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A Funeral Hymn, And Deprecation Of Agni The Consumer Of Corpses In Book 12 Explained

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Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1895] 1This is no place to hold thee; mount the Nāda: this lead is    thine appointed share. Come hither.   Together with Consumption in the cattle, Consumption in our    men, go henee, go southward. 2 With this we chase and banish all consumptive malady and   Death,   With sinner andamalicious man, with helper and with minister, 3 Death and Misfortune we expel, Malignity we drive away.   O Agni, thou who eatest not the corpse, eat him who hateth us:    him whom we hate we send to thee. 4 If the corpse-eating Agni, or a tiger leaving his lair, hath entered    this our homestead,   With beans prepared in butter I expel him: far let him go to    fires that lie in waters. 5 When, angered that a man hath died, we in our wrath have    banished thee,   That deed is easily set right through thee: we kindle thee again. 6 Again have the Ādityas, Rudras, Vasus, the Brāhman, bringer    of good things, O Agni,   Again hath Brāhmanaspati disposed thee for long life lasting    through a hundred autumns. 7 I sweep afar, for sacrifice to Fathers, corpse-eating Agni who    hath come among us,   Although he saw this other, Jātavedas: in loftiest space let him    inflame the caldron. 8 I drive corpse-eating Agni to a distance: sin-laden let him go to   Yamas vassals.   Here let this other, Jātavedas, carry oblation to the Deities, fore-    knowing. 9 I quickly sweep away corpse-eating Agni, Death, with his bolt    potdepriving men of motion.   From household fire, well-knowing, I divide him: so in the    world of Fathers be his portion. 10Corpse-eating Agni, toil-worn, meet for praises, I send away    bypaths used by the Fathers.   Stay there; keep watch among the Fathers: come not again to    us by ways whereon Gods travel. 11 They being cleansed and bright, the purifiers, kindle Sankasuka    for our well-being.   Impurity leaveth us and sin departeth: lighted by the good    cleanser Agni cleanseth. 12 Agni the God, the Breaker-up, hath mounted to the heights of    heaven.   Released from all transgression, he hath from the curse delivered    us. 13 On Agni here, the Breaker-up, we wipe impurities away.   Cleansed, fit for sacrifice have we become: may he prolong our    lives. 14 The Breaker-up, the Burster, the Destroyer, and the Silent One,   These have expelled Consumption far, far off from thee ānd all    thou hast, 15 Corpse-eating Agni we expel, the Agni who bewilders men,   Him who is in our horses, in our heroes, cows, and goats, and    sheep: 16We drive thee forth to other folk, to alien cattle, alien steeds,   Thee the corpse-eating Agni, thee the Agni who bewilders men, 17 Whereon the Deities, whereon men too have purified themselves,   Exalting fatness, cleanse thyself, Agni, therein and mount to    heaven. 18 O Agni, kindled and adored, turn not away to visit us.   Shine brightly even there in heaven, so that we long may see the   Sun. 19 Wipe all away on lead and reed, on Agni, him who breaketh up,   Then on a black-hued sheep, and on a cushion pain that racks.    the head, 20 Wipe off pollution, lay it in the lead and in the black-hued    sheep,   And headache in the cushion; then be cleansed and fit to sacri-    fice. 21 Go onward, Death, pursue thy special pathway apart from that    which Gods are wont to travel.   To thee I say it who hast eyes and hearest: great grow the    number of these men around us! 22 Divided from the dead are these, the living: now is our calling    on the Gods successful.   We have gone forth for dancing and for laughter: may we with    brave sons speak to the assembly. 23 Here I erect this rampart for the living: let none of these, none    other, reach this limit.   May they survive a hundred lengthened autumns, and may they    bury Death beneath this mountain. 24 Live your full lives and find age delightful, all of you striving,    one behind the other.   May Tvashtar, maker of fair things, be gracious, and lead your    whole lives on to full existence. 25 As the days follow days in close succession, as with the seasons    duly come the seasons.   As each successor fails not his foregoer, so constitute the lives of    these, Ordainer! 26 Gather your strength, my friends; the stream flows stony:    acquit yourselves as men, and cross the river.   Abandon here the powers that were malignant, and let us cross    to powers exempt from sickness. 27 Rise up erect, cross over, my companions: the stream is stony    that flows here before us.   Abandon here the powers that were ungracious, and let us cross    to powers benign and friendly. 28 Becoming pure and bright and purifying begin the Vaisvadevi    strain for splendour..   May we rejoice, o'erpassing troublous places, with all our heroes    through a hundred winters. 29 On pathways swept by wind, directed upward, passing beyond    the lower, on the higher,   Thrice seven times have the Rishis, the Departed, forced Mrityu    backward with the fastened fetter. 30 Effecting Mrityu's footstep ye came hither, to further times pro-    longing your existence,   Seated, drive Mrityu to his proper dwelling: then may we,    living, speak to the assembly. 31 Let these unwidowed dames with goodly husbands adorn them-    selves with fragrant balm and unguent,   Decked with fair jewels, tearless, sound and healthy, first let the    dames go up to where he lieth. 32 I with oblation separate both classes, and with my prayer dis-    part their several portions.   I offer food that wastes not to the Fathers, a nd to these men    give life of long duration. 33 That Agni, Fathers! who, himself immortal, hath entered and    possessed our mortal bosoms,   Even him I grasp and hold the God with me, Let him not hate    us, may we never hate him. 34 When ye have left the household fire, with the Corpse-eater    southward go.   Do that which is delightful to the Fathers, Brāhmans, and your-    selves. 35 Agni, the banqueter on flesh, not banished, for the eldest son   Taketh a double share of wealth and spoileth it with poverty. 36 What man acquires by plough, by war, all that he wins by toil    of hand,   He loses all if Agni the Carnivorous be not set aside, 37 Unholy, splendour-reft is he, his sacrifice unfit to eat. Krayād    deprives of tilth of cow, of riches him whom he pursues, 38 Oft as a greedy beggar speaks the mortal who has brought    distress,   Those whom Carnivorous Agni close at hand runs after and    detects. 39 When a dame's husband dies the house is tangled fast in   Grāhi's net.   A learned Brāhman must be sought to drive Carnivorous Agni,    forth. 40 From any evil we have done, act of impurity or sin,   Let waters purge me and from all that comes from Agni   Breaker-uBy pathways travelled by the Gods these waters, well-knowing,    from below have mounted upward.   High on the summit of the raining mountain the ancient rivers    fresh and new are flowing. 42 Drive off Carnivorous Agni, thou Agni who eatest not the flesh;.    carry oblation paid to Gods. 43 The Flesh-eater hath entered him: he hath pursued the Flesh-    eater.   Making two tigers different-wise, I bear away the ungracious    one. 44 He who holds Gods within himself, the rampart and defence of    men,   Agni, the sacred household fire, hath come and stands between    them both. 45 Prolong the lives of those who live, O Agni, Let the dead go    unto world of Fathers.   As goodly household fire burn up Arāti; give this man dawn    brighter than all the mornings. 46 Subduing all our adversaries, Agni, give us their food, their    strength and their possessions. 47 Grasp ye this Indra, furtherer, satisfier: he will release you    from disgrace and trouble.   With him drive back the shaft that flies against you, with him.    ward off the missile shot by Rudra. 48 Seize with firm hold the Ox who boundeth forward: he will    uplift you from disgrace and trouble.   Enter this ship of Savitar; let us flee from poverty over all the    six expenses. 49 Thou followest the day and night, supporting, standing, at    peace, promoting, rich in heroes.   Long bearing undiseased and happy sleepers, be ours, O Bed,    with smell of man about thee, 50 They sever from the Gods, they live in sin and misery evermore,   Those whom from very near at hand Carnivorous Agni casteth    down as a horse tramples down the reeds. 51 The faithless, who from lust of wealth abide with him who feeds    on flesh,   For ever set upon the fire an alien caldron, not their own. 52 Forward in spirit would he fly, and often turns he back again,   Whomso Carnivorous Agni from anear discovers and torments. 53 Among tame beasts the black ewe is thy portion, and the bright    lead is thine, they say, Flesh-eater!   Mashed beans have been assigned thee for oblation go seek the    dark wood and the wildernesses. 54 I sought the rustling sugar-cane, white Seasamum, and cane and    reed.   I made this Indra's fuel, and the Fire of Yama I removed. 55 Against the sinking western Sun I set them; each sundered path,    knowing my way, I entered.   I have warned off the ghosts of the Departed: to these I give    the boon of long existence.