apaM bhumAnam upa naH sR^ijeha |
send down to earth, upon us the showers.
yaj~na pratitiShTha sumatau sushevA A tva |
You who are favorably established in this Sacrifice, the two well-disposed ones
vasUni purudhA vishantu |
entering many good forms repeatedly
dirgham Ayur yajamanaya kR^iNvan |
Make the life of the ritualist long.
adhAmR^itena jaritArama~ngdhi ||
Now annoint with nectar the reciter of praise
indraH shunAvad vitanoti sIram |
indra bearing the plow extends the furrow;
saMvatsarasya pratimaMam etat |
This is the year’s image.
arkasya jyotis-tad-id-Asa jyeShTham |
sun’s light is the best in this [world]
saMvatsaraGm shunavat sIram etat ||
This furrow of the plow is the year.
índrasya rAdhaH prayataM puru tmana |
Extend indra’s bounty multiple fold
tad arkarUpaM vimímAnam eti |
dvAdasAre pratitiShThatId vR^iShA ||
ashvAyanto gavyanto vAjayantaH |
havAmahe tvopaganta vA u |
AbhUShantas tvA sumatau navayam |
vayam indra tvA shunaGm huvema ||
apaM bhumAnam upa naH sR^ijeha |
She said: “We return to that halcyon year and a half. When the son of Brinda was toiling relentlessly, fueled by testosterone and goaded by his crafty, parents we set out the seek the truth. Beyond the row of 3 shUdras were two: one a shUdra and one a brAhmaNa.”
I said: “We return indeed to that time in our walk. We were free, like never before and never after. We knew not fear like jaTAyu and sampAtI reaching for the sun. It was then that I standing on the broken wall of the larger kandUka prastha. I saw you strolling into to smaller kandUka prastha and headed downwards to meet you. With you were 4 others so we exchanged words in code as kApAlika-s do.”
She said: “Yes indeed! The vAta is blowing with pitiless fury. Sorrow and joy are but two pans of the balance. The wielder of the thunderbolt holds it aloft. Today into one pan he has cast a weight tomorrow in another he shall.”
We mounted our gardabha-s and moved towards the base of the imposing pinnacle of kaunDinya where the warm river washed the banks. With our legs in the shallow water we looked at the blue skies. We felt that link with bhArata, the land conquered by our ancestors, the waters, the sky, the mountains. We thought of the melody “somyam maa..” “hi-indrA…” came to the mind. We were talking of early archosauromorph cranial anatomy and of pterosaurs — so much of what we knew was to change. We feared that the unholy kIkaTa or the harmful dasyu would break into our reverie. So we together drew that yantra with the feather and placing a feather on it invoked kandhara, to repel rAkShasas. We also cast around us the yakSha-s and yakShinI-s of dreadful kShudra vidyA-s like virodhikA, R^ituhArikA and duHsaha, so that none may challenge us.
Thus, repelling the anindra-s we moved on experiencing the rasa-s that break down when emerging as words. We came back by passing through the senA-prastha, beside the vigha~NgamIra, the dasyu-shAla and the cleft in the mountain. We then enjoyed mahAbhoga of bhojana and having refreshed ourselves we proceeded to perform our studies on the water. We saw that yonder world before us. May we be conquerors of that world with all its beings we wished…. We still wish. We spoke again through the veil that separates us. We connected with guhyasomA and lost it again.
The bhArgava mArkaNDeya told jaimini that he had no time to narrate to him lengthy tales as was his usual tradition, because he was starting his sacrificial satra and need to begin the specified oblations. Instead, he asked him to go the talking pelicans of the narmada to learn more tales. jaimini approached the brahminical pelicans in the cave in the lower vindhya-s splashed by the waters of the narmada to query them about the awful deeds of balabhadra. He was amazed to see 4 birds that were reciting mantra-s like vipra-s The pelicans having fanned jaimini to relieve him of the heat from his exertions in reaching their cave agreed to narrate to him the tales he wanted. They said:
“kR^iShNa has decided to side with the pANDavas and I cannot do much about it given his bond with arjuna. I think things can be done better. I will not go with duryodhana because my brother is on the other side. But king duryodhana is my dear student in the use of the gadA and I will not go against him under any condition. Thus thinking, balabhadra detached his army and went to dvAravati where he saw his people in great happiness and fed well. To relax he settled to have a bath a spring and the fair revatI placed a bowl of wine for him. Quaffing several bowls he and revatI became inebriated, and in joyous delight decided to go to the raivata park that he had set up for his enjoyment. Clasping the apsarA-like revatI he marched into the sylvan retreat in a stumbling walk along with his several girl-friends joining them with vAruNi beer and liquor. The park was glorious beyond description with all kinds of animals, trees and herbs. He in the pleasure-giving grip of revatI surrounded by the bevy of beautiful girls, with his sunanda pestle in hand, was admiring his grove. Their intoxication was accentuated by the sweet cacophony of cuckoos, grebes, tittiri-s, mynas, warblers, tailor birds, weaver birds, cranes, wood-peckers, shirkes, crows, parrots, bee-eaters, pheasants and peacocks flitting amongst mango, amalaka, kovIdara, ashoka, jackfruit trees and palms dotting the dvaraka sea-side, and water-lilies with broad leaves on the ponds. Enjoying various kAma-keli-s and krIDa-s with his girl-friends and wife he arrived a bower. There he saw group of learned bhArgava-s, vaishvAmitra-s, bharadvAja-s and gotama-s collecting glorious paurANic narratives of old times from the sUta lomaharShaNa. The brAhmaNas were clad in black antelope coats and seated on kusha grass seats with the sUta in their midst. Seeing saMkarShaNa swinging his pestle, with blood-shot eyes due to alcoholic inebriation the brAhmaNa-s were terrified and hastily rose up and saluted the rampaging kShatriya, but the sUta alone remained seated. baladeva flew into fit of fury and with his red eyes rolling swung his pestle and smashed the skull of the sUta to pieces. The brAhmaNa-s seeing this, fled in terror into the forest, laying a spell on him. balabhadra-s found his body developed a stench of blood that did not go away and immediately he realized he had committed a grave pApa and the displeasure of the vipra-s. To relieve himself of his sins he decided to go on a tirtha yatra culminating in pratiloma sarasvatI.”
The atharvaN-s have several distinctive prescriptions of mantra prayoga-s for pratya~NgirA or atharvaNa-bhadrakAlI. One such is the mahAchaNDayogeshvarI vidyA. It is recommended only for those who study the AV, though no niyama or purashcharaNa is required for deployment.
pippalAda R^iShiH; Chando nAsti yajuShTvataH; atharvaNa-bhadrakAlI jayadurgA devatA |
OM bIjaM; hrIM shaktiH; jaye cha viniyogaH|
AM AM AM hR^idayAya namaH |
IM IM IM shirase svAhA |
UM UM UM shikhAyai vaShaT |
EM EM EM kavachAya huM |
AuM AuM AuM netra-trayAya vauShaT |
prekhaM astrAya phaT ||
AM AM AM a~NguShThAbhyAM namaH |
IM IM IM tarjanIbhyAM namaH |
UM UM UM madhyamAbhyAM namaH |
EM EM EM anAmikAbhyAM namaH |
AuM AuM AuM kaniShThikabhyAM namaH||
prekhaM karatalakara-pR^iShTAbhyAM namaH ||
shyAmAm-indu-dharAM devImA.a.a.tAmra-nayana-trayIm |
vAme rakta-kapAlaM cha trishUlaM dakShiNe tatha ||
kR^ishodarIM rakta-vastrAM pINa-stanIM nitambinIm |
padmasthAM yuvatIM dhyAyet smerA.a.asyAm-ati sundarIm ||
bhadrakAlIM mahAdevIM jayadAtrIM sushItalAM |
pujayed AsurI pIThe syustadA.a.avaraNAni cha ||
OM hrIM chaNDyogeshvarI ! phaT ! svAhA ! [for homa]
OM hrIM chaNDyogeshvarI ! phaT ! namaH ! [for pUja]
The mlechCha orientalists Dumont and Albright pointed to certain similarities between the Vedic sacrificial ritual and that found in Babylon. We revisit this to investigate if flow of memes between Eurasian civilizations can throw any light on the date and time of cultural interactions. The great ashvamedha, the high point of vedic ritual, definitely goes back to the early Indo-European past. In some form or the other it seen amongst different branches of Indo-Europeans, like the Celts, Romans, Germans Greeks, Iranians and Indo-Aryans. But as every other Indo-European tradition its pristine version with all the meaning-laden archaisms is found only in the vedic world and it continued to remain the symbol of the victorious Hindu kings (like pushyamitra shunga performing it after destroying the yavana-s in a great battle on the sindhu or vIra hammira performing it after destroying “1ooos of turuShkas”). The shukla-yajurvedic tradition quotes two ancient vipra-s, bhAllaveya and sAtyayaj~ni on the specifications of the sacrificial horse. Both of whom, despite their different opinions, state that the forehead of the ashvamedha horse should have markings resembling the kR^ittka (the Pleiades) on it: “kR^ittikA~njiH purastAt” (SB 188.8.131.52-4). kAtyAyana the inheritor of this shukla yajurvedic tradition describes the horse specifications in the kAtyAyana shrauta sUtra 184.108.40.206, and he also states that the horse should have a kR^ittikA mark (kR^ittikA~njiM vA). Now, the shukla yajurvedic mImAmsakas like karka, yAj~nikadeva and vidyAdhara who analyze the shrauta texts explain the sUtra of kAtyAyana “kR^ittikA~njiM vA” as shakaTa iva. This clearly shows they were meaning a mark like the Pleiades because their can described as shaped like a cart.
Coming to the Babylonian situation we find the mention of the horse sacrifice in a fragmentary cuneiform tablet from Assur. Middle-Eastern archaeologists generally believe that this tablet might approximately belong to a period around 1600 BCE. However a more detailed version of the Babylonian sacrificial ritual emerged from the tablets describing the bull-sacrifice that come from Erech, Nineveh and Assur from 300-800 BCE. The former text mentions the deities Shamash, Adad and Marduk and the latter Bal, Ningizzida, Lumha and twelve gods for whom offerings are laid out. In these sacrificial ritual texts some parallels between the Mesopotamian animal-sacrifices and the ashvamedha can be found. The Babylonian ritual experts describe that the bull should not be injured due to whipping or lashing and should be complete and whole and colored black. It is examination is much like that of the horse in the ashvamedha. Interestingly on its forehead its either recommended to have or not have (depending on the interpretation offered by Dumont and Albright) a mark like the Pleiades. The original recommendation was likely to have been to have such a mark, because negation of such a precise mark seems to be unusual, unless there was originally a precedence for this. This is also supported by the tablet on the horse sacrifice that describes a horse sacrifice and mentions the Pleiades-like marking on the forehead of the sacrificial horse. The commonality of the mark associated with the sacrificed animal is not the only shared feature. There are few other elements that might be considered similar:
In the vedic ritual the following account is given: The adhvaryu starts making 3 offerings of puroDAsha-s to savitar on 12 kapAlas each. While these offerings are being made a brAhmaNa sits on the southern side of the vedi and starts sing gAtha-s describing the dAna-s and yAga-s performed by the rAjan. Then the dhR^iti oblations of 4 ladles of ghee are made by the adhvaryu with the mantras beginning with”iha dhR^itir svAhA…”. At his point a kShatriya sings gAtha-s describing the martial victories of the rajan against his foes that have led him to the path of the ashvamedha. The adhvaryu then mutters into the right ear of the horse along with the yajamAna the mantra “vibhUr mAtrA…” :Strong by your mother, powerful by your father, you are a horse, you are a steed, you are a runner, you are a male, you are a strong horse, you are a racer, you are powerful, you are a stallion, you are heroic; ‘goer’ is your name; follow the course of the Aditya-s.
Then in the vedic setting the horse is purified by sprinkling water with with the mantra “adbhyastva…” given oblations from the night sacrifice to eat and given water to drink with the mantra “apAM peruH…”. Horse is made to stand on a large piece of cloth and the agnIdhra goes around it with a fire brand and finally it is smothered.
In the Mesopotamian ritual the following account is given (From the Nineveh and Assur tablets):
Twelve linen cloths are laid on 12 bricks for the 12 gods. On them are offered meat of sacrificed sheep, libations of beer, wine and milk, and grains are strewn. Then a brick is laid for the deity Lumha and on that meat of sheep, beer, wine and milk libations are made. Then through a reed pipe the priest whispers an incantation into the right ear of the bull [in the Nineveh and Erech tablets] or the horse [Assur]: “O great bull, who roams on the holy pasture, increasing fertility, who tills the grain, who makes the field happy, with my pure hands I offer and oblation before you”. A similar incantation is then recited into the left ear in the Babylonian case: O bull are the offspring of Zuu, you are you are for ritual and litany, you are for Ningizzida for ever, the ordinance of heaven and earth are fixed, you go to Lumha, you go to Bal. In the Assur tablet the statement is made to the horse to go to draw the chariot of Marduk [even in the vedic rite at one point the hotar recites a mantra "yu~njanti bradhnam aruSham..." which implies the horse is assigned to the chariot of indra].
In the Mesopotamian rite to the animal has a mouth washing rite with water being given to it, it is sprinkled with scented water, with incense and a fire they circle it, make it stand on a mat and then kill it with an axe while the incantation “dilmun nigin-na…” is recited.
While the fine points are different, there are similarities in the broad details of the sacrificial ritual: The marking of Pleiades on the animal, the style of laying of offering to the gods, the fertility element with respect to the sacrificed animal, the recitation in the ear addressing the animal, the acts surrounding the ritual slaughter. These elements suggest that they might indeed have developed due to contact or at least inspired by observation of ritual. Now the horse sacrifice was very early ancient amongst the Indo-Europeans and it is likely that it came with the Indo-Iranians to the Middle East. The Pleiades mark has great significance amongst Indo-Aryans of the yajur vedic period. When the horse is said to have a Pleiades mark on the forehead and is said to “AdityAnAm patvAnv ihi” (follow the path of the Aditya-s), it ties in with the fact that in the yajur vedic period the nakShatra-cycle began with kR^ittika-s. The horse roamed for an year, thus simulating the path of the sun (the solar divinities Aditya-s) that is an year. Its head bearing kR^ittika-s on it possible made it stand for the year, who is also prajapati with which the sacrifice is identified, with the kR^ittika-s at the head. Given that the old Babylonian calender also had the kR^ittika-s, i.e their equivalent “harrAn Sin” as the first constellation of their proto-Zodiac, it is not unlikely that in their early days were able to appreciate the kR^ittikA mark on the sacrificial animal.
This ritual similarity adds to the well-know similarity in terms of archaeological motifs between coeval Indian and Mesopotamian sites, as well as evidence for trade between India and Mesopotamia (The karpAsa word).
A great nAtha yogi who worshiped dattAtreya was eating curds and saw a boy roaming on the field. He offered the boy the curds but he refused, and it fell on his feet. He told him: “if you had eaten the curds you would have lived long and become the king of the world but now in your relatively short life where ever you set foot you will conquer. This curds is imbued with the might of dattAtreya.” The boy’s parents nara-bhUpAla and kaushalyavatI initiated him into the 3-syllabled bAlA mantra and asked him perform its japa. His father had already attained mantra siddhi of the hallowed ShoDaShI. For 24 years he performed its japa and he finally attained siddhi of it. He was given the signal by the ever youthful nityAShoDaShikA, the mistress of the 3-syllabled mantra, that he was destined for greatness. Prior to that, as a young man, he went to Bhaktapur, where he began his intense sAdhana after his nine fold krama dIkSha. This led him to attain the grace of the queen of kubjIshAna, the mistress of the the paschimAmnAya. Then he also attained the grace of our goddess, the dreadful mother of the uttarAmnAya. The devI worshiped in the kumArI gave him the prasAda instead of the rAjan. It immediately became clear that pR^ithivI nArAyaNa shAha deva was to be the rAjan. He traveled to vArANasI and there performed a rite to uttarAmnAyeshvarI as siddha-lakShmI and pratya~NgirA. As a result he was able to mysteriously raise money and use to purchase first-class modern weapons from India and also obtain first hand intelligence on the designs of the East India Company and the subversive role of Catholic missionaries. He then arranged a variety of alliances with the neighboring Indian rulers and prepared on a large-scale for the unification of Nepal.
-In his first strike pR^ithivI nArAyaNa conquered Nuwankot and attacked Kirtipur. In the battle with teja narasimha the king of Patan who controlled the town he was almost killed. But his mantra prayoga came to his aid and saw him through.
-After two failures to take Kirtipur he sacked Lamji in a fierce battle, where the power of the war machine of pR^ithivI nArAyaNa became first apparent.
-He then sacked Kirtipur after a six month siege and surged towards Patan. But a British army attacked him from the rear.
-He cornered the Britons in the Tarai, where they were put to flight by a sudden strike.
-King jayaprakasha malla of Kathmandu sought the help of captain Kinloch who marched with the British army into Nepal. In the battle of Sindhuli, pR^ithivI nArAyaNa smashed the Britons and beheaded the captain.
-He then entered Kathmandu during the indra-dhvaja festival took the throne of the rAjan. He received the prasAda from the devI invoked into the kumArI, and was declared rAjan. The king of kAThmaNDu jayaprakAsha malla fled in terror.
-Then he moved on Makawanpur, whose ruler digbandhan sena sought the aid of the Jihadi adventurer Gurgin Khan to repulse pR^ithivI nArAyaNa. However, Moslems were put to sword and Makawanpur was taken. In the battle pR^ithivI nArAyaNa captured a rich haul of ammunition.
-He then conquered Bhadgaon from rAjA raNajit and Patan from teja narasimha and put them to flight .
-By 1773 he overran the whole of Eastern Nepal driving and defeating the Kiratas.
-Thus, did pR^ithivI nArAyaNa unify the kingdom of Nepal. Realizing the danger of Christian subversionists he drove out all Jesuit missionaries and British agents from his kingdom and upheld the Hindu dharma. In his court was a noted tantric bhagavantanAtha, who was a master of haTha yoga, and performed many notable tantric prayoga-s.
He initiated his eldest son pratApa siMha into the tantric lore. pratApa siMha compiled all this knowledge into the great tantric digest the purashcharyArNava.
R1’s ancestor had associated with pR^ithivI nArAyaNa during his visit to vArANasi and went to Nepal along with him. They thus obtained access to an inner circle with the rAjan with a krama dIkSha of the derived form uttarAmnAya worship . This krama involves the worship of : 1) siddha-lakShmI 2) guhyakAlI 3) mahAbhIma-sarasvatI, 4) dhUmrA, 5) kAmakalAkAlI, 6) mahAkAlI, 7) kapAlinI, 8) mahAsmashAnakAlI, 9) kAlasaMkarShiNI, 10) pratya~NgirA, 11) kAlarAtrI, 12) yogeshI, 13) siddhabhairavI, 14) dakShiNA, 15) ChinnamastA, 16) rAjarAjeshvarI 17) saptakoTeshvarI.
In the hot plain to the north of the Wardha river, in the village of Dhamangaon, a band of Moslems led by their Kazi were chasing a young Hindu maid. Nothing unusual for the times, it was one more of the Moslem women-skimming raids. She ran into a shop of the local tailor, but he terrified by the charging Moslems with their upraised scimitars started running as fast as he could towards the house of the local headman Mankoji. All of a sudden the woman vanished and the Moslems, were unable to find her. Mankoji, who had just emerged from his daily worship of dattAtreya saw the tailor panting and telling him of the incident that had just occurred. He asked the tailor to calmly return and call the women’s clansmen to take her back. He did so and to his surprise he saw the Moslem ruffians lying beaten up with limbs broken staggering back on their horses and beating a hasty retreat. The Kazi was furious and sought the help of the commandant of the Yeotmal garrison. A band of 120 Mohammedan horsemen came charging down on the hamlet of Dhamangaon raising clouds of dust beneath the thundering hoofs of their horses. The Hindus started fleeing in terror. The head man Mankoji asked them to take cover behind the fortifications and he stood at the gate that lead into the fortifications mounting his horse and taking up his spear, sword and shield. He saw Moslem band charging fierce down the alley leading the gate. He stood on their path and he felt dattAtreya appear before him as he did to lead the hordes of kArtavIryArjuna to war. He felt the trident of dattAtreya enter his spear, the sword of viShNu enter his own and on his forehead he felt the presence of the one who had single handed slaughtered the 30 sons of bhaNDa even as shachiveshI and daNDanAthA had looked on. He fell upon the turuShkas, who had not even noticed him. So great was his fury that day that the 120 turuShka-s attained yamAlaya at the edge of his sword before a muhurta was over.