The path of fire
In one of the most remarkable books written in all times de Santillana and von Dechend state:
“Fire is the equinoctial colure, the great circle that passes through the celestial poles intersecting the ecliptic at the point where it intersects the celestial equator.” They also noted the importance of the fire sticks and fire drill in this symbolism. They indeed had seen the truth. One who know this will understand the hymns of sauchIka agni.
mahat tad-ulbaM sthaviraM tadAsId yenA viShTitaH praviveshithApaH |
vishvA apashyad bahudhA te agne jAtavedas tanvo deva ekaH || (RV 10.51.2)
[gods to agni] Great was that dome (ulbaM), and firmly set, and it weighed-down [folded] at the place where you entered the waters. One god alone, O agni jAtavedas, saw your many forms all over.
ko mA dadarsha katamaH sa devo yo me tanvo bahudhA paryapashyat |
kvAha mitrAvaruNA kShiyanty agner visvAH samidho devayAnIH || (RV 10.51.2)
[agni asks the devas:] Which God had seen me? Who of all their multitude saw my forms in many dwellings? Where then are placed the fire sticks of agni that lead one of the northern path of the ecliptic (devayAna) O varuNa and mitra?
These cryptically allude exactly to what de Santillana and von Dechend mention as the armillary sphere of the sky with agni as the equinotical colure. The point where he enters the waters is the intersection with the celestial equator. They mention that the Aztecs took Castor and Pollux to be the fire sticks from which men learned to make fire.
aiChAma tvA bahudhA jAtavedaH praviShTamagne apsvoShadhIShu |
taM tvA yamo achikech chitrabhAno dashAntaruShyAd atirochamAnam ||
[varUNa on behalf of the devas said:] In many places, we searched for you O agni jAtavedas, hidden in the plants and waters.Then yama piled you*, one with many-colored [flames], blazing forth from your tenfold secret station,
*(achikech: the same root as agnichaya the piling of fire altar)
hotrAd ahaM varuNa bibhyadAyaM nedeva mA yunajan natra devAH |
tasya me tanvo bahudhA niviShTA etam arthaM nachiketAham agniH ||
[agni said:] O varuNa, I fled in fear from the sacrifice,so that gods do not in this manner yoke me*. Thus my forms we laid down in many places; I, agni saw this as my path.
*yoke me= enjoin to the sacrificial rite
ehi manur devayur yaj~nakAmo araM kR^ityA tamasi kSheShyagne |
sugAn pathaH kR^iNuhi devayAnAn vaha havyAni sumanasyamAnaH
[varUNa on behalf of the devas said:] Come O’ agni who dwells in the darkness; manu devoted to the gods desiring to perform sacrifices,waits ready to do rituals. Make clear the paths leading to the northern course of the ecliptic, and bear oblations with good-will.
agneH pUrve bhrAtaro arthametaM rathIvAdhvAnamanvAvarIvuH |
tasmAd bhiyA varuNa dUramAyaM gauro nakShepnoravije jyAyAH ||
[agni said:] My elder brothers first selected this path, a circuit, like the circumambulation of a charioteer. So,varuNa, I fled afar in fear, as the wild bull (Gaur) flees from the archer’s bowstring.
kurmasta AyurajaraM yadagne yathA yukto jAtavedo nariShyAH |
athA vahAsi sumanasyamAno bhAgaM devebhyo haviShaH sujAta ||
[varUNa on behalf of the devas said:] O agni jAtadvedas we establish for you undecaying life, so that when you are thus employed you are not harmed. So, well-born one you shall with good-will bear to the gods their share of oblations.
prayAjAn me anuyAjAMshcha kevalAn UrjasvantaM haviShodatta bhAgam |
ghR^itaM chApAM puruShaM chauShadhInAm agneshcha dIrghamAyurastu devAH ||
[agni said:] Grant me the fore-offerings and post-offerings*, and the sole-offerings and the shares of the strengthening oblations. [grant me] ghee, the waters, men and plants, and let me agni have long life, O gods, to Agni.
tava prayAjA anuyAjAshcha kevala Urjasvanto haviShaH santubhAgAH |
tavAgne yaj~no ayamastu sarvastubhyaM namantAm pradishash chatasraH ||
[varUNa on behalf of the devas said:][agni said:] Yours are the fore-offerings and post-offerings*, and the sole-offerings and the shares of the strengthening oblations. O agni let this whole sacrificial rite belong to you, and let the four directions bow before thee.
*The fore- and after-offerings are the pra-yAjas and anu-yAja oblations made in the aprI rite. The kevala is the agni-only offering in the main course of the ritual.
The mention of the archer shooting at the bull is important. It is an ancient motif in myth that is depicted in Egypt on the Dendera Zodiac. Here the goddess Satit shoots at Sirius which is the head of the Sothis cow! But in this instance the gaur bull is likely to be Taurus fleeing from the archer who is mR^igavyAdha for the Indo-Aryans.