This report on the downgrading of Ayurveda raises the important issue
of whether Ayurveda is really scientific. If we define Ayurveda as the
school Hindu medicine that is described in the charaka and sushruta
saMhitas then one can make a very direct textual analysis to establish
its scientific content. Even a casual reading of the sushruta
saMhita suggests that it can definitely be considered a serious
part of the Hindu scientific tradition even as Galen and Hippocrates
can be considered a legitimate part of European scientific tradition.
Ayurveda is merely a phase in the long line of development of the
Hindu medicine from the time when the Aryans were still in the Asiatic
steppes to the time of their conquest of Outer Asia. Roots of Hindu
medicine traced through the atharvan-Angirasa literature can be pushed
back to the common Indo-European period resulting in similarity with
basal Greek and Europic folk medicine. However it was only after the
Aryans had fully expanded in India that their pharmacopeia developed
to the extant seen in Sushurta’s saMhita. This continuous tradition of
Indian science shows remarkable ideas and hypothesis even in the
Atharvan period, followed by remarkable insights into physiology due
to the school of the vaisheshika sage panchashika asurAyaNa and
sulabhA. In sushurta’s treatise we can see a scientific treatment of
the following: 1) Diagnosis and description of disease and relevant
anatomy. 2) Theories of disease causation due to biological organisms
and 3) Parasite transmission. While much of this shows a remarkably
modern approach to the problems thus making ayurveda qualify as a work
of science. However like any other work of science it contained
concepts that might be falsified in the future- leading to them being
termed misconceptions. There were two devasting flaws of Ayurveda: 1)
the trihumoral theory and 2) the hypothesis of pulse diagnosis. While
this falsification of the underlying hypothesis for treatment may have
destroyed Ayurveda’s relevance it actually did not. Much of
pharmacopeia development is an emprical process and the AV and
Ayurveda excelled at this. Thus a significant part of Ayurveda’s
pharmacopeia may have relevance even today. However, I feel for
Ayurveda to re-enter the scientific mainstream it must adopt the more
modern theories of physiology and medicine and cut down the
frivolous aspects of pulse diagnosis. Hence we need to defend Ayurveda
along with the necessary ground work to revamp it and bring it back
to the mainstream. Keeping it where it froze in the 8th century AD and
insisting on the unnecessity of change may make it go extinct. Nor is
it keeping with the spirit of the great Hindu sages of yore.
Archive for the ‘Heathen Thought’ Category
This report on the downgrading of Ayurveda raises the important issue
A proper classification and analysis of Western Scholarship on the
dharma of the Hindus is necessary in order to encourage some of its
branches and smash the rest.
1) The first kind of Western scholar is one who has made positive
contributions to the Hindus with respect to the understanding and
progress of their religion. To name a few in this class we have people
like Edwin Bryant, Timothy Lubin, Fritz Staal and perhaps George Hart.
We need to see more of this kind and ther presence in academia is
generally a good sign.
However the Hindus must keep an eye on them to make sure that they are
up to no mischief.
2) The second variety is the scholar with some positive contributions
but several misleading and negative contributions. The colonial and
old fashioned scholars like Max Mueller, Keith and Oldenburg are the
early representatives of this category. The modern representatives of
this group include Richard Goldman, van Buitenen and Michael Witzel.
These guys must be carefully monitored for their output and dealt with
on a case by case basis. They may be admonished privately, engaged in
scholarly debate and defeated or simply uprooted and flushed out
depending on their response. If they show signs of correction they
must be channelized towards being better scholars.
3) Sadly the most common form of scholarship is the gutter scholarship
category. nArashamsis of the Indologist may well occupy a whole book
worth of material. They go hand in hand with the dharma drohi- Indian
gutter progressives. Examples include Wendy Doniger, Jeff Kripal,
Sarah Caldwell and Victor Mair. The aim is to destroy their ilk
systematically and never let them rise again. This must be undertaken
by persistant exposure of their activities to the Hindus followed by
the countering. They have rich patrons who must be as far as posible
squelched and their funds cut off. Wide spread lobbying against and
public denouncement of these scholars with the fear of the
consequecnes of Hindu defamation should be put into them.
Why are there so many Indian studies departments in the Western world
and why are there hardly any traditional Hindus in these departments.
The aim should be to destroy the gutter scholars and replace them with
real Hindus. May be we should prepare a short list of these Western
scholars and classify them according to their orientation and start
targeting them systematically.
Staal’s statement on the vedic mantras should be viewed in light of
his general hypothesis of the musical effect. I am not trying to
defend this hypothesis but his sin is of much lower magnitude and
generally counter-balanced by the detailed documentation of the vedic
ritual. Thus he can remain in the class 1 of professional Western
JAB van Buitenen’s contributions to understanding the evolution of
Krishnaism is very significant. But his partisan stance in the issue
of the brahmin- bhagavata debate cannot be denied. In this way he has
presented to Indians and others not familiar with matter at hand only
on side of the debate. Please read the 18th chapter of the Garuda
purANa, brahma kANDa and form ones own opinion. van Buitenen’s
pauranic reader does worse than the illustrated comics that where once
available in India: the Amar Chitra katha. Finally his study of the
Mahabharata shows his inner disdain for the Hindu culture. Thus van
Buitenen despite his great contributions falls in class 2 though lying
above Witzel and Parpola in that class.
Certain rotten rascals in this list would do better by studying the
Hindu texts more seriously rather than compose poems contrasting the
greatness of the Western Indologists with ignorance of the Indian
> statement “anarthakAh vai mantrAh” “Verily, mantrasare meaningless”.
> This was said by Kautsa, a regular topknot, kuDumi, bodhiwala, juTTu
> etc of ancient times and a redoubtable pUrvapakSin to more orthodox
> vaidikas of his time.
While Mr LS is normally worthy of a response soaked in acerbity, this
point about the Angirasa’s statement raises an important one that I
have always conceded: There have always been both historical and
theoretical misunderstandings of the saMhita mantra pAThas even amidst
traditional students. The traditional theories suggesting the
meaningless-ness and purely musical value of the mantras have
approximated what Staal has said to varying degrees. This may stem
from the historical misunderstanding of the saMhita mantras right from
the brAhmaNa period. For example the famous tale in the JaiminIya
brAhmaNa of the kutsa-Indra encounter or the uma-haimavati saMvAda of
the kena are clear examples of this lack of understanding of the
mantras by the circum-vedic authors. This misunderstanding essential
suggests a fragmentation of tradition between the Samhita period and
its successors and may present a major problem for historical
reconstructions that seek to avoid invasion (migration) of IE speakers
> So where does Kautsa rank in your list?
The Western scholars with an impact on the politico-social interests
of the modern Hindu and not the predecessors of the modern Hindu are
The pravargya is an exalted vedic sacrifice performed by an Arya to
the ashvins and offers a glimpse of the fusion of the two ancient
ritual streams of the ancient Aryan past. One component of it is the
ancient gharma rite to the Ashvins probably instituted by the bhR^igus
under the great atharvan chyavAna. ChyavAna was revived from
decrepitude and disease by the ashvins and went on to win sukanya the
daughter of shAryAti and accordingly in their honor offered the great
sacrifice of milk. Then the bhArgava dadhichi, gained the madhuvidyas
from the ashvins who had fixed on him the head of the horse, hence he
worshipped them as the gods of medicine. These ancient memories
resulted in the atharvans instituting a sacrificial pouring for the
Ashvins with the mantra AV 7.73 (Shaunaka SaMhita of AV,
samiddhoagnir…). Simultaneously in the Vedic stream of the bhAratas,
the school of the prAjapatya vAishvAmitras instituted a rite to
commemorate the twelve month year also known as prajapati, with a
twelve day pouring two the deities: savitA, agni, mAtarishvAn, the
Adityas, the nakshatras, the R^ita, dhAtA, bR^ihaspati, mitra, varuNa,
indra and soma. The end of the year was marked symbolically by the
beheading of prajapati by rudra. The restoration of his head in the
new year was through the surgery of the ashvins.
The myth of the cephalic surgery on prajapati and dadhichi served as
the fusion point of these rites during the early settlement of the
bhAratas in the sub-continent. This resulted in the pravargya rite in
which marks the restoration of the head of yagna or the prajapati also
called makha’s head in the brAhmaNa literature. Thus the taittiriya
te devA ashvinAvabruvan.h | bhishhajau vai staH | idaM yagnasya shiraH
prati dhattameti |…
The head in the pravargya rite is symbolically denoted by a parvargya
pot. Thus is the rite performed:
The adhvaryu first set up sacrficial fire and offers ghee to savitA.
Then he mixes clay and makes the pravargya pot with an hour glass like
shape with a spout in the top half from three pieces of clay. He also
makes the other chamasas and the ladles for the rite with the
remaining clay. They are sun dried and then the adhvaryu fumigates
them in a fire fueled by horse dung. Then they are heated in the fire
in the sacrificial pit taken out and cooled by the pouring of goat’s
milk. On the day of the rite the adhvaryu uses his forceps to hold the
pravargya pot over the AhAvaniya fire and melts ghee in it and the
prastotA priest sings the pravargya sAmans during this process. The
pot is then place on a raised altar on a silver disk. Ghee is poured
again into it and its heated by the adhvaryu and then surrounded by
samids and covered with a gold lid and a fire lit. It is fanned with 3
fans till the pot becomes redhot and all except the yajamAna’s wife
look at it chanting yajushes. Finally the other participants leave and
the pratiprastAtA priest and yajmAna’s wife not looking at the pot
chant the fertility yajushes to tvashTa. Then a goat and a cow are
milked and the milk is poured into the pravargya pot. It is then held
by tongs and taken to the AhAvaniya fire and the gharma offering to
the ashvins is made. An indra pouring with the formula “svAhendrAya
svAhendrA vaD.h” is made and the milk is made to overflow from the pot
into the fire. The pourings to pUshaN and rudra are made. Then after
performing the agnihotra and worshiping the prANa as indra and agni
with the formula “prANa evainaM indratamegnau juhoti” the yajamAna,
his wife and priests eat the congealed milk of the gharma with honey.
The adhvaryu then disposes the sacrificial implements used in the
rite: the forceps, the tripod, the fans, two fire pokers in the east
by arranging them in the shape of a man. The prastotA priest sings the
rakshoha sAmans during the process. Then singing the shukra samans,
the yajamAna, his wife and the priests dispose the pravargya pot on
the east on the west sides of the uttaravedi platform. If he desires
to slay his foes he lays a death-dealing charm invoking
agni-vaishvAnara and disposes it on the branch of an audumbara fig
tree. He may also dispose it near a termite heap with darbha grass for
Also finally the soma while not directly offered in the Taittiriya
AraNyaka form of the rite, it was possibly originally present as in
the soma offering of the bhR^igus to the ashvins. A relic of this is
seen in the pavamAna sAmans sung in course of the rite.
Now the issue is that the pravargya pot is a very distinctive
structure that necessarily must appear in the archaeological record.
Especially given the gold/silver base and lid of the pot finding such
structures may be possible. I would like to hear from list members
regarding any pottery that may fit into the parvargya apparatus and
their possible dates and associations. Is there any such material from
Kalibangan for example? Sankalia mentions some pot associated with the
Malwa culture would anyone have details on it?
Interested readers may also consult: J Houben, J Gonda and J
Buitenen’s works on parvargya. Houben’s is a good brief summary with
English translation. Buitenen’s interpretations of the rite are in my
humble opinion completely flawed. Gonda talks of psychic effects of
soma, and ghee drinking in the rite…. But i doubt these were really
Indeed the taittiriya in describing the hayamedha verily lays out a
dissection of the horse so it is unlikely to be making up anatomical
details. In fact I have often marvelled at the observations of some
rather subtle organs suggesting that our guys must have definitely had
a good knowledge of the horse’s real anatomy even if they chose to
mention aspects of only relevant from the stand point of the ritual.
Yet note the following mantra quoted from the taittiriya sMhita
refering to offering of the ribs of the sacrifice, and let me know if
you find anything particularly untoward in it:
agne pakshtiH sarasvatyai nipakshati somasya tR^itIya .apAM
chaturthyoshhadhInAM pa~nchmI saMvatsarasya shhashhThi marutAgaM
saptamI bR^ihaspaterashTamI mitrasya navamI varuNasya
dashamIndrasyaikAdashI vishveshhAM devAnAM dvAdashI dyAvApR^ithivyo
parshvaM yamasya pATuraH || TS 5.7.21
Similarly TS 5.7.22 provides a similar formula the offering of the
ribs other half of the horse.
As far as I can count the ribs offered in TS 5.7.21 are to 1 agni, 2
sarasvati, 3 soma, 4 waters, 5 medicinal herbs, 6 the year, 7 maruts,
8 bR^ihaspati 9 mitra 10 varuNa 11 indra 12 vishve devAH 13 dyaus and
pR^ithivi. On the otherside the ribs are offered to vAyu, sarasvAn,
moon, stars, savitA, rudra, snakes, aryamA, tvashTA, dhAtA, indrANi,
Adityas, dyaus and pR^ithivi. In both cases the associated vertebra
are offered to yama.
So from this would any of you all infer that there were only 13 ribs a
side on the ashvamedha horse? What happened to the remain ribs of the
horse? So one may conclude that for ritual rather than anatomical
reasons the text may be silent on some details.
Note this verse:
sUryAchandramasau vR^ikyAbhAgaM shyAma shabalau matsnAbhyAM ( inTS
5.7.19) note how they notice the adrenals and the medulla and the
cortex of the kidney. So they were not missing anatomy out of
Eunuchs emerge fairly early in Indo-Aryan literature. For
example Arjuna. ShikandI while commonly stated to be a eunuch is not
one. He was a man and had a non-zero fitness.
Arjuna’s eunuchhood is connectable to the proto-IE motif of the
temporary eunuchhood of the earthly incarnation of Indra/Dyaus like
deities. Compare it with Herakles stay in the court of Omphale.
As for the atharvanic practice its utility is unclear. The ritual
injunctions followed by my ancestors recommend chanting it several
times to neuter people – but there is no such long distance action
mentioned in the AV text itself.
>Shiva liNgam as the phallus + vagina was not invented by
> the Christian missionaries. AFAIK, such a view existed (
> and exists ) amongst certain sections of hindus as well.
> Tantra represents what is called vAmamArgam ( left-handed
> way ) in hinduism. Tantrins celebrate what orthoprax hindus
True, but the phallic symbology is far more ancient than all the
extant tantric texts and is traceable to the famous statement of
upamanyu regarding why rudra is mahAdeva: He says that all living
beings bear the symbols of rudra and uma on their body but not the
conch, the discus or the mace; So rudra must be mahAdeva. Traces of
this thought are seen in the svetAshvAtara and atharvashiras
suggesting pre-tantric origin. I personal see a link to an even
earlier IE period- the voelsi phallic cult amidsts the Balts is
associated with the worship of their deity Velinas who appears to be
an ortholog of Rudra.
> is even celebrated in verse and art. But, certain
> restrictions are placed on it due to social and
> personal considerations. kAma ( which is much more than
> lust ) is considered a purushArtha – a valid goal of
> life. kAma sUtra is a first-class treatise only to be
Agreed, more so the taittiriya upaniShat rightly recognizes that only
immortality that is possible is through the generation of progeny- one
of the sanest thoughts in India philosophy (IMHO).
> A major problem with those who criticize these sciences
> is a LACK of understanding of the “Vedic Worldview”.
> Vedic Worldwview if Brief: There is “something” within us
> that gets projected as our physical body, the same “something”
> projects itself as the physical universe. Now the real cause
> of any event is not in the physical plane but in that
> “something”. The past is remembered within this “something” and
> we call this memory of past within this “something” as
> accumulated karma.
with all due respects I have to take very strong objection to this.
This in no way can be called a Vedic world view. I strongly object to
the word Vedic being appended to every other thing in order to give it
a false sense of sanctity. The concepts that you mention are merely
one of the philosophical opinions that are prevalent in classical
Indian philosophies. While the Vedas proper have different
philosophical ideas, they do not subscribe to the notion of karma and
the atman as a imagined by some later Indian philosophies. These ideas
themselves are Indo-European in origin (Though some lateral middle
Eastern Influence cannot be ruled out) but they are essentially
para-Vedic. Only very late in Indian history (Post-bhArata war) did
they have some interaction with the vedic stream. advaita, panchratra
etc are not vedic in sense of the word. They only twist some vedic
ideas to give legitimacy to themselves.
atman is related to the Germanic word Atem and goes back to a PIE word
that probably meant life supporting breath. The vedic AtmA was closer
to this and not to that seen in the later texts. So your concept
should be correctly termed the medieval Hindu world view and not the
vedic world view.
Similarly vedic astrology, vedic mathematics, vedic management and
vedic numerology are phantoms of the modern Hindu mind.
How would you explain the term in Cha_ndogya Upanis.ad in relation to
> soma: a_tma_ yajn~asya? Ain’t this concept of a_tman Vedic?
Well if you interpret the way the later day advaitins and other
vedantins did then you may think that the chAndogya was refering to an
AtmA in the sense of the soul. However, if we carefully look at in the
vedic context we can see that even in a text like the chAndogya of
the late kuru realm the AtmA concept meant something totally different
from the vedantic interpretations of later days (I never said AtmA
concept is not vedic, it not just vedic it is even PIE).
To illustrate this point we consider the famous tale of the dialog
between the kekaya king and the 5 brAhmaNas- prAchInashAla,
satyayagnya, indradyumna, jana and buDila (5.11-16). The vaishvAnara
AtmA is identified in the entire body with its brain, eyes,
respiration, trunk and excretory functions. Thus the AtmA is metabolic
process that permeates the entire body rather than being a something
whose projection is the body.
ta iha vyAgro vA sigaMho va vR^iko vA varAho vA vA kITo vA pata~ngo vA
dagaMsho vA mashako vA yadyadbhavanti tadAbhavanti ||
sa ya eShoNimaitadAtmyamidagaM sarvaM tatsatyagaM sa AtmA tatvamasi
shvetaketo iti || ChU6.9.3/4
Here again the AtmA is described as the common principle of life
existing in diverse forms like the tiger, lion, wolf, boar, beetle,
firefly, gnat and mosquito that said to be able to repeatedly
> Bra_hman.a-s are karmaka_n.d.a-s in the Vedic tradition. So how can
> it be said that karman is not Vedic?
The brAhmaNa protion should definitely be treated with greater
circumspection than the saMhita as they are more prone to insertions
and conflation of various intellectual streams.
your mails have been confusing, nevertheless what you ‘vaidika’
friend writes is largely incorrect. I have said this many times on
this list but am just incited to state it against once more:
Unfortunately, despite all their education a large number of Indians
do not understand the foundations of linguistics. The unity of IE
languages and the inference of PIE are not going to go away how much
ever you may whine or bitch. The IE languages are more related to each
other than to any other languages- period. If you are not willing to
function within this framework your theories and models are erroneous
and need not be taken seriously for historical reconstruction.
A corollary to this is that traditional methods of understanding the
vedas have suddenly become inadequate as they do not take into account
the powerful methodology of comparative IE linguistics and mythology.
Through IE lingusitics and mythology we understand the vedas a greater
depth than it was ever traditionally possible both in the historical
and the religious sense. So if you all are missing out IE issues then
you are the losers as you not understanding your heritage correctly.
The undiscerning fellow will insist that the sun revolves around the
Earth and say that he see ‘proof’ for it. If you want to be in that
state fine, there is no point having a dialog with such souls.
btw the mantra that your fired quotes na karmaNA na prajayA…
is not a real vedic mantra. It is a late creation superimposed
erroneously into the upanishadic texts by those who never grasped the
spirit of the vedas.
Ask you friend why the taittiriya U says: prajAtiramR^itaM AnandaM
> It is true that one can arrive at a better understanding of
> the “language of” vedas using IE methodology and comparative
> linguistics. One can also understand the authors, their culture or
> the kings who sponsored them and their kingdoms. But to say that
Bhadraiah what is the difference between the above and below?
> these methodologies can be used to understand vedas themselves is a
> bogus claim. No effort has been made in this direction, and no
> results can be claimed.
I am sure you are meaning something subtle but I do not understand it.
But if by understanding the veda you mean their religious philosophy I
think the comparative information does help us a lot. Many of my
family members and myself perform rites the same way Hindus have been
doing them for hundreds if not thousands of years. There is no change
here but the reasons why we still do these rites and the significance
is only reinforced by the new knowledge. To give you an example the
term ojas represents a concept that needs to be ‘sensed’ to understand
some philosophical issues. Comparative studies show us the link with
the words like augos in Latin and aukhutai of the Shaka that helps us
to understand better the sense of this word in its original
> Apologies for my sweeping statement, and my respects to all the
> serious scholars. Your examples prove that vedic type rituals
> existed in other parts of the world. (Is aukhutai related to Ahuti?)
Well, apologies for a little typo: aukhatai, Avestic Aogah, Sansk.
ojas, Latin augus, Greek Auxein, english wax are all homologs.
Comparative analysis suggests that the word meant not just strength
but a in sense fertility as expressed well in greek auxein or wax. So
the presence of these cognates helps to sense the meaning is say a
vedic mantra like:
mahAnindro ya ojasA parjanyo vR^iShTimAniva of vatsa kaNva | stomair
vatsasya vAvR^idhe ||
This tells me how given the fact that parjanya/vR^iShTi and the verb
vAvR^idhe are used I must understand the term ojasa as in all
likelihood the great kANva had meant it. The raw might of indra is
combined with his ‘fertilizing’ effect as the showering parjanya and
indra expands his might pleased by the sacrificial pouring of vatsa.
The IE comparative analysis helps me in my religious matters of
appreciating the many faceted implication of ojasa as represented by
the english word wax/Gk Auxein, latin augus.
Paralatai, Aukhatai, Traspies and Katiaroi are the castes of the
Scythians. Aukhatai as the warrior caste preserves the military aspect
of the meaning of ojas.
As an aside Paralatai is a cognate of paradAta of the Avesta and may
sort of be an analog of purohita and prefaectus
> algorithmic nature of the ritual can not be minimalized as some form
> of ‘worship of fire’ or treating indra as cloud. Message-board
> hardened IE scholars should collide headon with the subject or get
> out, instead of insulting native vedic scholars just because the
> latter are not so sophisticated in their objections.
I am neither a message-board hardened IE scholar nor a vedic scholar-
my profession lies is an entirely different domain. As brAhmaNa I have
some familiarity with 3 saMhitas suffient to take me through basic
sacrificial rituals I need to conduct over my life. Additionally have
read throught the texts for a few other saMhitas, I have never made
claims of any scholarship native or IE.
I completely agree with you that indra is much more than a cloud and
even much more than a war god or an atmospheric shot, and worship of
agni much more than fire worship. But all this is for those amidst us
who are practicing Hindus. Most indologists are not practicing Hindus
but we need not reject their findings wholescale due to that. We take
what is relevant for our purpose and leave them alone as long as they
are not trying to destroy our religion. Our rituals are largely an
internal matter- so if the Indologist give us some insight but does
not really understand other aspects of the ritual- so be it.
To cite an analogy: The Moslems have harmed Hindus and their religion
in the worst ways. Because of this should stop eating Zilebia,
Jahangiri, Roti, some paneer dishes etc? At least I am not prepared to
While the general thought has been that the Indianisms have infected
the Mongol religion rather later in their history via the buddhists, I
feel some of the material entered it an early period. Examination of
Buryat, Oirat and Chingizid material discussed in Chabros and
Heissig’s works and provide much evidence for this.
One set of influences can be traced to the late Iranian period:
1) The Supreme deities of the Northern regions are called Qormusda and
Adar. These are derivatives of Ahura Mazda and his son Atar. One of
the deities of the southern regions is Chagchi, the god of time. who
is described as a white old man riding a Lion. This matches well with
the late Iranian deity Zurvan and perhaps entered the Mongol world
from the Iranian colonists in central Asia rather than the earlier
Heissig records a fragment of a chant prior to 1500 that goes as:
“The highest of the 99 gods is Moengke Tengri; The the 33 gods are led
by Qormusta Khan Tengri.” The number 33 also appears clearly
Indo-Iranian and the above chant suggests a syncretic development
where the original Altaic deity Moengke Tengri is invoked along with
the Ir Qormusta. Another chant states “Burqan (Buddha) struck the
first light but it was Qormusta who made the first fire”. Thus the
fire cult is also associated with Qormusta. The Western visitors to
the court of the Chingizid Mongols records their worship of the fires
suggesting that it was acquired well before expansion of the Mongol
The fire worship amidsts the Mongols, with libations of ghee, has many
parallels to the I-Ir fire worship. Important fire rituals are
performed at the end of the year, spring equinox and summer solstice
like the mahAvrata rite. Further the marriage cermonies were also fire
rituals with a chant asking for good children and brides. However, the
fire was mainly invoked as a female deity Ghalakhan Eke. This
suggests a development through an even earlier contact with the I-Irs.
The Mongols make a fire offering similar to the svAhA offered by the
Indo-Aryans. One such hymn to the supreme tengri of heaven is recored
as being used when the banner of Chingiz Kha’khan was planted when he
was ordained supreme Khan of Turko-Mongol tribes:
Above is my eternal Koeke Moengke Tengri,
Below is my mother Earth,
Through the prior decision of Koeke Moengke Tengri arose fire,
From him was the cattle born. (Fire offering)
Tengri Echige, sacrificing I pray to you,
you who protect my body,
who takes illness and sorrow away from me,
who keep far from me the danger of the sword. (Fire offering)
Tengri Echige, sacrificing I pray to you,
you who defeat brigands and bandits,
those who act covetously,
you who keep far from me the danger of the deity of death. (Fire
A distant echos of the ancient common Eurasiatic culture shared by the
Indo-Europeans and Uralo-Altaics with the later layer of the fire
offering from an Indo-Iranian source become apparent.
The Mongols also worship sets of gods arranged analogous to Indian
doerben jobkis un tengri: Gods of the 4 directions
nayiman kijaghar-un tengri:Gods of the 8 directions
with Maqagala Darqan guejir tengri (mahAkAla) in the center.
mahAkala is also called Mal-un tengri*- the cattle god (as pashupati)
This suggests a possible syncretization of an original ancient rudra
like deity with the later Indian import mahAkAla (via Tibet).
Maqagala is also associated with two later Indian imports bisnu tengri
and Bisman (viShNu and kubera respectively).
Indra was brought in via the Tibetans. As lamaism spread he was
clearly identified with a much older deity Khan Atagha Tengri, not
traceable thus far amidst any of the Turkic branches (other than
perhaps the early Uighurs). It may suggest an early acquisition from
Indo-Iranians from an Indra like deity. A fragment chanted by a Buriat
shaman has been preserved (note the ancestral similarity to Indra):
We worship Khan Atagha Tengri,
your thundering voice is heard close to the abyss,
unifier of thoughts of the Mongols,
With a gigantic, great body, with a thunderbolt,
Ruler over the many clouds, with a thousand eyes,
My Atagha Tengri supreme over all,
May you grant me the blessing and good fortune of your protection.
(*Hindi word mAl?)