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Unformatted text preview: t used for the peoples defeated by the Aryans and
for all enemies of Indra, of whom the Pani tribe is one. ■ What are the main kinds of imagery used for Indra and his actions in the hymn?
What divine acts does the hymn ascribe to Indra?
Indra’s heroic deeds, indeed, will I proclaim, the first ones
which the wielder of the vajra accomplished. He killed the
dragon, released the waters, and split open the sides of
He killed the dragon lying spread out on the mountain;
for him Tvashtar fashioned the roaring vajra. Like bellowing cows, the waters, gliding, have gone down straightway to the ocean.
Showing off his virile power he chose soma; from the
three kadrukas he drank of the extracted soma. The bounteous god took up the missile, the vajra; he killed the firstborn among the dragons.
When you, O Indra, killed the first-born among the dragons and further overpowered the wily tricks (maya) of the
tricksters, bringing forth, at that very moment, the sun, the
heaven and the dawn—since then, indeed, have you not
come across another enemy. Indra killed Vritra, the greater
enemy, the shoulderless one, with his mighty and fatal
weapon, the vajra. Like branches of a tree lopped off with
an axe, the dragon lies prostrate upon the earth. . . .
Over him, who lay in that manner like a shattered reed
flowed the waters for the sake of man. At the feet of the Other Vedic gods include Soma, the god of the hallucinogenic soma plant and the drink made from it; Ushas,
goddess of dawn (one of few female deities); Yama, god of
the dead; Rudra, the archer and storm god; Vishnu, a solar
deity; and the sun god, Surya. The Vedic hymns praise each
god they address as possessing almost all powers, including
those associated with other gods.
Ritual sacrifice was the central focus of Vedic religion,
its goal apparently to invoke the presence of the gods to
whom an offering was made rather than to expiate sins or express thanksgiving. Drinking soma juice was part of the ritual. A recurring theme of the Vedic hymns that accompa- very waters, which Vritra had [once] enclosed with his
might, the dragon [now] lay [prostrate]. . . .
With the Dasa as their lord and with the dragon as their
warder, the waters remained imprisoned, like cows held
by the Pani. Having killed Vritra, [Indra] threw open the
cleft of waters which had been closed.
You became the hair of a horse’s tail, O Indra, when he
[Vritra] struck at your sharp-pointed vajra—the one god
[eka deva] though you were. You won the cows, O brave
one, you won soma; you released the seven rivers, so that
they should flow. . . .
Indra, who wields the vajra in his hand, is the lord of
what moves and what remains rested, of what is
peaceful and what is horned. He alone rules over the
tribes as their king; he encloses them as does a rim the
Rig-Veda 1.32 Source: From Sources of Indian Tradition by William Theodore de
Bary. Copyright © 1988 by Columbia University Press. Reprinted with
permission of the publi...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
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