It is Monday Night – Lord Shiva’s Night – And therefore … an evocative modern illustration. It is from a series of such commissioned by the well-known Shaivite monastery in Hawaii.
And what is it illustrating ? Well, I would say that it is the suite of verses known from the Yajurveda [TS IV 5 / VS XVI] & Sri Rudram / SataRudriya (but, then, I repeat myself … somewhat) that extoll not only the Lord Himself – but also the Lord as expressed / embodied through His Ganas of Warriors and other such co-expressive Forms. These, too, are Rudra(s).
In particular … we shall quote the relevant verses in translation:
24 […] homage to horses and to you masters of horses […]
26 […] Homage to you car-borne and to you who are carless, homage.
Homage to the charioteers and to you drivers of horses, homage.
[Shukla Yajurveda [Vajasaneyi Samhita] XVI, Griffith translation]
“Homage to you horses, and to you, lords of horses, homage! […]
Homage to you that are great, and to you that are small homage!
Homage to you that have chariots, and to you that are chariotless homage!
Homage to you chariots , and to you, lords of chariots, homage! […]
Homage to you, doorkeepers*, and to you, charioteers**, homage!”
[Taittiriya Samhita IV 5 3-4, Keith translation]
[And the * is there because I suspect that Keith may have possibly misconstrued ‘Ksattr’ ( क्षत्तृ ) – insofar as it can mean ‘Doorkeeper’, however can also mean ‘Charioteer’, and would fit better if interpreted as the latter.
**, meanwhile, is because ‘charioteer’ is perhaps too simplistic a translation for ‘Samgrahitr’ ( संग्रहीतृ ) … the effective sense is oriented around ‘Grabh’ (guess what this correlates with in modern English … ), with the idea of being ‘One Who Takes The Reins’ – it can mean a horse-tamer, or one who does what the figure leading the unmounted horse depicted here is doing, but yes can also mean ‘charioteer’.]
“24 […] reverence be to horses, and to ye, masters of horses, be reverence! […]
26 reverence be to chariot-fighters, and to ye, the chariot-less, be reverence! reverence be to car-fighters, and to ye, charioteers, be reverence! “
[SataRudriya III, Eggeling translation – which, as you’ll note, is here rather coterminous with VS XVI’s rendition]
“Prostration to Thee who art the horses and the horse riders. […]
prostration to Thee who art those that ride in chariots and those that do not; prostration to Thee who art the chariots as well as the chariot owners. […]
Prostration to Thee who art (in the form of) armies and army chiefs; prostration to Thee who art the trained charioteers and apprentices in chariot driving;”
[SataRudriya, Swami Krishnananda translation]
“14 Salutation to the horses and to you lords of horses, salutation […]
8 Salutation to you that have chariots, and to you that are chariotless, salutation!
9 Salutation to you in the chariots, and to you, lords of chariots, salutation! […]
11 Salutation to you, teachers of charioteers and to you, charioteers, salutation!”
[Sri Rudram, III 14 & IV 8-11, R.L. Kashyap translation]
“To you Rudras who are in the form of horses and those who command them, salutations. […]
Salutations to you who ride in chariots and you who ride on no conveyance, but walk on foot.
Salutations to you who are in the form of chariots and those who own them. […]
Salutations to you who are in the form of those who teach the chariot driving to others, and those who drive the vehicles themselves. “
[Sri Rudram, unsure as to translator]
“III 2 9 Salutations and salutations,
To him who is the horse,
And to him who is the rider of the horse. […]
IV 1 8 Salutations and salutations,
To him who rides a chariot,
And to him who does not have a chariot.
IV 2 1 Salutations and salutations,
To him who is a chariot,
And to him who is the leader of the chariot. […]
IV 2 3 Salutations and salutations,
To him who drives chariots well,
And to him who can hold the chariot from moving. “
[TS IV 5 3-4 P.R. Ramachander translation]
You get the idea.
Hail, indeed, to He – and also to His Riders, His Horses, His Chariots and His Charioteers
And so veer-y many other Rudras and Rudra-Ganas besides (including the female Ones Who appear also amidst the War-Hosts, shortly before these swift-moving Horse and Chariot figures thunder into the recitation, as we have detailed at some length elsewhere).
ॐ नमः शिवाय !
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