The War-Stones Of The Altar


I Have Theology For That

Now, when I say that, I get the sense that some of you think I’m joking. Or that I just have some abstract concept in my head.

No, I literally have theology for that.

In fact, not just theology, but astrology, too !

Shatapatha Brahmana II 1 2 :

“13 He may also set up his fires under Kitrâ [Chitra]. Now the Gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, were contending for superiority. Both parties were desirous of rising to yonder world, the sky. The Asuras then constructed the fire (altar) called rauhina (fit to ascend by), thinking, ‘Thereby we shall ascend (â-ruh) to the sky .’

14 Indra then considered, ‘If they construct that (fire-altar), they will certainly prevail over Us.’ He secured a Brick and proceeded thither, passing Himself off for a Brâhman.

15 ‘Hark ye!’ He Said, ‘I, too, will put on this (Brick) for Myself!’ ‘Very well,’ they replied. He put it on. That fire (altar) of theirs wanted but very little to be completely built up,–

16 When He Said, ‘I shall take back this (Brick) which belongs to me.’ He took hold of it and pulled it out; and on its being pulled out, the fire-altar fell down; and along with the falling fire-altar the Asuras fell down. He then converted those Bricks into Thunderbolts and clove the (Asuras’) necks.

17 Thereupon the Gods assembled and said, ‘Wonderfully (kitram) indeed it has fared with Us who have slain so many enemies!’ Hence the wonderful nature (kitrâtva) of the asterism Kitrâ; and verily wonderfully it fares with him, and he slays his rivals, his spiteful enemy, whosoever, knowing this, sets up his fires under Kitrâ. A Kshatriya, therefore, should especially desire to take advantage of this asterism; since such a one is anxious to strike, to vanquish his enemies.”
[Eggeling translation]

I am rather partial to that suite of verses , as I am, myself, a Chitra [for those unaware – think of it as a ‘star sign’ (Nakshatra) in Hindu / Jyotisha [Astrology] terms ]; and it fits rather interestingly well with the notion of Chitra as an ‘architect’ or ‘mason’ [‘artificer’ would be closer to the mark – and as we have observed, the actual archaic underlying essence is that of Priest … c.f. our ‘Song-Smith’ typology, etc., elsewhere] ; as well as the otherwise somewhat curious occurrence in TS IV 4 10 for the Deific that is Lord of the Nakshatra being Indra (elsewhere the figure ruling Chitra is Tvastr).

And, of course, the Graha [‘Grabber’ is cognate – ‘Influencer’ more artful as a translation; ‘Planet’ shall do, in a pinch] ruling Chitra being Mars (Mangala – and every bit the baleful Blood-Red [Lohitanga] Bringer of Warfare that one would be familiar with in the Western IE sphere)

We Build Victory, you see. Victory … and Thunderbolts (Vajra – ref. Tvastr, again; and once again, note that the mechanism via which the Vajra is obtained features ritual operation in order to do so … Song-Smith, see?).

Indeed, one reading of the above-aforementioned verses has Chitra as the Brick, the weaponized thunder-brick, in question thusly wielded by Indra. With Which, He can Smite the Demons.

Certainly, when speaking of Indra and Priests and Vajra-hurling-through-ritualistic-invocation, we are reminded instantly of that deed of Brihaspati against Vala [c.f., for instance, RV X 68 4], wherein a Vajra is summoned in the form of a brilliantly flaming meteor (i.e. a Stone) so as to carry out an act of orbital bombardment (the excellent – if not, perhaps, the only – way to be Sur-a); and there are various other occurrences in the Indo-European mythic milieus featuring just such Weaponized Stone against demonic adversaries that we might contemplate at some other point in time.

Now this situation of Bricks and Thunderbolts is not exclusive to one passage of the SBr (one of our ‘ritual manuals’, so to speak – going with the Shukla [‘Bright’ / ‘Clear’] Yajurveda).

It actually crops up in various texts – especially, for rather obviously overt reasons, those where the construction (out of Bricks) of ritual altars is described and required for the rites in question to proceed.

So, for example:

Taittiriya Samhita / Krishna Yajurveda V 7 3:

“The Gods and the A’suras were in conflict; the Asuras sought to force Them from the quarters; the Gods repelled them with Arrow and Thunder Bolt; in that he puts down the Thunderbolt (Bricks), he repels his foes with arrow and thunderbolt; in the quarters he puts down; verily he puts round him those Citadels of the Gods, which guard the body.”
[Keith translation]

[note, I’ve deliberately rendered ‘Asuras’ as ‘A’Suras’ in the first instance there – because we are dealing with the Opposite of Suras [i.e. Opposite of Solar, Opposite of Divine] , and this is a homophone yet unrelated term for the more archaic ‘Asura’ as in ‘Sire’]

Or, going back to the SBr [VII 3 2]:

5 He (the Adhvaryu) then says (to the Hotri), ‘Recite to the fires being led forward!’ For at that time when the Gods were setting out to spread the sacrifice, the Rakshas, the fiends, sought to smite Them, saying, ‘Ye shall not sacrifice! ye shall not spread the sacrifice!!’ Having made those fires, those Bricks, to be sharp-edged Thunderbolts, They hurled these at them, and laid them low thereby; and having laid them low, They spread that sacrifice in a place free from danger and devilry.

6 Now, what the Gods did is done here,–even now those Rakshas are indeed smitten by the Gods Themselves; and when he nevertheless does this, it is because he thinks, ‘I must do what the Gods did.’ And so, having made those fires, those Bricks, to be sharp-edged Thunderbolts, he hurls them at whatever Rakshas, whatever evildoers there may be, and lays them low thereby; and having laid them low, he spreads the sacrifice in a place free from danger and devilry.”
[Eggeling translation]

I have chosen to quote the above because, as you’ll notice, there’s that rather key line setting out that all of this is a ‘ritual re-enactment’, and an Eliadian Eternal Return – indeed within a ‘mesocosmic’ ritual space as we shall also see forthwith!

And it also avails us in viewing the ‘resonancy’ involved here – ritual implements are vectors for Divine Force. With it, Demons and other such maleficarum may be banished.

As it says elsewhere in the SBr [VIII 5 1]:

“3 They [The Gods] desired, ‘Would that We could make that world [Far-Shining Heaven] foeless, undisturbed!’ They spake, ‘Think Ye upon this, how We shall make this world foeless, undisturbed!’ They spake, ‘Meditate Ye!’ whereby, indeed, they meant to say, ‘Seek Ye a layer! Seek Ye how We shall make this world foeless, undisturbed!’

4 Whilst meditating, They saw these Asapatnâ (‘foeless’) bricks; They laid them down, and by means of them They made that world foeless, undisturbed; and because by means of them They made that world foeless, undisturbed, these (are called) Asapatnâs. And in like manner does the Sacrificer, by laying them down, now make that world foeless, undisturbed. On all (four) sides he lays them down: on all sides he thus makes that world foeless, undisturbed. He places them on the other side: he thereby makes that whole world foe-less, undisturbed.

5 He then lays down the Virâgs (far-shining bricks): this Virâg, indeed, is that far-shining (virâg) fifth layer which the Gods saw. He lays them down by tens: the Virâg (metre) consists of ten syllables, and this layer is ‘virâg.’ He places them on every side; for He Who Shines (rules) in one direction only, does not shine far and wide, but Whosoever Shines in all directions, He Alone Shines far and wide.

6 And as to why he lays down those Asapatnâs. Now at that time, when that (part) of His body had been restored, evil beset Pragâpati on every side. He saw those foeless bricks, and laid them down, and by means of them He drove off evil, for foe means evil; and because, by means of them He drove off the foe, evil, therefore they are (called) ‘foeless’ (bricks).

7 And what the Gods did, the same is done now. Evil, indeed, does not now beset this (Sacrificer), but when he now does this, it is that he wants to do what the Gods did; and he thereby drives off whatever evil, whatever foe besets him; and because, by means of them, he drives off the foe, evil, therefore they are (called) the ‘foeless’ (bricks). He places them on every side: he thereby drives off the foe, evil, on every side. He places them on the other side: from his whole self he thereby drives off the foe, evil.”
[Eggeling translation]

Now, somebody out there in the audience might be prodding about the ‘Vampires’ specifically mentioned in the image – and insisting that I haven’t, in fact, provided something more directly applicable to same.

Leaving aside the reasonable inference that Vampires would be covered under many and various of the exorcistic and expurgatory operational ambits outlined but briefly above (I mean, seriously – drives out demons, evil … hits with force of Thunderbolt, the Divine Weapon of the Gods … ), I suppose one would direct attention to the situation encountered in TS IV 4 5:

“the Sun is deposited in this (Brick), to it I resort, and may it be my protection and my refuge.” 
[Keith translation]

Part of an extended suite wherein the rather radiant Energies of Heaven are thusly imbued and to be protected through Same.

Vampires, after all, are customarily regarded as quite vulnerable to Sunlight … and also, if memory serves, to Holy Water.

Do We Have Theology For That?

Yes.

In Brick Form.

SBr VII 5 2 41:

“Now the first fifteen are the Apasyâh [‘Water Bricks’],– Water is a Thunderbolt, and the Thunderbolt is fifteenfold;–hence wherever the Waters flow, there They destroy evil; and verily the Thunderbolt destroys the evil of this place: hence, when it rains one should go about uncovered, thinking, ‘May that Thunderbolt remove evil from me!'”
[Eggeling translation]

And, in the corresponding conceptry from the TS [V 2 10] :

“five [Bricks are laid] on the South [of the Altar], the Water Bricks are the Thunderbolt; verily with the Thunderbolt he smites away the Raksases from the South of the sacrifice;”
[Keith translation]

In essence, the construction of the Vedic Altar is the construction of a Vedic War-Machine.

With which a Better Future is also Built.

Now that’s Chitra !

What else might be said?

For now, only a few lines in closing from the Yajurvedic Taittiriya Samhita [IV 2 9, Keith translation]:

“Thou that extendest with a hundred,
That arisest with a thousand,
To Thee, O Goddess, O Brick,
Let us sacrifice with oblation.

Unovercomable art Thou, overcoming, overcome our enemies, over come those that practise enmity.

Overcome the foe, overcome the foemen of a thousandfold strength
Art Thou; do Thou inspirit me.”

Quite.

As you can see – we really do have Theology for That !

With it, let us (re)build a better world.

One Brick at a time.

One thought on “The War-Stones Of The Altar

  1. Tge descriptions of SB, are very similar to the biblical stories about the Tower of Babel which was destroyed from above by the gods using fire and brimstone. Could this be a coincidence or a genetic memory embedded from a previous common race of ancestors? What do you think?

    Like

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