In the more recent hymns of the Rig-Veda and in later India, on the other hand, only evil spirits are understood by asuras, while in Iran the corresponding word ahura was, and ever has continued to be, the designation of God the Lord.
The Vedic deities of the nobler sort, the shining devas, the asuras (the " breathers " or living, perhaps to be identified with the Scandinavian cesir) rose above a vast multitude of demonic powers, many of them doubtless derived from the local customs and beliefs of the native races whom the immigrant Aryans subdued.
As among the gods and Asuras of the Vedas, there were many wars in the divine race, and as the incantations of the Indian Brahmanas are derived from those old experiences of the Vedic gods, so are the incantations of the Maoris.
Like most gods, they had struggles for pre-eminence with Titanic opponents, the Asuras, who partly answer to the Greek Titans and the Hawaiian foes of the divine race, or to the Scandinavian giants and the enemies who beset the savage creative beings.
Though hostile to Asuras, Indra was once entangled in an intrigue with a woman of that race, according to the Atharva-Veda (Muir, S.
The gods were less numerous than the Asuras, but by a magical stratagem turned some bricks into gods (like a creation of new peers to carry a vote) - so says the Black Yajur-Veda.'
S The chief authority for the constant strife between gods and Asuras is the Satapatha-Brahmana, of which one volume is translated in Sacred Books of the East (vol.
Their relations are, on the whole, much more amicable than those of the Asuras and Devas in Indian mythology.