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Bringing the Gods to MindMantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice$
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Laurie Patton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240872

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240872.001.0001

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Fire, Light, and Ingesting over Time

Fire, Light, and Ingesting over Time

(p.91) Chapter 4 Fire, Light, and Ingesting over Time
Bringing the Gods to Mind

Laurie L. Patton

University of California Press

This chapter reviews the ways in which viniyogas have created different kinds of associative worlds about eating in the Vedic literature. The food imagery of the Rig Veda becomes used in the Upanisads as representative of the emerging idea of a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. In both the Śrauta and Grhya worlds a new class of rites, called pākayajña, or “sacrifices of cooking,” emerge as ways of thinking about food. In the application of Rig Veda hymns 1.2 and 1.3, the communal process of consumption involving the full participation of the deities in the Śrauta world became a solitary eating. The next set of Rig Vedic hymns (10.1–5) links fire, eating, and the Sun. The hymn to the waters, Rig Veda 10.30, creates an elegant set of mutually referential metonymies. Rig Veda 10.88 is a hymn that celebrates both Soma and Agni. This hymn describes the Soma libation as undecaying and pleasant, offered to Agni, who touches the sky, and the gods supply Agni, the giver of happiness, with food.

Keywords:   Vedic literature, Rig Veda, metonymy, Vedic hymns, ingestion, fire, Grhya Sutras

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