Interesting Horse Story from the Vedas (Post No.3131)


compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 7 September 2016


Time uploaded in London: 19-27



Post No.3131


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.



“Vedic ritual is a highly systematized performance of various elements, that include manipulations, formulas, liturgy, exchanges where some of these elements are varied according to specific rite these elements have symbolic significance”.


“The horse appears in the Rig Veda in connection with the story of Dadhyanc, the son of Atharvana, who knows the mystery of the sacrifice. Dadhyanc is the teacher of Madhu-vidya, the mystical doctrine that brahman is present every where (SB the name of this Vidya comes from the essence of sweetness in all flowers, transformed by bees into honey, which is not apparent to anyone.

(S.B.= satapata Brahmana, Madhu= Honey, Vidya= knowledge, doctrine)


“Upon Dadhyanc a horse head is placed by the Asvins, who wish to learn his knowledge (R.V.1-117-22). This story is explained in SB 14-1-18/24:

Now, Dadhyanc Atharvana knew this essence, this sacrifice – how this head of the sacrifice is put on again, how this sacrifice becomes complete. Indra said to him, ‘if you teach this (mystery) to anyone else, I will cut off your head.’


Now the Asvins heard this : Dadhyanc Atharvana knows this pure essence, this sacrifice – how this head of the sacrifice is put on again, how this sacrifice becomes complete.”


They went to him and said, “Let us be your pupils”.

He asked, “What do you wish to learn?”

“This pure essence, this sacrifice – how the head of sacrifice is put on again, how the sacrifice becomes complete”, they replied.


He said, “Indra has told me, ‘if you teach it to anyone else, I will cut off your head’. Therefore, I fear that he might indeed cut off my head. I will not accept you as pupils.”

They said, “We too will protect you from him.”

“How will you protect me?”, he asked.

They said, “When you accept us as your pupils, we will cut off your head and put it aside elsewhere. Then we will bring the head of a horse and put it on you, and you will teach us with it. When you have taught us, Indra will cut off that head of yours. Then we will bring your own head, and put it on you again”. He agreed and accepted them as pupils.


When he had received them as pupils, they cut off his head and put it aside elsewhere, and having brought the head of a horse, they plaed it on him. With that he taught them. And when he had taught them, Indra cut off that head of his. Then they brought his own head and placed it on him again.


This story provides a lesson abacus the meaning of sacrifice. Dadhyanc Atharvana, SB 6-4-2-3 tells us, is speech, which is the true vehicle of sacrifice. Speech has the power to transform and it transforms the speaker himself. Having spoken, one is not the same person,so the sacrifices causes one to lose one’s original head. The horse is head (here symbolizing time) is the source of transcendent knowledge.


There is another reference to Dadhyanc in the Rig Veda (1-84). Here Indra uses his bones to slay ninety-nine Vrtras. There are various versions of this one, Indra finds the bones of a dead Dadhyanc to fashion a thunderbolt to slay the Asuras (demons). In the Mahabharata (12-343) version of the story, Dadhyanc, upon hearng the unstoppable power of the demon Visvarupa, the son of Tvastr, gives up his body so that Indra can fashion a thunderbolt out of his bones. With this irresistible weapon, Indra triumphs over Visvarupa. This shows how words, even old ones like the bones of Dadhyanc represent, have the power to vanquish ignorance.


Source book:

The Asvamedha, The Rite and its Logic by Subhash Kak, Delhi, 2002


My old post on the same subject:

Horse Headed Seer: Rig Veda Mystery – 1
Research Paper written by London Swaminathan

Post No.1255; Dated 27th August 2014.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: