October 11, 2015 Leave a comment
That the vedic people worshiped several gods we know. That some of these gods, such as Indra and Agni, in particular, were considered more important, that is known as well.
But what about the practice of worshiping these gods? Was there just one established form across all the various families of rishis?
Let us examine verses 01 to 04 of Hymn 1 from Mandala VIII for clues:
RV 8.001.01 – 04
GLORIFY naught besides, O friends; so shall no sorrow trouble you.
Praise only mighty Indra when the juice is shed, and say your lauds repeatedly
Even him, eternal, like a bull who rushes down, men’s Conqueror, bounteous like a cow;
Him who is cause of both, of enmity and peace, to both sides most munificent.
Although these men in sundry ways invoke thee to obtain thine aid,
Be this our prayer, addressed, O Indra, unto thee, thine exaltation every day.
Those skilled in song, O Maghavan among these men o’ercome with might the foeman’s songs.
Come hither, bring us strength in many a varied form most near that it may succour us.
A reading of the first verse suggests that the various Kanva rishis who composed it, glorify and praise only Indra and no one else. But such a reading is misleading, because the same rishis are composers of hymns that praise other vedic gods as well.
In the second verse, Indra is said to be the cause of both enmity and peace among people. And yet both sides find Indra “most munificent”. So the two sides in this case cannot be ones who worshiped Indra and those that did not. And yet if Indra is the cause of enmity that must be on account of differences between groups on how to worship him.
That there were differences is clearly borne out in verse 3.
“Although these men in sundry ways invoke thee to obtain thine aid”
Do we know what those differences were?
I could not find any in this hymn and would require further research.