RV 8.43.11 and beef-eating

Tue Feb 25 11:11:41 UTC 1997

Thompson has replied at length to my posting on ukSAnna and vaZAnna. He appears
to be right when he says:
>But first a simple distinction has to be made: the term for 'cow' here is
>not go' but rather vazA', which, as was mentioned in a previous post, is
>now understood to mean "non-pregnant cow".  The traditional gloss has been
>"sterile, barren," but Falk has shown that it can also refer to cows that
>have not yet borne a calf.  In any case, this precludes the possibility
>that this passage refers to Soma and *milk*, since the vazA' cow does not
>give milk [and therefore is, in fact, a prime candidate for sacrifice, and
Perhaps I may refer to AtharvaVeda 10.10, a long sukta dedicated to
to the vaZA cow(rsi:kaSyapa):
In the very first stanza it is declared
" namaste .......aghnye te namaha" (AV 10.10.1)
The vaZA cow is a special cow , and it is inviolable.

Far from not giving milk,
"vaZAm sahasradhArAm..........AvadAmasi" (AV 10.10.4)
we praise the vaZA cow which gives milk in a thousand streams..

"Zatam kamsAha Zatam dogdhArAha zatam goptAro..." (AV 10.10.5)
for the vaZA cow, a hundred keepers and a hundred milkers stand ready with a
hundred milk vessels.. (pardon my mistakes in transliteration, I forgot the
 Harvard scheme).

"vaZAya dugdhamapibatsAdhyAha...."(AV 10.10.30)
The sAdhyAs and...... drink in yajna the milk which the vaZA yields.

Apparently, it has taken decades to convince some that vaZA does not mean
sterile, barren. It may take even more time to convince that vaZA yields milk,,
and that it is a special cow. Very few people are blessed with the possession
of such a cow. But to say that it is a prime candidate for sacrifice and food
is to deny what the veda itself declares:vaZA is aghnyA, it yields copious
milk, it does get pregnant(yes; AV10.10.23), but people are frightened when
this happens. The vaZA cow loves those who offer its products in yajna.

Hats off to Thompson when he says:
>The reason that I am able to be continually interested in the RV, in spite
>of no monetary, academic, political or spiritual rewards [i.e., no instant
>enlightenment concerning otherwise inaccessible levels of consciousness],
>is that it displays a richness of language and thought that is more complex
>than is generally appreciated. I just happen to appreciate such things.

And then Thompson says:
>To return specifically to RV 8.43.11: let us look at what is said there,
>and in the hymn in general.  As Beatrice Reusch nicely points out, Agni is
>characterized as *eating* many things in this hymn. In fact, he [or "it" --
>if we are meant to think of a fire rather than a god] is voracious, and
>ultimately perhaps omnivorous.  
>By the way, I'm not *on principle* against symbolic interpretations; I just
>am suspicious when they abandon their ties to the literal.
But, ukSA=soma is literal and "vaZAyAstat priyam yaddevatrA havih syAt"
-Narahari Achar

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