“Which of his members is the seat of Fervour: Which is the base of Ceremonial Order?
Where in him standeth Faith? Where Holy Duty? Where, in what part of him is truth implanted?
Out of which member glows the light of Agni? Form which proceeds the breath of Mātarisvan?
From which doth Chandra measure out his journey, travelling over Skambha’s mighty body?
Which of his members is the earth’s upholder? Which gives the middle air a base to rest on?
Where, in which member is the sky established? Where hath the space above the sky its dwelling?
Whitherward yearning blazeth Agni upward? Whitherward yearning bloweth Mātarisvan?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom with long-ing go the turning pathways?
Whitheward go the half-months, and, accordant with the full year, the months in their procession?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons and the groups of seasons?
Whitherward yearning speed the two young Damsels, accordant, Day and Night, of different colour?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom the Waters take their way with longing?
Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha”
[First 7.5 Lines of AtharvaVeda X 7 – To The World Axis]
[Art by a chap by the name of ‘Lifeless Mech’]
[Also, the Vedically knowledgeable shall note several things with this post [pun, perhaps, intended].
The first being that I am making a direct link between the concept of Shiva-as-Nataraja and Axis Mundi ; in particular, the notion that the revolution, the movements of Shiva’s Tandava Dance is, ultimately, the force which turns the Wheel of Creation – in the manner that the spinning of the chariot-axle turns the wheel thusly affixed.
Hence – Skambha !
The second, being that all the Deifics, all the Theonyms cited to this point in the hymnal are rather strongly Shaivite linked. Whether directly, in terms of Agni or Chandra, or subject to intriguing interpolation and indirect-yet-still-Sound [pun, again, perhaps intended], as with Matarisvan.
The third, being the further associations, some of which are Deific Person(ages) or Emanations, again linked Directly or Indirectly to Shiva. The Day and Night, thence the Passage of Time (and Its Regulation); a Descent of Water(s); as well as some of the virtuous , expressive concepts we see here in adjectival form.
Now to be sure, there is also quite a lot more going on in that Hymnal – and I do not mean to make, as it were, a full/total identification of all of that with Shiva; in no small part because my Shakta theological inclinations supply closer fits for certain elements, and for the overarching concept as a whole – but that is not to exclude Shiva [how could we, even if we wanted to … and for that matter why would we want to ?! ] , but rather to run the principle in question with Him as an important , vitally integral , core component. One of Two in many ax-iomatic respects.
But more of that in, perhaps, a future series of posts.
For the moment … Jai Ishvara – Jai Nataraja – Jai Mahadeva
And Also To His Wife ]