Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 42.djvu/27

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INTRODUCTION. XXIU

��the subsequent emanation from these two of twenty Athar- vanic and Angirasic descendant sages \ and finally, the pro- duction by the Atharvans of the atharvawa veda, by the Ahgiras of ahgirasa vcda.

In another passage, I, 3, 4, the Gop. Br. also asserts the separate character of the Ahgiras and Atharvans ; the latter are again associated with bhesha^am, the former is made the base of a foolish etymology, to wit : bhuyish///aw brahma yad bhr/gvahgirasa/i', ye^iigiraso ye-hgiraso sa rasa/^, ye^tharva;/o yc^tharv^was tad bhesha^am.

As regards the chronology and cause of this differentia- tion of atharvan and ahgiras the texts are d^Siuluon apparently wholly silent. The association of

of atharvan \^^ii^ names (and later of the name bhr/gu

and an^iras. , > . , , i . • r ^i

also) with the texts and practices of the fourth Veda may be sought in the character of these mythic beings. They are fire-priests, fire-churners -, and the Atharvanic rites, as well as the house-ceremonies in general, centre about the fire, the oblations are into the fire. Fire-priests, in distinction from soma-priests, may have had in their keeping these homelier practices of common life. But whence the terrible aspect of the Ah- giras in contrast to the auspicious Atharvans? In the hymn about Sarama and the Pa;/is, RV. X, 108, 10, Sarama threatens the Pa;/is with the terrible Ahgiras, ahgirasaj ka. ghora//. This statement, wholly incidental as it seems to be, is, of course, not to be entirely discarded. More im- portant is the fact that Br/haspati, the divine purodha (purohita), is distinctly ahgirasa. In Kauj-. 135, 9, Br/has- pati Ahgirasa appears distinctly as the representative, or the divinity of witchcraft performances. In the Mahabha- rata he is frequently called ahgirasa;// j-resh///a//. In his function of body-priest of the gods it behoves him to

��1

��Doubtless by way of allusion to the twenty books in the existing redaction of the .Saunakiya-^akha. The expression vi;«j-ino .. ngirasa/; is rep.ated Pa«. V, 2, 37, as a designation of the twenty books of the ^-aunakiyn-^akha in its present redaction.

2 Avestan atar-, athra-van and Vedic athar-van may be derivatives froni^ the root manth, math (mth) 'churn.' But the absence of the asj.iration in atar- makes the doubtful derivation still more doubtful.

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