Thus, we see the situation wherein Trita , a priestly figure (albeit with a demonstrable martial competency afforded in no small part via … weaponized theology) closely affiliated with Indra as companion (in a manner perhaps also resemblent of Indra and Brihaspati in various other dragon-slaying hymns – or Indra and Agni in RV V 86, where Trita is directly mentioned as a comparative; and it should be noted that both Brihaspati and Agni are, of course, *priests*), and providing the vital empowerment for the act of Dragon-Slaying to be made possible – even to the point of delivering the actual death, Himself … becomes in the Greek comparative, the situation of an at that point mortal demigod going forth with a close travelling companion that is His nephew and being helped considerably when the latter makes use of some mechanism other than sheer brute force to kill the otherwise unkillable Dragon – with the main examples of this ‘mechanism’ being elements that are directly or figuratively cognate to exactly that which Trita brings to the table in the Vedic mythology.
And thus, also, we see the situation of Indra *incurring* the moral status of guilt , and then having that moral status transposed and obviated from Him due to its transposition to Trita as the killer … turned into Herakles, (already) under a moral burden of guilt, not having its portion lifted from Him precisely because it is Iolaos that is regarded as the Hydra’s killer.
The parallels are all, to my mind, too close for there *not* to be some measure of shared origination. With even the metaphysical conceptry around the sanction of sin and its expiation finding an echo – more properly, a ‘reflection’ (hence why everything is the wrong way around) – in the far better known Greek iteration of the myth.
It would be tempting, perhaps, to presume that the more simple suite of conceptry found within the popular Greek tellings was the more ‘original’ and originally archaic of the expressions – and that the greater degree of complexity, and the elaborate moral drama an erstwhile later development confined largely to the Vedic sphere. Yet apart from noting that the Vedic expressions of this myth actually predate the earliest Greek versions handed down to us by potentially up to a millennium – the fact that these moral elements are still present within the Greek renditioning shows that they must have been endogenous to the original, underlying Indo-European canon. Rather than being later interpolations which, as some commentators would have you believe, added in an entire deity (i.e. Indra) to ‘eclipse’ an ‘earlier’ figure of Trita ; or to portray meaningful depth, nuance, and subtletly of moral-metaphysical-ethical considerations in lieu of a simplistic “barbarian SMASH” style of not-even-really-narrative.
Certainly, the role of Fire as a sacral element is well attested in the Proto-Indo-European mythoreligious understanding – hence why we have such concepts as ‘Agni’ , derived from PIE ‘hngwnis’ (the same root as Latin ‘Ignis’), and meaning quite specifically the ‘Living Fire’, the ‘Animate Fire’, rather than the mere mundane thing that just happens to burn. A distinction perhaps akin to that in C.S. Lewis’ and Terry Pratchett’s observation as to the difference between a Star … and a very large ball of flaming gas. And which, now that I think upon it, may find parallel expression between the ‘living’ understanding of religion on the one hand which imbues mythology with life … and the dusty, academic-grade torpor of tales told without this vitally integral spark of both illumination and life.
As Agni, too, is prominently hailed as Vritrahan also – Slayer of Vritra, the Dragon – it would seem that this understanding … that the Flames of Piety and proper righteous conduct are the ultimate demon-bane … was similarly the original Indo-European one. And therefore that the Wielder of these most mighty of weapons – whether remembered more properly as the Priest (or, at least, person of an aptly pious disposition – and listening to the Divine Guidance provided to Him by Athena Vak Saraswati ), or simply as a suitably inspired young man looking to safeguard his dearly loved comrade (this is another use of Flame in the underlying Indo-European world view – the binding together of Men; something referenced also in RV X 8 4’s presentation of the conflict in question) … even despite the Greeks losing sight of the ritualine, metaphysical elements to their own mythology (or, perhaps, simply not writing it down in a manner, a fashion, that has actually come down to us – after all, the Vedic texts were an almost exclusively oral tradition, too, for most of Their history), if we know how to look we can still behold these same unmistakable tell-tale signs of their presence.
And, once again marvel at just how fundamentally cohesive the mythology of the Indo-European Peoples really is.
So, with that in mind – here’s a brief selection from RV X 8 ; phrasing in square brackets is the result of me placing two different translations side-by-side.
7 Through his wise insight Trita in the cavern, seeking as ever a visionary thought according to the ways of his distant forefather,
Carefully tended in his Parents’ bosom, [calling the weapons kin / speaking his own familial weapons], goes forth to combat.
8 [Well-skilled to use the weapons of his Father / knowing his ancestral weapons] , Āptya, urged on by Indra, attacked.
Then Trita slew the foe seven-rayed, three-headed, and freed the cattle of the Son of Tvaṣṭar.
9 Lord of the brave, Indra cleft him in pieces who sought to gain much strength and deemed him mighty.
He smote his three heads from his body, seizing the cattle of the oniniform Son of Tvaṣṭar.
Hail to the Torch-Bearers, the Flame-Throwers, the Weaponizers of Ancient Wisdom.
Ἰόλαος & त्रित
And also to the Striker/Thunderer Whom He Proceeds.
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