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A layman reads Rig Veda

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mskmoorthy

Active member
Apologies for the diversion from the main topic of this thread.


Dr. Renuka ji asks http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/vedic-hyms/12632-layman-reads-rig-veda-15.html#post237095 about Drugs and Feeling eternity/immortality (?).

Similar questions are asked in other contexts too.

Dr. Eban Alexander ( Eben Alexander (author) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) wrote a book titled "Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife" after his experiences with near death. Huffington post/Newsweek carried articles about it. http://www.newsweek.com/proof-heaven-doctors-experience-afterlife-65327

Eben Alexander, Harvard Neurosurgeon, Describes Heaven After Near-Death Experience (VIDEO)
Here is a gawker news article comparing Dr. Eban Alexander's experiences and a drug users experiences

Newsweek Cover Story or Internet Posting About Drugs? A Quiz
 
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vikrama
A long-time friend of mine confided to me last year that he was addicted to ganja before our acquaintance. He came out of it after a great effort. Narrating his experiences of that period, he said that an apple tasted ten times sweeter than normal. He could find beauty in every curve of the leaf and would sit gazing and enjoying it. He could solve problems very easily which were difficult for other persons and for himself in normal times.

This led me to look for psychedelic drugs in Wikipedia. When I studied the descriptions of the RV rishis, it struck me that soma could have been the early version of today's ganja. May be I am wrong. But I could not help thinking of such a possibility.

As for the story indicated by Sri Morrthy, I believe that the said doctor was mistaking the effect of induced coma as the manifestation of heaven. Not only drugs, even microbes or a shock could affect brain and bring to such a state.

A close relative of a brahmin-friend of mine was a drunkard. Once, after a bout of drinks, he was walking along the railway tracks and was hit by a train. Fortunately, there was no injury. But he fell unconscious. He believed that he saw a bright light in that state, Jesus appeared before him and comforted him. After recovery, he was convinced of having seen Jesus and got converted to Christianity.
 

renuka

Well-known member
A long-time friend of mine confided to me last year that he was addicted to ganja before our acquaintance. He came out of it after a great effort. Narrating his experiences of that period, he said that an apple tasted ten times sweeter than normal. He could find beauty in every curve of the leaf and would sit gazing and enjoying it. He could solve problems very easily which were difficult for other persons and for himself in normal times.

This led me to look for psychedelic drugs in Wikipedia. When I studied the descriptions of the RV rishis, it struck me that soma could have been the early version of today's ganja. May be I am wrong. But I could not help thinking of such a possibility.

As for the story indicated by Sri Morrthy, I believe that the said doctor was mistaking the effect of induced coma as the manifestation of heaven. Not only drugs, even microbes or a shock could affect brain and bring to such a state.

A close relative of a brahmin-friend of mine was a drunkard. Once, after a bout of drinks, he was walking along the railway tracks and was hit by a train. Fortunately, there was no injury. But he fell unconscious. He believed that he saw a bright light in that state, Jesus appeared before him and comforted him. After recovery, he was convinced of having seen Jesus and got converted to Christianity.


Dear Vikrama ji,

When the brain experiences oxygen deprivation and even in situations like weightless training of astronauts it is reported that some people have near death experiences like seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel and seeing some divinity or divine like situation known to them.The mind usually 'sees' what it has been conditioned to believe.

When I was working in the government hospital I used to do CPR to revive people whose hearts had stopped and many of them give similar experiences of having see an angelic female at the end of a tunnel etc..mostly men were seeing angelic females..I was wondering how come no one saw an angelic male?? May be all guys were in hell!LOL

But anyway you need to tell us more about Soma..its actually a bit "disappointing" to even feel that Soma was making ancient sages high cos that it a very "worldy" behavior...like guys getting together these days in a pub.

So I wonder if there is something more about Soma that we dont know or it was actually some hallucinogen and all ancients wrote stuff during their flights of fantasy which we call religion today.

It reminds me of a song from a Kamalhassan movie where he is a drug addict and sings

Vaanam Keezhe Vandhaal Enna
Bhoomi Melai Ponaal Enna
 
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vikrama
73 Soma
The vedic rishis have composed many verses in praise of Soma. The entire 9[SUP]th[/SUP] mandala consists of hymns on soma only. There are praises of soma in other mandalas too. While all other mandalas are collection of praises of various devas, that the 9[SUP]th[/SUP] mandala is exclusively set apart for soma shows its importance.

They pray to Soma to bestow them immortality. For example, five verses are given from 9.113.
7 O Pavarnana, place me in that deathless, undecaying world Wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake.
8 Make me immortal in that realm where dwells the King, Vivasvan's Son, Where is the secret shrine of heaven, where are those waters young and fresh. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake.
9 Make me immortal in that realm where they move even as they desire, In the third sphere of inmost heaven where lucid worlds are full of light. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake.
10 Make me immortal in that realm of eager wish and strong desire, The region of the radiant Moon, where food and full delight are found. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake:
11 Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where Joys and felicities combine, and longing wishes are fulfilled. Flow, Indu, flow for Indra's sake.


All devas, especially Indra, are said to be fond of soma. Indra destroyed many rakshasas and performed many great tasks in the exhilaration of soma. (This is proof enough that soma is not an intoxicant which usually dulls the brain and incapacitates the muscles). Vayu is said to have the first claim on soma. (Perhaps its smell spread far and wide as soon as effused.) Asvins have a special right over the morning savanam (effusion). It seems that it was effused three times a day. The Rbhu brothers who rose to become gods by dint of their meritorious acts became entitled for soma. Only after attaining devahood, they could taste it. In the same way the ancestors are also called somayasaH (deserving of soma). (it shows that soma was connected with religious worship only and was not consumed otherwise. )

Yajna and soma

Soma is an indispensable part of yajna. When Soma, stoma (prayer), namaskara (prostration), buddhi (intellect) are added to yajna, then it becomes adhvara (perfect). Soma is honoured with the title yajnasri.

Soma and moon

The words soma and indu refer to the moon also. In one of the mantras (9.12.5), it is said that Indu embraces soma- indicating that these are two different entities. But in some places the words refer to both soma juice as well as moon.
Soma is not only a drink, it is elevated to the position of a deva also. Many achievements of Indra are credited to soma - like the slaying of vrtra, releasing the cows for Angiras, crushing the rakshasa Pani, uniting Ushas with her husband Surya.
Indra’s attributes such as marutvan (having maruts for assistants), vrshabha (bull) are given to soma also. Like surya, soma is also called vizvacarSani, nrcakSas (all-beholding). Like Agni soma is also called kavi (sage), yajnasya nAbhi (closely related to yajna), and the son of heaven and earth.
Soma inspires speech and intellect. There is no one unaffected by him. He can not be conquered in war. He removes darkness. He gives wealth and comfort. When prayed, he gives rayi (the wealth of eternal delight). He is the lord of prayers. He is leader of minds.

Soma the Almighty
Soma is elevated to the position of supreme almighty also. It is Soma who placed light in Surya, found the amrta hidden in the three worlds, keep apart the earth and heaven, filled milk in the just calved cow etc. He knows heaven (svarvid). He causes rain, progeny. He clothes the naked. He makes the blind see, lame walk. He gave birth to devas.

Here is a visvarupa darzanam of Soma. His seat is the cup and the clouds are his diadem. Our prayers are his robes. 9.71.1

While filtering soma, a rishi finds an analogy. Just as the fleece filters soma and gives out only purified juice, there is a filter of dharma, created by the wonderful power of Varuna, on the tip of our tongues and the speech coming out of it delights men like the filtered soma. 9.73.9

The Vedic poets describe the scene of the fingers wringing out the juice, its running through the fleece and its making a sound in the vessel, profusely. They are never tired of speaking about it in various styles. We wonder what could be there to describe so profusely such a simple act.
We have seen that while praising the devas, the rishis enter into a trance-like state and elevated the deva to the status of the supreme almighty. Whille praising Agni, they say that Agni is the supreme. While honouring Indra, they say that Indra is the supreme and so on. When they see a horse, they describe it as the embodiment of rtam, that is, the supreme almighty. Even inanimate things like the rivers, water etc are also praised as the supreme almighty. In the same way, soma is also viewed as the almighty. So they are never tired of describing it.

soma and chaji
Here we can compare this with the chaji, the tea-ceremony of the Japanese. Just for giving a cup of tea to the guest, they take four hours, paying attention to every little detail and never swerving from the tradition. For them it is a meditation. In the same way the soma drinking ceremony could also have been a way of meditation for our rishis.

Since soma gives delight, it becomes the symbol of delight. And what is delight? This gushes from the heart. It is not caused by external objects. These objects are just an excuse for bringing out the delight of the heart. The child is delighted by the sight of an ant or a falling leaf etc. which to us are commonplace occurrences. They do not cause us delight. So delight depends on the simplicity or innocence of heart.

The rishis, like the children, are delighted by everything. They enjoyed the beauty of the world and wondered at its rhythm and orderliness.
Sure in the worlds he was a skilful Craftsman, he who produced these Twain the Earth and Heaven. Wise, with his power he brought both realms, together spacious and deep, well-fashioned, unsupported. 4.56.3

Soma made them enjoy the beauty of the world fully and hence they are thankful to soma and shower their praises on it. That explains the importance given to soma by earmarking an exclusive mandala for it.
 
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vikrama
76 Yama-1

The word Yama occurs 73 times in RV. Of these, 31 are used in the verbal form meaning - to control, to bring, to restrain, to discipline. In 8 contexts it means a twin. Yama as the name of a god occurs only in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] and 10[SUP]th[/SUP] mandalas. 5 times in the former and 29 times in the latter. These two mandalas are later additions according to historians. In all the older mandalas, Yama as the name of a god is not at all found. Even in the first and tenth mandalas, this word might be taken to mean, at least in some contexts, the Almighty because He is the controller. In other places, Yama as a god of death is a product of evolution of thought.

The verses of the earlier period were full of delight. The world was a beautiful place for them to live in. Of course they prayed for long life but their ultimate goal in life was attaining the eternal light, that is, immortality. This, they thought, they could achieve by begetting progeny, by consuming Soma and by performing great tasks for the welfare of others. They never thought of death and subsequent life.
But in the later Vedic age, they came to be haunted by the thoughts of death. They wondered where the life goes after it leaves the body. Will it re-enter the body? Does it go to the sun, the wind, the plants, earth or heaven? They seem to be undecided. Some pitrs are said to have rested in the earthly region, and some to dwell among the Mighty Races. The departed spirit, nowadays called soul or AtmA, goes to many places according to his merit. Perhaps, the idea of land of pitrs crystallized after along time of such uncertainty.
It is interesting to note that the word for the spirit/ soul/ atma was मनः mind. Though the words प्राण, जीव, असु were in use, they used the word मनः to denote that thing, the departure of which makes one dead.
They invoke the spirit of the dead to come back and live here. They do not know where it had gone. So they try to name various places- such as the place of Yama, earth and heaven, the four-cornered earth, the four quarters of the world, the billowy sea, the beams of light that flash and flow, the waters and the plants, a far off place near the Sun and Dawn, the lofty mountain heights. Finally they say that the spirit has gone into this All that lives and moves, to distant realms beyond our ken, to all that is and is to be. 10.58.1 to 12


यत् ते यमम् वैवस्वतम् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.1
यत् ते दिवम् यत् पृथिवीम् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.2
यत् ते भूमिम् चतु:-भृष्टिम् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.3
यत् ते चतस्र: प्र-दिश: मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.4
यत् ते समुद्रम् अर्णवम् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.5
यत् ते मरीची: प्र-वत: मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.6
यत् ते अप: यत् ओषधी: मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.7
यत् ते सूर्यम् यत् उषसम् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.8
यत् ते पर्वतान् बृहत: मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.9
यत् ते विश्वम् इदम् जगत् मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.10
यत् ते परा: परावत: मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.11
यत् ते भूतम् च भव्यम् च मन: जगाम दूरकम् तत् ते आ वर्तयामसि इह क्षयाय जीवसे RV_10,58.12
After some time, they thought that there is a god who takes care of the dead.
Who was that god? They conceived of gods like Pusan, Vayu, Savita and Sarasvati as caretakers of the dead as the following verses from 10.17 show.
May Pusan bear you hence, for he has knowledge. May he consign you to these Fathers' keeping, and to the gracious Gods let Agni give you.
पूषा त्वा इत: च्यवयतु प्र विद्वान् अनष्ट-पशु: भुवनस्य गोपा: स: त्वा एतेभ्य: परि ददत् पितृ-भ्य: अग्नि: देवेभ्य: सु-विदत्रियेभ्य: RV_10,17.3
May Vayu, giver of all life, protect you, and bear you forward on the distant pathway. There let Savitar the God transport you, where dwell the pitrus.
आयु: विश्व-आयु: परि पासति त्वा पूषा त्वा पातु प्र-पथे पुरस्तात् यत्र आसते सु-कृत: यत्र ते ययु: तत्र त्वा देव: सविता दधातु RV_10,17.4
Pusan knows all these realms: Pusan was born to move on distant pathways, on the road far from earth and far from heaven. To both most wonted places of assembly he travels and returns with perfect knowledge.
पूषा इमा: आशा: अनु वेद सर्वा: स: अस्मान् अभय-तमेन नेषत् स्वस्ति-दा: आघृणि: सर्व-वीर: अप्र-युच्छन् पुर: एतु प्र-जानन् RV_10,17.5
प्र-पथे पथाम् अजनिष्ट पूषा प्र-पथे दिव: प्र-पथे पृथिव्या: उभे अभि प्रिय-तमे सध-स्थे आ च परा च चरति प्र-जानन् RV_10,17.6
The pious worship Sarasvati. She comes with the Fathers, with them rejoicing herself in our oblations.
सरस्वतीम् देव-यन्त: हवन्ते सरस्वतीम् अध्वरे तायमाने सरस्वतीम् सु-कृत: अह्वयन्त सरस्वती दाशुषे वार्यम् दात् RV_10,17.7
सरस्वति या स-रथम् ययाथ स्वधाभि: देवि पितृ-भि: मदन्ती आसद्य अस्मिन् बर्हिषि मादयस्व अनमीवा: इष: आ धेहि अस्मे RV_10,17.8
They finally zeroed in on Yama
(More about Yama in the next posts.)
 
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vikrama
How did Yama come into being - Mythology
Tvasta married his daughter, Saranyu to Vivasvan (the sun). She bore him a twin, a boy and a girl, Yama and Yami. (Unable to put up with his heat,) she went away (and transformed herself as a mare. Vivasvan followed her and) she gave birth to the twins, (Asvins). At last she gave up both the twins and went away. (The words in italics are supplied by Sayana.) This story is told in RV 10.17.1, 2.
त्वष्टा दुहित्रे वहतुम् कृणोति इति इदम् विश्वम् भुवनम् सम् एति यमस्य माता परि-उह्यमाना मह: जाया विववस्वत: ननाश RV_10,17.1
अप अगूहन् अमृताम् मर्त्येभ्य: कृत्वी स-वर्णाम् अददु: विवस्वते उत अश्विनौ अभरत् यत् तत् आसीत् अजहात् उ द्वा मिथुना सरण्यू: RV_10,17.2
The authenticity of the above story is doubtful. First, RV rarely tells such stories, which are a peculiar feature of the Brahmana-books.
The two verses stand alone and are not connected with the rest of the verses of the same sukta. Nowhere else in RV there is any reference to this story.
The legend goes against another verse of RV. Asvins are not biological twins. They are spoken of as born differently. They became twins by their shared achievements.
In the two verses, the name of Yama as a person is not found. The only Yama there means twin.
Hence this story seems to be a product of brahmana- age and it has been interpolated.

Evolution of Yama- historic angle.
Yama, it seems, was an evolution of Varuna. RV 10.13 eulogizes two devas, without naming any. We may infer that they could be Varuna and Yama, since the next suktam names both Varuna and Yama as kings. Originally, Varuna was the lord of dharma or good conduct. He had a rope called ‘paza’ in his hand for weapon and he is described as punishing the sinners by binding them with the rope. This paza goes to the hand of Yama and he becomes the chastiser of people. Whereas Varuna was said to punish people while they were alive, Yama punishes them after they reach his land after their death.
*****
In 10.14 Yama is described as the lord of death. It is he who first found a place for the dead to go and settle after death. Men born on earth tread their own paths. Whatever path they choose, they all lead them to where our ancient Fathers have departed.10.14.2
यम: न: गातुम् प्रथम: विवेद न एषा गव्यूति: अप-भर्तवै उ यत्र न: पूर्वे पितर: पराईयु: एना जज्ञाना: पथ्या: अनु स्वा: RV_10,14.2
The rishi says that this pasture (the land of the pitrs) never can be taken from us, meaning that everyone is sure to go to this place. Yama gathers men together, searches out and shows the path. The concept that the dead people wear another body, bright and glorious before going to the land of pitrs finds mention in this suktam. The dead go the land of the pitrs, live with them and with the gods.
The concept of pitrs also undergoes change in the later Vedic age. While in the earlier period, the word pitaraH meant the forefathers of mankind of yore like Angirases, Bhrigus, Atharvans, and Manu, in the later Vedic age it came to include everyone who is dead.
 

mskmoorthy

Active member
Many thanks for an expostion of Yama. Are Yama and Yami siblings? I always wonder why the direction associated with yama is south? Is it because we live north of the equator? Please check this website (if and when you have time) Guardians of the directions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It could be that these things came after the period of RV. I am curious to know whether any directions are associated with various devas/surAs as per RV.



 
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vikrama
Dear Sri Moorthy,
A subsequent post will tell you more about Yama and Yami. Etymologically Yama means a twin. Yama and Yami were twins. She wants to marry Yama. Yama advises her of its being against the law.

I think the Yama and Yami mentioned in this dialogue is not the same as the god of death. Yam as a dhatu means to control, discipline. The god of death disciplines our lives since only the fear of death keeps us virtuous. This god of death makes his first appearance only in the first and tenth mandalas of RV, which are considered to be later day additions.

As far as I have read, there is no mention of south being the direction of Yama. But I will study more and come back.
 
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vikrama
76 In certain places the word Nirrti (misfortune) occurs in feminine gender as the god of death. In certain other places the word asunIti (also a feminine) is used to denote the same god. This word means one who leads the life (to the other world). It seems that before fixing on Yama, they tried several names.
In the earlier mandalas, it was frequently insisted that attaining immortality is the aim of human life. One had to exert himself to deserve that position, like the Rbhus. Fathers of mankind, like Manu the earliest man, Angiras who found out the light of divine knowledge, Bhrigu who discovered Agni, Atharvan who instituted the fire-worship- these were all honoured. They were not considered as immortal or equal to devas or deserving of share in sacrifices. They were respectfully remembered as pitaraH, fathers.
But in the later mandalas, attaining a life with the devas becomes quite easy. By simply dying one becomes a pitr. He begins to live with the devas. He is blessed with long life there, though not immortality. (It is not said, what happens to the pitr after the long life in the land of devas. It can be assumed that they are considered immortal like the devas.) Agni carries his food. He is entitled to a seat of barhis in the sacrificial chamber and to drink soma. He has the power to confer wealth, progeny etc to the worshipper. What else does one require than the power and honour like the devas? All you have to do is, simply to die. What a great fall from the lofty ideals of earlier mandalas! One thinks that the deterioration of Vedic religion starts from here.
 
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vikrama
77 Disposal of bodies.
Corpses were burnt. A mantra prays that grass may again grow in the place where the corpse was burnt.
Cool, Agni, and again refresh the spot which you have scorched and burnt. Here let the water-lily grow, and tender grass and leafy herb. 10.16.13
यम् त्वम् अग्ने सम्-अदह: तम् उ नि: वापय पुनरिति कियाम्बु अत्र रोहतु पाक-दूर्वा वि-अल्कशा RV_10,16.13
It seems that the earlier practice was not to burn the body immediately, but to keep it out in the open for a few days, perhaps, in the hope of recovery, causing the bird etc to prey on it, as gathered from the following verse.
What wound soe'er the dark bird hath inflicted, the ant, or the serpent, or the jackal,
May Agni who devours all things heal it and Soma who has passed into the Brahmans.
10.16.6
यत् ते कृष्ण: शकुन: आतुतोद पिपील: सर्प: उत वा श्वापद: अग्नि: तत् विश्व-अत् अगदम् कृणोतु सोम: च य: ब्राह्मणान् आविवेश RV_10,16.6

When the body is burnt,
the Sun receives the eye, the Wind the spirit; The spirit goes, as per his merit, to earth or heaven. or unto the waters; or to the plants with all the members. 10.16.3
सूर्यम् चक्षु: गच्छतु वातम् आत्मा द्याम् च गच्छ पृथिवीम् च धर्मणा अप: वा गच्छ यदि तत्र ते हितम् ओषधीषु प्रति तिष्ठ शरीरै: RV_10,16.3
The following verse shows burying the dead was also practiced.
They who, consumed by fire or not cremated, joy in their offering in the midst of heaven, grant them, O Sovran Lord, the world of spirits and their own body, as your pleasure wills it. 10.15.14
ये अग्नि-दग्धा: ये अनग्नि-दग्धा: मध्ये दिव: स्वधया मादयन्ते तेभि: स्व-राट् असु-नीतिम् एताम् यथावशम् तन्वम् कल्पयस्व RV_10,15.14
Earth is thrown into the pit where the corpse was lowered. The earth is requested not to press heavily and be like a mother’s skirt on a child. 10.18.11
उत् श्वञ्चस्व पृथिवि मा नि बाधथा: सु-उपायना अस्मै भव सु-उपवञ्चना माता पुत्रम् यथा सिचा अभि एनम् भूमे ऊर्णुहि RV_10,18.11
They built stone walls in the place where they cremated or buried the corpse to keep away death and believed that those living on the hither part of the rampart would live a hundred autumn. 10.18.4 (The megalithic period practice of circular stones around urns for the dead were perhaps the result of such beliefs.)
10.14.9 asks people not to stay in the place (of burning / burying).
Go hence, fly in all directions: this place for him the Fathers have provided. Yama bestows on him a place to rest in, adorned with light and waters.
अप इत वि इत वि च सर्पत अत: अस्मै एतम् पितर: लोकम् अक्रन् अह:-भि: अत्-भि: अक्तु-भि: वि-अक्तम् यम: ददाति अव-सानम् अस्मै RV_10,14.9
(Incidentally, this mantra is recited while sweeping the floor before spreading the leaves for the pitrs when we perform zraddham to drive away the rakshasas. RV does not mention of rakshasas while speaking about death. )
The appearance of a dove was considered inauspicious and foreboding death. 10.165.4 offers oblations to Yama who sent the dove as an envoy. The pathway to Yama’s land has two dogs keeping watch over the occupants. Yama is requested to entrust this newly-dead man to the dogs' protection.10.14.10, 11
Yama's two envoys, Dark-hued, satiating themselves with lives, with distended nostrils, hunt the People; May they restore to us a fair existence here and to-day, that we may see the sunlight. 10.14.12
उरु-नसौ असु-तृपौ उदुम्बलौ यमस्य दूतौ चरत: जनान् अनु तौ अस्मभ्यम् दृशये सूर्याय पुन: दाताम् असुम् अद्य इह भद्रम् RV_10,14.12
One can live only so long as Yama pleases. Hence Yama is prayed to for long life with Soma and sacrifice through Agni. He is offered holy gifts enriched with butter.10.14.14
After reaching the land of pitrs, one becomes pitr himself/ herself.
MAY they ascend, the lowest, highest, midmost, the Fathers who deserve a share of Soma- May they who have attained the life of spirits, gentle and righteous, aid us when we call them.10.15.1
उत् ईरताम् अवरे उत् परास: उत् मध्यमा: पितर: सोम्यास: असुम् ये ईयु: अवृका: ऋत-ज्ञा: ते न: अवन्तु पितर: हवेषु RV_10,15.1
This is the first rik mantra in our Amavasya tarpanam.
 

renuka

Well-known member
What wound soe'er the dark bird hath inflicted, the ant, or the serpent, or the jackal,
May Agni who devours all things heal it and Soma who has passed into the Brahmans.
10.16.6
यत् ते कृष्ण: शकुन: आतुतोद पिपील: सर्प: उत वा श्वापद: अग्नि: तत् विश्व-अत् अगदम् कृणोतु सोम: च य: ब्राह्मणान् आविवेश RV_10,16.6

.


Dear Sir,

Serpents do not feed on dead bodies..so why is the word serpent here?

Or it is becos in ancient times people lived in jungles and exposed to wild animals including serpents and also this stanza was just listing the possible causes of injury or death when one lives in the wild?
 
OP
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vikrama
perhaps they believed that the serpents feed on dead bodies, or perhaps, the body turned blue, due to exposure, as if bitten by a snake.
When my son died, the body was brought from Singapore in a hermetically sealed coffin. It was immediately transferred to an A.c box and looked as fresh as living. Within half an hour of taking from the A.c box, while the rituals were going on, it turned blue.
 
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vikrama
78 The pitrs
Pitrs dwell in glowing light, They are truthful, they travel with the Devas and Indra. They, like devas sit on sacred grass, accept the Soma, accept the sacrifice with favour. Agni is entreated to take the oblations to the fathers. They are gracious unto us and bless us. They are supposed to have powers to grant progeny and wealth to their children. They punish the people for sin and they are requested to forgive as the sin was committed by human frailty and not by willful arrogance.
With these pitrs, Yama also rejoices at our offerings.
Yama was not reverenced lovingly like other devas. He was respected out of fear. He was prayed to go away and not to touch the children. 10.18.1
परम् मृत्यो अनु परा इहि पन्थाम् य: ते स्व: इतर: देव-यानात् चक्षुष्मते शृण्वते ते ब्रवीमि मा न: प्र-जाम् रिरिष: मा उत वीरान् RV_10,18.1
They hopefully say that there will be no more deaths and they could freely laugh and dance and would have a long life. 10.18.3
इमे जीवा: वि मृतै: आ अववृत्रन् अभूत् भद्रा देव-हूति: न: अद्य प्राञ्च: अगाम नृतये हसाय द्राघीय: आयु: प्र-तरम् दधाना: RV_10,18.3
 
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vikrama
79 The bereavement
look at the following mantras.
Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered.
O Jatavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers.10.16.1

मा एनम् अग्ने वि दह: मा अभि शोच: मा अस्य त्वचम् चिक्षिप: मा शरीरम् यदा शृतम् कृणव: जात-वेद: अथ ईम् एनम् प्र हिणुतात् पितृ-भ्य: RV_10,16.1

Shield your flesh against the flames of Agni, encompass yourself with fat and marrow, So will the Bold One, eager to attack thee with fierce glow fail to girdle and consume thee.10.16.7
अग्ने: वर्म परि गोभि: व्ययस्व सम् प्र ऊणुष्व पीवसा मेदसा च न इत् त्वा धृष्णु: हरसा जर्हृषाण: दधृक् वि-धक्ष्यन् परि-अङ्खयाते RV_10,16.7
This shows the mental state of the pyre-lighter. He does not want his dear departed one to be burnt and requests Agni to be sympathetic to him. Agni is requested to consume the goat instead.
The deprived accepts the fact of the death of his dear one and hopes that no such tragedy would recur. He would resume his daily offering to Agni as usual.
send afar flesh eating Agni, may he depart to Yama's subjects. But let this other Jatavedas carry oblation to the Gods, for he is skilful.10.16.9
क्रव्य-अदम् अग्निम् प्र हिणोमि दूरम् यम-राज्ञ: गच्छतु रिप्र-वाह: इह एव अयम् इतर: जात-वेदा: देवेभ्य: हव्यम् वहतु प्र-जानन् RV_10,16.9
When a man dies, his widow abstains from jewels and other make-ups. This should not deter other ladies from enjoying their dear make-ups.
Let these unwidowed dames with noble husbands adorn themselves with fragrant balm and unguent. Decked with fair jewels, tearless, free from sorrow, first let the dames go up to where he lies.10.18.7
इमा: नारी: अविधवा: सु-पत्नी: आञ्जनेन सर्पिषा सम् विशन्तु अनश्रव: अनमीवा: सु-रत्ना: आ रोहन्तु जनय: योनिम् अग्रे RV_10,18.7
The widow probably lies down on the earth. She is exhorted to come unto the world of life. She is consoled that there is no meaning in crying. Perhaps he died fighting a battle. The battle should go on and other men-folk come forward to shoulder the responsibilities of the dead.
From his dead hand I take the bow be carried, that it may be our power and might and glory.
There art thou, there; and here with noble heroes may we o'ercome all hosts that fight against us. 10.18.9

धनु: हस्तात् आददान: मृतस्य अस्मे क्षत्राय वर्चसे बलाय अत्र एव त्वम् इह वयम् सु-वीरा: विश्वा: स्पृध: अभि-माती: जयेम RV_10,18.9
 
OP
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vikrama
80 Yama yami dialogue
In RV 10.10 there is an interesting dialogue attributed to Yami and Yama. This Yama is not the god of death. He is one of the twins. The other, Yami, is a woman.
Yami wants Yama to take her as his consort, in order to get a son. But Yama refuses saying that though they are of the same origin they are of different forms (mind sets). Such things have not been done earlier. So it is improper. While we speak righteously, we should not act impurely.

Yami says, “Even in the womb, Tvasta, who shapes all forms, made us consorts. None violates his holy ordinances.”

Yama replies, “Who knows that earliest day whereof you speak? Who has seen it? Who can here declare it? Great is the law of Varuna and Mitra. The spies of gods never close their eyelids, They wander round us and are watching us. Do not tempt men. Get married with another.”

Yami accuses him of being unbrotherly. “He is not at all a brother, who refuses the sister’s requests. Likewise, she is not a sister who does not help her brother in times of trouble. You are a weakling. You have no heart or mind.”

Yama flatly refuses saying that they call it sin when one comes near his sister. There will come succeeding times when brothers and sisters will marry someone not related.

The tenth mandala of RV is noted for advocating moral laws. Perhaps this belongs to the age of smritis (law books) and was interpolated into RV. It points out specific sins and speaks against them. The assertion of Yama against marrying a sibling is one such.

The earlier parts of RV never advise dogmatically. There is no सत्यं वद, धर्मं चर type of Upanishadic commands in them. Even while advocating the greatness of rtam, they do not say, “Follow rtam”, but indirectly hint that, saying, “Devas are all rtavans. The pitrs are all rtavans. The rtavan wins favours. The giver of alms wins in battles and earns the friendship of enemies.”
 
4 Agni, the perfect sacrifice which thou encompassest about Verily goeth to the Gods.
5 May Agni, sapient-minded Priest, truthful, most gloriously great, The God, come hither with the Gods.
6 Whatever blessing, Agni, thou wilt grant unto thy worshipper, That, Angiras, is indeed thy truth.
7 To thee, dispeller of the night, O Agni, day by day with prayer Bringing thee reverence, we come
8 Ruler of sacrifices, guard of Law eternal, radiant One, Increasing in thine own abode.
9 Be to us easy of approach, even as a father to his son: Agni, be with us for our weal.

HYMN
II.
Vayu.


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



 

renuka

Well-known member
Just a question here where Yama refuses to marry Yami becos they are brother and sister but a similar situation arises in Bhagavatha Purana with Yagna and Dakshina.

Yagna was the son of Prajapathi Ruci and Akuti (the daughter of Svayambhuva Manu)..he had a twin sister called Dakshina.

Yagna was formally adopted by Akuti's father and then married to Dakshina.

Ok lets view this here..Yagna and Dakshina are twin brother and sister but Yagna is formally adopted by Akuti's father...so that changes the relationship of Yagna from brother of Dakshina to maternal uncle.

Then he is married to Dakshina.. but technically they were brother and sister..that too twins..but it seems that after the formal adoption the brother and sister relationship was totally annulled and it became maternal uncle and niece relationship and the marriage took place.

So in this story marriage between "maternal uncle" (former twin brother) and niece seemed to be sanctioned.


But actually when I read that story I was wondering may be its just symbolic that a Yagna has to be followed by a Dakshina so they had to be inseparable to start with..so made into twins and then we Hindus love to "marry" the Purusha Principle and the Prakriti principle and made Yagna and Dakshina into husband and wife.

So Yama Yami story differs from Yagna Dakshina story when it came to relationship, marriage and moral laws.
 
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Kindly don't judge the standards by kali yuga standard as Drwapadi is married to five persons because she unknowingly uttered 5 qualities for her husband in the previous birth. Even marrying Elder sister daughter is now allowed by the younger brother of the sister. They did not have genetic or hereditary dieases at that time. Even Sita is not the direct daughter of janaka and bhoo devi is the mother of sita.Rama is incarnation of Vishnu but married sita daughter of bhoo devi who is actually the consort of vishnu. Even Iyyappa is mockingly told by Appaiya dikshitar how to address Lakshmi since Vishnu (mohinin) is mother of him.
 
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vikrama
symbolism is overdone in the vedas and other religious scriptures. One who knows ho to read between lines can understand the real meaning.
 
What actually you mean by symbolism Sir?...is it about simile for some other to be described or having two different meanings for one verse itself
 

renuka

Well-known member
Kindly don't judge the standards by kali yuga standard as Drwapadi is married to five persons because she unknowingly uttered 5 qualities for her husband in the previous birth. Even marrying Elder sister daughter is now allowed by the younger brother of the sister. They did not have genetic or hereditary dieases at that time. Even Sita is not the direct daughter of janaka and bhoo devi is the mother of sita.Rama is incarnation of Vishnu but married sita daughter of bhoo devi who is actually the consort of vishnu. Even Iyyappa is mockingly told by Appaiya dikshitar how to address Lakshmi since Vishnu (mohinin) is mother of him.


Dear Sir,

Polyandry is not just a Dwapara Yuga phenomenon..even in some other Yuga the 8 or 10 Pracetas were married to one woman.

BTW even in Kaliyuga some tribes and communities have the practice of Polyandry where a woman is allowed to take more than 1 husband and also in some cases a common wife for all brothers.


BTW genetic diseases would have been present too in other Yugas its just that it went undiagnosed and some story was made up to cover any deformity or disease.

For example the story of Ashtavakra where he has 8 bends in his body..could have been some genetic disorder of the skeletal frame.

Then we have the story of Jada Bharata who did not talk and was slow and inert ..it could have been Aspergers Syndrome for all we know.

Cos an Aspergers syndrome person will have difficulty in social interaction and non verbal communication.The person can appear almost autistic but at times be very intelligent even thought outwardly he/she would hardly want to respond emotionally to anyone.

Aspergers usually have a very special detail interest which they take great interest to know and find out..totally fits Jada Bharata cos he was unresponsive to people but only interested in Atma Jnana.

So that way many genetic conditions would have gone unnoticed and some story made up about that in our Puranas.
 
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renuka

Well-known member
Dear Ms. Renuka,

Some snakes (may be python kind of snake), they poison the victim and only they swallow slowly

Dear Vignesh...Nope...Pythons,Boa constrictor,Anaconda etc..dont not poison their victims..they just just asphyxiate the victim.

These types of snakes are also sometimes thought to actually hypnotize the victims before asphyxiating them.
 
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