STRANGE STORIES FROM ATHARVANA VEDA –  KRISHNA ASURA (Post No.10,582)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,582

Date uploaded in London – –    20 JANUARY   2022         

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KRISHNA ASURA DEFEATED BY INDRA

The last book of Atharvana Veda refers to Seven Enemies in the sukta 725 . Sayana tells us a story not known to us before

Mantra 10

“Then , at your birth, you were the foeman, Indra, of those the seven who never had met a rival.

The hidden pair, heaven and earth, you found, and to the mighty worlds you gave pleasure”.

Sayana’s commentary

The seven enemies – Krishna ,Vritra ,Sambara ,Namuchi  and others .

Sayana , the most famous Vedic commentator who lived just 700 years ago, far removed from the Rig Vedic period, explains the previous  3 mantras , with a legend.

He takes ‘drapsah krishnah ’BLACK DROP’, to mean  the swift moving Krishnah , an Asura or demon , who with ten thousand of his kind, had occupied the banks of  the river Ansumati , which Sayana says river Yamuna . Black demon was defeated by Indra , Brihaspati and the Maruts.

But Sayana never compared him with Lord Krishna of Bhagavata.  Strange coincidence is river Yamuna’s association with Lord Krishna; here demon Krishna’s association with the same river.

But all the demons mentioned above were natural forces such as clouds, rain, wind etc. they were described as Asuras .

But foreign commentators explain it differently.

The ‘black drop’ mentioned in mantra 7, is the darkened moon. Ansumati is a mystical river of the air.

Ten thousand – probably , demons of darkness.

Laid aside his weapons –  after conquering the demons and restoring the darkened moon .

Stanza 8 or mantra 8 – Indra addresses the Maruts

11.Sushna – the Parcher, one of the chief demons of drought.

Even in Tamil Sukku is dried ginger or anything else)

Here is the full hymn and my comments

HYMN CXXXVII

A composite hymn in praise of Indra

1When, foul with secret spot and stain, ye hastened onward to
   the breast.
  All Indra’s enemies were slain and passed away like froth and
   foam.
2Indra is he, O men, who gives us happiness: sport, urge the
   giver of delight to win the spoil.
  Bring quickly down, O priests, hither to give us aid, to drink
   the Soma, Indra son of Nishtigri.
3So have I glorified with praise strong Dadhikrāvan, conquering
   steed.
  Sweet may he make our mouths; may he prolong the days we
   have to live.
4The Somas very rich in sweets, for which the sieve is destined,
   flow,
  Effused, the source of Indra’s joy. May your strong juices reach
   the Gods.
5Indu flows on for Indra’s sake—thus have the deities declared.
  The Lord of Speech exerts himself, ruler of all, because of
   might.
6Inciter of the voice of song, with thousand streams the ocean
   flows,
  Even Soma, Lord of Opulence, the friend of Indra, day by day.


7The black drop sank in Ansumati’s bosom, advancing with ten
   thousand round about it.
  Indra with might longed for it as it panted: the hero-hearted
   laid aside his weapons.
8I saw the drop in the far distance moving, on the slope bank of
  Ansumati’s river,
  Like a black cloud that sank into the water. Heroes. I send you
   forth. Go, fight in battle.
9And then the drop in Ansumati’s bosom, splendid with light,
   assumed its proper body;
  And Indra with Brihaspati to aid him, conquered the godless
   tribes that came against him.
10Then, at thy birth, thou wast the foeman, Indra, of those the
   seven who ne’er had met a rival. p. 374
  The hidden pair, the heaven and earth, thou foundest, and to
   the mighty worlds thou gavest pleasure.
11So, Thunder-armed! thou with thy bolt of thunder didst boldly
   smite that power which none might equal;
  With weapons broughtest low the might of Sushna, and, Indra,
   foundest by thy strength the cattle.
12We make this Indra very strong to strike the mighty Vritra
   dead:
  A vigorous Hero shall he be.
13Indra was made for giving, set, most mighty, o’er the joyous
   draught,
  Bright, meet for Soma, famed in song.
14By song, as ’twere, the powerful bolt which none may parry was
   prepared:
  Lofty, invincible he grew.

XXX

Demon KRISHNA’S  name has occurred in the Rig Veda itself

This hymn is a mixture of RV 10-155-4; 10-101-12; 4-39-6; 9-101.4/6; 8-85-13-17; 8-82-7/9

Mantra 1

Commentators say the meaning is elusive.

Mantra 2

Griffith has given his translation based on Sayana. But Ludwig, Grassmann ,Von Roth  explain it differently.

Here the word Nishtigri is interpreted by Sayana as one who devours Nistri , that is Aditi devouring her rival Diti

Mantra 3

Dadhikravan , is mythical being, a divine flying horse, probably sun , says commentators.

Indu – soma

MY COMMENTS

This may be a description of a Lunar Eclipse. Indu is Moon; here the pun on word may mean Soma drink according to commentator.

Dadhikravan, the Flying Horse is explained as Ostrich bird that occupied Indian Sub continent long ago . Few others compared it to the Unicorn shown on Indus Valley seals.

Millions of Brahmins around the world recite Dadhikravan name three times every day in their Sun Worship.

Since demons are associated with eclipses even in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature, I take it as a poems on Lunar Eclipse. That makes sense with Black Demon and an army of 10,000.

Amsumati may not be River Yamuna. It is only Sayana’s guess.

—subham–

 tags– Krishna Asura, Demon, 

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