Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 11


The interpretation of the gvedic word ari, which Bloomfield 2 called the enfant terrible of Vedic exegesis, has still to be considered far from settled, in spite of Paul Thieme's masterly work on the subject 3 published in 1938. The ancient Indian Vedic exegetists 4 explained ari as signifying vara (potentate) or amitra ('not-a-friend'), it being obviously left to the interpreter to determine from context which sense applied. Thieme discusses the many different proposals advanced by modern scholars to determine the exact meaning of this word, ranging from Bergaigne's miser/poor person to Bloomfield's 'noble priest. 5 That the word carries at least two principal (and widely disparate) significations has been commonly accepted. Thus Geldner 6, when translating the RV stanzas containing this word, shifts from lord of rank / rich patron / wielder of power etc. to rival/ great enemy / rich show-off etc. It was difficult to understand how this strange bifurcation developed. Thieme suggested a way out of this crux offering (A) 'Outsider ( Fremde with no emotional overtone) as the basic sense of the word. From this there issues, according to him, the sense 'Stranger (Fremdling) with (B) favourable overtones of feeling, as well as (C) unfavourable overtones 7. Precisely why the word remained as baffling as it ever was in spite of Thiemes ingenious and estimable efforts can be fully explained only by discussing each individual usage of the word, in the context of which his

Originally published in ANJALI, O. H. DE A. WIJESEKERA FELICITATION VOLUME, Peradeniya,

Sri Lanka, 1970. pp. 88-96

2 3 4 5

J.A.O.S. 45, p. 160. Thieme, P. : Der Fremdling im gveda, Leipzig 1938.

Nirukta, 5.2.2 on RV 1.150.1. Op. cit. pp. 5-10. 6 Der Rig-veda aus dem Sanskrit ins Deutsche bersetzt. Harvard Oriental Series, volumes 33-35. See, e.g., his translations of RV 1.9.10, 1.121.15, 1.122.14, 1.169.6, 2.8.2, 5.2.12, 6.59.8, 7.21.5 etc., etc. 7 Op. cit. p. 10 f.

renderings often appear inappropriate, at times extremely far-fetched 8. Leaving that task for a future attempt, we shall concern ourselves here with indicating what appears to be a promising alternate guideline for a re-interpretation of the ari material of the gveda. The one thing that is quite certain about the word ari in the RV is that it consistently refers to a rich and powerful person 9, a chief of one sort or another. In this capacity, the 'ari' appears in many hymns as a devout and generous employer or benefactor of Vedic priest-magicians, the i-s 10. Geldner, with his generally reliable intuition for apprehending the occasion which formed the background of a hymn, has nearly always reckoned with this fact. On the other hand, the grave drawback in Thiemes approach to the elucidation of the word is that he has not brought himself to accept this essential aspect of the meaning of ari in every instance of its usage. However, as briefly indicated above, the picture of the ari which the RV presents has another significant dimension. Not infrequently, the ari is a

Cp. the criticism of Thieme's view in Brough, J., The Early Brahmanical System of Gotra and Pravara, Cambridge 1953, pp. xiii-xiv. But Benveniste's theory which Brough regards as "most attractive" also falls far short of the requirements needed for a satisfactory explanation of all occurrences of ari. The theory is that ari is "the designation of the other moiety of a society with dual organization. The word would thus denote for any individual that part of the tribe into which he or she might lawfully marry". But what are we to make of instances like RV 1.81.6, 2.8.2, 8.24.22, 9.23.3 where ari stands in contrast to dsvs? Or, could we possibly think that ari (originally) meant "descendant of a legitimate marriage union? 9 "ari ist ein aristos, ein Geehrter, Ausgezeichneter, Edler..."- Neisser, W., Zum Wrterbuch des Rgveda, Leipzig 1924, p. 99. Cp. RV 1.33.3, 1.121.15, 1.126.5 (ari's cows); 1.81.6/9,2.12.4 5,5.2.12, 10.86.1/3 (ari's wealth: veda, pui, martabhojana, puimad vasu); 4.4.6 (ari's splendour) 4.48.1, 6.14.3, 6.20.1, 6.36.5, 6.47.9 ( ari's riches: rayi); 7.60.11 (ari's wrath); 8.24.22, 9.23.3 (ari's worldly goods: gaya)', 1.169.6, 7.48.3, 10.76.2 (ari's manly mightpausya, nma), 7.21.9 (ari's abhti), 1.118.9 (arya sahasras vaam), 4.38.2 (arya carktya vjinam). 10 Cp. 5.33.6 (ari as tuvimagha), 5.34.9 ( Agnivei sahasras as upam ketum arya), 1.9.10 (ari..indrya sam arcati); 1.122.14 (aryo gira); 3.43.2 (arya ia); 8.65.9 (arya.. .vipacita); 8.66.12 (arya savanni), 7.8.1 (aryo namobhi), 1.150.1 (ari in Agni 's araa).

potentate who is hardly desirable, a wielder of arti (malevolence) 11, abhimti ('striving to injure') 12, and the very opposite of the devout patron 13: a man whose wealth was not willingly given away as gifts, as daki 14 etc. Obviously, the ari in such instances could not have been the type of leader the Vedic i-s regarded as a true representative of their culture. It would not have been difficult to account for this double signification, had ari 'meant chief (cp. Geldner's hoher Herr) and so was applicable to any leader viz. also to a non-Aryan. Applied to an Aryan chief it would then mean vara, applied to a non-Aryan, amitra. But this is at once ruled out, because it is from ari that the ethnic designation rya is ultimately derived 15. If we are thus precluded from seeing in ari the sense of 'leader', does that exhaust all the possibilities for regarding the word as some kind of designation for an Aryan tribal chief? That it does is obviously the implication of Thieme's views, for he sees in the fact that ari is not consistently translatable as 'reicher Herr' a formidable objection to the view that regards this as an approximation to the original notion from which the two disparate senses developed 16. This untranslatability might only indicate that the word did not carry the general meaning 'chief; it cannot preclude the possibility that it may have been a designation among some Aryan groups for the leader of a tribe or such other unit. However, to admit the possibility of there having been such a special designation among some tribes, is to invite a rescrutiny of the early Aryan tribal and magico-religious set-up, for the evidence of the ari-references would then compel us to assume that there were circumstances or occasions in which an Aryan chief appeared like a rival or enemy (amitra) to the high priests of the i tradition, whose views are recorded in the extant Vedic hymns - and appeared damnable because he did not conform to these views entirely. To put the argument in another way: in view of the etymology of rya, we

. Cp. 2.23.13 (aryo abhidipsvo mdha); 4.50.11, 6.16.27, 6.48.16, 6.59.8, 7.97.9, 8.39.2, 9.79.3 (ari's arti). . 10.116.6.

13 14

. 1.81.6/9, 2.8.2, 6.15.3, 8.24.22, 9.23.3. 8.21.16,9.79.3,8.51.9. 15 . Mayrhofer, M., Kurzgefasztes etymologisches Wrterbuch des Altindischen I. Heidelberg 1956, s.v. arya. 16 Op. cit. pp. 8-9.

cannot regard the amitra connotation of ari as a development of the application of the word to non-Aryan chiefs. However the amitra association could have yet developed if the ari-s were Aryan chiefs who were somehow unfriendly to the i tradition. Two things are implied here - (i) ari might have been a term for chief among some Vedic tribes, though not among all, (ii) the ari chiefs were at one time viewed with disfavour by the i-s. But the word rya, derived from ari, stands for all Aryans, not merely for a section whose chiefs were called ari-s. However this need not be an insurmountable objection to a view such as the above. The signification of an ethnic or tribal term could have been narrow at the beginning; it could become wider in a subsequent age. A pertinent case from the Indian tribal terminology itself is the word Bhrata (= 'of the tribe of Bharata' originally; also used to refer to the Kuru-Paclas in the period of the Brhmaas 17; later a term for all India). If the above line of thinking is permissible, and if there can be no intrinsic objection to the view that ari may have been some kind of tribal designation for a chief, though only among some of the tribes that later came to be known as the Aryans, certainly the instances of the usage of ari deserve the closest possible re-examination. The implication of dichotomy in the Aryan social setup then goes even beyond the tribal plane, in view of the above-mentioned portrayal of the ari as a person to be despised because of his attitudes on the religious and cultural levels. We cannot forget that it is said that the ari needs guidance and chastisement 18, that he ought to have faith 19, that there is no

Macdonell, A. A., and Keith, A.B., Vedic Index of Names and Subjects, s.v. Bharata. 18 Cp. RV 2.8.2: Agni is "a splendid leader to the worshipper, who, unexhausted, causes the ari to suffer exhaustion". (suntho dadue juryo jarayann arim), 5.48.5: Varua as 'directing the ari' (to the right way of life). Cp. Thieme, op. cit. p. 40 f., and discussion of yat- in Schlerath, B., Das Knigtum im Rig - und Atharvaveda, Wiesbaden 1960, pp. 37 ff.; 6.24.5: Mitra, Varua or Pan (?) described as "who forestalls or nullifies the ari's will" (:aryo vaasya paryet). Cp. Thieme, op. cit., p. 53:"Er (Indra) ist der Umgeher (-Vereitler oder berwltiger) der Gewalt des Fremdlings". 19 Cp. RV 10.39.5 (after recounting the miraculous deeds of the Avins in stanza 4): "I shall declare your ancient heroic deeds in the presence of the jana, so that this ari may gain faith, 0 Nsatyas": pur v vry pra brav jane...aya nsaty rad arir yath dadhat. See Thieme, op. cit. pp. 38-39 where he translates "Damit dieser Fremdling Vertrauen fasse", discussing "Der Fremdling ist Vertragspartner".


pressing of Soma in the ambit of his power and control 20. He is in particular condemned for 'guarding his treasures' 21 - something totally unacceptable to the i tradition with its ideal of princely generosity, especially towards the priests 22. The ari thus could not have been even remotely compared to the priests' favourite sri-s and maghavan-s. Thus the objection of Thieme's that if ari signified chief, other words for chief should also share its variety of signifcation 23 is certainly not tenable; for, if the variety was in the tribal composition itself; the existence of different kinds of designations for chief is not a matter for surprise. It must be stated that the RV seems to preserve more evidence than is commonly supposed for assuming that the early Aryan tribes were not a homogeneous and closely knit community in a cultural and religious sense. Of course they spoke the same language or at least dialects of it that were mutually intelligible (- the evidence of the extant documents stems from a single source: the latter-day Brahmanical compilers; so it need not necessarily be regarded as decisive either way). By and large they also worshipped the same gods. But what are we to make of an instance such as the following, where a Vivmitra poet - hence the member of a family of priests who had particularly close relations with the famous Bharata tribe - plaintively addresses the institutor of a ritual festival: "Of Indra, the quick unconquered one, ask the wise priest, who is worthier than your friends. He then goes on to say, addressing himself to Indra: "And

RV 10.86.1 :"They have lapsed from the pressing (of Soma), they have not

revered Indra as god, there where my friend Vkapi found enjoyment in the nourishing riches of the ari: vi hi sotor askata/ nendra devam amasata/ yatrmadad v-kapir/ arya puesu matsakh// Cp. RV 8.21.16; 8.51.9 (Indra is one "to whom this every Arya that is a treasure-guarding ari is a Dsa : yasyya viva ryo/ dsa evadhip ari//). 22 Cp. RV 1.180.6: He takes the booty, in order to make a generous gift, like one truthful to (his) vrata ( mahe dade suvrato na vjam); 5.65.3: "Possessors of good horses (go) forth for booty with good intent, in order to donate (it) (svavsa sucetun vjam abhi pra dvane). The sentiment is widespread in the RV and is most forcefully expressed by the depiction of Indra, the ideal hero (divine), as the model of conspicuous generosity. It was he "who first found cows for the Brahman" (yo brahmae prathamo g avindat l.l0l.5b) and it was to "find cows that most battles were fought. Cp. also 1.51.3, 1.81.7, 1.125.7, 1.132.4, 5.30.7, 7.21.7, 7.26.4, 7.67.9, 10.23.2 etc., etc. 23 Op. cit. p. 9.

let our detractors say: Depart to another place/ you who offer worship to Indra alone. Or let the ari and (his) folks describe us as well-off men, 0 Master. In Indra's refuge we shall (yet) remain". (R.V. 1.4. 4-6) 24. Not only does this passage raise questions about the identity of the ari who takes objection to the i's exclusive 25 worship of Indra and wishes to prevent him from receiving gifts - on account of his wealthiness 26 (a viewpoint that could easily earn for the ari the description 'treasure-guarding niggard') - but we are also puzzled by the reference to this ari's 'friends' and his 'folk (kaya that rather intriguing term, in view of its indubitable derivation from the root k-, to plough). One is tempted to think that the aris people and his priests (= friends, i.e., supporters) 27 must have been somewhat different in their attitude to Indra-worship than was the Vivmitra i, called here the wise priest 28. One would recall here the numerous allusions in the RV to devanida 29 (insulters of gods), anindr 30 (men who do not care for Indra) and brahmadvia 31 (haters of Vedic priests) not all of whom were non-Aryans certainly. One is also struck by the resemblance of the implication of this reference to that of several other highly interesting passages in the RV. As an example of this latter we may cite RV 4.24. 3-5. Here it is said of two warring groups (yudhm via) that they both call on Indra's aid; one seeks his help at the decisive hour (abhke, i.e., in the very sight of battle); the other offers

parehi vigram asttam/indram pcch vipacitam/ yas te sakkibyha varam// uta bruvantu no nido/nir anayata cid rata/ dadhn indra id duva// uta na subhagn-arir / voceyur dasma kaya / symed indrasya armai// RV 1.4.4-6.
24 25

Cp. 1.4.5c which Geldner, op. cit., translates: ''indem ihr nur fr Indra euch ereifert. Cp. also 4.25.6 b: suve paktim kute kevalendra// (See Geldner's translation).

Subhaga = glcklich - Geldner; Thieme (op. cit. p. 37). Indra, characteristically the earthly sri's parallel, is described as sakhi by the is e.g. at 1.4.10, 4.25.6, 10.27.6. Conversely they describe themselves as wellliked by Indra (e.g., priya: 4.25.5).
26 27

vipacitam : einen Weisen - Geldner. RV 1.152.2, 2.23.8, and also 2.23.14, 5.42.10, 7.104.18, 10.38.3. 2.12.5,4.23.7, 5.2.3, 7.18.16, 7.104.20, 8.100.3, 10.27.6, 10.48.7. 2.23.4, 3.30.17, 5.42.9, 6.22.8, 6.52.2/3, 7.104.2, 8.45.23, 8.64.1, 10.160.4

29 30 31

sacrifices in honour of Indra 32; then the cooked (meat) would score over the rice cake 33, and Soma make a distinction between the presser and the nonpresser (i.e., the one who offers the Soma libation will gain the favour of Indra) 34. It is clear that here the contending groups are both Aryan; for they both invoke Indra - pre-eminently the god of Aryan triumph. But, to one party this god and the distinctive forms of paying him homage mattered more than they did to the other. Obviously one party invoked him merely as the god of war, and this was something the i-s found unacceptable. Many other examples of this kind of statement can be adduced 35, but hopefully this is sufficient to show that we should by no means minimize the importance of the evidence regarding the cultural diversity of the early Aryan tribes. RV 1.4. 3-5 discussed above seems to give us an important clue. That is that the ari-led tribes could probably be counted among the so-called 'Indraneglecting men whom the RV hymns so frequently denounce. This would of course be no evidence if it stands isolated. But it does not 36. What is more, it also helps us substantially to infer the tribal identity of these ari-led groups, inasmuch as it provides the further clue that the particular ari referred to found cause to disagree with the practices and aspirations of a i of a clan of Bharata loyalists. One is tempted to ask: Could we possibly put the Bharatas and the ari chiefs in opposite camps culturally? With this question before us we might study the three famous hymns that mention the Ten Kings War in which the Bharata prince Suds fought against a confederacy of kings. These hymns are RV 7.18, 7.33 and 7.83. In the war indrayante (4.24.4d) verlangen nach Indra -Geldner; indriya yajante (4.24.5a) opfern dem indrischen (Namen) - Geldner. 33 pakti purosa riricyt: dann soll die Kochspeise den Reiskuchen berbieten - Geldner, who adds, "die pakti ist offenbar das Bessere", referring to Vjasaneyi Sah. 21.59. That pakti signified cooked flesh can be gathered from 10.27.2c: am te tumra vabha pacni followed in stz 18 by a reference to two groups, one that 'cooked' and one that did not 'cook': pacti nemo na hi pakad ardha -10.27.18b. Cp. also 10.27.17a: pvna meam apacanta vr and 10.28.3c: pacanti te vabhn atsi tem. 34 Cp. 1.54.8, 4.24.5, 10.42.4, 10.160.4. Like 4.24 and 4.25, 2.12.14a and 15ab also refer to "the presser of Soma and the offerer of cooked (flesh?)" as those who will gain Indra's aid. 35 Cp. e.g. 4.25.6-7, 8.21.14-15,10.27.2/3/6/18, 10.42.4. 36 See, e.g, 1.33.3 with 1.33.4/5, 2.12.4 and 5c with 2.12.5ab, 6./10/14/15, 2.23.13/15 with 2.23. 4/5//6/7/8 10/14, 4.4.6 with 4.4.5/15, 5.2.12 with 5.2.3/9/10, 7.3L5b with 7.31.5a, 10.86.1.

that they refer to, the Bharatas under the name of Ttsus, were on one side, while against them were ranged a large number of rya as well as Dsa tribes. From 7.18 we learn that among the rya enemies of the Bharatas in this war there were the Anu, Pru, Turvaa and Druhyu tribes. 7.83 very significantly describe these and other enemies of Suds as "ten kings who do not observe the sacrificial cult 37. Equally significantly 7.18.16 calls them "the party that does not know Indra 38. 7.18.13 further refers to the ritually unacceptable speech of the Pru chief (he is called mdhravc 39). Most important of all, 7.83.5 refers to the ari, saying "the evils of the ari, and the ill-will of (his) envious men, torment me 40- which one may take as a reference to the leading ari prince in the confederacy of 10 kings and the (unorthodox?) priests 41 who, as was customary in those times, supported these kings with magical incantations etc 42. When we consider all these facts, it seem best to render the 7.18.7 reference to Suds' victory as follows: "For the benefit of the Ttsus did Indra bring the Arya's (possessions) of cattle (anayat... aryasya gavy ttsuhhya) assuming that gavy stands for gavy vasni 43 and that arya (probably as a collective singular) refers to the Prus and others exclusively, as opposed to the Bharatas. If this interpretation of the situation depicted in the hymns on the Ten
37 38


rjna ayajyava -7.83.7a.

ardham anindram -7.18.16a. vidathe mdhravcam: using mis-spoken words in the vidatha, an occasion with strong cult-associations. atapatha Brh. characterizes the Pru as an Asura-rakas and illustrates the speech of the Asuras by showing that they say he 'lavo for he 'raya - the kind of mistake that could have earned them the epithet mdhravc. Mahbhya (Nirnayasagara Press, Bombay 1951, p. 28) says that one purpose of learning grammar was to avoid this kind of mispronunciation in ritual acts.

abhy tapanti m ghny aryo vanum artaya. The arti etc. of the ari and the vanu: 4.50.11, 7.21.9, 7.97.9. Cp. with these the ari/jantu/jana juxtaposition at 1.81.9, 5.33.2, 7.21.5. RV 8.1.4 seems to provide a clue to the understanding of this kind of allusion: 'The conjurations of the learned priest and of the aris men compete (with each other), 0 Maghavan" (vi tartryante maghavan vipacito ryo vipo jannm). 42 Cp. 1.27.9: Booty to be won with aid of priests (viprebhir astu sanit); 6.53.10: Ritual song the winner of cows, horses and booty (goani dhiyam avasm...vjasm); 2.24.3: Indra breaks the cave of Vala with aid of ritual song (abhinad brahma valam); 1.71.2: The Angiras priests help Indra with sacred songs, with their 'roar' (ukthai.. .ravea) etc., etc. 43 Cp. 5.79.7 rdhsi gavy.


Kings' War is correct, then the ari-led tribes must have been the Prus and others referred to in these hymns. In fact a string of other references lead us in the same direction, notably the allusions to the ari in RV 4.38, 5.33 and 8.19. Stanza 36 of RV 8.19 quite explicitly identifies the Pru prince Trasadasyu as "an ari-scion, exceedingly generous as patron of the ritual house 44. This last reference enables us to understand that aspect of the ari-material to which we referred at the very outset - namely that the ari is often depicted in a distinctly favourable light, as a generous benefactor of Vedic priests. It is not possible to clarify wholly the factors that led to this development, unless we embark on a study of the tribal inter- relationships of the RV period and also of the story of priestly loyalties, influence and flexibility which appears to lie behind the unification of a collection of loosely knit tribes into a single ryavara with one dominant magico-religious system of divine worship and ritual practices. Suffice it to say that the evidence suggests a trend in this direction after internecine conflicts culminating in the Ten Kings War. Clearly Trasadasyu belongs to this later period. This is also the impression that one gathers when reading RV 4. 42, especially in the illuminating interpretation given to it by W. Norman Brown45, according to whom Trasadasyu is there celebrated as ''a demi-god, the gift of (both) Indra and Varua to Purukutsa's wife 46, who apparently bore him when his father was in captivity. This version of Trasadasyu's birth reads like an attempt to make this "terror of the Dasyus" acceptable to all segments of the 'Aryan' race. It is a remarkable fact that his praises are sung in no less than three books of the RV, those of Gautama, Atri and Kava - and in a manner that suggests that he was known to these singers at first hand 47. With him as the head of their tribe, the Prus could certainly not be regarded as ayajvananindra- or mdhravc- derogatory terms that the singers used to indicate the Prus' position outside the orthodox fold in an earlier age. Its complexity, as well as its abundance, does not allow one to treat the arimaterial fully in the compass of a short article. For this reason we have to

mahiho arya satpati (satpati here similar in sense to sadasaspati of


Brown, W. N., ''King Trasadasyu as a Divine Incarnation" in C. Kunhan Raja Commemoration Volume, pp. 38 f. 46 Cp. 4.42.9: purukutsn ha vm adsadd/ havyebhir indrvaru namobhi/ ath rjna trasadasyum asy/ vtrahaa dadathur ardhadevam//

In hymns 4.38, 4.42 (Gautama), 5.33 (Atri) and 8.19 (Kava).


refrain from entering into a detailed discussion of the third important point that emerges from a fresh study of this material - namely that many usages of this word become explicable when we assume that in these cases we have a portrayal of tribal chiefs as host-institutors of competitive festivals 48, from whom guest-contestants attempted to win the rich stakes 49 that were offered. In this situation the ari is very much on a par with a rival or opponent 50. The scene must have been, inter alia, one of competitive ritual acts (cp. vihava / vivc etc., 'invoking from all sides') 51 where the priests who ritually supported the competing princes hoped to attract the gods away from the ari's rites to those of their own sri or sri-s 52. The reference to the ari's ritual acts in these contexts could lead one to the assumption that the ari is here portrayed as a priest 53. This need not necessarily be correct. For, the ari's ritual acts can just as well be what he got his priests (- cp. the ari's friends, the ari's men etc. in various references of the RV) to perform for him. The above discussion was intended to give an inkling of a new direction which appears feasible in the attempt to unravel the tangled skein that is the ari material of the RV. When we pursue this line of inquiry, it appears that (i) ari in many gvedic references designates a chief of some Aryan tribes whom the Indra-worshipping Soma sacrificers at first despised and presented in an unfavourable light; (ii) in a large number of other references the ari is presented in a favourable light: this reflects a result of the process of tribal-cultural integration which was going on throughout the Vedic period; (iii) in yet another See Gonda, J., "Skt. utsava - Festival" in India Antiqua, Leyden 1947, pp. 146 ff. 49 Cp. hita dhanam in numerous references in the RV, e.g. in the hymn 6.45. An example for ari of such contexts would be 2.12.5; "He (Indra) reduces, as it were, the ari's possessions, i.e., the stakes" (so 'rya pur vija iv 'minti), or 1.186.3: So that the patron, approved by the ari, may grant us refreshing foods (ia ca parad arigrta sri). Other notable examples are 1.73.5. 2.12.4, 4.20.3, 5.33.6, 8.1.22.

Cp. 1.70.1: With song we shall win the many (quickening gifts? Cp. ia

above) of the ari (vanema prvr aryo man). With this rendering of man instr. sg., cp. 2.24.9 vja bharate mat etc.

vivc: 1.178.4,6.45.28/29, 7.23.1/2; vihava: 3.8.10. There are also many

instances of the use of vi-vac- and vi-hve- as verbs. 3.43.2, 4.29.1, 7.68.2, 8.33.14, 8.34.10, 8.66.12 are clear examples of this but there are several other important instances too. 53 Probably this is what Geldner means when he renders ari as 'Nebenbhler see his notes to the translation of 1.70.1, 1.71.3 etc.

type of allusion, the ari appears as host-institutor of competitive (ritualized)54 festivals - and here he is in a position comparable with that of a rival or opponent. We must then conclude that it is best not to translate the word ari which seems to take us back to vanished institutions of early Aryan tribal life, the fate of some of which was probably sealed by the very tribal integration referred to above. Classical Sanskrit does not understand the word in the same way as it was understood in Vedic times because at a later age the cultural 'roots' of this usage were not alive. As a matter of fact the post-Vedic sense of the word (i.e., 'enemy') only tends to confuse us when we attempt to understand its usage in the gveda hymns.


vjasti ( winning of vja) was by means of war and other contests. The ritual overtones of the activity are indubitable. Cp., e.g., 4.20.2: Indra "shall stand by this sacrifice of ours in the winning of vja" (tihti. ..ima yajnam anu no vjastau); 4.25.8cd: "men that seek vja invoke (the aid of) Indra, both they that dwell in peace, and they that fight" (indra kiyanta uta yuddhamn/ indra naro vjayanto havante). On the significance of the contrast of ki- with yudh- here, see this writer's "Yoga and Kema: The Significance of Their Usage in the gveda", Vidyodaya Journal of Arts, Science and Letters, 1/2 (July 1968), pp. 185 f. On vja see Gonda, J. in Numen, iv/2 pp. 134-35 and Heesterman, J. C., The Ancient Indian Royal Consecration, 's-Gravenhage 1957, p. 133.