GANDHARVA, in Hindu mythology, the term used to denote (I) in the Rig-Veda usually a minor deity; (2) in later writings a class of divine beings.
Three hymns in the Rig Veda are addressed to him.
The classical specimen of an advanced cosmogony is to be found in the Rig Veda (x.
Of this drink it may well have been said in primitive times (cp. Rig Veda, ix.
In the Rig-Veda there is one Apsaras, wife of Gandharva; in the later scriptures there are many Apsaras who act as the handmaidens of Indra and dance before his throne.
In the Atharva-Veda, vii.
Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda (Berlin, 1894).
All the 114 hymns of the ninth book of the Rig Veda are in his praise.
In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta soma is the king of plants; in both it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.
220, found at Colchester, dedicated to an unknown equivalent of Mars, Medocius, by one "Lossio Veda, nepos [=kin of] Vepogeni, Caledo."
ATHARVA VEDA, the fourth book of the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of the Brahman religion.
The mantras or sayings composing the Samhita of the Atharva Veda differ from those of the other Vedas by being in the form of spells rather than prayers or hymns, and seem to indicate a stage of religion lower than that of the Rig Veda.
The Rig-Veda forms the great literary memorial of the early Aryan settlements in the Punjab.
C. Nevertheless, the antiquity of the Rig-Veda, although not to be expressed in figures, is abundantly established.
The burning of widows on their husbands' funeral-pile was unknown, and the verses in the Veda which the Brahmans afterwards distorted into a sanction for the practice have the very opposite meaning.
Unlike the modern Hindus, the Aryans of the Veda ate beef, used a fermented liquor or beer made from the soma plant, and offered the same strong meat and drink to their gods.
The Gandharvas figure already in the Veda, either as a single divinity, or as a class of genii, conceived of as the body-guard of Soma and as connected with the moon.
In the Veda no tendency shows itself as yet towards rendering divine honour to the cow; and though the importance assigned her in an agricultural community is easily understood, still the exact process of her deification and her identification with the mother earth in the time of Manu and the epics requires further elucidation.
From the historical and linguistic side attention was first fixed upon the myth, and the publication of the ancient hymns of the Rig Veda led Max Milner to seek in the common elements of Aryan thought for the secrets of primitive religion (essay on Comparative Mythology, 1856).
In the Rig Veda the gods (even those of storm) are again and again described as "born from the Rita," or born in it, according to it, or of it.
Buddhism repudiated the authority of the Veda, but found it needful to supply its place; and the word of the omniscient Teacher, faithfully reported by his disciples and guaranteed by concurrent traditions, became the rule of belief for the new Order.
In the Rig Veda, Aryaman- as a deity is most frequently coupled.
Heitsi Eibib was born in a mysterious way from a cow, as Indra in the Black Yaj;'r-Veda entered; nto and was born from the womb of a being who also bore a cow.
4 For examples of the lofty morality sometimes attributed to the gods, see Max Muller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 284; Rig-Veda, ii.
The Veda, it is true, does not usually dilate much on the worst of these adventures.
The Veda contains devotional hymns; we can no more expect much narrative here than in the Psalms of David.
2 On the whole subject, Dr Muir's Ancient Sanskrit Texts, with translations, Ludwig's translation of the Rig Veda, the version of the Satapatha-Brahmana already referred to, and the translation of the Aitareva-Brahmana by Haug, are the sources most open to English readers.
The Indian epics and the Puranas belong to a much later date, and are full of deities either unknown to or undeveloped in the Rig Veda and the Brahmanas.
It is much to be regretted that the Atharva-Veda, which contains the magical formulae and incantations of the Vedic Indians, is still untranslated, though, by the very nature of its theme, it must contain matter of extreme antiquity and interest.
The " Purusha Sukta," the 90th hymn of the tenth book of the Rig Veda, gives us the Indian version of the theory that all things were made out of the mangled limbs of Purusha, a magnified non-natural man, who was sacrificed by the gods.
The philosophical theory of the origin of things, a hymn of remarkable stateliness, is in Rig Veda, x.
The life of the ancient Aryans, as portrayed in their sacred songs, the Rig Veda, was quasi-nomadic and in many ways democratic, but by the 6th century B.C. settled states had been formed in the Ganges valley.
An alternative designation for deity in the Rig-Veda is asura.
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 Rig-Veda contains only one allusion to them, where it is said that " Soma is placed in the lap of the nakshatras "; and this is in a part including later interpolations.
" India is waiting for her own divinely appointed apostle, who, whether Brahmin or non-Brahmin, shall connect Christianity with India's religious past, and present it as the true Vedanta or completion of the Veda and thus make it capable of appealing to the Hindu religious nature."
The Aryan tribes in the Veda are acquainted with most of the metals.
About 1866, when he had begun to teach and to gather disciples, he first saw the Christian scriptures, which he vehemently assailed, and the Rig Veda, which he correspondingly exalted, though in the conception which he ultimately formed of God the former was much more influential than the latter.
There is, however, in Travancore, on the mainland, a low-caste "Veda" tribe, nearly black, with wavy or frizzly hair, and now speaking a Malayalim (Dravidian) dialect (Jagor), who probably approach nearer than the insular Veddahs to the aboriginal pre-Dravidian "negrito" element of southern India and Malaysia.
Within Sanskrit itself probably two words have to be distinguished: (1) drya, the origin of Aryan, from which the usual term arya is a derivative; (2) arya, which frequently appears in the Rig Veda as an epithet of deities.
Even in this word probably two originally separate words have to be distinguished, for the further meanings which Grassmann in his dictionary to the Rig Veda attaches to it, viz.
The word arya- is not found as a national name in the Rig Veda, but appears in the Vajasaneyi-sainhita, where it is explained by Mahidhara as Vaisya-, a cultivator or a man of the third among the original four classes of the population.
Hopkins (India Old and New, 1901, p. 31) the Rig Veda was composed in the district about Umballa.
After Indra, Agni and Soma, they are the most prominent divinities in the Rig-Veda, and have more than fifty entire hymns addressed to them.
VISHNU (Sanskrit, "the worker," from root vish, "to work"), a solar deity, in later Hindu mythology a god of the first importance, one of the supreme trinity with Brahma and Siva, but in the Rig Veda only a minor deity.
Perhaps it is safer to attribute theriomorphic shapes of 4 Rig Veda, x.
Again, the religious sentiment of the Veda is half-consciously hostile to the stories.
Sometimes these myths are probably later than the Veda, mere explanations of ritual incidents devised by the priests.
The gods in the Veda are by no means always regarded as equal in supremacy.
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.'
This statement may be a mere way of speaking in the Veda, but it is a rather Hottentot way."
Indra is also referred to as a ram in the Veda, and in one myth this ram could fly, like the Greek ram of the fleece of gold.
Max Miller's translation of the Rig Veda unfortunately only deals w:ch the hymns to the Maruts.
As this hymn gives an account of the origin of the castes (which elsewhere are scarcely recognized in the Rig Veda), it is sometimes regarded as a late addition.
308; Rig Veda, i.
In artistic representations, Brahma usually appears as a bearded man of red colour with four heads crowned with a pointed, tiara-like head-dress, and four hands holding his sceptre, or a sacrificial spoon, a bundle of leaves representing the Veda, a bottle of water of the Ganges, and a string of beads or his bow Parivita.
Now, in considering the body of writings connected with this Veda, we are at once confronted by the fact that there are two different schools, an older and a younger one, in which the traditional body of ritualistic matter has been treated in a very different way.
So in the Atharva Veda (iv.