Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 2).djvu/159
as precocious as Heitsi Eibib, immediately on his birth kills his father. He also kills Vritra, as Apollo when new-born slew the Python. In iii. 48, 2, 3, he takes early to soma-drinking. In x. 153, i, women cradle him as the nymphs nursed Zeus in the Cretan cave.
In the third class we have the odd myth, "while an immature boy, he mounted the new waggon and roasted for father and mother a fierce bull."In the fourth class a speculative person tries to account for the statement that Indra was born from a horse, "or the verse means that Agni was a horse's son." Finally, Sayana explains nothing, but happens to mention that the goddess Aditi swallowed her rival Nisti, a very primitive performance, and much like the feat of Cronos when he dined on his family, or of Zeus when he swallowed his wife. Thus a fixed tradition of Indra's birth is lacking in the Veda, and the fluctuating traditions are not very creditable to the purity of the Aryan fancy. In personal appearance Indra was handsome and ruddy as the sun, but, like Odin and Heitsi Eibib and other gods and wizards, he could assume any shape at will. He was a great charioteer, and wielded the thunderbolt forged for him by Tvashtri, the Indian Hephæstus. His love of the
- Why do Indra and his family behave in this bloodthirsty way? Hillebrandt says that the father is the heaven which Indra "kills" by covering it with clouds. But, again, Indra kills his father by concealing the sun. He is abandoned by his mother when the clear sky, from which he is born, disappears behind the veil of cloud. Is the father sun or heaven? is the mother clear sky, or, as elsewhere, the imperishability of the daylight? (Perry, op. cit., p. 149).
- Rig-Veda, viii. 58, 15.
- Rig-Veda, x. 73, 10.
- Rig-Veda, x. 101, 12. For Sayana, see Mr. Perry's Essay, Journal A. O. S., 1882, p. 130.