Page:Atharva-Veda samhita volume 2.djvu/583

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1039
7. The Names of the Seers of the Hymns

agree as to hymns or verses common to both saṁhitās. The Puruṣa-hymn (xix. 6 = RV. x. 90) is ascribed by both treatises alike to Nārāyaṇa; and the Apratiratha-hymn (xix. 13 = RV. x. 103) similarly to Apratiratha. In this connection, cf. Dr. Ryder's pertinent observation at p. 739, ¶7.⌋

Prominence of Atharvan and Brahman as seers.—The most prominent names among the "seers" are Atharvan and Brahman. To the former are ascribed 175 hymns or parts of hymns; and to the latter, 100. Then comes Atharvān̄giras with 17, and An̄giras with 16. The preponderance of ascriptions to Atharvan and Brahman may have something to do with the designation of the text as "Atharva-Veda" and "Brahma-Veda" (brahman suggests both Brahmán = 'God Brahm' and bráhman = 'incantation': cf. p. 931, top). It is perhaps matter for surprise that more hymns are not ascribed to the "dreadful An̄girases" (RV. x. 108. 10: cf. x. 14. 3 a).⌋

Question of contrast between hymns of Atharvan and hymns of An̄giras.—Bloomfield, discussing at SBE. xlii., p. xviii, the name Atharvān̄giras as name of this Veda, opines that atharvan refers to the auspicious practices and an̄giras to the practices of hostile sorcery (yātú, abhicārá) of this Veda. Similarly Victor Henry, in his La magie dans l'Inde, p. 22. This opinion is not in the least degree supported by the general character of the hymns ascribed respectively to Atharvan and to An̄giras. Of those ascribed to Atharvan, nearly all are indeed intended for use in working good, and the infrequent exceptions (like iii. 18; vii. 35 and 70; vi. 138, a charm to make a man impotent) do not count for much. Of those ascribed to An̄giras, on the other hand, hardly more than one (vii. 90: this also is for destroying a man's virility) may be said to be for use in working evil. It is licit, however, to adjudge the facts last rehearsed as making rather against the critical value of the Anukramaṇī's ascriptions than against the acceptability of the opinion of Bloomfield and Henry.⌋

Consistency in the ascriptions.—Consistency does nevertheless characterize these ascriptions to a certain degree. Thus the frequency with which each of the hymns of a related pair or of a larger group (e.g. the Mṛgāra hymns) is ascribed to the same seer is significant. Significant also are such facts as follow. Of the seven hymns ascribed to Garutman, every one is an incantation to be used against poison: v. 13 and vi. 12 and x. 4, in particular, against snake-poison. Each of the three hymns ascribed to Kāṇva is an incantation against worms. Each of Jamadagni's three has for its purpose to win a woman's love. Of those ascribed to Yama or to Yama with An̄giras (disregarding xvi. 8 and 9, they number 13), all but one refer either to "Death" or to "his brother Sleep" (cf. p. 994, ¶4). Thus ten, as appears from the duḥsvapna etc. of the Excerpts, refer to evil dreams; and one (vii. 64) to the omen of a "black