saH janAsaH indraH

yáH sháshvato máhy éno dádhAnAn ámanyamAnAñ ChárvA jaghAna |
yáH shárdhate nAnudádAti shR^idhyAM yó dásyor hantA sá janAsa índraH ||

He who struck the evildoers, before even they realized, by shooting his arrow;
He who forgives not the boldness of those who provoke him, who kills the dasyu, he oh men is indra!

R brought to my attention the translation by Oldenburg, a grand old hero of the Indologists, of the hymn 4.19.7 by vAmadeva gautama.

prAgrúvo nabhanvò ná vákvA dhvasrA apinvad yuvatIr R^itaj~nAH
dhánvAny ájrAM+ apR^iNak tR^iShANAM+ ádhog índra staryò dáMsupatnIH

The Indologist, in his wretched flight of fantasy, and some other German scholars like him, such as Geldner thought that the greatest of the gods was supposed to be ravishing virgins according to this hymn. In fact, the British translator Griffith, who was much maligned recently by a philologist successor of Oldenburg, came closer to the truth.

The meaning of the mantra can be more correctly stated thus:
He made virgins’ breasts swell like bubbling springs flowing forth, [of] the girls who know the R^ita; his rain bow slaked the thirst of the fields, [so] indra has made the sterile ladies of the household to give milk.

This mantra as is clear from above is a spell for fertility of girls and women.

Some may have in mind the ahalyA-indra incident. However, that tale itself arose out of the thorough misunderstanding the ancient rites of the great god, where indra is called to drink soma using the subrahmaNya chant. This chant is highly enigmatic and has bhaktis that have never been understood outside the vedic tradition. The chief bhaktis of the subrahmaNya chant are:
subrahmaNyo3M | subrahmaNyo3M | subrahmaNyo3M ||
oM subrahmaNya
indrAgachCha | hariva AgachCha | haribhyAM AyAhI | medhAtither meSha | vR^iShaNashvasya mena | gaurAvaskandin | *ahalyAyai jAra* | kaushika brAhmaNa | kaushika bruvANa [gautama bruvANa] | devA brahmANa AgachChAtAgachCha |

ahala means the unplowed, from which derives ahalyA, either an unplowed field or a virgin woman [It may be recalled that in the sexual formulae of the ashvamedha the term “ahala” is used at the lady participating in the banter]. The gautama bruvANa means the one who spoke to gautama and is an unconnected bhakti to the ahalyAyai jAra. Further, given that ahalyA if not the unplowed land, is a virgin woman, she cannot be gautama’s wife. The jaiminIya brAhmaNa laconically states that this ahalyA is the female sage maitreyI. So like the other bhaktis of the subrahmaNya litany, it might refer to an obscure tale where indra aided ahalyA maitreyi.

~ by mAnasa-taraMgiNI on February 24, 2006.

 
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