ARYA AND ASURA STATISTICS FROM RIG VEDA Post No.10,833)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 10,833

Date uploaded in London – –    11 APRIL  2022         

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In the old part of the Rig Veda,  ASURA was used in good sense. The chief gods such as

Indra (RV.1-54-3)

Varuna 1-24-14

Agni ( 4-2-5; 7-2-3)

Savitri (1-35-7)

Soma (1-108-6)

Asura of heaven (5-41-3)

Heaven as Asura (1-131-1; 5-83-6)

Agni (3-29-14)

have Asura as epithets in good sense.

Xxxx

In bad sense

RV.2-32-4

RV.7-99-5

In the Atharvana veda

AV.4-23-5; AV.6-7-2

Xxx

In the Brahmanas , we find devas fighting with Asuras.

In the puranas devas fight with ‘suras’ but not with Asuras.

The suras is mere a fiction of later timesand not found in the vedas. A false etymology has called this new class of gods into existence

Xxx

In the Aitareya brahmana , the  Devas and Asuras waged war and the Asuras made their worlds fortified places  (pur/polis) and made them impregnable  as possible. They made the earth of iron, the air of silver and the sky of gold. Thus they transformed these worlds into fortified places/ castles.

The Devas said: These Asuras have made these into fortified places Let us build other worlds in opposition to these (now occupied solely by them ). Then they made out of her (earth)a seat, out of the air a fire hearth, and out of the sky, two repositories for sacrificial food (these are called Havirdhana).

The Devas said: Let us bring the Upasads;  by means of a siege (Upasada)one can conquer a large town. When they performed the first Upasad, then they drove them (Asuras) out of this world (earth); when they performed the second Upasad, then they drove them (Asuras) out from the air; and when they performed the third, then they drove them (Asuras) out from the sky. Thus they drove them (Asuras) out from these worlds.

The Asuras thus driven out these worlds then repaired to the Rtus (seasons). The Devas said: Let us perform Upasad. The Upsads being three , they performed each twice. Then they drove them (Asuras) out from the Rtus. The Asuras now repaired to the months. The devas made twelve upasads and drove them (Asuras) out from the months.

After being defeated here also, they repaired to the half months. The devas performed 24  upasads and drove them (Asuras) out from the half months.

After being defeated again, they repaired to the day and night. The devas performed upasads and drove them (Asuras) out . therefore the first upasad ceremony  is to be performed in the first part of the day and the other in the second part of the day.

The sacrifice thus only leaves so much space to the enemy  as exists between the conjunction of day and night. That is the time of twilight in the morning and the evening.

What is an Upasad ceremony?

This is a particular ceremony which is to take place immediately after the great Prvaryya ceremony, during which the priests produce for the sacrifice/ Yajamana, a golden celestial body, with which alone he is permitted by the gods to enter heaven. When in this way the sacrifice is born anew, he is to receive the nourishment appropriate for an infant’s body, and this is milk.

The chief part of the upasad ceremony is that one of the priests/ Adhvaryu presents milk to him in a large wooden spoon, which he must drink. Formerly it has to be drunk from the cow which has to be milked by the Adhvaryu, but this custom has now fallen into disuse.

Martin Haugh who translated Aitareya Brahmana  in 1863 collected lot of information from the priests and added those things as footnotes.

xxx

My views

The above Upasad ceremony slowly increases from 3 to 24. (One year has 24 Pakshas/fortnights). Aitareya Brahmana is attached to the oldest book Rigveda. So it must be one of the oldest Brahmanas. And in those days you did not have anything in writing, you need some stories to remember them. That must be the reason for the story behind Devas doing the Upasads in increasing order. Even in nursery schools , just to teach the children the seven days of the week, we sing a nursery rhyme:-

Solomon Grundy,

Born on a Monday,

Christened on Tuesday,

Married on Wednesday,

Took ill on Thursday,

Grew worse on Friday,

Died on Saturday,

Buried on Sunday.

That was the end,

Of Solomon Grundy.

JUST TO REMEMBER THE NUMBER OF DAYS IN ALL THE MONTHS, WE HAVE ANOTHER RHYME:-

Thirty days has September,

April, June, and November,

All the rest have thirty-one,

But February’s twenty-eight,

The leap year, which comes once in four,

Gives February one day more.

In the same way the Upasad from 3 to 24 would have been made into a story of driving the Asuras out. The fact is that you do more rituals to drive the evil forces out.

As children we used to hear from our grandmas and mothers that you should not go out during Sandhya Kalam (twilight time) because the Asuras will be out roaming in the earth. This means you should stay home and do the Sandhya Vandana prayer. All the people from three castes are supposed to do Sandhya Vandana (sun worship) at three twilight times including noon.

Xxx

ASURA IN PARSI’S ZEND AVESTA

Asura is in the form of Ahura , the Asura first part of Ahura Mazda / Hormazd , the name of god among Parsis; and the Zoroastrian religion is distinctly called the Ahura religion. See Yasna 12-9 in strict opposition to Hindu religion.

Among the metres used in Yajur Veda, we find metres which are marked by the epithet aasuri  such as

Gayatri aasuri

Ushnih aasuri

Pankti aasuri

These aasuri metres are not found in the Rigveda , but they are found in the Gatha literature of the Zend Avesta . in these metres the syllables are reduced.

TO BE CONTINUED…………

Tags-  Asura, Aasuri metre, Zend Avesta, Ahura, Asura Gods, Rigveda

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