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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tilak - THE ARCTIC HOME IN THE VEDAS (V)


Tilak - THE ARCTIC HOME IN THE VEDAS (V)


CHAPTER IX

VEDIC MYTHS — THE CAPTIVE WATERS

Direct evidence for the Arctic theory summed up — Different nature of the mythological evidence — Schools of mythological interpretation — The naturalistic or the Nairukta school — Its theories — The Dawn theory and the myths explained by it — The Storm theory, Indra and Vṛitra — The Vernal theory, the Ashvins’ exploits — Vṛitra’s legend usually explained by the Storm theory — Simultaneous effects of Indra’s conquest over Vṛitra — The release of waters, the release, of cows, the recovery of the dawn and the production of the sun — Vedic authorities in support of their simultaneous character — Passages relating to the place and time of the conflict — The simultaneous nature left unexplained by the Dawn or the Storm theory — Battle not fought in the atmosphere above, as implied by the Stormy theory — Nor in the rainy season — Misinterpretation of words like parvata, giri, adri, &c. — The Storm theory inadequate in every respect — New explanation necessary — The real nature of waters explained — They are aerial or celestial waters, and not the waters of rain — Vedic bards knew of a region “below the three earths” — The contrary view of Wallis refuted — The real meaning of rajas, Nir-riti, ardhau and samudram explained — Cosmic circulation of aerial waters — Neither world, the home of aerial waters — Avestic passages describing the circulation of waters cited and explained — Sarasvati and Ardvi Sûra Anâhita are celestial rivers — The source of all plants and rain — The real nature of Vṛitra’s fight — Simultaneous release of waters and light is intelligible, if both have the same source — Both stopped by Vṛitra’s encompassing the waters in the lower world — The closing of the apertures in the mountains (parvatas) on the horizon — The movement of the waters and the sun co-related — Express passages from the Avesta to that effect — The sun stopping for a long time in waters — Avestic passages in support thereof — Its effect on disposal of corpses — Darkness synchronous with the cessation of the flow of waters in winter — Its long duration — Cosmic circulation of waters in other mythologies — Express texts showing that the fight with Vṛitra was annual and fought in winter — Inexplicable except on the Arctic theory — The exact date of Indra’s fight with Vṛitra preserved in the Ṛig-Veda — The real meaning ofchatvârimshyâm sharadi explained — Shambara found on the 40th day of Sharad — Denotes the commencement of the long night — Vedic passages showing Sharad to be the last season of sunshine — Paleographical evidence for reckoning time by seasons-Similar reckoning time by seasons — Similar reckoning in the Avesta— 100 autumnal forts of Vṛitra and the killing of the watery demon with ice explained — The seven rivers released by Indra — Cannot be terrestrial, nor the rivers of the Panjaub — The interpretation of western scholars examined and rejected — The connection between the seven rivers and the seven sons pointed out — The origin of the phrase Hapta-hindu in the Avesta — Probably a transference of an old mythological name to a place in the new home — Vṛitra’s legend Arctic in origin — Captive waters represent the yearly struggle between light and the darkness in the ancient Arctic home.


            We have now examined most of the Vedic passages, which directly show that the Polar or the Circum-Polar characteristics, determined in the third chapter, were known by tradition to the Vedic bards. We started with the tradition about the night of the gods, or a day and a night of six months each, and found that it could be traced back to the Indo-Iranian, if not to the Indo-Germanic, period. A close examination of the dawn-hymns in the Ṛig-Veda next disclosed the fact that Uṣhas, or the deity presiding over the dawn, is often addressed in the plural number in the Vedic hymns, and that this could be accounted for only on the supposition that the Vedic dawns were a closely connected band of many dawns-a supposition, which was found to be fully borne out by express passages in the Vedic literature, stating, in unambiguous terms, that the Vedic dawns were 30 in number and that in ancient times a period of several days elapsed between the first appearance of light on the horizon and the rising of the sun. We have also found that the dawn is expressly described in the Ṛig-Veda as moving round like a wheel, a characteristic, which is the true only in the case of the Polar dawn. These facts sufficiently prove the acquaintance of the Vedic bards with the physical phenomena, witnessible only in the Arctic regions. But to make the matter more certain, I have, in the last three chapters, quoted and discussed Vedic passages, which go to prove that the long Arctic nights and the corresponding long days of varying duration, as well as a year of ten months or five seasons, were equally known to the poets of the Ṛig-Veda. An examination of the ancient sacrificial system and especially of the annual Sattras and night-sacrifices, further showed that in old times yearly sacrificial sessions did not last for twelve months; as at present, but were completed in nine or ten months; and the hundred night-sacrifices were, at that time, really performed as their name indicates, during the darkness of the long night. The legends of Dîrghatamas and Aditi’s sons, and the tradition about the sacrificial sessions of the Navagvas and the Dashagvas also pointed to the same conclusion. Our case does not therefore, depend on an isolated fact here and an isolated fact there. We have seen that the half-year long day and night, the long dawn with its revolving splendors, the long continuous night matched by the corresponding long day and associated with a succession of ordinary days and nights of varying lengths and the total annual period of sunshine of less than twelve months are the principal peculiar characteristics of the Polar or the Circum-Polar calendar; and when express passages are found in the Vedas, the oldest record of early Aryan thoughts and sentiments, showing that each and every one of these characteristics was known to the Vedic bards, who themselves lived in. a region where the year was made up of three hundred and sixty or three hundred and sixty five days, one is irresistibly led to the conclusion that the poets of the Ṛig-Veda must have known these facts by tradition and that their ancestors must have lived in regions where such phenomena were possible. It is not to be expected that the evidence on each and every one of these points will be equally conclusive, especially as we are dealing with facts which existed thousands of years ago. But if we bear in mind that the facts are astronomically connected in such a way that if one of them is firmly established all the others follow from it as a matter of course, the cumulative effect of the evidence discussed in the previous chapters cannot fail to be convincing. It is true that many of the passages, quoted in support of the Arctic theory, are interpreted, in the way I have done, for the first time; but I have already pointed out that this is due to the fact that the real key to the interpretation of thesepassages was-discovered only during the last 30 or 40 years. Yâska and Sâyaṇa knew nothing definite about the circum-polar or the Arctic regions and when a Vedic passage was found not to yield a sense intelligible to them, they either contented themselves with barely explaining the verbal texture of the passage, or distorted it to suit their own ideas. Western scholars have corrected some of these mistakes, but as the possibility of an Arctic home in pre-glacial times was not admitted 30 or 40 years back, the most explicit references, whether in the Avesta or the Ṛig-Veda, to a primeval home in the extreme north, have been either altogether ignored, or, somehow or other explained away, even by Western scholars. Many of the passages cited by me fall under this class; but I trust that if my interpretations are examined without any bias and in the, light of the latest scientific researches, they will be found to be far more natural and simple than those in vogue at present. In some cases no new interpretations were, however, necessary. The passages have been correctly interpreted; but in the absence of the true key to their meaning, their real import was either altogether missed, or but imperfectly understood. In such cases I have had to exhibit the passages in their true light or colors, giving in each case, my reasons for doing the same. This has sometimes rendered, it necessary to introduce certain topics not directly relevant to the question in hand; but on the whole, I think, it will be found that I have, as far as possible, tried to confine myself to the discussion of the direct evidence bearing on the points in issue and have examined it according to the strict method of historic or scientific investigation. I did not start with any preconceived notion in favor of the Arctic theory, nay, I, regarded it as highly improbable at first; but the accumulating evidence in its support eventually forced me to accept it, and in all probability, the evidence cited in the previous chapters, will, I think, produce the same impression on the reader’s mind.

            But the evidence, which I am now going to cite in support of the Arctic theory, is of a different character. If theancestors of the Vedic bards ever lived near the North Pole the cosmical or the meteorological conditions of the place could not have failed to influence the mythology of these people; and if our theory is true, a careful examination of the Vedic myths ought to disclose facts which cannot be accounted for by any other theory. The probative value of such evidence will manifestly be inferior to that of the direct evidence previously cited, for myths and legends are variously explained by different scholars. Thus Yâska mentions three or four different schools of interpretation, each of which tries to explain the nature and character of the Vedic deities in a different way. One of these schools would have us believe that many of the deities were real historical personages, who were subsequently apotheosized for their supernatural virtues or exploits. Other theologians divide the deities into Karma devatâs or those that have been raised to the divine rank by their own deeds and Âjâna devatâs or those that were divine by birth while the Nairuktas (or the etymologists) maintain Vedic deities represent certain cosmical and physical phenomena such as the appearance of the dawn or the breaking up of the storm-clouds by the lightening. The Adhyâtmikâs, on the other hand, try to explain certain Vedic passages in their own philosophical way; and there are others who endeavor to explain Vedic myths in other different ways. But this is not the place where the relative merits of these different schools can be discussed or examined. I only wish to point out that those, who explain the Vedic myths on the supposition that they represent, directly or allegorically, ethical, historical, or philosophical facts are not likely to accept any inference based upon the theory which interprets the Vedic myths as referring to certain cosmical and physical phenomena. It was for this reason that I reserved the discussion of the mythological evidence for consideration in a separate chapter, after all the evidence directly bearing on the subject has been examined. The evidence, which proves the existence of a long continuous dawn, or a long continuous day or night, is not affected by the different theories regarding the interpretation ofthe Vedic myths, and may therefore, be termed what the lawyers call direct; but in the case of mythological evidence only those who accept the Nairukta method of interpretation, will admit the validity of any inference based upon the consideration of these myths. It is true that the Nairukta school of interpretation dates from ancient times, and that modern scholars have accepted the method almost without reserve, though they might differ from the ancient Nairuktas, like Yâska, in the details of the explanation suggested by them. But still when a new theory is to be established, I thought it safer to separate the mythological from the direct evidence bearing upon the points at issue, even when the two lines of investigation seemed to converge towards the same point.

            Now it has been recorded by Yâska that the Nairuktas explain most of the Vedic legends on the theory that they represent either the daily triumph of light over darkness, or the conquest of the storm-god over the dark clouds that imprison the fertilizing waters and the light of the sun. Thus when the Ashvins are said to have rescued a quail (Vartikâ) from the jaws of a wolf, Yâska interprets the legend to mean the release and bringing out of the dawn or light from the darkness of the night (Nir. V, 21). His explanation of the character of Vṛitra is another instance in point. Speaking of the nature of the demon, he thus refers (Nir. II, 16) to the opinions of the different schools, “Who was Vṛitra? ‘A cloud,’ say the Nairuktas; ‘an Asura, son of Tvaṣhṭṛi,’ say the Aitihâsikas. The fall of rain arises from the mingling of the waters and of light. This is figuratively depicted as a conflict. The hymns and the Brâhmaṇas describe Vṛitra as a serpent. By the expansion of his body, he blocked up the streams. When he was destroyed the waters flowed forth.”(Nir. II, 16. Cf. Muir’s O. S. T. Vol. II, p. 175).

The Storm and the Dawn theories thus formed the basis of the Nairukta school of interpretation, and though Western scholars have improved upon it, yet the credit of suggesting this method of interpretation will always rest with the ancient Nairuktas, who, as observed by Prof. Max Müller, had carefully thought out the true character of the Vedic gods several centuries before the Christian era. Thus the legend of Prajâpati loving his own daughter is explained in the Aitareya Brâhmaṇa as referring to the sun running after the dawn or the heaven above (Ait. Br. III, 33); while Kumârila extends this theory to the case of Indra and Ahilyâ, which according to him represent the sun and the night. But though the Nairuktas fully accepted the theory, which explained the Vedic myths as representing cosmical and physical phenomena, yet as their knowledge of the physical world was very limited in those days, they were not able to explain every Vedic myth or legend by this method. For example, out of ‘the various legends about the Ashvins Yâska could explain only one by the Dawn theory, namely, that of the quail being rescued from the jaws of the wolf. This defect has now been partially removed by Western scholars, who, living in the more northern regions are familiar with the decay in the power of the sun during the cold season, or the eventual triumph of spring over winter or the restoration of the decayed powers of the sun in summer. This phenomena has, therefore, been used by them to explain the origin of certain Vedic myths, which have been left unexplained either by the Dawn or the Storm theory. Up to now, we have, thus, three theories for explaining the Vedic myths according to the Nairukta school of interpretation; and it is necessary to describe them briefly before we proceed to show how they fail to account for all the incidents in the myths and legends to which they are applied.

            According to the Dawn theory, “the whole theogony and philosophy of the ancient world is centered in the Dawn, the mother of the bright gods, of the sun in his various aspects, of the morn, the day, the spring; herself the brilliant image and visage of immortality.” Prof. Max Müller, in his Lectures on the Science of Language, further remarks* (See Lectures on the Science of Language, Vol. II, p. 545, ƒƒ. )that “the dawn, which to us is a merely beautiful sight, was to the early gazers and thinkers the problem of all the problems. It was the unknown land from whence rose every day those bright emblems of divine powers, which, left in the mind of man the first impression and intimation of another world, of power above, of order and wisdom. What we simply call the sun-rise, brought before their eyes every day the riddle of all riddles, the riddle of existence. The days of their life sprang from that dark abyss, which every morning seemed instinct with light and life.” And again “a new life flashed up every morning before their eyes and the fresh breezes of the dawn reached them like greetings wafted across the golden threshold of the sky from the distant lands beyond the mountains, beyond the clouds, beyond the dawn, beyond the immortal sea which brought us hither.” The dawn seemed to them to open golden gates for the sun to pass in triumph and while those gates were open their eyes and their minds strove in their childish way to pierce beyond the finite world. That silent aspect awakened in the human mind the conception of the Infinite, the Immortal, the Divine, and the names of dawn became naturally the names of higher powers. “This is manifestly more poetic than real. But the learned Professor explains many Vedic myths on the theory that they are all Dawn-stories in different garbs. Thus if Saraṇyu, who had twins from Vivasvat, ran off from him in the form of a mare, and he followed her in the form of a horse, it is nothing but a story of the Dawn disappearing at the approach of the sun and producing the pair of day and night. The legend of Suryâ’s marriage with Soma, and of Vṛiṣhâkapâyî, whose oxen (the morning vapors) were swallowed by Indra, or of Aditi giving birth to the Âdityas are again said to be the stories of the Dawn under different aspects. Saramâ, crossing the waters to find out the cows stolen by Paṇis, is similarly the Dawn bringing with her the rays of the morning, and when Urvashi says that she is gone away and Purûravas calls himself Vasiṣhṭha or the brightest, it is the same Dawn flying away from the embrace of the rising sun. In short, the Dawn is supposed to have been everything to the ancient people, and a number of legends are explained in this way, until at last the monotonous character of these stories led the learned professor to ask to himself the question, “Is everything the Dawn? Is everything the Sun?” — a question, which he answers by informing us that so far as his researches were concerned they had led him again and again to the Dawn and the Sun as the chief burden of the myths of the Aryan race. The dawn here referred to is the daily dawn as we see it in the tropical or the temperate zone, or, in other words, it is the daily conquest of light over darkness that is here represented as filling the minds of the ancient bards with such awe and fear as to give rise to a variety of myths. It may be easily perceived how this theory will be affected by the discovery that Uṣhas, or the goddess of the dawn in the Ṛig-Veda, does not represent the evanescent dawn of the tropics, but is really the long continuous dawn of the Polar or the Circum-Polar regions. If the Arctic theory is once established many of these mythological explanations will have to be entirely re-written. But the task cannot be undertaken in a work which is devoted solely to the examination of the evidence in support of that theory.

            The Storm theory was originally put forward by the Indian Nairuktas as a supplement to the Dawn theory, in order to account for myths to which the latter was obviously inapplicable. The chief legend explained on this theory is that of Indra and Vṛitra, and the explanation has been accepted almost without reserve by all Western scholars. The word Indra is said to be derived from the same root which yielded indu, that is, the rain drop; and Vṛitra is one, who covers or encompasses (vṛi, to cover) the waters of the rain-cloud. The two names being thus explained, everything else was made to harmonize with the Storm theory by distorting the phrases, if the same could not be naturally interpreted in confirmity therewith. Thus when Indra strikes parvata (i.e. a mountain) and delivers the rivers therefrom, the Nairuktas understood parvata to be a storm cloud and the rivers to be the streams of rain. Indra’s wielding the thunderbolt has been similarly interpreted to mean that he was the god of the thunderstorm, and thunderstorm implied rain as a matter of course. If the Maruts helped Indra in the battle, it was easily explained by the Storm theory because a thunderstorm or rain was always accompanied by stormy weather. But a more difficult point in the legend, which required explanation, was the hemming in or the captivating of the waters by Vṛitra or Ahi. In the case of waters in the clouds it was easy to imagine that they were kept captive in the cloud by the demon of drought. But the Ṛig-Veda often speaks of sindhus or streams being released by the slaughter of Vṛitra; and if the streams or rivers really represented, as conceived by the advocates of this theory, the rivers of the Punjab, it was rather difficult to understand how they could be described as being hemmed in or kept captive by Vṛitra. But the ingenuity of Vedic scholars was quite equal to the occasion, and it was suggested that, as the rivers in India often entirely dried up in summer the god of the rainy, season, who called them back to life, could be rightly described as releasing them from the grasp of Vṛitra. The Indian Nairuktas do not appear to have extended the theory any further. But in the hands of German mythologians the Storm theory became almost a rival to the Dawn theory; and stories, like that of Saraṇyu, have been explained by them as referring to the movements of dark storm-clouds hovering in the sky. “Clouds, storms, rains, lightning and thunder,” observes Prof. Kuhn, “were the spectacles that above all others impresses the imagination of the early Aryans and busied it most in finding terrestrial objects to compare with their ever-varying aspects, The beholders were at home on the earth, and the things on the earth were comparatively familiar to them; even the coming and going of the celestial luminaries might often be regarded by them with more composure, because of their regularity; but they could never surcease to feel the liveliest interest in those wonderful meteoric changes, so lawless and mysterious in their visitations, which wrought such immediate and palpable effects for good or ill upon the lives and fortunes of the beholders.”* (* See Max Müller’s Lectures on the Science of Language Vol. II, p. 566.)For this reason Prof. Kuhn thinks that these meteorological phenomena are the principal ground-work of all Indo-European mythologies and superstitions; and in accordance with this creed Prof. Roth explains Saraṇyu as the dark storm-cloud soaring in the space in the beginning of all things and takes Vivasvat as representing the light of heavens.

            The third theory, like the first, is solar in origin, and attempts to explain certain Vedic myths on the supposition that they represent the triumph of spring over snow and winter. Yâska and other Indian Nairuktas lived in regions where the contrast between spring and winter was not so marked as in the countries still further north; and it was probably for this reason that the Vernal theory was not put forward by them to explain the Vedic myths. Prof. Max Müller has tried to explain most of the exploits of the Ashvins by this theory.†( Contributions to the Science of Mythology, Vol. II, pp. 579-605.) If the Ashvins restored Chyavâna to youth, if they protected Atri from the heat and darkness, if they rescued Vandana from a pit where he was buried alive, or if they replaced the leg of Vishpalâ, which she had lost in battle, or restored Ṛijrâshva his eye sight, it was simply the Sun-god restored to his former glory after the decay of his powers in winter. In short the ‘birth of the vernal Sun, his fight against the army of winter, and his final victory at the beginning of the spring is, on this theory, the true key to the explanation of many myths where the Sun-god is represented as dying, decaying or undergoing some other affliction. As contrasted with the Dawn theory the physical phenomena, here referred to, are annual. But both are solar theories, and as such may be contrasted with the Storm theory which is meteorological in origin.

            Besides these three theories, the Dawn, the Storm and the Vernal, Mr. Nârâyaṇa Aiyangâr of Bangalore has recently attempted to explain a number of Vedic myths on the hypothesis that they refer to Orion and Aldebaran. This may be called the Astral theory as distinguished from others. But all these theories cannot be discussed in this place; nor is it necessary to do so, so far as our purpose is concerned. I wish only to show that in spite of the various theories started to explain the Vedic myths, a number of incidents in several important legends have yet remained unexplained; and mythologists have either ignored them altogether, or pushed - them out of the way as insignificant or immaterial. If everything could be explained by the Dawn or the Storm theory, we may indeed hesitate to accept a new theory for which there would then be very little scope; but when a number of facts, which have yet remained unexplained, are satisfactorily and appropriately accounted for only by the Arctic theory, we shall be perfectly justified in citing these legends as corroborative evidence in support of our new theory. It is from this point of view that I mean to examine some of the important Vedic myths in this and the following chapter, and shall now begin with the legend of Indra and Vṛitra, or of captive waters, which is generally believed to have been satisfactorily explained by the Storm theory.

            The struggle between Indra and Vṛitra is represented in the Vedas as being four-fold in character. First, it is a struggle between Indra and Vṛitra, the latter of whom appears also under thee names of Namuchi, Shuṣhṇa, Shambara, Vala, Pipru, Kuyava and others. This is Vṛitra-tûrya, or the fight or struggle with Vṛitra. Secondly, it is a fight for the waters, which either in the form of sindhus (rivers) or as âpaḥ (simple floods), are often described as released or liberated by the slaughter of Vṛitra. This is ap-tûrya or the struggle for waters; and Indra is called apsu-jit or conquering in the waters, while Vṛitra is described as encompassing them (âpaḥ pari-shayânam). Thirdly, it is a struggle to regain the cows (go-iṣhṭi); and there are several passages in the Ṛig-Veda where the cows are said to have been released by India after having overthrown Vṛitra. Fourthly, it is a fight to regain the day-light or heaven called (div-iṣhṭi), or the striving for day; and in many places the sun and the dawn; are, said to be brought out by Indra after killing Vṛitra.*

* The exploits of Indra are very pithily summed up in the Nivids or short Sûtras or sentences used in offering oblations to the gods. These will be found collected in a separate chapter amongst the Pari-shiṣhtas or supplements to the Ṛig-Veda Saṁhitâ text published in Bombay (Tatvavivechaka Press). According to Dr. Haug these Nivids are the originals of the Vedic Suktas or hymns. As regards the meaning of Div-iṣhṭi see Oldenberg’s Vedic Hymns (I, 45, 7), S. B. E. Series, Vol. XLVI. p. 44.

The following extracts from Macdonell’s Vedic Mythology give the requisite authorities from the Ṛig-Veda for this four-fold character of the struggle between Indra and Vṛitra. Speaking of the terrible conflict, he thus sums up the principal incidents thereof as mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda: —

            “Heaven and earth trembled with fear when India strikes Vṛitra with his bolt (I, 80, 11; II, 11, 9-10; VI, 17, 9), even Tvaṣhṭṛi who forged the bolt, trembles at Indra’s anger (I, 80, 14). Indra shatters Vṛitra with bolt (I, 32, 5); and strikes his face with his pointed weapon (I, 52, 15). He smote Vṛitra, who encompassed the waters (VI, 20, 2), or the dragon that lay around (pari-shayânam) the waters (IV, 19, 2); he overcame the dragon lying on the waters (V, 30, 6). He slew the dragon hidden in the water and obstructing the waters and the sky (II, 11, 5), and smote Vṛitra, who enclosed the waters, like a tree, with the bolt (II, 14, 2).

Thus conquering in the waters (apsu-jit) is his exclusive attribute (VIII, 36, 1).”* (See Macdonell’s Vedic Mythology, in Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie and Altertumskunde, § 22 (Indra), pp. 58-61.)

            As regards the abode of Vṛitra, we have (§ 68, A): —
            “Vṛitra has a hidden (niṇya) abode, whence the waters, when released by Indra, escape, overflowing the demon (I, 32, 10). Vṛitra lies on the waters (I, 121, 11; II, 11, 9), or enveloped by the waters, at the bottom (budhna) of therajas or aerial space (I, 52, 6). He is also described as lying on a summit (sânu), when Indra made the waters to flow (I, 80, 5). Vṛitra has fortresses, which Indra shatters when he slays him (X, 89, 7), and which are ninety-nine in number (VIII, 93, 2; VII, 19, 5). He is called nadî-vṛît, or encompasser of rivers (I, 52, 2), and in one passage parvata or cloud is described as being within his belly (I, 54, 10).”
            There are again passages (V, 32, 5 & 6) where India is said to have placed Shuṣhṇa, who was anxious to fight, “in the darkness of the pit,” and slaughtered him “in the darkness which was unrelieved by the rays of the sun,” (asûrye tamasi). In 1, 54, 10, darkness is said to have prevailed in Vṛitra’s hollow side, and in II, 23, 18, Bṛihaspati, with Indra is said to have hurled down the ocean, which was “encompassed in darkness,” and opened the stall of kine. Finally in I, 32, 10, Vṛitra’s body is said to have sunk in “long darkness,” being encompassed with waters. This shows that the waters of the ocean, which was encompassed by Vṛitra, were not lighted by the rays of the sun. In other words, the ocean (arṇaḥ) which Vṛitra is said to have encompassed was different from the “bright ocean” (shukram arṇaḥ) which the sun is said to have ascended in V, 45, 10. Vṛitra’s ocean (arṇava) was enveloped in darkness (tamasâ parivṛitam, II, 23, 18), while the ocean, which the sun ascended, was bright and shining (shukram). Indra is again described as going to a very distant (parâvat) region to kill Vṛitra or Namuchi, (I, 53, 7; VIII, 12, 17; VIII, 45, 25). If we combine all these statements regarding the scene of the struggle between Indra and Vṛitra, we are led to the conclusion that the fight took place in a dark, distant and watery region. In VIII, 32, 26, India is said to have killed Arbuda with ice (hima); and in X, 62, 2, the Aṅgirases, who were the assistants of Indra in his conquest of the cows, are said to have struck Vala at the end of the year (parivatsare). There is another statement in the Ṛig-Veda, which gives us the date of Indra’s fight with Shambara, but we shall discuss it later on. It is stated above that the number of Vṛitra’s forts destroyed by Indra is given as ninety-nine; but in other passages it is said to be ninety or one hundred (I, 130, 7; IV, 30, 20,). These fortresses or cities (puraḥ) are described as made of stone or iron (IV, 30, 20; IV, 27, 1), and in some places they are said to be autumnal (shâradîḥ, I, 130, 7; 131, 4; VI, 20, 10). The importance of these facts, in the interpretation of the legend, will be discussed later on.

            We have seen that the release of cows and the bringing up of the dawn and the sun are the simultaneous effects of Indra’s conquest of Vṛitra. The following extract from Macdonell’s Vedic Mythology (p. 61) give the necessary authorities on the point:

            “With the liberation of waters is connected the winning of light, sun and dawn. Indra won light and the divine waters (III, 34, 8), the god is invoked to slay Vṛitra and win the light, (VIII, 89, 4). When Indra had slain the dragon Vṛitra with his metallic bolt releasing the waters for man, he placed the sun visibly in the heavens (I, 51, 4; 52, 8). Indra, the dragon-slayer, set in motion the flood of waters of            the seat generated the sun and found the cows (II, 19, 3). He gained the sun and the waters after slaying the demon (III, 33, 8-9) When Indra slew the chief of the dragons and released the waters from the mountain, he generated the sung the sky and the dawn (I, 32, 4; VI, 30, 5). The cows are also mentioned along with the sun and the dawn, (I, 62, 5; II, 12, 7; VI, 17, 5), or with the sun alone (I, 7, 3; II, 19, 3; X, 138, 2), as being found, delivered or won by Indra.”

            Indra is described in other passages as having released the streams pent up by the dragon (II, 11, 2), and he is said to have won the cows and made the seven rivers flow (I, 32, 12; II, 12, 12). In II, 15, 6, the streams released by him have been described as flowing upwards (udañcham). It may be further noticed that in all these passages the clouds are not referred to under their ordinary name abhra; but the words used are parvata, giri, adri, (which primarily mean a mountain), or ûdhas (udder), utsa (spring) kabandha (cask) or kosha (pail). All these words have been interpreted by the Nairuktas as meaning a cloud, and this interpretation has been accepted by Western scholars. The word go, which generally means cow, is also interpreted in some cases to mean the waters released by Indra. Thus when Indra is said to have released the cows, which were fast within the stone (VI, 43, 3), or when he is said to have moved the rock, which encompassed the cows, from its place (VI, 17, 5), it is understood that the reference is to a cloud-rock, which imprisons the rain-waters. Maruts are the usual companions of Indra in this, fight; but Viṣhṇu, Agni, and Bṛihaspati are also spoken of as assisting him in the rescue of the cows from the grip of Vala. Bṛihaspati’s conquest of Vala who had taken shelter in a rock, is thus taken to be a paraphrase of Indra’s conquest over Vṛitra. In X, 62, 2 and 3, the Aṅgirases are also described as driving out the cows, piercing Vala and causing the sun to mount the sky, — exploits, which are usually attributed to Indra. There are other versions of the same story to be found in Ṛig-Veda, but for the purpose in hand, we need not go beyond what has been stated above.

            Now whosoever reads this description of Indra’s fight with Vṛitra cannot fail to be struck with the fact that there are four simultaneous effects (Sâkam, in VI, 30, 5), said to have been produced by the conquest of Indra over Vṛitra, namely, (1) the release of the cows, (2) the release of the waters, (3) the production of the dawn and (4) the production of the sun. Let us now see if the Storm theory satisfactorily explains the simultaneous production of these results from the destruction of Vṛitra. Vṛitra is a cloud, a storm-cloud, or a rain-cloud, hovering in the sky, and by smiting it with his thunder-bolt Indra may well be described as realizing the waters imprisoned therein. But where are the cows which are said to be released along with the waters? The Nairuktas interpret cows to mean waters; but in that cage, the release of the waters and the release of the cows cannot be regarded as two distinct effects. The recovery of the dawn and the sun, along with the release of waters, is, however, still more difficult to explain by the Storm theory, or, we might even say, that it cannot be explained at all. Rain-clouds may temporarily obscure the sun, but the phenomenon is not one which occurs regularly, and it is not possible to speak of the production of the light of the sun as resulting from the breaking up of the clouds, which may only occasionally obscure the sun. The recovery of the dawn, as a prize of the conflict between Indra and Vṛitra simultaneously with the release of waters, is, similarly, quite inexplicable by the Storm theory. The rain-clouds usually move in the heavens, and though we may occasionally find them on the horizon, it is absurd to say that by striking the clouds Indra brought out the dawn. I know of no attempt made by any scholar to explain the four simultaneous effects of Indra’s fight with Vṛitra by any other theory. The Storm-theory appears to have been suggested by the Nairuktas, because the release of waters was supposed to be the principal effect of the conquest, and waters were naturally understood to mean the waters, which we see every day. But in spite of the efforts of the Nairuktas and Western scholars, the simultaneous winning of light and waters still remains unexplained. Macdonell (Ved. Myth. p. 61) referring to this difficulty observes, “There appears to be a confusion between the notion of the restoration of the sun after the darkness of the thunderstorm, and the recovery of the sun from the darkness of the night at dawn. The latter trait in the Indra myth is most probably only an extension of the former.” If this means anything, it is only a confession of the inability of Vedic scholars to explain the four simultaneous effects of Indra’s conquest over Vṛitra by the storm theory; and, strange to say, they seem to attribute their failure, not to their own ignorance or inability, but to the alleged confusion of ideas on the part of the Vedic bards.

            These are not, however, the only points, in which the Storm-theory fails to explain the legend of Indra and Vṛitra. It has been pointed out above that Vṛitra was killed in distant regions, in which ghastly darkness reigned, and which abounded in waters; while in X, 73, 7, Indra by killing Namuchi, alias Vṛitra, is said to have cleared the gates of the Devayâna path, evidently meaning that Vṛitra was killed at the gates of the path leading to the region of the gods. Even in the Avesta, the fight between Apaosha and Tishtrya is said to have taken place in the sea of Vouru-Kasha, and Tishtrya is described as moving along the path made by Mazda after his fight with Apaosha. Vṛitra’s abode is similarly described as “hidden” and “enveloped by water” at the bottom of rajas (I, 52, 6). None of these conditions is satisfied by making the storm-cloud, the scene of the battle between Indra and Vṛitra; for a cloud cannot be said to be the ocean of waters, nor can it be described as lying in a distant (parâvat) region, or at the threshold of the Devayâna or the path of the gods. In the Ṛig-Veda parâvat is usually contrasted with arâvat, and it means a distant region on the other side, as contrasted with the region on this or the nearer side. The Devayâna is similarly contrasted with the Pitṛiyâna, and means the northern celestial hemisphere. The clouds over the head of the observer cannot be said to be either in the distant region, or at the gate of the Devayâna; nor can we speak of them as enveloped by sun-less darkness. It is, therefore, highly improbable that the rain-clouds could have been the scene of battle between Indra and Vṛitra. It was the sea on the other side, the dark ocean as contrasted with the bright ocean (shukram arṇaḥ) which the sun mounts in the morning, where the battle was fought according to the passages referred to above; and the description is appropriate only in the case of the nether world, the celestial hemisphere that lies underneath, and not in the case of clouds moving in the sky above. I do not mean to say that Indra may not have been the god of rain or thunderstorm, but as Vṛitrahan, or the killer of Vṛitra, it is impossible to identify him with the god of rain, if the description of the fight found in the Vedic passages is not to be ignored or set aside.

            The third objection to the current interpretation of the Vṛitra myth, is that it does not satisfactorily explain the passages, which give the time of Indra’s fight with the demon. On the Storm theory, the fight must be placed in the rainy season or Varṣhâ; but the forts of Vṛitra, which Indra is said to have destroyed and thus acquired the epithet purabhid or purandara, are described in the Ṛig-Veda as autumnal or shâradîḥ i.e., belonging or pertaining to Sharad, the season which follows Varṣhâ. The discrepancy may be accounted for, by supposing that Varṣhâ and Sharad, were once included under one season which was named not Varṣhâ but Sharad. But the explanation is opposed to another passage in the Ṛig-Veda (X, 62, 2) which says that Vala was killed at the end of the year (parivatsare), unless we again suppose that the year commenced with Sharad in those days. Nor can we explain how Arbuda is said to be killed with hima (ice) by Indra. Again as previously stated, the dawn could not be considered as a prize of the conflict, nor could the fight be said to have been fought in darkness, if we choose the rainy season as the time for the battle of India with Vṛitra. It will thus be seen that the Storm theory does not satisfactorily explain the statements regarding the time of the struggle between Indra and Vṛitra.

            The fourth objection against the Storm theory, as applied to the story of Vṛitra, is that many words like parâvat, giri, or adri, which do not signify a cloud, either primarily on secondarily, have to be interpreted as referring figuratively to the rain-cloud. This sounds harsh in many a passage where Indra or Bṛihaspati is described as piercing a mountain or breaking open a stone-cave and liberating the waters or the cows confined therein. In the absence of any other theory, we had to interpret these passages by the Storm theory, as the Nairuktas have done, by assigning to any and every word, used to denote the prison-house of waters or the cows, the meaning of a rain-cloud moving in the sky. But though we could thus temporarily get over the difficulty, the fact, that we had to strain the words used, or to assign unnatural meanings to them, was always a drawback, which detracted from the value of our interpretation. It was probably for this reason that Prof. Oldenberg was led to suggest that Indra’s piercing the mountain and liberating the waters therefrom should be understood to refer not to the rain-cloud, but to the actual striking of the mountains with the thunder-bolt and making the rivers flow forth from them. But, as observed by Max Müller, “the rivers do not gush out of rocks even when they have been struck by lighting”; and so Prof. Oldenberg’s explanation, though it gets us out of one difficulty, lands us on another, which, to say the least, is equally puzzling. If we, therefore, cannot suggest a better explanation, we might as well accept the device of the Nairuktas and interpret parvata or whatever other word or words may be found used to denote the place of the confinement of the waters, as meaning a cloud, and explain the legend of Vṛitra by the Storm theory as best as we can.

            It will be found from the foregoing discussion regarding the Storm theory as applied to the legend of Indra and Vṛitra, that it explains neither the simultaneous effects of Indra’s conquest over Vṛitra, nor the statements regarding the seat of the battle between them, nor those regarding the time when it took place, nor again does it allow us to take the words, used in certain Vedic passages, in their natural sense; and yet we find that the theory has been accepted as the basis of the legend from the times of the Nairuktas up to the present. Why should it be so? — is a question, which would naturally occur to any one, who examines the subject. It is true that the Storm theory fully explains the release of waters as a result of the fight; but the release of waters is not the only consequence, which we have to account for. There are four simultaneous effects of the war, the release of the waters, the release of the cows, the recovery of the dawn and the production of the sun. The Storm theory ex-plains the first two and the Dawn theory the last two of these; but the whole set of four is explained by neither, nor could the theories be so combined as to explain all the four effects, unless, like Prof. Macdonell, we suppose that the Vedic bards have confused the two entirely different ideas, viz., the restoration of the sunlight after thunderstorm and the recovery of light from the darkness of night. Of the two theories, the Storm and the Dawn, the ancient Nairuktas, therefore, seem to have adopted that which adequately accounted for the release of the waters and which suited better with their notion of Indra as a thunder-god, on the principle that half a loaf is better than none, and have ignored the remaining incidents in the legend as inexplicable, unimportant, or immaterial. The same theory has also been adopted by Western scholars, and it is the only theory in the field at present. But it is so manifestly inadequate that if a better theory could be found which will explain most of, if not all, the incidents in the legend, no one would hesitate to abandon the Storm theory in favor of the latter.

            It is, in my opinion, a mistake to suppose that the struggle between Indra and Vṛitra originally represented the conflict between the thunder-god and the rain-cloud. It is really a struggle between the powers of light and darkness and we find traces of it in the Aitareya        Brâhmaṇa     (IV, 15.), where Indra alone of all gods is described as having under taken the task of driving out Asuras from the darkness of the night. That Indra is the god of light is also evident from many other passages in the Ṛig-Veda, where, without any reference to the Vṛitra fight, Indra is said to have found the light (III, 34, 4; VIII, 15, 5; X, 43, 4) in the darkness (I, 100, 8; IV, 16, 4), or to have produced the dawn as well as the sun (II, 12, 7; 21, 4; III, 31, 15), or opened the darkness with the dawn and the sun (I, 62, 5). It was he, who made the sun to shine (VIII, 3, 6), and mount in the sky (I, 7, 1), or prepared a path for the sun (X, 111, 3), or found the sun in “the darkness in which he resided” (III, 39, 5). It is evident from these passages that Indra is the winner of light and the sun and this character of his was well understood by scholars, for Indra as apavaryan, or the recoverer (fr. apa-vṛi) of light, is compared by Max Müller with Apollon in the Greek mythology. But scholars have found it difficult to explain why this character of Indra should be mentioned in conjunction with other exploits, such as the conquest of Vṛitra and the liberation of the waters. In fact that is the real difficulty in the explanation of the legend either by the Storm or by the Dawn theory. Indra liberated the waters and brought about the dawn by killing Vṛitra, — is undoubtedly the burden of the whole story; but no explanation has yet been found by which the simultaneous recovery of light and waters could satisfactorily be accounted for. We have seen that by the Storm theory we can account for they release of waters, but not the recovery of the dawn; while if the legend is taken to represent a struggle between light and darkness, as implied by the Dawn theory, we can account for the recovery of the dawn and the sun, but not for the release of waters. Under these circumstances it is necessary to examine the nature and character of waters as described in the Vedas, before we accept or reject either or both of the above-mentioned theories.

            It has been noticed above that the passages, where waters are said to be released by Indra after killing Vṛitra do not refer expressly to the rain-cloud. The words parvata, giri and the like are used to denote the place where the waters were confined, and âpaḥ or sindhus, to denote the waters themselves. Now âpaḥ, or waters generally, are mentioned in a number of places in the Ṛig-Veda, and the word in many places denotes the celestial or aerial waters. Thus we are told that they follow the path of the gods, and are to be found beside the sun, who is with them (I, 23, 17). In VII, 49, 2, we have an express statement that there are waters, which are celestial (divyâḥ âpaḥ), and also those that flow in earthlychannels (khanitrimâḥ, thus clearly distinguishing between terrestrial and celestial waters. In the same verse they are said to have the sea or the ocean for the goal; and in VIII, 69, 12, the seven rivers are said to flow into the jaws of Varuṇa as into a surging abyss. Varuṇa again is described as the god, who, like Indra, makes the rivers flow (II, 28, 4); and we have seen that the sage Dîrghatamas is said to have been borne on the waters wending to their goal (I, 158, 6). But it is needless to cite more authorities on this point, for scholars are agreed that both celestial and terrestrial waters are mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda. The nature, the character, or the movements of celestial waters appear, however, to be very imperfectly understood; and this is the sole reason why scholars have not yet been able to connect the release of the waters with the recovery of the dawn in the Vṛitra legend. It seems to have been supposed that when the Ṛig-Veda speaks of the celestial waters (dîvyâḥ âpaḥ) only the rain-waters are intended. But this is a mistake; for, in passages which speak of the creation of the world (X, 82, 6; 129, 3), the world is said to have once consisted of nothing but undifferentiated waters. In short, the Ṛig-Veda, like the Hebrew Testament, expressly states that the world was originally full of waters, and that there were the waters in the firmament above and waters below. The Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa (XI, 1, 6, 1), the Aitareya Upaniṣhad (I, 1) and Manu (I, 9), all say that the world was created from watery vapors. There can, there fore, be no doubt that the idea of celestial waters was well-known to the ancestors of the Vedic bards in early days; and as the celestial waters were conceived to be the material out of which the universe was created, it is probable that the Vedic bards understood by that phrase what the modern scientist now understand by “ether” or “the nebulous mass of matter” that fills all-the space in the universe. We need not, however, go so far. It is enough for our purpose to know that the celestial waters (divyâḥ âpaḥ), or the watery vapors (puriṣham), are mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda and that the Vedic bards considered the space or the region above, below and around them to be full of these celestial vapors which are said to be coeval with the world in X, 30, 10.

            It is, however, alleged by Wallis in his Cosmology of the Ṛig-Veda (p. 115) that the Vedic bards were not acquainted with the regions below the earth, and that every thing, which is described in the Vedas as occurring in the atmosphere, including the movements of the sun during night and day, must, be placed in the regions of the sky, which were over the head of these bards. This view appears to be adopted by Macdonell in his Vedic Mythology; and if it be correct, we shall have to place all the waters in the upper heaven. But I do not think that Wallis has correctly interpreted the passages quoted by Prof. Zimmer in support of his theory that a rajas (region) exists below the earth; and we cannot, therefore accept Wallis’ conclusions, which are evidently based upon prepossessions derived most probably from the Homeric controversy. Prof. Zimmer refers to three passages (VI, 9, 1; VII, 80, 1; V, 81, 4) to prove that a rajasbeneath the earth was known to the Vedic people. The first of these passages is the well-known verse regarding the bright and the dark day. It says, “the bright day and the dark day, both roll the two rajas by the well-known paths.” Here the two rajas are evidently the upper and the lower celestial hemisphere; but Wallis asks us to compare this verse with I, 185, 1, where day and night are said “to revolve like two wheels,” that is, to circle round from east to west, the one rising as the other goes down, and observes that “We are in no way obliged to consider that the progress of either is continued below the earth.” I am unable to understand how we can draw such an inference from these passages. In VI, 9, 1, quoted by Zimmer, two rajas or atmospheres are men tinned, and the bright and the dark day are said to roll along both these rajas or regions. But if we hold with Wallis that the progress of either begins in the east and stops in the west, without going below the earth, the whole movement becomes confined to one rajas or region and does not extend over the two. Zimmer’s interpretation is, therefore, not only more probable, but the only one that explains the use of rajasî (in the dual), or the two regions, in the verse. The next passage (VII, 80, 1) is also misunderstood by Wallis. It describes the dawn as “unrolling the two regions (rajasî), which border on each other (samante), revealing all things. Now; the dawn always appears on the horizon and the two rajas, which it unrolls and which are said to border on each other, must meet on this horizon. They can therefore only represent the lower and the upper celestial sphere. But Wallis would have us believe that both these rajasî are above the earth, and that narrowing down together towards east and west they meet on the horizon like two arched curves over one’s head! The artificial character of this explanation is self-evident, and I see no reason why we should adopt it in preference to the simple and natural explanation of Zimmer, unless we start with a preconceived notion that references to the regions below the earth ought not to be and cannot be found in the Ṛig-Veda. The third passage pointed out by Zimmer is V, 81, 4, which says “O Savitṛi! Thou goest round (parîyase) the night, on both sides (ubhayataḥ). “Here Wallis proposes to translate parîyase by “encompassest;” butparîyase ordinarily means “goest round,” and there is no reason why the idea of motion usually implied by it should be here abandoned. It will thus be seen that the conclusion of Wallis is based upon the distortion of passages which Zimmer interprets in a simpler and a more natural way: and that Zimmer’s view is more in accordance with the natural meaning of these texts. But if an express passage be still needed to prove conclusively that the region below the earth was known to the Vedic bards, we refer to VII, 104, 11, where the bard prays for the destruction of his enemies and says, “Let him (enemy) go down below the three earths (tisraḥ pṛîthiviḥ adhaḥ).” Here the region below the three earths is expressly mentioned; and since the enemy is to be condemned to it, it must be a region of torment and pain like the Hades. In X, 152, 4, we read, “One who injures ms, let him be sent to the: nether darkness (adharam tamaḥ),” and, comparing this with the last passage, it is evident that the region below the earth was conceived as dark. In III, 73, 21, we have, “Let him, who hates us, fall downwards (adharaḥ),” and in 11, 12, 4, the brood of the Dasyu, whom India killed, is said to be “sent to the unknown nether world (adharam guhâkaḥ).” These passages directly show that region below the earth was not only known to the Vedic bards, but was conceived as filled with darkness, and made the scene of India’s tight with Vṛitra. It may, however, be alleged that “below the three earths” may simply mean underneath the surface of the earth. But, in that case, it was not necessary to speak of all the three earths, and since we are told that the region is below all the three earths, it can refer only to the nether world. This is further proved by the passage which describes what is above the three earths. The expression, corresponding to tisraḥ pṛîthiviḥ adhaḥ or “the region below the three earths,” will be tisraḥ pṛîthiviḥ upari or the region above the three earths,” and as a matter of fact this expression is also found in the Ṛig-Veda. Thus in I, 34, 8, we are told that “the Ashvins, moving above the three earths (tisraḥpṛîthiviḥ upari), protect the vault or the top of heaven (divo nâkam) through days and nights”; and Ashvins are said to have come on their car from a distant region (parâvat) in the preceding verse of the same hymn. The phrase divo nâkamoccurs several times in the Ṛig-Veda and means the top or the vault of the heaven. Thus in IV, 13, 5, the sun is said to guard (pâti) the vault of the heaven (divo nâkam); and as regards the three-fold division of the earth it is mentioned in several places in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 102, 8; IV, 53, 5; VII, 87, 5), and also in the Avesta (Yt. XIII, 3; Yasna, XI, 7). In IV, 53, 5, this three-fold division is further extended to antarikṣha, rajas, rochana and dyu or heaven. This shows what we are to understand by “three earths.” It is the one and the same earth, regarded as three-fold; and since the Ashvins are described as protecting the vault of heaven by moving “above the three earths,” it is clear that in contrast with the vault above, a nether region, as far below the three earths as the heaven is above them, must have been conceived and denoted by the phrase “below the three earths,” and that the latter expression did not merely mean an interterranean ground. When we meet with two such phrases as the heaven “above the three earths,” and the region “below the three earths,” in the Ṛig-Veda, phrases, which cannot be mistaken or misunderstood, the hypothesis that the Vedic bards were not acquainted with the nether world at once falls to the ground.

            Mr. Wallis seems to think that since rajas is said to be divided three-fold, like the earth, and since the highest rajas is mentioned as the seat of waters, there is no scope in the Vedic division of rajas for a region beneath the earth; for the three rajas are exhausted by taking them as the rajas of the earth (pârthivam), the rajas of the sky (divo rajaḥ) and the highest (paramam) rajas, the seat of waters. But this objection is quite untenable, inasmuch as six different rajasare also mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 164, 6). We can, therefore, suppose that there were three rajas above the earth and three below it, and so meet the apparent difficulty pointed out by Wallis. The three rajas can in some places be also interpreted to mean the earthly rajas, the one above the earth and the one below it, (X, 82, 4). In I, 35, 2, the Savitṛi is described as moving through the dark rajas (kṛiṣhṇena rajasâ), and in the next verse we are told that he comes from the distant (parâvat) region, which shows that the dark rajas and the parâvat region are synonymous;, and that the sun ascends the sky after passing through the dark rajas. Again the use of the word “ascend” (ud-yan or ud-âcharat, I, 163, 1; VII, 55, 7), to describe the rising of the sun in the morning from the ocean, shows,, by contrast, that the ocean which the sun is said to enter at the time of setting (X, 114, 4) is really an ocean underneath the earth. In I, 117, 5, the sun is described as sleeping in “the lap of Nir-ṛiti,” and “dwelling in dark ness”; while in 1, 164, 32 and 33, the sun is said to have traveled in the interior of heaven and earth and finally gone into Nir-ṛiti, or as Prof. Max Müller renders it, “the exodus in the west.” Now, in X, 114, 2, there are three Nir-ṛitis mentioned, evidently corresponding to the three earths and three heavens; and in X, 161, 2, the lap of Nir-ṛiti is identified with the region of death. Pururavas is again said (X, 95, 14) to have gone to the distant region (param parâvatam) and there made his bed on the lap of Nir-ṛiti; while the Maruts are described as mounting up to the firmament from the bottomless Nir-ṛiti in VII, 58, 1. All these passages taken together show that Nir-ṛiti, or the land of dissolution and death, commenced in the west, that the sun lying in darkness traveled through the distant region (parâvat) and eventually rose in the east from the lap of Nir-ṛiti, and that the whole of this movement was placed not in the upper heaven, but on the other side of the vault through which the sun traveled before he entered into Nir-ṛiti. In other words, the Nir-ṛitis extended below the earth from west to east; and since the region below the three earths is expressly mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda, the three Nir-ṛitis must be understood to mean the three regions below-the earth corresponding to the threefold division of the earth or of the heaven above it. Zimmer is, therefore, correct in stating that the sun moved through the rajas below the earth during night and that the Vedic poets knew of this nether rajas.

            There are other passages in the Ṛig-Veda which fully support the same view. Thus corresponding to the rajasî, or the two rajas, we have another expression in the dual, namely, ubhau ardhau, which literally denotes “the two halves,” and when applied to heaven, “the two celestial hemispheres.” The expression ardhau occurs in II, 27, 15, and the two halves are there asked to be propitious to the sacrificer. Wallis, however, interprets ubhau ardhau to mean “heaven and earth.” But this is a mistake for there is a passage in the Ṛig-Veda where we have the phrases pare ardhe (in the farther half) and upare ardhe (in the nearer half) of heaven (divaḥ), showing that the heaven alone (and not heaven and earth) was conceived as divided into two halves (I, 164, 12). A few verses later on (I, 164, 17), the cow with her calf (the dawn with the sun) is described as having appeared below the upper and above the lower realm, i.e., between heaven and earth and a question is then asked “To what half (ardham) has she departed?” which again shows that the (ardham) here referred to is quite distinct from heaven and earth. In the Atharva Veda, X, 8, 7 and 13, the “two halves” are referred to, and the poet asks, “Prajâpati with one half (ardham) engendered all creation; what sign is there to tell us of the other half?” Here the other half cannot mean the earth; and Griffith accordingly explains it as referring to the sun at night. Another expression used to denote the upper and the lower world is samudrau or the two oceans, (X, 136, 5). These two oceans are said to be one on this side (avara) and one on the other (para) side in VII, 6, 7; and a yonder ocean (parâvati samudre) is mentioned in VIII, 12, 17. I have already quoted above the passages which speak of the bright arṇaḥ or ocean (V, 45, 10), and of arnava or an ocean pervaded with darkness (II, 23, 18). The two wordsparastât and avastât are also employed to convey the same idea. They denote a region on the nearer side and a region on the farther side. Thus in VIII, 8, 14, parâvat region is contrasted with ambara or the heaven above, and in III, 55, 6, the sun is described as sleeping in the parâvat region. We have seen above that Savitṛi is said to come up from the parâvat region, and that he moves through the dark region before ascending the sky. The two words parâvat and arvâvatthus separately denote the same regions that are jointly denoted by the dual words rajasî, ardhau or samudrau; and when both the upper and the lower hemispheres were intended the word ubhayataḥ was employed. Thus in III, 53, 5, we read, “O Maghavan! O brother Indra! go beyond (parâ) and come hither (â) you are wanted in both places, (ubhayatra).” The passages where Savitṛi is described as going round the night on both sides is already referred to above,

            With these passages before us, we cannot reasonably hold that the Vedic bards were ignorant of the lower celestial hemisphere, as supposed by Wallis, and some other scholars. Nor is the hypothesis a priori probable, for I have shown elsewhere that the Vedic bards knew enough of astronomy to calculate the movements of the sun and the moon tolerably correct for all practical purposes; and the people, who could do this, could not be supposed to be so ignorant as to believe that the sky was nailed down to the earth at the celestial horizon, and that when the sun was not seen during the night, he must be taken to have disappeared somewhere in the upper regions of the heaven. The passage from the Aitareya Brâhmaṇa (III, 44) which is quoted by Wallis, and which tells us that the sun, having reached the end of the day, turns round as it were, and makes night where there was day before and day on the other side, and vice versa, is very vague and does not prove that the sun was believed to return by night through a region, which is somewhere in the upper heaven. The words used in the original are avastât and parastât; and Dr. Haug correctly translates parastâtby “what is on the other side.” Muir and others, however, interpret parastât to mean “upper,” thus giving rise to the hypothesis that the sun returns during night by a passage through the upper region of the heaven. But in the face of the express passages in which regions below and above all the three earths are unmistakably mentioned, we cannot accept a hypothesis based upon a doubtful translation of a single word. It is a hypothesis that has its origin either in the preconceived notion regarding the primitive man, or in a desire to import into the Vedas the speculations of the Homeric cosmography. The knowledge of the Vedic bards regarding the nether world may not have been as exact as that of the modern astronomers, and we, therefore, meet with such questions in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 35, 7) as “Where is Sûrya now (after sunset) and which celestial region his rays now illumine?” But there is enough explicit evidence to prove that the Vedic people knew of the existence of a region below the earth, and if some of their notions aboutthis underworld were not very distinct, that does not, in the least, affect the value of this evidence.

            If we, therefore, dismiss from our mind the idea that the lower world was not known to the Vedic people, an assumption, which is quite gratuitous, the movements and character of the celestial waters become at once plain and intelligible. The ancient Aryans, like the old Hebrews, believed that the subtle matter, which filled the whole space in the universe, was nothing but watery vapors; and secondly that the movements of the sun, the moon and other heavenly bodies were caused by these vapors which kept on constantly circulating from the nether to the upper and from the upper to the lower celestial hemisphere. That is the real key to the explanation of many a Vedic myth; and unless we grasp it thoroughly, we cannot rightly understand some of the utterances of the Vedic poets. These waters were sometimes conceived as rivers or streams, moving in the heaven, and eventually falling into the mouth of Varuṇa or the nether ocean (VII, 49, 2; VIII, 69, 12). The nether world was, so to say, the seat or the home of these waters, called yahvatîḥ or the eternal (IX, 113, 8) and they formed the kingdom of Varuṇa and Yama, as well as the hidden (niṇya) abode of Vṛitra. This movement of waters is very clearly expressed in the Parsi scriptures. In the Vendidad, XXI, 4-5 (15-23), the waters are described as follows, — “As the sea Vouru-Kasha is the gathering place of waters, rise up, go up the aerial way and go down on the earth; go down on the earth and go up the aerial way. Rise up and roll along! thou in whose rising and growing Ahura Mazda made the aerial way. Up! rise up and roll along! thou swift-horsed sun, above Hara Berezaiti, and produce light for the world, and mayest thou rise up there, if thou art to abide in Garo-nmânem, along the path made by Mazda, along the way made by the gods, the watery way they opened.” Here the aerial waters are said to start from their gathering place, the sea Vouru-Kasha, go up into heaven and come back again to the sea to be purified before starting on a second round. Prof. Darmesteter in a note on this passage observes that “waters and light are believed to flow from the same spring and in the same bed”, and quotes Bundahish, XX, 4, which says, “just as the light comes in through Albûrz (Hara Berezaiti, the mountain by which the earth is surrounded) and goes out through Albûrz, the water also comes out through Albûrz and goes away through Albûrz.” Now waters are described in the Ṛig-Veda as following the path of the gods (VII, 47, 3), much in the same way as the waters in the Avesta are said to follow the path made by Mazda or the way made by the gods. Like the Avestic waters, the waters in the Ṛig-Veda have also the sea for their goal, and going by the aerial way eventually fall into the mouth of Varuṇa. But the Avesta supplies us with the key which establishes the connection of waters and light in unambiguous terms, for, as remarked by Prof. Darmesteter, it states clearly that both of them have the same source, and, in the passage quoted above, the swift-horsed sun is accordingly asked to go along the watery way in the skies above. In the Aban Yasht (V, 3), the river Ardvi Sûra Anâhita is described as running powerfully from the height Hukairya down to the sea Vouru-Kasha, like the river Sarasvati, which is described in the Ṛig-Veda as tearing the peaks of mountains, and is invoked to descend from the great mountain in the sky to the sacrifice (V, 43, 11). Both are aerial rivers, but by coming down upon the earth they are said to fill up all the terrestrial streams. The terrestrial waters, nay, all things of a liquid nature on the earth, e.g., the plant-sap, the blood, &c., were thus supposed to be produced from the aerial waters above by the agency of clouds and rain. The Parsi scriptures further tell us that between the earth and the region of infinite light (the parame vyoman of the Ṛig-Veda), there are three intermediate regions, the star region, which has the seeds of waters and plants, the moon region, and the sun region, the last being the highest (Yt. XII, 29-32). When the Ṛig-Veda, therefore, speaks of the highest rajas as being the seat of waters, it is not to be understood, as supposed by Wallis, that there are no nether waters, for it is the nether waters that come up from the lower world and moving in the uppermost region of the heaven produce terrestrial waters by giving rise to rain and clouds. Thus Ardvi Sûra Anâhita is said to run through the starry region (cf. Yt. VII, 47), and has to be worshipped with sacrifice in order that her waters may not all run up into the region of the sun, thereby producing a drought on the surface of the earth (Yt. V, 85 and 90). In the Ṛig-Veda, the Sarasvatî is similarly described as filling the earthly region and the wide atmospheric space (VI, 61, 11) and is besought to come swelling with streams, and along with the waters. But the most striking resemblance between Ardvi Sûra Anâhita and Sarasvatî is that while the latter is described as Vṛitra-slayer or Vṛitra-ghnî in Ṛig. VI, 61, 7, Ardvi Sûra Anâhita is described in the Aban Yasht (V, 33 and 34) as granting to Thrâetaona, the heir of the valiant Athwya clan (Vedic Trita Âptya) who offered up a sacrifice to her, a boon that he would be able to overcome Azi Dahâk, the three-mouthed; three-headed and six-eyed monster. This is virtually the same story which is found in the Ṛig-Veda X, 8, 8, where Trîta Âptya, knowing his paternal weapons and urged by Indra, is said to have fought against and slew the three-headed son of Tvaṣhtṛi and released the cows. This clearly establishes the connection between waters, as represented by Ardvi Sûra Anâhita or Sarasvati, and the slaughter of Vṛitra. Many Vedic scholars have tried to identify Sarasvati with the river of that name in the Punjab; but as the latter is an insignificant stream, the identification has not been generally accepted. The above comparison now shows that the mighty Sarasvati, like Ardvi Sûra Anâhita, is an aerial stream, which rises up from the nether store-house of ‘waters, travels over the sky and again falls back into the lower ocean. A portion of these waters is brought down upon the earth in the form of rain by the sacrifices offered to the river, and along with it come the seeds of all the plants growing upon the surface of the earth. Thus in the Vendidad, V, 19, (56), the tree of all the seeds is described as growingin the middle of the sea Vouru-Kasha, and the seeds are then said to be brought up by the aerial rivers and sent down by them to the earth by means of rain, an idea similar to that found in the Ṛig-Veda, I, 23, 20, where the sacrificer informs us that Soma has told him that all medicines (medicinal herbs) are contained in the waters. We have thus a complete account of the cosmic circulation of the aerial waters and the production of the terrestrial waters and plants there from. The nether world or the lower celestial hemisphere is the home of these waters, and it is expressly said to be bounded on all sides by a mountainous range like that of Hara Berezaiti. When the aerial waters are allowed to come up through this mountain, they travel over the upper hemisphere and again fall into the sea Vouru-Kasha, or the lower ocean, producing, during their course, rains which fertilize the earth and make the plants grow upon its surface. But instead of descending down in the form of rain, these aerial waters were, it was apprehended, apt to turn away into the region of the sun and deprive us of rain. It was, therefore, necessary to worship them with sacrifices and invoke their blessings.

            It is impossible to grasp the real meaning of the Vṛitra legend, without first realizing the true nature and importance of the movements of the aerial waters as conceived by the ancestors of the Indo-Iranian people. As observed by Dramesteter, celestial waters and light were believed to flow from the same spring or source, and they both ran a parallel course. It was these aerial waters that made the heavenly bodies move in the sky, just as a boat or any other object is carried down by the current of a stream or river. If the waters therefore, ceased to flow, the consequences were serious; for the sun, the moon, the stars, would then all cease to rise, and world would be plunged in darkness. We can now fully understand the magnitude of the mischief worked by Vṛitra by stopping the flow of these waters. In his hidden home, at the bottom of rajas, that is, in the lower hemisphere, he encompassed the waters in such a way as to stop their flow upwards through the mountain, and Indra’s victory over Vṛitra meant that he released these waters from the clutches of Vṛitra and made them flow up again. When the waters were thus released, they naturally brought with them, the dawn, the sun and the cows, i.e. either days or the rays of the morning; and the victory was thus naturally described as four-fold in character. Now we can also understand the part played by parvatas, or mountains, in the legend. It was the mountain Albûrz, or Hara Berezaiti; and as Vṛitra, by stretching his body across, closed all the apertures in his mountainous range, through which the sun and the waters came up, Indra had to uncover or open these passages by killing Vṛitra. Thus the Bundahish (V, 5) mentions 180 apertures in the east and 180 in the west through Albûrz; and the sun is said to come and go through them every day, and all the movements of the moon, the constellations and the planets are also said to be closely connected with these apertures. The same idea is also expressed in the later Sanskrit literature when the sun is said to rise above the mountain in the east and set below the mountain in the west. The mountain on which Indra is said to have found Shambara (II, 12, 11), and the rock of Vala wherein the cows were said to have been imprisoned by the demon (IV, 3, 11; I, 71, 2) and which was burst open by Aṅgirases, also represent the same mountainous range, which separated the upper from the lower celestial hemisphere, or the bright from the dark ocean. This explanation of the Vṛitra legend may sound strange to many scholars, but it should be borne in mind that the co-relation between the flow of water and the rising of the dawn and the sun, here described, is not speculative. If the Vedic works do not express it in unambiguous terms, the deficiency is fully made up by the Parsi scriptures. Thus in Khorshed Yasht (VI, 2 and 3,) we are told that “When the sun rises up, then the earth becomes clean, the running waters become clean.... Should the sun not rise up, then the Daevas would destroy all the things that are in the seven Karshvares.” The passages in the Farvardin Yasht are still more explicit. This Yasht is devoted to the praise of the Fravashis, which correspondto the Pitṛis of the Ṛig-Veda. These ancient fathers are often described, even in the Ṛig-Veda, as taking part, along with the gods, in the production of the cosmical phenomena. Thus the Pitṛis are said to have adorned the sky with stars, and placed darkness in the night and light in the day (X, 68, 11), or to have found the hidden light and generated the dawn (VII, 76, 4; X, 107, 1). The Fravashis in the Parsi scriptures are said to have achieved the same or similar exploits. They are described (Yt. XIII, 53 and 54) as having “shown the beautiful paths to the waters, which had stood, before for a long time in the same place, without flowing”; and the waters are then said to have commenced to flow “along the path made by Mazda, along the way made by the gods, the watery way appointed to them.” Immediately after (Yt. XIII, 57), the Fravashis are said to have similarly showed “the paths to the stars, the moon, the sun and the endless lights, that had stood before, for a long time, in the same place, without moving forward, through the oppression of the Daevas and the assaults of the Daevas.” Here we have the co-relation between the flowing of waters and the moving forward of the sun distinctly enunciated. It was the Fravashis, who caused to move onwards the waters and the sun, both of which “had stood still for a long time in the same place.” Prof. Darmesteter adds a note saying that it was “in winter” that this cessation of motion occurred, (Cf. Vend. V, 10-12; VIII, 4-10 cited and discussed (infra). The Fravashis are further described (Yt. XIII, 78) as “destroying the malice of the fiend Angra Mainyu (the Avestic representative of Vṛitra), so that the waters did not stop flowing, nor did the plants stop growing.” In Yasna LXV (Sp. LXIV), 6, the Fravashis, who had “borne the waters up stream from the nearest ones,” are invoked to come to the worshipper; and a little further on the waters are asked to “rest still within their places while the Zaota (Sans. Hotâ) shall offer,” evidently meaning that it is the sacrifice offered by the invoking priest that eventually secures the release or the flow of waters. There are other references to the flowing of waters (Yt. X, 61)in the Parsi scriptures, but those cited above are sufficient to prove our point. The main difficulty in the rational explanation of the Vṛitra legend was to connect the flow of waters with the rising of the dawn, and the passages from the Farvardin Yasht quoted above furnish us with a clue by which this connection can be satisfactorily established.

            There are two passages in the Vendidad, which give us the period during which these aerial waters ceased to flow, and it is necessary to quote them here, inasmuch as they throw further light on the circulation of aerial waters. It has been stated above that according to Prof. Darmesteter these waters ceased to flow during winter, but the point is made perfectly clear in Fargards V and VIII of the Vendidad, where Ahura Mazda declares how the corpse of a person dying during winter is to be dealt with, until it is finally disposed of according to the usual rites at the end of the season. Thus in Fargard V, 10 (34), Ahura Mazda is asked, “If the summer is passed and the winter has come, what shall the worshipper of Mazda do?” To which Ahura Mazda answers, “In every house, in every borough they shall raise three Katas for the dead, large enough not to strike the skull, or the feet or the hands of the man; ...and they shall let the lifeless body lie there for two nights, three nights or a month long, until the birds begin to fly, the plants to grow, the floods to flow, and the wind to dry up the waters from off the earth. And as soon as the birds begin to fly, and the plants to grow, and the floods to flow, and the wind to dry up the waters from off the earth, then the worshipper of Mazda shall lay down the dead (on the Dakhma), his eyes towards the sun.” I have referred to this passage previously, but as the theory of the circulation of aerial waters was not then explained, the discussion of the passage had to be postponed. We now clearly see what is meant by the phrases like “floods to flow” and “plants to grow.” They are the same phrases which are used in the Farvardîn Yasht and are there connected with the shoving forward of the sun and the moon, that had stood still, or without moving, in the same place for a long time. In other words, the waters, as well as the sun, ceased to move during winter; and the worshipper of Mazda is ordered not to dispose of the corpse until the floods began to flow and the sun to move, be it for two nights, three nights, or a month long. The: Mazda-worshippers believed that the corpse was cleansed by its exposure to the sun, and dead bodies could not, therefore, be disposed of during night. The passage from the Vendidad, above referred to, therefore, clearly indicates that the season of winter was once marked by long darkness extending over two nights, three nights, or a month; and that during the period, the floods ceased to flow and the plants to grow. It was during such a winter that the difficulty of disposing the corpse arose; and Ahura Mazda is asked what the faithful should do in such cases. The question has no meaning otherwise, for, if in the ancient home of the Mazdayasnians the sun shone every day during winter, as he does with us in the tropical regions, there would have been no difficulty in the disposal of the corpse by exposing it to the sun the next morning; and it would be absurd to ask the faithful to keep the uncleanly dead body in his house for two nights, three nights, or a month long, until the winter passed away. The passage from Fargard V quoted, above makes. no mention of darkness, though it can be easily inferred from the statement that the body is, at last, to be taken out and laid down on the Dakhma with its eyes towards the sun, evidently meaning that this ceremony was impossible to be performed during the time the dead body was, kept up in the house. But Fargard VIII, 4 (11), where the same subject is again taken up, mentions darkness distinctly. Thus Ahura Mazda is asked “If in the house of the worshipper of Mazda a dog or a man happens to die, and it is raining, or snowing, or blowing, or the darkness is coming on, when the flocks and the men lose their way, what shall the worshipper of Mazda do?” To this Ahura Mazda gives the same reply as in Fargard V. The faithful is directed, VIII, 9 (21), to dig a grave in the house, and there“let the lifeless, body lie for two nights, three nights, or a months, long, until the birds begin to fly, the plants to grow, the floods to flow, and the wind to dry up the waters from off the earth.” Here in the question asked to Ahura Mazda darkness is distinctly mentioned along with snowing and blowing; and in the Farvardin Yasht we have seen that the flowing of waters and the moving of the sun are described as taking place at the same time. The passage from Tir Yasht, where the appointed time for the appearance of Tishtrya after conquering Apaosha in the watery regions is described as one night, two nights, fifty, or one hundred nights has already been referred to in the last chapter. From all these passages taken together lit inevitably follows that it was during winter that the water ceased to flow, and the sun to move, and that the period of stagnation lasted from one night to a hundred nights. It was a period of long darkness, when the sun was not seen above the horizon; and if a man died during the period, his corpse had to be kept in the house until the waters again commenced to flow, and the sun appeared on the horizon along with them. I have pointed out previously how the Hindu belief that it is inauspicious to die in the Dakṣhiṇâyana must be traced to this primeval practice of keeping the dead body undisposed of during the long Arctic night. The word Kâṭa which is used for “grave” in the Parsi scriptures occurs once in the Ṛig-Veda, I, 106, 6, where the sage Kutsa, lying inKâṭa is described as invoking the Vṛitra-slaying Indra for his protection; and I think that we have here, at least, an indirect reference to the practice of keeping dead bodies in a Kâṭa, until Vṛitra was killed, and the waters and the sun made free to run their usual course. We are, however, concerned here only with the circulation of the celestial waters; and from the Avestic passages quoted above, it is clear that the aerial waters ceased to flow during winter for several days or rather nights, and that, since light sprang from the same source as waters, the sun also ceased to move during the period and stood still in the watery regions, until the Fravashis, who helped the gods in their struggle for waters or in their conflict with powers of darkness, made the waters and the sun move onwards to take their usual course in the upper celestial hemisphere. We can now understand why Indra is described as moving by his might the stream upwards (udañcha) in II, 15, 6, and how the rivers are said to be set free to move on (sartave) by killing Vṛitra (I, 32, 12), or how in I, 80, 5, Indra is said to have made the lights of heaven shine forth without obstruction and set the waters (apaḥ) free to flow (sarmâya). There are many other passages in the Ṛig-Veda where the flowing of waters and the appearance of the sun or the dawn are spoken of as taking place simultaneously, as may be seen from the quotations from Macdonell’s Vedic Mythology given above, All these passages become intelligible only when interpreted on the theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters through the upper and the lower celestial hemispheres. But as the theory was little understood or studied in this connection, the Vedic scholars, ancient and modern, have hitherto failed to interpret the Vṛitra legend in a rational and intelligible way, especially the four simultaneous effects of the conquest of Indra over Vṛitra mentioned therein.

            The cosmic circulation of aerial waters described above, is not peculiar to the Indo-Iranian mythology. Dr. Warren, in his Paradise Found, states that a similar circulation of aerial waters is mentioned in the works of Homer. Homer describes the sun as returning to the flowing of the ocean, or sinking into it, and again rising from it and mounting the sky. All rivers and every sea and all fountains and even deep wells are again said to arise from the deep flowing ocean which was believed to encircle the earth.( See Dr. Warren’s Paradise Found, 10th Edition (1893) Part V, Chap. V, pp. 250-260) Helios or the sun is further described as sailing from west to east in a golden boat or cup, evidently meaning that the underworld was supposed to be full of waters. But Homeric scholars seem to have raised unnecessary, difficulties in the proper interpretation of these passages by assuming that Homer conceived the earth to be flat and that as the Hades was a region of complete darkness, the sun could not be said to go there even after his setting. Dr. Warren has, however, shown that the assumption is entirely groundless, and that Homer’s earth was really a sphere and that the underworld was full of aerial waters. We have seen above, how some Vedic scholars have raised similar difficulties in the interpretation of the Vṛitra myth by supposing that the lower celestial hemisphere was unknown to the Vedic bards. This is probably a reflection of the Homeric controversy, but as pointed out by Dr. Warren,*( Paradise Found, p. 333ƒ.) these baseless assumptions are clue mainly to a prejudice with which many scholars approach the question of the interpretation of ancient myths. It is assumed that the early man could not possibly have known anything about the world, beyond what the rudest savages know at present; and plain and explicit statements are sometimes put aside, distorted, or ignored by scholars, who, had they not been blinded by prejudice, would certainly have interpreted them in a different way. It is impossible to do justice to the subject in this place, and I would refer to reader for further details to Dr. Warren’s instructive work on the subject. Dr. Warren also states that Euripides, like Homer, held the view that there was one fountain of all the world’s water, and that the same conception is expressed by Hesiod in his Theogony, where all rivers as sons, and all fountains and brooks as daughters, are traced back to Okeanos. Then we have the constant descending movement of all waters until they reach the world-surrounding Ocean-river at the equator, beyond which is the underworld, similar to the movements of aerial waters described in the Avesta. Aristotle in his Meteors, is said also to have mentioned “a river in the air constantly flowing betwixt the heaven and the earth and made by the ascending and the descending vapors.”†( Paradise Found, p. 51, and 256, notes) It is again pointed by Grill that the ancient Germans had a similar world-river, and the descending Ukko’s stream and the ascending Anima’s stream in the Finnish mythology are similarly believed to be the traces of a like cosmic water-circulation. We read of a golden boat also in the Lettish mythology; and Prof. Max Müller, referring to it, says, “What the golden boat is that sinks into the sea and is mourned for by the daughter of the sky, however, doubtful it may be elsewhere, is not to be mistaken in the mythology of the Lets. It is the setting sun, which in the Veda has to be saved by the Ashvins; it is the golden beat in which Hêlios and Hêracles sail from west to east. Sometimes it is the Sun-daughter herself that is drowned like Chyavâna in the Veda, and as Chyavâna and similar heroes had to be saved in the Veda by the Ashvins, the Lets also call upon the Godsons to row in a boat and save the Sun-daughter.”( See Max Müller’s Contributions to the Science of Mythology, Vol. II, p. 433) In connection with this, it may be here observed that the Ashvins are described in the Ṛig-Veda as saving their protégés in boats (I, 116, 3; I, 182, 6), and that though Ashvins’ boats are not described as golden, their chariot is said to be hiraṇayayî or golden in VIII, 5, 29; while the boats of Pûṣhan, in which he crosses the aerial ocean (samudra) are actually said to be golden in VI, 58, 3. In I, 46, 7, the Ashvins are again spoken of as having both a chariot and a boat, as a sort of double equipment; and their chariot is said to be samâna yojana, or traversing, without distinction, both the heaven and the watery regions in I, 30, 18. The word samâna is meaningless unless there is some difficulty in traversing over one part of the celestial sphere as distinguished from the other. The Vedic gods used these boats especially, in crossing the lower world, the home and seat of aerial waters; and when they appeared above the horizon, they are described as traversing the upper sphere by means of their chariots. But sometimes the waters are said to carry them even across the sky above, just as the chariot is described as going over the lower world. For instance in the legend of Dîrghatamas discussed previously, he is said to be borne on waters for ten months and then growing old was about to die or reach the ocean, to which the waters were speeding. In other words, this means that the sun, who was borne on waters for ten months, was about to go into the lower watery regions as explained in the chapter VI. But to proceed with the subject in hand, the idea of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters, is not confined to the Indian, the Iranian or the Greek mythology. In the Egyptian mythology, Nut, the goddess of the sky, is sometimes “represented by a figure in which the band of stars is accompanied by a band of water”; and Sir Norman Lockyer tells us that “not only the Sun-gods, but the stars, were also supposed to travel in boats across the firmament from one horizon to the other.”* (See Lockyer’s Dawn of Astronomy, p. 35.) The Jewish idea of the firmament in the midst of waters, the waters above being after wards separated from the waters below the firmament, is already referred to above. There is, therefore, nothing strange or surprising if we find in the Vedas and in the Avesta more or less clear references to the circulation of aerial waters through the upper and the lower celestial hemispheres of the universe. It is an idea which is found in the ancient mythology of every other nation, and nothing but false prejudice can deter us from interpreting the simultaneous movements or the liberation of waters and light, described in the Vedic hymns, on the theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters.

            But even after accepting the theory of the cosmic circulation of celestial waters and the simultaneous release of waters and dawn, it may be asked how the Arctic theory comes in, or is in any way required, to explain the Vṛitra legend. We may admit that the waters imprisoned by Vṛitra by shutting up the passages through the rocky walls that surround them, may be taken to mean the celestial waters in the world below the three earths; but still, the struggle between Indra and Vṛitra may, for aught we know, represent the daily fight between light and darkness, and it may be urged, that there is no necessity whatever, for bringing in the Arctic theory to explain the legend. A little reflection will, however, show that all the incidents in the legend cannot be explained on the theory of a daily struggle between light and darkness. In X, 62, 2, the Aṅgirases, who are the assistants of Indra in his conquest of cows, are said to have defeated Vala at the end of the year (parivatsare). This shows that the struggle was annual and did not take place every day. Then we have the passage (VIII, 32, 26), where Arbuda, the watery demon, is said to have been killed by Indra with ice (hima), and not with a thunderbolt as usual. In addition to the fact that the struggle was an yearly one, we must, therefore, hold that the conflict took place during winter, the season of ice and snow; and this is corroborated by the statement in the Avesta, that it was during winter that the waters, and with them the sun, ceased to move onwards. Vṛitra’s forts are again described as autumnal or shâradîḥ showing that the fight must have commenced at the end ofsharad (autumn) and continued during winter. We have further seen that there are a hundred night-sacrifices, and the duration of Tishtrya’s fight with Apaosha is described as varying from one to a hundred nights in the Tir Yasht. All these incidents can be explained only by the Arctic theory, or by the theory of the long autumnal night, and not on the hypothesis of a daily struggle between light and darkness.

            We have come to the conclusion that Indra’s fight with Vṛitra must have commenced in Sharad, and lasted till the end of Shishira in the watery regions of the nether world. Fortunately for us this conclusion is remarkably borne out by an important passage preserved in the Ṛig-Veda, which gives us, what may be called, the very date of the commencement of Indra’s conflict with Vṛitra, though the true bearing of the passage has yet remained unexplained owing to the absence of the real key to its meaning. In II, 12, 11, we read, “Indra found Shambara dwelling on the mountains (in) chatvâriṁshyâm sharadi.”*

Now chatvâriṁshyâm is an ordinal numeral in the feminine gender and in the locative case, and similarly sharadi is the locative of sharad (autumn), which also is a word of feminine gender in Sanskrit. The phrase chatvâriṁshyâm sharadiis, therefore, capable of two interpretations or constructions, though the words are simple in themselves. Chatvâriṁshyâm literally means “in the fortieth,” and sharadi “in autumn.” If we now take chatvâriṁshyâm (in the fortieth) as an adjective qualifying sharadi (in autumn), the meaning of the phrase would be “in the fortieth autumn”); while if the two words are taken separately the meaning would be “on the fortieth, in autumn.” Sâyaṇa and Western scholars have adopted the first construction, and understand the passage to mean, “Indra found Shambara dwelling on the mountains in the fortieth autumn, that is, in the fortieth year”; for the words indicating seasons, like Vasant (spring), Sharad(autumn), or Hemanta (winter), are understood to denote a year, especially when used with a numeral adjective meaning more than one. This construction is grammatically correct, for chatvâriṁshyâm and sharadi being both in the feminine gender and in the locative case, the two words can be taken together, and understood to mean “in the fortieth autumn or year.” But what are we to understand by the statement, that Shambara was found in the fortieth year by Indra? Are we to suppose that India was engaged in searching out the demon for 40 years, and it was only at the end of this long period that the enemy was, at last, found dwelling on the mountains? If so, Indra’s conflict with Shambara cannot be daily or yearly, but must be supposed to have taken place only once in 40 years, an inference, which is directly opposed to the statement (X, 62, 2) that “Vala was killed at the end of the year (parivatsare).” Some scholars try to get out of the difficulty by suggesting that the passage may be taken as referring to a famine or drought that occurred after 40 years, or that it may represent a forty years’ war between the Aryans protected by Indra, and Shambara, the chief of the aboriginal races dwelling on the mountains! But both these explanations are too far-fetched and imaginary to deserve any serious attention or refutation. The story of Shambara is mentioned in a number of places in the Ṛig-Veda, and everywhere it represents Indra’s conflict with Vṛitra.* (* See the Nivids, quoted supra (p. 246). Shambra-hatya or the fight with Shambara, and go-iṣhṭi or the struggle for cows are declared to be, the one and the same in thesenivids.)

It is, therefore, preposterous to hold that a forty years’ war with the aborigines is referred to in this single passage, especially when the passage is capable of being interpreted differently without straining the words used. It is the most ordinary Sanskrit idiom to use the locative case in mentioning the month, the day, the season or the year, when a particular incident is said to have taken place. Thus, even now, we say, “Kârttike, shukla-pakṣhe, trayodashyâm,” meaning “in the month of Kârttika, in the bright half, on the thirteenth (tithi or day).” The feminine ordinal numerals, like chaturthî, ekâdashi, trayodashi, are always used, without any noun, to denote the tithi or the day of the month, or the fortnight, as the case may be. Thus in the Taittirîya Brâhmaṇa (I, 1, 9, 10), we have the expression “yadi saṁvatsare na âdadhyât dvâdashyâm purastât âdadhyât,” meaning that, “if the sacrificial fire is not consecrated at the end of the year (saṁvatsare), it should be consecrated on the twelfth (dvâdashyâm) afterwards.” Here dvâdashyâm is a feminine ordinal in the locative case used by itself, and means “on the twelfth tithi or day” after the end of the year mentioned in the preceding sentence. Chatvâriṁshyâm, in the Vedic passage under discussion, may be similarly taken to denote the fortieth tithi or day, and sharadi the season at the time, the two words being taken as independent locatives. The passage would then mean “Indra found Shambara dwelling on the mountains on the fortieth (scil. tithi) in autumn.”


            Now Sharad is the fourth season of the year, and the fortieth day of Sharad would mean seven months and ten days, or 220 days, after the first day of Vasanta or the spring, which commenced the year in old times. In short, the passage means that Indra’s fight with Shambera, or the annual conflict between light and darkness, commenced on the tenth day of the eighth month of the year, or on the 10th of October, if we take the year to have then commenced with March, the first month in the old Roman calendar. In I, 165, 6, Viṣhṇu, like a rounded wheel, is said to have set in swift motion his ninety racing steeds together with the four, and the reference is evidently to a year of four seasons of ninety days each. If we accept this division, each season would be of three months’ duration, and Sharad being the third (cf, X, 90, 6), the fortieth day of Sharad would still mean the 10th day of the eighth month of the year. The passage thus gives the very date of Indra’s annual fight with Vṛitra; and if it had been correctly understood, much useless speculation about the nature of Vṛitra’s legend would have been avoided. We have seen previously that the seven Âdityas, or monthly Sun-gods, the sons of Aditi, were presented by her to the gods in a former yuga, and that she cast away the eighth, Mârtâṇḍa, because he was born in an undeveloped state. In other words, the Sun-god of the eighth month is here said to have died soon after he was born, evidently meaning, that the Sun went below the horizon in the beginning of the eighth month; and by fixing the date of the commencement of Indra’s fight with Vṛitra as the fortieth day in Sharad, or the 10th day of the eighth month, we arrive at the same conclusion. The legend of Aditi and the date of the commencement of Indra’s fight with Shambara, as given in II, 12, 11, thus corroborate each other in a remarkable way; and as the current interpretation of the passage does not yield any intelligible sense, there is no course left for us but to accept the only other possible interpretation.
            According to this interpretation Sharad becomes the last season of sunshine, and it may be here remarked that the etymological meaning of the word further supports the same view. For Sharad is derived from shṛi, to wither or waste away (Uṇâdi 127), and the word thus primarily signifies the “season of decay or withering”; and the decay here referred to is evidently the-decay of the power of the sun, and not the withering of grass, as suggested by Sâyaṇa in his commentary on III, 32, 9. Thus we find in the Taittirîya Saṁhitâ, II, 1, 2, 5, that “There are three lusters or powers of the sun; one in Vasanta, that is, in the morning; one in Grîṣhma or the mid. day; and one in Sharad or the evening.”* (Taitt. Sam. II, 1, 2, 5. Also compare Taitt. Sam. II, 1, 4, 2.) We cannot suppose that the words, morning, mid-day and evening, are here used in their primary sense. The three stages of the day represented by them are predicated of the yearly sun, and Sharad is said to be the evening, i.e., the time of decline in his yearly course. It follows, therefore, that after Sharad there was no period of sunshine in ancient times; and a Vedic passage,†( Shabara or Jaimini VI, 7, 40. I have not been able to trace the passage; but it clearly states that the last two seasons formed the night of the yearly sun.) quoted by Shabara in his commentary on Jaimini Sutras VI, 7, 40, says, “The sun is all the seasons; when it is morning (uditi), it is Vasanta: when the milking time (saṇgava) it is Grîṣhma; when mid-day (madhyan-dina), it is Varṣhâ; when evening (aparâhṇa), it is Sharad; when it sets (astam eti), it is the dual season of Hemanta and Shishira.” If this passage has any meaning, it shows that the powers of the sun declined in Sharad, and the end of Sharad (autumn) therefore, represented his annual succumbing to the powers of the darkness; or, in short, to dual season of Hemanta and Shishirarepresented the long night when the sun went below the horizon. It may also be mentioned that the word himyâ (lit. wintry) is used in the Ṛig-Veda for night (I, 34, 1), implying that the wintry season was the season of special darkness

            But it may be urged that we have no authority for holding that, in ancient days, time was reckoned simply by seasons and days; and chatvâriṁshyâm sharadi cannot, therefore, be interpreted to mean “On the 40th (day) in Sharad.” The objection is not, however, well-founded; for in ancient inscriptions we find many instances where dates of events are recorded only by reference to seasons. Thus in the book on the Inscriptions from the Cave-Temples of Western India, by Dr. Burgess and Pandit Bhagwânlâl Indrâji, published by the Government of Bombay in 1881, the date of inscription No. 14 is given as follows: — “Of king (rano) Vâsiṭhîputa, the illustrious lord (sâmi-siri) [Pulumâyi] in the year seventh (7), of Grîṣhma the fifth (5) fortnight, and first (1) day.” Upon this Dr. Burgess remarks that “the mention of the 5th fortnight of Grîṣhma shows that the year was not divided into six seasons (ṛitu) but into three, namely, Grîṣhma,Varṣhâ and Hemanta.” But what is important for our purpose in this inscription is the method of giving the date by seasons, fortnights and days, without any reference to the month. This inscription is followed in the same book by others, one of which (No. 20) is thus dated: — “In the twenty-fourth year (24) of the king Vâsithîputa, the illustrious Puḷumâyi, in the third (3) fortnight of the winter (Hemanta) months, on the second (2) day”; and another is said to be inscribed “On the tenth day, in the sixth fortnight of Grîṣhma, in the eighth year of king Mâḍhariputta, the lord Sîrisena.” Dr. Bhâṇḍârkar, in his Early History of the Deecan, has ascertained that Mâḍhariputta reigned in the Mahârâṣhtṛa from about A.D. 190 to 197, and Puḷumâyi was on the throne of the Mahârâṣhtṛa about 60 years earlier, that is, from A.D. 130 to 154. All the inscriptions noted above, therefore, belong to the 2nd century of the Christian era, that is, a long time before the date of Ârya Bhaṭṭa or Varâhamihira, whose works seem so have established, if not introduced, the present system of measuring time by seasons, months, fortnights and days. It is, therefore, clear that eighteen hundred years ago, dates or events were recorded and ascertained by mentioning only the season, the fortnight and the day of the fortnight, without any reference to the month of the year; and we might very well suppose that several centuries before this period these dates were given by a still more simple method, namely, by mentioning only the season and the day of that season. And, as a matter of fact, we do find this method of measuring time, viz., by seasons and days, adopted in the Avesta to mark the particular days of the year. Thus in the Âfrigân Gâhanbâr (I, 7-12), as written in some manuscripts mentioned by Westergaard in his notes ort the Âfrigân, there is a statement of the different rewards which a Mazdayasnian receives in the next life for what he gives as present in this to the Ratu (religious head); and we have therein such expressions as “On the 45th (day) of Maidhyô-Zaremya, i.e., on (the day) Dae of (the month) Ardibehest;” or “On the 60th (day) of Maidhyôshma, i.e., on (the day) Dae of (the month) Tîr;” and so on. Here each date is given in two different ways: first by mentioning the Gâhanbâr or the season (the year being divided into six Gâhanbârs), and the day of that season; and secondly, by mentioning the month and the day of that month. Strictly speaking there is no necessity to adopt this double method of marking the days of the year, for either of them is enough to accurately define the day required. It is, therefore, highly probable, as remarked by Mr. Ervad Jamshedji Dadabhai Nadershah, that the method of counting by seasons and days is the older of the two, and the phrases containing the names of the months and days are later interpolations, made at a time when the older method was superseded by the latter.* (See his essay on “The Zoroastrian months and years with their divisions in the Avestic age” in the Cama Memorial Volume, pp. 251-254.) But even supposing that the double phrases were used originally, we can, so far as our present purpose is concerned, safely infer from these passages that the method of marking the days of the year by mentioning the season and the day thereof was in vogue at the time when the Âfrigân was written: and if the method is so old, it fully warrants us in interpreting chatvâriṁshyâm sharadi to mean “On the 40th (day) in Sharad (autumn).” There can be little doubt that the Vedic bards have recorded in this passage the exact date of the commencement of Indra’s fight with Shambara, but in the absence of the true key to its meaning the passage has been so long unfortunately misunderstood and misinterpreted both by Eastern and Western scholars. The grammatical possibility of connecting chatvâriṁshyâm, as an adjective, with sharadi helped on this misconception; and though Vedic scholars were unable to explain why Shambara, according to their interpretation, should be described as having been found in the 4oth year, yet they seemed to have accepted the interpretation, because no other meaning appeared possible to them. The alternative construction proposed by me above is very simple. Instead-of taking chatvâriṁshyâm as an adjective qualifying sharadi I take the two words as independent locatives, but the change in the meaning caused thereby is very striking and important and so long as the Arctic: theory was unknown, the attention of scholars was not likely to be drawn to this alternative construction.† But now we can very well understand why Indra is said to have found Shambara on the 40th (day) of Sharad and why the forts, which gave shelter to the demon, are described as shâradîḥ, as well as why Arbuda or the watery demon is said to be killed by ice (hima). I have stated before that the forts (puraḥ) of Shambara must be understood to mean “days,” and the adjective shâradîḥ only serves to strengthen the same view. The disappearance of the sun below the horizon in the beginning of the 8th month in autumn, followed by a long twilight, a continuous dark night of about 100 days, and a long dawn of 30 days in the Arctic regions, is the basis of the legend, and every incident therein can be naturally and intelligibly explained only on this theory.

† A similar phrase is found also in the Atharva Veda (XII, 3, 34 and 41). The hymn describes the preparation of Brahraudana, or the porridge given as a fee to the Brâhmans, and in the 34th verse it is stated that “The treasurer shall fetch it in sixty autumns (ṣhaṣhtyâm sharatsu nidhipâ abhîhhât).” But, as remarked by Prof. Bloomfield (vide his translation of A.V. with notes in S. B. E. Series, Vol. XLII, p. 651), the meaning of the phrase “sixty autumns” is obscure; and the only other alternative possible is to take ṣhaṣhtyâm as the locative of ṣhaṣhṭî (feminine form, in long î of ṣhaṣhṭa) meaning “the 60th”; and interpret the original phrase to mean “On the 60th (tithi) in autumns.” “The word ṣhaṣhṭa cannot be used in classical Sanskrit as an ordinal numeral according to Pâṇini (V. 2, 58); but the rule does not seem to hold strictly in Vedic Sanskrit (See Whitney’s Grammar, §487). Even in the post-Vedic literature we meet with such ordinal forms asṣhaṣhṭa aṣhita, &c. Thus the colophon of the 60th chapter of the Sabhâ and the Udyogaparvan of the Mahâbhârata (Roy’s Cal. Ed.) reads thus: — Iti ... ṣhaṣhṭaḥ adhyâyaḥ showing that ṣhaṣhṭa was used at the time as an ordinal numeral (See Pet Lex. s.v. ṣhaṣhṭa). The Brahmaudana is according to this interpretation to be cooked on the both day in autumn i.e. at the end of Shared every year

            There is one more incident in the Vṛitra legend which requires to be considered before we close its examination. We have seen that water and light are described as having been simultaneously liberated by Indra after slaughtering Vṛitra. These waters are sometimes spoken of as streams or rivers (II, 15, 3; II, 2), which flow upwards or udañcha (II, 15, 6) and are said to be seven in number (I, 32, 12; II, 12, 12). The theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters explains why these waters are described as flowing upwards simultaneously with the dawn, for as the sun was believed to be carried in the sky by aerial currents, the light of the sun appeared above the horizon when the aerial rivers began to flow up from the nether world where they had been blocked before by Vṛitra.

The waters or the rivers were, therefore, aptly described as flowing upwards and bringing the light of the sun with them. But we have still to answer the question why the rivers or waters are described as seven in number, and it is alleged that the Storm theory supplies us with a satisfactory reply to this question. Thus it has been suggested by Western scholars that the seven rivers, here referred to, are the seven rivers of the Panjaub which are flooded during the rainy season by waters released by Indra from the clutches of the demon who confines them in the storm-cloud. The rivers of Punjaub may therefore, it is urged be well described as being set free to flow (sartave) by Indra himself, and in support of this explanation we are referred to the Ṛig-Veda X, 75, and to the phrase hapta hindu occurring in Fargard I of the Vendidad, where it is said to denote the Punjaub or India. But the hypothesis, howsoever tempting it may seem at the first sight, is quite inadequate to explain the seven-fold division of waters in a satisfactory way. It has been pointed out above that the simultaneous release of waters and light can be accounted for only on the theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters; and if this is correct, we cannot identify the seven rivers, set free to flow upwards (udañcha) by Indra, with any terrestrial rivers whether in the Panjaub or elsewhere. The Panjaub is, again, as its name indicates, a land of five and not of seven rivers; and it is so described in the Vâjasaneyî Saṁhitâ.*( Vâj Saṁ, XXXIV, 11) The term pañchanada is, therefore, more appropriate in the case of the Panjaub, than sapta sindhavaḥ or the Hapta-hindu of the Avesta. But we might get over the difficulty by supposing that Kubhâ and Sarasvatî, or any other two tributaries of the Indus were included in the, group by the Vedic bards, when they spoke of seven rivers. In the Ṛig-Veda (X, 75), about fifteen different rivers are mentioned, including the Gangâ, the Yamunâ, the Kubhâ, the Krumu, the Gomatî, the Rasâ, and the five rivers of the Panjaub; but nowhere do we find what specific rivers were included in the group of seven rivers. This has given rise to a difference of opinion amongst scholars. Thus Sâyaṇa includes the Ganges and the Jamuna in the group, which, according to Prof. Max Müller, is made up by adding the Indus and the Sarasvatî to the five rivers of the Panjaub. On the other hand, Lassen and Ludwig hold that the Kubhâ must be included in the group at the cost of the Sarasvatî. This shows that we are not on a safe ground in supposing that the expression “seven rivers” once meant what is, by nature, “the land of five rivers.” The expression sapta sindhavaḥ occurs in about a dozen places in the Ṛig-Veda, and in five of these it distinctly denotes the seven rivers set free by Indra along with the release of cows or the recovery of dawn (I, 32, 12; II, 12, 3 and 12; IV, 28, 1, &c.); and for reasons given above, we cannot suppose that they represent any terrestrial rivers in these passages. In the remaining cases, there is not a single instance where the expression may be said to decisively denote only the terrestrial rivers, nay, it is more likely that celestial rivers are referred to everywhere by the expression of sapta sindhavaḥ. I do not mean to say that sapta sindhavaḥ, sapta pravataḥ, or sapta sravataḥ can in no case denote any terrestrial, rivers. For there are three groups of seven rivers mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda, — the celestial, the terrestrial and the infernal. Thus in X, 64, 8, “thrice three wandering rivers” are mentioned; while the waters are said “to flow forward triply, seven and seven” in X, 75, 1. It is, therefore, clear that like the Ganges in the Purâṇas, the Vedic bards conceived a group of seven rivers in the heaven, another on the earth, and a third in the nether world, somewhat after the manner of the eleven gods in the heaven, eleven on the earth, and eleven in the waters (I, 139, 11; I, 34, 11; X, 65, 9). If so, we cannot say thata seven-fold division of the terrestrial rivers was not known to the Vedic bards. But, for reasons given above, we cannot hold that this seven-fold division was suggested by the rivers of the Panjaub; and then extended to the upper and the lower celestial hemisphere. The Panjaub, as remarked above, is a land of five rivers and not seven; and though we might raise the number to seven by adding to the group any two insignificant tributaries according to our fancy, yet the artificial character of the device is too apparent to justify us in holding, that the expression sapta sindhavaḥ was originally suggested by the rivers of the Panjaub. We must again bear in mind that the seven-fold division of waters does not stand by itself in the Ṛig-Veda; but is only a particular case of a general principle of division adopted therein. Thus we have seven earthly abodes (I, 22, 16), seven mountains (VIII, 96, 2), seven rays or horses of the sun (I, 164, 3), seven hotṛis (VIII, 60, 16), seven regions (dishaḥ) and seven Âdityas (IX, 114, 3), seven dhîtis or devotions (IX, 8, 4), seven sisters or maryâdâḥ (X, 5, 5-6), and possibly seven and seven gods (X, 55, 3), in the, Ṛig-Veda; while in the later Sanskrit literature we have the seven heavens, seven earths, seven mountains, seven oceans and seven nether worlds. This seven-fold division is also found in other Aryan mythologies, as, for instance, in the Avesta, where the earth is said to be divided into seven Karshavares (Yt. X, 16 and 64), and in the Greek mythology, which speaks of the seven layers of heaven over one another. It follows, therefore, that the seven-fold division must be traced back almost to the Indo-European period; and if so, we cannot maintain that the seven-fold division of waters, which is only a particular case of the general principle, was suggested by the rivers of the Panjaub, for, in that case, we shall have to make the Panjaub the home of the Aryans before they separated. But if the rivers set free to flow up by Indra are not terrestrial and if the expression sapta sindhavaḥ was not originally suggested by the rivers of the Panjaub, it may be asked how we account for the number of rivers and the origin of the phrase Hapta-hindu occurring in the Avesta.

The true key to the solution of the question will be found in the simultaneous release of waters and light effected by Indra after conquering Vṛitra. In II, 12, 12, Indra, who caused the seven rivers to flow, is described as sapta-rashmiḥ, or seven-rayed, suggesting that seven rays and seven rivers must have, in some way, been connected. We have also seen that the waters and the sun are said to move at the same time in the Parsi scriptures. If so, what can be more natural than to suppose that the seven suns required seven horses or seven aerial rivers to carry them over the sky, much in the same way as Dîrghatamas is said to have been borne upon waters in I, 158, 6? Again according to the legend of Aditi, there were seven suns or month-gods located in seven different regions and producing seven months of sun-shine of different temperatures. But how could the seven suns move in seven different parts of heaven except by the agency of seven different aerial rivers coming up from the nether world, each with its own sun? In short, when the close connection between waters and light is once established, it is not difficult to perceive why the waters and the light are each said to be seven-fold. The seven celestial rivers are expressly mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda (IX, 54, 2), and the flowing forth of the rivers and the appearance of the dawn on the horizon are described as simultaneous in many passages, some of which have been already referred to above. Neither the Storm theory nor the geography of the Panjaub, satisfactorily accounts for the simultaneous happening of these events; and so long as this difficulty is not solved, except by the Arctic theory and the cosmic circulation of aerial waters, we cannot accept the hypothesis of Western scholars referred to above, howsoever eloquently expounded it may be. As regards the origin of the phrase Hapta-hindu, which is believed to denote India in the Avesta, I think, we can explain it by supposing that the expression sapta sindhavaḥ was an old one, carried by the Aryans with them to their new home, and there applied to new places or countries, just as the British colonists now carry the old names of their mother country to their new places of settlement. Hapta-hindu is not the only expression which occurs in the Avesta in the enumeration of the Aryan countries. We have, Vârena, Haêtumant, Rangha and Harahvaiti in the list, which are the Zend equivalents of Varuṇa, Setumat, Rasâ and Sarasvatî.*

* Darmesteter, in his introduction to Fargard I of the Vendidad, observes that “names, originally belonging to mythical lands, are often, in later times, attached to real ones.” If this is true of Varena, Rangha, (Rasâ), and other names, there is no reason why Hapta-hindu should not be similarly explained, especially when it is now clear that the phrase sapta sindhavaḥ denotes celestial rivers in the Vedas.

 But it is never argued from it that the Vedic deity, Varuṇa, was so named from the country called Varena by the worshippers of Mazda; and the same may be said of Rasâ and Sarasvatî. Rasâ and Sarasvatî sometimes denote the terrestrial rivers even in the Ṛig-Veda. But there is ample evidence to show that they were originally the aerial rivers. It is, therefore, more natural to hold that all these were ancient mythological names brought with them by the Aryan settlers to their new home and there applied to new places or objects. There are places in Burma which are named Ayodhya, Mithila, &c., and this is explained on the ground that they were so named by the Indian settlers in Burma after the well-known places in their native land. There is no reason why the same theory should not be applied in the case of Hapta-hindu, especially when we see that the rivers set free by Indra by slaughtering Vṛitra cannot but be celestial.

            It will be seen from the foregoing discussion that the true nature and movements of waters released by Indra from the grasp of Vṛitra has been misunderstood from the days of the most ancient Nairuktas, or, we might say, even from the days of the Brâhmaṇas. There are passages in the Ṛig-Veda where Pûshan is said to cross the upper celestial hemisphere in boats; but the Ashvins and Sûrya are generally described as traversing the heaven in their chariots. This led the ancient Nairuktas to believe that the upper celestial hemisphere was not a seat of aerial waters, and that when Indra was described as releasing waters by slaughtering Vṛitra, the waters referred to could not but be the waters imprisoned in the rain-clouds, the seven rivers set free to flow by killing Vṛitra were similarly understood to be the rivers of India, like the Ganges, the Jamuna, &c., while the piercing of the mountains was explained away by distorting or straining the meaning of such words as, parvata, giri, &c., as stated above. It was at this stage that the subject was taken in hand by Western scholars who, taking their cue from the Hapta-hindu of the Avesta eloquently advanced the theory that the seven rivers, set free by Indra, were the rivers of the Panjaub. This explanation, when first started, was regarded as an important historical discovery; and so it would have been, if it had been a real fact. But, as pointed out above, the Panjaub is, by nature, a land of five rivers and not seven; and it is so described in the Vâjasaneyî Saṁhitâ. It is also evident that as the seven rivers set free to flow by Indra, were released simultaneously with the dawn, they could not be the rivers of the Panjaub. We do not mean to say that the Panjaub was not an Aryan settlement at the time when the Vedic hymns were sung, for the rivers of the Panjaub are expressly mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda. But the rivers of the Panjaub were not the seven rivers mentioned in the Vedas; and if so, a new explanation of the Vṛitra legend becomes necessary, and such an explanation is furnished only by the theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters or rivers through the lower and the upper world, carrying along with them the sun, the moon and the other heavenly bodies. We can now very well explain how Vṛitra, by stretching his body across, closed the passages in the mountainous ranges (parvatas), which, on the analogy of mountains usually seen on the horizon, were believed to lie between the upper and the lower world; and how the waters, and with them the sun and the dawn, were prevented from coming up from the nether world for a long time in the Arctic home of the ancestors of the Vedic bards. Another point elucidated by the present theory is the four-fold character of the effects of Indra’s conquest over Vṛitra a point which has been entirely neglected by ancient and modern Nairuktas, not because it was unknown but because they were unable to give any satisfactory explanation of the same, except on the hypothesis that different effects have been confounded with one other by the poets of the Ṛig-Veda. But the theory of the cosmic circulation of aerial waters, a theory which is also found in the mythology of many other nations, now clears up the whole mystery. If Indra is described as the leader or the releaser of waters (apâm netâ, or apâm sraṣhtâ), the waters do not mean the waters in the clouds, but the waters or the watery vapors: which fill the universe, and formed the material out of which the latter was created. In other words, the conquest over waters was something grander, something far more marvelous and cosmic in character than the mere breaking up of the clouds in the rainy season; and under these circumstances it was naturally considered to be the greatest of Indra’s exploits, when, invigorated by a hundred nightly Soma sacrifices, he slew with ice the watery demon of darkness, shattered his hundred autumnal forts, released the waters or the seven rivers upstream to go along their aerial way and brought cut the sun and the dawn, or the cows, from their place of confinement inside the rocky caves, where they had stood still since the date of the war, which, according to a Vedic passage, hitherto misread and misunderstood, commenced in higher latitudes every year on the 40th day of Sharad or autumn and lasted till the end of winter. It is not contended that Indra had never been the god of rain. There are a few passages in the Ṛig-Veda (IV, 26, 2; VIII, 6, 1), where he is expressly mentioned as sending down rain, or is compared to a rain-god. But as Vṛitra-han or the killer of Vṛitra and the releaser of waters and the dawn, it is impossible to identify him with the god of rain. The story; of the release of captive waters is an ancient story for Vṛitra appears as Orthros in the Greek mythology, and Vṛitra-han, as Verethraghna, is the god of victory in the Parsi scriptures. Now this Vṛitra-han may not have been originally the same as Indra, for the word Indra does not occur in European Aryan languages, and it has, therefore, been suggested by some comparative mythologians that the conquest of waters, which was originally the exploit of some other Aryan deity, was probably ascribed to Indra in the Vedic mythology, when Indra became the principal deity in the Vedic pantheon. The fact that Tishtrya, and not Verethraghna, is said to be the releaser of waters and light in the Avesta, lends some support to this theory. But whichever view we adopt, it does not affect the conclusion we have come to above regarding the true explanation of the Vṛitra legend. Clouds and rain cannot constitute the physical basis of the legend, which is evidently based on the simple phenomenon of bringing light to the people who had anxiously waited for it during the darkness of the long night in the Arctic regions; and it is a pity that any misconception regarding Vedic cosmography, or the nature of waters and their cosmic movements should have, for sometime at least, stood in the way of the true interpretation of this important legend. Indra may have become a storm-god afterwards; or the conquest over Vṛitra, originally achieved by some other deity, may have come to be ascribed to Indra, the rain-god in later times. But whether the exploits of Vṛitra-han were subsequently ascribed to Indra, or whether Indra, as the releaser of captive waters, was afterwards mistaken for the god of rain, like Tishtrya in the Avesta, one fact stands out boldly amidst all details, viz., that captive waters were the aerial waters in the nether world, and that their captivity represented the annual struggle between light and darkness in the original home of the Aryans in the Arctic region; and if this fact was not hitherto discovered, it was because our knowledge of the ancient man was too meager to enable us to perceive it properly.


CHAPTER X

VEDIC MYTHS — THE MATUTINAL DEITIES

Vernal theory and the legends of the Ashvins — The part played by the Ashvins in the struggle for waters and light — Intelligible only on the Arctic theory — Their exploits and legends — Saving or rejuvenating, rescuing from the ocean, or restoring the eye-sight or light, to Chyavâna, Rebha, Bhujyu, Atri, Vandana &c. — All explained at present as referring to the rescue of the daily dawn or the vernal restoration of the powers of the winter sun — But the theory fails to explain references to blindness or darkness in several legends — Nor does it account for the duration of the distress of the Ashvins’ protégés — Nor for the character of the place of distress from which the protégés were saved — Bottomless and dark ocean really means the nether world — A bowl with bottom up and mouth downwards indicates the inverted hemisphere of the Hades — Legend of Ṛijrâshva — The slaughter of a hundred sheep represents the conversion of a hundred days into so many nights — The story of Saptavadhri or the seven eunuchs, praying for safe delivery after ten months of gestation — Remains unexplained up to the present — The interior of heaven and earth is conceived in the Veda as the womb in which the sun moves when above the horizon — Ten months’ gestation thus represents the ten months when the Sun is above the horizon — Prayer for safe delivery indicates the perils of the long night — Riddle or paradox of a child becoming invisible as soon as born — The story of the hidden Agni refers to the same phenomenon — Probable origin of the Purâṇic story of Kumâra or Kârttikeya — Superiority of the Arctic over the vernal theory in explaining the legends of the Ashvins — The legend of Indra’s stealing Sûrya’s wheel — The meaning of dasha-prapitve discussed — Indicates darkness on the completion of ten months — Viṣhṇu’s three strides — Different opinions about their nature quoted – Viṣhṇu’s strides represent the yearly course of the sun-And his third invisible-step represents the nether world — Viṣhṇu’s opprobrious name, Shipivishta — Represents the dark or the diseased sun during the long Arctic night — The three abodes of Savitri, Agni and the Ashvins compared to Viṣhṇu’s third step — The legend of Trita A’ptya — Trita, or the third, represents the third part of the year — The Indo-Germanic origin of the legend — The Âpas — Their character and nature described — Seven-fold and ten-fold division of things in the Vedic literature — Various instances of seven-fold and ten-fold division collected — This two-fold division probably due to the seven and ten months’ period ofsunshine in the Arctic region — The Dâsharâjna fight — Represents struggle with the ten-fold division of darkness — Brihaspati and his lost wife in the Ṛig-Veda — The ten non-sacrificing kings and Râvaṇa compared — Mythical element in the Râmâyaṇa probably derived from the Vedic mythology — Hanumân and Vrishâkapi — Was Râmâyaṇa copied from Homer — Both may have a common source — Conclusion.


            The inadequacy of the Storm theory to explain the legend of Indra and Vṛitra has been fully set forth in the last chapter; and we have seen how a number of points therein, hitherto unintelligible, can be explained by the Arctic theory, combined with the true conception of the circulation of aerial waters in the upper and the nether world. We shall now take up the legends that are usually explained on the Vernal theory, and show how, like the Storm theory, it fails to account satisfactorily for the different features of these legends. Such legends are to be found amongst the achievements of the Ashvins, the physicians of the gods. These achievements are summed up, as it were, in certain hymns of the Ṛig-Veda (I, 112; 116; 117; 118), each of which briefly refers to the important exploits of these twin gods. As in the case of Vṛitra, the character of the Ashvins and their exploits are explained by different schools of interpreters in different ways. Thus Yâska (Nir. XII, 1) informs us that the two Ashvins are regarded by some as representing Heaven and Earth, by others as Day and Night, or as Sun and Moon; while the Aitihâsikas take them to be two ancient kings, the performers of holy acts. But as before, we propose to examine the legends connected with the Ashvins only according to the naturalistic or the Nairukta school of interpretation. Even in this school there are, however, a number of different views held regarding the nature and the character of these two gods. Some believe that the natural basis of the Ashvins must be the morning star, that being the only morning-light visible before fire, dawn and sun; while others think that the two stars in the constellation of Gemini were the original representatives of the twin gods. The achievements of these gods are, however, generally explained as referring to the restoration of the powers of the sun decayed-in winter; and an elaborate discussion of the Ashvins’s exploits on this theory will be found in the Contributions to the Science of Mythology (Vol. II, pp. 583-605) by Prof, Max Müller, published a few years ago. It is beyond the scope of this work to examine each one of the different legends connected with the Ashvins, as Prof. Max Müller has done. We are concerned only with those points in the legends which the Vernal or the Dawn theory fails to explain and which can be well accounted for only by the Arctic theory; and these we now proceed to notice.
            Now, in the first place, we must refer to the part played by the Ashvins in the great struggle or fight for waters and light, which has been discussed in the previous chapter. The Ashvins are distinctly mentioned in the sacrificial literature as one of the deities connected with the Dawn (Ait. Br. II, 15); and we have seen that a long laudatory song recited by the Hotṛi before sunrise is specially devoted to them. The daughter of Sûrya is also described as having ascended their car (I, 116, 17; 119, 5), and the Aitareya Brâhmaṇa (IV, 7-9), describes a race run by the gods for obtaining the Âshvina-shastra as a prize; and the Ashvins, driving in a carriage drawn by donkeys, are said to have won it in close competition with Agni, Uṣhas and Indra, who are represented as making way for the Ashvins, on the understanding that after winning the race the Ashvins would assign to them a share in the prize. The kindling of the sacrificial fire, the break of dawn, and rise of the sun are again spoken of as occurring simultaneously with the appearance of the Ashvins (I, 157, 1; VII, 72, 4); while in X, 61, 4, the time of their appearance is said to be the early dawn when “darkness still stands amongst the ruddy cows.” Their connection with the dawn and their appearance in the interval between dawn and sunrise are thus taken to be clearly established; and whatever theory we may adopt to explain the character of the Ashvins on a physical basis, we cannot lose sight of the fact that they are matutinal deities, bringing on the dawn or the light of the morning along with them. The two epithets which are peculiar to Indra, vizVṛitrahan and Shata-kratûare applied to them (Vṛtrahantamâ, VIII, 8, 22; Shata-kratû I, 112, 23) and in I, 182, 2, they are expressly said to possess strongly the qualities of Indra (Indra-tamâ), and of the Maruts (Marut-tamâ) the associates of Indra in his struggle with Vṛitra. Nay, they are said to have protected Indra in his achievements against Namuchi in X, 131, 4. This leaves no doubt about their share in the Vṛitra-fight; and equally clear is their connection with the waters of the ocean. In I, 46, 2, they are called sindhu-mâtarâ, or having the ocean for their mother and their car is described as turning up from the ocean in IV, 43, 5; while in I, 112, 13, the Ashvins in their car are said to go round the sun in the distant region (parâvati). We also read that the Ashvins moved the most sweet sindhu, or ocean, evidently meaning that they made the waters of the ocean flow forward (I, 112, 9) and they are said to have made Rasâ, a celestial river, swell full with water-floods, urging to victory the car without the horse (I, 112, 12). They are also the protectors of the great Atithigva and Divodâsa against Shambara; and Kutsa, the favorite of Indra, is also said Co have been helped by them (I, 112, 14, and 23). In Verse 18 of the same hymn, the Ashvins are addressed as Aṅgirases, and said to have triumphed in their hearts and went onwards to liberate the flood of milk; while in VIII, 26, 17, we read that they abide in the sea of heaven (divo arṇave). Taking all these facts together, we can easily see that the Ashvins were the helpers of Indra in his struggle for waters and light; and we now know what that struggle means. It is the struggle between the powers of light and darkness, and the Ashvins, in their character as divine, physicians, were naturally the first to help the gods in this distress or affliction. It is true that Indra was the principal actor or hero in this fight; but the Ashvins appear to have stood by him, rendering help whenever necessary, and leading the van in the march of the matutinal deities after the conquest. This character of the Ashvins is hardly explained by the Vernal theory; nor can it be accounted for on the theory of a daily strugglebetween light and darkness, for we have seen that the dawn, during which the Âshvina-shastra is recited, is not the evanescent dawn of the tropics. The Arctic theory alone can satisfactorily interpret the facts stated above; and when they are interpreted in this way, it is easy to perceive how the Ashvins are described as having rejuvenated, cured, or rescued a number of decrepit, blind, lame or distressed protégés of theirs in the various legends ascribed to them.

            The important achievements of the Ashvins have been summed up by Macdonell in his Vedic Mythology (§ 21) as follows: —
            “The sage Chyavâna, grown old and deserted, they released from his decrepit body; prolonged his life, restored him to youth, rendered him desirable to his wife and made him the husband of maidens (I, 116, 10 &c.). They also renewed the youth of the aged Kali, and befriended him when he had taken a wife (X, 39, 8; I, 112, 15). They brought, on a car, to the youthful Vimada wives or a wife named Kamadyû (X, 65, 12,) who seems to have been the beautiful spouse of Purumitra (I, 117, 20). They restored Viṣhṇâpû like a lost animal, to the sight of their worshipper Vishvaka, son of Kṛiṣhṇa (I, 116, 23; X, 65, 12). But the story most often referred to is that of the rescue of Bhujyu, son of Tugra, who was abandoned in the midst of ocean (samudre), or in the water-clouds (udameghe), and who, tossed about in darkness, invoked the aid of the youthful heroes. In the ocean which is without support (anârambhaṇe) they took him home in a hundred-oared (shatâritrâm) ship (I, 116, 5). They rescued him with animated water-tight ships, which traversed the air (antarikṣha), with four ships, with an animated winged boat with three flying cars having a hundred feet and six horses. In one passage Bhujyu is described as clinging to a log in the midst of water (arṇaso madhye I, 182, 7). The sage Rebha stabbed, bound, hidden by the malignant, overwhelmed in waters for ten nights and nine days, abandoned as dead, was by the Ashvins revived and drawn out as Soma juice is raised with a ladle (I, 116, 24; I, 112, 5). They delivered Vandanafrom his calamity and restored him to the light of the sun. In I, 117, 5, they are also said to have dug up for Vandana some bright buried gold of new splendor ‘like one asleep in the lap of Nir-ṛiti’ or like ‘the sun dwelling in darkness.’ They succoured the sage Atri Sapta-Vadhri, who was plunged in a burning pit by the wiles of a demon, and delivered him from darkness (I, 116, 8; VI, 50, 10). They rescued from the jaws of a wolf a quail (vartikâ) who invoked their aid (I, 112, 8). To Ṛijrâshva, who had been blinded by his cruel father for killing one hundred and one sheep and giving them to a she-wolf to devour, they restored his eyesight at the prayer of the she-wolf (I, 116, 16; 117, 17); and cured Parâvṛij of blindness and lameness (I, 112, 8). When Vishpalâ’s leg had been cut off in the battle like the wing of a bird, the Ashvins gave her an iron one instead (I, 116, 15). They befriended Ghoṣhâ when she was growing old in her father’s house by giving her a husband (I, 117, 7; X, 39, 3). To the wife of a eunuch (Vadhrimatî) they gave a son called Hiraṇya-hasta (I, 116, 13; VI, 62, 7). The cow of Shayu which had left off bearing they caused to give milk (I, 116, 22); and to Pedu they gave a strong swift dragon-slaying steed impelled by Indra which won him unbounded spoils (I, 116, 6).”

            Besides these there are many other exploits mentioned in I, 112, 116-119; and the Ashvins are described as having saved, helped, or cured a number of other persons. But the above summary is sufficient for our purpose. It will be seen from it that the Ashvins bear the general character of helping the lame, the blind, the distressed, or the afflicted; and in some places a reference to the decayed powers of the sun is discernible on the face of the legends. Taking their clue from this indication, many scholars, and among them Prof. Max Müller, have interpreted all the above legends as referring to the sun in winter and the restoration of his power in spring or summer. Thug, Prof. Max Müller tells us that Chyavâna is nothing but the falling sun (chyu, to fall), of which it might well be said that he had sunk in the fiery or dark abyss from which the Ashhvins are themselves said to come up in III, 39, 3.

The Vedic Ṛiṣhis are again said to have betrayed the secret of the myth of Vandana by comparing the treasure dug for him by the Ashvins to the sun “dwelling in darkness.” Kali is similarly taken to represent the waning moon, and Vishpalâ’s iron leg, we are told, is the first quarter or pâda of the new moon, called “iron” on account of his darkness as compared with the golden color of the full moon. The blindness of Ṛijrâshva is explained on this theory as meaning the blindness of night or winter; and the blind and the lame Parâvṛij is taken to be the sun after sunset or near the winter solstice. The setting sun thrown out of a boat into waters is similarly understood to be the basis of the legend Bhujyu or Rebha. Vadhrimati, the wife of the eunuch, to whom Hiraṇya-hasta or the gold-hand is said to be restored, is, we are further told, nothing but the dawn under a different name. She is called the wife of the eunuch because she was separated from thee sun during the night. The cow of Shayu (derived from shî, to lie down) is again said to be the light of the morning sun, who may well be described as sleeping in the darkness from which he was brought forth by the Ashvins for the sake of Vandana. In short, each and every legend is said to be a story of the sun or the moon in distress. The Ashvins were the saviors of the morning-light, or of the annual sun in his exile and distress at the time of winter solstice; and when the sun becomes bright and brisk in the morning every day, or vigorous and triumphant in the spring, the miracle, we are told, was naturally attributed to the physicians of the gods.

            This explanation of the different legends connected with the Ashvins is no doubt an advance on that of Yâska, who has explained only one of these legends, viz., that of the quail, on the Dawn theory. But still I do not think that all the facts and incidents in these legends are explained by the Vernal theory as it is at present understood. Thus we cannot explain why the protégés of the Ashvins are described as being delivered from darkness on the theory that every affliction or distress mentioned in the legend refers to mere decrease of the power of the sun in winter. Darkness is distinctly referred to whenthe treasure dug up for Vandana is compared to the “sun dwelling in darkness” (I, 117, 5), or when Bhujyu is said to have been plunged in waters and sunk in bottomless darkness (anârambhaṇe tamasi), or when Atri is said to have been delivered from darkness (tamas) in VI, 50, 10. The powers of the sun are no doubt decayed in winter, and one can easily understand why the sun in winter should be called lame, old, or distressed. But blindness naturally means darkness or (tamas) (I, 117, 17); and when express references to darkness (tamas) are found in several passages, we cannot legitimately hold that the story of curing the blind refers to the restoration of the decayed powers of the winter sun. The darkness referred to is obviously the real darkness of the night; and on the theory of the daily struggle between light and darkness we shall have to suppose that these wonders were achieved every day. But as a matter of fact they are not said to be performed every day, and Vedic scholars have, therefore, tried to explain the legends on the theory of the yearly exile of the sun in winter. But we now see that in the latter case references to blindness or darkness remain unintelligible; and as the darkness is often said to be of several days’ duration, we are obliged to infer that the legends refer to the long yearly darkness, or, in other words, they have for their physical basis the disappearance of the sun below the horizon during the long night of the Arctic region.

            The Vernal theory cannot again explain the different periods of time during which the distress experienced by the Ashvins’ protégés is said to have lasted. Thus Rebha, who was overwhelmed in waters, is said to have remained there for ten nights and nine days (I, 116, 24) while Bhujyu, another worshipper of theirs, is described as having been saved from being drowned in the bottomless sea or darkness, where he: lay for three days and three nights (I, 116, 4). In VIII, 5, 8, the Ashvins are again described as having been in the parâvat or distant region for three days and three nights. Prof. Max Müller, agreeing with Benfey, takes this period, whether of ten or three days, as representing the time when the sun at the winter solstice seems bound and to stand still (hence called solstice), till he jumps up and turns back. But ten days is too long a period for the sun to stand still at the winter solstice, and even Prof. Max Müller seems to have felt the difficulty, for immediately after the above explanation he remarks that “whether this time lasted for ten or twelve nights would have been difficult to settle even for more experienced astronomers than the Vedic Ṛiṣhis.” But even supposing that the period of ten days may be thus accounted for, the explanation entirely fails in the case of the legend of Dîrghatamas who is said to have grown old in the tenth yuga and rescued by the Ashvins from the torment to which he was subjected by his enemies. I have shown previously that yuga here means a month; and if this is correct we shall have to suppose that Dîrghatamas, representing the annual course of the sun, stood still at the winter solstice for two months! The whole difficulty, however, vanishes when we explain the legends on the Arctic theory, for the sun may then be supposed to be below the horizon for any period varying from one to a hundred nights or even for six months.

            The third point, left unexplained by the Vernal theory is the place of distress or suffering from which the protégés are said to have been rescued by the Ashvins. Bhujyu was saved not on land, but in the watery region (apsu) without support (anârambhaṇe) and unillumined (tamasi) by the rays of the sun (I, 182, 6). If we compare this description with that of the ocean said to have been encompassed by Vṛitra or of the dark ocean which Bṛihaspati is said to have hurled down in II, 23, 18, we can at once recognize then as identical. Both represent the nether world which we have seen is the home of aerial waters, and which has to be crossed in boats by the drowned sun in the Ṛig-Veda or by Hêlios in the Greek mythology. It cannot, therefore, be the place where the sun goes in winter; and unless we adopt the Arctic theory, we cannot explain how the protégés of the Ashvins are said to have been saved from being drowned in adark and bottomless ocean. In VIII, 40, 5, Indra is said to have uncovered the seven-bottomed ocean having a side opening (jimha-bâram), evidently referring to the fight for waters in the nether world. The same expression (jimha-bâram) is used again in I, 116, 9, where the Ashvins are described as having lifted up a well “with bottom up and opening in the side ordownwards,” and in and in I, 85, 11, a well lying obliquely (jimha) is said to have been pushed up by the Ashvins for satisfying the thirst of Gotama. These words and phrases are not properly explained by the commentators, most of whom take them as, referring to the clouds. But it seems to me that these phrases more appropriately describe the antepodal region, where every thing is believed to be upside down in relation to the things of this world. Dr. Warren tells us that the Greeks and the Egyptians conceived their Hades, or things therein, as turned upside down, and he has even tried to show that the Vedic conception of the nether world corresponds exactly with that of the Greeks and the Egyptians. The same idea is also found underlying the Hades conception of many other races, and I think Dr. Warren has correctly represented the ancient idea of the antepodal under-world. It was conceived by the ancients as an inverted tub or hemisphere of darkness, full of waters, and the Ashvins had to make an opening in its side and push the waters up so that after ascending the sky they may eventually come down in the form of rain to satisfy the thirst of Gotama. The same feat is attributed to the Maruts in I, 85, 10 and 11 and there too we must interpret it in the same way. The epithets uchchâ-budhna (with the bottom up) and jimha-bâra (with, its mouth downwards or sidewards), as applied to a well (avata), completely show that something extraordinary, or the reverse of what we usually see, is here intended; and we cannot take them as referring to the clouds, for the well is said to be pushed up (ûrdhvam nunudre) in order to make the waters flow from it hitherward.


It may also be observed that in I, 24, 7, the king Varuṇa of hallowed might is said to sustain “erect the Tree’s stem in the bottomless (abudhna) region,” and its rays which ire hidden from us have, we are told, “their bottom up and flow downwards (nîchînâḥ).” This description of the region of Varuṇa exactly corresponds with the conception of the Hades in which every thing is turned upside down. Being regarded as an inverted hemisphere, it is rightly described, from the point of view of persons in this world, as a support. less region with bottom up and mouth downwards; and it was this bottomless darkness (I, 182, 6), or the bottomless and supportless ocean, in which Bhujyu was plunged, and which he crossed without distress by means of the boats graciously provided by the Ashvins. In the Atharva Veda X, 8, 9, a bowl with mouth inclined or downwards (tiryag-bilaḥ), and bottom upwards (ûrdhva-budhnaḥ) is said to hold within it every form of glory; and there seven Ṛiṣhis, who have been this Mighty One’s protectors, are described as sitting together. The verse occurs also in the Bṛih. Arṇ. Up. II, 3, 3, with the variant arvâg-bilaḥ (with its mouth downwards) fortiryag-bilaḥ (with its mouth inclined) of the Atharva Veda. Yâska (Nir. XII, 38) quotes the verse and gives two interpretations of the same, in one of which the seven Ṛiṣhis are taken to represent the seven rays of the sun, and the bowl the vault above; while in the second the bowl is said to represent the human head with its concave cup-like palate in the mouth. But it seems to me more probable that the description refers to the nether world rather than to the vault above or to the concave human palate. The glory referred to is the same as the Hvarenô of the Parsi scriptures. In the Zamyâd Yasht, this Hvareno or Glory is said to have thrice departed from Yima and was restored to him once by Mithra, once by Thraêtaona who smote Azi Dahâka, and finally by Keresâspa and Atar, who defeated Azi Dahâka.

The fight took place in the sea Vouru-Kasha in the bottom of the deep river, and we have seen that this must be taken to mean the world-surrounding Okeanos. The Hvarenô (Sans. swar) or Glory is properly the light, and one who possessed it reigned supreme and one who lost it fell down. Thus “when Yima lost his Glory he perished and Azi Dahâka reigned; as when light disappears, the fiend rules supreme.”*( See S. B. E. Series, Vol. IV, Introd., p. lxiii.) It may also be noticed that amongst the persons to whom the glory belonged in ancient days are mentioned the seven Amesha Spentas, all of-one thought, one speech and one deed. We have thus a very close resemblance between the glory said to have been placed in a bowl with bottom up and guarded by the seven Ṛiṣhis in the Vedas and the Hvareno or the glory mentioned in the Avesta, which once belonged to the seven Amesha Spentas and which thrice went away from Yima and had to be restored to him by fighting with Azi Dahâka, the Avestic representative of the Ahi Vṭitra, in the sea Vouru-Kasha; and this strengthens our view that the bowl with the bottom up and the mouth downwards is the inverted hemisphere of the nether world, the seat of darkness and the home of aerial waters. It was this region wherein Bhujyu was plunged and had to be saved by the intervention of the Ashvins.

            Now if Bhujyu was plunged in this bottomless darkness and ocean for three nights and three days (I, 116, 4) or Rebha was there for ten nights and nine days (I, 116, 24), it is clear that the period represents a continuous darkness of so many days and nights as stated above; and I think, the story of Ṛijrâshva, or the Red-horse, also refers to the same incident, viz. the continuous darkness of the Arctic region. Ṛijrâshva, that is, the Red-horse, is said to have slaughtered 100 or 101 sheep and gave them to the Vṛiki, or the she-wolf and his own father being angry on that account is said to have deprived him of his sight. But the Ashvins at the prayer of the she-wolf restored to Ṛijrâshva his eye-sight and thus cured him of his blindness. Prof. Max Müller thinks that the sheep may here mean the stars, which may be said to have been slaughtered by the rising sun. But we have seen that the 350 sheep of Helios are taken to represent 350 nights, while the corresponding 350 days are said to be represented by his 350 oxen. In short, the Greek legend refers to a year of 350 days and a continuous night of ten days; and the period of 10 nights mentioned in the legend of Rebha well accords with this conception of the ancient Aryan year, inferred from the story of Helios. This resemblance between the two stories naturally leads us to inquire if any clue cannot be found to the interpretation of the legend of Ṛijrâshva in the story of Helios; and when we examine the subject from this point of view, it is not difficult to discover the similarity between the slaughter of sheep by Ṛijrâshva and the consuming of the oxen of Helios by the companion of Odysseus. The wolf, as observed by Prof. Max Müller, is generally understood in the Vedic literature to be a representative of darkness and mischief rather than of light and therefore the slaughter of 100 sheep for him naturally means the conversion of hundred days into nights, producing thereby a continuous darkness for a hundred nights, of 24 hours each. Ṛijrâshva or the Red-sun may well be spoken of as becoming blind during these hundred continuous nights and eventually cured of his blindness by the Ashvins, the harbingers of light and dawn. The only objection that may be urged against this interpretation is that hundred days should have been described as oxen or cows and not as sheep. But I think that such nice distinctions cannot be looked for in every myth and that if hundred days were really converted into so many nights we can well speak of them as “sheep.” The slaughter of 100 or 101 sheep can thus be easily and naturally explained on the theory of long continuous darkness, the maximum length of which, as stated in the previous chapter, was one hundred days, or a hundred periods of 34 hours. In short, the legends of the Ashvins furnish us with evidence of three, ten, or a hundred continuous nights in ancient times and the incidents which lead us to this inference, are, at best, but feebly explained by the Vernal or the Dawn theory as at present understood.

            But the most important of the Ashvins’ legends, for our purpose is the story of Atri Saptavadhri. He is described as having been thrown into a burning abyss and extricated from this perilous position by the Ashvins, who are also said to have delivered him from darkness (tamasaḥ) in VI, 50, 10. In I, 117, 24, the Ashvins are represented as giving a son called Hiraṇya-hasta, or the Gold-hand, to Vadhrimati or the wife of a eunuch; while in V, 78, a hymn, whose seer is Saptavadhri himself, the latter is represented as being shut up in a wooden case, from which he was delivered by the Ashvins. Upon this Prof. Max Müller observes, “If this tree or this wooden case is mean for the night, then, by being kept shut up in it he (Saptavadhri) was separated from his wife, he was to her like a Vadhri (eunuch) and in the morning only when delivered by the Ashvins he became once more the husband of the dawn.” But the learned Professor is at a loss to explain why Atri, in his character of the nocturnal sun, should be called not only a Vadhri but Saptavadhri, or a seven-eunuch. Vadhri, as a feminine word, denotes a leather strap and as pointed out by Prof. Max Müller, Sâyaṇa is of opinion that the word can be used also in the masculine gender (X, 102, 12). The word Saptavadhri may, therefore, denote the sun caught in a net of seven leather straps. But the different incidents in the legend clearly point out that a seven-eunuch and not a person caught in seven leather straps is meant by the epithet Saptavadhri as applied to Atri in this legend.

            It is stated above that a whole hymn (78) of nine verses in the 5th Maṇḍala of the Ṛig-Veda is ascribed to Atri Saptavadhri. The deities addressed in this hymn are the Ashvins whom the poet invokes for assistance in his miserable plight. The first six verses of the hymn are simple and intelligible. In the first three, the Ashvins are invoked to come to the sacrifice like two swans; and in the forth, Atri, thrown into a pit, is said to have called on then, like a wailing woman, for assistance. The 5th and the 6th verses narrate the story of Saptavadhri, shut up in a tree or a wooden case, whose sides are asked to tear asunder like the side of her who bringeth forth a child. After these six verses come the last three (the hymn containing only nine verses), which describe the delivery of a child, that was in the womb for 10 months; and Vedic scholars have not as yet been able to explain what rational connection these three verses could possibly have with the preceding six verses of the hymn. According to Sâyaṇa, these three verses constitute what is called the Garbhasrâviṇî-upaniṣhad or the liturgy of child-birth; while Ludwig tries to explain the concluding stanzas as referring to the delivery of a child, a subject suggested by the simile of a wailing woman in the 4th verse, or by the comparison of the side of the tree with the side of a parturient woman. It seems, however, extraordinary, if not worse, that a subject, not relevant except as a simile or by way of comparison, should be described at such length at the close of the hymn. We must, therefore, try to find some other explanation, or hold with Sâyaṇa that an irrelevant matter, viz., the liturgy of child-birth, is here inserted with no other object but to make up the number of verses in the hymn. These verses may be literally translated as follows: —

            “7. Just as the wind shakes a pool of lotuses on all sides, so may your embryo (garbha) move (in your womb), and come out after being developed for ten months (dasha-mâsyaḥ).”
            “8. Just as the wind, just as the forest, just as the sea moves, so O ten-monthed (embryo)! come out with the outer cover (jarâyu).”
            “9. May the child (kumâra), lying in the mother’s (womb) for ten months, cone out alive and unhurt, alive for the living mother.”

            These three verses, as observed above, immediately follow the verses where the wooden case is said to be shut and opened for Saptavadhri, and naturally they must be taken to refer to, or rather as forming a part of the same legend. But neither the Vernal nor the Dawn theory supplies us with any clue whatsoever to the right interpretation of these verses. The words used present no difficulty. A child full-grown in the womb for ten months is evidently intended, and its safe delivery is prayed for. But what could this child be? The wife of the eunuch Vadhrimati is already said to have got a child Hiraṇya-hasta through the favor of the Ashvins. We cannot, therefore, suppose that she prayed for the safe delivery of a child, nor can Saptavadhri be said to have prayed for the safe delivery of his wife, who never bore a child to him. The verses, or rather their connection with the story of Saptavadhri told in the first six verses of the hymn, have, therefore, remained unexplained up-to the present day, the only explanations hitherto offered being, as observed above, either utterly unsatisfactory or rather no explanations at all.

            The whole mystery is, however, cleared up by the light thrown upon the legend by the Arctic theory. The dawn is sometimes spoken of in the Ṛig-Veda as producing the sun (I, 113, 1; VII, 78, 3). But this dawn cannot be said to have borne the child for ten months; nor can we suppose that the word dasha-mâsyaḥ (of ten months), which is found in the 7th and the 8th and the phrase dasha mâsân found in the 9th verse of the hymn were used without any specific meaning or intention. We must, therefore, look for some other explanation, and this is supplied by the fact that the sun is said to be pre-eminently the son of Dyâvâ pṛithivi, or simply of Dyu in the Ṛig-Veda. Thus in X, 37, 1, the sun is calleddivas-putra or the son of Dyu, and in I, 164, 33, we read, “Dyu is the father, who begot us, our origin is there; this great Earth is our parent mother. The father laid the daughter’s embryo (garbham) within the womb of the two wide bowls (uttânayoḥ chamvoḥ).” In the proceeding verse, we have, “He (the sun) yet enveloped in his mother’s womb, having various off-springs, has gone into the (region of) Nir-ṛiti”; and further that “he, who had made him, does not know of him; surely is he hidden from those who saw him.” In I, 160, 1, we similarly find that “These Heaven and Earth, bestowers of prosperity and all, the wide sustainers of the regions, the two bowls of noble birth, the holy ones; between these two goddesses, the rafulgent sun-god travels by fixed decrees.” These passages clearly show (1) that the sun was conceived as a child of the two bowls, Heaven and Earth, (2) that the sun moved like an embryo in the womb, i.e., the interior of heaven and earth, and (3) that after moving in this way in this womb of the mother for some time, and producing various off-springs, the sun sank into the land of desolation (Nir-ṛiti), and became hidden to those that saw him before. Once the annual course of the sun was conceived in this way, it did not require any great stretch of imagination to represent the dropping of the sun into Nir-ṛiti as an exit from the womb of his mother. But what are we to understand by the phrase that “he moved in the womb for ten months”? The Arctic theory explains this point satisfactorily. We have seen that Dîrghatamas was borne on waters for ten months, and the Dashagvas are said to have completed their sacrificial session during the same period. The sun can, therefore, be very well described, while above the horizon for ten months, as moving in the womb of his mother, or between heaven and earth for ten months. After this period, the sun was lost, or went out of the womb into the land of desolation, there to be shut up as in a wooden case for two months. The sage Atri, therefore, rightly invokes the Ashvins for his deliverance from the box and also for the safe delivery of the child i.e. himself, from of his mother after ten months. In the Atharva Veda XI, 5, 1, the sun as a Brahmachârin, is said to move between heaven and earth, and in the 12th verse of the same hymn we are told that “Shouting forth, thundering, red, white he carries a great penis (bṛîhach-chhepas) along the earth.” If the sun moving between heaven and earth is called bṛîhach-chhepas he may well be called Vadri (eunuch), when sunk into the land of Nir-ṛiti. But Prof. Max Müller asks us, why he should be called Saptavadhri or a seven-eunuch? The explanation is simple enough. The heaven, the earth and the lower regions are all conceived as divided seven-fold in the Ṛig-Veda, and when the ocean or the waters are described as seven-fold (sapta-budhnam aṛnavam, VIII, 40, 5; sapta âpaḥ, X, 104, 8), or when we have seven Dânus or demons, mentioned in X, 120, 6, or when Indra is called sapta-han or the seven-slayer (X, 49, 8), or Vṛitra is said to have seven forts (I, 63, 7) or when the cowstead (vraja), which the two Ashvins are said to have opened in X, 40, 8, is described as saptâsya the sun who is bṛîhach-chhepas and seven rayed or seven-horsed (V, 45, 9) while moving between heaven and earth, may very well be described as Saptavadhri or seven-eunuch when sunk into the land of Nir-ṛiti or the nether world of bottomless darkness from which he is eventually released by the Ashvins. The last three verses of V, 78, can thus be logically connected with the story of Saptavadhri mentioned in the immediately preceding verses, if the period of ten months, during which the child moves in the mother’s womb, is taken to represent the period of ten months’ sunshine followed by the long night of two months, the existence of which we have established by independent Vedic evidence. The point has long remained unexplained, and it is only by the Arctic theory that it can be now satisfactorily accounted for.
            In connection with this subject it is necessary to refer to a riddle or a paradox, which arises out of it. The sun was supposed to move in the womb of his mother for ten months and then to drop into the nether world. In other words, as soon as he came out of the womb, he was invisible; while in ordinary cases a child becomes visible as soon as it is brought into the world after ten months of gestation. Here, was art idea, or rather an apparent contradiction between two ideas, which the Vedic poets were not slow to seize upon and evolve a riddle out of it. Thus we have seen above (I, 164, 32) that the sun is described as being invisible to one who made him evidently meaning his mother. In V, 2, 1, we again meet with the same riddle; for it says, “Young mother carries in secret the boy confined; she does not yield him to the father. People do not see before them his fading face, laid down with the Arâti.”( Oldenberg’s Vedic Hymns, S. B. E. Series, Vol. XLVI, pp. 366-68.)  In I, 72, 2, we further read, “All the clever immortals did not find the calf though sojourning round about us. The attentive (gods) wearing themselves, following his foot-steps, stood at the highest beautiful standing place of Agni”; and the same idea is expressed in I, 95, 4, which says, “Who amongst you has understood this secret? The calf has by itself given birth to its mother. The germ of many, the great seer moving by his own strength comes forward from the lap of the active one (apasâm).” It is the story of the hidden Agni who is described in X, 124, 1, as having long (jyok) resided in the long darkness (dirgham tamaḥ), and who eventually comes out as the child of waters (apâm napât, I, 143, 1). The epithet apâm napât as applied to Agni is usually explained as referring to the lightening produced from the clouds, but-this explanation does not account for the fact of his long residence in darkness. The puzzle or the riddle is, however, satisfactorily solved by the Arctic theory, combined with the cosmic circulation of aerial waters. The sun, who moves in the interior of heaven and earth for ten months, as in the womb of his mother, naturally suggested to the Vedic poets the parallel idea of the period of ten months’ gestation; but the wonder was that while a child is visible to all as soon as it is born, the sun became invisible just at the time when he came out of the womb. Where did he go? Was he locked up in a wooden chest or bound down with leather straps in the region of waters? Why did the mother not present him to the father after he was safely delivered? Was he safely delivered? These questions naturally arise out of the story, and the Vedic poets appear to take delight in reverting again and again to the same paradox in different places. And what applies to Sûrya or the sun applies to Agni as well; for there are many passages in the Ṛig-Veda where Agni is identified with the sun. Thus Agni is said to be the light of heaven in the bright sky, waking at dawn, the head of heaven (III, 2, 14), and he is described as having been born on the other side of the air in X, 187, 5. In the Aitareya Brâhmaṇa (VIII, 28), we are further told that the sun, when setting, enters into Agni and is reproduced from the latter; and the same identification appears to be alluded to in the passages from the Ṛig-Veda, where Agni is said to unite with the light of the sun or to shine in heaven (VIII, 44, 29). The story of concealing the child after ten months of gestation whether applied to Agni or to Sûrya is thus only a different version of the story of the disappearance of the sun from the upper hemisphere after ten months of sunshine. But what became of the child (Kumâra) which disappeared in this way? Was he lost for ever or again restored to his parents? How did the father or even the mother obtain the child so lost? Some one must bring the child to them, and this task seems to have been entrusted to the Ṛibhus or the Ashvins in the Ṛig-Veda. Thus in I, 110, 8, the Ṛibhus are said to have united the mother with the calf, and in I, 116, 13, the Ashvins are described as giving to Vadhrimati a child called Hiraṇya-hasta. The story of restoring Viṣhṇâpu to Vishvaka (I, 117, 7) and of giving milk to Shayu’s cow probably refer to the same phenomenon of bringing back the morning sun to the parents; and from this it is but a small step to the story of Kumâra (lit., a child), one of the names of Kârttikeya in the Purâṇas. It was this Kumâra, or the once hidden (guha), or dropped (skanda) Chili, rising along with the seven rivers or mothers (VIII, 96, 1) in the morning, that led the army of gods or light and walked victoriously along the Devayâna path. He was the leader of days, or the army of gods; and as Maruts were the allies of Indra in his conflict with Vṛitra, Kumara or the Child, meaning the morning sun, may, by a turn of the mythological kaleidoscope, be very well called a son of Rudra, the later representative of the Maruts; or said to be born of Agni, who dwelt in waters; or described as the son of seven or six Kṛittikâs. As the morning sun has to pierce his way up through the apertures of Albûrz, temporarily closed by Vṛitra, this Kumâra can again be well termed Krauñcha-dâraṇa, or the piercer of the Krauñcha mountain, an epithet applied to him in the Purâṇas.*


* For a further development of the idea see Mr. Nârâyan Aiyangâr’s Essays on Indo-Aryan Mythology, Part I, pp. 57-80. In the light of the Arctic theory we may have to modify some of Mr. Aiyangâr’s views. Thus out of the seven rivers or mothers, which bring on the light of the sun, one may be regarded as his real mother and the other six as stepmothers.

But we are not here concerned with the growth which Kumâra, or the child of the morning, attained in later mythology. We took up the legends of the Ashvins with a view to see if there were any incidents in them which became intelligible only on the Arctic theory, and the foregoing examination of the legends shows that we have not searched in vain. The expression dasha-mâsya in the legend of Sapta-vadhri and dashame yuge in that of Dîrghatamas directly indicate a period of ten months’ sunshine, and we ‘have seen that three, ten, or a hundred continuous nights are also referred to directly or metaphorically in some of these legends. We have again such expressions as “the sun sleeping in darkness or in the lap of Nir-ṛiti,” which show that actual and not metaphorical darkness was intended. In short, the sun, sunk in the nether world of waters and darkness, and not merely a winter sun, is the burden of all these legends, and the achievements of the Ashvins refer to the rescue of the sun from the dark pit of the nether world or from the bottomless ocean or darkness. The Vernal and Arctic theories are both solar in character; and in either case the legends are interpreted on the supposition that they represent some solar phenomenon. But the Arctic theory does not stop with the decay of the sun’s power in winter, but goes a step further in making the long darkness of the circum-polar region, the natural basis of many important Vedic legends; and the fore-going discussion of the myths of the Ashvins clearly shows that a wider basis, like the one supplied by the Arctic theory, was not only desirable but necessary for a proper explanation of these legends — a fact, which, in its turn, further corroborates and establishes the new theory.

The Sûrya’s Wheel

            We have already discussed the legends of the seven Âdityas with their still-born brother, and shown that it represents seven months of sunshine in the ancient Aryan home. But this is not the only period of sunshine in the Arctic region, where, according too latitude, the sun is above the horizon from 6 to 12 months. The sacrificial session of the Navagvas and the Dashagvas thus lasted for nine or ten months, and amongst the Ashvins’ legends, that of Saptavadhri is just shown to have been based on the phenomenon of ten months’ sunshine. Is there any legend of Sûrya in the Ṛig-Veda, which refers to this phenomenon? — is the question we have now to consider. The statement that ten horses are yoked to the carriage of the sun has been shown to point out to a period of ten months’ sunshine; but the legend of Indra’s stealing the wheel of the sun is still more explicit. To understand it properly we must however, first see in what relation Indra generally stands to Sûrya. It has been shown in the last chapter, that Indra is the chief hero in the fight between the powers of light and darkness. It is he, who causes the sun to rise with the dawn, or makes the sun to shine (VIII, 3, 6; VIII, 98, 2) and mount the sky (I, 7, 3). The sun, it is further stated, (III, 39, 5), was dwelling in darkness, where Indra, accompanied bythe Dashagvas found him and brought him up for man. It is Indra again who makes a path for the sun (X, 111, 3), and fights with the demons of darkness in order to gain back the light of the morning. In short, Indra is everywhere described as a friend and helper of Sûrya, and yet the Ṛig-Veda mentions a legend in which Indra is said to have taken away or stolen the wheel of Sûrya and thus vanquished him (I, 175, 4; IV, 30, 4; V, 31, 11; X, 43, 5). It has been supposed that the legend may refer either to the obscuration of the sun by a storm-cloud, or to his diurnal setting; but the former is too uncertain an event to be made the basis of a legend like the present, nor can a cloud be said to be brought on by Indra, while we have no authority to assume, as presupposed in the latter case, that the legend refers to the daily setting of the sun. We must, therefore, examine the legend a little more closely, and see if we can explain it in a more intelligible way. Now Sûrya’s chariot is described in the Ṛig-Veda as having but one wheel (I, 164, 2), though the wheel is said to be sevenfold; and in the later mythology it is distinctly stated that the chariot of the sun is eka-chakra or a monocycle. If this wheel is taken away, the progress of the sun must cease, bringing everything to a dead lock. It seems, however, that the wheel of the sun means the sun himself in the present legend. Thus in I, 175, 4, and IV, 30, 4, the phrase used is sûryam chakram, evidently meaning that the solar orb itself is conceived as a wheel. When this wheel is said to be stolen, we must, therefore, suppose that the sun himself was taken away, and not that one of the two wheels of his carriage was stolen, leaving the carriage to run on one wheel as best as it could. What did Indra do with this solar wheel, or the sun himself, which he stale in this way? We are told that he used solar rays as his weapon to kill or burn the demons (VIII, 12, 9). It is, therefore, clear that the stealing of the solar wheel and the conquest over the demons are contemporaneous events. Indra’s fight with the demons is mainly for the purpose of regaining light, and it may be asked how Indra can be described to have used the solar orb as a weapon of attack for the purpose of regaining Sûrya that was lost in darkness? For it amounts to saying that the solar orb was used as a weapon in recovering the sun himself, which was believed to be lost in darkness. But the difficulty is only apparent and is due to the modern notions of light or darkness. Sûrya and darkness, according to the modern notions, cannot be supposed to exist in the same place; but the Ṛig-Veda distinctly speaks of “the sun dwelling in darkness” in two places at least (III, 39, 5; I, 117, 5); and this can be explained only on the supposition that the Vedic bards believed that the sun was deprived of his luster when he sank below the horizon, or that his luster was temporarily obscured during his struggle with the demons of darkness. It is impossible to explain the expression tamasi kshiyantam (dwelling in darkness) on any other theory; and if this explanation is accepted, it is not difficult to understand how the solar orb could be said to be utilized by Indra in vanquishing the demons and regaining the morning light. In other words, Indra helps the sun in destroying the obstruction which marred or clouded his luster, and when this obstruction is removed the sun regains his light and rises up from the nether ocean. Indra is, therefore, correctly described in IV, 17, 14 as having stopped the wheel of the sun, and, turning it round, flung it into the concealing darkness at the bottom of rajas or in the nether world of darkness. But the passage important for our purpose is VI, 31, 3. It reads as follows: —

                        Tvam Kutsena abhi Shuṣhṇam Indra
                        Ashuṣhaiṁ yudhya Kuyavam gaviṣhṭau
                        Dasha prapitve adha Sûryasya
                        muṣhâyas chakram avive rapâṁsi

            The first half of the verse presents no difficulty. It means “O Indra! in the striving for the cows, do you, with Kutsa, fight against Shuṣhṇa, the Ashuṣha and the Kuyava.”* Here Ashuṣha, and Kuyava are used as adjectives to Shuṣhṇa

and mean “the voracious Shuṣhṇa, the bane of the crops.” The second hemistich, however, is not so simple. The last phrase avive-rapâṁsi is split in the Pada text as aviveḥ and rapâṁsi, which means “destroy calamities or mischiefs (rapâṁsi). But Prof. Oldenberg proposes to divide the phrase as aviveḥ and apâṁsi, in conformity with IV, 19, 10, and translates, “Thou hast manifested thy manly works (apâṁsi).”( Oldenberg’s Vedic Hymns, S. B. E. Series, Vol. XLVI, p. 69.) It is not, however, necessary for our present purpose to examine the relative merits of these two interpretations; and we may, therefore, adopt the older of the two, which translates the phrase as meaning, “Thou hast destroyed calamities or mischiefs (rapâṁsi).” Omitting the first two words, viz., dasha and prapitve, the second hemistich may, therefore, be rendered, “Thou hast stolen the wheel of Sûrya and hast destroyed calamities.” We have now to ascertain the meaning of dash prapitve. Sâyaṇa takes dasha as equivalent to adashaḥ (lit., bittest, from daṁsh, to bite), and prapitve to mean “in the battle” — and translates, “Thou bittest him in the battle.” But this is evidently a forced meaning and one that does not harmonize with other passages, where the same legend is described. Thus in IV, 16, 12, we are told that Shuṣhṇa was killed at ahnaḥ prapitve, and the last phrase evidently denotes the time when Shuṣhṇa was defeated, while in V, 31, 7, Indra is described as having checked the wiles of Shuṣhṇa by reaching prapitvam. By the side of the expression dasha prapitve, we thus have two more passages in the Ṛig-Veda, referring to the same legend, and in one of which Shuṣhṇa is said to be killed at the prapitva of the day (ahnaḥ prapitve), while in the other, the wiles of the demon are said to be checked by Indra on reaching prapitvam. The three expressions, dasha prapitveahnaḥ prapitve andprapitvam yan, must, therefore, be taken to be synonymous and whatever meaning we assign to prapitve, it must be applicable to all the three cases. The word prapitve is used several times in the Ṛig-Veda, but scholars are not agreed as to its meaning.

Thus Grassmann gives two meanings of prapitva. The first denoting “advance,” and the second “the beginning of the day.” According to him ahnaḥ prapitve means “in the morning” (IV, 16, 12). But he would render prapitvam yansimply by “advancing.” In VI, 31, 3, he would also take prapitve as meaning “in the morning.” The word prapitve also occurs in I, 189, 7, and there Prof. Oldenberg translates it by “at the time of advancing day,” and quotes Geldner in support thereof. Sâyaṇa in VIII, 4, 3, translates âpitve by “friendship” and prapitve by “having acquired,” (cf. Nir. III, 20). Under these circumstances it is I think, safer to ascertain the meaning of prapitve direct from these Vedic passages where it occurs in contrast with other words. Thus in VII, 41, 4 (Vâj. Sam. XXXIV, 37) and VIII, 1, 29, we find prapitve very distinctly contrasted with madhye (the middle) and uditâ (the beginning) of the day; and in both these placesprapitve can mean nothing but “the decline or the end of the day.”*


Mahîdhara, on Vâj. Sam. XXXIV, 37, explains prapitve as equivalent to prapatane or astamaye, meaning “the decline fall, or end of the day.” Adopting this meaning, the phrase ahnaḥ prapitve ni barhîḥ, in IV, 16, 12, would then mean that Shuṣhṇa was killed “when the day had declined.” Now if Shuṣhṇa was killed when the day had declined the phrase dasha prapitve ought to be, by analogy, interpreted in the same way. But it is difficult to do so, so long as dasha is separated from prapitve, as is done in the Pada text. I propose therefore, that dasha-prapitve be taken as one word, and interpreted to mean “at the decline of the ten,” meaning that Shuṣhṇa was killed at the end or completion of ten (months). In I, 141, 2, the phrase dasha-pramatim is taken as a compound word in the Pada text, but Oldenberg, following the Petersberg Lexicon, splits it into dasha and pramatim. I propose to deal exactly in the reverse way with the phrase dasha prapitve in the passage under consideration and translate the verse thus “O Indra! in the striving for cows do thou, with Kutsa, fight against Shuṣhṇa, the Ashuṣha and Kuyava ... On the decline (or the completion) of the ten (scil. months), thou stolest the wheel of Sûrya and didst destroy calamities (or, according to Oldenberg, manifest manly works).” The passage thus becomes intelligible, and we are not required to invent a new meaning for dasha and make Indra bite his enemy on the battle-field. If we compare the phrase dasha-prapitve with ahnaḥ-prapitve occurring in IV, 16, 12, and bear in mind the fact that both are used in connection with the legendary fight with Shuṣhṇa we are naturally led to suppose that dasha-prapitve denotes, in all probability, the time of the contest, as anhaḥ-prapitve does in the other passage, and that dasha-prapitve must be taken as equivalent to dashânam prapitve and translated to mean “On the completion of the ten,” which can be done by taking dasha-prapitve as a compound word. The grammatical construction being thus determined, the only question that remains is to decide whether dasha (ten) means ten days or ten months. A comparison with ahnaḥ prapitve may suggest “days,” but the fight with Shuṣhṇa cannot be regarded to have been fought every ten days. It is either annual or daily; and we are thus led to interpret dasha in the compound dasha-prapitve (or dashânâm when the compound is dissolved) as equivalent to ten months in the same way as the numeral dvâdashasya is interpreted to mean “of the twelfth month,” or dvâdashasya mâsasya in VII, 103, 9, The passage thus denotes the exact time when the wheel of the sun, or the solar orb, was stolen by Indra and utilized as a weapon of attack to demolish the demons of darkness. This was done at the end of ten months, or at the end of the Roman year, or at the close of the sacrificial session of the Dashagvas who with India are said to have found the sun dwelling in darkness. The construction of the passage proposed above is not only natural and simple, but the sense it gives is in harmony with the meaning of similar other passages relating to the fight of Shuṣhṇa, and is far more rational than the current meaning which makes Indra bite his enemy in a rustic and unprecedented manner. It is the Pada text that is responsible for the present unnatural meaning; for if it had not split up the phrase dasha and prapitve its correct meaning might not have become so obscure as at present. But the Pada text is not infallible; and even Yâska and Sâyaṇa have adopted amendments in certain cases (cf. I, 105, 18; X, 29, 1; and Nir V, 21; VI, 28), and the same thing has been done rather more freely by Western scholars. We are not therefore, following an untrodden path in giving up the Pada text, especially when the verse is more naturally and intelligently interpreted by taking dasha-prapitve as one compound word. When the verse is so interpreted we get a complete account of the annual course of the sun in the home of the Aryans in ancient days. It was Indra, who caused the sun to rise after his long fight with Vṛitra; and when the sun had shone for ten months, Indra stole the solar orb and took the sun with him into darkness to fight with the demons. That is the meaning of the whole legend; and when it can be so naturally explained only by the Arctic theory, the necessity of the latter becomes at once established.

Vishnu’s Three Strides

            There are a few more Vedic legends which indicate or suggest the Arctic conditions of climate or calendar, and I propose to briefly examine them in this chapter. One of these legends relates to Viṣhṇu and his three long strides, which are distinctly mentioned in several places in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 22, 17, 18; I, 154, 2). Yâska (Nir. XII, 19) quotes the opinion of two older writers regarding the character of these three steps. One of these, viz. Shâkapûṇi holds that the three steps must be placed on the earth, in the atmosphere and in the sky; while Aurṇavâbha thinks that the three steps must be located, one on the hill where the sun rises (samârohaṇa), another on the meridian sky (Viṣhṇu-pada), and the third on the hill of setting (gaya-shiras). Prof. Max Müller thinks that this three-fold stepping of Viṣhṇu is emblematic of the rising, the culminating and the setting of the sun; and Muir quotes a passage from the Râmâyaṇa (IV, 40, 64), which mentions udaya parvata, or the mountain of sun-rise, and says that on the top of it is the peak Saumanasa, the place where Viṣhṇu’s first step was planted. We are then told that his second step was placed on the summit of Meru; and that “when the sun had circled round Jambudvîpa by the north, he is mostly visible on that lofty peak.” It seems, therefore, that according to the Râmâyaṇa the third step of Viṣhṇu was round Jambudvîpa, and was planted after sunset, whatever that may mean. In the Purâṇic literature, Viṣhṇu’s three steps appear as the three steps of Vâmana, the fifth incarnation of Viṣhṇu. Bali, the powerful enemy of the gods, was celebrating a sacrifice, when, assuming the form of a dwarf, Viṣhṇu approached him, and begged for three paces of ground. No sooner the request was granted than Viṣhṇu assumed a miraculous form and occupied the whole earth by the first step and the atmosphere and everything above it with the second. Bali, who was the lord of the universe before, was surprised at the metamorphosis of the dwarf; but had to make good his own word by offering his head for the third step of Vâmana. The offer was accepted and Bali was pressed down under the third step into the nether world, and the empire of the earth and heavens above was again restored to Indra from whom it had been snatched away by Bali. Amongst these various interpretations one thing stands out very clear, viz., that Viṣhṇu represents the sun in one form or another. But Vedic scholars are not agreed as to whether Viṣhṇu’s strides represent the daily or the yearly course of the sun. We must, therefore, carefully examine the Vedic passages relating to Viṣhṇu, and see if any indication is found therein to decide which of these two views is more probable or correct. Now in I, 155, 6, Viṣhṇu is described as setting in motion, like a revolving wheel, his ninety steeds with their four names, evidently referring to 360 days, divided into four groups or seasons of 90 days each. This is good evidence to hold that the yearly course of the sun must be taken as the basis of the exploits of Viṣhṇu. The Ṛig-Veda further tells us that Viṣhṇu was the intimate friend of Indra (yujyaḥ sakhâ, I, 22, 19), and that he assisted Indra in his fight with Vṛitra. Thus in IV, 18, 11, we are told that “Indra about to kill Vṛitra said ‘O friend Viṣhṇu! stride vastly,’ (also cf. VIII, 12, 27)”; and in 1, 156, 4, Viṣhṇu is said to have opened the cows’ stable with the assistance of his friend, while both Indra and Viṣhṇu are described as having together vanquished Shambara, conquered the host of Varchins and produced the sun, dawn and the fire in VII, 99, 4 and 5. It is evident from these passages that Viṣhṇu was the associate of Indra in his fight with Vṛitra (cf. VIII, 100, 12); and if so, one of the three steps must be placed in regions where this fight was fought, that is, in the nether world. We can now understand why, in I, 155, 5, it is said that two of the three steps of Viṣhṇu are visible to man, but the third is beyond the reach of birds or mortals (also cf. VII, 99, 1). When the third step of Viṣhṇu is located in the nether world, it can well be said to be invisible, or beyond the reach of mortals. We have seen that the abode of Vṛitra is said to be hidden and filled with darkness and waters. If Viṣhṇu helped Indra in his fight with Vṛitra, his third step must be taken to correspond with the home of Vṛitra; in other words, Viṣhṇu’s strides represent the annual course of the sun divided into three parts. During two of these the sun was above the horizon, and hence two of Viṣhṇu’s three strides were said to be visible. But when in the third or the last part of the year the sun went below the horizon producing continuous darkness, Viṣhṇu’s third step was said to be invisible. It was then that he helped Indra to demolish Vṛitra and bring back the dawn, the sun and the sacrifice. It has been shown in the last chapter that Indra’s fight with Shambara commenced on the fortieth day of Sharad or in the eighth month after the beginning of the year with Vasanta. These eight months of sunshine and four of darkness may very well be represented by two visible and one invisible step of Viṣhṇu, and the Purâṇic story of Viṣhṇu sleeping for four months in the year further supports the same view. It may also be noticed that Viṣhṇu is said to sleep on his serpent-bed in the midst of the ocean; and the ocean and the serpent here alluded to are evidently the waters (âpaḥ) and Ahi or Vṛitra mentioned in the Vṛitra legend. It is said that the sleep of Viṣhṇu represents the rainy season of four months; but this is a later misrepresentation of the kind we have noticed in the last chapter in regard to waters When the exploits of Indra were transferred from the last season of the year, viz., Hemanta to Varshâ or the rainy season, the period, during which Viṣhṇu lay dormant, must have been naturally misunderstood in the same way and identified with the rainy season. But originally Viṣhṇu’s sleep and his third step must have been identical; and as the third step is said to be invisible, we cannot suppose that it was planted in the rainy season, which is visible enough. The long darkness of the winter night in the Arctic region can alone adequately represent the third step of Viṣhṇu or the period of his sleep; and the legend about the Phrygian god, who, according to Plutarch, was believed to sleep during winter and resume his activity during summer, has been interpreted by Prof. Rhys in the same way. The Irish couvade of the Ultonian heroes also points out to the same conclusion.* (See Rhys’ Hibbert Lectures, p. 632. The passage is quoted in full in Chap. XII, infra.)

            But apart from the sleep of Viṣhṇu which is Purâṇic, we have a Vedic legend which has the same meaning. In the Ṛig-Veda (VII, 100, 6), Viṣhṇu is represented as having a bad name, viz., shipiviṣhṭa. Thus the poet says, “O Viṣhṇu! what was there to be blamed in thee when thou declaredest ‘I am shipiviṣhṭa’?” Yâska records (Nir. V, 7-9) an old tradition that according to Aupamanyava, Viṣhṇu has two names Shipiviṣhṭa and Viṣhṇu, of which the former has a bad sense (kutsitârthîyam); and then quotes the aforesaid verse which he explains in two ways. The first of these two interpretations accords with that of Aupamanyava; and shipiviṣhṭa is there explained by Yâska, to mean shepaḥ iva nirveṣhṭitaḥ, or “enveloped like the private parts,” or “with rays obscured” (apratipanna-rashmiḥ). Yâska, however, suggests an alternative interpretation and observes that shipiviṣhṭa may be taken as a laudatory appellation, meaning “one whose rays (shipayaḥ) are displayed (âviṣhṭâḥ).” It is inferred by some scholars from this passage that the meaning of the word shipiviṣhṭa had already become uncertain in the days of Yâska; but I do not think it probable, for even in later literature shipiviṣhṭa is an opprobrious appellation meaning either “one whose hair has fallen off,” or “one who is afflicted with an incurable skin disease.” The exact nature of the affliction may be uncertain; but there can be no doubt thatshipiviṣhṭa has a bad meaning even in later Sanskrit literature. But in days when the origin of this phrase, as applied to Viṣhṇu, was forgotten, theologians and scholars naturally tried to divest the phrase of its opprobrious import by proposing alternative meanings; and Yâska was probably the first Nairukta to formulate a good meaning for shipiviṣhṭa by suggesting that shipi may be taken to mean “rays.” That is why the passage from the Mahâbhârata (Shânti-Parvan, Chap. 342, vv. 69-71), quoted by Muir, tells us that Yâska was the first to apply the epithet to Viṣhṇu; and it is unreasonable to infer from it, as Muir has done, that the writer of the Mahâbhârata “was not a particularly good Vedic scholar.” In the Taittirîya Saṁhitâ, we are told that Viṣhṇu was worshipped as Shipiviṣhṭa (II, 2, 12, 4 and 5), and that shipi means cattle or pashavaḥ (II, 5, 5, 2; Tân. Br. XVIII, 16, 26). Shipiviṣhṭa is thus explained as a laudatory appellation by takingshipi equal to “cattle,” “sacrifice” or “rays.” But these etymological devices have failed to invest the word with a good sense in Sanskrit literature; and this fact by itself is sufficient to show that the word shipiviṣhṭa originally was, and has always been, a term of reproach indicating some bodily affliction, though the nature of it was not exactly known. The theological scholars, it is true, have tried to explain the word in a different sense; but this is due to their unwillingness to give opprobrious names to their gods, rather than to any uncertainty about the real meaning of the word. It was thus that the word shipiviṣhṭa, which is originally a bad name (kutsitârthiyam) according to Aupamanyava, was converted into a. mysterious (guhya) name for the deity. But this transition of meaning is confined only to the theological literature, and did not pass over into the non-theological works, for the obvious reason that in., ordinary language the bad meaning of the word was sufficiently familiar to the people. There can, therefore, be little doubt that, in VII, 100, 5 and 6, shipiviṣhṭa is used in a bad sense as, stated by Aupamanyava. These verses have been translated by Muir as follows: — “I, a devoted worshipper, who know the sacred rites, today celebrate this thy name shipiviṣhṭa, I, who am weak, laud thee who art-strong and dwellest beyond this lower world (kṣhayantam asya rajasaḥ parâke). What, Viṣhṇu, hast thou to blame, that thou declaredest, ‘I am Shipiviṣhṭa. Do not conceal from us this form (varpas) since thou didst assume another shape in the battle.” The phrase “dwelling in the lower world” (rajasaḥ parâke), or “beyond this world,” furnishes us with a clue to the real meaning of the passage. It was in the nether world that Viṣhṇu bore this bad name. And what was the bad name after all? Shipiviṣhṭa, or “enveloped like shepa,” meaning that his rays were obscured, or that he was temporarily concealed in a dark cover. The poet, therefore, asks Viṣhṇu not to be ashamed of the epithet, because, says he, the form indicated by the bad name is only temporarily assumed, as a dark armor, for the purpose of fighting with the Asuras, and as it was no longer needed, Viṣhṇu is invoked to reveal his true form (varpas) to the worshipper. That is the real meaning of the verses quoted above, and in spite of the attempt of Yâska and other scholars to convert the bad name of Viṣhṇu into a good one by the help of etymological speculations, it is plain that shipiviṣhṭa was a bad name, and that it signified the dark outer appearance of Viṣhṇu in his fight with the demons in the nether world. If the sun is called bṛihach-chhepas when moving in regions above the horizon, he can be very well described as shipiviṣhṭa or enveloped like shepa, “when moving in the nether world” and there is hardly anything therein of which the deity or his worshippers should be ashamed. Later Purâṇic tradition represents Viṣhṇu as sleeping during this period; but whether we take it as sleep or disease it means one and the same thing. It is the story of Viṣhṇu going down to the nether world, dark or diseased, to plant his third step on the head of the Asuras, or in a dark armor to help Indra in his struggle for waters and light, a struggle, which, we have seen, lasted for a long time and resulted in the flowing of waters, the recovery of the dawn and the coming out of the sun in a bright armor after a long and continuous darkness.

            A comparison with the abodes of other Vedic deities, who are said to traverse the whole universe like Viṣhṇu confirms the same view. One of these deities is Savitri, who in V, 81, 3, is described as measuring the world (rajâṁsi) and in I, 35, 6, we are told “There are three heavens (dyâvaḥ) of Savitri, two of them are near and the third, bearing the brave, is in the world of Yama.” This means that two of Savitṛi’s three abodes are in the upper heaven and one in the nether world or the kingdom of Yama. The second deity that traverses or measures the universe is Agni (VI, 7, 7). He has three stations, one in samudra or ocean, one in heaven (divi) and one in the waters or apsu (I, 95, 3). His light is spoken of as three-fold (III, 26, 7), he has three heads (I, 146, 1) and three seats, powers or tongues (III, 20, 2; VIII, 39, 8). Now although these three stations do not seem to be always conceived alike, yet one of them at any rate can be clearly identified with the third step of Viṣhṇu; for in X, 1, 3, we are told that the third station of Agni is known only to Viṣhṇu, while in V, 3, 3, Agni, with the upama (last or highest) step of Viṣhṇu, is said to guard the sacred cows. This description agrees well with I, 154, 5 and 6, where swift moving cows and a spring of honey are said to exist in the place where the highest step of Viṣhṇu is planted. It has been shown above that Agni sometimes represents the sun in the Ṛig-Veda, and that his hiding in the waters and coming out of them as apâm napât or the child of waters is only a different version of the sun sinking below the horizon for a long time and then emerging out of the nether ocean at the end of the long Arctic night. Viṣhṇu is also the same sun under a different name, and the third step of Viṣhṇu and the third or the hidden abode of Agni can, therefore, be easily recognized as identical in character. The third deity that traverses the universe is the Ashvins to whom the epithet parijman or “going round” is applied several times in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 46, 14; I, 117, 6). The Ashvins are said to have three stations (VIII, 8, 23), and their chariot, which is said to go over both the worlds alike (I, 30, 18), has three wheels one of which is represented as deposited in a cave or a secret place, like the third step of Viṣhṇu, which is beyond the ken of mortals (cf. X, 85, 14-16). This co-incidence between the third stations of the three different world-traversing gods cannot be treated as accidental; and if so, the combined effect of all the passages stated above will be clearly seen to point out to the conclusion that the third or the hidden place, dwelling or abode in each case must be sought for in the nether world, the world of the Pitṛis, of Yama, of waters and darkness.

Trita Âptya

            It has been stated above that the year divided into three parts of 4 months each represents the three steps of Viṣhṇu; and that the first two parts were said to be visible as contrasted with the third which was hidden, because in the ancient home of the Aryan people the sun was above the horizon only for about 8 months. If we personify these three parts of the year, we get a legend of three brothers, the first two of whom may be described as arranging to throw the third into a pit of darkness. This is exactly the story of Trita Âptya in the Ṛig-Veda or of Thrâetaona in the Avesta. Thus Sâyaṇa, in his commentary on I, 105, quotes a passage from the Taittirîya Brâhmaṇa (III, 2, 8, 10-11) and also a story of the Shâṭyâyanins giving the legend of three brothers called Ekata, Dvita and Trita, or the first, the second and the third, the former two of whom threw the last or Trita into a well from which he was taken out by Bṛihaspati. But in the Ṛig-Veda Ekata is not mentioned anywhere; while Dvita, which grammatically means the second, is met with in two places (V, 18, 2; VIII, 47, 16). Dvita is the seer of the 18th hymn in the fifth Maṇḍala, and in the second verse of the hymn he is said to receive maimed offerings; while in VIII, 47, 16, the dawn is asked to bear away the evil dream to Dvita and Trita. Grammatical analogy points out that Trita must mean the third, and in VI, 44, 23, the word triteṣhu is used as a numeral adjective to rochaneṣhu meaning “in the third region.” As a Vedic deity Trita is called Âptya, meaning “born of or residing in waters” (Sây. on VIII, 47, 15); and he is referred to in several places, being associated with the Maruts and Indra in slaying the demon or the powers of darkness like Vṛitra. Thus in X, 8, 8, Trita, urged by Indra, is said to have fought against and slain the three-headed (tri-shiras) son of Tvaṣhṭṛi and released the cows; while in X, 99, 6, we read that Indra subdued the loud-roaring six-eyed demon and Trita strengthened by the same draught, slew the boar (varâha) with his iron-pointed bolt. But the most important incident in the story of Trita is mentioned in 1, 105. In this hymn Trita is described as having fallen into a kûpa or well, which is also called vavra or a pit in X, 8, 7. Trita then invoked the gods for help and Bṛihaspati hearing his prayers released him from his distress (I, 105, 17). Some of the verses in the hymn are very suggestive; for instance in verse 9, Trita tells us about his “kinship with the seven rays in the heaven. Trita Âptya knows it and he speaks for kinship.” The ruddy Vṛika, or the wolf of darkness, is again described in verse 18 as having perceived Trita going by the way. These references show that Trita was related to the powers of light, but had the misfortune of being thrown into darkness. In IX, 102, 2, Trita’s abode is said to be hidden or secret, a description similar to that of the third step of Viṣhṇu. The same story is found in the Avesta. There Thrâetaona, who bears the patronymic epithet Âthwya (Sans. Âptya), is described as slaying the fiendish serpent Azi Dahâka, who is said to be three-mouthed and six-eyed (Yt. XIX, 36.39; V, 33-34). But what is still more remarkable in the Avestic legend is that Thrâetaona in his expedition against the demon is said to have been accompanied by his two brothers who sought to slay him on the way.*( See Spiegel, Die Arische Periode, p. 271, quoted by Macdonell in his Vedic Mythology, § 23. Also compare S. B. E. Series, Vol. XXXIII, p. 222, note 2. ) The Avestic legend thus fully corroborates the story of the Shâṭyâyanins quoted by Sâyaṇa and when the two accounts agree so well we cannot lightly set aside the story in the Brâhmaṇa, or hold that it was woven out of stray references in the Ṛig-Veda. But in the absence of the Arctic theory, or the theory of long darkness extending over nearly four months or a third part of the year, European Scholars have been at a loss to understand why the deity should have been named “the Third”; and various ingenious theories have been started to explain how Trita, which ordinarily means the third, came to denote the deity that was thrown into a pit or well in a distant land. Thus Prof. Max Müller thinks that the name of the deity was originally Tṛita (तृत) and not Trita (ञित) and he derives the former from root tṛî (तृ) to cross. Tṛita (तृत) which, by-the-by, is not a regular grammatical form though found in the Âtharva Veda VI, 113, I and 3, would thus mean “the sun crossing the ocean,” being in this respect comparable to taraṇi which means “the sun” in the later Sanskrit literature. In short, according to Prof. Max Müller, Tṛita (तृत) means the “set sun”; and the story of Trita (ञित) is, therefore, only a different version of the daily struggle between light and darkness. But Prof. Max Müller’s theory requires us to assume that this misconception or the corruption of Tṛita (तृत) into Trita (ञित) took place before the Aryan separation, inasmuch as in Old Irish we have the word triath which means the sea, and which is phonetically equivalent to Greek triton, Sanskrit trita and Zend thrita. Prof. Max Müller himself admits the validity of this objection, and points out that the Old Norse Thridi, a name of Odin, as the mate of Har and Jasnhar, can be accounted for only or, the supposition that tṛita (तृत) was changed by a misapprehension into trita (ञित) long before the Aryan separation. This shows to what straits scholars are reduced in explaining certain myths in the absence of the true key to their meaning. We assume, without the slightest authority, that a misapprehension must have taken place before the Aryan separation, because we cannot explain why a deity was called “the Third,” and whytriath in Old Irish was used to denote the sea. But the whole legend can be now very easily and naturally explained by the Arctic theory. The personified third part of the year, called Trita or the Third, is naturally described as going into darkness, or a well or pit, or into the waters of the nether world, for the sun went below the horizon during that period in the home of the ancestors of the Vedic people. The connection of Trita with darkness and waters, or his part in the Vṛitra fight, or the use of the word triath to denote the sea in Old Irish now becomes perfectly plain and intelligible. The nether world is the home of aerial waters and Bṛihaspati, who is said to have released the cows from their place of confinement in a cave in the nether world, is naturally spoken of as rescuing Trita, when he was sunk in the well of waters. Speaking of the abode of Trita, Prof. Max Müller observes that the hiding place of Trita, the vavra, is really the same anârambhaṇam tamas, the endless darkness, from which light and some of its legendary representatives, such as Atri, Vandana and others emerged every day.” I subscribe to every word of this sentence except the last two. It shows how the learned Professor saw, but narrowly missed grasping the truth having nothing else to guide him except the Dawn and the Vernal theory. He had perceived that Trita’s hiding place was in the endless darkness and that the sun rose out of the same dark region; and from this to the Arctic theory was but a small step. Butwhatever the reason may be, the Professor did not venture to go further, and the result is that an otherwise correct conception of the mythological incidents in Trita’s legend is marred by two ominous words viz., “every day,” at the end of the sentence quoted above. Strike off the last two words, put a full point after “emerged,” and in the light of the Arctic theory we have a correct explanation or the legend of Trita as well as of the origin of the name, Trita or the Third.

APAḤ

            The nature and movement of aerial or celestial waters have been discussed at length in the last chapter and practically there is very little that remains to be said on this point. We have also seen how the nether world or the world of waters was conceived like an inverted hemisphere or tub, so that anyone going there was said to go to the region of endless darkness or bottomless waters. A mountainous range was again believed to extend over the borders of this ocean, forming a stony wall as it were between the upper and the lower world; and when the waters were to be freed to flow upwards, it was necessary to pierce through the mountainous range and clear the apertures which were closed by Vṛitra by stretching his body across them. In one place the well or avata, which Brahmaṇaspati opened, is said to be closed at its mouth with stones (ashmâsyam, II, 24, 4), and in X, 67, 3, the stony barriers (ashmanmayâni nahanâ) of the prison wherein the cows were confined are expressly mentioned. A mountain, parvata; is also said to exist in the belly of Vṛitra (1, 54, 10), and Shambara is described as dwelling on the mountains. We have seen how the word parvataoccurring in this connection has been misunderstood ever since the days of the Nairuktas, who, though they did a yeoman’s service to the cause of Vedic interpretation, seem to have sometimes carried their etymological method too far. The connection of the nether world of waters with mountains and darkness may thus be taken as established, and the legends of Vṛitra, Bhujyu, Saptavadhri, Tṛita, &c., further show that the nether waters formed not only the home of the evil spirits and the scene of fights with them, but that it was the place which Sûrya, Agni, Viṣhṇu, the Ashvins and Trita had all to visit during a portion of the year. It was the place where Viṣhṇu slept, or hid himself, when afflicted with a kind of skin-disease, and where the sacrificial horse, which represented the sun, was harnessed by Trita and first bestrode by Indra (I, 163, 2). It was the place from which the seven aerial rivers rose up with the seven suns to illumine the ancient home of the Aryan race for seven months, and into which they again dropped with the sun after that period. It was the same waters that formed the source of earthly waters by producing rain by their circulation through the upper regions of heaven. These waters were believed to stretch from west to east underneath the three earths, thus forming at once the place of desolation and the place of the birth of the sun and other matutinal deities mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda. It was the place where Vṛitra concealed the cows in a stony stable and where Varuṇa and Yama reigned supreme and the fathers (Pitṛis) lived in comfort and delight. As regards the division of this watery region, we might say that the Vedic bards conceived the nether world as divided in the same way as the earth and the heaven. Thus there were three, seven or ten lower worlds to match with the threefold or ten-fold division of the heaven and the earth. It will thus be seen that a right conception of the nether waters and their movement is quite necessary for understanding the real meaning of many a Vedic and we might even say, the Purâṇic legends, for the latter are generally based either upon the Vedic legends or some one or other incident mentioned in them. If this universal and comprehensive character of the waters be not properly understood many legends will appear dark, confused or mysterious; and I have therefore, summed up in this place the leading characteristics of the goddesses of water as conceived by the Vedic poets and discussed in the foregoing pages. In the post-Vedic literature many of these characteristics are predicated of the sea of salt water on the surface of the earth, much in the same way as the Greek Okeanos, which has been shown to be phonetically identical with the Sanskrit word âshayâna or enveloping, came to denote the ocean or the sea in European languages. Thus Bhartṛihari in his Vairâgya-Shataka (v. 76) says: “Oh! how extensive, grand and patient is the body of the ocean! For here sleeps Keshava (Viṣhṇu) here the clan of his enemies (Vṛitra and other demons of darkness); here lie also the host of mountains (the parvata of the Vedas) in search of shelter; and here too (lies) the Mare’s fire (submarine fire) with all the Saṁvartakas (clouds).” This is intended to be a summary of the Purâṇic legends regarding the ocean, but it can be easily seen that every one of them is based upon the Vedic conception of the nature and movements of aerial waters, which formed the very material out of which the world was believed to be created. After this it is needless to explain why Apaḥ occupied such an important place in the Vedic pantheon.

Seven-fold Nine-fold and Ten-fold

            It is stated above that the nether waters are divided after the manner of the heaven and the earth, either into three, seven or ten divisions. We have also seen that the ancient sacrificers completed their sacrificial session in seven, nine or ten months; and that the Navagvas and the Dashagvas are, therefore, sometimes mentioned together, sometimes separately and sometimes along with the seven sages or vipras. I have also briefly referred to the seven-fold division, which generally obtains not only in the Vedic, but also in other Aryan mythologies. But the subject deserves a fuller consideration, and I propose here to collect certain facts bearing upon it, which seem to have hitherto attracted but little attention. All that Yâska and Sâyaṇa tell us about the seven-fold division is that there are seven horses of the sun and seven tongues or flames of Agni, because the rays of the sun are seven in number; and the late Mr. S. P. Pandit goes so far as to assert that the seven rays here referredto may be the prismatic colors with which we are familiar in the Science of optics, or the seven colors of the rainbow. All this appears to be very satisfactory at the first sight, but our complacency is disturbed as soon as we are told that along with the seven rays and horses of the sun, the Ṛig-Veda speaks of ten horses or ten rays of the same luminary. Yâska and Sâyaṇa get over the difficulty either by ignoring or by explaining away, in a tortuous manner, all references to the ten-fold division of this kind. But the places where it is mentioned are too many to allow us to lightly set aside the ten-fold division, which occurs along with the seven-fold one in the Ṛig-Veda; and we must find out why this double division is recorded in the Ṛig-Veda But before inquiring into it, we shall collect all the facts and see how far this double division extends in the Vedic literature..

            We begin with the sun. He is described as seven-horsed (saptâshva) in V, 45, 9, and his chariot is described as seven wheeled, or yoked with seven horses, or one seven-named horse in I, 164, 3. The seven bay steeds (haritaḥ) are also mentioned as drawing the carriage of the sun in I, 50, 8. But in IX, 63, 9, the sun is said to have yoked ten horses to his carriage; and the wheel of the year-god is said to be carried by ten horses in I, 164, 14. In the Atharva Veda XI, 4, 22, the sun’s carriage is, however, said to be eight-wheeled (ashtâ-chakra).

            Indra is called sapta-rashmi in II, 12, 12, and his chariot, is also said to be seven-rayed in VI, 44, 24. But in V, 33, 8, ten white horses are said to bear him; while in VIII, 24, 23, Indra is said to be “the tenth new” (dashamam navam). In the Taittirîya Âraṇyaka III, 11, 1, Indra’s self is said to be going about ten-fold (Indrasya âtmânam dashadhâ charantam); and corresponding to it, it may be here noticed, we have in. the Bahrâm Yasht, in the Avesta, ten incarnations of Vere-thraghna (Sans. Vṛitrahan) specifically mentioned. Amongst the protégés of Indra we again have one called Dasha-dyu, or one shining ten-fold (I, 33, 14; VI, 26, 4); while Dashoṇi, a being with ten arms or helpers, and Dasha-mâya, or a ten-wiled person, are mentioned amongst those whom Indra forced to submit to Dyotana in VI, 20, 8. Dashoṇya and Dashashipra are also mentioned to have been by the side of Indra when he drank Soma with Syûmarashmi in VIII, 52, 2.

            The chariot of Soma and Pûshan is described as five-rayed and seven-wheeled in II, 40, 3. But Soma is said to have ten rays (rashmayaḥ) in IX, 97, 23.
            Agni is described as sapta-rashmi or seven-rayed in I, 146, 1, and his rays are expressly said to be seven in II, 5, 2. His horses are similarly described as seven-tongued in III, 6, 2. But in I, 141, 2, Agni is said to be dasha-pramati, and his ten secret dwellings are mentioned in X, 51, 3. The adjective navamam or the ninth is also applied to the youngest (naviṣhṭhâya) Agni in V, 27, 3, much in the same way as dashamam is applied to the new (nava) Indra in VIII, 24, 23.
            Seven dhîtis, prayers or devotions of sacrificial priests, are mentioned in IX, 8, 4. But in I, 144, 5, their number is said to be ten.
            Foods are said to be seven in III, 4, 7. But in I, 122, 13, the food is described as divided ten-fold. In the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa I, 8, 1, 34, haviḥ, or sacrificial oblation, is, however described as made in ten ways.
            Seven vipras (III, 7, 7), or seven sacrificers (hotâraḥ), are mentioned in several places (III, 10, 4; IV, 2, 15; X, 63, 7). But in III, 39, 5, the number of the Dashagvas is expressly stated to be ten. Ten sacrificers (hotâraḥ) are also mentioned in the Taittirîya Brâhmaṇa II, 2, 1, 1, and II, 2, 4, 1.
            Bṛihaspati, the first-born sacrificer, is described as seven-mouthed or saptâsya in IV, 50, 4, and the same verse occurs in the Atharva Veda (XX, 88, 4). But in the Atharva Veda IV, 6, I the first Brâhmaṇa Bṛihaspati is said to bedashâsya, or ten-mouthed, and dasha-shirsha or ten-headed. Seven heads of the Brâhmaṇa are not expressly mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda, but in X, 67, 1, “our-father,” meaning the father of the Aṅgirases, is said to have acquired seven-headed (sapta-shîrṣhṇî) devotion or intelligence (dhî).
            Seven divisions of the earth are mentioned in I, 22, 16.
            But the earths are said to be ten (dashâvani) in X, 94, 7, (also cf. I, 52, 11).
            The cows’ stable which the Ashvins opened is said to be saptâsya or seven-mouthed in X, 40, 8. But a ten-fold cows’ stable (dashavraja) is mentioned in VIII, 8, 20; 49, 10; 50, 9.
            In X, 93, 4, Aryaman, Mitra, Varuṇa Rudra, Maruts, Pûṣhan and Bhaga are mentioned as seven kings. But ten god-like (hiraṇyasaṇdṛisha) kings are referred to in VIII, 5, 38, and ten non-sacrificing (avajyavaḥ) kings are mentioned in VII, 83, 7. The Atharva Veda, XI, 8, 10, further tells us that there were only ten ancient gods.

            These references will make it clear that if the horses of the sun are mentioned as seven in one place, they are said to be ten in another; and so there are seven devotions and ten devotions; seven earths and ten earths; seven cowpens and ten cowpens, and so on. This double division may not be equally explicit in all cases; but, on the whole, there can be no doubt that the several objects mentioned in the above passages are conceived as divided in a double manner, once as seven-fold and once as ten-fold. To this double division may be added the three-fold division of the heaven, the earth and the nether world or Nir-ṛiti; and the eleven-fold division of gods in the heaven, the earth and waters mentioned previously. In the Atharva Veda XI, 7, 14, nine earths, nine oceans and nine skies are also mentioned, and the same division again occurs in the Atharvashiras Upanishad, 6. Now it is, evident that the theory started by Yâska cannot explain all these different methods of division. We: might say that the three-fold division was suggested by the heaven, the earth and the lower world. But how are we to account far all kinds of division from seven to eleven? So far as I am aware there is no attempt made to explain the principle of division underlying these different classifications. But now the analogy of the seven priests, the Navagvas and the Dashagvas, suggests to us the probable reason of the different methods of division noticed above. The fact that the horses of the sun are once said to be seven and once ten, seems naturally to refer to seven months’ and ten months’ period of sunshine previously described; and if so, this helps us in understanding the real meaning of the different divisions. The seven-fold, nine-fold or ten-fold division of things is thus merely a different phase of the division of sacrificers into the seven Hotris, the Navagvas and the Dashagvas. Both seem to be the effects of the same cause. The mother-land of the Aryan race in, ancient times, lying between the North Pole and the Arctic circle, was probably divided into different zones according to the number of months for which the sun was seen above the horizon in each; and the facts, that the Navagvas and the Dashagvas are said to be the chief or the most prominent of the Aṅgirases, that saptâshva was the principal designation of Sûrya, and that the sons of Aditi who were presented to the gods were only seven in number, further show that in the ancient Arctic home a year of seven, nine, or ten months’ sunshine must have been more prevalent than a year of 8 or 11 months. It may, however, be noticed that just as the Aṅgirases are said to be virûpas, Aryaman is described in X, 64, 5, as having a great chariot, and amidst his births of various forms (viṣhu-rûpeṣhu) he is said to be a seven-fold sacrificer (sapta-hotṛi), showing that though-the seven-fold character of Aryaman was the chief or the principal one, yet there were various other forms of the deity. In X, 27, 15, seven, eight, nine and ten Vîras or warriors are said to rise from below, behind, in the front, or on the back, or, in other words, all round. This verse is differently interpreted by different scholars; but it seems to me to refer to the seven-fold, eight-fold, or nine-fold division of the sacrificers, or the Aṅgirases, who are actually described in III, 53, 7, as “the Vîras or warriors of the Asura.” It is, therefore, quite probable that the same Vîras are referred to in X, 27, 15. In VIII, 4, 1, Indra is said to be worshipped by people in the front (east), behind (west), up (north), and down (south), meaning that his worshippers were to be found everywhere; and if the adjectives “below, behind &c” in X, 27, 15, be similarly interpreted the verse would mean that the seven-fold, eight-fold, nine-fold, or ten-fold division of sacrificers was to be met with in places all round. In other words, the different places in the Arctic region had each a group of sacrificers of its own, corresponding to the months of sunshine in the place. On no other theory can we account for the different divisions satisfactorily as on the Arctic theory, and in the absence of a better explanation we may, I think, accept the one stated above.

The Ten Kings and Ṛâvaṇa

            It has been noticed above that ten gold-like kings (VIII, 3, 38), and ten non-sacrificing kings (VII, 83, 7), are mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda. But there is an important incident connected with the ten non-sacrificing kings which deserves more than a passing notice in this place. Sudâs, the son of Divodâsa Atithigva, is described as engaged in a fight with the ten non-worshipping (ayajyavaḥ)      kings, and is said to have received help from Indra and Varuṇa (VII, 33, 3-5; 83, 6-8). It is known as the Dasharâjña fight, and Vasiṣhṭha, as the priest of Sudâs, is said to have secured the assistance of Indra for him. On this slender basis some scholars have erected a stately edifice of the fight of the Aryan races with the ten non-Aryan or non-worshipping kings. But it seems to me that the Dasharâjña fight can be more simply and naturally explained by taking it to be a different version of Indra’s fight with the seven Dânus or demons (X, 120, 6). In X, 49, 8, Indra is called the seven-slayer (sapta-han) with reference either to the seven Dânus or demons (X, 120, 6) or to the seven cities of Vṛitra (I, 174, 2), in the seven-bottomed ocean (VIII, 40, 5). Now if Indra is sapta-han on the seven-fold, division, he may be easily conceived as dasha-han, or the ten-slayer, on the ten-fold method of division. The word dasha-han does not occur in the Ṛig-Veda, but the fight with the ten kings (ayajyavaḥ dasha râjânah) practically amounts to the same thing. It has been stated above that amongst Indra’s enemies we have persons like Dasha-mâya and Dashoṇi, who are obviously connected in some way with the number ten. The ten gold-like kings mentioned above again seem to represent the ten monthly sun-gods, and the fact that they are said to be given to the sacrificers further strengthens this view. One of Indra’s protégés is, we further know, described as Dasha-dyu, or shining ten-fold. If all these facts are put together, we are naturally led to the conclusion that like the seven Dânus or demons, the powers of darkness were sometime conceived as ten-fold, and Indra’s helping Sudâs in his fight with the ten non-worshipping kings is nothing more than the old story of the annual fight between light and darkness as conceived by the inhabitants of a place where a summer of ten months was followed by a long winter night of two months, or, in other words which formed the land of the Dashagvas.

            But our interest in this remarkable fight does not come to an end with this explanation. For when we remember the fact that the word king was not confined to the warrior class in the Ṛig-Veda, and that in one place (I, 139, 7) it seems to be actually applied to the Aṅgirases, the expressions “ten golden kings” and “ten sacrificers” or “ten-fold Aṅgirases,” or “the ten Dashagvas sacrificing for ten months” become synonymous phrases. Now Bṛihaspati was the chief of the Aṅgirases, and as such may naturally be considered to be the representative of them all; and we have seen that he is represented once as seven-mouthed and seven headed, and once as ten-mouthed and ten-headed (Ṛig. IV, 50, 4; A.V. IV, 6, 1). This Bṛihaspati is connected with the story of Saramâ and Paṇis, and is said to have helped Indra in recovering the cows, or is sometimes described as having performed the feat himself (I, 83, 4; X, 108, 6-11). Bṛihaspati is also represented in X, 109, as having lost his wife, who was restored to him by the gods. This is obviously the story of the restoration of the dawn to man, as represented by the chief sacrificer Bṛihaspati. In the Taittirîya Âraṇyaka I, 12, 3-4, Indra is described as the lover of Ahalyâ (Ahalyâyai jâraḥ), and the myth has been explained as referring to the dawn and the sun, by an old orthodox scholar like Kumârila. Ahalyâ in the later literature is the wife of the Ṛiṣhi Gotama (lit. rich in cows); but it is not difficult to perceive that the story of Ahalyâ (which Prof. Max. Müller derives from ahan, a day), was originally a dawn-story, or a different version of the legend of Brahma-jâyâ narrated in X, 109.

            These facts are very suggestive and call to mind some of the incidents in the story of the Râmâyaṇa. It is quite outside the scope of this book to fully enter into the question of the historical basis of this well-known Indian epic. We are concerned with Vedic myths and Vedic mythology, and if we refer to the Râmâyaṇa we do so simply to point out such resemblances as are too striking to be left unnoticed. The main story in the Râmâyaṇa is narrated in such detail that, on the face of it, it bears the stamp of a historic origin. But even then we have to explain why Râma’s adversary was conceived as a ten-headed monster or an unnatural being, and why Râma’s father was called Dasharatha or ten-carred. A ten-headed monster cannot ordinarily be regarded as a historical fact, and it seems not unlikely that some of the incidents of Vedic myths may have been skillfully interwoven with the main story of the epic by its author. We have seen above that some of the Indra’s enemies are described as Dashoṇi or Dashamâya, and that in the Dâsharâjña fight there were ten non-sacrificing or demoniac kings opposed to Sudâs. These ten non-sacrificing kings may well be conceived as a single king with ten heads and spoken of as a ten-headed monster, much in the same way as Bṛihaspaṭi, the chief of the ten Aṅgirases, is said to be ten-headed or ten-mouthed. The fact that the brother of this ten-headed monster slept continuously for six months in a year also indicates his Arctic origin. Prof. Rhys, in his Hibbert Lectures, quotes Plutarch to the effect that the Paphlagonians regarded their gods as shut up in a prison during winter and let loose in summer, and interprets the legend as indicating the temporary ascendancy of the powers of darkness over those of light during the continuous night of the Arctic region. If we adopt this view, we can easily explain how all the gods were said to be thrown into prison by Ṛâvaṇa until they were released by Râma. Another fact in the Râmâyaṇa which is supposed to require explanation is the conception of the monkey-god Hanûmân. The
Ṛig-Veda mentions a monkey (kapi), who, as Vṛiṣhâkapi, has been elsewhere shown to represent the sun at the autumnal equinox, or according to the Arctic theory discussed in this book, at the time of going down below the horizon into the long darkness of the nether world. It is Dr. Pischel, who first threw out the hint that this Vṛiṣhâkapi may probably be the ancestor of the Purâṇic Hanûmân; and the fact that Hanûmân was born at a time when the sun we said to be eclipsed goes to corroborate the view to a certain extent. Mr. Nârâyan Aiyangâr, in his Essays on Indo-Aryan mythology, further points out that Sîtâ, the wife of Râma, may be traced to the Ṛig-Vedic Sîtâ, meaning “a ploughed furrow” which is invoked to bestow wealth upon the worshipper in IV, 57, 6 and 7; and so far as the birth of Sîtâ from the earth and her final disappearance into it are concerned the explanation appears very probable. It seems, therefore, very likely that the mythical element in the Râmâyaṇa was derived from the story of the restoration of the dawn or Brahmajâya to man as represented by the first sacrificer Bṛihspati, or the fight of Indra with Vṛitra for the recovery of light. Whether we can go further than this cannot be decided without further research. Prof. Max Müller, in his Lectures on the Science of Language, has shown that many names in the Iliad can be traced back to the Vedas. For instance he derives Helen from Saramâ, Paris from Paṇis, and Briesis from Brisaya. But even then all the personages mentioned in the Iliad cannot be explained in this way. One thing, however, seems certain, that the story of the restoration of the Dawn-wife to her husband was an ancient inheritance both with the Greeks and the Indians; and we need not, therefore, be surprised if we discover a few striking coincidences between the Iliad on the one hand and the Râmâyaṇa on the other; for a common mythical element appears to have been interwoven with the main story, of course with a different local coloring, in each case. The question whether the Râmâyaṇa was copied from Homer is, therefore, entirely meaningless. The fact seems to be that both Homer and Vâlmîki have utilized a common mythological stock, and any resemblances between their work only go to prove the theory of their common origin, It has been pointed out by Prof. Weber that in the Buddhistic Dasharatha Jâtaka, Sîtâ is represented as the sister and not as the wife of Râma, and the learned Professor tells us that this must be an ancient version of the story, for a marriage with one’s sister must be considered to be as primeval as Adam himself. The late Mr. Telang was of opinion that the Buddhists must have deliberately misrepresented the story of the Brahmanical epic, and such a perversion is not improbable. But on the theory that certain features of the Vedic dawn-myths were probably interwoven with the main historic story of the epic, we may explain the Buddhistic account by supposing that it was the out-come of an unsuccessful attempt made in pre-Buddhistic time to identify Râma with Sûrya in the Ṛig-Veda, the latter of whom is described both as the brother and the lover of the Dawn (VII, 75, 5; VI, 55, 4 and 5; X, 3, 3) I have already stated that the subject is too vast to be treated here at any length. My object was to point out a few resemblances between the story of the Râmâyaṇa and the Vedic myths as they occurred to me. But the question, howsoever interesting, is not relevant to the subject in hand, and I must give up the temptation of going into it more fully in this place. The question of ten incarnations is also similarly connected with the ten golden kings, or the ten gods mentioned in the Atharva Veda, or the ten incarnations of Verethreghna in the Avesta. The ten incarnations in the Avesta (Yt. XIV) are a wind, a bull, a horse, a camel, a boar, a youth, a raven, a ram, a buck and a man; and four of them, viz., a horse, a boar, a youth and a man, seem to correspond with Kalki, Varâha, Vâmana and Râma amongst the ten Avatâras mentioned in the Purâṇic literature. This shows that the conception of the ten Avatâras was, at any rate, Indo-Iranian in origin, and it is no doubt interesting to follow it up and trace its development on the Indian soil. The Matsya, the Kûrma, the Varaha, the Nârasiṁha, the Vâmana and, as we have now seen, the Râma Avatâra can be more or less traced to the Ṛig-Veda. But it would require much patient research to thoroughly investigate these matters, and I cannot do more than to throw out such hints as have occurred to me, and ask the reader to take them for what they are worth. If the Arctic theory is established, it will throw a good deal of new light not only on the Vedic but also on the Purâṇic mythology, and it will then be necessary to revise, in some cases entirely recast, the current explanations of both. But the work as stated previously cannot be undertaken in a book which is mainly devoted to the examination of evidence in support of the new theory.

            We have now discussed most of the Vedic legends likely to throw any light on the main point of our inquiry. There are many other incidents, which can be better explained on the Arctic theory than at present. For instance, we can now well understand why Mitra and Varuṇa were originally conceived as two correlated deities; for according to our theory they would represent half-year-long light and darkness in the Paradise of the Aryan race, and Varuṇa can then be very well described as “embracing the nights” (kṣhapaḥ pari ṣhasvaje, VIII, 41, 3). But we cannot go into all these points in this place. What I have said is, I think, sufficient to convince any one that there are a number of incidents in the Vedic myths, which are inexplicable on the theory of a diurnal struggle between light and darkness, or the conquest of spring over winter, or of the storm-god over clouds. Thus we have not been able as yet to explain why Vṛitra was killed once a year, why the waters and the light were described as being released simultaneously by killing Vṛitra, or why Indra’s fight with Shambara was said to have commenced on the 40th day of Sharad, or why the fight was said to be conducted in the parâvat regions, why Dîrghatamas was described as having grown old in the 10th yuga, why Mârtâṇḍa was cast away as a dead son, why Trita, or the Third, was said to have fallen into a pit, or again why Viṣhṇu’s third stride was said to be invisible. We now find that not only all these but many more incidents in the Vedic myths are satisfactorily accounted for, and the legends in their turn directly lead us to the Arctic theory. The legends of Indra and Vṛitra, of Saptavadhri, of Aditi and her seven flourishing and one still-born son, of Sûrya’s wheel and of Dîrghatamas, are again found to contain express passages which indicate seven or ten months’ period of sunshine at the place, where these legends originated; and unless we are prepared to say that all these may be accidental coincidences, we cannot, I think, legitimately withhold our assent to a theory which explains so many facts, and incidents, hitherto ignored, neglected or misunderstood, in an easy, natural and intelligible manner. I do not mean to say that the Arctic theory would entirely dispense with the necessity of the Dawn, the storm or the Vernal theory. All that I contend for is that the Arctic theory explains a number of legendary or traditional facts hitherto hopelessly given up as inexplicable and that in the interpretation of Vedic myths it furnishes us with a weapon far more powerful and effective than either the Dawn, the Storm or the Vernal theory. In short, from a mythological point of view alone, there is ample ground to recommend it to our acceptance side by side with, and, in some cases, even in substitution of the old theories. In addition to this it has been already shown in previous chapters that the new theory rests on direct and independent statements of facts, contained in the Ṛig-Veda, about the duration and nature of the Dawn, days and nights, seasons, months and the year in the home of the ancient fathers of the Vedic Ṛiṣhis; and that the Avestic and Roman traditions fully corroborate our conclusion. We have further seen that the theory is perfectly consistent with the latest results of geological and archaeological researches. Shall we then still withhold our assent to the only theory which explains so many facts, legends and incidents, in a natural and intelligent way and which throws such a flood of light on the ancient history of the Aryan race, simply because it seems to be rather uncouth at the first sight? The rules of logic and scientific research will not justify us in doing so, and I fully rely on them for the eventual success or failure of the theory I have endeavored to prove in these pages.


CHAPTER XI

THE AVESTIC EVIDENCE

Nature of Avestic evidence stated — Different views of scholars regarding its character — Necessity of re-examining the subject — An abstract of the first Fargard of the Vendidad — Sixteen lands created by Ahura Mazda with their modern equivalents &c. — Airyana Vaêjo, the first created land represents the Paradise of the Iranians — Different views regarding its position — Darmesteter, Spiegel and others locate it in the east; Haug and Bunsen in the far north — Darmesteter’s argument examined — Airyana Vaêjo cannot be determined from the position of Vanguhi — Identification of Rangha with the Caspian Sea or the westernmost river doubtful — Rangha is probably the same as Rasâ in the Ṛig-Veda X, 75, 6 — Unsoundness of Darmesteter’s reasoning — The position of the Airyana Vaêjo must be determined from its special characteristics found in the Avesta — The passage where ten months winter is said to be such a characteristic cited — Ten months winter first introduced into the happy land by Angra Mainyu — Indicates that before the fiend’s invasion there must have been ten months summer and two months winter in the land — Sudden change in the Polar climate fully confirmed by latest geological researches — Two months winter necessarily synchronous with long Arctic night — The tradition about seven months summer and five months winter also refers to the original climate in the Airyana Vaêjo — Mentioned in the Bundahish — Not inconsistent with the tradition of ten months summer recorded in the original passage — Both possible in the Arctic regions — Similar statements in the Ṛig-Veda — Coincidence between seven months summer, the legend of Aditi, and the date of Indra’s fight with Shambara, pointed out — Summary of the second Fargard — Yima’s Vara in the Airyana Vaêjo — Annual sunrise and a year-long day therein — Shows that the Airyana Vaêjo must be located near the North Pole and not to the east of Iran — The account too graphic to be imaginary or mythical — Represents the advent of the Glacial epoch in the land — It is the oldest human testimony to the advent of the Ice-age, destroying the Arctic home — Special importance of the Avestic evidence pointed out — Fully corroborated by scientific evidence — Migration from Airyana Vaêjo rendered necessary by glaciation — Sixteen lands in the first Fargard therefore represent successive stages of migration to Central Asia — Establishes the historical character of the first Fargard — The legend of deluge in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa — Probably refers to the same event as the Avestic legends — Other Vedic passages indicating the northern origin of Indian Aryas — Conclusion to be drawn from the Vedic and Avestic evidence combined.


            In dealing with the Vedic evidence, both direct and circumstantial, we have by way of comparison quoted or referred to some Avestic legends or myths in the foregoing chapters. But the Avesta contains some important passages directly bearing upon the question of the original Aryan home in the far north, and migrations therefrom to the regions watered by the Oxus, the Jaxartes or the Indus; and it is necessary to discuss these passages in a separate chapter, because they not only confirm and supplement the conclusions we have previously arrived at by the examination of the Vedic evidence but constitute, what may be called, independent evidence pointing out to the same result. As regards the antiquity of the Avesta, it is superfluous to adduce any proofs in this place; for it is admitted by scholars that the Vedas and the Avesta are but two branches of the same parent stream, though the latter may not be as well preserved as the former. To use a Vedic phrase, the sacred books of the Brâhmans and the Parsis are the twin books of the Aryan race; and they can, therefore, be safely taken to supplement each other whenever it is necessary and possible to do so. This character of the two books is well exhibited with regard to the subject in hand. We have seen that while there are a number of passages in the Vedic literature, which speak of long dawns, continuous darkness, or a sacrificial session of ten months, we have no text or legend which directly refers to the home in the far north or to the cause or causes which forced the ancient Aryans to abandon their primeval home and migrate southwards. But fortunately for us, the Avesta, though not generally as well preserved as the Vedas, contains a passage which supplies the omission in a remarkable way; and we mean to discuss this passage at some length in this chapter. The Avestic legends and traditions quoted in the foregoing chapters show that a day and a night of six months each were known to the ancestors of the Iranians, and that the appointed time for the appearance of Tishtrya before the worshipper, after his fight with Apaosha, varied from one to a hundred nights, thus indicating that a long darkness extending over a hundred nights was also known to the forefathers of the worshippers of Mazda. The stoppage of the flow of waters and of the movement of the sun in winter, as described in the Farvardîn Yasht, have also been referred to; and it is shown that the custom of keeping a dead body in the house for two nights, three nights or a month long in winter, until the floods begin to flow, must be ascribed to the absence of sunlight during the period when the floods as well as light were shut up in the nether world by the demons of darkness. All these traditions have their counterparts in the Vedic literature. But the Avestic tradition regarding the original home in the far north and its destruction by snow and ice stands by itself, though in the light of the Vedic evidence discussed in the previous chapters, we can now clearly show that it has historical basis and that it preserves for us a distinct reminiscence, howsoever fragmentary, of the ancient Aryan home. This tradition is contained in the first two Fargards or chapters of the Vendidad, or the law book of the Mazda-yasnians. They have no connection with the subsequent chapters of the book and appear to be incorporated into it simply as a relic of old historical or traditional literature. These two Fargards have not failed to attract the attention of Zend scholars ever since the discovery of the Avesta by Anquetil; and many attempts have been made not only to identify the places mentioned therein, but to draw historical conclusions therefrom. Thus Heeren, Rhode, Lassen, Pictel, Bunsen, Haug and others have recognized in these accounts of the Vendidad, a half historical half mythical reminiscence of the primeval home and the countries known to the followers of the Avesta, when these Fargards were composed. Professor Spiegel at first took the same view as Rhode, but has latterly retracted his opinion. On the other hand, Kiepert, Breal, Darmesteter and others have shown that no historical conclusion can be drawn from the description contained in the first two chapters of the Vendidad; and this view seems to be now mainly accepted. But it must be borne in mind that this view was formulated at a time when the Vedic evidence in support of the Arctic theory, set forth in the previous chapters, was entirely unknown, and when the existence of an Arctic home in ancient times was not regarded as probable even on geological grounds, man being believed to be post-Glacial and the Arctic regions always unsuited for human habitation. The recent discoveries in Geology and Archaeology have, however, thrown-a flood of new light on the subject; and if the interpretation of the Vedic traditions noticed in the previous chapters is correct, it will, I think, be readily admitted that a reconsideration of the Avestic tradition from the new standpoint is a necessity and that we should not be deterred from undertaking the task by the recent verdict of Zend scholars against the views of Bunsen and Haug regarding the historical character of the first two Fargards of the Vendidad.

            The first Fargard of the Vendidad is devoted to the enumeration of sixteen lands created by Ahura Mazda, the Supreme God of the Iranians. As soon as each land was created Angra Mainyu, the evil spirit of the Avesta, created different evils and plagues to invade the land and. made it unfit for human habitation. There were thus sixteen creations of Ahura Mazda, and sixteen counter-creations of Angra Mainyu; and the first Fargard of the Vendidad contains a description of all these creations, and counter-creations, stating in detail how each good land was created by Ahura Mazda and how Angra Mainyu rendered it unfit for human residence by creating some evil or plague therein. The Fargard is too long to be quoted here in full; and I, therefore, borrow Muir’s abstract of the same prepared from the versions of Spiegel and Haug, inserting in some places Darmesteter’s renderings with the aid of his translation of the Vendidad in the Sacred Books of the East Series. The paragraphs are marked first according to Darmesteter, and then according to Spiegel by figures within brackets.
            1, 2 (1-4): — “Ahura Mazda spake to the holy Zarathustra: ‘I formed into an agreeable region that which before was nowhere habitable. Had I not done this, all living things would have poured forth after Airyana Vaêjo.’”
            3, 4, (5-9): — “I, Ahura Mazda, created as the first best region, Airyana Vaêjo, of the good creation (or, according to Darmesteter, by the good river Dâitya). Then Angra Mainyu, the destroyer, formed in opposition to it, a great serpent and winter [or snow], the creation of the Daêvas. There are these ten months of winter, and two of summer.”
            5, (13, 14): — “I, Ahura Mazda, created as the second best region, Gaû (plains), in which Sughdha is situated. Thereupon in opposition to it, Angra Mainyu, the death-dealing, created a wasp which is death to cattle and fields.”
            6, (17, 18): — “I, etc., created as the third best region, Môuru, the mighty, the holy.”
            [Here, and in most of the following cases the counter-creations of Angra Mainyu are omitted.]
            7, (21, 22): — “I, etc., created as the fourth best region, the fortunate Bâkhdhi, with the lofty banner.”
            8, (25, 26): — “I, etc., created as the fifth best region, Nisaya [situated between Môuru and Bâkhdhi].”
            9, (29, 30): — “I, etc., created as the sixth best region, Haroyu, abounding in the houses [or water].”
            10, (33-36): — “I, etc., created as the seventh best region, Vaêkereta where Dujak is situated (or, according to Darmesteter, of evil shadows). In opposition to it, Angra Mainyu, the destroyer, created the Pairika Khnathaiti, who clung to Keresâspa.”
            11, (37, 38): — “I, etc., created as the eighth best region, Urva, full of pastures.”
            12, (41, 42): — “I, etc., created as the ninth best region. Khnenta (a river) in Vehrkâna.”
            13, (45, 46): — “I, etc., created as the tenth best region, the fortunate Harahvaiti.”
            14, (49, 50): — “I, etc., created as the eleventh best region, Haêtumaṇt, the rich and shining.”
            16, (59, 60): — “I, etc., created as the twelfth best region, Ragha, with three fortresses [or races].”
            17, (63, 64): — “I, etc., created as the thirteenth best region, Chakhra, the strong.”
            18, (67, 68): — “I, etc., created as the fourteenth best region, Varena, with four corners; to which was born Thraêtaona, who slew Azi Dahâka.”
            19, (72, 73): — “I, etc., created as the fifteenth best country, Hapta Heṇdu [from the eastern to the western Heṇdu]. In opposition, Angra Mainyu created untimely evils, and pernicious heat [or fever].”
            20, (76, 77): — “I, etc., created as the sixteenth and best, the people who live without a head on the floods of Rangha (or according to Haug ‘on the seashore’).”
            21, (81): — “There are besides, other countries, fortunate, renowned, lofty, prosperous and splendid.”
            Spiegel, Haug and other scholars have tried to identify the sixteen lands mentioned in this description, and the following tabular statement sums up the results of the investigations of these scholars in this direction. The letters S, H, and D, stand for Spiegel, Haug and Darmesteter.



Zend Name

Old
Persian

Greek

Modern
Angra
Mainyu’s
evils therein

1
Airyana Vaêjo
Iran Vêjo
Severe winter
and snow
2
Sughda
Suguda
Sogdiana
Samarkand
Cattle wasp
and fly
3
Môuru
Margu
Margiana
Merv
Sinful Lust
4
Bâkhdi
Bâkhtri
Bactria
Balhk
Devouring ants
or beast
5
Nisâya
Nisæa
Unbelief
6
Harôyu (Sans.
Sharayu)
Haraiva
Areia
Heart (the
basin of
Hari river)
Mosquito,
Poverty
7
Vaêreketa
Cabul (S)
Segeston (H)
Pairikâs
(Paris)
8
Urva
Cabul (H)
Land around
Ispahan (D)
Evil defilement
Pride, or
Tyranny.
9
Khneṇta, in
Verkhâna
Varkâna
Hyrcania
Gurjân (S)
Kandahar (H)
Unnatural sin
10
Harahvaiti
(Sans. Sarasvatî)
Harauvati
Arakhosia
Harût
Burial of the
dead
11
Haêtumaṇt
(Sans.
Setumat)
Etumandros
Helmend
Wizards,
Locusts
12
Ragha
Raga
Ragai
Rai
Unbelief,
Hereticism
13
Chakra
(Sans. Chakra)
A Town in
Khorasan (?)
Cremation of
the dead
14
Varena (Sans.
Varuṇa)
Ghilan (H)?
Despotic
foreign rule
15
Hapta Heṇdu
(Sans. Sapta
Sindhu)
Hiṇdavas
Indoi
Panjaub
Excessive
heat
16
Rangha (Sans.
Rasâ)
Caspian Sea
(H). Arvast-
ân-i-Rûm or
Mesopotamia
(D)
Winter,
earthquake


            The old Persian and Greek names in the above table are taken from the inscriptions of the Achæmenian kings and the works of Greek writers after the overthrow of the Achæmenian dynasty by Alexander the Great. They show that at least 10 out of 16 lands can be still identified with certainty; and if so, we can safely say that the account in the first Fargard is real and not mythical. But with regard to the land mentioned first in the list, there has been a difference of opinion amongst Zend scholars. The Airyana Vaêjo is the first created happy land, and the name signifies that it was the birth-land (Vaêjo = seed, sans. bîja) of the Aryans (Iranians), or the Paradise of the Iranian race. Was this a mythical region or a real country representing the original home of the Aryans, and if it was a real country where was it situated? This is the first question which we have to answer from the evidence contained in the first two Fargards of the Vendidad; and secondly, we have to decide whether the sixteen lands mentioned above were the successive countries occupied by the ancestors of the Iranian race in their migrations from the original home in the north. The Fargard says nothing about migration. It simply mentions that so many lands were created by Ahura Mazda and that in opposition thereto Angra Mainyu, the evil Spirit of the Avesta, created so many different evils and plagues which rendered the lands unfit for human residence. It is inferred from this that the Fargard does not contain an account of successive migrations, but merely gives us a description of the countries known to the ancestors of the Iranians at the time when the Fargards were composed. In other words, the chapter is geographical and not historical, containing nothing but a specification of the countries known to the Iranians at a particular time; and it is argued that it would be converting geography into history to take the different countries to represent the successive stages of migrations from the primeval home, when not a word about migration is found in the original text. Professor Darmesteter further observes that as the enumeration of the sixteen lands begins with Airyana Vaêjo by the river Vanguhi Dâitya andends with Rangha, which corresponds with the Vedic Rasa, a mythical river that divides the gods from the fiends, and that as the Vanguhi and the Rangha were originally the celestial rivers that came down from heaven (like the two heavenly Gânges) to surround the earth, the one in the east and the other in the west, (Bundahish, XX), the Airyana Vaêjo and the Rangha must be taken to denote the eastern and the western boundaries of the countries known to the ancient Iranians at the time when the Fargard was composed. Spiegel also takes the same view, and places Airyana Vaêjo “in the farthest east of the Iranian plateau, in the region where the Oxus and Jaxartes take their rise,” and Darmesteter seems to quote with approval the identification of the Rangha or the sixteenth land, in the commentary on the Vedidad, with Arvastân-i-Rûm or Roman Mesopotamia. The whole Fargard is thus taken to be a geographical description of the ancient Iran, and Professor Darmesteter at the end of his introduction to the Fargard observes “It follows hence no historical conclusion can be drawn from this description: it was necessary that it should begin with the Vanguhi and end with the Rangha. To look to it for an account of geographical migrations is converting cosmology into history.” Bunsen and Haug, on the other hand, maintain that the Airyana Vaêjo represents the original home of the Iranians in the far north, and the countries mentioned in the Fargard must, therefore, be taken to represent the lands through which the Aryans passed after leaving their ancient home. The first question which we have, therefore, to decide is whether the Airyana Vaêjo was merely the easternmost boundary of the ancient Iran, or whether it was the primeval abode of the Iranians in the far north. In the former case we may take the Fargard to be merely a chapter on ancient geography; while if it is found impossible to locate the Airyana Vaêjo except in the far north, the countries from Samarkand and Sughdha to Hapta Heṇdu or the Panjaub mentioned in the Fargard would naturally represent the route taken by the ancient Iranians in their migrations from the ancient home. Everything thus depends upon the view that we take of the situation of the Airyana Vaêjo; and we shall, therefore, first see if there is anything in the Avestic description of the land which will enable us to determine its position with certainty.
            It may be observed at the outset that the river Vanguhi is not mentioned in their Fargard along with the Airyana Vaêjo. The original verse speaks only of the “good dâîtya of Airyana Vaêjo,” but it is doubtful if “dâîtya” denotes a river in this place. The Zend phrase Airyanem Vaêjô vanghuyâô dâityayô, which Darmesteter translates as “the Airyana Vaêjo, by the good (vanghuhi) river Dâitya,” is understood by Spiegel to mean “the Airyana Vaêjo of the good creation,” while Haug takes it as equivalent to “the Airyana Vaêjo of good capability.” It is, therefore, doubtful if the Dâitya river is mentioned along with the Airyana Vaêjo in this passage.*

* See Dr. West’s dote on Bundahish XX, 13. The original passage mentions the Dâîtîk river coming out from Aîrân vêj; but Dr. Nest observes that this may not be a river though the phrase (in the Avesta) has, no doubt, led to locating the river Dâîtîk in Aîrân vêj.

But even supposing that Darmesteter’s rendering is correct, he gives us no authority for identifying Dâitya with Vanguhi. The Bundahish (XX, 7 and 13) mentions Vêh (Vanguhi) and Dâitîk (Dâitya) as two distinct rivers, though both seem to be located in the Airân-vêj (Airyana Vaêjo). We cannot again lose sight of the fact that it is not the Vanguhi (Vêh) alone that flows through the Airyana Vaêjo, but that the Rangha (Arag) has the same source and flows through the same land, viz., the Airyana Vaêjo. Thus in the very beginning of Chapter XX of the Bundahish, we read that the Arag and the Vêh are the chief of the eighteen rivers, and that they “flow forth from the north, part from Albûrz and part from the Albûrz of Auhar-mazd; one towards the west, that is the Arag; and one towards the east, that is the Vêh river.” The Bundahish (VII, 15) further informs us that the Vêh river flows out from the same source as the drag river, and Dr. West in a footnote observes that both these rivers flow out from “the north side of the Arêdvîvsûr (Ardvi Sûra Anâhita) fountain of the sea, which is said to be on the lofty Hûgar (Hukairya), a portion of Albûrz.” Even according to Bundahish, the Vanguhi is, therefore, the eastern and the Rangha the western river, in the northern part of Albûrz; or, in other words, they represent two rivers in a country, situated in the north, one flowing towards the east, and one to the west, in that region. It would, therefore, be, to say the least, unsafe to infer from this that the Airyana Vaêjo represents the eastern-most country, because the name Vêh or Vanguhi was in later times attached to the easternmost river in Iran. For by parity of reasoning, we can as well place the Airyana Vaêjo in the far west, in as much as the name Arag or Rangha was given, as stated by Darmesteter himself, in later times to the westernmost river.


            It is again a question why Rangha should be identified with the Caspian Sea, or some western river in Iran. The Fargard does not say anything about the situation of Rangha. It simply states that the fifteenth land created by Ahura Mazda was Hapta Heṇdu and the sixteenth was on the floods of Rangha. Now if Hapta Heṇdu, is identified with Sapta Sindhu, or the Panjaub, why take a big and a sudden jump from the Panjaub to the Caspian Sea, to find out the Rangha river. Rangha is Sanskrit Rasâ, and in the Ṛig-Veda (X, 75, 6) a terrestrial river, by name Rasâ, is mentioned along with the Kubhâ, the Krumu and the Gomati, which are all known to be the affluents of the Indus. Is it not, therefore, more likely that Rangha may be the Vedic Rasâ, a tributary of the Indus? If the context is any guide to the determination of the sense of ambiguous words, the mention of Hapta Heṇdu, as the fifteenth land, shows that Rash the sixteenth must be sought for somewhere near it, and the point is pretty well settled when we find Rasa actually mentioned in the Ṛig-Veda along with some other tributaries of the Indus, The identification of Rangha with the westernmost river is, therefore, at best doubtful, and the same may be said of Vanguhi, which by-the-by is not mentioned in the Fargard at all. But Darmesteter’s reasoning does not stop here. On the strength of this doubtful identification he would have us believe that theancient land of the Airyana Vaêjo was situated in the same region where the river named Vanguhi, or Vêh, in later times was said to flow. But the reasoning is obviously erroneous. The names of the two rivers Vanguhi and Rangha in the primeval home may have been subsequently transferred to the real rivers in the new settlement; but we cannot infer therefrom that the country through which these new rivers flowed was the original site of the Airyana Vaêjo. It is a well-known fact that persons migrating from their motherland to new countries often name the places they come across after the names of places familiar to them in their motherland. But on that account no one has ventured to place England inAmerica or Australia; and it is strange how such a mistake should have been committed by Zend scholars in the present case. For even if a province or country in Central Asia had been named Airyana Vaêjo, we could not have located the original home in that Province; just as the abode of Varuṇa cannot be placed in the land named Varena, which is the Zend equivalent of Varuṇa. The whole of Darmesteter’s reasoning must, therefore, be rejected as unsound and illogical, and but for the preconceived notion that the original home of the Iranians cannot be placed in the far north, I think no scholar would have cared to put forward such guesses. There are express passages in the Avesta, which describe in unmistakable terms the climatic characteristics of the Airyana Vaêjo, and so far as I am aware, no valid reason has yet been assigned why we should treat this description as mythical and have recourse to guess-work for determining the position of the primeval home. Thus at the beginning of the first Fargard, we are told that the Airyana Vaêjo was the first good and happy creation of Ahura Mazda, but Angra Mainyu converted it into a land of ten months winter and two months summer, evidently meaning that at the time when the Fargard was composed it was an icebound land. The winter of ten months’ duration, therefore, naturally points to a position
in the far north, at a great distance beyond the Jaxartes; and it would be unreasonable to ignore this description which is characteristic only of the Arctic regions, and, relying on doubtful guesses, hold that the Airyana Vaêjo was the easternmost boundary of the ancient Iran. As the passage, where the ten months’ winter is described as the present principal climatic characteristic of the Airyana Vaêjo, is very important for our purpose, I give below the translations of the, same by Darmesteter, Spiegel and Haug: —

VENDIDAD, FARGARD I.

Darmesteter

Spiegel
Haug and Bunsen
3. The first of the good lands and countries, which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the Airyana Vaêjo, by the good river Dâitya.
Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the serpent in the river and winter, a work of the Daêvas.





4. There are ten winter months there, two summer months;* and those are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, with the worst of its plagues.

N.B. — Darmesteter states in a note

5. The first and best of regions and places have I created, I who am Ahura Mazda;

6. The Airyana Vaêjo of the good creation.

7. Then Angra Mainyus, who is full of death, created an opposition to the same;

8. A great serpent and Winter, which the Daêvas have created.

9. Ten winter months are there, two summer months.

10. And these are cold as to the water, cold as to the earth, cold as to the trees.

11. After this to the middle of the earth then to the heart of the earth.

12. Comes the winter;
3. As the first best of regions and countries I, who am, Ahura Mazda, created Airyana Vaêjo of good capability; thereupon in opposition, to him Angra Mainyus, the death-dealing, created a mighty serpent and snow, the work, of the Daêvas.






4. Ten months of winter are there, two months of summer.
[Seven months of summer are there; five months of winter there were; the latter are cold as to water, cold as to earth, cold as to trees, there (is) — midwinter, the heart of winter; there all around falls deep



Darmesteter

Spiegel
Haug and Bunsen
that after summer months the Vendidad Sâdah adds, “It is known that [in the ordinary course of nature] there are seven months of summer and five of winter.”
then comes the most evil.
snow; there is the direst of plagues.] †

† N.B. — According to Haug the whole of the passage within brackets is a later addition.



            It will be seen from the above translations that they all agree in the main points, viz., (1) that the Airyana Vaêjo was the first good land created by Ahura Mazda, (2) that severe winter and snow were first introduced into it by Angra Mainyu, and (3) that after the invasion of Angra Mainyu there were ten winter months and two summer months in that land. The only difference between the three versions is that while Darmesteter and Spiegel regard the last sentence “And these are cold for the waters, etc.,” as a part of the original text Haug regards it as a subsequent addition. All the translators again agree in holding that the statement “Seven months of summer are there and five months of winter” is a later insertion. But we shall take up this question afterwards. For the present we are concerned with the statement that “Ten months of winter are there, two months of summer,” and it will be seen that there is no difference on this point in the three renderings given above. Another important fact mentioned in the passage is that the prolonged duration of winter was the result of Angra Mainyu’s counter-action, meaning thereby that before the invasion of Angra Mainyu different climatic conditions prevailed in that region. This view is further strengthened by the consideration that the Iranians could never have placed their Paradise in a land of severe winter and snow. Bunsen has, therefore, rightly observed that the Airyana Vaêjo was originally a perfect country and had a very mild climate, until the hostile deity created a powerful serpent and snow, so that only two months of summer remained while winter prevailed during ten. In short, the passage in question speaks of a sudden change in the climate of the original home, a change that converted the paradise into a kind of ice-bound land with long and severe winters. If we, therefore, want to know what the land was like before the invasion of Angra Mainyu, we must reverse the climatic conditions that obtained after the invasion, and suppose that this cradle of the Iranian race was situated in the extreme north where long cool summers of ten months and short mild winters of two months originally prevailed. It was Angra Mainyu who altered this genial climate by means of glaciation, and rendered it unbearable to man. The description of the two summer months after the invasion, viz., that “These were cold as to the water, cold as to the earth, cold as to the trees,” shows that after glaciation even the summer climate was. unsuited for human habitation.
            We have stated above that the passage in question indicates a sudden change in the climate of the Airyana Vaêjo, converting ten months summer and two months winter into ten months severe winter and two months cold summer. Thirty or forty years ago such a statement or proposition would have been regarded not only bold, but impossible or almost insane, for the geological knowledge of the time was not, sufficiently advanced to establish the existence of a mild climate round about the North pole in ancient times. It was probably this difficulty which stared Zend scholars in the face when they declined to place the Airyana Vaêjo in the far north, in spite of the plain description clearly indicating its northernmost position. Happily the recent discoveries in Geology and Archaeology have not only removed this difficulty by establishing, on scientific grounds, the existence of a warm and genial climate near the North Pole in inter-glacial times, but have proved that the Polar regions were invaded, at least twice, by glaciation which destroyed their genial climate. Thus it is now a settled scientific fact that the Arctic regions were once characterized by warm and short winters, and genial and long summers, a sort of perpetual spring, and that this condition of things was totally upset or reversed by the advent of the Glacial period which made winters long and severe and summers short and cold. The description of the climatic changes introduced by Angra Mainyu into the Airyana Vaêjo is, therefore, just what a modern geologist would ascribe to the Glacial epoch; and when the description is so remarkably and unexpectedly corroborated by the latest scientific researches, I fail to see on what ground we can lightly set it aside as mythical or imaginary.. If some Zend scholars have done so in the past, it was because geological knowledge was not then sufficiently advanced to establish the probability of the description contained in the Avesta. But with new materials before us which go to confirm the Avestic description of the Airyana Vaêjo in every detail, we shall be acting unwisely if we decline to revise the conclusions of Zend scholars arrived at some years ago on insufficient materials. When we look at the question from this point of view, we have to place the site of the Airyana Vaêjo in the Arctic regions, where alone we can have a winter of ten months at the present day. We can escape from such a conclusion only by denying the possibility that the passage in question contains any traditional account of the ancient home of the Iranians; and this course seems to have been adopted by some Zend scholars of the day. But with the Vedic evidence, set forth and discussed in the previous chapters, before us, we need not have any of those apprehensions which have hitherto led many Zend scholars to err on the side of caution and moderation. We have seen that there are strong grounds for holding that the ancient Indo-European year was a year of ten months followed by a long night of two months, in other words, it was a year of ten summer months and two winter months, that is, exactly of the same kind as the one which prevailed in the Airyana Vaêjo before the happy land was invaded by the evil spirit. The word for summer in Zend is hama, the same as Sanskritsamâ, which means “a year” in the Ṛig-Veda. The period of ten summer months mentioned in the Avesta would, therefore, mean a year of ten months’ sunshine, or of ten mânuṣhâ yugâ, followed by a long wintry night of two months as described in the previous chapters. It may be urged that the Vendidad does not say that the two winter months were all dark, and we have, therefore, no authority for converting two winter months into two months of continuous darkness. A little reflection will, however, show that the objection is utterly untenable. In order to have a winter of ten months at the present day, we must place the Airyana Vaêjo in the Arctic regions; and once we do so, a long night of one, two or three months follows as a matter of course. This long night will now fall in the middle of the winter of ten months; but before the last Glacial epoch, or the invasion of Angra Mainyu, when there was a summer of ten months in the Arctic regions, the duration of the long night and that of the winter of two months must have been co-extensive. That is an important difference in the description of the paradise of the Aryans, as it is at present and as it was before the last Glacial epoch. The long night characterized these regions before the Glacial period as it does at present. But when the winters were short they corresponded with, and were confined only to, the long night; while at the present day, since the winter in the Arctic regions lasts for ten months, the long night falls in the middle of such winter. The description of the Airyana Vaêjo in the Vendidad, therefore, naturally leads us to infer that ten months sunshine or summer followed by two months dark winter represented the climatic conditions of the place before the invasion of Angra Mainyu, who converted summer into winter and vice versa, by introducing ice and snow into the land. We have already referred to the maximum period of a hundred nights during which Tishtrya fought with Apaosha, and to the custom of keeping the dead bodies in the house for two nights, three nights or a month long in winter, until waters and light, which stood still in winter, again began to flow or come up, showing that the period was one of continuous darkness. These passages taken in conjunction with the aforesaid description of the Airyana Vaêjo clearly establish the fact that the paradise of the Iranians was situated in the extreme north or almost near the North Pole, and that it was characterized by long delightful summers, and short and warm but dark winters, until it was rendered unfit for human habitation by the invasion of Angra Mainyu, or the advent of the Glacial epoch, which brought in severe winter and snow causing the land to be covered with an icecap several hundreds of feet in thickness.

            There is one more point which deserves to be noticed in this connection. We have seen that to the description of the Airyana Vaêjo quoted above, the old Zend commentators have added what is believed to be an inconsistent statement, viz., that “There are seven months of summer and five of winter therein.” Dr. Haug thinks that the paragraph “The latter are cold as to water etc” is also a later addition, and must, therefore, be taken with the five months of winter.” But both Spiegel and Darmesteter, as well as the commentator, are of opinion that the phrases “And these are cold as to the water etc.” form a part of the original text, and must, therefore, be taken to refer to the two summer months; and this view seems to be more reasonable, for a later insertion, if any, is more likely to be a short one than otherwise. The only addition to the original text thus seems to be the statement, “It is known that there are seven months of summer and five of winter,” and this must be taken as referring to the climatic conditions which obtained in the Airyana Vaêjo before the invasion of Angra Mainyu, for the latter reduced the duration of summer only to two months, which again were cold to the water, the earth and the trees. It has been shown above that as the Airyana Vaêjo was originally a happy land, we must suppose that the first climatic conditions therein were exactly the reverse of those which were introduced into it by Angra Mainyu; or, in other words, a summer of ten months and a winter of two months must be said to have originally prevailed in this happy land. But the Zend commentators have stated that there were seven months of summer and five of winter therein; and this tradition appears to have been equally old, for we read in the Bundahish (XXV, 10-14) that “on the day Aûharmazd (first day) of Âvân the winter acquires strength and enters into the world, ... and on the auspicious day Âtarô of the month Dîn (the ninth day of the tenth month) the winter arrives, with much cold, at Aîrân-vêj, and until the end, in the auspicious month Spendarmad, winter advances through the whole world; on this account they kindle a fire everywhere on the day Âtarô of the month Dîn, and it forms an indication that the winter has come.” Here the five months of winter in the Airyana Vaêjo are expressly mentioned to be Âvân, Âtarô, Dîn, Vohûman and Spendarmad; and we are told that Rapîtvîn Gâh is not celebrated during this period as Rapîtvîn goes under-ground during winter and comes up from below the ground in summer. The seven months of summer are similarly described in the same book as extending “from the auspicious day Aûharmazd (first) of the month Farvarḍîn to the auspicious day Anirân (last) of the month Mitrô” (XXV, 7). It seems from this account that the tradition of seven months summer and five months winter in the Airyana Vaêjo was an old tradition, and the Bundahish, in recording it, gives us the climatic conditions in the ancient home and not, as supposed by some, those which the writer saw in his own day. For in the twentieth paragraph of the same chapter twelve months and four seasons are enumerated, and the season of winter is there said to comprise only the last three months of the year, viz., Dîn, Vohûman and Spendarmad. I have shown elsewhere that the order of months in the ancient Iranian calendar was different from the one given in the Bundahish. But whatever the order may be, the fact of the prevalence of seven months summer and five months winter in the Airyana Vaêjo seems to have been traditionally preserved in these passages; and the old Zend commentators on the Vendidad appear to have incorporated it into the original text, by way of, what may be called, a marginal note, in their anxiety to preserve an old tradition. We have thus two different statements regarding the climatic conditions of the Airyana Vaêjo before it was invaded by Angra Mainyu: one, that these were ten months of summer and two of winter, the reverse of the conditions introduced by Angra Mainyu; and the other, traditionally preserved by the commentators, viz., that there were seven summer months and five winter months therein. It is supposed that the two statements are contradictory; and contradictory they undoubtedly are so long as, we do not possess the true key to their interpretation. They are inconsistent, if we make the Airyana Vaêjo the easternmost boundary of the ancient Iran; but if the paradise is placed in, the circumpolar regions in the far north the inconsistency at once disappears, for then we can have seven months summer and ten months summer at the same time in the different parts of the original home of the Iranians. We have seen in the discussion of the Vedic evidence that the legend of Aditi indicates seven months summer or sun-shine, and the legend of the Dashagvas a sacrificial session, or a period of sun-shine of ten months. It has also been pointed out that between the North Pole and the Arctic circle the sun is above the horizon for any period longer than seven and less than twelve months, according to the latitude of the place. There is, therefore, nothing strange, extraordinary or inconsistent, if we get two statements in the Avesta regarding the duration of summer in the primeval home; and we need not assume that the commentators have added the statement of seven months summer simply because the description of two months summer and ten months winter did not appear to them suitable to the first land of blessing. It is not possible that they could have misunderstood the original text in such a way as to suppose that the climatic conditions introduced by Angra Mainyu were the conditions which obtained originally in the Airyana Vaêjo. We must, therefore, reject the explanation which tries to account for this later insertion on the ground that it was made by persons who regarded the description in the original as unsuited to the first created happy land. If the original text is properly read and interpreted, it gives us a summer of ten months in the Airyana Vaêjo before Angra Mainyu’s invasion, and the statement regarding the summer of seven months refers to the same place and time. We have the same thing in the Ṛig-Veda where the sun is once represented as having. seven rays and once as having ten rays, meaning seven months and ten months of sun-shine, both of which are possible only in the Arctic regions. The two Avestic traditions stated above must, therefore, be taken to represent the Arctic climatic conditions prevailing in the ancient home in the far north; and the correctness of the explanation is proved by the discussion in the foregoing chapters. With regard to the custom of kindling a fire on the ninth day of Din or the tenth month, noticed in the Bundahish, it seems to me that instead of taking it to be an indication that winter “has come,” it is better to trace its origin to the commencement of winter at that time in some part of the original home; for if a fire is to fee kindled there is greater propriety in kindling it to commemorate the commencement of winter rather than the expiry of two out of five winter months. If the custom is so interpreted, it will imply that a year of nine months and ten days was once prevalent in some part of the Aryan home, a conclusion well in keeping with the ancient Roman year of ten months. But apart from this suggestion, there is a striking coincidence between the Vedic and the Avestic tradition in this respect. According to the Bundahish (XXV, 20), the year is divided into four seasons of three months each, Farvarḍîn, Arḍavahisht and Horvadaḍ constituting the season of the spring; Tîr, Amerôdaḍ and Shatvaîrô the summer; Mitrô, Âvân and Âtarô the autumn; and Din, Vohûman and Spendarmaḍ, the winter. The fortieth day of Sharad or autumn would, therefore, represent the tenth day (Abân) of Avân; and the Vedic statement discussed in the ninth chapter, that Indra’s fight with Shambara commenced “on the fortieth day of Sharad” agrees well (only with a difference of ten days) with the statement in the Bundahish that the winter in the Airyana Vaêjo commenced with the month of Âvân the second month in autumn. We have thus a very close resemblance between the Vedic and the Avestic tradition about the end of summer in the original Arctic home; and the corresponding Roman and Greek traditions have been previously noticed. In short, a year of seven or ten months sun-shine can be traced back to the Indo-European period; and since its double character can be explained only by placing the original home in the circumpolar regions, we are inevitably led to the conclusion that the Airyana Vaêjo must also be placed in the same region. The Avestic account is by itself plain and intelligible, and the apparent inconsistencies would have been explained in a natural way long ago, if Zend scholars; had not created unnecessary difficulties by transferring the site of this Paradise to the east of the ancient Iran. Under these circumstances it is needless to say which of the two theories regarding the position of the Airyana Vaêjo is correct; for no one would accept a hypothesis which only enhances the confusion, in preference to one which explains everything in a natural and satisfactory manner.

            ‘We have so far discussed the passage in the first Fargard which describes the climate of the Airyana Vaêjo. The passage, even when taken by itself, is quite intelligible on, the Arctic theory; but in ascertaining the original climate of the Airyana Vaêjo we supposed that it was the reverse of the one introduced by the invasion of Angra Mainyu. The second Fargard of the Vendidad, which is similar in character to the first, contains, however, a passage, which does away with the necessity of such assumption, by giving us a graphic description of the actual advent of ice and snow which ruined the ancient Iranian Paradise. This Fargard is really a supplement to the first and contains a more detailed account of the Airyana Vaêjo and a description of the paradisiacal life enjoyed there before Angra Mainyu afflicted it with the plague of winter and snow. This is evident from the fact that the coming of the severe winter is foretold in this Fargard and Yima is warned to prepare against it; while in the first Fargard the happy land is described as actually ruined by Angra Mainyu’s invasion. Darmesteter divides this Fargard into two parts the first comprising the first twenty (or according to Spiegel forty-one) paragraphs, and the second the remaining portion of the Fargard. In the first part Ahura Mazda is said to have asked king Yima the ruler of the Airyana Vaêjo, who is called Sruto Airyênê vaêjahê, “famous in Airyana Vaêjo,” to receive the law from Mazda; but Yima refused to become the bearer of the law and he was, therefore, directed by Ahura Mazda to keep his people happy and make them increase. Yima is accordingly represented as making his men thrive and in. crease by keeping away death and disease from them, and by thrice enlarging the boundaries of the country which had become too narrow for its inhabitants. Whether this fact represents a gradual expansion of the oldest Aryan settlements in the Arctic home we need not stop to inquire. The second part of the Fargard opens with a meeting of the celestial gods called by Ahura Mazda, and “the fair Yima, the good shepherd of high renown in the Airyana Vaêjo,” is said to have attended this meeting with all his excellent mortals. It was at this meeting that Yima was distinctly warned by Ahura Mazda that fatal winters were going to fall on the happy land and destroy everything therein. To provide against this calamity the Holy One advised Yima to make a Vara or enclosure, and remove there the seeds of every kind of animals and plants for preservation. Yima made the Vara accordingly, and the Fargard informs us that in this Vara the sun, the moon and the stars “rose but once a year,” and that “a year seemed only as a day” to the inhabitants thereof. The Fargard then closes with the description of the happy life led by the inhabitants of this Vara of which Zarathushtra and his son Urvatadnara are said to be the masters or overseers.

            Yima’s Vara here described is something like Noah’s ark. But there is this difference between the two that while the Biblical deluge is of water and rain, the Avestic deluge is of snow and ice; and the latter not only does not conflict with geological evidence but is, on the contrary, fully and unexpectedly confirmed by it. Secondly, the description that “a year seemed only as a day” to the inhabitants of this Vara, and that the sun and stars “rose only once a year therein,” serves, in an unmistakable manner, to fix the geographical position of this Vara in the region round about the North Pole; for nowhere on the surface of the earth can we have a year long day-and-night except at the Pole. Once the position of Yima’s Vara is thus fixed the position of the Airyana Vaêjo is at once determined; for Yima’s Vara, as stated in the Mainyô-i-khard, must obviously be located in the Airyana Vaêjo. Here is, therefore, another argument for locating the Airyana Vaêjo in the extreme north and not to the west of the ancient Iran, as Spiegel, Darmesteter and others have done. For whether Yima’s Vara be real or mythical, we cannot suppose that the knowledge of a year-long day and of the single rising of the sun during the whole year was acquired simply by a stretch of imagination, and that it is a mere accident that it tallies so well with the description of the Polar day and night. The authors of the Fargard may not have themselves witnessed these phenomena, but there can be no doubt that they knew these facts by tradition; and if so, we must suppose that their remote ancestors must have acquired this knowledge by personal experience in their home near the North Pole. Those that locate the Airyana Vaêjo in the extreme east of the Iranian highland try to account for ten months winter therein by assuming that a tradition of a decrease in the earth’s temperature was still in the mind of the author of this Fargard, or that the altitude of the table-land, where the Oxus and the Jaxartes take their rise, was far higher in ancient times than at present, thereby producing a cold climate. Both these explanations are however artificial and unsatisfactory. It is true that a high altitude produces a cold climate; but in the present instance the climate of the Airyana Vaêjo was mild and genial before the invasion of Angra Mainyu, and we must, therefore, suppose that the Iranian table-land was not elevated at first, until Angra Mainyu upheaved it and produced a cold climate. But the present altitude of the plateau is not so great as to produce a winter of ten months, and this requires us again to assume the submergence of this land after the invasion of Angra Mainyu. Unfortunately there is no geological evidence forth-coming to support the upheaval and submergence of this land in the order mentioned above. But even if such evidence were forthcoming, the explanation would still fail to account why the inhabitants of Yima’s Vara in the Airyana Vaêjo regarded a year as a single day, a description, which is true only at the North, Pole. All attempts to locate the primitive Airyana Vaêjo in a region other than the circumpolar country must, therefore, be abandoned. The names of mythical rivers and countries may have been transferred in later times to real terrestrial rivers and provinces; but if we were to settle the position of the primitive rivers or countries by a reference to these new names, we can as well locate the Airyana Vaêjo between the Himalaya and the Vindhya mountains in India, for in later Sanskrit literature the land lying between these two mountains is called the Âryâvarta or the abode of the Aryans. The mistake committed by Darmesteter and Spiegel is of the same kind. Instead of determining the position of the Airyana Vaêjo from the fact that a winter of ten months is said to have been introduced therein by Angra Mainyu, and that a year seemed only as a day to the inhabitants thereof, they have tried to guess it from the uncertain data furnished by the names of rivers in Iran, though they were aware of the fact that these names were originally the names of mythical rivers and were attached to the real rivers in Iran only in later times, when a branch of the Aryan race went over to and, settled in that country. Naturally enough this introduced greater confusion into the account of the Airyana Vaêjo instead of elucidating it, and scholars tried to get out of it by supposing that the whole account is either mythical, or is, at best, a confused reminiscence of the ancient Iranian home. The recent scientific discoveries have, however, proved the correctness of the Avestic traditions, and in the light thrown upon the subject by the new materials there is no course left but to reject the erroneous speculations of those Zend scholars that make the Airyana Vaêjo the eastern boundary of ancient Iran.

            But the most important part of the second Fargard is the warning conveyed by Ahura Mazda to Yima that fatal winters were going to fall on the land ruled over by the latter, and the description of glaciation by which the happy land was to be ruined. The warning is in the form of a prophecy, but any one who reads the two Fargards carefully can see that the passage really gives us a description of the Glacial epoch witnessed by the ancestors of the Iranians. We give below the translation of the passage both by Darmesteter and Spiegel.

VENDIDAD, FARGARD II.


Darmesteter
Spiegel

22. And Ahura Mazda spake unto Yima, saying, “O fair Yima, son of Vîvanghat! Upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall bring the fierce, foul frost; upon the material world the fatal winters are going to fall, that shall make snowflakes fall thick, even an aredvî deep on the highest tops of mountains.




23. And all the three sorts of beasts shall perish, those that live in the wilderness, and those that live on the tops of the mountains, and those that live in the bosom of the dale, under the shelter of stables.



24. Before that winter, those fields would bear plenty of grass for cattle: now with floods that stream, with snows
46. Then spake Ahura Mazda to Yima: “Yima the fair, the son of Vivaṅhâo,
47. Upon the corporeal world will the evil of winter come:
48. Wherefore a vehement, destroying frost will arise.
49. Upon the corporeal world will the evil of winter come:
50. Wherefore snow will fall in great abundance,
51. On the summits of the mountains, on the breadth of the heights.
52. From three (places), O Yima, let the cattle depart.
53. If they are in the most fearful places,
54. If they are on the tops of the mountains,
55. If they are in the depths of the valleys,
56. To secure dwelling places.
57. Before this winter the fields would bear plenty of country produced pasture; grass for cattle now with.
58. Before flow waters, behind floods that stream, with snows is the melting of the snow.



Darmesteter
Spiegel

that melt, it will seem a happy land in the world, the land wherein footprints even of sheep may still be seen.


25. Therefore make thee a Vara, long as a riding-ground, on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires.
           
59. Clouds, O Yima, will come over the inhabitated regions,
60. Which now behold the feet of the greater and smaller cattle:


61. Therefore make thou a circle of the length of a race-ground to all four corners.
62. Thither bring thou the seed of the cattle, of the beasts of burden, and of men, of dogs, of birds, and of the red burning fires.



            Can anything, we ask, be more clear and distinct than the above description of the advent of the Glacial epoch in the happy land over which Yima ruled, and where a year was equivalent to a single day? There is no reference to Angra Mainyu in this passage which describes in the form of a prophecy the evils of glaciation, must in the same manner as a modern geologist would describe the progress of the ice-cap during the Glacial period. Ahura Mazda tells Yima that fierce and foul frost will fall on the material world, and even the tops of the highest mountains will be covered with or rather buried in snow which will destroy all living beings whether on the tops of the mountains or in the valleys below. The snow, it is said, would fall aredvî deep, which Spiegel translates by the phrase “in great abundance,” while Darmesteter, quoting from the commentary, explains in a footnote that “even where it (the snow) is least, it will be one Vîtasti two fingers, that is, fourteen fingers deep.” A cubit of snow, at the lowest, covering the highest tops of the mountains and the lowest depths of the valleys alike cannot but destroy all animal life; and I do not think that the beginning of the Ice-age can be more vividly described. With this express passage before us ascribing the ruin of the happy land to the invasion of ice and winter, we should have no difficulty whatsoever in rightly interpreting the meaning of the invasion of Angra Mainyu described in the beginning of the first Fargard. It is no longer a matter of inference that the original genial climate of the Airyana Vaêjo was rendered inclement by the invasion of winter and snow, afterwards introduced into the land. The above passage says so in distinct terms, and the description is so graphic that we cannot regard it as mythical or imaginary. Add to it the fact that the recent geological discoveries have established the existence of at least two Glacial periods, the last of which closed and the post-Glacial period commenced, according to American geologists, not later than about 8000 B.C. When the Avestic traditions regarding the destruction of the primeval Arctic home by glaciation is thus found to be in complete harmony with the latest geological researches, there is no reason, except prejudice, why we should not regard the Avestic account as a correct reminiscence of an old real historical fact. The author of the Fargards in question cannot be supposed to have given us by imagination such a graphic account of a phenomenon, which is brought to light or discovered by the scientists only during the last forty or fifty years. Darmesteter in his translation of the Fargards observes in a foot-note that the account of glaciation is the result of a mythical misunderstanding by which winter war thought to be the counter-creation of Irân Vêj. This passed off very well twenty years ago, but the phenomenon of glaciation in the Ice-age is now better understood, and we cannot accept guesses and conjectures of scholars regarding the meaning of a passage in the Avesta which describes the glaciation of the Iranian paradise. It only proves how the ancient records, howsoever express and distinct they may be, are apt to be misunderstood and misinterpreted owing to our imperfect knowledge of the climatic or other conditions or surroundings amongst which the ancestors of our race lived in remote ages. But for such a misunderstanding, it was not difficult to perceive that the Airyana Vaêjo, or the original home of the Aryan race, was situated near the North Pole, and that the ancestors of our race abandoned it not out of “irresistible impulse,” or “overcrowding,” but simply because it was ruined by the invasion of snow and ice brought on by the Glacial epoch. In short, the Avestic tradition, as recorded in this Fargard, is the oldest documentary evidence of the great climatic convulsion, which took place several hundreds of years ago, and the scientific evidence of which was discovered only during the last forty or fifty years. It is, therefore, a matter of regret that the importance of this tradition should have been so long misunderstood or overlooked.

            It will be seen from the foregoing discussion that the traditional evidence preserved in the first two Fargards of the Vendidad is especially important for our purpose. The Dawn-hymns in the Ṛig-Veda supply us with the evidence of a long continuous dawn of thirty days in the ancient home, and there are passages in the Vedas which speak of a long continuous night of six months or of shorter duration, and a year of seven or ten months. It can also be shown that several Vedic myths and deities bear an unmistakable stamp of their Arctic origin. But, as stated before, in the whole Vedic literature there is no passage which will enable us to determine the time when the Polar regions were inhabited, or to ascertain the reason why they were abandoned. For that purpose we drew upon geology which has recently established the fact that the climate of the circumpolar regions, which is now so cold as to render the land unsuited for human habitation, was mild and genial before the last Glacial-period. It followed, therefore, that if the Vedic evidence pointed to an Arctic home, the forefathers of the Aryan race must have lived therein not after but before the last Glacial epoch. But the traditions preserved in the Avesta dispense with the necessity of relying on geology for this purpose. We have now direct traditional evidence to show (1) that the Airyana Vaêjo had originally a good climate, but Angra Mainyu converted it into a winter of ten and a summer of two months, (2) that the Airyana Vaêjo was so situated that the inhabitants of Yima’s Vara therein regarded the year only as a day, and saw the: sun rise only once a year, and (3) that the happy land was rendered uninhabitable by the advent of a Glacial epoch which destroyed all life therein. It is true, that but for recent geological discoveries these statements, howsoever plain and distinct, would have remained unintelligible, or regarded as improbable by scholars, who would have always tried, as Darmesteter has already done, to put some artificial or unnatural construction upon these passages to render the same comprehensible to them. We cannot, therefore, deny that we are indebted to these scientific discoveries for enabling us to determine the true meaning of the Avestic traditions, and to clear the mist of misinterpretation that has gathered round them. But nevertheless, the value of this traditional testimony is not thereby impaired in any way. It is the oldest traditional record, preserved by human memory, of the great catastrophe which overtook the northern portion of Europe and Asia in ancient times, and obliged the Aryan inhabitants of the Arctic regions to migrate southwards. It has been preserved during thousands of years simply as an ancient record or tradition, though its meaning was not intelligible, until at last we now see that the accuracy of the account is fully and unexpectedly borne out by the latest scientific researches. There are very few instances where science has proved the accuracy of the ancient semi-religious records in this way. When the position of the Airyana Vaêjo and the cause of its ruin are thus definitely settled both by traditional and scientific evidence, it naturally follows that the sixteen lands mentioned in the first Fargard of the Vendidad must be taken to mark the gradual diffusion of the Iranians from their ancient home to the country of the Rasâ and the seven rivers; or, in other words, the Fargard must be regarded as historical and not geographical as maintained by Spiegel and Darmesteter. It is true that the first Fargard does not say anything about migration. But when the site of the Airyana Vaêjo is placed in the extreme north, and when we are told in the second Fargard that the land was ruined by ice, no specific mention of migration is needed, and the fact that the sixteen lands are mentioned in a certain specific order is naturally understood, in that case, to mark the successive stages of migration of the Indo-Iranian people. It is not contended that every word in these two Fargards may be historically correct. No one would expect such a rigid accuracy in the reminiscences of old times traditionally preserved. It is also true that the Airyana Vaêjo has grown into a sort of mythical land in the later Parsi literature, somewhat like Mount Meru, the seat of Hindu gods, in the Purâṇas. But for all that we cannot deny that in the account of the Airyana Vaêjo in the first two Fargards of the Vendidad we have a real historical reminiscence of the Arctic cradle of the Iranian or the Aryan races, and that the Fargard gives us a description of the countries through which the Indo-Iranians had to pass before they settled in the Hapta Heṇdu or on the floods of Rangha, at the beginning of the post-Glacial period.
            This story of the destruction of the original home by ice may well be compared with the story of deluge found in the Indian literature. The oldest of these accounts is contained in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa (I, 8, 1, 1-10), and the same story is found, with modifications and additions, in the Mahâbhârata (Vana-Parvan, Ch. 187), arid in the Mâtsya, the Bhâgavata and other Purâṇas. All these passages are collected and discussed by Muir in the first Volume of his Original Sanskrit Texts (3rd Ed. pp. 181-220); and it is unnecessary to examine them at any length in this place. We are concerned only with the Vedic version of the story and this appears in the above-mentioned passage in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa. A fish is there represented as having fallen into the hands of Manu along with water brought for washing in the morning. The fish asked Manu to save him, and in return promised to rescue Manu from a flood (aughaḥ) that would sweep away (nirvoḍhâ) all creatures. The Brâhmaṇa does not say when and where this conversation took place, nor describes the nature of the calamity more fully than that it was a flood. Manu preserved the fish first in a jar, then in a trench, and lastly, by carrying him to the ocean. The fish then warns Manu that in such and such a year (not definitely specified) the destructive flood will come, and advises him to construct a ship (nâvam) and embark in it when the flood would arise. Manu constructs the ship accordingly, and when the flood rises, embarks in it, fastens its cable (pâsham) to the fish’s horn and passes over (ati-dudrâva) to “this northern mountain” (etam uttaram girim) by which phrase the commentator understands the Himavat or the Himâlaya mountain to the north of India. The fish then asks Manu to fasten the ship to a tree so that it may gradually descend, without going astray, along with the subsiding water; and Manu acts accordingly. We are told that it is on this account that the northern mountain has received the appellation of Manor-avasarpaṇam or “Manu’s descent.” Manu was the only person thus saved from the deluge; and desirous of offspring he sacrificed with the pâka-yajña, and threw butter, milk, and curds as oblations into the waters. Thence in a year rose a woman named Iḍâ, and Manu living with her begot the off spring, which is called Manu’s off-spring (prajâtiḥ). This is the substance of the story as found in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa, and the same incident is apparently referred to in the Atharva Veda Saṁhitâ (XIX, 39, 7-8), which says that the kuṣhṭha plant was born on the very spot on the summit of the Himavat, the seat of the “Gliding down of the ship” (nâva-prabhraṁshanam), the golden ship with golden tackle that moved through the heaven. In the Mahâbhârata version of the legend this peak of the Himâlaya is said to be known as Nau-bandhanam, but no further details regarding the place or time are given. The Mâtsya Purâṇa, however, mentions Malaya, or the Malabar, as the scene of Manu’s austerity, and in the Bhâgavata, Satyavrata, king of Draviḍa, is said to be the hero of the story. Muir has compared these accounts, and pointed out the differences between the oldest and the later versions of the story, showing how it was amplified or enlarged in later times. We are, however, concerned with the oldest account; and so far as it goes, it gives us no clue for determining the place whence Manu embarked in the ship. The deluge again appears to be one of water, and not of ice and snow as described in the Avesta. Nevertheless it seems that the Indian story of deluge refers to the same catastrophe as is described in the Avesta and not to any local deluge of water or rain. For though the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa mentions only a flood (aughaḥ), the word prâleya, which Pâṇinî (VII, 3, 2) derives from pralaya (a deluge), signifies “snow,” “frost,” or “ice” in the later Sanskrit literature. This indicates that the connection off ice with the deluge was not originally unknown to the Indians, though in later times it seems to have been entirely overlooked. Geology informs us that every Glacial epoch is characterized by extensive inundation of the land with waters brought down by great rivers flowing from the glaciated districts, and carrying an amount of sand or mud along with them. The word aughaḥ, or a flood, in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa may, therefore, be taken to refer to such sweeping floods flowing from the glaciated districts, and we may suppose Manu to have been carried along one of these in a ship guided by the fish to the sides of the Himâlaya mountain. In short, it is not necessary to hold that the account in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa refers to the water-deluge pure and simple, whatever the later Purâṇas may say; and if so, we can regard the Brahmanic account of deluge as but a different version of the Avestic deluge of ice. It was once suggested that the idea of deluge may have been introduced into India from an exclusively Semitic source; but this theory is long ago abandoned by scholars, as the story of the deluge is found in such an ancient book as the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa, the date of which has now been ascertained to be not later than 2500 B.C., from the fact that it expressly assigns to the Kṛittikâs, or the Pleiades, a position in the due east. It is evident, therefore, that the story of the deluge is Aryan in origin, and in that case the Avestic and the Vedic account of the deluge must be traced to the same source. It may also be remarked that Yima, who is said to have constructed the Vara in the Avesta, is there described as the son of Vîvanghat; and Manu, the hero in the Indian story, though he receives no epithet in the account of the deluge in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa, is very often described in the Vedic literature as the son of Vivasvat (Vaivasvata), the Iranian Vîvanghat (Shat. Brâh. XIII, 4, 3, 3; Ṛig. VIII, 52, 1). Yama is also expressly calledVaivasvata in the Ṛig-Veda (X, 14, 1). This shows that in spite of the fact that Yima is the hero in one account and Manu in the other, and that one is said to be the deluge of ice and the other of water, we may regard the two accounts as referring to the same geological phenomenon.*

* The story of the deluge is found also in other Aryan mythologies. The following extract from Grote’s History of Greece (Vol. I, Chap. 5) gives the Greek version of the story and some of the incidents therein bear striking resemblance to the incidents in the story of Manu: —“The enormous iniquity with which earth was contaminated — as Apollodôrus says, by the then existing brazen race, or as others say, by the fifty monstrous sons of Lykaôn — provoked Zeus to send a general deluge. An unremitting and terrible rain laid the whole of Greece under water, except the highest mountain-tops, whereon a few stragglers found refuge. Deukaliôn was saved in a chest or ark, which he had been forewarned by his father Promêtheus to construct. After floating for nine days on the water, he at length landed on the summit of Mount Parnasses, Zeus having sent Hermês to him, promising to grant whatever he asked, he prayed that men and companions might be sent to him in his solitude; accordingly Zeus directed both him and Pyrrha (his wife) to cast stones over their heads: those cast by Pyrrha became women, those by Deukaliôn men. And thus the ‘stony race of men’ (if we may be allowed to translate an etymology which the Greek language presents exactly, and which has not been disdained by Hesiod, by Pindar, by Epicharmas, and by Virgil) came to tenant the soil of Greece. Deukaliôn on landing; from the ark sacrificed a grateful offering to Zeus Phyxios, or Khe God of escape; he also erected altars in Thessaly to the twelve great gods of Olympus.” In commenting upon the above story Grote remarks that the reality of this deluge was firmly believed throughout the historical ages of Greece, and even Aristotle, in his meteorological work, admits and reasons upon it as an unquestionable fact.

The Avestic account is, however, more specific than that in the Shatapatha Brâhmaṇa, and as it is corroborated, almost in every detail, by the scientific evidence regarding the advent of the Glacial epoch in early times, it follows that the tradition preserved in the two Fargards of the Vendidad is older than that in the Shatapatha
Brâhmaṇa. Dr. Haug has arrived at a similar conclusion on linguistic grounds. Speaking about the passage in the Vendidad he says “the original document is certainly of high antiquity and is undoubtedly one of the oldest of the pieces which compose the existing Vendidad.” The mention of Hapta Heṇdu, a name not preserved even in the later Vedic literature, is said also to point to the same conclusion.

            We may here refer to certain passages cited by Muir in his Original Sanskrit Texts (3rd Ed. Vol. II. pp. 322-329) to show that the reminiscences of the northern home have been preserved in the Indian literature. He first refers to the expression shatam himâḥ, or “a hundred winters,” occurring in several places in the Ṛig-Veda (I, 64, 14; II, 33, 2; V, 54, 15; VI, 48, 8), and remarks that though the expression sharadaḥ shatam, or “a hundred autumns,” also occurs in the Ṛig-Veda (II, 27, 10; VII, 66, 16), yet shatam himâḥ may be regarded as a relic of the period when the recollection of the colder regions from which the Vedic Aryans migrated had not yet been entirely forgotten. The second passage quoted by him is from the Aitareya Brâhmaṇa (VIII, 14) which says “wherefore in this northern region all the people who dwell beyond the Himavat, (called) the Uttara Kurus and the Uttara Madras are consecrated to the glorious rule (Vairâjyam).” The Uttara Kurus are again described in the same Brâhmaṇa (VIII, 23) as the land of gods which no mortal may conquer, showing that the country had come to be regarded as the domain of mythology. The Uttara Kurus are also mentioned in the Râmâyaṇa (IV, 43, 38) as the abode of those who performed the meritorious works, and in the Mahâbhârata (Sabhâ-Parvan, Ch. 28) Arjuna is told “Here are the Uttara Kurus whom no one attempts to combat.” That the Uttara Kurus were not a fabulous land is shown by the fact that a mountain, a people and a city called Ottorocorra is mentioned by Ptolemy, and Lassen thinks that Megasthenes had the Uttara Kurus in view when he referred to the Hyperboreans. Muir concludes this section with a passage from the Sâṅkhyâyana or the Kauṣhitakî Brâhmaṇa (VII, 6) where Pathyâ Svasti, or the goddess of speech, is said to know the northern region (udîchîm disham), and we are told that “Hence in the northern region speech is better known and better spoken, and it is to the north that men go to learn speech.” Muir thinks that some faint reminiscence of an early connection with the north may be traced in these passages. But none of them are conclusive, nor have we any indication therein of the original home being in the Arctic regions, as we have in the case of the Vedic passages discussed previously which speak of the long, continuous dawn and night, or a year of ten months. We may, however, take the passages cited by Muir as corroborative evidence and they have been referred to here in the same light. It is upon the Vedic passages and legends examined in the previous chapters and the Avestic evidence discussed above that we mainly rely for establishing the existence of the primeval Aryan home in the Arctic regions; and when both these are taken together we get direct traditional testimony for holding that the original home of the Aryan races was situated near the North Pole and not in Central Asia, that it was destroyed by the advent of the Glacial epoch, and that the Indo-Iranians, who were compelled to leave the country, migrated southwards, and passing through several provinces of Central Asia eventually settled in the valleys of the Oxus, the Indus, the Kubhâ, and the Rasâ, from which region we see them again migrating, the Indians to the east and the Persians to the west at the early dawn of the later traditional history.
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