana. In R 3, 14, 7, he is said 
to be one of the Prajapatis. But this Naga £esa is called also an inferior 
Deva, moon-faced, of a thousand heads, who encircles the world and 
eventually curls himself over Vi§nu; one of his titles being dharanidhara 
(R 4, 40, 49; H 3027). He is described also as lying in the eastern district 
of the northern world on the top of Mt. Jatarupa (thirteen leagues from 
Jaloda, where the Vadavamukha is found), beneath a three-headed golden 
palm-tree; he has eyes as large as a lotus-leaf and is worshipped by all 
beings. The name Ananta (endless) is explained in particular as an an- 


24 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

tabhoga (R 6, 14, 18, anantabhog’ena sahasramurdhna nagena as 
Rama-Visnu). Nil. interprets anantabhogo bhujagah krltjann iva 
maharnave, in 4, 55, 22, as an allusion to £e§a. In Bhogavati, 3 e§a appears 
like the White Mountain adorned with gems, having a thousand heads 
and fiery tongues (5, 103, 3). The later epic identifies £e§a with Kr$na 
and Visnu and (Hariv.) even says that he was born of !oiva (H 7595); it 
also represents him as hanging from a tree in ascetic fervor for a thou¬ 
sand years, distilling kalakuta poison from his mouth and thus "burning 
the world” (H 12076). He is usually represented as associated with Visnu 
rather than with Siva. He comes from Balarama’s mouth (snake as in¬ 
corporating a soul) and enters earth, being welcomed home by the other 
serpents after his Avatar in Baladeva (1, 67, 152; 16, 4, 13 ; list of serpents, 
ib. 15; cf. 18, 5 » 23). Visnu is Sesatman, but £e§a appears as an independent 
cobra coiled over the god (12,47,48, phapasahasra), though still up¬ 
holding the world (ib. 75). In the laud of Siva, the "chief Naga called 
Se$a” serves as the axis of his divine car (Nagendra, 7, 202, 72). According 
to 1, 65, 41, Se§a, Ananta, Vasuki, and Taksaka are separate sons of 
Kadru, but this distinction is ignored and vasuki = pannaga (R 6, 51,17). 
Ananta is Sesa, as Ananta dwells under earth, adho bhumau, alone 
supporting earth, at the order of Brahman and he is “Sesa by name” 
(1, 36, 24 and ib. 21 f.). He is bhujaipgamottama, best of snakes, and, 
as sustainer, Dharma (dharayate), and appears to have got his position 
and influence through ascetic practices as a travelling Muni (ib. 7), thus 
winning the favor of Brahman who appoints him to his office; after which 
£e§a crawls under the earth through a hole and from below upholds it. 
The chief serpents (given in the preceding section) are 3 esa, oldest and 
best, then Vasuki, Airavata, Taksaka, Karkotaka, Dhanaipjaya (also Vamana, 
Aryaka), etc. some of the names being those of elephants, some referring to 
color, some to their sustenance, but others being clan-names, names of 
Kurus, Kauravya, Padma, Dhrtara§tra; while still other names are those 
of saints or heroes, Dilipa, Nahu§a, A6vatara, Kapila (3, 84, 32; 5, 103, 15, 
etc.). Sesa seems to be the saved remnant, as there was only one good 
serpent, a parallel to Vibhi§ana among the Raksasas (§ 17), as if the god 
said jivatu 3 e§ah when the others were to perish, "let the remaining 
one live” (cf. 6, 121, 52). The name nowhere in the epic (as later) appears 
as that of the world-elephant, which would be analogous to the case of 
Airavata and Vamana. The Naga-clans embrace human relations, but the 
epic indicates rather a belief in divine marriage-relations and introduces,- 
,e. g., as a prospective son-in-law of Matali (§ 68), Sumukha, -the -son of 
Aryaka’s son Cikura, who was of the family of Airavata^ aricDdaughter’s 
son of Vamana (5, 103, 23 f.). The names indicate, however, that the Kurus 
were regarded as a Naga-clan, which raises the question whether their 
enemies’ name Krivi, Kraivya (connected with *kipi, kipya, worm?) is not 
kri-vi •= krimi, a worm and a Nagaraja-name. Perhaps the Pancalas 
are five snake-clans (ala “poisoner” = Eng. eel). Dhrtarastra, Airavata, 
and Dhanaipjaya are Vedic Nagas. Cikura may contain the same root 
(kri, kir, kur) as cikkiraj etc., for it means hair as well as snake, from 
the twisting curling form or movement (cf. Grk. KtpKO? and Lat. cirrus). 
But the account of the snake-sacrifice 1 ) in 1,37,1 if., shows that any 

*) Professor Wintemitz, Das Schlangenopfer des Mahabharata, connects the 
account of this sacrifice with that of other popular legends, describing the destruction of 
serpents by magic formulas compelling them to cast themselves into the fire. Otherwise 




II. The Lower Mythology. 


25 


distinction between snakes and Naga-clans was lost. The snakes are 
here called indifferently Nagas, bhujaipgamas, sarpas, and pannagas. 
They talk and debate (Vasuki addresses them and others reply, Nagab 
pancjitamaninahi and Elapatra), and they are slain “white, black, and 
blue, a kos long or a league long”. Some have three heads, some seven, 
some ten. Tak§aka bites the king and Vasuki intrigues by giving his sister 
Jaratkaru to bear Astika (a confused account, 1,38, if; ib. 57, 4f.). In 
I, 123, 70, the chief Nagas are named in a list of divine beings as Kar- 
kojaka (sarpa), Vasuki (bhujaipgama), Kacchapa, Kuncja, Tak$aka 
(mahoragas). In 1, 171, 38, a bhogavatl = sarpi is linked with devi, 
asuri, etc., as a type of female beauty (Bhogavatl is also the name of a 
female devil in Skanda's train, 9,46,8); cf. nagakanyopama Subha, 
6, 104, 30 etc. Any name implies any snake (gandharvoragarak§asam, 
I, 67, 146, etc., cf. Nala, 1, 29), except for certain special amphisbaena, 
scorpions, etc., whose nature is doubtful. Thus the dutjtjubha and enl- 
pada are mentioned in omens as different from sarpas (“the king will 
perish if a frog swallows enipadas, or sarpas, or dundubhas”, S 2, 
^9, 35 ). In 1,9, 21 f., the dundpbha is a metamorphosed seer who had 
been cursed to become a bhujaga, but (he says), "Bhujagas that bite 
men are of other sort; do not hurt the dundubhas, they only smack of 
snakes" (ahigandhena, ib. 10, 2f.). Kalasarpa is especially the cobra 
(S 3, 158, 48), a rare epic word, usually kr§nasarpa or kr?noraga, 
whose breathing, panting, is often referred to, as well as its double tongue 
(3, 268, 8). The double tongue in I, 34, 23, comes from tasting ambrosia. 
Rama’s kingdom was free of all pests, including snakes and all creeping 
things, adarp^ama£aka deSa na§tavy alasarisrpaft (7, 59, 16). Mantras 
can control snakes and make them harmless (vyal ad ini, 5,61,16). Snakes 
“controlled in a circle", or overcome, “by Mantras and drugs” are referred 
to in R 2, 12, 4 and ib. 3, 29, 28. In 8, 40, 33, hataiji vrScika te vi§am 
is a reference to AV. 10, 4, g and 5, 13, 4. The evil in the eye of (man 
or) a snake is called the poison, netravi$a, dr§tivisa (2,64,20; R 6, 
101, 54); and in regard to this poison there is, as was to be expected, 
a mixture of fact and myth. Narada curses Karkotaka to be immobile till 
raised by Nala, and the Naga bites him for the hero’s own good (3, 66, 
44f.); the.poison here changes his form. The fact that Aryaka was the 
grandfather of Kunti’s father, dauhitradauhitra, made this Naga give 
Bhlma, when the hero fell into the river, some of his own power by 
letting him drink “snake essence" (1, 128,60f.; the Pancju as Kuru is thus_ 
of Naga stock). An offering eaten at Maninaga Tirtha is an antidote for 
snake-poison (3, 84, 107; cf. Maninaga in Magadha, 2, 21, 9; Sarpadevi in 
3, 83, 14 is another Naga Tirtha). The man! called saipjlvana cures 
snake-bite and even revitalises dead snakes (14, 80, 42). The distinction 
between the poison-snake, a^ivisa, as "best of sarpas” and Dhrtarastra 
as “best of Nagas” (4, 2, 15 f.) does not imply that the Naga is of human 
clan, as might be thought (S here has df§tivi§a iva ’hinam). The priest, 

Professor Jacobi, who regards the story as the historical reflex of change of habitat, as 
a result of which serpents were slain by the monsoon (IS. 14, 149). On Kadru and Vinata 
(Supariji), see the Suparijadhy ay a (Hertel, WZKM, 23, 273 and 32of.). The epic Supariji 
is GarudI ( 3 , 225, 10) as a general name for bird, not as mother of Garuija. In JRAS. 1898, 
p. 147, Professor Winternitz gives an account of the Grantha vtrsion of the sacrifice, 
according to which “Brahman gave the power of destroying snake poison to Ka£ydpa (sic), 
and Karkotaka, troubled about Kadru’s curse, promises to do his mother’s bidding and 
turn himself into black hair.” 



26 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

it is said in 13, 104, 78 f., is superior to the poison-snake inasmuch as the 
snake destroys only as far as it can see, while the priest destroys as far 
as he can think, as well as destroys as far as.he can see (cf. also Magic 
Observances, p. 35). The seer Nahu§a always has the poison-look (5, 
16, 26 and 32), and it is he \&ho, as the ajagara or boa in the tale of 
3, 180, 4f., seizes the Pandus and will not let them go till his conundrums 
are answered (cf. drstivi§a, ghoradrsti, and ghorarupa of Nahu§a in 
5, 16, 30 and 17, 17). His ascendency and exaltation as the king who lowered 
Indra and the gods may reflect N aga power along the Ganges. Serpents 
with seven heads and poison-looks guard the White Mountain (3,225, 11J, 
and the same mountain is noted as containing gu<jhapadas, which are 
vi§olbaija, “strongly poisonous” (as in 1, 52, 10). But gudhapada is a 
late snake-word, and the scene is late. Incidentally, pltha-sarpa in 3, 
35,22 is another late word, applied to the immovable boa (cf. the aja- 
gara-vrata of the immovable Muni, 12, 179, 2f., and 25), not to a “crip¬ 
pled” snake (as in PW.; in R 6, 31, 29, panasa, serpent, as in SuSruta, 
is used with punning reference to Panasa). Poison of the snakes neutra¬ 
lising vegetable(?) poison (kalakuta) is referred to in 1,128,57. Other 
references to the snake’s poison are chiefly proverbial: the serpent unno¬ 
ticed in one’s clothing; the folly of removing the fang of a poisonous snake; 
of kicking a cobra; of playing with snakes; of feeding or waking a 
snake, etc. Myth appears when it is said that snakes lose their poison 
when Garuda appears (R 3, 56,6); that they live on air (12,299,29); and 
in the implication that snakes have invisible legs ("only a snake can see 
a snake’s legs”, 12, 203, 13 = R 5 > 42, 9). They are hard to track (12, 132,20) 
and they steal jewels left upon the ground (but Yak§as steal them from 
the impure and gods from sleepers, 14,57,23; cf. 1,3,128!.). An Airavata 
Naga stole the famous ear-rings (14,58,25!.), when Indra clove a way 
underground to recover them with Agni’s help as a steed. The casting of 
a snake’s skin is often used in epic as, less freely, in Vedic literature, to 
illustrate how one may free himself from sin, from grief, or even from a 
girl (cf. 5, 40, 2 and ib. 175, 19). That “everybody kills snakes” shows no 
great dread of their divinity (5, 73, 27) or strained ahiipsa feeling. 

The Nagas live underground where Sunda goes to slay them (1, 210, 8) 
and the Nagaloka described when Matali seeks a son-in-law is entered 
by "descending into earth”, avagahya bhumim (5,98,6; cf. pravivega 
mahltalam, ib. 97, 21). But it must be remembered that ((undejr earth” 
is water, a part of Varuna’s domain. "The navel of the Nagaloka is called 
Patala because water falls there sufficiently” (patala from patanti-alam), 
and water-creatures called timis live there on the light of the moon in 
the water; also the Mare’s Head and creatures slain by sunlight and demons 
of darkness (ib. 99, I f.). This city must not be confounded with the Naga- 
hvayarp puram (S Nagahrado mahan) in the Naimisa forest, where a 
Naga is good enough to drag the sun’s car for a month (12, 356, 2 and 
358, 8); it is said here that Nagas are to be revered as givers of boons, 
vandanlya varadah (ib. 361, 4). The water-habitat of the Nagas is indi¬ 
rectly indicated in many ‘passages. Kardama is father of Varuna (§ 59 ). 
Ulupf, the daughter-in-law of Airavata, who subsequently gave her (as 
widow) to Arjuna, lives in the water, and, when all is over for her, enters 
the Ganges again. She is addressed as devi, but this is conventional. She 
is Nagarajasnusa and daughter of Kauravya, also sister of Vasuki and 
mother of the human hero Iravat, who is tardily but fully explained and 




II. The Lower Mythology. 


2 7 


extolled in 6, go, 7f. (cf. I, 214, 18 and 14, 91, 22; it is she who fetches 
the reviving jewel). Nagaraja is a common epithet and is used of Kar- 
kotaka, Vasuki, Dhrtara§tra, etc., as well as of Airavata. According to 
4, 2, 14, Arjuna carried Ulupi off, hrtavan, but the scholiast, who remem¬ 
bers the tale of I, 214, says that this means captivated, not captured. 
Ulupi is eyidently connected with ulupin = dolphin. She is called also 
the “mother” of Babhruvahana, the son of Citrahgada, and creeps out of 
the earth in 14, 79, 8f., as "offspring of the snake”, pannagatmaja, 
uragatmaja, Citraiigada being also Kaura vy aduhitr, as Ulupi is Kau- 
ravyakulanandinl, that is, daughter of Kauravya (14,81,1 and 23; 
cf. ib. 5, tarn uvaco 'ragapater duhita prahasann iva, i. e. Ulupi; 
S prahasanty atha). The food of the Nagas is sudharasa, as am¬ 
brosia is only for the gods (svadha for the seers), and this may be milk 
rather than nectar, as the passages where the statement occurs are late 
(R 7 , 7, 35 and 13, 26, 49), when the word had this meaning, and milk, 
as is well known, is a favorite food of the cobra. The Nagas, cursed by 
their mother, go to dwell samudrakuksau (x, 20, 7 and 25,4), that is. 
In the swampy lands'at the mouth of the Ganges, though they are repre¬ 
sented as carried to the island called 'Ramaniyaka (1, 26, 8). If Citrangada 
is of Kauravya descent, Manipur must have been one of the strongholds 
of the Naga clan or race. As mythological beings or as historical factors 
they are represented, however, as living not only along the Ganges (and 
in it) but as inhabitants of the Punjab and the northern mountains, while 
as purely mythological they appear on occasion in heaven and the sky. 
The "great serpents” are usually Nagas and they live on Gandhamadana 
and other hills of the North along with other snakes (3, 159, 19; 6,92,4); 
but they are especially associated with a lake in the mountains, and yield 
themselves up there, when the ^atarudriya is recited (7, 81, 14 f.), to form 
diva’s pafiupatyarp divyam, snake-weapon, namely the bow and arrows 
of 3 iva. The fact that arrows are likened to flying snakes leads to the 
conversion of serpents into arrows. So in R 6, 163, 18, when Rama’s 
arrows become birds , K avaria 7 s become real snakes. The Naga ASvasena, 
son of Taic§aka, had a quarrel with Arjuna dating from Khamjava and 
went underground, but when that hero fought with Karna, the Naga 
"became an arrow” in Karna’s quiver and swept off Arjuna’s diadem 
(given him by Indra), yet, being cursed to be "without base”, that is of 
no account (1, 227, 5), he did not succeed in killing the hero, who slew 
him (8, 90, 12 f., and ib. 54). In 8,89,89!., serpents as arrows enter earth 
and then, having taken a bath, return to fight (needing contact with their 
native environment to strengthen themselves, like Antaeus). For gold- 
guarding serpents in the mountains (7, 93, 34, etc.), see Kubera (§ 83—90). 

The king of “lovely Bhogavati” (1, 207, 31; ib. 51; 3, 57, 5, etc.) is 
Vasuki (s, 186, 27), who has a Tirtha at Prayaga (3, 8$, 86), called Bhoga¬ 
vati, and, if the text is right, those who visit the Godavari obtain his 
world (ib. 34, Vasuker lokam, v. 1 . Vayulokaip ca). His abode in 9, 
37, 30 is Nagadhanvan on the Bhogavati or the Sarasvati (cf. 3, 24, 20), 
where Vasuki appears as king of pannagas and “there is no fear of 
snakes there” (ib. 33). It was here he was consecrated king and at the 
Tirtha there live 14,000 seers. Nagadvipa (6, 6, 55) is one “ear of the 
hare”, whose other ear is Ka^yapa-land (see § 6). Like Dhanaqijaya 
and Kumari live Vasuki and his wife fsatagir^a, ruling over Bhogavati in 
the South, which he guards (5, 117, 17L ; ib. 103, 9; ib- 109, * 9 ), and with 



28 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


him live Tak§aka, Airavata, and_other “sons of Surasa”, Nagas marked 
with gems, gourds, discus, and svastika (cf. H 3934), having three, seven, 
ten, one hundred, five hundred, or even a thousand heads ( 3 esa himself 
lives there), great bhogas, coils, and great bodies, and they are called 
in general “sons of Ka£yapa”t(5, 103, 5f.). Surasa is called Nagamatj- 
and lives in the ocean, whence she rose in demoniac shape (persuaded 
by the gods to interfere with Hanumat!); she is called Daksayani (R 5 > 
145 f. and ib. 58, 21). Like Citrangada she has the name of an Apsaras. 
Vasuki is especially associated with Sesa in the churning of the ocean, 
where he acts as cord of the churn, his mouth being held by the Asuras 
and his tail by the gods (r, 18, 7f.; cf. R 1,45, 18). He is himself revered 
like a god and has a shrine in the asylum of Agastya (§ 20). 

Valmlki speaks of “serpents having the form of gods", devakalpah 
pannagah (R 5, 1,6), as associates of Yak$as, etc., on Mt. Mahendra; and 
in Mbh. hero-praising hosts and rows, nagavithi, of serpents fill the cars 
of saints in heaven (13, 107, 57; cf. 7, 145, 78). 

R recognises the same leading Nagas as does Mbh. Vasuki, Tak§aka, 
(R3, 32, 13), £ankha, and Jap'n (new) are conquered by Ravana (R 6, 7,9). 
Their power is admitted (R 3, 38, 1) and the beauty of their females (R 5, 
12,21, captured; R 7,88,14, na devigu na nagi$u . . dr$tapurva). 
Valmlki (R 4,41, 37) also places Bhogavati far to the south (near Agastya’s 
Hermitage!) and calls AfasukT~its sarparaja. Historically important is 
Nagahvaya city (above) as the place where the Dharmacakra started, on 
the banks of the Gomatl, and the same as a title of Buddha on the one 
hand and of the Kuru or Pandu city (Nagahva = Hastinapura) on the other. 
Also the appearance in the great war of serpents, uragas as Nagas, 
acting as chariot-warriors, just like human heroes, is remarkable. The 
form and ornaments of Nagas are those of heroes idealised (5, 169, 17 and 
2,9, 11). The “many-headed” Nagas start with the comparison of a snake 
with an arm. The arm ends in five fingers, and is first said to be like 
a fat, smooth snake, then like a five-headed (the fingers) snake. It is 
for this reason that the five heads (mouths) are commoner than three or 
any other number (cf. 3, 157,67, saiphrtya mu§tirp pancaSirsam ivo 
’ragam,where the fist is the five-headed snake). Apart from this notion, 


the Nagas carry banners, etc. in battle and wear svastikas, particularly 
the Magadha Nagas; a Naga called Svastika lives in that district. In the 
domain of mythology, the great snake of the deep of an older period 
appears to have become an idle name, Ahi Budhnya, except for his con¬ 
nection with the finding of treasure, where he appears as the archetype 
of “treasure keeping” serpents (§ 83), and his reappearance as a Rudra 
(§ 113) or name of £iva, the god wreathed in serpents. The Nagas are 
anyway bhumisaya (7,201,24) and living underground have naturally 
charge of its metallic wealth. 

The superstition of snake-birth may also be mentioned as of mytho¬ 
logical value. The seizer, grahi, Kadru, takes a subtile form and enters 
a pregnant woman, who then gives birth to a snake (3, 230, 37). There 
seems to be no reason to separate this fiend from the daughter of Pra- 
japati and Vinata (1,16 and 2lf.). Historically the most important Naga 
is undoubtedly Takgaka. ' He takes the side of Arjuna in battle, as do 
Vasuki, Citrasena, Manika, and all the Kadraveya serpents, as well as the 


Airavatas, Saurabheyas, and Vaigaleyas (bhoginah, 8, 87, 43f.). Here S 
has Taksaka and Upataksaka. VaiSaleya (AV. 8, 10,29; ^ankh. GS. 4,18, 1) 




III. Spirits. 


29 


is an old patronymic of Tak§aka and probably is to be taken so here. I 
Tak§aka is still the venomous, visolbana, Naga (6, 107, 15), according,], 
to S 4, 3, 28, the foremost of serpents, but his name, the "builder", 
and his especial glory (8,79,94, "glorious as Tak$akabhoja”) show or 
indicate an historical character. He does not live in Magadha, as do 
Arbuda and Svastika, but in the West, as Kharxjava is represented to be 
the alayalj pannagendrasya Tak$akasya mahatmanah (S 1, 248, 23), 
or, “he used to live in Khandava and Kuruk§etra” (1, 3, 139; 223, 7), where 
he was the especial friend of Indra, to whose heaven he went, though 
suspended in air through Astika’s crying to him (1,53,18; 58,2). By 
slaying Janamejaya’s father he caused the eventual overthrow of the 
Nagas (1,3,141b), an act committed ostensibly because of the king’s 
despite of Brahmanic priests (1,41), but really in revenge. He is Nagaraja 
as well as bhujagottama (1,227,4; 228,16). When it is said thatjie 
lives in Kashmir, it must be remembered that the KagmTramandala extends 
to Kuruk§etra (3, 82,90). Upataksaka is mentioned only above (v. 1 . S 8, 
91,45) and R 7, 23, pra. 5,23 (with Karkotaka, Kambala, A 3 vatara, Dha- 
narpjaya, Airavata, ^e§a, and Vasuki). It was Janamejaya who conquered 
TaksaSila Xi, 3, 20). R distinguishes between Taksaka, whose wi?e~was 
carried off by Ravana (R 3,32, 14; ib. 6,7,9) and Taksa (R 7,.101,.11) as 
"son of Bharata” and founder of Taksagiia in Gandharva-land as opposed 
to Gandhara-land, the other side of the Indus. The fate of all lower 
animals is supposed to be like that of men. Even fishes go to heaven 
(13, 51, 39f., “go to heaven with your fishes . . on this the Ni§adas went 
to heaven with the fishes”, saha matsyair divarp yayufi); cf. also under 
horses, elephants, etc. The change of a nymph into a fish is not extra¬ 
ordinary (see Apsarasas, § 87). The Fish-Avatar is discussed in § 142. For 
other animal Avatars, see § 148. The Tortoise is not an Avatar in 1, 18, 
where it upholds the mountain Mandara at the churning of ocean, but it 
becomes an Avatar of Hari in R pra. 1,45 (VP. 1,9), originally of (Brahman) 
Prajapati (^B. 7, 4, 3, 5), perhaps still earlier a totem of the Bharatas. 

III. SPIRITS. 

§ 14. Pretas. — Through all periods from the Vedic age onward spirits 
known as ghosts, beings, and Fathers have been the object of a pious 
regard, expressed by both fear and devotion. They may be said to be 
spirits indifferently good or bad. The Pretas are embryonic Pitrs (Fathers). 
The newly dead is a Preta or Pareta (“departed”,) ghost; the one long 
dead is a Pitp (Father divinity). The Pitrs are the divinities even of gods. 
Only Pitrs are divided into formal classes. The Pretas, as they are simpler 
and logically precede, may be discussed first. In both epics Preta is the 
usual form, but R uses also Pareta (2. 63, 15; cf. paretakale, "at the 
time of dying”, R 3, 51, 31), and Paretaraj is later use -for Pretaraj (Pre- 
takalpa is like gatayus, used of men almost dead, R 3, 41, 20; pret- 
yabhava is death, R4, 22, 18, etc.). Yama is lord not only of the Pitrs but 
of the Pretas; Pretaradvisayaip gata = Yamalokagata (R 6, 79, 14). 
Pretaloka is the antithesis of jlvaloka (7, 39, 24, etc.), the world of dead 
and that of the living. But the Preta though not alive is lively enough! 
and even the long dead Pitr is an active element in the living world( 
After Da 5 aratha has been dead for years, he appears in the sight of man, 
raised by Mahesvara, and stands dressed in bright garments, devoid of 


30 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

dust, and says he will never forgive Kaikeyl. Then be changes his mind, 
forgives her, and blesses Rama, whom he embraces, and finally goes back 
to Indra’s heaven (R6, 122, 10 f.). To return really from death to life is 
possible if a god permits, or one can give a part of one’s life to another 
who is dead and so revive (the dead. Indra gives back to life even the 
monkeys slain for Rama (ib. 123, iof.) and all the Pretas rise not only in 
vision but in reality when divine power exerts itself (15, 33, if.; see also 
§ 4 on the sarpjivana). But usually the Pretas appear in ghastly battle- 
scenes (3, 173, 48, etc.) as demoniac forms dancing with PiSacas and Bhuts 
(§ 16—17) amid carnage (7, 146, 36); nor are they silent. The noise of 
a tumult is “like that of shrieking ghosts”, pretanaip krandatam iva 
(7, 171, 9). They are, however, described as senseless, though perhaps 
stupid is the real meaning: those suffering in battle cry to the heroes, 
“as the witless dead shriek to their king”, Arjunarp kro^anti pretara- 
japure yadvat pretarajarp vicetasah (8,64,59; cf. io, 5, 13, preta 
iva vicetasah, sc. svapanti, sleep “like the senseless dead”). The 
voices of the wounded are like those of the dead (Pretas): "dreadful 
voices of those who shriek in battle like those who are dead” (in hell? 
6 , 46, 19). Those who are killed are said to be "gone (led) into the power 
of the Pretas”, gata (nita) pretava^am (3, 313, 29; S I, 171, 64), but 
probably the apparent implication of power in the ghosts is due to this 
being a shortened form of expression for the usual phrase, pretaraja- 
va^am ("dead” is pretibhuta, pretaga, °gata, 7,19, 37; 5,40,16; R 4, 
30,22, pretagataip Yamak§aye; saippretya in 13, 1980 is not in B, 
58, II, nor S 93, 11, but paraip gatim asaqipretya, 5,65, 3, is “while 
still alive”). The Pretas are, in a word, not honored by the poets. In the 
course of time, if honored by their relations with burial of the corpse 
and offerings to the ghost, they become honored by all as divine Fathers, 
but till then they belong neither to gods nor men, and so are like out¬ 
casts, cyuta devamanu$yebhyo yatha pretas tathai ’va te (sinners 
and outcasts are "cast out from gods and men like Pretas”, 12, 109, 25). 
Hence they must be offered food, pretabhavanugaqi vasu (S pretya- 
bhava); food "reaching the dead” is given by a man for his sons (15, 
8,9). Compare pretyabhavikam ihante aihalaukikam eva ca (14, 37, 
17) as “after death and here”, and in S 12,32, 36, rak$a svadharmaip, 
Kaunteya, 3 reyan yah pretyabhavikab (833,48, has pretya, Bha¬ 
rat a). The Pretas do not appear as individuals so much as hosts or troops. 
The identity of Pretas and Pitrs (in the end) may be shown by such a 
remark as that of Bhlma (4, 22,4), when he says that he will, kill the 
Kicaka and expresses himself thus: “I will cause him to see his grand- 
sires dead of old” (purvapretan pitamahan). Pretarajapuram as the 
city of Yama is a commonplace, as the bourne from which there is.no 
return (7,93, 19; durdarSam, ib. 132, 33; but ib. 135, 14, “one might 
return from that city but not from this antagonist”, in extravagant laud). 
Yama’s city is "full of ghosts” (1, 173, 43, abhavat Pretarajasya puraip 
pretair iva ’vrtam). To perform the Pretakrtyani (°karya, °karman) 
or ceremonies for the dead, renders one impure (tabu). After the funeral 
one becomes pure again (7, 52, 30). As objects of worship the Pretas are 
low down in the religious scale, being classed with the Bhuts. The men 
of purest soul worship gods; those of middle sort (passionate) worship 
Yaksas and Rak§asas; those of the lowest sort, whose souls are in dark¬ 
ness, worship Pretas and bands of Bhuts (6, 41, 4). Together with Bhuts, 


III. Spirits. 3 1 


Pretas are often associated with Pteacas and other “wanderers by night’’. 
They are conjoined with the Pitrs in the phrase pitjrajanicarah (7, 73 » 
48), where the group is opposed to gods and Asuras, etc.; but when the 
saint says that he sees in Vi§nu’s stomach “Guhyakas and Pitrs”, pasyami 
Guhyakan pitaras tatha (3, 188, 119), he makes a similar connection 
as loose as his grammar, for in fact the Pitrs have about as little to do 
with the one as with the other. The Pretas dance with Bhuts and Pi^acas 
not only on battle-fields but in burial-grounds; yet the burial-ground is 
not called theirs but the “grove of the Pitrs”. As the gods have their 
Devavana, so the Fathers have their Pitrvana (pretavana is a later word), 
and it is said, sarve pitrvanaqi praptah svapanti vigatajvarah. 
“after life’s (fitful) fever they sleep well, who reach the Fathers’ grove” 
(11, 3, 5; and C 119 = 4, 16; B and S have °tvacah), to render it almost 
literally in Shakespeare’s words. Certain inconsistencies in belief are to 
be found, as with all people who believe in both ghost and soul. Thus 
it is absurd to suppose that the Preta within a few days of death and 
before the funeral has already “gone to the third heaven”, as is asserted 
in 11, 9, 17. Compare ib. 17, 32: “This hero has already gained the worlds 
won by prowess, if tradition and revelation are true” (agamalj and 
Srutayah). The supposition that a hero is instantly carried up to heaven 
is, however, if not orthodox, at least a common idea. So the wife, already 
jealous of her dead husband who still lies unburied, cries (n, 20, 25 f.): 
“Whom dost thou now speak to, as if to me, after going to the Pitr-world? 
Wilt thou now in heaven disturb the hearts of the nymphs (Apsarasas) 
with thy beauty, gaining the world of the nymphs and righteous and asso¬ 
ciating with nymphs?” (idanim and nunam). It is after this that the 
“priests with matted locks pile the mound and light the fires and sing 
the three Samans while they lament” (at the funeral, 11, 23, 38 f.). Yudhi- 
§thira says (ib. 26, 12): “Those who have sacrificed their bodies (in battle) 
have obtained worlds like those of Devaraj . . or have gone to the Gan- 
dharvas . . or, even if cowardly, have gone to the Guhyakas, or have gone 
to the Uttara Kurus” (Hyperboreans), that is, before the Pitrmedhas (of 
26, 39) were performed, when “the noise of Samans and Reas an d 0 f 
women weeping caused consternation in all beings” (sarvabhutanam, 
ib. 40), after which the kriyas were performed, that is, the water-cere¬ 
monies, which are called particularly the salilakriyah (27,4) or udaka- 
karman (ib. 27), this last immediately preceding the Pretakrtya (ib. 28) 
or Sraddha (see below). 

§ 15. The Pitrs. — The Fathers are divided into separate classes, 
but the classes are not fixed. By analogy with other hebdomads there 
are seven PitrvairiSas (13,91, 28), described as associating with the All-gods 
(who in Vedic literature include them; viSve devaS ca ye nityaip 
Pitfbhih saha gocarafi, ib. 24). They are also regarded as Pitamahas, 
the seven beginning with Brahman (in connection with the fsraddha, 13,1 
92,22; pitamaha for pit)- also 1, 214, 12, etc.). By means of the ^raddha, 
feast “the Pretas are released”, that is the ghosts become raised to the] 
rank of Pitrs. The feast begins with an offering to Fire (Agni), who saves 
the Fathers from indigestion (13,92,11). When water is brought, one 
offering is made to the water-god Varuna, and at the same time one to 
Soma, as the god of the Fathers. This differs slightly from Manu, 3, 211, 
where the offerings are to Agni, Soma, and Yama (food-details as in the 
law-books). The Fathers are worshipped not only by men but even by 



32 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

gods, demons, serpents, Pi^acas, Kiipnaras, etc. (ib. 87, 5 ), not after but 
before the gods (monthly, before the new moon becomes visible, the gods 
after it becomes visible), the afternoon being the right time, to agree with 
the after-half of the month (dark half). But every day is appropriate in 
the light half of the month ( except the deadly fourteenth day (13,87,6, 
and 18 f. and Manu 3, 123). Demons (Asuras) and the Asurendra get all 
the worshipper eats when facing south; Yatudhanas and Pi^acas get the 
feast if no sesame is given, or if it is performed by a KrodhavaSa (ib. 90, 
ipf.; this is “Yama’s rule”). Atri first taught Nimi to give a feast to the 
Fathers instead of offering it “to the soul of his son” (ib. 91, 20). The 
|cakes are offered first to one’s father, then to one’s grandfather, then to 
'one’s great-grandfather, and the Savitri verse should be recited over each 
cake. A verse is said also to Soma as to the Pitrmat god (ib. 92, 15, Soma- 
ye ’ti ca vaktavyaqi tatha pitrmate ’ti ca). Monthly ioraddhas and 
daily offerings are made to the Fathers, and whenever one is in danger, 
as when one crosses water in an ox-cart (13,92, i6f.). In this case the 
offering may be a handful of water, presented first to one’s ancestors and 
then to those of friends and relations (the aupaharikam offering is that 
of Manu 3, 273^, in 13,126,35). These offerings are known as Sraddha, 
Pitryajna, Pitrmedha, and Aupaharika. The special god of the Fathers is 
Yama Pitrpati and Pitrraja or Soma Pitrmat. Only an atheist would dis¬ 
regard the Fathers. Compare R2, 108, I4f. Jabali, in regard to the a$taka- 
(Manu 4, 150) pitrdaivatyam, says that the dead cannot eat, yet he is 
an unbeliever. But the Mok§a doctrine also ignores the cult of the Fathers 
(12, 289, 22 f.). Elsewhere the Fathers are regarded as objects of reverence 
[and proper recipients of prayers and sacrifice. Their wish is law, even 
in details. One must not chew a tooth-pick on the new moon’s day 
because the Fathers do not like one to do so, since it hurts the new 
moon (13, 127, 4f.). Most of the loraddha rules concern themselves, 
however, with the persons who may take part in the feast, not with the 
Fathers’ wishes. These persons include the proper relations and proper 
people; excluded are diseased persons, "women with their ears cut 
off”, etc., the rules being referred to the Fathers as authority' (sermon 
by the Pitrs, 13, 125, i8f .). Much is old legal material but no one need 
fear to admit that much of this is also new and foisted upon the Pitrs, 
who serve as stalking-horses, like gods and demons, for the writers of 
the later epic to impress trite morality but also to bring in new rules. 
For example, in 13, 129,2: “An adulterer and a thief are not conversible 
to the Pitrs and neither they nor gods will accept the offerings^ of such 
sinners” (asaipbha$ya bhavanty ete Pitfnam, etc.) is a perfectly good 
old rule in new form; but in 13, 125, 73 f. the statement that the Pitrs are 
so delighted with the freeing of a blue bull (cf. 3, 2, 57f.) and with offerings 
of water and sesame and with the lighting of lamps that one thereby frees 
himself of all debts to his ancestors, even startles Vrddha Gargya so that 
his hair rises on his head and he asks, “What is the use of setting free 
blue bulls?” and is only quieted by the direct statement on the part of 
the Pitrs themselves that they rejoice for sixty thousand years if their 
descendant sets free a blue bull which urinates. The talk of the Pitrs 
here begins with a question of connubial intercourse on israddha days and 
is carried on with a messenger of the physician gods (the Alvins). It also 
takes up the disposition of rice-cakes at a Sraddha. The first cake is 
cast into water and goes to the moon; the second is given to the wife 




III. Spirits. 


33 


T 


of the deceased; and the third is cast into fire (ib. 19 f.). The rice-cake 
of the Moon pleases the god and then (so) pleases the Pitrs; that eaten 
by the wife causes the Pitamahas (= Pitrs) to give a son to one who 
wishes offspring; that cast into fire makes the Pitrs happy, so that they 
grant wishes, etc. The Rtvij of a sacrificer becomes his Pitr (pitrtvam 
anugaccbati) and hence he must avoid connubial intercourse on that 
day (etc., etc.; the S text adds a mass of matter on these "gods of gods” 
and their feast). Offerings of grain, etc., to the Pitrs are purificatory and 
apart from special cases they are made to the Pitrs on the eighth day 
(a§taka) after the full moon; especially at the beginning of winter or 
"when autumn is over and men desire more, and clothe themselves in 
skins, and set out on expeditions, and Himavat is really the home of 
snow, the sun having lingered long in the southern declension” (R 3, 16, 
6f., navagra yanapujabhir abhyarcya pitrdevatah, etc., sevamane 
drdham surye di^am Antaka-(v. 1 . Agastya-)sevitam). In the special 
case where the king’s body has been burned, after being embalmed in 
oil, ten days of mourning pass and the funeral feast is offered on the 
twelfth, with rich gifts to the priests as an aurdhvadaihikam of the 
departed (to make him happy), and on the thirteenth day is performed 
the godhana or collection of his bones (purification), as described in 
R 2, 77, 1—5 (see below). As to the food offered, the same general rule 
obtains (yadannah) as is applied in the case of the gods: "What a man 
eats, his gods eat” (R 2, 102, 30, etc.). 

Allusion has been made above to the seven families of Fathers, 
divided according to the seers. In 3, 3, 43, seven ganas or troops of 
Pitrs probably refer to t’he distinction made between the kinds mentioned 
as living at the court of Brahman, where are to be found "Agnisvattas, 
Phenapas, U$mapas, Sudhavajtas, Barhi?adas, and others incorporate”. 
Compare 2, 11,44f.: “Fathers swift as thought, in seven ganas, four being 
murtimantas (embodied) and three asaririnas” (having no body; but 
S with B, £aririnah). The Agnisvattas and Somasadas in Manu are 
the Pitrs of the gods and the Sadhyas, respectively, while the Barhi§adas 
are the Pitrs of the Daityas, Danavas (etc., Manu 3, 195 f.) and are here 
also declared to be the sons of the seers, Marici, Atri, etc. The three 
epic a^ariripas are Vairajas, Agnisvattas, and Garhapatyas (=Barhi§adas), 
who are all nakacaras, i. e. "they wander in the vault of heaven”, and 
worship Brahman. The four murtimantas are Somapas, EkaSrugas (Uni¬ 
corns), Caturvedas, and Kalas, who are worshipped among the four castes 
and with the others form part of the court of Prajapati: "when these are 
satisfied (filled), then divine Soma is also filled” (etair apyayitaib pur- 
vaqi SomaS ca 'pyayyate punab, ib. 48). This division is also recognised 
in H 936, where it is said that the gods revere the Vairaja Pitrs; but 
otherwise no such formal division is recognised, only the various classes 
are mentioned on occasion as Somapas, etc. The ganas here described 
appear to belong to the later epic, the Unicorns, Four-Veda Pitrs, and 
Kalas being known only from this passage, perhaps an extension of the 
older groups, called Somavantas, Barhisadas, and Agnisvattas, as they are 
in 3 B. 2,6, i,4f., where the Pitrs are identified with the seasons. The six 
seasons and seven families are then equated with croups of Pitrs. But 
even in the ordered account of Manu there are different and confusing 
systems involved and in the epic it is quite impossible to get any con¬ 
sistent grouping. Thus in 12,270,15, Pitrs who “approve of Mantras for 


Indo-arische Philologie III. ib. 


3 



34 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


the dead” are cited as Arci§mantas, Barhi§adas, and Kravyadas, by whom 
the Moksa doctrine is contradicted (inferentially). The 0 §mapas appear 
to be one with the Somapas, but the latter title is also applied to any 
who drink Soma (thus kings are Somapas, 5, 152,18). The Phenapas, 
“foam-drinkers” are said t<j be those "excellent Munis” who live on the 
•froth of the Ocean of Milk and are feared by the gods (5,102,6); but in 
13*141,97 f., the Phenapas are R§is who drink foam left over from am¬ 
brosia drunk by Brahman at sacrifices. One class often represents the 
Fathers in general, as when U§mapas are grouped as worshippers of Vi?nu 
with Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, All-gods, ASvins, Maruts, Gan- 
dharvas, Yak§as, Asuras, and Siddhas (6,35,22!.). In 5,109,2, they are 
assigned to the South (the general region of the Pitrs), as opposed to the 
Dhumapas of the East, and are called Devas, the Dhumapas being Munis 
(ib. 108, 14). With U§mapas and Dhumapas are grouped K§irapas (13,14,56), 
but they are merely ascetic priests (see §§ 118—126). In the later epic 
any number of these “drinkers” (cf. Ghftapas, etc., below) are predicated 
as heavenly beings. The Pitrs are called “divinities even of the gods” 
in 9,44,32!, where the Pitrs visit Skanda (cf. Yamas and Dhamas under 
Yama). Manu’s Sukalins (M 3, 197) are the Sukalas of H 985 (ib. 932, the 
seven ganas are as above, four murtimantas and three amurtimantas). 

The Fathers, whose very existence depends upon descendants (1,179, 
14!), are naturally opposed to too much asceticism. They advise against 
suicide (ib.) and anxiously ask: “Will our son or grandson give us food?” 
( I 3>63, 20). This of course' refer^ to the ordinary Fathers, not those who 
“exist on froth”, etc. One feeds them with svadha, as gods with Soma 
(12,29,116). It is their main preoccupation to get something to eat, but 
they continue to show an interest in the affairs of their family and occa¬ 
sionally come to help their descendants. Thus eight Fathers in the shape 
of birds (souls in bird-shape) hold up the fainting Bhf§ma. On different 
occasions they resemble planets in glory, hold one up, give him water 
to drink; give Bhf§ma advice as to the best weapon to use, reconsider the 
matter and advise him not to do as they had advised, etc. Pitrs appear 
in battle or as a vision at night, and are called svadhabhujas, Fathers, 
Munis, and Vipramukhyas. They are not only “like planets”, grahas, they 
are stars; but the souls of saints appear as stars, falling stars when their 
merit is exhausted (5,182,14!; 6,119,97; 3,42,35, etc.). Their usual 
appearance is “in the form of mortals”, marty amurtidharalj (3, 41,9), 
but glorified. A Pitrgraha, however, is a "Father-demon” who attacks 
people and makes them go mad (3, 230,48), as contrasted with similar 
fiends called Devagraha, Gandharvagraha, etc,;.here the Pitr is acting as 
a fiend. The Pitrs of the South are associated with the All-gods, Pitf- 
lokar§is, Devar§is, and Rajar§is (5, 109, 5). The “course pursued by Pitrs, 
Paitamahas, and Rajar$is” is the course of moral conduct for man to 
follow. The "favorite district of the Fathers” is the South (pitrju§ta 
dik, 7 , 17, 37 ); pitrsadana = Yamas'adana ( 8 , 77, 44); cf. pitfrajaSrita 
dik (2,46,15) and dik pitrnam aSiva (5,66,14). The chief Father is 
the eponymous hero Aryaman (6, 34, 29). The intimate relation existing 
between the Fathers and descendants may be shown by the fact that the 
Fathers become hysterical when a child is born, wondering if he will 
bring good or ill to the Fathers (3, 1 59 , 13 ; "the Fathers in the world of 
Fathers grieve and laugh”, that is become hysterical). Ag^stya sees his 
Fathers hanging upside down in a pit because he has given them no 




III. Spirits. 


35 


descendants, and converses with them (3,96,14). Similar is the tale of 
Jaratkaru (i, 13, 18). Mandapala lacking children could not stay in Pitf- 
loka and became a bird (1,229, Sf-). 

The Fathers are called lokabhavanas, "world-creators” (3,41,9), 
as they are among the creative forces by virtue of being ancestors of 
the gods, purvadevas. The special path, as distinguished from that of 
the gods, followed by the Pitrs (Pitfyana) is (morally) one attained by 
sacrifices and practical duties (3, 2, 75 f.; ib. 41, 9). All duties are arranged 
in two groups, sacrifice, study, liberality, austerity in one, and truth, for¬ 
giveness, self-restraint, and lack of greed in the other. The first group 
is said in 3, 2, 75 to be Pitryane sthitah (but elsewhere in the epic, 
as in Hit. 2,1,7, the first group is dambhartham, 5, 35, 57). As 3, 2 = 
12, 7 is late, this Pitryana interpretation is probably secondary, though 
the general idea is old (cf. TS. 5, 7, 2, 3 and Chand. Up. 5, 10, 1 f.). Physical 
interpretation of the “Path of the Fathers” is more common. This is the 
path leading to the Moon (13, 16,45), but also the path to the South, as 
that is where the Fathers live; but this is interpreted as the sun’s dak- 
§inapatha or dak§inayana (southern course, summer-time to winter). 
The northern path is followed by those who live a life of renunciation 
or quietism; that by the South, dak§inena, is for those who follow the 
life of active religion, moral but not philosophic. It is also a “glorious" 
course, leading to the Moon and aiding priests, all of whom are supported 
by men of action (12, 19, 13 f.). The South is the path of Aryaman, of acts, 
and ceremonies; the North is the path of Purvavids and Yogins (12, 26, 9f.). 
Among the Pitrs appear also the R$is (§ 118), and they cannot always be 
distinguished from Pitrs. Thus the Vaikhanasas are Pitrs and B$is, and 
"Father B§is who have gone to heaven by means of study” are the Ajas, 
Pr^nis, Sikatas, Arunas, and Ketus, who belong to the Vaikhanasa school 
(12, 26, 7 f.). The Sikatas and Pr 3 nis appear again with Somapas, Ghrtapas, 
Valakhilyas, Prabhasas, Vatevanaras, and Maricipas, as families of B§is 
(12, 166, 24; also in 7, 190, 34, as Mahar§is). See also Yama, "king of 
Pretas”, “king of Pitrs”, etc., and Bsis (§ 54f.; § u8f.). 

It is in all likelihood owing to the old-time identification of the 
Pitrs with the seasons that the Bbhus (in 12,208,22 mentioned with the 
Maruts, but otherwise well-nigh ignored in epic poetry) are in 3,261, I9f. 
exalted as the highest divinities. Their earlier names are lost to the epic, 
though Vaja appears as son of a Manu in the Hariv. 465, and even as a 
group they are conspicuously absent from epical groupings of gods. But 
in this passage of Vana they appear as inhabitants of Brahman’s heaven 
and “even divinities revere them”, for “they are the divinities even of 
the gods”, devanam api devatab, and their self-moving world, self- 
illuminated, is one of wholly supersensuous beings' In their heaven is no 
"woman-made woe”, no greed of world-lordship, no hunger, thirst, grief, 
sweat of toil, evil smell or bad air, nor other disagreeable things. No dust 
is there, and their garlands, as of gods, never fade; For their heaven is 
above the heaven where “those who are about to fall perceive their flowers 
wither”, in the pure region of Meru, and thirty-three thousand leagues in 
extent. The Rbhus are also thirty-three according to the B text, but this 
is impossible and the S text has for ime devalj, which should be the 
Etbhus (trayastriqi^ad ime deva yesaip loka mani$ibhir gamyante), 
trayastriip^ad ime lokab 3 esa lokalj, etc. (that is, “the worlds are 
thirty-three; the remaining worlds are attainable by the wise”). These 



36 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Rbhus "have no oblation, drink no "ambrosia, have heavenly bodies, and 
are invisible (vigrahamurtayaR); they seek no joy in joy; they are the 
eternal gods of gods (devadevaR sanatanaR), who change not as the 
zeons change, know neither age not death, weal nor woe, possessing a 
lot desired even of the gods; since it is unattainable to those subject to 
desire, but attainable to those who have cast off desire and are become 
truly wise”. This extraordinary exaltation of the Rbhus treats them as a 
group of beings who, for no apparent reason, have become the highest 
exponents of spiritual life. The Hariv. 436 f., makes the Rbhus one of five 
devaganas of the Caksusa Manu (in the sixth Manvantara), a list which, 
as the Lekhas show, is post-epical: /\pyaR Prabhuta RbhavaR Pr- 
thuka£ ca divaukasaR, Lekha nama. Every group here is handed 
down in other forms, but the Lekhas have a doubtful individuality as 
beings set beside Yak$as and Apsarasas (forms of parts of the personal 
incorporate Visnu, Hariv. 14269) and regarded as Father-gods or gods 
who are also Pitrs (13, 18, 74, with Somapas and Usmapas as a group of 
gods, but with v. 1 . loka for Lekha). In VP. 3, I, 27, the Rbhus are replaced 
by Bhavyas (Adyas, Prasrtas, Bhavyas, Prthagas, Lekhas (sic B, for Pras- 
tutas and Prthugas; here numbered with eight members to the group). It 
appears as if the Rbhus thus exalted must be Pitrs; in which case the 
old equation of Pitrs and seasons must have been in the mind of the 
poet, for the Rbhus represent the (originally) three seasons as creative 
forces. At least there seems to be no other reason for this late and sudden 
eulogium on beings so epically inconspicuous as the Rbhus, and the 
expression “gods of gods” used of a group (for devadeva is singly 
applied to several gods) can apply only to Pitrs (cf. above where Pitrs 
are.revered by gods, and Manu’s group of Pitrs as “Pitrs of gods”). The 
complete identification, as eklbhuta, of gods (Devas) and Pitrs is rather 
a late touch made by Agni (1, 7,9), who himself distinguishes them as 
two classes worshipped respectively at the new and full moon. 

§ 16. The Bhuts. — The Bhutas (or Bhutani) are indistinct to the 
epic poets, who have not yet arranged the genealogy of spirits so as to 
make the Bhuts derive from’Krodha, as is done in H 11554; nor, as in 
VP. l , 5, 44, from Brahman kruddha (ib. 1, 21, 25, they and PiSacas come 
from Krodha). They are not yet clearly ghosts, but they lie between ghosts 
and other Pi6ita§inas (“eaters of raw flesh”). Evil Bhuts are closely asso¬ 
ciated with ghosts in the epic and in modern times Bhuts are identified 
with Pretas, the concept including imps, ghosts, and goblins. In the epics, 
apart from such use as appears in Bhutakrt and Bhutakarman (names of 
the creator), Bhutadhaman (a son of Indra, I, 197, 29), Bhutadhara (as 
earth, RG 4, 44, 129, but with v. 1.), the Bhut as a spiritual being is not 
so much an imp as he is a great fiend. In general, Bhut is any creature, 
KalaR pacati bhutani (11, 2, 24 = Mait. Up. 6, 15), but as a malicious 
demon its nearest parallel is found in Sattva, “being” and spirit, good 
or bad, but with a tendency toward evil. Thus in R 2, 33, 8f., the people 
press about to see the exiles, “Sita whom not even the Bhuts going in 
space have seen”, and they exclaim, “Da^aratha speaks as if possessed 
by a Sattva” (sattvam avigya, S; sattvenavi§tacetanah, G; ib. 10 = 
Mbh. S 2,101, 10, satyam! This whole section is stolen from R with required 
changes in names!). Compare R 2, 58, 34, Bhutopahatacitte ’va, of a 
woman. Bhuts are akaiaga, but especially are they night-wanderers, 
naigani, going with Yak$as, Rak§asas, etc., in troops, all described as 




III. Spirits. 


37 


raudrah, pi 3 ita 4 anah (R i, 34, 17f.). People think a Bhut or Rak§as 
committed the “more than human” act of killing Dr?tadyumna horribly at 
night (10, 8, 26 and 32). Man's mountain foes are hidden Bhuts and Rak- 
§asas (3, 140, 1 and 12). The Bhuts are “huge and very strong” and are 
countered by austerity and fire-lauds (see Agni). A traveller is apt to 
suffer from them (1, 143, 18). Sattvas and Bhuta-gramas follow an army 
desiring blood (R 7, ioo, 23). At home, they are the recipients of offerings, 
ba 1 i, coming regularly after gods and between guests and Pitrs in the 
order of distribution (3,193,32; in 13,93,15, the sarpSritas, servants of 
the house, are fed first and Bhuts are omitted). In the wilds, Slta begins 
with a bali to Bhuts (agram pradaya Bhutebhyah, R 2, 95, 36, Prak- 
§ip.); cf. Manu, 3, 90, etc. Bhutasanghas applaud heroes in battle (7, 122, 
68) and Bhutani call bravo (R 3, 51, 21). Bhuts of the air may be any 
beings, as khecara, khacara, is applied to gods, Gandharvas, and 
Rak§asas, as well as to Bhuts (1,210,7), and even Siddhas are Bhutani 
khacarani (R 4, 59, 18—19). They are usually called naktaipcaras, 
niSacaras, expressions applied, however, more often to their companion 
Rak§asas (R 5, 5, 9, naktaipcarah “extraordinarily cruel”, atyadbhuta- 
raudravrttah; cf. ib. 7, 37, Prak. 5,28, k$anadacaras, night-going 
fiends), as in 3, 155, 33, praseduh k§anadacarah, of the Krodhavaga 
Rak§asas. A wise man “bows his head to Pitrs, gods, and night-wandering 
Bhuts”, before going to bed (5, 183,1 f.). Bhuts are thus of three cate¬ 
gories, the indifferent (abhayarp yasya bhutebhyah sarve$am abha- 
yarp' yatah . . sarvabhutahito maitrah, 5,63, igf., “[wise is he] 
who fears no beings and none fears him”), the hostile, and the kind. All 
the night-wandering demoniac Bhuts belong among the hostiles, and the 
groups under 3 iva Bhutapati (3, 38, 32), dangerous demons of the moun¬ 
tains (cf. 2, 3, 14 and R 6, 71, 13, arci§madbhir vj-to bhati Bhutair 
iva Mahe£varah). Like the "play-ground of Rudra” appears a field of 
corpses filled with Bhuts, Pigacas, Rak§as, and other flesh-eating night- 
wanderers (11,6,12, and often). Kindly Bhuts honor a hero (7, 37 , 37 ) and 
guard him or lament his fall (R 3, 52,41; ib. 6, 91, 62), and these are in¬ 
cluded when one offers a bali with that to the gods and Pitrs, as beings 
potentially evil but probably disinclined to injure the householder who 
shows them respect (cf. VS. I, n). As such they are very likely confused 
with the Pretas or ghosts. The mahabhutam as “element” may be re¬ 
placed by bhutam, and, conversely, both bhutam mahat and maha¬ 
bhutam may mean no more than a big Bhut. Thus in S 3, 313, 43 , 
praharanto mahabhutaip Saptas tena ‘tha te ’patan means “have 
they fallen because they were cursed by some big Bhut whom they 
attacked?”, and has a parallel in B ib. 21 (S 314, 19) bhutarp mahad 
idarp manye bhrataro yena me hatah, “it must have been a big 
Bhut that felled my brothers”. The form is indifferently masculine and 
neuter, generally neuter, but with a tendency to regard the neuter as 
personified, so that a masculine adjective may agree with it, as in R 6, 
79, 35, sadhu sadhv iti Bhutani vyaharanti nabhogatah (ib. 71,66, 
Bhuta Devah, “Bhuts and gods”). To sum up the epjc Bhutas, as mytho¬ 
logically restricted, they designate beings of a rather vicious disposition, 
small and great, and very likely included at first as subdivisions the 
particular groups known by special names as cannibalistic night-wanderers. 
But as ghosts are also by predilection malicious, the term Bhut had a 
tendency to interchange with Preta, till the modern equivalence, Bhuta 


38 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


= Preta, became thoroughly established. The tendency to restrict the broad 
general meaning to a certain class is seen in the literature immediately 
following the epic (Hariv. and Puranas), in which Bhutas are assigned their 
proper parentage (that is are restricted to a class) in the divine genealogies. 

§ 17. Raksasas, Yatudhanas, and Pisacas. — The close connection 
between the various classes of evil demons and spiritual powers not 
exactly evil yet not divine enough to be regarded as gods will often be 
a subject of special remark. This is sufficiently illustrated by the inter¬ 
change of the same name among various groups. Thus in Mbh. the 
Raksasa Manimat is a friend of Kubera (§ 83), and Manimat is also a name 
of a Yak§a, of a Naga, and of a king who is reborn as such after existing 
as Vrtra, while Manimat! designates a Daitya-town (in both epics Manimat 
is a mountain). It seems that certain characters stood out more as indi¬ 
viduals than as fixed members of a group and that such individuals are 
sometimes considered as belonging to one and sometimes to another 
group. But beyond this, the interrelation of different groups is so close 
that marriage connections constantly occur between these different social, 
if spiritual, groups, so that the offspring are, in terms of social life, half- 
breeds. No group, again, is wholly evil or wholly good. All that can 
be said is that each is prevailingly good or bad. The same in regard to 
appearance. Thus the following facts are applicable to individual or to 
limited groups of Raksasas, who are on the whole prevailingly evil. They 
help the gods; they fight against the gods. They are beautiful; they are 
hideous. They are weaker than gods or Gandharvas; they overcome the 
gods with ease. They protect; they injure. They are different from 
Yak§as; but they are so much like Yak§as that the same terms are applied 
to both. The facts as thus stated will be illustrated in the course of this 
paragraph with the exception of the last. It will suffice to say here that 
the Rak§asas duplicate in part the qualities ofYak$as because, according 
to one tradition, the two species are born of the same mother, KhaSa 
(H 234 and 11552; VP. 1,21,24, Khasa), who is a daughter of Dak§a 
(H 169). Red eyes and dark bodies characterise the Yaksas who guard 
Kubera; the Raksasas are always red-eyed and those guarding Kubera 
are like fiery smoke in color (H 13 132). Here the* function of the Rak- 
Sasa is to guard. Whether, in India, the injurer became the guardian, or 
the "guardian” (of treasure) became the injurer, is still debated (raks 
means injure and guard); but the application and growth of the words 
would favor the first interpretation. Raksas (Raksasa) was at first one of 
the many harmful spirits, a nocturnal power, a demon of darkne'Ss, and 
therefore evil. But as injurer of those opposing it, the Raksas is also 
protector of what it values, so that raksin, etc., become words exclusively 
indicating protector; yet the demon-group, when once formed as injurious, 
seldom passes over into the opposed conception. This happens most 
naturally when their own chieftain appoints them as guards, as above. 
So too in 3,153,11, it is said that "the Raksasas called KrodhavaSas, at 
command of their king, guard this (paradise and treasure) by thousands, 
with encircling weapons”. But occasionally the Raksas becomes a more 
geperal guardian, as when one “guards the Sun” (§ 38), or, again, when 
the Sun-god appoints a Raksasa to "guard” Draupad! (4, 16, 11). This 
genesis is also what is to be expected from the point of view of other 
protecting spirits, like the Assyrian bulls representing powers of evil con¬ 
verted to good use. Native data strengthen this view further, inasmuch 




III. Spirits. 


39 


as the Rak$asa is most closely connected with other powers of evil, so 
that he is often confounded with the Daitya, Danava (or Asura), and is 
most intimate (even interchanging) with the Pi£aca fiend. The Mbh. makes 
the Rak§asas less human than does the Ram. Their king is here rich but 
not, as in R, beautiful; only his raiment is fine, but he himself, despite 
rich dres§ and adornment, is more “like a tree in a crematorium than 
a kalpa-tree” (3, 281, 5). The demons are here expressly of two classes, 
fierce and friendly, raudra maitral ca (ib. 139, 10). They will cook and 
eat a man, after slaying him (3, 154, 16; 159,25). They live in caves and 
in trees. Their presence portends blood, and when they are seen to “fall 
from space" (the sky), it is a sign of battle (5, 48, 104, and loc. cit. below). 
Even in the Rama-tale of Mbh., Ravana, the chief Rak§asa, is less royal- 
human than in Valmiki’s version, and apart from this episode the prominent 
Rak§asas of the Mbh. are typical ogres, whereas in R of the chief fiends 
only Kumbhakarna is of this lower and popular type, the others being, 
so to speak, too gentlemanly for that class. The chief Mbh. Rak§asas 
in independent tales are Jatasura, i. e. Asura, and Baka, called Asuraraj 
(1,160,4), whose name and title again show the close connection between 
Rak§asas and other evil spirits; also Alayudha, Alambusa, and Kirmira, 
relatives of these ogres, and Hidimba, father of the half-human Ghatot- 
kaca; and later, the virtuous Virupak§a. Hidimba is a female counterpart 
of her brother Hidimba. Bhima kills the male and marries the female, 
who thus becomes mother of Ghatotkaca. The last is thus only half Rak- 
§asa, but he has the nature of his maternal kin and is accompanied into 
battle with the recognised classes of Rak§asas, called Paulastyas and 
Yatudhanas, who ride indifferently on cars, horses, or elephants, and 
appear in any shape they choose, as elephants, tigers, etc., the whole 
troop of them having the name of “Nairfti army” (7, 156, H3f.; ib. 135f.). 
They CEfcry divine and human weapons, have long tongues, and in par¬ 
ticular Ghatotkaca’s chariot is drawn by gajanibhas, creatures “looking 
like elephants” (Pi^acas, N; see below; ib. 156, 59). Hidimba’s son is 
described in a repetitive section (7, 175,4 f.). He has pointed ears, stiff 
hair, sunken belly, red eyes, thick nose, a copper-colored face and long 
reddish tongue, four fangs, a mouth stretching from ear to ear, etc., etc.; 
he carries brass armor, a gold crown and earrings, and rides in an eight- 
wheel car. The strength of all these monsters increases greatly at or 
after midnight (ib. 175, 39). They shower stones, hurl trees, and are either 
mountainous in size or small as a thumb, as they momentarily choose 
(ib. 52 and 63). Their forte is illusion, which is “born with them” and 
they commence to grow stronger the moment the evening gloaming begins 
(6,90,65; 7, 156,69 and 77). Ghatotkaca is at last (7, 179, 5^) slain by the 
dart kept by Karna to kill Arjuna. His mother’s brother Hidimba is like 
other Raksasas, a purusadin, naraSana, cannibal. He lives in a Sala- 
tree and has eight fangs, pointed ears, red hair, is very strong and is 
much pleased with the smell of man (1, 152,' if.; 153, 1; 163, 7). His sister 
Hidimba takes human form, can fly through the air, knows the past and 
future (S), and is accustomed to eat man and then dance with her brother 
to various measures after dinner (1, 152, 14). Her savagery is softened in 
S by the assertion that she is virtuous and wise although a Rak§asi (S 
167, 27 f.). Virupaksa is an ordinary epithet applied to Raksasas and other 
spirits in both epics, but as a name designates a "virtuous” demon of 
this class, called Raksasadhipati of Meruvraja. He is devout and gives 



40 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

liberally to priests at Karttika days, etc., posing as friend of the holy crane 
in one of the moral dialogues of the later epic, another illustration of 
the tendency to convert the fiend into a guardian of virtue. The same 
epithet may be the name of Ghatotkaca’s charioteer in 7, 175, 15 ; in RG 
3, 7, 6 = 2, 5, it interchanges with gabhlrak§a as epithet of Viradha. 
Baka, the Asuraraj Raksasa, lives in a cave; he too is red-haired and has 
pointed ears. He gets one human being daily to eat, from a village where 
Bhima stays, who kills him (1,163, 7 f.), and his relatives seek during the 
ensuing war to take revenge. Alayudha is his brother (probably) and, as 
described, is an understudy of Ghatotkaca, but “'lovelier”; and his "elephant¬ 
like” coursers bray like asses. Even the vultures 00 the car are imitated 
from the description of the greater demon (7, 176, I f. and 19). He too is 
a lord of Raksasas and a friend of Hidimba and Kirmlra. His steeds bray 
(are kharasvanah), while those of Ghatotkaca have Pi^aca-faces (7, 175, 
93 and 176, 16). He is at last slain by Bhima, after the two have fought 
"like Valin and Sugriva” (7, 178, 29 and 33, Bakajnati). The fighting of 
all these ogres resembles, either with each other or with the epic heroes, 
that of Indrajit, Ravana, the Asuras and gods (6, 100, 5if.; * 7 > 96 , 23; ib. 
108, 13). The first simile is stereotyped. Compare the fight of Bhima and 
Jatasura in 3, 157,60, tad vrk§ayuddham . . Vali-Sugrivayor bhra- 
troh pura strikank§inor yatha. This Jatasura is defied by Bhima "by 
his good deeds and sacrifices”, i. e. as Bhima was good and Jatasura evil, 
the victory was sure. Jatasura had been a guest disguised as a priest 
and then, watching his opportunity, had tried to run aWay with the Paijdus 
and Draupadi (ib. 1 f.). Jatasura’s son is Alambusa, brother of Baka, also 
called son or descendant of B§ya 3 r 6 ga, ArsyaSfhgi (6,90,49 and 69; 7, 
108, 24 and 176, 15), who as Rak§asendra has the best chariot of the 
Raksasa army opposed to the Pancjus (also drawn by "horse-faced PiSacas"; 
7, 167, 38). He is ranked as a Maharatha, is called a descendant of kings 
(parthivaputrapautra, 7, 140, 19; cf. 5, 167, 33), and fights because of 
his ancient grudge (purvavairam anusmaran, Udyog. ib.). Though appa¬ 
rently of human ancestry in part, he is a true Raksasa, descending into 
earth, rising into the air again, and having any form at will; he is even¬ 
tually killed by Satyaki (7, 108, 27 f.; ib. 140,18). Alambu§a is the name 
of an Apsaras and the wife of Iksvaku (9, 51, 5, etc.; R 1,47, 11, as wife 
of Ik§. and mother of Vigala). Kirmlra, the "brother of Baka”, is less 
important. He is mentioned in 3, 10, 23 (cf. 7, 176, 4) with Hidimba and 
Baka as a foe of the gods, but though he is tall as a mountain and even 
has eiglit fangs and employs illusion, .he - is finally throttled by -Bhima 
(“as deer by lion slain”). His illusion (3,11,58) is dispelled by Mantras 
that kill Rak$asas. Oddly enough, he carries a firebrand, ulmuka, the 
very thing (see § 49f.) used to dispel such creatures (3, 11,6). He appears 
however like a lightning-charged thunder-cloud. He lives by eating men 
and says that even after death Baka is still gratified with blood (3, II, 34), 
probably as a libation, since Jatasura also cries out to Bhima, "I will 
make a libation of your blood to the Rak§asas you have already killed”, 
te§am adya kari§yami tkva ’sreno ’dakakriyam (3, 157, 49). He 
lives in the Kamyaka woods; Baka in the Vaitrakiya forest. Whether 
"brother of Baka” is to be taken literally or only as indicating that 
Kirmira like Alambusa is a brother fiend, is perhaps of no importance. 
The Raksasas of Mbh., apart from the war and the family-feud with Bhima, 
appear as dwellers in mountain-wilds, rough places, disturbing holy places, 




III. Spirits. 


4i 


by their “beauty" destroying the meditations of saints (3, 113, if.). Yatu- 
dhanas are Raksasas formed by Ghatotkaca to fight, illusive forms (7,179, 
39). The female Rakgasi bears as soon as she conceives and her children 
are born adult in power (1, 155, 35 f.). When attacked by Nagas, a Rak- 
gasa turns into the form of Garuda and devours them (6,90, 75). As an 
illustration, of the possible transference of function in the nature of 
Rakgasas may be taken the case of Jara, a female RakgasI living on meat 
and blood, appointed, however, by Brahman to destroy evil Danavas. Her 
image must be painted on the wall of a pious man’s house to bring him 
good luck, that is to keep all evil from him. As such she then is known 
as the Grhadevi, “goddess of the house" (2,17,39; 18, ifi); yet she is 
still so much of a Rakgas that she collects raw flesh at cross-roads at 
night (ib.). One of the common evil deeds of Raksasas is to carry off 
women. In 1,6, if., an unnamed Rakgasa who has been promised a bride 
subsequently married to a human saint (Bhrgu) carries her off, but he 
drops dead, burned to ashes, when the saint’s son is born, apparently, 
however, because the son was sun-like, and the fiends arfc coerced by 
luminaries (taip drgtva . . aditya varcasam, tad Rakgo bhasmasad 
bhutaqi papata). Rama slew Rakgas (rakgaipsi) because they had de¬ 
stroyed the sacrifices, and he thus gave back to the Manes and gods their 
wonted offerings (7, 59, 18). Krgna slew Ogha (5, 48, 83, associated with 
Naraka and Mura), a Raksas. 

Raksasas are sons of Pulastya, fourth son of Brahman, so that even 
Ravana when described as “thief of sacrifice and robber of girls” is still 
Paulastyanandana (R 3, 32, 23; ib. 6, I14, 53 f.). According to the great 
epic, all Rakgasas are sons of Pulastya; but those called Nairrtas are in 
particular sons of Nirrti (Destruction), the wife of Adharma, and also the 
mother of Fear, Terror, and Death ('1,66,7; *b. 54 fi)* The sons of the 
wicked king in this epic are incarnations of these Raksasas and of other 
evil beings; as sons of Pulastya tlje Rakgasas are brothers of the Yakgas 
(ib. 67, 89). The later Ram. recognises this origin of Raksasas but proposes 
another, according to which Brahman himself created creatures to guard 
the waters he had previously created and some of these creatures cried 
rakgamalj, “let us guard”, while others cried yakgamafi, “let us gobble” 
(S jakgamah, VP. khadamah), so guards and goblins they became (R 7, 
4,4 and 12; VP. 1,5,41). The genealogy of the family of Ravana is un¬ 
certain. In Mbh., the mother of Ravana and Kumbhakarna was Pugpotkata; 
the mother of VibhTgana was Malinf; and the mother of the twins was 
Raka, sent to ViSravas by VaiSravana (3, 275, 5f.). The Ram. derives 
Ravana, Kumbhakarna, VibhTgana, and one of the twins, fsurpanakha, from 
KaikasT, daughter of Sumalin and wife of ViSravas, Sumalin being son of 
Devavati, the daughter of the Gandharva Gramaiii, by SukeSa, grandson of 
Fear, Bhaya, who was the sister of Yama (Kala),'by Heti, the last together 
with the ascetic Praheti being original royal Rakgasas. Sukega was a 
favorite of £iva and received special boons from him and Uma (R 7, 4, 31; 
ib. 5 » if-! >b. g, 19). This genealogy is valuable only as showing how close 
is the connection mythologically between Rakgas and Gandharva and Yaks a 
on the one hand and, religiously, between Siva (called Kumbhakarna) and 
the Raksa sa host . It is even closer, for the grandson of the Gandharva 
marnecr'Ketumati, a Gandharvf, and his brothers Malin and Malyavat 
married her two sisters (Vasudlra and Sundarf). Incidentally it may be 
remarked that Khasa or Kha 5 a (above) may be confused (cf. Kagaputra) 



42 III. Religion, weltl. Wissjensch.-u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

with the Nikasa of the scholiast at ~RG 7, 76, as explaining the "mother 
of Raksasas”; the name is not epic (see note to p. 46, below). 

It is to be remembered that the ViSravas mentioned above is also 
father of Kubera by another wife, Devavarnini, daughter of Bharadvaja. 
His nature is contrasted with that of the pure Raksasas, but, in this family 
also, a saintly Raksa§a is known, Vibhi§ana, whose family and councillors 
are all good. An attempt is made to derive badness from precedent good¬ 
ness in the case of all the Raksasas by insinuating that Kaikasi came 
at an ‘‘evil’’ hour to her husband and so her sons became evil; but this 
is artificial and the Ram. itself distinguishes between prakrta Raksasas 
(the common lot) and these aristocrats or princes of evil (R 3, 29, i6f.). 
It is impossible here to go into the further details of the marriages and 
genealogy of these royal Raksasas. Suffices to say that Ravana’s wife is 
Maya’s daughter; Kumbhakarna’s wife is Vairocana’s daughter: and Vi- 
bhisana’s wife is Sarama, daughter of the Gandharva ^ailu§a. Vibhisana’s 
virtue is reckoned as one part of a boon given him by Brahman! The 
tragedy of the Rama epic begins with “the root of woe”, fWpanakha, 
whose husband is slain by her brother Ravana and who is sent with Khara, 
nephew or brother of Ravana, to rule over Dancjaka, where, met and 
scorned by Rama, her miseries incite her royal brother to war. Khara is 
an Ass in name and in sound (R 3,22,26, kharasvanah). As the ass is 
not a mythological animal, it has not been included in the list (§ 8), but 
its relation to evil may be worth noticing. Above it was shown that ass¬ 
like braying creatures drag Raksasas’ chariots. The sound of the ass por¬ 
tends evil; Duryodhana brays, like Khara, when born, and asses, vultures, 
jackals, and crows echo the evil omen (1, 115,28). In the ritual, the ass 
is chiefly employed as a means of expiating sexual sins, inchastity, violating 
a woman, etc., either as a sacrificial victim or as a vehicle of dishonor. 
Besides Vibhtsana, the epics present Avindhya as a moral Rak§asa, who 
advises Ravana not to slay Sita (3, 280, 56f.; 289, 28f.; R 5, 37, 1 if.); his 
daughter Kala is also kind, as is the Raksasi Trijata. The northerners, in 
distinction from this whole southern group, are represented as obstructive 
creatures, bahuni vighnarupani kari§yanti (RG, 6,82, 57). Though 
Ravapa has ten heads and ten or twenty arms (Dasagrlva, da^akandhara; 
the arms vary, R 7, 16 and 103, 34), he sometimes has but two arms and 
in other respects is beautiful (despite the snakes in his hair and his 
hanging .tusks, preserved as the inherited signs of his race). Hanumat 
on seeing him exclaims: aho rupara aho dhaifyam aho sattvam aho 
dyutih, aho Rak$asarajasya sarvalak§anayuktata, (“O the-beauty, 
firmness, goodness, glory, and union of all marks of distinction, in this 
king of Raksasas”), and adds, “If he were not lawless, he would be a 
raksitr (rather than Rak§asa) of heaven”. But as it is, he is lokaravana, 
bhutaviravin (R 5 , 49 , 17f-; ib. 50, 1). Yet Rama calls him pious and 
learned in the Veda (R6, 112,24). His piety was so great that Brahman 
gave him the boon of immunity from all spirits but not from men, because 
Ravana despised men; yet being cursed by one of the women he had 
injured, he was destroyed through a woman (R 7, 24,1 f.). He was cursed 
by so many that it is doubtful whose curse effected his downfall, whether 
Rambha, or Vedavati (Sita), Uraa, or Punjikasthala. NandiSvara also cursed 
Ravana because he called Nandi^vara a “monkey” (R 6,60, 7 f.). Ravana’s 
car is drawn by asses (also horses). His chief exploits are to carry off 
Sita and stop the sun; he conquered the gods, overran Bhogavati; forced 




III. Spirits. 


43 


Madhu the Danava to marry his sister, and Maya to give him his daughter 
as wife; stole Soma; and conquered Jatayus, who tore off his arms is vain 
as they grew again (R 6, 7 and ib. 7, 1—23, etc.). The latest addition to 
R makes Vi§nu’s laugh send Ravana back to the underworld (Prak§ipta, 

7, 23). Ravana is finally slain by “Brahman’s weapon". His son and the 
other lessqr demons are not so strong, but have the other traits of Ravana. 
Indrajit, his second son, overcomes Indra (hence his name and titles, 
Vasavanirjetr, ^akrajetr, etc.) and is carried by tigers, dowered with divine 
boons, dattavara (the weakness of the gods mentally continually leads 
to their giving boons to their cunning foes), and is described in terms 
used to signalise Yak§as, namely “black, with red eyes". He is described 
also as a Danava in H 199, where no difference is maintained between 
these classes. Another son, Tri£iras, is killed twice over, like a Homeric 
combatant (R 3, 27 and 6, 70). The monstrosity of the fiends is not 
emphasised except in the few cases where the name demands it in the 
case of the royal family, but elsewhere Trigiras’ three heads are matched 
by the four heads and eight eyes of Kalanemi. The figure of Kumbhakarna 
is more popular. He has enormous hunger and sleeps six months at a 
time. As soon as he was born he devoured a thousand creatures and 
swallowed his foes “as Garuda_swallows snakesi’ (R 6,60, 13 f. and ib. 61 ✓ 
and 65). He really sleeps thirty or thirty-four months (ib. 6,60, 16). The 
later epic makes him an ascetic living in a cave (R 7, 7 and 10), perhaps 
because in R 6,60, 24 he sleeps in a cave. Like other Rak$asas are the 
lesser demon-nobleSj that is, they are deceitful fighters, devoted to injury, 
delighting in slaying saints and kings, and are all by predilection “wan¬ 
derers by night”, nigacaras, ratriipcaras (R 3,42, if.; ib. 43, 5; ib. 45, 
19; kutayodhinah, ib. 6o, 53). When the Rak§asas are themselves divided, 
the man-eaters and Pi£acas side with DaSanana Ravana, while Gandharvas, 
Kiqipuru§as, and Rak§aijisi stand for Vibh?§ana and Kubera (3,275,33 
and 38); but this distinction is not maintained (3,281,11). As said above, 
man-eating demons begin to have power when the night comes, and they 
are incapable of defeat at night (3, 1,45 and 11,4), for which reason fires 
are lighted at night to keep them* off; since they fly from light and fire 
(13,92,13). Just between midnight and dawn their power is strongest 
(1, 154 , 22; 7, 173, 57 )- Meteorological origin of some of the Rak§asas seems 
assured by the fact that the “man-eating Lavana", who is an understudy 
of Ravana (1 = r ? ralasya na bhedah) in many points, has to be killed 
by Rama’s brother (with the weapon that killed his father Madhu in 
Vi§|iu’s hand), “at the time when summer’s heat is withdrawn and the 
night of the rainy season has arrived" (R 7,64, 10). He is here king of 
Madhura and nephew of Ravana; in the later Mbh. he is utilised by Indra 
to slay Mandhatr (1,27,2; 13,14,268; R 7,67, 13^)* ® ut as men are 
always liable to be turned into Rak§asas (see Saudasa, etc.), and as 
diseases are Rak§asas, it is clear that the meteorological explanation, 
which aiso seems to be favored by the frequent appearance of Rak§asas 
as thunder-clouds wielding bolts, etc., is not sufficient. Marica is an arti¬ 
ficial Rak§asa, turned into a cannibal fiend, as was Tadaka, a Yaksint, 
his mother. Men who hate priests become Rak§asas (9, 43, 22). The female 
monsters who plague Slta are simply malformed Rak§asa .devils with faces 
of animals, resembling the female fiends in Skanda’s train. Rak§asas seem 
to consist, apart from Danavas and men metamorphosed into Rak§asas, in 
two kinds of spirits. One serves as cloud and bolt and mirage, as a type 



44 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

of beauty; the other, disgusting, represents disease personified and other 
mean evils attacking man. Here belong the “seizers”, Siiphika (see Naga- 
matr) Angaraka, who draw out a man’s soul (shadow) and fasten on men 
as incorporate diseases. The inward fire which causes digestion keeps 
away Rak§asas (= indigestion, 1*3, 92, 10). In families where evil obtains 
in consequence of the violation of marriage-laws, or of the wickedness 
of the king, are born decrepit and idiot children and “evil Rak§as”, 
paparak§aipsi (12,90,93), apparently "bewitched” (i.e.unhealthy) children. 
When a woman faints, “Rak§as-slaying Mantras" are said over her; that 
is, the weakness is itself the disease-devil (3, 144, 16). Putrid matter coming 
from a sore is spoken of as “a Rak§asa head” sticking to the sore place 
(9/39, 10—13). The so-called Brahma-Rak§asa “sins,involuntarily" and the 
evil of this creature comes from “woman’s evil and the evil produced by 
the womb” (9, 43, 21). These creatures drink Sarasvatl’s blood but excuse 
themselves on the ground that absence of religious teaching, evil acts, 
and sexual faults have caused their nature. If fire be there, Brahma- 
Rak§asas do not hurt the sacrifice (13,92,12; N. as “priests reborn as 
Raksasas”; cf. R 1, 8, and 12,17). Another class of Rak§asas is that of 
the Pramathas (cf. Pramathin as name, sub Apsaras). They appear in 
connection with Citragupta, who is unknown to the early epic, but they 
are fully described in the later epic, as attendants of £iva (who in 12, 
285, 87 is Pramathanatha). As invisible spooks they plague at night such 
people as sleep at the foot of a tree, eat unholy food, lie in the wrong 
direction, pollute water, or do not purify themselvqs after sexual con* 
nection. Such people have apertures which give admission to these 
“smiters” (pramathas); but good people and those who carry about with 
them gorocana or orris-root or keep at home the skin or claws of 
a hyena or a hill-tortoise or a cat or a black or tawny goat, or keep up 
the sacrificial fire, are not troubled by them, as all these things are 
counteractants, pratighatas (13,131, if.; 125,6; also 13, 14, 389 and 
H 8146). Diti was destroyed through neglecting one of these rules (but 
by Indra, who thus acted as a Pramatha), when she slept with her feet 
at her head (i. e. where her head should be; R 1,46,16). 

Pteacas are smaller demons associated with Rak§asas and occasionally 
identified with them, as are Yatudhanas (R 6, 67, 68, etc.). As sons of Yadq 
the Yatudhanas differ from other Raksasas (R 7, 58,7f.), but Ravana is 
Yatudhanasya dauhitrah (R 6, 114,81), i. e. they'are identical; though 
the Raksasi -Hidimba protests that she is “not a Yatudhani” (S I, 167, 17). 
But again a Raksasi made by an incantation is called a Yatudhani (13, 
93 , 78 ), and Yatudhanas guard Kubera’s mountain with Rak§asas and appear 
as demons in battle, being raised by fire-mantras to, slay seers (3,139,9; 
ib. 173,51; 13,93, 56 f-)- They are grouped (5,100,5; cf.Hii785f.) with 
Nairrtas, as “born from the foot of Brahman”. Jsiva is a Yatudhana of two 
forms (see 3 iva) and Yatudhanas and Rak§aipsi are interchangeable terms 
for the servants of the Rak§asa king (12, 172, 14 = S 171, 15). Those tra¬ 
velling in the mountains have to protect themselves against the “many 
Raksasas huge as hills’(which are) Yatudhanas” (3,92,7; possibly distinct, 
sc. “and”). One sort of Rak§asas is callecfjVIandehaSj who han^ _upon 
rocks and fall into water at sunrise,^ dying daily in_fighting the sun (R 4, 
4°, 39 ; VP. 2,8,49). As Sirphika is a Raksasi, her son Rahu,~whd~devours 
sun and moon (eclipse), should belong to this category; but he is regarded 
as an Asura or Danava (asuraip tamas is Rahu, R 2,63, 2), or strictly as 



III. Spirits. 


45 


a Kabandha (i, 19, 4f.) = Svarbhanu {5, 110, u ; 182, 22; 6 r 101, 36). Kubera 
takes with him (to Lanka) Nairrta Rak§asas with others whom he “creates”. 
They come, in this legend, from the North, but belong in the South 
(cf. 12,165, 51 or R 3,64, 22, where Nairj-ti diS is South). Kubera is lord 
Of the Nairrtas (9,47,31). RaVana himself is a Nairrta Rak§asa, Nairrta- 
raja, etc. (R 4,62,6; 5,18,18). The KrodhavaSas are northern Raksasas 
(3,154,20; 5,50,24), slain by Bhima, but also called Yak§as (3,155,24 
and 31). They take away the merit of those who own dogs (17,3,10). 
The feminine form, Krodhavasa, designates a daughter of Dak§a (§ 139). 
A Raksasa (born a Danava and reborn a Rak§asa) is called Kabandha 
(R 3,69, 26f.; Mahasura in G ib. 75,7). Among deformed humans such as 
Karnapravaranas and Puru§adas are mentioned Kalamukhas or Lohamukhas 
or Ghoralohamukhas (RG 4, 40, 29 with v. 1 .), known to Mbh. as “monkeys" 
(3, 292,12), or Asitamukhas = golangulas (ib. RG 6, 3, 35), a curious con¬ 
fusion of men and monkeys, possibly involving Rak§asas, though these 
are always kravyada (13,115,27). Dancing and drinking of blood are 
traits connecting Rak$asas and Pi^acas, who are usually little demons 
of the same sort, only meaner (7, 50, gf.; 167, 3S; and above; cf. R 3, 35,6). 
In 12, 262, 7, Jajali is “seen by Rak§asas", who must be identical with the 
Pigacas of the preceding account. S has "he was seen by Rak§as and 
they (Pisacas) addressed him”, but in B an “invisible voice” takes the 
place of the PiSaca in reproving Jajali, ib. 42). In R 3, 54 , 14 and 17 and 
Mbh. 3, 280,47, Piiaci = Rak§asl. The PiSaca marriage-form, however. Is 
lower than the Rak§asa marriage-form (i, 73, 12). The PiSaca is the Dasyu’s 
god and typical of cruelty (12,278,33 and 268,22 in S, v. 1 . dasyuh . . 
adatte PiSacarps cai 'va daivatam). Pisacas come from the mundane 
egg but are not said to be born of Brahman (1, 1, 35). The only reputable 
Pisacas are those that have ceased to be pigitasana (=Pi§aca, R6,6i, 
10, etc.) and act as guards of the White Mountain, a troop devoted to 
Skanda (3, 225, 11). These become vegetarian and "abandoning their usual 
diet live on the fruit of the tree (called MahaSankha) which grows there”, 
on the Sarasvati (9, 37, 22). But as this is a wonder-tree, “tall as Meru”, 
the fruit was probably unique. There is also a worthy female PisacI who 
wore pestle ornaments and gave advice as to holy watering-places to the 
wife of a priest (3, 129,8), whether as indicating that Pisacas are human 
or that Tirthas are not of much account, may be questioned. Another 
Pi^aci is the guardian of a Tirtha, Tirthapalika, and prevents the impure 
who do not love Kr§na from approaching it. After the baptism of a Brahman 
woman in the name of Hari she turns into an Apsaras (S 12, 336, 34f.). 
The Kixpkara Raksasas, “born of mind”, who serve Ravana are “like him”, 
but the name means only servants of Yama (q. v.), or of-Rama (here called 
Muditas, R 7, 37, 18), or of 3 iva (14,65,6), or of Maya, whose wealth is 
guarded by Kiipkara Rak§asas (rak§anti . .'Ivirpkara nama Rak- 
§asafi, 2,,3, 28; cf. 19). When Raksasas are called good, it is often flattery 
( 3 , 1 57 > 13 f-), or the merit of “protecting Rak§asas” is united with that of 
protecting gods and priests; as the true protecting ruler (here Nahu§a) 
guards all his realm (1,75, 27). This view is really logical enough. One of the 
arguments against excessive taxation is that, if too heavily taxed, merchants 
will leave the country, and on the wealth given by them (to priests) "gods.. 
and Rak§asas support themselves” (12, 89,25; cf. 3, 157, i6f., “if men 
prosper, the Raksasas prosper”). To feed the fiends is to protect oneself, 
for it satisfies them and prevents them from injuring. The share given to 



46 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


them is small and mean, but thejf get a share regularly on holy days (R 2, 
43, 5). Gifts are made to them, as their bhaga (share), of remnants of 
food, food sneezed upon or stepped upon, food leaped over, mixed with 
hair, insects, or tears, food seen or licked by a dog, or food not conse¬ 
crated with Mantras (9,43,26; 13,23,3!., at israddhas). In the later moral 
epic the Raksasa' resembles the medieval devil, to be overcome by virtue, 
with book and bell, or the equivalent Mantras, though in the narrative 
portion Raksasas annoy and slay pious priests without fear of Mantras or 
of virtue. Kings (in the Markandeya addition and in the pseudo-epic) are 
exhorted to have no dread of them: “The cruel planets favor the pure 
priest.. and cruel pigita^anas, though huge and horrible, cannot hurt 
him” (3, 200, 85 f.). “I am not afraid”, says a king who has been possessed 
by a cruel Rak$as, rak§o darunam, "for I protect my people and cows; 
all my priests are learned men, and I constantly strive for virtue”. And 
the Rak§asa replies: “Because you are virtuous I leave you in peace. 
Kings who protect cows and priests need fear naught from Rak§asas” 
(12,77,8—30). In the main, these demons scorn gods and goodness and 
overcome all powers of men except the power of the epic heroes vaunted 
by the poets. A close resemblance may be observed between the three- (or 
more) headed gigantic ogres of the popular belief and the three-headed 
Norwegian trolls, who were also originally gigantic. On the whole, the 
type shown in the Mbh. reveals the Rak$asas as brutal and stupid gluttons 
of the wilds, but the term includes also a set of ksudra Rak$asah, 
mean little devils, like Pi£acas, often conceived as disease-devils; and 
almost all nocturnal terrors are embodied as Rak§asas. In R, the royal 
Raksasas are nobler and more like Asuras, though the close connection 
with the Pi^acas is still kept and one Rak?asa even has the name “PiSaca” 
(R 5 > 59 , *8). The Hariv. finally incorporates Pifiacas into Brahman’s creation 
as sons of Krodha (H 11554), a Purapic addition (see also under Asuras). 
Traces remain (above, and see note) of the (historical) Pteaca people, 
whose finale as devils is comparable with that of the Dasyus of an olden 
time; while the Dasyu descent to “robbers” is paralleled by that of the 
Nagas as respects treasure and that of the Raksasas as respects women, 
though the country Raksasas are not represented as thieves but rather 
as cruel boors. Yet "Dasyu” is also applied to Asuras (q. v.) 1 ). 

§ 18. The Asuras. — To the epic poets the Asuras were in general 
the a-suras, the “ungodly”. They included accordingly all the sinful 
demons, both the sons of Diti (called Ditija, Daitya, or Daiteya) and of 
Danu (called Danava or Danaveya), who are ( the chief opponents of the 
A-daiteyas or gods (cf. a-sura), and various special groups, such as the 
Kaleyas (Kalakeyas, Kalakanjas) and other “children of darkness”, who 
upheld the great serpent-demon Vrtra in his battles with the children of 
light, and are regarded as corporations, ganas, of Danavas and Daityas. 
The typical leaders of the Asuras are Hiranyaka&pu, Bali, Jambha, etc., 

*) The question whether the PiSacas were originally uncivilised tribes or whether 
the demoniac name has been, transferred to cannibalistic tribes has been discussed by Sir 
George Grierson, ZDMG. 66,67!., who has collected the passages referring to the Pi£acas 
as human beings, inhabiting the N. W. (for the names of the Beas PiSacakas, Bahllka' and 
HTkai, 8, 44 = S 37, see my Sacred Rivers, p.217), and concludes that the Pi£acas were 
a tribe of omophagoi closely connected with the Khavas, Nagas, and Yaksas (see KhaSa 
p. 41—42). Noteworthy is the absence in the epics of the Vetala demons. A VetalajananI 
is named in 9, 46, 13 among the late “mothers” ascribed to Skanda and various kinds of 
Vetalas. are known to the HarivarjiSa, but the genus is not Otherwise recognised. 




III. Spirits. 


47 


demons slaughtered by Indra, Agastya, etc., or by Vi§nu (2, iOo—102), 
together with other groups of demons slaughtered en masse by Arjuna 
and other heroes and known as Khalins, KTcakas, and Nivatakavacas 
(“Daityas, haters of the gods" 1,123,45). The sire of all these demons 
was KaSyapa.'who by various wives, for the most part daughters of Dak$a 
(§ *39), became father of the Paulomas, as they are called after his de¬ 
moniac wife Puloma (7, 51, 17). But among the Asuras are often included 
(as already observed in the preceding section) the giant fiends known as 
Rak§asas (really a sort of Asura in Vedic times), who in turn are some¬ 
times confused with PiSacas; so that, as Asura exchanges with Rak§asa 
and Rak§asa with PiSaca, there is no clear line of demarcation between 
the groups, though the Pigacas are too mean and low to be confused 
with demons of the highest type (cf. 3, 285, 1, Pi£acak§udrarak§asas com¬ 
mingling as one group). An Asura called Daip^a (12, 3,15 f.) is cursed by 
a saint to be reborn in the hellish state of a blood-drinking octopod. On 
being released from the curse he appears not as an "Asura” but as a 
red Rak§asa riding on a cloud (Alarka, as he is called when a "pig-shaped 
worm with eight feet”, is the name of a mad king of Benares, 3, 25, 13; 
14, 30, 2). The Nagas, though distinct from Asuras, are as a group affi¬ 
liated, living with them and fighting on their side. The "roaring Asuras" 
are thus found in battle beside the Rak§asas and Nagas as opposed to 
the orthodox side of Kr§na and the Fire-god at Khandava (1,227, 24 f.; 
see also below), and generally the Asuras and Nagas belong together, 
though .numerous exceptions occur in the case of the Nagas .(§ 13). Be¬ 
tween the groups of Asuras the poets did not distinguish very carefully. 
Thus Danur nama Ditefi putrah describes the Kabandha of R 4, 4, 15, 
who, again (ib. 3, 70, 5 and 10) is Raksasa as well as Asura. Whether, 
like the Nagas mentioned as kings (2, 8, 24) and the Pteacas mentioned 
as a tribe, with Kalingas, etc. (6, 87, 8), the Asuras are euhemerised native 
races, must be left, from epic evidence, undetermined (see below). To the 
poets they are great spirits. They do not roam about battle-fields gorging 
themselves with blood and fat, as do the PiSacas (and Rak§asas, e. g. 6, 
86, 45). They are "elder brothers of the Devas” (§ 19) and are sometimes 
as generous and valorous as the gods. They are invoked in benedictions 
with the gods (R 2, 25, 16, tava ’dityaS ca DaityaS ca bhavantu su- 
khadah sada). The Danava Asuras were originally pious and moral, ac¬ 
cording to epic legend (12, 229, 27 f.), though when it is said here that they 
“worshipped the gods”, credulity is strained. Pride made them sinful and 
so they were driven out of their celestial abodes, losing Happiness (per¬ 
sonified), who forsook them, as she does all sinners. The moral is too 
obvious to permit belief that this legend in detail reflects tradition. Neverthe¬ 
less, Asuras are represented as associating with the gods, and, with the 
Nagas, as worshipping Varuna in his own palace, prpbably because Varuna’s 
place is their home (see below). Moreover some of the Daityas and Danavas 
are “beautiful” and their names, Sumati, Sumanas, etc. mean "kind-hearted” 
(2,9,7 f.). ,On the whole the Danavas are more god-like than the Daityas and of 
course than the Asura Raksasas. The Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha, who "never 
told a lie”, areDanavas, and the "Arya Asuras” of the tale of Happiness (above) 
are called Danavas by £ri herself; only the stupid Indra, who is hearing the 
story for the first time(l), alludes to them interrogatively as Daityas. This may 
be the implication of the fact that only rarely does a Daitya-female serve 
as a typical beauty, as Danava-femaleS do constantly. The foremost Danava 


48 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

is the "very clever” Vipracitti, who with the other Danavas is born of 
Danu, in antithesis to the “Asuras all born of Diti” (a late distinction, 12, 
207,27 f.), as if the Danavas were not Asuras at all. The later epic calls 
Vipracitti Daitya and Danava indifferently (12, 98, 49!; H 13884 and 13894!.). 
Both groups of Asuras are said to be strong, but poetic necessity disposes 
of them as if they were weaklings, when it is said that Danavas fall from 
their cars and-are eaten by fishes and Daityas are routed by the Wind 
(-god; 3,20,31, and under Vayu §47). They were driven from heaven at 
the end of the Krta age (1,64,28) and took refuge in the caves beside 
the sea, in mountains, in' forests (the Danavas and Raksasas together, 1, 
228,1), under earth, but chiefly in the ocean (1,21,7!.). They appear, 
however, on occasion in the air and in the sky, as if belonging there, 
as of old. The combined hosts of Daityas and Danavas, on losing the 
ambrosia got from the ocean and on being defeated by the gods, first 
appear as mountain-hurling gods and then flee into earth and sea (1, 18, 
46; 29, 25). Instead of mountainous shapes they often appear like animals, 
but, as here, fall finally into sea or earth. They are incorporate in the 
shape of animals and kings of the great war, to which fate they were 
doomed in consequence of their desire for power. They are opposed to 
the caste-system, the seers, and the Brahmanic power (1,64,32 and 36; 
ib. 30, Kravyadas). To the demons enumerated in general as Danavas, 
Raksasas, Gandharvas, and Serpents (pannagas), and cannibals (puru- 
sadani sattvani, 1,65, 5) are opposed the incorporate gods. Thus Kaipsa 
is Kalanemi and the kings of Kalinga are the Asuras called KrodhavaSas. 
ASvapati Kaikeya, Bana, et al., are Asuras, slain by gods or heroes 
(the later legend regarding Bana, H 9910, etc., to the effect that his 
daughter Usa loved Aniruddha, is not given in the epic proper). A number 
of inconsistencies are found in the great epic. Hiranyaka^ipu is the only 
son of Diti; Hiranyak§a is a later addition. Kumbha and Nikumbha are 
Raksasas in R; sons of Prahlada and grandsons of Hiranyakagipu, Asuras, 
in Mbh. They are brothers of Virocana, father of Bali and grandson of 
the above-mentioned "great Asura” Bana, who was slain by Krsna-Visnu 
in one tale and by Skanda in another (5,62,11; 9,46,82), So too Danu 
has “forty” sons and forty-four are mentioned by name (1,65,21!). This 
prolific demon’s most famous offspring are Sambara, Namuci, Puloman, 
Kesin, Svarbhanu, A£va (who is reborn as A£oka), Virupaksa, Naraka, 
Vatapin (but Ilvala is a "son of Diti”, 3, 96, 5). The Asura called Mayura 
is omitted from the genealogical list, and the Sun and Moon mentioned as 
Asuras are said to be other-than the sun and moon of the gods; moreover, 
the descendants of Danu are “without number” (1*, 65,21—30). The great 
Asura Vrtra is listed as son of Danayus, along with Bala and Vira. The 
sons of Kadru are ,the Nagas and the sons of Kala, Kalakeyas, are 
"smiters”, chiefly moral personifications, Wrath, Destruction, etc. As priest 
1 of the Asuras appear 'not only £ukra but his sons (see § 125, Atri). The 
Asuras are frequently identified with natural phenomena and get their 
names in part therefrom, especially cloud-phenomena, to which they are 
often compared. Opposition to light and goodness, love of and use of 
may a, illusion or deception (tricks), a roaring voice, ability to assume 
any shape (they are three-headed, etc.), or to disappear, are their general 
■ characteristics; in which they differ from Raksasas not at all and except for 
the first element not from the gods. The common traits being excluded, 
there remains as their peculiarity dislike to goodness and light (as goodness). 




III. Spirits. 


49 


Not unlike the relation of the Rak§asas to the Great-Father (god) is that 
of the Asuras, who also are continually receiving boons from Brahman. So 
Brahman, for example, gives to Mahi§a, a “Danava Asura in the Daitya 
army”, the very power through which he was enabled to defeat the gods 
in battle, till Skanda cut off his head and made impassable for future use 
the road leading to the Hyperboreans (3, 231, 105). What distinguishes 
the pure Asuras from the Asura Rak§asas is their greater cleverness. Maya 
the builder is a type of this trait; but also the Khalins, otherwise an un¬ 
distinguished lot of Asuras, outwit the gods by recuperating and even 
reviving themselves after being wounded or slain by the gods, whereas 
the gods know none of these tricks till Vasi§tha aids them (13, 156, I 7 f.). 
Brahman had given them a boon, but even without this help the Asuras 
were cleverer than the gods (see § 123 Brhaspati). Maya is an architect, 
builder of palaces combining all “divine, demoniac, and human” designs 
(2, 1, 13). His chief work is a palace of such beauty as to be “like a god- 
guarded maya” (3, 23, 12). Compare the play on maya as deception: 
“women are maya Mayajah” (13,40, 4; and R 3, 54, 13). It was Maya who 
built the three cities of the Asuras (below). He is the brother of Namuci, 
and was spared by Agni; for which reason he made earthly palaces for 
the god’s friends. He was slain by Indra (6, ioi, 22; according to R 4, 
51, 14, because he violated the Apsaras Hema), and also by Visnu (7, 174, 
36, a later tale). Valmlki knows him as the great magician architect Danava 
who makes a magic cave, the Danava palace (R4, 51, 14 f.; ib. 43, 31 and 
ib. 5 , 57, 24), and also the fiend’s weapons (R 6, 101, 2 and 30). Maya is 
to the demons what ViSvakarman, the All-maker, is to the gods (2, I, 6). 
Hema is his wife and his daughter Mandodari is the fair and noble wife 
of Ravaua and mother of Indrajit; Mayavin and Dundubhi are his descen¬ 
dants (R 7, 12,6 and 13 f.). Dundubhi in R 4, 9, 4 is said to be the son 
of Mayavin; ib. 10, 22 (the scholiast says that son means brother). They 
are both “Asuras”, Dundubhi being a bull-shaped monster who challenges 
Ocean, the Himalaya, and Valin (ib. n,4f.). His mahi$aip rupam (buffalo- 
shape) is said to be like a cloud roaring like a drum (dundubhi, ib. II, 
25f.). He is here also regarded as a Danava Asura (ib. 46,9), and his,cloud 
and roar and attack on sea and mountain represent him as a storm, if 
anything. Weber suggested (IS. 2, 243)^ that Maya is due to Greek Ptole- 
maios. The question whether Greeks originated the architectural demon 
is not settled by such a subtile suggestion, but it is reasonable to suppose 
that the forms of ASvapati Kaikeya (Asura) and the Kicakas (Kaleya Daityas 
and also sons of Kekaya, the king of Sutas, by the Apsaras Malavl; S4, 
21, 22 f.) represent races (tribes), although on the other hand the forms 
of Vrtra and other Vedic Asuras were purely phenomenal and the later 
time keeps adding to this sort of Asura. For example, Dhundhu is an 
Asura son of Madhu and Kaitabha (called both Daityas and Danavas), 
who were slain by Vi$pu (3, 203, 17 f.). Madhu is the older figure, whose 
name may lie in (modern) Mathura. But Dhundhu lives in the earth, con¬ 
cealed in sand, and when he wakes and breathes, he shakes the earth, 
while the sky is obscured by his breath. When attacked by the intrepid 
KuvalaSva (to whom Vis$u had promised his energy) for seven days, 
Dhundhu spits out flames (3, 202, 18 f.; ib. 204, 2—40). He thus appears 
to be as much of a volcano as the Sicilian giant. The Vedic Asuras are 
chiefly renowned for their contests with Indra and will be discussed under 
Indra, etc. fsambara still has his thousand tricks, but is slain by Indra 

Indo-arische Philologie III. z b. 4 



50 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

with the help of DaSaratha (R 2, p, 13 and 45, etc.). New points appear 
of course. £ambara is Timidhvaja and still later his wife appears as Maya- 
vatl (H 9213 f., also Mayadevi; not epic), as the characteristic £acl of 
Indra becomes his wife load at an earlier date (cf^Neria, heroic power, 
as wife of Mars, etc.). There are other inconsistencies to be expected and 
actually found. Brahman gives, the Asuras all boons except immortality, 
for immortality is withheld from them; yet jlari, son of Taraka, obtains 
a lake (as a boon from the same god) which perpetually restores life to 
anyone bathing in it (8, 33, 9 and 30). Although described as beautiful 
and generally noble in appearance, the Danavas have, as fighting foes of 
the gods, three heads, four fangs, four arms, etc. (3,173, 53). Arjuna takes 
the place of Indra as slayer of demons in the epic, destroying Nivata- 
kavacas, Hiranyapur, etc., although in fights waged by the hero Indra 
appears’ still as their typical opponent. The Asuras have no father-god 
except Brahman, for Brahman remains also their "father” and gives them 
not only boons but good advice (14, 26, 10, etc.). They haVe no one king, 
for , various Asuras are called Asuraraj and Asuradhipa. Their overlord, in 
pioral harangues, is Pride, the asura bhava. Pride, Wrath, and Delusion 
were king-demons and the chief king, adhipati, was Pride (12,295,10 
and 20). Another account names, however, as recognised “truest Asuras”, 
those who refused to obey Brahman, owing to wrath and greed and pride, 
HirapyakaSipu, Hiranyaksa, Virocana, £ambara, Vipracitti, Prahlada = 
Prahrada, Namuci and Bali (Danavendrab 12,166,26; Asurasattamah, 31). 
Mada, Intoxication, the most famous personified vice, is a mahasura but 
not a regular Asura, being, only a phantom born of Cyavana. He was a 
monster (one jaw on earth and pne' in the sky, etc.), but Indra dispersed 
him, so that his power was dissipated and distributed among drink, women, 
dice, and hunting (3, 124, igf.;'i3, 157, 33; 14,9, 33i later accounts make 
him a son of Danu or eyen a son of Brahman; cf. JAOS. 26, p. 67, for 
the Vedic version). Later lists unite Mada with Pramada (H 2289 and 
14290). In 1, 66, 52, Sura is sister of Bala, both being children of Vanina 
by ioukra’s daughter Devi. The jatis of fiends are united in their under¬ 
ground home in Patala. Taraka is a demon whose name does not appear 
in the old genealogical lists, but in what may be called the middle period 
of the epic he appears as claiming a boon from Brahman, though, as 
elsewhere, the boon is neutralised by a trick, into the account of which 
is woven the ancient tale of the lost Fire-god, and finally Taraka is killed 
by Skanda, by Krsna, and by Indra, as accounts differ. This Taraka got 
Maya to build for_ his three _sons tfiree cities, of gold, silver, and iron, on 
sky, air, and earth, which were destroyed by &va (7, 202,646; 8, 33, 166). 
The city in Patala is Hiranyapur and was made by the All-maker, ViSva- 
karman, though invented by Maya (5, 100,2, nirmitaqi ViSvakarmana 
Mayena manasa srstam, Patalatalam aSritam), or, it was made by 
Brahman himself for the use of the Kalakeyas or Kalakanjas and Paulomas 
(3, 173, 11). It is also located beyond the sea as the home of the Nivata- 
kavacas (4, 61, 27 and 5, 49, 16). It floats,about at wj|l and was destroyed 
by diva’s weapon in Arjuna’s hands (3, 173,416). £iva (§155) is thus 
known as Tripurahan, etc.- The Kalakeyas occupy in particular the stone 
city (R 7, 23, 17). Another city of Asuras is Pragjyoti§a, where Naraka 
Bhauma kept the ear-rings stolen from Aditi by the Nagas. Both the “stone 
city on earth”, aSmanagara, of the Kalakey.as_.and_this town Pragjyoti§a 
are jirobably poetic versions of a real city (or cities), as Arjuna slew six 



III. Spirits. 


51 


thousand Asuras, Mura, and many Rak§asas after the gods had sent him 
to kill the robbers (Dasyus = Asuras),* and on getting back the ear-rings 
he brings back the “Asura women" as wives. Another account represents 
all three cities as being in the sky (13, 161, 25). Pragjyoti§a in 2,45, 7; 
14, 75 , *. e tc., is clearly a human city (cf. Uttarajyoti$a, 2, 32, 11, a western 
town). Muru (sic) and Pftha (Danava) arq associated with Naraka in the 
downfall of Pragjyoti§a at 12, 340, 92 (cf. 7, ii, 5, where Pitha, mahasura, 
and Muru are slain by Vasudeva, as was Jlayaraja or KeSin, who dwelt 
beside the Yamuna). The same section speaks of Krsna (Pradyumna) as 
destroying Saubha, a city of Daityas, a kos away in the sky, belonging 
to king £alva. This city is at times described as aerial, at times as a human 
town. Manimati as a Daitya-town (of Ilvala) is mentioned in 3, 96, 4. Both 
a royal seer and an Asura bear the name Vr§aparvam The "Daitya’s" 
daughter 3 armi§tha Daiteyl married Yayati (1, 81, 11; 2, 1, 17); and Vf§a- 
parvan the Asura (reborn as king Dirghaprajna, 1, 67, 16; h$ is wealthy, 
2, 3 > 3 ) is thus ancestor of the Kurus and Pancjus through the Asurendra- 
suta. There Is no close family connection among most Asuras as among 
the great Rak§asas of the Ram. The best developed family is that-of' 
Virocana. Bali is always Vairocana (as earlier). HiranyakaSipu, Prahlada, 
Virocaha, Bali, and Bana represent five generations of distinguished 
fiends. U§a, the daughter of Bapa, marks a sixth generation. Hirapya- 
kaSipu, if not Prahlada (— hrada), is a later addition to the tale. Prahlada 
is an ardent worshipper of Visnu, while his father is an infidel. Sectarian 
interest centres about this family as if it were a real (human) line. Bali, 
whom Visnu cheats in his dwarf Avatar, is the oldest member historically. 
Virocana has the usual unhappy fate of one whose son is more famous 
than his father and is known chiefly a$ "father of Bali". Prahlada appears 
as deciding a dispute of Virocana with a Muni (Sudhanvan), both claiming 
superiority and eventually agreeing to refer the qiatter to Prahlada, whose 
natural partiality is modified by some wise words respecting lying jittered 
by KaSyapa, so that he admits the superiority of Sudhanvan because his 
mother is superior to Virocana’s (2,68, 6sf.; details in 5, 35, 5f.). In S, 
Prahlada seems less afraid of lying than of having his head split by Sudhanvan, 
who threatens him with this and sundry ills if the does not decide "truth¬ 
fully” in his favor and a holy haqisa (bird) lectures the Asura on lying 
(instead of KaSyapa). Naraka Bhauma is literally "son of earth"; S adds 
that his father was Narayana. This is a "secret” certainly unknown to the 
genealogist of Adi (7, 29, 32; 12, 209, 7 as mahasura). His bones are to 
be seen at Ganges’ Gate (Visnu slays him in his Boar form). Karna is 
Naraka reborn; as expressed in 3, 252, 29: “The soul of slaughtered Naraka 
was born in Karna’s form”. It is noticeable that the death of the great 
Asuras is effected by deceit. Vi§nu in the form of a man-lion thus slays 
HiranyakaSipu because he was an unbeliever (7,'191, 36; 197, 23). Hirap- 
yakaSipu is reborn as loiSupala. In his family were born Sunda and Upa- 
sunda, mahasurau, who were brought to destruction through jealousy 
by means of the nymph Tilottama. These Asuras enslaved the Nagas and 
killed the saints (1, 209, 2 f.). 

Despite the many tales of Asuras, most of those named in the epic 
remain mere names, such as Kapata, or are named only as undistingui¬ 
shed victims of distinguished beings (Indra, Krpna, etc.), such as Vegavat 
and Vivindhya, who appear only to disappear in the battle with Samba 
(3, 16, 12f.). They fight and die, but others, like Ghapabha or Ghatabha 


4* 




52 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


and Vikatabha (H 12698), are empty names, as is Gavistha, named in the 
early genealogy and again named in H, but unknown between. In the 
same list appears an Asura Ghatodara, who is known also as an attendant 
on Varupa and in R is a Rak§asa. Others who are Nagas appear as Asuras, 
e. g. Muka, who is an Asura, a Rak$asa, and a Naga, (i, 57, 9; 3, 39, 7, 
here B has son of Danu and S son of Diti; ib. 16 and 27 f.). An Asura 
Paka is made out of Indra’s epithet.PakaSasana. Some Asuras known by 
name in Mbh. actually do something in R. Thus Anuhlada, son of Hiraij- 
yakaSipu, appears in the divine genealogy (1, 65, 19) but only in R 4, 39, 6 
does anything (seduces £acl). In 12,227, 5 if-, the list of Daityas and 
Danavas, including purvadaityendra, contains many names unknown 
before (Virupaka, Pratirupa, etc.), unless Virupa = Virupaka (2, 9, 14). 
Virupaksa, Asura and Raksasa, was, as a Rudra, made lord of Bhuts and 
Mothers (see Rudra) by Vispu (12, 207, 34). Some have animal names, some 
fiery, some are named from deformity (ASva, Vrsan, R$abha, Varaha; Vahni, 
ViSvajit; Saipkoca, Varitak$a, etc.). Later lists in H (12932f.; 14282f.), 
beginning with 2281 f., separate VarahaSva into Varaha and ASva. Hara 
and Hari in these lists of demons perpetuate the principle of permitting 
names of gods (Wind, Fire, etc.) to serve, as names of demons. Compare 
the sons of Diti slain by Garuda (5, 105, 14), among them Vivasvat as 
(sun) demon. Perhaps the earlier usage shows that no great difference 
was felt between gods and demons. When good, a god; when destructive, 
a demon. Soma rapes Tara, as if he were a demon, though she is wife 
of Brhaspati (5, 117, 13), thus bringing on the war about Tara, Taraka- 
maya, known to all the epic writers and described in full at H I340f., in 
which the heavenly host is divided against itself, as it is divided when 
Khapdava is burned (another Tara is raped by Sugrlva in the Rama-story, 
3, 280, 39, etc.). Despite the large number of classes of demons mentioned 
as such by the epic poets, there were probably others known but not 
mentioned. The Kumbhandas (demons) are not known as such, but a Kum- 
bhanda is minister of the Asura Bana in H 9844^, and Kumbhapdas appear 
in other literature (for example in the MahavaipSa) as a class of demons 
(Kusmapdl is a name of diva’s wife, H 10245, and Kus-, or Kugmapdaka, 
is name of a Naga, 1, 35, 11). For the priest of the demons see § 26 
and § n8f. 

IV. THE GODS. 

§ 19. Origin and General Characteristics of the Gods. — The 
chief Hindu gods are phenomenal, Spencer’s effort to prove that- Indra 
apd Dawn were originally ghosts being only the first of various attempts 
to distort translucent facts. The language of the early literature is too 
clear to be misunderstood in this regard. But by the time the epics were 
composed the phenomenal side was greatly obscured. Anthropomorphism 
had rendered even Sun and Moon quite human in dress, talk, and action, 
while Indra was as much of a family-man as Thor became elsewhere. 
But the base remained not wholly covered and even Vi§nu and £iva occa¬ 
sionally reveal their origin. Animism and naturism blend in the unification 
of spirits and objective matter marked by ancestors worshipped as animals, 
mountains, stars, etc. But in one regard this chaos of mythology inherited 
from an older age is augmented rather than decreased by the generalising 
process conspicuous in the epic. Namely, mythology has been affected 
by the star-cult, but to how great an extent is hard to say. All the stars 




IV. The Gods. 


53 


were divine or saintly beings. Aldebaran was, as Rohini (female), the 
favorite wife of the Moon-god; the Pleiades were the "mothers” of Skanda; 
the Great Bear .was known as the Seven Seers and Arundhati, the wife 
of one of them, waited nearby ; the "steadfast” 'dhruva (Pole Star) being 
less often personified in anthropomorphic form. But Dhruva is son of 
Nahu§a, who in turn was born of Svarbhanu’s daughter, Svarbhanavi by 
Ayu(s), the son of Pururavas and UrvaSi. Hence all Nahu§a’s sons, Yati, 
Yayati, Saipyati, Ayati, and Dhruva, meaning "going”, like ayu, or 
"steadfast”, may have been stars, the myth of Yayati pointing in the same 
direction (x, 75, 25 f.) So the Alvins are born "in the mouth” of the mare- 
goddess (§ no), as asterism (?). Amavasu (cf. amavasya) is also son of 
Ayu or Pururavas (H 958, 1373). A parallel unconsciousness maybe seen 
when “Vrtra and Bala smite Indra and (= as) the heat- and rain-months 
smite the world" (7, 30, 9f.) without thought that nidagha and Vrtra are 
the same (Bala = rain-month, often alone as smitten by Indra, 7, 134, 8; 
cf. 6, 45, 45; lb. 100, 32); the gharmaipSavab of Vftra and Bala (so B and S) 
are not distinguished. But most of this is lost in nebulous nomenclature. 

Another prolific source of gods is abstractions, constantly personified. 
There is no limit to a pantheon where hope, hell, and hunger, cows and 
corn, the west and wisdom, etc. are all called gods. Constantly new images 
invoke new personifications. Right and Wrong and Gain make an ancient 
triad regarded as divine beings, and the "wiVes” of these beings are 
registered, together with female attendants without number. Memory, 
Affection, Endurance, Victory, Effort are incorporate forms in the van of 
Skanda’s army, nor can one dismiss them as poetic metaphor when on 
an equal footing with them stands Lak§mi, Happiness, the well-known 
wife of Vi§nu, and even Effort appears in'both epits as an actual being. 
Some of these abstractions have been raised to high place in the pantheon 
of active and very real gods. Many of them are Vedic or even pre-Vedic 
(Anumati, etc.); others are apparently new, yet no one knows how ancient. 
Natural phenomena thus serve with mental and moral traits to make an 
endless list of Devas or Daivatas. Night and Light (as son of Day), Dawn, 
and Twilight go hand in hand with Love, Wrath, Fear, etc. The same 
word indicates different divinities (so transparent is still the meaning) 
when Sarasvati, a "flowing”, is the goddess Fluency or Eloquence (“mother 
of the Vedas”) in one place and the Flowing (river goddess) in another. 
Such abstractions are seen perhaps at their best in the morality-play of 
the later epic, where ethical and physical elements appear. Thus, after 
Savitri, also "mother of the Vedas”, has formally announced a discus¬ 
sion between Time, Death, and Yama, and the characters have been 
properly introduced by Sir Right (quite dramatic), Heaven (Svarga), and 
Desire, and Wrath play their parts, making a formal entrance on the stage: 

(Svarga): "Know me, O king, as Heaven, Who here arrive 
“ In person: Come, ascend to heaven with me.” 

But the king, who has learned to despise the joy hereafter, says: 

"For heaven J have no use; depart, O Heaven, 

“Go away, Heaven” (gaccha, Svarga! 12, 199, 77). 

In 12, 200, 11, among various personifications, such as rivers and 
mountains, appear, as deified forms, ascetic practices, Yoga-rule, lauds 
(tapaipsi, stobhas, etc.) which, bizarre as they seem even here, are 
really only an extension of the principle that makes a great goddess of 
Savitri, the laud par excellence, who as a divinity sends her worshippers 


54 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

to heaven or to hell, and says, for example: "Thou shalt not go to hell 
where the priests go, but thou shalt go to Brahman’s place” (12, 199, 14). 
How far the personification is felt as real, can be judged from the fact 
that Wrath and Fear and Diseases are “children of 3 iva” (13, 14, 413). 
All faults are personified demons, as much as disease is a demon, and 
this is a primitive lasting conception. Yet in the description of the Hall 
of the Gods, it may be questioned whether the abstractions attending as 
courtiers are not in part poetical, for in the list of attendants stand divi¬ 
sions of time as well as Time, and the “wheel of right”, poems, dramas, 
the senses, etc., which seem to be personified for the occasion (in the 
Hall of Brahman, 2, 11, “dramas” a late addition 1 ,). Ram. has the same 
sort of personification, natural phenomena and especially abstractions such 
as appear in the passage where Ravana asks: “Art thou Hri, Kfrti, 3 ri, 
£ubha, Laksml, an Apsaras, Bhuti, or Rati?” (R 3, 46, 16). Neuter words 
are thus made masculine by implication, as when the personified weapons 
(neuter) appear to sight as masculines, tatha ’yudhani te sarve yayul). 
puru§avigrahafl (R 7, 109, 7). Worship is extended to these material 
things on occasion and the Sikh’s puja of the sword is anticipated in 12, 
166, 87, ase£ ca puja kartavya. Ancient too are the personifications as 
gods of nomina agentis, the Maker, the Creator, the Disposer (Vidhatr), 
etc. Often epithets o£ gods are particularised as separate divinities (Dhatr 
= Brahman?), or functioning forces become epithets (Savitr becomes Surya?). 
The epic does not solve the problem. Prajapati is sometimes Brahman and 
sometimes a separate god, etc. 

When, as frequently occurs, a list of gods is given, there is no 
unvarying precedence and often in such lists there are remarkable omis¬ 
sions. In short, they are made arbitrarily, not according to a scheme. Very 
few of the gods mentioned in the epic are of any importance. Many are 
grouped gods of the Vedic age existing as a necessary part of a list of 
gods who give homage to a great god or applaud a hero. For all they 
do individually, they might as well be non-existent. Others live in a tale 
or two. A mass consists in the abstractions already referred to. Groups 
are named as such along with some of the individuals belonging to the 
groups, as if they were separate entities, as when Skanda is consecrated; 
but the poet at the end in despair of completeness says that he does not 
name all the groups of divinities, devataganas,- “because there are too 
many” (9, 45, 1 f.) But there is a tendency in less exhaustive summaries 
to embrace the gods under the caption “celestials”, opposed to spirits of 
air and earth, as divine, angelic, and demoniac, the three constituting the 
trailokyacariijah (R 3, 64, 60). So in S 12, 12, 38 sadevasuragan- 
dharvam idaqi jagat, “the world with gods, Asuras, and Gandharvas” 
(cf. 5, 57, 11, etc.). The gods and other spirits usually come together for 
a consultation or to see an exhibition of arms, mingling amicably with 
saints, and often the spirits, good and bad, consort without evidence of 
conflict. Thus in R 6, 79, 25, to see a fight, assemble in the space between 
earth and the sky “gods, Danavas, Gandharvas, Kiqmaras, and great ser¬ 
pents”. The gods seldom interfere in human conflicts, but occasionally they 
confuse the forms of the fighters out of partiality (7, 138, 13) or wipe the 
sweat from a warrior’s face, as do loakra and Surya (8, 90, 18), the latter 
being peculiarly adapted for this office! Except for ancient wars referred 
to constantly as the “war about Tara” or the “war of gods and 

l ) See Prof. Winternitz’s note JRAS. 1903, p. S 7 2 * 




IV. The Gods. 


55 


demons”, the epic gods do little en masse. In connection with the Asuras 
they get ambrosia from the ocean, out of which rise Dhanvantari, the 
divine physician, sixty crores of Apsarasas, Sura, Uccaihiravas (§ 68), 
the jewel Kaustubha, and last of all ambrosia. In R i, 45 and 4, 5S, 13 
(janami amrtasya manthanam) the story is well known. In Mbh. (1, 18) 
the divine king of tortoises of his own consent upholds the mountain; the 
later Ram; identifies the tortoise with Visnu. Here the moon rises first, 
followed by £ri and Sura (VarunT), and the divine physician comes after 
the others bearing the ambrosia (this too in RG). Mbh. S adds the Pari T 
jata tree and Surabhi. £iva in Mbh. drinks the poison at the request of 
Brahman, and Visnu deceives the Asuras by means of a deceptive female 
form. In R there are other variations. In 5, 102, Surabhi’s birth is given 
in this form, but in 8, 60, 7, the honor of having stupified the Asuras is 
given wholly to Indra and Agni (in 5, 107, to Visiju). R 4, 66, 32 ascribes 
ambrosia to a decoction of herbs collected by Jambavat. 

§ 20. The Number of Gods is cited as “Thirty-Three”, but is 
incalculable for reasons already given. — Eighty-eight thousand Gan- 
dharvas are on Mt. Mandara and seven times six thousand Deva-Gandharvas 
once met on the top of a sacrificial post to dance there (12, 29, 75). 
Eighty-eight (like eighty-four) is a stereotyped number. In 1, 1, 41, the 
Devas are counted as “thirty-three thousands, thirty-three hundreds, and 
thirty-three”, a late but very moderate estimate fn view of traditional 
numbers of gods. More important and perhaps indicative of the gods 
actually revered is the number of shrines in a holy hermitage. Thus when 
Rama visits Agastya he finds in the hermitage shrines erected to eighteen 
gods (including a group as a unit) and these are really the gods most in 
evidence as active beings, Brahman, Agni, Visiju, Mahendra, Vivasvat, 
Soma, Bhaga, Kubera, Dhatr and Vidhatr, Vayu, Vasuki, Ananta (v. 1 . 
..Garuda), Gayatri, the Vasus, Varuria, Kartikeya, and Dharma (R 3, 12, I7f.). 
Narada, implying that they are the gods he himself worships, advises 
others to worship Varuna, Vayu, Aditya, Parjanya, Agni, Sthanu, Skanda, 
LaksmI, Visiju, Brahman, Vacaspati, Candramas, Water, Earth, and Saras- 
vatl (13, 31, 6). Probably the poet was right, however, who said that “Men 
fear and honor the killing gods, not Brahman, Dhatr, Pusan, but Rudra, 
Skanda, 3 akra, Agni, Varuna, Yama, Kala, Vayu, Mrtyu, VaiSravana, Ravi, 
the Vasus, Maruts, Sadhyas, and ViSve Devas" (12, 15, l6f.), the general 
principle being that “without fear no one sacrifices, no one gives” (na 
’bhito yajate, etc. ib. 13). The conventional number of gods, however, 
remains fixed as three and thirty, divided into families. Apart from this 
number, families of gods are everywhere accepted, though the members 
of a family are not always the same, and again, as sons of one Father-god, 
an effort is made to include among "families of gods” even the vegetable 
kingdom. Thus plants and animals are included wjth theASvins as Guhyakas 
(1,66, 40). The “Three and Thirty” are reckoned as 12 (Adityas) -f- 8 (Vasus) 
+ 11 (Rudras)-f-2(A§vinau), or as (in place of the two) Prajapati and Vasatkara 
(so Nil. at 1, 66, 37), but in truth the distribution is a later product. The 
poets inherited the TridaSa group and used it of the greater gods without 
defining it, till R 3,14,14 gives the definition above (the two as ASvins; versus 
the Vedic definition of the two, as Indra and Prajapati, £b. 11,6,3, 5; Brh. Up. 
3 , 9 , 3 )- TridaSa also means thirty (1, 113, 21) and is used of gods in general, 
for example, in 3,85,20, where “Brahman with the TridaSas” has this general 
meaning, as it has quite frequently (see usage in following sections). 



56 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


§ 21. Leaders of the Gods. — If, as in 3, 186, 30, the gods go to 
sacrifice, they are led by Agni; if to battle, by Indra, and later by Kart- 
tikeya. But Indra as the war-lord remains the SureSa, Surapati, king of 
Devas (1, 86, 8, etc.), and he is even called “the only king of heaven” 
(5, 45, 6 and 10). But geographical and other factors modify this statement. 
In his own district each god is supreme, and it is not often that the gods 
leave their proper places. When they do, it may be that they are led by 
other gods than the titular leaders. Thus Yama and Kubera lead a host 
of gods and other spirits going to a Svayarpvara (1, 187, 6f.). Brahman 
and Soma head the gods going to see a battle (7, 98, 33). Each group of 
gods has its natural leader, as when Surya is lord of Grahas; Candramas, 
lord of Naksatras; Yama, lord of Pitrs; Soma, lord of plants; Ocean, of 
rivers; Varuna, of waters; the Maruts, kings of groups; and Indra, king 
of Maruts; till in descending scale MahadevT is named as mistress of 
women devoted to Bhaga (14, 43, 6f.). Here the North is lord of direc¬ 
tions, but' immediately afterwards the East is first (ib. 44, 13). Despite 
Variations, largely due to sectarian influence, the gods are in general 
partitioned off into little groups, each under the lordship of one who is 
called best, either as king or as leader (5, 156, I2f.). When Kumara (as 
here) is called leader of the Devas, it must be remembered that in 7, 7, 6 
the succession from an older leadership is indicated by the words, "Of 
old the Suras with £akra at their head made Skanda their general or 
commander-in-chief’ (compare the list 6, 34, 21 f., where Vasava is best 
of Devas). 

Distinctions between gods rest on general differences, such as that 
already mentioned between gods that kill and others and between Pitrs 
raised to divinity and natural gods. The functions of gods make a distinction 
between them which is not very marked, as almost any god does what 
any other can do. An older grouping by pairs prevails to a certain (not 
marked) extent. In R 6, 12, 36, the speaker thus groups as gods he would 
dare to contend with ^akra and Vivasvat, Pavaka and Maruta, Kubera and 
Varuna, adding that his own prowess and power is like that of Sagara 
and Maruta (ib. 13, 16). The simplest distinction rests on physical traits, 
“lord of heat” (Agni), “lord as to sowing seeds” (Earth), “lord as to illu¬ 
mination” (Sun, 1, 88, 13). The geographical distinction coincides in part 
with this. Yama as lord of the (deadly) South; Agni as lord of the East 
(full of sacrificial fires); but it extends beyond this. Thus in the war with 
Garucja (1, 32, 16) the defeated celestials fly, the Vasus and Rudras to the 
South, the Adityas to the West, the ASvins to the North, the Sadhyas 
and Gandharvas to the East. The rules for offerings show geographical 
and sacrificial distinctions. Earth says that a householder must make an 
offering of rice and water, or of milk, roots, and water to the Pitrs, and 
boiled rice to the ViSve Devas. This is offerred in the open air at morn 
and eve. Daily offerings are to be made to Agni, Soma, Dhanvantari, and 
a separate one to the Creator. To Yama the bali must be cast south¬ 
ward; to Varuna, westward; to Soma, northward; to Indra, eastward; to 
Dhanvantari to the north-east (13, 97, 5 f-)- Physically, Indra is typical of 
strength, Vayu of speed; Soma of beauty; Death of anger (3, 141, 21). 
But in 8, 92, 13 and elsewhere gods typical of strength, bravery, and 
prowess are Kubera, Yama, and Indra. Prowess is also the mark ofVisnu, 
as beauty is that of the ASvins, patience that of Earth, etc. (R 7, 37,4fi). 
Both Yama and Varuna are famed for “control”, the first controlling his 




IV. The Gods. 


57 


just wrath against the sinner, the second controlling the realm and sinner 
(2, 78, i8f.). Similarly, of the gods, who are all wealthy, four are selected 
to represent’this trait by Valmiki’s follower, when he Says “such wealth 
was never seen before, not of loakra, of the lord of wealth (Kubera), of 
Yama, or of Varuija” (R 7, 92, 17). >. 

Before the general characteristics of the gods are discussed, it is 
necessary to remark that the term Devata is also applied to a gentle host 
of sylvan deities who do n,ot share the characteristics of the supernal 
Devas (also called Devatas). There are divinities of house and home and 
also of the woods, who seem to belong to earth and stay there. The 
greater and rougher epic has little to do with them, but Rama’s wander¬ 
ings through the woods give opportunity for the more sentimental poem 
to exploit them. On occasion, however, they are recognised, as when one 
says in 1, 154, 3, “Art thou the Devata of this wood, O thou divinely fair?”. 
The Yak$as are usually gentle but sometimes unpleasant, and probably 
Vanadevatas and Yaksas are regarded as of the same class. The Vana¬ 
devatas run away, easily frightened, when any fiend or god appears. On 
seeing Sita weep they tremble in every limb (R 3, 52, 43). They are called 
Sattvas and Daivatani, and Sita invokes them (ib. 45, 31; ib. 49, 33 f.) r The 
Devata nagarasya is another earth-goddess, the tutelary divinity of the 
city (4, 9, 15), i. e. the incorporate city as goddess, lovely as a Kiipnari 
or Vidyadhari (cf. R 5, 3, 27!). Every home has also its Grhadevi (§ 17). 
In 13, 100, 10, the pious man is told to give pleasure to these grhya 
devatah with incense and lamps as offerings. They are invoked with 
other beings as witnesses (R 2, 11, 15). In short, every place has its genius 
loci, whether grove, mountain, stream, village, or house. 

§ 22. The Signs of the Gods. — All divine beings are fair. A woman 
is sufficiently lauded when called devarupiiji (1, 153, 11; 3, 65, 73). The 
One God alone is vidharman, without qualities; other gods have quali¬ 
ties distinguishing them from man, who is first of all mortal and so 
endowed with mortal qualities, martyadharman. The gods have these 
conspicuous traits: they are immortal (1, 18, 27); they do not quite touch 
earth with the feet (opposed to the m arty a who is pa da bhumim 
upasprSan, 2, 70, 14); they have “divine” beauty, devarupa; they do 
not sweat, and have no dust upon their limbs or garlands; they do not 
wink thgir eyes; they have no shadow (3, 57, 23f.). Some of these points 
may be uncertain, as contradicted by other accounts. Thus the garlands 
of the gods fade when they are frightened (1, 30, 37). Rama “sees the 
huge shadows of gods, Gandharvas, and Raksas" at a place on the 
Sarasvatl called Subhumika (9,37,9, chayaS ca vipula drstva deva- 
gandharvarak^asam). But S has Sayyafi (couches) for chayalj. Hanumat 
asks if Sita is a goddess and says he thinks she is not, because of her 
“touching earth”, also from her excessive weeping (R 5, 33, n). The 
shadow-sign is often ignored; so in R 3, 36, Prak.’i7f., where, as signs, are 
mentioned not touching earth, winkless eyes, dustless garments, and un¬ 
faded flowers. Indra as typical of all the gods (R 3, 5, 5f.) has no dust 
upon his garments or jewels and does not touch eartty with his feet. 
Indra’s attendants are ever immortal and beautiful and “appear to be 
twenty-five years old, for such is ever the age of gods” (R 3, 5, 18, etad 
dhi kila devanaqi vayo bhavati nityada). The voice of the gods is 
loud (S 3, 105, 1, nirhradinya gira . . uvaca Brahma). Those who are 
“like gods” are by implication intelligent to a high degree, as put in 



58 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

i, 183, 11, “they were like gods (that is) endowed with intelligence, prowess 
and might”, buddhi, vfrya, bala. The “immortals” are synonymous 
with “intelligent”, vibudhas = Devas. That gods are not always wise is 
shown by tales where they are outwitted by the fiends, but the respectful 
epithet remains as one of their characteristics at all times. An exception 
in appearance occurs if a god goes disguised. Then, as man, he appears 
as man, for gods go gutjharupafi with their true form concealed (and 
its characteristics). Most of the gods win their best battles by “concealed” 
form (deceit) and boast of it. The gods turn into animals at will, as 
evinced.by the tales of Dharma as a dog, or the tale of R 7, 18, 2f., 
where, in fear of Ravana, Dharma became a crow, Varuna a goose, Kubera 
a lizard, etc. The gods appear and “go as they will” (but so do any spirits). 

The gods live in fear of man, partly because of physical reasons, 
partly on moral grounds. They are dependent on the offerings given by 
men, and should these fail, they would be in a wretched state. Also the 
divinity of an epic hero in alliance with the All-god renders the Devas 
afraid (R 3, 23, 26f. etc.). A god again, if in high station, lives in fear of 
some mortal gaining merit enough to oust him from his place (3, 193, 
23; see § 66). 

§ 23. Habitations of Spiritual Beings. — When not directly in¬ 
terested in human affairs to the point of descending to earth, either to 
partake of a sacrifice or to intervene in worldly matters, the gods reside 
in the sky, where they live in courts of their own "on top of the sky, 
in the third heaven”, or gather at the halls of their colleagues. Brahman’s 
court is the highest of these, except when sectarian influence lowers him 
below another “highest” god. These residences of the gods are called 
assembly-halls, parks, cloudlike “vehicles’', cities, worlds, and palaces, and 
it is occasionally impossible to say whether the poet thinks of them as 
separate or as including one the other, as is true also of the demons, so 
that, for example, whether Ravana’s “car” is coterminous with his residence 
is difficult to say. The court or “hall” of Indra is the rendezvous of the 
other gods and this is called Sudharma, but most of the halls of the gods 
appear to have no special name; possibly only the highest gods were 
regarded as possessing a "hall” at all. Agni, Sun, Moon, Indra, Brahman, 
Krsna, Yama, Varuna, and Kubera are particularly named as having 
renowned and beautiful palaces of this sort. Even Indra’s hall is known 
by name only in Hariv., the Purapas, and Ram. and late additions; 2, 3, 
27 ;S 12, 37, i8(pravivega sabhaip raja Sudharma# Vasavo yatha); 
cf. R 2, 56, 36, sabharp yatha devaganah Sudharmam . . viviSuh) 1 )- 

The general heaven called Trivi$tapa is a name of the suit; as is 
Svargadvara (door of heaven, 3, 3, 26). It is synonymous with Amaravati 
and Indra-loka (1, 207, 36 and 210, 7). It is the general synagogue of the 
gods (2,60,4), but is especially Indra’s (3, 24, 21, as lord of Trivistapa) 
and is typical of any very beautiful place (3, 100, 18). Mortals who sin 

*) This verse is found in both the Bombay and Kumbakonam (sic) texts, but it is 
not in G. Yet RB 2, 81, 10 and G 82, 9 both have Sudharma as the hall where Byhaspati 
and Indra go with their troop (of gods), evidently the same Sabha as that of Mbh. 2, 3, 27. 
As these are the only passages where Sudharma occurs as a hall, common in Hariv. and 
the Purapas, it is probably an indication that the “Halls” are a late description, a sup¬ 
position favored by other evidence of the same character regarding their inhabitants 
(perhaps a loan from the Jains, who have a heaven and gods called Saudharma), Sudharma 
in Mbh. is the wife of Matali (see under Indra). In H 6565 f., Vayu takes the hall 
Sudharma to Dvaraka. 




IV. The Gods. 


59 


cannot see Indra’s city ( 3 , 43 , i f.), sinners being defined as those who do 
not sacrifice nor bathe in Tirthas, and who do eat meat and get drunk. 
Indra is lord of the whole world, and his “hall” Pu$karamalini (2, 7, 30) 
is the abode of other gods, half-gods, etc., as well as of the Seven Seers. 
There is no use in mentioning all the gods resident there; it suffices to 
point out that although Agni and the Sun are said to have their own 
halls, that of Indra seems often to be their abode. “Like clouds” 
describes the “home of the gods" (2, 3, 25) and, without exaggerating 
natural phenomena as a base, there is probably something in that. The 
massed clouds suggest palaces and every god like every raj has his palace 
or “assembly-hall”, but the smaller chiefs live mostly at the court of the 
emperor, and Indra is described here after the emperor-idea is naturalised. 
Human conditions are reflected in divine. So the gods have their “play¬ 
grounds” as well as palaces, generally on the summit of mountains, some 
of these earthly resorts being still “marked with their feet” (devanam 
akritjaip caranaukitam, 3, 139, 4; cf. ib. 158, 83, devakridas, masc. 
or neut.) The favorite play-grounds of the gods are the mountains Meru, 
Kailasa, and Mainaka (1, 120, 11), where “a man who is even a little 
rash” is set upon by Raksasas and killed for his daring, since (ib.) it is 
the viharo devanam amanusagatis tu sa, “gods’ sporting-ground 
where man is not admitted”. To be noticed is the fact, here expressed, 
that Raksasas are employed by the gods to guard their privacy. Not 
angels but devils guard the celestial city. Moreover, Kailasa (the especial 
udyana or park of isiva), where only gods and the highest saints and 
divine seers can come, is also the home of Danavas. It is, however, as 
much the home of Kubera as pf £iva. Kubera sits at ease on Gandha- 
madana and listens to the music of Tumburu on holy days (3, 159, 28). 
The palaces of earth are compared with such homes of the gods (not 
temples) when one wishes to exalt the human display of marble, jewels, 
gold, etc. In these palaces the gods are represented as feasting and lying 
on couches, living a life of drunken ease. “Drunk as gods" describes the 
condition of Raukmineya and Samba at a festival (1, 219, 9; cf. 8, 10, 7 for 
the "comfortable couches”). Beyond and over these mountains of the 
North goes the Devayana, “beyond Kailasa”; this is the Devalokasya 
margalj and divyo devapathal) found by the mortal who might not go 
•upon it (3, 148, 22). The home of Kubera is on the top of the mountain 
and beyond it stretches the divine path leading to the,heavenly world, 
a "terrible uneven path only wide enough for one” (like a bridge to 
paradise). The path of the gods, devapatha, is, however, often the path 
by which the gods go (apparently) from any starting point, leaving its 
trail in the sky to this day. For example, by this path ascended Rudra 
to heaven after abandoning the sacrificial animal, and “it appears visibly 
to whoso touches water and sings to Rudra a Gatha (hymn, 3, 114,6—10); 
the spot from which he ascended being in the Kalinga country north of 
the (earthly) Vaitarani river. Metaphorically the path of the gods is virtue 
and bravery *). The visible road may be the Milky Way. The Devapur is 
literally a stronghold in the third heaven (diva interchanges with Tri- 


i) The Devapathas of the city mentioned in R 2, 17, 16 may be roads to temples or 
royal roads, catuspathan devapathaipS caityany ayatanani ca pradaksinaip 
pariharafi jagama (B caityan). Devamarga as apanadvara(l) appears in R 5,62, 15—16 
(G 61,4). For the metaphorical use mentioned above, cf. 5,27, 27: ma gas tvaip vai 
devayanat patho ’dya; and 9 , S> 39 (of bravery). 


60 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


vi§tapa). The "three worlds’’ are those of sjcy, atmosphere and earth 
(trinaka = tridiva; naka interchanges both with vyoman and with 
diva). Another term is viraloka, where dead heroes go, equivalent to 
the world of the blest or the highest course (7, 77, 15; ib. 195, 7). The 
worlds of the blest are many, opposed to the bad worlds, krcchra lokab, 
of sinners. Both are variously interpreted. Those who sacrifice go to other 
worlds than those of saints or of philosophers, and according to KaSyapa, 
the worlds of the patient are the highest; the bad worlds being hells or 
worlds in the sense of rebirth in low forms (7, 125, 76; 3, 29, 39 and ib. 
181, 9). The “three worlds” is chiefly proverbial (3, 134, 10) and becomes 
a mere formula, "famous in the three worlds”, etc., though probably at 
first intended to cover the worlds of gods, Asuras, and men (cf. 7, 62, I; 
R 7, 5, 11, etc.). Trilokanatha and Trailoka are epithets of Indra as lord 
of these worlds, called loka and bhuvana (5, 10, 3 and 6; R 6, 114, 18). 
With this interchanges another antique phrase "seven worlds” (3, 3, 45 
and 52; 1, 179, 12 and 22; RG 1, 14,41, sapta lokab). These worlds are 
supported on earth or on water (4, 50, 3 and 1, 180, 17). 3 iva is identified 
with the seven worlds he creates (13, 16, 34) “beginning with earth” (ib. 52, 
bbuvanab sapta). They are personified (12, 187, 26) as sentient and 
talking beings (R 6, 101, 56). But in R 6, 119, 31 f. (“the three worlds see 
Slta enter fire”), gods, Gandharvas, and Danavas are meant (ib. 120, 24). 
The gods and their worlds are not kept strictly apart, nor men and their 
world, the material being sensible. So Rama "can destroy worlds” and 
again create “people”, the two being thought of as one (R 3, 31, 26). The 
Puraijic worlds beyond worlds has scarcely affected the epic, which in 
this regard as iij many others shows its priority ( 9 , 47 , 145 13, 1 4 , 211). 
But the later writers’ influenced by Buddhism are not content with a few 
worlds and proceed to pile worlds on worlds as homes of the blest and 
the gods, worlds which even Indra cannot see; visionary worlds (svapna- 
bhuta lokab), beyond Time (13, 73, 2f.; ib. 81, l8f.). So, in this view, 
the Maruts live no longer with Indra but have a world of their own, as 
do other gods, where men live blessed with millions or billions of years. 
A peculiar description in R 7,23, pr. 4, if. enumerates different worlds 
as wind-paths, the first being that of the goose, haqisa, the second that 
of three kinds of clouds, the fourth that of sanctified saints and singers 
(Siddhas and Caranas), the fourth of pious beings, the fifth of aerial Ganges 
and Nagas and elephants (water here becomes snow), the sixth of^ Garuda 
and his relations (jnatis and bandhavas), the_sevenfK^oTjhe sun and 
planets and stars (a thousand leagues above the aerial Ganges, upheld by 
Wind), and finally the world of the Moon. In 13, 102, I4f., a round dozen 
of desirable worlds are enumerated, implicitly in the order of preference: 
the region of Yama, of the aerial Ganges, MandakinI, and Kubera, of 
Meru, of Narada, of the Uttara Kurus, of Soma, of Aditya, of Varuna, of 
Indra, of Prajapati, of cows, and of Brahman (sadana interchanging with 
loka). The characteristics of these worlds are not unlike: in the world 
of the Moon live kind people and no sorrow is there; in the world of 
the Sun live those who keep {heir vows; in Indra’s world live centenarians, 
heroes, and scholars, etc. The “shining world of heroes” is really one 
with Indra’s world. When a' hero dies in battle, thousands of nymphs and 
Gandharva-girls vie with each other for the honor of becoming his wife 
(12,99,4 and 98,46). All the worlds have these nymphs^ only later are 
they restricted to a “seventh” heaven. Theology also invents dauhitraja 



IV. The Gods. 


6 i 


worlds, won by those who get the benefit of sons through daughters’ sons 
(i, I 57 i 36). But in general the epic imagines tier on tier of worlds topped 
by that of Brahman, Vi?nu, or &va, as sectaries decide. Similarly the 
worlds of sinners are imagined as separate hells, The later epic delights 
in placing certain virtuous people, as reward of their virtue, in certain 
worlds. One who takes his early morning bath and is well read in the 
Great Epic receives "the worlds of Vi§pu and the Moon”, as his reward 
(13, 76, 18). Twenty-six or twenty-seven worlds (Buddhistic) may be inferred 
from the ascent of Jaigi§avya from earth to the point where he disappears 
in the world of Brahman; though these world are those of saints and 
ascetics for the most part (after Yama’s world and Soma’s world), till the 
worlds of Mitra and Varuna,»the Adityas, Rudra, Vasus, Brhaspati (Nos. 16 
to 20) bring him to the world of cows, "three other worlds”, and the 
world of faithful women (9, 50, 26 f.). Descriptions of the assembly-halls 
of the four Lokapalas and of Brahman describe them in terms of earthly 
luxury with some strange restrictions of inhabitants. Varuna’s Hall contains, 
as was to be expected, Nagas and waters and Daityas; Kubera’s, besides 
Rak$asas, Yak§as, and Guhyakas, contains Gandharvas, Apsarasas, and 
&va (“God of the Bull”); Yama’s contains kings; Brahman’s, saints and 
seers; Indra’s, gods, Gandharvas, and great seers and HariScandra, a king- 
seer (rajar§i); yet all who die in battle go to Indra’s heaven and live 
happily with him (2, 12, 21) as do all ascetic suicides (ib. 22). Other 
descriptions allude to worlds without end, flowing with milk and honey, 
in eagh of which a favored mortal lives seven days (1,92, 10 and 15 f.). 
Stars are not only saints but worlds that both live and mourn and serve 
as future stations for those who live holy lives (I, 210, 56; 3, 42, 32 and 
34; 12, 271, 25; 14, 17, 38f.). Opposed to heavens are the hells into which 
one falls or sinks, i. e. below earth. Below earth are the delightful regions 
of Rasatala, the seventh layer under earth, where is Bhogavatl, and in 
several passages no difference is to be seen between this Rasatala and 
Patala, the depth of earth, later' resolved into several Patalas, of which 
an interpolated verse in S gives a premonition (4, 18, 22), patale§u pa- 
taty e§a vilapan vadavamukhe, “he will fall lamenting into the Mare’s 
mouth in the Patalas" (implying the fire of the Vadavamukha in the water- 
world under earth). This under-world is reddened with flames and guarded 
by demons (R 6, 75, 52 and 41, 34f.), and the inhabitants of Patala are in 
the southern ocean (R 4, 64, 4f.), so that probably, though hell is in 
Yama’s domain in the South, the “falling” and “sinking” were used ori¬ 
ginally of descent under earth, i. e. into the region known to the epic 
as the under-world. Neither epic gives the Puranic seven (eight) Patalas 
(of which one is Rasatala) ascribed to different classes of beings and 
regents, each region having a depth of ten thousand leagues. But 5, 102, 11 
may imply a knowledge of this, as it speaks of the seventh layer under 
earth as Rasatala and cites the verse which says that no heaven is so 
blessed a place (cf. VP. 2, 5, 5, which alludes to this)- Patala as Rasatala 
is a watery under-world where Vasuki (§ 13) reigns, but being also the 
abode of demons and fiends and of underground fires it later became 
synonymous with hell (see Yama). 

§ 24. Children and Wives of the Gods. — Uma cursed the gods 
to have no children, because they had persuaded fsiva to have no son by 
her, so excepting Agni, who was out of hearing and so out of range of 
the curse, all the gods became childless-(13, 84, 76). Ram. 1, 36, 22 tells 


62 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

✓ ■** 

the same tale differently, limiting the curse to the wives of the gods. In 
fact, the gods have many sons by mapy mothers, nymphs, Naga-girls, fairies, 
etc. (R I, 17, pf.). Mbh. says that bears and monkeys were born at Brah¬ 
man’s command as sons of gods, Gandharvas, etc. (3, 276, 6). According 
to the genealogy of heroes, “p^rt” of a god was born on eartji as a hero, 
or one hero is a unified portion of certain divine powers. Thus Dropa was 
a part of Bfhaspati, but ASvatthaman was' born as the unification of Maha- 
deva, Death, Desire, and Wrath (ekatvam upapannanarp jajne, 1, 67, 
69f.). Yudhisthira was “son” of Dharma as a part of Dharma (ib. no 
DharmasyaipSam . . viddhi Yudhi$thiram). Apparently this does not 
hold good in the case of evil spirits. Sikhanijin is not born by this sort 
of fission but is a whole fiend incarnate (ib. 126, Agner bhagaip tu 
viddhi tvaqi Dr§tadyumnam .. loikhandinam ... viddhi Rak§asam), 
the whole war being in theory a contest of “parts of gods” and complete 
Rak§asas (only Duryodhana is “part of Kali”) and other demons, such as 
ASoka, who was thq demon ASva; Candravarman, king of Kamboja, who 
was the demon Caridra (son of Diti); and ViSva, who was the Mahasura 
Mayura (etc., 1,67,14—35). In effect, the detailed description of the greatest 
heroes shows that the gods were imagined as real k fathers, though by 
reason of their Yoga power they can reproduce themselves divinely, so 
that Surya f the Sun, being called by a Mantra of the Atharvaveda, comes 
to Prtha and “touches” her, whereat she conceives; but "the sun did not 
pollute her” (3, 307, 28, immaculate conception). The gods have sons in' 
five different ways. They rtiay propagate by thought alone (the “spiritual” 
sons of Brahman, etc.) or by word, sight, touch, or, finally, by congress 
(15, 30, 22). Valin, Sugriva, Tara, Gandhamadana, Nala, Nila, Mai.nda and 
Dvivida, Susena, and Sarabha, in the story of Rama, are the respective 
sons by female animals of Indra, Surya, Brhaspati, Kubera, ViSvakarman, 
Pavaka (Agni), the Alvins, Varuna, and Parjanya; but Hanumat is son of 
Maruta (Vayu) by the wife of king Kesarin and she is a nymph reborn 
on earth (R 1, 17). Heroes are said to**be “like sons of gods,”, Deva- 
putrasamah sarve (6, 103, 21 f.) Sita is “like, the daughter of a god”, 
surasutopama (R 6, 5, 20). The male children of the gods make A special 
group of celestial beings, grouped with Gandharvas, Apsarasas, etc., as 
devanam SiSavab, “sons of gods”, in the procession of gods honoring 
£iva (3, 231*44). When the nymphs sport on earth, they join in pjay with 
the TridaS'anam atmajafi (3, 240, 22), “own sons of the gods” (Three 
and Thirty). Such son§ are identified with the Gandharvas in 4, 14, 50, 
where they are called “sons of the gods who roam the skies, the smiters” 
(pramathinab). DevaSiSur yatha and Devagarbha applied to Abhi- 
manyu (4, 72, 8, etc.) also imply the existence of sons of the gods of one 
sort or another, as the gods themselves are called Dak§asutab (R 5 i 48, 16). 
Perhaps Devagandharva itself means son of the gods: Narada, Kali, and 
other such Devagandharvas are in fact (1, 65, 44) Mauneyas, grandchildren 
of Brahman by Muni, daughter of Dak§a, a metronymic of the Apsarasas 
also (H 12473). The 'nymphs themselves are “girls of the gods” (Deva- 
kanyas sporting with Gandharvas, 11, 19, 18, implies this). The Devakanya 
turned into a doe by Brahman is an Apsaras (3, no, 37). The term is 
used in the same way in'the tale of R$ya£rfiga and. in 13, 14,38 and 
RG 5, 15, 16 stands in contrast to Devapatnl and DCvamatjr (wife and 
mother of gods). Probably after the term became current, it bred a belief 
in the special existence of a group thus sailed, lor it sometimes seems 



•IV. The Gods. 


63 


to stand in contrast also with the Apsarasas themselves, Gandharva 
DevakanyaS qa sarve ca ’ps-arasaip ganab (5, 17, 22; 13, 166, 14). 
But “girl" is ambiguous and in such instances seems rather to indicate 
a kridanari (play-girl) than a daughter of gods. In many cases the bliss of 
heaven is augmented by Devakanyas (e. g. 13, 107, 35f.) = Apsarasas. The 
kanyas of various special gods are'here mentioned (just as T)evayo§itas 
occurs elsewhere to designate dancing nymphs, crowned with lotuses and 
golden-hued) and described as black, brunette and blonde Deva- and 
Daivatakanyas. These Surayositas play on vinas and vallakls (lutes) 
and are adorned with nupuras (anklets), having eyes of doe or of cat, 
fair waists, and brilliant smiles. The Devastriyab may be seen climbing 
up Mt. Meru, but these are the gods’ wives (1, 134, 16; 13, 79, 25f.). The 
wife is always sharer of the honor of her divine husband, although he is 
rarely faithful to her. The wives differ from these gay girls and women, 
kanyas, yo§itas„ and kumaryas, or concubines of the gods, in dignity 
and ip being accepted everywhere as the one wife, eacji being hidden from 
the eyes of the'world, as queens are hid on earth: “Whaf man may 
behold the (one) wife of Soma, of Indra, ofVi$nu, ofVaruna, in his house 
(concealed)?” (1, 82 K I2; kab . . striyam dra$tum arhati). Such a wife 
is the patni (queen) and devi (as queen, devi is used of an earthly 
king’s wife). Even when physical phenomena require that .the % Moon-gx)d 
recognise twenty-seven “wives” (lunar stations, stars of the lunar zodiac) 
and each is called patni, Rohini is really the queen among them (i^ 66,16). 
As typica.l of conjugal bliss, divine pairs are strung together by the poets, 
who thus give us the names of most of these queens of the gods, though 
they do not always agree. For example, one list ascribes Yama's wife to 
Markandeya (saints and their wives are often included in the lists). Some 
of the names are of Vedic type, Rudra and Rudrani, Indra $nd fsaci, 
Pururavas and UrvaSi, etc.; others are new creations and not so firmly 
fixed v loiva hirhself gives such a list at 13, 146, 4f.: Savitrl is the good 
wife, sadhvi, of Brahman; ^aci.^of KauSika (Indra); Dhumorna of Mar¬ 
kandeya; Rddhi, of Kubera (VaiSravana); Gaufi, of Varuna; Suvarcala, of 
^tirya; feohipi, of 3 aSin (Soma); Svaha, of Agni (Vibhavasu); and Aditi, 
of KaSyapa. These wives are all patidevatab, "hold their husbands as 
their god”. Dhumorna in 5, 117, 8f. (in S), also in S 13, 166, 11, is paired 
with Yarpa in a similar list, in which Prabhavati and Ravi represent Prabha 
(§ 84) or Suvarcala and Surya (etc.) with a few additions, Narayana *and 
Lak§mi, Udadhi and Jahnavi (Ocean and Ganges), Pitamaha and Vedi; 
though KauSika here is ViSvamitra (and Haimavatl). Bfhaspati here pairs 
with Tara; fsukra with Jsataparva; Dharma with Dhrti; Vasuki with Sata- 
Sir$a; Janardana (Kr§na) with Rukmini, etc. Vedi cannot be Savitrf, another 
instance of discrepancy. Dhrti is also an All-god (masculine). Devasena 
is added in some lists as wife of Skanda (3, 224,. if.; S 4 » 22, Qf.: Laksmi 
is here wife of Damodara, fsacl of Indra, Rudrani of Sankara, Savitrl of 
Brahman, and Devasena of Guha). R has a similar list (R 5, 24, iof.), em¬ 
bracing heroes, KeSini and Sagara, Nala and DamayantI, Savitrl and 
Satyavat. The social structure suggested is not carried to its logical con¬ 
clusion. Some gods belong to one caste, some to another; yet the ASvins, 
though they are fsudras (12, 208, 24), are warrior-gods, and as .such receive 
offerings and sacrifice (see § up). Brhaspati is a priest (god). Indra is a 
warrior. But no god is representative of the third estate and Indra is no 
more a Vanir-like trading-god j stjll less are there outcaste gods. All that 



64 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


is permitted here is the almost exclusive devotion of Parjanya as rain-god 
to the agricultural caste and the practically outcaste (outcast) condition 
of the Danavas, etc. There are too no MIeccha barbarian gods, though 
the episode of the White Island, common to the pseudo-epic of both 
poems, recognises a barbarian God. The "sacrifice-stealing” gods are not 
said to be foreign, though they may be so. The later epic is very catholic. 
Brhaspati, the priest-god, says: "A black man who acts white is recognised 
by the gods as a Brahman, even if he be of the lowest caste. A virtuous 
and pure MIeccha is better than a Brahman who does evil" (S 12, 118 
after B ib. 6; cf. also on the fsudra-nature of an evil priest, 3, 216, 14b). 

§25. Men as Gods. — The first men were devakalpa (“god-like”) 
saints who never did wrong, pure vehicles of virtue (dh.armatantrani). 
They all had the true nature of Brahman, went to heaven and returned 
again as they liked along with the gods, and teirig god-like died only 
when they wished. These were those now called Siddhas and Siddharthas, 
the blest (“they attained their aim”, 2, 183, 63f.; 3, 135, 11). But after 
thousands of years men became less virtuous; then they lost their power 
of going to heaven and “walked only on earth and sank sinning to hell". 
The Karma doctrine sealed this theory and emphasised euhemerism: “The 
lights of heaven, the Three and Thirty (gods), Nagas and Yaksas, Moon 
and Sun and Wind (god), all got to godhead from the human state through 
manly action” (13,6, 3b). But the Fathers of old remain in memory as 
men who become so godlike that they are all, even the later Pitrs, called 
a kind of god, and philosophy, identifying functions of man with gods and 
his soul as one with God, while his body is the home of gods, reduces 
the distinction still more. Yet apart from philosophy, certain men are gods 
on earth. Whether this honor came first to priest, king *), or husband, the 
epic recognises fully that the priest as well as the king is divine, and 
that to every wife her husband is or should be her divinity. A distinction 
is made in the terms describing the first two classes. A king or prince 
or a royal seer is called naradeva; a priest is bhumideva, “earth-god”. 
It is only as a god that a king may accept a gift (he is Inclra, Varuna, 
Kubera, and Yama incorporate, R 7, 76, 31b); it is as a divinity that the 
priest is entitled to his superior position. The king has the high title 
naradevadeva (5, 30, 1). He incorporates many gods, Dharma, Brhaspati, 
Prajapati, and^ven Bhava and Babhru (Jsiva and Visiju, 3, 185,28). He is 
the Creator in earthly form and in proverbial language represents regu¬ 
larly five divinities (R3,40,12, etc.). His touch is divinely healing (15, 3,68). 
Modifications are due to corfduct. If not kingly, he is no king, therefore 
no god; and as such may be slain like a'mad dog (R 2, 196, 11; ib. 3, 
33, 16). Hence, as he has “something human”, being only "ojie quarter 
Indra” (ib. 7, 59, pr. 3; ib. 3, 1, 18 b), he is said to "obtain divinity” on 
dying (i. e. complete divinity); whereas, no matter how evil a priest may 
be, he remains an “earth-god” (bhusura, S 12, 141, 92), created god on 
earth by the Creator above (13, 141, 62). This differs from the philosophical 
speculation that merely recognises as anybody’s “going” a manifestation 
of Vispu, power as Jsakra, Agni in digestion, and Sarasvatl in hearing 
(12, 240, 8), and even makes deva mean sense, "the gods in the senses” 

*) E. Kuhn, Zu den Arischen Anschauungen vom Kdnig’tum, p. 216, cites R2, 
102 (lot), 4, devatve sarpmato mama to illustrate king as deva (ib. k$itidevata of 
priests, 13, 141, 62) by consent (cf. Mahasaijimata). The vs. represents rather the usual view 
(king is human) offset by the new view of the speaker ("in my opinion, divine”). G limits 
to the individual case, devatvaip for devatve (ill, 4). 




IV. The Gods. 


65 


(certain in 12, 314, if- == I 4 > 42 , 24; lb. 43 , 30f.; uncertain in 12, 175, 25). 
The identification is rather implied also in the theory that when a man 
. dies and his soul escapes’ through his feet, it gets to Vi§ou, through the 
crown to Brahman, through the eyes to Agni (etc. 12, 302, 20f.; 314, if.; 
318, if.). The theory that the husband is the wife’s divinity is a parallel 
to that which makes the parents the child’s divinity. Neither (so common 
are both) needs illustration; but the underlying sense is totemic in that 
it establishes as a “god” that power on which one is dependent (see 
above, § 9). Woman herself is (poetically) a divinity, lorlh stri (13, 46,15). 
The theory of the “gods of gods” (above, § 15) is illustrated by R 2, 34, 
52, pita hi daivaiaip tat'a devatanam api smrtam (for the others, 
see e. g. bharta daivatam, ib. 24, 21; 12, 267, 39; of both parents, etau 
maddaivataxp param, 3, 214,'igf.). 

§ 26. Religion and Morals of the Gods. — The priest of the gods, 
Bphaspati, exercises the usual funttions of a priest, that is, the gods are 
a religious body and have their own “divine service”. Curiously enough, 
the priest, himself is no more of an authority than the priest of the demons 
(12, 58, i,f.). In sectarian chapters of the epics all the gods worship Vi§nu 
or loiva, but their priest was not for this purpose, rather to obtain and 
retain for them the magical powers obtained by the sacrifice. For the 
same reason the gods perform austerities. Yet their puja is not of great 
import; any hero or saint is “honored” by the civil deities. They even 
dance and sing in honor of a royal saint like ioibi, who was “besung and 
bedanced by the gods” in admiration (nrtta£ cai ’vo ’pagitaS ca pita- 
maha iva prabhufi, by nymphs, angels, and gods, 13, 32, 32) 1 ). The gods 
meditate, perform penances, offer sacrifices, etc., and the places where 
of old were the fires of their sacrifices are still shown on earth. All the 
gods took part in -the building of the fires at ViSakhayupa, for example, 
and Maruts, ASvins, and Sadhyas also muttered their prayers, and saints 
and seers sang hymns at Gaugadvara, where fsiva received the Ganges 
(ahnikaip japate and sama sma gayanti samagah, 3, 142, 6f.; cf. 3, 
90, 15; 12,,12, 3). The gods’ festival, however, is not on earth, but at 
Indra’s city. It is a puja but not religious, consisting in drinking, song, 
and dance; in fact, it resembles a human festival, as divine religious exer¬ 
cises resemble their human models. The gods come and take their seats 
in “due.order” as the spectators of thd dance, which is aft essential part 
of the feast of heaveh, svargasya utsavab- Mahendra, !>eing host, dis¬ 
misses his guests after they have enjoyed themselves sufficiently; the 
festival being a musical exhibition given by the Gapdharvas and Apsarasas 
(3, 46, 27f.). The human utsava is a samaja in honor of a god (1, 143,9), 
but the divine utsava is to do honor to a human heroic son of Indra. 
The Soma of the gods’ sacrifice mingled with the river Payo$nI and is 
still mixed with it (3, 120, 32 f.). That Indra drank Soma with the ASvins 
on the Narmada river is referred to elsewhere (§§ 4 and no). 

If ethics be part of religion, the, divine religion is moral. All in all, 
as light to darkness, so is the religion approved of the gods as compared 
with that of the demons. The demons are false and eat meat; the gods 

*) This use of nrtta = upanrtta is perhaps proleptic, as upaglta follows. The 
normal use occurs in S> I2 3 > 4> upagTtopanytta^ ca (of Yayati on entering heaven). 
Dance is a commoni token of honor and worship, but “fore-dancing”, pra-nart may indi¬ 
cate insult (= prati-nart) as well as honor; pranrtta is used not of the recipient of 
the honor but of the dancing person (see s, v. P. W.). 

Indo-arische Philologie III. ib. 5 


o 


66 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


are true and drink nectar. Apparently they eat flesh at sacrifices, but they 
do not eat bloody flesh, only the essence of sacrifice. Despite the many 
sins of the king of the gods, who is famous as an adulterer, deceiver, 
and drinker, the epic moralist attributes repentance to him. Dissent from 
the belief that the gods love trufh appears only in the splenetic utterance 
of an impatient king who says that “now-a-days even the gods lie”, Deva 
’pi nunam anptaip vadanti (8,68, 15). Opposed is a mass of testimony: 
‘‘Sun, Fire, Wind, all gods, all creation, depend on truth; truth is equal 
to a thousand horse-sacrifices; it pleases the gods and Pitps; it is man’s 
highest duty” (13,75,29). Banal morality, however, is to be tempered by 
common sense. Not to injure animals is a moral law, but Balaka won 
heaven by killing a blind beast; and KauSika went to hell for telling an 
inopportune truth (8,69, 39f.; 12,109, 7). To deceive one’s friendis wrong; 
to deceive one’s enemy is right, etc. All* the greatest victories of the 
gods were won by deception of which they boast with pride. The gods 
cause the fall of the sinner (or slay him, devatab patayanti, v. 1. gha- 
tayanti, 12, 132, 18). So the gods are appealed to as arbiters: “To the 
Thirty-three thy act of violence is hateful" (3, 161, II; S ib. 162, 13, v. 1 . 
“even to the gods”). The gods ‘‘seek wisdom and love purity; they will 
not accept an offering from a man without faith” (3, 186, 18 f.). Faith 
means to “revere all the gods and obey all their laws” (12, no, 18). But 
Indra as the god of valor demands of his worshippers virtue in the Roman 
sense; his warriors lacking bravery fail to go to his heaven and not 
lacking bravery but dying face to the foe they attain bliss, irrespective 
of their moral state otherwise. Those who desert their friends in battle 
are to be burned alive, for “Indra and the other gods whom he heads 
give over to misfortune (asvasti tebhyah kutvanti) those who, deser¬ 
ting their friends, come home unwounded from war” (12, 97', 21). Such 
a deserter “sinks to the hell Raurava in a sea of woe without a boat” 
(S after 6, 77, 35). Indra is god of guests; so hospitality is another means 
of winning Indra’s heaven; as Brahman’s heaven is won by treating well 
the Brahman priest (as teacher), and Prajapati’s heaven is won by obedience 
to one’s father. Hence the saying: “The guest has power over Indra’s 
world”. In other words, the appropriate god must be propitiated by 
observing his own way of morality. That is the reason why “the heaven 
of the All-gods is won by those who are kind to their maternal and 
paternal relations” (as they are Pitr-gods; all in 12, 244, I7f.; maternal 
and paternal probably represent the distinction in jamis and jnaTis). The 
order of the state is also regarded, as an ethical matter, by the gods. 
Marriages are made in heaven; “monogamy is the state decreecT*by the 
gods for women" (2,68,35). The wife is ‘‘given by the gods” (1,157, 31). 
To see whether a man observe these laws, the gods spy upon him; con¬ 
versely, they are invoked as witnesses (passim). The chief witnesses are 
(12, 322, 55) Fire, Sun and Wind; others are Moon, Earth, and Water (as 
divinities). Later comes the idea of. "the inner man” (conscience) and of 
Dharma, Right or Justice, as witnesses (1,74,29 f.). Yama, as god and judge of 
the dead, is also naturally ipvoked, and the Twilights, as complementary to 
Day and Night (as divine witnesses ib.). Fire is a.,witness of the world” (R6, 
119, 24fl; cf. 3,291,22f. S'makes Yama the sak§I lokasya karmanam) 1 ). 

’) The thorough treatment of ethics "approved by the gods" would demand a volume, 
but mythologically it is unimportant, human terms being simply rendered as divine. Virtuous 
demons are known and sermons preached by them to the gods are given in the later epic 
with telling effect, the stupid and rather boorish Indra being here feet against the urbane 
dempn (see Indra). Compare above, pp. 39—40, on virtuous demons. 




IV. The Gods. 


67 


§ 27. Relation between Gods and Men. Worship. — As shown 
above (§§ 4 and 19) the gods help men in battle. When propitiated by 
penances or satiated with offerings, they bestow in return largesse after 
their kind, of by means of heavenly messengers they give good advice. 
One thing only they commonly refuse, immortality, but even this is given 
by special gods (see Brahman, etc.). The gods live in Agastya’s hermitage 
and wait upon' the saint, the spot being so sanctified by austerity that in 
it the gods, when properly propitiated, aradhitah, ‘‘bestow upon pure 
creatures spirithood and immortality and kingdoms various” (R 3, IX, 94: 
yak§atvam amaratvaip ca .. atra deva prayacchanti; G 17, 32 has 
“wealth” also as one of the gifts, but the donor is here one god, narapam 
atra bhagavan vidadhe tapasa vibhuh). The free gift of yak§atva 
as well as that of immortality, whether made by one or more gods, natu¬ 
rally sets aside the Karma doctrine, according to which “gods and saints 
get heaven by their acts" (12, 332,45; cf. 13,6,14). Other gifts are regarded 
as due to merit and possibly immortality or the condition of a Yak§a 
(spirit) might be roughly thought of as based on the same cause, but as 
expressed the two theories are incompatible. Otherwise the gods assist 
men by proxy. A demon (see Rak§asas) is sent to interfere with a good 
woman’s seducer; a woman (see Tilottama) is created to help Vi§nu and 
man, etc. The "bodiless voice”, so often heard from the sky, is always 
the voice of gods or their proxy (messenger), uttered to .warn or advise, 
even when it is not expressly stated to whom the voice belongs. In 3, 
156, 13, a voice a^aririiji divya akaSat, “incorporate, heavenly, from 
space”, gives advice as to the royal pilgrim’s route through the mountains. 
A messenger may be sent, taking any form, so that Hanumat is thought 
to be “sent either by Vasava or by VaiSravana” as messenger (R 5, 42, 
15; cf. ib. 50, io, where he is thought to be sent by Vi§nu as Rama or 
as having assumed the “lovely form” of Kubera, etc.). Dhrtara§tra is sup¬ 
posed to have been born on earth as a Gandharva (messenger of Indra), 
to-help the cause of right (15, 31, 81 ), an involuntary Avatar, though he 
is perhaps only on a par with other spirits born for the purpose at the 
will of Brahman (in 1, 67, 3f. and 84 he is “Haipsa, a lord of Gandharvas, 
son of Ari§ta”). As a voice the Devaduta informs Ruru that life may be 
restored in return for life if Yama ■syills, a “means provided by the gods" 
(1, 9, 7f.). In 3, 260, 3of., a Devadutaka comes on a car in person to take 
Mudgala to heaven and tell him of the happiness there (ib. 261). Another, 
"of terrible form”, commanded Yayati to fall from heaven, saying thrice 
in a prolonged cry “fall thou” (plutena svarena, dbvaqisa! 1, 89, 20). 
A voice in space, “of a certain divine messenger”, prophecies that the 
eighth son of Devaki will slay Kaipsa (S 2, 23, 11). A voice of this sort 
encourages Bhisma to keep on fighting, as this is the “time appointed by 
the Source of All (ViSvayoni as Brahman) for accomplishing his decrees” 
(6, 48,98). Other signs are given for mortal assistance. When Ravapa 
threatens Sita, who does not know that he is practically impotent, the 
Devagandharva maidens, who know all about it, try to signal the truth 
to her by pouting and winking or averting their eyes (o§thaprakarair 
apara vaktrair netrais tatha ’paralj, R 5, 22, 11). In combats of men 
the pleased gods shower flowers (4, 64, 37f.; as is done also by Devayo$as, 
9 , 46, 96, on Skanda’s victory). Not content with this, the gods lend men 
their own weapons. The twin brothers of the righteous king thus carry 
the “bows of Vi§nu and the ASvins” (Vaisgava and ASvija, 7, 23, 92 ft). 

5* 


68 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

The gods in the night-battle themselves seize torches and lamps in the 
sky, when waked by the glare of the battle-field (7, 163, 13 f.). Usually 
they are content to cry sadhu and svasty astu to the heroes (7, 170, 
12, etc.). Conversely, the help of the gods is shown by opposition to the 
favorite’s foe. Such opposition ife a fatality, a "divine oppression", which 
may attack a whole city (blest is a city devatabadhavarjitam, “without 
divine oppression”, 1, 207, 35). It is only the philosopher who says that 
gods give man no physical aid, but help him by making him intelligent. 
"Gods do not take a stick and guard men like a cowherd; him they 
wish to guard they gird with knowledge” (5, 35, 40). Another implicit con¬ 
tradiction of the Karma doctrine comes out in the statement that the 
grace of God is effective (yasya prasadaip kurute, etc. 12, 337, 20, 
Upan. verse and doctrine) and conversely, and materially, a man’s personal 
defects, blindness etc. are not due to acts of a previous birth, but "the 
gods close the doors” of the deaf and blind (devair apihitadvarafi, 
12, 263, 13), as it is the gods who give success (5, 191, 15, daivam; S 8, 
80, 21, devafi sakalaip sadhayantu). The very life of a man depends 
on the grace of the gods (1, 151, 38). The gods help Uparicara because 
he argues on their side the important question whether seeds may be 
considered goats for sacrificial purposes (see Vasu). One form of the 
bestowal of grace is for the gods to give children, particularly sons. It 
is granted as a reward for austerity, and devatejyas, and laudation, and 
magical rites (in the list abhicara comes last, 3, 205, 17f.). It is only the 
grace of the gods that makes every oblation fruitful (13, 22, 5; see § 31). 

The formal worship of the gods consists in austerity, because that is 
a means of winning their good-will, as much as sacrifice itself, and lau¬ 
dation, vandana, etc. The Vedic cult passes as the usual accepted cult 
save for the (Vi§nu) passages which inculcate simpler rites and less bloody 
offerings. But in the later theory all gifts to the gods are overpassed in 
value by gifts to the priests (13, 61, etc.), whether of cows, jewels, houses, 
or land. Lamps, flowers, gold, sandals, etc., every desirable thing, has its 
reward in heavenly worlds, divine favor, and sensual bliss hereafter. Incense 
and lights are given to priests and gods alike, the former being for this 
purpose particularly "gods of earth”. The thanksgiving service to the 
gods, a rite almost lacking in the older cult, is represented as common. 
Thus on the report of a victory, the gods are worshipped with flowers as 
offerings (4, 68, 23). Sacrifice itself is divine and a divinity identical with 
the god Prajapati. Most gods are svistakrtafi, "they perfect sacrifice”; 
only the fifteen Mitra-gods, begotten by Tapas, "steal the sacrificfi” (see 
Proc. Am. Philosoph. Soc. 1910, 24f.). At a hermitage, no attempt is 
made to please with elaborate rites. Vegetables and water are here the 
offerings (12,9, 10, vanya and apas). There is a difference in flower- 
offerings. Sharp-scented and thorny flowers and red flowers are for magic, 
abhicarartham (“as explained in AV.”). Other are the flowers offered 
to Gandharvas, Nagas, and Yak§as; they make glad the heart, hence they 
are called sumanasas, eumenides. To Bhuts are offered red or black 
flowers. Owing to their association with demons, one should not wear red 
flowers but white; yet a r,ed flower may be worn on. the head (except 
the kamala and kuvalaya, lotus and lily, 13, 104, 83f. and ib. 98, I 5 f.). 
The gods take the perfume of flowers, Raksasas accept their appearance 
with pleasure, and they please the Nagas by serving as food (ib. 98, 35). 
The food of Yak$as and Raksasas, however, must be a mixture of meat 


IV. The Gods. 


69 


and brandy (any spirituous liquor); that of Bhuts, sesame, sugar, etc. The 
gods should be offered (by a householder) milk and flowers as a bali; 
then, being pleased with him, they make him prosper (ib. 60, the dis¬ 
course of USanas with Bali, the Asurendra). The same passage discusses 
the forms of incense pleasing to the gods. Some are inauspicious, but all 
dhupas except the perfume made from sallakl are delightful (to the 
gods) if of the first class. For there are three classes, piryasa, sarin, 
and krtrima ("artificial”, as opposed to the gum and burning stick- 
incense); the best of all is guggulu (of the first class) i. e. bdellium; 
aguru (of the second, sarin, class) is best for Yak$as, Rak§asas, and ser¬ 
pents (candana and aguru together, 9, n, 52; as dhupa, R 5,9,28, etc.). 
The sallaktya incense, hateful to the gods, is the favorite of the Daitya 
demons; but gods, Danavas, and Bhuts are all pleased with the incense 
made of deodar pine and the vatica robusta (13,98,38!). Women are 
particularly enjoined to make offerings of flowers, as they are excluded 
from the elaborate Vedic rites. What they have to do in reference to the 
gods is explained by Uma to Ganges: "Good women should rise early, 
clean the house with cow-dung, be devoted to the Fire-cult (Agnikarya), 
and always, with their husbands, offer flowers to the gods” (13, 146, 49). 
The conduct of good women, as here explained, touches the gods further 
in that a chaste woman may not look on Sun or Moon (because they are 
male), nor at “a tree with a masculine name” (na candrasuryau na 
taruxp puipnamna, ib. 43). 'All the gods should be worshipped by a man 
in the forenoon; and to get long life (hundred years) one should rise 
before the sun in the hour of Brahman, brahme muhurte, be pure, not 
break things (this is the sympathetic sum of "not bite’s one’s nails, nor 
cut grass, nor break sods”), and not look at the sun when he rises or 
sets nor at midday nor when eclipsed; but the seers, R§is, got long life 
simply by adoring the Twilights. .When one worships the gods, one should 
put on clean, clothes and not prepare for oneself the food for the gods 
(sarpyava, krsara, Sa§kuli; 13, 104, 15!; 87,41 and 87). The flesh of 
goats, cows, gavya, and peacocks (ib. 93) is taboo anyway, whether or 
not on account of religious associations is not stated. To urinate against 
the sun, cows, priests, or the road, shortens life (ib. 75; cf. with all this, 
12,.193, *3!). According to 13, 104,64, the rule against looking at sun, 
moon, and stars, naksatra, is for those sacrificially impure. 

§ 28. The Days of the Gods. — These are mentioned adventitiously 
and inqompletely in the epic poetry. Karttiki, the full-moon day of the 
month Karttika is. spoken of as most holy (3, 182, 16), but Marga£Ir$a is 
the, chief month (6, 34, 35). The twelfth of each month is sacred to Krsna- 
Vi§pu, and he should be adored under a different name every month on 
that’’day (13, 109, 3!). Compared with ib. 106, 17!, this section appears 
to make the year begin with MargaSirsa, as the rules for fasting and 
observance through the year start in each case with MargaSIrsa and end 
with Karttika. The fifth and sixth lunar days are for sacrifices to the gods; 
the eighth and fourteenth of the dark half of the month are propitious 
for. fasting. Rewards of the virtue of fasting once a day for each month 
are enumerated. Phalguna the spring month, is Bhagadaivata (marriage- 
month, under god Bhaga). The thirteenth lunar day of any month is lucky 
(praSasta, 3, 134, 20). The day of the new moon, amavasya, is pro¬ 
pitious for fighting,' because sacred to Indra (^akradevata, 5> I 4 2 > 18). 
Auspicious days are those of the new and full moon, the eighth, and the 


jo III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

thirteenth; also the lunar days (called divinities) represented by the first 
part of the day of the new and of the full moon and the latter part of 
the day of the new and full moon, Sinivall, Anumati, Kuhu, Raka (lunar 
days as divinities, 8, 34, 32). In 3, 275, 5, Raka is an evil demon. Sinivall 
and Kuhu (new moon) make a pair as opposed to Anumati and Raka 
(full moon). Devasena, Sa§thf, Skanda’s wife, is called Sinivall and Kuhu 
(see § }6i). In 3, 218, 5, Sinivall is the third daughter of Brahman’s third 
son, Angiras (father of Brhaspati) and, “owing to her excessive thinness 
she is both visible and invisible”. People call her Kapardin’s daughter 
(Rudra = fsiva wears her on his forehead, the crescent moon). Kuhu is 
Jlso a daughter of , Angiras (see Agni). The moon-month was virtually 
divided by holy days (when one must remain chaste) into weeks, the day 
of the new moon, that day week ("eighth day”), full-moon day, and the 
eighth day after the full moon. Kr§na and Skanda (v. s. v.) have special 
days in each month. Skanda has by preference the fifth or sixth of the 
crescent -month (moon, ioripancami and sa?thi). Kr§na has the twelfth, as 
already remarked, and the Janma§tami, eighth. The eighth day anyway is 
half way between new and full and so is a “joint” day (Parvan) and as 
such wery holy and especially adapted for the fulfilment of desires, when 
offerings are made to the gods (KamyastamI). Sunday is the seventh day 
of the week, or, as an alternative, the sixth; better is the seventh because 
the Sun-god has seven steeds (3,3,63 and 64, saptamyam atha va 
sa$thyam). The year itself is a form of the creator-god, Prajapati or 
Brahman (q. v.); in its northern course the Sun begins to take pity on 
man. The northern course belongs to the gods, the southern to the Fathers 
(passim). See also JAOS. 24, p. 24; and for the year's possible beginning 
(in spring), Tilak, Orion, p. 23 f. 

§ 29. Shrines and Temples of the Gods. — The usual word for 
a shrine is ayatana or devayatana and these words are often trans¬ 
lated as temple or chapel (e. g. PW. s. deva 0 and devatayatana), pro¬ 
bably without special consideration of the architectural value of a "temple”. 
If buildings of any importance are meant by this translation, it must be 
said that it is inaccurate for most of the epic occurrence. The ayatana 
(“resting-place” or “support”) is originally a mere place for the sacred 
fire, and a small shrine gives its architectural value for the Mbh. in all 
except a few doubtful cases. In Ram., where architecture is more modern 
than in Mbh., the case is different. It strikes the mind at once that in 
Mbh., although the homes of kings and lesser men are described in detail, 
with a full account of the palatial homes of the gods in heaven, and even 
the watering-places are described as having marble steps, no ornate 
description of a god’s earthly home (temple) is to be found. On the con¬ 
trary, in many descriptions of sylvan hermitages and impromptu settle¬ 
ments, the ayatanani appear as hastily erected huts or mounds of earth 
sacred to a god. For example, in 13, 10, 20, a £udra leaves a hermitage 
in the mountains, and going farther into the wilds proceeds to make a 
little retreat for himself. There he builds himself a vedi, altar, a bhumi, 
to sleep on, and devatayatanani, which are clearly not of architectural 
value. When Rama in the woods builds himself also a hut, a vedi, cai- 
tyas and “ayatanani suitable for an asylum” (R 2, 56, 33, caityany 
ayatanani ca aSramasya ’nurupani) he builds the same modest shrines, 
but the modifying expression shows that the writer recognises more am¬ 
bitious ayatanani which would not be suitable for an asylum. And, in 




IV. The Gods. 


7* 


fact, as far as Ram. is concerned, in the same book Rama and Sita are 
described as sleeping Srlmaty ayatane Vi§noh, R 2, 6, 4, which must 
be a temple large enough for a royal couch; but this is in the city. So 
too in the same book, R 2, 33, 20, when the "homes" are described as 
unswept, and “deserted by the divinities", the gods’ homes, veSmani, may 
be implied, and this would mean temples (doubtful). But at any rate the 
first case represents something different from the simple'sthanarp Kau- 
beram, Dharmasthanam, etc., enumerated in the asylums (R 3’, 12, I7f.). 
The Kaccit chapter, which is found in both epics, alludes to devasthana 
in R 2, 100, 44, along with tanks, altars, wells, feasts of the gods, caityas 
(ib. 62), etc., but the expression is not found in the corresponding version 
of Mbh. (2, 5, 100 has caitya vrk§ah). But in the late passage where 
Markancjeya describes the end of the age and the evils thereof, the 
devasthanas and devagrhas (“god-houses”, bethel) are brought into 
direct contrast with the reliquaries (of the Buddhists) known as ecjukas 
(3, 190, 65 and 67; jaluka, v. 1.), and in this case, as in many others, one 
is not able to say whether a god-house means a temple or not. So with 
the more frequently mentioned devayatanani, most of the occurrences 
in both epics might apply to a simple shrine or to a temple, if they stood 
by themselves. When, however, a determining factor shows what they 
mean, it is evident that in Mbh. they are not temples. Neutral in value, 
for example, are such cases as those in 5, X52, 2, where one is warned 
against disturbing SmaSanani, hermitages of the great seers, Tirthas, 
devatayatanani and ayatanani, in pitching a camp; since the distinc¬ 
tion 'may apply to shrines of seers, as in Agastya’s hermitage, which had 
shrines to gods and to seers. The same warning is given in 3, 16, 3, to 
avoid, in pitching a camp, Caitya trees and devatayatanani. The deva- 
grhani burned by Hanumat in RG 5, 49, 16, are not mentioned in the 
other text (Bomb, and S), but Ravana’s palace is compared to a deva- 
grhainR3, 55,6, and this passage is found in both texts, the simile 
suggesting that a temple is meant. This must too be the meaning of 
devagara, as used in R 2, 71, 39, where it is said that at the king’s 
death the devagaras were empty (devagarani Sunyani na ca ’bhanti 
yathapuram). Here too (ib. 42)'reference is made to devayatana- 
caityas. In the addition to Ram., 7, 37, I3f., a king is described as going 
to a temple favored by his family, devagaraip jagama ’Su punyam 
Ik$vakusevitam, after rising and making oblations to the Fire-god, 
hutahutaSanafi, and there honoring the gods, Fathers, and priests; and 
this devagara is described as having'hn outer court, bahyakaksyan- 
taram, where, after divine service, the king received his ministers. 
Perhaps the same interpretation may be put upon the word in R 7, 59, 
pra. 1, 20, where a virtuous dog lectures on propriety and says that dogs 
are not admitted into devagara, nrpagara, dvijaveSma, for Fire, Indra, 
Surya, Vayu, the divine king (= Dharma in person), and other gods in 
the person of the king (viz. Soma, Mrtyu, Dhanada = Kubera, and Varuna) 
are in such places. Although the devagara is called punya, holy, it is 
not probable that puriyagrhani, to be erected by kings, are temples. 
They are rather punyaSalas or dharmaSalas, rest-houses, giving merit, 
punya, to the erectors. The word occurs only in R 2, 67, 12 (devagara 
is not in Mbh.; devatagara, Manu, 9, 280). The negative cases in Mbh. 
may be illustrated by 6, 112, 11, devatayatanastha devatah, images of 
gods “standing on their shrines”. They are the object of puja (1,70,49; 



72 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


R i, 44,14), but the ayatana of KaSyapji is mentioned in the first passage 
(vs. 51) and this is not a temple. So when Bhima is carried aloft and 
visits mountain-peaks and devatayatanas, these are like the tapasa- 
yatanas of the same account (1, 1 55 * 22 and 29). Such places are holy 
in either case. They are associated with Tirthas, are objects of interest 
to travellers, and, as holy places, (jorm a safe place for criminals to. consort 
(I, 140,64; ib. 215,4; ib. 9; and 12, 218, I, in the West and ‘‘beyond 
Kalinga”). All the devatayatanas are adorned with flowers to show joy 
( 3 ) 77 , 8). Animals howling there are of course an evil omen (devata- 
yatanacaitye§u; a common collocation, 2, 80, 30; devayatanacaitye§u, 
R 2, 3, 18). In R 2, 6, 11, “on devatayatanas and ... on turrets”, atta- 
lakesu, refers to the city turrets (common to both epics). The Caitya 
itself is a temple in R 5, 15, X 5 (ib. 43, 3), where it is described as having 
vedikas, terraces, coral stairs, a thousand pillars, and a high roof. No 
such Caitya is described in Mbh.; in R it is a palace, prasada caitya. 
Usually the Caitya is a sightly tree, holy as the abode of spirits, not to 
be cut down, or to be cut only as a tactical exploit in invasion (12, 59, 63). 
In R 5 , 12, 18, vedikag caityasaipSrayah, they are trees standing at 
four corners. They were perhaps originally only trees without buildings, 
hence caitya vrksah (above), and, when alone, masculine (seldom neuter: 
in R 4, 19, 24, caityam; but in R 2, 17, 16, Rama makes pradaksina 
around catu§pathan devapathaipS caityany ayatanani ca, the v. 1. 
is caityaipS ca; in R 6, 130, 2f.: “Let pure men revere with perfumes 
and wreaths and music the daivatani and caityani of the city”), Mbh. 
5, 192, 58, “revering with perfumes and wreaths the devatas, caityas 
(masc.), and four corners”. The word tree, vrk§a, druma, is frequently 
added'(3, 16, 3, etc.; R 3, 39 . 4 ', RG 5, 20, 24 SmaSanacaityadrumavat) 
not as if the tree were not the Caitya; since the Caitya is the tree in 
other passages. In S 12,69, 41 +, it is said, apropos of the Caityavrk§as: 
“One should avoid to cut them down, as not even the leaf of a Caitya 
may be destroyed, for Caityas are the resorts of gods, Yaksas, Raksasas, 
Nagas, PiSacas, serpents, Gandharvas, Apsarasas, and cruel Bhuts”, where 
devanam aSrayah must be interpreted by the preceding caityanaqi 
sarvatha tyajyam api patrasya patanam. But the Caitya is a shrine 
or a temple when it is "erected”, as in the description of Maqidhatr who 
“got half of Indra’s seat” because of his piety as citacaityafi, or when 
it is said that “earth had little room left because of the Caityas raised 
by Gaya” (3, 121, 13; ib. 126, 38). “Caityas of the Three and thirty” (gods), 
are mentioned in 3, 125, 17, and all these passages alike imply shrines. 
In 12, 193, 8, the “gostha of gods” may be shrines or a temple‘(this vs. 
corresponds loosely with Manu 4, 39 but has not Manu’s idols, daivata). 
In 12, 121 (see § 124) a Candala temple has images and bells (post-epical), 
§ 30. Idols of the Gods. — Images of elephants and other animals 
and statues of men are frequently referred to in the epics, and in like 
manner images of the gods are found in the Tirthas. “On seeing ViSveSvara 
of great glory with Devi at Jesthila one wins the worlds of Mitra and 
Varuna” ( 3 . 84, 134) means seeing the image, as more clearly expressed 
in 13,25,61, NandlSvarasya murtirp tu drstva mucyeta kilbi§aib 
(“the sight of diva’s image frees from sins”). In Dharmaprastha at the 
Dharma-Tlrtha, where spiritual rewards equal those of a horse-sacrifice, 
“Dharma sits forever", and one must stroke him, that must be the image, 
Dharmam tatra ’bhisaqisprSya (perhaps washing the image, 3, 84, 102; 




IV. The Gods. 


73 


tatra Dharmo nityam aste). At another Tfrtha (3, 88, 8), “a mortal 
would reach diva’s city on seeing the horn of the trident-bearer made by 
(the god £iva) himself’ beside the Payosni river (it is holy Enough to 
destroy all sin; there Indra got drunk dn Soma); but it is not clear what 
the horn represents; it is “high as heaven and spotless”, svargad 
uttuhgam amalam vi$ai>am, probably the crest on the head of the 
image (in’this same section is another “visibleJ)harma”, ib. 88, 24 , sak$ad 
devoDharmab). A letish-use of the teacher’s image 'is mentioned in 
I, I 3 2 > 33 . where Ekalavya makes a clay image of his teacher and wor¬ 
ships it to get instruction refused by the teacher himself. Perhaps the 
divine Tfrtha images are, like this, mahimaya, of clay. Yet Bhlma makes 
an iron image of his pet foe and cudgels it (9, 33, 4; 11, 12, 15, etena 
hi krta yogya ayase puruse, “he practiced on the iron image”). The 
images used as battle-standards are of metal and some of these are images 
of the gods, pratimas of Dharma, Maruta, fSakra, and the ASvins (7, 23, 
88 and ib. 40, 18). So the pratikfti or image of Hanumat stands on 
Arjuna’s staff (5, 56, 9, etc.) - . Yet these are not idols in the sense that they 
were prayed to, but rather effigies (the first, of the heroes’ celestial an¬ 
cestors), carried for encouragement or even adornment, as ib. 105, passim, 
images of animals. Balya’s standard, ketu, is “a great silver elephant, 
and adorned with golden peacocks” (ib. 24f.). But the images, devata- 
pratimas, tremble, laugh, and vomit blood, as well as sweat, dance, and 
weep, and fall down from the standards (6, 2, 26 and ib, 1X2, 11), just as 
the (temple-) images of Lanka in RG 6, 11, 28 tremble, sweat, and laugh, 
pratimaS ca prakampante svidyanti (khidyanti) ca hasanti ca. 
The “golden cows” made by ViSvakarman and given away to the priests 
by Gaya (3, 121, 12) are probably sacred images; compare the golden 
images of kings and elephants used for the same purpose (7, 69, 29f.). 
When the beauty of Savitrf is likened to “a living image of Sri”, it may 
be a statue of the goddess’ vigrahavati ’va 3 rih, for the people, seeing 
her, pratimaxp kaficanfm iva, "like a golden image”, thought that she 
was a Devakanya (3, 293, 25 f.). Compare the “golden (image of the absent) 
queen” (in R 7, 91, 25; 99, 8, kancanl patni). In the first tale Satyavat 
makes images of horses (3, 294, 13; cf. 6, 3, 9; and R 2, 15, 35). The Hariv. 
speaks of images of metal, clay, wood, butter, and salt (H 7810 and 7812), 
and shrieking images of all the gods (ib. 12801). Stone images are men¬ 
tioned in H 7613 and 7813. The devalakas, or people who make or 
carry about images, are mentioned in Manu and Mbh. (Manu 3, 180, etc.; 
Mbh. 13,90, 11, etc.). Manu punishes adultery with a red-hot image, but 
the epic with an iron bed (ManuTl, io 4 ; Mbh. 12, 165,65). 

§ 31. The Gods collectively as Fate. — Out of the great mass of 
epic literature respecting destiny and free will it is possible here only to 
select a few passages serving the immediate purpose of this paragraph, 
which is to show that Fate or destiny is a power developed into indivi¬ 
duality out of the general concept of divine power, until it merges with 
Time = God. Death is di§tanta or di§fa gatib (R 2, 103, 8), i. e. the end 
or course “appointed”. This distam, “appointed” is daivam, “the 
divine”, and both are synonyms for Fate, as bhavitavyam, “that which 
is to be”, is personified in bhavitr (masc.) in 7, 201, 77. Daivam is the 
highest power known, daivam eva paraxp manye (R 1, 581 23, and 
passim), and is recognised as such traditionally (daivam atra param 
smrtam, 7 , 152, 24). It is one with distam, for example, in 5, 77, 8f. 



74 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

man’s evil "opposed by Daiva”, ‘iinflicted by di§ta”. This again is dai- 
vavidhi = vidhi, as that which is "disposed" (ordered) by the gods or 
by Vidhatr as representing the gods (3, 71, 31; 5 , 82, 46). This vidhi is 
then regarded as personal, Vidhina saipprauuditab (3, 10, 32), as a 
man is said to be “in the will (power) of Di$ta, because Vidhi is all- 
powerful” (cf. Di§tasya vafiam e§yati, 5 , 32 , IQ; VidhiS ca balavan .. 
Di$tasya 'smi va£e sthitah, 2, 59, 18). Valmlki affects the use of 
Krtanta in the same sense (R 2, 24, 5, etc.). The identity of daiva=di§ta 
leads to v. 1., daivam, v. 1. di§tam eva paraqi manye (2, 47, 38 and 
5, 159,4). This co-operates with Karma and ability (2, 16, nf.). Another 
equivalent of vidhi is niyati, "controlling power” (R 4, 25, 3f.), personi¬ 
fied as a goddess (2, 11,42, along with ASa, Saipvrtti, Hope and Fulfil¬ 
ment). Niyati operates till one reaches the highest philosophic knowledge 
(parapratyaya, 12, 217, 23). The relative power of Karma, the divine 
power (Daivam), and one’s own nature is the subject of endless discussion; 
briefly put in 12, 233, 19, “Those who teach the Karma doctrine preach 
the efficiency of the act; priests say that the divine (Daiva) is efficient; 
natural philosophers say that one’s own nature” (is the chief thing). That 
the divine power is sometimes analysed as the power of the stars may 
be suspected from the antithesis of “natural philosophers” (bhutacin- 
takajh) and daivacintakab as astrologers (12, 121, 46). For a further 
discussion of the knotty point just stated, cf. above, R 4, 25. Fate again is 
expressed by bhagya and bhagadheya, the "portion” (9, 2, 3of.) given 
by the gods (cf. bhaga; see Bhaga). It coincides with Greek moira, as 
in the refrain, kim anyad bhagadheyatah, “what else than this moira 
is of avail?” (ib. 43; bhagya as fate, ib. 47). Heroic characters object 
to the fatalism of Daiva, not generally because of impiety, but because 
the concept has already merged into a personal abstraction which stultifies 
action (R 2, 22, 21 f.; ib. 23, 7f. and 16). But a consciousness remains of 
the origin, for pious Rama yields to Fate as the divine will, while ener¬ 
getic Lak$mana adds to his repudiation of fatalism the defiant remark 
that even the gods shall not hinder him (ib. 23, 21). Kala alone (Time) 
is weightier than Daiva in Rama’s opinion (R 3, 64, 74; ib. 69, 49f.), but 
pure Daiva causes Devi Earth to shake and the sun and moon to be 
eclipsed (R 3, 66, n). In 12, 28, i8f., Daiva, bhavitavya, Kala, di§ta, 
vidhi, and vidhana are all synonymous. In R 4, 56, 4, Vidhi is the Fate 
pursuing a man. As such, “fate” may become death, as in Greek. Fate, 
Krtanta, like Yama, “binds one with a cord and drags one off” (R 5, 37, 3, 
krtanta interchanging with vidhi, as in 9,65, 16 Krtanta is hke Yama 
or Kala). So the simile daivadamjam ivodyaham (10, 6, 29) makes Daiva 
personified as Fate in evil sense. It is a mere v. 1 . whether Daivaxp nin- 
danti or devaip nindanti be read in 8,91, 1: “Low people blame the 
god” or “the gods’ will”, as S has di§tam for daivam in the important 
statement; “This is Daivam (distam) or bhavyam (to be); as Dhatr made 
it of old, so must it be” (6, 76, 19). Here the fate of an army is “made 
by (the god) Dhatr” and is Daivam (ib. 26). In 1, 89, 9 occurs a proverb, 
“Fate is the stronger”, 'distaqi bally ah, and in vs. 8 this is daiva- 
dhlnam. Compare top the supposition expressed in 3,65,41, “Perhaps 
this is owing to the offended divinities”, with the preceding, na hy 
adaivakrtaqi kirpcit, “there is nothing not accomplished by Daiva”. 
Moreover, though what is to be is synonymous in many passages with 
Daiva, in clearer expression it is said to be not quite synonymous but 




IV. The Gods. 


75 


conditioned byDaiva: bhavitavyaqi hi yad bhavi Daivaip ce§tayate 
hi tat, “the divine works out the fate to be” (B has ce§tayatl ’va ca); 
cf. R 6,'113, 23: Daivaip ce§tayate sarvaip, hataqi Daivena han- 
yate. It is indeed this divine power, expressed by that “appointed” or 
that “provided”, which is specifically personified as Vidhatr to companion 
Dhatr = Brahman. It is or may be considered as a form of Brahman 
(hence Brahman is both Creator and Disposer), so that victory is "appointed 
by fate” or “by Dhatr” (see Brahman). Hence vihita with Vidhatr as 
the divine: evaqi Vidhatra vihitam . . daivarp puru$akarena na 
5 akyam ativartitum . . krtantam anyatha kartuip ne ‘cchet so 
’yam (S 9, 62, 77, after B 61, 6S), "So has it been disposed by the Dis¬ 
poser . . the divine cannot be overcome by man’s act . . wish not to 
change Fate” (who can destroy past, present and future). A similar passage 
in 2, 56, 17 and 57,4 explains Daivam (regarded as “the highest and hard 
to overcome”) as the power which is expressed in what is appointed by 
Dhatr, Dhatra di^tasya vaSe (sarvam ce§tati or tisthati, ib. 58, 14). 
Instead of distasya va 5 e appear in 2, 58, 18 the words DhatuS ca 
vaSam anveti paSair iva narah sitab, “as if fastened with thongs a 
man comes under the will of Dhatr” (preceded by “as a falling luminary 
steals away the sight, so does the divine power, Daivam, steal away 
a man’s intelligence”). Compare further, 3, 173, 15, the destruction of evil 
demons is nirdi§to Brahmana pura; and 5, 39, I, anI 5 varab . . Dhatra 
tu di§tasya va 5 e krto ’yam, “man was made devoid of free will at 
the Creator’s injunction”. Here all is appointed by the god (asvatantro 
hi puru$ah, 5, 159, I4f.). In another passage there is a diatribe against 
the hathadurbuddhi, who, as hathavadaka, ignores the fact that the 
"lord creator", Dhatr 15 vara, appoints or disposes and apportions (vi- 
dha and vibhajya) according to one’s former acts; what a man does 
is done according to Karma but through Dhatr (3, 32, 12—21, and ib. 183, 
86f., slightly modified, a man’s course is determined in part by Daiva, 
in part by hatha,- in part by Karma). Hatha is power, force, fate as 
necessity, impersonal necessity or accident. Hatha as opposed to I 5 vara 
appears again in 12, 32, I2f. (in 19, read hatham for hatam). The per¬ 
sonal Daiva is also expressed by Kala, so that daiverita and Kalahata 
amount tp the same thing (2, 71, 16; cf. daivayogat, “fatally” and “by 
chance"). Opposition between the will of individual gods and Daiva may 
be observed in 3, 236, 23“What is it save Daiva, if, when the field is 
sown and the god rains, deve var§ati, there is no crop?”. So vidhi 
makes the gods (as well as men) suffer (5, 8, 52). Indra “recognises fate” 
(di§tam anupaSya) and renounces the attempt to save Khandava from 
the flames (1, 228, 22). Here the will of the gods has been converted into 
a power expressed by the Creator acting above the gods, fiiva takes the 
Creator’s place in sectarian writings: mahadevena distam (3, 106, 23). 
Time, Kala, is vaguely personified as son of Dhruva, the Pole star, a Vasu, 
who also acts as charioteer of fsiva (1, 66, 21 and s. fsiva), but as per¬ 
sonified he is usually identified with Death or Yama, as representing him. 
But “Kala, the all-compelling”, appears as an old man to summon Rama 
secretly to heaven in R 7, 103, if.; Kalajnapta, ib. 6, 53, is one with 
Mrtyupa 5 avapa 5 ita, “fettered by Death’s fetters” (ib. 58). As an entity, 
Time is then subdivided and the four ages, Yuga, emerge as divisions 
having separate names as the constituents of an aeon, or whatever it may 
be called, one of the ceaseless revolutions which bring the universe back 




76 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

to its beginning, the wheel of time conceived, by ages. Of these only one 
is mythologically important. Krta, the perfect age, is no more personified 
than are other time-divisions, nor is the succeeding Treta age of more 
mythological worth, while Dvapara appears on the stage only with Kali, 
the last of the ages. The first theoretically lasts four thousand years and 
each succeeding age a thousand less, with the deified Twilight ages 
between reckoned in corresponding centuries, so that Kali is the bad 
present age of a thousand years duration (later as years of the gods). 

§ 32. Kali thus embodied may well be the finale to the general subject 
of gods, for under him the gods are neglected in favor of Buddhistic 
teaching (as above, eduka), and again he may be added to the above 
remarks in regard to Kala, for he is of like origin. There are two epic Kalis, 
however, one the musical demi-god son of Muni (1, 65, 44), whose only 
function is to appear as a chorister with other gods and Gandharvas, to 
whom he is closely related (1, 123, 57 )- This Kali (originally Kali) derives 
from kal meaning noise (faiva is the noisy god, Kalakala). But the time- 
spirit of evil is Kdli, who like Kala derives from kal, drive, press, oppress, 
so that an oppressive king is called a kali and “Kali catches careless 
kings” (12, 12, 29 and 31; ib. 91, 28). Any form of Time is personified, 
so that even Kalaratrl (“fatal night”) appears not only “noose in hand”, 
but as an old woman, a black and bloody housewife, kutumbinl, scantily 
clothed (10, 8, 70). She may be Durga (9, 17, 43). The demon, Danava, 
Kalanemi (in Ram. as Raksasa) incorporate as Kaipsa (1, 67, 67), "whose 
diadem was cut off by Visnu” (S 2, 51, 22), is nothing but the “wheel of 
time” as a form of fate. Kali again is the “dark” wife of fsantanu and 
mother ofVyasa (5, 147 , * 9 ), but as name of Durga (q. v.; cf. R 5, 27,28) 
she unites the idea of fatal time and dark time (cf. kalantakopama of 
Indrajit, etc. R 6, 88, 2). Kali is evil fate, a synonym of alak§mi: "Laksmi 
came to the gods; alaksmi to the Asuras”, and with alaksmi enters 
Kali and destroys them, “pervaded by alaksmi and smitten by Kali” 
( 3 , 94 , 9 f)- So Kali is plain destruction: “In war there is ever kali and 
lives are lost” (5, 72, 49). Yet the conception is not that of a permanent 
being but rather of personified destruction, liable to spring into existence 
on occasion: “When virtue is destroyed, Kali is born”, and Kali thus 
appears incorporate in all destructive kings, as Dhautamulaka was the Kali 
of the Chinese (5, 74, I2f.); Duryodhana was a part of Kali (11, 8, 30); 
and Subhadra “was born as Kali and for the destruction of the Vrsnis” 
(S 1, 245, 19). Vidula says to her pusillanimous boy: “You have been born 
my Kali” (5, 133, 30). Kali is the middle one of the triad “virtue, gain, 
and desire”; gaining is destructive strife (5, 124, 35). From destruction 
to bad luck is but a step; hence “they say that Kali (bad luck) is in 
broken vessels” (bhinnabhande kaliip prahuh; all broken beds and 
vessels are apraSas'tani, inauspicious, as are cocks and dogs and trees 
in a house, 13, 127, 16). In 13, 23, 4, a kalipurvam is a gift of food 
obtained by strife, and, like anything leaped over or licked or kalahlna, 
is impure and taken by fiends. As the sun represents Time (Kala), Kali, 
like the sun, is called sarvamalaSraya (3, 3, 20) in his part as agent 
of all ills. As the fiend oFthe dice, Kali is then playing only one part of 
his general character. In the great gambling scene of the epic he plays 
no part at all. Only S has a maladroit interpolation stating that Yudhi- 
sthira was penetrated by the power of Fate, daivabalavi§ta, and “for 
a moment entered Kali, and, being entered by Kali, he said ‘So be it’, and 




IV. The Gods. 


77 


played” (S 2,98, 24f.); -but this is only in the second game and the con¬ 
fusion between Kalim avi^at and avi§tah Kalina is not happy (pro¬ 
bably copied from Nala). In 3,174, 5, where Arjuna “remembers the kali 
produced by gambling", kali (as above) is strife or injury. In. Nala, Kali 
enters the king along with Dvapara (apparently), though the last scarcely 
appears except as subject to Kali and then disappears (3, 58, if.). Here 
Kali' becomes a suitor of Damayanti, converses with. Indra, and is cursed 
for his insolence (S ib. 56, 10 has devabhibhuta, Pu§kara overpowered 
by the god Kali, as is Nala by Fate, daivavi§ta, but B 59,9 says “Nala 
entered by Kali”). Kali “went home”, after vomiting the Naga’s poison 
and escaping the “curse-fire” (ib. 72, 43), after the Vibhitaka nut had been 
forever rendered infamous by his presence in it (ib. 41). 

§ 33. After this brief rdsumd of the general aspects of epic divinities 
those divinities themselves must be discussed individually. Yet as several 
of these appear as forms of special gods, the concept rather than the 
names applied to the forms will best designate the divinities, as far as 
this is possible. Of all the innumerable gods counted as such only about 
a dozen have any reality as separate beings. The others are mere names 
or shadows of gods, and of the dozen not all are of first-rate importance. 
The older epic pantheon is presided over by Brahman as creator and 
beneficent ancestor of the other gods, among whom Agni, Yama, Varuija, 
Kubera, and Indra (not least) are the most energetic, most commonly 
referred to, and invoked. They are, in short, most real to the poets, who 
regard them as over-gods, guardians of the quarters, though they have 
not quite systematised the Four Guardians (see § 91). Sectarian influence, 
affecting this older pantheon, gradually raised Vi§nu from an inferior 
position as form of the Sun-god to a predominant position, while the 
worshippers of £iva elevated him in the same way to a point where he 
theoretically surpassed all other gods, till even his son was made to oust 
Indra. To present all this material it seems best to follow as well as may 
be (that is, rather roughly) the historical outline, beginning with the earlier 
Vedic divinities and ending with the Trimurti or triad which remains till 
to-day as the three forms of one God. The order in which the gods are 
discussed will then be, in general, such that after Sky and Earth follow 
the eight great gods (later) recognised as Guardians of the World; then 
the minor gods or spirits recognised less as individuals than as hosts; 
then the divine seers, who are practically gods; and finally the three 
greatest gods of the trinity. When convenient, however, individuals will 
be discussed in their proper environment, Kama immediately after the 
Apsarasas, and Skanda after £iva, Parjanya under Indra, etc. „ 

§ 34. The Sky-god. — The venerable Dyaus of the Rig-Veda is 
reduced in the epic period to a mere shadow of his former personality. 
In the formal scheme of creation he is regarded as a link in the chain 
of development (1, 1, 29f.) from the mundane egg, and the sons ascribed 
to him are epithets of the Sun: Brhadbhanu, Cak$us, Atman, Vibhavasu, 
Savitf, Rclka, Arka, Bhanu (cf. Bhanu also as son of Pradha and form of 
Agni), Asavaha, and Ravi, one of whom, however, Rclka, is father of 
Janamejaya with human descendants (S adds Manu). A Vasu is called 
Dyaus and Dyunama (1, 99, 39 and 47), although the formal list of Vasus 
does not contain this name. He is represented as a thief, afterwards born 
on earth to expiate his crime. The original sense of Dyaus as “shining" 
(= vasu) may have led to the name. Dyaus is often feminine: “The (fem.) 


78 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Dyaus, sky, was embraced by his head, the earth by his feet” (3,12, 55); 
‘‘shone like Dyaus with the stars” (2, 36,8); "like the autumnal sky, garadf 
Dyaus, with the stars” (R 5, 9, 41); "Sarama (fern.) pleased &ta as Dyaus 
with water pleases earth”, and “Lanka with the hero like Dyaus with the 
sun” (R6, 34, i; ib. 73, 15, fern, implied; cf. dyaur iva magnataraka, 
R 2, 9, 66). When Sky and Earth appear as witnesses, the former may be 
male (1, 74, 30), but when presented as a rain-giver (R 4, 28, 3), Dyaus is 
represented as a female pregnant for nine months and then bearing rain¬ 
water conceived of sun-beams. Compare 12, 229, 91: "In the home of the 
self-existent Great Father the gleaming (fem.) Dyaus poured forth ambrosia 
and Indra rained upon the crops” (in 2, 45, 29, “Dyaus poured rain”, etc., 
the gender remains at least doubtful). Without personification, dyaus in 
the form divi, "in the sky”, and in the phrase pated dyaus (nipated 
dyaur mahlm), is the gky conceived of as person no more than are the 
clouds which, to be sure, are liable to be personified but ordinarily are 
not (cf. with the simile above, “like nabhas, cloud-land, with the stars”, 
R 5, 10, 34). Dyaus is not "heaven”, though the cognates diva and tridiva 
are synonymous with svarga, the light-world heaven of the gods. Com¬ 
pare “fill dyaus with noise”, or “fill tridiva” (mahim apurayamasa 
ghosena tridivaip tatha, I, 69, 16). "The god rains”, as a parallel to 
"Indra rains”, might imply this god or Dyaus or Parjanya. The citations 
above show Dyaus in the only activities recognised as his or hers, as 
progenitor, rain-giver, and witness of wrong, in none of which does Dyaus 
play the part of a real god. He is a memory only. 

§ 35. Earth. — Earth is the Great Mother, the Broad Goddess, mahl, 
prthivi, the “mother of all created things”, the nursing mother, dhatrl, 
who is imaged as a divine cow giving milk to all her children (3, 200, 70; 
7,69,20, as daughter of Prthu Vainya and as Viraj; cf. 1,49,9 and 
H n829f., with H 12019). As the giver of all good, Earth is "father and 
brother and sons and sky and heaven”, the "cow that milks wishes” 
(fulfills all desires, kamadhuk, 6, 9, 71 and 76). It is a later idea that 
she will have no "joy of bearing sons”, owing to the curse of Uma (cf. 
§ 24; R I, 36, 24). Earth is constantly personified, not only as drinking 
blood, but as approving of priests, and as typical of patient endurance, 1, 
68, 14; 3, 26, 14; 51, 40; R 3, 30, 6; R 5, 35, 9; k$amaya Prthivlsamab, 
1, 100, 14, etc.). But she is over-burdened; even one person of no account 
is a “burden upon earth” (3, 35,7, bhumivardhana), and a mass of evil 
creatures or even the normal growth of population renders patient earth 
very impatient; “I cannot endure these people”, she cries (S 2, 51, 45f.), 
and she complains to Brahman, who create^ Death to relieve her of her 
burden (7, 53, 4f.). Or Visnu assures her that war will relieve her and 
bids her still "support the worlds” (lokan dharaya, 11,8,25). The form 
of Death, a lovely woman, as here depicted is not old. Earth is bhararta, 
oppressed (7, 53, 4) and Death is created to relieve the strain, even gods 
being mortal, sarve deva martyasaipjnah (ib. 54, 48). The tears of 
Death seeking to avoid her task become diseases, which kill men, for 
“Death does not come with a club”. H 2939, Earth’s address to the gods, 
derives her from Madhu’s marrow. As nurse of all, Earth is helper, 
medinf, provides Wealth, being herself wealthy, vasumati, and rejoices 
to give corn to a generous man (3, 200, 41; cf. R 5, 40, 2). In an Aeschylean 
image, though differently applied, Sita says, “I shall rejoice to see his 
dear face even as Earth, the giver of good, vasundhara, rejoices, having 



IV. The Gods. 


79 


the corn half grown, when she receives J:he rain” (R 5,40,2; cf. ib. 6, 
33 » 37 )- In another, when a hero sinks to death, "Earth like a dear mistress 
embraces him as he sinks upon her breast" (9, 17, 54f.; R 3, 30, 7; R 4, 
20, 5 and 23; ib. 6, 32, 16; ib. 114, 85). In general, the dead derate gaip 
(Ytjv) samaSritalj (R 6, 54, 9, etc.). Though it is the weight of sinful 
demons that afflicts Earth (1, 64, 43), yet when Vi§nu assumes the form 
of a boar and raises her, it is simply the weight of towns and peoples 
which sinks her. Here she is an overburdened go’ddess, "the divine 
bountiful producer of corn, whose ear-rings are the mountains”, Siva 
dev! mahabhaga sarvasasyaprarohini . . Sailaku$<Jala (3,142,45; 
cf. ib. 32 and 29). In poetic phrase, it is not the earth which holds the 
mountains, but the mountain which holds earth, jagatldhara; cf. "he 
sustained grief as a mountain sustains earth” (1, 176, 43). "As long as earth 
endures" (R 6, 101, 57, etc.) is a proverbial phrase,„ but it is recognised 
that “Earth will come to an end” (12, 206, 30). As a hapless divinity she 
is adopted (UrvI from uru) by KaSyapa and so is called KaSyapT (12,49, 
7if.); in 13, 155,6, he pervades her by yoga, taking her post, another 
late tale. She tells him of new warriors and goes to heaven. To the same 
epoch belong the tales which utilise Earth as a moralist. Thus she 
advises Indra to employ priests for the removal of sin (13, 34, 21 f., as 
mata sarvabhutanam); yet apart from acting as witness of innocence 
(R 6, 1x9, 27) and being invoked for victory with many other divine beings 
(7, 94, 47), she is not so important as a goddess as she is quft land, object 
of the earth-hunger so conspicuous in the later epic. In this guise she 
sings her own song on the virtue of bhumidana, grants of land, and 
her secret name is Priyadatta (cf. 13,62, 35, where Bhumir bhutir ma- 
hadevi is cited in Brhaspati’s talk with Indra, the Bhumigita Gathas). 
He who has her has all (yasya bhumis tasya sarvam, 6, 4, 20), but 
one should renounce her for his own sake ( 5 , 37 , 17; 129, 49). Earth 
deserts the sinful and treacherous (5, 124, 28). For her son Naraka Bhauma 
(p. 50) she begs a boon and this is significant, since he is an evil demon, 
and earth is recognised as the goddess of demons and spirits, Bhuts, 
although one with Aditi as goddess of the gods. Thus in H 3281, where 
Aditi is identified with Durga, it is said that the same goddess is "Aditi 
to the gods, Sita to' the ploughmen, and Earth, DharanI, to the Bhuts” 
(on Sita, cf. § 7). Yet land and earth are so inseparably one that it may 
be questioned whether even as land divinity does not still inhere in the 
Great Mother. Thus, as the divine Sun is afflicted by eclipse, so "divine 
Mother Earth” (jagataip mata devi lokanamaskrta bhumifi, R 3, 
66, 9) is afflicted by earthquakes, due to the same cause that produces 
untoward lightning or rain (some divine power apart from her, 2, 45, 28 f.), 
or to the movement of a demon (see § 18, Dhundhu), or to the shaking 
of the world-elephant’s head (R 1, 40, 14). Even when described as "four- 
cornered earth” (3, 126, 40; 5, 149, 9; R 5, 31, 5), the ground where Bhuts 
live and bodies are buried, the "home” below (avani, in 3, 310, 6, “house”.; 
cf. avanipala as king, 12, 311, 8; avanfip gatafi, R 6, 54, 33), she is 
still the goddess. So loibi is described, ekacchatraip mahiip cakre 
(12, 29, 41), "he put the great (mother) under one umbrella” (sceptre, cf. 
ib. 132 and 12, 321, 134). Four-cornered by the bye, is rather offset by 
the epithet samudranemi (3, 26, 14; 4, 8, II, etc.), implying a round 
surface like the felly of a wheel, “whose circle is the sea”. The con¬ 
quest of earth includes “her mountains, forests, open spaces, akaSa, 




8o III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. v . Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

seas, and valleys, niskuta, towns, cities, and islands” (3, 254, 31), as 
parts of her, also divine (seb § 4f.). Metaphorically she is the chariot of 
gods or of a god-like hero, mountains being the pole, staff, etc. (3,175,4, 
etc.). Earth, vasumatl, is “clothed with seas” and at the same time a 
goddess, devl, “having mountains, forests, towns, etc.” (1,170,63; 3, 
237, 8f., forests, mountains, and rivers have no owners, but land other¬ 
wise is possessed; “a gift of land saves seven generations", 13, 66, 31 
and 36). She has seven seas and islands in R 7 , 37, pr. 1, 56 (v. § 6). 

§ 36. The later epic regards the earth as belonging to Visou, and 
inferentially as born of him: “As gold is born of Fire and cows are born 
of the Sun (SuryasutaS ca gavali), so Earth belongs to Vi§nu (bhur 
Vaisnavi), so that he who gives these three gives the three worlds” 
(3, 200, 127 f.). At times, mahi is opposed to the mountain, as if only the 
fruitful earth were the great mother. Thus mahlm avasa means "des¬ 
cend (from the heavenly hill) to earth” (3, 176, 11). Jagati is the earth of 
moving beings opposed to the adri or mountain rock (3,237, 18; jaga- 
tlpala, -pati is king; Jagatpati is a title of Kama, Visiju, and &va). 
When Slta is carried away by the goddess Earth, called Madhavl Devi 
and DharapI Devi (as wife of Visnu Madhava, says the scholiast, R 7, 97, 
15 f.), she calls upon Earth three times to hide her, and the divine Earth 
rose on a seat supported by Nagas and bore Slta down to the depths 
(rasatalam). With this conception of the goddess Earth sinking into 
earth may be compared the scene where Earth declares that she will 
give up earthhood, bhumitvam, and go to heaven, and is then restrained 
by KaSyapa (13, 155, 2f.; cf. also 12, 49, 71 f., where Earth again pravi- 
ve£a rasatalam). The location of the "navel of earth" at a place in the 
Himalayas seen by Hanumat (R 6, 74,60) introduces an old conception in 
more precise form. The witness of Earth may be implied when the de¬ 
ceived heroes march wrathfully off casting dust and sand about and over 
themselves, whilst lightnings flash and earth quakes (2, 30, 5 f- and 28), 
though the act is explained as prognosticating the arrows they would 
shoot. When wrestlers prepare to contend, they rub earth on their hands 
(S 4, 15, 33) and when Bhuri8ravas is about to die, he “touches earth with 
his head” (as if in protest against his unfair antagonist), yet both acts 
may be due to natural causes, for ease in wrestling and from weakness 
(7, 143,44). To put to earth the head or grass into the mouth signifies 
defeat 1 ), but there is no other invocation of earth except in the direct 
and formal phrase “earth may split, the sky fall, Himavat turn” (or “lose 
its snow”), and “ocean dry up” (e. g. 3, 249, 3if., with v. 1 . in S; ib. 278, 
38, etc.), i. e. before this thing happen, the impossible will happen. Earth 
is honored with a laudation at fsraddhas, after Fire, Moon, Varuija, and 
the Allgods. As such she is called Vaisnavi, KaSyapI, and aksaya or 
eternal (13,91, 25), as well as PrthivI and nivapasya dharipl or sus- 
tainer of crops. H 12076f. adds a new feature to the figure of earth in 
representing her first as ruined by the poison of the great serpent and 
then undergoing penance and sustained by Vi§pu, whose right arm in 
upholding her makes a shadow reaching from earth to the moon. Earth 

i) A man who says “I am thine" in battle is not to be attacked, nor one who pro¬ 
claims defeat by having his mouth full of grass, tj-papurnamukha (12,98,49). Cf. the 
modem examples of this in the second edition of Colonel Jacob’s Third Handful of 
Popular Maxims (1911). On prostration with head to earth, cf. 7, 80, 43, jagama 
lirasa k§itim, of Kfspa abject before Siva. 




IV. The Gods. 


8i 


is here without means of productivity, alinga, till Vi§iju supplies the 
deficiency and makes her fruitful (ib. 12095). 

§ 37. Aditi and the Adityas. — Aditi is the “mother of gods” 
(9, 45 . 13) and as such heads the list of goddesses, HrI, 3 ri, etc., here 
differentiated from PfthivI, though elsewhere identified with Earth (p. 79). 
In particular she is mother of the Thirty-three (R 3 , 14, 14); also of the 
winds, ■ Marutas (12,329,53, or Dili, cf. §48). R regards Dhatr as her 
special son (R 2, 92, 21); Mbh. says, Indra is chief and best-beloved of 
her sons; when he is away, she yearns for his return, though equal mother 
of all the gods, called by her name Adityas (1,65, 11, etc.). As Revatl she 
appears as a disease-goddess (3, 230, 29) and R makes Aditi’s womb a 
refuge for Ravana (R 4, 1, 120), but her usual aspect is that of beneficent 
mother-goddess renowned more for her motherhood than anything else, 
though known also as having cooked food for the gods’ success and as 
having lost her ear-rings, which were subsequently recovered from Naraka 
and given to Surya (3, 135, 3; ib. 307, 21). She presides over Punarvasu 
(R 1,18, 8). As mother of gods she is opposed to Diti, mother of demons; 
both were wives of Ka^yapa. She is blessed by Brahman for her asceticism 
(13, 83, 27, called Mahadevi as mother of Visnu). Her sons, the Adityas, 
are eleven, twelve, or thirteen in number, according to various lists, but 
“the wise say, there are twelve of them” (3, 134, 19). S 1, 132, 49 emends 
B 123, 66 so as to agree with H 1291 if., thus omitting the odd thir¬ 
teenth, caused by a desire to get Visnu into the list. Elsewhere the later 
epic and H include others (Jayanta, etc.) as Adityas, and the genealogy 
calls Brhaspati by this title, but the last may be merely a parallel to 13, 
62, 46, where good men are Aditya iva tejasa bhuvi, that is “like 
gods" in general or “like suns”. They are given by pairs (2, II, 30) and 
the usual grouping is in conformity with this. Indra is the chief, and 
Visnu, when mentioned, is “last but not least”, ajaghanyo jaghanyajab 
(H 594; 1,65, isf.) 1 ). They all come'from the mundane egg in 1, 1, 34. 
They are all sons of Aditi DaksayanT and KaSyapa Prajapati Marica; in 
H 11 549 , Indra heads the list and even Manu is an Aditya. In isanti, they 
are said to be of warrior caste and Vivasvat Martancja is eighth (Vedic 
position) and father of the ASvins (12, 208, I5f.: cf. § no). The names are 
chiefly those of sun-gods, Bhaga, Mitra, Savitr, Vivasvat, Pusan, Vi§nu, 
together with the clan-god Aryaman, and the creator-god as Dhatr, Tvastr; 
the earliest grouping being: Dhatr and Aryaman, Mitra and Varuna, AipSa 
and Bhaga, Indra and Vivasvat, Pusan and Tvastr, Savitr (or Parjanya) and 
Vi§nu. Aryaman’s importance lies in his being chief of Pitrs (6, 34, 29). 
Tvastr is artificer, yielding in dignity to ViSvakarman (with whom he is 
often confounded). He “made Slta” and made Vrtra (q. v. and 3, 274, 9), 
also Indra’s bolt and diva’s spear (see Indra and fsiva). A v. 1 . makes him 
adhiraja of Rudras (for rupa, forms, 14, 43, 9). Nahusa sacrificed a cow 
to him (12, 269, 5f.). Dhatr interchanges withVidhatr and both with Brahman 
as creator. The two forms are as Visnu under the titles karta vikarta 
ca (3, 188, 19), Vidhatr also being treated as "an independent Aditya 
(3, 125, 23). Dhatr establishes laws of life and of death, appoints good 
and ill, becomes Fate (§ 31), the disposer of disposition as of events 
(“Methinks I shall ever be as Dhatr may have disposed me”, vidadhTta, 

*) Here, however, the Adityas are bom direct from the flaming face of Vivasvat Pra¬ 
japati (H 593, as sun, Aditya dvada^ai’ve 'ha saipbhuta mukhasaipbhavalj), Aditi 
being ignored altogether; as is the fact that.they are thus bom from one of themselves! 

Indo-arische Philologie HE. i b. 6 


82 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


i, 89, 10). Dhatr makes and. marks; for example, he makes a mole on 
a maiden’s cheek as sign that she will be happy (3, 69, 7); all creatures 
are inscribed through their acts by Dhatr (abhilikhitani, 11, 7, 12). In 
1, 66, 50, Dhatr and Vidhatr are "sons of Brahman”. Vidhatr tests in 
person a man’s piety (see &bi) and comes disguised to earth (3, 198,25); 
generally a power rather than a person. Saipvidhatr (vyadadhat, 2,67,15) 
adds a new name equivalent to Vidhatr, meaning controller (as court- 
officer, comptroller). Lists of Adityas will be found also in H 12911 and 
14167f.; 13, 150, I4f. (H 12456 has only eleven; in H Ii 549 > Vi§nu has 
second place). Soma, SaSin, is Aditya, H 13 143f., where "Parjanya” is 
paired with Mitra, and.Tva§tr = ViSvakarman. Jayanta in 13, 150, 15 may 
be Soma. Parjanya as “youngest of the Adityas” (H 12498) might be Vi§nu, 
but, as their "chief” also, is probably Indra. Compare H 175 and 593 » 
and see below for Parjanya (§ 71), Surya (§ 38), and Vi§nu (§ 143). The 
group of Adityas crosses that of the Lokapalas (§ 91 f.). This later group, 
as will be shown below, comprises the chief gods outside the triad of 
highest gods, but these chief gods are not yet recognised as the eight 
World-protectors of later mythology. In the following, however, they will 
be discussed in their later order. They differ from the group-gods to be 
discussed later in that they are individually important and only gradually 
form a group, whereas the group-gods (ganas) start as an organic group 
without individually important members and gradually develop members 
with special names and individuality. The Adityas form the first division 
of the Thirty-three, whose other divisions will be noticed among the Gana- 
gods (hosts of spirits by groups, §§ in and 112). Before taking up the 
first of the Lokapalas, who is the Aditya par excellence (the Sun), it will 
be necessary to say a few words in regard to synonymity in divine groups. 
Telang in his introduction to the Anuglta (SBE. 8, 219) thinks it doubtful 
whether, when Soma and Candramas are mentioned as presiding over 
tongue and mind respectively, they indicate the same god. As far as the 
epic is concerned, there can be no doubt that Soma = Candramas and 
Arka = Mitra. The fact that in the same passage Indra is differentiated 
from Maghavat in the same way shows that the author treats the same 
god as having different functions, not that he regards Maghavat as another 
god than Indra or Arka as another god from Mitra. Nor does it show 
(as the author also contends) that epic mythology is not far removed from 
Vedic “theogony”, because the emancipated soul is identified withVisnu, 
Mitra, Agni, Varuna, and Prajapati, as gods "held in highest repute at 
that time”. Such groups are casual; they are not carefully selected; they 
aim only at mentioning a few respectable high gods. The literary rather 
than scientific value of the phraseology is important. In one passage the 
first “lord” of lights is Indu; immediately after, the first "beginning” of 
lights (jyotisam in each case) is Aditya (14, 43, 6 and 44, 4). Candramas 
is here lord of Naksatras, but in many other passages this is Soma; while 
here again Soma is merely "lord of priests” (ib. 43, 10), just as the lord 
or chief of directions is the North and again is the East (ib. and 44, 13), 
and Soma again is> lord of plants, while the lord of priests is Brhaspati. 
This does not mean that Soma = Brhaspati or that North = East, nor does 
divergence of functions in the same god as a type mean that the two 
names given represent different gods. All that can be maintained is that 
different aspects of a god are considered in one case and identical func¬ 
tions are ascribed to different gods in the other case. It is quite possible 


V. The Eight Great Devas. 


83 


that Mitra, Arka, and Surya represented different sides of the same god 
without differentiation sufficient to make these aspects different individuals. 
So Indra as Puraipdara may not be taken as a different god but as the 
same god under a different aspect than that presented by his title Maghavat 
Indra. A third point remains. Soma is "king Soma", as Varuna and Yama 
are "kings"; but such titles are inherited from a remote past and do not 
in the least affect the divinity of those to whom such titles are applied. 


V. THE EIGHT GREAT DEVAS. 

* 

§ 38. The Sun-God. — Surya (Helios), the Sun, is, as god, known 
under other names, which are synonymous as far as the epics are con¬ 
cerned. Aditya alone is the sun and one of the commonest designations 
of the sun-god. To this metronymic the epithet “day-maker” is sometimes 
added; adityapatha = Divakarapatha or Bhaskaradhvan. A quali¬ 
fying "thousand-rayed” or “ray-wreathed” is used alone or added to 
Aditya (7,187, if.; R 4, 39,2, etc.) to designate the luminary (having fewer 
rays than the moon, q. v.). Pu§an is recognised as the god kicked by 
Jsiva, who also knocked out his teeth when Pu§an was eating cakes at 
Dak§a‘s sacrifice (7,202,49; ib. 59; 13,161,19), and as elder brother of 
Parjanya, and the lover of Sandhya (Twilight, RG 5, 25, 27) in distinction 
from Suvarcala, wife of Surya (ib. 26); but this last passage is not in the 
alternate text (it also makes Kriya the wife of Brahman instead of Dharma 
as in 1,66, 14, and Dlksa wife of Soma). In the former passage, 3 iva as 
Hara Virupak§a is also Bhaganetrahara (I, 221, 8) or Bhagaghna (7, 202, 47), 
that is, Pu§an is distinguished from Bhaga, as in the formal lists of Adityas 
(§ 37) and in mahgalas (so in 10,18, 16, £iva “put out the two eyes of 
Bhaga and broke the two arms of Savitr”). In the extended mangalas 
particularly, Pusan, Bhaga, and the Adityas, are all mentioned separately 
(e. g. R 2, 25, 8—23), and as the arms of the cosmic giant are Dhatr and 
Vidhatr, so are his hands Bhaga and Pusan (R 7, 23, pra. 5, 22). But the 
identity of Pu§an with the Sun-god remains, for he is the god who “shone 
in the wars of the gods and Asuras of old" (7, 105, 22) and the god who 
“goes, having a thousand rays, after warming the earth, to the western 
mouqtain at the close of day” (5, 179, 39). Savitr "on rising takes away 
the glory of the stars" (9, 32, 18; R 6, 12, 20 and 24, 21) and “the day-maker 
on rising takes away the glory of the heavenly lights". Surya is gavaip 
pati, and Arka (sun) is united with tejomayair gobhib (R i> 7 > 22; 
cf. H 2943, gavaip gurub, and 3, 3, 52, gobhir bhasayase mahim), 
as he is apaip pati (cf. gopati of Varuna), who is “attacked by Rudra" 
(babhau Rudrabhipannasya yatha rupaqa gavSip pateb, R 6,76,93). 
The disc of Savitr (7, 38, 18) leaves no doubt in regard to the identity of 
Savitr, who “sets in the west” etc. (5, 75,12; 12,58,22). Savitr is sarva- 
lokaprabhavana and vibhavasu; in the east Savitr rises and sings 
the Savitri, bestowing, as Surya, the Yajus-formulas (12,319,2f.). The 
rising Illuminator destroys the Asuras (of darkness, 5, 108, 3 f.). Vibhavasu 
is a common name of the sun (1, 86, 8, etc.). Other synonyms are Vivasvat, 
Ravi, Tapana (1, 68, 13; 111,18; 171, 20; 3, 133, iof.; 6, 101, 51 f.; 8, 49,42). 
Arka, Bhaskara, and Savitr are indeed sons of Dyaus (as if separate), but 
as the first two are epithets, the assertion simply shows how easily epi¬ 
thets become persons. Vivasvat (Savib-) is the husband of Tvastrl (daughter 




84 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


of Tvastr), who under the form of a mare bore him in mid-air the two 
Alvins (i, 66, 35). Ravi, the sun, is guarded by Angiras as Indra is guarded 
by Dadhici (3,92,6). 3 iva, Indr^, and the Sun-god all bear the title Deve- 
Svara, “lord of gods” (2,50, 16, bhasi divi deveSvaro yatha). These 
names are also applied to demons and inferior spirits; Surya is an evil 
spirit; Bhaga is a Rudra; Vivasvat and Mitravat are evil demons; Arka 
is a Danava. They probably represent a time when evil and good spirits 
were not absolutely differentiated, as indeed they are not in the epics, 
otherwise the mahgala would not entreat "safety from all (other) gods 
and those that lurk around the path” to harm travellers (R 2,25, 22). Surya 
is lord of the Grahas or seizing spirits (Arka, of heats, 14,43,6 and 8; 
R 7, 23, pra. 5, 3). Karna, son of Surya, is Savitra (1, 136, 3 and 8). Though 
formally identified with Surya (3, 3, 16), Bhaga is the sun especially as' 
procreative power and as such his constellation, uttara Phalguni, is 
suitable for weddings (1,8,16; R 1,72,13 and R 7, 5, 34); the means of 
securing a husband’s love and obedience is called yaSasyarp Bhaga- 
-daivatam (3, 233, 8, v. 1. vedanam and vetanam), or Bhagadhanam 
(H 7013). For Mitra, see below, p. 89. 

§ 39. The sub-divided sun includes the myth of Aruna, appointed to 
go before the sun on his rising, thus protecting the world from excessive 
heat. Brahman thus appoints him, to reassure the seers, but Aruna is son 
of KaSyapa; .he acts as charioteer of the sun (1,24, 3f.). Hence Arupa 
and Garuda, who was brother of Aruna, are reckoned among the Adityas. 
Aruna’s wife is fsyem (but Arupa is an Apsaras). Aruna is deformed. 
According to one tale, both brothers were born to avenge the Valakhilya 
saints on Indra, who had insulted them (1,31,34; see § 12, Garuda). For 
66000 years Aruna is preceded by 66000 saints, who, fallen from Brahman’s 
heaven, go before Aruna to guard all creatures, until they enter the disc 
— of the moon! (6, 7, 30). Aruna is “like a red wheel”, but the foregoer 
of the sun, at sight of whom all men begin to pray (7, 186, 3 f.). He js 
father of Jatayus, younger brother of the roc Sampati (R 1, I, 52; ib. 3, 
14,31). He, like Garuda, is Vainateya (son of Vinata). Other sub-divisions 
of the sun amount to multiple suns marking the end of the world. At 
the time of universal dissolution, the twelve Adityas appear as twelve 
suns (the sun is “twelve-souled”, 3, 3, 26), of whom only Visnu is eternal 
( 3 , 3 , 59 ; 5 . 181,8; 13, 14°) 34 ); though in reality ekah suryab ( 3 , 134,8; 
12,352,10), “the sun is one”. Passages (3, 188, 67; ib. 190,78) colored by 
Buddhistic thought speak of seven such suns. When it is said that the 
sun rains (Adityaj jayate vr§tifi, 12, 264, 11), the process jgf gathering 
up the water and letting it out again is meant. The usual function of 
the sun is to drive away darkness and demons (from the gods in the sky 
as well as on earth, 3, 185, 30). At sunset he absorbs into himself all the 
glory of earth, even the light of flashing swords, and then all evil demons 
appear (6,48,114; 7,50,3; also 6, 86, 42). Light is goodness and the sun 
is superlative goodness, as all sinners are darkness (7, 146, 144; 14, 39, 14, 
Adityab sattvam udriktarp kucaras tu tatha tamab). But there is 
a “sun of the sun” which supports earth and sky (5,46, 3), a “sun that 
eats the sun”, suryadab suryab, or, an "over-sun” without parts (God; 
12, 319, 29; v. 1 . S 32'3, 29 and 42, atisuryas tu ni§kalab). Yet this is 
not myth but philosophy. According to it, a bastard mythology makes sun 
and moon the eye (sic) of God (the sun lights, and the moon enlightens; 
as the mystic seems to say, 12,343,66). As "eyes of the world” the two 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


85 


suffer eclipse (R 3,66, 10). The sun has, besides light, a black part, pada, 
or foot (cf. Visnu as ekapad), which is that which absorbs water during 
eight months:' ‘‘Vivasvat draws up water"-* “eight months he drinks and 
then pours forth for four” (8,79,78; 12, 363, 5 f.). In Surya, Ravi, Vivasvat, 
live the saints ( 3 anti, ib. 9; cf. R 6, 74, 60, suryanibandhana). Even 
God is established on some of his rays (yasya tejovi£e§e?u svayam 
atma prati§fhitah). Vivasvat extends his two arms when a saint 
approaches to enter his disc, and reaching out his right hand welcomes 
him; then the glory of the saint becomes one with the glory of the sun 
(£anti, ib. 16). The tapas, heat, of .the sun is identified with the ardor 
of the saint (tasmat suryo virajate, 5,46,1). But the sun also slays. 
The warrior kills with arrows, “like Savitr” and "like Aditya” (6,48, 34 f.; 
•106,78; R 5,47,9, and 15f.). To see the sun kabandhanka (R 3,23,11) 
i. e. with the appearance of a headless trunk (masses of clouds), is a bad 
omen. Epithets of the sun are regularly sahasraraSmi (“of a thousand 
rays") and, less often, gabhastiSatasaipvrta (7, 13, 26), probably "having 
hundreds of hands” (rays), but he eats with these rays as well as protects 
with them (3, 33, 71). As the twelvefold sun (above), Surya has one hundred 
thousand rays (12, 313,4). The rays make a wreath about his head, man- 
damaricimandalah (S for mantra-, at 5, 182,29; cf. mandaraSmifi 
sahasraipSufi, 7, 148, 24). He drives a monocycle, ekacakram, dragged 
by seven horses, which grow weary after the day’s work (5,46, 5 5 6, 120, 
53 ! 7, 189, 54; R 3, 71,30). A divine (Vi§nu) Naga replaces them on one 
occasion for a month (12,358,8; 363,1). His steeds carry him ten thou¬ 
sand leagues in half an hour (R 4, 42, 41) or three hundred and sixty-four 
leagues in one wink (S I, 189, igf. after B 173, 17). The sun, even as 
measured disc, is still called the “exalted bird”. The measure of the sun 
is in accordance with the fact that the eclipse demon (Rahu) devours sun 
and moon, so he must be the largest (also as circle) of the three. The 
circle of the demon is 12,000 leagues (diameter) by 42,000 leagues (circum¬ 
ference); that of the moon (larger than the sun) is 11,000 by 38,900 leagues; 
and that of the sun is 10,000 by 35,800 leagues (but "to those coming 
near he seems as large as earth”, 6, 12, 40f.; R 4, 61, 13). Both Rahu and 
the Sun are Mahagrahas; Surya seizes the light of the moon, etc. Thus 
he is attacked by “cruel Mahagrahas” (6,76,11), while reckoned as one 
of these (grahafi suryadayafi, 3, 200, 85; cf. 8, 87,4) evil planets. 

. § 40. In all these references to the sun, though disc or bird or horse 
(see Agni) or bull, he is ever the god, never inanimate. He drinks, 
goes home, possesses hands, hair, etc., bestows wisdom, makes speeches, 
acts as a witness, etc. He has quite a family. His wife Suvarcala (see 
Sandhya above, loved by Pusan) is mentioned in 13, 146, 5; R 2, 30, 30; 
R 5,24, 9, as a type of conjugal affection, his "devoted follower”. As 
Suvarcala is a plant it may be a sun-flower (heliotropic) myth which she 
represents. Older is the story of his espousals with Tvastri (above). She 
is called Surenu and Saipjna, and, according to H 545 bore to Vivasvat 
Manu Vaivasvata, Yama and Yamuna, but unable to endure her husband 
longer created a similar self, her shadow (Savarna Chaya) and commis¬ 
sioned her to act as wife (she bore Savarna Manu, etc.). This Chaya of 
H and the Puranas is not known in the epic, but S 1, 203, 34 cites Usa 
as wife of Surya (U§eva Suryam, etc.). That Vivasvat became a horse 
and begot by Tva§trl the ASvins is referred to in the epic and told in 
extenso in H (6qi, see above). ^anaiScara is said to. be his son by Chaya 


86 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

in H (loc. cit.) and this legend with that o( the future Manu is recognised 
in 12,350,55; cf. VP 3,2,4. ioanaiScara is the planet Saturn (the planets 
which appear to meet the Day-maker and Night-maker with especial 
pleasure are £>ukra and Brhaspati, Venus and Jupiter, R 2,99, 41). Surya’s 
daughters are Supraja, wife, ofBhanu (3,221,9), and also (?) fsraddha Vai- 
vasvatl (12, 265, 8, perhaps identical with Savitri, but N. says savitri here 
is sa avitri, “guardian and generatrix of pure birth”). The southern seer 
"Cakradhanus” is also called his son, “born of Surya” (5,109,17), the 
South being called the quarter given by Vivasvat as dak§ina (ib. to his 
Guru, sc. KaSyapa, ib. 1); the text says: vidur yaqa Kapilaip devam, 
“whom (Cakradhanus) they know as the divine Kapila” (ib.). Kapila is 
a name of the sun (3, 3, 24), as well as of Vi§nu (3, 47, 18), and the Kapilas 
(Sankhyas) area sect especially favored by the sun (below). In R 1, 17,9; 
ib. 5,62, 36, etc., Sugriva, uncle of Dadhimukha, who has the honey-grove, 
is “begotten of Tapana”, “the son of him of a thousand rays”, Suryatman, 
“born of Surya’s self’ (R 4, 14, 22) and at death he enters the disc of the 
Sun (R 7, 110, 22). Other sons of the Sun, who return into their father at 
death, are the apes £veta and Jyotirmukha (R 6, 30, 33). 

§ 41. Savitri, given in marriage by her father the Sun to Brahman 
(3,110,26; S 4,22,11; 13,169,9), is the "mother of the Vedas”, the reci¬ 
tation of which divine being as verses purifies from sin (3, 200, 83 and 
12,35,37), a thorough identification of the verse and goddess (japan 
devixp vedamataram). As goddess she is attendant on Parvati (3,231,49). 
She appears to king ASvapati (who, to get children, had worshipped her 
for eighteen years with Mantras and ten thousand fire-oblations daily, 
eating only at the sixth meal-time), and in person, rupini, promises him 
a daughter, “glorious Savitri", whose story of devotion to her husband is 
known to both epics (1,241,48; 3, 293, iof.; R 2, 30, 6 and ib. 118,10). 
The goddess intercedes with her husband to have the boon granted; she 
has “divine ear-rings which she gave for a priest”, and so got to heaven 
(12,235,24). She saves from difficulties, durgataranl, and as such abides 
in the palace of Brahman (2, 11, 34). She is both the mother of the Vedas 
(whom “she does not desert”, 3, 81, 5) and the mother of the initiated 
regenerate (3,100,34; cf. Manu 2, 29 and 170). As a dramatic figure she 
blesses a Paippaladi priest, a KauSika, and announces a discussion .between 
Time, Death, and Yama, who as “son of the Sun” (12, 196,6 and 199, if.) 
is called Suryaputra and Vaivasvata (the former being applied also to 
Saturn and the ASvins). The mark of Savitri’s foot is still visible at the 
Udyanta mountain (where too is the yonidvara, but the allusion is lost, 
3,84,93 f.). Savitri, as all knowledge, seerns to be differentiated from 
Gayatrl: “Savitri is first of knowledges and is all (spoken), as Prajapati 
is first of the gods, as Gayatrl is first of metres” (14, 44, 5 f.). 

§ 42. Several stories are told of Surya, whose southern limit was set 
for him by Manu Savarni and the son of Yavakrlta (5, 109, 11). When 
Mt. Vindhya is angry with him (see § 6), Surya says: “Not by my own 
will do I revere Meru. My path is laid out for me by those who made 
the universe” (3,104,5). The daughter of the saint Harimedhas, Dhvaja- 
vati, was once estopped from further flight through the western sky by 
the command of Surya, who twice commanded her to “stand still”, and 
she stood still ( 5 > no, 13). The sun burns Jatayus’ feathers (R 4, 58,4), but 
it is not said that this is due to anger. In the AnuSasana, however, Surya 
burns the wife of Jamadagni and being threatened by the saint disguises 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


87 


himself as a priest and reproaches Jamadagni for trying to shoot the Day- 
maker, who is a benefactor, providing food by “raining on the seven 
continents” (13,95, i8f.). Jamadagni replies that at noon the sun stands 
still for half a wink and at that instant he is resolved to shoot. His anger 
is averted by supplication, however, and as a reward for his leniency 
Surya gives Jamadagni shoes and an umbrella, which first introduced this 
sun-guard to man (ib. 96,6 and 14). In a late passage, R 7, 23, pra. 2, the 
sun declines to fight Ravana. His door-keepers are here (vs. 9) Pihgala 
and Dancjin, and he is called Aditya, Surya, Ravi, Adideva, lord, Martanda, 
“witness of the world”, “he of the seven steeds”, "maker of day” (and 
of light), and described as adorned with ear-rings and bracelets, smeared 
with sandal paste, with yawning mouth and a thousand gleaming rays. 
The reason he gives for not fighting is that he “cannot spare the time” 
(na ’haip kalak§ipaip sahe). As "witness of the world” the Sun sees 
all that is done and “with his heavenly eye” watches the rape of Sita, 
being so shocked that he loses light (R 3, 52, 13). Rama calls on him to 
tell where Sita is gone, addressing him (Aditya bho lokakrtakrtajna) 
as one who knows what is done and not done, witness of actions true 
and false (R 3,63, 16). A very late passage called “the mystery of Citra- 
gupta” also makes the sun the witness of all man’s acts, but as witness 
the god here recounts it all to' the judge of the dead. At Parvan time 
what a man does goes to the sun, and if he has been generous and given 
lamps to priests, then, as he goes through hell’s darkness, the gods of 
light, Moon, Sun, and Fire, lend him light to see. The “mystery” ends, 
hot very apropos, vvith the hearer, who is Vibhavasu himself, saying: 
“This is the mystery of Citragupta; the five worst sinners are he who 
kills a cow, or a priest; an adulterer; an unbeliever; and he who lives 
on his wife. These five are avoided by gods and Manes and will live in 
hell on pus” (13, 130, 17 f.; see Yama). The sun will not hurt Rama because 
he knows him (R 2, 44, 8). He upholds right but, as general benefactor, 
"Surya shines upon the good and the wicked” (12, 73, 24). Like Wind, 
Fire, and “the mothers of the worlds, the cows, who are deities among 
men”, Surya is also said to be born of Brahman (“son of the Self-existent”), 
and as a divinity he must not be offended; one must not urinate against 
the sun nor look at him rising, etc. (as in the law-books, 13,125,64; 
cf. ib. 60 and 62, and 12, 193, 17 and 24, na meheta; 13, 104, 17). He 
who offends thus against Ravi, Bhanumat, lives eighty-six years in hell. 
In R 2, 75, 21, suryaqi ca pratimehatu is a curse, parallel (cf. AV. 13, 
X, 56) to “may he kick a sleeping cow”. Surya comes when called by 
a magic formula of KuntI, yellow as honey, great-armed, wearing bracelets 
and diadem (3, 306, 10) and “making his body twofold, on earth and in 
the sky” begets Kama by mystic Yoga-power, who was born with radiant 
armor and ear-rings. He visits this son in a vision and gives him advice 
(3,300,6f.). He is here the beneficent god of a thousand rays, Bhanu, 
conqueror of Rahu (Svarbhanusudana, 3, 302', 18 and 20). When Kama dies, 
the sun, bhakta, devoted do him; bathes in the western ocean to purify 
himself (8,94, 30). Aditi (§ 37) gives him the ear-rings (3, 307, i8f.). The 
story of Kama forms the basis of some of the strongest scenes in the 
epic and is often referred to (12, 6, 6 and 15, 30, 9): It is possible that 
Kama himself ("son of the bull”) represents the sun. He is called Vai- 
kartana from his cutting off the armor, and to distinguish him from the 
son of Dhrtarastra (1,67,95)- His death at the hands of (Indra as) Arjuna 



88 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

might point to a sun and storm myth. His family is the object of special 
regard on the part of the god,~ who gives KuntI a copper dish of inex¬ 
haustible food (origin of the grail according to Prof, von Schroeder) and 
saves Krsna from the amorous Klcaka by giving her a demon guardian, 
Rakso raksartham (3,3,72; ib. 262,2; and 263,21; 4,15,20). The an¬ 
cestor of the Kurus called Saipvarana is^a devout sun-worshipper," and his 
jiame is a personification of The veiling surrounding the sun, while his 
wife Tapati is “daughter of Tapana”. She is a younger sister of Savitr! 
and is born of Tapana Surya (1, 171,6), and is formally bestowed upon 
Saipvarana by Vivasvat (1, 173, i8f.). According to 1, 1, 44f., the Kurus, 
Yadus, and Bharatas are descendants of the divine beings called (DaSa- 
jyoti, etc.) Ten-, Hundred-, and Thousand-light, sons of Subhraj, son of 
Devabhraj and grandson of Sahya (v. 1 . Manu), the youngest Vivasvat 
(Dyaus’ son). Kuru is son of Tapati SaurT, hence Tapatyas as metronymic 
of the family. At I, 189, 19, the priest Vasistha in S goes a niyuta of 
leagues upward to intercede for Sarpvaraija as suitor 01 Tapati and here, 
in a brief hymn to Bhaskara Vivasvat, the god has the (Vi§nu) epithets 
sahasracaksus, trayimaya, and VirincanarayanaSankaratman, 
a hymn approved by the sun, who said it should be muttered by all the 
faithful (ib. 24f., japya bhaktanam). “Thousand-eyed” is an epithet of 
Visnu and ofIndra in other places; it here stands for the usual “Thousand- 
rayed”. HaridaSva and HaryaSva are both sun-names (R 6, 107, 11 f.). 

§ 43. All the hymns to the sun are late, as shown by internal evi¬ 
dence. They may be due to a recrudescence, perhaps political in origin, 
of this cult. But even in the older texts mention is made of the ascetic 
tlrdhvabahus, who stand with arms up-stretched (R 2,95,7, beside the 
river MandakinI), as does Saipvarana (1,173,12, urdhvamukhafi). The 
Pancaratras derive their doctrines from the sun himself (12,340, 120), and 
they number 66,000 or (v. 1.) 88,000 (but both numbers are conventional; 
the larger number in S). In the camp of the Pandus there were “a thou¬ 
sand and eight others who were Sauras” (7, 82, 16). That many worshipped 
the sun particularly, may be seen from the names of the Kurus’ battle- 
friends, Suryadhvaja, Rocamana, AipSumat (etc., 1,186,10 f.; Suryadatta, 
4,31,15). There was also a "secret Veda of the sun” taught to Arvavasu 
(3, 138, 18 f.). The Bhagavatas identical with the Kapilas have a doctrine 
taught Sarasvati by the sun (12, 319, 6f.; ib. 302,54 and 85; ib. 345, I4f.; 
349,3 and 57). R 6, 107 = Bomb. 105 (106) has one of these late hymns, 
introduced as a hoc signo vinces, but not found in the Bengal text. 
The sun is here identified with all the gods, including those of the Tri- 
murti; he is the bird, of a thousand flames, o£ seven steeds, s'Sptasapti, 
the golden germ, twelve-souled, maker of all, witness of the world, deva- 
deva, soul of all gods, destroyer and maker of the world. Compare 
yugantasurya for the usual yugantagni (R 5, 37»65). The Mbh. describes 
the sun on the occasion of the gift of the food-vessel and then cites 
a hymn, first uttered by Brahman to Indra, and told to Narada, who gives 
it to Dhaumya. He first gives the names of the sun, reckoned as one 
hundred and eight (3, 3 1 5 f.)- In S, the names follow the hymn. The lists 
of names differ, and in neither text are there the stated numbers 
(nama§taSatam). Here the Sun is Victory, Jaya, and especially the 
refuge of the Kapilas (Sankhyas); he illumines with his rays (gobhifi) 
the thirteen continents; he is lord of Manus and of Manvantaras; as twelve 
suns he dries the ocean; he is Indra, Rudra, Vi§nu, Prajapati, Agni, 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


89 


Brahman, the goose (haipsa), Vrsakapi, Vivasvat, and inter alios Mitra 
and Mihira. The last (Persian) name gives the approximate period to which 
the hymn belongs, evidently that of the Pancaratras also. The sun is also 
Bhutatman (S) and is to be worshipped with loving devotion, bhakti, 
especially on the sixth or seventh day. His adorers, believing in his love 
(tvadbhavabhaktab), will live long. His followers, who clasp his feet, 
are Mathara (3, 3, 68; cf. 12, 293, S, another late touch), Aruna, Danda 
(aSanik$ubha, as lightning?), the divine mothers (cf. the Saura Matrs of 
9,46,38), Maitrl and Ksubh (Love and Harm?), and the mothers of the 
Bhuts. Among his noticeable epithets here are alolupa (epithet of £iva, 
free from passion), the sacred fig-tree, Kapila, the divine physician Dhan- 
vantari, "door of heaven", and different divisions of time and fire. S has 
VaiSravano, v. 1 . for vai Varuno (error for VaiSvanara?), devakarta 
for dehakarta, etc. and adds as epithet, manib suvarnab, which refers 
to the manib Suddhab or "pure gem", supposed to drink the rays of 
the sun (12,299,12). It is once referred to under its usual later name 
suryakanta (12,218,29). Mitra has lost his individuality in the epics 
except in the late (Uttara) tale of his quarrel with Varupa (§ 59L). The 
name is that of a Marut in H 11545. Mitrasena, Mitrabahu, and other 
Mitra-names appear in Kr§pa’s family (H 9186, etc.). Many of the epic 
data are Vedic tradition, the sun as rain-giver, lord of cows, demon- 
dispeller, father of Yama, etc., but others are found only in the hymns, the 
pseudo-epic, Hariv., and Puranas. As philosophical adhidaivatam, Mitra 
and Arka appear differentiated from Surya (12, 314, 2 = 14,42, 26, and 43 , 7 ); 
also here as neuter, Mitram (14, 21, 4). The perfected saint of the same (per¬ 
haps antique) range of thought is identified severally with Visnu,Mitra, Varuna, 
Agni, Prajapati, Dhatr, and Vidhatr (ib. 42,65). Sons “like Mitra and Varuna” 
(1, 105, 41, etc.) are promised a devotee, i. e. sons of special glory. On a 
group of "Mitra" gods see § 50. For Mitra as war-god, see Varuna, § 59 - 
§ 44. The Moon-God. — Never a god of much importance in India, 
save as it mystically represented the yellow Soma plant whose name it 
assumed, the epic Moon-god remains much more restricted than its rival 
luminary, though it is supposed as a heavenly body to be higher (in space), 
larger, and better endowed with rays (1,18, 34; R 7, 23, pra. 4, 16). It belongs 
probably to a lower class than does the Aditya sun, for it is one of the 
group of eight Vasus (1,66, 19), three of whom, Moon, Wind, and Fire, 
are retained in the epic ljst of these pre-epic deities. Only late lists (§ 37) 
of Adityas include Soma. The moon is of course never aught than a god 
(husband of Diksa, § 38), yet it is generally referred to rather as delighter 
of eyes and hearts, a gleaming luna Candida, Candra, Candramas, than 
as a god; that is, its gentle beauty and cool light (1, 177,40) are regarded. 
It is physical, as in the figures, “the child crying for the moon", (R 3, 
47, 40i "hard to touch as the moon”, the nocturnal phenomenal body, 
rajanicara, rather than the divinity is implied (4,14,51; 5, 130,37f-)- 
Compare 8, 39, 16, where candraxp jighr'ksub is parallel to a “frog 
croaking at a rain-cloud". In this sense also 6a£anka (marked with a 
hare) and SaSin is generally used. Thus Karpa is SaStva divi (3,301,12), 
“like the moon in a cloudless sky” (ViSakhayor madhyagatab), 
that is, the physical moon shining between two stars with which 
his ear-rings are compared (cf. 8, 20, 48), describes Kanja. For Candra, 
cf. the use in 7, 16, 54, citre rathe . . babhase naksatracitre 
viyati ’va candrah. So Citraya Candrama iva (R 3, 17, 4).' It is 


9 ° III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Candra that is “like a white gojjse in the blue lake of the sky" (R 5, 2, 
58, etc.) When speaking of the sickle of the moon and of the moon in¬ 
creasing in the bright half of the month, this is the word usually employed 
(Candra, or loaSin, not Soma), though there are exceptions, and when 
Somasuta is described, naturally sahasrasomapratimab is preferred 
(7,23,29); also a saumya (gentle) king is likened to Soma (passim). 
Besides Candra, loaSanka, and Soma, the moon is called Uduraj, Udupa(ti), 
“water-lord” (boat?), and Indu = Soma(drop), besides names which are 
periphrases, Night-wanderer, Water-born, King of Stars, Cool of Ray, etc. 
In R 5, 16,31, naikasahasraraSmi is the moon. Soma as a fighting god 
is almost forgotten. Indeed it is said that though he once had a bow and 
a war-chariot he gave them away to Indra (1,225,4!). His not very repu¬ 
table exploit of raping Tara, the star-wife of Brhaspati (Jupiter), brought 
on the Tarakamaya war, which Is Frequently~alluded £0 as an event of 
She long ago. The son born of this pair was Budha (Mercury). Soma 
stands here on the side of USanas (Venus), the star-priest of demons, of 
Rudra, and of the demons themselves. As far as the later epic story goes, 
pudha is son of Soma and Tara (H 1340), not the son of Rohipi (R 3,49,16), 
the favorite wife of Soma. Dak§a gave the twenty-seven stars of the lunar 
zodiac (his .daughters) to Soma. The remaining twenty-six objected to 
Soma’s partiality'for Rohini, and Dak§a, after warning him three times, 
cursed him to have yak§man, consumption, which still causes his monthly 
consumption, though by bathing in the Sarasvati (where it joins ocean at 
Prabhasa), and by worshipping DeveSa, Soma recovered. Yet he has to 
|keep up the remedy, "drinking there the six essences of Varuna”, to 
(ensure health. As Soma is “lord of plants” and as the gods depend on 
* vegetable offerings, his decline devastated the world and frightened the 
gods, so that they interceded for him (1,66, 17; 9, 35, 43!). The star-wives 
are here Yoginls, engaged “in time and weather”. He is called here Soma, 
Candra, Ucjupati (Uduraj in 5, 34, 55). This curse is alluded to in Manu 
9, 314, as in the epic 12, 344, 57 ("consumption came upon King Soma 
through the curse ofDaksa”). The Moon is lord of lotuses, kumudanatha, 
and his crescent, the boat (u<jupa), is the type of female loveliness, as 
the full moon (“the quiver of Love”; cf. the Jain Kalpa-Sutra, 38) is the 
image of a beauty (smaraSarasanapurnasamaprabhab, 7> 184,46!). 
Urva£I(e. g.) is candralekheva (3,46,15). The moon has a mark, lak§man 
( 7 > 2, 5 )> which is jagat, the earth (shadow, see H, below), though “men 
see it without knowing it” (12, 203, 8). As lord of plants, the Moon restores 
to them the moisture taken from them by the sun (12, 52, 33). Soma also 
is the “king of priests” (5, ill, 8; 12,79, 13^ and delights tlie Fathers 
with ambrosia in the dark half, the gods in the bright half of the month 
(12, 47, 39). He is “water-born Soma, and grahaganeSvara; without 
him is nothing produced” (nirajatena hi vina na kiqi cit saippra- 
vartate, 13,67, 11!). As benefactor of men he lives with cows in the 
world of Brahman (ib. 66, 38). In H 133O, he is ruler of waters. 

§ 45. Soma is son of Atri, the seer who had power over the sun, 
not ineptly selected, though rather late, by the genealogists, who wished 
to assure equal dignity for the parvenu Moon-race with that long claimed 
by the solar dynasty. In 7, 144, 4!; xz, 208, 9, and probably in 13, 155, 12 
(by inference), Soma’s father is thus made out to be Atri, the line being 
then confirmed in Hariv. and Puranas. But the early epic does not know 
this derivation, making Soma rise at the churning of the ocean (1, 18,35) 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


9i 


-''or appear as son of Prajapati and £vasa (also later of Aditi). The anva- 
vaya, however, is eventually established as Brahman-Atri-Soma-Budha- 
Aila, etc. In 9, 43, 47, Atri is the hotf (priest) of Soma at the god’s 
Tirtha (cf. his aSraya in 3, 84, 157, which Budha visits), but this may 
imply what the same expression has in expanded form at H 1311 and 
1334: “Soma the Rajaraj (whose car is drawn by a thousand horses) was 
son of Atri, born of his tears, and Atri was his hotr”. Yayati is “sixth 
from Soma” and Soma alone is called the Prajapati of the Kurus (5, 149, 3), 
as if the Atri legend were still unknown. Atri became the moon and sun 
(to rescue them and the other gods) in the legend of 13, 157, 7 f., when 
they were afflicted by Rahu. H 8811 has Budha as father of Pururavas 
and, ib. 629f., gives the story of Budha in relation to Ila, related also 
R 7 ) 87, 3 f. Ila was exposed to the female power and became female, but 
was permitted by Uma to be man one month and woman the next. Budha 
saw Ila (as. woman) and after turning her female companions into Kiip^ 
puru$Is became by her the father of Pururavas (Ila feminine is Manu’s 
daughter and so of solar origin). Soma’s daughter Bhadra was given by 
Atri to Utathya and then stolen by Varuna (q. v.; 13,155, 12). His daughter 
Jyotsnakali married Varuna’s son Pu§kara (5,98,12). In the Mbh. heroic 
genealogy, Varcas, part of Soma, becomes Abhimanyu (lives sixteen years, 
corresponding to the sixteen days of the bright moon); and in Ram. Dadhi- 
vaktra or Dadhimukha is begotten by Soma (1,67, 114K; 18,5,18; R 5, 
61,gf.; ib. 6, 30, 23, saumyab Somatmajalj). Soma is identified with 
Agni (12,342,59). With Agni and Vayu he receives the fruit of Rama’s 
merit (R 2, 109, 28). See also under Indra. He acts as witness with sun 
and wind and other gods (see Vayu and Agni) and unites with Yama in 
fearing a saint (1, 71, 39), but apart from Yama (here and in 5 raddhas) 
he is an isolated god, though perfunctorily serving as giver of blessings 
and hence perhaps having a shrine in a hermitage (R 2,91, 20; ib. 3,12, 
17 f.), since his special business is to prepare food, being "lord of plants” 
(5,156,12; 13,98,17, "Soma’s self in various ways produced on earth”); 
whence his peculiar province is taste, as the Sun’s is sight and Wind’s 
is touch (rasajnane, 14,43, 3°1 cf. above on the moon’s making moisture 
in plants, and 1,227,2, Candramas makes fog). In 3, 57, 37, annarasa 
as a gift of Yama might revert to the lunar quality of the god. Like 
other gods the Moon has his earthly place (apart from Tirthas, above), 
which appears as a mountain north of the Northern Kurus, “hard even 
for gods to reach” (Somagiri, R 4, 43, 57 f-? perhaps in 13, 166, 33 the same 
"sunless land beside the northern sea” is meant; H 12413, Saumyagiri, is 
imitation of the description in R). In R 4, 42, 14, Somagiri (at the mouth 
of the Indus) has v. 1 . Hemagiri (S). Soma and Somada are names of 
Apsaras and female Gandharvi (§ 93 f.). For the moon as a gentle form 
and as diadem of 3 iva, see § i55f.“His asterism is MrgaSiras (13, 64, 7, 
gifts according to asterisms). The moon has sixteen parts, only one of 
which remains intact; the others increasing and decreasing (12, 305, 3, 
image of jiva, one sixteenth pure soul). All Farvan days are sacred; on 
■8Sys~of new and full moon especially one must be chaste (13, 104, 89); 
the seventh day the moon is very bright (ix, 19,8) and almost consumed 
on the fourteenth (ib. 21, 13, saptamyam iva; caturda^ahe, of the 
dark half, na prltikarafi SaSi). 

§ 46. The moon disappears but is not lost, and so it is the same 
soul which reappears with a new body, as the moon reappears encom- 



Q 2 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

passed with stars (12, 203, 15f., _amavasyam alihgatvan na drSyate). 
As a good god the moon is tamisrahan, and tamo nighnan, destroying 
darkness, “with the help of Budha and Sukra” (7, 84, 20). Candra £aSanka 
destroys evil, rising like a horned bull with a hump, like an elephant 
with a gold-bound tusk, like, a haqisa in a silver cage, etc. (R 5, 5, if.). 
The effect on the ocean of the moon’s power is a trite simile (e. g. 6, 
58 , 32; 7, 172, 35). Gifts at the full moon or on the twelfth day increase 
“Soma and ocean”; Soma grants all his wishes who gives ghee and grain 
to the priests (ib. 8); the same increase of Soma and ocean is produced 
by a bali of rice and honey offered to the rising full moon in a dish of 
udumbara wood (ib. 134,6). The moon is lokakanta, beloved, though 
fading (R 2, 19, 32), but reviving on the day of the new moon after the 
fourteenth of the dark half (R 6, 93,65). The moon-stone candrakanta 
is comparable to the sun-stone and as rarely mentioned (Rama’s face is 
fair as the candrakanta, R 2, 3, 28, atlvapriyadarSanam). In R 7, 
102, 6f., a town is so named. This stone is made of moon-beams. In the 
bright half of the month Pausa, when Rohini is in conjunction, one should 
bathe and lie in the open, half naked, and drink moon-beams (Somasya 
raSmayah pltva, 13, 126, 49). The next section gives rites and prohibi¬ 
tions for different phases of the moo\i (the rite of the lunar day is tai- 
thika, ib. 12). Not to cut a tree or chew a toothpick on the new moon’s 
day benefits Candramas (Soma). The connection with the Pitrs (§ 15) is 
here close; it is they who are afflicted by the chewing of the toothpick 
(ib. 4). The rule, however, is ascribed to the authority of the Sun-god 
(the Pau$amasa rite, to Brahman) and is actually found in the law-book 
of Visnu (61, 17). The Candravrata or moon-vow (ascribed to Bhlsma) is 
(not the candrayana of the'Taw-books. It should be undertaken in the 
pnonth MargaSIrsa, when the moon, candra, is joined with the asterism 
Mula: “When his feet are joined with Mula, Rohini in his calf, his knees 
in ASvint, his thighs in.the two Asadhas, when his rump is PhalgunI, his 
waist Krttika, his navel in Bhadrapada, the eye-circle in Revatl, back and 
front in Dhanisthafi and Anuradha, his arms the ViSakhafi, the hands in 
Hasta, when his fingers are Punarvasu, his nails in Asle§a, neck in 
Jyestha, ears in Havana, mouth in Pu§ya, lips (teeth) are Svati, his laugh 
Satabhisa, his nose Magha, his eyes MrgaSiras, Mitra in his forehead, his 
head in BharanI, and his hair is Ardra” (13, no, 3 f.). As the moon is full 
on the night of the full moon, so will he become full-limbed who per¬ 
forms this rite, which assures beauty and good fortune to the performer 
and also the “luck of knowledge” (ib. 10). The rite consistsjn gifts to 
the priest as well as in making the identifications, limb by limb (Mitra 
in vs. 8, lalate mitram eva ca, is for Citra). ^the chief reason for the 
Moon-god’s importance is his influence over the Fathers (see the “Fathers’ 
Path” and Pitrs and Yama). As a god he has a vehicle drawn by sixteen 
(perhaps) or a thousand steeds (cf. H 1321, and 12, 37, 33, where a king 
drawn by sixteen horses is like god Soma mounting his ambrosial car, 
amrtamayaip ratham . . tarakarajalj). R 7, 23, pra. 3 and 4, 29, says 
that the world of Candramas is above the seven worlds of wind, but the 
passage is late, describing how Ravana attacked the world till Brahman 
intervened, giving Ravana a Mantra for the hour of death, which he is to. 
mutter as he grasps his rosary, aksasutra, yet it is interesting as 
distinguishing the Somaloka (where Ravana’s father Parvata tells him of 
the local saints and the fiend fights Maipdhatr) from the world of Can- 



V. X HE Eight Great Devas. 


93 


dramas above the seven wind-worlds (Soma and Candramas here quite 
distinct). So 14, 43, 6f. Candramas is lord of Nak$atras (as Surya is of 
planets) and Soma is lord of plants (Soma is the moon-plant). Soma 
as ambrosia raped by Garuija (§ 12) and as the divine sacrificial plant 
has its own position as usual. To sell Soma would not be wrong if one 
had the higher knowledge in reference to it, though usually it would be 
a sin (tattvarp jnatva tu somasya vikrayafi syad ado§avan, 12, 
34, 31). The putika-plant may be substituted for Soma, and so a month 
or day for a year (3, 35, 33 and 52, 23f.). Pressing of Soma and Soma- 
sacrifice are assumed as common meritorious actions. The Nak§atras are 
both the wives of the god Soma (as Moon) and also the general stars of 
which he is Nak§atraraj (3,237,11), and Naksatramarga is Suravithi, per¬ 
haps the Milky Way or path by which the dead go (7, 192, 72 and 3,43, 12). 
Naksatranemi is both Moon and Visnu (who is Nak§atrin), and the best 
of Nak§atras is £a£in the moon (6,34,21). The Naksatras are personal 
attendants of higher beings (fsiva, etc.), suffering and enjoying Karma- 
fruit like other beings (5,29,15). Nak$atradak§inas offered by Gaya 
(nak§atre§u) were probable given to the special stars of the lunar zodiac 
(7,66,10). Asterisms unsuitable for fsraddhas are Pro§thapadas, Agneya, 
that of one’s birth, any evil or hostile (daruna, pratyari) asterism, and 
any forbidden in astrology (jyoti$e, 13, 104, I27f.). Agneya is Krttikah. 
The list as given in 13,64, 5f., is as follows: Krttikah (Agneya), RohinT, 
Somadaivata (MrgaSiras, later the fifth), Ardra, Punarvasu, Pusya (Tisya), 
ASlesa, Maghalj, Phalguni (purva, uttara), Hasta, Citra (as twelfth, earlier 
the fourteenth), Svati, ViSakha, Anuradhab, Jyestha, Mula, Asadhab 
(purvab, uttarah), Abhijit, ^ravapa, Dhanisthah (earlier !oravi§tha), 3 atabhi§a, 
Bhadrapadab (purva, uttarayoga), Revati, ASvinI, Bharanyab (pk), as twenty- 
eighth. MrgaSiras is called (ib. 89, 3) Mrgottama; ^atabhi§a is called Varuna 
(ib. 12); Pro§tha = Bhadrapadab (purvab, uttarab, ib. 13); like Bharanyah 
is ASvinyab (pi.) in vs. 14. One should not point out Naksatras nor tell 
the tithi pak§asya (13,104,38). Excluded inter alios from ^raddhas are 
kuSIlava, devalaka, and "he who lives by stars”, nak$atrair yaS ca 
jlvati (13,90, 11, an astrologer). Lunar omens are rare. To see the full 
moon with broken light on the right is unlucky, but the same is true 
of a lamp, and the broken light is the important factor (portends death, 
12,318,9). When Soma enters the sun (at the time of new moon), the 
gods are fighting Asuras (3,224, iif.). See Anumati, Raka, etc., as phases 
of the moon under Agni (Angiras). For the moon as representing mind, 
see § 37, Candramas. While the adventures of the Moon are few and unim¬ 
portant in the real epic, the tale of his rape of Tara and consumption 
being almost all told of him as a hero, the Puranas give more details of 
his equipment (ten steeds, three-wheeled car, not in epics) and even Hari- 
vaipSa rather delights to exploit him as a warrior (as well as the calf of 
sacrifice, H 369, see Kubera), a fact probably not unconnected with the 
desire of the lunar dynasty to see its progenitor exalted, as Soma even 
becomes a name of £iva and Visnu (H 7581 and 2382). Here Soma is 
dvijeSvara; “his body is marked with the elephant’s shadow”, gaja- 
cchaya (2476); he is first invoked to fight against the demons (2584^, has 
Jokacchayamayaqi lak§ma), and uses his “weapon of cold” (as Varuna 
aids him with water) against the fire of Maya; also fights against ^ambara 
(i3440f.), when Bhaga retires defeated, etc. The most elaborate descrip¬ 
tion of the moon (R 5, 5) is also late, but this is poetical rather than 


94 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

T--- 

mythological exaggeration. For Soma and Agni, see § 52. It is possible 
that Trita may represent the moon. He is cast into a pit and curses his 
brothers to become wolves, but is rescued by prayer (cf. for interpretation 
as the moon on the third day of conjunction, Siecke, Drachenkampfe, 
p. 21); but the epic version does not reflect any such origin. The three 
brothers are here sages who report the monotheistic cult of the White 
Islanders (12, 336). They are "‘sun-like in glory” and called sons of 
Gautama (9, 36, 10). ' 

§47. The Wind-God. — He is called Vayu, Vata, Maruta, Anila; or, 
as purifyer, Pavana; as forceful, Prabhanjana; as bearer of odors, Gan- 
dhavaha; as constantly in motion, Satataga and Sadagati; he has too a 
venerable title of unknown meaning, MatariSvan, and as messenger of 
Indra he is Vasavaduta. As indicated by the last title, he is closely con¬ 
nected with Indra, whose messenger and servant he is, though in other 
respects he appears as a mighty independent divinity, associated especially 
with his friend (son) Agni (see Indra and Agni). Often the names are 
used as ifho divine being were in mind but only the physical phenomenon 
(if this is ever true), and then vayu or vata are preferred, whereas for 
the god qu 4 god Maruta is the favorite name. Compare “horses swift as 
thought or wind” (vayu, 1, 225, 11); “clouds mixed with wind” (migra-. 
vata, 7, 95, 7); “like a rotten old tree felled by the wind” (vatarugna, 
3, 16, 20); the whirlwind is vi$vagvata (7, 46, 10). Yet all the names 
interchange rather freely. Maruti is in one epic Bhima, “son of Vayu” 
whose “power derives from MatariSvan” (1,1,114; 2,24,4), ' <son of Pra¬ 
bhanjana” and "like Vata” by nature. (1, 67, hi, etc.); in the other, 
Vayusuta Hanumat, Vatatmaja, (R 4, 37, 16; R 5,9, 31 f.; R 6, 28, 10) and 
Gandhavahatmaja (R 6, 74, 70). Vata teaches Arjuna the use of arms 
(1, J65, 12); to Vata is addressed the wail of Rama: vahi Vata yatab 
kanta, taqi spr§tva mam api spj-Sa (R6, 5,6). A sportive Vayu or 
Maruta may raise the dust and plays with trees (R 3, 23,12 and 14; ib. 4, 
1,12 f.). As a Marut, Vayu is the only one to “have great fame” in the 
sky, the other Maruts being distributed, one in the world of Indra, one 
with Brahman, and four in the four directions as followers of Indra, pro- 
’bably those in the “army of Maruts surrounding Indra” (R 1,47,5 and 
R 4,64, 14). As independent gods their blessing is sought with that of 
other gods (R 2, 25, 8). Vayu (Vata) is the friend of Agni and helps him 
(1, 223, 78; 227, 14; 228,40). The hosts of Maruts in the story of Man- 
kanaka, progenitors of the Maruts, are called Vayuvega (cf. Vatavega, son 
of Garuda), Vayubala, Vayuhan, Vayumandala, Vayujvala, V|yuretas, and 
Vayucakra (9, 38, 36f.). The Maruta world or "world of the seven Maruts” 
(13, 107, 111; cf. ib. 80f.; ib. 95 and i26f.) and the allusion to the wind 
"pleasant, cool, and fragrant”, which (or who) carries perfected saints to 
heaven, nabhasab paramajp gatim, as the “best of seven Maruts” 
(12, 302, 75), show that the usual conception is that of seven winds. This 
agrees with the seven Pranas (ib. 27, etc.) in the metaphysical interpre¬ 
tation of breaths (winds), though they are distinguished from “mighty eight- 
souled Vayu”. This eightfold Vayu, like the twelve-souled Sun, appears 
at the general dissplution of the world (12, 313, io, astatmako ball), 
called yugantavata (7,146,2; cf. 1,154,24, balaip Vayor jagatalj. 
k§aye), and blows in every direction, so it probably represents the eight 
directions (cf. § 10, elephant-protectors of the eight directions, blowing 
out winds). The “paths of Vayu are seven” (12,47,89=51,6), as other 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


95 


sevens are for several, or to conform to the seven Maruts (which amounts 
to the same thing); but, as the Pranas are also five, so “Vayu, who moves 
created beings as their soul, divides himself fivefold and enters the body” 
(12,47,65), namely as devadeva, or lord of the senses (12,259,49). 
Hence Pavana, wind as purifying power (pavanah pavatam asmi, 6, 
34, 31) and the deity of touch (12, 314, 10), becomes a numeral “five” in 
post-epical literature. In the epics, citing revelation, Pavana is the “lord 
of life" or, as Vayu, the soul of all, and even is the alh'Vayuh sarvam 
idarp jagat (TB. 3, ir, 1, 9; Mbh. 3, 313, 66; R 7, 35 , 61; cf. R ib. 55, 
"without Anila, Pavana, father of Hanumat, lord of life, the body becomes 
a mere log”). A great wind is the “breath of Vi§nu”, hence the Veda 
should not be read when a gale is blowing (12, 329, 26f., Vyasa to 3 uka; 
ib. 55f., Visnor niljSvasavatah). The path of gods leads to Vi§pu, of 
Pitps the path leads downward. There are here seven paths of the winds, 
Vayumargas, and the Pranas are explained anthropomorphically. Samana, 
son of the Devaganalj Sadhyalj, had a son Udana, father of Vyana, father 
of Apana, father of Prana, who had no child (ib. 32/.). Cosmically, Samana 
is Pravaha, a wind of clouds and thunderstorms. Avaha is a noisy wind; 
it makes the moon and other heavenly lights rise and is identical with 
Udana (S, however, inverts the first and second names). Udvaha, the third 
wind, sucks up water for Parjanya to rain. Saqivaha bears the gods’ cars, 
roars in clouds and rends mountains. The fifth wind is dry, incorporate 
in the Valahaka clouds, bringing portents of disaster (but in 6, 91, 13, 
Valahaka clouds are rain-clouds, pravr§i), and is called Vivaha. Parivaha, 
sixth, upholds the atmospheric waters (Ganges, etc.), obstructs the sun, 
and makes the moon wax. The seventh wind is the death-wind, followed 
by Death and Yama, which disperses the breath of all beings that breathe; 
it is called Paravaha. The seven are then identified with the Marutas, 
sons of Diti (or Aditi), which blow everywhere; probably the same as 
“the seven Vayus”, with whom, as with the seven Agnis, fsiva is, as All¬ 
god, also identified (ib. 53 and 13, 14, 410). As material power, Vayu 
overthrows trees (agamas, R 6, 97, 19), blowing hardest “at winter’s end” 
(7)95)7) and "at the end of the hot season” (4,65,1; ghoro mahanilah, 
: 7 > 95 ) IX; cf. u§naparyaye, 7,98,31). “At the end of the rains Maruta 
dispels the rain-clouds” (R 5, 46, 23). Vayu gives testimony from the air 
when invoked as witness, with the Sun and Moon (3,76,36; R 6, 119,27). 
Philosophically, like the Sun, Vayu is the “life of the world” (jagadayu, 
3,147,27) and despite his many forms is but one (eko Vayur bahudha 
vati loke, 12,352, 10), the soul of all, on whom all depends (2, 19, 14). 
In the later epic, he holds windy discourses on castes and kings (12, 72, 
2f., with Pururavas). In one of these he says that he is the “messenger 
of the gods” who speaks from the sky (13,153,26; cf. 3,76,36). In 13, 
154, 3 f., he tells how he retreated from Angiras into the Agnihotra and 
lectures on privileges, Brahman’s birth, etc. Usually Vayu is the messenger 
not of any god but of Indra. Hanumat is V&savadutasunu (R 6, 74, 62). 
Indra treats Vayu Maruta even as a servant, telling him to raise the dust, 
for “that is thy work”, and Vayu obeys (1, 32, 8). Indra again bids him 
help Menaka seduce ViSvamitra (1,71,41 and 72, 1), here as Sadagati. As 
Vayu is a'Vasu and Indra is the lord of Vasus (§ 112), this relation is 
natural from the epic point of view as well as traditional. His friend Agni 
is also a Vasu, and Vayu drives Agni’s chariot, and helps him burn the 
forest (12, 229, 86, etc.; cf. Agni as Anilasarathi, Vatasarathi, 1, 15, 1; i, 



q6 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


228,40). Agni is also called “son oi Wind” (see §49). Vayu is typical of 
freedom, “cannot be bound” (R 3, 55, 24), and serves as type of the freed 
saint (na va£e kasya cit ti§than sadharma MatariSvanab, 1, 119, 19). 
He goes through air, the swiftest of beings; racing horses "drink the 
wind”; he is the strongest god (12, 154 to 157, stronger than Indra, 
Death, etc., ib. 155, 10). He has physical power; Indra has fighting ability 
(8, 31, 14). He alone put to sleep (in death) the demons of the West, 
though accompanied, as forms of himself, by mahavatas (5,110,5). He 
is the “smasher” (R 4, 31, 13); hence Arjuna is called Prabhaiijanasutanuja 
(7, 146, 116; but Indra is Vayubhuta, takes his form if he will). Perhaps 
because of their freedom the Maruts first instituted the self-choice of 
a maiden (13, 44, 35). The “troop of Maruts” is said to have begotten 
several heroes, Satyaki, Drupada, Krtavarman, and Virata (1,67, 79f.). In 
6) 5 °i 51, B and S have Marutab as a people. 

§ 48. The later epic, like the VP., may imply that the Maruts are 
seven times seven. In 9, 38, 37, the seven progenitors of the Maruts 
(above) are seven ganas, which may mean seven groups of seven, as 
the Hariv. and VP., in giving the tale of Indra dividing the embryo of 
Diti into seven parts and saying ma rudab (H 249, ma rodib, origin of 
the name, as in R x, 46—47), also say that the Maruts were forty-nine 
(VP. 1, 21, 39); but the epic does not openly recognise this number (till 
H 252). The story of Diti is alluded to again in 5, no, 8. Indra is Marut- 
pati and king of the Maruts (1,173,48; 2,62,17; 14,43,7), with lyhom he 
is identified as their chief (13,14,324), and who as his sacivas, socii, 
laud ever their nay aka, leader, and with moon and stars and planets 
add lustre to him (3, 157. 72! R 2 , 3, 26; ib. 3, 32, 4; ib. 5, 51,45; ib. 6, 12, 9). 
In 6, 34, 21, “Marici am I among Maruts”, the root and the fact that each 
is of a group of seven helps to put Marici in this category. The mother 
of Maruts is Marutvati (H 145, etc.) or Diti (below), as their father is 
Dharma (loc. cit.) or KaSyapa (H 11849). In 12, 328, 53, the'cosmical 
winds described above are Aditeb putra Marutab (and so S, but Diteb 
may be right). Speed, strength, and his attribute of “bearing perfumes” 
are the chief characteristics of Vayu (Analasakha is i§tagandha, sukha- 
spar 3 a, sarvendriyasukhavaha, 12,229,86), till the later epic empha¬ 
sises his moral eloquence (above): As the lover of Kunti he comes riding 
upon a deer, mrgarudhab (i, 123, 12). The distribution of the special 
provinces of the winds, Vataskandhas, is applied to the Marutas as winds 
in general (R I, 47, 5). Vataskandha (H 13894, v. 1 . Vayuskandha) is the 
name given to regions of winds. In 3, 231, 55, the army-corps of^Skanda, 
which is especially protected by him, is called the saptama Maruta- 
skandha, referring to its seven constituents. In H 2479, Vayu supports 
the three worlds as saptaskandhagata. Vayu and Agni together wave 
fans over Skanda (3, 231, 47) while Indra and £ri march behind the 
new battle-god. In Ram., as father of Hanumat, Vayu plays a very active 
role. He comes and speaks to Laksmana, advising him to kill Atikaya 
with Brahman’s weapon (R 6, 71, 98). He is Prabhu, Bhagavat, Sarvatman, 
and Satataga (R 6, 28, ii« and R 5, 13,63). As Sarvatmaka he attempts 
to corrupt all the nymph-mothered daughters of KuSanabha, cursing and 
deforming the girls who object to his amorous advances (R 1, 32, iof.). 
When “penetrated by Love” (Manmatha, R 4, 66, I4f.), Maruta Pavana 
dallies with the nymph (Afijana) Puftjikasthala, and becomes father of 
Hanumat. Vayu refused to move when Indra struck Hanumat (§ 86) on 




V. The Eight Great Dev as. 


97 


the jaw and so the earth dried up; but the gods soothed the irate father 
by bestowing gifts on the son (Indra gave him the privilege of dying 
when he chose and Brahman gave him invulnerability, R 4, 66, 25 b). 
Hanumat is here called “son of Kesarin”, but only as son of his mother’s 
husband. Vayu’s later name Jalakanta is not known, nor is the Puranic 
exploit mentioned of his contest with Garuda, in the endeavour to convert 
the top of Meru into Lanka. In Hariv., Vayu is a great warrior, fighting 
(H 13176) with Puloman in company with Savitra, here and elsewhere in H 
called “fifth of the Maruts" (ib. 127S7, the seven are Avaha, Pravaha, etc., 
as above). Vayu (H 14288) is listed with Namuci, etc., as a Danava 
(H 2285 == 14288); but in H 11540, Vayu is one of the eight Vasus, born 
of Dharma and Sadhya. He is lord of “the bodiless Bhuts”, as well as 
of odors and sounds (ib. 265 and 12493). At the assembly of gods, to 
hear the complaint of PrthivI, Vayu as Prabhanjana, “being urged by 
Brahman", went through the assembly, calling out Silentium! (ma Sabda 
iti), thus acting as a “masher" among the rude gods (H 2911). His 
roar in battle terrifies the demons; he is the bhutam uttamam (“highest 
being”), and bodiless; the charioteer of Agni (Agner yantr); and, as 
lord of sound, is born in the seven notes of music (H 2480). He joins 
Agni to subdye Maya, and becomes one with Agni (ib. 2617, so ’nilo 
’nalasaqiyuktab so 'nalaS ca ’nilakulab). In 13, 25, 38, Marudgana 
is the name of a Tirtha. The host, gaija, comes to earth followed by 
Indra Marutvat and his spouse load (3, 168, 11). Indra “PakaSasana con¬ 
quers his foes with the help of the Maruts” (12, 23, 29). Any Maruta 
travels through space on a car (R 2, 71, 8), probably a cloud, as in 8, 
19, 8, clouds cover Himavat in summer impelled by winds (Marudbhilj 
prerita meghalj). The list of (twenty-three) Marutvats or Maruts “born 
of Marutvati” (H 11 544f.) is unique but noteworthy as including under 
the title the names of Adityas and kings as well as names of fire (see 

§ I”)- 

§ 49. The Fire-God. — Agni (ignis) is Anala, son of Anila, the Wind- 
god (2, 31, 48; RG 5, 50, 14); described as having seven red tongues 
(also seven red steeds), seven faces, a huge mouth, red neck, tawny eyes 
(honey-colored), bright gleaming hair, and golden seed, “the first dispeller 
of darkness created by Brahman”. Most of the epithets given him occur 
passim, but a few, located below, are unique or almost so. For the 
formal description, cf. 1, 228, 37 and 232, 5 and 19 (saptajihva here 
= RV. 3, 6, 2; Mun(). Up. 1, 2, 4), and with pingak$a cf. pingeSa (2, 31, 
44). His right to distinction and many of his attributes are conveyed by 
these epithets, which fall into three classes, as they describe his appearance, 
functions, and relations. Thus he is Dahana, burner, Plavaipga, leaper, 
£ikhin, pointed, Arka, light, Vibhavasu, Jvalana, SvargadvarasprSa, gleaming 
to heaven’s door, Kr§navartman, Dhumaketu, black-tracked and smoke- 
bannered, Citrabhanu, Timirapaha (Tamonuda? 3, 217, 14), bright remover 
of darkness, Pavaka, Pavana, purifier, and Jsuci, £ukra, pure; also, as all- 
devouring and especially as eater of oblations, he is Sarvabhuj (-bhak$a), 
Havyavah, Havyavaha, -vahana, Vahni, Hutabhuj, -Vaha, HutaSana, and 
mouth of the gods (mukhaqi devanam). As the wise god, he is Kavi, 
Jatavedas, Pracetas; as maker and lord he is Loka- and Bhutabhavana, 
Dhatr, Kartr, Bhutadi, Bhutapati, SureSa, SureSvara; as child of the water 
he is Apaqigarbha; as maker of gold, he is Hiranyakrt, Hiranyaretas, 
Vasuretas; as universal, he is VaiSvanara and Pancajanya; as springing 

Indo-arische Philologie III. ib. 7 



98 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

from the fire-stick, he is ^amigarbha ar\d Aranisuta (R 5, 13, 41); and 
as father of Kumara, he is Kumarasu (Rudragarbha); while as maker of 
paths and of Vedas, he is Pathikft (pontifex) and Vedakartr. On intro¬ 
ducing himself to laibi he says “I am VaiSvanara Jvalana Dhumaketu" 
(3, 197, 25), and to the Pandus he says "I am Pavaka Agni” (17, 1, 36f.). 
His common name, Anala, has already been mentioned under Vayu, who acts 
as his charioteer (Anilasarathi, Agner yantr, etc.)- “HutaSana Jvalana L 
mouth of the gods, is everpresent at Prabhasa” (3, 82, 59 ! Vatasarathi, 

12, 172, 1 ; cf. 1, 15, 1). Rama and Lak$mana are Agnimarutakalpau, 
(R 5, 39, 53); “Lak§mana is as Anila to Rama as Pavaka" (R 3, 31, 17). Many 
of these epithets are shared with other gods: Varuija, the wise; Vayu 
the purifyer; the Sun-god, pure and far-shining; Indra and others as 
creators. Oblations are poured into Agni’s mouth (7, 102, 32), who himself 
is then “mouth of the gods”. “Swift as Agni or as Wind” are Indra’s horses, 
and Agni is manogatilj, swift as thought (S 3, 270, 6 Agnyanilo- 
gravegaifi for B atyanilo-). Like Sun and Wind, Fire is but one 
(1, 232, 13; 3, 134, 8), but his forms are many. He is trividha, threefold 
(in earth, air, and sky), in 1, 229, 24 = 5, 16, 2, and many in his functions 
(bahutvaip karmasu, 3, 217, 3). Always he has seven flames, Saptarcir 
jvalanab (1, 225, 35), tongues, or weapons (Saptajihvanana, -anala, -heti, 
I, 232, 5 and 10; H 13956). The seven are also interpreted as seven 
distinct fires, the three sacrificial fires, agnitreta or tretagnayab (R 4, 

13, 23), with which are identified the father with the Garhapatya fire, the 
mother with the Dak§iija, and the Guru with the Ahavaniya (12, 108, 7), 
together with the Sabhya, Avasathya, Smarta, and Laukika (3, 221, 5 and 
13, 14, 410 with N.’s explanation of the seven). Instead of seven flames, 
Agni has three points, TriSikha (H 12292), perhaps as fires. Metaphorically, 
five fires are “self and fire” added to the three one has to tend (father, 
mother, Guru). Other counts have to do with sacrificial fires: five, 3, 134, 
12; six, 2, 35, 16; eightfold, 1, 229, 25 (cf. AV. 13, 3, 19); twenty-seven, 
in Indra’s palace (2, 7, 21, yajnavahab pavakafr, so, not asterisms); 
thirty (13, 103, 36). Agni divides himself into five as pranas (H 13938). 
The ordinary “five fires” refer to those about an ascetic (13, 90, 26 = Manu 
3, 185; cf. 1, 86, 16, and Ravana as pancagni in 3, 275, 16).‘) 

Among fires must be reckoned also those which to us are purely 
metaphorical, the audarya, “belly-fire” (of hunger, extinguished with 
food, 12, 17, 5), and the head- and navel-fires (3, 213, 3f.; S adds nabhyam 
agnifi prati§thitab), as also the fires of love and wrath. That there 
may be no doubt as to these being real fires, the poet of 2, 71^15; 7 2 , 14, 
says that owing to the hero’s “wrath-fire” kr.odhagni (kopagni, 4, 62, 
14; 12, 139, 44, etc.) flames burst from his orifices, together with smoke, 
sparks, and fire, “as if from the holes of a burning tree”. The “fire of 
battle” may be due to sparks from weapons, but “divine weapons” and 
even elephants’ tusks add to this fire (7, 20, 39, etc.). Pure metaphor is 
“fire of grief, extinguished with water of wisdom” (11, 8,49), and interesting 
only on account of the last expression. The “mental fire”, manaso 
’gnil?, is jiva (soul),' “like pure fire, like fire of lightning” (12, 187, 31; 

») Fausball, Indian,Mythology, p- 171. refers to "ten sorts of fires”; but the 
passage he cites gives not ten but seven (13, 1005 = 13, 14; 400, ye vayavalj sapta 
tathai 'va ca ’gnayalj). He perhaps meant 14, 21, 4f., where ten gods are called ten 
fires (with "ten oblations"), all metaphorical or philosophical, the gods of the senses re¬ 
ceiving the fuel of the senses, etc. 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


99 


ib. 241, 20). There are other fires, of knowledge, jfianagni (6, 28, 37)1 
of the curse (3, 72, 31), and above all of the eye, which can burn (evil 
eye). Even Gandharl, when she looks at Yudhi§$hira, raises a blister on 
his finger (ir, 15, 30). But these and the "foe-fire'’, the "family-coal” (in- 
jurer, 12, 173, 24), must be passed over for the more important “fire of 
the demons” and the mystic forms of Agni. The normal fire is produced 
by twirling a fire-stick (aranim agnikamo va mathnati 12, 81, 6) or 
"out-twirling fire" (nirmathi§yami pavakam, R 3, 68, 27), but the fire 
of demons comes from the oceanic fire in .the underworld and will even¬ 
tually destroy the world. It is the "water-fire in ocean" (toyagnih sagare, 
12, 139, 44), or Patalajvalanab (1, 21, 7) and arises from the,wrath of the 
Sun (3, 3, 57 ) or from the wrath of Aurva Bhargava materialised (H 2149). 
It is commonly called Yugantarka, Saipvartaka Vahni (7, 32, 46 f.; 3, 188, 
69). In 6, 7, 28, it is located on the Malyavat Mountain (Kalagni), but in 
5 > 99 i 3 . it is in Nagaloka. Apparently the same fire (5, 99, 17) is kept 
in a resplendent egg sunk in ocean. At the end of the aeon the fire will 
hatch and consume the three worlds; no one knows the origin of this 
egg (ib. 18). From the ocean is taken the name "Fire of the Mare’s mouth”. 
One offers at Vacjava Tirtha a cake to Saptarcis, who appears morn and 
eve on Hemakuta, where Vayu is ever to be seen (3, 82, 92; ib. no, 5). 
The supreme deity, in the unitary conception of the universe, as Agni 
Vacjavavaktra, drinks the waters and lets them out again; as Saipvartaka 
Vahni he is one with Saipvartaka .Surya and Anila; Fire, Sun, and Wind 
all being saipvartaka as helping in the final overthrow (3, 189, 12). 
Thus the demoniac fire is .interpreted as divine. Curiously, though fire is 
divine, no common fire, vrthagni, is sacred enough to burn the pious 
dead. The epic hero blames the Fire-god that he had not been hallowed 
when he consumed the hero’s father (15, 38, 13 f.; 39, 1 dhig Agnim, 
etc.). The crematory fire is a special form of fire; it is not much respected 
but is not impure (3, 222, 6; ib. 200, 89; R 3, 33, 3, na bahu manyante 
SmaSanagnim). Fire is especially invoked at burial feasts (13, 91, 23 f.). 
All good people worship fire. The king on rising goes to his bath-room, 
dresses, prays to the Sun, and then enters the Fire-chamber (agniSarana), 
where he honors Agni with kindlings and oblations accompanied with 
Mantras (7, 82, 13). To discover signs of victory, Indrajit lights the fire of 
vibhltaka wood, and draws omens from the flame, with perfumes, grain, 
the sacrifice of a black goat, etc. (R 6, 73, 17 f.; ib. 80, 5f.). The agni£ala 
or -agar a (-Sara pa, -grha) is also found in the hermitages, and the 
fear of its igniting the forest, conjoined with the fear of its going out, 
probably resulted in the erection of these god-houses (cf. R 2, 91, 11, etc., 
and ib. 99, 12). Fires started by dry bamboos rubbing against each other 
were dreaded; only Indra could extinguish them. A phrase “igniting fire 
ignited” pradipya pradlptagnim (2, 64, 10) refers to camphor. Fire is 
the sire of gold (13, 84, 42 and 56) and tests gold (R 3, 29, 20), as Agni 
tests man’s truth. He is the deity presiding over speech (12, 314, 5, etc.) 
and man’s truth is tested by an appeal to Agni, the test consisting in 
walking through fire (below, Sita), or in submitting to Agni’s action, 
whether he burns the man’s house, etc. So Jatavedas "spares the houses 
of the good” (3, 134, 27; cf. Manu 8, 108). Dull fires alarm augurs (4, 46, 
25); smoking flame implies disaster (R 6, 10, 15). Suttee is recognised 
by both epics (1,76,46; ib. 125, 31; 12, 148, gf.; R 2, 66, 12; R 5, 26, 
7 , the asatl does not die with her husband). In 15, 33, 21, “good women 


7* 



ioo III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


true to their husbands” perform suttee by drowning. Committing suicide 
on the pyre of a beloved object is not confined to wives (3, 137, 19). *) 
Agni is witness of the world and as such is invoked by conspirators, 
doubted wives, etc. (7, 17, 27; R 6, 119, 24 f.). In H 13928 f., Agni is the 
son of Jsamf and of ^antjilr,(cf. H 992), and "witness of the world”. In R 4, 
5, 15 f., Hanumat “makes a fire”, janayamasa pavakam, as preliminary 
to forming a military alliance and the contracting parties then shake hands 
(hastaip pldayamasa panina) and circumambulate the fire as witness 
(R 4, 5, 13), which is placed between Rama and Sugriva and "revered 
with flowers” (cf. the expressions Agnisaksikarp sakhyam, sagnikam, 
etc., R 7, 33, 18; cf. ib. 5, 58, 138). Agni’s so-called son Drstadyumna is 
born from a sacrificial fire enkindled to injure the foe. The strength of 
the foe “is poured upon the fire” (5, 126, 2, medhagni = sarpgra- 
magni). On the other hand, fire drives away demons (13, 92, 13). On 
entering a forest, Arjuna swings a torch for protection against evil spirits 
(1, 170, 4), and priests keep off evil from the king by making him mount 
an elephant and carrying fire around him (2, 21, 23). Real wifehood im¬ 
plies the presence of fire (ceremony); hence Agni evades the truth in 
acting as a witness (though he fears a saint’s curse more than a lie, 1, 
5, 27 f.). It is on this occasion that Bhrgu curses the god to be an “all¬ 
eater” (1, 6 , 14), but the fulsome laudation of Agni here amounts only 
to the usual flattery of a god in a hymn or laudation (Brahman calls Agni 
“lord of the world” and "creator”, etc.). Only the hinder rays are his “all¬ 
eating form” (1, 7, 20 f.). 

§ 50. The varied activities of the Fire-god led to the theory of the 
Adbhuta and other “various Agnis” exploited as historical, genealogical 
characters-in 3, 217 f. As descendants of mother rivers the different Agnis 
appear in the history of Agni hiding in water, Agni being created by 
Brahman and identified with Angiras, third son of Brahman. Angiras’ son by 
Subha or Vasud(h)a was the gods’ Guru, Brhaspati; his eldest daughter 
was Bhanumati (the fairest); next came Raga (best loved); next, Sinlvall 
(so thin as to be visible only at times), called also “daughter of Kapardin” 
(faiva); the fourth and fifth daughters were Arci§matF (as masculine, a name 
of Agni) and Havismatl (S has Kuhu and Arcismatl as fourth and fifth); 
the sixth and seventh were Mahismatl and Mahamati (seen at very grand 
sacrifices), and lastly (but see S above) “the blessed one, whom the 
people, as they see her, address with the exclamation kuhu! and say 
that she is without a portion (kuhukuhayate eka ’narp&e ’ti; S, eka- 
neka). There are thus six or seven lunar days as female forms of Agni. 
The account continues with the names of .seven holy fires as six sons 
and one daughter of Brhaspati by Candramasi, his lunar wife, who bore 
foaipyu, NiSayavana, Vtevajit, ViSvabhuj, Vadavagni, Svistakrt and the pu- 
trika Manyati, Svaha (mother of Kama, Amogha, and Uktha). Each of 
these fires has his restricted work, foarpyu is occupied with seasonal and 
horse-sacrifices; his wife Satya, daughter of Dharma, is mother of Bharad- 

l ) Ascetics may die by fire, though the general epic rule forbids suicide. Compare 
Holtzmann, Mahabharata, I, 26 and 147; also JAOS. 21 (1900), I46f. The possibility 
of suicide on the.part of a wife is recognised in both epics and is approved as the proper 
thing to do for a Sat!; but it is not practised except in the later addition of Mbh. (1, 125), 
describing the suttee of MadrT, the wife of Paijdu. That a wife should die with her hus¬ 
band is so common a rule (found in Africa, South America, etc.) as to make it improbable 
that the idea of suttee is modern. What is (comparatively) modern is enforced suttee by fire. 



V. The Eight Great Devas. • ioi 

vaja and Bharata (fire of full-moon sacrifice). Bharadvaja’s wife, Vira, bore 
Vira (Rathaprabhu, Rathadhvana, Kumbharetas), father of Siddhi (Mithya) 
by the Sarayu. Bharata had a son Bharata and a daughter Bharat!; he is 
called “lord of three maidens” (= Pu§timati in 221, 1.!) The “league¬ 
making” fire comes from NiScyavana ("not budging”), and he also “makes 
good” or cures and hence is called Satya Ni$krti, whose son causes 
wounds and makes people cry, hence Svana Rujaskara. ViSvabhuj (no 
“children”) is the digestive fire and he married Gomati (this river appears 
as Gopatl in S). For Manyati (Svaha) Manu is also read. Her son Kama 
(love-fire) is "more beautiful than any being in the sky”, and Amogha is 
like his brother in that he has a bow and wreath of flowers; but he is 
the “fire of battle”. So, as warrior, Agni has a bow and discus (7, 11, 
21; 23,94, given to the Papcjus) and becomes diva’s arrow (13, 161, 29). 
In describing the Paficajanya fire, who begot “the awful fire of the Pitrs 
and the Brhat and Rathantara” (melodies), S makes Hari (Vi§pu) his son, 
and both texts make him father (“from the navel”) of fiiva (and “born 
of strength”) of Indra, and of Vayu (S omits the absurd “and of Agni”). 
He begot also the (two) Anudattau and viSve bhutani (sic), also the 
five (B as twenty-five) sons of Pitrs. &va as fire is devoted to £sakti 
( 3 aktipujaparalj, 3,221,2, S has £aktipujayanibl)- Here too belong, 
as fires, strange groups of gods (§ 27) who “steal sacrifices”, arranged in 
three pentads, one being Mitra gods. There are others, not less vague 
and mystic, sons ofTapa(s), Purandara, U§man, Prajapati Manu, 3 ambhu, 
Avasathya, the five Urjaskaras, “five gold-like sons of sacrifice”, also the 
“exhausted sun”, Gavampati Pari-(or Pra-)Sranta, who “created demons, 
Asuras, and mortals”. Angiras’s son Brhadbhanu had as wife Supraja, 
daughter of the Sun (Suryaja, but S reads Bfhadbhasa ca Somaja), 
and this Bhanu had six (S, four) sons, Balada, Manyumat, Visnu (Dhrtimat), 
and Agrayana (“his oblation unites with that of Indra”) and “Agraha and 
Stubha” (not in S). S adds the account of NiSa, wife of (Bhanu) Manu 
and her five sons, but omits from her sons “the two Agn!§omau”, and 
changes her daughter’s name from RohinI to Harm! (both texts-unclear; 
apparently making this daughter of Manu the wife of HiranyakaSipu). 
The five Pavakas (sons of this wife of Manu) include Kapila, “author of 
the Sankhya-Yoga”; the other four are VaiSvanara ("honored with Par- 
janya”), ViSvapati, Saipnihita (the “fire that evokes speech”), and Agran! 
(“who causes bodily activity”). The Grhapati (222, 4) fire is next derived 
from Saha Apa, the “power in the water” (husband of Mudita), and is 
identified with Adbhuta, whose wife is Priya and whose son is Bharata. 
This fire fears his descendant Niyata Kratu, the fire that burns the dead, 
and his history introduces the story of Atharvan (below), at the end of 
which all fires are said to be mothered by the rivers and to be essentially 
one; also as mental offspring to be derived through Atri from Brahman 
(3,222,28). Though reeking with mysticism, this account is fairly clear 
and very instructive, showing that as different distinct fires were con¬ 
ceived the fire of digestion, the fire of love, the fire that hurts and cures, 
the fire that guards leagues; and that the new-moon fire, etc., are special 
divinities apart from the moon. This last fire, daughter of Augiras, called 
Sinlvall (new moon, also birth-goddess) is differentiated not quite logically 
from Kuhu. The epic admits four such moon-phases (8, 34, 32), as fastenings 
of the heavenly cat, Sinivali, Anumati, Kuhu, and Raka, the first two being 
the prior (days of the) new and full moon respectively, and the last two 


io2 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


being the succeeding parts (lunar days) of the new and full moon. But 
in 3,229, 50, Devasena, wife of Skanda, is called Aparajita (also name of 
Durga), the Unconquered, Giver of Good, Lak§mi (also wife of Vi$nu), 
Asa, (read A£a, Hope), Sa§thT and Sinivali and Kuhu, that is, both moon- 
phases are one with the Sa§thl (lucky sixth day after birth). Agni Pathikrt 
is adored when one starts on a journey, either in this world or to the 
next world, with the remainder of the new- and full-moon sacrifices (3, 221, 
30; 5, 83,9; ib. 16, 43). A special service is necessary if sacred fires 
cross, in honor of the loud, Vlti, (cf. AB. 7, 6) and Davagni (fires). The 
last is common as a forest-conflagration (da 0 or da°). If a woman in her 
courses touch the oblation-fire, a rite must be performed in honor of the 
Vasumat fire. If the fire of a woman who is lying in touch the agni- 
hautrika fire, a rite is ordered (tabu of sutika). If cattle die, a rite is 
performed in honor of the Surabhimat fire, or if one alive is reported to 
be dead. This Puranic analysis of fires is comparable, but not the same, 
/with the “forty-nine fires” recognised in VP. 1, 10, 17, ekonapancaSad 
vahnayah. 

§ 51. Agni is an actor in several epic scenes. He was cursed by 
Bhrgu (above) and disappeared, but was found in the 3 aml wood (9,47, 
14 f.). The Saha fire, fearing the funeral fire, made Atharvan his proxy, 
gave up his body, and hid, but he was betrayed by fishes, whom (Vedic 
tale) he cursed to be eaters of everything; then (also Vedic) from water 
he fled into earth and made emeralds, metals, deodars from his bones, 
iron from his liver, etc. (3, 222, 7f.). Agni was made sick by eating butter 
for twelve years and was advised by Brahman to try a change of diet. 
With Vayu’s help he devoured the Khaudava forest (historical?), though the 
elephants formed a fire-brigade and seven times thwarted him, till Arjuna 
helped him (against Indra, I, 223,64f.). Elsewhere Agni coops up elephants 
as fires surround them (7, 22, 14). Atharvan as a fire appears also in the 
demoniac ceremony to raise an apparition from fire in secret rites (aupa- 
nisadab kriyab). performed by means of the Mantras of Brhaspati and 
USanas as declared in the Atharvaveda (a karma vaitanasaipbhavam, 
3, 251, 21 f.). There is no doubt that the poets regarded this Veda as a 
work pertaining to evil magic and to a fire-cult for evil purpose. But the 
seers are Atharvabhutab, H 11 520. Agni’s disappearance in I, 37,9 is des¬ 
cribed as hiding in a cave. In 13,85,8 f., he retreats first to the sea, 
then to the trees, and is betrayed by frog, elephant, and parrot, in turn, 
each of whom he curses. So the frog loses his taste, the elephant has 
his tongue turned back, and the parrot loses his voice. But the gods com¬ 
pensate each., Agni is here older than fsiva;. he is creator of all, one with 
Love, father of gold and (by proxy) of Skanda. Other gods being sterile 
(see § 24), Agni alone is competent to raise a son capable of combat¬ 
ing Taraka. Agni is "father of Skanda” in 2, 31, 44, at which place the 
god is also exalted and a general prayer is addressed to him and other 
gods in these words: “May Agni give me energy, and Vayu give me 
breath; may Earth bestow upon me power, and Water make me blest” 
(ib. 42, the “Vedas are born for Agni’s sake”). Direct identification of 
Fire with lightning and Sun (q. v.) is common. Thus when Agni searches 
for Indra and fears to enter water, he is reminded (in another laud, 5, 
16, 6) that he is “clouds and lightnings", and this is probably the three¬ 
fold fire, namely Agni, Surya, and Vidyut, though explained as “maker, 
sustainer, and destroyer" (ib. 2 = 1/229, 2 4> of- L 7, I9f-: tvaip karta 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


103 


ca ’nta eva ca, tvarp dharayasi lokaips trln 1 ), thus a first Trimurti). 
He "whose light is from Brahman" carries the other gods and drags the 
car of Brahman (8, 46, 38), saptitarp gatah, perhaps a conscious assi¬ 
milation to his seven steeds. His own golden car he gave to Arjuna 
(8, 31, 55). Perhaps this was the “horse-yoked car" (the horses are red, 
H 13936), which Prajapati gave offhand to Indrajit to bribe him (R 7, 
30, 15).. Besides becoming a horse, when disguised, Agni appears as a 
goat or a pigeon (below); but when he hunts for Indra, he, for obvious 
reasons, “puts on the.garb of a female" in the tale already narrated. He, 
like Indra, is fond of women and is an adulterer, and for these reasons 
he is presented as a goat. No maiden may offer libations to Agni; if she 
does, she goes to hell. He is chagavaktra as Naigameya Agni (bahu- 
prajah) in which form he amuses Skanda (3,226,29; ib. 228, 3 and 5). 
An oblation poured on a goat's ear (or on gold) is virtually made to 
Agni. A goat, a ram, and a horse represent, respectively, Agni, Varuna, 
Surya (13,75, 37 ; 84,47 and 56; 85, 147f.). Agni is unscrupulously vora¬ 
cious, burning up the hermitage af Apava (12, 49, 38 f.), burning a child 
(3, 127, 2 f.), and accepting other human sacrifices, even accepting for an 
evil purpose the sacrifice of the ten heads of the fiend (3, 275, 20). The 
head of a horse is put on the fire-altar in the horse-sacrifice to work ill 
to one’s foes (7, 143, 71), and this or any other fire of destruction is all 
good to him, is himself; for he is consecrated for progeny-getting and for 
suicide equally (1, 120 ,' 40 ; 10, 7, 56). He is “the priest" and as a priest 
ho appears disguised in the Khaijtjava episode (1, 222, 3of.; so chasing 
•Maya, ib. 228, 41). In the story of SudarSana (daughter of a king Dur- 
yodhana and of the river Narmada), his beloved, he appears as priest to 
woo her, and gives as Sulka his continued presence as Agni in Mahi§- 
matl (13, 2, 32)®). The son of the god and of the girl is called SudarSana 
(name of Agni’s discus) as a sort of metronymic (but also Pavaki). He 
married Oghavati, who was raped, in accordance with the guest-right, by 
a priest, who was Dharma in disguise! Agni supports the guest-right as 
he is “guest of all creatures” (3, 313, 66). The account in 2, 31, 23 f., says 
that Nila, king of Mahi§matT, was attacked by Sahadeva after the hero 
had got tribute from Mainda and Dvivida, sons of the ASvins (monkeys), 
who lived near the famous caves of Orissa, but Nila could not be over¬ 
come because Agni helped the king. SudarSana and his son Agnivarqa 
appear in DaSaratha’s genealogy (R 1, 70). Agni is represented as an 
adulterer, paradarika, who gave a boon to all the women living in that 
place, that they should wander free and not be restrained (svairinyalj, 
aprativarane, 2, 31, 38); but he is lauded by Sahadeva as father of 
Rudra and destroyer of sin, son of Wind, origin of water, and god of 
purity, who bestows happiness, and is invoked: “Cleanse me by thy truth 
and give me, O Agni, contentment, prosperity, learning, and joy" (ib. 50). 
As protector of the guest-right in another form, the right of the refugee, 
Agni tests Jaibi, under the form of a pigeon. Despite the fact that the 
pigeon is ominous of death (§ 12), Jsibi refuses to give up his unwelcome 


l ) Fausball, op. cit. p. 174, compares the three forms with the “explanation” of 1, 7, 
19; but it should be said that this is not the explanation of the text. Agni is one of tfie 
three horrible forms of Siva (q. v.) and is identical with sun and lightning also as' forms 
of the same god. In H 74 22 i conversely, Siva is lauded as Atharvan = Agni, yajfte 
hutal), etc. 

s ) The father of the bride gives a dowry and the bride-groom gives a Sulka in this tale. 


104 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

guest. According to 3,208,7, this tale shows that it is right to eat meat! 
In 1, 197 . 29, both &bi and ViSvabhuj appear as names of former Indras, 
but here he is son of USInara and Madhavi, daughter of Yayati, with 
whom fsibi and his brothers sport in heaven (i, 86, 6), though also repre¬ 
sented as son of HiranyakaSipu (1, 65, 18; 5, 118, 2, 9, and 20). As Saura- 
theya, &bi is son of Suratha (an Apsaras, H 14164) and father of Kapo- 
taroman (3, 197, 25 and 28), the "bull of the Saurathas” (so S). A parallel 
story to the received version, according to which he weighs out his flesh 
to compensate the hawk (Indra) for the loss of the pigeon (Agni), is to 
this effect: that fsibi killed and cooked his own son for a priest to eat 
(3, 198, 2f.; usual tale in 3, 131, 28), and would have eaten thereof himself, 
had not the priest, who was Vidhatr in disguise, resurrected the son. 
The same story of the pigeon is told of his son Vfsadarbha or Bfhad- 
garbha (13, 32, 4f.), but Agni does not here appear; only Indra with the 
gods come to see the great act (in this version &bi actually dies). Agni 
is “more pleased with the feeding of guests than with offerings of food 
and flower and paste” (3, 200, 22). 

§ 52. Agni’s amorousness stops at violatyig the wives of the great 
seers. He fell in love with them when they slept, but, though glorious, 
they were cold and "pure as moon-beams”. Becoming the Garhapatya fire 
he "as it were, fondled them”, but, being unable to rouse yieir passion, 
he went to the forest (of all places I) to commit suicide (3, 224, 29 f.; ib. 38). 
In the meantime Svaha (1, 199, 5; 5, 104, 8; R 5, 24, 26, devl), daughter 
of Daksa, who loved Agni, assumed the forms of the wives (except that 
of Arundhatf) and through her instrumentality was born Skanda (Pavaki, 
Svaheya), son of the supernatural Adbhuta Agni, who had been engaged 
in carrying oblations to the Sun’s disc (3, 224, 14 and 28), till the sight 
of the seers’ wives induced him to transform himself into the special 
Garhapatya form 'of fire. Svaha is recognised regularly as Agni’s wife 
(13, 146, 5 and oft). The rest of his family is variously interpreted. A 
god who is his own father and has as many forms as there are sacrifices, 
with parents and sons in each form, who is born of ^andill, or AranI, or 
water, whose father is Brahman, or. Angiras, and who is sire of all the 
gods as well as sprung from the mouth of Vispu and appears as a form 
of Rudra and is listed among Pitrs and among ViSve Devas (above, and 
13, 91 ) 29) and Vasus, is not a god to be genealogically fixed. One re¬ 
current phrase makes him chief of the Vasus (Holtzmann) and this is 
the only important item (Apa Saha mentioned above as an Agni, husband 
of Mudita, is a Vasu in H 152. Cf. 6, 34, 23; 7,6, 5, etc.), £andili (and 
Agni ^andilya) as mother is distinctly later than Araiji. Besides the 
SudarSana of the legend above, Drstadyumria is son, i. e. a bhaga or 
part of Agni; and AgniveSa was a saintly hero “born of Agni”. He learned 
the use of "fire-arms” (agneyam astram is used by gods and heroes) 
from Bharadvaja and taught them to Drstadyumna’s father (1, 130, 39 f.). 
The north-eastern mountaineers in general are also born of Agni (7, 112, 
31, Kirata Agniyonayafi), perhaps because Agni’s district is the East 
(cf. VS. 9, 35, Agninetra Devalj are in the East), though as world-protector 
he has the South-east (4, 3 °, 25, his district is East), but his altar inclines 
to the North-east (R 2, 99 > 24). As sons of Agni, the Ramayana adds Nila 
(the ape) and “fiery-mouth”, Ulkamukha, also Asafiga (R 1, 17, 12; ib. 4, 
41, 2 f,; ib. 6, 30, 25), and the “very glorious saint” Suprabha is also "son 
of Agni” (R 7, 96, 4). Agni himself is the ape-sun (3, 3, 61) Vrsakapi 



V. The Eight Great Dev as. 


105 


(H 12292, etc.), but only as supreme Atman (&va, 7, 202, 136). Agni- 
kanyapura is the city of the “girls of Agni”, but they are the divine 
maidens of his harem (13, 25, 43). H 773$ assigns them to Uma’s court, 
though Ii (73 and 83) also recognises, as real daughters of Agni, Agneyl 
and Dhisana. The saints called Agni$vattas and Agnidagdhas might be 
called connections of Agni, as they are regarded as Pitrs, "without fire 
and with fire”, according to VP., where they follow the enumeration of 
fires (VP. 1,10, 18); but they are apparently connected only through having 
been burned by Agni (or eaten) at what the epic calls the Agnicaya or 
AgniraSi (RG 4, 60, 17). 

The relation between Agni and the other gods has already been 
shown in part. Krsna (q. v.) overcomes him, but he is one with Krsna- 
Vi§iju, as he is one with fsiva, for whom he "removes difficulties” (12, 
343 ) 2 3 )> and w *th the Sun. He is especial friend of Vayu and fights against 
the demons (Asura Bali, 7, 25, 20) on Indra’s side, but against Indra in 
his own interest, to aid the Valakhilyas in creating Garuda, as also against 
Varuna and other gods (Khancjava, 1, 225, 13 f.). The Agnistut, because it 
praises Agni alone, is dislikpd by Indra (13, 12, 4 f., Indradvi$ta). Vayu 
is friend and soul of Agni (cf. Vayu as father of Agni, § 49) and the friendship 
of the two is as proverbial as that of David and Jonathan (cf. 3, 147, 29, “the 
love of Agni $nd Anila”). “Pavana the friend of Anala” lives in the western 
district (5, no, 19), but Agni’s own district is in the East (above). Together 
they create the White Mountain and 3 aravana, birth-place of Karttikeya, 
through diva’s seed, and with the seed Agni produces gold in the Ganges 
(R 1, 36, 19; ib. 37, 22); Agni as Vayusamanvitalj; cf. 6, 86, 20, Agner 
Vayusahayasya yatha kaksaip didhaksatab, but whether personifi¬ 
cation as divinities be intended here may be doubted. Agni and Soma (united 
above in the late Markancjeya episode as forms of fires, Agni§omau) are 
“born from the eyes of Brahman” in the hodge-podge cff 12, 343, 96, sa 
Purusalj prajab sisrksamapo netrabhyam Agnlsomau sasarja; cf. 
ib. 342,68, Agnifi Somena saqiyukta ekayonitvam agatab- An attempt 
is made here to cast them as priestly and warrior-like into different orders, 
but it is confused, as Agni is a Brahman and Brahmans are Agnibhutab 
(ib. 343, 15), and Agni is also a K§atriya: yab Somas tad Brahma yad 
Brahma te Brahmaija, yo ’gnis tat Ksatraip, K^atrad Brahma 
balavattaram (ib. 9). The Vedic distinction (!§B. 10,4, 1, 5) between Agni 
as the priestly caste and Indra as the warrior (so created) is here lost 
sight of (cf. Agnisomiyaqi Brahma, 12, 343,656; the two gods uphold 
the priestly power). Agni will carry no oblations in a kingless land (12, 
67, 5). Soma and Agni, combined in the East, appear as the “two eyes of 
Dharma”, because it is the East which was first made the starting-point 
of oblations (so at least N. explains cak§usl Dharmasya, 5, 108, 4). 
Agni is Kumarasu (Skanda is Agneya, 3, 232, 3; Agnija, R 7, 4, 24), and 
is 3 iva (and Brahman, 13, 85, 147), whose eye he is (13, 14, 324), and 
general lord of Pitrs (ib. 313), whom he saves from indigestion, as he does 
the gods, by keeping off the indigestion devils (12, 92, iof.). He is himself 
in epical and Vedic literature “all the gods” (3, 224, 20, S has agnib 
sarvaS ca devatab). That Agni is all the gods, is called a devasya 
Sasanam (14, 24, 10, read vedasya?). As father of Kumara (S 7 > 4*> 2 & 
calls Kumara Vahnisuta), Agni gives him a goat, chaga, the vehicle 
.of Agni, with which he is identified (13, 86, 24). The Krttikas and Agni 
constitute the “asterism and divinity of the sword”, respectively (12, 166, 



106 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

* * f 

82). In 3, 231, 44, Skanda is Krttikasuta and the Krttikas are a “seven¬ 
headed” asterism (3, 230, n) Of the personified Sword (as Dharma), and 
(1, 221, 85) they are the nak§atraiji Vahnidaivatam, that is, Agni is 
their divinity, which shows that the Krttikas means sword and also that 
Agni himself was understood as a war-god. He takes upon himself part 
of the sin of Indra, on condition that he may cast the sin off again upon 
those who do not worship him with "seeds, plants, and flowers”, but 
this is a sectarian insertion in favor of bloodless sacrifice (12, 283, 31 f.). 
Another slight indication of Agni’s being a warrior (besides his actual 
battles) may be found in the comparison introduced when he searches 
for the lost Indra and fears water, “since fire arose from water as the 
kingly power arose from the priestly” (each is overcome by its source, 
5 , 15, 34 — 38, 13). Having found Indra, Agni agrees to help him on the 
understanding that he shall share in Indra’s great ceremony, Mahakratu 
(Indragnyor bhaga ekab, J>, 16, 32). Agni helps Indra’s son particularly 
by giving him (Arjuna) his bow and ape-standard (1,61, 47 f.). His insatiate 
greed (5, 26, 6) has the general redeeming feature that “he is unwearied 
in doing work for man” (5, 29, 10). Agni’s beauty is often spoken of, 
especially at night, and when strengthened by prayer and butter, mantra- 
hutarcimall (6, 60, 25). The abhimantrita fire only a boaster pretends 
to defy (5,61,9). Fires as heroes defend Bana’s city-(H 10458 f.). 

§ 53. As the god of ritual, Agni is recognised as approached by the 
threefold circumambulatiom The bird that sacrifices itself in fire “goes 
thrice around Agni” as a beginning /agniip trib parikramya, 12, 146, 
23), and in the marriage-cfiremony this is the rule (R 1, 73, 36, trir agniip 
te parikramya uhur bharyab). As upholder of priests, his rule is 
their model: “the law of Fire is the law of priests” (12, 141, 64; here, 
in contrast to the aindro dharmab of warriors, the agniko dharmab 
gives the right to eat all things: brahma vahnir, mama balam, says 
ViSvamitra when hungry enough to eat a dog). As one ceremonially im¬ 
pure may not look at Sun, Moon, or stars, or touch a cow or priest, so 
he (the ucchi§ta, 13, 104,, 63) may not touch Fire. Such a man is ex¬ 
communicated, "Agni accepts not .his oblation” (13, 126, 29f.). Nor can 
any oblation be made without fire i na§tarp hutam anagnikam (5, 39, 
42). Above it was shown that Agni as papahan burns sinners (cf. 12,68, 
42, papan dahati, of the king functioning as Agni). But Agni has the 
same role when acting as the Saipvartaka fire. Compare 5, 48, 65: "Like 
Agni at the end of the age, introducing a new age, I shall burn all the 
hosts of robbers, destroying them” (N. yugante Satrunaip saqjhare 
jate sati), though it may be forced to assume that here the Simile implies 
Agni papahan. Elsewhere, however, the Fire of Destruction is expressly 
to bring to an end the Kali age and reissue goodness unsullied. As averter 
of obstacles (above) Agni precedes GaneSa, (§ 145), who appears only as 
deus ex machina in Adi, and in this r&le, as well as giver of boons, he is 
said to have blessed Gaya; he also introduces here the pernicious doctrine 
of the “grace of the Guru”. Thus he grants Gaya the power to know 
the Vedas without study, simply, as Gaya begs, through “austerity, chastity, 
observances, vows, and the grace of the Gurus” (7, 66, 2f.). Gaya con¬ 
cludes: avighnaqi -ca ’stu me nityaip dharmakaryegu, Pavaka, 
"may there never be any obstacle in the performance of my duties”, 
which request the god granted. To honor his own Guru, Brhaspati, and 
Indra, Agni, sent as a messenger by Indra, goes to Marutta and accepts 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


107 


hospitality, but when Marutta says that he will burn Agni with his (Ma- 
rutta’s) eyes, the Fire-god, “afraid of being burned”, trembles and runs 
away (14, 9, 8f.). In another section of the same book (58, 46), Agni burns 
fiercely to aid Utanka, after first appearing to him in the form of a black 
horse, and saying that he was his Guru’s Guru. So by burning he frightened 
the Nagas into giving Utanka the stolen ear-rings, as elsewhere (1, 3, 128 f.) 
the ancient Apamgarbha VaiSvanara is the horse of Indra (ib. 149; cf. yo 
’Svab so 'gnih, 167). Usually as horse he is white; bis light has power 
and he is fearless; though like the light of the Sun his light cannot pene¬ 
trate the “darkness of Death’s realm" (in the South, 5, 109, 21, tamalj 
. . abhedyaip bhaskarena ’pi svayaip va Kp§navartmana). In 
H I3928f., Agni is described as general Devaduta (messenger of the 
gods), whose soul is Wind, whose source is water, as he- is the water’s 
source, the red one clothed in blue, chief of gods (devagryab), the maker 
of the Vedas (Vedakartr, epithet of the Sun), the hara of oblations, and 
Hari; also Svadhadhipa, Svahapati, Devadeva, Rudratman, etc., where, as 
warrior, he overthrows the Daityas. Otherwise, Devaduta is not applied 
to Agni, though it is not an uncommon expression and in 3, 55, 22f. is 
used of Nala as messenger of Agni himself, inter alios (in 3, 260, 30 f., 
the “messenger of the gods" who converses with Maudgalya is not named). 
Agni’s last appearance in the great epic is as a mountainous obstruction 
in the path of the heroes who are climbing up to heaven. He bids Arjuna 
cast into the ocean the bow the god had given him after receiving it 
himself from Varinja, and when tha restitution was accomplished, “seven- 
flamed Pavaka disappeared" (17, I, 43). The epic does not ascribe to 
Agni the later epithets, Abjahasta, Tomaradhara, RohitaSva, and Chaga- 
ratha, though it suggests all save the first (“lotus in hand”). *) In H II360f., 
the sixteen priests of the fire-cult are enumerated, with 1 many textual 
errors in C (= 3, 10, 6f.), some of whom, like the Hotr, fsamitr, and 
Samaga (3, 100, 14) are common enough to be incidentally mentioned in 
the epic itself; 'others (Agnidhra, Ne§tr,. etc.) are too technical to find a 
place there, though all of course were well known, as were 'the Agni- 
hotras (3, 82, 36, etc.) and Agni§tomas (ib. 83, 88 f.) incidentally referred 
to (with atiratras). Agnyahitas and Anahitagnis (those w6 do and do not 
keep up the sacred fires) are also mentioned in both epics, but these or 
equivalent terms are found everywhere. An Agni-Tfrtha is mentioned in 
3, 84, 46 (Agnidharaqi samasadya trisu loke§u vigrutam, tatra 
’bhi§ekaip kurvario hy Agni§tomam avapnuyat), as being so ce¬ 
lebrated that a bath there brings the reward of an Agni§toma. On “hell-* 
fire”, see § 54 f., and on Soma and Agni, § 45. 

§ 54. Yama. — Yama is the son of Vivasvat (see Adityas, § $)• 
According to 1,75,1 if., Yama Vaivasvata, son of Vivasvat Martanda, was 
born after Manu (also son of Vivasvat). Instead of the last statement, S 
has “and also Yam! was born as daughter of Martanda” (S I, 69, 15). In 
*H 552, the pair are called Yama and YamUna. But the twin sister plays 
no part in the epic as such, being only a relit of the old Vedic myth. 
As Yam a is some times identified with Kala (Time, as the universal de¬ 
stroyer), the scholiast identifier with the sister of Yama the "sister of 
"Kala”, Bhaya KalabhaginI, who married Heti, the Rak§asa king, father by 
her of Vidyutke§a, who married the daughter of Sandhya called Salaka- 

*) For a very complete monograph on Agni, in the Great Epic, cf. Adolph Holtzmann, 
Agni nach den Vorstellungen des Mahabharata (1878). 


108 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

tankata, mother of Suke^a, whose three sons Warred with the gods till, 
overcome by Visnu and'Garuda, they abandoned Lanka and fled under 
earth (R 7, 4, 16 f., and 23; ib. 8, 49). According to Mbh., S 2, 23, 20 f., 
the event described in VP. 5, 1, 76 f., where it is said that the birth of 
Balarama was transferred from DevakT to Rohinl through the agency of 
Visnu’s power, yoganidra (cf. H 3306), took place through the activity of 
Yama by means of yamya maya. The word here means “constraining”, 
with which signification the epic always connects the god’s name (6, 34, 
29, Yamab ,saipyamatam aham, distinct from Kala, ib. 30). The same 
,notion underlies the raudrani yamyani samani, imprecative Mantras 
(2, 80, 8; or “addressed to Yama”?). Yamalaya is often a paraphrase for 
death itself (3, 313, 1x6). In Yamaksaya there is a play on the double 
sense, “abode” or “destruction” of Yama (R 2, 60, 3; R 4, 53, 36 and often), 
and so Vaivasvataksaya (3, 96, 9-; R 7, 73, 8), though the usual expression 
is Yamasaaana (2, 77, 18;' R 3, 22, 4, etc.), or equivalents (yiyasur 
Yam'alokaya, 7, 84, 28; Yamasya gehabhimukhaip hi papam [tvaip 
nayami], R 7, 68, 20), A vaguer term is vi$aya (9, 53,20; R 2, 9, 63). 
Even a boar is addressed: nayami dandadharasya Yamasya sadanam 
prati (3, 39,48; cf. ib. 10, netadya Yamasadanam, according to metre), 
for (see below) animals "go to Yama’s abode”. ‘It is called the ,f city 
of the king of ghosts”, Pretarajapura (1, 67, 122) and Dharmarajanive- 
£ana (3, 240, 30, the objective of .slain .heroes In both cases). No distinction 
is made between this abode of the King of Justice and Naraka, hell (cf. 
R 2, 12, 89 and 92). Here “Death” leads one to Yama’s abode, but usually 
the slayer leads (1, 41, 14; ib. 94, 21; ib. 151,40; ib. 153, 29, gamisyami 
tvam adya Yamasadanam, for yatayisyami or gamayi§yami)..Heroes 
dying in battle are said to increase the realm of the god, Yamarastra- 
vivardhanah (6, 79, 60 and oft); being “dedicated” thereto, Yamara- 
straya mahate pacalokaya dik§itah (7, 153, 2; cf. pretaloka, ib. 155, 
14). Paraloka appears"* as v. 1. of Yamaloka (4, 16, 51 = S 20, 70). On the 
sacrificial aspect of battle,'cf. 5, 58, 12; 12,20, 12, etc. Yamasyd netr is 
applied to Rama (as Indra) “bringing to Yama” heroes slain (3,25,10). 
The son "leads his father up” out of hell (i,74> m). He who dies cannot 
escape the city'of the king of ghosts (x, 118, 31 f.); he “comes into the 
ghost-power”' (Pretava$aip gatab, S 1, 134, 7’i f., where Preta implies 
Pretaraj or Pitrpati, 7, 50, 14, with v. 1.). Beside s being P itrpati. Yama js 
Dharmendra , .ac ting as judge; as whe n He' s entences Nrga, who, after 
■going to the Bitr-world of Yama ancTbeing ordered' back!"Halls headlong 
into a well”, evidently from a confusion between the heavenly abode of 
Pitrs and the lower home of ghosts (13, 70, 2pf.). But thePitrStoo in the 
epic live_jn the South: nayami vab-.di£am Pitrnam aSivam (S 5, 59, 
13); “I saw Yama established in the South” (3, 168, 14); “Yama, righteous 
Jring andjord of all beings, presides 'over the South, the course of de¬ 
parted spirits” (3, 163, 8; yamya dik = South). The'"sacred and marvel¬ 
lous palace of the Pretaraja” is called Sarpyamana (ib. 9). In' 7, 142, 10 
(not in S) it is called Saipyamani, as in 13, 102, 14: “Vaivasvatl srfqiya- 
mani jananam” (the poets love to parody) = Vaivasvatasya sadanam, 
- “where only truth is spoken, and the weak torment the strong” (ib. 16). 
In 7,72,44, Saipyamanl sada‘ sukrtinaip gatih is the abode of the 
dead, rendered glorious by the brightness of warrior slain, though Vai- 
vasvata, Varuna, Jsatakratu (Indra), and DhaneSa (Kubera) are all repre¬ 
sented as receiving him as guest (see Lokapalas). It is called the “royal 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


109 


residence”, rajadhani Yamasya (7, 83, 27). “Yama’s rajadhani, enve- 
lopped in darkness, (lies) beyond the end of earth” (in the South, R 4, 41 > 
45, as Pitrloka). To be more exact, as is Markandeya, it lies eighty-six 
thousand leagues from the world of men (3,200,46). All human beings 
who die have to go to Yama’s abode, but the inhabitants of Kuruk^etra 
do not have to “see the province of Yama”, that is, on dying they will 
go direct to heaven (9, 53, 20, Yamasya visayaip te tu na drak§yanti 
kadacana). Also there are tales of people and animals being taken 
direct to heaven. Thus in 13, 102,62, Indra takes a priest'and bis pet 
elephant direct to heaven, and in the battle-scenes it is clear that heroes' 
are thought of as being conveyed at once to abodes of bliss, their life- 
sacrifice exoneratihg them from all liabilities. Also animals “go to Yama”; 
he is prajasarpyamano Yamal) (3,297,66), constrainer of all creatures 
born. Compare 6, 77, 69: “With four arrows he dispatched the four war- 
horses to the horrible home of Yama (Vaivasvataksay aip ghoram) 
and'With one arrow sent to death (mrtyave) the charioteer” (cf. ib. 79, 
II, aSvan anayad Yamasadanam). Even battle-cars are sent to the 
world of Death (Mrtyulokaya, 7, 28, 30). But here they are conjoined with 
elephants and horses. Other passages show that not only human beings, 
but all "living beings" go to Yama’s abode. Thus in 3, 200, 40 f., the 
province and the road to it are described. It is as horrible as a dense 
jungle, but no trees give shade, as'one goes to it. There is no water to 
drink, no place to rest. By the “messengers of Yama, who do his will” 
'are dragged along - the dead, men, women, and all other animate creatures 
of the earth (anye prthivyaip jivasaipjnitah)- But those who have 
been generous and ascetic find relief. Those who have given lamps have 
the way lighted; those who have fasted are carried by geese and pea¬ 
cocks. There is a river (§ 4) called Pu^podaka, which is as pus to those 
who have done ill, but sweet water to those who have in life given water 
to others. In general, those who have been generous (to priests) “are free 
from Yama’s words”, which seems to be a repetition of what is said ib. 
vs. 24, namely that they who have been hospitable (to priests, bien entendu) 
do not go to Yama at all (no ’pasarpanti te Yamam), i. e. as judge. 
The further statement that one who gives saipskrtam pnnam (cooked 
food) to the priests (vipresu) obtains the world of Brahpian, because 
Prajapati is food (ib. 38 = PraS. Up. 1, 9, etc.) may also imply the direct 
ascent. Three ( persons “go the same”, samaqi yanti, the giver of food, 
speaker of truth, and he who gives without solicitation (ib. 42). Fear, 
Terror, and Death are sons of Wrong, Adharma, and Nirrti Devi, mother, 
of Nairrtas, who keeps watch and ward over sinners (1, 66, 53 f.; 12, 122, 
46). Nirrti is_ exit from life and. so, as destruction (“he binds destruction, 
nirrti7 upon his mouth who speaks unkindly”, I, 87, 9) synonymous with 
nTraya (cf.'hiryatui, death) and Naraka, the place of spirits below earth 
and place of those destroyed. Compare 5, 29, 45 ,,ete vinastafi ksa- 
yaip gata narakarp dlrghakalam, like barren sesame seeds, santjha- 
tilab, "they have gone to destruction for the long time” (of thirteen 
years). They are not dead but banished and so gone to hell (destruction). 
In the same breath Kaikeyl is addressed as nirayagamini and told to 
goto hell (destruction), narakaip gaccha, ma ca bhartuh salokatam 
(R 2, 74, 4 and 1.2); narakaip vrajet means “go to destruction”. Those 
who look at Rama with evil eye are smitten by Yama’s rod and go at 
once to niraya (R 7i 82, 11). Narake and nidhane interchange as v. 1 . 



no III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


when it is said that a priest-slayer’s family fall to hell (destruction), in 
answer to a doubt as to whether hell exists, or, as expressed immediately 
after, “those sinners who do not sacrifice do not get to yonder world 
(heaven), but meet onslaughts (apatan, N. narakan), just as savages do” 
(Pulindas and ^abaras). The explanation of this term -(12, 151, 8) is elu¬ 
cidated by the concrete case: “Thou, who art guilty of priest-murder, 
shalt fall headlong for successive years; there shalt thou be 'tortured by 
vultures and peacocks having beaks of iron, and after that thou shalt be 
reborn on earth in a low form. Thou thinkest, dost thou, that the next 
world amounts to nothing? Let* me tell you that Yama’s messengers in 
Yama’s home will remind you of the Contrary” (pratismarayitaras 
tvam, 12, 150, 15 f.). A sinner is “cooked by fire terribly in awful hell” 
(narake ghore, 3, 128, I2j as narakagni). He finds woe in the river in 
Yamaksaya (12, 302, 31). DogS, ospreys, crows, with iron beaks, and 
vultures, all drinkers of blood, enter the body of one who disobeys his 
Gurus; and in man’s destruction, nhrakadane, and going to hell, para- 
manirayaga, in hell, mahaniraye (Yaj. 3, 222), after he has sunk into 
the forest in the ^province of Pitrs, Pitrvisayavipinam avagahya, he 
is pierced- with the wood’s sharp axes and swords, plunged under hot 
Vaitarapi (§ 4) and comes for judgment before Yama, whose wind blows 
before him that is about to die (pura ’bhivati maruto Yamasya yah 
p'urabsarah, etc., iambics, 12, 322, 29f.). Here VaitarapT is mahanadl 
as if one with the Mahanadl river in Kalinga, two hundred and fifty miles 
south-west of Calcutta (“Byeturnee” in Cuttack), where “Dharma once 
sacrificed and £iva once seized the sacrifice, upon whose northern bank 
lies the gods’ way, the path to heaven" (3, 114, 4f.), a river holy enough 
to remove the sins of those that bathe in it (3, 85, 6). The river of Yama 
of the same name is also called MahavaitaranI (6, 59, 127) and is in Yama’s 
southern district, “near the town of Yama”, but it is horrible, raudra 
ghora (6, 103, 38; 7, 146, 37; ib. 171, 51), though also, as above, it is 
represented as in the home of Yama (12, 302, 31). Its heat, uspa Vaita- 
rapi, accords with its southern position. VaitarapI is the river of passage 
filled with vaitarapas, passengers (5, 109, 14). The uncertainty as to 
whether the VaitarapI is in Yama’s realm or only leads to it and its double 
character as a holy river, Mahanadl, and as the river of torture in hell, 
makes it probable that it is the same river under two aspects. The heat 
is transcribed by “acid” (heat) below. 

§ 55. In hell, cruel men with clubs, lances, and pots of fire torment 
sinners, who are also tortured by forests of swords, hot sands, thofny 
trees, and y at an as (torments) of various binds, until, purified but not 
yet free, they are reborn as worms, etc. (13, in, 92f.). Men slay again 
here those already slain; a field of carnage, where lie heaps of slain men, 
horses, and elephants, resembles the realm of Yama (8, 92, 10). Incorporate 
though the ghosts be, yet these Pretas feel the mutilations to which they 
are exposed and shriek aloud. Worms gnaw them; dogs (sSrameyas) 
devour them; they are plunged into the river of blood, Vaitarani; they 
are burned in hot sand, cut by swor^-leaf trees, plunged into the hell of 
roaring, Raurava, and into the river of acids, ksaranadi (Vaitarani), and 
cut on razor-blades. They beg in vain for water; they hunger and thirst, 
and are pale and wretched, appearing, with loosened hair, muddy and 
rough (R 7, 21, 12 f.). Both the river of acids and the river of pus (above) 
are elsewhere unknown to either epic, but Jain literature recognises fhe 




V. The Eight Great iDevas. 


hi 


acid stream as Vaitaran! (Sutrakrtanga, i, Si i, 8 and Uttaradhyayana 19, 59 )- 
In the Ram. scene, Ravana attacks Yama and sees these horrors as he 
approaches the realm, defended by Yama (andyama’s anucaras), Kala, 
and Mrtyu, conceived (as in 9, 45, 17) as distinct personalities, though, 
as already remarked, often identified (cf. 2, 56, 10: "Be happy while you 
can; neither disease nor Yama = death will wait for you to become 
happy”); Another passage introduces Yama and Death as one and is further 
remarkable for its reference to the tree of torture: "Didst not thou 
(Ravana) plunge beneath the ocean of Yama’s army, whose monster is 
the fod of Death, (that ocean) adorned with ^almalf trees, having as its 
mighty billows the noose of Kala, and ,asrits serpents the servant (club) 
of Yama, to win a great victory and repulse Death?” (R 6, 7, 13 f.). The 
fSalmall (also -i) is the tree of torture in hell (as hell, cf. Manu 4, 90 and 
Yaj. 3, 222), known to later literature but not to the early epic. Slta alludes 
t to it in R 3, 53, 20: “The noose of Kala noosed about thy neck I see; 
thou seest golden trees (art about to dip); thou lookest upon the horrible 
Vaitaranl rolling down its flood of blood, and the fearful wood whose 
leaves are swords; and soon shalt thou see the ^almali tree, sharp, and 
. loaded with thorns of iron, though its blossoms are of gold and’its leaves 
of beryl”. It belongs to the later epic and Puranas (cf. the kutaSalmali 
of the Red Sea, R 4, 40, 37; and as torture-tree, 13, III, 93; 18, 2, 25; 
ib. 3, 4). As already indicated, Yama’s hell is but temporary. A seller df 
Soma spends thirty (v. 1 . three hundred) years in the hell Raurava (13, 
101, 13) and is then reborn in a low form, where (ib. 24) he may have 
a memory of former births. A murderer’s years in hell equal the number 
of drops he sheds. Adulterers live in hell as many years as the body has 
pores (ib. 104, 22 etc.), etc. Hell is a watery place, a lake (3, 58, 2; 10,, 
5, 14), a muddy hole (R Si 27, 27). Hells are spoken of as the "lowest 
worlds” (adhama lokah, 3 , 199, 14) but how many there are is doubtful. 
Kalasutra in 3, 157, 45 is not a hell but Fate’s line baited for man. Manu 
and Yajiiavalkya (loc. cit. above) recognise twenty-one hells. The Vi§nu- 
Purana, naming twenty-eight, adds that there are many others (VP. 2, 6, 
28, "hundreds and thousands"), in fact ,& different hell for every kind of 
offence or at most for small groups of allied offences. These hells of the 
later eschatology are really compartments of the general “province of 
Yama" and are situated in VP. under the seven strata below earth’s sur¬ 
face. Many of the later names are those used as descriptive epithets in 
the epic, such as "sword-leaf forest”, somewhat as attributes of gods 
become special gods. Others are quite new and unknown to either epic, 
while a few attributives or descriptive terms, t already names in the epic, 
are retained (Raurava, Kala), although the sinners occupying them are not 
the same. But the chief interest from the epic point of view lies in the 
fact that the twenty-one or twenty-eight hells of the later period point 
to an original seven by first trebling and then quadrupling. As the epic 
has Rasatala as the seventh stratum (5, 102,-1) below earth’s surface and, 
places there the hell to which a liar goes (13, 6, 34), while the evil demons 
are punished by being confined in fatala, and as the worlds are seven 
(3,, 3, 45), it is probable that this sacrosanct number operated to fix the 
hells, confused with strata, as seven {afterwards .increased threefold). A 
survival of this primitive belief may perhaps be found in 13, 45, *9, which 
says that verses sung by Yama himself are to the effect that a man>who 
sells his son or his daughter (by accepting a price, gulka, for her) “ob- 



112 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

tains as his portion urine and excrements in the hell called Kala”, niraye 
Kalasahvaye, described as saptavare mahaghore. Of course, sap¬ 
tavare should be nominative plural. It usually introduces the statement 
that “seven earlier and seven later” (ancestors and descendants) suffer 
for a man’s crime (as in f, 198,'IS; or in the form sapta ’varan sapta 
purvan punati, 3, 186, 16; cf. 3, 85, 92 andii3, 26,62, etc.); but here 
as the verb and subject are singular "( m iidhah samaSnute) this in im¬ 
possible and the author of the, gatha Yamodgitah must have connected 
saptavare with the following mahaghore niraye as a locative.'A “hell 
on earth” (narako bhaumah 1, 90, 4f.) is rebirth (also as nom. prop.) 
and the tormenters here are Raksasas (vs. 8), but this is metaphor. To 
be reborn is hell, and earthly interests are the fiends that plague the 
soul, preventing it from entering the “seven doors of heaven” (ib. 22, 
seven moral qualities; N. says the fiends are wives 1 ). That the hells 
actually are seven in number is asserted by several latei;- authors (Ram. 
Ved. Sutra, 3, 1, 15, etc.), both Brahmanjc and sectarian, probably first 
Brahmani'c. If in' the (Jain) Uttaradhyayana 31, 12, the “fifteen”, rather 
doubtfully recorded by Professor Jacobi according to names, could be 
fourteen (?), it would be a link between the seven and others (above). 

§ 56. Yama as a god of war carries a bow (yamyaip dhanuh, 7 > 
23, 94), which he gives to a mortal hero, and arrows given by him are 
also mentioned (R 6, 91, 46, Indrajit shoots a Yamadatta against Vibhhjana, 
the arrow of the god of justice being used by the fiend against virtue 1). 
Usually Yama carries a rod (of justice) and noose (to catch souls). The 
battle-club or rod inspires that “fear of the other world" which alone 
makes men virtuous'(12, 15, 5 f.; cf. 3, 56, 10). The rod itself is then 
personified and becomes Danda, a form of Yama himself (only a foudra 
is nirdanda, 12, 15, gf.). Yama and Antaka, “end-maker” (Death), are 
each daijdapajji (cf.-dancjapanir iva ’ntakah or iva kruddhafi, stan¬ 
ding phrases). Yama is higher. Yama wins the battle and Antaka cuts 
off the heads (3, 139, 14). He is classed with Kubera, Varuna, and Rudra 
as a warrior (5, 162, 27; 6, 83, 41). Yama uses also the Kaladapda, while 
Death and Kala admire him (R 7, 22, 23 f.). The arrows of heroes are 
like Yama’s dan<Ja, as is also Bhima’s great club (3, 154, 17; 6, 85*33). 
The image is so conventionalised that one can say (3, 11,43): “like Indra 
he let fall his club like Yama’s”. An unusual image compares an arrow 
to Yama’s tongue or Antaka’s tongue (7, 179, 54; 9, 11, 52). One who 
“has entered Yama’s fangs” is virtually,,dead (7, no, 19). “The door of 
Death” (Mrtyu) opens upon Yama’s home (R 4, 6, 25 f.). Both Kala and 
Mrtyu bear nooses and on occasion are ffelt as poetical ^equivalents of 
Yama, though, when analysed, Kala is to Yama as Yama is to ( Mrtyu, the 
superior power. Death’s noose, rod, world, place, “the fangs of Death”, 
etc.,'are all used as of Yama. Even Mrtyuh kiipkaradaijdabhrt occurs 
(8, 56, 120) and an arrow is “like Mrtyu’s tongue” (v. 1 . sister, svasam' 
for Jihvam, 6, 116, 3; cf. 7 , 116, 54). The servants of Yama are messengers 
or kiqikaras, who* live in the North as well as elsewhere (R 6, 74, 59). 
The club is the god's servant, so that a warrior is described as “like 
Yama with his servant (club) in hand” (9, 32, 42; cf. 50). Kiipkaras .are 
also a class of Raksasas (p. 45). In 13, 62, 27, Mftyur Vaikiipkarah 
is taken by the scholiast to be a derivative of Vikiipkara (Kala), "son of 
Time” (viparitaip kar'oti); but vai must be a separate word, Kiqikara 
being the club of Yama. In 3, 298, 38^ since Yama here conies alone 




V. ‘The Eight Great Devas. 

* 


113 


and carries no club, there is a purely conventional force in sakiip- 
karalj. The messengers, Yamadutab, are (like) Rak§asas, having pointed 
ears, huge mouths, and reddish hair, and being deformed but massive 
(12, 138, 117). They fetch the dead (3, 297, 14) with exceeding speed 
( 5 , 151, 26). Rudras are also attendants on Yama', as Maruts are on Vasava 
(3, 237, 11), and a hero js said to be appear like Antaka, rod in hand, 
like Rudra, and like Yama with the Rudras (6, 102, 36 f.). Either Yama or 
his messengers noose the soul of the dying (n, 4, 11 and 3, 297, 17). In 
the last passage Yama does the work of his men, purusas, and is de¬ 
scribed as king of Pitrs, Lord (Bhagavat, DeveSa, ISvara, etc.), appearing 
with a diadem and red clothes, shapely, dark, with red eyes, glorious as 
his father the sun, and bearing a 'noose in hand. Philosophy sees in failure 
of the senses the messengers of Yama (R 2, 64, 66) and forms of Time 
(Kala), while man’s body is Yama’s car (11,7, 12, read vidhayah with S; 
ib. 19, yamyam ahu ratham). The tales treat the messengers more 
mythologically. Yama once said to a certain man clothed in black, who 
had red eyes and hair and the legs, eyes, and nose of a crow (the bird 
of death): “Do thou go to Brahman-town and fetch hither a man of the 
Agastya clan whose name is Barmin. Don't make a mistake and fetch the 
wrong man”. But Yama’s messenger made the mistake and got another 
man named Barmin, who on arriving wished to stay. But Yama told him 
that this was impossible; he did not understand Kala’s orders or he would 
not ask such a thing. So he was exchanged for the right Barmin after 
a lecture from Yama (13, 68, 5 f.). The god also lectures Naciketa (13, 
71, 7 f.), when this boy, cursed by his father to "see Yama” (die), fell as 
if thunderstruck and went to Yama. His father’s tears, however, caused 
life to sprout in him and he returned to consciousness and told his father 
what he had seen. He said he had found the Vaivasvata Sabha or Hall 
of Yama a very charming place and had seen the worlds of the good 
where rivers ran milk and mountains were made of butter. In H 4924, 
Kj^oa makes Ocean and Yama restore the drowned son of Shipdipani. 

§ 57. The Sabha here mentioned is more fully described in 2, 8; it 
was made by ViSvakarman (All-maker), is more than a hundred leagues 
in extent, golden and sunny, where wishes are granted, and there is no 
cold, hunger, sorrow, old age, etc.; but all good things “to lick and chew” 
are there (all is tasty, rasavat; cf. Yama’s gift to Nala, 3 , 57 , 37 , anna- 
rasa). This palace contains royal and priestly seers (some found again 
in the palace of Indra), kings, saints, and heroes (Nala, the two Ramas, 
etc.); also Kala and Mrtyu, Pitrs, those who die during the southern 
course of the sun, etd. They are cheered with dance and song. Besides 
those mentioned there are also the Wheel of Time and “Yama’s men 
appointed’ to 4ead time", that is, to reckon men’s lives, as well as many 
trees and other incorporate objects. The Fire-god is in the Sabha too, 
and all revere Dharmaraja (Yama). Late as is this passage, comparatively, 
it fails to mention at the court of Yama his scribe Citragupta, who be¬ 
longs in fact entirely to the post-epical period' of the pseudo-epic (13, 
125,6 and ib. 130, 14b). At 5, 109,6, Nilakantha understands Citragupta 
to be implied by nigadyate (in the South, “Dharma., truth and Karman 
are reported there, and there is the fruit of action for the dead”), but 
there is no such'implication. Even when Citragupta is mentioned, the 
Sun, Ss witness of acts, "reports” them when one dies (13, 130, 17). The 
late passage I, 74, 30 f., which speaks of Yama punishing sinners, says 

Tndo-s^rische Philologie III. ib. 8 


114 111 . Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

only that the witnesses of the £vil act are the gods, Sun, Moon, Wind, 
Fire, Sky, Earth, Water, the heart, and Yama himself. Noticeable also but 
not unexpected is the fact that Yama’s abode is one of bliss. As a god 
he lives happily and his residence is a heaven of saints and heroes like 
those of other gods. The antithesis is brought out clearly in several 
passages. Though he goes with "death and diseases” in a parade (3, 231, 
36; Antaka’s charioteer is Roga, disease, 12, 322, 42), yet he is master 
of the diseases, etc., and so can give Hanumat immunity from disease 
(R 7, 36, 17). As Dhamaraja, king of justice and right, he may even allow 
an exchange, whereby, if an equitable substitute be offered, one’s death 
may be deferred. Thus Ruru by permission of Dharmaraja gives up half 
of what remains of his life to restore Pramadvara to life (1, 9, 31 f.). The 
parents of the boy killed by DaSaratha will ask Yama as Dharmaraja to 
take them instead of the boy (R 2, 64, 28 f.). As god of right he is good 
to the good and bad to the bad (he also has goods, and is renowned as 
having wealth and happiness, a Plutos as well as a Pluto, R 5, 9; 9; ib. 6, 
114, 33). He chastises, but as instructor: anuSasti.. Sivali Sivanam 
aSivo 'Sivanam, but as death at his command comes to man as vices 
and “there is no death but this, though some call Yama death” (5, 42, 
6f.), so, to the pious, death is only a tiger made of grass, having no 
terrors for the good (ib. 15). There is much of this higher teaching and 
also allusions to hell as merely low births, as on the other hand there 
are allusions to hell eternal (3, 183, 70; 5, 132, 20, etc.); but one is a 
denial of a popular belief and the other is due to extravagance, for no 
one believes in eternal hell, and few believe in a hell merely mental, or 
expressed in terms of low birth. But the principle that Yama is not evil 
to the good leads back to the belief that good people who go to him 
enjoy themselves. Only the evil mourn in Yama’s sadanam (13, 102, I4f.). 
He is Subhakarman, “whose acts are noble” (8,45, 31 f.). The visaya 
or province of Yama contains frightful regions, but also regions worthy 
of the gods, so that his abode is like that of Brahman (13, in, 41 f.) On 
Ravana’s inroad he saw the good rejoicing in song and music; those who 
had given houses during life now lived in beautiful houses and had gold 
and gems and radiated glory as they went. Ravapa released the wretched 
sinners and for a moment they too enjoyed themselves; but then the 
Pretagopas (ghost-guards) and other Yamayodhas attacked the fiend and 
being assisted by Yama, Mrtyu, and Kala would have overthrown him 
had not Brahman intervened. Apparently on the appearance of their guards 
the sinful ghosts return to torment (R 7, 21, 10 f.). Only here^is Yama’s 
rod described as having nooses at its sides (KalapaSas onKaladapda, 
used by Yama). Yama helps, that female death whose tears become 
diseases (R 7, 22, 24 f.; Mbh. 7, 54, 40 = 12, 259, 34 f., a late conception), 
an awful but beneficent power. In old days, Vi§nu once assumed the part 
of Yama, Yamatvaqi karayamasa, and no one died (3, 142, 35). Then 
the population of the earth increased to such an extent that earth sank 
down under the weight and Vi§nu had to raise her (see Visnu). Possibly 
this may reflect the view of the Indo-Iranian Yama-Yima. 1 ) The tale appears 
in various forms. In 1, 197, 1 f., Yama becomes £amitr, or cook of the 
gods, preparing their sacrifice (see above on the rasa), and so men ceased 
to die. Again it is said that of old there was no fear of Yama as death, 

*) Compare Jackson JAOS. 17, p. 185. On Yama as cook, cf. §45 (moon ?). 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


i iS 


but when they became wicked Vi§nu made Samavartin (Yama) regulator 
of sinners and of Pitrs (12, 207, 35; cf. 122, 27), just as he made faiva 
overseer of Bhuts and Matj-s. The origin of the name is not explained. 
It may be for samavartin (cf. Vi$nu as Samavarta, 13, 149, g6), but 
perhaps is better taken as it stands in the sense of “equal-acting”, i. e. 
as a fair judge and punisher (even “of secret sins", 5, 35, 71). 

Yama’s name has demoniac associations in the name of YamaSatru, 
a Rak§asa (R 6, 44, 20, v. 1 . YajnaSatru) and in the names of Rak§asas 
in 12, 98, after 13, where S adds Sarpyama, Viyama, Suyama, as sons of 
fsataSrnga (perhaps taken here from PurSnic sources). The Yamas and 
Dhamas who guard the road to heaven seem to be a sort of Pitrs, but 
the text itself says that they are of unknown form (9, 44, 33); they are 
heavenly beings (3, 261, 6). The followers of Skanda given by Vayu are 
called Atiyama and Yama (9, 44, 45), constraining (yam) powers; and 
so perhaps the Yamas. Cf. the Yamaratha vow of Yama’s wife, H 7941. 

§ 58. The family of Yama is more restricted than that of most gods. 
He is absent from the group of gods who, in R 1, 17, are commissioned 
to become sires of monkeys and other opponents of Ravapa. Later on 
this defect is rectified and in the expedition of fsatabali to the North he 
is accompanied with “the sons of Vaivasvata” (R 4, 43, 3). Still later 
(R 6, 30, 27), the five sons of Vaivasvata, all “like Kalantaka”, are Gaja, 
Gavak§a, Gaveya, fsarabha, and Gandhamadana, of whom in the first book 
Gandhamadana is sired by Kubera and fsarabha by Parjanya (R X, 17, 11 
and 14). Not Yama, but Dharma is father of Yudhi$thira: “From Dharma 
was born Yudhislhira; from Maruta was born Vrkodara; from Indra was 
born Arjuna; and from the ASvins came the yamau (twins) Nakula and 
Sahadeva” (1, 63, 116). The epic scarcely knows Yama as Dharma, but 
always calls him Dharmaraja or Dharmendra (7, 6, 6), except in one tale 
where (1, 108, 8) Aijlmaijdavya, a discontented saint, goes to “the sadana 
of Dharma” and reproves him for a false judgment and punishment, cursing 
the god .to be reborn (because of that punishment) as Vidura, a scene 
repeated in 1, 63, 93, but without this complete identification. Dharma in 
post-epical literature is constantly used for Yama. So in the stage- 
directions at 3, 128, 13 f., only the extra-metrum title Dharma is applied 
to Yama. Here a priest is being cooked in hell fire, narakagni, and his 
king, also in hell, speaks to “Dharmaraja” in behalf of his Guru. So when 
Mandapala goes to the Pitr-world he asks the “gods near Dharmaraja” 
why he gets no reward (1, 229^8); but when Bhima is “bound by the 
noose of Dharma”, he is not bound by Yama but only by restrictions 
imposed by right (2, 70, 16). In 5, 128, 45 and 47, the "nooses of Dharma” 
may be these, but might be Yama’s. Dharmaraja is a title applied both 
to Yama and to Yudhi§fhira, and Yama seems to be on his way to identi¬ 
fication with Dharma, but it is as well to observe the distinction (3, 84, 1 
Dharmatirtha, etc.) usually preserved in the text, especially as 1, 108 
appears to be later than 1, 63, where “Dharma” is cursed to be born as 
Vidura, but is not called Dharmaraja and has no sadana, or in other 
words is not quite Yama. The difference is plain, if one thinks of Yama 
as father of Yudhi§thira or as husband of the ten daughters of Daksa 
(1, 65, 14), one of whom, Lak§ml, but only as identical with fjri, is patni 
Dharmasya par excellence (12, 59, 132), while Yama’s wife (§ 24) is 
Dhumorna (5, 117, 9= 13, 166, 11). “Yama’s mother” is mentioned in a 
simile comparing an arrow to the “night of Fate (Kalaratri), noose in hand”, 

8* 


O 


116 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

and to “Yama’s mother (or nurse) of horrible form”, taip . . Yamasya 
dhatrlm iva co ‘grarupam (9, 17, 43). In R 7, 20, 31, Yama is iden¬ 
tified with Vidhatr and Dhatr (he is here preceded into battle by Agni, 
ib. 21, 2). As Dharmaraja he has seven priests, rtvijas, in the South, of 
whom the only prominent one is Agastya (Unmucu, Pramucu, Svastyatreya, 
Drdhavya, Uirdhvabahu, Trpasomarigiras, and Agastya), a late attempt to 
expand the “seven seers” of the North and apply the same groups in other 
quarters (13, 150, 34). Qne fifth of the divine energies which make ASvat- 
thaman is supplied by Yama (in conjunction with isiva, Antaka, Kama, 
and Krodha, ekatvam upapannanarp jajfie, 1, 67, 72). Later mytho¬ 
logies give as names of his wife SuSIla, Vijaya, Hemamala, which are not 
epic (in 3, 265, 3, it is intimated that his wife may be wandering about 
on earth as a beautiful woman). Nothing is made of Yama’s relationship 
with Manu Vaivasvata, and indeed except as Vaivasvata nothing is made 
of his own relationship with the Sun-god. In the epic, Yama rides on a 
car or goes afoot; the buffalo (as his vehicle) appears first in H 14826. 
Yama is said in 13, 89, 1 f. to have taught the Sraddha observances to 
king ^aSabindu in accordance with the lunar zodiac (what virtue lies in 
every star), though ib. 91, 7, the originator of the Sraddha was Nimi. The 
usual verba ipsissima of the later morality-plays are ascribed to Yama 
(one has already been cited). “Yama said that an angry king consumes 
root and all like fire ; but if pleased, he bestows wealth like a divinity” 
(12, 82, 31). “I cut short his life and deprive of children him who runs, 
studies, etc., while impure” (13, 104, 72f.). These gatha Yamagitah 
perhaps extend into the following verses, but they are not edifying enough 
to cite. It is possible that Krtanta may mean Yama when it is said that 
Vasi$tha could "bring back his sons from Yama’s abode but did not 
transgress Krtanta” (1, 174, 9). Krtanta appears “frowning and fiery” 
(yugantakaie, 2, 72, 15), but is probably Fate as (pace Nil.) he is in 
3, 183, 79; so he is Fate in 12, 33, 15 and 47; 153, 13, and 50 (also a 
common name for Fate in Ram). 1 ) “Fourfold Death" (Mrtyu), of whom 
Vi§nu made Time the lord, includes according to the scholiast deaths by 
sword, foe, Yama, and acts, Karman (12, 122, 33). See § 31. 

§ 59. Varupa and Ocean. — Vestiges of his ancient glory and position 
remain to “king Varuna” (16, 4, 16), who is armed with noose and thun¬ 
derbolt (aSani, 1, 227, 32; cf. ib. 31, mahaSani as Indra’s weapon), and 
once had a conch-shell (see below; 2, 53, 15 is doubtful, cf. ib. 49, 26, 
kaipsyam or Sahkhaip Varunam, made of a thousand ni§kas of gold). 
A warrior'in action is “like Varupa” (9, 55,29) and warriors are. “children 
of Varuna” or “like sons of Varuna” (7,155/45; ib. 36; Ambupati and 
Mitra are here leaders in battle). Varuna (Ambupati; Ambupa in R 7, 3, 
18) and Mitra accompany Indra in the Taraka war (7, 84, 21), as subor¬ 
dinate leaders (cf. R 6, 26, 18, “fighting like Varuna for Indra”). He per¬ 
forms the Rajasuya sacrifice as victorious king at the Yamuna-Tlrtha, 
after conquering in war men and gods. He is here “Aditi’s very fortunate 
son, white Varuna” (9,49, 12, sitaprabhafy). As a successful warrior, he 
is linked with Indra (warriors are “like Indra and Varupa”, 3, 45, 12; in 
R a stereotyped, phrase, e. g. R 3, 37, 3; R 3, 50, 4; R4, 12, 10; ib. 52, 4), 
or with Yama (R 5, 40, 6; R 6, 66, 3); successful warriors defy “the bolt of 
Indra and noose of Salilaraja” (R 6, 71,34). But only Rama (Visnu) breaks 
the bow of “immeasurable Varuna” (because this was really Vispu’s bow, 

’) Compare also Kalantaka-Yama and similar epithets of Fate in the form of Yama. 




V. The Eight Great Dev as. 


117 


R 1, 77, 1; R 2, 118, 39 f.)- Janaka (ib.), however, received bows from him 
and perhaps other arms (R 2, 31, 27). As one of the "killing gods” he is 
to be honored (12,15, i6f.). He inspires kingly control (varupa saipyama 
2, 78, 19). The list of gods of power in 8, 92, 13, Kubera, Vaivasvata, 
Vasava, is in S (ib. 99, 14) increased by the addition of Varuna. The conch- 
shell, belonging to Varuna because born in ocean, is given, in 3, 174, 5, 
to Arjnna by Indra, though in 2, 3, 9f., it is brought from Bindusaras (with 
Bhima’s club) by Maya, who carried off the wealth there (where Bhagl- 
ratha dwelt and Indra had made sacrifice), originally hidden by Vr§aparvan, 
and it is here called (Varuna Sahkha) Devadatta. The bow and arrows 
(got originally from Soma), Varuna, at Agni’s bidding, gives to Arjuna 
(Khapdava scene), as also the club Kaumodaki and the war-car once used 
by Soma. In the subsequent story Varuija devadeva opposes Agni and, 
armed with his noose, is defeated by the pair he had thus befriended 
(1, 225, 1 f.; cf. 5, 60, 12). In H 10933, ho has shell and bow. 

§ 60. All this, however, is no indication of Varuna’s real epic position. 
He is no longer a heavenly god, no longer a god rivalling Indra, or 
having stars as eyes. He is lord of water, Apampati, Salilendra, 
Jaladhipa, Jale^vara, ambhasaip raja, Varipa, Udakapati, Ambupati, 
river-lord, Saritampati, and lord of the monsters of the deep (Yadasam- 
pati and -bhartf, 3, 41, 6, as JaleSvara "with rivers male and female”), 
hence he is beryl-colored, vaiduryavarna (ib.) as well as white (above) 
and also (ib. 27) “cloud-dark” (jaladharaSyamo Varuno Yadasam- 
patih). The waters are medicinal, curative; hence Varuna is lord of the 
"“constellation having a hundred medicines”, and “the physician who per¬ 
forms the rite in honor of his ancestors under the asterism of Varupa 
would obtain success” (13, 89, 12, naksatre Varune [= Satabhisaji; 
Sraddham] kurvan bhisak siddhim avapnuyat). He is also pracetas, 
the "wise” god (water and wisdom are ever united), and perhaps as such 
is reckoned the father of the epic poet. Varuna is formally consecrated 
by the gods as lord of rivers and waters (9,45,22; 46, 105) and told that 
his home shall be in ocean, the home of makaras; that Ocean, the Lord 
of Rivers, shall be under his will, and that his own decline and growth 
shall agree with the waning and waxing of Soma. There seems to be 
actually no difference felt here (though' expressed) between Ocean arid 
Varupa. Varuna is Saritamp ati; Ocean isnadipati; the home of Varuna 
is to be "always (sada) in ocean”; and the final words can refer only to 
the tides of ocean, though addressed to Varuna (9, 47, 8). A different 
account (5, no, 3) makes KaSyapa appoint Varuna to “rule^the monsters 
of the deep and guard the water?’. arid adds that the’moon becomes 
renewed through drinking the “si x f lavors of Varuna Gopati” (lord of 
cows as waters, perhaps originally stars). Still another passage identifies 
Varuna and Ocean (3, 102, 1: samudraip te [Kaleyah] samaSritya 
Varunaip nidhim ambhasah; ib. 101, 23, Varupasyalayam). The later 
epic lets Varupa receive office as natha, Tefuge, of monsters and owner 
of water, jale^vara, from Vispu (12, 207, 36). “All the gods” give him 
this office in 9, 47,6. The Vedic identity of wit and water (£B. 7, 5, 2, 52) 
is expressed philosophically by saying that Varupa represents knowledge 
as Prakrti, while Mitra represents spirit (12, 319, 39: Mitraip purusam, 
Varupaip prakrtipi tatha, jnanarp tu prakrtiip prahuh). As Varuna 
lives below and Kubera above (on the mountains), the two are often 
placed in rhetorical antithesis (e. g. R 5 ) 21, 34), though joined together as 




ii8 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

(also rhetorical) a fighting pair of-gods whom a vainglorious warrior would 
defy (e. g. R 6 , 63, 43). 

§ 61. As remarked above (§ 43), little is said of Mitra except as 
Aditya and form (name) of the Sun-god, and as paired with Varuna, with 
whom, however, in one case *he appears as a rival. The nymph UrvaSI 
"belonged to Mitra but loved Varuija”. Thus, owing to a family jar (so 
to speak), Mitra having cursed Urvaii, Varuna became father of Vasistha 
(retah kumbhe hy apasj-jat). Yet Mitra claimed to be his father (same 
tale of Agastya, 12, 343, 51 and 3, 103, 13 f.), whence Vasi$tha was called 
Maitravaruni (R 7, 56, 4f. - , ib. 21; ib. 57, 6f.; 9, 42, 29; 12, 303, 10, etc.). 
Maitravaruni (3, 104, 17) designates Agastya, as does Varuiji alone, and 
Vasistha is indifferently Varuni (1,99, 7) and Maitravaruiji (above and 
I, 178, 10). A stereotyped phrase speaks of (giving) "sons like Mitra and 
Varuija” (1,105,41; ci. Mitravaruijayolj putrah = Agastya, 13,166,40), 
meaning heavenly or glorious. Mitra once held Varuna’s office (because 
he performed the Rajasuya, R 7, 83, 6f.) and is sundered from Varuija as 
spectator of battle (R 6, 73, 7, so S, but B has Rudra) and as divinity of 
utsarga (12, 314, 2; cf. 12, 318, if.); also in 14, 21, 4, Mitram (sic) along 
with Prthvf, Agni, Visnu, appears as one of the agnayo da£a of physio¬ 
logical metaphysics (cf. 14, 42, 26 and above § 43, perhaps Buddhistic), 
where Varuna is not mentioned. Varuna has a special world called the 
"abode of king Varuija”, to which go those who perform the caturmasya 
sacrifices and the "one hundred and ten sacrifices”, which ought to be 
the eighth upper world (9, 50, 32), but this is distinct from the "worlds 
of Mitra and Varuija” (Maitravaruijay ob, ib. 39 and *3, 102, 35 f.). 

§ 62. The heavenly world of Varuija is another reminiscence of his 
origin, but it does not offset the universal epic belief that his home is 
under the^ western waters, ^r in the waters - under the earth, thought of 
as~reaching westward rather than eastward, in contrast to Ocean whose 
wife is the Ganges (3,99, 33 and 187, I9f.). The Ram. places the home 
of Varuija on the very peak of the western mountains (R 4, 42, 43 and 45) 
in the general “district guarded by Varuija, who has a noose in hand” 
(as Lokapala, § 91). Elsewhere he is represented as living in ocean or as 
occupying both ocean and the mountains (3, 163, 11). Both epics agree 
that his palace was made by ViSvakarman, the gods’ artificer, and is bright 
or sunlike and white. As Lokapala his general province is the West 
(2, 14, 14; 5, 102,9; R 4, 45, 6, etc.); more narrowly, the land of Yavanas 
and Barbaras (3, 254,18). This district is called Varuijalaya or Varuijavasa, 
his home, niketana, bhavana, sabha, etc., being a hall or palace, 
where the white god sits in white glory, surrounded by reverent Adityas. 
It is “undecaying”, an epithet of ocean (R 3, 54, 8), and has walls, gate¬ 
ways, etc., being surrounded by trees bearing jewels, where sing beautiful 
birds; it is neither too hot nor too cold. Varuija, dressed in divine gar¬ 
ments and gems sits there with Varuiji (S says she is Gauri) and about 
him are garlanded and perfumed Adityas, hosts of Daityas, Danavas, and 
Nagas, and the four oceans in person, rivers, lakes, ‘tanks’, the four per¬ 
sonified directions, DiSas,*mountains (who converse), aquatic animals; timi, 
timingila, makara, j ha§a, kurma, graha (these are presented to 
Skanda by Varuija with elephants, probably because gaja = naga, 13, 8S, 
25 ), 1 ), all varuijani bhutani (not necessarily fishes, cf. 1, 18,21; 22, 12; 

l ) For other animals, cf. 1, 21, 3f.; 22, 6f.; 25, 15. The gift to Skanda (9, 46, 

52, a Naga) appears in S as a chaga, goat. 


V. The Eight Great Devas. **9 


6, 34, 29, etc.), as Varuija is Yadasam amburaj (7, 6, 6). Apsarasas and 
Gandharvas also revere Varuija (JaleSvara pa§ahasta), as does his minister 
Sunabha (R 7, 23, 51 calls him Prabhasa), besides ‘‘sons and grandsons, 
Go(-naman) and Pu§kara” (his son). This account (2,9, if.) is amplified 
in S, which adds a few more courtiers, Artha, Dharma, Kama, Vasu, 
Kapila, Ananta, Vasuki, and Garufla. Elsewhere it is said ( 5 , 98, 6f.) that 
the home of Varuija (Udakapati, Gopati) contains a lake of fire and an 
umbrella-house. From the umbrella (not here a cobra-hood, abhoga), 
which is carried by the god’s sons, drips cool but invisible water, pure 
as Soma yet “enclosed in darkness” (cf. H 6920). Here too appears Varuija’s 
son Pu§kara and the abode of Varuiji (the intoxicating essence churned 
from water), also many arms made of old by the gods and taken from 
the demons, and the great bow made to destroy the world, from which 
bow that of Arjuna was named (Gaijdiva). The noose called dharmapa§a 
is the one carried by Varuna, who resembles Yama also in his saipyama 
(above) or controlling power, both being gods of punishment, though 
Yama controls men, and Varuija the demons (dharmapaSadhara Deva 
is Varuija, 2,9, 17). It is perhaps owing to this white color that Varuija 
becomes a white goose when Ravaija scares the gods (R 7, 18, 5), and 
is sacrificially represented by a (white) sheep (12, 78, 6; 263, 41), or this 
last is but priestly tradition (VS. 13,50). The Sabha account (above) does 
not locate the palace, and one passage even says that Varuija “obtained 
happiness by entering the under-world, Patala, in the East” (“this place”, 
atra, 5, 108, 12). The exact place is defined here as the "gate of day”, 
where the Sun-god gave forth the Yajurveda and “the hundred paths of 
Ora" were born, the purv^ dik (East). But if Varuija started in the East 
to go to Patala, he soon turned West, to which quarter are thrown offer¬ 
ings made to him (13,97, 11 1 see also § 91 f.). The demons seen at his 
court were at first his captives. They were bound by his noose as well 
as with the “noose of Right” and were kept under guard in ocean. Com¬ 
pare 5, 128, 45 and 47: “Varuija the lord of waters, having bound them 
with his own nooses as well as with the nooses of Dharma, guards them 
ever intently in ocean” (cf. 1, 21, 7 where “the home of Varuna and 
Nagas”, ocean, is called Asuraijaip bandhanam, v. 1 . bandhavam). 
Vannji (above) is also daughter of Varuija, equivalent to Sura, personified 
intoxicant of the Suras (gods, R 1, 45, 23 f.; on the difference between 
sura and agryasauvlraka, kaiijika, see ib. 3, 47, 45). Varuiji as wife 
(4,9,16) is the older Varuijani. Su§eija, son of Varuna and father of 
Tara (R 4, 22, 12), leads the host of the West (R 4, 42, 2f.). <s R.7, 23 tells 
how Ravaija invades Rasatala^ guarded by Varuija below jearth, and full 
oT serpents and Daltyas. After overcoming Vasuki’s Naga city of Bhoga- 
vati, he conquers two demon-cities, Jeweltown and Rocktown, and then 
reaches Varupa’s lofty city, “like Kailasa white with clouds”, where is 
Surabhi flowing with the Milk-sea juices (ib. 23,21; in Mbh. 5, 102,2, this 
milk has the six flavors), and, challenging Varuija, destroys his family of 
sons and grandsons led by Go and Puskara. Varuija’s minister, Prabhasa, 
says that the god himself is not at home, having gone to Brahman’s place 
to hear a concert, so that Varuija is not defeated in person by Ravaija 
(as he was by Krsija, 5, 130, 49; cf. H 9145; 10903f.). A dead or 
defeated demon goes to Varuijalaya as naturally as a dead man goes to 
Yamasadana (cf. R 7, 61, 20, where the Asura Daitya Madhu on dying, 
“abandoning this world went to Varuija’s home”). The “worlds of Varuija” 



120 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

known to Sampati (R 4, 58, 13) are interpreted as hells even for men. 
Thus KaSyapa is asked what "other worlds” are the punishment for a 
recalcitrant or perjured witness and says in reply that such a sinner 
fastens upon himself a thousand nooses of Varuna, and it takes a year to 
loosen each (though nothing is said of hell). The later Ram. (7, 59, pra. 
3, 36) has the same explanation. Varupa is satyasaipgara (9, 45, 46), 
upholder of truth. So Bapa’s cows are held by Varuija, H 10970. 

§ 63. The descendants of Varuija are indefinitely multiplied through 
the practice of calling all descendants of Bhrgu (and Angiras and Kavi *) 
Bhargavas or Varunas, Bhrgu having been born ofVaruna’s sacrifical fire 
(I, 5, 7), so that Bhrgu is a form of Varuna as Varuna to the later writers 
is a form of Rudra-^iva (13, 85, 88 and 125 f.). Agastya and Vasistha also 
claim (above) Varuija as their sire. Valmiki is son of "Pracetas”, who 
"guards the western half of the world” (R 6, 24, 19; 7, III, 11; the 
Pracetasas are ten sons of Praclnabarhis, 1, 196, 15; 12, 208, 6 and may 
revert to the same origin, though Pracetas is also a Prajapati). R adds 
(the apes) Suseija, Hemakuta, and the Nagas (in general) to the "sons of 
Varuija” (R 1, 17, 14; R 6, 7, 12; ib. 30, 33). Punjikasthala, the Apsaras 
mother ofHanumat (p. 14), was his kanyaka (R 6, 60, 11). A passage of. 
S, cited p. 118, calls his wife Gauri, as explicitly stated in 5, 117, 9. In 
12, 301, 59, she is Devi Siddhi; in 13, 146, 5 and 166, 11, she is again 
Gauri. The early epic says that Devi, the “eldest wife” of the god is the 
daughter of £ukra and she bore him a son Bala (also son of Danayu; 
Vala?) and a daughter called Sura and Varuiji (in Brahman’s palace, 2, 
II, 42), through whom the gods got joy (intoxication) and godhead (pun 
on sura, 1,66, 52; 5, 98, 14). His son Pupkara, who lives in the palace 
called PupkaramalinI (2, 8, 41) and is “lotus-eyed”, is called “son of Gopati” 
(Varuija 5, 98, 11), which calls to mind the connection of “Gopati and 
Varuija”, enlisted among the inferior Devagandharvas (cf. Varuija as name 
of a Naga), as descendants of Muni, the daughter of Daksa (1, 65, 42). 
Another son of Varupa was the sage Vandin, who, owing to his paternity, 
had no fear of drowning and even raised to life another man who had 
been drowned (3, 134, 31). Finally ^rutayudha (§ 4), a valiant hero, was 
son of Varuija and of the river ParpaSa. ParijaSa, his mother, begged 
Varupa to give him immortality, but the god would only make him in¬ 
vulnerable, avadhya, by means of a divine weapon, not immortal, since 
“there is no immortality for man” and "who is born must die”. This weapon 
was a "club with a charm said over it”, which might not be hurled against 
a man unless he was fighting, since otherwise it became a boomerang and 
would return and kill the thrower, fsrutayudha forgot, threw it afa non- 
combatant, and was slain, for it returned and smote him "like badly used 
magic” (7, 92, 44 f.). Similarly, Varupa limits the gift of life bestowed upon 
Hanumat (as grandson?): “He shall not meet death in a million years 
withal, from my noose (or) even from water”, where perhaps water (sickness) 
is the noose (R 7, 36, 15): Here also may be mentioned the list of Varupa’s 
seven seers, acting as sacrificial priests: Dj-dheyu, Rteyu, Parivyadha, Ekata, 
Dvita, Trita, and Atri’s son Sarasvata, "whose soul was virtue” (13, 151, 
36f.). They "belong to the West” (the first two are mentioned only here). 

§ 64. Varupa’s activities, apart from records of fighting and noosing, 
are not numerous. He was robbed of his "cows” (he is here Ambupati 

*) Kavi is son of Bhrgu (son of Brahman in the pseudo-epic) and father of 8ukra 
U^anas, I, 66, 42 (13, 85, 106f.). 


V. The Eight Great Devas. 


121 


as well as Gopati) by KaSyapa. The cows are Kamadughas, "giving all 
desires" (H 3148 f.; KaSyapa’s two wives, Aditi and Surabhi, are here born 
on earth as Devaki and Roljini). Varuija also (§ 45) steals Soma’s daughter, 
Bhadra, from Utathya (so Dyaus, § 34, becomes a thief). When Narada 
reproves him, he tries to throttle the saint (13, 155 , 22). Utathya Arigiras 
then drinks up the god’s domain and causes a drought, till Sarasvati loses 
herstelf in the desert and earth is nearly dried up, when the god sees 
his error and restores Bhadra. As a generous god he gives arms (above) 
and control of water and fresh garlands to Nala (3, 57, 38), and gives to 
Rcika, son of Bhrgu, a thousand "white horses’’ (each with a black ear), 
to enable that saint to marry, since such was the dowry demanded (3, 115, 
26f.). The horses came from Advatirtha, a place reached "by going 
first to the residence of Varuija" (cf. H 2463). Four hundred of 
the horses were seized by the Vitasta river whil£ being led across it 
(saiptare hrtany asan Vitastaya, 5, 119, S; but S has asann itas 
tatalj). Beauty distinguishes all Varuija’s children and Varuijatmaja is 
typical of female loveliness (S 1, 241, 17). Varuija himself is typical of 
prosperity (2, 35, 16). The white horses may be a literal interpretation 
of white billows ("Neptune’s chargers”) and the noose of the god may 
still be interpreted as illness. When a king is addressed, “Let not Varuija 
slay thee with his horrible nooses” (for wronging a priest, 3, 192, 48), 
it means repent in time, and the implication may be that he will die of 
disease if he does not repent. This is practically the only weapon Varuija 
uses; with it he marches even in processions (ugrapaSa, 3, 231, 38; 8, 
42, 36). A proverb and parody of the holy text seems hlso to imply 
dropsy as the noose: "though bound with Vanina's nooses one thinks 
himself immortal; like a puffed out skin”, etc. (mahadrtir iva ’dhma- 
talj, 12, 95, 20; cf. RV. 7, 89, 2). But for false witnesses the fetters are 
not loosed with death (above). Varuija himself appears as a witness for 
Slta (3, 291, 29). Jn H 13138, three-headed snakes draw his car. See 
also § 143 f. 

§ 65. Ocean, Sagara (Samudra), is personified (above) as subservient 
to Varuija. He is husband of Ganges (above), and is called Aik§vaka 
Sagara (H298gf. makes him son of Brahman; Jsantanu is his name when 
born as father of BhTsma). As son of Ik§vaku he grants the boon asked by 
Rama (3, 283, 35 ; R6, 19, 21 f.), and is described as wearing gems, a lotus- 
wreath, and the Kaustubha jewel (§ 19; cf. H 12161 f., date of churning). 
He persuades Rama to shoot the Brahmastra at the Dasyus and Abhiras, 
who had polluted his streams (R 6, 22, 17—31). Aga sty a, s on of Varuija, 
drinks up ocean, to disco ver the Kaley a s (3, 104, 22f.). King Sagara ex¬ 
cavated Ocean’s bed (the king’s mother is Kalind! 7 "lfie Jumna river, R 1, 
70, 31; R 2, no, 18), hence Ocean is called Sagara (R 1, 38f.). Sagara 
exhorted a mountain to rise and help Hanumat (R 5, 1, 89 f.). He injured 
his mother and apparently (scholiast) went -to hell for this impiety (R 2, 
21, 27). Dundubhi challenged him to fight but he was afraid (R 4, n, 9f.). 
Kartavirya (q. v.) attacked Ocean (Samudra). Utathya also drank up ocean 
(above). He was cursed several times, to have sharks, by Brhaspati, be¬ 
cause his water was unfit for rinsing the god’s mouth (12, 343, 27); and 
by Vadavamukha, the Mare’s Mouth, to become salt, because he would 
not come to Mt. Meru when bidden to do so. Till the divine Mare’s 
Mouth drinks him up he will remain salty (but cf. H 8323 1 ), the sweat 
of the divine being having given him his salt (12, 343> 60). Hence 



122 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch.u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

(3, 206, 26) it is said that a seer’s wrath made ocean salty. Ocean is lord 
of rivers (above). His resolution-not to pass his bounds is often referred 
to (R 2, 12,44, etc.). He appears in R as four (R 5, 15, 12) or seven 
(R 3, 74, 25, etc.); in Mbh., only as four seas, as when he attends the 
court ofVaruija (2,9,18; 3, 83,156, etc.). The legend of Sagara, "born in the 
Iksvaku family” (3, 106, 7) implies that there was originally no ocean, nor 
place for it. He and his sons hollowed out a basin afterwards filled by 
Ganges. In 12,289, 2f., Sagara discusses philosophy with Aristanemi. Ocean 
is “lord of rivers’’; Varu$a is "king of waters” (also of rivers), according 
to 14, 43, 7. AqiSumat, son of Asamanjas, son of Sagara, recovered the lost 
horse of Sagara. His grandson brought down the Ganges (3, 107, 39f.; 
cf. R 2, 36, 19; Mbh. 12, 57, 9). KeSinI and Sumati are the two wives of 
Sagara, the former mother of Asamanjas, the latter sister of Garucja and 
mother of the sixty thousand Sagaras born in a gourd and preserved in 
oil till adult (R 1, 38, 3 f.; Ik$vaku as gourd). KeSinl is in Mbh. the 
mother of Jahnu (1,94,32). H recognises both (797; 1416). 

§ 66. Indra. — Indra, the favorite son of Aditi, was originally (a 
priestly) “son of Brahman”, but became a warrior through his slaughter 
of nine nineties of his evil kin, thereby obtaining Indraship (lordship) of 
the gods (12, 22, 11). He slew them with the bolt made of Dadhica’s 
bones, whom the god tempted to lose his virtue through sight of Alam- 
bu§a (9, 51, 7). Indra made all kinds of weapons of the sainted monster’s 
bones; whence it is said that "Dadhlca guards Indra as Angiras guards 
the sun” (3, 92, 6). Another story makes Brahman the originator of the 
plot to get the bones and has only the thunderbolt made from them (12, 
343, 36). In 3, 100, 24f., the bolt is made by Tva§tr. Indra heads the gods 
in battle (R 3, 59, 15, etc.); hence Indraship as headship (13, 18, 64, etc.). 
He has yellow eyes and beard, rides in a yellow car with yellow steeds, wears 
golden chains, red clothes, and has two nymphs to fan him when at peace. 
A hundred youths surround him, singers chant to him, a white umbrella 
is over his head, and his garlands are ever free from dust; he is always 
twenty-five years old in appearance (see § 22; 3, 57, 24; R 3, 5, 5). In his 
palace, "he sits in beauty indescribable, having a diadem, red bracelets, 
white robes, and variegated garlands, lord of all the world” (2, 7, 4f.). 
The diadem he gives to his son Arjuna kiritin (3, 168, 74), as he gives 
him his conch and car (ib. 85). He is the lord who pierces forts, ISafi 
puraipdarab (R4, 51, 14). His district is the East (daSa£atak§akakubh, 
7, 184,47). His constant epithets are "he of a hundred powers” and "he 
of a thousand eyes” (also assumed by Vi§j>u), Vasava (Arjuna Js Vasavi), 
“lord of the third heaven” (TridiveSvara), “lord of the thirty(-three) 
gods” (TridaSesvara, 1, 34, 10 and 15). He is called also Devadhipa (5, 
10,7), Trilokanatha (R6, 15, s), VrtraSatru (paravlrahan, 3, 43, 21 f.), and 
by equivalent titles, fsakra and Maghavat are used like names; so is 
PakaSasana (passim). The last means "rule r of crops” (vegetables) but is 
understood as ruler or slayer "of Paka (demon); cf. Sambafa-Pakaifian, 
&ambara-’Vrtrahan.'~As equivalent terms to the above are used Devaraja, 
Sure^vara, DeveSa, AmafreSvara, Amare^a, MaheSvara, Surarihan, Asura- 
sudana, Devendra, Prqhladahan, Vrtrahantf, Valabhid, -han, Namucihan, 
Mahendra, Vajrin, Harihaya, Harivahana (having yellow steeds). A favorite 
epithet is Vala-Vrtranisudana or Daitya-Danavasudana, -han. The popular 
epithet "thousand-eyed” appears in several forms, Sahasra-drk, -nayana, 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


123 


-netra, -cak$us, as well as the usual Sahasrak§a. This and Hari and 
Akhaptjala, and SureSa are also applied to Vispu, as Amaresa and Sarva- 
deveSa are shared with £iva. The epithets TridaSadhipati, TribhuvaneS- 
vara, Trilokesla, DevadeveSa add nothing to the sense of those above. 
Pratapavat is an epithet Indra shares with Agni. In 9,49,1 f., where Indra 
is Amararaja, it is explained that ^atakratuh (“of a hundred powers’’) 
means “having sacrificed a hundred times” (ib. 2, ije kratuSatena). 
Puruhutapurf is the name of Indra’s city Amaravati. Less common epithets 
are DevagapeSvara, “lord of hosts of gods” (1, 123,31), KauSika ( 3 , 9,9 
and 135, 20), Nagari “foe of mountains” (4, 39, 10; cf. § 6), Akhaijdala 
(S 2, 47, 3; 12, 337,4), Danavari (RG 2, in, 9). In formal hymns, which 
always exaggerate, Indra is extolled as the final destruction-cloud, as 
Vayu, Agni, Vi§iju, Soma, earth, sky, ocean, etc., as well as ioacipati, 
Namucighna, Valasudana, and “our salvation, as the ship of safety” (1,25, 
7f.; cf. with plavo bhava and tranaip the jnanaplava of 12,238, 1). 
On hearing these epithets, Indra, as requested, gives rain. He said to the 
clouds, "rain pure ambrosia” and the clouds “let loose the water”. As 
maker or recreator, by thus raining, Indra is known as Bhutabhavana and 
Bhutakft (1,67, 144; 3, 310, 15). He actually “creates” the being Ghatot- 
kaca (1, 155, 46), but only^by imparting a share of his own energy (as the 
other gods did) to Bhima’s son. Indra's business is to “bestow strength, 
energy, children, and happiness” (3, 229, 8 f.). He also frustrates the designs 
of the wicked and instructs (anuSasti) all men in their duties (ib.). Indra 
is Vasava as chief of theVasus; Marutpati and Marutvat as lord of the 
Maruts (R 4, 31,44); ^aclpati and ^acisahaya as husband of^aci (his per¬ 
sonified power, 3, 168, 12); but the epics do not yet know him by his 
(later) titles, Pulomajit and Pulomari. He kills Puloman in H 1174. 

§ 67. Indra as a gramapl, leading the gods, is armed with the bolt 
and a net; he also uses stones in fighting and his bow is often referred 
to, but is not used (the rainbow, Indracapa, Joakradhanulj). The bolt implies 
both thunder and lightning, as it roars and kills; when the god is anthropo- 
morphised, it becomes a javelin, returning to the hand (3, 310, 24). The 
vajra bolt is imagined as a six-sided club (3, 100, nf.; 7, 134, 10); also 
as having a hundred joints (R 3, 71, 10, 3 ataparvan, Vedic); it is a 
“splitter”, sphotana, and maharaudra, “very terrible” (H 13997 ), pnd 
as already explained, it is made of the bones of the (Jsivaite) saint Da- 
dhTca (12, 285, nf.), whence perhaps it has these 3 iva-epithets. It is hard 
as a diamond and surpassing swift, and is called (interchangeably) vajra, 
aSani, and vajraSani (R 6, 59, 103). Indra seizes the aSani and hurls 
(it), the vajram astram (1, 227, 30), in rather a late scene in which he 
also hurls stones and rides a white elephant in battle. [As sundry gods 
are fighting, their weapons as here described may be mentioned together: 
Yama uses kaladaptja; Kubera, a gada club; Skanda, a javelin (boome¬ 
rang in 9, 46, 92); the ASvins, “gleaming plants”; Dhatr, a bow; Jaya 
(Surya?), a mu sal a club; Tva§tr, a mountain (so Indra hurls a peak); 
ArpSa, a javelin; Death (Mrtyu) an axe; Aryaman, a parigha club; Mitra, 
a discus sharp as a razor; Pusan, Bhaga, and Savitf use bows and swords, 
and the other gods, “various weapons”] 1 ). Indra teaches Arjuna to use his 
conch Devadatta (3, 168, 85) and both his own weapons and those of 
other gods; he can use any weapon (3, 37, 14), but prefers the bolt to 

*) The other fighting gods are Rudras, Vasus, Maruts, Vi^ve Devas, Sadhyas. Jaya 
is not explained; it may be abstract (Victory), but probably as solar epithet (§ 43) is Surya. 




124 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

smite, and noose to snare (Bali, etc.). He invented sword and armor 
(5, 29, 30) for use against demonsr He addressed his bolt, “Go thou and 
kill, becoming a tiger”, when he would slay a child, and the leopard-bolt 
slew the child (tiger = leopard, 12, 31, 27 f.). When the weapon, ayudha, 
of Indra is referred to, however, it is usually his bow that is meant (R 3, 
42, 18; cf. 8, 24, 47; Mahendracapa, 7, 145,97); but any weapon, particu¬ 
larly arrows, can be converted into the aindram astram by magic. The 
amogha Sakti or “unfailing javelin” of Indra, made by Tva§tr, is kept 
by the Paijdus and “worshipped with perfumes, garlands, and a seat, 
drink, and food”, a real fetish, evidently a javelin inspired by Mantras 
into an Indra-astram (9, 17, 44). Another aindram astram is called viSo- 
sana, the "dryer”, another is saipntoha, "confuser”, etc. (all gods give 
similar names to magic weapons, agneya, kaubera, varupa, etc.). In 
R 6, 91,68, tad aindram astram is actually "the very arrow with which 
fsakra slew demons”, a reversion to an older view according to which 
the faakracapa was a real bow of offence, not merely the beauty of the 
rainbow (as usual). The case differs from the Mantra-endowed arrow 
with which, for example, Arjuna shoots down horses galloping a kos 
ahead ( 3, 271, 54). A recollection of the battle-bow lies also in the legend 
of the three divine bows (diva’s omitted), onp made by Brahman and 
belonging to Soma (moon’s crescent?), but given by him to Varuija (the 
Gaijdiva, made of gaod>, 5,98, 19); one called Vijaya, Indra’s dhanub; 
and one of horn belonging to Vi§pu (^arngaxp vai§ijavam, acquired 
by Arjuna). Of these it is said that Indra’s was not used (5, 158, 5 f.), as 
Rukmin who owned it would not fight. Mahendra is the name of Yudhi- 
sthira’s bow (7,23,91; but here all the Paijdus have bows called after 
gods). On the other hand, when the Sun-god envelops his son Karija 
with his rays during the combat with Arjuna (all the gods “take sides”), 
Indra Harihaya looks lovingly at his son Arjuna and, as he does so, 
suddenly the Indrayudha (rainbow) appears in the sky (a sign of good 
fortune; 1, 136, 24f.; the weapon is here differentiated from "lightning 
and thunder” and must as usual be the bow). The “net” of Indra is 
deceit, a mere term for magical trickery, used by any warrior (3, 245, 
17; 5, 160, 55; though ib. 118 in contrast to maya: na maya hi ’ndra- 
jalaip va kuhaka va ’pi bhisana, illusion, deception, and jugglery). 
The remark in 5, 37, 2 (danavendrasya dhanur anamyam) on fools 
who try to bend Indra’s bow or smite the air, etc., also shows that the bow 
is the rainbow (danava as “clouds”, N.; but S has v. 1. tan eve ’ndrasya). 

§ 68. The car and charioteer of Indra: the car is called jaitra 
ratha, car of victory, and Mahendravaha, and is like lightning or a-meteor; 
it descends to earth with the noise of thunder; it is decorated with gold, 
is sunlike, and is drawn by steeds described as golden and peacock-co¬ 
lored, one thousand or ten thousand in number (5, 104, 3; cf. 3, 168, 73; 
170, 9); ten thousand peacock-like steeds drag his sunlike car (ib. 172, 
23). The car is stored with all arms (including Nagas), and above it on a 
yellow pole waves a dark-blue standard called “Victorious” (vaijayanta, 
3, 42, 8 and 30). Indra and his queen and son Arjuna and the ASvins 
ride in it, but very few dan do so; even gods and demons cannot in 
general, nor can one who is not an adept in asceticism (ib. 17; cf. 7, 84, 
18, for the ASvins). Vaijayanta or -ti is not an uncommon name and is 
applied to elephant-banners (6, 112, 27); perhaps (so N.) to Indra’s palace 
(2, 22, 19, “death in battle is aindro vaijayantalj). On this chariot the 




125 


V. The Eight Great Devas. 

ji f l ' ~ 

slayer of Namuci slew- Bali Vairocana, Sambara, Namuci, Vala and Vrtra 
(dual), Prahlada and Naraka (dual), besides the seven hosts of the sons 
of Diti (3, 165, 7; ib. 166, 5). Heavenly musicians attend the car, so when 
it appears music is heard; and Maruts accompany it. On seeing it the 
wives of the demons of darkness flee wailing like ospreys. Nothing in 
the epic (but later ^akra^va = UccaifiSravas) suggests that the steed of 
Indra (‘‘of the yellow steeds”) is UccailiSravas (ib. 168, 9f.; ib. 62). On 
the contrary, UccailjSravas (§ 19) is born from the sea with Indra’s elephants 
but is not taken by Indra, as is the elephant (1, 18 = R 1, 45). He is 
the divine ever-youthful horse, produced at the churning of ocean, and 
famous only as the white roaring charger of the sea. What can that be 
save the roaring breakers? (1, 20, if.; cf. 1, 17, 3 and 18, 35f.; as roaring, 
7, 196, 30; king of steeds, etc., 5, 102, 12; 6, 34, 27). In 12, 235, 15, 
“U. should be given to the good", S has "Prahlada gave U. to KaSyapa". 
Even VP. 1, 22, 6, merely says that UccaifiSravas is “best of horses”. In¬ 
dra never uses him in either epic. Only his offspring are in the sky and 
are given away by Indra, in H8220; S924. Matali, the charioteer of Indra, 
^akrasarathi, is recognised as the best charioteer in the world, though 
when he starts the car it lurches so that Indra cannot keep his position, 
and when the knight occupant fights, the charioteer drops his goad, lets 
the horses turn around, and gets confused and blinded (3,16S,41, atiSakram 
idam; ib. 171; 15 f.)- In R 7, 28, 23b, Matali first baffles the demons by 
his skill in driving and Indra then smites them. Matali is councillor as 
well as charioteer (the office is very honorable; Salya acts for Kama, etc.). 
The Suta (charioteer) is a minister of the king and so Matali is “Indra’s 
friend, minister, and car-driver” (5, 104, 2f.). Matali’s wife is Sudharma, 
his son Gomukha, his daughter GunakeSI, his son-in-law Sumukha, a Naga. 
He also acts as adviser of Rama in battle, after serving him (R 6, HI, 
1 f.). On Indra’s car he takes Arjuna to heaven and back, guiding the ten 
thousand horses easily (3, 165, if.; 170, 9f.). He journeys around the 
world with Narada, seeking a son-in-law (5, 97, nf.; 104, 22 f.). The car 
he drives is “like the sun” (originally the Sun?) when he helps Rama in 
battle (3, 290, 12), and so in R 6, 103, 6f., both car and horses are sun¬ 
like (here Matali is wounded and the horses are slain). The combined 
efforts of Indra, Matali, and his son Gomukha are sometimes unequal to 
the task of subduing the demons of Hiranyapur (5,100, 8). Jayanta (H 747of.), 
son of Indra, and Gomukha, son of Matali, attack the son of Ravana, till 
Puloman carries off his grandson (R 7, 28, 10). Indra tells Matali of what 
sort are the people he likes (S 13, 153, 7f.). Matali’s son serves Gada, 
H 8872. 

§ 69. Indra’s dhvaja (ketu) is the chief object in the “feast of Indra" 
(maha or utsava). Sometimes two are mentioned, weakened by rain and 
heat (R 2, 77, 25; ib. 9, and R 6, 45, 17). Earth is beautified with these 
poles (9, 9, 21; cf. ib. 12, 23), which were instituted as the “Indra-poles” 
(festival) by Uparicara, whom Indra persuaded to give up asceticism and 
become an aviator, “going through the air like a god” in an aeroplane 
(akaSagaip. vimanam, 1, 63, 13), and gave to him a victor's crown, 
vaijayanti mala, of lotus-flowers, which protected him in battle and was 
called the “Indra-wreath”, Uparicara’s peculiar sign. Indra gave him a 
bamboo pole, protective of its worshippers, wherewith to worship him as 
slayer of Vrtra. Indra's day comes when the rains are over and the roads 
are fit for war, and is the new moon’s day of Saumya mas a (probably 


126 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

the end of Sept.; amavasya ^akradevata, 5, 142, 18). The pole is pulled 
down earlier than this, on-the full moon of ASvina (ASvayuksamaye 
masi, R 4, 16, 36). But if it is impossible to bring “Indra’s day” into 
connection with Indra’s festival, it is at least clear that the festival oc¬ 
curred after the rains had ceased and when New Year’s was celebrated, 
for in its installation it is especially said that the feast takes place at the 
end of the year (gate saipvatsare). The banner is only part of the 
decoration of the pole, which is scented and bedecked with gold cloth, 
garlands, and ornaments (streamers, etc.). Indra, as IS vara, or lord of 
the feast, is worshipped under the form of a goose (haipsarupena). This 
festival of Indra Maghavat ("generous one”) was afterwards generally 
adopted by other kings, who followed the example set by Uparicara and 
celebrated the occasion by royal gifts of jewels, land, etc. (1, 63, 27). The 
height and gaudiness of the pole are remarked upon in I, 70, 14f., and 
elsewhere. Later this feast is shared with Kr§i?a, H 3787—4008. 

§ 70. Indra’s elephant (a cloud) is used as alternative to the vehicle 
drawn by fallow steeds or gee$e (the last is implied in S 5, 15, 23: 
Nahu§a, to outdo Indra, dismisses the elephants Supratika and Airavata, 
the haipsayukta vimana and the hariyukta ratha, and yokes saints in¬ 
stead). The elephant Airavata, which rose at the churning of the ocean, 
was seized by Indra (1, 18, 40). The peers of this first and “king” elephant 
are Anjana (cf. the ahjanaka breed, 7, 112, 17), Vamana, and Mahapadma, 
progenitors of Ayodhya’s stud (R 1, 6, 24). These four guard the cardinal 
points, as do the gods who mount them (see § 10 and § 91). Indra’s 
elephant guards the East, as that is Indra’s direction, or the North, as 
that is the Airavatapatha (3, 162, 34, perhaps North-East; see Lokapalas). 

[ In many passages Airavata and Airavana (e. g. 2, 9, 8) exchange, each 
I form being applied to elephant and Naga (serpent). In 4, 2, 17, Dhrtara§tra 
is best of Nagas and among elephants Airavana is the best, but S has 
Airavata (ib. 30). Airavata is imagined as accompanied with two females 
(1, 114, gf.). He is called Pauraqidara (Indra’s), as Anjana is the western 
elephant ridden by Varuna, Varunopavahya, and Sarvabhauma, that 
of the North, by Kubera (R 6, 4, 20); he is Indravahya: “As Jambha in 
battle attacked ^akra on Airavana Indravahya” (9, 20, 12; ib. 6, Vajradhara 
Airavanastha; S has both forms ib. 4 = 5 and 12). In 7, 112, 35, B and S 
both have Airavapa. In 6, 64, 54—6, Airavana in B; Airavata in S (S 5 > 
99, 8 has Airavata after Airavana in 7 = 15). Like all the world-elephants, 
Airavata has four tusks and three temporal streams; he is large and white 
(1, 227, 29; 7, 105, 26; S 2, 97, 26 and 38; cf. 5, 143, 37 ; 6, 64, 61). 
Indra mounts the king Of elephants, gajarajavahana, on back or shoulder 
or head, usually on the shoulder (12, 227,’ iof.; ib. 117; ib. 223, 12; cf. 
R 5, 36, 40; ib. 37, 25). The two vaijayantls, “bells of victory”, Indra gave 
to Skanda and ViSakha (3, 231, i8f.). The epic recognises the elephant 
as a fighting vehicle, but in the earlier scenes Indra fights from a chariot 
and uses the elephant more for a quiet journey, as when he peacefully 
ascends to heaven on the elephant after his trouble with the demons is 
over (S, 18, 1), or takes a trip round the world (3, I93i9; 12, 227, iof.). 
Seated on his elephant he pours down rain (6, 95, 34). The god and his 
elephant appear disguised in a magic scene, the latter as a bull (1, 3, 167, 
Nagaraj). According to I, 66, 60 and 63, Airavata is Devanaga and son 
of Bhadramanas, one of the nine creative powers, and less fighter than 
guardian. But in some late scenes, I, 227, 29, etc., and especially in the 


V. The Eight Great Devas. 


127 


Ram., Airavata acts as battle-steed. In the Uttara, Indra, “aban¬ 
doning his car”, mounts his elephant to fight (R 7, 29, 27). In H 2453 f., 
he fights on the elephant and travels in his car. The later phrase “like 
Airavata in battle” also shows the war-use of the elephants (in 7, 26, 20, a 
hero fights on an elephant descended from the one on which Indra fought, 
omitted in C): Airavatasama yudhi (7,112,35; R 5,6,32; R 6,4, 19, 
etc.). In R 6, 67, 107 (late), Indra fights on the elephant, all the gods 
aiding”; and R 6, 15, 6, Indrajit hurls Airavata to the ground and tears 
out two tusks, frightening Indra; also ib. 6l, 17, Kumbhakanja tears out 
a tusk and smites Indra with it; and Mahodara, another demon, mounts 
the elephant Sudargana, “born in the family of Airavata”; and Afigada 
(son of Valin) tears out a tusk and fights with it (R 6,69, 20; ib. 70, 15). 
Airavata gouges Ravana and leaves on his body the marks of his tusks 
(R 3, 23, 24; ib. 3, 32, 7; ib. 6, 40, 5). Airavana draws up water from 
the under-world for Indra to rain (5, 99, 7), evidently from iravat as 
the nourishing rain-cloud and its lightning-stroke; whence airavatas 
are lightning-clouds, mahaghanah sairavatafi saSanayah (3, 3, 58); 
sairavataSatahradalj (7, 98, 31); vidyudairavatarcismad dviti- 
yendradhanur yatha (R 6, 76, 39; ib. 5, 1, 165, personified; not “rain¬ 
bow", as in PW.). Cf. H 3894f. "Airavata elephants” (R 2, 70, 22) may mean 
from mount Iravata. The four tusks of Airavata are not peculiar to 
world-elephants. Lafika’s guarding elephants have three or four tusks 
and are white (R 5, 9, 5 and R 5, 4, 27) in demoniac imitation of Aira¬ 
vata, who stands guard at Indra’s city, and also is “white, Subhra, 
with four tusks, huge as Kailasa, victorious” (3, 42, 39f., vijayinam as 
in S, not vaijayinam). In H 8870f., he is guided by Pravara. 

§ 71. Indra as Benefactor and Rain-God.—Indra gives his favorites, 
as already shown, gifts of arms and, even to a chance acquaintance (Nala), 
imparts the gait of a king and the knowledge how to worship. He is 
fond of giving jewels, to his son (3, 165, 10, with arms); to the father of 
Sita (the cudamani, R5,66, 5), when pleased by sacrifice, etc. The god 
vies with Kubera in wealth, but his gifts go beyond gems and arms; he 
makes the dead live (R6, 123, if.) as a favor to the living, and makes 
things grow out of season for Bharadvaja (R 2, 91, 13). His chief gift con¬ 
sists in the rain he gives to all. He is Ambudegvara, owning rain. There may 
be growth “without the bolt-holder raining” (R 2, 12, 107), but artificial irri¬ 
gation, aseka, is not of much use (5, 79, 2f.); the land depends on rain 
and Indra rains, first as slayer of Vrtra (but the epic has almost forgotten 
this), then to “protect the people” (1, 64, 16). In return men give the 
"earthly rain” of soma, which he shares with all the other gods, even 
at last with the ASvins (3, 121,9; cf. § no). That he is the regular rain- 
giver is attested by the fact that the phrase “when the god rains” is 
synonymous with “when Vasava rains” (cf. S I, 238, 9, vr§tiip var§ati 
Vasave, repeated ib. 18), though occasionally others usurp his function, 
as the Sun (q. v.) and Parjanya (below) also rain and Maipdhatr (cf. R$ya- 
Sruga) once, during a drought, “made rain while Indra was looking on” 
(misato vajrapapinah, 3, 126,42; cf. 123, 23). Indra “drives the clouds 
together and sends down water" (1,227,18!.), or he “rains stones” (hail, 
ib. 45). He also rains at any great event (12, 334, 7), and in all blessed 
places he rains regularly (4, 47, 26); otherwise (in the unblessed, kingless 
land) come famine, plague and the Ttis (distresses) of the farmer (5, 10, 
48; ib. 147,25). “The crop-controller (PakaSasana) did not rain”, intro- 




128 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


duces the story of such a famine and how RsyaSpiga forced Indra to rain 
and become yathartuvaT§in, “duly raining”. Cessation of this activity 
introduces the final destruction (3, 188, 50 and 65), when even grain planted 
by a river, sarittlrthe§u, will not grow (ib. 190, 23). This is the nadi- 
mukhailj-grown grain, in antithesis to Indrakr.'jta (grain raised by Indra, 

2, 51, 11; cf. devamatrka, 2, 5, 77 and R 2, 100, 46). Constantly the 
arrows of a hero are shot “like the rain shot by Puraqidara" (etc. 3, 16, 
12; 9, 16, 33; 14, 77, 27; R 6, 56, 11; R 6, 91, 22). Indra “enters the cloud 
with a mass of water and fills earth with it” (12, 143, 20). So Indra is 
called Vasava bhurivarsa (7, 30, 36) and is thought of as the god who 
rains par excellence, whether water or blood be sent (varsati devah, 
3,110,4; 12, 73, 15; vavarsa rudhirarp devalj, R 6, 96, 35 and ib. 108, 
20); he may “rain dust” and so destroy a realm (R 7, 81, 8), as he, Indra 
Maghavat, rains gold upon a favorite king (12, 29, 25). His rain the gods 
claim as “our rain” in antithesis to soma: “Our rain goes down and men 
rain up” (naras tu ’rdhvapravarsiijah 12, 59, 26). If the gods are 
pleased with men, they speak in their behalf to Indra, who then sends 
rain and so gives food (annarp dadati £akrag ca, 12,121,38), for with 
this rain he “makes the rice grow in the fields” (R 4,14, 15), though the same 
god’s “stone rain” beats down the crops (R 3, 34, 8). Why Indra “unwea- 
riedly rains” is explained (1, 124, 11 f.) on the principle that actuates priests 
who keep on studying though they know the Mantras and that actuates 
saints to practise ever more austerities, viz., the yearning for glory! Work 
gives glory, hence the Sun toils ever, and ever blows the Wind, and ever > 
Indra rains, to get glory, to become supreme (5, 29, 8f.). As rain-god, 
Indra is identified with Parjanya, from whom he is formally differentiated. 
Parjanya rains on hill and ploughland (10, 2, 5); Vasava rains upon the 
crops in the fields-in due time (R7,70, 10); Parjanya is vr$timat, “rain- 
fur (7,89,4; 9.12,59; R2, 1, 37; so, significantly, are clouds, R 5 , 45 , 7 ); 
as such, Parjanya too shoots rain-arrows, like Indra (above and R6, 80, 21). 
Parjanya is, in short, the rain-form of Indra, though given a distinct per¬ 
sonality (“son of Pusan”, 8,20, 29, is doubtful; Pusanuja is v. 1 . for Pusat- 
maja) as worshipper in parades, etc.; and in R 1, 17, 14, Parjanya is 
regarded as progenitor of the garabha. Thus Indra rtuvarsin and kala- 
varsin (3,190,79) appears as kalavarsin Parjanya (1,68,10; 3, 190,91; 
12,29,53 and ib. 91, 1); kale var§ati Vasavab (above) stands beside 
kale varsati Parjanyah in the same book (R 7, 99,13). In 12, 29, 53, P. 
makes the crops grow and gives enough to eat, like Indra; and so, like 
Indra, under a good king Parjanya is nikamavarsin, “rains as is desir¬ 
able” and the farmer’s (six) It is are not known (-5,61, 17). The 
roar, nada, of Indra on his car (if, 3, if.; R 6, 99, 25) is the roar, 
ninada, of thunder or of Parjanya (3,12, 31; 5,22,11). Rama is like Par¬ 
janya, it is said, his car also is like that of Indra (“noisy in the air”, 
R2,16, 31). Parjanya is the best of roarers or rainers (4, 2, 16, varsataqi, 
v. 1 . nardataqi) . The same phrases are used of each, gharmante 
Maghavan iva (9, 11, 23), Parjanya iva gharmante nadayan vai 
digo daga (7, 162, 54) and 12, 37, 22 (idem) where “people long for and 
live on Parjanya M ’ (often; cf. 12,97,15). Parjanya is the savior, natha, 
of cattle . (5, 34, 38 ). The “people” are especially those mentioned in R 2, 
112, 12, “as the ploughmen long for Parjanya” (cf. R 2, 3, 29; ib. 31, 12; 
ib. 67,9). In short, Parjanya is the bucolic Indra, chief god of ploughmen; 
but the greater province remains Indra’s. “Created beings live on Parjanya; 




V. The Eight Great Dev as. 


129 


_ 1 I 

on Indra live the gods” (2, 45. <55 f.; 3. 34, 21; .5, 42; 12, 75, 13; 13, 

61, 37).*) Parjanya (the cloud) is rain itself, being to the crops what am¬ 
brosia is to the gods; he brings the crops to completeness (3, 32,47 and 
S I, 77, 3: Parjanya iva sasyanaip, devanam amrtarp yatha). Indra 
also “starts the crops and then ceases to rain” (R 4, 30, 22), but it is only 
one of his capacities; whereas Parjanya only rains; yet he rains as the 
Ihunderer, so that the normal position of the two gods is almost reversed 
when'lt is said that “Arjuna shot arrows as Maghavat shoots rain, and as 
Parjanya hurls lightning” (aSani, 7, 10, 15f.). In the later epic there is 
no distinction between Indra qua rain-giver and Parjanya. Thus in 12, 
141, 5 and 15, the story begins avar§ati Parjanye and continues na 
vavarsa Sahasraksalj. So in 3, no, 43 f., “since the thousand-eyed 
(Indra) failed to rain . . the king inquired of his priests in regard to Surendra 
(Indra) raining as to how Parjanya might (be got to) rain". Parjanya “roars 
mightily in windy confusion", hurling hail (7, 21, 33); he is citravar§in 
(= akale, H 11145) at the aeon’s end (cf. 12, 69, 96, kvacid var§ati 
Parjanyab), but when all is well he sends food (6, 27, 14) and (as Indra, 
above) “rains gold", “rains all desires”, on his favorite (kaman varsati 
Parjanyab, 7, 56, 5). See also Adityas (§ 37), where Parjanya is perhaps 
Indra, as in H 10257 (as seer, H 431). 

§ 72. Indra’s Battles. — In 12, 33, 26, the wars between gods and 
demons are said to have lasted 32000 years. The one greatest (not re¬ 
peated) battle of the war-god was with Vrtra who "because of his conduct 
became the foe of Indra” in the South (5, 109, 13), after the demon had 
covered the worlds twain (avrtya rodasi 3, 101, Iunder protection of 
the Kalakeya demons), and enveloped the whole movable world (vyaptam, 
5,10, r). The epic confuses the story of Vrtra with that of Namuci (below) 
and has two different accounts of the battle and its origin. Belonging to 
the pseudo-epic is the account of Vrtra’s conversion to the Vi§puites, his 
experiences after defeat and attainment of Yoginhood, together with the 
gitam or song composed by the “Daitya Vrtra”; it astonished even the 
late pietist (12, 282, 1). Vrtra is described as five hundred leagues high 
and three hundred round (ib. 282, 8; as yogin, ib. 281, 59) and as having 
stupified Indra; the battle between the two becomes typical of all remark¬ 
able duels, Vftravasavayor iva (2,23,25; R6, 58, 48; ib. 100, 31, etc.). 
Vrtra is one of the four sons of Danayus - (Daitya above, and elsewhere, 
with the later indifference), Viksara, Vala, Vira, and Vrtra “the great 
Asura” (1, 65, 33). The first is incorporated as king Vasumitra (1, 67, 41) 
but is not known otherwise (except as a title of Kr$na-Vi$nu), and even 
in H merely appears among other Danavas and Asuras. Vala (written Bala) 
is the personified fortress or hole which gives Indra his title Valabhid 
(-sudana, -hantr). Vira is known otherwise only as an Asura killed by 
lightning. These appear as kings in the war (7, 25, 53), as does Vrtra 
himself, as Manimat (ib.), not the Yaksa of that name (see Kubera) but 
an earthly king. As Vrtra is bf Brahmanic family, his slaughter is regarded 
as “priest-murder”, and the personification..of the crime came out of his 
dead body wearing a garland of skulls and -stuck to Indra “like a spell” 
(krtya, 12, 283, 13), just as fire came from his mouth and his memory 
also came out of him in the shape of a jackal (ib. 2). Both Vispu’s power 

*) Fausbnll, Indian Mythology, p-97, takes Parjanyam as neuter (cloud) in the first 
passage, but the pada is connected with the following upajivanti, not with the pre¬ 
ceding pahi. 

Indo-arische Philologie III. 1 b, 


9 



130 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

and diva’s feverish energy assisted Indra, the former entering the bolt, 
the latter making Vrtra yawn (282^30; 283, 8), so that Indra could cast 
the bolt into his open mouth (variant below). Here he is said to have 
practised Yoga for 60000 years and to have received boons of Brahman, 
making him strong. He was “made by Tva$tr” (like Trigiras) and hence 
Indra could not overcome him. fsiva gave permission to Tvastr to fashion 
him (7, 94, 49f.); the Maruts honor Indra on slaying Vrtra (7, 179, 64) as 
being the only slayer;, the sectarian view is late. Indra is the only foe 
of the demons (2, 65, 24), but (6, 83, 57, etc.) Visnu is associated with him 
at an early stage (Indropendrau) before the power enters the bolt, as 
coequal antagonist “rushing the Daitya host”, as Agni also assists him. 
After Indra had taken off the head of Vrtra (giro jahara, 8, 91, 50), he 
was disgusted with the demon's foul smells. The later epic says that Indra 
struck him several times; after each wound Vrtra retreated into water, 
light, and air, successively; taking away their qualities (taste, color, 
sound), and finally into Indra himself, who had to be roused with Vasistha’s 
melody (rathantara) to kill him (14, n,8f.). The story goes back to 
the combat with Trigiras and begins with the Vedic words: ViSvarupo 
hi vaiTva§tra(i purohito devanam asit svasriyo ’surapam, "Vig- 
varupa, the son of Tvastr, was the family-priest of the gods, a sister’s 
son of the Asuras” (TS. 2, 5, 1, 1; Mbh. 12, 343, 28 f.), but instead of con¬ 
tinuing with the original (“and had three heads”), the epic proceeds to 
say that Vigvarupa gave part of the sacrifice in secret to the Asuras, while 
in public he served the gods. Then the Asuras, whose chief was Hiranya- 
kaSipu, went to the Asura mother of Vigvarupa and complained that her 
son, Vigvarupa Trigiras, was the gods’ priest, so that the Asuras grew 
weak. His mother found him in Nandana (grove) and persuaded him to 
side with Hiranyakagipu, who made him chaplain after discharging Vasi§tha. 
Vasistha cursed Hirapyakagipu (who in due time was slain by Vi§nu as 
man-lion). Meantime Indra became alarmed at TriSiras’s ascetic power and 
tried to seduce him through a nymph. Trigiras enjoyed the nymph but 
kept his power and began to drink the gods’ soma with one mouth, eat 
the sacrifice with another, and consume the gods’ power with the third 
mouth. On the advice of Brahman the distracted gods got Dadhica to 
give up his bones, wherewith Dhatr made a bolt, which Indra shot at 
Trigiras *and decapitated him (the bolt was infused with Vispu-energy). 
But out of the mangled remains rose another (form of) Trigiras (Vrtra), 
and Indra smote that, making two cases of Brahman-cide, which frightened 
Indra so that he fled and hid in a lotus-stalk. Then the gods made Nahu$a 
their chief and with five hundred lights on his brow Nahu§a guarded the 
third heaven, but tried to seduce load, Who, consulting with Brhaspati, 
had recourse to “boon-granting Rumor” (Upa Sr uti, an evil spirit in Sutras). 
On being prayed to, Upagruti revealed where Indra lay hid (in lake'Manasa). 
Indra agreed to return, after advising Ssaci how to ruin Nahusa by getting 
him to yoke the saints and so fall under the curse of Agastya, who 
changed him into a snake. Indra performed a horse-sacrifice in honor of 
Visnu and was reinstated as king of gods, dividing his sin of Brahman- 
cide between women, vanitas, fire, trees, and - c6wsr _ But _ a - BTack ante¬ 
lope wag'really"ugecTfor the 'horse; Bfhaspati officiated (ib. 48 and 52f.). 
Cft R 4, 24, 14, Indra’s sin taken by earth, water, trees, and women (see 
below). That Trigiras was a holy being is implied when it is said that 
Indra would not have made sacrifice after slaying “the Muni”, if right 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


I 3 i 


had been the same as wrong (R 6, 83, 29). In 12, 283, 28 f., where also a 
sacrifice frees Indra at the end,, the sin is cast upon Agni (created to 
receive it), who may pass it on to any one that does not make fire- 
oblations; upon trees and plants (transferred to one who cuts grass or trees 
on holy days); upon Apsarasas (who may turn it over to men lacking in 
restraint); and upon water, this last quarter of the sin passing into any 
defiler of water. In the account in Udyoga, where it is described as a 
puravrtta itihasa puratana, "an ancient story-of an old event” (5,9, 
2 f.), Tva§tr created his son expressly to injure Indra, and the son’s mouths 
(faces) were like sun, moon and fire (cf. diva’s eyes), with which he respec¬ 
tively absorbed soma and Vedas, sura, and space. Indra slew him be¬ 
cause he could not be seduced, but was scorched by his radiance, for 
TriSiras, "though stricken was glorious, and though dead lay as one 
alive”. So Indra bade a carpenter cut off the heads of Brahmana TriSiras 
( c f- 5 > 9 , 34, Brahmahatya; and on the carpenter, a Vedic trait, see 
WZKM. 26, 123, with Kathaka ref.), telling the man that he should receive 
the head of sacrifice thereafter, Indra promising to free himself from sin 
by asceticism. From the head thus cut off flew out partridges, quails, spar¬ 
rows, and hawks, as out of Vrtra's blood came cocks (unclean for food, 
12, 283, 60). Then Tva§tr, "sipping water, cursed Indra as an ill-souled 
evil-minded” person, and "making an oblation in fire, produced Vrtra”, 
and bade him grow great as Indra’s foe. So Vrtra fought and succeeded 
in whirling Indra into his mouth, but the gods created (the yawn) Jrm¬ 
bhika, as a great being, to destroy Vrtra, and, Vrtra yawning', out' leaped 
Indra (but “Jrmbhika thereafter became part -of breathing”). Indra and 
the gods retreating to Mandara-peak thought of Vispu, "subduer of Bali, 
god of gods, who made three strides” (etc.), and Vi§j\u entered the bolt. 
Thus reinforced, Indra attacked Vrtra again, after gods and seers had 
made a contract with Vrtra, to the effect that he should not be killed 
with "dry or wet, stone or wood", etc. But Vi§pu entered foam and Indra 
smote Vrtra with it (“dry and wet” thunderbolts are recognised among 
magic arms, R X, 27, 9). So Vrtra was slain by a lie, and Indra, having 
committed Brahman-cide and being oppressed by the lie as well, feared 
and liid in water. Earth, losing Indra’s rain, suffered; Nahu§a was made 
king of gods (etc., as above; 5, 10, 15 f.; 29b). The Southern version 
adds that diva’s Bhuts also oppressed Indra, yellihg "Brahman-murderer” 
at him. Here (5, 13, 19) the sin is divided fivefold, -lietween rivers, trees, 
mountains, earth, and women. "Bj-haspati is more pronunenFTTian~ab6ve 
and a real horse-sacrifice takes place. UpaSruti is introduced after fsaci 
proposes to invoke "divine Night" (the passage is marked by verbal equi¬ 
valence with R 7, 85, 18 = 5, 13, 12, raksarthaip sarvabhutanam Vi§- 
nutvam upajagmivan; cf. too ib. 23 = R ib. 86, 4, etc.). This murder 
of TriSiras appears to be alluded to in 1, 76, 52: "Whom, even Indra, 
would not Brahman-murder burn?” (TraiSirsa Brahmahatya it is called, 
5, 10, 44). Of the new characters in this version, Jrmbhika belongs to a 
class of inferior spirits called Jrmbhakas" accompanying £iva (3,231,34; 
cf. Jambhakas). Nahusa was originally a pious king, son of Ayus, son of 
Pururavas (i, 75, 26f.); he kicked Agastya because the latter was hete¬ 
rodox! (5, I 7 > if-)- His own sin of killing a cow was divided into 101 parts 
and became diseases (12, 263, 48 f.). His evil eye absorbed power from*all 
"he saw ( 13799717 }- “Gifts to priests“gave lifm power (13, 166, nf.). He 
lauds wealth as a means of such piety (12, 8, nf.). His usurpation of 

9* 



132 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


Indra’s rank and his fall, with memory of his past, in serpent-form is 
often an epic theme (3, 179T * 3^1 3 . io 3 . Hi H 8813, etc). HiranyakaSipu 
was the only son of Diti (1, 65, 17; but see p. 48); he interchanges with 
Vrtra-Namuci in the story of the compact (above) but with Krsna as the 
god (H 12622; S 2, 46, 13), as he was the greatest opponent of Vi$nu 
(so as Ravana, R 7,37, pra. 5, 85 f.). The Ram., in its version of this 
greatest deed of Indra, when the “lord of the immortals slew the great 
Asura Vrtra'’ (R 6, 67, 167), also represents smoke and fire as coming 
from the dragon’s mouth (ib. 93, 19), when struck by the bolt (ib. 111,22). 
Sampati says, “long ago, after the slaughter of Vrtra” (R 4, 58,4), removing 
the action to an indefinite past. 

§ 73. The account in R 7, 84, 3 f., agrees in general with that of 
Udyoga. Vrtra is. here so pious that earth thrives under him till he leaves 
his son to rule in Madhura and began to torment gods with asceticism. 
Visnu, appealed to, refuses to kill him on the score of auld lang syne, 
but agrees to enter (inspire) Indra, the bolt, and earth (divides himself 
threefold). Indra’s sin was removed by a horse-sacrifice, and the sin was 
divided among rivers for four rain-months, earth, women during three 
days, and fourth among those who kill harmless priests with a lie (R 7, 
86, 16). Another late passage makes Indra’s evil (mala, filth) and hunger, 
after killing Vrtra, give names to the Maladas and KaruSas (R 1, 24, 17 f.). 
Namuci, son of Danu, also fell beneath Indra (Namucer hanta, 3, 25, 10), 
who, “bolt in hand and combining with the Maruts slew Vrtra and Namuci, 
hard to attack, and the Rak§asi Dirghajihva” (3, 292, 4). Here, as in R 2, 
106, 27, the Maruts help 1 (“union is strength” is the expressed moral); 
or Indra alone is mentioned (8, 26, 21; R 6, 56, 17, etc.). The compact 
of Indra is here made with Namuci and its breaking is said to be 
good polity (2, 55, 13 abhimata ripau vrttib). The head followed the 
god crying out at him, but Indra bathed at the confluence of the Aruna 
and Sarasvati and became pure; the demoniac head fell into the river 
and the demon, who had first escaped into a sunbeam, went to a world 
of delight (9, 43, 33 f.), while Indra went to heaven. “Foam used on a 
foggy day” evades the agreement not to kill “with wet or dry by day or 
night” (ib.). Another version is that Indra was wounded (8, 85, 26 f.) when 
Namuci rushed at him (R 3, 28, 3), and Indra even ran away (6, 83, 40). 
A simile in 6, 88, 17 would imply that he was shot nine times, but such 
phrases as Vasavo Namuciqi yatha and Maghavan iva ^ambaram 
are used by the poets without much regard to details (9, 7, 35 and 38; 
ib. 16, 33; ib. 17, 22, etc.). Rama could slay Namuci or Bali (R 3, 39, 18). 
Namuci sermonises to Indra in the pseudo-epic, video nteliora deteriora 
sequor (janami Sreyo na tu tat karomi, 12, 226, 9, with v. 1 . of S). 
His name is like that of the seer Pramuca or Pramucu, associated (§ 58) 
with Unmuca and Vimuca (also 12, 208, 29), but nothing suggests that 
it implies “not-freeing” (except the pertinacity of the head). He is son 
of Vipracitti and brother of Maya (below). The Ram. distinguishes the 
manner of death of Vrtra and Namuci: “As Vrtra (fell smitten) by the 
vajra (bolt); as Namuci by foam; as Vala by lightning” (R 3, 30, 28). 

§ 74. Indra’s other battles can be more briefly narrated. He con¬ 
fronted Bali in the great war of gods and Asuras and then worshipped 
Visiju who defeated Bali (after helping Indra in the combat, 7 > * 4 2 i 8, 20, 

51; ib. 93, 47; Agni assists, 7, 25, 20; cf. R 6, 73, 7). This demon (Maha- 
bali, R 4, 65, 14, v. 1 .) was only son of Vrfirocana (hence Vairocana or -ni), 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


133 


and grandson of Prahlada, whom Indra slew. Bali' himself was father of 
Baria (R 5, 50, 3 as Mahakala); “like Indra and Vairocana” is a standard 
simile of rival fighters (1, 138, 46; R 7, 32, 58, etc., Bali-Vasavayor iva, 
3, 17, 11). He is best of Danavas, as Indra is best of gods (S 4, 3, 25). 
His combat with Indra took place in the second age, Tretayuga (S 2, 

47, 1). Bali won wealth and bliss through favoring priests and was lost 

(for injuring them, 3, 26, 12), since Vi§nu in dwarf-form bound him 
(3, 102,23; 5 . 10, 7; Hi43i2f.) as BalivTryaharo Harilj (R 5, 1, 197). 
The Vedic tale, how Vistju asked for three paces and then cast out and slew 
the giver of the world, is known (R 1, 29, 5 f.). Indra noosed him (R 2, 

14, 11); Vi.snu kept him in a fire in a cave (R 7, 23, pra. 1, 6f.); he was 

cast out'of the three worlds (5, 38, 47). Cited as authoritative (5, 32, 24), 
he becomes a learned ass in the pseudo-epic (12, 223, 2f.) and instructs 
Indra in patience and humility after the latter had found him, who had 
(by magic) been Wind, Varuija, Agni, and Water. When Indra insults him, 
he replies: “You will see me there again when my time comes” (ib. 27 
and 225, 30 f.; 227, 7fi). His grandfather Prahlada also (12, 124, 28 f.) 
philosophises (as a saint, ib. 222, 3f.) in the same way, as “Indra of Daityas” 
(3, 28, if.; 6, 34, 30). He was killed by Indra (3, 286, 12; 289, 18; 12, 
98, 49f.), though a devotee of Vi§nu (R 4, 65, 14). Sakra and Prahlada 
were rivals for the three worlds (7, 123, 65; 9, 57, 3). He cannot move 
Skanda’s spear (12, 328, 17 f.). Verses of his are cited on the "cat’s .way” 
(hypocrisy, 5, 160, 13; cf. ib. 33, 103 f.). His sons Kumbha and Nikumbha 
(§ 18) are not important (I, 65, 19), though the latter is a "Daitya-chief” 
(1, 209, 2f.), father of Sunda and Upasunda and ganeSa of diva’s host, 
when he slaughtered Saudasa’s army at Benares (S 12, 68, 46). The two 
in Ram. are fighting fiends, but their father is barely recognised except 
for the extraordinary allocution (vocative) when Nikumbha distinguishes 
himself (cf. R 6, 9 and 75) Prahlada-Bali-Vrtraghna-Kubera-Varunopama! 
(R 6, 76, 73). It may be remarked that Indra kills another member of this 
family, Manthara, daughter of Virocana, "because she tried to destroy 
earth”, an unknightly act (to kill a woman), excused on the score that 
“Visiju also slew Kavya’s mother, the wife of Bhrgu, because she sought 
to deprive the world of sleep” (or of Indra; anindram, v. 1 . for anidraip 
lokam, R 1,25, 20f.). Visiju’s victim should be Puloma (1, 5, 13 f.), but 
some other druh anindra (RV. 4, 23, 7) may be meant. Amid all these 
victories, the poets admit that “even Indra suffered defeat” (7, 139, 107). 
Besides the victory of Skanda (3, 226, 17 f.), and apart from f-jiva himself 
and Vi§nu (q. v.), Kumbhakarna defeats him (R 6, 61, 9f.) and Indrajit 
receives his cognomen as conqueror of Indra (3, 288, 2f.; R 6, 45, 22, 
etc.). Even Atikaya arrests his bolt (R 6, 71, 34), not to speak of the 
saints who withstand him. He is a great blustering vainglorious boy, as 
Bali says (12, 224, 28, “childish ever is thy mind, to-day as of old”). But 
like Bali and the rest, Indra too becomes a preacher, as in 12, 11, 2f., 
where out of pity “for beardless young fools” he takes the form of a 
“golden bird” and teaches them how to get to heaven by the "way of the 
gods”, i. e. by rites, not by renunciation (ib. 12, 6). Whether Indra killed 
Maya is doubtful in Mbh., but not i,n R. The great epic says that “Maya, 
Namuci’s brother”, was guarded by Indra’s son from the onslaughts of 
Krsna and Agni (1, 228, 41 f.), but that Indra and Maya had a terrible 
encounter in which Maya was defeated (6, 100, 20; 101, 22; no, 31; 9, 
55, 28); Ram. (4, 51, 14) says that Indra smote the Danava Maya with his 
bolt because the demon was fond of the Apsaras Hema. 



134 HI. Religion, vveltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


§ 75. Indra also slew the demon of a hundred illusions, fsambara 
(Da^aratha aided the god, R 2, 9, 13; R 5, 16, 8); mashed Danu, son of 
Sri, leaving him a headless-trunk (kabandha, R 3, 71, 10); and broke 
Hanumat’s jaw, but then gave him ‘‘death at will” (R 4, 66, 22 and 27; 
cf. § 8 his opposition to Hanumat being based on the fact that the ape- 
god was encroaching on Rahu’s province (R 7, 35, 47 f.; the enemy of 
the gods defended by the^r king!). He slew the unborn fruit of Diti’s womb, 
leaving enough alive to make the seven Maruts (R 1, 46 and 47; § 48). 
Indra is called son of Diti here (46, 21; and 47, 9; see § 37), Indra used 
to live at the town of ViSala (son of Iksvaku and Alambu$a) of the same 
name (ib. 47, 10). Jambha, as "disturber of sacrifice”, was slain by Indra 
(8, 77 , 3 ), later by Kr§na-Vi§iju (3, 102, 24; 5, 48, 77; 5, 49, 15, “Nara 
decapitated Jambha about to swallow him”; 7, 11, 5). Still later, “Indra 
and Visnu together by permission of Bhava (Siva) sought to kill Jambha” 
(7, 81, 25). In the later Ram. he is associated with Vrtra as typical leader, 
and father of Sunda (R 1, 25, 7; R 7, 6, 45). But Indra was first mentioned 
as the slayer: "In the struggle of gods and Asuras of old Indra slew 
Jambha” (7, 102, 17); "like Jambha deprived of prowess by Vrtrahan” 
(9, 12, 63); “as £akra and Jambha fought of old” (7, 96, 20 and 8, 13, 30). 
Kr§ua slew a demon named Jambhaka (or king?, 2, 31, 7); cf. Jrmbhika, 
§ 7 2 > and the arms and magic powers called by the same names (R 1, 
28, 9; RG 1, 31, 4 and 10). fsukra warned the Asuras that Jambha would 
prove their destruction (2, 62, 12). According to different passages the 
same transference of glory seems to have taken place in the case of the 
great demon Vipracitti (reincarnated as Jarasandha 1, 67, 4), eldest son 
of Danu and KaSyapa (1, 65, 22) and (H 213 f.) father by Siqihika of Namuci 
and Rahu and other great demons. In 6, 94, 39 f., Indra is said to have 
wounded Vipracitti; in 9, 31, 12 Vasudeva Kr§pa says, “I slew Taraka 
and Vipracitti by tricky means”. S 6, 94, 32, gives still a third account: 
"He was conquered by Rudra after being smitten by MatariSvan” (sa 
Rudreija jitah purvaip nihato MatariSvana). Vipracitti here is de¬ 
scribed as a demon causing the three worlds to quake and very hard to 
assail. He is leader of the Vidyadharas (§ 116) as well as an occupant of 
Varuija’s home (2, 9, 12), but a fiend once regarded by the immortals as 
if he were Death himself (6, 108, 39). Indra himself states that he slew 
most of the demons (as is generally admitted), in explaining that he be¬ 
came chief of the gods through prowess: "He who kills the commander- 
in-chief of the hostile army does an act equal to the prowess of Vi§g.'u; 
he is equal to Brhaspati (as**“lord of strength”); if he capture the com¬ 
mander, he will, on dying, come to my world, for my worlds shall be his 
(tasya loka yatha mama). Hence they do not mourn, they do not bathe, 
for one slain in battle; for he is blessed already, and thousands of nymphs 
receive him into heaven when he falls. I too, even Indra, slew the sons 
of Diti and Danu, my foes (and so was blessed), Jambha, Vrtra, Vala, Paka, 
Virocana of the hundred illusions, Namuci, ^ambara of many illusions, 
Vipracitti, and Prahlada” (12, 98, 43—49). S conscientiously omits Jambha 
and characterises Virocana not as illusive but as monstrous ("having a 
huge body”). Later pious tradition ignores Prahlada’s death. 

§ 76. Indra’s victories are depicted in the later epic not as due to 
power of arm but as resting on character. Thus fsambara, disguised as 
an ascetic, tells Indra (13, 36, if.) that he owes his position to piety to¬ 
ward priests. Similarly, Prahlada gets Indra’s power from him by character. 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


135 


Indra then consults with Brhaspati, his Guru, and is told that USanas knows 
more; so he goes to him, but U^anas sends him direct to Prahlada. Then 
Indra disguises himself as a pupil and by adroit questions finds that Pra- 
hlada’s prosperity is based on. character. Winning a boon from Prahlada, 
he^ chooses his character, which at once issues from Prahlada’s mouth like 
a flame, and after his character, Sila, followed his virtue, dharma, his 
truth, conduct (acts), power and happiness (12, 124, 19 f.). Namuci (who 
repudiates Karman) reminds Indra of his sins (12,(226, if.). Bali t eaches 
him humility: asJTime has bounds Bali, so will Time bind Indra (in )|the 
noose~bf~Time and noose of Varuna”, 12,227,82 and ill), lari herself 
instructs Indra (12, 228, 2f.) that only character insures success; she used 
to live with the Danavas because they were virtuous, but she deserted 
them when they became immoral. Indra (3, 9, 7 f.; R 2, 78, 18) listens 
respectfully to Surabhi’s lament (plea for kindness to cattle). The god’s 
sins are many, besides his acts of violence, murder of a Brahman, lying 
to Namuci (Vrtra), and theft (R 1, 61, 6, Indra steals the sacrificial beast 
of Ambari$a, but this is to punish the king, the ^unaljSepa episode). His 
adulteries lead to his punishment, especially his violation of Gautama’s 
wife Ahalya (5, 12, 6f.; ib. 13,9). By Agni’s advice, when, discovered by 
Gautama, he is unmannedjjie is provided jwith a ram’s vrsaija (R ^48, 
l6f.; ib. 49, If.); but according to R 7, 30, 33, he is punished by being 
defeated by Indrajit. The curse of Gautama turns Indra’s beard yellow 
(12, 343, 23). He is called an habitual adulterer, parastrlkamacarin. 
The story of how he tried to seduce Ruci, wife of DevaSarman, exposes 
.only one of his many amours (13,40, 18f.). In this case the pupil Vipula 
puts Ruci into a hypnotic state, which prevents her from responding to 
Indra’s advances (under the young priest’s influence she speaks Sanskrit, 
ib. 41, 15). Vipula reproaches Indra with having been cursed by Gautama 
with a thousand sex-marks which became eyes (ib. 41, 21). In 13, 34, 27, 
this is cited as proof of priestly power, since KauSika Gautama was a priest; 
priests also cured Indra: “Behold, a mark was made on the moon (by a 
priest); the sea was made salt (by a priest); and great Indra was marked 
by a thousand sex-signs, who yet by the might of Brahmaijas became 
thousand-eyed” (so that he became sahasranayana, as he is now called). 
A different account of the origin of the eyes appears in the tale of Ti- 
lottama (§ 100), an Apsaras so beautiful that when Indra looked at her, 
“large red-edged eyes, a thousand in number, appeared all over his body, 
before, behind, and on his sides, whence he was called sahasranetra” 
(1, 211, 27f.; sahasranayana also in R 7, 72, 8). The equivalent (sahas- 
rak§a) epithet is as old as the Rg-Veda, where it probably refers to 
Indra’s flaming bolt, which has a thousand flames, while the same epithet 
is applied to fire (RV. 1, 23, 3; 79, 12; in PW., explained as stars, 
Indra’s eyes). Indra was paralysed several times, twice at least because 
of his sins. Cyavana paralysed him when he struck the saint because of the 
Alvins’ being permitted to drink soma (3,-121, 22; 124, 17; 12, 343, 24f.). 
On another occasion &va, as a child on Uma’s- lap, paralysed Indra be¬ 
cause of his jealous discontent (13, 161,33). isiva again paralysed him by 
a look so that “he stood like a post”, as the greater god scoffed at him 
and finally cast him into a cave, to show him that ^iva was the real lord 
of the world (1, 197, 16). Indra’s sin here is pride and his humiliation is 
his punishment. His “bolt was stayed”, that is, he was practically para¬ 
lysed by another saint (§ 79); cf. other cases, H H94of.; i2555f. 



136 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

§ 77. Owing to Indra’s sin, Garurla undertook to carry off the soma, 
as Brhaspati says to Indra: “Through thy fault, aparadha, through thy 
wantonness” is this thing come upon the gods. For Indra, as a giant god, 
had insulted the thumbkin saints called Valakhilyas, who were helping 
him collect wood for Prajapati’s sacrifice (1, 30, 40f.). Indra’s inability to 
hurt Garuda is a late feature of the epic (1, 33, 20). Oddly enpugh, espe¬ 
cially in view of Indra as praiser of fsibi (§ 51), no reproach is cast upon 
the god for his cowardly abandonment of Taksaka. Although Indra had 
been friendly with him, and even promised him immunity from fire if he 
should take refuge with Indra, yet when danger threatened and the fright¬ 
ened serpent was actually "hiding in Indra’s upper clothes”, the god, 
afraid that the priests’ incantations would draw him into the fire, threw off 
the suppliant refugee and escaped, leaving Taksaka to perish (I, 56, 10—14). 
But it is satisfactory to record that it is only the later epic which makes 
of Indra a coward and still worse a cad; as when he triumphs brutally 
over his fallen foe "with vulgar mind” (prakrtya buddhya, 12, 223, 28 f.), 
till the wise ass (Bali) rebukes him: "This is not worthy of thy fame and 
family” and reminds him that, as Devaraja, he is only one of a long series 
oflndras, who reign but fora thousand years apiece (ib. 224, 55; 227,70). 
In the earlier scene he sees a vision of "other Indras” who have preceded 
him and are now helpless (1, 197, 20, Visvabhuj, Bhutadhaman, Sibi, Isanti, 
and Tejasvin are the “five earlier Indras”, ib. 29). Among Indra’s nobler 
sins may be counted his heterodoxy as to the glory of cows (13, 83, 15 f.), 
an indication of sectarian prejudice in favor of Goloka (Visiju’s abode). A 
more venerable sin is Indra’s objection to the Agnistut, a praise offered 
only to Agni. King (r ajar si) Bhaugasvana offered it, to get children, and 
Indra stupified him and made him enter a lake which changed him into 
a woman. Then Indra made the children got by lauding Agni quarrel, 
"as the gods and demons of old, children of one KaSyapa, quarrelled”; 
so they killed each other. But he restored them to life, when he was 
himself lauded and so pacified (the king preferred to remain a woman, as 
a woman has more pleasure in love than a man, 13, 12, 4f.; ib. 20 and 51). 
Agni’s praise is said to be Indra-dvista (ib. 4). The story is old; or at 
least it is as old as the late Sutras.*) Indra’s loud ridicule of the holiness 
of Kuruksetra is only for dramatic effect, as he ends by singing a Gatha 
in honor of this holy land (9, 53, 7f.; ib. 21; cf. the Indraglta Gathab 
lauding Sahadeva’s sacrifice, 3, 90, 6). Indra is not an object of much 
devotion himself and is naively delighted when the jujube-girl shows 
^akrabhakti by intense devotion to him. She was the daughter of 
Bharadvaja and GhrtacI, a nymph, who seduced him. As the girl grew up 
and was called something of a scholar ^rutavati (by name), she pre¬ 
ferred the love of god Indra, as TridaSadnipati, TribhuvaneSvara. Indra 
came to her in the disguise of Vasistha, first testing her hospitality by 
asking for jujubes, which she cooked for him, using her feet as fuel (being 
short of wood), and then he made her his wife (bharya, 9, 48, if.; ib. 62). 

§ 78. Disguise is commonly assumed when the god visits men. As 
above, Indra assumes the form of a saint, but his illusions are manifold 
and he can appear in any shape of form. His favorite form is that of a 
priest or seer (so Surya disguises himself, 3, 300, 5 f.), in which shape he 
seduces Ahalya (as her husband) and Ruci (above). Sometimes (says Ruci’s 
husband) Indra appears with bolt or bow or as a Canclala or ascetic, of 

’) Caland, Uber das rituelle Sutra des Baudhayana. 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


137 


any shape, of any color or caste, or as a bird or animal or Daitya, even 
as a fly or gnat, so that "even the All-maker, who made the universe, 
cannot penetrate his disguise, who (Indra) may be quite invisible or may 
seem wind” (vayubhutalj, below and 13, 40, 2Sf.). It is as priest that 
Indra begs Karpa for his armor (3, 310, if.); so he converses with the 
good parrot, who was faithful to his blasted tree (13, 5> 12 f.), though both 
the bird and Karija recognise him at once. Indra revives the dead tree 
with the ambrosia which he seems to have handy at all times, though he 
would not give it to Utaiika till Govinda bade him do' so, when disguised 
as a dirty ascetic he offerred it as urine (digvasas, matanga), that 
Krsna’s devotee might reject it, which he did; but Kr§pa in lieu of am¬ 
brosia gave Utaiika the power to call up rain-clouds in the desert, and 
these clouds are still called "Utaiika clouds” (14, 55, 15k) The dirty 
naked hunter with his pack of dogs appears to assimilate Indra (here op¬ 
posed to Govinda) to Siva, of whom it is said: digvasah kirtyate ko 
’nyo loke (13, 14, 217). In I, 3, I3if., Indra helps Utaiika chase Taksaka 
and is hymned by him; the god being here mystically represented as a 
man with a horse (ib. 167). With a doj^too Iridra appears disguised as 
a beggar, fsunaljsakhasakhi, in the story of the theft of the lotus-stalks 
( I 3 > 93 ) 142; as a dog Dharma tests the hero in 18, 3, 34). Disguised as 
a priestly pupil, Indra deceives Prahlada (above, 12, 124, 28 f.); as a priest, 
he tries to overthrow the power of Vi£vamitra (R 1, 65, 5), after first 
trying to do so by becoming a cuckoo and conspiring with Rambha and 
Kama (ib. 64, if.). Being tormented by the ascetic torments ofYavakrita, 
Indra becomes an old priest and tries to undermine the saint’s devotion 
( 3 i I 3 S. i6f.) by showing that one cannot learn Veda by asceticism. In 
13, 102, 3 f., Indra discusses hells, disguised as a king, with a saint whose 
elephant he steals. As wind (vayubhutalj) he mixes up the clothes of 
girls who are bathing (1, 78, 4); but as he stopped on his way to war 
to do this, it is to be laid not to levity but to polity, since he knows in 
advance the ensuing quarrel and its dire result. As a soldier, bhafa, Indra 
tries to dissuade a saint from becoming too virtuous by enchanting him 
with the glitter of arms. When the holy man’s intelligence “becomes rude” 
from too much contemplation of the sword, he looses his virtue and Indra 
has the satisfaction of seeing him go to hell (R 3,9, 16 f.). According to 
R I) 39 ) 7 ) Indra takes the shape of a Raksasa to drive away the horse 
of Sagara. The Mbh. says merely that the Sagaras thought it had been 
stolen, not that the frightened gods had aught to do with the theft (3, 
107, 13). Other disguises assumed by Indra are that of a goose (his goose- 
form is revered at his festival, above), probably the “golden bird” (above); 
of a jackal, to inculcate patience and instruct KaSyapa (12, 180, 4f.); and 
of a hawk in the tale of fsibi (omitted in 13, 32, 4T.; see above, § 51). 
He also changes the shape of others. When Matanga, at Indra’s advice, 
renounces the hope of becoming a priest, the god at the request of 
the saintly but lowborn man, changes him into a lovely bird honored of 
women and called “song (his) god”; for such seems to be the meaning 
of chandodeva (after Matanga has requested that he should become a 
"lovely bird”, 13, 29, 22 f.); but the “song” is that of the Vedic verses 
to the would-be priest. 

§ 79, The strength of Indra manifests itself in prowess, mentally and 
morally; fsakratulyaparakrama, “having Indra-like prowess”, is applied 
to any strong creature, a stereotyped phrase (R 4, 32, 11, etc.). Indra is 



138 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

“the one hero amid gods” (i, 113, 32); to say "even Indra” could not 
conquer one, is a tribute to the god (1, 100, 78; 2, 67, 36, etc.), when 
not pure braggadocio (4, 49,"12). Indra is power: "To Indra he bows who 
bows to a stronger person” (12,67, I! )- Hence the king is divine power 
(Indram eva pravrijute yad rajanam, 12, 67, 4). A great king is 
"another Indra” (1,85,5, efc.); so "a weak realm with no Indra” (anindram 
abalam, 12,67,2). Hence, too, nrbljam Indradaivatyam and indriyam, 
Indra is the divinity of procreative power (12, 214, 23, v. 1 . tribljam). 
But Indra is strengthened by the Maruts and by the Vasus (6, 96, 16, they 
surround him in battle), in fact by all the gods (12, 78, 15). Mental power 
is his as a seer. He recognises the future greatness of Kuruk§etra (above); 
he advises the rebuilding of Benares, with a view to the prpsperity of 
Divodasa Saudeva, whose son Pratardana (born of a sacrifice performed 
by Bharadvaja, and adult as soon as born) defeated Vitahavya, king of 
the Haihayas. According to S 1, 95, 12, Indra prophesies the greatness 
of Cakravartin Dusyanta (cf. B, Kaijva, in, 1, 73, 30 f.). Though Indra is 
weakened by intoxication (his foe is Mada, 14, 9, 33), and delights al¬ 
ways in soma (12,71,33; he revels in the seven kinds of Soma-sacri¬ 
fice, 3, 88, 6; 12, 29, 36 f.), yet he is a strict upholder of morality which 
appeals to him. This is “warrior morality”, aindro dharmalji (12, 141, 64), 
and as the. king has his physical power, so Indra as a moral power is 
incorporate in the king (12, 72, 25). Brhaspati guides his councils (R 4, 
54, 4) and the later epic gives him seven “Seers of the East”, modelled 
after those of the North (13, 150, 29 f.), viz., Yavakrita, Raibhya, Arvavasu, 
Paravasu, AuSija Kaksivat, Bala the son of Arigiras, and Kanva the son 
of Medhatithi (Barhisada is added; but the seers are seven in seven 
groups). Indra reveres only moral people (a list of them at S 13, 153, 7f.). 
With his bolt he splits into a hundred pieces the head of a false or 
recalcitrant witness (2, 68, 70); he casts his bolt upon him that gives up 
a refugee (5, 12, 21). Above all he delights in hospitality; he is himself 
the guest, a seat for the guest is a seat for Indra (3, 200, 62 and 68; 
also ib. 123, Parjanyo 'nnanusarpcaran, in the sense of the scholiast, 
“who comes as a guest is Indra himself”). Who dies in battle is Indra’s 
guest (also the priyatithi of Yama, Varupa, and Kubera, 7, 72, 46, as 
Lokapalas). Slain warriors are not called dead, but “guests of Indra” 
(7,19, 36, ^akrasya ’tithitaip gatah) or "dear guests of Vala’s slayer” 
(7, 27, 8). Those who die facing the foe are his dear guests and enjoy 
his world of delight (tesaip kamadughan lokan Indrah saqikal- 
payisyati, <11, 2, 15; cf. 3, 54, 18, etc.), for they rejoice with him and 
he leads a joyous life (2, 7; 2, 12, 26; R 6, 54, 38). But Indra has his ups 
and downs (R 3, 66, 12) and it is part of his sagacity rathe'P than an in¬ 
dication of cowardice that he is ever afraid of too much formal virtue. 
He recognises that merit stored up by the ascetic may become equal to 
or greater than his own, in which case he may be dethroned. Hence he 
always seeks to overthrow the asceticism of a too ascetic saint, generally 
by seducing him. Thus, according to Ram. and Mbh., respectively, he 
sends Rambha or Menaka (1, 71, 20 f.) to seduce ViSvamitra, fearing “lest 
this man of sunlike glory shake me from my station”. Rarely is this 
sagacious fear united with bodily fear, yet Indra sends Janapadi (deva- 
kanya) to seduce isaradvat Gautama, because this great seer “mightily 
distressed the king of the gods by his skill in archery, dhanurveda, 
and asceticism” (1, 130, 5). Two men, one an ascetic and one a king, 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


139 


had power to control Indra. The first was RsyaSrnga, “through fear of 
whom the slayer ofVala and Vrtra did rain’’ (3, no, 24). The king was 
Maipdhatr, of the race of Ik§vaku, who, born by cleaving his father’s side, 
became twelve years old in twelve days, and from being a suckling of 
Indra whose thumb he sucked, attained to such power that when he died 
“he got half of Indra’s throne” (tsakrasya ’rdhasanam, 3,126,38) and 
“half his realm” (R 7, 67, 8). He actually “conquered Indra on the Gomatl 
at a Naga-named town” (12, 356, 3) and was father of Mucukunda, being 
himself born of Saudyumni Yuvan'aSva without a mother, conquering the 
whole earth and possessing Ajagava (diva’s bow) and other special 
arms. Indra had to stand and look on while Maipdhatr made rain (3, 126, 
42, above, § 71). The Ram. says that when this “lord of the seven Dvlpas" 
reached heaven and was about to oust Indra from his seat, the wily god 
persuaded him that he was not a real world-conqueror and sent him back 
to earth to conquer Lavana, the one foe left unconquered; but Lavapa 
slew him with Rudra’s trident (boomerang, R 7, 67, 5 f.; ib. 23, pra. 3, 23 f.). 
Maipdhatr once slew a sinful ascetic (R 4, iS, 35, here as Rama’s ancestor) 
and he conquered earth in one night, whereas Janamejaya took three and 
Nabhaga even seven nights to perform the same feat (12, 29, 81 f.; ib. 124, 
16). Kings are sometimes said to have surpassed Indra, but this is usually 
mere panegyric; it does not mean that the god was actually overcome. It 
is said, for example, of Marutta (yalj spardhaya ’jayac Chakraip deva- 
rajaip purarpdaram, 12, 29, 20), yet in 14, 10, II, this Marutta says that a 
floating cloud shows Indra to be near and escapes as fast as he can. In 
Buddhistic narrations, the excellence of a very virtuous person “makes 
hot the throne of Indra", so that the god grows uncomfortable as if sitting 
upon a hot stove. The epics have no such absurd figure. The saints 
disturb Indra and shake his throne, but they heat, i. e. torment, only Indra, 
the gods, or the worlds (tapayati is not applied to the throne but to 
the sitter, who is heated, disturbed, “all het up”). 

§ 80. With other gods except Tvastr (above) Indra’s relations are in 
general those of friendly superiority. As was shown above, he objects 
to Agni’s exclusive praise, and he takes part against him in the matter 
of the serpents’ sacrifice (1, 26) and at Khapdava, to save Taksaka (1, 
223, 7f.); yet the two are grouped as “the two friends, Indragm” (3, 134, 9), 
and Agni assists Indra against Bali (7, 25, 20). Indra promises Agni a 
share in the sacrifice (5, 16, 32) and Agni acts as Indra’s messenger (14, 
9, 8f.). Anala (Agni) always conveys the oblation to -Indra (R 5, 37, 21). 
With the Alvins he was at first in enmity and then makes friends (see 
ASvins, § no). With the Sun-god (§ 38 f.) he is at enmity on account of 
their respective sons (Arjuna and Karna), but "Wind, Indra, and Sun” are 
allies (1, x, 187, v. 1. Sakrasuryau). With Kubera (§ 83 f.) Indra shares 
the North(-east) district, so that they have one sadman there (3, 163, 6f.), 
and rivals him in wealth (R 1, 6, 3). Both gods possess the grove Nandana 
(below). With Yama and Varuna, Indra is associated as types of power, 
the former rarely (R 2, 1, 38, “like Yama or £akra in power”), the latter 
in a stereotyped phrase, “like great Indra and Varuna” (e. g. R 6, 41, 6), 
a reminiscence of the old fighting power of Varupa (cf. a hero “like Indra 
or Varuna”, R 6, 64, 18). With Brahman (§ 131 f.) Indra stands in the 
position of a favored son or is like a younger brother (R 6, 60, 96, by 
implication). Indra and Prajapati are both saviors, natha, to the other 
gods, though the latter is a father (R 7, 83, ill.). With Brhaspati Indra 



140 III. Religion, weltl. Wjssensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

acts as any pupil to a Guru (“takes his feet”, etc., R 2, 103, 28 and 30). 
With the growth of sectarian gods, Indra grows less. But with Vispu 
(§ 143 f.) Indra is still on equal terms in many passages. Visiju "assists” 
Indra (6, 59, 80). Arjuna Aindri is "like the younger brother of Indra and 
like Mahendra” (in power, 6, 49, 16). ^unahSepa lauds “Indra and his 
younger brother” (Visjju, R 1, 62, 25 f.). In the rise of Vispu, however, 
he as greater god makes Indra the gods’ protector (5, 10, 7). Krsi.ia as 
Vispu uses Indra as demiurge and is Indrakarman, that is "works through 
Indra” (13, 149, 97). But he robs Indra of the Parijata tree and opposes 
him by means of Govardhana (see Krsi.ia). Indra and the Maruts say their 
prayers on Mt. Mandara and here, for Indra, Vispu slew Naraka, son of 
Diti, when Indra was in mortal fear of the demon and begged abjectly for 
Vispu’s help (3, 142, 7 and 20 f.). On the other hand, Indra begs vainly 
for Vispu’s aid against the fiends (R 7, 27, 14 b), for the great god has 
other plans and Indra is made captive by the fiend Meghanada (Indrajit, 
ib. ch. 29). Before loiva too, Indra (as above) is powerless (1, 197), and 
Indra seeks advice and takes refuge here with Brahman, as usual, when 
in doubt. For Indra’s blazing Siva with the bolt, see Siva. With saints 
and heroes of the epics, Indra is on familiar terms, a humanised god. He 
visits Sarabhaiiga (R 3, 30, 30) to get Rama to slay Khara, "as he himself 
slew Vala”, and so he visits other asylums (R 3, 5 and 7) near Nagpur 
(Ramagiri). Indra stands beside the lad Dasaratha kills, as the youth goes 
to heaven in heavenly form (the boy himself goes to heaven but his soul 
remains in his body for a while, R 2, 64, 19, 48). He takes Laksmapa 
to heaven (R 7, 106, 17); gives special trees to the semi-divine monkeys 
(ib. 4, 33, 15), one of whom is Indrajanu (ib. 39, 32); and grants a boon 
to Hanumat after breaking his jaw (R 4, 66, 27). Worth noting is Indra’s 
inferiority to the Raksasas in Ram., on a par with the despite of the later 
epic (as noticed above). This is due not so much to a new cult of special 
Raksasas as to the lowered position of Indra, which permits the poet to 
play with the idea of fiends capable of defeating the king of the gods but 
defeated by Rama, an indication of later age or of a place where Indra’s 
cult was much reduced. In general the Ram. Devas are not so authoritative 
or important as the early Mbh. Devas. 

§ 81. The home of Indra as a palace or hall is described at length 
in the "account of the palaces of the world-protectors”. Indra won his 
as “lord of the universe”. It is adorned with lotuses, Pu§karamalinT, a 
movable structure “going at will” (of Indra), five leagues high and one 
hundred and fifty by one hundred leagues in extent; fitted out with divine 
trees and thrones, where sit Indra and load and £ri and LaksmT with the 
Maruts as grhamedhinalj (house-keepers)^ waiting on himrHe is waited 
upon also by nymphs and other fair women. In 2, 49, 26, the “immortal 
women” appear (to the scholiast) as plants (Soma, giving Indra to drink). 
Siddhas, seers, saints, ascetics, sacrifices, heroes, Faith, Fluency (Saras- 
vati). Duty, Gain, Pleasure, etc., clouds, winds, the twenty-seven sacrificial 
fires, Adityas, planets, stars, Apsarasas,Gandharvas, royal seers, HariScandra, 
Marutta (et al.) — all these persons or personifications are to be found 
perpetually or temporarily in Indra's palace, as also Valmiki, and (S text) 
Ekata, Dvita, and Trita (2, 7). Though only one "royal seer” is especially 
named, yet al) kings who perform the Rajasuya live with Indra (2, 12, 6f.). 
Indra’s city is typical of any marvellous city, IndrapuraprakaSa (R 2, 
7i, 45, etc.). It is called Amaravati and contains a hundred palaces (3, 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


141 

43 > 7 )- The “residence”, bhavana, 3 > i 5 > 18, etc., is either the pura of 
Mahendra (1, 82, 1) or the city, situated in the third heaven (iS, 1, 3). 
Arjuna visits it and it is described (3, 42, 42 f.) as full of lovely flowers, 
trees, perfumes, saints, and singers; there is the grove Nandana (1, 85, 
9; 3) 79) 3)> where gods and saints dwell; but the city (like his car) is 
invisible to the sinful. The list of occupants is longer than that of the 
palace and includes many kings (in 7, 54, 53 of S text the grove Nandana 
is ascribed to Narada). The road to Amaravati is the "path of stars” 
(Milky Way?), naksatramarga, suravithi (3, 43, 12). Indra’s son is 
received by Indra with’a kiss and great love (premia, ib. IQf.), as the 
god sits under a white umbrella with a gold handle. To "enter Amaravati” 
is euphemistic for dying (7, 77, 19). The later epic speaks more of Indra’s 
world(s) as goal of ascetics: one who dies by fasting, for example, might 
come to Vasava-loka after a million years, going there on a car with 
“Indra's fair girls”; and such an one “might see even the sports of the 
gods’ king” (13, 107, 21 f.). Each god has his own world or place, sthana, 
so that Indra’s is distinct from that of the Maruts, as it is from that of 
Varuija, etc. (ib. 79 f.). Indraklla (6, 59, 122?) is a northern mountain sacred 
to Indra, perhaps Mt. Mandara, Indra’s peculiar mountain (3, 37, 42). A 
"city fair as Indraklla” (R 2, 80, 18; cf. ib. 20) treats it as if it were 
Amaravati; but Indra’s home has various names, 3 akralaya, Vajralaya, etc. 
(R 6, 74, 59), Mahendradhaman (R 2, 14, 29, etc.). Indra was consecrated 
on Mt. Meghavat in the West (R 4, 42, 33). Indra also loves'to visit Ma¬ 
hendra mountain (R 4, 37, 2). His palace has too the name Sudarsana 
(S 4, 43, x). In 3, 54, 18, Kamadhuk may be the wish-cow NandinI, daughter 
of Surabhi and KaSyapa, or Indra’s world called by the same general name. 
Indraprastha (Indrapat), also called ^akraprastha (cf. for the formation, 3, 
84, 99, Dharmaprastha, "where the god Dharma abides ever”), is the Plain 
of Indra, as city of the Paijcjus, especially of Arjuna = Indra(’s son). 

§ 82. Indra’s wife is called SacI, sometimes PaulomI, also Indraiji 
(Mahendraoya, C 3, 1677, is in B and S sahe ’ndrapya). Indrasena (S 1, 
241, 17) as elsewhere (4, 21, 11, etc.) is probably Mudgala’s wife. As type of 
conjugal felicity stands “Indraiji with Harihaya” (1, 199, 5). Nahusa’s at¬ 
tempt to seduce her (Indraiji, Jsaci, 12, 343, 46—50) has already been 
referred to (§ 72); it is the only story about her except for her escape 
from the demons prior to her marriage, as "Puloman’s daughter” (10, 
11, 26; R 3, 40, 22). She is not 3 ri (R 6, 50, 25), though Lak§mi = 3 rl 
appears seated with Indra (12, 228, 89). But Sri says she is Lak§ml only 
(12, 225, 8, Lak§ml ’ti mam ahulj), and as she is divided (ib. 19) and 
“deserts Bali for Indra" (12, 225, if.; ib. 90, 23), she is best regarded 
as personified Happiness (not as 3 acl). "Like Indra (Mahendra, Maghavat) 
with PaulomI” is a stereotyped phrase (1, 112, 10; 3, 291, 40; type of 
loveliness, S 1, 242, 39). load bore Jayanta (1, 114,4), a son barely men¬ 
tioned in the epic itself but known later (H 74^1, etc.; R 7, 28, 11; 
Jayanti Indraputri is a still later growth, not epic). Jayanta as Rudra (q. v.) 
is known in fsanti. The wifehood of ^rutavatl (§ 77 ) is not mentioned 
again. Indra’s son Arjuna fills the great epic; the Ram. makes Indra the 
father of Valin, so grandfather of Ahgada, Indra’s naptr (R 1, 17, etc.). 
Afigada is Vajrahastatmajatmaja, “son of the son of Indra” (R 6, 67, 43). 
Both Arjuna and Valin are called Vasavi (5, 50, 46, etc.). 1 ) 

*) Compare for Indra in the Great Epic, the treatise of Adolf Holtzmann, Indra 
nach den Vorstellungen des Mahabharata, ZDMG. 32, p. 29of. For the Maruts, 
see § lit. For Indra and mountains, see p, 9; for Sudharma, p. 58. 



142 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

§ 83. Kubera. — Kubera is called VaiSravaija, as son of ViSravas, 
a Muni, and of DevavarijinT, daughter pf Bharadvaja (§ 17). He was so 
austere that Brahman granted him boons. Kubera chose the guardianship 
of the North and lordship over all treasure (vittarak$apa, nidhiSatva), 
to which Brahman added the boon of an aerial car called Puspaka and 
also "equality with gocjs” (R 7, 3, 1 f.). By another wife ViSravas was 
father of the fiends, Ravaqa, etc., all of whom except Vibhisaija were 
enemies of the gods. They took from Kubera the car given by Brahman 
and destroyed Caitraratha, NalinI, and Nandana. Caitraratha is the grove 
of Kubera, made for him by Citraratha (according to R 2, 91, 19, it. should 
be in the land of the Northern Kurus). The leaves of this grove are 
jewels and the fruit are girls of heaven, some twenty thousand of whom 
Kubera sent to grace his grandfather’s magic feast (ib. 43 f.). Kubera 
lived first at Lanka, afterwards in the North; his riches are proverbial, 
as is his happiness (R 5, 2, 24; ib. 20, 33). He had a gatekeeper Sur- 
yabhanu (slain by Ravapa, R 7, 14, 25 f.). He is represented in the later 
Ram. as deformed in one eye (ekapinga, RG 4, 44, 4, is not in Bomb, or S), 
which became yellow when he indiscreetly looked at &va and Uma (R 7, 
13, 31), so that he was called Ekak§ipingala (ib. 36, 17). He is also called 
(R 3, 32, 14) Naravahana, "drawn by spirits” (naras, cf. Kiipnaras; 1 ) or, 
as interpreted by native authority, "drawn by men”) and explained by the 
fact that when Kubera fares anywhere, he is carried by spirits called 
Guhyakas (also Gandharvas), described as half horse and half bird, though 
he also, as World-protector, rides an elephant called Sarvabhauma (R 4, 
43, 36). Kubera, like 3 iva, is called BhuteSa (R 6, 4, 20). One of his usual 
titles is "king of kings” (which he shares with his half-brother Ravaija) 
or “king of the whole world” (R 5, 34, 28), as lord of wealth; his city 
being Alaka = Vitapa, type of luxury (ib. 2, 15, 36; ib. 16, 8, etc.). 2 ) 
Among his councillors are Padma and £ankha, personified treasures (R 7, 
15 , 17 ). 

§ 84. In. Mbh., Kubera is called Ailavila (9, 47, 25 f.), Dhanadhipati, 
and he is represented as gaining his lordship over treasure at the Kaubera 
Tirtha. He is Yaksarajan and in this version obtains several boons of 
Brahman, lordship over wealth, friendship with isiva (Rudra), godship, 
suratvam, the post of world-protector, a son Nalakubara (ib. 29), the 
Pu§paka car (yoked with geese, swift as thought), and finally lordship 
over the Nairrta demons. When Indra and Kubera are associated, they 
"guard the East” (3, 163, 5f.), but Kubera alone belongs to the North 
(see §§ 91—92). His residence is Kailasa (12, 44, 13), where Caitraratha 
(§ 83) is usually said to be and where he was consecrated as Dhanada, 
giver of wealth ( 5 , in, n; 3, 80, 6). Nancjana and the fair"retreat Called 
Vasvaukasara (R 2, 94, 26) belong to both these gods of the North and 
East. Like Indra too he has as constant resorts Mandara and Gandha- 
madana, as well as Kailasa (3,139 ,5 f.), and his udyanani, or parks, are 
on Himavat (1, 120, 11), as is his "charming lotus-lake” (Nalini ramya 
Kuberakanta, 3, 177, 9), guarded by Rak§asas and Yaksas, Kiipnaras 
(etc., when assaulted by Bhima). It is the playground of the gods or 
particularly of the Rajaraja (Kubera, 3, 153, if.). Even men may see 

•) See JAOS. 33 ,.p. 6of. 

*) Vitapa or Vitapavatl seems to stand for Alaka in R 5, 3, 4 and R 6, 77, 8. There 
is no distinction between Kubera and Vaiiravaaa. The kauberaip paramasanam is a 
car made by Viivakarman for Vai^ravaua, etc. (R 6, 124, 10 f.). 



V. The Eight Great Devas. 


143 


VaiSravapa sitting on Kailasa on holy days; he is golden, like a sun ( 3 > 
159, 26 f.), and united with prosperity (Rddhi), which (who) then becomes 
his wife (cf. 3, 139, 8); as Prabha to the Sun, VedI to Brahman (§ 24), 
so is Rddhi to Kubera (5, 117, 9; 13, 146, 4; 166, 11). Kubera is also 
“united to Laksmi” (3, 168, 13), but she is not yet (as later) his wife. 
In i, 199, 6, VaiSravapa’s consort is Bhadra (Lak§mi with Nalakubara is 
in Kubera’s court, 2, 10, 19). As already stated, and as said in 3, 274, 15, 
Pitamaha gave godship, suratvam, amaratvam, to VaiSravapa, because 
he deserted his father and clpve to his grandfather. Pulastya, son of 
Brahman, had a son born of a (the) cow (not unique, cf. 1, 50, 2, r§eb 
putro gavi jatafi), called VaiSravapa, who deserted his father; whereat 
to revenge himself the father begot of himself another son, ViSravas, “half 
of himself’, born as a priest, Pulastya’s 'son ViSravas (a Muni) disliked 
VaiSravapa Kubera, lord of Rak§asas, who was then king of kings in 
Lanka. The latter, to win his favor, sent ViSravas three women, who (§ 17) 
became mothers of the brother fiends, Ravapa, born of Pu$potkata (also 
mother of Kumbhakarpa); Vibhl§apa, born of Malini; Khara and 3 urpa- 
nakha, born of Raka. They all lived on Gandhamadana till, jealous of 
Kubera, they defeated him and took away his car; but Ravapa was cursed 
never to ride in it because he had assaulted his Guru (uncle). Vibhlsapa, 
pious like Kubera, took sides with Kubera and was made general of his 
Yak$a and Raksasa armies; but “the cannibalistic Raksasas” and PiSacas 
sided with Ravapa (3, 275, 35 f.). In 2, 10, 31, Kubera is half-brother of 
the fiends (as in Ram.), instead of being the uncle. The metronymic 
Ailavila makes Ilavila the mother of Kubera (5, 139, 14), a later view, 
scarcely found represented before the Purapas. Nalakubara (above) appears 
in the later parts of the epic and in HarivarpSa. The description of Kubera’s 
hall mentions him and he is said to have cursed Ravapa because the fiend 
outraged his wife Rambha (3, 280, 59; 291, 33). The story is dramatised 
at H 8695 f. In R 7, 26, 32 and 53, Rambha is represented as wife of 
Nalakubara and “daughter-in-law” of Ravapa. Both epics know Rambha 
as wife of Viradha or Tumburu (5, 117, 16) or as loved by him and cursed 
by Kubera (R 3, 4, 16) or as cursed by ViSvamitra (R 1, 64, 12; though 
in R 4, 35, 8 it is Ghrtaci whom he curses) and so in 13, 3, II (cf. R 6, 
60, II; ib. 7, 26, 14). The allusion to the "son of DhaneSvara” (7,46, 12) 
probably refers to Nalakubara. Kubera becomes a lizard (as a hiding 
spirit), when frightened by Ravapa (R 7, 18, 5). 

§ 85. Kubera’s attendants are chiefly “horrible Yak§as” (3, 161, 49 f.), 
though he is overlord of Yaksas, Raksasas, and Gandharvas (5, III, 11). 
His floating palace is carried by Guhyakas (2, 10, 3), where he sits clothed 
in jewels and surrounded by many women. He wears bright ear-rings, is 
very wealthy, has a heavenly seat and footstool and is refreshed by breezes 
from Nandana and from (here a lotus-lake) Alaka Nalini (2, 10, 8). In R 2, 
98, 12, Nandana belongs to Kubera (otherwise Indra’s grove, or belongs 
to both). With Kubera at his court are Jsiva and Uma, the Vidyadharas 
with their chief (Cakradharman), Kiqmaras and Druma, chief of Kiippuru§as, 
Mahendra, Gandhamadana (Kubera’s simian son, R 1, 17, 11), Vibhlsapa, 
and other Raksasas and PiSacas; also NandlSvara and the "roaring white 
bull” of 3 iva whom Paulastya (Kubera) adored of old and who “became 
the friend of the wealth-giver”. 3 ahkha and Padma, the “lords of. wealth”, 
are also there (cf. H 2467, as persons ; there are eight of these Nidhis, 
ib. 6004). Kubera leads Yakpas to battle; he is the refuge of Raksasas 



144 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

(5, 156, 12; 13, 61,38). Manibhadra or Maijivara, a Yaksaraj (Yaksendra) 
like Kubera (5, 192,44!.), is Kubera’s chief attendant. He is, called lord 
of wealth and of treasure* (Yaksapatf, -adhipa, NidhTSa, Dhanapati, Dra- 
vinadhipati, Dhanada; his name also appears as Maijicara) and is invoked 
as patron of merchants with Kubera. The Yaksa attendants of Kubera 
(2, 10, 14 f. names some of them) are armed with clubs and this is Kubera’s 
weapon (6,48,93); but diva’s former "sleep-making" weapon he gave to 
Arjuna (3, 41, 35 f.). As generous giver he is proverbial (8, 39, 2). He 
(jambunada ib.) has a body made of gold. Like all world-protectors, 
Kubera has'seven seers (5, hi, 14; 13, 151, 38k); those of the North are 
his rtvijs or Gurus, Atri, Vasistha, Kasyapa, Gautama, Bharadvaja, ViS- 
vamitra (KauSika), and Jamadagni. His other attendants are noticeable only 
in part, from the fact that their names are his own or convey his attri¬ 
butes, Dhanada, Hemanetra, Piugala (all as Guhyaka-Yaksas, 2, 10, 15 k). 
Bibhlsaija here is distinguished from Vibhisana (S). Amogha, one of them, 
is a name of Skanda (3, 232, 5) and the Yaksa Pihgala is friend of Rudra 
(ib. 231, 51). The demoniac trees, Yamala and Arjuna, mentioned in R 7, 
6, 35, destroyed by Krsija, when later identified with Nalakubara and 
Manibhadra, are called Guhyakas (Bhag. P. 10, 10, 23 k), but of this legend 
the epic has no trace till H 14741. In H, Kubera is fully god, he fights 
with Ke 3 in (13189) but especially with Anuhrada (13192 and 13808k). 
He is here Pingalak$a, DhaneSvara, VaiSravaija (scene copied from R6, 58). 

§ 86. Bhlma’s invasion of the North and slaughter of Maijimat with 
the consequent defeat of Kubera in battle are regarded as expiation for 
an insult offered Agastya by Maijimat, who spat on the head of the saint 
when he was once accompanying Kubera to a convention of gods at 
KuSasthall with a great host of Yaksas. The home of Kubera described 
in this account represents it (sadana, alaya, avasa, pura) as a high- 
walled town with towers, flags, garlands, girls, sweet breezes, fair trees, 
gold and crystal houses, inhabited by Kiipnaras, Nagas, Munis, Gandharvas, 
and Raksasas; the name Alaka appears to be that of Kubera’s city as 
well as of his lake (3, 160, 36 k). Another visit to the North implies the 
explanation of the title “king of kings”. Dharmaraja Yudhisthira visited 
Ailavila, “under whose command stand all kings as servants” (5, 139, 14) 
and "received many jewels”. Yak?as and Raksasas in the account of the 
battle (above) are exchangeable terms and the attendants of Kubera are 
chiefly Yaksas and Guhyakas rather than the fiercer Raksasas of Ravaija’s 
host. He is, however, called indifferently Yaksadhipati, Raksasadhipati, 
Yaksarak§odhipati, RaksaseSvara, and Guhyadhipa; the last epithet recalling 
the fact that he is himself a god of hiding (AV. 8, 10, 28) as well as lord 
of Raksasas (^B. 13,4, 3, 10). His most intimate associates are-the Guhyakas, 
with whom he lives on Kailasa (6, 6, 41), these being here his only com¬ 
rades. FromKailasa he sends by a Guhyaka a magic eye-wash to Rama, 
which enables him to see what is hidden (3, 289, 9 k). Even when he is 
said to consort on Gandhamadana with Raksasas and Gandharvas he is 
still called Guhyakadhipa (6, 6, 34). Among his “dear friends” he numbers 
the Raksasa Maijimat and the Gandharva Angaraparpa (formerly Citraratha), 
who boasts that he is the very particular friend of Kubera and reproves 
Arjuna for attacking'one who is the “turban” (crown) upon the head of 
Kubera (1, 170, 13.fi; S 186, 15, v. 1 .). It is probable that Guhyaka was 
a general name for all the spirits of concealment, though sometimes made 
a special class. Thus when Kubera gives advice to Yudhisthira, he is called 




V. The Right Great Devas. ' 


145 


Guhyakadhipa, though accompanied only by Yaksas and Raksasas (in “cars 
full of cushions", 3, 162, 32f.). Kubera’s own.car is the swiftest known, 
swifter than that of the Sun or of Rudra (J, 99, 11), and is drawn by 
bird-like steeds which gold-wreathed Gandharvas yoke. They “alight like 
birds” and “neigh at each other”. This is the vimana made by ViSva- 
katman for Yak§adhipati VaiSravana (called Puspaka, 3, 161, isf-l cf. 159, 
26 and vajinalj in 162, 35). The steeds, which fly, are express^ “horses" 
(ib. x6l, 24 hayottamalj; also vimalaksafi, which N. says means “having 
the ten whorls”!), but are also birds (haipsayukta, “goose-yoked”, de¬ 
scribes his car in 9, 47, 31). It is just when he rides on this car that (3, 
161, 42, etc.) he is described as Naravahana, and as he is never described 
as being carried by men, it is clear that naras are spirits. Thus Arjuna 
tells how the world-protectors came to him and gave him gifts and says 
that he saw Indra and the others on cars, among them Naravahana Kubera 
(3, 168, 13) and the scene thus described from memory, when actually 
presented (3, 41, 7), also describes Kubera as on a car. On another oc¬ 
casion a Yak§a has exchanged his sex and become a female, so that he 
is ashamed to meet Kubera, who flies over earth above him in a car and is 
called Naravahana even as he calls out to “stop the car” (5, 192, 42; the 
Yaksa is Sthupa or Sthuuakarija; K is called in this passage almost ex¬ 
clusively lord ofYak§as,Yaksadhipati, Yaksapati, Yaksendra, Deva Yaksaraja, 
Kubera Naravahana, VaiSravaija, Bhagavat, as alsoDhanada, Dhanadhigoptr). 
In 3, 231, 33, Bhagavat Dhane^a with his Guhyakas leads the host of £iva 
and is called Naravahana even as he is stepping into his car, Puspaka, 
which is never dragged by men but always by the bird-horses described 
above. The Naras are called a special kind of Gandharvas, nara nama 
(2, 10, 14), and so in VP. I, 5, 57, Nara-Kiipnara-Raksaqisi (cf. Naraka as 
“place of spirits"; Narayana, the place of water or spirits). The word then 
means a water-spirit particularly (water and vigor uniting in the idea of 
activity and strength). So the "lord of Gandharvas” is properly Varuija, 
the lord of water. There is no trace in the epic of the belief that Kubera 
was carried by aught save birds on Yaksas or his thousand horses 
(H 13 130). Another explanation is possible but not plausible, namely that 
a “king of kings” ought to be carried in a palanquin, and is therefore 
given this epithet of “man-carried”. The strongest point in favor of this is 
that the epithet is rare in Ram. but common in Mbh., especially in the 
later passages (Nalakubara may belong to the same later period, cf. where 
he is thus described, in 3, 274, 16, the late word rajadhanT for royal 
residence), as in later literature (H 2468 has Naravahana climbing into 
his battle-car to fight). 

§ 87. Kubera’s (northern) district is called the “wealthiest” (5, 109, 
16). Kubera possesses one quarter of the wealth of the golden mountain 
Meru and of that quarter gives one sixteenth to men (6, 6, 23). Even his 
two ministers are called dhaneSvarau (the two jewels). He, his followers, 
as well as one of Skanda’s, are called dhanada(5, m, 11; 9, 46, 13, etc.). 
There is a close connection between these followers of Kubera and Skanda. 
Another of Skanda’s is called Vasuda (wealth-giver), another even has 
Kubera’s name, Pingak$i (ib. 5 and 18; cf. Vasudha, R 7, 5, 41 = S 42; 
H 4362, Vasuda = Kubera). The Mothers in general are in part Kauberyalj 
and one is called Vittada (9, 46, 28 and 36), as Kubera, possessed of 
vaittapalya, is called Vittapala and VitteSa (6, 34, 23; R 7 > 1X > 23 and 
26; Manu 5,96; ib. 7, 4 and 42) or Vittapati (7, 185,25). These epithets 

Indo-arische Philologie III. i b. 10 



146 III. Religion, weltl. WissensCh. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


meaning guardian of wealth fit in with his title as king, so that he is 
described as "best of kings” in antithesis to Indra, “best of gods” (8, 8, 
24 f.). This leads to the lateT belief that Kubera was a man. In H 259, 
“Varuija lord of water, VaiSravapa lord of kings” (was made), suggests 
the manu$yaprakrti gods accepted as part of the pantheon (cf. GDH., 
16, 34 and Ap. 1, 3, il,*3, with scholiast, Kubera and NandTSvara as 
human). The Gfhya-Sutras reckon him a god (Hiraij. GS. 2, 8, 19, 1). As 
lord of wealth Kubera shares the r 61 e of Indra (Dhanada, Dhanapati, RV. 

I, 33, 2f.; AV. 5, 23, 2), with whom he shares the northern district. In 
14, 65, 11, the explorer before digging for treasure in the northern hills 
"reveres Dhanadhyak§a and all the Nidhipalas and fsahkha and other 
treasures” as well as the Yak§endra Kubera and Maoibhadra, to whom and 
to the other Yak§as and “lords of Bhuts” are made offerings (cf. &GS. I, 

II, 6) of meat and sesamum seeds, also flowers (partly to Kubera and 
partly to Rudra-^iva and their attendants). The treasure is guarded by 
savage Kiipnaras (ib. 63, 15). Nidhipa and -pati are titles of Kubera 
(cf. H 6277, 6922, 12495; and 12, 207, 35, asrjat Sarvabhutatma 
nidhipaip ca DhaneSvaram). Indra still rains gold in the epic (i2, 29, 
25f.) and his wealth is proverbial; he is sometimes especially grouped 
with Kubera DhaneSvara as contrasted with other divinities (3, 19, 21). 
Kubera has Sri, which is material prosperity (a man is said to “become 
3 reyan” or “reach Sreyas” not morally but materially, “gets richer”); 
his son is “brought up in superlative ease” (atyantasukhasaipvrddha, 
7, 46, 12); “as rich as Croesus” is expressed by Sriya VaiSravaijo- 
pamalj (2, 17, 15). Wealth (SrT) even greater than that of Guhyakadhipati 
(2, 49, 35) is the last of a series of inferior fortunes belonging to Indra, 
Yama, and Varuija. In short, though others rival him, Kubera has become 
the norm of exhaustless wealth (2, 58, 3; 12, 124, 13, etc.), as his town 
gives the standing phrase (e. g. R I, 77, 15) Kuberabhavanopamam, 
“like Kubera’s residence”, in wealth. This wealth is gold, for gold is wealth. 
It is dug out of the ground with the help of Wind (purified by Vayu) and 
Fire (fsukra) and it is given to men when the Fire-god is revered under 
the double constellation Pro§thapadau, for gold in earth is guarded by 
the regents of this constellation, namely, Ajaikapad and the Serpent of 
the Depth, Ahi Budhnya (5, 114, if.; Ajaikapad is also a name of Siva, 
13, 17, 103). The scholiast takes the handing over of the gold to Fire 
to mean “on Friday” (Jaukre), but allows Agni to give the gold to Kubera. 
But in either case, gold (the son of Fire, 3, 200, 128 and passim) is here 
guarded by the Serpent of the Depth and is dug out and purified and 
handed over to man through the medium of fire, wind, and Kubera, sug¬ 
gesting a forge, bellows, and guhera (smith), which was'very likely a 
function of the guhya (Kubera). All the gold Comes from the North. The 
gods take that of the Jambu-tree (6, 7, 26) and men get that of the upper 
Ganges and of the mountains, either by digging, or through the medium 
of the mountaineers, who bring it down from the hills, after getting it 
from the ants. There is also a lake at USirabija (in the North which 
produces gold and there too are (Jimuta’s) gold-mines of the Himalayas 
(2, 52, 4; 5, hi, 23; cf. 5, 34, 32). The serpents who steal gold are 
familiar, as are those who carry off jewels (1, 3, 128; cf. 7, 93, 34). It 
is the Guhyakas who guard Hataka, north ofDruma’s land of Kiippurusas, 
the source of hataka gold (2, 28, 1 f.). When Soma is the world-protector 
instead of Kubera, he too guards gold, so that Soma and Agni are reckoned 



V. The Eight Great Deyas. 


147 


as joint fathers of gold (Agni§omatmakam idaqa suvarjpaip, 13, 84, 
46), probably because of the difference between red gold and the whitish 
gold called maharajatam (6, 7,29; jambunada gold is reddish, indra- 
gopakasaipkaSa, ib. 26). This gold may be the “beloved thing of Ku- 
bera", which “gives immortality to mortals, makes the blind §ee, and 
restores youth to the old” (5, 64, 18). It is kept in a jar, guarded by 
dragons, like the Golden Fleece, or like the soma stolen by Garuda, and 
it is found in a cave, so hard to reach that those who attempt the climb 
usually lose life (ib. 22). The application of the famous proverb “he sees 
the honey but ignores the fall" (5, 51, 26; 11, 1, 37; 12, 310, 7; cf. 7, 
51, 11 and ib. 133, 10), is in this case probably to gold, as it is mystically 
interpreted by Jambhasadhakas. It is “loved by Kubera", and described 
as madhu pltakamak§ikam. 

§ 88. The epic has moral tales about Kubera. Vai£ravaija Alakadhipa 
holds converse with Mucukunda and offers him the earth (5, 132, 8f.). 
Mucukunda fights with Kubera and is defeated by Nairrtas “made by 
Kubera”, after which he teaches Kubera that priest and warrior ought 
to unite, proving his point by having his priest Vasi§tha demolish Kubera’s 
Rak§as (12, 74, 3f.). In the last passage, Kubera creates Rak§asas and is 
“lord of good and ill”; but only as a subordinate, for Kubera says that 
he disposes of kingdoms only as he is instructed to do so by a superior 
power. Kubera is also overpowered by the priest of the demons (12, 290, 
8 f.). USanas here through Yoga-power enters Kubera and steals his wealth, 
whereupon Kubera runs to 3 iva for help, who tries to pierce USanas with 
his javelin; but USanas sits on its point and then jumps down diva’s 
throat. Kubera is here king and god and “master of treasure” (N. as 
"treasurer of Indra”, not necessary). Another late story tells how Kubera 
had a visit from A§tavakra, received him well, and entertained him with 
music and dance, a performance carried out by his Gandharvas and Ap- 
sarasas for a “divine year”, without the guest noticing the lapse of time 
( I 3 i I 9 » 33 f)- Kubera admits that "music is captivating”, and lets him go. 
Then the guest departs, saying vrddhiman rddhiman bhava (53), which 
looks as if Kubera's wife were not yet Rddhi. Other late traits of the 

god are not known to either epic, such as Minak§i as his daughter, his. 

three legs, and deformities of teeth, etc. Negative evidence is strong here, 
as in the case of other gods. Even in Hariv., he is not three-headed 
three-legged, or four-armed, as now. There is quite a gap between the 
epics and Purapas, though here and there the Puraija may conserve 
earlier traits than those of the epics. 

§ 89. The Guhyakas are generally on earth or in the hills (1, 146, 12 
and above). Like the gods' .and other spirits they did not exist in the 

first age (3, 149, 13 f.). They appear as luminous forms in heaven (3,42, 

36) and as demoniac forms in battle (3, 173, 50), but such aerial flights 
do not represent their normal condition, which is that of earth-gnomes, 
though they are sent on messages or visit battle-fields as spectators (R 6, 
67, 163, etc.), being grouped with Supaj^as and other supernatural beings 
(ib. 71, 66). They “disappear iTke^fata morgana” (1, 126, 34). They are 
associated with Pitrs (3, 3, 43) as Sun-worshippers (cf. AV. 8, 8, 15) and 
may be ghosts but seem rather to be the half-gods such as fairies, gnomes, 
etc., for which reason, as not being Devas, though of divine origin, the 
Agvins and plants and animals are grouped as Guhyakas (1, 66, 40). The 
character of the chief’ Guhyaka, Kubera, in being one of productivity, is 



148 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


similar to that of &va, whose phallic tendency may be paralleled in the 
invocation of Kubera “for the man” at the time 3 iva ISana is invoked at 
weddings; the latter’s son too is Guha and described as sarvaguhya- 
maya (i, 137, 13), of unknown origin or hidden. Like Kubera Guhya, 
this Guha lives omthe mountains (R 6, 69, 30, etc.). The world of Guhyakas 
is for those who die %>y 'the sword, not ignobly but not bravely, and is 
next to the lowest earth-world of Yama (11, 26, 12f.; 13, 102, I4f.). This 
accords with the fact that Vasudhara is both “earth” and the name of 
Kubera (Jambhala)’s wife and city in Buddhistic lore 1 ). His later title 
KameSvara has to do with his r 61 e as marriage-divinity (hence three- 
legged, as Priapos). Hence too his close connection with the amorous 
Gandharvas; perhaps also with the (androgynous ? 2 ) Kiippuru§as (Ailavila 
may be connected with the androgynous Ila). Kubera’s haipsas are fitting 
messengers for lovers (3, 53, 

§ 90. A few words in conclusion regarding Kubera’s attendants. The 
Y aksas assume any shape (3, 139, 7) and the female, Yak§I and Yak?im, 
may appear as a beautiful woman, so that an unknown beauty is asked 
if she be goddess of the district or a Yak$T, and a handsome man is said 
to look like a Yaksa of Gandharva (3, 53, 13; 55 , 17; 64, 120) or a 
Guhyaka (3, 147, 24). These females are usually invisible; they sit beside 
their lords unseen and peep at Bhima longingly (3, 146, 30). They descend 
from Pulastya and Pulaha (1, 66, 7f.) or come from the world-egg (1, I, 
35, a later view). Individuals are seldom named (1, 63, 125, Sthupa, and 
above the names of a few at Kubera’s court); the nine spirits slain by 
Garu<Ja (1, 32, 19) may be Yak§as; they are “like clouds”. The pretended 
Yaksa who asks riddles is really Dharma (3, 314, if.). The individual may 
be kindly ( 5 , 191, 23), but as guardians with Rak§asas they can fight (7, 
94, 36). They are grouped with Nagas (1. I, 255), but more often form 
part of a general group of gods, Gandharvas, Nagas, etc., as in 1, 212, 2 
(robbed by Asuras). They are known as “good people”, Pupyajana, whose 
peculiar attribute is “disappearance”, their mystic “milker” being Kubera, 
and their “calf” loiva (7, 69, 24 = H 385, with v. 1 .), or “Kuberaka” is 
the calf and theit milk is received from mother earth (Viraj). Pupyajana 
is also applied to the former sons of Pracetas, who burned away the 
mighty jungle before^man’s ancestor was born (I, 75, 4). A Yak§ini at 
Rajagfha has a daily service and cult (3, 84, 105). Another Yak§ipl shrine 
is mentioned in 3, 83, 23 as "world-renowned”. The number of Yaksas 
guarding the northern mountains is three hundred and fifty-two thousand 
( 3 , 139 , 6), unless the expression caturgupa Yak§ab means the four 
classes mentioned as Gandharvas, Kiippuru§as, Yatudhanag, and Rak§asas 
“savage and mild”. Rajatanabha is the father of Manivara (H 382 f.; cf. 
AV. 8, 10, 28). A comparison of the AV. and epic passages shows that 
the “other people” are identical with the “good people”, that is, spirits, 
perhaps including ghosts; but there is no other indication that epic Yaksas 
are (as later) ghosts. Ma^ibhadra is apparently meant when Mauimat is 
mentioned (1, 2, 179 f.), but this is not certain and the name is also applied 
to a Naga and a Rak§asa (2, 9, 9, and above). The connection with the 

*) Compare A. Voucher, £tude sur l’Iconographie bouddhique de l’Inde. 

*) Compare the note below on p. 159. Kubera is, chthonic. in character and home 
(cf. Mahavaijisa, io, 89, “the banyan-tree of Vessavapa” Kubera), and this may be indicated 
by his especial imps, the Naiiftas, as gnomes or sons of the underground power Nirrti 
(Hell as place or power of destruction). 


V. The Eight Great Devas. *49 

■ - - - _ • ; 

Nagas as treasure-hiders appears in the description of the gate-keepers 
of the Naga-Tirtha at Kuruk§etra, viz., Arantuka and Tarantuka on one 
side and Macakruka (v. 1 . Macakraka and Mankapaka) on the other; these 
are Yaksa gate-keepers, as well as places bounding the holy land (3, 83, 
9 and 52 and 208; S 81, 9). 

§ 91. The World-Protectors. The eight gods discussed above 
(§38 — § 90) are grouped in later literature as guardians of the four chief 
and four subsidiary directions, the Sun-god of the South-West, the Moon- 
god of the North-East, the Wind-god of the North-West, the Fire-god of 
the ^outh-East, and for cardinal points, Yama of the South, Varupa of 
the West, Kubera of the North, and Indra of the East. The exact district 
assigned to each is not specified so early as are the names. Thus the 
eight are found as Lokapalas in Manu 5, 96 (with ib. 7,4 cf. 12, 6S, 41), but 
without indication of the localities assigned to the individuals. On the 
other hand some late authorities make Nirrti the guardian of the South- 
West, instead of the Sun; and PrthivI or &va liana the guardian of the 
North-East, instead of the Moon-god. In the epic, which knows no such 
group of eight, the world-protectors are counted as four and only the 
cardinal points are represented. Sometimes the four appear as a group 
without express mention of the fact that they are regarded as Lokapalas, 
as in 7, 72, 45, where Vaivasvata, Varupa, 3 atakratu, and DhaneSa are 
represented as welcoming a dead hero. The fixed positions in the epics 
are those of Yama and Varupa, in the South and West, respectively. The 
four, however, are not always the same. In 3, 55, 6f., they appear as 
Indra (£akra), Agni, Varupa, Yama. In 3, 41, gf., Yama, Indra, Kubera, 
and Varupa, as Lokapalas, give gifts to Arjuna, and Yama stands in the 
South. Yama, as a form of Fate, is the only one who survives the ages 
( 3 . 313, 1 and 27), for here four stricken brothers look "like Lokapalas 
at the end of the Yuga” and the survivor exclaims: ko ‘nyafi (iman) 
pratisamas eta Kalantakayamad pte. The gifts made to Arjuna are 
alluded to in 3, 91, 13 and 168, 14 f., where Yama is in the South and 
has of course the same coadjutors (Kubera, Varupa, and Indra) in their 
own quarters; only the intervening 3, 161, 8, hints that they belong in 
heaven as Devavaras, but this is not in the same connection and is only 
by way of a simile. The fact that Ravapa calls himself the “fifth of world- 
protectors” shows that four was the regular number (3, 281, 14). They 
are said to be not only best of gods but swift as thought (3, 41, 48), and 
they are all war-gods. When they are said to be unable to kill a hero, it 
is a boast modified by an accompanying "even” into a compliment (9, 61, 
65), much as when it is said that “even Yama and Soma” fear ViSvamitra 
(1, 71 , 39 ), who conquers all gods, even the strongest. In 8, 45, 31 f. it 
is said: “The gods living in the East have Agni as their leader; Yama of 
noble deeds guards the Pitrs living in the South; the West is guarded 
by Varupa, who also guards other gods; the North is guarded by Bhagavat 
Soma and the priests”. Here, though not expressly called Lokapalas, the 
protecting gods are evidently thought of.as such (diSaip dakpipaip 
guptaip Yamena . . praticirp Varupah pati palayanafi suran ball; 
udiclip bhagavan Somo brahmapaifi saha rak§ati). The grouping 
of Agni, Yama, Varupa, and Indra seems older than when Kubera is sub¬ 
stituted for Agni (as above). This substitution occurs, 2nd Mahendra (though 
this is not very significant) stands for Indra, in the list of Lokapalas to 
whose homes ^akuntala says she can go if she will (1, 74, 85). Of these 



150 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Lokapalas, though Yama is a constant member, only Varupa has his nu¬ 
merical position defined as "fourth of t^ie Lokapalas” (i, 225, 3), as if 
the list began in the North. They are also called Lokapas, as when Yayati 
says that the Lokapa Brahmapalj urge him to fall (1, 92, 7). The fact that 
Kubera is one of the four whose Sabhas are described (besides Brahman’s) 
rather ranges that section in time with the period indicated by the pas¬ 
sages cited above to the same effect. The four Lokapalas who “live on 
Himavat” (12, 328, 7), like the DiSaippalas of the North, who cry out 
morning and evening, "What can we do for anybody?” (kasya karyaip 
kim, 5, hi, 26), may be the later Purapic four saints as Lokapalas (VP. 

1, 22, 9f.; ib. 2, 8, 82f.); or, as they are grouped with Garuda, may be, 
like him, temporary visitors. Though each Lokapala has his Sabha, they 
all are found in that of Brahman (2, 11, 28). Inferentially Yama appears 
in the North as well as in the South (as sacrificing at Bindusaras, etc. 

2, 3, 15).' But in 13, 159, 31, there are only three Lokapalas. Now as 
there are three worlds (lokab, ib.), one would expect three Lokapalas, 
if the protectors bore any relation to the worlds. Despite their title, how¬ 
ever, the “world-protectors” are, in reality, DiSaqipalas, guarding the earth 
and perhaps the regions above and below to East, South, West, and North. 
Conspicuously so are the two fixtures, Yama in the South but underground 
rather than above, and Varupa in the West and under water (gopati, 
salilaraja; cf. 5, no, 3). It may be supposed, however, that originally 
there were three real world-protectors, in the sense that they protected 
not the diSab, directions, but the worlds, earth and the worlds below 
and above. The sophisticated later age, which no longer traces the relation, 
may think of the four world-protectors and at the same time of the three 
worlds (R 6, 93, 10 and 42 f.). Valmiki recognises four Lokapalas by in¬ 
ference (R I, 72, 25) or expressly, as when (R 2, 16, 24) Indra, Yama, 
Varupa, and Kubera guard East, South, West, and North, and these four 
respectively impart greatness, restraint, beauty, and wealth to the ideal 
first king (R 7, 76 , 41, the king exercises hisYamya bhaga as punisher, 
Sasti; cf. Manu 7, 4 f,). Four world-protectors appear also in R 6, 131, 64. 
But in R 2,91, 13, ahvaye lokapalaqis trln devan ^akramukhaqis 
tatha, the natural meaning is ‘‘I invoke the three world-protecting gods 
with Indra at their head”, not, as the scholiast says, the three and Indra 
besides. The variability of the fourth member especially may point to the 
same conclusion. In the great epic there is a confused account telling 
how Indra was conversing with Bjrhaspati in regard to getting rid of 
Nahusa, whose evil eye they feared, when there came along “the world- 
protector Kubera, and Yama Vaivasvata, the ancient, and god Soma, and 
Varuna”. Then “great Indra addressed these world-prote'ctors”, saying 
that Varupa, Yama, and Kubera should be rewarded for their help, and 
“Indra gave Agni a share in the sacrifice, and Bhagavat made Kubera 
overlord of Yak§as, and of wealth; Yama, overlord of Pitrs; and Varupa, 
overlord of waters”. Here Soma comes in first, and is then displaced by 
Agni, when the time for rewards comes, and Indra is certainly outside of 
the group he addresses as “world-protectors” (5, 16, 27 f.). In the same 
way Indra is not in, the group when it is suggested that it would be a 
good .thing for Arjuna to receive divine gifts from “Indra, Rudra, and also 
from the world-prdtectors”, after the same idea has been expressed in 
the words "Indra, Rudra, Varuna, Kubera, Yama” (will give; 3, 36, 32 and 
34). In Nala, the group Indra, Agni, Varupa, Yama (3, 55 > 6) excludes 




V. The Eight Great Devas. 


I5i 

Kubera; and lokapalas ca sagnikah (ib. 54, 24) should logically ex¬ 
clude Indra, since here “the world-protectors with Agni came to Indra’s 
presence". But one may not be too logical, and the conclusion of this 
tale shows that Indra is at once recognised as LokapUla. In 12, 166, 67, 
however, “Indra gave Asi to the Lokapalas”, he is apart from them. 
There remains the explicit correlation of three protectors of worlds with 
three worlds, to point to an earlier group of guardians of the three. Soma 
still lingers in the epic as one of these; later he rules “above". Yama 
and Varupa may have been the other two. What remains also, however, is 
the later addition of Kubera, who was not a world-protector or even a god 
at first, so that when the four were established as guardians of directions 
rather than of worlds, the first grouping was probably Agni, Yama, 
Varupa, and Soma, the first and last then yielding to Indra and Kubera. 
Finally, the ejected ones (Soma and Agni, cf. 4, 30, 25) came back as 
guards of the intermediate points, North-East and South-East, respect¬ 
ively, Indra settling into the East (7, 184,. 47), after Kubera had got 
the North. As a matter of fact, Indra belongs in the North-East, at least 
according to epic ideas, and epic tradition still recognises that Kubera 
was raised late to the position of world-protector and added to the group 
of Yama, Indra, and Varupa (R 7, 3, 17 f-)- In 3, 163, 3 fi, Dhaumya “takes 
Yudhi§thira by the right hand, looks at the East”, and says: “Here is to 
be seen Mt. Mandara which covers earth to the ocean. It is the district 
which Indra and VaiSravapa (Kubera) together guard and the seers call 
it the seat of Mahendra and VaiSravapa; it is where the sunrises. Yama 
the Dharmajna Rajan, lord of all breathing creatures, occupies the southern 
district, where dead beings go (pretasattvagati, Saipyamana; above). 
Varupa protects the Asta (sunset) mountain and the sea. This northern 
district great Meru illuminates, the auspicious, where go those who know 
Brahman (Brahmavidaip gati); on it is the seat, sadman, of Brahman, 
and there abides the soul of beings (bhutatman), Prajapati, creator of 
all that moves and is immovable”. The northern Lokapala is not named 
here; on the contrary, only three “protected” districts are named as such, 
and Indra and Kubera together are assigned distinctly to the East, where 
the sun rises. But there is a good reason for this. The interview takes 
place in the North, so that what is here described as East is North-East 
from the plains, and that is really the position of Mt. Mandara. Thus 
Kubera and Indra are strictly guardians of the North and East together, 
meeting in the North-East. The interview with Kubera, just before this 
conversation, makes it plain that he is especially in the North (Gandha- 
madana mountain), where his minions (ib. 162, 12) “protect” the guest, 
as they have previously protected the country from the foe. Prajapati is 
probably not thought of as the guardian of the North here, though Brahman, 
in fhe “Sabhakhyana of Lokapalas”, follows Indra, Yama, Varupa, and 
Kubera (2, 11) as if he were Lokapala. The Vana passage really amounts 
to describing the Lokapalas in the way they are mentioned in other passages, 
with Yama and Varupa to South and West, respectively, and Kubera 
and Indra in the North and East, respectively; but it points out that the 
districts of the two merge in the North-East. 

§ 92. In the HarivaipSa there is a chapter beginning 12487 (= 3 , 37 , 
1), which describes how the Creator distributed power among the gods. 
He first made Indra the king of the three worlds and then appointed 
kings over different departments, who were promptly “consecrated by 



152 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Indra”: Viratha(?) in the East; Yama Dharmaraja in the South; the son 
of KaSyapa, the god in the waters, salilantargata, called amburaja 
(water-king, Varupa), in the WSst; Pulastya’s son, the glorious lord equal to 
Indra, the one-eyed'ene, called Pingala (Kubera), in the North (saumyayaip 
di£i). Here the absence of Indra from the group is necessary, as he is 
already king of the three v^orlds and consecrates the others to their office. 
The king of the East in 12509 may be Aruna (Langlois), but he is called 
Viratha: putro ’sya Viratho nama KaSyapasya Prajapatelj, raja 
pracyaip diSi tatha Vasavena ’bhipecitafi. 

There are then the following groups of epic Lokapalas: 


East, 

Agni 

Kubera 

Agni 

Kubera 

Indra 

South, 

Yama 

Yama 

Yama 

Yama 

Yama 

West, 

Varupa 

Varupa 

Varupa 

Varupa 

Varupa 

North, 

Indra 

Indra 

Soma 

Soma 

Kubera. 


The representatives of South and West are constant. Agni and Kubera 
and Indra are assigned to the East; Indra, Kubera, and-Soma to the North. 

The last column to the right represents the Ram. view; in content 
(not distribution) it is one with the Mbh. view of the second column and 
period. Neither epic knows of the Puranic saints (above) as world-pro¬ 
tectors. Both epics recognise elephants ridden by four world-protectors 
(see § 10). While neither epic has yet settled upon the four gods, both 
recognise only the group of four; but H 6042, Manu, later law-books, and 
the Purapas have a group of eight Lokapala gods whose members are 
fixed. 1 ) H 14337 adds £e§a below and Soma above to the four. 

VI. THE HOSTS OF SPIRITS. 

§ 93. Gandharvas. — Under Kubera it has been shown that he is 
lord of Gandharvas and that Gandharvas include Naras and Kiipnaras. The 
name is derived from gandha, vapor. The poets take this in the sense 
of exhalation, or scent; Gandharvas and Apsarasas share the "scent” of 
the earth-mother in AV. 12, 1, 23. It has been shown also that AV. 8, 
10, 27 is copied in the epic and again in the Hariv., and in the first of 
these passages the epic writer says that Gandharvas and Apsarasas got, 
in the milking of earth, pupyagandha as their milk (7, 69, 25). It is 
probably from association with this idea of being possessed of pure 
odor that they are derived from the Creator’s nose (H 11787), though 
KaSyapa is also said to be their sire (ib. 11850). Their mothers are 
daughters of Dak§a, Muni, Pradha, Kapila, and Ari§ta (1, 65, 42 f., H 234 
and 11553). They have several chiefs or kings. Thus ViSvavasu is a 
Gandharvaraja (1, 8, 6), both ascetic and skilled in the dance and instru¬ 
mental music and song; he has a TIrtha on the Sarasvati (9, 37, iof.). 
The G(ta authoritatively makes Citraratha foremost of the Gandharvas (6, 
- v- 

*) It may be added that the four Maharajas of the Buddhists combine the Lokapala 
gods and the elephants of the directions (Vessavapa and Dhataraqha) with other un-Brah- 
manic features (Virulhaka and Virupakkha). The late passage above in the Hariv., which 
speaks of the guardians as Rajans may reflect this view. Compare Vi^pu’s epithet, catur- 
maharajika (§ 155). The" idea of space-protectors gives rise even to a theory of holy cows 
as guardians of the fout quarters, but this does not appear to have become popular; it 
is probably a theoretical extension of the notion of a wonder-cow, one of the four being, 
in fact, called Sarvakamadugha, "granter of every desire” (cf. § 139). On the sublimated 
forms of Lokapalas known as Nara, Narayapa, Hari, and Kfspa, see § 152. 




VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


153 


34 ) 26) but refers to Narada as a devar§i (not a Gandharva as below). 
All Gandharvas have sweet voices, valguvad inalj, and are radiant as 
the sun, suryavarcasah; they sing on Meru, Mandara, Gandhamadana, 
or other mountains (,i, 17, 6; S, 109, 9; 7, 60, 7), thongh they are heard 
in the sky and frequent the woods (below). The lists of the Gandharvas 
do not give prominence to their various "kings’’; probably out of the 
countless hosts of these beings (in Gandhamadana alone there are three 
millions of fighting Gandharvas under the kings Haha-Huhu, RB 6, 82, 50), 
only kings are mentioned, though many of the names are of unimportant 
members apparently, some of them being of uncertain form (due to varied 
readings of the same list and metrical change). Suryavarcas (above) 
is both epithet of all and name of one (in AV., as son of Citraratha). 
Deva-Gandharvas and Gandharvas are not as spirits differentiated; but as 
gandharvas are also human minstrels (1,219,7 f.; 7, 82, 28), the distinction 
may be merely between the minstrels of gods and of men. Gandharva 
is music ( 2 , 5,9, yuddhagandharvam “music of battle” ; cf. R 1,4, 10; 
R 6, 52,24), and a gandharvaSastram, studied by kings, is known (13, 
104, 149; cf. Gandharva-Veda, 3,91, 15; the word for musician is either 
gandharva or gandharva, 2, 5, 1; 7, 57, 4; R 7,94,6). This is already 
indicated in the earlier distinction between “divine” and “human” Gandhar¬ 
vas (TUp. 2, 8, 1). Though lists of Gandharvas are obviously not meant to 
be complete, several formal lists are found (1, 65, 42b; ib. 123, 55 f.; 2, 
10, 25; H 14156; R 2,91, 16; ib. 45 ; R 4 , 22, 27f.; R 4, 41, 43), which, 
combined with occasional references (below), furnish the following cata¬ 
logue (those found only in H are so marked): (Afigaraparpa), Atibahu, 
Anagha, Arkaparpa, Alambu^a, Ugrasena, Umbara (H, or D-), Urpayu, Rtvan 
(or Satvan), Karala, Kali, Kar§pi, Gopa, Gopati, Golabha, Gomayu (H), 
GramapT, Citrangada, Citraratha, CitraSiras (H), Citrasena, Dumbara, Tam- 
buru or Turn-, Trpapa, Dhftara§tra, Nandi, Narada, Parjanya, Parvata, 
Purpa, Purnayu, Prayuta, Babhru, Barh i. Bahugupa, Bj-haka, Brhatvan, 
Brahmacarin, Bharapya (?), Bhanu, Bhlma, Bhlmasena, Bhumanyu (Su-), 
MahaSruti (H), Yugapa, Ratiguna (Ra-), Varupa, ViSvavasu, £aru, fsaliSiras, 
Siksa (or 3 ighru or Sindhu), 3 uka (or Subhra or Sthana), £ailu§a, Satyavac, 
Satvan (or Rtvan), Siddha, Sucandra, Sutanu, S upar pa. Sumanyu (Bhu-), 
Suvarpa, Suryavarcas, Somavarcas (H), Harps a (H), Haha (Haha), Huhu 
(Huhu). Of these, Citraratha (originally'^called Afigaraparpa), ViSvavasu, 
and Suryavarcas are the most important in legend and prestige as Gandhar¬ 
vas, though Narada becomes more important as the later epic treats him 
as a god-seer. Probably ViSvaruci, the lord in the earth-milking, should be 
added (7, 69, 25); cf. Suruci, in H 388. Somavarcas is both Gandharva 
(H 14157) and a member of the ViSve Devas (13,91, 33); Haipsa is also 
a Danava (H 9141) and a son of Arista (1, 67, 83), who is mother of 
Gandharvas (H 234). Gopati is doubtless Gopa; he also is a Danava (H ib.), 
a fact not unimportant, since the Gandharvas warred with gods (compare 
Asura as name of an Apsaras). Alambu§a k and Ugrasena in 4, 56, 12 hre 
probably Gandharvas (so Nil.). Ornayu is the husband of Menaka and 
perhaps father of Somada (cf. 5, 117, 16 and below). There are several, 
Gandharvis (below); the chief of these is the abstract GandharvI or an¬ 
cestress of all horses, which marks the centaur character of these spirits: 
“Rohipi produced cows; and GandharvI, horses" (vajinab, 1, 66, 68; R 3, 
14, 28). Under Kubera it was shown that his steeds were Gandharvas or 
Guhyakas of half bird-like half horse-like appearance. As the number of 



154 in. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Gandharvas in Vedic times was reckoned as twenty-seven, so a verse in 
the epic, 2, 4, 37, "Twenty-seven sit about him, Tumburu and Citrasena 
with his ministers, Gandharvas and Apsarasas”, seems to reflect this, but 
as if the author spoke with conscious uncertainty as to the real explanation 
of the twenty-seven; as' how could he help doing when the epic mind 
held the doctrine that Gandharvas were everywhere and reckoned by 
millions? (S keeps the number twenty-seven; C omits it). Tumburu is here 
the special friend of the king and leads the Gandharvas in music and 
singing, which is performed by Gandharvas and Kiipnaras, "skilled in song 
and in instrumental music, and in keeping time” (samyatalaviSaradafi, 
‘pramaije ‘tha laye sthane, etc., ib. 38f.).. At Kubera’s court the "lords 
of the Gandharvas” (2, 10, 25 f.) are ViSvavasu, Haha-Huhii, Tumburu, Par- 
vata, Jjailusa, Citrasena (gitajna) and Citraratha. Such groups of kings 
are often found: In 15, 29, 9, for example, ViSvavasu, Tumburu, and Ci¬ 
trasena come with Narada, Parvata, and Devala (the last three also in 
15, 20, X) to visit the exiled king; but here the later view has prevailed 
which regards them only as Munis. They are not spoken of as Gandharvas, 
and in the later epic Narada and Parvata appear almost entirely as Munis 
rather than as Gandharvas, as they do often in the early epic (Devala is 
never a Gandharva). The chief Gandharvas are ViSvavasu, Narada, and 
Parvata in 1, 187, 7 (cf. 5, 11, 15, where the first two are mentioned as 
heading the music-makers at Nahu$a’s court). Tumburu and Citrasena are 
mentioned as being in Indra’s court (2, 7, 14; 3, 45, 2), and Citraratha 
is called “Indra’s follower”, Vasavanuga (2, 52, 23). The grove he made, 
called Caitraratha, is Indra’s special pleasaunce (R 6, 128, 28 ; but see 
below). The Gandharvas as Deva-Gandharvas playing at the court of the 
Northern king seem to be mythologically connected with the fact that the 
Buddhistic Gandharvas are chiefly at the court of Dhrtara^tra (the Northern 
Maharaja). Bhari of H 7220 may be the Barhi above. 

§ 94. ViSvavasu, whose name is also an epithet of Vispu (6, 65, 47), 
is the njost venerable of the Gandharvas (RV. 10, 139, 4f.). He worships 
Brahman (5, 49, 3) and plays the lute so delicately that eadh who hears 
thinks he is playing for him alone (12, 29, 76). He sits as he plays in 
the midst of seven times six thousand dancing Gandharvas (cf. ib. with 
12, 223, 22, where the same formula designates the number of dancing 
Deva-Gandharvas, in addition to the same number of dancing Devayo$itas, 
ib.49); the same phrase occurs at7,61,7. Nil. wrongly connects saptadha 
with the lute-strings: he plays on seven strings while six thousand dance. 
Noteworthy is it that here and often the Gandharvas dance as well as 
sing. The Apsarasas are unnecessary as complement. ViSvavasu, Citrasena, 
Narada, Tumburu “and others" are gitakovidafc among Gandharvas, all 
of whom, however, are gitakuSala nytye§u ca viSaradafi, “good at 
singing and skilled in dancing” (14, 88, 40). Usually the Gandharvas sing 
and play the lute (3, 46, 27) and the nymphs dance (R 2, 91, 26; R 6, 
131, 68). On Mt. Mandara eighty-eight thousand Gandharvas serve Kubera 
and Maijivara (3, 139*6); they are called "swift-going". ViSvavasu as the 
elderly'friend of Arjuna and father of Citrasena (3, 168, 57) is old enough 
to preach a sermon on the duties of husbands and sing a religious Sloka 
(3, 90, 18; H 11248; ib. 12474, he is son of Muni with “Bharapya”, perhaps 
another Gandharva, -but v. 1 . araijyak). Yet he is cursed to become a 
Rak§asa (3, 279, 42, slain by Rama), and his daughter is a RaksasI (q. v.). 
He has another daughter by Menaka, viz. Pramadvara (1,8,6). He teaches 


VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


155 


Afigarapaqja, who changed his name to Citraratha and whose wife Kum- 
bhlnasi pleaded for his life (1, 170, 34 f. and 43). Gandharvas are grouped 
in this passage with Rak$as and Yak$as as beings that injure men at the 
evening gloaming (ib. 9). This power increases at night (1, 170, 69), but 
in the case of the Gandharva with his wife it may be questioned whether 
the power is not peculiarly due to his dislike to being disturbed in con¬ 
jugal amity at that time. However, the Gandharvas are warriors, armed 
with bows. -Citraratha imparts to Arjuna, after he has changed his name 
and become his friend, the “science of seeing”, cak$u§T vidya (1, 170, 
43; repeated S 1, 199, 5), which he had himself got from ViSvavasu 
(through penance), who again had been taught it by the Moon-god, the 
only connection between Gandharvas and the Moon (cf. JsB. 9, 4, 1, 9, 
the Moon as Gandharva); but here the Moon is only a link, for the Moon 
learned it of Manu. Citraratha then promises Arjuna one hundred horses 
of the Gandharva breed (Gandharvajah, I, 170, 54), which assume any 
form, fulfill all wishes, and go at will (cf. a reference to these “wind- 
swift” steeds in 5, 56, 13). Citraratha also tells the history of Tapati and 
Saqivarana and his desire for a Gandharva-wedding, the birth of Kuru, 
etc. (1, 171—182). ViSvavasu in Ram. is invoked with Haha-Huhu and 
Tumburu to make magic gardens for Bharadvaja (R 2, 91, 16 f.). In the 
Uttara he is father by Anala of Kumbhinasi (mother of Lavapa and wife 
of Lola’s son Madhu, R 7, 61, 17). He shares the “path of the air” (R 5, 
I, 169). Citraratha gives a name to Rama’s suta (R 2, 32, 17). His park, 
which (above) is Indra’s, is usually Kubera’s; it is a typical spot of beauty 
(R 2,71,4; ib. 91, 47, etc., etc.). The Mbh. assigns it to Kubera only 
(3, 80, 6), which is proper, as it is on Kailasa “where Kubera was made 
overlord" (5, hi, n). Pilgrims visit it (1, 119, 48) and in this epic also 
it serves as the non plus ultra of beauty in landscape (1, 63, 45; 70, 30; 
75,48, etc.). Citraratha is all-wise and self-controlled (as son of Muni, I, 
65, 43). Besides the steeds mentioned above, Citraratha gives as tribute 
speckled (tittirikalma§a) Gandharva horses (2, 61, 22, here aSvan Gan- 
dharvan). Citrasena is called Gandharvaraja by Indra, to whose court he 
belongs (3, 45, 2). He teaches Arjuna in Amaravati "song, instrumental 
music, and dancing” (ib. 44, 6f.; 168, 56 f.). He is called son of ViSvavasu 
(3, 91, 14; 168, 57) and appears with his family along with Narada, Parvata, 
ViSyavasu and the Haha-Huhus (parivaragapafi, 12, 200, 12). His en¬ 
counter with the Kurus is an imitation of that of Citraratha with Arjuna 
(3,240 and 241, 18 f.). Arjuna defeats him and then converses amicably 
with his “friend” (ib. 245, 28; 246, 1). The slaughtered Gandharvas are 
revived by Indra, who sprinkles ambrosia over them (ib. 246, 18). The 
combat is alluded to again in 4, 49, 9. Another “Citra” Gandharva is known 
only from I, 101, 6f., where Citrangada challenges and slays a mortal 
king of the same name, after ■ calling upon him (so S) either to “take 
another name” or fight. The fight lasts three years at Kuruk§etra on the 
Sarasvati (S HirapvatT), and “being stronger in magic”, the Gandharva kills 
the pnan; who, however, is afterwards better known than his celestial 
conqueror (5, 172, 18, etc.). An Apsaras has the same name. 

§ 95. Besides this group, the most popular Gandharva is Tumburu 
or Tumbaru, or Tamburu (as if he were the tambour personified). He leads 
the Gandharvas to watch men’s battles (4; 56, 12, etc.). He gives Arjuna 
his Gandharva weapop (7, 45, 22). Isikhapdin’s war-steeds are his gift (7, 
23, 20, not in C; the horses are divyafi, heavenly, B and S). He goes 


156 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

to Meru with Narada and other Gandharvas but only to worship (6, 6, 20). 
He is the “friend of Arjuna” and with Citrasena and others stays at 
Yudhisthira’s court (above, 2, 3., 36). He leads the band that makes music 
when Arjuna is born (1, 123, 54). As "best of Gandharvas” he sings "with 
lovely song” in Amaravatl and before Nahu§a (3,-43, 28; 5, 11, 15). He 
plays tdwKubera (q. v.), brings tribute to Dhftarastra (2, 52, 24),' and is 
reckoned one of the best four (1, 65, 51, the Haha-Huhu and Atibahu 
also), but perhaps only as Sons of Pradha. He is set beside Narada and 
Gopa as kings of song (R 2, 9^, 45). A follower of Kubera has a similar 
plant (cf. Umbara) name, Kustumbaru (2, 10, 16). Tumburu was cursed 
to be born as a Rak§asa, being too fond of Rambha, (see under Kubera). 
He is the martial hero of the group, yet, one of the few yielding to love. 
In' 3 , i'i 7, 16, he is described as wedded to Rambha. Perhaps owing to 
thpir proclivity (as lovers of the Apsarasas) to this passion they are re¬ 
presented as having especially power over any love-lorn wight, kamavftta, 
“though even a man in love can conquer a Gandharva if he is holy and 
guarded by a priest” (perhaps a pious afterthought, 1, 170, 73). The Gan¬ 
dharvas are tlksnakamab, “sharp in love” (as snakes are “sharp” in 
anger and vultures are “sharp” in hunger, R 4, 59, 9), which sufficiently 
indicates their specialty. The list of active Gandharvas is thus short. Only 
one more is of note. This was Golabha, who according to Ram. (R 4, 22, 
27 f.) was slain after fighting fifteen years with Valin. The same epic 
names as chiefs of the Gandharvas called Rohitas, 3 ailu§a, Gramaoi, 3 ighru 
(v. 1 . Sindhu and 3 ik§a), ^ubhra (or Sthana or £uka) and Babhru (^ 4, 
41, 43). The Rohitas guard the extreme South and are “awful fighters" 
(other awful fighters guard the Western Vindhya, R 4, 42, 19). Such earthly 
Gandharvas seem to be permanent residents of the earth (cf. Nagas as 
people). It is purious that the noteworthy Buddhistic Gandharva PancaSikha 
is not known as such in the epics. He has perhaps been naradised, as the 
name is pseudo-epic only, as that of a scholar-saint, Kapileyo mahamunilj 
(12, 218, 6). Tumburu (Timburu), however, is well-known in both circles. 
Narada keeps enough of his unsaintly nature to be the “delighter in 
strife” (see § 130). He is a Devagandharva (H 9633) “beloved of Indra”, 
apparently because he is saipgramakalahapriya “fond of strife and 
quarrel” (ib.) He acts as messenger (H 7231, meghaduta?). 

§ 96. The females of this group are worthy of notice. Manthara is a 
sister df Bali and daughter of Virocana and was killed by Indra for seeking 
to destroy earth (R 1, 25, 20); but again she is a former GandharvJ by 
the . name of Dundubhl (the “drum”), incarnated as fomenter of hate at 
Brahman^ behest (3, 276, 16). Kumbhinasi (above) seems to be demoniac 
as well as Gandharvan. The females as types of beauty* are *T>ften named 
(e. g. 1, 171, 8) as distinct from Apsarasas and Yaksis; they are known 
as kantas'of kaminas, that is, as “the beloved of lovers” (cf. 3, 158, 96 
with 159, if), i. e. the Gandharyas, who are the lovers par excellence. All 
are graceful and tun'efulj they dress in silk and wear garlands. All 
Gandharvas, male orj.Memale, are graceful, yaSasvinab (R 6, 114,4). 
Somada is dai^ghter of Urmila^ (v. 1 . fjnjayu), the servant of Culin the 
ascetic, who granted her ’the boon Of a son, Brahmadatta,' founder of 
Kampilya (city); Ids touch healed the deformed daughters of KuSanabha 
(R 1, 33', nf.; .see Vayu), who were born of Ghrtaci (Urmila is also the 
name of Lak§maoa’s wife). See also Devavati, Narmada, and Vasudha, as 
Gandharva women-names (daughter of Gramant, etc., R 7, 5, 2f.). Compare 
also R 7, 12, 24 (above pp. 41—42). 1 


VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


157 


§ 97. Although the Gandharvas may be found,,in forests and- caves 
(guhas, where live beastfe and Kiqinaras, R 3, 67, 5 f.; R 4, 38, 30f.), 
yet their natural abode is in the air (1, 63, 34), the realm of fog and rain 
(R 3i 65, 14; R 5, i, 165 and 169 f.), and such is the meaning of.the fact that 
fata morgana are called “Gandharva cities", with which evanescent pheno¬ 
mena are (passim) compared. The sceptic says that virtue is like Gandharva- 
nagara and disappears on examination, that is, has *no substantial basis 
(12,261, 13). Guhya.kas disappear in air like Gandharvanagara, or a fiend 
suddenly disappears and the same simile is employed (1, 126,- 35; 7, 175, 
103). Sometimes the bright color is the tertium. Thus cars light as air 
are like Gandh^rvanagaras (vatayamanalj, 6, 103, 20), or cars are bright 
as the cities of Gandharvas (8, Si, 18; R 6, 108, 1); or the bright deer 
that tempted Sita is “bright as the sun and Gandharvapurasaipnibhah 
(R 3 , 43, 6). The appearance of*such a mirage is ominous of ill (5, I43> 
22). The epic distinction between gods and Gandharvas shows that the 
latter are "now more specialised (Agni and Vayu were once Gandharvas), 
but though this distinction is constantly maintained ( t , 88, 2;»9, 42, 40, 
etc.), yet the tradition that the three fires stolen by Pururavas were taken 
from the Gandharva-world (1, 75, 23) shows that they are still thought 
of as heavenly bodies. Again, they have a tendency to become earthly 
seers and act like saints. Citraratha (above) boasts of his asceticism; 
Yayati instances them as renowned for the same trait (1,88, 2); Narada 
is a Muni. On the other hand, the “Gandharva king” is a model of beauty 
(R 2, 3, 27; ib. 37, 11); and as a class they give their name to the free- 
love union cajled the “fifth form” of marriage («, 172, 19; S I, 242, 5); their 
weapons are also famous (Gandharvastra, R 3, 25, 36, etc.), and though 
incarnated in human forms at Brahman’s command (1, 64, 41), they are 
grouped with Danavas and Rak§asas as old foes of the gods (1, 65, 5). 
Their world is distinct from that of Brahman and the gods (3, 24, 7), but, 
as shown above, they live at the courts of the gods, and Indra is followed 
by their troop on sunlike cars (3, 166, 4). In 1, 225, 9 , where Varupa 
gives Arjuna a bow which gods revere and also Danavas and Gandharvas, 
the steeds of the hero are Gandharvab (ib. 10), which may point to a con¬ 
fusion between Gandharas and Gandharvas. In R 7, 100, 10, Gandharva- 
land is definitely located on both sides of the Indus, a fair district, rich 
in fruits and roots, guarded by Gandharvas skilled in fighting, the sons 
of 3 ailu§a. The Gandharvanagara is here a real town, which Rama is 
•exhorted to destroy. He sends Taksa and Puskala (Bharata’s sons) with 
Bharata, who besiege the city and overcome it. Then Bharata founds two 
cities and jetties his sons over them, Tak$a over Tak§aSila anjl Pu§kala 
over Pu§kalavata,' "in Gandharva-deSa and Gandhara-de£a, respectively (ib. 
101, 11). In RG 6, 83, 13, Gandharvas admit the service of Haha-Huhu 
alone as compatible with their dignity as frefe mountaineers, acknowledging 
no master. Some .texts (as above) have ijjmbic Haha-Huhu, for metre. 

§ 98. Whatever be the etymological dfsqrep’ancy between Centaur 
and Gandharva, the likeness is close. Centaurs are'nubigenae; Gandharvas 
are cloud-forms ;* the town of Gandharvas is cloud-land. IJoth are sensual 
(kaminab; paiderastai); both have equine forms; bo,th are musical. The 
Visnu-Purana (1, 5 , 44 ) even derives Gandharva from ga'm-dhara, “song- 
maker", obviously forcing the etymology to give the sense felt to be 
necessary. Both become teachers. Narada means the, "water-giver” (cloud) 
and is at first a Gandharva, and then becomes an expositor (Parvata, his 




158 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


companion, is cloud). Compare furtfier Varuna as a Gandharva and the 
"sky-going horses”, recognised as “mind-born sons” of Lak§ml, sister of 
Dhatr and Vidhatr (1, 66, 51). Native authorities give gandh as "injure”, 
perhaps as seizing (habeo); Gandharvas as grahas or robbers. The Vedic 
Gandharva thus seizes the bridle (rays) of the Sun and the bride of men. 
Gandhakali (-ika, as mother of Vyasa) was an Apsaras who became a 
Grahi, or seizing monster; “she took the lives of all she seized and even 
devoured gods and Gandharvas”, till the sight of Hanumat put an end 
to the curse of the Muni Yak$a (RG 6, 82, 74 and 160 f.). The connection 
with gandha as vapor seems more natural. Perhaps Siva as gandhadha- 
rin and gandhapalin is so to be interpreted. The Vedic (and Avestan) 
myths rather imply an origin from one “Gandarewa”; but the same view 
might be taken of the Apsarasas. More probably both groups are water- 
phenomena (clouds or stars), sometimes regarded as a unit phenomenon. 

§ 99. Kimnaras and Kimpurusas. — These spirits are not formally 
distinguished in the epics, though named separately and ascribed to dif¬ 
ferent progenitors, Kiipnaras being decended fromPulastya and Kiippuru§as 
from ^ulaha (1, 66 , 7). The Kiipnaras are a kind of Gandharvas, distin¬ 
guished from Naras (2, 10, 14), at Kubera’s court; in the worship of 
Narayana (1, 228, 21); and as subjects of £iva, ^ord of Naras, Kiipnaras, 
and Yaksas” (14, 44, 15). They are raudradarSmat, rude of appea¬ 
rance (14, 63, IS; as separate spirits, ib. 88, 37). Kiippuru§as accompany 
gods, seers, serpents, Gandharvas and Yaksas, to see the ocean drunk up 
(3, 104, 21). Their lord is Pruma (2, 10, 29), acarya in an assembly of 
kings (2, 37, 13), a teacher, also renowned for prowess (2, ,44, 16); as if 
he were king of a northern people (Gangadvara is the home of Kiipnaras, 
3, 90, 20; cf. H 5014, Kirppuru§a Druma Parvatlya). Drumaputra is a fighting 
lord of the Kiippuru§as in the northern White Mountain (2, 28, 1). Gandha- 
madana is the abode of Druma, the "lion of the Kiippuru§as” -(5, 158, 3 
and 7); from him Rukmin got his bow and knowledge of arms. Like 
Gandharvas, the Kiippuru§as are “wise in song”, gltakovidab (S has 
Kapurusas for Kiippuru§as here, v. 1 . to 12, 169, 5; cf. S 2, 71, 39). Kiippu- 
fusas wander in the forests with friendly Yaksas, making it as charming 
as Nandana (with song, 12, 169, 7; with vanaras, 1, 70,15). They fight 
(7, III, 31) and Ravana says they cannot be around a hermitage (but he 
errs, R 3/43. II 5 cf. ib. 46, 28 and 6 7, 6); and they group themselves 
with frightened gods on fearful occasions (5, 12, 2; R 5, 56, 31)- In 7> 
199, 2, ^Svakiippurusa, the battle-field is likened to a mountain “having 
horses as its Kiippurusas”, possibly- in reference to the horse-form of the 
spirits, who live chiefly in the mountains (3, 136, 2; 139, 6,^etc.), where 
they go “in pairs”, male and female (R 2, 54 » 39 ! R ib. 93 , n~; ib. 94 , 11), 
wearing Vwords and fine garments (ib.). Royal praisers are likened to 
“skilled Kiipnaras with lovely voices” (R 7 > 37 > 3 )- The females serve as 
type of loveliness (R 3, 46, 22; R 5, 33, 5 f.), and often as type of desertion 
on the part of fickle Jovers (R 2, 12, 74)- This is the meaning of the 
“fallen Kiipnarl” simile (R 2, 9, 65; ib. 10, 24, etc.). A woman with a 
sweet voice is addressed KiipnarodgItabha§ini (1,172, 10). They dance 
as well as sing but are t not individualised like the Apsarasas (R 7, 23, pra. 
3, 12). There is not the slightest allusion in either epic to the distinction 
(now become classic)' made by the scholiast to VP. 1, 5, 57: “Naras have 
a human body except for an equine rump and Kiipnaras have an equine 
head on a human body”. There is little to indicate that any of the three 



VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


I S9 


classes was of equine form at all and only the mention ofKiipnaras and 
Kiippuru§as to support the (late) difference genealogically. Kiipnaras here 
go with Rak§asas, Yak§as and monkeys to make one group, as opposed 
to Kiippuru§as and fierce wild animals (Sarabhas, lions, tigers, bears, 
and wolves; S has j:k§a for Yak§a ihamj-gafi in I, 66, 8). Savagery 
can scarcely be the cause of differentiation, for in 3, 153, 9, Kiipnaras 
go with Rak^asas and Kiippuru§as with the milder Yak§as. According to 
the late, genesis of JH 11794, Naras and Kiipnaras were born from the 
feet of Brahman'(VP I, 5, 47, confines this origin to animals). In R 7, 
88, 22, Kirppuru§Is are equivalent to KiqmarTs and they were created by 
Budha, who changed Ila’s_ companions into these mountain spirits (perhaps 
androgynous).*) 

§ 100. The Apsarasas. — According to a late tradition, sundry Ap- 
sarasas were born of JBrahman’s fancy (saqikalpa, H 12476); others, of 
Dak§a’s daughters. The first make a group of ten plus one, beginning with 
Menaka, and are called Vaidikls, sacrosanct, recognised by revelation, and 
as such distinguished from those born from Daksa's daughters. This group 
may be considered, therefore, as that of the most revered nymphs: Meqaka, 
Sahajanya, Parpini, Punjikasthala, Ghrtasthala, Ghrtaci, ViSvaci, UrvaSl, 
Anumloca, Pramloca, and Manovatf. Eighteen are ascribed to Muni (sired 
by Ka£yapa), of whom the best known are Tilottama, Rambha, and MiSra- 
ke£I. Six (names of) nymphs are ascribed to Pradha (apparently should 
be eight); but H 11 554 makes Pradha mother of Apsarasas in general, 
as Muni is mother of Gandharvas; though, ib. 274, all Apsarasas come 
from Muni (so VP. I, 21, 24). In the list below are included the group 
ascribed, in 1,65,45!., to Kapila and Pradha (it takes in some of "Muni’s 
datighters” in H), since Anavadya and Subhaga appear in that group, who 
in H are. apparently Apsarasas. Bhasi in this group is different from the 
Bhasi who is “mother of birds” (daughter of Tamra, 1, 66, 56 = R 3, 14, 
17). Seven ganas of Apsarasas are mentioned (H 6798). Ten unnamed 
Apsarasas of the North are called Vidyutprabhas ( 5 , III, 21) "by name” 
("lightning-glorious”). A group of eleven appears in thejist of 1, 123, 61 f., 
where there are two well-defined divisions of twenty-eight and of ten plus 
one (compare abovq the twenty-seven Gandharvas). The Adi group is only 
in part coincident with that of Hariv., but the half-agreement shows that 
the chief nymphs were thus grouped. The ten plus one may casi a light 
on the way the group of ten gods was made eleven and then trebled 
(the Three-tens were then reckoned as Thirty-three). Several names appear 
to be variants of the same word (e, g. Karpika = Parnika = Parpini), but 
as it is doubtful how far this is applicable, all have been enlisted. In 4, 
9, 15 f., the S text does not have Indrani immediately after Malini, who 
may, therefore, be a nymph (otherwise Durga or even Draupadf, lb. 21). 
UrvaSf is the extra eleventh in Adi (later she is taken out of the Vaidikis 

'*) According to Hertel, WZKM. 25, 160, Ila is herself typical of )these androgynous 
Kiippurujas, whose name (“what a man”) indicates their double-sexed nature. Yakfas 
change (heir sex, however, as easily as did Ha’s companions, and the epic itself gives no 
further hint on the subject. The Kirppurujas are usually not differentiated individually. 
They and the Kiipnaras go with Vidyadharas (§ 116) and are found on Mandara, Citraku(a, 
etc., and in forests (Pampa, etc.; cf. R 5, 56, 31 and R 4, 1, 61; ib. 4, 40, 44; Mbh. 1, 18, 
2; 3, 108, lof.; ib. 158, 39 and 96; ib. 159, 17). For qriticism of Hertel’js view see Keith 
in JRAS. April, 1913. Perhaps nara and puru?a both refer to water rather than “man”; 
as Gandharva species they may be poor water-givers ■(clouds or stars), but the epic con¬ 
sistently regards them as spirits. . 



160 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

_i_ 

altogether). One Apsaras in particular is “dear to Kubera”, viz. V^rga 
(i, 216, 16). Menaka is the very best of the “best six Apsarasas” (1, 74, 
68f.), and it is said in the'same (late) passage that she is “born of 
Brahman”. In epic tales the most prominent Apsarasas are Menaka; ’UryaSt, 
Ghrtaci, MiSrakeSi, and Rambha. Several names coincide with those of 
their brother-lovers (1, 65, 48), the Gandharvas, Gopali, Citraugada, Ci- 
trasena; cf. Sugandha. UrvaSI and Purvacitti (one of the "best six”) live 
regularly on the Malaya mountains (12, 333, 19), though with them, as they 
watch the flight of fsuka, is Pancacuda. All the northern mountains contain 
them. Other special localities mentioned as resorts of the nymphs are 
Mahendra, Subhumika, on the Sarasvati, the Kaverl, Yamuna and Ganga, 
Nandana, Mandara, Munjavat, etc., that is, they live chiefly on eartl\ around 
rivers or on mountains, as in the courts of all the •gods. The word Ap¬ 
saras is explained as apsu rasa, the essence of the ocean-water produced 
at the churning, when Apsarasas and the physician god Dhanvantari -first 
rose from it. There were sixty crores of them, not to speak of their 
“countless attendants" (R 1, 45, 20). In Mbh. this origin is attributed to 
Dhanvantari but not to the nymphs, and Narayana himself in maya form 
plays the part of the seductive woman (1, 18, 38 and 45), who induced 
the Asuras to give up the ambrosia.' Seven times six thousand (S, thir¬ 
teen thousand) Apsarasas dance on the .point of Dillpa’s sacrificia^ postlo 
the music ofViSvavasu (7,61,7). The list of epic Apsarasas is as-follows: 
Adrika, Adrikrtasthall, Anavadya, Anuga (H), Anuka, Anucana, Anflna (H), 
Anumloca (H), Ambika, Aruna, Arunapriya (H), Arupa,. AJambu§a, Asita, 
Asura, Ira, Umloca, Urvara, UrvaSi, Rtusthala, Karnika, Kimya, Kumbhayoni, 
KeSini, Ksema, Gandhakali, Gunamukhya, Gunavara, Gopali, Ghrtasthala(H); 
Ghrtaci, Carunetra, Carumadhya (H), Citra or Mitra, Citrangada, Citralekha, 
Citrasena, JanapadI, JamI (see Yarn!), Tilottama, Danflagauri, Danta, Devi, 
Nagadanta (or -datta), Pancacuda, Parnika (H), Parnini, Puiijikasthala, 
Pundarika, Purvacitti, Prajagara, Prabha, Pramathini, Pramloca, PraSami, 
Priyamukhya (H), Budbuda (or Vudvuda), Bhasi, Bhima, Madhurasvara (-na), 
Manu, Manorama, Manovati, Manohara, Marlci, Margapapriya, Malavi, 
MalinI (?), Mitra, MiSrakeSI, Menaka, Yarn!, Rak§ita, Rati, Rambha, feuci, 
Lak§apa, Lak§mana (H), Lata, VaipSa, Vapus, Varanana (H), Varuthini, Var¬ 
ga, Vamana, Vidyuta, Vidyutparna, Vidyota, Vipracitti, Vi^vaci, (Vu. see Bu.), 
^aradvati, ^ucika, ^ucismita, !oravi§tha (H), SamicI, Sahajanya, Saha, SukeSI, 
Sugandha, SugrivI (H), Supriya, Subahu, Subhaga, Sumadhya (H), SumukhI, 
Suraja, Surata, Suratha (H), Surama (H), Surasa, Surupa (H), Sulocana (H); 
Suvrtta (H), Soma, Saurabheyi (-seyi), Svayamprabha, Hasini, Hima (R; 
v. 1 . Soma), Hemadanta (H), Hema (R and H). Ram. alone has Adrikrtasthall, 
Nagadatta (or -danta), Vamana, and Hima (or Soma). Nandap v. 1 . H 14165. 
All come from Brahman’s eye, ib. 11787. 1 ) 

§ 101. 'fThese nymphs dance and sing. They are called “gods’ girls” 
(1, 130, 6). Their female companions are the Devapatnis, proper wives 
of the gods. Like all Hindu celestials they are depicted as overloaded 
with gems and garlands (3, 43, 31; R 3, 35, 16 f.). They also wear necklaces, 
golden girdles, and anklets, which tinkle as they welcome saints to heaven. 
Saints or warriors ride to heaven on musical cars drawn by geese, lions, 
or tigers (13, 106, 49 and 56f.) and are greeted by the music of vina, 
vallaki, muraja'and bells, while the nupufa of the waiting nymphs 

l ) Compare on the Mbh. Apsarasas, Adolf Holtzmann, ZDMG. 33, p. 631 f. (a few 
names omitted). Ira is properly wife of Ka£yapa; Paflcacucja may be Rambha (ib. p. 632). 




VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


161 

i i 

delight their ears as well (ib. 49 and 63). The nymphs wear their locks 
in five braids (pancacudapsaras; also as proper name, 3, 134, 12, etc.). 
Their fine clothes they lay aside when they bathe in the heavenly Man- 
dakini/but are much ashamed when seen naked by Vyasa; only £uka 
they do not mind, because he is all soul and no body (12, 334, 18 and 
28 f.). Ordinarily they are not so shy. The best of them is described as 
lewd and pitiless (1, 8, 8). Ravana denies that they have husbands (R 7, 
26, 41), and says they are free to all; but he makes this remark to Rambha, 
a domestic Apsaras, wife of Kubera’s son, and snusa (!) of her ravisher 
(see Kubera). Yet the nymphs are free in love (3, 46, 42) and ordinarily 
care only for love and play. When a hero dies in battle, thousands of 
them Jigyer above him, each one seeding his soul and saying to herself: 
“May he De my lord” (12, 98, 46 f.). They also dance at human weddings 
(R i, 73, 35 ). while Gandharvas sing finely, kalam; but the Apsarasas 
themselves sing sweetly with “song beautified by elocution” (the sounds 
made in three places; R 5, 4, 10, tristhanasvarabhusitam). At the 
magic entertainment prepared for Bharadvaja, the Gandharvas sang and 
the Apsarasas danced, who had come from the courts of Indra and Kubera 
and Brahman, Kubera sending twenty thousand of them (R 2, 91, 16 f.; 
ib. 26 and 44); though .the names may be confused here with those of 
tK*e Gandharvis, who also come to the feast (Hima here interchanges with 
Soma, cf. 3, 43, 29). As personification of sexual pleasure one Apsaras 
is called Rati and all of them are the deities of love-lorn women: ratlnaip 
vasumatyas tu strlnam Apsarasas (sc. janldhvam, 14, 43, 16; in 
15, Uma is the rrystress of all bhagadevanuyatas, i. e. a Venus). Su- 
bhumika is a Tlrtha of the Sarasvati, which is the playground of the 
Apsarasas, where gods, Apsarasas, Gandharvas, and seers go regularly 
once a month to enjoy themselves with divine sports (9, 37, 3). In no 
darly passage do the Apsarasas do more than seduce saints or please gods 
by jingling their ornaments, revealing their beauties, singing and dancing. 
The kind of song or dance, still less the dramatic entertainments, with 
which they ^re credited in the Hariv., are unknown in the epics proper. 
The chief dance of this sort goes by the name of Hallf§aka and the song 
is called Chalikya (H 8449 f.; cf. 9900). On the Rambha-drama see Kubera 
(§ 84 )- Sibi “was danced and besung by gods, Gandharvas, and Apsa¬ 
rasas’' (nrttaS cai 'vo ’pagitaS ca (13, 32, 32). In 3, 148, 20, the Apsa¬ 
rasas sing the carita of Rama, perhaps the beginning of a change in 
their conception, though to sing a hero and sing his deeds may be the 
same thing. 

§ 102. Menaka was wife of Urnayu (5, 117, i6j and mother of Pra- 
madvara by the Gandharva ViSvavasu. Being pitiless, she abandoned the 
child at birth, who grew up and married the son of the Apsaras Ghrtaci 
by Pramati, son of Cyavana, whose son was Jsunaka (1, 5, 9f.; ib. 8, 8). 
Menaka also deserted her child ^akuntala in the same way,' except that 
here she was sent Jay Indra to seduce the father ViSvamitra, which she 
does aided by Maruta and Manmatha, Wind and Love. She is. “most 
distinguished in the divine qualities of the Apsarasas” and is “born of 
Brahman”, best of Apsarasas, lewd and pitiless (1,74, 69 f.). Her daughter 
says that Menaka is "among the Thirty-three gods and superior to them” 
(ib. 74, 83). Indra also sends JanapadI (devakanya) to tempt the saint 
Saradvata Gautama, and she easily succeeds in doing so, though she is 
not one of the Vaidikis, who are usually entrusted with such missions 

Indo-arische Philologic III. i b. 


11 



162 III. Religion, weltl. Wissexsch. u.Kunst, IB. Epic Mythology. 

(i, 130, 6). Indra too sends Alambu$a to tempt Dadhica(9, 51, -7f.), and 
the result, is <the birth of Sarasvata (celebration- of SarasvatT by nymphs, 
ib. 17). Ghrtaci pythukicana, “wide-eyed", shows herself accidentally 
to Bharadvaja and the saint is . so moved as to beget Jsrutavati (9, 48, 65). 
On another, occasion, she meets the same saint with a like result and. 
Drona is born (1, 130, 35; ib. 166, 1). The nymph in these cases only 
excites the 'saint, th^ child being born not of her but in an incubator. 
R§ya£rffga, the “horned” saint, was born of a doe by Vibhancjaka when 
Urva$I excited his passions by showing herself to him (3, no, 35). This 
UrvaSI once “kicked Pururavas aud repented of it” (R 3, 48, 18). She 
was cursed to become his wife by Brahman (H 1375) or Mitra (q. v,.. R. 7, 
56, 20 f.); and she accompanied Pururavas when he fetched fire from the. 
home of the Gandharvas (q. v.). She had by him six sons, Ayus, Vanayus, 
fsatayus, Dj-dhayus, Dhlmat, and Amavasu. (1, 75, 2of.; H 1363,!. v, 1 .). 
Pururavas loses his wits and, though intelligent, is cursed for his contempt 
of the priestly power in this story. Compare H 1363 f. for the whole,history. 
He lived near Ganges’ Gate on Mt. Puru beside the golden-sanded UrvaSf 
_== Ganges (2, 78, 17; 3, 90, 22f,; 12, 29, 68; in H fSTat Prayaga) 7 ~With 
the Wind-god and KaSyapa he holds learned conversations (12, 72, 2f.; 
ib- 73, 7f.). The son of Ayus, Nahu§a, also, as Indra, enjoys the Apsarasas. 
in Nandana ( 5 , II, 13), here distinguished from Devakanyas. UrvaSI is 
also the name of a Tlrtha (3, 84, 157; 13, 25, 46, Lauhitye). She is known 
as “mother of the race of Pauravas” (3, 46, 40). Despite her affection for 
Pururavas (1,44, 10; son of Budha, king of Ka£I, and son of Ila,, R 7,-19, 
5; ib. 87, 3 f.), she Is~Tn~Tove with her descendant Arjuna, whom Indra. 
commanded her to teach good behavior. To seduce him (for she loved, 
him) she drank a little rum and when partially intoxicated, after bathing, 
herself and smearing sandal-paste on her bosom, decorated with gold 
ornaments,, she put flowers in her long curly hair and came to him “in. 
the face of night” (evening) by moonlight, her body as slender as thei 
digit of the moon and her countenance like the full moon. As, she came 
swift as thought, she excited her imagination with sensual thoughts and 
arched her eyebrows as she walked, bending slightly forward with the 
weight of her deep breasts. Three folds showed in her waist; her tips 
were round and high; her feet were arched like a tortoise’s, back; her 
soles were flat; her, toes were, straight, and copper-colored; on, her ankles, 
were little bells; her only garment was an upper cloth as-thin and white 
as a cloud. This description lays weight on .the. vilasana, of the.Apsaras,. 
her beguiling and not too modest gestures. Arjuna said he would look 
oa her as a mother and was promptly cursed by the slighted nymph (3, 
46, 47). Tilottama (daughter of Pradha in the genealogy of J, 65, 49) is 
loaded with gems as she seeks to sedude the demons; her beauty causing . 
Indra. and fsiva (q . v.) to be c ome respectively thousand-eyed and four- , 
faced. She is. said to have been made of all loveliness by ViSvakarman 
or by Brahman expressly to tempt the. demons Sunda and Upasunda (1,, 
211, 28; in 13, 141, if. she tries to tempt £iva but. fails). She is made 
of jewels or loaded with them, according to the poet’s fancy. It is Indra, 
who usually, afraid and trembling for his throne, sends a nymph to seduce, 
a too pious saints In 5, 9, Ilf., he thus summons several of them (Deva- 
striyab) to seduce TriSiras but their names are not given. They employ 
hava and bhava, decent and indecent, .inducements. (Srfigaraveija, 
jewelled attire), here in vain; but.not so,in 12,343,32. Coquettish looks, 
and laughter are also theirs (2, 7, 24; 3, 43, 32). 




VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 163 


§ 103. The mass of these nymphs appear only as dancing-girls, 
pranyttapsarasas, and are innocently enough employed to amuse a 
guest of the gods (13, 19, 44f.), or to dance before the gods. Troops of 
them are in India’s train (1, 56, 9, etc.; at 2, 7, 24, S inserts the names 
of the best known as being at Indra's court). As the entourage ofVasu- 
deva, at Indra’s command, sixteen thousand of them were born on earth 
(parigraha, as his wives, 1,67, 155; but RukminI was apart of Lak§mi 
herself), The Apsarasas are not infrequently cursed to be thus born on 
earth, often in low forms. Adrika became a fish in the Yamuna river 
through Brahman’s curse, and thus became mother of Matsya and Satya- 
vatl by king Vasu (1,63, 58f.); after which, released from the curse, she 
reassumed her heavenly form. The son of this nymph-mothered Satyavati, 
viz. Vyasa, on seeing GhrtacI, although she took a parrot-form (cf. ka- 
marupipi, H 10002), was excited to beget £uka, the pure soul alluded 
to above (12, 325, 2); at whose birth “Gandharvas sang and hosts of 
Apsarasas danced” (Apsaroganab), while the drums of the gods sounded 
and ViSvavasu and the (two pairs) Tumbaru-Naradau and Haha-Huhu (sic) 
sang praises (16). Such salutations greet Yayati, especially favored by 
ViSvaci (1, 75, 48 and 85, 9), when he returns to heaven under a shower 
of flowers, sung and bedanced by groups of Gandharvas and Apsarasas 
(upagito ’panytta^ ca Gandharvapsarasaip ganaib) and praised by 
gods and Caracas (5, 122, 2; 123, 4). At the birth of heroes, e. g. Dusyanta 
(S 1, 95 , n), the same drums and songs and dances appear. The flowers are 
dropped by the Apsarasas, as at Bhisma’s vow of celibacy, a curious time 
for them to show joy (1, 100, 98). A woman "like an Apsaras” is of 
Course like in beauty, sometimes added (i, 102, 3; 106, 24; 3, 96, 29, 
ruperva ’psaraso ’py ati). The Apsarasas do not wait to be sent on 
seductive errands. Five of them (Varga, Saurabheyi, SamicI, Budbuda, 
Lata) try to seduce a saint of their own accord and are cursed to 
become crocodiles for a hundred years (1, 216, i6f.; 217, 8), that is for an 
indefinitely long period, until they are redeemed by Arjuna. A similar 
story (or the same) is told of the "tank of the five Apsarasas” (R 3, ir, 
12 f.), who were ordered to seduce the aged Mandakarni, and succeeded 
so well that he built a house and kept them all. They rejuvenated him, 
and the sound one hears of running water there is the music of their 
instruments (ib. 20), one of the rare instances where the Apsarasas’ music 
is explained physically. A late passage describes the Apsarasas swarming 
by thousands around a divine car (R 7, 77, 13): "Some sing heavenly songs, 
others play on instruments, vadayanti, others hum, k?vedayanti, others 
dance, and others fan the face of the god”. They shout sadhu (bravo) 
to heroes in battle or when a hero dies, and they place dead heroes on 
divine cars with loud sounds of song and instruments, played in the sky 
"but heard on earth”, thus encouraging others (8, 49, 76 f.; 57, 13 f.; 9, 
5 , 35 f-)- They are thus peculiarly "Indra’s girls”, Indrakanyas (13, 107, 21), 
though they are found at home, with all the fighting gods, Kubera (passim), 
Varuna (2, 9, 26; 13, 155, 15), and Yama (2, 8, 38); as they also adorn 
the courts of the highest (see under Brahman, etc.). The later priestly 
epic sees in their beauty, as in that of their brother Gandharvas, the 
reward for former merit (asceticism, etc.) and promises the possession of 
them, with all their sensual joys, as the reward of asceticism to-day (5, 
44, 21; 13, 107, 18, etc.). It also regards them (not women in general) as 
inheritors of Indra’s sin (12, 283, 43; cf. above, p. 131). 


11 * 



164 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

§ 104. Other Apsarasas than those mentioned have little activity. 
Some accounts confuse the same story. ViSvamitra is seduced by Menaka 
(1, 71, 22; R 1, 63, 5) or by Ghrtaci (R 4, 35, 7). He also curses Rambha, 
to become a stone, for attempting to seduce him (R 1, 64, 12; 13, 3, 11). 
Ghrtaci is the mother of RaudraSva’s ten sons, descendants of Puru, in 
H 1658; but their mother^ is Mi§rake£i in 1, 94, 8. Ghrtaci is also the 
mother of Ku^anabha’s daughters (R 1, 32, 10). Of Hema is related that 
she got a magic cave guarded by her friend Svayaipprabha, who was the 
daughter of Merusavarni. Maya, Hema’s lover, was slain by Indra, and 
she meets Ravana after being thus “abandoned by Maya" (R 4, 50, 39; 
ib. 51, iof.; ib. 16; ib. 7, I2 v 6f.). Svayaipprabha is called dharmacarini, 
and only the fact that she was the “dear friend” of Hema indicates here 
that she is an Apsaras. Yet her name appears as that of an Apsaras in 
3. 43< 29, and the later epic, as indicated even by some of the names 
above (Anucana is “learned”;' Suvrtta is “well-behaved”) regards the Ap¬ 
sarasas as not altogether siilful, though it is apt to stigmatise them col¬ 
lectively and individually as wantons. Another Apsaras, who plays a part 
in Ram., is Punjikasthala, cursed to be born on earth as Anjana, daughter 
of Kunjara and wife of Kesarin, monkey-chieftains, and mother, by Maruta, 
of Hanumat (R 4, 66, 8f.). She is a Varunakanyaka and curses Ravapa 
(R 6, 13, 11; ib. 60, 11), apparently at first an Apsaras (not daughter) in 
Varuna’s realm. The ancient idea that an Apsaras was a harmful creature, 
injuring man otherwise than by shattering his "mind by 15 ve, is retained 
In the tradition that the (unnamed) "mother of Apsarasas” is an infant- 
stealing fiend (3, 230, 39). The Hariv. has a few late touches: Apsarasas 
liere are born from Brahman’s eyes (H 11787). UrvaSi "rends the thigh" 
of (is born direct from) Narayana (Vispu, H 4601). The old story of 
Pururavas and UrvaSI is found in H 1363 f. Menaka here becomes mother 
of Divodasa and of Ahalya; and Gopali, mother of Kalayavana (H 1783 
and i960). Citralekha, the “painter”, who is described as kamarupinl, 
“assuming any form at will”, is represented as painting the portraits of 
all the celestials for Usa, till Usa recognises her beloved among them 
(Aniruddha as lover of Usa, H 9994). Indra as lover of Rambha appears 
in H 11 250 f. 

§ 105. Kama. — Kama, Love (desire), belongs properly with the ganas 
of Gandharvas and Apsarasas, of whom the Hariv. (270 and 12499) recognises 
him as the “lord” (Kamadeva as prabhufi). Kama is the word by which 
philosophers designate Kandarpa, who is also called Ananga because fsiva 
consumed him, when Kama dared to attack him (R 1, 23, 10 f.). Yet also 
as Kandarpa he appears as cause of creation (6, 34, 28 and 31, 11). Kama 
Ts" general “desire”, and as such,'apart from mythology, appears in the 
triad, kama, artha, dharma, though better than the other two elements 
(virtue and gain), because it is the sustaining power (12, 167, 33 f.); unless 
indeed another view prevails, to the effect that all desire is evil (kamab 
sarpsarahetuh, 3, 313, 98). Philosophy and mythology mingle in the 
identification of Pradyumna with Kama (1, 67, 152, Sanatkumara), and in 
making Aniruddha, son of Pradyumna, “son of Rati” (H 10064). With 
Krodha, Wrath, Kama enters into the composition of ASvatthaman (1, 67, 
72), but is not otherwise incarnate. The son of Kr§na and RukminT “exists 
in the nature of all* and enters both demons and gods” (13, 148, 20). He 
himself says in his Kamagita Gathas (14, 13, 12 f.): “None can destroy 
me . . I am the one immortal and indestructible”; though Yoga power 



VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


165 


may overcome this pervasive power. It is this philosophically conceived 
Kama Jagatpati that is "older than Rudra” and is regarded (cf. AV. 3, 21, 
41 TS. 2, 2, 3, i, etc.) as a fire, lord of the world, the eternal energising 
power, interpreted mythologically as a fire-form of Rudra (saipkalpabhi- 
rucib Kamab sanatanatamab . • sanatano hi saqakalpak Kama 
ity abhidhiyate . . sarvabhavanab hrcchayab, 13, 85, II, 16 and 
17). With this tenuous mythological character the usual Love-god has 
little,to do; only it is important to know that he is thus philosophically 
identified with the hrcchaya "heart-love”. 

§ 106. Kama has many names as Love-god, but they do not indicate 
separate personalities, only different ways of regarding the same being, 
as "longing", Smara, as “mind-disturber”, LJanmatha, as “intoxicator”, 
Madana, as “insolent” (?Kandarpa), as "limbless”^ Ananga. Darpa, Insolence, 
is himself personified as son of Sin and Bliss, “through whom many gods 
and Asuras have been led to destruction” (i«, 90, 26); Ravana i$ called 
Devadanavadarpahan (RG 6, 79, 2), with the personification in abeyance. 
In VP. 1, 7, 25, however, Darpa is son of Dharma, not of Adharma, as 
Kama is son of Dharma and Faith (1, 66, 33). Kama’s wife is Rati (ib.), 
probably the Apsaras of that name (13, 19, 45). His two sons are Har§a 
and YaSas, Joy and Grace (H 12482), by Rati; and Kama himself in this 
passage is son of Dharma and ( 3 ri) Lak§mi (in VP. 1, 7, 29, Rati as Nandi 
bears to Kama only one son,°Har§a). The identity of the different forms 
(names) of Kama is made clear by the fact that Rati is wife of Manmatha 
(3, 68, 12 = RG 3, 4, 9), and of Madana (S I, 203, 34, " 3 acl chose for 
her lover Indra, Svaha chose Agnideva, Laksmi chose Mukunda, U§a chose 
1 Surya, Rati (sic) chose Madana, and Parvatarajaputri chose MaheSvara”). Rati 
appears as an abstract deity without reference to Kama in 2, 11,43, and 
as a common noun in kamarati, a man stultified by desire (R 4, 33, 54f.). 
It is recognised that KamaJstultifies as well as burns, but it is not always 
certain whether personification is intended (kamamohita, I, 172, 1; ka- 
mena ’locjyate manafi, 1, 219, 16). Ratigupa is son of Pradha (1, 65,47), 
a Gandharva, otherwise Ratiguna (Rata is mother of one of the Vasus, 
who include Agni). In 4, 14, 24, the peculiar word Agnimadana, “fire- 
madness” (of love), is identical with Madanagni in R 6, 5, 8 (perhaps per¬ 
sonified here). 

§ 107. Love is armed with arrows, Kamabana (1, 171, 34; 3 > 4 ®» 49 ; 
R 3 , 55, 2); ManmathaSara (R 2, II, 1); Kandarpabana (1, 187, 5 and 
12); so Pu§paketuSarahata; Kamabanarta almost passim, but Sma- 
raSarasanapurnasamaprabhab ( 7 , 184, 48) is unique. Love’s sign is 
a flower; so his arrow. The effect of the shot stupifies, Kandarpenabhi- 
murcchita, Anangaglapita (of UrvaSI, 1,214, ig f.); or maddens, Ap- 
sarasab K&ndarpepa darpitab (ib. 217, 2); Kamabhihatacetas, 
Kamopahatacetana (1, 172, 3; R 3, 62, 1). The effect on the man is 
like that on a woman when "penetrated by Love” (or Love’s dart, Man- 
mathavi§ta, 1, 173, 28; R 4, 66, 15; ManmathaSaravi§ta, R 3, 46, 13 
and ib. 48, 17); cf. Rama as KamavaSaipgata, nityaip dhyanaparo 
Ramo nityaqi Sokaparaya^ab, etc., R 5, 36, 41 f., just like DamayantI 
in this sentimental epic (vaSa is will and power, cf. kamavaSya, ka- 
mabapavaSaipgata = Kamasya vaSam lyivan, 3, 46,49). Only once 
(in S) is the hook used for the arrow; this is the hook employed to 
direct the elephant, S i, 241, 19, KamankuSanivaritab- As arrows 
are poetically serpents, the victim of Kama complains that he has been 



166 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

"bitten by the great serpent of Kama” in I, 172, 9 (Kamamahahi; he 
is also “burned with Love’s fire”). In 13, 107, 26, the "arrows of Kama 
are first reckoned as five in' number (Saragni = paiicatriipgat). In 
H 4607 (cf. v. 1 . xo882) the arrows are also five. 

§ 108. Kama is a form of fire, whence Kamabanaprapicjita, 4, 14, 
5, is followod by Kamagpi and in vs. 25 by Manmathanala. Here too 
the disease induced by Lovd, Kamavyadhi, is spoken of (vs. 23), which 
suggests the fate of the lustful “son of Death” (Mrtyu), called Vena 
(connected with Venus?), a king who destroyed himself by passion and 
hate (ragadvesavaSaipgata), son of the “sensual” Atibala, the son of 
Anariga, though Ananga is here son of the Prajapati Kardama (son of 
Klrtimat, son of Virajas, son of Vi§pu). From Vena’s thigh came all the 
Nisadas and Mlecchas, but from his arm the virtuous Prthu, a form of 
Visnu (whence kings are a form of Vi§nu), whose chaplain was £ukra 
and councillors theValakhilyas and the "Sarasvatyo ganab” (12, 59,91 f.). 
According to 1, 75, 15, Vena was son of Manu. Hariv. makes his father 
Anga and says that Vena deified himself (294 f.), his pride and not his 
lust causing his fall. Manu, g, 66, ascribes to him the origin of Niyoga 
(levirate marriage), but (ib. 7, 41) ascribes his fall to pride (the seers cut 
him up with ku£a-grass). Love as Death,jnara, is a late identification 
(Buddhistic) of Hariv. 14912T (mara = smara = Pradyumna). As words 
meaning Love are constantly used for love, desire (jatamanmathab, 
3, 45, 16; Arjunasya kandarpab, I, 219, 15, etc.), it is possible that 
another word, manobhava, may be a name of Love, as in 1, 191, 13, 
saqjpramathye ’ndriyagramarp pradur asln manobhavab (cf. S. I, 
241, 15, idem). The destruction of the members of Love by £iva (R 1, 
23, 12 f.; R 3, 56, 10 in Bomb, yatha Rudrena is not in S or G) does 
not prevent the "limbless god” from possessing limbs, perhaps only as a 
poetical phrase, AnangangaviharinI (4, 14, 17), and Ananga has power 
and arrows (AnangavaSam agata, 3, 46, 35; AnaugaSarapldita, 
5, 175, 10; R 7, 80, 5, of Danda). Kama is located with Uma and £>aila 
(Himavat) in the North, but this is in conjunction with Rosa (Wrath) at 
the birth of Skanda (5, III, 10). Love as Manmatha (1, 71, 41) or Kan- 
darpa (R 1, 64, 6 and 16) helps Menaka (Rambha) seduce ViSvamitra. His 
name (maip mathnatl ’va Manmathab, 1, 171, 35 and 40) is explained 
as disturbing by burning "with sharp fire” (ib. 172, 7f. and 16, “wounds 
me with sharp arrows”, cf. R 3, 34, 21); cf. the metaphor, 1, 172, 17, 
“extinguish with the water of thy affection, prlti, the conflagration pro¬ 
duced by the fire of Manmatha, whose weapon is of flowers, whose arrows 
are terrible” (puspayudha, pracandaSarakarmuka). So in 4, 14, 25 f., 
the lover begs his mistress to "extinguish ,the fire of his Tove with the 
rain of self-surrender” (her breasts are Kamapratodau, “two goads of 
Love”). The state of UrvaSI is thus described as "inflamed by Manmatha”, 
her mind being “wounded by his arrows” (3, 46, 2 f.). Manmathavat is a 
lover (R 4, 28, 13, manmathavataip hitab • • diSab; cf. kamavat, 
ib. G 29, 2). Rati as wife of Manmatha (R 5, 15, 29) is the expression of 
physical desire (cf. R 7, 23, pra. 5, 18, manmathab SiSnam asthitab)- 
Both as Kandarpa and Manmatha, Love is beautiful (3, 54 > 28; ib. 53, 15 
and 28). Rama, like Nala, is Kandarpa iva murtiman (R 3, 17,9; ib. 
34, 5, -sadrSaprabha, -samarupa); cf. R 5, 18, 23, samak$am iva 
Kandarpam apaviddhaSarasanam; ib. 5, 34, 29. 




VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


167 


§109. The'ensign of Love is the makara (3,281,27); as an auspicious 
sign it appears on the hand of lerl, mata makaradhvajasya (13, 11, 3). 
It is also the ensign of Pradyumna as Kama (3, 17, 2 and 7, hi, 25, Kar§ni). 
Between love and fish there is perhaps tin aphrodisiacal connection (cf. 
Adrika the Apsaras as fish), but Minak$i is not recognised in the epic 
(she is afterwards daughter of Kubera and to-day she is “wife” of £iva), 
and Minak$a is only a Daitya (H 12933, v. d. = 3, 49, 4, vyaghrak§a). 
Possibly it is the disturbing element in the makara, a huge beast (3, 270, 
19) frightening other fishes (3, 17, 7) and always leaping into or splashing 
jn the sea. No early passage recognises the makara as sign of Kama 
(makaraketu H 10882 and -ketumat ib. 10639 and 3, 18, 11 refer to 
Pradyumna). Another emblem of love is the peacock, but it is found as 
such only in an allusion in the later Ram. 4, I, 37, where Rama says that 
the dancing peacocks rouse in him the thought of love, mama man- 
mathavardhanalj. In Mbh. even this allusion is absent. In 3, 158, 65, 
plants, sindhuvara and kurubaka, are (described as) like the darts, 
tomara, of Manmatha, and arrows of Kama which “cause desire in those 
ovetcome by love” (ib. 67, kamavaSyautsukyakaran kamasye 'va 5 a- 
rotkaran), arid buds of mangoes with bees are like Anariga’s arrows 
(ib. 68); but the peacocks dancing appear only as a beauty of the land¬ 
scape (ib. 62), though the amorous nature of the dance is clearly depicted. 
Among the mass of Kama’s later names (unknown in the epics), Dlpaka 
in the epic is son of Garuda (5, 101,11). Offerings to Kama (as in Apast. 
DhS. 2, 2, 4, 1) are not mentioned, nor is his armor; but this is put on 
by the cosifiic power of AV. 9, 2, 16 and appears to be only a spell. The 
KamaSastram• of 1, 2, 383 is merely part of the triad, artha-, dharma-, 
and kamaSa'stram, which Vyasa declared as the great epic. Only Kama 
and Smara seem to be pre-epical names for Love; who in AV. 6, 130 
is associated with the Apsarasas; as Kama himself, “sweet yearning love”, 
is a Gandharva as early as TS. 3, 4, 7, 3. 1 ) 

§ no. The Asvins. — Logically this pair of gods belongs to the 
Ganas because, though there are but two of them, they have the Gana 
characteristic of being tteated as one, till in. H 13 591 one alone, ekas 
tu.'.-a£vi, attacks Vrtra. They are a Vedic survival. Almost nothing 
is said of them which has not already been said in the sacred tradition, 
their names, office, restoration of youth, and unity of existence are Vedic- 
epic traits, Simply handed down without important alteration. In both epics 
they are incorporated in part as sons of heroes, and as such they are 
•severed from their Vedic unity. But even then they are presented in such 
a Way that they form a sort of unit over against other heroes. They lack 
the individuality Of other humanised gods in these hero-forms. At most 
the difference between SahadeVa and Nakula, the incarnations of the Mbh. 
as “sons of the A 5 vins v , is, like that popularly established between Seraphim 
and Cherubim'(“one love mbre and one know more”). Sahadeva is always 
good, and Nakula is always clever; but Nakula is never bad, and Saha¬ 
deva is never stupid. Yet one feels that “good” SahadeVa is the appropriate 
epithet, as it jis the one usually giyen to him, Only when fighting is done 
in different places are the two inseparables parted, to perform their allotted 
tasks and then coalesce again, as the blameless pair of heroes who reflect 
the blameless pair of gods. The, parents are not differentiated (1,124,16, 

i) On Kama see IS. 5, 225; 17, 290 ; Muir, OST..5, 402. Brunnhofer, Arische Urzeit, 
p. 183, regards kandarpa = gandharva. 



168 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


tav agamya sutau tasyaip janayamasatur yamau), but Nakula was 
older than Sahadeva (ib. 21), apparently by a year, for anusaipvatsaraip 
jatab (ib. 22) includes the twins. 1 ) 

In Ram., the Aivins are reborn as Mainda and Dvivida (conquered in 
Mbh. by Sahadeva!). They are “fair and tich” and are • grouped with 
Adityas, Vasus, and Rudras as sons of Aditi (R 1, 17, 13; ib. 3, 14, 
14; ib. 4, 39, 25); R 1/22, 7; ib. 48, 3; ib. 50, 18 refer to them as 
beautiful followers of Pitamaha; R 2, 58, 10, as coming to Indra’s home 
in Mandara; and R 4, 12, 19 speaks of them as resembling each other 
and as hero gods, virau devau. As already shown (§ 40), they are the 
"fair pair, strong and beautiful”, sons of Sarasvati and of the Sun (H 11 550), 
or Marutvatl and Dharma (v. 1 .). Mbh. has more to say about their names 
and history and cultj points completely ignored in the Ram. Individually 
the Alvins are called Nasatya and Dasra. They are fathers of (reborn as) 
the twins Nakula and Sahadeva (i, 3, 58, Nasatya-Dasrau sunasau; 12, 
208, 17, "Nasatya and Dasra are called the two ASvins, sons ofMartantja, 
the eighth Aditya”; H 602, idem but “eighth Prajapati”). Allusions to their 
beauty are found constantly (e. g. 1, 102, 69; 3, 53, 27). They are born 
on earth as sons of the (western) Madri, "unequalled in beauty”, that is 
the earthly heroes are parts of the gods, who were in one account born 
with the Adityas of the mundane egg, but according to the usual tradition 
were “Guhyakas” born in mid-air of Savitr and the mare-form of Tva§tr’s 
daughter (1, 1, 34; 32, 17; 66, 35 and 40; 67, in; 124, 16; cf. 1, 1, 114). 
They live in bliss and glory in the sky (nakaprsthe, 1, 222, 30) and are 
generally called devau, though as Rudras, physician? of the gods, deva- 
bhi?ajau, they had (at first) no social rank. Their right to drink Soma 
was contested by Indra, till Cyavana secured it for them by throwing 
water on Indra and frightening him with Mada, the demon of intoxication, 
who had a thousand teeth. Indra says devair na saipniitav etau, "they 
are not the equals of gods”; to which Cyavana replies that they are gods 
qui Suryaputrau, as sons of the Sun (13, 157, I7f.). The status of 
gods is usually accorded without question; “like the two gods, the ASvins” 
appear Arjuna and Kr?na, and more, “like these two gods receiving 
offerings at a sacrifice” (8, 56, 94). As physicians (and dentists) they receive 
the laudation of the blind Upamanyu, who in imitative verses calls them 
"primeval gods, eternal, two fair-nosed beings, birds divine, weavers of 
light, creating the wheel of time (which has seven hundred and twenty 
spokes; or nave of six seasons with twelve spokes; also the year as calf 
of three hundred and sixty cows), supreme Brahman, powers creating 
space (the ten directions) and sky, who set sun and moon in the sky; 
makers of three-colored light, parents of all, and child of each”. On 
hearing this ridiculous laudation “in Vedic' verses”, vagbhir rgbhib, 
the divine physicians cured him with a cake, a pup a, and gave him 
gold teeth (1, 3, 56; abridged translation). This hymn is not only a poor 

*) The text gives the time of birth only in the case of Yudhisfhira, son of Dharma 
by yogamurti, who was bom at the eighth muhurta (Abhijit), when the star of Indra 
(Aindra = Jye$;ha) was ascendant, on the (fifth) day of the moon, at noon (diva 
madhyagate surye tithau pur$e ’tipujite; N. ayaip yogalj prayena ’Svina- 
Suklapaficamyarji bhavati (1, 123, 6). In 2, 31, io, Alvineya is Sahadeva (conquers 
Orissa, Mainda, Dvivida, and the South; Nakula, the West, ib. 32). In 2, 65, 12f. Nakula 
is staked before Sahadevfi, as if the younger (so Arjuna before Bhlma), but probably in the 
order of merit, as Nakula is physically mighty but Sahadeva is a teacher and wise, Yu- 
dhi?thira prefers BhTma to Arjuna, and so reserves the former to be the last. 



VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


169 


1 1 

imitation of Vedic verse but it answers to no epic conception of the 
ASvips, who are not so great as here depicted in the late Book of Begin¬ 
nings, though the text shows well how little weight can be laid on any 
fulsome hymn as index of a divinity’s real worth. A late pseudo-epic 
passage explains the meaning of the name NSsatya (connected with “nose”). 
One frees oneself from fever, roga, by praising the ASvins, sons of 
Martancja, born’by exodus through the nostrils of his spouse Saipjna and 
hence called Nasatya and Oasra (13, 150, 17; H 601). The sunasau above 
(“with good noses”) states also their claim to belong to a good caste, as 
a good nose indicates good family. In 13, 85, 109, they are born of tears 
of Agni (late fancy; cf. also § 145). They are associated with Bhrgu, 
Vasi§tha, and Raghu as helpers and curers of praisers according to the 
"epic Savitri” (above, 13, 150, 81, syad ASvinau ca parikirtayato na 
rogab). One ASvin is mentioned in a simile: “he was lofty as Yayati, lovely 
to see as Soma, in beauty (as) one of the ASvins” (rupena ’nyatamo 
’Svibhyam, 3, 294, 18). The two “best physicians, who have all desirable 
attributes” send a khecara, aerial messenger,.to Indra to ask about the 
theory of the faraddha (above, p. 32) in 13, 125, i8f. They "drew out of his 
father’s womb” the embryo Maqidhatf, conceived through the drinking of 
some (magical) sacrificial butter (here devau, ASvinau, 7, 62, 2f.). Indra 
above is represented as no friend of the ASvins, but in 7, 84, 18 two 
heroes are “like the two ASvins mounting the car after Indra, as he goes 
to laaryati’s sacrifice", and this accords with the traditional friendship of 
Indra for the twin gods. In 4, 56, 3, Indra mounts to SudarSana with the 
All-gods, ASvins, and Maruts, to see a battle (SudarSana is here the palace, 
S 4, S3, 1, not “the car of Indra” nor the Dvipa). In 8, 65, 18f., the 
ASvins are delighted at the sight of Vasava (Indra), and the king felici¬ 
tates Arjuna and Kf§na, “as Vivasvat felicitated the ASvins and the Guru 
(Brhaspati) felicitated Indra and Vi§nu on the death of the great Asura 
Jambha”. The last clause is not explained; it probably refers to the father’s 
joy in the heroic ability of his sons. As for the trip to fsaryati’s sacrifice, 
Agni elsewhere reproaches Indra (14, 9, 31) for interfering “when Cyavana 
took the Soma alone as he was going to sacrifice for fsaryati along with 
the ASvins”. The full account of the event is given in 3, 122, 24 f., where 
Nasatyau is applied to both ASvins, who restored Cyavana’s youth after 
they had tried to seduce his young wife Sukanya. As a reward they were 
made sharers in the benefits of Soma-drinking. Indra, objecting, calls 
them “menial physicians” and “earth-wanderers” (3, 124, 12). In memory 
of this event the ASvins have a sacred watering-place (near Kuruk§etra), 
where “one becomes beautiful” by bathing in the pool, as did Cyavana 
( 3 , 83, 17). The name Nasatyau (dual) is their earliest common designation, 
probably meaning “healers” (Dasra is "wonder-maker”). On the “nasatya 
birth” (12, 348, 42), see Brahman (§ 137). See also § 68 (Indra and Alvins). 
For the Asvins' birth from Vi§nu’s ears, see § 145. 

§ hi. The Maruts. — The Gana-gods really begin with the Maruts, 
though the Alvins are sometimes grouped with other Ganas. But one can 
scarcely call a pair a group and it is admitted that “the Maruts are kings 
of the Ganas” (14,43,6), though they usually stand (3, 62, 24; R 5, 13, 56) 
in close conjunction with the Asvins at the end of the list (“Adityas, Vasus, 
Rudras and Asvins with Marut-host”, in ma-ngalas), or are even omitted 
altogether as bding adjuncts of Indra. All the Ganas or groups of gods 
of this class are individually developed later. This can be seen even in 



170 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


the case of those groups which properly speaking are not Ganas. Thus 
the Adityas, though composed of clearly defined individuals, are not always 
made up of the same individuals (§ 37), and it has just been shown that 
the Lokapalas (§ 91) are also somewhat ill-defined. These are the only 
groups of which the constituents were recognised as individuals, till a 
later age (post-epic) evolved individuality for the different members, since 
the Trimurti can scarcely l be called an epic group at all. The Maruts as 
a Gana are known from, remotest antiquity (RV. 10, 137, 5, etc.). They 
make a group of seven (13, 107, in). In 6, 34, 21, Marici is named as 
best of Maruts, clearly because of the radical similarity of names and the 
inclusion of Maruts as Prajapatis. They are always attendants of Indra, 
as fighting youths or winds (see § 66, § 8of.). As seven Ganas instead of 
seven individuals, they should number forty-nine (as perhaps 9, 38, 37), but 
even Hariv. knows by name only twenty-three or-four: Agni, Caksus, Havis, 
Jyotis, Savitra, Mitra, Amara.fsaravrsti (or -drsti), Saipk§aya,Viraja, Sukra, Vi£- 
vavasu, Vibhavasu, A^manta, CitraraSmi, (nfpa) Niskusita (or -karsin), Na- 
husa, Ahuti, Caritra, Brahma- (or Bahu-)pannaga, Brhat, Brhadrupa, Para- 
tapana, and Mahabahu (f H 115446). The mother of this late Marutaip 
ganab is Marutvati (Marutvanto devan [Marutaip ganaipj ajanayat); 
the father is apparently Dharma. Savitra is known as a Marut fighter (ib. 
13174) and as a Vasu (below, §112); Caritra and the rest are new inven¬ 
tions or old characters in a new role. For the birth of the “sons of Diti” 
(5, no, 8) and. etymology (ma rudas), and for their number, see under 
Vayu (§ 48). The real epic knows no individual Marut. 

§ 112. The Vasus. — The Vasus, Rudras, and ASvins, as constituent 
parts of the Thirty-three gods, never vary in number. There are eight 
Vasus, though also many other beings, such as earthly kings, are so named, 
and the masculine and feminine forms designate Visnu and the Ganges, 
respectively (13, 149, 87; 13, 80, 5; Vi§nu, as Rama, as Prajapati of Vasus, 
R 6, 120, 8). Their father is Dharma (12, 207, 23), as he is father here 
of Rudras, Maruts, ViSve Devas, and Sadhyas; but another account makes 
their father a Prajapati son of Manu or of Muni (1, 66, 18 f.), or Manu 
Prajapati (12, 208, 21); another account derives them from the mundane 
egg (1, 1, 34). The passage in Adi gives the names of each Vasu and 
that of each mother (in H 145, 12449, 12479, the daughter of'Daksa and 
wife of Dharma or of Manu is mother of Vasus and is called Vasu: Vdsos 
tu Vasavab) as follows: Dhara and Dbruva, sons of Dhumra; Soma 
(Candramas) and Jjvasana (Anila), sons of ^vasa; Ahar, son of Rata; Anala 
(HutaSana), son of ^andili; Pratyu§a and Prabhasa, sons of Prabhata. 
H 11538 gives (with v. 1 .) the eight Vasus (sons of Sadhya and Dharma) 
as Dhara or Maru, Dhruva,-ViSvavasu or Vivasvat, Soma, Parvata, Yogen- 
dra, Vayu and Nikrti or Nirrti (it names here also as Sadhyas Cyavand, 
ISana, ViSvavasu, etc.). The descendants of the Vasus in the former list 
are also given. Sons of Dhara are Dravina and Hutahavyavaha; Kala is 
son of Dhruva; Varcas is son of Soma, and ^isira, Pratja, and Ramana 
are sons of this Varcas. Ahar’s sons are Jyotis, ^ama (though also son 
of Dharma), £anta, and Muni. Anala’s son is Kumara Kdrttikeya (§ 161). 
The wife of the Vasu Anila (son of IsVasa) is £mv§, who'bore him Mano- 
java and AvijnatagatP Pratyusa Was father of Devala, and Prabhasa was 
father of ViSvakarman by the sister of Brhaspati. In 13, 150, 16 f., the list 
of Vasus is: Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Savitra, Anila, Anala, Pratyfi$a, and 
Prabhasa. In H 152: Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Anila, Anala, Pratyusa, 


VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


171 


* 1 f 

Prabhasa. In the last passage the sons are given as above with minor 
differences (Apasya putro Vaitanqlyab loramalj ^anto Munis tatha), 
which reflect the Purapic genealogy (VP. i, 15, 112 has the same sons of 
Apa except Dhvani for Muni). R 3, 14, 14 makes Aditi mother of Vasus 
(as of all the Thirty-three gods). Both epics regard Indra as the lord of 
eight Vasus, though Agni is chief among them (6, 34, 23). Vasava as name 
of Indra implies that Indra was lord or first of Vasus, and the standing 
phrase (e. g. 5, 146, 12) "as Vasus revere Vasava”, retains the idea that 
Indra was their lord, though none of the texts has his name, which, con¬ 
sidering that Fire, Moon, and Wind are enrolled as Vasus, shows that 
Indra was already fixed in the Aditya group. The phrase above is common 
to both epics (R 4, 26, 35, "they consecrated him with water as the Vasus 
did Vasava of a thousand eyes”). Indra, however, sanctions the curse put 
upon them (below) and shows no especial intimacy with them, though 
they always follow him as “mighty” fighters (12, 284, 7). Like the Maruts 
and ViSve, they worship the sun at evening on Meru (R 4, 42, 39) as 
Divaukasas, “celestials”. They are invoked with Rudras, Adityas, ASvins, 
and Maruts (R 5, 13, 56). They are always the bright gods; whose cars 
are light, whose forms are "like gleaming fire”, jvalitagnikalpab, as 
they wait in air to convey the incorporate eighth Vasu (Bhlsma) to the 
worlds “whence the wise return not” (12, 51, I4f.). Their number (eight) 
never varies (1, 123, 70; 3, 134, 15, etc.). They were cursed by Vasistha 
to be born in human form. The Vasus, "Prthu and rest”, came to the 
seer’s hermitage and the wife of one of them, called Dyaus, desired 
Nandinl, the cow whose milk gives youth for ten, thousand years. So 
Dyaus, Prthu, and the other Vasus stole the cow. Vasistha cursed them 
all except Dyaus to be born on earth as men for only a year, but the 
guilty Dyaus had to remain longer in human form and childless. Ganges, 
also in human form, bore them to tsantanu, but drowned seven at birth, 
the eighth being preserved (Bhi§ma, Gangeya, Devavrata) to be the “eighth 
Vasu” (1, 99, I f.). Another story says that the Vasus flew above Vasistha 
as he was “seated at twilight” (in prayer), wherefore he cursed them, 
"for a little fault”, alpe ’paradhe, so that they lost their beauty and were 
born of Ganges, to whom each imparted one eighth of his power to be 
incarnate as Bhl§ma (1, 96, 2i). This is a different interpretation as well 
as a different legend. Not one Vasu but one eighth of each Vasu becomes 
Bhl§ma. It is this curse which Indra sanctions (1, 67, 74f.), niyogad 
Vasavasya. Of the names given above, besides those of gods of light 
(Moon and Fire and Wind) and the star Dhruva and abstractions or forms 
of fire, the name Savitra attracts attention as it is that of a Rudra (12, 
208, 20), though the vague text regards both classes here as Pitrs. In 
R 7, 27, 34, the eighth Vasu is Savitra and, distinguished from the others, 
fights as a hero with Sumalin. As a son of Nrga is a Vasu and also a 
son of KuSa (R I, 32, 7; R 7, 54 , 8), and the Mbh. recognises Uparicara 
as Vasu (1, 62, 2Qf., etc.), and sons of Manus (H 415 and 465) are Vasus 
(cf. I, 94, 18 and 2, 33, 35, Vasu as brother of Du?yanta and as father 
ofPaila), it is clear that the word stillretained its vague value of “good” 
without specific application to the celestials. The Vasus curse Arjuna, 
Indra’s son, for killing Bhi§ma, but mitigate the curse to his defeat at the 
hand's of his son (14, 81, 15 and 18). The death-scene of Bhl§ma records 
that he “enters his own body and gets to the Vasus, so that eight Vasus 
are visible” (18, 5, il), which shows that the “eighth Vasu” was imagined 



172 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

as one complete Vasu. In 13, 169, 31, Bhl§ma is thus recognised as one 
Vasu who has now gone to Jieaven. He, is called ‘‘one of the Vasus, a 
Vasu of great beauty” (5, 185, 18); though, according to 1, 96, 12, when 
cursed they were all na§tarupab, as when born again they were all 
‘‘like immortals (1, 98, 12). The Vasus anyway are typical of beauty (l, 
55, 15). Bhi§ma is even called the ninth Vasu, as one outside of the eight 
(12, 50, 26, Vasunaip Vasavopamab • • navamo ’navamo gunaib)- 
Vasuvega as epithet of isiva the scholiast interprets as if Vasu were Wind 
(13, 17,68 ; cf. C 205 £iva Vasurupa); but Vasuretas of Agni (etc.) shows 
that vasu often has the sense of bright = good = goods, i. e. wealth. 
Compare Vasumanas, who was vasupradal? and Vasubhyo vasumat- 
tarab, “wealth-giver” and "wealthier than the Vasus” (5, 116, 17). A 
review of the places cited above shows that till the time represented by 
Uttara and Adi and the pseudo-epic and Hariv., there are no individual 
Vasus, but that the number is unchangeable and that the Vasus retain 
their old association with Agni (Vasu) in the real epic, even while re¬ 
garded as followers of Vasava (Indra), who is treated as their chief. The 
“ten Vasus with Indra as the eleventh” (discussed IS. 5, 241) are of no 
more significance than are the ten Rudras and ten Adityas, each with 
Indra as eleventh, in the same Vedic passage (Kath. 28, 3); nor do the 
three hundred and thirty-three Vasus (TS. 5, 5, 2, 5) appear to have epic 
imitation. On the other hand, the definition of Vasus in £b. ii, 6, 3, 6, 
as the eight gods causing the world to abide (vas), however foolish the 
etymology, is retained, at least in part; for the Vedic eight are Fire, 
Earth, Wind, Air, Sun, Sky, Moon, and Stars, and the pseudo-epical (and 
Purapic) list is Fire, Earth, Wind, Day or Water or Savitra (see above), 
Dawn-light, Glory (brightness), Moon, and Pole-star, a list which shows 
that in a vague way the Vasus were thought of as the bright gods, even 
cutting across the Aditya-list with which it had to combine in making the 
Thirty-three. But the Vasus belong more to earth, the Adityas more to 
heaven, and Dyaus is not in the regular lists of Vasus, though he appears 
with Prthu (above), as if he were a recognised leader of the group. The 
VP. also (1, 15, no) calls them Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Anila, Anala, 
Pratyu§a, and Prabhasa, and says that they are jyotibpurogamab, “light- 
led” as well as “powerful gods”. No doubt the priests who composed 
Adi and AnuSasana simply copied roughly what they had got from SB., 
for this Brahmapa is the Brahmana to the epic priests (who seem to be 
Yajurvedins). This would explain why such a list comes up again in the 
later epic, Hariv., etc., while unknown in the real epic. In R 6, 120, 8, 
Rtadhaman may be a Vasu-name (or epithet of Prajapatif late passage). 

§ 113. The Rudras. — A characteristic Gana is that 6f the Rudras, 
originally forms of Rudra, who in the Rg-Veda is father of the Maruts. 
They are closely associated both early and late with Vasus, ViSve, and 
Adityas, and, as already said, make eleven of the Thirty-three gods. The 
epic makes them subject to Sthanu, who in 1, 211, 24k, is isiva (the passage 
explains how four-faced Sthanu Mahadeva and thousand-eyed Indra re¬ 
ceived these characteristics). Sthapu is son of Brahman in 1, 66, 1, which 
mentions the “eleven sons of Sthanu” and gives their names. Sthanu is 
son of Brahman here only by inference, but this is correct (N. “seventh 
son of Brahman”),'as it is confirmed by 12, 166, 16. Though Sthanu as 
&iva appears not infrequently (3, 38, 3 ; 125, 14, Sthanor mantrani, etc.), 
it is not to be assumed that Sthanu (the immovable post, sthanubhuta, 




VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


173 


ascetic) always means fsiva (S has more passages, e. g. 7, 9, 41, where 
such is the meaning). Sthanu and Marici are ordinary Prajapatis (R 3 » 
14, 8) and Sthanu is a Rudra, as the list of the eleven is given in 1, 66, 
if. and 1, 123, 68f.: Mrgavyadha, Sarpa, Nirrti, Ajaikapad, Ahi Budhnya, 
Pinakin, Dahana, ISvara, Kapalin, Sthanu, and Bhaga. In philosophy, Ru¬ 
dra makes "ten others”, as vikaras of himself: Rudro ro§atmako jato 
da£a ’nyan so ’srjat svayam, ekadaSai ’te Rudras tu vikarapu- 
ru^alj smrtah (12, 341, 37). The native explanation of the word (H 11530; 
cf.’ rudrapradhanan aparan viddhi yogan, 12, 317, 5) has.a respect¬ 
able antiquity (Chand. Up. 3, 16, 3); it makes the Rudras howlers (and 
runners) rather than ruddy gods (rudra is used for “breath”), but the 
application is perhaps not so much to the howling of wind-gods as to 
the shrieking of the bolt (hradini, lightning, is the “shrieker", 9, n, 25). 
Kapalin (sic) is of .the Rudras the foremost (S 4, 3, 27), which is perhaps 
equivalent to the expression (6, 34, 23) of Kr§na, "Of Rudras I am San¬ 
kara; of Vasus, Pavaka”, as both Kapalin and Sankara mean £iva. In 
12, 208, 21 f., the Rudras are eleven sons of Tva§tf (so S) and are called: 
ViSvarupa, Ajaikapad, Ahi Budhnya, Virupak§a, Raivata, Hara, Bahurupa, 
Tryambaka (lord of gods), Savitra, Jayanta, and Pinakin (the “invincible”). 
In 13, 150, 12 f., there are other names, eleven, but known as a hundred, 
thus: Ajaikapad, Ahi Budhnya, Pinakin, Rta, Pitrrupa, Tryambaka, MaheS- 
vara, Vr§akapi, 3 ambhu, Havana, and ISvara, (ekadaSai ’te prathita 
Rudras tribhuvaneSvaralj, Satam etat samamnataip fsatarudre 
mahatmanam). In 13, 14, 390, the eleven are “eleven hundred Rudras”, 
surrounding f-iiva. In 4, 2, 21, Arjuna as the twelfth Rudra, thirteenth Adi- 
tya, and ninth Vasu shows that the number is fixed. The Ramayana 
makes Aditi the mother of Rudras (R 3, 14, I4)>while H 11530 and 12477 
makes their mother Surabhi, “mother of ambrosia, Brahmaijas, cows, and 
Rudras”; the father, Brahman or KaSyapa; while 12,207,23 makes Dharma 
(as Yama? see below) father of Vasus, Rudras (mighty), ViSve Devas, 
Sadhyas, and Maruts (Marutvantab). Hariv. 165 and 11531 makes a 
list of eleven, mainly by combining those given above from the Adi and 
Anu^asana (Senanf is new). For still later Purajjic lists, see Wilson’s 
note to VP. p. 121. The epic knows the Rudras as companions of Indra, 
servants of Siva and of his son, and also as the escort of Yama who ap¬ 
pears surrounded by them (3, 237, 11). They are described as of im¬ 
measurable strength and fiery (H 16273), with golden necklaces and “like 
lightning-illumined clouds”. On the Joatarudriya, see my Great Epic of 
India, p. 368. On the “eighth Rudra” (implying seven?) see § 115. 

§ 114. The Vifive Devas. — In 4, 58, 7if., Indra comes to see a 
battle; the gods come with him, arranged in groups, nikayas; his 
personal attendants are especially the All-gods, Asvins, and Maruts, all 
in one Gana (ViSvaSvimarutaip ga$ab). The words have united (Vi£- 
vedevan, Vilvedevailj, 9,45,6, differentiated from Pitrs) into one title 
of gods who accompany Indra and with the other groups especially ac¬ 
company the Pitrs (earlier, e. g. AB. 3, 31, they include the Pitrs). They 
belong (it is said) geographically to the South with the Pitrs, and “there 
they rest revered and sharing the fortunes (oblations) of the Fathers” (5, 
109, 3, atra ViSve sada devafc Pitfbhifi sardham asate, etc.). In 3, 
43 , l ii Arjuna on his way to heaven meets Sadhyas, Viive, Maruts, A£- 
vins, Adityas, Rudras, and Vasus (similar grouping, 1, 123, 70). With Sa¬ 
dhyas and Valakhilyas they fear ViSvamitra (1, 71, 39)> but they are here 





174 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. v. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


associates also of Soma and Yama, greater gods. Their origin from the 
mundane egg is especially mentioned (i, I, 34). The five sons of Drau- 
padf are their incarnations (1, 67, 127): ViSvan devagapan viddhi 
saipjatan, as if that number represented them. Along with the hosts of 
Fathers, Saints, Death, and Time, they see and bear witness to the acts 
of men and give regards accordingly; also as "lords of hosts”, Gaije- 
£varas, they are associated with Saumyas, Raudras, Yogabhutaganas, and 
other followers of &va NandT^vara (13, 150, 18 f. and 24 f.). Yet this spe¬ 
cific occupation of the pseudo-epic does not interfere with the purely 
epic character of the ViSve as “gocaras or constant associates with the 
Pitrs” (13,91,24); but this post-epical passage elaborates them into a 
list apparently of sixty-four who receive Joraddha offerings, though the 
texts vary in regard to some of the names, and it js possible that after 
the name Varin in this list the original ViSve-group ended, for the verse 
ends “the eternal ViSve Devas are these” (whose mouth is Agni). In that 
case there would be twenty-nine Vi^ve-names; but this would leave, an 
unexplained supplementary group, called, as receivers of fsraddha-offerings, 
the "gatigocaras of Kala”. In either case, two Somavarcas appear 
in both texts, and two Krtis in the Southern text. Paramakrodhin is 
probably one name, though the natural number of sixty-four would then 
become one less, an unusual number for any group. Finally it may be 
said that it is of little importance whether one list or the other is right, 
as the name? are mere epithets, some of them the epithets of the great 
gods, Indra, All-maker, etc. The S text (13, 138, 39f.) substitutes Saha, 
Krti, Gramya, and hrimat for the Northern names Bala (balaml), Dhjrti, 
Par§iji, and Hrimat. The names follow: Bala or Saha, Krti or Dhrti, Vi- 
papman, Pujjyakrt, Pavana, Parsni or Gramya, Ksema (K?emya), Samuha, 
Divyasanu, Vivasvat, VIryavat, Hrimat or hrimat, KIrtimat, Krta, Jitatman, 
Munivlrya, Dxptaroman, Bhayaipkara, Anukarman, Pratlta, Pradatr, Aqriu- 
mat, fsailabha, Paramakrodhin, Dhiro?nin, Bhupati, Sraja, Vajrin, and Varin; 
and also (ViSve or heavenly beings like them): Vidyudvarcas, Somavarcas, 
SuryaSri, Somapa, Suryasavitra, Dattatman, Pundarlyaka, Usninabha, Na- 
bhoda, ViSvayu, Dlpti, Camuhara, SureSa, Vyomari, Sankara, Bhava, 16 a, 
Kartr, Krti, Daksa, Bhuvana, Divyakarmakrt, Ganita, Pancavirya, Aditya, 
RaSmivat, Saptakrt, Somavarcas,. ViSvakrt, Kavi, Anugoptr, Sugoptr, 
Naptr, ISvara. The list in H Ii54if. of the Vi6ve Deva vi^vesalj, sons 
of-Dharma and Vi^va, is shorter: Sudharman, ^ankhapad, Uktha (or Daksa), 
Vapu§mat, Ananta, and Mahlrapa, as “of Caksusa Manu” and also Vi^va- 
vasu, Suparvan, Nikumbha (“Vi§kumbha”), and Ruru (“Rudra”), the last 
being “rsiputra and sunlike in glory”. ViSvavasu, here one of the All¬ 
gods, is also a Gandharva, a Marut and a Sadhya (in’ H). In H IX 849, 
the Visve and other groups are sired byKaSyapa; in H 12479, by Manu. 
The last list agrees with that of the Puraijas in number (nine or ten). 
That these gods were originally forms of Manes may be surmised from 
their constant association with the Pitrs at the funeral feast. They are 
also placated when a new house is built. So when Lak§mana builds a 
hut for Rama, the latter “makes an offering to the All-gods”, as he does 
to Rudra and Visnu, to avert evil and bring luck (R, 2, 56, 32, Vai 3 - 
vadevabaliip krtva . . vastusaipgamaniyani mangalani pravar- 
tayan . . papasaipSamanaip balim), before he bathes. The VaiSvadeva 
offering is thrown upon the ground, like that to the lower spirits, and it 
is eaten only by dogs and birds and men who eat dog-meat. It is offered 


VI. The Hosts of Spirits. 


175 


4 i 

regularly morn and eve. (3, 2, 59). The same rule is repeated ( 13 i 97 . 
23) with an addition, specifying that the offering should be made out 
of doors in connection with offerings , to the dead. The ViSve are some¬ 
what perfunctorily invoked for protection with other groups, "Adityas, 
Vasus, Rudras, Sadhyas, ViSve ca Devatafc (sic), the Maruts with Indra, 
the DiSas, and DigiSvaras” (3, 30S, nf.) — for the benefit of a traveller; 
after a more formal invocation of King Varuna ("guard thee on the 
water”) and Tapana Tamonuda, the "darkness-smiting Sun”. They are 
all invoked to save the traveller from the Bhuts of air, earth, and sky. 

§115. The Sadhyas. — These “perfected” (successful) ones are 
militant gods who accompany and fight for the Devas of celestial origin. 
They have no individual members. till the HarivarpSa period, when a* 
nominal mother Sadhya begets Sadhyas called Prabhava, Cyavana, I§ana, 
Surabhi, Arapya, Maruta, ViSvavasu, Baladhruva, Mahi§a, Tanuja, Vidhana, 
Anagha, Vatsara, Vibhuti, Suparvata, Vf§a, and Naga, among whom Vi- 
bhuti receives the imposing epithet sarvasuranisudana, "slayer.of all 
the Asuras” (H 11536). The real epic knows none of these as a Sadhya, 
(rather as R§i, god, and other spiritual forms). Except for this passage 
the Sadhyas are an indeterminate host, often mentioned but nowhere de¬ 
fined except explicitly as gods invoked as witnesses and born of the 
mundane egg (i, I, 35 ; R 7 , 97 . 9 )- In 5, 36, 3, they say Sadhya deva 
vayam, "we are gods" (cf. RV. io, 90, 16), and they are addressed as 
‘‘eaters of ambrosia” by the Golden Goose (i. e. God, 12, 300, 4 and 7). 
The mother Sadhya appears in H 147, etc. As fighting gods they even 
precede the Maruts (7, 35, 30). They appear usually grouped with other 
gods of smaller importance, as in I, 71, 39 and 87, I: “honored by the 
Thirty-three, the Sadhyas, Maruts, and Vasus, in the house of gods “(de- 
vaveSman). In R 6, 120, 8, Vi§pu is "fifth of Sadhyas”, as he is "eighth 
of Rudras” and “Prajapati of Vasus”. 

§ 116, The Vidyadharas. — These wizards (wisdom-holders) are 
spirits who have become like fairies or sylphs. They have a leader but it is 
uncertain who he is (below). They gaze with astonishment at human 
prowess (7,98,34):. "The gods leaned over the edge of their cars to 
stare (admire), led by Brahman and Soma, and crowds of Siddhas, Carapas, 
Vidyadharas, and Mahoragas wondered at the duel”. As they watch a 
combat, “they strew flowers” (7, 139, 55; S 6,69,71). They flee from 
danger with their wives (R 4* 67,46 and R 5, 1, 26); rejoice with music 
and loud laughter (R 4,43, 52 f.); are crowned with wreaths and are “fair of 
.aspect”; possessing the “great wisdom”, which is explained as the Yoga- 
trick of diminishing their size, etc., as Yogins can (mahavidya, R 5, 1, 
27). With Gandharvas, Kiqmaras, Siddhas, and Nagas they share the 
epithets “doers of good and devoted to joy” (R 4, 43, 53). They are es¬ 
sentially spirits of the air, vihagas (12, 334, 15 ; R 5, 1, 171; R 5, 54, 51 
and ib. 56, 31, etc.). In R 5, 1, 171, they go in Gapas and ib. 165, where 
the path of the wind is described as traversed by Airavata and by kaisi- 
/kacaryas, the "teachers of singing and dancing “are explained (by the 
commentators) either as Gandharvas or ’as the Vidyadhara king. In R 6, 
69, 71, as in R 5, 1, 27, Vidyadharamahar§ayab seem to be great 
seers among them. It may be’remarked that vidyaganas are them¬ 
selves animate "troops of sciences”, accompanying diva’s consort, animate 
though “made.by sages” (kavibhib krtab); as Vidya (Sophia) is herself 
an attendant on Parvati (3, 231, 48f.). Any vidya may be given away, 



176 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology - . 

imparted as a kind of magic. Thus the vidya called pratismfti is se¬ 
cretly imparted by Vyasa to Yudhi§thira (3, 36, 30), just as the secret 
teaching of teachers is imparted to a son dr devoted pupil, without study 
(7, 194, 6). In 2, 10, 27, the leader of the Vidyadharas is Cakradharman 
(who appears to have sons) in Kubera’s palace, for these sylphs are found 
especially in Gandhamadan^ and other northern mountains with Kirpnaras 
(3, 108, 11; ib. 158, 33; ib, 159, 19, "wreathed and fair”). A second leader 
mentioned is Vipracitti (-purogamab, in Indra’s palace, S 2, 7, 24). 
This may show Jain influence, since the Jains regard the Vidyadharas as 
evil, and Vipracitti is an evil Danava. Thirdly, the wise bear Jambavat is 
called Vidyadharendra, "chief of Vidyadharas” (13, 14, 28 and 42: Jam- 
bavaty abravld dhi mam . . yad abravin mam Vidyadharen- 
drasya suta. See Jambavat, §8). The Vidyadharl is a female of great 
beauty (4,9, 15, etc.). There is a terrible mahastraip vaidyadharam 
(R 1, 56, 11) or weapon used by these sylphs, though they are not war¬ 
like (1, 228, 33, etc.). When a magic sacrifice forces Indra to come to 
earth with Tak§aka, they come with him, but not to help (1, 56, 9), only 
as companions of nymphs and the (sentient) clouds (cf. varidharas in 
R 5, 1, 165). Ravana conquered the Gandharvas and Kiipnaras and Vidya¬ 
dharas and carried off their women, the “fair women of the Vidyadharas” 
being held captive in his court (R 5, 12, 20; R 6, 61, 10). The Ram. lo¬ 
cates their home among the Hyperboreans in the mountains beyond the 
Vaikhanasas (saints) and the "land of horse-faced women” (PiSacis? R 4, 
43, 32 and 52). They are also on Kubera’s Gandhamadana (above) and 
on the Kraunca mountain (9, 46, 88); and Rama finds the "playground of 
Vidyadhara women” on Citrakuta (R 2,94, 12); as too they are seen on 
the hills of Malabar (R 6, 74, 44) and even in the forest of Khancjava (1, 
228, 33). 

§ 117. The Kapas. — These are beings illustrating the gradual for¬ 
mation of new groups. They are not really epic but are described for 
the first and only time in 13, 158, 4f., where they are said to have been 
so powerful that they evicted the gods from heaven. Their leader was 
Dhanin. Though evilly disposed toward the gods, they were exceedingly 
religious in other regards, so that they resembled the great seers. But 
the priests of the gods, when they took up the strife, overcame them, for 
the Kapas could not withstand the fires and Mantras of the priests. They 
are regarded as a class of Danavas (ib. 19), virtuous but godless; perhaps 
historically a sect or clan opposed to the orthodox cult. If they are Pitrs(?), 
their opposition to the gods recalls the similar Vedic Pitys, who have 
gods as foes, deviSatravab (RV. 6, 59, l), an epic epithet of Asuras and 
Raksasas, as foes of gods. 

vn. THE DIVINE SEERS AS STAR-GODS. , 

§ 118. The R§is interchange with Pitrs on the one hand and gods 
on the other. They are the singers of old, seers glorified as forms of 
(fire and) stars and yet recognised as ancestors of mortal men. They are 
intermediaries. Brahman created Asi, the Sword, as a divine being to 
protect men, and gave 1 it to Rudra, who gave it to Visnu, who gave it to 
Marlci. Marlci. passed it over to the Seers, and it was 'they who gave it 
to (Indra) Vasava; he bestowed it upon the Lokapalas, and they gave it 
to the law-giver Manu (12, 166, 66), The seers here are the Maharsis, 




VII. The Divine Seers as Star-Gods. 


177 


who had accepted the law of Brahman, viz. (ib 22 fi), Bhrgu, Atri, Angiras, 
the Siddhas, KaUyapas, Vasistha, Gautama, Agastya, Narada, Parvata, the 
Valakhilyas, Prabhasas, Sikatas, Ghrtapas, Somavayavyas, Vaisvanaras, 
Marlcipas, Akpjtas, Haipsas, Agniyonis, Vanaprasthas, and PrSnis. The 
seers are Mahidevas, gods of earth (RS 6, H 4 ) 4 )» not because they are 
all of the priestly caste (priests being ksitidevatab, 13> 141, 62), but 
because they are as gods, though of mortal nature of old. Thus it is said 
indifferently that the rules for funerals were made by Pitps or by R§is (R 
6, 114, 108). Among Rsis, some are Devar§is and I)anavar§is; some are 
Maharsis, some are Paramarsis (the arcismantafi or very bright stars 
about the polar star); others, like TriSaiiku, are Rajarsis, of kingly ex¬ 
traction; or Brahmarsis .(Viprar§is), of priestly origin. The most famous 
group is that of the Seven Seers of the North. Lists of the other groups, 
of seven some, in the East, West, and South are given (R 7, 1, 2f.), though 
the “seven” are elsewhere not so clearly defined. (In the North)Va¬ 
sistha, KaSyapa, Atri, ViSvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja; (East): 
KauSika, Yavakrita, Gargya, Galava, Kanva, son of Medhatithi; (South): 
Svastyatreya, Namuci, Pramuci, Agastya, Atri, Sumukha, Vimukha; (West): 
Nr$adgu (-dgu), Kava§a (-sin), Dhaumya, Raudreya (mahan r§ifi) or Kau- 
§eya. Other seers functioning at Rama’s court are Vamadeva, Jabali, 
Katyayana, Suyajna, Vijaya, (R 6, 131, 6of.; cf. ib. 1, 7, 5; ib. S 1, 8,6). 
Kutsa appears in a later passage (R 59, pra. 2, 31). The Mbh. also 
has its distributed lists of seers, but it is confused with kings and Ra¬ 
jarsis and does not agree except here and there with that of R (13, 166, 
37 f.). In 13, 150,40, besides the geographical sevens of the Lokapalas 
(§ 92), there is a fifth heptad of “world-making Munis” (seers), who, “when 
lauded, cause men to become praised and blessed”. This is followed by 
another seven called dharanidharas (Dharma, Kama, Kala, Vasu, Va- 
suki, Ananta, and Kapila), and then a seventh seven-group, which, owing 
to the interposition of four others (Rama, Vyasa, ASvatthaman, and Lo- 
maSa), does not become apparent till vs. 44, where seven seers renowned 
on account of their austerity are listed: Sarpvarta, Merusavarna, Markap- 
deya, Sankhya, Yoga, Narada, andDurvasas! In this bizarre combination 
all that is apparent is that the author is trying to make a seven times 
seven table of venerable seers and sages (cf. a similar list in 12, 208, 26f.). 
The Southerners here are called Brahmarsis and the Westerners Maharsis. 
The “seven wind-seers” born of a saint and father of the Maruts (9, 38, 
35) show the same tendency to make heptads. Many of the seers in the 
list first given above (12, 166, 24 f., cf. 7, 190, 34 f.) are families and sects 
of devotees like the Usmapas, Phenapas, etc., mentioned as Pitfs (for Akrstas 
and Vanaprasthas, v. 1 . are Karu§as and Masaprasthas; cf. 3,64,62 and 
1 3 > J 4i 57 )- Such seers en masse float through the air with gods ( 3 , 36, 
42; 7, 124,40, etc.), and appear on holy days at certain points (3, 159, 
16; on Parvan days, i. e. once a week). Among them are Vatikas and 
Caranas (9, 55, 14) and they are described as vayubhaksas, abbhak§as, 
dantolukhalikas, etc. (ib. 37, 48Q. The seer is called a Muni (1, 107, 
15 f. ; seers appear as birds at Bhf§ma’s death), though there are special 
lists of Munis, important mainly in showing that class-names tend to be¬ 
come individuals. Thus Vayubhak§a and Par$ada and AdhaljSiras are kinds 
of Munis but are treated as names of individuals (2, 4, 9 f.; S 5, 83, 29f.). 
The Saptajana (nama) Munis of R 4, 13, 18, eat only on the seventh night, 
then eat only air, and go to heaven in seven hundred years (calendar-saints). 

Indo-arische Philologie III. t b. 


12 



178 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

§ 119. But the formal distinction between Brahmar§is and Devar§is 
is as little observed as that-between R$is and Mahar§is; only the Rajar§is 
stand out, on account of their royal origin. A Brahmar§i of one passage 
is a Viprar§i in another (13,6, 37 compared with 3, 281, 14; 5, 176, 46), 
but the new name indicates that he who was first regarded as "seer of 
Brahman" has become a ! "Brahmanic (priestly) seer”. Examples of Brahm- 
ar$is are Atri and Abgiras; of Devar§is, Narada and Vasi§tha; of Rajar§is, 
Vainya and other kings. USanas is a demons’ Devar§i (R 7, 81, 1), for 
there are also seers of the demons, Danavar§is (3, 169, 23). Utahka is a 
Viprar§i (1, 3, 143). The Rsis in general are countless. Eighty-eight thou¬ 
sand without offspring and fifty thousand.with offspring are in Brahman’s 
court (2, 11, 54, stereotyped figure). There are Brahmalaukikas (R 7, 98, 
24), belonging to Brahman’s sphere, also Parame§thya R§is: Pitjrlokar§is 
(in the South) live with Devar§is and Rajar§is there (5, 109, 5; ib. 9, Vi- 
prar§is). Surar^i = Devar§i (R 6, 129,53), of Narada. These seers, of 
course, appear constantly anywhere. For example, when Krsoa goes along 
a road, he meets Devar§is and Rajar§is on either side of the way, both 
with brahmi Sri or holy beauty, but acting like mortals (Rama Jamad- 
agnya is their spokesman, 5, 83, 65). When the gods visit Indra with the 
seers, the latter lead (1, 226, 15); but the seers themselves, even the great 
Seven, follow Indra (2, 53, 12). They come with the gods 'to visit men 
at peace or in battle, cry Bravo to the brave and murmur blessings on the 
worlds (R 6, 90, 37, etc.). In 14, 77, 17f., the Saptar$is, Devar$is, and 
Brahmarsis “murmur victory to Arjuna"; all but the last group being 
frightened. As priests utter maftgalyas before kings, so the R§is before 
Indra (5, 83, 8); their best wealth is truth (12, 56, 18). They may have 
children by nymphs, or by the grace of Siva, or without woman’s aid (A- 
lambayana in 13, 18, 5f., but see below). Their form of marriage is not 
interfered with by the gods (R 3, 55, 34). It is the seers who made the 
worlds and even the Deity reveres them (13,31,25; see also Brahman 
and Creation). 

§ 120. The families of Rsis lead to jealousy and arrogance: "the 
best Rsis in the world” are Bhrgus, Ahgirasas, Vasi§fhas, KaSyapas, Aga- 
styas, Atreyas (3, 26, 7, i. e. priests of these classes). The plural is used 
as patronymic (as here), Bhrgavab, “sons of Bhrgu”; so Gargas are “sons 
of Garga” = Gargyas (1, 178, 15; 7, 190, 34, etc.). A later theory has it 
that Bhrgu is a Varuna, the Prajapatis of all peoples on earth being Bhrgu, 
Angiras, and Kavi, of whom Bhrgu had seven sons, and the others eight 
each. Bhrgu's sons were Cyavana, VajraSirsa, £uci, Aurva, loukra, Varepya, 
and Savana; called Bhargavas, and Varunas because fsiva, ^s Varuna, adop¬ 
ted them (13, 85, 125 f.). The sons of the 1 other two ancestors of the hu¬ 
man race vary. Angiras, to whom the genealogy of I, 66, 5 gives but 
three sons, here has eight, Brhaspati, etc. to Sudhanvan (who is “even 
better than Virocana”, with whom he converses, 5 , 35 , 5 f-). These are 
called also sons of Agni (Angiras is son of Agni and of Brahman). Kavi’s 
sons vary most (v. 1 .), one text having Bhrgu, Virajas, Ka£i, and Ugra, 
against S, Varuna, KaSyapa, Agni (S 13, 132, 42f. = 85, I30f.). Other seers 
are renowned as sectarian diadochi, the Phenapas handing down the tenets 
of Narada to the, Vaikhanasas, who gave the teaching to Soma in Brah¬ 
man’s first birth. In his second birth Brahman, receiving it, gave it to 
Rudra, and Rudra to the Valakhilyas (in Krtayuga, 12, 349, 14 f.). In 
Brahman’s third birth (as Logos, 349, 19 f.), Narada imparted it to the R§i 




VII. The Divine Seers as Star-Gods. 


179 


Suparga (trisauparga), whence it came to Vayu, and from him to the 
R§is called Vighasa£ins. Barhi$ada and Jye§tha (Samavedantaga, 349, 45 Q 
received it later. The Bhrgu-Angirasa-vaipSajas, "not very angry”, unite 
in cursing Hanumat, perhaps recognising in him the future scientist and 
grammarian, navavyakaranarthavettr (R 7, 36, 34 and 48). Most of 
this is later than the real epic. 

§ 121. Bhrgu is the greatest Mahar§i (6, 34, 25). He heads the list 
of Bhrgus, Afigirasas, Vasisthas, and KaSyapas (3, 115, 2); and composes 
a faastra which differs philosophically from the one ascribed to Manu 
(12, 182 to 192), deriving fire and wind from water, while Manu derives 
water from light and light from wind. Bhrgu teaches here that the earth 
is water solidified by the action of wind, which came from water. Wind 
here is not a god, but sun and moon are limited gods who can “see no 
farther than their own light”. Bhrgu was born from Fire, Pavaka, at 
Varuna’s sacrifice, though fathered by Brahman, whose breast he cleaves. 
He is father of 3 ukra Kavi (whose son he is in 13, 85, 133) and of. Cya- 
vana (by Puloma), and thus grandfather of Pramati and ancestor of Aurva 
(named uruip bhittva, 1, 179, 8), the son of Aru$i, daughter of Manu (1, 
5, 13f.; ib. 8, if.; 66,41). Aurva burned the sight of those descendants 
of Krtavirya who stole the Bhrgus’ hoarded wealth (1, 178, 15 f.). He was 
father of Rclka, the father of Jamadagni, and destroyed Talajaiigha (1, 
66,46 and 49; 13, 154, 11). Bhrgu cursed Agni to "eat all things” (9, 
47, 21); he cursed Himavat to lose its gems, because H. gave Uma to 
Rudra (12, 340, 62); and he cursed Vi§nu, for beheading his wife Puloma, 
who favored the demons, to be born as man and lose his wife (R 1, 25, 

■ 21; ib. 7, 51, 2, told by "Durvasas, son of Atri”). When Vasistha cursed 
Nimi to lose his body, Bhrgu kept him alive as nime§a (wink), Nimi being 
of Atri’s race, son ofDattatreya (13, 91, 7f.; he was king of Mithila: asid 
raja Nimir nama, R 7, 55, 4f.). A different genealogy is found in the 
story of Vitahavya, who attacked Divodasa and changed his caste (tyajito 
jatim, 13, 30, 56 and 66). He became priest through Bhrgu's lying state¬ 
ment that "only priests” were in his asylum (cf. AV. 5,18, 10). Vfta- 
havya’s son is the Viprar§i Grtsamada, about whom “there is a revelation 
in the Rg-Veda” (see AB. 5, 2, 4). He was fair as Indra and was attacked 
by the fiends in consequence. Grtsamada was first of his line born in 
the priesthood, vipratvam, as his father was a Ksattriya who “got priest¬ 
hood” (13, 30, 61 f.). Though a friend of Indra, Grtsamada worshipped 
Mahadeva; he was turned into a deer (13, 18, igfi). Bhrgutuftga preserves 
the name of the ancestral abode (1, 75, 57, etc.). He is ancestor of Ruru 
and fsunaka. 

J 122. The Bhargavas’ most famous member is USanas, the Kavi cal- 
ukra, preceptor of Asuras, renowned no less for wealth than for in¬ 
telligence (R 3,43, 32; ib. 4, 51, 12). His daughter Araja was violated 
by Manu’s son Dan<Ja, whom USanas cursed, resulting in ashes destroying 
Janasthana (Dagcjaka-forest, R 7, 79, 18 f.), when he was Danqla’s Purohita. 
As Purohita of the Asuras he also favors the Rak§asas and advises Me- 
ghanada how to sacrifice, -which he refuses to do as it “honors his foes” 
(R 7, 25, 6f.). USanas is here quite anthropomorphic in distinction from 
R 6, 4, 48, where he is the planet fsukra whose “favorable rays” presage 
wealj like the aspect of Paramargis. Mbh. 1,65, 36 f.; 66, 41 f., presents 
him as half planet (Venus) and half preceptor of Asuras, having four sons 
called “Asura-sacrificers”, Asurayajakas, Tva§tadhara, Atri, Raudra, and 


180 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

Karmin. Kavi USanas is here son of Kavi (Bhrgu), interpreted as con¬ 
troller of rain and also as junking with Brhaspati in being Guru of gods 
as well as of Asuras through Yoga (refers to the inverted legend of Mait. 
Up., that Brhaspati as USanas mistaught the Asuras). He is called best 
of Bhrgus (1,80, i) and Bhargava usually implies him (3,4,2; cf. 9,6,10), 
especially as NitiSastra-ikartr (so N. at 5, 39, 30; cf. 8, 8, 4). USanas’ wife 
is loataparvan (sic, 5, 117, 13); his daughter Devi is wife of Varuna. De- 
vayani (I, 76, 1), also his daughter, revives Kaca, when reduced to paste, 
a son of Brhaspati, and marries Yayati, whom £ukra curses (1, 83, 37). For 
her sake he quarrels with Vrsaparvan, inducing this Asura king to make 
his own daughter the slave of Devayani. Even here fs ukra Kavya is the 
power thatj “sends rain and makes plants grow” and so is “lord of all in 
earth and heaven” (1, 78, 3Sf.; S adds sarvalokagurulj Kavyalj). As 
military epigrammatist he is often cited (12, 138, 134; cf. ib. 56, 28 and 
9, 58, 14 f.), but the same utterance ascribed to him and to Brhaspati shows 
uncertainty of origin. He appears here as Maharsi USanas and as Lord 
USanas (12, 57, 2 and 40). U£anas sided with the Asuras as. natural heir 
of his father, whose wife’s head Visnu cut off (12, 290, if.). His name 
loukra is interpreted as diva’s "seed”, because the god swallowed him 
and then let him out, though he deserved punishment for stealing the 
wealth of Kubera, diva’s friend. Uraa interceded for him, so he became 
her son (ib. 32 and 34). He and Siva thus oppose Vispu and other gods 
(ib. 293, 17). He invented his system of Niti at Kapalamocana Tirtha, 
where the head of the demon hurled by Rama fell off from the thigh of 
Mahodara (3, 83, 135; 9, 39, 8f.). He teaches Prahlada and other Daityas 
(12,37,10; ib. 139, 7of.; ib. 142,22; ib. 280—281; his fsastra and Ga- 
thas). The divya katha of the virtuous pigeon is his (12, 143, 8f., as¬ 
cribed to Bhargava Muni; S says USanas). His Jsastra includes military 
matters (15, 7, 15). He found out “Indra’s secret” (potency of fasts, 13, 103, 
39); his place in heaven is distinct from those of Maruta and Brahman 
(ib. 107, 80, 94, 100); he makes his locks snakes and turns Rudra’s throat 
blue (see faiva). S adds new verses as “Slokas sung by USanas” (after 
B 12,69, 73 and after 12, 73, 5, glorification of AV.; cf. also S 12,94, 9f.). 
H 12200 makes fsukra priest of HiranyakaSipu. Other Bhargavas of im¬ 
portance are Atri (see below); Cyavana, whose aim in life was to kill 
KuSikas, till he delegated the vendetta to Aurva; and Aurva, who became 
the Aurva Fire or Mare’s Mouth or Horse’s Head, HayaSiras, which will 
consume ocean (7, 135, 22 ; cf. 1, 170, 53; 180, 22). This fire in 12, 343, 
60, is interpreted as Visnu’s energy. On Cyavana, see p. 168 (ASvins). 
He healed with his hands, restored youth, created magic grounds, lived 
like a sunk log in water, and was sold dor a cow (13, 50, 2 f. ^ to 56, 4). 
He lived in the West, where men become saints “with little trouble”, 
near Mt. Mainaka (3, 89, 13). See § 125 for other Bhargavas. 

§ 123. Brhaspati (1, 104, 10) is the most famous Ahgirasa, though 
“best” of this family is applied even to Dropa (grandson of Brhaspati). 
Angiras himself is of no moment; he married the daughter of Marutta 
(12,235,28); he guards the sun (3,92,6); teaches rules of fasting (13, 
106, 71); and is a form of fire, angara meaning coal (13, 85, 105; here 
too “Bhrgu from burn”). The story of Angiras taking the place of Agni 
and of his daughters, moon’s phases, has been told under Agni. Angiras 
is third son of< Brahman in the list of Prajapatis (1,65 and 66; not R 3, 
14); verses cited as his occur (12, 69, 7 1 )- But the glory is his son’s. Brhas- 




VII. The Divine Seers as Star-Gods. 


i S i 


pati (the planet Jupiter) is preceptor of the gods and gives them in¬ 
struction orally, as well as composes a loastra for' them and others, but 
otherwise he is remarkably inactive. His wife Tara, raped by Soma (p. 90), 
was the cause of the great “war about Tara” (5, 117, 13, etc.). He re¬ 
stores dead heroes to life by plants treated with Mantras (R 6, 50, 2S). 
He comes stammering into the presence of Indra (R 6, 92, 4), but other¬ 
wise is treated as revered Guru. He is regent of Pusya (R 2, 26, 9), is 
invoked with or without loukra for blessings (ib. 25, 11 and 99, 41), the 
instruction of the two upadhyayas being the same (9, 61, 48), the pair 
being past masters of polity (S, 37,20); Brhaspatisamo matau is a 
standing phrase. This best of Aiigirasas (5, 16, 27) operates with fire (9, 
41, 29) to aid the gods, making a sacrifice to protect Sac! from Nahu§a, 
and sending fire as a messenger (5, 15, 2$ f.; 12,343,48). As a reward 
he receives the Atharvangiras Veda (5, 18, 5 f.), whence his name Athar- 
vaiigiras. He heads the Devarsis and Siddhas when they visit Skanda; 
he is called both Devarsi (1,67,69) and Maharsi (5, 18, 2; 9, 44,21 f., he 
consecrates Skanda). Whatever is for a Guru or Purohita to do, falls to 
Brhaspati; hence he is “lord of priests” (14,43, 8). He violates his elder 
brother’s wife (Utathya’s Mamata) and becomes father of Dirghatamas; 
also, by a £udra, of Kaksivat (etc., 1, 104, iof.). He befriends Trita 
(p. 94) in the pit (9, 36, 36f.). For his Naya and £astra, see 2, 50, 9; 
3, 150, 29; 4, 58,6; 12, 58, if.; 13, in, 11. He is pupil ofManu (12, 201, 
3), and after Manu he and USanas promulgate their treatises (12, 336, 45 f.). 
He appears as a god (12, 322, 61), with Pusan, Bhaga, ASvins, and Agni 
(pleased with butter-oblation, 13,65,7). The later epic adds many details; 
of his cursing ocean (12, 343) 27) because it was not clear ; of his weeping 
with anger and flinging his spoon at the sky (ib. 337, 14), etc.; and S 
has a long interpolation (12, 73) exalting the Atharva-Veda, and Brhaspati 
with this Veda. His pupils were Uparicara and fouka (ib. 337,2b; 325, 
23). The Adi reckons him among the Adityas and makes his sister the 
wife of the eighth Vasu, Prabhasa (1, 66, 20, 27, 39), and the mother of 
ViSvakarman. There is a distinction made between the Barhaspatl Bha- 
rati or treatise on theology (divine cows, 13, 76, 28) and the Barhaspataip 
Jiianam or loastram, his legal code, declared by Indra (12, 142, 17). He 
lectures to Asuras as well as to gods (as Devaguru and on sin washed 
out by good acts, ib. 152, 32 b). Bphaspati’s quarrel with Saipvarta is 
mentioned in 12,29,21 and told in 14, 5, 4b 1 ) Bharadvaja is eldest son 
of Brhaspati (§ 125). Saipvarta is his brother, a ^iva-worshipper (14, 5—6), 
opposed to Indra and Brhaspati. 3 ) 

§ 124. Vasistha and ViSvamitra. — The Seven Seers are the most 
important group of Devar$is. Like the Devas they have their maids, De- 
var§ikanyas, nymphs who welcome the Devarsis to heaven (13, 107, 130; 
the general rule, but see above, is that seers cannot have children with¬ 
out women, 1, 74, 52). As the Brahmarsis are headed by Angiras and the 
Paramarsis by the son of Brahman called Sanatkumara, so Brhaspati heads 
the general group of Devarsis (3,-85,71; 12,37,9); but the Seven De¬ 
varsis are headed by Vasistha, and these are they that have their rising 

*) On Brhaspati, see remarks on USanas and Brhaspati in my Ruling Caste, p. 202; 
and on his epic connection with Atharvan, Atharva sa Brhaspatih (13, 14,397), see 
Proc. Amer. Philosophical So., vol. 49, p. 39b 

2 ) Compare Leumann, Die Bharata-Sage, p. 68f., on the Sarrivarta-MaruttTya 
Itihasa. According to H 1833 f., Marutta’s daughter became Sarpvarta's wife, not the 
wife of Artgiras (as in 13, 137, 16). On Brhaspati’s impious treatise, see H 1505 f. 



18a III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


and setting as stars on Meru in the North, in contrast to the Brahmar$is 
and Mahar§is. Historical treatment of the two chief seers is here ignor¬ 
ed. These Seven are sometimes implied by the word Devar§is. Thus 
in the tale of Nahu§a, "the Seven Seers and the Brahmar$is will drag 
him", followed by “the Devar§is and Brahmar§is dragged him" (5, 15, 20; 
17, 8). Compare too sapta saptar§ayah Siddha Vasisthapramu- 
khailj saha (14, 27, 18), where, as often, the later epic unites other 
blessed ones irf heptads with the Seven Seers. Vasistha stands so much 
at the head that the Vasi§thT ka$tha is the "Northern course” of the 
sun (=dhanisthi, or Kuberan, 5, 109, 16). No difficulty is experienced 
in treating the seven as at once persons and stars: “The Seven Seers 
shine in the sky because they honor the law of the Creator” (3, 25, 14). 
Washed free of stains they shine like fires in Indra’s heaven; they were 
with Manu in the ark (2, 7, Qf.; 3, 187, 31). Near the “field of Kapila” 
they have a Tfrtha (3, 83, 72). But as a group they have little action in 
common. They are occasionally identified with the seven Prajapatis (12, 
336, 27 f.), but when enlisted are more often separated, as in 1, 123, 50f. 
(cf. H 14148), “all the Prajapatis and the Seven Mahar§is, Bharadvaja, 
KaSyapa, Gautama, ViSvamitra, Jamadagni, Vasi§tha, and Atri, who rose 
when the sun was extinguished”. Atri usually stands next to Vasistha or 
Ka^yapa, and like the latter, belongs to both groups. The Seven Seers 
are in the North with Arundhati, wife of Vasi$tha (later of Dharma, H 145) 
or of all the seers (? 5, III, 14). In the story of Svaha (see Agni), each 
wife is personated by Agni’s love. To be unable to see Arundhati pre¬ 
sages death (RG 3, 59, 16); to see her and the pole-star intermittently 
presages death in a year (12, 318, 9). In the Theft of the Lotus, the vir¬ 
tuous Arundhati is accompanied by a maid-of-all-work, Ganda. Vrsadarbhi 
(Saibya), angered at the rejection of his offering, produced a Yatudhani 
and bade her kill the Seers, which she could do only by knowing the 
meaning of their names. Indra, disguised as a hunter, tested their virtue, 
and the Seven went to heaven with him — a tale immediately retold with 
variants, Indra being undisguised and Agastya the chief seer in action, as 
he and others in the second version take part in this tale (13, 93, 20 f.). 
The Seven also unite in composing a code. They are called here the 
CitraSikhapdinas, an epithet also of Vi§nu (12, 336, 27 f.). Arundhati, though 
a model of faithfulness, yet suspected Vasistha and became “smoky-red” 
(1, 233, 28 f.). She is a spotless adherent of £iva, as is ViSvamitra of Skanda 
(3, 225 and 9, 48); she may be the Jatila of 'I, 196, 14, “wife of seven R§is 
as said in the Purana” (as in 12, 38, 5, called Gautaml). Vasi§tha is the 
"best” (etc., etymology, I, 174, 6); born of Mitra-Varuna (see p. 118) 
or "owing to Kona's power and Mshborn in a jar” (13, 159, 19). As son 
of Varupa he is Varurii, also called Apava (1, 99. 5 )> he was born, bred, 
and died in the East (5, 108, 13). His special Tirtha is Ujjalaka (3, 130, 
17, or Ujjanaka). For thp theft of his cow, see Vasus (§ 112). The cow, 
NandinI, was also desired by ViSvamitra, son of KuSika’s son Gadhi; who 
tried to steal it in a well-known tale (1, 174, 5 f., as Brahmarpi, here son 
of Brahman). His eldest son, fsakti, quarrelled with Mitrasaha Kalmapa- 
pada, patron of ViSvamitra, who had a Rakpasa devour £akti and the 
rest of Vasistha’s hundred sons (1, 176, 6f.; R 3, 66 , 8). Vasistha tried to 
drown himself, but the rivers VipaS and fsatadru refused to drown him; 
afterwards he freed the king Kalmasapada Saudasa from possession by a 
Rakpasa, and the king caused the Seer to beget by his wife, MadayantI, 




VII. The Divine Seers as Star-Gods. 


i S3 


a son A£maka (i, 177 , 47 5 Saudasa also in 13,6,32; 14, 57, 19!). Another 
tale connects Vasi§tha and ViSvamitra, the Apavaha, which relates how 
the two seers, living on opposite sides of the Sarasvati, quarrelled. Vi- 
Svamitra commanded the river to bring him his rival to kill. Afraid to 
disobey yet also afraid of the curse of Vasi$tha, the Sarasvati carried him 
off to the other bank but brought him back before ViSvamitra could kill 
Vasi§tha, who won over the river by fulsome praise. The Sarasvati ran 
with blood for a year owing to the curse of ViSvamitra (9, 42, 1 f.), and 
hence became the Aruija ("Red River”, name of a branch of the Ganges). 
Vasi§tha is credited with several other deeds. He cursed Kartavlrya (q. v.); 
he revived Indra, when the god was stupified (12, 282, 21); he slew the 
Khalin Asuras as priest of the gods, by bringing the Ganges, as Sarayu, 
to the lake in which they recovered life (13, 156, 17 f.). He exterminated, 
but with some difficulty, the demons of VaiSravana attacked by Mucu- 
kunda (12, 74, 6f.). Kings gained merit by providing him with water, 
wealth, and a wife (12, 235, 17 and 30; 13, 137, 6; 15; 18). Both chapters 
say that he produced rain in drought; he is called Bhutakj-t and Devaraj 
(13, 137, 13), "king of (priests as) gods”. The pseudo-epic also employs 
Vasi§tha as sermoniser (12, 303, 7f., etc.). His rival ViSvamitra became 
a priest because he lacked the ability to be a king (9, 40, i6f.); 
but as a priest he slew Vasi§tha’s sons (R 1, 59, 18), created the KauSikI 
(Para) river, served as priest of Matanga and elevated Trisanku, "made 
another world”, became father of ^akuntala, and is noted for his pitiless 
disposition (1, 71, 20 f.). He is called Bhusura as a priestly god, and his 
guest Indra as Vasi§tha made him wait a hundred years serving him food 
(5, 106, i7f.). Galava waited on the seer and in the pseudo-epic is called 
his son (13,4,52). He also ate dog’s meat in a famine (12, 141, 26f.) 
occurring between Treta and Dvapara, which fixes his date. The village 
where he accepted meat from a Can<jala was adorned with temples deco¬ 
rated with images of birds and had iron bells. He enunciates the doctrine 
that a seer cannot commit a deadly sin (ib. 75). In 12, 293, 13 and 13, 
3, if., he is said to have created Yatudhanas and fiends, founded the race 
of KuSika, delivered ^unafiSepa, become father of Harigcandra, hung Tri- 
Sanku head downward in the southern sky (cf. H 730f.), changed Rambha 
into a rock, and, as a star, is said to shine in the middle of the Seven 
Seers of the North and Dhruva Auttanapada. Gadhi married his daughter 
to Rcika, son of Cyavana, and by this Rcika’s advice mother and daughter, 
embracing two trees, became mothers of ViSvamitra and Jamadagni. As 
his descendants are named Yajnavalkya, Narada, Asvalayana, etc. (ib. 13, 
18, 52f.). According to R 1, 34, 3 f., it is his older sister Satyavati who 
descended to earth as the KauSiki river (ib. 1, 51 f., the story of TriSanku). 
His son Kapila is called Deva (3, 108, 18). 

§ 125. The other members of the group of Seven Seers are not so 
important. Ahalya lends interest to Gautama, who is argued down by 
Atri, serves as priest of Nimi, and is called Medhatithi, his son being 
Cirakarin, who objected to matricide enjoined by Gautama (12,267,2!.). 
As sons are named Jsatananda, Krpa, £arabhahga, Ekata, Dvita, Trita (§ 46), 
Vamadeva. The last has “wonderful” swift steeds and appears beside 
Medhatithi in 3 akra’s court (2, 7, 17; 3, 192, 40f.). Bharadvaja, eldest son 
of Brhaspati and priest of Divodasa (13, 30, 24), provides Vitahavya with 
a son (by a sacrifice, ib.) and supplies Rama DaSarathi with a magic garden 
(R 2,91, uf.). He is said to reside at Prayaga but is not an important 


184 III. Religion, weltl. \Vissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

figure in either epic, though father of Drona by GhrtacI (i, 166, i f.J. The 
pseudo-epic says* that he flung water at Visnu and thus made the ^rlvatsa 
sign on his breast"(i2, 343, 54); but the same chapter (vs. 132) ascribes 
this sign to Rudra's trident. 1 ) His son Bhumanyu (1,94,22; H 1730) is 
Bharata's by “legal transfer". Yavakrita, another son, is resurrected with 
Bharadvaja after entering fire (3, 138, 22). Jamadagni is famous mainly as 
father of Bhargava Rama (R 1, 75, 3), though he is extolled as a great 
sacrificer (3,90,16). Rama’s fame rests on his being HaihayeSapramathin, 
or slayer of Arjuna and the other Haihayas (5, 181, 12). Of warriors he 
slew 64000, cutting off their ears and noses and breaking their teeth, be¬ 
sides stifling 7000 Haihayas in smoke and torturing them, and butchering 
10000 with his own axe. Altogether he cleared earth of warriors twenty- 
one times and then gave earth to KaSyapa (1, 66, 48, etc). He contends 
with Bhl$ma (5, 179, 14), etc. The five lakes he filled with blood are 
known (3, 83, 27 f.) and he is often mentioned, in his role of destroyer, 
as "the most glorious increaser of the fame of the Bhrgus” (7, 70, 23 f., 
as Bhargava). He killed his mother Renuka to oblige his father (3, 116, 
14; R 2, 21, 32), an act highly extolled, though she was a good wife 
(R 1, 51, n); but her husband accused her in re Citraratha (3, 116, 
6f.). Rama, however, restored her to life and received invulnerability 
and long life as his reward. He is a direct descendant of Indra, incar¬ 
nate as Gadhi (12,49,6; a loivaite, ib. 33). Rama cut off the arms of 
Arjuna Kartavlrya (whose followers killed Jamadagni), through the curse 
of Vasi§tha, as originally the hero got his thousand arms through grice 
of Dattatreya (a form of Vi§nu). Vayu argues with him on the folly of 
opposing seers (12, 49, 35; 13, 153, 7). See also § 150. The seer KaSya- 
pa is a Prajapati (q. v.), but also priest of ParaSu-Rama (3, 117, I2f.). 
His son, the crane, is older than the Himalayan owl ( 3 ..I 99 , 7 > 12, 169, 
18 f.). Atri also is a kulapati and a seer, whose wife is Anasuya (R 7, 
i, 5). She was so vigorous an ascetic that she irrigated earth with the 
Ganges in drought and on another occasion "made ten nights one" (R 
2,117,11), because her friend was cursed to "become a widow to-morrow". 
"Morrow shall not be”, said Anasuya, and extinguished it by making ten 
nights one. At least, so the scholiast explains the phrase daSaratraip 
krta ratrilj; but it is more likely that, being a clever woman, Anasuya 
shifted the calendar. Atri had many sons (1, 66, 6); he is son of Brahman 
and son of USanas as well (contradictions of the sort are common of course), 
also father of Durvasas. Atri was the first to deify a king, so that Gau¬ 
tama called him a sycophant, but Sanatkumira upheld the deification, and 
Atri got ten crores of gold and ten loads of jewels (-3, 185, 35). The point 
of the story is that the king is god' on earth, as is the priest, and they 
must combine to keep the lower orders in subjection. The king here 
is the Rajarsi Prthu Vainya, whose astronomer was Garga. This king’s 
father had been dethroned and executed for his sins, in accordance with 
the principle that a wicked king "should be killed like a mad dog”, so 
jthat his son was naturally pleased to be made divine. Atri. saved the gods, 
when Rahu’s arrows had pierced sun and moon, by becoming sun and 
pnoon and giving equal light (13, 157, 8f.). Noteworthy in this version 
bf the ancient tale is the attribute of arrows. Atri (originally an epithet 
of fire, like ‘the names of all the Seven) “burns” the demon and then 

*) On Bharadvaja as philosopher (12, 182—189), see Pizzagalli, La Cosmogonia 
di Bhfgu (Memorie del_R. Instituto Lombardo, 1910). 



VII. The Divine Seers as Star-Gods. 


185 


“illumines" the world with his own glory (tejas). According to 1,21,13, 
Atri tried for a century to get to the bottom of the ocean. He is mytho¬ 
logically important only as demon-expeller and father of Soma (q. v.). He 
is son of Brahman (13, 65, 1), well versed in physiology (12, 214, 23), and 
is cited for the dictum, “those who give gold grant all wishes” (13,65,1). 

§ 126. Agastya is the chief seer outside the charmed circles of Bhrgus, 
Ajjgirasas, and the Seven.') He is still called Agasti in the epic and is 
famous for having become the Seer of the South (as star he is Canopus). 
He was a sort of half-brother, kumbhajtoni, of Vasistha, son of Mitra- 
Varuna (3, 103, 13 f.), hence called Kumbhasaipbhava. He was told by his 
ancestors, whom he saw hanging in a pit upside down, to get offspring. 
He then made and married the perfect woman Lopamudra (3, 130,6), for 
whose sake he sought jewels, but got from the Asura Ilvala the latter’s 
well cooked brother Vatapi to eat (3, 11, 37; R 3, II, 57). Merely saying 
hum, Agastya reduced the Asura to ashes. In £alya this is told as a 
clever trick (9, 31, 13; cf. 3, 96, 4,f.; 206, 28, etc.). As lokabhavana he 
drank up ocean to free earth from the ICaleya Asuras or from Hiranyaksa 
(1, 188, 15; 3, 103, 13 f.; 104, 15 f.; S 12,208, I3f.). He cursed Nahusa 
for insolence and Kubera (3, 179, 13 f.; 161, 58 f.). He tricked the Vindhya 
to stop growing till his return as he went South (conquered the South, 
R 6, 118, 14). His wife accompanied him (type of devotion, 3, 113,23). 
He legalised hunting by dedicating deer to gods (I, 118, 14). He gave 
rain when Indra failed to do so (14, 92, 4 f.). He is expressly mentioned 
with the Seven Seers as examples of those who became hermits, “mighty 
in their own Sutras and Sastras”, and eventually rose to heaven “not as 
Nak§atras but as clusters of lights” (12, 245, 16f.; anaksatrab . . jyo- 
tigaip ganab) ib. 22f.). Such star-seers are still affected by earthly 
struggles (5, 51, 54). Agastya turns Marlca and his mother into fiends 
(R 1,25, n); is visited by Rama and aids him (cf. R 3, 11, 3 3 f.; ib. 7, 
76, 23 f., etc.). He causes Mahendra to be set in the sea, gives Indra’s 
spear to Rama, and frees isveta from the curse of eating his own body 
(R 4, 41, 20; R 6, hi, 4; R 7, 78, 19). His brother is fsarabhanga (R 3, 
11, 39 f-)- Agastya refused to be son of Mitra (R 7, 57, 5f.). His pupil 
is AgniveSa, Guru of Drona (1, 139, 9fi). His mother is not epic, but VP. 
1, 10, 9 makes him an incarnation of Pulastya and Priti, formerly called 
Dambholi (here also other later views regarding the birth of other seers). 
H 12845 agrees with R 4, 41, 35 in locating his abode on Kunjara, but R 
places his asylum five leagues from Ramagiri, on the Godavari, and on 
Malaya (ib. 3, 11, 39 and 81; ib. 4, 41, 16; ib. 6, 126,41). Elements of 
the Agastya story appear in connection with other saints. His feat of 
drinking up ocean he shares with Utathya; but it is what any (§ 65) Yogin 
can do (12, 237, 24, kamat pibati ca ’Sayan). The story of his eating 
Vatapi, the brother of Ilvala, is like that (p. 180) of Kaca, son of Brhas- 
pati, who was reduced to paste and eaten. The tale of the inverted an¬ 
cestors and their advice is to be found in connection with Jaratkaru and 
others. These good stories exist, and are fitted on to various figures, 
like the beloved tale of the “wisest youngest” (yo ’nucanab sa no mahan, 
3, 133, 12 = 9, 51, 50, and 12, 324,6), a general apophthegm of the seers 
fitted on to Sarasvata, who was Vyasa Apantaratamas. 


') For details of the Agastya-story, see Adolf Holtzmann in ZDMG. 34 ) 5^9 f 



186 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


VIII. EARTHLY RSIS. 

§ 127. Other groups less definite than those above and a few more 
single seers ai;e prominent. Among the groups are the Valakhilyas, who 
sometimes appear on earth and sometimes are assigned toThe sunT'where 
they appear as Maricipas, drinking the rays of the sun, or in the sun’s 
/disc or on Himav at (1, 30,3, 35, I4f.). Garuda was born through 
their penance to rival fndra; their father may be Kratu (ib.; N. to l, 66, 8). 
They belong to the~cTass of Siddhas, who include saints of both worlds 
(R 3,1, 23 ; ib. 2, 70, 30), and have attained their state through asceticism 
(siddhagati, 3, 145, 9; 146, 93 ; 158, 84), though the Siddhas also include 
star-saints (R 5, 54 . 24). The Valakhilyas worship beside Ganges (3, 142, 
5) and make sacrifice (3, 90, 10). In the former passage they may be called 
Vaihayasas, or these “spirits of air” may be a separate class (as later). 
They are often associated with Vaikhanasas (as at Mt. Arcika, 3, 125, 17), 
also a class of supernatural saints (3, 114, 15). In 13, 141, ggf., the Vala¬ 
khilyas live, thumb-size, in the sun’s disc, keeping the uficha vow and hav¬ 
ing the power of gods (cf. H 11811 and VP. 2, 10, 21). They live 1000 
ages. The Ram. identifies them with Vaikhanasas (R 4, 40, 58), but not 
always (R 3, 6, 2 and ib. 35, 14 f.). The Sarasvatya gap a of 60000 saints 
mentioned with Gargya may be identified with these saints of the Saras- 
vati (9, 51, 51 and 3,90, 10). Rudra teaches them (12, 249, 18). 

§ 128. The Uttara Kurus are another class of Northern saints and 
seers, living beyond the gate barred by the head of the monster Mahi§a, 
south of Nila and on the flank ofMeru (3, 145,17; 231,97 f.; 6,7,2). They 
live ten thousand and ten hundred years and are buried by birds (cf. 
p. 20). They have heavenly felicity in food and freedom; their clothes are 
grown by trees; their women are not restrained (1, 122, 7f.; 13, 54, 16). 
They associate with spirits born of water and fire and mountain, and where 
they live, Indra “rains wishes”, and jealousy is unknown (13,102, 25, lokalj 
as modern log, people). 

§ 129. a) Carapas and Caras. — Other collective and indeterminate 
bodies called seers and Munis are the Caranas, raised' from the condition 
of earthly “wandering” minstrels to a heavenly state. The "path of Ca- 
rapas "is that of seers, yet they are found at the courts of kings as well 
as gods, as also in hermitages (1, 63, 66; 5, 123, 5, etc.; cf. R 4, 40, 30). 
They speak as heavenly prophets and are reckoned as R§is (R 5, 55, 30 
and 34). A similar heavenly group is that of the heavenly Cyclists, a sort 
of Siddha (R 5, 48, 24), who accpmpany Nagas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, etc., 
as in 3, 8$, 72. The scholiast calls them the cycling heavenly bodies (sun 
and moon), but in 13, 141, 103, a distinction is drawn between these pure 
souls, called Cakracaras, the Somacaras, and the Valakhilyas, as if all were 
sainted seers, with whom are the Pitr Seers called ASmakuttas, Saippra- 
ksalas, etc. The Saumyas and Raudras of 13,150, 26 are apparently groups 
of Pitf Seers (as in Manu 3, 199); but the Ivetas and Yatis who support 
the Pancaratra Sankhya religion (of 12, 349 and 350) are earthly sectarians. 

b) Finally, the Tu§ita spirits or gods also illustrate the negligible dis¬ 
tinction between gods and spirits. They are created by £iva, who (in the 
pseudo-epic) creates and upholds the seven Munis and'groups of gods, 
the drinkers of heat and of Soma, the Lekhas, and Suyamas and Tu§itas 
and Brahmakayas and Abhasuras, the smoke-drinkers and Gandhapas, the 




VIII. Earthly Rsis. 


187 


eaters by touch (SparSaSanas), drinkers by (or of) sight, the butter-drinkers, 
thought-gleamers (Cintyadyotas), and groups more familiar (Suparpa- 
Gandharva-PiSaca-Danava Yak§as tatha Carana-pannagaS ca), 
some being seers and some gods (13, 18, 73 f.). The Tusitas are Buddhistic 
and are found only here and in H (17L 418, 1346), being as unknown to 
the real epic as are the Abhasuras and Lekhas (v. 1. lokas). 

§ 130. Several individual seers, sometimes without family, sometimes 
assigned to a well-known group, exist foi* the purpose of a story or moral. 
The seer Tanu is such a R§i, an allegory of hope. He was eight times 
as long as other men and as thin as one’s little finger, and he talked with 
a hopeless king around whom sat the Munis “as round Dhruva sit the 
Seven Seers” (12, 127, 6f.; ib. 25). Matahga, famous in R, where the trees 
are said to have grown in his hermitage from the sweat of his pupils (R 
3 » 73 * 23 f.; ib. 74, 21 f.), and owing to whose curse Valin's followers turn 
to stone if they intrude on him (R 4, 11, 52; ib. 46,22), appears in Mbh. 
as authority for the rule, “break rather than bend” (as Matanga, metri 
causa, 5, 127, 1 g). He was of low birth and was reproved by his ass for 
beating her, which caused him to exercise austerities till his accumulation 
of merit exercised the gods, and Indra in self-defence taught him that it 
was vain for a man of low caste to try to attain Brahmanhood and turned him 
into a bird (see p. 137). Dadhici, or-ca, who took Indra’s place for a thou¬ 
sand years and took sides with 3 iva at Dak§a’s sacrifice, is known chiefly 
as giver of his bones to make Indra’s bolt (12,285, nf.; ib. 343, 28 f.). 
Many of this order are famous Rajar§is, that is seers who had been kings, 
like Dillpa (5, 109, 5, of the South), Yayati, Mahabhi§ak, etc., who won and 
lost worlds (1, 102, 3, S has °bhi§ak). Mahabhisak, being cursed, apa- 
dhyatah, by Brahman to be born on earth, was born as the son of Pra- 
tlpa (^arptanu, 1 , 96, 3 f.). Yayati Nahu$ya is known as ancestor of the epic 
heroes and as one who attained to heaven and fell through pride but sub¬ 
sequently regained his heavenly place; the Yayatipatana on the Narmada 
being still a holy spot (3, 82, 48; cf. ib. 129, 3f., his place on the Yamuna). 
His son Yadu born ofDevayanl, daughter of £ukra Kavya, was cursed by 
Kis father, while Puru was made heir (5, 149, 2f.). His love for ViSvaci, 
his Gathas on desire, death by starvation, but otherwise his felicity are 
well-known themes (later is the tale of his daughter Madhavl, 5, U5,6f.; 
ib. 121, if.; cf. 1, 75, 32fi; 83, 37; 85, 9; and 12, 26, 13; 327. 3 1 the 
Gatha, na bibheti paro yasmat, etc.). He has a Rajopani§ad or 
secret of royal policy, which is to kill every foe (12, 93, 39). His last words 
were nalam ekasya tat sarvam, “the universe is not enough for one 
man” (7, 63, 9). The Ramayana tells the story of his wives ( 7 , 5$, 7 f)» be¬ 
sides referring often to his felicity and misfortune (R 3 » < 56 , 7 > 17 . 10, 

etc.). Yadu’s sons became Rak$asas and Yatudhanas (R 7, 59 . 15 ) > his other 
disinherited sons became ancestors of wild tribes, Druhyu, Turvasu, Anu. 
R 1, 70, 40 makes Yayati the thirty-sixth descendant from Brahman as 
first; Mbh. (1, 76, 1) makes hipi tenth. Less general are the tales ofR§is 
like Gftsamada, cursed to become & mrgafi krurab, wild beast, because 
he made a mistake in recitation (Vari§tha cursed him, but MaheSvara freed 
him and made him “immortal and free from sorrow”, 13, 18, 20). NiSa- 
kara was a southern Rsi who practiced penance for eight thousand years 
and could reconstruct the wings of Sampati when burned by the sun (R 
4, 6o, 8 f.). SuvarnaSiras is the golden-haired ever young Muni who sings 
in the ocean, unseen, immeasurable, “whose song is the roar” of ocean 



188 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

(5, rio, 12: not an; "epithet of Svarbbanu”, PW). The same passage (ib. 
109, 11) says that Yavakrita’s son helped Savarpi Manu establish the south- 
* ern boundary of the sun. A Rsi Mahkapaka had vegetable juice for blood 
and danced till all the world danced with him. He was son of Wind and 
Sukanya and begot seven $ons with wind-names. f 5 iva converted him by 
turning hjs blood to ashes (3, 83, Ii6f.; 9, 38, 36 f.). The later epic tells 
of Likhita’s hands growing out after being cut off (12, 23, 18f.; 115,22; 
130, 2gf.; 13, 137, 19), and of the Devarsi called Bhurbhuva, a son of Brah¬ 
man, whom one sees in iheaven (13, 107, 81; H 11509)1 Occasionally a 
saint is split in two and makes a pair. Thus in 3, 26, 5 f., Vaka or Baka 
Dalbhya (=Darbhya); but in 3, 193, 4f., Baka and Dalbhya appear as “two 
long-lived seers”. It is thus that Narada Parvata (water-giving cloud) be¬ 
comes N. and P. Whether history or myth underlies some of the tales 
of the Rsis is doubtful. Apimapijavya, who was not a thief and yet was 
impaled as a thief (13, 18, 46), and opposed the Law,Dharma(§ 58), may reflect 
Christian tradition. Jimuta the Rsi who discovered a gold-mine in the 
mountains and gave his name to Jaimuta gold may also have been an his¬ 
torical character. He is named with Marutta of auriferous memory, a 
Rajarsi (5, in, 23; 178, 47; 7, 55, 37 f.). So with the founders of schools 
such as Sandilya and his wise daughter PancaSikha, befriended by Joiva, 
who paralysed Indra as he trie.d to kill the saint, "long-suffering Kapileya”, 
first pupil of Asuri, born in the family of ParaSara (7, 202, 84; 9, 54, 6; 
12, 218, 6f.; 254, 14; 321,24; 13,65, 19). Yet these characters are invol¬ 
ved in mythology and even Markapcjeya lived to a mythical age, though 
this son of Mrkapdu (S 3, 130 interpolated after B 128) is but an ancient 
story-telling Rsi (3, 25, 4f.; 183, 42f.; 199, 1, quest of an elder), of whom 
we know naught except his tales, save that he was opposed to meat- 
eating (13, 115, 38 ; perhaps ib. 125, 35) and was husband of Dhumorna 
(ib. 146, 4). Other Rsis, Yajnavalkya, who converses with Janaka Daiva- 
rati on the eight principles and sixteen modifications known to metaphy¬ 
sics (12, 311, 3 f.), Katyayana, Garga, Gargya, etc. are really historical 
characters. Durvasas, “son of Atri”, and Narada, "son of ViSvamitra”, 
are not dissimilar in their love of mischief. They both wander over the 
worlds, human and divine, and both make trouble. Durvasas was a human 
form of fsiva, as Narada was of Vi§pu. Durvasas’s blessing provided Kr§na 
with 16000 wives (13, 160, 47; 161, 37)! The early epic merely makes him 
a disagreeable guest, a bald ascetic of ferocious temper (3, 260, 3 f.). Na¬ 
rada as Gandharva is a cloud-spirit, hence a rumbler and grumbler, finally 
a saint fond of strife. So ViSvavasu, though a Gandharva, discourses philo¬ 
sophy (12, 319, 27 f.). Narada reeited the epic to the gods, as did Asita 
Devala to the Pitrs (Devalasita teaches Narada, 12, 276, if.). Of all these, 
Narada is most transparent. His name means “water-giver”; he is at 
first the cloud, parvata, then Narada Parvata, and finally Parvata becomes 
a shadowy second, till they even quarrel (7, 55, 14f.) and curse Nrga to 
become a lizard (R 7, 53, 7f. cf. 13, 70, 1 f., a different version of the pop¬ 
ular tale of the curse attached to stealing a priest’s cow). In 12, 30, 4f., 
as uncle and nephew, they curse each other to become a monkey and to 
lose heaven, because Narada loves Sukumari. Narada is Mahar§i, especi¬ 
ally Devar§i, but he appears “on a cloud” (R 7,21, 3). So Kundadhara 
is a cloud (jaladhara) yet a Mahar?i who speaks, etc. (12,272,6 and 
i8f.). Narada as samarapriya and kelikara sends Ravana to the White 
Island to be mocked (87,20,18 ; ib. 37, pra.5,13). One who dies is not at once 


IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


189 

reborn but wanders as a spirit like a great cloud through the sky (12, 
298, 18). Narada is lokacara, and as a cloud, with £vasana (wind), goes 
as (cf. meghaduta) messenger (3, 19, 21 f.). Examples of his desire to 
foment trouble will be found at 9, 52, nf.; ib. 50,66; 13, 155, 17; 158, 
20, etc. Matali tells him that he has a soul hiipsatmakamana, or-la, 
"stained with love of strife” (5, 100, 19); but he does many good acts (3, 
175, 18; 5, 185, 2; 7, 163, 15, etc.). Otherwise he is a fable-monger, philo¬ 
sopher, and sectarian teacher (5,160,15 ; 14, 24, if.; 12, 339, 4f.). Na- 
rada’s mother was VIrinI; but this is in a second birth (H 120 f.). See § 93 f. 

IX. THE THREE SUPREME GODS. 

§ 131. Brahman. — Brahman lacks the hold of the nature-gods upon 
popular imagination. He is vaguer and tends to pass back into the universal 
world-power out of which he emerged, the neuter brahmam .. param (R 7, 
109, 4, sic) or brahman. Yet the personifying power invests even It with 
figurative anthropomorphism; "the city of Brahman” == brahman (brah- 
mapuraip prapya, brahma mahat, 12, 177, 5of.). The brahman 
is philosophical; Brahman is mythological, the husband ofKriya (§ 38) or 
of Savitri (13, 146, 4; cf. § 41). 

Brahman is atmabhu, svayaipbhu, “.self-existent”, and as such is 
generally identified with Prajapati or the Great Father of the World, Pita- 
maha, and with the other personified abstractions, Dhatr, Vidhatr (Maker, 
Disposer), and ViSvakarman, panurgos in a good sense, All-maker. He 
is Lokapitamaha, imperishable, undeteriorating (5, 97, 2); “ageless, eternal, 
unborn” are his standing epithets. He is at once creator, preserver, and 
destroyer, combining in himself, in the earlier epic, the functions later 
appropriated by other gods. As Creator, Brahman created the worlds and 
all that moves and does not move; he is Bhutapati (2, 3, 14), “lord of 
existent things”; he assigned also to all their occupations (9, 39, 35; 10, 
3, 18). “Maker and lord of the world” he is called, by various terms 
(sr$tikrd deva, sarvasya dhatr, lokakartr, lokadhatr, sarva- 
lokakrt, jagatsrastr, lokapati, jagatpati, etc). He is purvaja, "first¬ 
born” as first being, and so aja, “unborn”. His creation is through de¬ 
miurges. He produces spiritually “mental sons” and they beget all crea¬ 
tures. Brahman’s own birth from the mundane egg or from the lotus (below) 
is ignored in the earliest versions of his creation. Thus R 2, no, 3f., in 
substantial agreement with 12, 166, 12 f., makes Brahman born in the prim¬ 
ordial waters, which, unintelligent, enveloped the world. R says in boar- 
form (RG as “Visiju” is late), but Mbh. ignores the “form” and says that 
“Brahman created air, fire, sun, earth, space, clouds” (etc. divisions of 
time), “and then the Great Father, assuming a corporeal body, Sarlraip 
lokastham, begot sons of great energy. Daksa, son of Pracetas (one 
of these), then begot sixty daughters, and the Brahmarsis begot offspring 
by them, who bore all creatures, gods, Pitrs (etc., down to the beings born 
of sweat and eggs). Then the Great Father of all the worlds declared 
to them the law as uttered in the Vedas”. The first of these mental sons 
was Marici; from him came KaSyapa, from whom again came gods and 
men. The numbers and names of the sons differ in different accounts. 
In the S text of the tale above, Bharadvaja takes the place of Rudra, and 
Bhrgu (as is right, cf. 1, 5, 7) appears between Marici and Atri; also Pra¬ 
japati (Daksa) takes the place of Pracetasa. The list of sons is then Marici, 



iqo III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB.. Epic Mythology. 


(Bhrgu), Atri, Pulgstya, Pulaha, Kratu, Vasi§tha and Angiras (dual), Bha- 
radvaja (or Rudra); followed by “and Daksa Pracetasa (or Prajapati) begot 
sixty daughters”. The S text endeavors to remove Rudra (£iva) from the 
stigma of inferiority, but it has one advantage, that of making the mental 
sons nine in dumber (as in some other passages). The genealogists (r, 
66, 4 and 65, 10) call these sons “mental”, but know only six, omitting 
Bhrgu, Vasistha, and Bharadvaja or Rudra; yet they add Bhrgu later. Nine 
sons beginning with Marlci are recognised in 3, 272, 45 (without further 
names); the scholiast her*e adds to the six the names of Vasistha, Narada, 
and Bhrgu (cf. 12, 340, 18 ; 346, 6). fylanu adds all these together and so 
makes ten (Manu 1, 35). Rudra may also .be got into the list by 1, 66, 
1: "Six are the great seers known as Brahman’s mental sons; eleven are 
the sons of Sthanu (called, the eleven Rudras”). The genealogist derives 
“Daksa and Dak$a’s wife”, respectively, from the right and left thumbs of 
Brahman; gives Brahman another son, Manu (father of the Prajapati whose 
sons were the eight Vasus), and says that Bhrgu was born from the left 
breast (heart) of Brahman (to become father of £ukra and Cyavana), as 
Dharma was born “cleaving the right breast” of the Father-god. Dhatr 
and Vidhatr are here “set with Manu” (also a son of Brahman in 1, 73, 
9 and 12, 341, 34); their sister is Lak$mi, to whom also are ascribed cloud 
horses as “mental sons” (1,66,41 and 51). Six seem to be the traditio¬ 
nal number. Eight bring the sons in accord with the eight prakrtayalj 
of philosophy (so Manu and Vasistha are added in 12, 341, 34). As seven 
the sons are confused with the Seven Seers (§ 118). Thus in 12, 208, 3, 
the seven are patayafi prajanam or Prajapatis (including Vasistha here) 
and also "seven Brahmans” (also H 42). In this chapter, Daksa is the 
only son of the ten Pracetasas (sons of Pracinabarhis in the family of Atri) 
and is called Ka (Brahman’s name), though in the preceding section Daksa 
is “seventh of the mental sons of Brahman” and the eldest, “born from 
the thumb of Brahman previous to the birth of Marlci” (12, 207, 17 and 
19). As seventh son, Dak$a is recognised also in 3, 163, 14. In R 1, 70, 
17, a genealogy, Marlci is chief because he fathers KaSyapa, ancestor of 
gods and men, and so elsewhere in genealogies. Daksa again is. born in 
later accounts from the mundane egg or from the All-Soul and has his 
own “seven sons” (1, 1, 33) and twenty-one Prajapatis, though called Pra¬ 
cetasa. In I, 75, 4f., Pracetasa Daksa is Lokapitamaha, since he married 
Vlrini, (daughter of VIrina), called Asiknl (Night; cf. H 120) and begot 
fifty daughters, who were commissioned to bear him sons. They wed 
Dharma, KaSyapa, and Soma, and to KaSyapa thirteen of them bore the 
Sun and other gods; the Sun being in turn father of Yama and of Manu, 
who begot all men! ■ If one believes in the unity of the epic one has a 
pretty task here, for elsewhere Daksa has sixty daughters and Manu is 
the, direct son of Brahman and weds the extra ten (12, 343, 57; H 12450); 
and in 1,65, 11 there are only thirteen daughters, Aditi being the first. 
Another tale, 10, 17, 10, makes Brahman appoint Rudra Bhava (&va) to be 
.demiurge and create all beings, but £iva runs and hides in water (like 
Agni), and when he, Sthanu, has disappeared, Brahman "created another 
creator to create beings”, and this proxy “created beings and seven Pra¬ 
japatis, with Daksa first” (the S text has, "Daksa Prajapati created seven”). 
Brahman here at least is higher than Jsiva, and so he is in 8, 35, 2f., where 
Pitamaha is abhyadhika, “superior” to Rudra. The special demiurge 
of the second creation is Daksa also in H 116, though in the deluge-story 



JX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


igr 


Brahman creates the universe through Manu, who is the father not only 
of men but of gods and demons (3, 187, 53). In 2, 11, 18 f., where the 
perfect hall of Brahman is described, the prajanaip patayafc include 
Dak§a, Pracetas, etc., Gautama, Afigiras, Kratu, till the list runs into names 
that cannot be considered, but it suggests that when the “twenty-one” 
prajanaip patayalj of 1, I, 33 are mentioned as twenty-one Prajapatis 
(12, 335 . 35 ) and only twenty are named,, the name Prahlada may have 
been left out as incongruous, the space being filled out by the inept yah 
proktab actually found. Brahman here himself heads the list of Praja¬ 
patis 'as first of the twenty(-one). Perhaps the stated “six" (above) ori¬ 
ginally included Brahman, thus agreeing with the “seven creators” in 
number. R 3, 14, 6 f. has a similar list including Kardama, Vikrita and 
others mentioned here (12, 335, 35), but also others not in this list, Ari- 
§tanemi, etc., and it omits Brahman. Kratu is son of Brahman and father 
of the Valakhilyas (1, 66, 9). The mystic equivalents of the mental seven 
are Sana, Sanatsujata, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Kapila, and Sa- 
natana (12, 340, 72). Of the demiurges, Pulastya, the “beloved son” (3, 274, 
12), begot Rak§asas, Yak§as, Apes, and Kinnaras; he is renowned as father 
of ViSravas (hence VaiSravapa and Ravapa), who was half of himself (3, 
274, 12f.). The tale of Jatayus in R 3, 14 assigns only eight daughters 
to KaSyapa (among them Tamra) and is from the source of Mbh. 1, 66, 
though it upholds the later view that Dak§a had sixty daughters. Adi 65 
and 66 were originally not parts of one creation myth but have been 
patched together. Many other beings are especially “s6ns of Brahman”, 
Jambavat, Kavi (adopted son, 13, 85, 125), Death (7, 53, 17, born of Brah¬ 
man’s wrath), Rudra (idem, H 43), Taptji (13, 14, 19); and Surabhi is (dif¬ 
ferent to the account in I, 66) born from Brahman’s vomit of ambrosia, 
a disgusting tale (5, 102, 3). Earth and Jara and Sarasvati are also "daugh¬ 
ters of Brahman” (2, 18, 2; 12, 343, 75; 13, 155, 2). Narada and Sanat¬ 
kumara are first “great seers” only, and then become “sons of Brahman”. 
Vacaspati and some other abstractions are not sired at all. The cosmic 
myth derives even Brahman from the golden egg and philosophy has him 
born of Atman (1, 1, 32; 12, 312, 3), a theory- united with that of the birth 
from Vi§nu*s navel (R 7, 56, 7). Vasi§tha adresses Brahman as “born of 
the egg, born of the lotus, god of gods, savior of the world” (cf. H 35f. 
and 7962 f.). The egg-theo,ry is repudiated in a speech ascribed to the 
Wind god: “How can he who is unborn be born of an egg? The egg 
means space; thence only was the Great Father born. There is no (cos¬ 
mic) egg; but Brahman is; he is the king, the enlivener (creator) of the 
world” (13, 154, 19). Though “lotus-born”, abjaja, is not an unusual 
epithet, it or its equivalent padmayoni, kamalasana, etc., is found 
chiefly in late chapters of books seven and thirteen, in 1, 54, 11 and 3, 
82, 25, a Tlrtha-praise of Pu$kara, also in the Markapdeya episode. The 
birth from the lotus is formally recounted in 3, 272, 44; 12, 207, 13; and 
referred to occasionally, as in 3,. 12, 38, nabhipadmad ajayata Brahma. 
The androgynous Brahman is found in H 50, where he divides himself 
to make male and female. 

§ 132. Brahman’s titles, and those the most magnificent, are given 
to him without regard to belief in what the titles imply. In the late pas¬ 
sage where he is subject to Vi§pu and this god produces him from his 
navel and curtly orders Brahman to attend to his “creative business” 
(prajapatyhip karma, R 7, 104, 7), probably as late a passage as any 


192 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

in R, Brahman is “.mighty lord of the world”. In the same book he is 
described as tribhuvaneSvara, devadeva, “lord of the three worlds”, 
“god of gods”; though the Uttara is intent on making not Brahman but 
Visou fit these titles (R 7, 98, 15 f., 23 f.). In R 7,69,22, Brahman is “god 
of gods and lord of gods and great forefather” (devadeva, deveSa, 
prapitamaha); in R 7, 76, 38f., he is devadeveSa, “lord of god of 
gods”, an epithet usually applied to £iva. The same thing occurs in H, 
devoted to Visiju, but willing to give titular honors to Brahman, in Ori¬ 
ental style. Titles mean something historically, but they are no gauge of 
belief or of the estimation in which a god is«really held. They are often 
mere survivals. Brahman’s titles, Great Father (grandfather of the world), 
Lord of all, Creator, Owner of all, Guru of worlds and gods, Pitamaha, 
Prajapati, ViSveSa, Srastr, Dhatr, Lokaguru, L'okavrddha, Suraguru (3,274, 
11; 5,49,4; cf. 1,6,5; 64,39), are amplified more'for grandiloquence 
than for added meaning by the epithets Sarvalokapitamaha, Sarvabhuta- 
pitamaha, Lokabhavana, LokeSvareSvara, LokadinidhaneSvara, -Adideva (7, 
53, 13 and 20), Bhutatman (3', 87, 19), Lokadi, Hirapyagarbha, and a few 
expressions of doubtful' meaning, Virinci (1, 38, 17), Niruktaga (12, 340, ‘ 
50; cf. niruktam abhijagmivan, 12, 343, 73, of Yaska finding the lost 
Veda). Dhatr, often independent, is Brahman, e. g. in 3, 20, 27 f.; 3, 173, 

8 (cf. 3, 19, 24; 5, 163, 44). Vi§nii and 3 iva eventually assume Brahman’s 
titles Jagannatha, Vasudhadhipa, ^ambhu, Sthapu, Parame?thin, and even 
Pitamaha (3, 231, 53). Agni and Indra as well as Brahman are called 
Bhagavat, Lokabhavana, lSa, DeveSa, and Brahman is Sarvabhuj (like Agni), 
when destroyer (12, 141, 55). Brahman is also "witness of the world”, Lo- 
kasak$in (DeveSa, of Brahman, 3, 142, 51). In a few places ISana and ISvara. 
are clearly used of Brahman (1, 188, 18; 3, 30, 22; 32, 1). Brahman is per¬ 
sonified Fate (3, 30, 26 and 36). R 2, 14, 49 calls him Atmabhu, Prapi¬ 
tamaha, and has also the titles of the other epic, Lokapati, Varada, Sar¬ 
valokapitamaha (R 6, 61, 23 f.). 1 ) 

§ 133. The view that Brahman was the Adideva or original god is 
modified only in the later epic by his superiority being set aside in favor 
of Vi§nu or &va, with one exception. This exception indeed implies that 
the god is “lotus-born” and so comes under the head ofVispu’s general 
superiority. It is complicated, however, by the intrusion of another ele¬ 
ment, which recognises as coeval with Brahman the demon of darkness. 
The account in general resembles those already given. Brahman is born 
from the lotus; Dak§a is the seventh son, and has fifty daughters. Dhatr 
Brahman is commissioned by Govinda to be "overseer of all beings” (12, 
207, I7f. ; ib. 38). But immediately 1 on Brahman’s birth occurs that of the 
demon Asura Madhu, whose only origin is “darkness” and who is even¬ 
tually slain by Kr§iia-Vi$iju, “to avenge Brahman”, as the demon of dark¬ 
ness was endeavoring to kill the creator. Madhu, like Brahman, is pur- 
vaja, first-born, and from darkness (tamasa or, with S, t a mas ah). His 
origin antedates creation and is due to the principle of darkness alone. 

*) For otlier titles, expressing the idea of those above, add Aja, Purvaja, Abjaja, 
etc. already poted. Adolph Holtzraann, Brahman im Mahabharata, has given, as 
indicated in the title, a conspectus of statements concerning Brahman for the Great Epic 
(ZDMG. 38, 167 f.). There too will be found a few more titles, synonymous with those 
registered above, such as Triloke^a, Bhumipati, Lokakrt. The moral side of Brahman is 
emphasised in the titles Devasattama, SuraSrestha (etc., e. g. 7, 94, 51), "best of the 
gods". On his epithet “four-faced" see below. 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


193 


He is described as attacking Brahman to steal the Vedas (in 12, 34 ^, 27 f-» 
earlier, without the title Purvaja, in 3, 12 and 202). Brahman as the 
principle of light thus creates also in a living being the soul which 
goes to his heaven as light. In R 3, 5, 44, he greets such a soul with a 
mere welcoming word, susvagatam (Sarabhanga, the sainted suicide; 
but heroes also go to the world of Brahman, 7, 142, 29; 143, 34 and 47). 
But in 12, 200, 25, Brahman cries “welcome’’ and then “made conscious 
the flame (soul) and it entered his mouth". 

The old Vedic tradition that the Creator was exhausted on completing 
the creative act finds a faint reflection in the epic statement that when 
Brahman had created, he rested under a certain isalmali tree (12, 156, 7). 
He "created the worlds” at Pfthudaka on the Sarasvati (9,39, 35)1 
. § 134. Brahman as Preserver. — The usual view that Brahman 

having created remains inactive, is true only in part. He appoints in the 
beginning the functions of his children, the gods (1, 31, 18); especially to 
Indra he hands over the kingship of the gods (1, 212, 25), and entrusts 
to him the combat with demons. But he himself is no idle observer. He 
continues to create (thus he creates death, 7, 52 = 12, 258), and, though 
usually found in Brahmaloka, often wanders about to various resorts (Pra- 
yaga, I, 55, 1), the Mahendra Hills (favorite resort of Bhutatman Brahman, 
3, 87, 19 and 22), the Himavat (9, 38, 5, 11, 29) and Puskara, where Brah¬ 
man made sacrifice, and the Brahma-lake, where Brahman himself erected 
the sacrificial post (3, 84, 86). Brahmaloka itself is no place for medita¬ 
tion. Both it and the Hall of Brahman are gay resorts. Saints and heroes 
and singers and dancers, one of whom is Brahman’s own daughter (Me- 
naka, 1,74,69), enliven Brahman’s home (2, 11 passim and 1 , 96 , 3 ', 211, 
3; 3, 82,25), whether it be*on high or on the earth. Brahman lives at 
Tirthas and especially in Kuruk§etra, which is "heaven on earth” (trivi- 
§tapa, 3, 83, 4); for once every month “Brahman and the gods assemble 
there” (ib. 191). Probably the dawn-hymns give rise to the belief that 
the Vedas daily awaken Brahman: “The Vedas and Angas and Vidyas 
awaken to-day, adya, the self-existent lord Brahman” (R 2, 14,49). So 
day by day he makes the sun rise (3, 313, 46) and keeps daily guard over 
individuals as well as over the course of nature. He provides food in 
general, but in particular provides wives and husband (3, 224, 23; 229, 
45). He determines the sex of the new creature (6, 98, 22) and imparts 
to it folly or cleverness (5, 31,2). After “repeatedly calling to mind what¬ 
ever was best”, Brahman (Dhatr) created ASvatthaman (9, 6, 12), a late 
creation. He constantly directs the course of events. As the embittered 
heroine says (3, 30, 21 f.): “Brahman, the Creator and Great-grandsire, 
Maker and Lord (Dhatr, ISvara, ISana) gives weal and woe to every crea¬ 
ture, and plays with man as a boy does with a bird bound to a string, 
or as a man with a marionette; sending this one to hell and that one to 
heaven”. This is no drowsy god sitting apart from his creation. It is an 
active god, ruler and disposer, though more or less confused with the 
idea of Fate. Brahman’s activities are remarkably varied for a godtheo- 
retically having nothing to do after creating. He constantly gives advice 
when the gods fear danger, tells them what tp do, informs them that he 
has forseen, and provided against, the untoward event (1, 197, 5; 3, 100, 
6; 106, 1, here he tells the gods how ocean, drained by Agastya, will be 
filled). He comforts “men and gods” in time of trouble (3, 107, 7; loka 
as modern log = men). Or a lone petitioner (3, 293, 16) seeks aid in 

Jndo-arische Philologie III. 1 b. 13 


194 IU. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

behalf, of another and “through the grace of the Self-existent" obtains 
the boon. 

Long after creation, when men, who had been all Brahmans before 
(sarvaip brahmam), were divided into castes, and sin flourished, Brahman 
created laws .and punishment. He makes castes throtigh the help of the 
good demon Bali, according to H 1688; but of his own initiative in 12, 
188, 4f. As "half of Vi§nu”, Brahman sleeps a thousand times four Yugas 
(3, 189, 39—42); but when he wakes he remains active till the end of his 
day. Thus he curses the sinner who shocks modest Ganges (1,96,6); 
curses a nymph to be born as a fish (1, 63, 58); curses another to be born 
as a doe (3, no, 36) and become mother of the horned saint R§ya£piga; 
and even curses the gods (but this is late) because they do not sacrifice 
to him (H 907). Yet all the curses in the real epic are for the good of 
the world, and so he curses Kumbhakarna to sleep half the year, because 
this demon (grandchild of Brahman) harries gods and men (R 7, 23); and 
so, though he permits Indra to be overcome, he instigates his release (ib. 
61, 23). He gives immortality to Vibhi§aqa because, like Prahlada, he is 
a good demon (3, 275, 31= R 7,10,35). To sinful demons he refuses 
immortality (1, 209, 21). He allows the Asuras to grasp the shadow, not 
the substance (R 4, 40, 35). His recognition of Rama as Vi§nu is based 
on moral grounds (R 6, 120, I3f.). From his mouth came the priests as ut- 
terers of truth (12, 72,4, etc.) As Sarvalokaprabhu and Bhutabhartjr, 
he blesses the undertaking of the good (R 2, 25, 25). Even the victim 
of his rather inconsiderate boon yields with an expression of confidence 
in the self-existent Lokaguru (Hanumat, R 5, 48, 41 f.). He grants the 
boon of invulnerability not only to the Alvins but to the more modern 
Hanumat (R 5, 59. 1 Q)- He takes from USanas and bestows his wealth on 
Maya, because one is evil and the other good (R 4, 51, 12 and 15). Both 
epics thus recognise him as an ever-active god. The gods sit round him 
and serve him as courtiers do a king (2, 4, 41). He sits in his “holy world- 
revered home” and advises Agni how to escape dyspepsia (1, 223, 68), 
when appealed to by that god; and without appeal comforts his daughter- 
in-law Puloma (wife of Bhrgu) and "names her tears” the river Vadhusara 
(1, 6, 5). A late tale makes him send Indra to comfort Sita (after R 3, 
50). He watches battles on earth and comes to earth to advise Vyasa 
and Valmlki (1, 1, 59f.; R 1, 2, 23 f.). He had a war-chariot, which he 
shared with other gods (Indra, Varupa, and iSana, 7, 127, 1), but let it come 
into the possession of mortals. He journeys on a vehicle drawn by geese, 
the gods and seers being his escort (3, 291, 17 f.). He is called here Pad- 
mayoni, Caturmukha, Jagatsra§tf. He gives away weapons (R 2, 44, 11, 
etc.) and even makes them himself (1, 225, 19; R 3, 44, 14); as Dhatr he 
makes the bolt of Indra (12, 343, 41). The brahmam astram was made 
by him to counteract other weapons (7, 201, 37), apparently distinct from 
“Brahman’s rod” (R 6, 22, 5). He made (it is implied) defensive armor 
(7, 103, 20). He made Hiranyapura (3, 173, n), or it was “made by ViS- 
vakarman” (5, 100, 2), who is a secondary Prajapati (1, 66, 28) as “maker 
of arts”* Probably the two were sometimes identified, as “Vi 3 vakj-t made 
the universe” (13, 40, 37). But usually Brahman does the thinking and 
ViSvakarman does the work. Thus it is both as creator and preserver that 
Brahman commands ViSvakarman to make Tilottama, to tempt Sunda and 
Upasunda to their ruin (1,211, 10). So (above) Brahman makes the bolt, 
but in 3, 100, 23, Tva§tT> the artifex, actually converts the bones of Da- 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


195 


dhica into the bolt. As, warrior-god, Brahman and Prajapati taught Ar- 
juna how to use weapons (4, 61, 26), Brahman in particular teaching him 
how to shoot. Here Prajapati is not Brahman. So in 14, 35, 25, "spot¬ 
less Brahman” is consulted by the seers including Prajapati, a distinct 
personality; though ib. 34, "Prajapati who is truth” is not the seer, and 
in 3, 183,63, Prajapati who “created men like gods" and is purvotpanna 
(=purvaja) is Brahman. After "creating the Vedas, men, gods, demons, 
worlds, times, other Prajapatis, truth, law, austerities, usage, purity, and 
the castes” (12, 188, iifi, asrjat, vidadhe, nirmame for "create"), he 
helps the Seers find the Vedas stolen by the demons (12, 210, 19; 348, 
28); he first “sang them in the East" (5, 108, 10). He fashions the war¬ 
rior’s heart (5, 134, 37), perhaps in the beginning, but it is late when he 
composes a law-treatise called the Trivarga, abridged by Brhaspati (and 
Indra, 12, 59, 30). His Gatha Brahmagitah are "songs composed by Brah¬ 
man" (not "sung in the Veda”), for the synonymous expression is "sung 
by Prajapati” (12, 265, 10 and 12; cf. ib. 136, 1). Other (all unimportant) 
sayings ascribed to Prajapati, Dhatr, Svayaipbhu, etc. are given in 13, 35, 
4—12; 13, 20, 14; I, 113, 12; 3, 31, 39 (cf- R4. 34 . gito’yaip Brahmana 
3 lokab kruddhena, on ingratitude). Prajapati (as year, etc. 3,200, 37f., 
68) is pleased with food, as Indra and Agni are with a seat and a wel¬ 
come, respectively. The Vedic mogham annaip vindate, etc. is a 
gitarp Brahmana (5, 12, 18f.). He arbitrates between the quarrelling 
breaths (14,23,7!.); decides that aum is the best Veda for gods and 
demons (14, 26, 8); and instructs the Seers (ib. 35, 26 f.). In fact, in the 
later epic he is too active, personally manufacturing the diadem of Manu 
and Rama (pra. R 6, 131,65), etc., as he becomes a lay-figure for utter¬ 
ing discourses. 

§ 135.. Brahman’s activity and impartiality lead to the fundamental 
weakness of his character. He is a god of asceticicsm, he is father of 
gods and demons. Therefore, to win his favor, gods and demons practice 
asceticism, and because he is an impartial father he grants invulnerability, 
etc., to either god or demon indifferently. As the demons always take 
advantage of this weakness, Brahman is ever engaged in preserving the 
world from the result of his own folly. One cannot call it ignorance, for 
he is prescient. He is "equable to all”, that is his boast and glory (1, 
49, 10; 13, 85, 3; R I, 1, 13), but he is also well-disposed, suhrd, toward 
both demons and gods (5, 78, 7)1 as being equally his children. He created 
them as an ascetic (mahatapab, 3, 189,47) and “the place of the Great 
Father" is obtained by like asceticism (12, 160, 32, 161,2). So Sunda and 
Upasunda win their evil might (1, 209, 21); so Bali becomes a favorite 
(12, 223, Ilf.; Indra is forbidden to kill him). The whole drama of the 
Ram. is based on the criminal folly of Brahman in giving Ravana his 
power (3, 275, 20; 276, if.; R 6, 41, 63, "Ravana’s insolence is due 
to Brahman’s boon”). Viradha (Tumburu) boasts of the same thing (R* 3 , 
3, 6). The Kabandha exults in being able to attack Indra because Brahman 
was so pleased with his tapas that he gave him immunity (R 3, 71, 8). 
As Brahman is the priests’ darling god (brahmanavatsala, R 7, 5 > 16); so 
Ravana’s son is vallabhajj Svayaipbhuvah, to whom Brahman gives 
the very brahmastra which ensnares Rama and the means to conquer 
Brahman’s own son Jambavat (R 6, 73, 64 f.; 74, 12 and 14). Restriction 
of Ravana’s power is due only to Brahman becoming offended at the 
rape of Punjikasthala. Other examples might be cited. They show that 


13* 


ig6 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


Brahman is constantly active, even if as preserver he preserves in great 
part from the conscience of his own acts. Yet he has taken a vow that 
"sinners must be slain” (8, 33, 43) and waits the issue calmly, confident 
that virtue will win (5, 128, 41; right makes might, 6, 21, gfi). But his 
lack of initiative ( in slaying leads eventually to his dishonor: "One does 
not honor very much the gods that do not kill”, and those cited as thus 
without very, much honor are Brahman and Dhatr as well as the god of 
innocuous desuetude, Pu§an (12, 15, 16). This is put less baldly in R- 3, 
64, 55: “If the heroic maker of the world were merciful, all would dis¬ 
honor him". But he is not altogether disregarded. He is invoked for a 
blessing, karotu svasti te Brahma (S 7, 94, 41; B has brahma); his 
favor is requested at the beginning of a tale (1, 64, 3). In his honor is 
performed a celebration, mahotsava, like that of £iva, at the autumn 
harvest festival, in which wrestling and gladiatorial games are performed, 
perhaps at the time of the new moon, when seers visit the god in 
Brahmaloka (12, 192, 20 and 1, 96, 3 f.), as if the Father God were still 
a god delighting in destruction (4, 13, 14 and 40; the contest of men 
and wild animals is held in the inner court of the palace so that ladies 
may look on). 

§ 136. Brahman as Destroyer.— He created Death (above), that the 
world might be preserved, but he is also known as the god “whose anger 
burned the world” 1(12, 257, 16), and this anger seems to be rever in the 
mind of the unsectarian believer. "Surely", cries Matali, “this must be the 
destruction of the world which is caused by Brahman” (Pitamahena 
saipharab prajanaip vihito dhruvam = jagatah k§ayah, 3,171,21). He 
is “Lord of the World's Destruction”, LokadinidhaneSvara (see above, 
§ 132), and the destruction of earth is caused by his wrath, who is Sar- 
vapitamahafi sarvasya Dhata caturananab (R 5, 54, 37 and 43). This 
is not the destruction caused by his sleep, but by his wrath, Svayaipbhu- 
kopena. The world-destruction caused by Brahman’s falling asleep is 
but a phase of eternal life. How long it lasts is doubtful, as the epic 
authorities cannot, agree even on so vital a point as this. A Yuga lasts 
12000 years and a thousand Yugas measure the duration of Brahman’s 
sleep and of his day, or, as expressed in terms of the means of destruction, 
“at the end of a thousand Yugas, Fire (Vibhavasu) destroys all'’, and 
Brahman, whose sons are here mystically interpreted as the “Fathers of 
Fathers” (Mind, Intelligence, etc.), begins to sleep (12, 47, 56; cf. 3, 3, 55; 3, 
188, 28; 6 , 32, 17). But in 12, 312, I f., where also the gods are “sons of the, 
Pitrs”, and Brahman is produced by the All-soul (Avyakta as God), the day 
of Brahman is “one quarter less” t,han a day of Gird, and a day of God 
is ten thousand times forty-eight thousand years; that is, Brahman’s day 
is seventy-five thousand Kalpas, or 360000000 years. A “day of the ele¬ 
ments” lasts 144000000 years according to this system, which, however, 
is quite .unknown to the real epic. But even the pseudo-epic does not 
have such calculations as are found in the HarivaipSa and Puranas, in 
which one period of a Manu is seventy-one times the four ages or a 
period of 4320000 human years and fourteen Manvantaras make one day 
of Brahman (H 531). The earlier calculation is that of 12000 years making 
one day of>Brahman (3, 188, 22 f.). An insert at S 2, 51, 41 says that 
3600000 years pass while Vi§gu sleeps (jagmus tasya . . var$aui . §at- 
trirp£acchatasahasram manu§ene ’ha sankhyaya). Unless specially 
restricted the years are to be fcalculated as human years, and probably 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


197 


till the period of the later epic, which is represented by 3, 3 and 3, l88 
(above) as well as by the pseudo-epic, the only period known was the 
Yuga-complex of twelve thousand years. Then a thousand such were made 
a day of Brahman, and with the introduction of Manvantaras in the later 
epic speculation, this was replaced by astronomical calculations based on 
the knowledge of the precession of Aryabhata or Hipparchus. *) 

§ 137. Brahman is caturmukha (passim), caturanana (R 5, 54, 
37)> caturvaktra (12, 351, 11; R 7, 5, I2)j not as having four faces and 
so four heads, and as bearing a Veda on each head, but as being 
omniscient, seeing in all directions. Except for an allusion to his "Veda- 
knowing hand” (R 7, 36, 3) this is almost the only descriptive epithet of 
his form. He is, as also said, sarvajfia, “all-knowing", and as such he is 
also caturmurti as he is caturveda, embracing four forms or divisions 
of law.and Veda (3, 203, IS; S adds caturvarga); or, again, he is 
amitadhlb, "of unmeasured wisdom” (2, 11, 57), more particularly, "he 
knows the past, the present, and the future”, bhutabhavyabhavi§yavid 
(7i 54, 32). He is as Ha and Ssaipbhu (later epithets of Siva) aware of 
what will happen, and as such a Suraguru, most venerable of gods, he 
commands Vi§nu to be born on earth, and Vi?nu receives the command 
carried to him by Indra, says “it is well”, and obeys. Useless to conceal 
the fact of Vi§iju’s inferiority in the defiant addition that Vi§iju himself is 
Prajapatipati (1, 64, 43 f.). So in 3, 276, 5, Brahman says “the four-armed 
god has been sent to earth by my orders” to overcome Ravaga. It is he 
who makes Soma lord of plants and Dhruva lord of stars and protects 
from the fire below (H 64, 1330, 2557). The boar-incarnation is not Visnu’s 
in the older Ramayaga but Brahman’s (R 2, no, 3), and the gods do not 
at first recognise the boar-form ofVi§nu at all (3, 142, 50). It is Brahman 
who fears no one (R 2, 30, 27); it is he whom Vi§nu and Indra revere 
as DeveSa, Lord of gods (9, 34, 18). Vi§nu as the “one eternal son of 
Aditi” is, to exalt him, said to be "like Brahman” (5, 97, 3). Brahman 
outranks Vi§uu, leading the gods (3, 83, 70 and 73); and “all the gods 
along with Vi§iju” come in fear to him (3, 105, 19). These passages are 
not sectarian; but it is even more surprising that Kr$oa-Vi§nu j s unknown 
to the gods and has to be explained by Brahman (6, 66 , 4). At first, 
Brahman is a "pure-souled” (1, 212, 22) and "eternal, immeasurable” being, 
higher than all the Devas. But the later epic, and long before the gross 
additions of the pseudo-epic, inverted this relation. Vi§nu now creates 
.Brahman as. male demiurge, for at best Brahman from brahman is a 
form - of Vi§nu as pure soul (3, 272, 44; 6, 65, 59). Brahman binds upon 
Y«wu his armor (binds it with a brahmasutra or mantra, 7,94,70). He 
becomes the demiurge of Vi§nu, as Manu was once his demiurge (6, 65, 
71 f.); he worships the horse-head form of Vi$ou and receives the law 
from him (12, 341,91 f.); he is the sixth form of Vi$pu Narayana (12, 350, 
4); he becomes the "general agent" of Vi$m* (12, 340, 50: Hiranyagarbho 
lokadiS caturvaktro niruktagalj, Brahma sanatano devo mama 
bah varthacintakah). Brahman’s birth is from the lotus of Visou’s navel; 
yet this is but the seventh of a succession of such births. “First”, says 
Brahman, “I was born from thy will; second, from thy eyes; third, from 

] ) Compare on this point the conclusive reckoning in the Book of Indian Eras 
(Cunningham, 1883), p. 4, where it is shown that the estimate of 4320000 years must have 
been based on astronomical calculations. For th| Puraijic reckoning, compare Wilson’s 
note to the Vi$t>u-Puraija, p. 24. 


iq8 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


thy speech; fourth, from thy ears; fifth, from thy nose; sixth, as egg from 
thee; and this is nfy seventh birth, from the lotus” (12, 348, 43). The 
sectarian passages are sometimes naively expressive of Brahman’s attitude 
tbward the new rSle of Visiju. Thus in R 7, 110, 3 f., Brahman comes in 
a car to greet Rama (Vi$nu), and hails, him as Vi$nu Lokagati, adding, 
"savior of the world, though some do not acknowledge thee 4 ’. 

§ 138. fsiya, like Vi$pu, seeks advice from Brahman (1, 211, 4). 
Brahman calls ^iva “sonny”, .putraka, sets him a task, and tells him not 
to kill (7, 52, 45; 54, 13). Brahman begets 3 iva (12, 352, 20; 166, 16; H 43) 
in Vi?nuite passages; 6iva springs from bis forehead (lalataprabhavalj 
putrab Joivab,. 12, 351, 11); yet this is more to depreciate Siva than to 
honor Brahman. It is only through Brahman's boon that diva’s son Skanda 
can conquer the demons (3, 231, 105). In 1, 18, 42 and 10, 17, 10, Brahman 
apparently orders fsiva to drink poison for the good of the world. On 
the other hand, in late passages, Brahman makes obeisance to Skanda 
(7, 202, gof.; 9,44, 30 f.), and "fsiva creates the Creator”. In Drona and 
Karija (in part) and in Anudasana, fSiva is superior (Brahman acts as his 
charioteer, 8, 34, 120 f.), and as Prajapati and Devadeva creates Brahman 
(Brahmanam asrjat, 7,201, 74; 13, 14, 4)..-Brahman eulogises £iva and 
confesses his superior power (7, 202, 90 f.). Brahman is made the revealer 
to Indra of diva's power (13, 17, 175). Brahman is a form of 3 iva (8, 33, 
58, i. e. "Brahman" is a title of 3 iva). At this period the great pair take 
over Brahman’s epithets. Brahman and £iva are both caturmukha; Brahman 
and Kr§aa-Vi§nu are both trikakud and tridhaman (12, 43, 10; 343, 
93; R 7, 36, 7, etc.).' In 12, 121, 57 f., a contest of cults results in an 
inextricable confusion of text, whereby Brahman becomes father (by 
sneezing) of Ksupa (cf. R 7, 76, 38), who was born from the sneeze, k?up, 
of the god, and had entrusted to him the system of punishment. Brahman 
adored Vi§iju (S has faiva), who made part of himself Punishment, which 
passes into various hands (through K§upa again to Manu), the passage 
ending with the glorification of 3 iva (ib. 122, 53; cf. ib. 166, 68 f., where 
Manu receives the Sword invented by Brahman and gives it to his own 
“son K§upa”). 

As the true god, Brahman is god of troth; any oath taken ‘‘in front 
of Brahman” is to be fulfilled (1, 37, 5). He even directs fate and can 
modify a curse (1, 16, 5; 20, 16), but he cannot alter entirely such an oath. 
On such recognition of Brahman as still ;the highest god rests the state¬ 
ment that only those who die during the northern course of the sun 
go to Brahman (6, 32, 24; 13,169, gf. etc.), as if he were the supreme repre¬ 
sentative of the divine’ power. It i$ only surprising" in epics infected by 
later views to find so much that still recalls the glory that was Brahman’s 
before the rise of unorthodox sects. 

§ 139. Creation. — Brahman’s creation, given above in outline, is best 
considered in detail with other schemes of creation. R 3, 14, 6f. and 
Mbh. 1, 65, 10 f. differ in detail and in some important points but agree 
in general. Both differ from the creation-scheme of the mundane egg (cf. 
Ch. Up. 3, 19, 2), according to which Brahman, Visnu, faiva, the twenty- 
one Prajapatis, sky, earth, "the 33 °°°. 3300, and 33” gods, etc., come 
out of the -golden (cosmic) egg; and, in particular, the human race, as 
represented by the family of Yayati, derives from Dyaus, the Sky, through 
Vivasvat, the Sun. The late passage (R 7, 23, pra. 5, 36) puts the number 
of gods (suras, S, for svaras B) seen within Narayana Deva (Vi§qm as 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


199 


Kapila) at three crores. The genealogy of I, 65 starts with Brahmaq, gives 
him six mental sons (already named § 131), says that Marfci, the first of 
these, had a son KaSyapa, father of all creatures by daughters of Dak$a, 
thirteen in number (elsewhere fifty, of whom twenty-seven married Soma, 
ten married DharmaJ, mothers of all created beings, as follows: Aditi be¬ 
came mother of the Adityas; Diti, of HiranyakaSipu, the father of Prahlada, 
Saqihrada, Anuhrada, Sibi, and Ba§kala; Danu, of*the (forty!) Danavas, 
Vipracitti, Sambara, Namuci, Puloman, Asiloman, Ke£in, Virupaksa, Ni- 
kumbha, Vr§aparvan, etc., among them several a^va-names (as Wester¬ 
ners?); Kala, of “sons of wrath)'; Danayu, ofVjtra, Vala, and Vira; Siqi- 
hika, of Rahiu, Candrahantr (and other eclipse-demons); Krodha, of 
“wrath-conquered" demons; Pradha, 'of several female spirits and nymphs, 
a few gods and Gandharvas’; Vinata, of Garuda, Ari§tanemi, etc,; Kadru, 
of Jaesa and other serpents; Kapila, of cows, Gandharvas, Apsarasas, Brah¬ 
mans, and ambrosia; Muni, of some gods and Gandharvas (Vannja, Par- 
janya, Kali, Narada, etc.). ViSva (omitted here!) is in H 146f. mother of 
ViSvadevas (but wife of Dharma). As already remarked, the daughters 
are fifty in g, 35, 45, or sixty; in this case Manu (§ 142) marries ten; cf. 
R 3, 14 and H 142. Vasus.and Rudras, All-gods, Sadhyas, and Maruts 
are born of the ten daughters who married Dharma (12, 207, 20); Prahlada, 
above, was father of Virocana, Kumbha, and Nikumbha(I), the first of whom 
was father of Bali (the father ofBana, a loivaite, Rudrasya ’nucaralj, 1, 
63, 18 f.). The sun and moon are assigned to Danu but they are here de¬ 
mons! Reverting now to Brahman’s other sons the genealogist says that 
Atri’s sons were numerous seers and saints; Angiras’ were Brhaspati, Uta- 
thya, Saqrvarta; Pulastya’s, Rak§asas, Kirpnaras, apes, Yaksas, etc.; Pu- 
laha’s, fabled animals, lions, tigers, Kiippurusas; Kratu’s, the sun-guarding 
seers. Dakga (cf. 12, 207, 19) came from Brahman’s right toe and his wife 
(Viripi) from the left toe. Dak§a made her mother of the fifty daughters 
aforesaid. The ten marrying Dharma are abstractions “(virtues, etc.), Klrti, 
Lak§ml, Dhrti, Medha, Pu§ti, £>raddha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Mati. Dharma, 
born of Brahman’s heart, had as sons fsama, Kama, Har§a (Peace, Love, 
Joy), whose wives were Prapti, Rati, Nanda (Possession, Passion, Delight), 
“on whom rest the worlds”. Rati as wife of Kama is recognised else¬ 
where (e. g. R 5, 15, 29). A v. 1 . makes it uncertain whether Manu or Muni 
(1, 66, 17) is meant as origin of Vasus. Prabhata is mother of Prabhasa, 
whose wife is Brhaspati’s sister and mother of ViSvakarman. The last is 
not identified here with Tva§tr, whose daughter, wife of Savitf in mare- 
form, bore the ASvins (ib. 27 f.).. This pair of gods and animals and plants 
are “Guhyakas”; but Brhaspati is here called an Aditya. Bhfgu is father 
of Jsukra-; and Dhatr (already son of Aditi) and Vidhatp are sons’of Brah¬ 
man (“staying with Manu”), brothers of Laksmi, whose “mental sons are 
the Sky-going steeds". Sukra’s daughter Devi is wife of Varuna and 
mother of Bala and Sura (suranandini), “the intoxicating drink which 
delights gods”. Suggested perhaps by Sura, Sin (Adharma) is then said 
to be born of Destruction, his wife being Nirrti and his sons Bhaya, Ma- 
habhaya, and Mptyu (Fear, Terror, and Death). Nirrti gives her name to 
the Nairrta Rak?asas; and “Death has neither wife nor son” (but in 12, 
59 ) 93 ) “Death’s daughter” is Sunitha, mother of Vena). Next comes the 
genealogy of animals. Tamra had five daughters, Kaki, 3 yeni, BhasI, 
Dhrtara?tri, Jsuki (Crow, Hawk, Vulture, Duck, Parrot), who became 
mothers of these creatures and their like. KrodhavaSa had nine daugh- 





200 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

ters of wrathful nature like herself, mothers of deer, bears, elephants, 
steeds, apes, etc., especially prominent being Surabhi as mother of Rohini 
and of Gandharvi, mothers, in turn, of cows and horses, respectively, and 
also mother of Vimala and Anala; of whom the latter became mother of 
the seven pipdaphala trees (dates, palms, cocoanuts) and of 3 uki! One 
of the nine was Surasa, mother of cranes and Nagas (so 5 , 103,4). fsyeni 
was wife of Aruna and bore him Saippati and Jatayus (Aruija and Garu<Ja 
are sons of Vinata). Kadru bore pannagas, in antithesis to Surasa’s 
brood of Nagas. Tliis defective and self-contradictory list is eked out 
by the statement in R 3, 14 and H 170, that Tamra was one of the eight 
daughters of Daksa whom KaSyapa married, given here as Aditi, Diti, Danu, 
Kalika, Tamra, KrodhavaSa, Manu, and Anala, of whom the first four (S 
omits Danu) became willingly the. mothers of gods, Daityas, ASvagrlva 
(also in Mbh. as representative Danava), and Naraka and Kaiaka; while 
Tamra became mother of the birds (krauncl, etc., v. 1 . kaki). Airavata 
is here son of Iravatf, daughter of Bhadramada (sic) instead of son of Bha- 
dramanas, one of the nine daughters of KrodhavaSa (above). fsveta is 
mother of world-elephants, Manu is mother of men (R 3,14, 29). The chief 
variation is in the assumption of various Prajapatis not in Mbh., altogether 
seventeen original progenitors, Kardama (known in Mbh. 12, 59, 91.), Vi- 
krita, fsesa, Suvrata or SaipSraya, Bahuputra, Sthanu, Marici, Atri, Kratu, 
Pulastya, Angiras, Pracetas, Pulaha, Dak§a, Vivasvat, Aristanemi, and "last 
of all KaSyapa” (some v. 1 . in G). KaSyapa’s wives are Bala and Atibala 
or (v. 1 .) Manu and Anala; Siiphika is introduced among mothers of ani¬ 
mals, and there are other minor variations. The incongruous finale of 
Mbh. is due to the R model; RB having been copied by Mbh., which in 
turn has influenced RG. Two other Ram. genealogies, 1, 70 and 2, no, 
derive the human race from Manu, son of Vivasvat, son of KaSyapa, son 
of Marici, son of Brahman. For the incongruous accounts concerning Su¬ 
rabhi, see further 1, 99, 8; 2, II, 4 of.; 3 , 9 , 4 f.; ib. .230, 33 (appears with 
the fiend £akuni and Sarama, mother of dogs); 5, 102, 2f.- 12, 173, 3, Da- 
ksayapi Devf, below earth, her milk the Milky Sea; mother of the four cows 
of space, divine animals that guard the quarters, diSaip pal yah, Surupa, 
Haipsika, Subhadra, Sarvakamadugdha; 5, IIO, 10, she is in the West. She 
teaches Indra pity for her children (3, 9, 4f.; R 2, 74, 18). Her milk, united 
with ocean, was churned and brought out Sura, Lak$mi, ambrosia, Uccail?- 
Sravas, and the kaustubha ( 5 , IIO, 11). H makes her mother ofRudras 
by KaSyapa, mother of Vasus, of various plants, and rupardhamayl patni 
Brahmapab (H 11527!). 

§ 140. Philosophy speaks of nine creations, the-first being that of the 
personal soul as Brahman; the second, consciousness; the third, mind; 
the fourth, the elements, etc., or, with a mixture of myth and philosophy, 
makes Brahman create earth and sky after his creator made the vegetable 
world (12, 182-192; ib. 311, i6f.). Brahman then becomes the "mental 
son" of the superior Vi§iju (as God) and is born of “the thought of God 
desiring to create”; the nasatyarp janma or "nasal birth” of Brahman 
being the one in which he has a son Sanatkumara, who teaches the Pra- 
japati Vfripa, Vho in turn teaches the disaip pala Kuk§i, even before 
the anc)ajaqi janma (egg-birth) of Brahman (12,349, 27.). No one scheme 
obtains. The Kagyapa as creative power may once have been the tortoise 
as earth-power (cf. SsB. 7, 5, 1, 5) upholding Mandara (1, 18, 11), later (cf. 
VP. 1,9,86) interpreted, kamathaip rupam, as a form ofVi$nu (R 1,45, 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


201 


pra. Ii). Kamatha and Varaha are both epic proper names, but do not 
help to establish totemism, though Kamathaka and Kurma as Naga names 
mffy suggest such an explanation. An Asura in shape of a tortoise was 
once killed by Vi$pu (kurmarupepa, 3, 84, 121). 

§ 141. Secondary creators are ViSvakarman and Tva§tr (above). The 
former makes Soma’s car (acquired by Arjuna) and is identified with the 
latter as Bhauvana, bhuvanaprabhu (Bhaumana in S; cf. l, 32, 3, as 
guard of Soma). He is a Prajapati, who..is “house-maker" of the gods 
and a vardhaki, carpenter, best of artists (i,66,28f.; 225, 12f.; 4,46, 3; 
5 , 56, 7 ; 6, 50, 43 f.; cf. S 5, 94, 15 and 19 and R 7, 5, 19). For Indra’s 
sake, ViSvakarman made the bow Victory (vijaya), given by Indra to Rama 
Bhargava and by him to Karpa (8, 31, 43 f.). He made diva’s car, in which 
he overcame the triple city of demons. (8, 34, I7f.); diva’s bow and orna¬ 
ments given by Agastya to Rama (R 1, 75, 11); and the golden wreath 
worn by Skanda (3, 229, 25); he also made Lafika (3, 279,12; R 4, 58, 20; 
ib. 5 , 2, 20, and often). But it is said also of Arjuna’s car that “the gods 
made it", though doubtless this merely generalises (5, 57,62). In 3, 114, 
17 (cf. RG. 4, 44, 49 as Rudra) ViSvakarman seems to be a name of Brah¬ 
man. He is not the only worker, as Brahman made and owned Arjuna’s 
boA\r (4, 43, 1 f.), but under Brahman he made Tilottama (above) and for Ku- 
bera he made the car Puspaka (R 5, 8, 2; ib. 6, 124, 29); for Prajapati to 
give to Indra he made the conch got by Yudhi§thira, etc., etc. ViSva- 
karman thus made the golden cows (images) given at sacrifices by Gaya 
(3, 121, 12); but his most famous work was the £arngadhanvan, Vi§pu’s 
bow (3, 3, 48; R 3 , 12, 33; R 4, 42, 25). In R 5, 20, 13, rupakarta sa 
ViSvakyt must be ViSvakarman. In R 2, 91, Ilf., he is differentiated 
from Tva$tr as joint makers of a magical feast. Valin’s wonderful bier 
is made by ViSvakarman in R 4, 25, 24 {but “by artisans" in the Bombay 
text). R also ascribes to him the making of the homes of Kubera and 
of Garuda and of Agastya (R 4, 41, 35; ib. 43, 22). He was father of Nala, 
who built the bridge to Lanka (R i, 17, 11; ib. 6, 22, 44). The Tvastram 
astram may be his work (R 1, 27, 19). Another secondary creator is 
Maya, who.is to the demons what ViSvakarman is to the gods (R 4, 51, 
11). He married Hema (R 4, 51, iof.; ib. 7, 12, 3), is son of Diti, and builds 
palaces for the Paijdus (2, 1, if.). See p. 49. 

§ 142. Manu Vaivasvata or Suryaputra, brother of Yama,- was a Pra¬ 
japati and manavendra or first king, who founded the race of Ik§vaku, 
the first king and bearer of the rod in the Krta age (R 1, 5, 6, etc.). 
More generally: “Vivasvat’s son was Yama Vaivasvata; wise Manu was 
a younger son of the Sun. From Manu men were born” (1, 75, nf.). 
His wife is Sarasvatl (5,117,14, a daughter of Brahman, elsewhere daugh¬ 
ter of Daksa and wife of Dharma, H 11525, v. 1 . Marutvatl ; 12,343,75 
has Sarasvatl as daughter of Brahman) and his daughter is Aru§i (wife of 
Cyavana and mother of Aurva, 1, 66, 46). Ten wives are given him in 
later works (12, 343, 57), which give him ten of Dak§a’s daughters (above). 
He had ten sons named and fifty unnamed, who perished by mutual strife. 
Among the ten (13, 137, 19) are Vena, Ik§vaku, fsaryati, Ila = Sudyumna, 
Nabhaga, and others less well known. Manu disposes as well as creates, 
determining how much cloudy weather Magadha is to have (2, 21, 10). As 
son of the Sun, he gives Soma the "seeing science" (1, 170, 43, cak§u§f 
vidya). He was, as "oldest man", rescued during the deluge by a fish- 
form of Brahman (3, 187, 19 f.), perhaps like the tortoise a totem. H 51 



202 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

first interposes a Viraj between his father and Brahman. With him in 
the ark were the Seven Seers, arid after the deluge Brahman says: “I am 
Brahman the creator; naught is higher than I . . . Manu shall now create 
all beings, gods, Asuras, men, the whole movable and immovable world” 
( 3 . 187, 52 f ), but he adds "by my grace”, i. e. Manu is demiurge. This 
Manu receives trie law from Brahman (12, 349, Si), as he receives the 
system of punishment, but it is not he whose verba ipsissima are so 
often cited. He is born of the cosmic egg (1, I, 32) and is a Rajar§i or 
royal seer. The earliest passage to differentiate Manus is 6, 34,6 (Gita 10,6), 
which speaks of Seven Seers and four Manus producing the world through 
Kr§pa’s thought. These are not the four Savarnas but Vaivasvata, Sva- 
yaipbhuva, Cakpusa, and Svaroci§a. The split began with distinguishing 
the son of the Sun from the son of Brahman (= grandson). Svaroci§a is 
a synonym of Vaivasvata, an epithet become a person. He also is a legal 
light. His son ^arikhapada and his grandson Sudharman or Suvarpabha 
are mentioned in 12, 349, 37. Cak§usa also had a son Varistha (13, 18, 
20). Then from misunderstood Vedic passages (RV. 8, 51, I; 16,62, n) 
were fashioned new Manus, Savarpa (cf. Merusavarni, 2, 78, 14), known as 
the eighth Manu (12, 225, 30fi; 13,18,48), etc. The aeons of these Manus 
occur in about the same order, the first mentioned by name being those 
of Vaivasvata and Svayaipbhuva (12, 335,9; 337,56), Suryaputra’s antara 
being synonymous with the former (ib. 343,26; 350,42—55). H 409f. 
gives the names of the fourteen Manus recognised later, as well as those 
of the four Savarnas (cf. VP. 3, 2); but all this is really out of the epic 
range. Pracetasa Manu gets his name from the fact that all the Prace- 
tasas were born of Praclnabarhis, great-grandson of Afiga, son of Manu 
(1, 75, 4f.; 13, 147,24); as such he is a Prajapati. Prajapati himself is 
differentiated from Brahman (12, 108, 25 f.), but often is identical with the 
creator, and in plural form becomes secondary creators, which also include 
Aryaman and his sons, called PradeSas as lords and creators (12, 208, 1 f.; 
ib. 10; ib. 269, 21, etc.), that is, another father of the race (Aryaman as 
race-name). Instead of fourteen, seven Manus are recognised in 13, 14, 
397 ; i8, 73 (as ^iva-worshippers). Manu is reckoned the eighth sage after 
the seven mental sons of Brahman, who together constitute the group of 
pravftti or active saints as apposed to the nivrtti or Yoga-devoted saints 
(Sana, Sanatsujata, etc.; 12, 336, 44f..; 341, 35 and 69).*) In the holy G- 
verses (6, 43, 2f.; spurious), Manu must be Gayatrl (the holy Gs are 
G-ayatrl, G-Ita, G-aftga, and G-ovinda). In 3, 221, 4, Manu is a name of 
Agni, but this, like the identification of Manu and the Sun (3, 3, 56), is 
of no mythological importance. For Kala and Kama as creative powers, 
see § 31 and § 105 f.; for Dyaus arid Prthivi as Father and Mother, see 
§ 34 and § 35. Post-epical forms of the creation-myths will be found in 
H 11279-12277 (=3, 7f.). 

§ 143. Vi?nu. — He is youngest son of Aditi and KaSyapa (§ 37). Philo¬ 
sophy recognises him (apart from Krspa) as lord and ruler of all, creator 
of all (14, 43, 13; 44, 16). This means more than do his common titles 
devadeva, lokasvamin, devadeveSa, viSveSvara, since these are 
born by other gods who are also titularly, "god of gods”, etc. As most 
fundamental, in Vi§nu appears to be his sun-ship as bird, suparpa, who 
goes on high, awakening earth, and having a thousand rays or flames (pra- 

*) On the ethical distinction, see Dr. Otto Strauss, Ethische Problerae aus dem 
Mahabharata (1912). 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


203 


jagara urdhvaga, sahasrarcis, sahasraipSu), the golden germ, hira- 
Oyagarbha, vasuretas, suvaruavarna, having the seven steeds of 
the sun and his disc, saptavahana, tgUbuja, who courses through air, 
vihayasagati, etc., and is identified with the sun as ravi, surya, savitr, 
arka, aditya, bhrajispu (epithets of Vi§nu). He has fire-names as well, 
and again the sun in his eye (agni, saipvartaka, vahni, anala, dipa- 
murti, and ravilocana). Many of his titles (e. g. Vaikuijtfia) come from 
Indra (“Vasudeva" appears to revert to this origin) and are again borrowed 
by £iva. Lists of his titles as names are given, one shorter (6, 65, 6lf.; 
R 6, 120 = G 102), though not early, one of a “thousand names” (13, 149, 
12 f.), presumably a later compilation of honorific appellations. Here are 
found “hair-names” of solar (Indric?) origin, harikeSava, hariSmaSru 
(cf., however, H 4337 and 13, 149, 82, trilokeSalj. KeSavalj KeSiha 
Harifi); "the rays of sun and moon are called hairs” (7, 202, 134). As 
sun he is govinda, gopati, and goptr (also of Surya), and is represented 
by Garuda, first as his sign and then, Suparpavahana, as his vehicle (i, 
33. *6; rj, 149, 51! R 6, 59, 127), probably as the (peacock) sun-bird (§ 12); 
later is his goose-car (R 7, 37, pra. 5, 93). The early texts represent him 
as going by himself (he is the “divinity of motion” in general as the three- 
stride-god; cf. 14,42,25) or, Surya-like, born by steeds. Then he has 
Garuda as his sign, Suparpaketu, Garudadhvaja, which lasts into the 
period when Garuda is his vehicle (H 2491, 2707; cf. 6823). It is not un¬ 
likely that Vi§pu's name itself means bird (first as the productive spirit). 1 ) 
Perhaps Madhusudana also (cf. RV. 9, 67, 9) implies that Vispu is the rip¬ 
ening sun (interpreted as slayer of Madhu). 9 ) 

§ 144. Vi§pu is Madhava and Kusumakara (and MargaSIrsa), the Madhu- 
month as the spring-time or first (as well as best) month of the year (6, 
34 , 35 ; 13 , * 49 , 3 .i). As sun too he is ASvaSira Harifi (HayaSiras, 12, 340, 
59, etc.), for which reason, as the sun-horse rising from the sea, he 
identifies himself with UccailjSravas, the loud-noised sea (6, 34, 27), as it 


’) Compare Johansson, Solfageln i Indien (The Vedic Soma-robbing eagle as 
Vi?pu = bird = creative spirit). 

a ) This was written before the appearance of JRAS. Jan. 1913, but it may stand de¬ 
spite Mr. Macnicol’s explanation of these epithets as peculiarly Krstja’s, for Madhusudana 
is an epithet of Rama as well as of Kr$aa (in both epics), i. e. it is originally epithet of 
Vi?pu. Govinda is govidaip patilj and gopatih in the same passage (13, 149, 33 and 
66) and probably the poets felt little or no difference between Govinda and Gopati; but 
the latter is an epithet common to Visiju, Siva, Varuija, and Surya, and cannot help to 
determine the nature of Kfsaa as a vegetarian god (see below note to § 153 ). Vispu is 
the first All-god recognised in the epic, but this is not wholly as a pu sto for Kj-sba. 
In Kyra's own laud Vijiju is chief of Adityas, as SaAkara is of Rudras (Gita io, 21 and 
23; cf. the appropriation of this passage by Siva in 13, 14, 322). But in pure philosophy, 
where Visiju stands alone, as in the passage cited above from the Anuglta, Visau, brah- 
mamayo mahan, is the beginning of the-world, lord, iivara, of all spiritual beings, 
than who is no being higher (14,43, *3 T-). It is not necessary to derive Vi?bu’s greatness 
from Indra (with Jacobi) nor to develop the epic triad (not really epic as triad) from Agni, 
Vayu, and Surya (with Weber Ind. Str. 2, 226), as if V 4 (»u reached his supremacy through 
amalgamation with Indra=Vayu (Omina und Portenta, p.338). Visuu is first a philo¬ 
sopher’s god, i. e. a. priestly god, representing the active yet kindly sun as source of all, 
and one with the divine light, the best possible god to personify the Bhagavan nityalj 
(5,42,21, i. e. brahma) and at the same time to absorb the local bucolic divinities, Ba- 
larama, Rama, Krspa, who were never less than demigod chieftains. It must not be for¬ 
gotten that long before either epic the idea of the All-god as real being and as personi¬ 
fied God was a commonplace. This God-idea was expressed variously, either as “Deva 
Naraya&a, self of all" (14,25, 17) or under the image of a god well-known, Vis$u or Siva- 
Rudra, the latter representing to the priests Agni bhutapati (cf. 14, 43, 6f.). 



204 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. ’Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


is said; "Here (out of the sea) rises the sun with the head of a horse, 
filling the world made beautiful (by him), and causing it to be filled with 
voices” (5, 99, $). In this form he slew demons and it is characteristic 
that A^vagriva, Hayagriva, Rocamana, indicates a demoniac as well as a 
divine form (i, 65, 23f.; R 4,42,26). So the Mare’s'Head is at once a 
demoniac and divine form of fire, identified as such with the sun (§ 38), 
though as it is in water yet above the surface, it was probably a vol¬ 
cano (cf. R 5, 55, 14). Less usual is the identification of Vi§pu with the 
light of the moon, which occurs only as part of his identification, qu 4 
All-god, with many other gods (also as “physician”, bhi?ak; Dhanvan- 
tari is a form of Vi§pu, 13, 149, 43 f.). Fire, sun, and Vi§ou combine to 
make the "horrible form”, ghora tanub, of Siva, as opposed to the “gentle 
lunar form” of that god (7, 202, 108 and 142). The names of the sacred 
apes, ("sun-faced", Hari, Dadhimukha, etc.), may be due to the fact that 
they represent the sun-ape, Kapi, Kaptndra, Vr$akapi, all names of Vi§pu 
(R 6, 73, 59; 12, 343, 89; also of the Sun, etc. 3, 3, 61), later taken by Jsiva 
(7, 202, 136). The king of apes was born of a tear of Vi§pu (R 7, 37, 
pra. 1, 7 f.), but this a late passage and elsewhere the same father of Valin 
and Sugriva is son of Prajapati (R 6, 67, 59). Indra passes over to Vi§qu 
many of his titles and also his heroic deeds. Vispu becomes the typical 
fighter for the gods (7, 14,49; ib. 21, 37, etc.); though still united with 
Indra, as with the sun, to typify power (1, 88, 9). He is Vasavanuja, In- 
dra’s junior by birth, and traces remain of his inferiority, as when he is 
Upendra, and Indra is Mahendra (3,3,41). But the later epic, while it 
cannot omit the derogatory title Upendra ("under Indra”), yet defiantly calls 
him Atlndra (“over Indra”), as it preserves his birth and then denies that 
he is born (agraja, aja, ayonija, 13, 149, 24, 108, etc.). In 13, 149,29, 
Vi§qu is "the world’s first-born”, Jagadadija (in PW as offsival); but pur- 
vaja and adija do not necessarily imply more than ayonija and anadi, 
existing from the beginning; though Vi§uu in human form, as Devaki- 
nandana, is of course both atmayonib svayarpjatafi and really Hala- 
dharanuja, the unborn god yet younger born brother of Balarama (2, 22, 
36; 13, 149, 94f.). Vi§pu in the later epic is called quite rightly Indra- 
karman, "having Indra’s deeds’' (R 6, 120, 18; 13, 149, 97), not only as 
Krspa but as independent slayer of demons (5, 10, 43); to whom the gods 
appeal for help (3, 103, if.). He “looks after the gods” (3, 249, 26); he is 
their savior, gati (7, 4, 4). He even takes Indra’s form on occasion (12, 
64, 13 f.). For Indra Vi§nu charges the bolt to kill the demon and is ap¬ 
pealed to for purification, being hymned as Mahadeva (often of isiva), who 
with three strides overpassed the three worlds (5, lb, iof.). But it is he 
also who makes Indra the overseer of the gods (ib. 7), and in other ways 
Vi§uu is superior, being seldom sundered from the All-Soul Vi§qu, who 
is the Who*and What (kab kim) of the universe. A few passages still 
make him inferior to Brahman (§ 137) as to Indra, but the epic in general 
is an apolpgia for Vi§iju as Narayapa and All-god, either incorporate in 
Kpsija or as an independent superior god; retaining the old traditions of 
him as the bgarer of discus and stepper over three worlds, but subordi¬ 
nating this to his identification with Kjr§na. Vi§iju is "created by £iva” 
(Mahadeva)'in 13, 14, 4, etc., in passages where £iva is the All-soul and 
creator of Brahman, Vi§pu, Indra, and the rest. All such passages are 
late epic (see fsiva). 

§ 145. Appearance and weapons ofVi§nu: Though the god is anir- 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


205 


deSyavapus, “one whose form cannot be described”, 1 ) yet efforts are 
made to describe him. Thus he is “four-armed" (R 6, 120, 15); he has 
four fangs, four forms, caturmurti, -rupa, four lights, caturbhanu, 
four souls, four presentations, vyuha, knows the four Vedas, and is ca- 
turasra(?); or he has eight or ten arms or is “many armed” and “many- 
fanged”; he is one-footed or three-footed, has one horn or several horns, 
many heads, a thousand; also a thousand eyes and feet. He has seven 
tongues or a hundred. The sacred thres gives him the titles tripada, 
tridhatu, tridhaman, trisaman, triyuga. He is red-eyed, has eyes 
as large as a lotus (-leaf), aravindak§a, jalajalocana, etc.; his color 
is varied, anekavartja; he is white and black and yellow and red, but 
especially yellow (Sukla, kj-§ija, babhru, rohita, hari). For the glory 
of the greatness of the god he is described as having many members, 
faces, bellies, thighs, eyes, and so on, and in conformity therewith he is 
a “great eater". The epithets “having eyes (mouths, faces) on all sides” 
are derived from older tradition (“red-eyed” may be due to this or to the 
boar-avatar, 3, 142, 46). In general, it must be understood that the mon¬ 
strous appearance is for grandeur; for Vi$iju is fair, beautiful, lovely 
(svak$a, sundara, peSala, SubhaAga, sudarSana, sumukha, sva- 
sya, etc.). It is as the embodiment of space with four or ten directions 
that he is called four and eight and even ten-armed (13, 147, 3 and 32). 
He has a hundred curly Jocks, Satavarta, and shares with 3 iva among 
others the title Sikhand> n ; he is padmanabha; from his lotus-navel came 
Brahman (3,203, I2f., as Govinda), jalajakusumayoni (8,90,24). Out 
of the lotus which sprang from his forehead came £rl and became wife 
of Dharma (12, 59, 131), hence 3 ri kamalalaya; who, with lotus in hand, 
is engraved on Kubera’s car (R 5,7,14); padmahasta is auspicious. 
Visou wears the kaustubhaip magiratnam (R 1,45, 26), the pearl which 
rose from ocean as manir divyab (I, 18, 36) or mauiratnam (5, 102, 
12, etc.); then the diadem “of solar glory”, which gives him the epithet 
kiritin. These he wears and clothes of yellow silk (kiritakaustubha- 
dhara, pitakauSeyavasas, 3, 203, 18), as he sits on the coils of the 
world-serpent, nagabhoga; but he is usually addressed as one ornamented 
especially with the pearl of dazzling light, Iasatkaustubhabhusaija 
(as voc., 3, 263, 13). He is Mukunda (13, 149,68), perhaps as being him¬ 
self the jewel. Kiritin is an Indra-epithet and not peculiar to gods. On 
his ringlets, Vi$gu wears garlands, sragvin, of wild-flowers, vanamalin; 
he also wears jewelled ear-rings, kuru) a l>n» and arm-bands made of 
shining gold rubbed with sandal-paste, rucirangada, candanangadin, 
kanakaftgadin. On his breast is the quatrefoil called Jsrlvatsa (R 6, 120, 
27), caused by diva’s trident or by the wet hand of Bharadvaja (12, 343, 
132 and cf. § 125). HrsTkeSa and isrivatsahka apply to Vi$iju and Krsua, 
the former epithet being the name the Munis give to KeSava-(6, 67, 21); 
also the Garutja worshippers of Vi§nu are all marked with the Jorivatsa 
(5, 101, 5). Mandodari says that Rama is the supreme creator-god who 
wears on his breast the Jsrivatsa, as he bears conch, discus and club (R 
6,114, 1 f.), which with bow and sword are the arms ofVisnu. A later passage 
says that Vi§nu got his ear-rings' from the ancestor of Bali whose prison- 

*) 13, 149, 83. The descriptive epithets are found for the most part in this section, 
also H 2201 f., 12, 285, 77; 6, 35, 10 f., etc. Sahasrakja is Indra’s own epithet. Many of 
the others, "lotus-eyed, all-faced, hari", etc., are solar epithets; some also belong to Siva 
(“one-footed, hundred-tongued, thousand-formed"), while “seven-tongued” belongs to Agni. 



206 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


door Vi§nu now guards (R 7, 23, 1, if.). Vispu’s "horns” may be orna¬ 
ments or remainders of his animal forms. He is ekaSrfigin, unicorn (3, 
14*2, 29) as the boar, while as a bull Be has two or several horns (nai- 
kaSrnga). The bull is his form as the sun, which is called a bull (go- 
putra = son, of Sun); but in general this beast is typical of virile strength. 
So Visnu is "the bull, fond of bulls, with a bull-like' belly, having eyes 
and form and the acts of a bull”, as he is gohita, vr$apriya, etc., 
and of course gopati and goptr (13,149,41,76, etc.). RG 6,102,17 
gives him two “Veda-horns" (v. 1 . a thousand, rksamaSfhgo for sahas- 
ra^rhgo). Besides conch, discus, bow, and club,Vi§nu bears the sword Nandaka. 
The discus is a fiery wheel with a thousand spokes, borne in his right 
hand, and made by the All-maker for use against demons of darkness 
(13, 149, 120; R 6, 74, 70, etc.). It is the sun: yavad avartate cakram, 
"as far as the sun shines” (R 6, 131, 11). Kr§na uses the disc as a boom¬ 
erang (1, 228, iofi); it is Sudar^anam (6, 59,91), “fair to see” (as name), 
by Sivaism interpreted as “hard for any one except 3 iva to see”, and 
made his gift to Vi§nul (13, 14, 79); it is of course an auspicious sign to 
have a discus-mark on the arm (i, 74, 4) and the dung of cattle is auspi¬ 
cious from its shape (§ 9). His usual arms give Vi$nu the title ^afikha- 
cakragadadhara (3, 189,40, etc.). His bow is of horn (R 6, 120, 16; 
^arogadhanvan, 13, 149, 120); as "breaker of the axe” he is called in 
late description sudhanva khaijd a P ara £ub (ib. 74, explained by 12, 343, 
117), and as Balarama he is called Halayudha (rathafigapapi = cakra- 
dhara). Narayapa has all these titles, as Vi§pu, with whom, everi to the 
halo or nimbus about the head,-he is identical. Both have the web-sign 
jalapada, -bhuj, of the foot of the goose. Narayapa is mystically in 
the disc of the sun and cleansed souls enter the sun-door into him, thence 
pass into Aniruddha, and there, becoming pure mind, go to Pradyumna, 
and so-pass into Sankargapa (Jlva,) and then into K$etrajna (Vasudeva; 
12, 345, 13 f.). It will not be necessary to go into further details of'these 
speculations of theology; they really lie apart from mythology. As archer- 
sun and nimbus-god, jatamandaladharin, Vi§nu is a warrior, darpa- 
han, surarihan, durarihan, durga, durjaya, duratikrama; his 
chariot is wind or Garuda, he is borne by seven steeds; his fighting-titles 
come in part from Indra (dhanaipjaya, puraipdara, janardana); he 
is “fond of fighting” and conquers all, to become kind, refuge of all, sav¬ 
ior of the world (samitiipjaya, also of Yama; trailokyanatha, ja- 
gannatha, etc., cf. 3, 49, 20 and in the list 13, 149, 76, 84,86). He first 
promulgated the law of battle (12, 64, 21, says Indra!). Though he is the 
conqueror of innumerable demons he is known particularly as slayer of 
KeSin and Bhaga and Kalanemi; as hero he is Tarab Surah £aurib; 
^uraseno YaduSre§thafi (list 13,149, 37 and R 6,120,17, as battle leader, 
and list 50, 82, 88). As warrior he carries his club (not goad) in his left 
hand because he needs the right for his chief weapon, the discus; other 
weapons he carries “in his other arms’ 1 . His horn, pancajanya, he blows 
himself (R 7, 7, 9); his bow becomes the property of heroes (R 3, 12, 33 f. 
etc.). Further description, like the epithet All-soul (a title also of the 
sun, 3, 3, 27; 189,41) is philosophic ("formless, multiformed womb of all, 
all-enjoyer”, etc.) and may be passed over; only gane^vara, lord of 
hosts, may be mentioned, to emphasise the fact that the epic comes be¬ 
fore Gane^a is invented. Only the late introduction (i, 1, 74 f-) acknow¬ 
ledges GaijeSa, though the idea of him is common enough (3,65,23, P.uja 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


207 


vighnakartf jjam). Even the introduction has not stereotyped his name, 
which appears as Gane£ana as 'Well as GaueSa. Gane^vara is title of 
Vi§nu alone in 13, 149, 79; but GaijeSvaravinayakalji (ib. 150, 25) are also 
recognised. Vinayakas are malevolent demons grouped with the leaders 
of the lords of divine hosts. J ) Vispu is however really identified with many 
gods. Thus he is Parame§thin, Svayaipbhu, Kala, Dharma, Prajapati, Vi 3 - 
vakarman, Arka, Agni, Vasu, Varuria, Tva§tr, £iva, Dhane^vara, Skanda, 
Vacaspati, the Jyotir-Aditya (as distinguished from Aditya), etc. He is ni- 
yanta niyamo Yamab (ib. 105); Vayu, Dak§a, Indra and Mahendra, Soma, 
Kamadeva (and kamahan), Dhatf, Vidhatp, Parjanya, Manu, Marici, Tara, 
UsaSabindu, Vyasa, Jahnu, Kumbha, Nahu§a, Sunda, etc. As 3 iva he is 
Bhagahan and Nandin; he is star-clusters, Dhruva, Punarvasu, etc. He is 
at the-same time creator. Thus he creates Brahman from his navel, Ru- 
dra from his ire and forehead, the Rudras from his right side, the Adityas 
from his left side, the Vasus from his front and the (A 5 vin) pair, Nasatya 
and Dasra, from his back. The Prajapatis, Seven Seers, four classes of 
Pitrs, fsri, Sarasvati, Dhruva, etc., are of him or in him (matsthan paSya, 
12, 340, 5of.). Daruja as form of Vi§uu is described as a Rak§asa (12,121, 
I4f.; 122,24). As All-god, Dyaus is his head, earth'his feet, water his 
sweat, and the stars are his-hair-pits (3, 189,4!.). Elsewhere the Alvins 
are his ears, the moon and sun, his eyes; Brahman, his heart; Sarasvati, 
his tongue (6, 65, 61; R 6, 120, 9 and 2$). As heavenly light and orderer 
of time he is Rtadhaman (R 6, 120, 8; 12, 343, 69). 

§ 146. As is evident from the preceding, Vi§pu is not especially 
preserver, but as the All he is also destroyer, not only of grief and sin, 
SokanaSana, papanaSana, but as destroyer, antaka, of living things, 
svapana, who puts the world to sleep, the viSatana and saiphartf 
(3, 189, 4). As Avatar he saves; as wakener and maker, he creates; as 
Rudra, death, etc., he destroys. Thus it is he who as the Mare’s Head 
destroys the world, a curious r6Ie for a preserver. In fact, like all All¬ 
gods, Vi§nu has all functions. That he is especially the “divinity of gods” 
is too much to say, though it is said (unmetrically in S 1, 95, 7: deva- 
naip daivataip Vi§nur, viprapam agnir brahma ca). As such “he 
is called Vaikuufha by the gods, while the Vedas call him Vi§uu" (ib. 6, 
8, 22), or, according to the Northern text, “men call him Vi§nu”. Both 
texts give him a local habitation north of the Sea of Milk; there he rides 
in the car of eight wheels (elements, 6, 8, 15). AH texts have the story 
of his three strides, as Vikramin, Trivikrama (also Vikrama and Krama),~ 
as the son of KaSyapa and Aditi in dwarf form (hence Govinda as “earth- 
finder", 12, 207, 26). This and other Avatars are to be distinguished from 
the four forms, caturmurtidhara, as KeSava, Saxpkar§apa, Pradyumna, 
.and Aniruddha (12, 340, 102) or (7, 29, 26 f.) one form is that of a saint 
practicing austerity on earth; one (as sun) “watches the world as it does 
good and evil”; one is active in the world of men; and one sleeps a 
thousand years. In R 6, 120, 26 night and day are the falling and rising, 

') This shows that Yajftavalkya is later than the epics and that a good deal of the stuff 
offered as epic text in the printed “Southern” version is late addition, plastered on to the 
epic, just as chapters always have been added (cf. S 12, 68, 46, where Mahe 3 vara-Gaae£a 
causes the massacre of Saudasa's army at Benares). Gape£a is a title of Siva (3, 39, 79 
and R 7, 23, pra. 4, 34), but, though both passages are late for epic texts, neither implies 
Gape^a as god. Compare (below) Kfscta as remover of difficulty. See on Gaije^a in 
Mbh. M. Winternitz in WZKM. 14, 51 (1900); JRAS. 1898, pp. 147, 380 and 631!., who 
shows that GapeSa is not in the Southern Grantba recension. 


208 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


respectively, of Vi§nu’s eyelids. It is said that his Avatars are “to ex¬ 
terminate evil”, and-so he “is born in the houses of good men” (3, 189, 
27 f.), as if animal Avatars were excluded. One of his four forms here 
lasts a thousand times the four ages (ib. 40). Among the forms given by 
his titles, he is the lotus and the tree, especially the Nyagrodha, Udum- 
bara, and ASvattha. As bird, he is the goose and “fair-winged” (Suparija); 
as animal/ the mahoraga bhujagottama (£e§a), the great snake and 
boar, mahavaraha, the bull, the lion, Sarabha, vyala, and narasiip- 
havapus. As boar perhaps he is trikakud. These real Avatars are 
indifferently mingled with his form as “teacher of Kapila”, as Damodara 
(list, 53; cf. 3, 49, 22), etc. Jahnu and Ppthu and ^asabindu (and Gupta?) 
may be incarnations. Vaikuntha, Vaikhana, Suyamuna are uncertain titles, 
as is £ipivi§ta (3, 102, 19 f.) 1 . Prthu is a true incarnation (12, 59, 128 f.). 
Vi§uu is twelvefold as being all the twelve Adityas born of Aditi, who, 
however, is said elsewhere to have born him seven times (12, 43, 6; 47, 
38, Krsna Vi§uu). Only here and in the later list of names is Vi§iju espe¬ 
cially Vajasana (12, 43, 9, Vajasani = Vajasana in 13, 149, 98). RB 7, 
23,4, 44 has v.l. In Santi he is tricak?ub, trikakup, tridhama, tridivac 
cyUtah (Avatar), Kapila, others already cited, and dundubhi, gabhasti- 
nemi, Rbhu, Vibhu, svadha, svaha (etc., one hundred names in S). 
The title Mahadridhrt probably refers to bearing the earth as tortoise 
(may be as Krspa). Adhok§aja, “born under the axle”, must refer to the 
late legend of Putana as.told in H 9087 (cf. 13, 14, 69 and 12, 343, 83, 
where it is explained as upholder of earth!). Native etymologies are'of 
little value or obvious. According to them Vi§pu is bull as Dharma; Hari, 
because he receives a share of the sacrifice (hare bhagam) and because 
it is his best color; Govinda (= gopendra), because he “found earth”; 
Kr§ua, because he ploughs and is dark; Vaikuntha, because Vayu helps 
him to make earth; Virinca, because this is the Kapila name of Prajapati; 
Kapila, as the sun; Dharmaja, born of Dharma, etc. 

The most surprising and historically important fact in the various 
lauds ofYispu as,All-god is that he is nowhere called by the sacrosanct 
formula of the Vedanta. He is wise, knowing, blest, true, joy, etc., but 
he is not even said to be possessed of cit, still less is he designated as 
being saccidananda in the phrase of the later Upanisads and Vedanta, 
though he is the supreme philosophical principle, pancaviipSatimo 
Visnub (12, 303, 38), as Narayana, highest soul (302, 96) and highest 
knowledge, jnanam uttamam, buddhib, sattvam (R6, 120, 17), and 
siddhartha (list, 24fi). This is not because the Sankhya theologians 
controlled the text, but because the Vedanta shibboleth was unknown 
when the Vi§uuite passages even of Isanti were composed. 

§ 147. The wife of Vi§i)u is Lak^mf or f>rl (R 1, 77, 30; sometimes 
the two are distinct), who rose from ocean clothed in white and for whom 
gods and demons contended (1, 18, 3 5 f.). She is Fortune, as happiness 
and wealth; as Kj-$na’s wife she is Rukmipi (1, 61, 44; 67, 156), mother 
of Pradyumna. LaksmI is sister of Dhatr and Vidhatr and mother of the 
sky-steeds (1, 66 , 50). It is a late epic trait to make her exclusively 
Visiju’s (she is also Dharma’s wife). In the pseudo-epic often and occasio¬ 
nally earlier she discourses on religion (13, 82, 3 f.; she does not love 
excessive virtue, 5, 39, 62f.; 13, 11, 6f. tells whom she lives with). Often 


*) On Sipivi?{a see Johansson, Solfageln i Indien, p. 12; but too KZ. 46, 34, 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


209 


the conception is but half-personal, “ 3 ri beautifies Vi§gu” (R 2, 118, 20, 
etc.). “Fortune (Lak§mi) favors those who keep the seventh day (sixth or 
seventh, 3, 3, 64); Ill-fortune comes to the lazy man” (alak§mir aviSaty 
enam alasam, 3, 32, 42, etc.); Lak?ml is luck in 5, 125, 5f. She is 
padmalaya, padmahasta, etc. (4, 14, 16, etc.). As Supreme God, 
Vi§gu himself is but a form (cf. Vi§gutvam upajagmivan, 5, 13, 12 
= R 7, 104, 9 and ib. 85, 18). Even his anger is a boon, since those 
killed by him are absorbed into him (R 7, 37, pra. 2, 20 f.), the final word 
on this topic. Another late trait is his “holy dodeka-syllable name”, 
otherwise Puranic (VP 1, 6, 39), only in S 12, 336, 34f., where an Apsaras^ 
(disguised as PiSaci) “baptises in the holy twelve-syllable name (Suddhaip 
nama dvadaSakparam) of Hari". Vi§nu’s paramarp padam is inter¬ 
preted as a place not inaccessible to fiaptJilT and Garucja (5, 113, 9 f)i 
often locally defined, though sometimes as brahma (6 ,32, 11); otherwise 
as paraip sthanam (seventh or highest world), reflected in Tirthas 
called Vippupadas. One is in the North, where Vipnu strode out (on the 
Ganges, 5, ill, 21); so a Vippupada is where AAga sacrificed (S 7, 57, 11). 
A Tirtha called Vippob sthanam, where “Hari is ever present” (3, 83, 
10), results to bathers in attaining Vipnu’s world; it is in Kurukpetra, where 
Vippu became boar, Varaha Tirtha (ib. 83, 18), though he actually raised 
earth at Lokoddhara Tirtha (ib. 45). A Dwarf-Tirtha (ib. 84, 130) and a 
Tortoise-Tirtha (ib. 120) are also known, as is a ^alagrama Vippu (ib. 124), 
which implies the place on the river GapcjakI where Vipnu’s holy stone 
is found, but not the present use of the stone, which is unknown to the 
epics (but Nil. so interprets svarpanabha at 5, 40, 10). On the Punjab 
or "Kashmir" Vippupada, cf. 3, 130, 8; R 2, 68, 19 (the heavenly, R 4, 37, 
17). It may be where Prahlada and Vipnu showed their strength with 
Skanda’s spear (12, 328, 17), in the North. The reading jatidharma in 
S makes Vippu an upholder of caste (12, 63, 9). He does not accept 
offerings of brandy, fish, honey, meat, distilled liquor, or rice mixed with 
sesame; such offerings are not Vedic but have been introduced by rascals 
from greed and lust. Rice-cakes only should be offered to Vippu, whom 
alone the Brahman-priests acknowledge in all sacrifices, and flowers with 
rice-milk cakes (12, 266, gf.). “The people who are debased as eaters 
of meat and blood live in Yugandhara, Bhutilaka, Acyutacchala, and Bahlika 
(Vahika), all four districts being in the West, where the people are op¬ 
posed to Hari (Haribahyas tu Vahika, na smaranti Hariip kvacit) 
and care only for this-world-salvation, aihalaukikamokpa. Vippu,however, 
is the Devayanapatha (as the sun is Pitryanapatha), and salvation is from 
him” (S 12, 336, 53, with interpolation). This indication that the West 
was opposed to the Krspa-Vippu cult (here ordained) may be set beside 
the statement that the Danavas "abandoned Vispu as god of gods, hating 
him and censuring the praise of him” (nindanti stavanaip Vippos 
tasya nityadvipo janab (S 12, 235, 75 f.), as they too “eat meat and 
cook the offerings made to the gods for themselves, and abandon shrines 
and praises”. 1 ) 

§ 148. Avatars of Visnu. — Those of the boar (§ 137), tortoise 
(§ 140), and fish (§ 142) have already been described. 2 ) The difference 

*) On the geographical-religious aspect, see Pargiter, JRAS. 1908, 309f.; GriersoD, 
ib. 1908, p. 602f.; Keith, p. 831 f. 

*) The tortoise upholds Mandara in i, 18,10; in R 1, 45 pra. 11, and VP. 1, 9, 86, the 
tortoise is Vi?pu; see § 13. 

Indo-arische Philologie III. ib. 


14 


210 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

between an Avatar and incorporation as in Pj-thu, etc., is primarily that 
the god descends expressly to save the world in the Avatar; in other 
descents the motive may be personal. All the gods descend in “parts” 
(l, 2, 93) as human forms, avataranas, partial incarnations of divine 
essence. The boar, tortoise and fish Avatars become those of Vi?pu (in 
the epic) only gradually. The epic has no systematic account of the 
Avatars and even in Hariv. the list is not that of the later ten. In H 5861 f., 
for example, an account of the god’s great acts is given and among them 
are six of the usual four Avatars together with later deeds (conquest of 
tree-demons, etc.; cf. H 3451). -The boy-form here appears distinct from 
‘the Devakinandana form. Here too the "eight-arm form” is a later mani¬ 
festation. The later epic has ten Avatars but not always as the same. 
In short, the theory of Avatars is still developing in the epic and since, 
after the epic, it continued till the epic ten became twenty or more, it 
may be said that the epic itself represents only a stage in the belitef, 
where the factors were still not fixed. Pre-epic is the idea that a creator- 
god appears in animal form, Prajapati as boar and tortoise. The epic in 
the deluge-story first makes the grampus Brahman and then substitutes 
Vi§uii. In S, Buddha is an Avatar. The bhumer bharavatarapam (a 
repeated phrase) is an application of descent in active meaning; it is 
applied to the Avatar of the god to lower or remove the weight or burden 
of earth (cf. 12, 340, 101, etc.). A good short account of the- Avatars 
occurs, in 3, 102, 21 f.: Narayaija, as a boar, of old raised earth; as a 
man-lion, slew HiranyakaSipu; as a dwarf, banished Bali and killed' Jambha 
(both Asuras) for interfering with sacrifice; “and Narayana performed other 
deeds the number of which is unknown”. The two- thousand verses, 
H 12278—14390, contain the fullest detailed account of the early incar¬ 
nations. 

§ 149. The Boar-Avatar. Earth burdened-with creatures, incapable 
of dying in the perfect (Krta) age, appeals to Vi§iju, w ho becomes a 
“unicorn boar” and with his tusk or horn raises her a hundred leagues, 
which distance she had sunk into Patala. This causes excitement among 
the gods, till Brahman explains that the boar is the eternal spirit Visiju, 
Supar na (Narayapa but not necessarily Kr§na here, _3, 142, 29J .). In 1, 21, 
12, Vi§pu is the boar-form of Govinda (— gaqi vindat); identity With 
Krsna emphasised in 12, 209, 7-f. (earth is rasatalagata, 26); but earth’s 
distress is due here not to surplus population but to infidels who “being 
fools do not recognise Vi§nu” as Kj-§na. Instructive is the fact that the 
gods also do not recognise that Kr§pa is Vi§nu (ib. 32); Brahman has to 
tell them, who in R 2, no, 3 is himself the boar. 1 ) In consequence of 
this Avatar, &ny boar rising out of water with earth on his head must be 
worshipped as representing Vi§pu; just as a dwarf priest or disc-shaped 
cow-dung represents him, and a bali should be offered to the dung (13, 
126, 3 f.; here Kr§na’s brother, born of Narayana’s white hair, is also 
cited as sewnoniser). The boar-form is that of a monstrous beast ten by 
one hundred leagues in size, having one tusk and red eyes (3, 272, 55); 
in this account earth is submerged by a flood, not by sinners nor by 
numbers. In H 12340 the “weight” is that of Vi§nu’s own energy. 

§ 150. The Man-lion incarnation also is described in the same Vana 
passage. It is not often alluded to in the epic but becomes a favorite in 

') RG. 2, 119, 3 says that Brahman the boar is “Visiju", a later version. 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


211 


Hariv. and the Purapas. HirajjyakaSipu,' slain by the man-lion, becomes 
fsiSupala, as Kalanemi becomes Kaqisa (i, 67, 5 f.). The Avatar is as old 

as the later Up. and Taitt. Ar. 10, I, J\ but that may not be very old. 

Vi§iju is Nfsixpha or Puraijasiipha (? R 7, 7, 52). The former means of itself 
only a “lion(-hearted) man”, as it refers to such a hero (9, S3, 23), or 
"male lion” (3, 146, 53). The god, as man-lion, “makes half his body 

human and half leonine” (3, 272, 56) and with his claws tears to pieces 

HiragyakaSipu, the infidel. He does not leap forth from a pillar as later 
(see H 2275 and 12707 =H 3, 43, if.). Here Vi$pu = Kr$na = god of 
gods, original spirit, absolute god. HirapyakaSipu represents Sivaism. 
"Virtuous Prahlada” is a Vi§puite. 

§151. As Kr§na Govinda also, in the same account, Vi§iju becomes 
a dwarf (3, 272, 31 and 69 f.). After a thousand years of parturition (sign 
of divinity), Aditi bears Vispu as dwarf to overthrow Bali, usurper of Indra’s 
power. Accompanied by Bfhaspati, the dwarf, balarupadhrt, vamana, 
goes to Bali and asks for three paces of land,, which being granted the 
god covers all with three paces, gives back his realm to Indra, and binds 
and sends below earth Bali, who still reigns there, wherefore the universe 
is now Vi§iju’s (vai§navam). Valmfki refers often to this Avatar (e. g. 
R 3, 61, 24; R 6, 56, 38), besides describing it in full (ib. 1, 29), but adds 
nothing of importance. Neither epic has the Puranic account of USanas’s 
interference in behalf of Bali (for v. 1 . cf. OST. 4, p. I32f.). Cf. 12, 340, 
79 f.; H 12900 f. 

§ 152. Among the seven original Avatars (if this is the meaning of 
the statement above that Vispu was reincarnated seven times) 1 ), the pre¬ 
ceding forms of boar and tortoise, man-lion and dwarf, were probably 
foremost. The three remaining may have been the fish, Rama, and Krsna. 
But there are no Avatar lists till the later epic, and by that time Rama 
Jamadagnya, instead of being a fsivaite foe ofVispu, is a form or Avatar 
of the god, just as Buddha becomes an Avatar. This older Rama de¬ 
scends from Bhrgu and is son of Jamadagni and Repuka, hence called 
Bhargava, Jamadagnya, KauSika, and from His weapon (obtained from &va) 
he is ParaSu-Rama. For details see §125. He lived in the Treta age 
and, according to one account, into that period between this and the next 
age when Rama DaSarathi lived, with whom he fought. In 3, 99, 55 f., the 
All-godship of Rama Da^arathi overcomes him in a shooting match, and 
the apocalypse reveals the god, as in the case of Arjuna and Krsija. Yet 
in 12, 207, Rama Jamadagnya exalts Govinda as Vi§pu, source of all. Val- 
miki joins him in the laud, as do diva’s brother-in-law, Asita Devala, Vyasa, 
etc. The younger Rama (DaSarath'i) is regarded as a pradurbhava 
(Avatar) in R 1, 76, 17, but as “one half’ of Vi§nu (R 1, 18, 10), his three 
brothers being respectively one quarter and one eighth each, which leaves 
no quarter for the sky, as arranged ib. 15, 16 f. (a late passage). In R 
2, no, 2, he is called lokanatha, but this is not more than a royal title; 
and Rama in the real poem is 'notVi§pu but “like Vi§nu”, “Jike the sun”, 
and like other superior powers with which he is not identified (R 2, 2, 
44f.). R s, 35, 15f. describes him as "four-fanged”, etc., but as human. 
In the Jatayus-episode, a clumsy interpolation in honor of Rama, it is said 
that he killed often Daityas and Danavas, as implying divinity, and in R 


*) Perhaps it refers to the (unepic) legend that Kjsija was the seventh (eighth) son 
of DevakI (VP. 5, I, 74; cf. the Jain legend Antagui^a-Dasuo). 


14* 



212 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


4, 17, 8, he secures salvation (as a god) for the one he slays. He is "not 
his own master” (R " 2 , 105, 15). His Vi§iju-form is fully recognised only 
in Bala and CJttara (R 7, 27, 14 f.), although he is more than an ordinary 
man throughout. 1 ) The Mbh., on introducing the Rama-story, calls him 
Visiju (3, 151, 7). j He reigned ten thousand and ten hundred years at 
Ayodhya (12, 29, 61, etc.). The Droija knows him well as a king of old 
who defeated Khara and Ravaija (7, 107,28; 109, 4); also Indrajit’s con¬ 
test with Lak§mana (ib. 108, 13) is noticed; and in 2, 76, 5 and 3, 85,65 
the episode of the golden deer and crossing the Ganges are referred to, 
but in no passage except 3, 99, 35 f. and 151, 7 is he the god Vi§ou. In¬ 
stead, in 3, 25, 8f., he is merely “like Indra in power”. Most of the al¬ 
lusions occur in one group of Drona (parv. 106—109; cf. 106, 17), and it 
is clear that in neither epic was he at first more than a local royal hero- 
god, who has the divinity of such but no more. The third Rama is mytho¬ 
logically of greater importance. According to 1, 197, 33, Bala-Rama (Bala- 
deva) is as much Avatar as is his brother Kf§na, both representing hairs 
of Narayana. He is a rustic god called Lartgalin, “ploughman", or Saipkar- 
§ana, his weapon being the ploughshare, whence Halayudha (9, 47, 26; 
49, 16) Deva; Pralambahan too, as slayer of the demon whose death was 
also attributed to Kr$na. Formal identification of Baladeva and KfSQa 
as forms of Visiju, and of Baladeva with £e§a Naga, is made in 13, 147, 
54f., where Hall Bala iti khyatalj bears the plough, as KfSUa the discus. 
His head is wreathed with snakes, his standard is a palm, tpnendra, 
with three heads, but he also carries a club; he is crowned with wild 
flowers and white-haired (3, 119, 4; 7, 11, 31; 13, 147, 54f.). His palm-sign 
indicates his love.of wine; when described in full, he is half drunk (1, 
219, 7). He stands at the left of KeSava, as Arjuna on the right (5, 131, 
8). Later his sons, NiSafha and Ulmuka, are well-known, who are men¬ 
tioned (2, 34, 16) in the epic, but not as his sons by Revati. After a 
drunken orgy the Naga of the world comes out of his mouth and he dies 
(16,4, 13 f.). Though usually a mere appendage of his younger brother, 
he appears to have had some battles of his own. He fought in the eigh¬ 
teen-day battle with king Haipsa. He is as devoted to wine as his brother 
is to women (1, 220, 20, k§Ibab • . vanamali nilavasa madotsiktalj). 
Such debauchery in no wise detracts from his divinity, however, any more 
than the tricks of Kj-$ija and cowardice of Rama injure their godhead. 
But in the beginning both Rama DaSarathi and Kr§na are blamed as heroes 
for the outrageous behavior of which they are guilty (cf. R 3, 2, 22; ib. 
4, 18, 20f.), while Baladeva’s drunkenness is an essential part of his char¬ 
acter. Like Indra he gets drunk .as a lord as a matter of course. 


*) R 5, 51, 39 f. has a mixture of Slokas and Tri?tubhs. In the first, Rama is “like 
Visflu”; in the second, he is lokatrayanayaka, against whom Brahman and Siva are 
powerless. This seems to be an. admission of divinity and on a par with R 5, 28, pra- 
ksipta after 17, where Rama is Visuu, as in RG 6, 40, 46. But Sundara is an embellished 
book and in general, though space will not permit discussion of all passages (R 5, 31, 44, 
e. g., has Rama as jagatipati in a Puspitagra not in the other text), Rama is developing 
into a form of Vi?au, but the early epic does not know him as such. Rama in R 6, 129 
is not Visflu, which is the chief point of ib. 120 (=B 117), and when heard surprises Rama. 
R 6 , 120 , which identifies Rama with Visgu, is late. In R 7, 17, 35, Rama is Vi?i)u and 
SIta is LakjmT. On a possible ultimate identification of Rama DaSavathi and Bala-Rama, 
see Jacobi, Das Ramayaija, p. 135. Professor Jacobi regards Rama (in both forms) 
as a local Indra, and Vi$i}.u as grown great through absorption of Indra’s attributes (ib. 
P- » 37 f.). 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


213 


§ I S 3 * Kfsoa DevakTnandana (who is Vasudeva) and Devakimatf 
(7, 18, 5)1 whose nephew Abhimanyu is Vippoh svasur nandakarah 
(7, 49, 1), is the “god without end, unborn, born in. the house of Yadu, 
and is called Kr§na (Yadukpaye Vi§pulji Kr§pe’ti), bearer of conch, 
discus, and mace, who wears the lorlvatsa and clothes of yellow silk” (3, 
272, 71 f.). Even as slayer of Jarasandha he is called Vi$pu (2, 24, 34), 
as in Gita 11, 30 (cf. 18, 75). Such is in short the position of Kr$na in 
nine tenths of the great epic and even the later Ram. recognises Vasudeva 
as a form of Vi§nu (7, 23, pra. 1, 43 f.). While Rama becomes Vi§nu only 
in late additions to the little epic, Kj-sna as Vi§nu permeates the great 
epic. This is not to deny that his divinity is questioned. Jarasandha 
questions it, but as a 3 ivaite, and loiva-worship, before it admits the iden¬ 
tity of Kr§na with Narayana (3,40, 2), questions it; even 12,281, I9f. will 
not admit complete identity (see below). Yet even when one says that 
he fears Kr§na less than he fears Yudhi§thira (5, 22, 34), it is admitted in 
the same breath that he is the eternal god (ib. 33, sanatano Vf§ni- 
viraS ca Vippub). The Kurus are old Sivaites (cf. IS. 1, 206) and they 
jojn with Jarasandha in not admitting the divinity of Kr§na as Narayapa 
Vi§pu, as they deny that Arjuna is Nara, who is revealed (as thus incor¬ 
porate, 1,228, 18) to Indra by a heavenly voice (cf. 3,47, iof.; and the 
equations at 1,67,151; 199,6). Narayana is of old the supreme spirit 
(so still in H 35 f.), as Brahman, and Vi§nu is first identified with him (R 
I, 16, I); then Kr§pa is identified with Vispu (Madhava, as in the Khap- 
dava scene, 1, 213, 5 f.), and finally Arjuna is identified with Kr§pa Janar- 
dana in exactly the same words as those used to identify Vispu and Siva: 
"Who hateth (loveth) thee hateth me . . there is no difference between 
us” (3, I2,45f.; 12, 343, 133). Yet Nara is son of Indra and less than 
Narayapa (1,67, xiof.; 5,96,40), and so Arjuna is less than his “char¬ 
ioteer Narayana” (= Kppna, 8, 62, 1), and when the identity of the two is 
asserted, sattvam ekaip dvidha krtam (5, 49, 20), it comes as some¬ 
thing new, not even Bfhaspati, USanas, gods, or seers having known it; 
but Narada has to reveal it (ib. 22). Narada is the revealer of this secret 
in general (Nara-Narayanau devau kathitau Naradena me, 8,96, 
28), even to Arjuna’s brother (cf. 12,347,19; 344, 13f.; and 335, 8f., 
where Nara, Narayana, Hari, and "self-existent Kr§na” are four lokapala 
forms of "Dharma’s son Narayana”; cf, 7, 201, 57). The Pancaratras simply 
intensify the cult introduced by Narada (12, 340, nof.). So the Harigitas 
and Narayanagltam (12,61, 13; 347, 11) are later imitations of the Bhaga- 
vadglta. *) Arjuna acts as demiurge, for "Vi§pu is not to be waked for 
a trifle”, as Indra explains to Loma£a (3, 47, 22), apropos of who should 
destroy the Nivatakavaca demons. He who, as Vipnu, is the All-soul, 
"becomes dearer” as the man-god, as fsiva himself (3, 84, 19f.) prophesies. 
As such, however, Kr§na is still the god from whose mouth the world 
arises, and Vi§nu’s title saptarcis (cf. the seven suns, 3, 88, 65 f.), as the 
devouring fire, is also that ot KeSava Krsua (3, 82, 99). Yet even when 
the sleep of Vi§uu is explained (ib. 188, 141; 189, 4f.), it is only at 
the end that Markapdeya adds: "Now I remember; this supreme god is 
your relative here, called Govinda and Janardana; the All-god it is who 


*) Compare Sir George Grierson, IA. 1909, on the Narayapas and Bhagavatas and 
the same writer's article on Bhakti-marga in Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion 
and Ethics. See also Bhandarkar’s work cited p. 231, note 2. 


214 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

has been born as Krppa” (ib. 189, 52). The Narayanas must have been 
original opponents of the Kj-§na-cult, for they are represented as sworn 
antagonists of Krppa. Govinda, though they are Gopalas (7, 18, 31; ib. 19, 
7). It is these Gopas whom.Arjuna rejects, choosing Narayapa instead 
(5,7, 18 f.). This must indicate that Narayapa was not Kr$pa and that 
Kr$pa’s divine aspirations were opposed by an older Vasudeva’s follo¬ 
wers (they,are called Vasudevasya anugab; here they number only 
four thousand, 7,27, 11). Narayana did'not at first imply Kr§na. Thus 
Vispu Narayapa leads the timid gods to ask Brahman’s help in re Da- 
dhlca (3, 100, 13) without a hint of Kj-§pa; as Narayapa the god is in¬ 
voked to uproot Mandara (1, 18, 4 f.); as the same god becomes a girl and 
seduces the demons to lose ambrosia (1, 18,45), cuts off Rahu’s head (1, 
19, 3), etc., Narayana like Balarama is the white god; Kr§pa is the black, 
and the identification of Asita Devala (Black Devala) with Kr§na is in 
contrast to the slower and not complete identity of Arjuna, the “white”, 
with Krsna (8, 76, 35 f.). R 7, 53, 20f. recognises Vasudeva as Narayapa 
and in Mbh. 1, 218, 4f., Madhava Var§neya is the same god (festival scene). 
In R he rescues Nrga from the lizard-form and generally “relieves burdens 
in the Kali age”. The epic seldom distinguishes between Vasudeva and 
Krspa. 

§ 154. Kr§pa as man is son of Vasudeva called Anakadundubhi, son 
of fWa, son of (fsura) Citraratha, son of Upangu, son of Vj-jinivat, son of 
Kro$tr, son of Yadu (descendant of Manu). His mother was Devaki, 
daughter of Devaka, whose brother Ugrasena, king of the Bhojas, was 
deposed by his son Kaqisa. His elder brother, by Rohipi, was Balarama. 
Krpna’s wives were 16000 in number; one was Rukmipl, whom Kj-ppa 
won from faiSupala (2, 45, 15), and who became mother of Pradyumna (J, 
48,70f.). The legend of H9181 f., which relatesthat Pradyumna was adopted 
by MayadevT, wife of fsambara, as Rati, and was incorporate Kamadeva 
is not found in the epic, though Krppa is creative Love (Kamadeva, Dhatu, 
13, 149, 18 and 83). Pradyumna is regarded as Sanhtkumara (1,67,152). His 
son was Aniruddha, loved by U§a, daughter of Bapa, the fsivaite (Puranic 
additions make Krppa, Balarama, and Pradyumna fight to recover him 
when carried to fsopitapura). Vajra, son of Aniruddha, by U§a(?), became 
king of Yadavas when Kj-ppa died (1, in, 1, 13, 147, 23f.; 16, 3, 4f.; 
4, 21 f.; 7, lof.). Krpna as a child kills his cousin Kaqisa (13, 148,-57), but 
this is later than 2, 14, and 7, iof., where Krspa and Balarama, when 
grown, kill Kaqisa and Sunaman, his brother, king of the Isurasenas, because 
of the alliance of Kaqisa with Jarasandha, his father-inlaw (2,14,3 ;f.), whose 
daughters, Asti and Prapti, Kaqisa married (2, 19,”22). In 7, IO—II, Krppa 
appears as earthly hero but with supernatural power, conquering Varupa 
and Pancajana, the Daitya of Patala, and Indra (to get the Parijata tree) and 
riding Garuda (as Vippu;, but not as the supreme being (he worships 
Durvasas), though as Vasudeva recognised as "father of all”. The motive 
for slaying Kaqisa given in 5, 128, 37 f., is that Kaqisa was usurper, jlvatab 
pitub; it is said here that Krppa reinstated his uncle Ugrasena (son of 
Ahuka). Kr§na is Arjuna's cousin, matuleya, as son of jura’s gfandson, 
since this Siurasena king of Mathura was father ofKuntl (2, 22, 25; 3 auri 
ib. 45, 39). Each cousin is essential to the other (2, 20, 3 and 14), since 
working together they are invincible, but neither is so without the other 
(na 3 aurib Pap<javaqi vina na ’jeyo ’sti). They are known as the 
“two Krpnas”'(both are triyugau, 3, 86, 5f.; cf. 5 > 69,' 3 » I2 > 43 > 6), as 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


215 


in i, 227, 20. But Kr§tia receives invulnerability and other boons as gifts 
of the gods (5, 48, 86). The later epic makes Arjuna one thousandth part 
of the (divine) Kr§pa (as Sakti, S 7, 202,60). Var§peya, however, is not 
savyasacin. Interpolations in regard to the wonders accomplished by 
Kf§pa are common (e. g. S. 2, 23). Rukmini (SRugmini) is Krspa’s 
favorite wife who had seven special wives (cf. H 6579 f.) By her he lay 
•when Kj-§na invoked him to save her from Durvasas’s crew, and he per¬ 
formed a miracle for her. Eating a bit of rice from the magic dish of the 
Sun he made those unbelievers believe that they had feasted well. Though 
here “Kj-sna, Vasudeva, All-soul", he says, “May Hari be pleased with this” 
as if not Hari himself (3, 263, 18 f.). During the epic war Kr§pa acts as 
charioteer for Arjuna, standing at his right. He transforms a weapon into 
a garland (7, 19, 18 f.); makes the sun seem to set (ib. 146, 68, a trick 
not redounding to his credit); and cures wounds, as part of his business 
as charioteer (kuSalo hy aSvakarmapi, 7, 100, 14). He has his own 
charioteer, Daruka, the club KaumodakI, the sword Nandaka, four steeds 
called Balahaka, Meghapu§pa, Jsaibya, and Sugriva, and a conch called 
Pancajanya (4, 45 , I 9 f.; 5 , 131, 10; 10, 13, 3 f-! cf. 7, 147, 47), which 
he got from Pancajana when he overcame that Daitya, flung Saubha into 
ocean, slew KeSin, Canura, Hayagriva, Putana, Arista, Dhenuka, Pralamba, 
Naraka, Jambha, Pitha, Muru, Ogha, and Nagnajit (Gandhara), a mixture 
of myth and history (?); Kaipsa is added (7, 11, 3 f.; cf. 5, 130, 47; S 2; 
53, 16; S 7, II, 3). As fighter he is blamed for ignoble conduct (5, 160, 
55 , maya and indrajala; 9, 61, 38, anaryena jihmamargepa). The 
acts of the man suggest, as do his gifts from the gods, that he was a man 1 
and this view has to be repudiated. “Foolish is he who says that Vasu¬ 
deva is only a man” (as his cousin says he is, 5, 160, 52; 6, 65, 40; 66, 
19; 12, 47, 32); whereas, the devout believer says, it was he who as boar 
raised earth, he who destroys as Rudra with the phallic sign, etc. (12, 
47 , 5 ® f ) j but he offers sacrifice to ioiva (7, 79, 4). Besides the slaughter 
of demons he killed Papdya, overcame the Kalingas, and burned Benares 
(5, 48, 75 f., often referred to), and his family of sons are well-known 
warriors (Carude§pa, etc.; Ahuka here as his “father" 2, 14, 56f.). S adds 
Kalayavana and Mu§tika to the demons he slays (7, II, 4 and 2, 22, 28; 
S here, as often, draws from H). Marks of humanity rather than divinity 
are his cow-boy manners in Magadha (2, 21, 26f.); his ignorance (in 
battle he cannot tell where Arjuna is, 7, 19, 21); his unreasonable rage 
and broken promise (6, 59, 88 f.); his worship of Uma and 3 iva, from 
whom he gets his thousands of wives (2, 14, 64; 13, 15, 7 f.); his power 
■“received' from the gods", because he killed Naraka and recovered Aditi’s 
ear-rings (5, 48, 80 f.), whereby "he won from the demon the bow of 
Vi§rm” (in 5, 158, 8 he gets his wives from Naraka; his club and discus 
he gets from Varupa and Pavaka, and only after getting them does he 
feel able to fight demons, 1, 225, 23 f.); his own admission that he was 
“unable at any time to perform a divine act”, but he would do what he 
could as a man, puru§akaratah, that is, he could not interfere with the 
will of the gods; and his susequent admission that he would have been 
unable to kill Karna, if Karna had not thrown away Indra’s spear (7, 180, 
<5 and 17; rebuked for his behavior, Kr$pa justifies himself by saying that 
neither Arjuna nor Kr§pa himself with his discus could have slain Karna 
armed with Indra’s spear). He is at most only a “half-quarter" of Vi§nu 
(12, 281, 62, turiyardha). He is repeatedly denounced not only as a 


2i6 HI. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


deceitful person but as a low person, cowherd and coward (cf. Bhojasya 
puru§a, 2, 44, 2679, 60, 26, etc.; S 2, 24, 5, matva devaip gopa iti); 
he is weak and despairing because his kin plague him (cf. 12, 81, 7 and 
his flight from Mathura, "because he was afraid”, 2, 14, 48 f.). Of his 
amorousness the epic says little, but it alludes to his revels (1, 219 and 
222); probably ihe lover-god was not compatible with the heroic side and 
not yet developed. That he who as a child could uphold a mountain and 
could steal Indra’s Parijata tree (7, 11, 3 f.), could not overcome a hero 
because that hero carried Indra’s spear, are views still less compatible. 
The first is evidently the later teaching, which leads to Kr§na being in 
the end the Sarve£vare£vare 3 e£a and LegesvareSana, “lord of the lord of 
the lord of lords” (a meaningless hyperbole, 7, 149, 24). Recognition of 
his child-divinity is explicit but not common. The dwarf-form is that of the 
child (£i£ur bhutva) Kr§na, who then “even as boy”, bala (3, 12, 26 
and 43), did great acts. The particulars given in 2, 41, 4f., are that as a 
child he slew a bird (fiend); then he kicked over a car, ate a great deal 
and for seven days upheld Govardhana, besides slaying Asva and 
Vrsabha; but only the slaying of the bird (Putana) is expressly ascribed 
here to his childhood. There is no great stress laid on the child-god. 
Like the lover-god the child-god develops later. It is as human warrior 
that he is lauded in 3, 12, 29 f. (destroying Mauravas, Nisunda and Naraka, 
making safe the road to Pragjyoti§a, killing laiSupala, Kratha, etc. and 
as conquering the Greek - Kaserumat). In 7, 11, 2f., as a boy in the 
cowherd’s family (Nanda), he slew (Kesin) Hayaraja and with his hinds 
slew the "bull Danava”. Then follow the other demons slain, not in 
boyhood, Pralamba, Naraka, Jambha, Pitha, Mura, as in Vana (cited), with 
Kaipsa’s death added. 1 ) 

The S text of Sabha, absorbing the Hariv., identifies K. with Brahman 
and Rudra (41, 27), tells how Kr<j$a resurrected the son of "Sandipini” (sic) 
after the boy was drowned and eaten by a fish (S, 2, 54; cf. H 4906 f.), 
etc. The pseudo-epic, completing the divinity of Krsna, unites £iva with 
Kr§na. Thus in , 13, 139, 16 f., fire comes out of Kr§na’s mouth and burns 
hills and trees; he looks and they are restored. It is his soul, energising 
as fire to get a son. This soul of fire is told by Brahman, that half of 
diva’s energy will be born as the desired son (ib. 35; at ib. 140, 34 3 iva 
similarly burns and restores with a look Himavat, his father-in-law). Doubt¬ 
less both tales reflect the Kapila story, as Vasudeva is Kapila and Kapila 

*) After Weber’s essay on Krstia’s birthday (noticed only in the pseudo-epic, see 
§ I 55 )> nothing of importance appeared on Kr?pa till in 1907—8 arose a discussion between 
Messers Kennedy and Keith as to the date of the cult of the Child-Kyspa. Kennedy di¬ 
stinguishes several Krstias and attributes the Child to the Gujars, due to Christian in¬ 
fluence. The perfected cult may have been influenced from this source but the divine 
child, as shown above, is explicitly recognised several times in the epic (prior to the 
pseudo-epic) and must be as old as the Christian era. Keith regards Kr^ha as a vegetation 
god rather than a sun-god, but admits Vi?9u as early sun-god identified with Vasudeva. 
Kennedy regards Krspa, a “monsoon Sun-god slaying the Asura Kaipsa”, as distinct from 
the local Dvaraka god. See JRAS. 1907, p. 951 f.; ib. 1908, p. i69f.; ib. 505 f.; ib. p. 847. 
See also above, § 143, note. No weight is to be laid on the equation Krspa == Christos, 
for Kr?ua wps a god before Christ was bom; the only question is whether he was as 
much of a god when the epic began as when it ended. Probably all the KtSbas (pace 
Kennedy) are one, but the early epic knew him rather as a man-god than as God. By 
the end of the pseudo-epic, even Vyasa Krsqa was incarnate Logos (buddhi), an ema¬ 
nation of Narayaija, “born of a virgin”, kaninagarbha; also "bom of the word of God 
in Brahman’s seventh creation” (12, 350, 4, 38, 51). But this is the last word of the Bha- 
gavatas and not early epic. 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


217 


with a look consumes the Sagaras, who become grasshoppers ( 3 > 47 > * 9 ! 
106, 7 f.; S 107, 30). ioiva exalts Kr§pa as Kalagni (3, 272, 29 f.). 

The worship of Kf§na Vasudeva appears to have been hampered by 
a (Bengal) rival called Paurujraka Vasudeva, who imitated the insignia of 
Kf$na and was regarded by the latter as a “false god”. He supported 
Jarasandha (2, 30, 22; cf. ib. 14, IQf.; I, 186, 12). See § 153. 

§ 155. The worship of Kf$pa (apart from laudation) is rather recom¬ 
mended than practiced in the epic, where only the late parts recognise his 
holy day. In 13, 14, 290, fsiva is said to be pleased with Kr§pa’s eighth day, 
Kf§na§tamirata, but the twelfth day of each month he is to be revered by 
a different name (ib. 109, 3f., 15 f.), beginning in the month Marga 5 Ir§a with 
KeSava, and continuing with the names Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vi§nu, 
Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, £rldhara, Hr§Ike 3 a, Padmanabha, Da- 
modara. Who worships him thus on the twelfth of each month gets me¬ 
mory of former births, jatismaratvam, and gold; but he who worships 
him daily gets his nature and other rewards. The cult is one of harmless 
offerings. Vi$pu himself, who receives sacrifice (3, 255, iofi), as Krspa 
or otherwise, inculcates what appears to be a brand-new idea, that sacri¬ 
fice should not be bloody; the god himself is the sacrifice, he demands 
only flowers and cakes (12,269,26; 277, 32f. ==.Dh. Pada, 202; cf. 264, 
36f.). Kf§na’s (shrine at?) Purl is recognised “in the hollow of the sea” 
(6, 66 , 41), as made by him, but this may be Dvaraka (so N.; not in Ben¬ 
gal). Otherwise Dvaraka and Mathura are his places but only Dvaravatl 
is punya (holy, 3, 88, 24). His age is adau Kaliyugasya, (though the 
absence of animal sacrifice is a sure mark oftheKrta age, 12, 341, 82b), 
or more particularly between Dvapara and Kali (6, 66, 40). As Kr§pa re¬ 
presents the four ages and their qualities, he represents not only right 
but wrong, adharma, and as such he becomes the demon Bali (13, 159, 
to f. ib. 16 == 12, 285, 26), as Jsiva becomes the eclipse-demon. As Nara- 
yapa Puru§ottama he lived thousands of years as an ascetic worshipping 
the supreme god Parayapa Deva, but as the same time conquered Indra- 
dyumna, Kaserumat, Bhoja fsalva, Gopati, and Talaketu, and took' Dvaraka 
(3, 12, 32 f.). 

§ 156. Other Avatars are mentioned either as incidents in Vi$nu’s 
great deeds or formally in a list. In H 5861 f., without mentioning the 
word Avatar, the poet describes the acts of the god: He raised earth as 
boar and slew Hirapyak$a; as man-lion, he killed HirapyakaSipu; as dwarf, 
bound Bali; as Rama Jamadagnya, between Treta and Dvapara, he cut 
off the thousand arms of Kartavirya; as Da 3 arathi, killed Ravapa; in the 
Kfta age he killed Kalanemi, with eight arms (in Tarakamaya war); he 
killed demons under all forms, viSvarupo Vippuh; as a child, he slew 
forest-demons, Pralamba, Ari$ta, Dhenuka; as cowherd, he slew Putana 
(Sakuni), KeSin, Yamala and Arjuna (the pair), and Kuvalayapida (Kaipsa's 
elephant), Canura, Mu§tika, and Kaipsa. Lists also occur first in the 
pseudo-epic. In 12, 340, 77 f. with additions in S (348, 2f.), a list like that 
just cited, with Kalayavana, Muru, Pltha, etc. as victims of Kr§pa. Then 
follows a formal list of Avatars: Haipsa, tortoise, fish, boar, man-lion, 
dwarf, two Ramas, Krspa, Kalki (ib. 104 and 16, 4, 13 3 e§a might be menti¬ 
oned). The S text at 12, 348,2, has: Matsyah kurmo varahaS ca 
narasiipbo ’tha vamanab, Ramo RamaS ca RamaS ca Buddhafi 
Kalkf ’ti te daSa, as preliminary to the list above, which is quite 
different (it anticipates the story of Nfga, 13, 6, 38 and the story of U§a). 


218 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 
___—* 

« 

After explaining how Kr§oa held up the mountain for seven nights while 
Indra rained, S (vsr 41 f.) describes the Buddha and Kalki incarnations: 
"At the beginning of the Kali age, leaning against a kingly tree, clothed 
in yellow, shorn, and having white teeth,'as Buddha, son of ^uddhodana, 
I shall confuse ipen; and when I become Buddha, slaves will make use 
of the pure; all men will become yellow - gowned Buddhas, and priests 
will neither study nor sacrifice; offerings to fire and respect for Gurus 
will vanish; sons will not obey parents . . Jsruti and Smfti will be forgotten, 
owing to men’s indulgence toward deceitful rules; till, at the end of this 
Kali age, a green-yellow (haripiugala, epithet of the 3 ivaite Durvasas 
in 13, 160, 14) Brahmana will appear, called Kalki, son of Vi§nuyaSas, a 
Yajnavalkya Purohita. He will come as a warrior-priest riding on a horse, 
hay a, with other priests as (warrior-)companions, to destroy barbarians 
and heretics”. In 3, 190, 93, Kalki himself is named Vi^puyaSas (cf. H 
2367) and is a priestly warrior, born at Sambhala-grama (cf. 3, 191, 5 and 
Vayu P. 58, 78, Mlecchatvaip hanti); a late addition to the epic based 
on Vayu P. (cf. 3, 191, 16, Vayuproktam). 82,50,45 also makes Vi§pu- 
ya/as the name of Kalki (ICalkin). Cf. H 2368, Yajnavalkyapuraljsara, 
“follower of Yajnavalkya” (or of his works). According to 12, 342, 24 f., 
Vi§pu worships Rudra Siva as himself, born of his wrath, as Brahman was 
born of his grace: "Rudra and Narayapa are one being in two forms . . 
Vi§iju adores none save himself. This is what is recognised in H 10662 f. 
Rudra is not Avatar but identicall ‘‘The murti is one, the gods are three, 
Rudra, Vi§nu, Pitamaha” (not epical). 

The whole list of twenty-two Avatars (Bhag. Pur. 2, 7) contains many 
pradurbhavas which appear as titles in the epic, such as Puruja, Na- 
rada, Kapila, Prthu, R§abha, Yajfia, Dhanvantari. The serpent seems to 
be an Avatar in 12, 350, 35: "I take the form of the earth-upholding ser¬ 
pent; the form of boar, lion, dwarf, and man” (Vyasa is Avatar of 
Narayapa here). Other titles of late but instructive form in the lists at 
12, 339 i 40f. are: Caturmaharajika, Tu$ita (and Mahatusita, Buddhi¬ 
stic); paptamahabhaga, Mahayamya (— Citragupta), Pancaratrika and 
Pancakalakartrpati, (Indra’s) akhaijdala, harihaya; haipsa, maha- 
haipsa, hayaSiras, vadavamukha (as Avatars, cf. 12, 300, 2f. with 5, 
36, if.). Vi§pu is here ascetic with water-pot, vedi, etc. (12, 339, 4 f-, a 
late addition). Atreya is here ascetic but soon becomes an Avatar. In 
H 2225 to 2374 the ten Avatars are lotus (cf. 12,343,76), boar, man-lion, 
dwarf, Datta (= Dattatreya), two Ramas, KeSava, Vyasa, and Kalki. These 
are pravrttis or pradurbhavas (cf. 1,63,99). As All-god, Vi§pu is 
Rudro BahuSirab (13, 149, 26), but as the "one m many” (eko Vi§nur 
mahad bhutam, prthag bhutany anekaSab (ib. 140). The Ram. re¬ 
cognises the tortoise and boar incarnations as well as that of Rama, though 
only in the later Bala and Uttara with interpolated passages elsewhere (Bud¬ 
dha is mentioned, but not as Avatar, in the interpolated R 2,109,34; the dwarf, 
I, 29; the tortoise, I, 45, pra. 11).*) For Visiju and Brahman, see § 137. 

>) See Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, 4, l75f. and 266f.; 44 lf; Jacobi, Das 
Ramayaga, g. 65. In H 10660 f. the three gods who have one form are androgynous, 
ardhanarl£varalj. Rudra is of the nature of fire; Vi$gu, of the moon (agnimaya, 
somatmaka), these two powers composing the world (8, 34, 49, agnij.omau jagat 
kftsnam). Pitamaha is ignored here after the introductory and perfunctory recognition 
of him as one of the three. The laud is given to Hari-Harau, "with Brahman”, but the 
last is really left out in favor of the "two highest” who are one, (etau p&ramau devau) 
as creators, preservers, destroyers (eka eva dvidhabhutalj). 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


219 


As brother of Durga (§ 161) Vi§iju shares with her the peculiarity 
of appearing with either two, four, or eight arms (§ 145), while 3 iva has 
either two, four, six, ten, or eighteen arms (r 3,14,250; 14,8,30). Varahamihira 
(BS. 58, 31 f.) speaks only of Visnu and Durga as having four or eight arms. 

§ 157. £iva. — In Ram., £iva as fsaqikara and Rudra is god of the 
North (R 6, 74, 59f.), but he is not regarded as higher than other Devas 
(R 6, 59, 132; Ravap.a is k§epta ^aqakarasya, R 6, 114, 49), except as 
destroyer, yugante, in his special r 61 e as Hara (R 3,65,2: ib. 24,26, 
Rudra Pinakin, etc.). As MaheSvara he has a wonder-tree on Himavat, 
near where Kubera became yellow-eyed from seeing him (R 4, 37, 28; ib. 
7, 13, 22 f.). Rama is likened to Bhava, as Slta to Giriputrl (R 6, 75,35f- 
etc.). £iva is called Mahadeva and 3 ambhu (ekadaSatmaka, R 4, 43, 
59), Tryambaka (R 6, 43, 6): He is AmareSa, lord of Bhuts (ib. 59, 9)1 
smiter of Tripura, burner of Kama (ib. 1,23, 13), father of Skanda (ib. 36,7 f.); 
his chief notable deeds are to take the world-destroying poison, destroy 
Dak$a’s sacrifice (R 1,66, 9 f.), and receive the falling Ganges (R 1, 43 » 
26). The Uttara exalts him more but puts him under Vi§uu (steps on 
Ravapa, 7, 16 and 16, 27). He carries a rosary (Hara GaijeSa, 7, 23, pra. 
4 . 29). 1 ).He is §adardhanayana and Mahadeva, “great god with three 
eyes” (R 6, 120, 3). In R I, 45, pra. 5 f., it is Hari who gets Hara to 
drink the poison. See § 163. 

The Mbh. also allows Kf?na and Arjuna to bow to and receive boons 
from 3 iva and Uma (eight boons from the god of eight principles and forms 
(I, 123, 44; 3, 39, 70; 13, 15, 7 f.; ib. 16, 34 and 54, two octads, tanus, 
and prakftis). In the scheme of creation, Skanda bears no relation to 
£iva, who is ignored; it is Brahman here who is ISa and Sambhu; the 
Rudras are sons of Sthanu, who is then himself one of the eleven (1, 64, 
45 and 66, 1 f.). Mahadeva is a title of Visiju (3, 84, 147, etc.). Hara is 
name of a demon (1,67, 23); Rudra and Mahakala are, however, recogn¬ 
ised in I, 65, 21, as the god Bajja followed. 3 iva is called Nilakantha 
because he drank the poison at Brahman’s bidding (x, 18, 42; but see 
below). Brahman creates £iva; ^iva is Brahman’s son (references above 
in § 138). The later epic exalts Siva, and here he becomes creator of 
Brahman (13, 14, 4). Siva is known as Rudra, fSa, Sambhu, Devadeva, 
Devega, Mahadeva, Bhagavat (as are other gods). Generally, however, 
Mahadeva and Sambhu mean Siva, who is called Kapardin from his hair and 

l ) Compare ak$a in 12, 38, 23, the rosary worn by (the friend of Duryodhana) 
Carvaka, a Rakgasa disguised as a Sivaite priest (on the Carvaka, see Pizzagalli, Nastika, 
Carvaka e Lokayatika). The Kurus are Siva-worshippers, though Duryodhana perforins the 
Vaigoava-sacrifice (3, 255, lof.). References to Rudra-Siva as a great god are not uncom¬ 
mon in the Ram., but the force of the number of these is dissipated by the reflection that 
most of the references are to Rudra as battle-god and are introduced as similes. They 
are frequent enough to show that Rudra was generally recognised as a fearsome god, but 
they do not indicate that he was regarded as supreme. The few passages referring to the 
Sivaite rosary are all late. The passage above and one in 12, 285, 100 are in late lauds 
and the epithet used here, ak^amalin, is found again in another similar laud at 7, 201, 
69. The early epic has no allusion to a rosary. In 3, 112, 5, the Rsyasyliga episode is late 
(cf. R I, 9—19; and LUders, Nachrichten der K. Gesell. d. Wissensch. zu GSttingen, Philol- 
hist. Kl. 1897 and 1901). Akjamala as wife of Vasisfha in Manu is not epic. Perhaps in 
13, 104, 84, the kaficantya mala (na sS du?yati karhicit) may be a rosary (compare 
on this subject, Leumann, Aupapatika, p. 72, and the same writer’s "Rosaries mentioned 
in Indian Literature", p. 888). Aksasutra, Rudrakja, Japamala, Gatiettiya are not epic terms 
and as ak$amala appears in A. V. Pari^i?{a, 43, 4, 11, this would seem to be the first 
word used for the rosary. RG 6,82, 84 is late. Siva aksapriya, 12, 285, 47 , is "fond of 
dice”; cf. ak$aib pramattah, I, 197 , * 5 - 


220 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

* 

Pinakin from his bow, TriSulin and Trinetra (Tryak§a) from his trident and 
eyes; and generally these epithets are names only of him. But other gran¬ 
diose names are the epithets of other gods. MaheSvara is Indra in i, 211, 
23, where !biva becomes four-faced through staring at Tilottama; and in 
1, 227, 29 TridaSanaip mahe^varalj. is also Indra. Of his four faces (ex¬ 
plained otherwise here) the pseudo-epic calls his southern face destructive 
(13,141, if.; he also has four forms). He has a hundred tongues, athousand feet, 
etc. Three-eyed monsters are not uncommon and, till Krsna improved his ap¬ 
pearance, f>i£upala had three eyes and four arms (image of loiva, 2, 43, 
1). diva’s third eye is like a sun on his brow (Virupak§a, 12, 343, 25; 
13, 14 °) 34 )- 3 iva has Rak$asa characteristics also as kumbhakarna, 
Sankukarpa, gokarna, etc. (3, 84, 157; 173, 44; 12, 285, 75 and 83). 
As husband of Uma, he is Umapaiti. She is Mahadevi Haimavatl identi¬ 
fied with Parvati as he is Mahadeva GiriSa, Girika, etc., as god of the 
mountains. A festival to him as mountain-god is given in the spring-month 
VaiSakha (lasts 34 days; he is Mahadeva, S 1, 241, 69f,; B suppresses the 
title, apparently because Kf§pa was the worshipper). In the South, his 
fane at Gokanja was known as holy (both epics; gokarpa as epithet). 
Theological animus has varied the recipients of Tirtha honors. For example, 
B at 3, 84, 129 has MaheSvara and Vr§adhvaja, but S has VateSvara and 
then KeSava as those honored. Most of diva’s titles are clear but Tryam- 
baka, interpreted as "having three eyes” or "lord of three worlds” (H 
7589), is doubtful. 3 iva is Ambikabhartf only in late passages. Possibly 
"having three rivers”, as Ganges is and Uma may be river; or, as in'par- 
vatas Tryambakab in v. 1 . at R 7,46, 20 (cf. RG 4, 44, 46), ambaka 
— Srnga (TriSrnga, cf. TriSir§a), the "three-peaked mountain” being ori¬ 
ginally the god itself (triyambaka is metrical, S 2, 23, 36). If amba = 
pupilla, the “three-eyed” meaning would agree with tradition. No three 
"mothers” are known 1 ), but this may be derived from the Rudra-Agni con¬ 
ception (Agni has three mothers in RV. 3, 56, 5?). Of doubtful meaning 
also is Hin<)uka in 12,285, 139. As carried on a bull, J§iva is Vf§avahaha 
(Bhava GiriSa, I, 197, 21). As ascetic god he is skull-wreathed (14,8,29), 
worshipped by asceticism (1, 169, 8), and called virajo nirajo ’maralj 
(13, 17, 148; but nlra-j a = moon), "passionless”. A hekatomb of human 
victims are prepared for him as 3 aipkara PaSupati (2, 22, 11; ib. 15, 23). 
His festival in 1, 143, 3f., is also a PaSupati utsava, calling forth a great 
samaja of worshippers (ib. 145, 34; the date would be about the beginning 
of March). 

§ 158. Although the latest parts of the epic (before the final chapters 
of Ssanti) are devoted to fsiva-worship, as if it rose in a new form to op¬ 
pose the exaggerated Narayapa-Krsoa cult, yet the passages in the earlier 
books (cf. above and 7, 79, 4, where Arjuna offers the “regular nightly 
offering” to Tryambaka) may indicate that there was not at first much anta¬ 
gonism between the sects. £iva is the Kuru-maker, lives with Kurus, 13, 
17, 107. Each party believes in the supreme greatness of his own god, 
but neither decries the other openly. As Devadeva, Rudra gives Arjuna 

*) The simplest explanation of Tryambaka may be that Siva has not three mothers 
but three Mother-goddesses (GaurT, Kali, Uma;, who are called Ambikas, each originally 
an Amba <jr Mother. These Mothers are known as a group of attendants and comprise 
such forms (names) as Magadhi, showing a local cult, Bhadrakali (independent of Kali 
= Bhadrakali, but originally the same), Vetalajanini, Bhagananda (sexual), Bhavini (= 
mother), etc. The list, as attendants of Skanda, is given in 9, 46, 3 f. Vetalas next appear 
in H 14533; as matf, 9542 ; graha, 9562; Vet alt is Durga, 10240. 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


221 


• 

his own raudram astram (3, 167, 47f.; 173,42!.), and has a pretended 
struggle to test the knight, ^iva is here “snake-wearer, club-bearer, of 
many forms, his ensign the bull, trident in hand; he has three heads 
(nine eyes), six arms, flame-(red) hair, is clothed in snakes”; but at 
the same time is conventionally trinetra, three-eyed (elsewhere he has 
"a thousand eyes”). Both passages call him by his ancient name 3 arva. 
Arjuna worships him, building him an altar, when the flowers thereon 
appear on the god’s head, who is described as “lord of all gods, blue¬ 
necked, destroyer of Dak§a’s sacrifice”, etc., and, finally, as “Vispu in form 
of tSiva, 3 iva in form of Vi$nu”, or Harirudra, a dualism antecedent to 
trinitarianism (3, 39, 76). He, is “lord of weal, pure helper, guardian of 
the bow, great lord of all beings, lord of hosts, gaijeSa, destroyer of 
impurity, a user of may a (illusion), bull-marked, of eleven forms, eka- 
daSatanu, and of eight, a§tamurti” (3,49, 4; ib. 8). He hides in holes 
(13,17,61); is Guha and Rahu; wears garlands, sports with Uma in the grove 
north of Meru, unseen save by Siddhas (6, 6, 24 f.). In 10,6, 3 f., ASvatthaman 
is estopped from murder by the vision of a gigantic being, bright as the 
sun or moon, clothed in tiger-skins, with snakes as armbands, with ter¬ 
rible fangs and thousands of eyes. This was Kr§na as god. Then the 
knight invoked the aid of the “god of gods, husband of Uma, decked with 
skulls, called Kapardin, Hara, Rudra, Bhaganetrahara”. As “the mighty 
boon-giver, white-necked, living in crematoria, having all forms, whose 
club is a post, smiter of Tripura, blue-necked, red-haired, who is fond 
of courtiers, leader of ghosts, dear to Gaurl, overseer of treasure, father 
ofKumara, clothed in space, wearer of the moon” (etc., epithets already 
noted; 10, 7, 11), as “Brahman and as 3 akra”, 3 iva appears (as does Uma), 
surrounded with his Bhuts, “over-short and over-long”, deformed in all 
ways. What is lacking here and above is almost' more important than 
what is supplied, viz., all reference to Jaiva as the phallic god, such as 
he is described in later passages. The Pari§adas are the manifold forms 
of him they worship and are sexually deformed, brhacchephandapin- 
(Jikab (10, 7, 39), as they are “huge-bellied”, etc., but in the description 
of the god the Linga attributes are lacking. The Mahaparisadas of Rudra 
are described again in 9, 45, I04f., as long-necked (etc.) linguists with 
pendent bellies, etc., pralambodaramehanab (ib. 97), five-tufted, three- 
tufted, cock-faced, etc., attendants of diva’s son Skanda (their faces are 
those of animals). It is as destructive rather than reproductive energy 
that loiva is famed; hence “slayer of animals”, and the battle-ground of 
death is his playground (7, 19, 35 ; cf. akrldam iva Rudrasya pura 
’bhyardayatah pa^un). His fists are like £akra’s bolts; he blazes in 
glory as he burns Tripura (3, 39, 56; 7, 156, 13 5 ). As god of procreation 
he grants the boon of a son and is worshipped expressly for this pur¬ 
pose by Drupada (5, 188, 3; cf. 7, 144, 15f.; 1, 110,9). A distinction is 
made between Jsiva and Rudra. £iva created Brahman and Vi§nu from 
his right and left side, (respectively, for purposes of creation and preser¬ 
vation), and he created Rudra as Kala (13, 14, 347 f.); hence Rudra is 
usually his devastating form; it is Rudra who makes the demoniac arms 
of Rak§asas (the eight-wheeled bolt, 7, 175, 96). Rudrani with Sa§thl 
(Gauri?) also separate the female powers of the two (2, 11,41). Mystically 
Rudra is Agni (q. v. and cf. 13, 85, 88 f.). Rudra is born when crime is 
committed, like a portentous storm of wind (12, 73, 17!; 341, 37, as one 
of eleven Rudras; cf. ib. 285, 19)- A later passage than that cited above 


222 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 


- t 

first introduces isiva as a phallic god, where, as Rudra, the god “dis¬ 
carded his Linga”-(io, 17, 22). 1 In 12, 47, 80 (as Krspa) and 166, 25 f., he 
appears wit!) four arms, three eyes, black, yellow, and the third sunlike, 
and mahalihga (ib. 48). So in 13,1 7 * 77 * &va, identified with NandlSvara, 
Nandin, Nandana, is four-faced and mahalihga, carulihga, liiigadhy- 
ak§a, and ib. 46, urdhvaretas, urdhvalinga. Another late passage, 
which gives him a rosary (7, 201, 69f.; cf. 12,285, I0 °) and makes him 
the All-god and god of a thousand eyes, arms, legs, and heads, says that 
he creates in Linga-form (7,201, 93 and 96); by his divine Lihga the 
worlds are increased; it is worshipped by gods, seers, Gandharvas, and 
Apsarasas; and MaheSvara rejoices when his heavenly Liftga is revered; 
he is Sthanu because sthitalinga (ib. 202, I24f. and 133): "He who al¬ 
ways reveres the Linga obtains great happiness” (ib. 140). That this long 
passage is a date addition to Drona 1 ) may easily be shown. It contains a 
reference to the “two bodies” (cf. 13, 162, 3 f.), has the sthiralirtga of 
13, 162, 11, and the late dhurjati (7, 202, 129), etc. The “two bodies" 
in themselves are the dve tanu called ghora and Siva or saumya, fire, 
lightning, and sun being the first body, and stars, water, and moon the 
second. Drona replaces vidyut with Vi§pu as one form of the horrible 
body, as stars ("heavenly lights”) interchange with virtue as a kind form 
(on Siva's invention of Death, see 12, 258; he is lightning, and sun and 
moon). 3 iva has two lauds (cf. 12, 285, 71), one giving him a thousand 
and the other a thousand and eight titles (.13, 17, 130 as tala or foun¬ 
dation), both marked by late Purapic elements (Manvantaras, Lokaloka 
worlds, tanmatras created by 3 iva, recognition of the Kj-$oa§tamI; 
cf- 13, 14, 211, etc.). Krsoa here worships Jjiva (to get his son Samba by 
Jambavatl). diva’s ornaments are Nagas, worn as ear-rings and girdle; his 
clothes are of snake-skin; his arms are club, bow (snake), sword, axe, 
and trident; also the discus (from Vi§pu), 13, 14, 154D; cf. ib. 160, if. 
The crescent-moon is on his brow, ib. 253. 

§ 159. The pseudo-epic describes in detail £iva and his. many great 
acts. He inspired sundry authors, "makers of books and Sutras”; even 
Savarpi was made a granthakj-t. He made Indra king of Devas at J 3 e- 
nares, and promised Narada the post of musician to himself, the “naked 
ash-strewn god” (digvasa bhasmagujjthitah, 13,14, ioif.; 105). As 
(above) he has four arms (instead of six), so he has six faces instead of 
four; he is seen and not seen (dpSyate ’drgyate ca ’pi, negative verb); 
naked he sports with daughters and wives of saints; has a huge gepha; 
sometimes rides a white elephant with red ears and four tusks; he is 
"beyond the reach of logical argument”; his worshipper needs no logic 
but should be willing to become worm or bird or beast at his wish. He 


') On the source of LiAga-worship, see Stevenson in JRAS., 8, 330; Lassen, Indian 
Antiquities, I, 524; and the discussion in OST. 4, 406f. There is no evidence that Lifiga- 
worship was adopted by Brahmanic priests in early days. As creative god, however, nothing 
was more natural than for Rudra-Siva even as representing Agni bhutadi to exhibit 
himself in this form. The usual theory (Muir agrees with the authors cited above) is that 
the savage cult of wild tribes as £ id n a-worshippers lent phallicism to Brahmanism, but 
I do not know of any wild tribes that were distinguished by the use of this emblem in 
the epic, whereas Siva was a god invoked for procreative purposes and both he and 
Kubera are not without priapine elements likely to become symbolised among a people 
never very shy of sexual matters. It may be that the usual theory is right but it lacks 
confirmation. At any rate the Lifiga is late in its appearance in literature; it certainly is 
not an early epic trait. Siva is Vamadeva, 17, 14, 71; H 14842. 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


223 


is half male and half female. He is the best god, because other gods 
worship his Liiiga. All creatures bear the male or female sign, hence 
all are diva’s creatures. If they were Visou’s or Brahman’s or.Indra’s, they 
would be marked with discus, lotus, or thunderbolt! But the universe is 
all male and female, pullihga and strilifiga, dve tanu, belonging to 
&va or Devi, who is the female part of &va. He gives Vasudeva “six¬ 
teen and eight” boons; around him stand eleven hundred Rudras and seven 
Manus; but he is above the seven winds and seven fires; his forms are 
“diseases and sorrows and vices”, for he embraces all. His forms are 
three, tanavas tisrab, Kala, Puru§a, Brahman, with the overman, adhi- 
puru§a, as fourth. His eight forms are water, fire, priest, sun, moon, 
space, earth and wind; he is the.eight elements, seven worlds, seven seers, 
the all, the ka§tha and kala, and the five ways of salvation (ib. 16,65, 
cf. Kath. Up. 3, 11). Probably mahafiga in 13, 17, 83!, where new titles 
are found, is one with mahalifiga. He is here maker of Vedas, tridaSa 
and dvadaSa, higher than grammar, etc. etc. His fondness for dancing 
and music is dwelt upon, nftyapriyo nityanarto nartakafi sarva- 
lalasab (ib. 50), mahanptya (117); he is leonine, and a tiger (vyaghro 
vyaghreSvaranama Kaliiigarupab, refers to an image in Kalinga, N.); 
he here has mules as his steeds; ten golden arms; carries ten weapons; 
is gajahan (at Benares, ib. 48). As creator he is identified with Vi£va- 
karman in 12, 285, 59, but as one who sacrificed (cf. 269, 21, of Prajapati) • 
in the great universal sacrifice (of fsB. 13, 7, 1, 14) after his birth from earth. 

§ 160. diva’s weapons are PaSupata or Brahmafiiras, with which he 
killed demons and will destroy the world (given to Arjunal); the Pinaka,' 
a club or bow (explained 13, 14, 256, as bow) made of serpents (cf. Aja- 
gava, 3, 126, 34; 7, 145, 94); the trident called Vijaya, etc. The bull is 
his usual vehicle and Devi Uma rides with him. It is driven by Kala and 
was given faiva by Brahman, also by Dak§a. The early epic, in distinction 
from the fantastic account of the pseudo-epic, recognises Siva as an as¬ 
cetic god granting boons chiefly as reward of asceticism and famous for 
a few great acts. He destroyed Tripura, the three cities of demons, hence 
Tripurantakara, etc. He slew many demons but especially Andhaka (9, 
17, 48, etc., sometimes confused with Antaka). He knocked out Bhaga’s 
eyes and burned Kama (12, 190, 10) and destroyed Dak§a’s sacrifice. He 
received Ganges as she fell from the sky (6, 6, 31). His vehicle in going 
to attack Tripura is drawn by a thousand lions (3, 231, 29). On destroy¬ 
ing Dak§a’s sacrifice, because not invited, laiva shot the sacrifice, that fled 
as a deer, broke Savitf’s arms, kicked out Pusan’s teeth, and destroyed 
Bhaga’s eyes, paralysing all the gods who failed to honor him (cf. 10, 18). 
He was assisted by Uma as Bhadrakall, and by VIrabhadra, and other 
(Raumya) spirits born of diva’s hair-pits (12, 285, 34!). His wrath pro¬ 
duced Jvara, Fever (12, 284, 47). Another account (13, 77, 20 f.) makes 3 iva 
annoyed with Dak$a for creating cows, but he accepts the bull from him. 
3 iva is type of the Yogins who have the "eightfold lordship”, and im¬ 
parts this as a boon to Jaigl§avya atBenares; but also he represents arts 
and literature, imparting the sixty-four divisions of Kalajnana to Garga 
(other boons also recorded here, .13, 18, 2f., won by repeating the god’s 
1008 names). He is the inspirer of artists (etc., sarvaSilpapravartaka, 
12, 285, 148). For his relation to Brahman, see § 138. 

Historically, the most important facts are his identity with Vi§gu, but 
at the same time the absence of trinitarian interpretation, except in one 



224 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

late passage (3,272,47) as three avasthab of Prajapati (cf. H 10662); 
the virtual absence-of GaneSa (§ 145; cf. 3, 39, 79 as epithet of 3 iva); the 
rare mention.of the rosary (3, 112, 5, R§yaSrftga, late; cf. § 157); and the 
late references to Linga (above). Also the late form Parvati (below). Not 
unimportant too is the fact that &va appears as patron of arts and lit¬ 
erature only iii the later epic. S 12, 122 makes fsiva the author of all 
literature. As teacher Jaiva is found in 2, 78, 15. His "law-treatise” called 
Vai£alak§a from his epithet is referred to (12, 58,2; 39,82). Only in 
H 14841 is he Kaijada. 

§ 161. Uma, wife of £iva, is known as Parvati (her modern name) 
only in a few late passages (R 1, 36, 21, ^ailasuta Parvati, in an added 
vs.; R 7, 13,23 has the parallel RudranI; Mbh. 3,231,49; 7,80,40; 9, 
45 , 53 ! I0 > 7 , 46). Her birth as "daughter of Himavat”, whence this name, 
is recognised everywhere. Hariv. and Puraijas call her Parvati repeatedly 
(H also Tryak§apatnl, vs. 10000). Common are synonyms, Qiriputrl, Giri- 
rajaputrl, tsailarajaputrl, Nagarajaputrl, Girija, Nagakanya, GirlSa, Parva- 
tarajakanya (R 3, 16,43; Mbh. S 1, 172,28; I, 187,4), Her old name is 
Uma (Kena 25, Uma Haimavatl, etc.; in Up. no Parvati occurs before the 
late Haipsa). R 6,60, 11 has Uma; RG 5,89,7, Umasahayo deveSab 
(not in the Bombay text; all other Uma passages in R cited in PW. lacking 
in this text except for the first book); Mbh. 3, 37, 33, “HrI, 3 ri, KIrti, 
• Dyuti, Pusti, Uma, Lak§ml, and Sarasvatl protect thee”; 9 , 45 , 13; ib. 46, 
49. H 946, derives U-ma from "don’t”, as her mother Mena thus addressed 
her (then called Aparna) for being austere. &iva is' Umadhava, Umapati, 
Umasahaya (1, 215, 21; 3, 38, 32, etc.). Devi and MaheSvarl usually refer 
to her (5, HI, 9, etc.). ViSakha reveres her as Girivaratmaja fsailaputrl 
(9, 44, 39). She lectures on the duties of good women (13, 146, 33 f.), 
being called here Surakaryakarl and Lokasaiptanakarinl, “doer of the gods’ 
work”, "peopling earth” (ib. 11). As Parvati she is accompanied by Gaurl 
and other inferior female divinities (3, 231,48). She is younger sister of 
Ganges, whence tsiva received Ganges on his head and held her there a 
hundred thousand years (6, 6, 31; see § 4). As Gaurl she is sister of Va- 
sudeva and in this form inhabits the southern mountains. She is called 
Bhadrakali and Mahakall, MaheSvarl, and Durga, Great Death, Great Sleep 
(Mahanidra), and has, as female part of £iva, his characteristics, being 
cruel and kind; as slayer she is KaifabhanaSinl, Mahi§asfkpriya (rejoicing 
in the blood of the demons she slays, 6, 23, 8). The Durgastotra gives 
her family relations, Nandagopakulodbhava, Gopendrasyanuja, KatyayanI, 
KauSikI; she is also ^akambharl (corn-mother). As Savitri Vedamaty, she 
usurps the place of older goddesses. She lives .not only in Himavat but 
all over the land, in deserts and \inder earth, and conquers as war-goddess 
(6, 23, 8f.). But she is unknown as Durga except in H and two late hymns, 
4, 6, if.; and 6, 23, 2f., where she is BhuvaneSvarl, YaSo<jIagarbhasam- 
bhuta, Vasudevasya bhaginl and lives in Vindhya. She is fond of drink 
and flesh and her namfe Durga is a lucus a non, because she saves from 
durga, difficulty (4,6, 20). Her sign is a peacock’s tail; she wears di¬ 
adem and snakes, with the usual jewels. She has four arms and faces 
(also two arms), and carries bow, discus, noose, and other weapons, as 
well as Jotus, bell, and dish. She saves from robbers and death and is 
the "pure woman on earth”. As KhacjgakhetadharinI, she carries sword 
and shield (late words). Added to the arms above, this makes her eight¬ 
armed (so N.), though said to Jje caturbhuja. She is the “pure light- 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


225 


ener of burdens”, identified with Fame, Beauty, Success, Patience, Modesty, 
and Wisdom (common abstractions) and with Saiptati and Mati (the former 
new) as with Twilight, Dawn, Night, Sleep, Lustre (Jyotsna), f Grace, En¬ 
durance, and Pity. She is addressed as Mandaravasini Kumarf (cf. Como¬ 
rin), Kali Kapali (kapila kr§napiAgala, 6,23,4); she is canqll and 
cap<Ja (ib. 5), feminines of Siva’s and Skanda’s epithets. The great dif¬ 
ference between the two lauds (both awkward insets) is that, in Virata, 
Durga is the sister of Kf§na and wife of Narayana and is invoked as if 
she had nothing to do with 3 iva; while in Bhi§ma she is identified with 
Uma (see later, H 326Sf.). Durga is also Jatavedasi, and Kali was ori¬ 
ginally a flame-name (Mum). Up. 1, 2, 4). In these lauds, Mahakali, syno¬ 
nym of Bhadrakalf Durga, is elsewhere Parvati or Devi; but Mahadevi 
may also be Laksmi (wife of Vi§nu), as in 13, 62,6. She may be meant 
in the Tirthas called Kanya and Anaraka (3, 83, 112; 84, 136, Kanya- 
sarpvedya, sacred to the Virgin, as in KanyaSrama, ib. 83, 1S9). The later 
epic adds a Kanyakupa and -hrada (13, 25, 19 and 53). Here too be¬ 
longs the cult of KokXmukha (ib. 52) for this means Durga (6, 23, 8, 
"wolf-faced, loving loud laughter, fond of battles”). Devi’s popularity, 
MaheSvari, is largely due to her being interpreted as goddess of desire, 
a Venus (14, 43, 15, Bhagadevanuyatanaip maheSvarl mahadevi 
Parvati hi sa). Durga is a late adoption of Vi§nuism; originally a goddess 
worshipped by savages (loavaras, Barbaras, Pulindas, H 3274). In H 10235 
she is called (GautamI) “Sister of Indra and Vi§nu”. The identity of 
'Gauri and Durga is not obvious. Gauri is at first wife of Varuna (q. v.). 
But in 3, 84, 151, she is the great goddess of the mountain-peak, Mahadevi. 
At 3, 84, 97, for the well-known phrase, "Go to Gaya or sacrifice with a 
horse”, S has Gauriip va varayet kanyam (S 82, 96, repeated S 85, 
10). Gauri accompanies Parvati ("3,231,48), who is Uma and rides with 
PaSupati Mahadeva; in whose train are “Gauri, Vidya, . . Savitri”, who 
“walk behind Parvati”, as the Vijaya weapon walks incorporate here and 
Rudra’s spear (pattiSa). S 2,9, 7, also makes Gauri wife of Varuna and 
in 13, 146, io, the word means earth. GauriSa is J>iva (14, 8, 30), who is 
here identified with Anartga, Kr§pa, etc. (as in H 10658). In R 5,49, 11 
•and R 7, 25, 2, the minister Nikumbha may be connected with the Caitya 
Nikumbhila (ib. 6 , 84, 13) which in turn gets its name from “dancing Ni¬ 
kumbhila” (R 5, 24, 47, with brandy-offerings), whom Indrajit should re¬ 
vere (cf. R 6, 87, 30). The goddess revered is Bhadrakali (R 6, 85, 11 f.), 
and “dancing Nikumbhila” means dancing the goddess (worshipping her). 

§ 162. Uma is a “pitiful goddess” and, for example, persuades £iva 
to imitate Rama and restore Jambuka (fsambuka) to life (12, 153, 114, Jsiva 
weeps); though fsiva himself is really kind, and especially in the later 
epic appears as the holy comforter. Thus to comfort Vyasa for the death 
of his son fsuka, Rudra-^iva gives the father “a shadow like his son and 
never leaving him”, which only the bereaved father may see (chaya 
anapaga sada, a shadow-soul, 12, 334, 38); so Galava, going to his 
widowed mother, by grace of MaheSvara saw his father alive again (a 
vision, 13, 18, 58). The moral of his grace is that “even after committing 
all crimes, men by mental worship" of fsiva are freed from sin“ (ib. 65 f.). 
As a child in the lap of Uma, he who is “lord of all mothers”, paralyses 
Indra (7, 202, 85). Siva in female form causes a female condition in his 
neighbourhood, which converts Ila into Ila (R 7 j 87, 12); it is his northern 
form which sports with Uma (13, 141, if.). According to 12, 343, 25f., 

Indo-arischc Philologie III. ib. 15 



226 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

diva’s neck was made blue because USanas’s snaky locks bit him, or be¬ 
cause Narayana throttled him (ib. 115), and his third eye (whence “Viru- 
pak§a”) was caused by Dak§a’s austerity; but in 13, 140, 34, Uma covers 
his two eyes in sport, whereat a third eye breaks out on his forehead 
(H 7592 explains the blue neck from Indra’s axe smiting him). A name 
of Gaurl is Ambika, and Ambika lokadhatrl, that is the world-upholding 
female principle, is a late title of 3 iva. Uma appears as a female forester 
in company with fSiva as mountaineer (3, 39); he is her darling, Gau- 
rihrdayavallabha (10, 7, 8), It was her jealousy which roused ioiva to 
destroy Dak§a’s sacrifice. MaheSvara himself says that it is the custom 
to exclude him from sacrifice and seems to be indifferent, till Uma rouses 
him (12, 284—285; Mahadeva here is only one of eleven Rudras and only 
Dadhlci worships him). 3 iva himself is called Gaura (7, 80, 39) as he 
sits with Parvatl and hosts of Bhuts, with matted locks and trident in 
hand, while music and dancing and noise of song and laughter and shout¬ 
ing are going on around them, and is extolled as Ambikabhartp (ib. 59). 
The two, &va and Uma, become visible only at the end of every Yuga 
(3, 130, 14) and may be propitiated in Kashmir at the lake Vatikasarnja 
(or -khanda). The account of Jarasandha and the flinging of the mace 
(99 leagues from Girivraja to Gadavasana near Mathura) show that Sivaism 
flourished in the North (Kashmir) and East (Benares, Magadha) as opposed 
to Kr§naism (Mathura to Surat). The story how Rudra got Uma away from 
Bhrgu is told in 12, 343, 62 (here too the saint’s curse on Himavat). Their 
marriage is told in 13, 84, 71, where Uma curses the gods for trying to 
keep Rudra from her (see also § 24). Dialogues between the spouses are 
reported in 13, 140, 2f.; 12, 236, 29 f. In the latter in S, Uma is told by £iva 
that he is enjoyer and she enjoyed, he soul and she body, he the real 
thing and she the Sakti, and nature as Sakti is the universe (he is eight¬ 
fold in form, and with eight connections, a§(amurti, a§tasaipdhivi- 
bhu§ita). Oddly enough, it is as “son of Brahman” that &va, Srikantha, 
proclaims his PaSupata religion (12, 356, 67). 

All these forms of Uma (= Amma, the great mother-goddess) go 
back to the primitive and universal cult of the mother-goddess (cf. Aditi), 
who in popular mythology appears as Kalamma and as Ellamma, that is 
as destructive or as kind. Although Kali (as gyama) shows that the popular 
etymology connects Kali with "black”, it is probable that the goddess 
in this form is related rather to Kali, the genius of destruction. Her 
appellation Bhadrakali (epic above, and Manu, 3, 89) euphemises the name 
(Camupd^ is a. later name, not epic). Her modern cult represents her with 
four or eight hands. The cult of the disease^goddess in the epic is ex¬ 
panded in modern times into a definite cult of Mari-amma as “destructive” 
(Joitala, etc.) sickness (a goddess). The connection of ParaSu-Rama with 
the ^iva-cult is maintained to the present day, the temples of Kali having 
a special shrine to this Rama, owing to the legend that his wife Reouka 
was revived by her head being placed on the body of a Pariah woman. 
The goddess Ellamma (= sarvamba) is recognised as the "goddess with 
the head of Renuka”, while ParaSu-Rama adores Ambika (Ellamma).*) 

I) Compare Gustav Oppert, Zeitschrift ftir Ethnologie, 1905, p. 726f. Oppert 
derives Uma from amma (Original Inhabitants of India, p.421). It is interesting 
to note that Ellamma in modern mythology becomes the mother of the Trimurti, hatching 
out the three gods as a hen. The part played by serpents in her worship connects her 
with the Nagas. See Oppert (Ztschr. fiir Ethn. 1905, p.729). The local forms become in the 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


227 


§ 163. Skanda belongs to isiva through a doubtful sonship but more 
through his characteristics. He reverts in his earlier form to respectable 
antiquity and the fact that the Gita recognises him as chief of army-leaders, 
when ^aukara is only chief of Rudras (6, 34, 23 f.), together with his 
identification with Sanatkumara in Chand. Up. 7, 26, 2, seems to show that 
he is not an intruded deification of Alexander. He is not mentioned enough 
in the early epic to indicate that he is important, but, as is the case with 
Durga, when exploited he is lauded ad nauseam. This too looks as if 
he were not a late addition to the epic but a god rapidly increasing in 
importance, as the epic expanded, or more particularly as the ^iva-cult 
expanded. The reason is indeed obvious. £iva had no use for Vi§nu and 
Indra; he needed a new battle-leader of the gods, and for this chose 
Kumara (Skanda), son of Agni, and made him at once his own son and 
leader of the gods in battle. The genealogy (1, 66, 23 f.) makes Kumara 
son of Agni, and Agni is called (2, 31, 44) both Kumarasu and Rudra- 
garbha. As mothered by the Krttikas he is (R 3, 12, 20) Karttikeya (Pavaki). 
His forms as brothers or sons are fsakha, ViSakha (= Skanda in 3, 232, 7) 
and Naigameya (1, 66, 24; "Pr?thaja” is a fourth, traditional error); but 
the later epic makes SkandaviSakha a title of £iva and ViSakha inter¬ 
changes with Skanda (epithet of tsiva, 13, 17, 72). Whose son Skanda 
was, is debated in the epic itself: “Some explain him as son of Pitamaha, 
Sanatkumara, eldest born of Brahman (so 12, 37, 12); some say he is son 
of MaheSvara; some say he is son of Agni (Vibhavasu); some say he is 
son of Uma; some say he is son of the Krttikas (Pleiades); some say he 
is son of Ganges” (9, 46, 98 f.). In the laud of 3 iva, 13, 14, Skanda ap¬ 
pears “like Agni”, beside Uma, riding .on a peacock and holding a bell 
and javelin (vs. 378). Exclusively his are the epithets Guha, Kumara, 
Karttikeya, Pavaki, Mahasena, except as Vi§ou or fsiva appropriate them. 
He is son of Agni and son of Ganges, as the former is associated with the 
Krttikas and the latter with Rudra. He is Guha as a mysterious being 
(sarvaguhyamaya, 1, 137, 13). Siva is Guha in 13, 17, 150. 

Still another tradition makes Skanda the son of Revati (3, 232, 6, 
Svaheyo Revatisutafi), i. e. selects the special wives of Agni and of 
Kama, as Agni, to be his mothers. Rohitaka, "a pleasant land, rich in 
cattle and corn and beloved by Karttikeya” (2, 32, 4) is inhabited by the 
Mad-Peacock folk, Mattamayurakas, and lies in the West, perhaps a Maurya 
realm (conquered by Karrta, 3, 254, 20). The peacock is the god’s in¬ 
variable emblem. Skanda’s birth from the Krttikas is explained in R 1, 
37, 28 (§a<janana, the “six-faced” god). Ram. knows also the tale of his 
piercing Mt. Kraunca (R 4, 43, 26 and R 6, 67, 19, as Guha). He is here 
tsikhigata, "riding a peacock" (R 6, 69, 30) and is armed with javelin 
(called Karttikeya in R 4, 8, 22 and RG 4, 44, 72; Skanda invoked in 
maftgala, R 2, 25, 11). His birth-place, Jsaravaqa, is where Ila became 
a_jwoman-XK- 7 > 63, 14 ancTS7, 10, Mahasena as" Subrahmanya, Schol.). 

§ 164. Skanda’s birth is narrated at length in 9, 43—46. MaheSvara’s 
energy being dissipated fell on fire "but merely enhanced Agni’s power, 
who flung it as seed into Ganges. She in turn cast it upon Himavat, 
"adored by the immortals", and the six Krttikas nursed the child, who 
developed six mouths to suck them. He lay on a Sarastamba of gold 

end all manifestations of Uma, just as the follower of Siva called VIrabhadra (12, 285, 34) 
is only a local genius raised eventually to be a form of Siva with four, sixteen, or two 
thousand hands (ib.), and as Khaadoba is now a form of Siva (ib. p. 7 2 4). 


15 * 


228 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u.Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

(the mountain then became golden). Apsarasas danced about the child and 
the gods adored it; as Brhaspati performed the birth-rites. Fourfold Veda 
and Dhanur-Veda and Music attended him. He approached Rudra (£iva', 
deveia, pinakin) in the form of SkandSt; Uma, daughter of Girivara 
(Himavat), as Vteakha; Agni, as £akha (vayumurti, in wind-form); 
Ganges, as Ndigameya (thus caturmurti, 9, 44, 37). His birth-place is 
old (Paij. 6, 3, 16, sareja = Saraja must refer to this). It becomes a 
proper name of the place, and is often alluded to, 6, 122, 3; 11, 23, 18, 
etc. Brahman bestowed leadership over the gods’ army upon Skanda and 
he was installed on the Sarasvatl (9, 44, 49; consecration, ib. 45, if.). 
He was like fire, ascetic, and endowed with Yoga power, also fair as the 
moon (ib. 44, 17 f.). His attendants resemble those of loiva, malformed 
animal-headed sprites and the seven hosts of Mothers, fiends of varied 
vindictiveness. Several Tlrthas celebrate him (3, 83, 165; 84, 145; 85, 60). 
Allusions to Karttikeya as senapati are common (5, 165, 7; 6, 50, 33, 
etc.). His six faces, §anmukha, §advaktra, §adanana, are transferred 
(epithet) to Jjiva but seem to be original with Skanda as Karttikeya. His 
birth was due primarily to the need of leader in the Tarakamaya war, 
where he crushed the gods opposed, as he slew demons, even Mahi§a, 
who was slain by other gods also but assigned to Skanda (8, 5, 57; cf. 
7, 166, 16, Mahi§aip sanmukho yatha). He is twelve-armed (12, 122, 
32). His peacock is his battle-emblem. ICarija’s son Vfsasena (a Maurya 
name) has as standard a peacock which stood “as if about to crow, like 
that of Skanda” (7, 105, 17). He is known as disperser of the A'suri 
prtana, either as Karttikeya, Pavaki, Mahasena, or Skanda (7, 159, 43; 
9, 6, 20 f.). The later epic relates that when challenged to raise his spear 
Prahlada failed; only Vi§nu could move it; none could brandish it (12, 
328, 8f.). Gifts at his birth were given by the gods: Garucja gave him 
the peacock; Aruna, a fiery cock; the Moon, a sheep; Raksasas, a boar 
and buffalo; Agni, a goat, etc. So he grew up and killed Taraka (13, 86, 
Ilf.; $a<janana, dvi$a<,lak§a, dvadaSabhuja, ib. 86, i8f.). His names 
are derived from the circumstances of his birth (ib. 86, 14, skannatvat 
Skandataip prapto guhavasad Guho ’bhavat). He lives where Saras- 
vati appears at Plak§araja (or under such a tree, 9, 43, 49). On the re¬ 
lation between Skanda and Agni (§ 49 f.) see 13, 84, 78 f., where Rudra’s 
seed falling on Agni produces Kama, Love as form of eternal Will: sana- 
tano hi saipkalpalj Kama ity abhidhiyate (ib. 85, 11). As Kumara 
is a form of Agni and Agni is the “leaper”, plavaipga, the name Skanda, 
if not from the leaping goat (below), may have originated from the leaping 
(skand) of his “son”. Cf. 2, 31, 44, where Fire is-invoked as plavarpgafi 
. . Kumarasulj. In H 98i4f., Skanda protects Bana, who is “friend of 
Rudra and Skanda”. Compare I, 65, 20, Bana as follower of Rudra. But 
in 9, 46) 90, Skanda kills Bana (yet see p. 48). 

§ 165. Skanda not only slew Taraka, Mahi§a, Tripada, Hradodara, 
and Bana (son of Bali), but he pierced Mt. Kraunca and split it with the 
dart given him by Agni (9, 46, 84; but ib. 44, given by Indra), because 
Baija had sought refuge in that mountain. All were destroyed by the 
lightning flashes of the great javelin (a Saktyastra "very bright and 
noisy, adorned with bells”) and by the noises and yawnings (jrmbhama- 
nabhib) of Skanda’s infernal hosts. Skanda made himself multiform. In 
this account Skanda is throughout the son of Agni and nothing is said of 
his leading one division of the army of loiva, as in Vana, where £>iva says 




IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


229 


to him, "Guard thou the seventh Maruta-skandha” (3, 231, 55 f.). The latter 
passage contains his formal titles, many being Siva’s, such as Amogha, 
BhuteSa, Cancja, Anamaya, Kamajit. The rest are complimentary, "hero, 
glorious, swift, pure, ascetic, fair, good”; he is “dear” and "fond of 
Visvamitra and Vasudeva”; Mayuraketu, "peacock-bannered”, etc. Indra 
cannot kill him. As child he is sisu, balakncjanakapriya, lalita; 
Matrvatsala, as darling of the wild Mothers. None of the fifty odd 
epithts assign him sonship in &va, only making him son of Ganga and 
Agni’s wives and of Agni; but this is probably due to the passage being 
a laud of Agni. He is called here Sa§thlpriya; and his play with the cock, 
his possession of conch and bow, his “six” hands and six faces are 
mentioned 3, 225, 25 f. He is not called Subrahmapya in any epic passage 
(a Southern epithet), but, like Visnu, he is Brahmapya, BrahmeSaya, Brah- 
mavit, and Brahmaja; as fire too he is “six-flamed”, §acjarcis; also he 
has a thousand members, heads, faces, arms, and feet (S by v. 1. makes 
him hold ten javelins, dasaSaktidharin); he is identified with Svaha and 
Svadha (ib. 232, 10f.). His attendants are war-imps in 9, 45, but disease- 
demons, grahas, in 3, 230, 26f. They include Putana and other foes of 
children and of men, nightmares, fevers, etc., personified, also tree-spirits, 
nurses of Skanda, who are kind; but some are horrible and eat human 
flesh (S 3, 231, i6f., Vrk§aka nama; BVrddhika). They are distributed 
over gods, Manes, and Saints, as Devagrahas, etc., as well as Raksasa- 
grahas, Paisacagrahas, Yaksagrahas. Skanda here is called Krttikasuta and 
son of Rudra, and his wife is Devasena, sister of Daityasena, ravished by 
KeSin. In defence of Devasena, Indra wounded Kesin. Her mother was 
sister of Indra’s mother, a daughter of Dak§a. Indra sought a husband for 
Devasena and, when Skanda was born and had conquered the world in 
six days, presented her to the youthful god. Brhaspati married them and 
she is his queen and has various names, Sasthi, Lak§mi, Asa, Sukhaprada, 
Sinlvall, Kuhu, Sadvftti, Aparajita. fsripancami is the blessed fifth day on 
which f§rl in person blessed him, and the sixth day also is his great day, 
mahatithi, because he then accomplished his aim (3, 229, 52). The 
account of his birth here gives a description of his six faces, one of 
which was that of a goat (see also Agni). ViSvamitra first "accepted him” 
and performed for him the thirteen auspicious rites and instituted his 
worship (on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the Kjdtikas’ month). 
Agni, as a goat-faced naigameya, soothed and amused him. Seven 
Mothers guarded him, Kaki, Halima, Malini, Briphita, Arya, Palala, Vai- 
mitra (v. 1 . in S). Clear is here the posteriority of his relationship to i>iva: 
Rudrasunurp tatab prahur Guham, "after this they called Guha the 
son of Rudra” (3, 229, 28). The Vana account is mystical and late in many 
ways. The javelin here becomes a potency, s'akti; the imps of war be¬ 
comes diseases; the Mothers take the place in number as in nurture of 
the original mothers. Disease-demons and dog-shaped imps afflicting chil¬ 
dren are not new, but their assignment to Skanda marks a late phase. 
Skanda is a composite god. First there is Agni Kumara the “ever youthful”, 
with whom first Skanda was formally identified. On the other hand, as 
son of Agni, Skanda was identified with all burnings (fevers) and other 
afflictions. The god who represented fire and affliction was naturally 
associated with the troops of afflicting beings grouped about ^iva and so 
became “son of Jsiva”, the more readily as the “hidden” god of mystery 
was naturally associated with the hidden places of the mountains (Guha 


230 III. Religion, weltl. Wissensch. u. Kunst. IB. Epic Mythology. 

. - __ _ J—, ‘ 

and guhya; cf. Kubera). The “holiest night” is KarttikI (3, 182, 16). As 
the association of "six-faced Skanda with the six mother-stars seems as 
old a trait as any, it may be well to derive the name Karttikeya from the' 
stars themselves, who are the divinity of the Sword (War) and regents 
directly of war, as well as those who govern the month when war begins 
(3, 230, 11, S has gakatakaram for saptadir§am; cf. 12, 166, 82), as 
it sometimes does (2, 23, 29). ViSakha may derive from the fever-time 
beginning with the month VaiSakha, but £akha (unless from ViSakha) is 
not clear and Naigameya is not necessarily (naigame§a) a sheep-head 
form. These names like Chagavaktra come from a time when different 
imps were regarded as sons of the great “Ieaper”, who eventually, as 
identical with Siva, becomes “creator of gods”, etc. (3, 231, in; 232, 14 f.). 
After Skanda’s birth, the gods feared and opposed him; but then the 
Mothers suckled him and Agni being kind, Siva, protected him (3, 226, 
26). Possible Agni as Siva may have furthered the fatherhood of Siva, 
but the general agreement in nature between the fiery burning spirit of 
fever, love, and wounds and Siva’s own original nature had more to do 
with it. The native explanation of his forms is that when Indra’s bolt 
touched Skanda, another spirit ViSakha arose from its ’entering’ viSana 
(3, 227, 17), and that in the same way all the child-seizers (sicknesses) 
as Kumarakas are Skanda’s children. Owing to their power over children 
all who desire offspring revere Svaha as Uma and Siva as Agni as the 
“goat-faced” (C 3, 14391 has Rudram Agnim; B and S have Rudram 
Agnimukham). Here the Chagamukha is some “goat” form spirit identified 
with Skanda, who may himself be a leaping goat in his first form, ob¬ 
viously as goat a good genius of children (and their production), Bhadra- 
Sakha, which is called the sixth form of the god. As the goat is the animal 
sacred to Prajapati as Agni, it is, so to speak, the sanctified form of the 
productive spirit .whether as god or as demoniac power. 

The attendants given by the various gods to Skanda (Jvalanasunu 
and Agniputra) are mentioned in 9, 45, 30 f.: Yama gave him Unmatha 
and Pramatha;• Surya gave Subhraja and Bhasvara; Soma gave Maiji and 
Sumaui; Agni gave Jvalajihva and Jyotis; AxpSa gave Parigha, Vata, Bhima, 
Dahati, and Dahana; Vasava, UtkroSa and Satkara or (v. 1 .) Paficaka; Vi§pu 
gave Cakra, Vikramaka, and Cankrama; the ASvins, Vardhana and Nan- 
dhana; Dhatp gave five, Kunda, Kusuma, Kumuda, Dambara, Adambara; 
Tvastp gave Cakra and Anucakra (meghacakrau);*) Mitra gave Su- 
vrata and Satyasandha; Vidhatp gave Suprabha and Jsubhakarman; Pusan 
gave Panftaka and Kalika (or Pauika); Vayu gave Bala and Atibala; Va- 
ruija gave Yama and Atiyama; Himavat gave ~Suvarcas and Ativarcas; 
Meru gave Kaiicana, Meghamalin, Sthira, and Atisthira; Vindhya gave 
Ucchj-figa and AtiSpAga; Samudra gave Saipgraha and Vigraha; Parvati 
gave Unmada, fsaAkukarna, and Pu§padanta; Vasuki gave two (Nagas), 
Jaya and Mahajaya. s ) The Sadhyas, Rudras, Vasus, Pitfs, Sagaras, rivers 
and mountains also gave “armed overseers of the army”, characteristic 
names of them being Kr§na, Upakrsnaka,Nanda,Upanandaka,DvadaSabhuja, 
Baija, Me§a, DvadaSak§a, Hari, Caturdaipstra, Kalinga, Siddhartha, Svastika, 
Gayana, Vaitalin, Kathaka, Vatika, Yajnavaha, Devayajin, Somapa, Man- 
mathakdra, Jambuka, Jsambuka, and Jambuka, representing devotees, de~ 

l ) S has vakranuvakrau me?avakrau. 

*) S, for nagau Jvalanasunave has Gahga-Jvalanasunav e (Vasuki is pan¬ 
nages varah); ib. 24 , Brahman gives four (Nandisena, etc.). 



IX. The Three Supreme Gods. 


231 


formities, arts, and abstractions, for the most part. Krsna and Hari as 
servants of Skanda betray the sectarian. Mifijika and Minjika form a pair 
of spirits begotten by Rudra and worshipped by those desiring wealth or 
health (3, 231, 10—15). 1 ) 

§ 166. The union of the three highest gods into a trinity forms 
no part of epic belief. As said above (§ 160), the trinitarian doctrine 
is recognised only in one late epic passage; others do not really 
imply it and the aim of the later epic poets is to equalise Kr$ija-Vi§rm 
and &va as two aspects of God rather than to establish a trinity or re¬ 
concile militant factions. In fact, there seems to be no special antago¬ 
nism between the two beliefs. Militant powers opposed to each other 
appear to hold different faiths and faiva-worshippers scorn the claims of 
Kr§na to be regarded as God, but only because the claim is presented 
by Pandus as an excuse for political preferment. Theological animus, 
lacking political aims, appears to be in abeyance. The ancient catho¬ 
licity of Indian thought is maintained in the epics. Both Visnu and £iva 
are recognised as chief gods; both eventually represent God. But the 
epic, cultivating a godling as Vi§nu, naturally gave first place to Vi§nu, 
and it is for this reason that the Isiva-cult appears in its extreme form 
(fsiva as God) as a later (literary) addition; for the passages exalting fsiva 
as All-God, the appendage of fsiva-worship, cult of Durga, Gauri, Skanda, 
etc., are clearly later than the passages thus exalting Kr§oa-Visnu, till 
the latest additions of all, such as the last chapters of S>anti and the 
interpolations in the S text, which, so to speak, again offset the Jsiva- 
cult with the final word of the Bhagavatas.*) 

') Rudra’s seed is here cast upon the mountain and produces this pair, also on the 
Lohitoda (Red Sea?), on sunbeams, earth, and trees, thus productive of five kinds of 
demons, especially worshipped, as children of Siva and apparently also servants of Skanda, 
with arkapujpas (Calotropis gigantea, used in the Satarudriya, §B. 9, I, I, 4, to revere 
Siva). 

*) In WZKM, 23, 151 f., and ib. 25, 355 f., Dr._Jarl Charpentier argues that the first 
Rudra-Siva worshippers are to be i dent ified wifTf the Vratyas, whose initiation Into the 
STtfiodox cult forms a" well-known V edic cerimony. In Charpentier'^opinion, they worshipped 
Rudra-Siva with horrible rites and are the ancestors of the later Sivaite sects. Of this 
origin, which does not perhaps accord very well with the esteem in which the god was 
held even in Vedic literature, the epic shows no cognisance. To the Mbh. the vratyas are 
simply outlawed sinners and the Rudra-Siva worshippers are aristocrats, kings of die East 
as well as Kurus. On the form of Vi$Qu and Siva cults, as also the later theology of the 
Great Epic, see now Sir R. G. Bhandarkar’s Vaistjavism, Saivism and Minor Reli¬ 
gious Systems, 1913 (m Bd. 6 Heft of this series). Bhandarkar shows that Vasudeva 
was originally a proper name, not, as in the epic, a patronymic. 


Index. 

(The numbers refer to the pages.) 


Abhasura spirits, 186 f. 

Abhimanyu, as Moon, 91 . 

Abstractions, deified, 53 f., 74 , 81 ; in 
Indra’s court, 140 ; as wives and sons 
of Dharma, 199 ; Uma identified with 
(list of), 225 . 

Abu, mountain, 10 . 

AcyutaCchala, sinful Western locality, 209. 

Adambara, attendant of Skanda, 230 . 
See Dambara. 

Adbhuta, form of fire, carries oblations, 
father of Skanda, 101 , 104 . See Agni. 

AdhahSiras, a Rsi and class of IJsis, 177 . 

Adharma, Wrong, Sin, 41 , 63 ; father of 
Fear, Death, and Pride, 109 , 165 , 199 . 

Adhoksaja, epithet of Krspa, 208 . 

Aditi, mother of Adityas, 9 , 81 f., 96 , 
190 ; of Soma, 91 ; of Visnu, 199 f.; 
of Vasus and Rudras, 171 , 173 ; as 
Earth and Durga, 79 , 81 ; as Devaki, 
121 ; wife of Kafiyapa, 63 ; ear-rings 
of, 50 , 79 , 81 , 87 , 215 ; long parturition 
of, 211 . See Earth, Mountains, Adityas. 

Adityas, sons of Aditi, 81 f., 199 ; number 
of, 55 ; as suns, 84 ; include Aruija, 
84 ; eighth is Sun, 168 ; worship Visiju, 
34 , 81 f.; born from Visnu, 207 ; name 
of an All-god, 174 ; Jyotir-Aditya as 
Visnu, 207 . 

Adoption, of son, 184 . 

Adrika, an Apsaras, becomes a fish, 
160 , 163 . 

Adrikrtasthali, an Apsaras, 160 . 

Adultery, of Agni, 104 ; of Indra, 135 .' 

Affection, deified, 53 . 

Agasti, Agastya, 9 ; shrine of, 28 ; gods 
of, 65 ; sees Pitrs in pit, 34 , 185 ; 
kills demons, 47 ; curses Nahusa, 130 f.; 
son of Varuna or as Maitravarupi, 
118 ; priest ofYama, 116 ; half-brother 
of Vasistha, 185 ; husband of Lopa- 
mudra, {tnd tale of Ilvala, 185 ; drinks 
ocean, 121 , 185 , 193 ; insulted by 
Manimat, 144 ; in Lotus-tale, 182 ; 
as Maharsi, 177 f.; family of, 178 f. 


Ages, see Yugas. 

Agneyl, daughter of Agni, 105 . 

Agni, Fire, 6, 55 ; mother of, 10 , 104 ; 
a killing god, 55 , 106 ; Anala, son 
of Anila, description and tales of 
(vanishes, is cursed), 50 , 97 — 103 , 
179 ; amorousness of, 103 f.; as goat, 
103 , 105 ; as horse, 107 ; pathiktt, 98 ; 
three-fold, seven flames of, and mystic 
forms of, 98 , 118 , 140 ; functions of, 
100 f.; fire of destruction, 99 , 106 ; 
creator, 103 ; origin of water, 103 ; 
leader and god of the East, 56 , 104 ; 
god of guests, 104 ; pleased with a 
welcome, 195 ; the .fire-slick, 99 ; in 
Sami-wood, 102; beauty and greed 
of, 105 f.; gold of, 11; father of gold, 
gets gold, 90 , 102 , 105 , 146 f.; euhe- 
meristic, 106 ; wife of, 63 ; father of 
Nila, Drstadyumna, Skanda, etc., 15 , 
62 , 100 , 102 , 104 ; favored by Brah¬ 
man, 194 ; dispels demons, 40 , 43 , 
100 , 107 ; helps and opposes Indra, 
26 , 105 , 130 , 169 ; receives Indra’s 
sin, 130 ; in Yama’s abode, 113 ; fires 
of hell, 110 ; of digestion, 44 , 101 , 
105 ; saves Pitrs, 31 , 64 ; as witness, 
66 , 100 ; fire-ordeal, 99 ; theology of, 
36 ; fire-chamber, 99 ; fire-cult of 
women, 69 ; circumambulation of, 106 ; 
priests of, 107 ; daily offering to, 6, 
56 ; escapes Uma’s curse, 61 ; Agni 
and Krsna:, 47 ; and Maya, 49 ; and 
Vayu, 95 , 97 f., 102 , 105 , 146 ; and 
Ocean, 55 , 99 , 117 ; as Marut, 170 ; 
from Gandharva world (Pururavas), 
157 , 162 ; curse-fire, 77 ; love-fire, 
166 ; as messenger, 106 f., 181 ; as all 
the gods, 105 ; maker of Vedas, 107 ; 
as Visnu, 207 ; as father of Skanda 
gives Skanda a goat, 228 ; epithets 
of, shared with Indra, 122 ; tears of, 
become ASvins, 169 ; one with Soma, 
91 ; and with various gods, 105 ; as 
Vasu, son of Jsandili, 170 ; as Loka- 



Index. 


233 


pala, 149 f.; Agni and Soma as all 
the world, 218 ; as son of Kavi, 178 , 
or Yisnu’s energy, 180 , 196 ; as a form 
of Siva, 222 , 227 ; as goat-faced Skanda, 
230 . See Agni-names below, Adbhuta, 
Anala. 

Agni-dagdha, 105 ; -kanyapura, 105 ; 
-Rudra, 9 ; -Isomau, 101 ; -stoma, 107 ;' 
-stut, disliked by Indra, 105 , 136 ; 
-^valta, 33 , 105 ; -tlrtha, 107 ; -varija, 
103 ; -ve£a, 104 , 185 ; -yoni, Ma- 
harsi, 177 ; Agnyahitas and Anagny- 
ahitas, 107 . 

Ahalyii, 135 ; daughter of Menaka, 164 ; 
wife of Gautama, 183 . 

Ahar, a Vasu, 170 . 

Ahi Budlinya, a Rudra, 28 , 146 , 173 . 

Ahuka, father of Ugrasena, 214 ; of 
Krsna, 216 . 

Aliuli, a Marut, 170 . 

Ailavila, 148 . See Kubera. 

Airavana, or -ta, elephant, 17 f., 200 ; 
of Indra, 126 ; scars Ravana, 127 ; 
Naga, 24 , 26 , 28 , 126 ; as cloud, 127 . 

Aja Rsis, 35 . 

Ajagava, Siva’s bow, 139 . 

Ajaikapad, 146 ; a Rudra, 173 . 

Akampana, a Raksasa, 15 . 

AkaSa-Ganga, 6. 

Akrsta Maharsis, 177 . 

Aksa, a Raksasa, 15 . 

Aksamala (not epic); aksamala, rosary, 
219 , note; -sutra, see Rosary. 

Aksatavata, tree, 7 . 

Alaka, Kubera’s city and lake, 142 — 144 . 

Alakananda, river, 5 . 

AlaksmI, personified antithesis of Laksmi, 
76 . 

Alambuja, a Raksasa, 39 f.; -sa, an Apa- 
saras, 40 , 153 , 160 , 162 . 

Alarka, beast and king, 47 . 

Alayudha, a Raksasa, 39 f. 

Alexander, 227 . 

All-God, 203 , note; 218 ; Siva as, 222. 

All-Gods, see ViSve Devas. 

All-Soul (Atman), 190 f.; (Avyakta), 196 . 

Amara, a Marut, 160 . 

Amaravatl, Indra’s city, 140 f., 155 . 

Amavasu, son of Pururavas, 53 , 162 : 

Amba, 5 . See Ambika. 

Ambarisa, sacrificial animal of, 135 . 

Ambika, 160 , 226 . See Amba, Tryam- 

baka. 


Ambrosia, 21, 25 ; only for Gods, 27 , 
36 , 48 , 55 , 77 , 129 ; form, the moon, 
90 ; carried by Indra, 137 , 155 ; 
source of Surabhi, 191 ; comes from 
milk-ocean, 199 f. 

Amogha, son of Svaha, form of fire, as 
fire of battle, 100f.; attendant of 
Kubera, 144 ; as Skanda, 229 . 

Am§a, an Aditya, 81 f.; fights with javelin, 
123 ; gift of, to Skanda, 230 . 

Amiumat, grandson of Sagara, 122 ; an 
* All-god, 174 . 

Anagha, a Gandharva, 153 ; a Sadhya, 
175 . 

Anakadundubhi, Vasudeva, 214 . 

Anala, Agni as Vasu and father of Kart- 
tikeya, 170 . See Agni. -la, mother of 
Kumbblnasi, 155 ; a wife of KaSyapa, 
200 . 

Ananta, 23 ; worshipped, 55 ; atVaruna’s 
court, 119 ; distinct from Sesa, 24 ; 
as an All-god, 174 . See Sesa. 

Anasuya, wife of Atri, marvels of, 184 . 

Anavadya, an Apsaras, 159 f. 

Andhaka, a demon slain by Siva, 223 . 

Androgynous spirits, 148 , 159 and note, 
225 ; Brahman, 191 ; Siva, 223 ; trinity, 
218 , note. 

Anga, sonofManu, 202 ; sacrifices, 209 ; 
Angas (as literature) waken Brahman 
193 . 

Angada, son of Valin, 14 , 127 , 141 . 

Angaraka, demon, 44 . 

Angaraparna, Citraratha, 144 , 153 , 155 . 

Angiras, father of Brhaspali, 199 f.; son 
of Brahman, 70 , 190 ; son of Agni 
and one with Agni, 100 f., 104 , 178 f.; 
180 ; heads the Bralimarsis, 181 ; 
guards the sun, 84 , 180 ; family of, 
120 , 178 f.; 180 f.; Utathya Angiras, 
121 ; Bala Aiigirasa, 138 ; among 
Maharsis, 177 f. See Brhaspati. 

Anila, see Vayu. 

Animals, talk, 12 ; divine, 12 f.; avert 
demons, 44 ; as Guhyakas, 147 ; for¬ 
bidden as food, 16 ; demoniac, 18 ; 
shapes of gods, 48 , 58 ; represent gods, 
103 ; names of Asuras, 52 ; omen 
from howls of, 72 ; go to Yama’s 
abode, 108 ; kindness to, 135 ; as 
spirits, 159 ; as forms of Siva, 223 ; 
carry saints tcf heaven, 160 ; rebirth 
of Grtsamada as deer, 179 , 187 ; of 


234 


Index. 


Nrga as lizard, 188; of Parvata as 
monkey, 188; of nymph as doe, 194; 
genealogy of all animals, 199 f.; con¬ 
test of men and animals in games, 
196. See Alarka, Avatar, birds, ants, 
apes, ass, bear, bee, boar, buffalo, 
bull, cat, crocodile, deer, dog, dolphin, 
elephant, Gandharvi, goat, Enipada, 
fish, horse, hunting, lion, man-lion, 
lizard, mule, Naga, Pulaha, Pulastya, 
ram, RohinI, Sarabha, Sarama, sheep, 
snake, tortoise, wolf. 

Arpmandavya and Dharma, 115, 188. 

Animism, 52. 

Aniruddha, 48, 164, 214; form of Visnu, 
206 f.; 214. ' 

Afijana, elephant, 17, 126; Anjanii, wife 
of Kesarin, 14, 164. See Punjika- 
sthala. 

Antaka, see Death. 

Ants, get gold, 146. 

Anu, son of Yadu, 187. 

Anucakra, an attendant of Skanda, 230. 

Anucana, an Apsaras, 160; significance 
of name, 164. 

Anuga, an Apsaras, 160. 

Anugoptr, an All-god (?), 174. 

Anuhlada (-hrada), 52, 199. 

Anuka, an Apsaras, 160. 

Anukarman, an All-god, 174. 

Anumati, moon-phase, 63, 70, 101 f. 

Anumloca, an Apsaras, 159 f. 

Anuna, an Apsaras, 160. 

Apa, a Vasu, 170. 

Apamgarbha, Agni, 97, 107. 

Aparajita, Devasena, 229. 

Aparna, Uma, 11, 224. 

Apava, Vasistha, 182. 

Apes, divine, 13 f.; men and monkeys, 
45, 61; sons of the Sun, 86; connec¬ 
tion with Visnu, 204; get special 
trees from Indra, 140. See Hanumdt. 

Apsarasas, in heaven, 31, 140; list of, 
origin of 159f., 164; from Brahman’s 
eye, 160; Apsaras was a PiSaci, 45; 
type of beauty, 54; described, 162; 
pitiless, 161; sixty crores of, 55, 160; 
live in all the worlds, 60 f.; in trees, 
72; on mountains and by rivers, 160; 
as Indrakanyas, 163; with Varuna, 
Yama, and Kubera, 119, 147, 163; 
welcome heroes to' heaven, 60, 163; 
epithets of, 62; sin transferred to, 


131, 163; celebrate Sarasvati, 162 i 
Apsarasas and Gandharvas, 153 f.; 
drop flowers, 163; dance at Skanda’s 
birth, 228; dangerous, 158, 164; 
Vidyutprabha and Vaidiki Aps., 159, 
164; instruments, ornaments, and 
allurements of, 159f., 162; Pancacuda, 
161; deities of love-lorn women, 161; 
tank of, 163; as water, 163; as wives 
of Krsna, 163. See Drama. 

Araja, daughter of Uianas, 179. 

Aram, 104. 

Arantuka, 149. 

Araijya, a Sadhya, 175. 

Arbuda, 29. 

Arclka, mountain, 186. 

Arcismata Pitrs, 34. 

Arcismali, a fire,' 100. 

Arista, demon slain by Krsna, 215, 217; 
mountain, 8, 14. 

Arista, 67; mother of Gandharvas, 152f. 

Aristanemi, 22 f.; converses with Sagara, 
122; a Prajapati, 191, 200. 

Aijuna, son of Indra, 8, 13, 27,39.115, 
122 f., 141; beauty of, 168; taught by 
Brahman, 195; cousin of Krsna, 214; 
slays demons, 50; as Indra, 87; as 
twelfth Rudra, etc., 173; gifts of gods 
to, 149; friend of ViSvavasu, 154; 
and UrvaSi, 162; frees Apsarasas, 
163; Arjuna and Krsija, 212 f.. See 
Kartavirya and Yamala. 

Ark, see deluge. 

Arka, son of Dyaus, 77; Sun, 82, 83f., 
89; Danava, 84. 

Arkaparna, a Gandharva, 153. 

Art, sixty-four arts, 223. See Music, 
Pictures, Temples. 

Artha, as one of triad, 164; personified, 
at Varuija’s court, 119. 

Aruija, 10, 21 f., 23, 200; myth of, as 
Aditya, 84, 200; worships Sun, 89; 
king of the East, 152; gives Skanda 
a cock, 228; Aruna Rsis, 35. 

Arupa, as Apsaras, 84, 160; as river, 183. 

Arunapriya, an Apsaras, 160. 

Arundhati, 63; chastity of, 104; star-wife 
of Vasistha or of Dharma, 182. 

Aruni, a Vainateya, 22. 

Arupa, an Apsaras, 160. 

Arusl, daughter of Manu, mother of 
Aurva, 179, 201. 

Arvavasu, one of Indra’s seven seers, 138. 


Index. 


235 


Arya, a Mother of Skanda, 229. 

Aryabhatta, 197. 

Ary aka, a Naga, 24 f. 

Aryaman, ehief of Pitrs, 34 f.; clan-god 
as Aditya, 81; uses club, 123; as a 
Prajapati, 202. 

A£a, Hope, 74, 102. 

Asamaiijas, 122. 

Asanga, son of Agni, 104. 

ASavaha, son of Dyaus, 77. 

Asceticism, objected to, 34; of Kubera, 
142; sensuality the reward of, 163, 
195 f.; Brahman god of, 195; of Siva, 
223. See Raksasas and Tapas. 

Asi, Sword as Dharma, 106,150; created 
by Brahman and descent of, 176. 

Asiloman, son of Danu, 199. 

Asita, an Apsaras, 160. See Devala. 

ASmakutta Rsis, 186. 

ASmanta, a Marut, 170. 

A£oka, 48, 62. 

ASramas, not to be disturbed, 71. 

Ass, 22, 42; Bali as, 133; reproves a 
seer, 187. See Bali, Khara, Mules. 

Asta, mountain, 121. 

Astavakra, 147. 

Asterisms, list of, 92. See Stars. 

Asti, daughter of Jarasandha, 214. 

Astika, 29. 

Astrologer, excluded from funeral feast, 
93. 

Asuras, 9, 10, 31; elder brothers of gods, 
47; bom of Diti, 48; get funeral feast, 
32; as Raksasas, 40; nobler than 
Raksasas, 46; worship Visnu, 34; 
etymology and description of, 46 f.; 
cities of, 49 f.; overlord of, is Pride, 
50; get ambrosia, 55; get AlaksmI, 
76; get shadow not substance, 194; 
created by Fire, 101; Asuras and Vi£- 
varupa, 130. 

Asura, an Apsaras, 153, 160. 

Asurayajakas, sons of USanas, 179. 

Asuri, teacher, 188. 

ASva, demon, 48, 52, 62, 216. 

ASvagrlva, demon, 200, 204. 

ASvalayana,. descendant of ViSvamitra, 
183. 

ASvapati, 48 f. 

ASvasena, a Naga, 27. 

ASvatara, a Naga, 24. 

Asvatlrtha, 121. 

Asvattha, tree, 6 f.; form of Visnu, 208. 


Asvatthaman, origin of, 62,116, 193; as 
seer, 177; vision of, 221. 

ASvins, 8, 10; origin of, 81, 84; Surya- 
putrau, 168; from Agni’s tears or 
from ears or back of Visnu, 169, 207; 
status of and relation to Cyavana, 
63, 65, 127, 135; as Guhyakas, 147, 
168, 199; as stars, 53; relation to 
Indra, 169; among the Thirty-Three 
gods, 65; human offering of, 167; 
fathers of apes, 15, 62; healers with 
seers, 168 f.; cause birth ofMamdhatr, 
169; worship Visnu, 34; discuss fune¬ 
ral feast, 32; beauty of, 56, 168; 
weapons of, as bows, 67, as plants, 
123; hymn to, 168; invulnerable, 194; 
their gift to Skanda, 230; a single 
A§vin, 167. 

Atharvan, story of, 101 f.; as Siva, 103. 

Atharvaveda, Mantras of, 62, 102; glo¬ 
rified in Southern text, 180f.; and 
Brhaspati, 181. 

Atibahu, a Gandharva, 153. 

Atibala, grandson of Kardama Prajapati, 
166; attendant of Skanda, 230. 

Atibala, a wife of KaSyapa, 200. 

Atikaya, demon, arrests Indra’s bolt, 
12, 133. 

AtiSrnga, AtisUiira, Ativarcas, Atiyama, 
attendants of Skanda, 230. 

Atman, son of Dyaus, 77; All-Soul, 190f. 

Atreya, Avatar, 218. See Datta. 

Atri, teaches rule of funeral feast, 32; 
son of Brahman and of USanas, 184 f.; 
father of Soma, 90f.; of Durvasas, 
as son of USanas, 179,184; ancestor 
of fires, 101; seer of the North and 
of Kubera, 144; a Maharsi, 177 f.; 
acted as Sun, 182, 184; outdoes 
Gautama, 183; first to deify kings, 
184; creative energy, 189f.; wife of, 
184; family of, 178 f.; numerous sons 
of, 199f. 

Aum, see Om. 

Aurva Bhargava, 99, 178f.; becomes 
Vadavamukha, 180. 

AuSija, see Kakslvat. 

Austerity, see Asceticism and Tapas. 

Auttanapada, see Dhruva. 

Avatars, general description of, 209 f.; 
fish and tortoise, 29, 51, 200; fish 
and boar first of Brahman, 197, 205, 
210f.; tortoise not at first of Visnu, 




236 


Index, 


200, 209; man-lion, 51, 67, 210f., 217; 
dwarf, 211, 217; Rama Jam., 211; 
DaSaralhi, 212, 217; Balarama, 212; 
Krsna, 213 f.; lato list from Ilamsa 
to Kalki, 217; Buddha and other 
pradurbhavas, &18. 

Avijnatagati, son df Anila and Siva, 170. 

Avindhya, a moral demon, '42. 

Ayatana, of KaSyapa, 72. See Devayatana. 

Ayati, 53. ' 

Ayodhya, 212. 

Ayu, Ayus, son of Pururavas, 53,131,162. 

Babbru, Visnu, 64; a Rohita Gandhar- 
va, 153, 156. 

Babhruvahana, 27. 

Bahllka or Vahika, a sinful place where 
Visnu is not worshipped, 209. 

Bahuda, river, 5. 

Bahuguna, a Gandharva, 153. 

Bahupannaga or Brahmapannaga, a 
Marut, 170. 

Bahuputra, a Prajapati, 200. 

Bahurupa, a Rudra, 173. 

Baka, Asuraraj, 39 f.; Baka Dalbhya, 188. 

Bakula, tree, 7. 

Bala (Vala), 48, 50, 53; son of Varuija, 
120, 199; Angirasa seer of Indra, 138; 
Bala as an All-god, 174; Bala and 
Atibala, attendants of Skanda, 230. 

Bala, a wife of KaSyapa, 200. 

Balada, form of fire, 101. 

Baladeva, see Balarama. 

Baladhi, story of, 9. 

Baladhruva, a Sadhya, 175. 

Balahaka, a steed of Krsna, 215. 

Balaka, story of, 66. 

Balarama, drunken bucolic god, 12, 203; 
ploughman god, 212; and Sesa, 24, 
212; son of RohinI, 108; titles and 
sons of, 212; Avatar of Visiju, 206; 
helps Krsna recover Aniruddha, 214. 

Bali, demon, son of Virocana, as ass, 
18, 48; and Indra, 124f., 132f., 135; 
begs from Visnu, 133; favorite of 
Brahman, 195; discourses withU6anas, 
69; father of Bana, 199; banished by 
Visiju, 210 f. See Bana and Virocana. 

Bali offering td Bhuts and gods, 37, 68; 
to cow-dung, 210. 

Bana, son of Bali, 48, 51, 132, 199; 
father of Usa, 214; follower of Siva, 
219; minister of, 62; cows of, held 


by Varuna, 120; both protected and 
, slain by Skanda, 228; an officer in 
Skanda’s army, 230.- 

Baptism, 45. 

Barhaspatl Bharat! and Barhaspatya 
‘ fsastra, see Brhaspati. 

Barhi, £ Gandharva, 153. 

Barhisada Rsis, 33; name'of a Rsi, 179. 

Baskala, son of HiranyakaSipu, 199. 

Bears, sons of "gods, 13, 200. See Jarh- 
bavat. 

Bees, 19, 165. 

Benares, 133, 138, 215, 222 f., 226. 

Bhadra, elephant, 17. 

Bhadra, daughter of Soma, 91; stolen by 
Varuna, 121; consort of Kubera, 143. 

Bhadrakili, 220, 223f„ 226. 

Bhadramada, father of Iravatl, 200. 

Bhadramanas, elephant, father of Aira- 
vata, 126; v. 1. for -mada, 200. 

BhadraSakha, form of Skanda, 230. See 
Sakha. 

BhadraSva, land, 11. 

Bhaga, worshipped as Adilya, 55, 81 f., 
83 f.; god of lust, 56, and of marriage, 
69, 74, 84; as a Rudra, 84, 173; and 
Pusan, arms of cosmic giant, 83; and 
Siva Bhaganelrahara, 83,223; constel¬ 
lation, 84; Uma mistress of Bhagade- 
vanuyatas, 161; slain by Visnu, 206; 
bhagadheya, bhagya, 74. 

Bhagananda, 220, note. 

Bhagavat, title of Brahman and other 
gods, 192. 

Bhagavatas, sect, 88, 216, 231. 

Bhaglrallia, father of Ganges, 5. 

Bhakti, 89; Sakrabhakti, 136. 

BhaijdTra, tree, 7. 

Bhangasvana, Rajarsi changed into a 
woman, 136. 

Bhanu, son of'Dyaus and form of Agni, 
77, 101; a Gandharva, 163. 

Bhanumatl, daughter of Angiras, 100. 

Bharad.va.ja, son of Brhaspati and Ma- 
mata, 181, 183; of Satya, 100; hus¬ 
band of Vira and father of VIra, 101; 
grandfather of Kubera, .whose seer 
in the North he is, 42,142, 144, 177; 
father of Bhumanyu and of Yava- 
krita, 184; priest of Divodasa, 183; 
makes Srivatsa, 184; seduced by 
Ghrtaci, 136, 162; his sacrifice effects 
birth of son, 138, 183; his fire-arms, 




Index. 


237 


104; his garden, 155,183; philosopher, 
184, hole; interchanges with Rudra, 
190. ' 

Bharanya, a Gandharva, 153 f. 

Bharata, 29,157; adopts Bhumanyu, 184; 

• son of Satya, fire-form with Bharata 
and Bbaratf, 101. 

Bhargavas, explanation of, 120. 

Bhari, doubtful name, 154. 

Bh|rgnda bird, 20. 

Bhasi, 159 f.; mother of vultures, 199. 

Bhaskarti,' name of Sun and son of 
Dyaus, 77, 83, 88. 

Bhasvara, an attendant of Skanda, 230. 

Bhaumana (-vana), 201. 

Bhava, Siva, 8,64,-219; an All-god (?), 174. 

Bhavini, 220, note. 

Bhavya spirits, 36. 

Bhaya, Fear, son of Adliarma, 109,199; 
Bhaya, 41; wife of Heti, 107. 

Bhayaipkara, an All-god, 174. 

Bhtma, son of Vayu, 13, 25, 30, 39f., 
73, 117, 168; invades Kubera’s land, 
14-4, 148; a Gandharva, 153; an 
attendant of Skanda, 230; Bhima, an 
Apsaras, 160. 

Bhlmasena, a Gandharva, 153. 

Bhisma, son of Samtanu, 5, 34; address¬ 
ed by divine voice, 67; as Vasu, 
171; contends with Jamadagnya, 184. 

Bhogavati,, 23 f., 25; king of, 27; in the 
South, 28; in Rasatala, 61, 119; 
overrun by Ravaija, 42. 

Bhoja Salva, conquered by Krsna, 217. 

Bhrgu, son of Agni or of Brahman, hus¬ 
band of Puloma, 41, 100, 102, 120, 
179 f.; helpful Maharsi, 169, 177 f.; 
keepe Nimi alive, 179; curses of, 
Sastra of, 179,226; sons of asVarunas, 
179f.; as creative energy, 189; born 
of Brahman and ancestor of Rama, 
190f., 211; Bhrgu, Siva, and Uma, 226. 

Bhrgutunga, 179. 

Bhulihga, bird, 20. m 

Bhumanyu, a Gandharva, 153; son of 
Bharadvaja, adopted, 184. 

Bhupati. an All-god, 174. 

Bhurbhuva, a Devarsi, 188. 

BhuriSravas, 22. 

Bhurunda, bird, 18, 20. 

Bhut, spirit, 29, 30f.; 36f.; Bluits of 
Siva oppress Indra, 131; under Siva, 
37; BhuteSa is Kubera or Siva, 142; 


Vayu as lord of, 97; Visnu as great 
Bhut, 218; malicious spirits, 174; 
lords of, 52,221; red or black, flowers 
for, 68; sugar and sesame for, 69; 
in trees, 72; Bhuts and Earth, 79; 
mothers of, 89; Bhutatman, 192. 

Bhutadhaman, son &M form of Indra, 
36, 136. 

Bhuli, 54. 

Bhutilaka, a sinful place, 209. 

Bhuvana, an All-god (?), 174. 

Bibhisapa, see Yibhlsana. 

Bindusaras, lake, 5, 117; Yama’s sacri¬ 
fice at, 150. 

Birds, divine and demoniac, 19f.; as 
embodied souls, 34; as seers, 177; 
from head of TriSiras, 131; bird 
sacrifices itself, 106; Mandapala and 
Matahga become birds, 35,137; images 
of, 183; age of crane and owl, 184; 
birds bury Northern Kurus, 186; 
mythical genealogy of, 199f.;.bird 
tied to string, 193; Visiju as bird, 
203, 208. See Bharunda, Bhasi, Bhu¬ 
lihga, Cakora, Cakravaka, Chando- 
deva, Cataka, Crane, Crow, Garuda, 
Hamsa (goose), Hawk, JIvamjiva, 
klayura, Maurya, Parrot, Peacock, 
Pigeon, Putana, Sarasa, Suka, Suki, 
Vulture. 

Birth, determined by Brahman, 193; 
-goddess, see Sinlvali. 

Blood, libation of, 40; demons drink, 
45, 47; bloodless sacrifice, 106, 217; 
years in hell equal blood-drops of 
victim, 111; rain of hlood, 128; blood 
turned to ashes, 188. 

Boar, form of Visnu, 208, 217f.; any 
boar as Visnu, 210; gift of Raksasas, 
228. 

Brabmacarin, 153. 

Brabmadatta, king, has healing touch, 
156. 

Brahmakaya spirits, 186. 

Brahmalaukika Rsis, 178. 

Brahmaloka, 193, 195. See Brahman, 
World of. 

Brahman, as Prajapati, 3, 5, 10, 13, 86, 
151; etymology of Brahman, 41; 
chief god, 55f.; epithets of, 192; as 
year, 70; as food, 109; as Fate, 75; 
as ViSvayoni, 67; sons of, 10,13,14, 
36, 41, 44, 50, 70, 87, 90,120f., 143, 


238 


Index. 


152,159,173,179,187 f., 191; mental 
sons of, 189 f.; boons of, 42, 48, 50, 
194; makes city and weapons, 50, 
122, 124; gifts of, -16, 88, 92; 193; 
228; curses of, 162f.; 187; grove, 
mountain, place, world of, 9, 10, 54, 
60; weapon of, 22, 43; as witness, 
192; sends Sesa below earth, 24; 
Pitrs at court of, 33, 35, 178; hus¬ 
band of Vedi or Savitri, 63, 143; of 
Kriya, 83; not honored, 55; creator 
of Death, Fire, etc. 78, 97,100f., 162, 
176; Indra and Brahman, 88, 139 f.; 
makes Siva demiurge, 190; father of 
Siva, 226; general activities of, 193 f.; 
practically ignored in trinity, 218, 
note; superior to Visiju, 204; as boar 
and as fish, 201, 210; sleep and ages 
of, 196; born of Visnu, 191. 

Brahmana, see Priest. 

Brahmapannaga, see Bahupannaga. 

Brahmaraksasa, 44. 

Brahmarsi, 10, 177; contrasted with the 
Seven Devarsis, 182; sires of all 
creatures, 189. 

BrahmaSiras, as PaSupata, 223. 

Brahmasutra, spell, 197. 

Brhadbhanu, 77; son-in-law of Surya, 101. 

Brhaddhan (Brhatvan), a Gandharva, 163. 

Brhadgarbha or Vrsadarbha, son of Sibi, 

‘ 104. 

Brhadrupa, a Marut, 170. 

Brhaka, a Gandharva, 153. 

Brhaspati, son of Angiras, priest and 
chief of Devarsis, 52, 63, 70,100, 178, 
180f.; as planet (Jupiter), 86, 181, 
199fAditya, 81,181; lord of strength, 
134; husband of Tara, 63; father of 
Drona and of Tara, 62; of Kaca, 180; 
of DIrghatamas, Bharadvaja, Kaksivat, 
181; brother of Samvarta and of 
Utathya, and pupil of Manu, 191; 
loves a Sudra, ib.; catholicity of, 64;, 
immanent in kings, 64;' priestly func¬ 
tions of, 65; talks with Indra, 79, 

1 150; advises Indra as Guru but knows 
less than USanas, 135, 181; guards 
Sac! from Nahusa, 181; lord of all 
priests, 82; regent of Pusya, 181; 
Mantras, Naya, Bharatl, and Sastra 
of, 102, 181, 195; Atharvangiras, 
operates with fire, 181; Guru of Upa- 
ricara, Suka, Agni, and Indra, 106, 


181; officiates at Indra’s sacrifice^ 
130 f.; curses Ocean, 121, 181; mis¬ 
leads Asuras, 180; consecrates Skanda, 
181,228 f.; helps Visiju in dwarf-form, 
211. See Candramasi, Prabhasa, and 
ViSvakarman. 

Brhat, a Marut, 170. 

Brhatvan, see Brhaddhan. 

Brmhita, a Mother of jjikanda, 229. 

Budbuda or Vudvuda, an Apsaras, 160; 
becomes crocodile, 163. 

Buddha, as Avatar, 210 f., 217; will come 
at beginning of Kali age, 218; Buddha 
in Bimayana, 218. See Buddhistic 
Traits. 

Buddhi, daughter of Daksa and wife of 
Dharma, 199. 

Buddhistic Traits, 11, 28, 52, 60f., 71, 
76, 84, 118, 152, note, 154, 166, 187; 
Dhammapada, 217 f.; opposed to, 139, 
148, 156. 

Budha, son of Soma, 90f., 92; genealogy 
of, 162; changes sex of -Ila’s com¬ 
panions, 159. 

Buffalo, 9, 116; gift of Raksasas, 228. 

Bull, blue, 16; freed, 32; Siva god'of, 
61, 223; Siva’s bull from Daksa, 223; 
type of strength, as Sun, Visnu, etc., 
206; bull Danava, 216. 

Caitraratha, 142, 154f. 

Caitya and Caitya-trees, 7,71; gods in, 72. 

Cakora, bird, 20. 

Cakra, attendant of Skanda, 230. 

Cakracara Rsis, 186.