In the great pravargya ritual the mAhAvIra pot containing the milk of a cow and a goat, i.e. the gharma offering, is intensely heated until it starts glowing. When the pot starts glowing the hotar looks at it starts reciting the sUkta RV 10.177 (In some traditions in south India they only recite RV 10.177.1 & 3). This sUkta is traditionally referred to as the mAyAbheda sUkta. Regarding this the sUkta the shaunakIya R^igvidhAna redacted by the early vaiShNava viShNukumAra states:
pata~Ngam iti nityam tu japed aj~nAna bhedanam |
mAyA bhedanam etaddhi sarva mAyAH prabAdhate ||
He should constantly do japa of the [mantra-s beginning with] pata~Nga that destroys ignorance. It is breaks the [spell of] mAyA and drives away all mAyA.
shAmbarIm indrajAlAm vA mAyAm etena vArayet |
adR^iShTAnAm cha sattvAnAm mAyAm etena bAdhate || RVdh 4.115-116
By this he should block mAyA be it of the shambara or the indrajAla variety; By this he repulses the mAyA of the unseen ones and of the consciousness.
This prayoga is interesting because it uses the term shAmbarI in the sense of a magical prayoga, which is closer to its use in the sense we encounter it in the temporally later tantra texts. But of course the mAyA of shambara has a very old precedence, primarily in a negative sense, in the R^igveda itself:
tvaM divo bR^ihataH sAnu kopayo .ava tmanA dhR^iShatA shambaram bhinat |
yan mAyino vrandino mandinA dhR^iShach ChitAM gabhastim ashanim pR^itanyasi || RV 1.54.4
You shook the pinnacle of the high heavens; with your own valor you rent apart shambara,
when exhilarated with the flowing soma juice you battled with the sharp, radiating thunderbolt those wielding mAyA.
This might be compared to the mAyA of other dAnava-s and dasyu-s like vR^itra:
indro mahAM sindhum AshayAnam mAyAvinaM vR^itram asphuran niH |
arejetAM rodasI bhiyAne kanikradato vR^iShNo asya vajrAt ||
indra threw down vR^itra who sprawled across the great sindhu: both the celestial hemispheres trembled in terror of the manly warrior’s vajra when he roared.
On the other hand the mAyA of indra and other deities is clearly praised in the R^igveda:
maho mahAni panayanty asyendrasya karma sukR^itA purUNi |
vR^ijanena vR^ijinAn sam pipeSha mAyAbhir dasyUMr abhibhUty ojAH ||
[The ritualists] express wonder at the great deeds of this great one, the numerous glorious acts of indra; Through his might the surpassed the mighty, of unsurpassed might, with his mAyA powers he pounded the dasyus.
This mAyA of indra is likely to have been the precursor of the term indrajAla. However, in the vidhAna the sUkta is being deployed against both the shAmbarI and indrajAla suggesting that there was some semantic shift in the term mAyA — or at least a possible negative connotation for both the daivi, i.e. indrajAla, and dAnavI mAyA.
While witnessing the pravargya from the sadas over two decade ago, a local brAhmaNa remarked that the meaning of the mAyAbheda was to dispel mAyA in the sense of advaita vedAnta. This is an even further semantic shift. Indeed, the memory of both shAMbarI and indrajAla in negative sense survives in later Hindu tradition in the yoga vAsiShTha of the Kashmirian advaitin smArta-s. Here in a very typically advaitic manner the world is portrayed as an illusory indrajAla. Further, evidence for this memory comes from the verse of the great Kashmirian kavi kShemendra:
saMsAra-citra-mAyAM shambara-mAyAM viShNu-mAyAm cha |
yo jAnAti jitAtmA so .api na jAnAti yoShitAM mAyAM ||
Even the one who has realized the atman who understands the mAyA-s of saMsAra, shambara and viShNu does not understand the mAyA of women.
Coming to the yoga vAsiShTha, vasiShTha tell rAma:
atra te shR^iNu vakShyAmi vR^ittAntaM imam uttamaM |
jAgatI hendrajAla shrIsh chittAyattA yathA sthitA || mumukShu-vyavahAra prakaraNaM 104.1
Now you hear me narrate this excellent story which shows the world to be like an indrajAla, i.e, illusory wonder resting on the consciousness.
The story might be retold thus:
In the lands of the uttarapANDava-s ruled lavaNa the descendent of harishchandra. He was a brave warrior and a good administrator well assisted by meritorious officers. Once to his court arrived an indrajAla magician. With his sweet talk he convinced the rAjan that he would display a form of indrajAla known as the kharolikA. He twirled his magic wand with peacock feathers and began to manifest many wonders even as the paramAtman creates numerous forms by mAyA. It emitted variegated particles even as the rainbow of indra. Immediately a chieftain from the saindhava country became manifest by magic followed by an extremely fast horse, which he said was like the uchchaiHshravas of indra. He told lavaNa that he was bringing the horse as a gift from the rAjan of sindhudesha. The magician told the king that it befitted a great rAjan like him to ride that horse. According the king mounted the illusory horse and went into a hypnotic spell for two muhUrta-s during which he witnessed numerous hallucinations. He saw himself entering the realm of chaNDALas in forests of the vindhya-s and married a chaNDAlI. Then he lives with her family and begets children via her. As he is living as a chaNDAla, their land is afflicted by drought and famine. Afflicted by hunger they start wandering. Finally he sees his younger son sorely afflicted by hunger and he offers his own flesh as his food. At this point he was about to kill himself when he break out from the hypnosis.
When his courtiers finally resurrected him from his hypnotic stupor, he, interestingly describes these hallucinations simultaneously as both shAmbari and indrajAla:
idam Ashcharyam AkhyAnaM shrUytAM re sabhAsadaH |
mama shAmbarikeNeha yan muhUrtaM pradarshitam || mumukShu-vyavahAra prakaraNaM 105.25
The gloss of bodhendra states: shambarasya mAyA shAMbarI sA .asyA .asti iti shAMbarIkas tena |
Thus the hypnosis which the king was placed under is understood as the mAyA (magic) of shambara. Thus we have: Arrey courtiers! Hear this astonishing account of the hallucinations I witnessed under the shambara spell in course of the muhUrta.
dR^ishTavAn aham etasmin bahvIH kArya-dashAsh-chalAH |
muhUrtaM prArthito .adhvasta shakra-sR^iShTir iva abjajaH || mumukShu-vyavahAra prakaraNaM 105.26
I have seen under this spell numerous passing scenes of existences even as the lotus-born brahmA was assailed for a muhUrta by the illusions of indra’s creation that he had destroyed.
bodhendra, explains the illusion of indra’s creation in his gloss thus by providing an old narrative concerning the battle between the daitya bali and indra:
adhvasta shakra-sR^iShTir iti chChedhaH | purA kila baliH kvachid asahAyaM shakram AsAdya baler nigR^ihyAhartu-kAmaH shakreNa mAyayA sva-sainyaM sR^iShTvA baliM mAyAbandhena mohayAmAsa | tadA balinA sva-bandhana-mokShaNAya stutyA prasAdito brahmA tatra Agatya shAkrIM sR^iShTiM dhvaMsayituM pravR^ittaH shakra-prArthanayA adhvasta-shakra-sR^iShTir muhUrta-mAtraM tan mAyA-kautukaM yathA dR^iShTavAMs tadvad ity arthaH ||
The demon bali had succeeded in making indra somewhat ineffective against him. With the intention of defeating bali’s coercion indra used his mAyA to generate a magical army and entrapped balir in the bonds of his mAyA. Then bali to free himself from this bondage of indra’s magic praised brahmA, who pleased by his praise arrived there at battle field and proceeded to destroy indra’s magical creation. However, at indra’s request, brahmA had seen the wonders indra’s creation via his mAyA power for a muhUrta.
This tale gives a hint regarding the development of a negative connotation for indrajAla. This tale clearly belongs to the tradition of the primacy of prajApati that began in the late Vedic period. The rise of prajApati to primacy within the shrauta system happened at the expense of indra and this clearly indicated in this tale. Moreover, the designation of prajApati as an originator deity was also clearly in competition with indra’s role in generating or structuring the universe. Thus, the tale has indra’s own creation as being transient and destroyed by prajApati (brahmA). We know that this prAjApatya tradition with brahmA at the forefront was a major force in the period the composition of the rAmAyaNa and the mahAbhArata (in both texts the sub-current tension with the aindra-para tradition is seen). It was the same tradition that was a big force among the vaidika brAhmaNa-s in the days of the tathAgata and was vehemently attacked by him. The tradition eventually succumbed to the competition from within in the form of the shaiva, vaiShNava, kaumAra traditions and attacks from without from the bauddha-s. But we hear from the AchArya abhinavagupta in the tantrAloka that there were prAjApatya-s still around in his days (~1000 years ago) in kashmIra country. Hence, it is not surprising that an account aligned with their worldview is found in the yoga-vAsiShTha. In terms of relative chronology based on the language and content we can place the composition of the R^igvidhAna right in the core of the prAjApatya period. Hence, it is quite possible that ideas such as those expressed in the above tale of indra-sR^iShTi contributed to the emergence of a negative connotation for indrajAla alongside shAmbari in this text. However, in the shaiva tAntrika tradition these still retained a positive sense as in the celebrated yoginI-jAla-shambara [Footnote 1].
The yoga-vAsiShTha also has a tale regarding shambara’s magic that appears to be a a version of the legend alluded to in the R^igveda where indra is said to have destroyed the mAyAvin’s of the shambara. However, as described above the tale has clearly been reworked by the prAjApatya-s to assert the primacy of brahmA. Indeed, the yogavAsiShTha takes a rather pro-daitya stance in certain places and even praises the daitya shambara renowned for his magic as an exemplar of advaitic renunciation with a difficult understand word play:
shambaraika paro .apy antaH shambaraika tayoditaH |
saMsAra shambaraM rAma shambaras tyaktavAn idam ||
bodhendra states: shambaraM mAyA tad eka paro .apyantaH shambaraM hArda-chid-AkAshas tad ekatayA udita AvirbhUtaH || upashama-prakaraNaM 75.9
Thus: shambara is the foremost mAyAvin, but his internal “heart space” is clear as water, (shambara) within which emerges the unity. Hence, O rAma, shambara had renounced the “shambara” (i.e. the mAyA) of saMsAra (a very advaitic teaching!).
The tale of shambara narrated in the sthiti-prakaraNaM 25 onwards goes thus:
In the depths of pAtAla lived the foremost lord of the daitya-s name shambara. This demon was a great mAyAvin and created a magic world. He terrorized the deva-s in svarga with his machine known as the tarku-yantra and a magical elephant. In retaliation when he was away from his city or sleeping, the deva-s attacked his realm and massacred his daitya army. The furious shambara invaded svarga and set off a long war. The deva-s fearing his powers left their abodes and continued fighting and killing all the forces he dispatched against them. Thus discomfited, he created three daitya-s known as dAma, vyAla and kaTa to lead his forces. They were in reality zombies or robots who lacked any kind of mental preconditioning – thus they were free from fear or doubt.Being robotic zombies they lacked the sense of ‘I’; hence, they were not afflicted by the possibility of “I will be harmed”.
Commanded by shambara they rose out of the ocean and with their gigantic forms obscured the sun and absorbed all its light. The deva army of indra issued forth from caverns and the forests of the towering mountain meru like a great deluge and an awe-inspiring deva-dAnava encounter with the use of numerous celestial missiles. These are described at length in the account of the great encounter between indra’s forces and those of shambara. For example:
bhuShuNDI-maNDalA-sphoTa sphuTan meru shiraH shatam |
shara-mAruta nirlUna daitya-deva-mukhAmbujam || sthiti-prakaraNa 26.28
The explosions of arrays of bhuShuNDI-s [fired by the daitya-s] burst the hundred peaks of meru; the wind of missiles pierced the lotus faces of the daitya and deva-s.
hety ugra vAta niShpiShTa patad vAimAnika-vrajam |
astroditAbdhi vAryogha plAvita vyoma-pattanaM || sthiti-prakaraNa 26.28
Blasted by the violent shock-waves of the missiles whole formations of airplanes fell; The flying stations were deluged by floods generated by water hurled by the astras.
astra-nirmita-durvAra-tamaH kalpAnta-rAtrikam |
mAyA sUrya-gaNodyotaiH pItAtanutamaH paTaM || sthiti-prakaraNa 26.42
With foul clouds generated by their astra-s [the daitya-s] created darkness like the end of the kalpa; [The deva-s] using a cluster of mAyA suns lit up the darkness.
There is also an interesting shloka that has been interpreted in two ways:
evaM shabda-shaton-nAda-pAtAla-tala-vAraNaM |
vinAyaka-karAkR^iShTa-dIrgha-dAnava-parvataM ||sthiti-prakaraNa 26.56
Thus, [in counter to the cries of the] mountain-like dAnava-s seized by the kara (talons) of vi-nAyaka (= lord of the birds, garuDa) | seized by the kara (trunk) of vinAyaka, the elephants of the netherworld trumpeted a hundred times.
Thus, even after a prolonged fight the deva-s were unable to overcome dAma, vyAla and kaTa and retreated to brahmA. Then brahmA explained that their lack of I-ness allows them to be unlimited. He asked indra to foster a sense of egoistic avarice in them. Then they would lose their zombie-like nature conscious of their desires. Then the deva-s rested and refreshed themselves and challenged the daitya-s to war. The daitya-s immediately retaliated again with a remarkable array of celestial weapons, e.g.:
prAsa asi-kunta-shara-tomara-mudgareNa |
ga~Ngopama ambu-valita amara-mandireNa
sarvAsu dikShv ashani varSha nikarShaNena || sthiti-prakaraNa 28.8
The deva strongholds were assailed by a deluge of meteor-like missiles, tridents, rocks, lances, swords, sharp spikes, arrows, poled-cleavers, and hammers, they were flooded by gushing water like that of the ga~NgA, and blazing lightning weapons from all directions.
jagad abhavad asahya kalpa-kAla-
jvalita-surAlaya-bhUtala antarAlam || sthiti-prakaraNa 28.15
[The deva-s] with clusters of garuDa bombs and daityas with shells; the streams of fire and rocks from launched missiles made it unbearable as the world at the end of the kalpa, even as deva strongholds burnt and fell to the earth.
Thus, undaunted the deva-s led by indra and the daitya-s by dAma, vyAla and kaTa fought on and the war raged for 35 years. Then after a break they fought on 5 years 8 month and 10 days. Fighting ceaseless over this prolonged period the robotic daitya-s felt a sense of “I” developing. This lead to the desire for complete victory over the deva-s but it also caused a sense doubt that they could be killed by the deva-s. Once this happened the deva-s got better of them and smashed the daitya-s slaughtering their army in a great battle on the slopes of mount meru. Their corpses are said to have showered all over jambudvIpa.
With his mAyA thus broken, shambara called out to his three mAyAvin-s in despair but the three robotic daitya-s now endowed with Atman-s fled to naraka where they were married to ladies of the naraka realm. Once they showed disrespect to yama when he was touring the realms of naraka and furious he dispatched them to a great blazing cauldron where they were torture and died. Then they were reborn as kirAta tribesmen. After that they were born as crows, then as vultures, then as boars in the trigarta country, then as red gorals in the hills of magadha, then as snakes. Then they reincarnated as a zebrafish and other types of fishes in kAshmIra. After many births as fishes they were crushed to death under the hoof of a buffalo which was wallowing in a Kashmirian lake. Then they were born as cranes. Finally, vyAla was born as sparrow, dAma as a mosquito and kaTa as a parrot. This happened when the great king yashaskara was ruling kAshmIra. They happened to hear his minister narasiMha recite the narrative of the great war of the deva-s and the daitya-s. When they heard this narrative they “awoke” in the eternality of Atman and attained mokSha.
Even so at the somayAga as the great flames leapt from the mahAvIra pot when the goat and cow’s milk were added to the superheated ghee, we awoke from the advaitin’s discourse and started wondering about the real meaning of the original mAyAbheda sUkta deployed in the pravargya and it dawned on us that it was close to the ritual in which it was used.
mAyAbheda sUktam (RV 10.177):
pata~Ngam aktam asurasya mAyayA hR^idA pashyanti manasA vipashchitaH |
samudre antaH kavayo vi chakShate marIchInAm padam ichChanti vedhasaH ||
vipaShchitaH = seers, plural subject; manasA= by their mind, instrumental; hR^idA= by heart, instrumental of hR^id; pata~Ngam= bird, singular object; aktam= anointed; asurasya=asura’s, genitive singular; mAyayA= by mAyA; singular instrumental; pashyanti= see, 3rd person plural present, parasmai.
samudre= in ocean, locative; antaH= inside; kavayaH= kavi-s, vocative plural; vi chakShate= 3rd person singular present, atmane; marIchInAm= rays, genitive plural; padam= station, accusative singular; vedhasaH= ritualists; plural subject; ichChanti= 3rd person plural present, parasmai.
Here the terms vipashchit, vedhas and kavi all refer to the ritualist-mantra composer-sages who are participating in the rite.
The seers see with their minds and with their heart the bird anointed with the mAyA of the asura; O kavi-s, from within the ocean he shines forth, the ritualists seek the station of [his] rays.
Here the pata~Nga, by vaidika metaphor, is the sun and he is “anointed” with rays by the mAyA of the asura who is none other than the deva savitA (Indeed hiraNyastUpa A~Ngirasa praises savitA thus: vi suparNo antarikShANy akhyad gabhIravepA asuraH sunIthaH | RV 1.35.7a. The golden eagle, lit up the mid-regions, the one from the wavy depths, the good asura). Even when not visible he shines from within the ocean. The meditating on him the ritualists seek the “station” of his rays, which could figuratively mean the illumination of his rays. This effectively is parallel to the image presented by the famed sAvitrI R^ik of vishvAmitra that used in the saMdhyA ritual, where in the rays of the deva savitA are sought to illuminate the mind of the meditator. This connects to the fact that one of the prime deities of the gharma offering is savitA (the deva-s offered the gharma are: ashvin-s, vAyu, indra, savitA, bR^ihaspati and yama).
pata~Ngo vAcham manasA bibharti tAM gandharvo .avadad garbhe antaH |
tAM dyotamAnAM svaryam manIShAm R^itasya pade kavayo ni pAnti ||
pata~NgaH= singular, subject; vAcham= holy utterance/incantation, object; manasA= singular instrumental; bibharti= bears, 3rd person singular present, parasmai; tAM= that, accusative feminine; gandharvaH=subject; avadat= uttered, 3rd person singular past, parasmai, garbhe= in the womb, locative singular, antaH= inside;
tAM= that, accusative feminine, dyotamAnAM= radiant; svaryam= celestial; manIShAM= mental creation, i.e., incantation, object; R^itasya= of the R^ita, genitive; pade= in the station, locative; kavayaH=kavi-s, nominative plural; ni pAnti= take in [literally drink in], 3rd person plural present, parasmai.
The bird holds the incantation (vAk, the holy utterance) in the mind; the gandharva had uttered within the womb. That radiant, celestial incantation the kavi-s take in at the station of the R^ita (i.e. the universal laws).
Here the bird, i.e., the sun is said to hold the incantation, which is uttered by the gandharva within the womb, which represented by the world hemispheres. But for the ritualist the external sun is also homologized with the “light” of mental enlightenment; hence the synesthetic metaphor of the sun holding it in the mind. This enlightenment leads to the utterance of the mantra-s within, which is expressed by the metaphor of the gandharva [For an explicit statement of this internal homology see below]. The gandharva here is the sun as indicated in other R^igveda mantra-s such as:
Urdhvo gandharvo adhi nAke asthAd vishvA rUpA pratichakShANo asya |
bhAnuH shukreNa shochiShA vy adyaut prArUruchad rodasI mAtarA shuchiH || RV 9.85.12
High to the zenith as the gandharva risen, beholding all these varied forms.
His rays have shone widely with brightness: the pure one has lit both the worlds, the parents.
This gandharva also specifically relates to the gandharva-s invoked at the pravargya after the mahAvIra pot is finally disposed. Here the ritualists as a chorus utter a series of yajuSh incantations which include the formulae:
rantir nAmAsi divyo gandharva | tasya te padvad dhavirdhAnaM | agnir adhyakShA | rudro.adhipatiH ||
you are ranti by name, the celestial gandharva, the havirdhAna is your foot messenger, agni your president, rudra is your overlord !
vishvAvasur abhi tan no gR^iNAtu | divyo gandharvo rajaso vimAnaH | yad vA ghA satyam uta yan na vidma | dhiyo hinvAno dhiya inno avyAd | prAsaM gandharvo amR^itAni vochad | (prAnA vA amR^itAH ||)
vishvAvasu, proclaim it to us, the celestial gandharva who measures out the heavens. Whether we know the truth already or not, he who has impelled our inspired intellect also have these thoughts inspired. The gandharva has proclaimed he immortal one. The prAna-s are immortal.
Thus, the mantra-s of the mAyAbheda sUkta are closely related to the inspiration that is received as result of the rite which is supposed to be proclaimed by the celestial gandharva. The gandharva in Vedic tradition has a mysterious nature and can take possession of individuals during which he can make revelations via the possessed medium. This relates to the earlier R^ik where the sun(bird) is said to be covered by mAyA, thus making it fit to be described as a gandharva. Like the possessing gandharva-s, the solar gandharva-s ranti and vishvAvasu confer knowledge to the ritualists. This is what is alluded to when they are described as drinking the gandharva’s proclamation at the seat of the universal laws. This seat of the R^ita is in essence the ritual arena – the uttaravedi which is homologized with the universe. Indeed the incantation used in the pravargya when he sets down the mahAvIra pot at the conclusion of the ritualist utter the formula:
chatuHsraktir nAbhir R^itasya | (iyam vA R^itam | tasyA eSha eva nAbhiH |)
Quadrangular is the center of R^ita. This [the uttaravedi] is the R^ita; the pravargya is its root.
apashyaM gopAm anipadyamAnam A cha parA cha pathibhish charantam |
sa sadhrIchIH sa viShUchIr vasAna A varIvarti bhuvaneShv antaH ||
apashyaM= saw; 1st person singular past, parasmai; gopAm= guardian, object; anipadyamAnam=never resting; A cha parA cha= northern and southern (eastern and western); pathibhiH= paths, instrumental; charatam= moving;
sa= he; sadhrIchIH= approaching; viShUchIH= departing; vasAnaH= clothes [ or in this context taking on appearances], singular nominative; A varIvarti= revolves, 3rd person singular, parasmai; bhuvaneShu= in worlds, locative plural; antaH= inside.
I saw the never-resting guardian, moving along the northern and southern [eastern and western] paths. He, in his approaching and departing apparitions (or: clothing the sadhrIchI= antarikSha and the viShuchI= dyaus [with his rays]), continually revolves in midst of the worlds.
The taittirIya AraNyaka explains:
apshyaM gopAM ity Aha | prANo vai gopAH | prANam eva prajAsu vi yAtyati | “apashyaM gopAM ity Aha | asau vA adityo gopAH | sa hiimAH prajA gopAyati | tam eva prajAnAM goptAraM kurute ||
“I saw the guardian” so he recites. The guardian is the prANa. [If he meditate thus] he has the prANa flowing into all reproducing life. “I saw the guardian” so he recites. The yonder Aditya is the guardian for he guards all this reproducing life. [If he mediates thus] he makes a protector for all life forms.
This explanation establishes clearly the duality that is implied in these mantra-s i.e. homologizing of the external sun with the internal prANa which is also described as a bird (e.g. the haMsaH). It also holds for the rest of the R^ik: Both the prANa and the sun are seen as never-resting. The paths taken by the sun might be interpreted as the rising and the setting (i.e. eastern and western). But we prefer the explanation of the northern and southern paths because traditionally these are the two paths or ayana-s of the sun. The eastern and western one are part of the same path after all. The prANa is similarly seen as having the inhalation and exhalation as its two paths. The sadhrIchIH and viShUchIH in the case of the sun might be interpreted as the visible apparition during the day with the bright clothing or the invisible one at night with the dark clothing. However, it is has also been connected with water – i.e. the one which draws water away from the earth and the one which supplies waters in the form of the rains. The inward prANa similarly is dry and the outward one is wet. Finally like the sun is seen as revolving within the world, the prANa is seen as constantly revolving within an organism.
This shows that the Hindu tradition of meditative practices connecting the observation of the prANa with the celestial solar movement or penetration by solar light (as seen in the daily saMdhyopAsanA) was also related to the mantra-s in the context of the pravargya ritual. Moreover it also became clear to us that the mAyAbheda sUkta is closely linked to the pravargya rite and was most probably composed precisely for that rite. However, the mAyA and asura in this context are meant in a largely positive sense as that of savitA. The mystery of this mAyA may be seen as being discerned by the ritualists who realize the homologies between the prANa and sUrya. It was only later in the vidhAna tradition that the mAyA acquired a negative connotation. Even latter the advaitin-s interpreted it in the sense they understood mAyA.
Footnote 1: While the majority of the surviving vaidika tradition tilts in favor of the prAjApatya interpretation, we favor the older aindra interpretation. We hold that the aindra interpretation is more robust and dynamic and consistent with the actual ritual process. We also believe this will be more suitable for the upholding and defense of the dharma via emulation of the impetuous vigor and dasyu-felling mAyA of indra. In this view prajApati remains in the background much like his sAMkhyan abstraction. This aindra-para view of ours is similar to that expressed by arjuna in the bhArata.