13 Indo-Iranian Sacred Texts and Sacrificial Practices: Structures of Common Heritage (Speech and Performance in the Veda and Avesta, III)

Velizar Sadovski


I. Introduction

0.1. After the Sixth Melammu Symposium held in 2008 at Sofia as well as a colloquium at the Norwegian Institute in Athens (2009) and two symposia in Vienna (2009, 2010), the Berlin conference of 2010 (selected papers from which are presented in this volume) represents the fourth major meeting of a series of scholars interested in the field of Multilingualism and the History of Knowledge.1 It was followed by a number of intensive workshops, out of which two volumes edited by representatives of the four institutions involved in the Multilingualism Research Group from the start—the University of Oslo, the Max Planck Institute of History of Knowledge, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Vienna—have been published so far.2 

0.2. Simultaneously, this first Berlin meeting, together with another congress at the same city in 2011, whose proceedings have been prepared for print by its convenor3 and two panels of the Deutscher Orientalistentag held in Marburg (2011) and in Münster (2013),4 has been among the first conventions with a special focus on the archaic form of systematization and classification by means of extensive lists, enumerations and catalogs, as one of the most distinctive features not only of Mesopotamian scholarship (in which the famous [mock]-term “Listenwissenschaft” coined by Wolfram von Soden became popular per nefas and has enjoyed an independent life ever since). This catalogic “form” of ritual poetry nevertheless has remained almost unexplored. Catalogs, however, were fundamentally characteristic of a number of Indo-European ritual and literary traditions too, thus building an important bridge between a series of ancient cultures from a contrastive and comparative viewpoint. 

0.3. Based on the investigation of the ritual texts of the Veda and the Avesta, our contribution in the present framework aims at identifying a series of crucial elements of Indo-Iranian ritual poetry and liturgical practice organized in the form of catalogs and lists. Their cognitive value for linguistic and poetological comparisons will be analyzed, along with the reconstruction of the inherited structures of two representatives of the most ancient Indo-European literature that have come down to us.5 

II. Ritual Taxonomy in Indic, Iranian and Beyond: Litanies and Liturgies as “Hyper-Linked” Catalogs of the Universe

1.0. The cognitive structures underlying the literary genre of catalogs and lists have been recognized early enough for their importance in reconstructing archaic models of thinking and mind-mapping the Universe, even if the Indo-European representatives of this genre—with the exception perhaps of the most obvious examples such as Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days and the main Homeric catalogs6—have been largely neglected until being confronted with similar structures in non-IE contexts; this contrastive approach brought to new reflection on the IE traditions themselves. 

Among the crucial analytical frameworks triggering this interest are the pioneering studies of the classical French sociological school on “Primitive Classification”7 as a highly relevant form of cognition and ritual experience. This includes studies on catalog taxonomies and the list form as part of both sacred poetry and other genres of texts with social and anthropological relevance in Sumerian, Assyro-Babylonian, Aramaic and Hebrew traditions, and there specifically the investigation of the lexical lists8 as evidence for cultural history. Therefore, the interdisciplinary workshops on the topics Multilingualism and History of Knowledge have focused from the beginning on taxonomical structures and forms of systematization from comparative and contrastive points of view in various traditions, especially Indo-European, trying to apply research know-how and enlarge analytical perspectives won in other cultural fields—especially Mesopotamian and Egyptian—on those Indo-European traditions beyond the horizons of the Graeco-Roman world, evidence of which we have long held so close in front of our eyes that we could not see and appreciate the forest of universality behind the single trees of knowledge. 

1.1. Since our contribution concentrates on the evidence of the oldest Indo-Iranian ritual poetry and pragmatics, we have arrived at the conclusion that taxonomies, catalogs and poetical enumerations have the character of a fundamental structure of presentation of sacred knowledge in the Vedas and the Avesta.9 Before going in depth into the analysis of the huge corpora of the Old Indic and Old Iranian oral literatures, I would like to briefly summarize “what has happened so far” in the field of exploration of these structures after the revival of interest in this field of research at the end of the last century. 

1.1.1. Cosmological lists and catalogs of macrocosm items have been systematically described for the Avesta and the Veda,10 with special subtypes such as “Creation Lists”11 and liturgical “Purification Lists” by means of which, in ritual, the Universe is cleansed, element by element and category by category, by the mere performative speech act of pronouncing or repeating such catalogs. 

1.1.2. For genealogical lists as mytho-poetical patterns, and catalogs of divine names in Indo-Iranian, see Panaino,12 Sadovski and Panaino,13 and Mahadevan;14 for lists of clan genealogies with social relevance, including a subgroup of rulers’ lists comparable with Kings Lists of the Mesopotamian type also borrowed by Indo-European adstrate cultures such as the Hittites, cf. Bachvarova;15 see also Brough on gotra- lists.16 On lists of names of Vedic authors such as the Sarvānukramaṇī, more recently Mahadevan17 and Mayrhofer,18 quoting also older literature. 

1.1.3. The genre of explicit enumeration of body-parts as lists (often of notable poetic elaboration) in rituals of (systematic) cursing and blessing is well attested to not only in Greek and Latin (and Near Eastern and Egyptian) sources, described e.g. by Versnel19 and Gordon,20 or in Celtic, Italic and Germanic spells of healing or malediction,21 but also in Indo-Iranian ritual poetry, for which see Sadovski,22. A specific representative that unites such human “somatography” with macrocosmic aspects are cosmogonic hymns attested in several Indo-European traditions, such as the Puruṣa-Sūkta of the RV and its Old Norse pendant about the creation of the world from the body parts of a primordial giant, as narrated in the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson.23 

1.1.4. Theological and ritualist lists of hypostatic appearances (“avatars”) of a deity24 or of amulets for apotropaic objects and divinatory rites25 are present in most of the archaic Indic and Iranian traditions, displaying common items and procedures in a form that in several symptomatic cases suggests common heritage. 

1.1.5. Meta-lists of “multipartite formulae” and/or of ritual sequences are characteristic both for Vedic and Avestan cultic texts/activities—for the Veda e.g. on rituals dedicated to the 33 gods, see Gonda,26 on the nivid-s see Minkowski;27 for complex “suprastructure” lists consisting of several hymns of the kind explored in Sadovski,28 see Lelli29 with evidence for intratextual cohesion in Atharvavedic hymns dedicated to sacred kingship from the tradition of the Paippalāda-Saṃhitā; in Avestan: Kellens,30 Schwartz,31 and Cantera.32 

1.1.6. Meta-lists of linguistic relevance which contain coded complex sound patterns, anagrams, word-plays, semantically linked conceptual lists: see Schwartz33 and Sadovski34 with literature, esp. on “glotto-logical” catalogs. 

1.1.7. The various studies concerned with archaic Greek “catalog poetry”35 published until now (proportionally not as frequent as the importance of the research area and the popularity of Homer and Hesiod would lead one to suppose) have been working—largely with no or only marginal knowledge of the comparanda of the non-Graeco-Roman Indo-European world—on structurally very similar genres and themes, such as the function of lists and enumerations within narratives,36 genealogical lists,37 the cognitive role of catalogs for classification purposes,38 or as sources of knowledge transmission of more or less scholarly, historiographical pertinence.39 These also include issues on performative forms and frameworks,40 discursive forms like invocational catalogs41 as well as aspects of verbal and exphrastic artistry,42 esp. visualization and virtual geographical mind-mapping,43 stylistic figures such as the priamel44 or the “augmented triad,”45 or the possibility of applying the concept of hypertext to ancient Greek catalogs using valuable modern cognitive know-how for the analysis of the Homero-Hesiodic poetic forms.46 A special point of overall interest in the last three decades, beside the catalogs of Muses, Nereids and Oceanids in Hesiod and Homer47 has been devoted to the Hesiodic catalog of the Heroines.48 

Among the most important investigations on a meta-level, in this too brief and subjective introductory selection, we should not omit mentioning works of both philological and methodological relevance for the earliest Greek representatives of the genre—Edwards,49 Stanley,50 Visser,51 once again Versnel52 and Gordon,53 Minchin,54 the proceedings of two symposia dedicated to the catalog forms appearing in Kernos 19, 2006, (some of which we already have quoted), as well as Sammons55 and Faraone.56 

1.2. These cosmological taxonomies and catalogs evolve from basic to increasingly complex structures of myth and ritual. Thus, the performance of “Creation catalogs” in a ritual-liturgical context represents nothing less than the cultic “re-creation of Universe” hic et nunc: 

Y. 37,1 (Yasna Haptaŋhāiti liturgy) Cf. Narten 1986; Hintze 2007 and Watkins 2005, 681f.
iθā. āt̰. yazamaidē. ahurəm. mazdąm.
yə̄. gąmcā. aṣ̌əmcā. dāt̰.
apascā. dāt̰. uruuarā̊scā. vaŋv vhīš.
raocā̊scā. dāt̰. būmīmcā.
vīspācā. vohū.
And so we worship now the Wise Lord,
who created the Cow and Rightness,
created the Waters and good Plants,
created Light and the Earth,
and all good (things).
DNa 1ff: baga vazạrka Auramazdā
haya imām būmī̆m adā
haya avam asmānam adā
haya martiyam adā
haya šiyātim adā martiyahạyā
A great god is Ahuramazda,
who created this earth [the earth here],
who created yonder heaven [the heaven there],
who created man,
who created happiness for man [...].

1.2.1. The leading principle in such poetical structures is one of poetic concatenation,57 combining list elements into an intertextual whole, with common nexus both on the formal and semantic level. 

1.2.2. The formulaic character of these lists, enumerations or catalogs “is evident and a function of their status as repeated litanies. We may think of them as repeated performances, with unbounded variation, of the same basic “creation catalog” in the context of traditional oral literature.”58 They exhibit special organizational and stylistic features such as: 

Single item enumeration as the original organizing principle—most natural in a list. 

Single items can be and are easily expanded to paired dyads like merisms, antitheses, kennings: “earth and heaven,” “light and darkness,” “water and fire” (apāṃ napāt- [“the grandson of Waters”]); single item enumeration also in the Old Persian text of Darius.59 

1.2.3. We discuss further common lexical, phraseological and compositional topoi regarding the structure and arrangement of such lists in the Festschrift García-Ramón60 as well as in the Festschrift Rüdiger Schmitt.61 On relevant forms of textual organization such as anaphoras, epiphoras, “mesophoras,” symplokai, chiasms and parallelismi membrorum cf. Sadovski;62 DIV 1: 57–66. 

III. New Parallels of Multi-Partite Litanies between Veda and Avesta

2.0. Thanks to the recent assessment of numerous Avestan manuscripts containing the so-called “intercalated liturgies” of the Avesta, above all by Alberto Cantera and Jean Kellens,63 we meanwhile know much more about the structure of Mazdayasnian liturgy as well as about the employment of the extant Avestan texts in the real context of the corresponding ritual activities—and not only in the de-contextualized form of the individual corpora64 (secondarily) extracted from the liturgical manuscripts. New Indo-Iranian perspectives have been furnished by the discovery of the significance of the comparison between the Avestan “Long Liturgy” and some apocryphal Vedic traditions.65 Slowly but surely, with the development of our heuristics, various Soma rituals and Haoma liturgies, bloodless and animal sacrifices turn out to show crucial common structures and even common ways of arrangement of the modules involved. 

2.1. A great deal of new material comes from the “Long Liturgy” of the Avesta. It is a complex sequence of rituals (litanies and liturgical activities) containing an “innermost” liturgical circle—the liturgical nucleus in Old Avestan languageenlarged by a series of mutually corresponding Young Avestan Yasna texts before and after this Old Avestan core, respectively, which expand in a “bracketing” ritual framework further and further away from the liturgical centre. This structure of Old + Young Avestan Yasna portions can itself then be intercalated with other Young Avestan liturgical texts from the Vīsprad, the Vidēvdād, and the Vīštāsp Yašt, into a variegated meta-liturgy which eventually can consist of at least two and theoretically of up to five liturgical corpora. One of the most characteristic forms of the single litanies is that of a detailed and well-arranged catalog, so that the sequences of such individual litanies themselves build elaborate “catalogs of catalogs.” Figure 13.1 represents the structure of inner and more central strata (in the middle) that expand “from the centre outwards” by including more and more anterior and posterior ritual modules dialectically corresponding to one another:66 

13.1 Structure of the liturgical Avesta—a “Long Liturgy” version of Yasna + Vīsprad intercalations.iOn the concept of Ratu- repeated several times here, see briefly below, § 4.1, p. 367. 

2.2. From an “innermost liturgical circle” (Old Avestan liturgical nucleus: Yasna Haptaŋhāiti 34, peaking in the central animal sacrifice) onwards, the ritual framework expands with Young Avestan texts arranged in a symmetrically-spiral manner “forwards and backwards” from this centre. Such a centrifugal textual expansion around an archaic nucleus is typical also for the Old Indic liturgies of the (Yajur-)Veda.67 Thus, Avestan liturgy appears as a complex series of ritual modules whose relations we briefly summarize (in accord with the list given in Figure 13.1): 

2.2.1. The beginning of the Liturgy (and of the table in Figure 13.1) consists of introductory lists (from the Yasna 1–7) of All [Greatest] Ratus (ratauuō vīspe [mazišta]), including Ahura Mazdā. What corresponds to them at the end of the table in Figure 13.1 are the last two chapters of the Yasna (Y. 71–72, last table row) with the concluding lists of All Ratus (ratauuō vīspe), including Ahura Mazdā. 

2.2.2. These lists are followed (see the second table row) by praising formulae to the Fire which, in ritual, is styled as Son of Ahura Mazdā. What again corresponds to them at the end is a stanza about the returning of the Fire after the liturgy (Y. 62–72, the last-but-two table row). 

2.2.3. The Haoma sacrifice (of the third and the fourth table row) begins with the election of the priests and their sacral investiture during which they leave the earthly dimension and transcend to the divine.68 Its correspondence in the second part of liturgy is, in Y. 55,1, the returning of the priests from the divine to the earthly dimension (the sixth row from the end of the table). 

2.2.4. The trans-substantiation of Fire in the first part of the liturgy, in Y. 17,11 (seventh table row), from the earthly to the divine Fire, has as its pendant in the second part the re-substantiation of the transcendental Fire to the new earthly fire (fifth row from the end of the table). 

2.2.5. In the middle of the table we see the actual Old Avestan kernel in the centre of a multiple series of litanies (and marked by four square brackets): it is the (double) animal/meat sacrifice within the Haoma ritual. 

2.2.6. The Avestan sacrifice has, consequently, a symmetric and cyclically evolving structure. The central strata expand stronger and stronger by including more and more “anterior” and “posterior” ritual modules. 

There are crucial common structures and modules between the expanded Avestan Haoma sacrifice and the various forms of the Vedic Soma sacrifice: namely, Soma pressings with inclusion of an animal sacrifice.69 The basis of comparison between Indic and Iranian rituals is, in this sense, solid: both major ritual structures and individual ritual modules of the Yasna have Vedic correspondences—in the Khilas of the Rigveda and in old Yajurvedic rituals. 

III. A. Ritual Litanies in Indic and Iranian as “Hyper-Linked” Catalogs of the Universe: Interaction between Cosmological and Ritual Lists

3. In this section, we present a more complex series of catalogs and lists as a further archaic layer in the Avestan “Long Liturgy” that shows surprisingly good Vedic parallels. 

The Avestan lists appear in a crucial position in the litanies of Yasna 71, at the end of the Liturgy, dedicated to the Waters and the Fire. The relevant stanzas Y. 71,9.20–24 present elaborate catalogs of all spheres of the Universe: 

Y. 71,9.20–24:
9. vīspā̊ āpō xā̊ paiti θraotō.stātasca yazamaide:
vīspā̊ uruuarā̊ uruθmīšca paiti varšajīšca yazamaide:
vīspąmca ząm yazamaide:
vīspəmca asmanəm yazamaide:
vīspə̄sca strə̄ušca mā̊ŋhəmca huuarəca yazamaide:
vīspa anaγra raocā̊ yazamaide:
vīspąmca gąm upāpąmca upasmąmca
 fraptərəjātąmca rauuascarātąmca caŋraŋhācasca yazamaide
20. imā̊ apasca zəmasca uruuarā̊sca yazamaide:
imā̊ asā̊sca šōiθrā̊sca
 gaoiiaoitīšca maēθaniiā̊sca auuō.xvarənā̊sca yazamaide:
iməmca šōiθrahe paitīm yazamaide
yim ahurəm mazdąm
21. ratauuō vīspe mazišta yazamaide
aiiara asniia māhiia yāiriia sarəδa
22. aṣ̌āunąm vaŋuhīš sūrā̊ spəṇtā̊ frauuaṣ̌aiiō
 staomi zbaiiemi ufiiemi:
 nmāniiā̊ vīsiiā̊ zaṇtumā̊ dāx́iiumā̊ zaraθuštrōtəmā̊
23. ātrəm ahurahe mazdā̊ puθrəm aṣ̌auuanəm aṣ̌ahe ratūm  yazamaide:
haδa.zaoθrəm haδa.aiβiiā̊ŋhanəm
imat̰ barəsma aṣ̌aiia frastarətəm aṣ̌auuanəm aṣ̌ahe ratūm yazamaide:
apąm naptārəm yazamaide:
nairīm saŋhəm yazamaide:
taxməm dāmōiš upamanəm yazatəm yazamaide:
iristanąm uruuąnō yazamaide:
yā̊ aṣ̌aonąm frauuaṣ̌aiiō

24. ratūm bərəzaṇtəm yazamaide:
yim ahurəm mazdąm
yō aṣ̌ahe apanōtəmō
yō aṣ̌ahe jaγmūštəmō:
vīspa srauuā̊ zaraθuštri yazamaide:

The translation of the quoted passage sounds like this: 

9. We worship all Waters, the ones in the springs
 and the ones in the courses of rivers,
we worship all Plants, the ones (that grow) on shoots and roots;
we worship the entire Earth;
we worship the entire Heaven;
and we worship all the Stars and the Moon and the Sun[light];
we worship the entire beginningless Light-Space;
and we worship all the Animals, the ones on/in the Waters
 (the aquatic ones) and the ones on/in the Earth,
 and the flying ones and the ones (living) in liberty,
 and the (animals living) on the pasture.
20. We worship these Waters and Lands and Plants (here);
we worship these Places and Dwelling-Places
 and Pastures and Residences and Watering-Places (here)
and we worship this Lord of the Dwelling-Place (here),
 (him) who (is) Ahura Mazdā.
21. We worship the Ratus, all, the greatest ones: the ones of the
 Days, of the Day-Sections, of the Months, of the Seasons,
 of the Year(s).
22. I praise, call, sing the good, mighty, holy (beneficent) frauuaṣ̌i-
 of the righteous ones;
we worship the ones (= frauuaṣ̌i-), who are related to the house,
 to the settlement, to the clan, to the country, the zaraθuštr-issimi.
23. We worship the Fire, Ahura Mazdā’s son, the righteous one,
 the Ratu of Rightness;
 “together” with the zaoθra-s, “together” with the girdle,
we worship this Barəsman, the one spread in a righteous manner,
 the righteous Ratu of Rightness:
we worship (the) Apąm Napāt
we worship (the) Nairiiō.saŋha
we worship (the) Dāmōiš Upamana
we worship the uruuan-s (souls) of the ones passed away,
 which (are) the frauuaṣ̌i-s of the righteous ones.

24. We worship the High Ratu,
who (is) Ahura Mazdā,
 the most sublime with regard to Rightness,
 the “one who has come furthest” / the most far-reaching one
 with regard to Rightness,
we worship all (“Zoroastrian”) zarathušθrian praisings

4.0. This list throws a bridge to a bulk of new parallels of multi-partite catalog litanies between the Veda and the Avestan “Long Liturgy,” with a remarkable interaction between cosmological and ritual lists: 

Both the Avestan and the Vedic litanies contain cultic links between elements of the macro- and microcosm, ritual articulation of time and space, theological entities, and, on a meta-level, designations for ritual Actions and sacred Words. 

They both are also characterized by the re-use of cosmological lists and catalogs in solemn liturgical contexts—and also in “private rites,” even in rituals of white/black magic. 

Above all, however, the catalog form substantially determines the characteristic shape of ritual texts and sections of the liturgical Avesta (Yasna, Vīsprad, Āfrīnagān) 

4.1. Thus, the Vīsprad liturgy—starting already with its opening chapters, Vr. 1 and 2—contains invocations of the Ratu-s, lit. “articulations,” “regulators,” protectors and exemplary exponents of various spheres of the Universe and the Ritual. 

The invocation formula sounds: “I dedicate the sacrifice, I fulfil it (for you,) o, Ratus of X and of Y.” 

4.1.1. The series of litanies containing this invocation formula is to pronounce to the following catalog of groups of divine elements from the Avesta, for which the Veda—e.g. BaudhGS 2,8, see § 4.2.2, p. 368 below—delivers strong parallels: 

1The dimensions of “the Mental and the Material” as fundamental categories of Zoroastrianism—to which in Vedic lists the fundamental Indic categories “Movable and Immovable” correspond. 

2Aquatic animals, those living in the earth, “the flying ones, the ones living in freedom, the ones living on the pasture”—the Vedic parallel mentions “Aquatic animals and Reptiles.” 

3The Periods of time (also containing a list of Seasons)—to them, in the Vedic catalog correspond the lists of “Places, Periods of time, Worlds.” 

4The unity of Ahura Mazdā and Zaraθuštra, as God and his Priest-Prophet / Seer, with the Priests of Avestan ritual—its Vedic pendant is the list item “Gods and R̥ṣis / Seers.” 

5The parts of the [liturgical!] Avesta, the Sacred Words applied as ritual formulae (esp. the Gāthās)—as their correspondence, the Vedic list ends with Bráhman, the Sacred Word applied as ritual formula (!). 

(1) ● the “Mental and Material” (fundamental
 Zoroastrian categories) [Vr. 1,1 & Vr. 2,1]
→ cf. Ved. “Movable and Immovable”: § 4.2.2 (5), p. on input line 282
(2) ● Aquatic animals, those living in the earth, the flying ones,
 the ones living in freedom, the ones living on the pasture
 [Vr. 1,1 & Vr. 2,1]
→ cf. Ved. Aquatic animals and Reptiles: § 4.2.2 (6), p. on input line 284
(3) ● the Periods of time (+ list of Seasons) [Vr. 1,2 & Vr. 2,2]
→ cf. Ved. “Places, Periods of time, Worlds”: § 4.2.2 (7), p. on input line 286
(4) ● Ahura Mazdā & Zaraθuštra, God and Priest-Prophet/Seer
 [Vr. 2,4 & *Vr. 1,4], as well as the Priests of
 Avestan ritual [Vr. 3,1]70
→ cf. Ved. Gods and R̥ṣis/Seers: § 4.2.2 (8), p. on input line 288
(5) ● the parts of the [ritual!] Avesta, the
 Sacred Words applied as ritual formulae (esp. Gāthās)
 [Vr. 1,4–9 & Vr. 2,5–11]
→ cf. Ved. Bráhman, Sacred Word(s) applied as ritual formula(e): § 4.2.2 (11), p. on input line 295

13.1  Catalogical litanies in the Avestan “Long Liturgy” (Yasna with Vīsprad intercalations.)  

4.1.2. This fixed list of multiple litanies is cyclically repeated in the Avestan liturgy—just as in the Vedic ritual. Moreover, the Avestan Yasna liturgy71 contains the common Indo-Iranian ritual and mythological topos of the “33 divinities,” presented as ratu-s of the Universe. 

4.2.1. The structures in the Veda parallel to these Avestan catalogs develop in the archaic traditions of the liturgy of the RV (Khilas) to popular rites with invocations of the r̥tu-s, the “articulations,” “regulators,” sections of the Universe or “seasons” of time. Significantly, this happens for instance in the ritual sequence dedicated to the souls of Ancestors (pitar-s)72; compare the rituals dedicated to the Avestan frauuaṣ̌i-s and the Avestan idea of ratu-fri- “the satisfaction of the Ratu-s.” 

4.2.2. The Vedic sacrificial mantras addressed to the [33!] Vāstoṣpati, “the Lords of the Dwelling-(Place),” in the domestic ritual of sanctification of a new erected house73 according to the Baudhāyana-Gr̥hya-Sūtra—the vaiśvadeva- ritual of BaudhGS 2,8— contain the same invocation formulae, distributed as litanies within 25 oblations. 

The ritual is accomplished in the middle of the house and pronounced to the same groups of divine entities as in the Avestan list (see § 4.1.1, p. 367 above): 

(1) ● Earth, Intermediate Space, Sky
(2) ● Sun, Moon
(3) ● Asterisms/Nakṣatras (cf. TB. 3,4,17,1; TĀ. 1,32,2; 10,4,1)
(4) ● Waters, Plants (Herbs) and Trees (for this triad, e.g.,
 also VS. 17, 1)i
(5) ● the Movable and Immovable (fundamental Vedic categories)
(6) ● Aquatic animals and Reptiles
(7) ● the Places, Periods of time, Worlds
(8) ● the Gods and R̥ṣis
(9) ● the Vasus, Rudras and Ādityas (three classes of gods
 listed together also otherwise)
(10) ● Indra, Br̥haspati, Prajāpatiii
(11) ● and, as culmination, the creative Sacred Word,
 (the) Bráhman.

13.2  Catalogical litanies in the (Yajur-)Vedic Liturgy of House Sanctification.iUp to this part of the complex catalog, cf. the items set in bold case with the lists of elements in the cosmological catalogs quoted above in § 1.1.1, p. 358, and esp. in § 1.2, p. 361. The items 1–4 of the Vedic list correspond to analogous Avestan items in other lists of the Vīsprad and Yasna, too.iiThese deities are coupled also at R̥V. 1,90,9; 8,96,15; 10,103,8, etc.; cf. Gonda (1983, 11, 22, 29); for sequences of names in -pati cf. also KāṭhGS 22,3. For the corresponding Avestan formation cf. above p. 365: šōiθrahe paitīm.  

Thus this formulary “begins with the genius of the house and, after addressing important objects and beings that belong to the inanimate and animate world, ends with individual gods the last of which is, by way of climax, the ‘biunity’ Prajāpati and Brahman (Prajāpati is there simply sarvaṃ brahma).”74 

The parallels between the ritual catalogs and their individual items cannot be greater and follow, moreover, in the same arrangement: 

Avestan list Vedic list
(1) ● the “Mental and Material (1) ● the “Movable and Immovable
(2) ● Aquatic animals, those
 living in the earth, etc.
(2) ● Aquatic animals and reptiles
(3) ● the Periods of time (+ list of Seasons) (3) ● Places, Periods of time, Worlds
(4) ● Ahura Mazdā & Zaraθuštra, God and Seer; Priests of Avestan ritual (4) ● the Gods and Seers
(for priests of Vedic ritual
 cf. RV[-Kh]).
(5) ● Gāthās, Sacred Word(s) as ritual formulae (5) ● Bráhman,  Sacred Word as ritual formula(e)

13.3  Parallels between catalogical litanies in the Avesta and the (Yajur-)Veda.  

III. B. Recursive Liturgical Lists in the Fire Cult

5. As we have seen, the Vedic-Avestan catalog parallels consist not only in individual concepts and forms but comprise entire ritual modules and their arrangement. 

The Avestan Liturgy opens and closes with lists of the so-called Ratu- (“articulations”), both “regulators” and “spheres of arrangement” of the Right cosmic Order: 

5.1.1. One of them is the central liturgical catalog of “All Ratus,” Avestan vīspe ratauuō (> Visprad) and ratauuō vīspe mazišta. The list of the Thirty-Three Deities which it contains structurally corresponds to another list, the one of the Thirty-Three Ratus (“articulations”) of the ritual texts of the Avesta.75 Here, cosmology and ritualism meet in the numerical expression of (totality and) significance by means of the sacred number 33, typical both of Iranian and (as we have seen in §§ 4.2.1–4.2.2, pp. 368368) of Indic traditions. 

5.1.2. Another remarkable Ratu- catalog is that of the essential sacred constituents of the Fire ritual, shortly: “Fire list,” which appears in crucial positions within the liturgy, i.e. at the beginning and at the end of the Avestan Yasna: 

Yasna 71,23–24 / Vīsprad 7,5:
ātrəm ahurahe mazdā̊ puθrəm aṣ̌auuanəm aṣ̌ahe
 ratūm yazamaide:
 haδa.zaoθrəm haδa.aiβiiā̊ŋhanəm
imat̰ barəsma aṣ̌aiia. frastarətəm aṣ̌auuanəm aṣ̌ahe
 ratūm yazamaide:
apąm naptārəm yazamaide:
nairīm saŋhəm yazamaide:
taxməm dāmōiš upamanəm yazatəm yazamaide:
iristanąm uruuąnō yazamaide:
 yā̊ aṣ̌aonąm frauuaṣ̌aiiō
(1) “We worship you, the Fire (Ātar), the righteous,i
 the son of Ahura Mazdā, the Ratu of Rightness,
(2) (as one who is/goes) together with the libations (zaoθra-s),
 (as one who is/goes) together with the girdle (of ritual initiation),
 we worship the sacrificial straw (barəsman-), the one spread out
 in accord with Rightness,
(3) we worship (the) Apąm Napāt (“Grandson of Waters”),
(4) we worship (the) Nairiia- saŋha-
 (the one who has/gives the praise of men”).
(5) We worship the heroic yazata- Dāmōiš Upamana.
(6) We worship the souls of the ones passed away,
 which (are) the frauuaṣ̌i-s of the righteous ones.”

13.4  The “Fire list” in the Ratu litanies of the Avestan ritual—Yasna and Vīsprad.iFor a systematic use of “rightness” for Avestan aṣ̌a-, Ved. r̥tá-, and of “wrongness” for Avestan druj-, Ved. druh-/drogha-, see the practice of Martin Schwarz (e.g. in Schwartz 2003, 376 ff., 2006 etc.).  

5.1.3. Note also that in the context of the Fire veneration at the end of Avesta (see the stanza quoted above, vss. [5]–[6]), the Fire is explicitly linked to the “souls of the ones passed away” of the people from the clan or the major (Mazdāyasnian) community. 

5.2. The Vedic text parallel to the Avestan Ratu- catalog of Table 13.4 comes from the RV apocryphs (Khila) and is a “list of lists” itself. The so-called R̥tuyāja-Praiṣādhyaya 1–4 from the RV-Kh. 7(1).76 contains (a) the list of priests elected and having to explicitly make their choice for their respective functions within the Haoma ritual;77 (b) the “Fire list”: 

5.2.1. The basic catalog corresponds to the Avestan list, both in its items and in their arrangement: 

(1) Let the Libator (Hotar)i worship (the) Fire (Agni),
 kindled with fuel, with good fuel, on the navel of the earth,
 at the center of what is agreeable, on the top of heaven,
 on the place of nourishment. Let him partake of the ghee.
 Hotar, worship.
(2) Let the Hotar worship (the) Tanū-napāt
 (“the Grandson of the [own] body [of oneself]”), the child of Aditi,
 the protector of the world. Today let the divine [Tanū-napāt]
with sweet nectar anoint for the gods the paths that the gods follow.
 Let him partake of the ghee. Hotar, worship.
(3) Let the Hotar worship (the) Narā-śaṁsa
 (“the one who has/gives the praise of men”), praised by men, leader
 of men. May [Narā-śaṁsa] be provided with a vapā through [his]
cows, powerful through [his] heroes, the first to arrive through [his]
 chariots, golden through [his] gold. Let him partake of the ghee.
 Hotar, worship.
(4) Let the Hotar worship (the [very first hymn of the RV. starting
 with the words]) “Agnim Īḷe78 [≠Minkowski (1991, 200):
 “Let the Hotar worship Agni as the nourishments”]. The
 nourished one [lacking in transl.!], the god, the messenger,
 the wise, the bearer of offerings, being praised, should bring
 the gods here. May the god aid this yajña, this invocation of the
 gods. Let him partake of the ghee. Hotar, worship.
(5) Let the Hotar worship the sacrificial straw (barhis). Let
 [the barhis], forming a good cushion, soft as wool, spread out
 in all directions, a good seat for the gods at this yajña.
 Let the Vasus, Rudras and Ādityas sit down on it today. May it
 be pleasing to Indra. Let [the barhis] partake of the ghee.
 Hotar, worship.

13.5  The “Fire list” in the Veda—core list within the R̥tu-yāja- ritual (RV-Khila).icf. the repeated mention of the zaoθra-s in the Av. text.  

5.2.2. This basic catalog occurs in the beginning of a complex “list of lists” in the R̥tu-yāja- litany attested in the RV apocryphs (Khila). In Table 13.6 we see stanzas 1–32 from a total of 72 stanzas of the entire litany: 

[Cycle 1 (11 stanzas)]: [Cycle 3 (further 11 stanzas)]:
(1) Agni
(2) Tanū-napāt
(3) Narā-śaṁsa
(4) Agnim Īḷe
(5) Barhis (22) Barhis
(6) Heavenly Doors (23) Heavenly Doors
(7) Dawn-and-Night (24) Dawn-and-Night
(25) The two Nourishers
   [cf. (Agnim) Īḷe!]
(26) Strength-and-Offering
(8) Hótārau, Pótārau (27) Hótārau, Pótārau, Neṣṭārau
(9) The Three Goddesses
   Iḷā, Sarasvatī, Bhāratī
(28) The Three Goddesses—newline    Iḷā, Sarasvatī, Bhāratī
(10) Tvaṣṭar (29) Narā-śaṁsa
(11) Vanaspati (30) Vanaspati
[Cycle 2: 11+1 stanzas:]
(12)–(14) Agni [NB: (13):
   svā́ha “hail”]
(31) Barhis
(15) Agni. (16)–(17)
   Agni-and-Soma. (18) Agni.
(19) Agni-and-Soma
(19A) Vanaspati. (20) Vanaspati. (20A) Vanaspati
(21) Agni Sviṣṭakr̥t (32) Agni Sviṣṭakr̥t.—From 33 on: repetitive litanies.

13.6  “Lists of lists” in the major context of the R̥tu-yāja- litanies (RV-Khila).  

Remarkably, the R̥tu-yāja-litany of the RVKh has the same number as the 72 stanzas of the Avestan Yasna liturgy, and a similar name to one of the Avestan Visprad liturgy, R̥tu-yāja meaning “worship of the R̥tu-s”79! After the basic list, we observe a series of cyclic item repetitions, very similar to the repetitions of entire lists in the Vīsprad and Yasna ritual quoted above. The core of the crucial “Cycle 1” in the left column of Table 13.6 (no. 1–11) is built, again, by our list (set in bold case): 1. Fire, 2. Tanū-napāt, 3. Narā-śaṁsa, 4. Agnim Īḷe, 5. barhis. Up to no. 11, we have the same catalogs of divine objects of veneration (underlined in the table) as in the 11 litanies of āprī- hymns of the RV+ (see below, § 6, p. 375). Then offerings to Soma and Agni follow that build a “Cycle 2” of further 11+1 stanzas (the additional 1, the so-called “svā́ha” stanza, represents here, as well as in the āprī- hymns, the mystical unit beyond the wholeness of otherwise 11 elements of the closed cycle).80 From no. 22 onwards previously listed elements are harmonically repeated and form a Cycle 3 of further 11 stanzas, starting with the Barhis and ending with Agni the Maker of good Offering (Sviṣṭakr̥t). 

5.3.1. The detailed analysis of the Indian and the Iranian lists allows the following conclusion: The two parallel lists exhibit practically the same divine/cosmic entities and ritual items. Thus the Avestan kernel list consists of: Fire, Sacrificial Straw (Barəsman), the deity Apąm NapātGrandson of Waters,” the deity Nairiiō.saŋhaPraise of Men.” The Vedic parallel consists of Fire, the deity Tanū-napāt “Grandchild of the Body,” the deity Narā-śaṁsaPraise of Men,” and the Sacrificial Straw (Barhis). Beside the essential parallels between the divine, cosmic entities, and ritual items in the R̥tu-/Ratu-litanies, the basic catalogs follow the same basic order, as summarized in Table 13.7 (differing positions are indicated in parentheses after the item): 

Avestan list: Vīsprad 7,5 / Yasna 71,23–24 Vedic list: RV-Kh. 7(,1) / R̥tuyāja-Praiṣādhyaya
(1) Fire (Ātar) (1) Fire (Agni)
(2) Barəsman (2) Barhis (4)
(3) Apąm Napāt (3) Tanū-napāt (2)
(4) Nairiiō.saŋha (4) Narā-śaṁsa (3)

13.7  Parallels of the basic catalogs in the R̥tu-/Ratu-litanies.  

5.3.2. The Fire lists show, however, also one and the same ritual contextualization: In the Vedic Ritual, every sacrifice is opened with a rite concerning the Fire/Agni.81 Before the main types of sacrifices start, a series of pre-sacrificespra-yāja-—take place, dedicated to Fire, to his various aspects as well as to other deities. The numbers vary:82 

There are 5 pre-sacrifices for the normal sacrificial rituals of the Veda, a number to which in the Avesta the five entities of the fire list correspond, viz. in the list of Y. 71,23 quoted above, since the objects of worship there are five: Fire, the barəsman-, Apąm Napāt-, Nairiiō.saŋha- and Dāmōiš Upamana-,— 

alternatively, there are 9 pre-sacrifices for the cāturmāsya- sacrifices, 

10 or 11 pre-sacrifices for the animal sacrifice—of the type whose yājya- formulae are called āprī-!, 

or 12 pre-sacrifices, in the same framework (Schol. ad KātyŚS 3,2,23,3,6–8)—cf. the case of the r̥tu-yāja-s in which the originally 8 grahas have been increased to 12, in order to correspond to the (later/class.) idea of r̥tú- as “season.” 

5.3.3. The order can be decisive for making the difference between the individual clans, especially the second position of the list: 

6. The question of which deity is addressed exactly in the second pre-sacrifice is determining for the (self-)identification of the clans and families of the Vedic priests and poets: Thus we arrive at those ancient RV-Texts which contain some of the best (but so far ignored) parallels between the Veda and the Avesta—the Āprī-litanies. 

6.0. These highly archaic rituals are attested for every single family of the Family Books RV. II–VIII—but also for all four Vedic Saṃhitās, including the Atharvaveda! 

6.1. In the Āprī-litanies in the R̥gveda-Saṃhitā, there appear the same lists of eleven deities (see Table 13.6) which we just have met in the Avesta and the R̥tu-yāja-liturgy of the RV apocryphs: First: Fire, second: the deity Tanū-napāt, third: the deity Narā-śaṁsa, fifth: the Sacrificial Straw (Barhis). 

In the right table column I show that the Āprī-litanies are attested in the whole Rigveda, for every single family of the Family Mandalas—and not only this but also in all four Vedic Saṃhitās, including the Atharvaveda. As a twelfth element at the end of the List of the Eleven, we find the final sacred call svāha “hail!”, just like in the 11+1 stanzas of the Cycle 2 in the R̥tu-yāja- litany. 

1. Agni (standard order of the list:
 e.g. RV.1,13)
2. Tanū-napāt
3. Narā-śaṁsa (no. 3 or 2,
 cf. e.g. RV. 2,3)
4. Agnim Īḷe (or a formation of a
 root īḍ-)
5. Barhis
6. Heavenly Doors
7. Dawn-and-Night (or in reverse
 cmpd. order)
8. Hótārau (in ellipt. Dual;
 alias Pótārau)
9. The Three Goddesses
 (or, explicitly named:)
 Iḍā, Sarasvatī, Bhāratī
10. Tvaṣṭar
11. Vanas-pati
12. “The final acclaim”: Svāha|newline  call, as the surplus element
 in the “Eleven items list”
● Cf., for what concerns the complete representatives of the genre in the RV-Saṃhitā:
– Maṇḍala I: RV. 1,13; RV. 1,142; RV. 1,188.
– Maṇḍala II: RV. 2,3.
– Maṇḍala III: RV. 3,4.
– Maṇḍala V: RV. 5,5.
– Maṇḍala VII: RV. 7,2.
– Maṇḍala IX: RV. 9,5.
–  Maṇḍala X: RV. 10,70;
   RV. 10,110, this one with a parallel
   sūkta included into AVŚ. as 5,12.
–  Beside these sūktas, there
   are certain āprī-sūkta- “imitations”:
   RV. 9,5.
On AVŚ. 5,27 (with AVP parallel) see below.

13.8  “Eleven items list” (containing the basic catalog) in the Āprī litanies (RV+) as compared with the lists in the R̥tu-yāja- liturgy (and their Avestan pendants)  

6.2. Furthermore, the Āprī hymns of the RV, often considered as representatives of alternative and/or older liturgical types, (then) incorporated into the solemn ritual or into “private rites,” occur especially in rites of animal sacrifice and in common liturgical activities within clans of hostile families for the purpose of reconciliation of the clan, with reference to a common ancestor cult: 

rites of animal sacrifice (Oldenberg (1967–1993, e.g. 1967: 1, 44.383 etc.); Gonda (1974, 124ff.)) 

common liturgical activities within clans of hostile families for the purpose of reconciliation of the clan83 and as representation of the “common seed.” 

6.3. For an example of an entire Āprī- hymn, in which the above-mentioned lists can be observed in their context, I would like to refer to the Atharvaveda versions of Āprī-litanies which simultaneously show how such rituals, with certain structural changes, have been further adapted to be used in magical practice—AVŚ. 5,2784: 

ūrdhuvā́ asya samídho bhavantiy
ūrdhuvā́ śukrā́ śocī́ṣiy agnéḥ |
dyumáttamā suprátīkaḥ sásūnus
tánūnápād ásuro bhū́ripāṇiḥ ||1||
Uplifted becomes his fuel,
 uplifted the bright burnings of
most brilliant; of beautiful aspect, with his son,—
[2.] son of himself (Tánūnápāt),
 ásura, many-handed,—
devó devéṣu deváḥ
pathó anakti mádhvā ghr̥téna ||2||
A god among gods, the god
anoints the roads with honey (mádhu),
 with ghee.
mádhvā yajñám nakṣati praiṇānó
nárāśáṃso agníḥ sukŕ̥d deváḥ
savitā́ viśvávāraḥ ||3||
With honey he attains the sacrifice,
the praised of men (Nárāçáṁsa),
 Agni the well-doing,
the heavenly impeller (Savitár),
 having all choice things.
áchāyám eti śávasā ghr̥tā́ cid
ī́ḍāno váhnir námasā ||4||
4. Here he cometh with might
 (çávas) unto the various ghees,
praising, he the carrier, with
agníḥ srúco adhvaréṣu prayákṣu
sá yakṣad asya mahimā́nam
 agnéḥ ||5||
5 [4c]. Agni, unto the spoons, at
 the sacrifices (adhvará),
 the profferings (prayáj).
[5.] May he sacrifice his greatness,
tarī́ mandrā́su prayákṣu
vásavaś cā́tiṣṭhan vasudhā́taraś
 ca ||6||
6 [5 b]. [He] crossing (?) among
 pleasant profferings;
both the Vasus stood and the
 greater bestower of good (vásu).
dvā́ro devī́r ánuv asya víśve
vratáṃ rakṣanti viśváhā ||7||
7 [6]. The heavenly doors all
defend always after his course
uruvyácasāgnér dhā́mnā pátyamāne |
ā́ suṣváyantī yajaté upā́ke
uṣā́sānáktémáṃ yajñám
avatām adhvarám naḥ ||8||
8 [6 c]. Lording it with Agni’s
 domain of wide expansion,
[7.] dripping, worshipful, close,
let dawn and night favor this
 our inviolable (? adhvará)


dáivā hótāra ūrdhvám adhvaráṃ no
ʹagnér jihváyābhí gr̥nata
gr̥nátā naḥ suvìṣṭaye |
tisró devī́r barhír édáṃ sadantām
íḍā sárasvatī mahī́
bhā́ratī gr̥ṇānā́ ||9||
9 [8]. O heavenly Hotars, sing ye
 unto our uplifted sacrifice [...]
with Agni’s tongue;
sing in order to our successful
[9.] Let the three goddesses sit
 upon this barhís,
Iḍā, Sarasvatī, Bhāratī,
the great, besung.
tán nas turī́pam ádbhutaṃ purukṣú |
déva tvaṣṭā rāyás poṣaṃ
ví ṣya nā́bhim asya ||10||
10. That wonderful seminal fluid
 (turī́pam) of ours, abounding
 in food,
O god Tvashṭar, abundance
 of wealth,
release thou the navel of it.
vánaspaté ʹava sr̥jā
rárāṇaḥ | tmánā devébhiyo
agnír havyáṃ śamitā́
 svadayatu ||11||
11. O forest-tree, let thou loose,
bestowing; let Agni [as] queller
willingly sweeten the oblation
 for the gods.
agne svā́hā kr̥ṇuhi
jātavedaḥ | índrāya yajñáṃ
víśve devā́ havír idáṃ
 juṣantām ||12||
12. O Agni, hail! make thou,
O Jātavedas, the sacrifice for Indra;
let all the gods enjoy this oblation.

7. If we proceed to the comparative perspective, the structure of Āprī-hymns reminds us very strongly of the litanies of the Avesta. Since three different studies in preparation for press are dedicated to various aspects of this comparison,85 in the present context I have to limit myself to some highlights with relevance to the specific subject of the lists and catalogs. In the Yasna and the Visprad liturgies, four identical elements appear in such lists: 

7.1. Remarkably, instead of the Vedic deity Tanū-napāt-86 in the Avestan context the old Indo-Iranian deity Apąm Napāt- occurs: “We worship the Fire, the Sacrificial Straw, the deity Apąm Napāt, the deity Nairiiō.saŋha. We worship the souls of the ones passed away.” In fact, we see here the same usual suspects as in the Vedic framework: 

7.1.1. Who is Apąm Napāt-? Both in Indic and in Iranian it is an aquatic deity, simultaneously hypostasis of Fire (Ved. Agni-, Av. Ātar-) as mystic “Grandson” of Waters.87 

7.1.2. The “Grandson” of waters has to do with two Indo-Iranian notions: with the Fire’s brilliance, Ved. várcas- / Av. varəcah- “sparkling” (esp. “magic sparkling” [Klingenschmitt]) and with śrī́- / Av. srī- “magnificence, majesty etc.,”88 in Vedic also with śúci- “glowing, gleaming” and téjas- “sharpness; brilliance.” 

7.1.3. Therefore, this deity is deeply connected with the concept of xšat-ra- “(sacred) royalty/kingship” and is called himself xša-riia- “kṣatrī̆ya-.” The concepts of brilliance quoted above have been interpreted as the brilliance of sacred kingship; in the Veda, nevertheless, they primarily belong to the sphere of Agni as Fire-god of ritual, identified with typical forms of sacer-dotium such as the liturgical functions of Hotar, Brahmán and Purohita. Compare the invocation (from the Yasna Introduction, Y. “0,”5): “I invite for worship the high Lord, the one connected with (sacred) kingship, the shining one, Apąm Napāt.” A second parallel is attested to precisely in the Fire stanza at the end of the Avesta which corresponds to the stanza from the Avestan pre-sacrifice (Y. 17,11).89 

7.1.5. An essential feature of the Avestan Apąm Nápāt- is his presence in the ritual in two crucial places of the r̥tú- composition, in which Fire and Water are in immediate contact, namely: 

(a.) at the very beginning, during the liturgical process of the transubstantiation of the common straw, daily fire and waters to ritual Straw, Fire and Waters—to become during the ceremony the Straw of the feast of gods, the Fire, Son of Ahura Mazdā, hosting the gods on this Straw, and the Waters among whom he grows up—just like the Vedic Agni does, and 

(b.) at its very end, in the context of the “return back on/to the earth”;90 as well as 

(c.) at the break of the day. 

7.2. The Indo-Iranian91 deity Av. Nairiiō.saŋha- / Ved. Narā-śaṃsa-92narāṁ śaṁsa- < *Hnarām ćámsa- (also Nr̥-śaṁsa-, Śaṁsa-)—is strongly connected with the cult to the ancestors. Thus, in Vd. 19,32, the souls of righteous Zoroastrians go to Ahura Mazdā and unite with Nairiiō.saŋha-: 

Vd. 19,32: xšnūtō aṣ̌aonąm
 uruuānō pāraiieiṇti
auui ahurahe mazdā̊
auui aməṣ̌anam spəṇtanąm
auui gātuuō zaraniiō.kərətō
auui garō nmānəm
   maēθanəm ahurahe mazdā̊
   maēθanəm aməṣ̌anąm spəṇtanąm
   maēθanəm aniiaēšąm aṣ̌aonąm [...]
32. Satisfied, the souls of the ones
 full of Rightness go forth
in the direction of Ahura Mazdā,
in the direction of the
 Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas’
in the direction of seats made
 of gold,
in the direction of the House of
 the Praise,
   the dwelling-place of
   Ahura Mazdā,
   the dwelling-place of the
   Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas,
   the dwelling-place of the ones
   full of Rightness.
Vd. 19,34: narō aṣ̌auuanō
nairiiō saŋhō hąm.bauuaiti
aštō mazdā̊ ahurahe
mrūiδi nairiiō saŋhō:
xvatō nizbaiiaŋuha zaraθuštra
imat̰ dąma yat̰ ahurahe mazdā̊
34. The men, the ones full of
 Rightness, get together,
Nairiiō.saŋha gets together
 (with them);
the messenger of Mazdā Ahura,
 say (= i.e.), Nairiiō.saŋha:
By yourself call down to you,
 o Zaraθuštra,
this creation, which (is the one)
 of Ahura Mazdā.

7.3. Interestingly, one of the main divergences between the ritual traditions of the individual Vedic clans is the question of who comes in the second position of this cultic list: 

7.3.1. Most of the Vedic poets invoke (“call down”) Tanū-napāt- before Narā-śaṁsa-. 

7.3.2. The reverse order, Narā-śaṁsa- before Tanū-napāt-, appears only in the collections of the clans of the Vāsiṣṭhas, Śaunakas, Ātreyas. 

7.3.3. The Avestan text shows the combination Apąm Napāt- + Nairiiō.saŋha-, a feature that enforces the possibility of grouping the Avesta with Vedic texts of specific clans, in connection with the well-known but still not well explained fact that Zaraθuštra is called āθrauuan- (< *āθauruuan- “the one whi has to do with Atar/Fire”).93 

For the purposes of our volume, as I hope, this evidence from two of the most ancient and well attested Indo-European traditions can give rich material for brainstorming from a contrastive and typological perspective, taking into consideration similar phenomena e.g. from Mesopotamia and Ancient Asia Minor, where the textual and ritual genres in question are abundantly attested and parallelisms expected: thus, our reciprocally fertilized meta-knowledge of these complex data may locate still more “smoking guns” in more distant traditions and allow to follow them on their hot traces back to multilingual and multicultural vicissitudes and perhaps even to common periods of mutually fertilized knowledge (or at least cultural migration with common “wandering motifs”) in the ancient East—and beyond. 


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On the working meetings of the Multilingualism Research Group, the volumes published so far and the forthcoming projects, see Geller (2014, 43–44, table 4); Sadovski (2013, 154–156 with fn. 8–14) and further literature.


See Braarvig et al. (2012; 2013).


Cf. Badalanova Geller forthcoming.


The papers of both these conferences are to appear together in Braarvig et al. (forthcoming).


Abbreviations of texts used: IE = Indo-European. (a) Vedic: RV = R̥gveda; unmarked = R̥gveda-Saṃhitā. RVKh = R̥gveda-Khila.—AV = Atharvaveda, esp. AVŚ = Atharvaveda-Saṃhitā (Śaunaka branch); AVP = Atharvaveda-Saṃhitā, Paippal āda branch; Kauś = Kauśika-Sūtra.—YV = Yajurveda, esp.: Black YV: TS = Taittirīya-Saṃhitā. BaudhGS = Baudhāyana-Gr̥hya-Sūtra. White YV: ŚB = Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa.—SV = Sāmaveda, esp.: JB= Jaminīya-Brāhmaṇa. (b)Avestan: Y = Yasna. GAv. = Gāthic Avestan. YAv = “Young” Avestan, esp.: Yt = Yašt; Vd. = Vidēvdād; Vr. = Vīsprad.


See below, § 1.1.7, p. 360.


See Durkheim and Mauss (1901–1902 [1903]) and the new edition of this work from 1969, with lucid remarks from R. Needham (Durkheim and Mauss 2009 [1969], xxi f.); this line of research into ritual and myth has been continued, if from a different angle, by Lincoln (2014 [1989]; 1999).


Veldhuis (1997, 1–9, 137 ff.); Selz (2007 and esp. 2011).


For some general statistical figures about the presence of catalog structures in individual collections of Vedic and Avestan texts, see Sadovski (2013, 154); these proportions even increase in texts of the period of the acme of the (Yajur-)Vedic and (Young) Avestan ritual poetry and prose in which the detailed, by far non-(only)-linear, and stylistically highly elaborate types of catalog enumeration achieve the status of main structural and compositional forms.


Klaus (1986); Sadovski (2013, 158–173).


Cf. e.g. Watkins (2005), and Toporov (1981).


Panaino (2002).


Sadovski and Panaino (2013, 7ff.), and especially Panaino and Sadovski (2007, 35ff.).


Mahadevan (forthcoming).


Bachvarova (2012).


Brough (1953).


Mahadevan (2011).


Mayrhofer (2003).


Versnel (1998).


Gordon (2000).


More recently Michajlova (2004), cf. Toporov (1993).


Sadovski (2012, 334ff.); DIV 1; cf. also Sadovski in Panaino and Sadovski (2007, 49ff.).


From the flood of literature on this topos in IE languages I will limit myself to quoting three classical summaries of three research periods of the last 80 years, viz. Brown (1931; 1965, 25ff.), West (2007, 357f.) concerning the question of a link to the IE Twin myth, and Jamison and Brereton (2014, 1537ff.), along with commentary and older literature.


Sadovski (2009, 158ff.).


About the Avesta, see Sadovski (2009, 159–166).


Gonda (1983).


Minkowski (1997), and now Proferes (2014).


Sadovski (2013, 165–173).


Lelli (2015).


Kellens (2006; 2007; 2010; 2011; 2015).


Schwartz (2002; 2003; 2006; 2009; 2010).


E.g. Cantera (2009; 2010; 2013; 2014b; 2014a); cf. Cantera (2016a).


Schwartz (1986; 2002; 2006; 2009; 2009 etc.).


Sadovski (2005; 2013, 182–186).


Further representatives of “catalogical poetry” in the Indo-European oikumene such as the Germanic þulur (cf. Vogt 1942 or Gurevič 1992) have regularly been the object of comparative discussions as a part of my class on Indo-European poetry, ritual and mythology that takes place within the Advanced Indo-European Programme of the Leiden University Summer School of Languages and Linguistics—on its most recent edition cf. http://www.hum.leiden.edu/summerschool/programmes-2017/indo-european-programme-ii.html, accessed March 7, 2017. It is a pleasant duty to me to thank our students and the Director of the Summer School, Alexander Lubotsky, for the fruitful atmosphere of active brainstorming and creative discussions which this remarkable scholarly framework has given Lernenden und Lehrenden for the past twelve years.


Beye (1958; 1964, esp. on the battle narratives).


Calame (2006).


Papadopoulou-Belmehdi (2006).


Simpson and Lazenby (1970).


Minchin (1996).


Minton (1962).


Crossett (1969); Webb (2009).


Clay (2011).


Among others, Race (1982).


West (2004).


Bakker (2001); Tsagalis (2010).


See e.g. Deichgräber (1965); Faraone (2013).


Cf. e.g. West (1985), the works collected in Hunter (2008) as well as Rutherford (2000).


Edwards (1980).


Stanley (1993).


Visser (1997).


Versnel (1998).


Gordon (2000).


Minchin (2001).


Sammons (2010).


Faraone (2005; 2008; 2013).


Cf. Schwartz (2002, 53ff. and charts on pp. 58–61; 2006, 461f.).


Watkins (2005, 681f.).


Watkins (2005, 683).


Sadovski (2017).


Sadovski and Stüber (forthcoming).


Sadovski (2005, 526ff.).


Cantera (2009; 2010; 2013; 2014b; 2014a; 2016b; 2016a); Kellens (2006–2011); Redard and Kellens (2013).


E.g. the way they have been constituted in the classical, still indispensable, and commendable critical edition of the Avesta by Karl Friedrich Geldner (1896–1896) against the liturgical manuscripts that show the actual ritual use of the texts.


Cf. Sadovski (forthcoming; forthcoming).


For depictions of such a method of expansion in the form of larger and larger textual auréoles starting from the central Old Avestan strata and adding Young(er) Avestan texts, see e.g. Cantera (2009; 2010); Kellens (2011, 138ff.), and Tremblay (2007, 685ff.), for a common scheme of the Yasna and the Brāhmaṇic ritual.


Cf. the dossier of the “simplest form of Soma offering” in Caland and Henry (1906–1907).


On parallels between the Avestan and Vedic “Priest Lists,” cf. Panaino (forthcoming), Panaino and Sadovski (2013), and Sadovski (forthcoming, §§ 2 and 3).


On the Indic material cf. Hillebrandt (1897); Caland and Henry (1906–1907); Schwab (1886); Oldenberg (1917); Oberlies (2012); Panaino (forthcoming); Sadovski (forthcoming; forthcoming).


See also Sadovski (forthcoming).


Cf. Cantera (2009, 17ff.; 2010, 143ff.) as well as the editions of the texts concerned, Kellens (2006–2011); Redard and Kellens (2013).


See Krick (1982, 40 with n. 88 and more literature).


On the Vedic house-building ritual and its deeply demiurgic aspects that make it parallel to rituals of sanctification and purification of the Universe, see e.g. Hillebrandt (1897); Renou (1939); Bodewitz (1977–1978); Gonda (1980; 1983); Oberlies (2012), as well as Sadovski (2017, 730ff., esp. 736–741) with regard to various catalogs contained therein.


Cf. Gonda (1983, 29, with reference to ŚB. 7,3,1,42).


Cf. in detail Sadovski (forthcoming).


Ed. and transl. Minkowski (1991, esp. 199–232).


Cf. Sadovski (forthcoming).


This cultic mention of the very first words of the first verse of the first stanza of the first maṇḍala of the first and oldest Saṃhitā of the Veda is a good correspondence of the worship of the “textual Ratus” of the older Avesta.


On the concept of Ved. r̥tú-, see Renou (1950); Krick (1982, 40 et passim); Minkowski (1991, esp. 156–159, with literature); on its Indo-Iranian roots and the formal and conceptual relation with Av. ratu- most recently Sadovski (forthcoming) concerning r̥tú- and ratu- both as basic concepts of taxonomy “τάξις; taxonomically relevant (articulation of) order/arrangement/ratio” and in its specific meanings, e.g. related to ritual regularity/calendar “(regular) period,” or “item of various length” (cf. in detail MacDonell and Keith (1912), s.v.), including “[regular] period of ritual cyclicity”; “season” (on number and related metaphors cf. Gonda (1980, 245f., 367f.); Krick (1982, 39–45)); “mensis” both as “month” and “menstrual period” (Slaje 1995), as well as in instrumental (sing./plur.): r̥túnā “according to the order/rank/ordine/ratione” and especially as a taxonomical “section,” “ration,” “(sequential) unit,” both of procedures and of texts of ritual poetry, in comparison with Av. iti- “binding; sewing; section”; Ved. párvan- (~párur- / -ṣ-) “joint, articulation.”


This approach of adding a mystical surplus number is very similar to what happens with cycles of 16 sacred elements, to which a 17th is added, said to represent Prajāpati as a mystical, transcendental magnitude that goes beyond the number of completeness. Regarding this and similar expressions of the idea of completeness in numeric form, see Gonda (1965, 115–130 et pass.) and cf. Sadovski in DIV 1: 39, 44, with literature. The same phenomenon we observe in closed/finite lists whose “numerical expression of totality” is blown up by introducing a transcendental element—e.g., lists of the 12 months of the year as Prajāpati, vs. Prajāpati as the thirteenth month: e.g. JB 1,18: “the 12-fold year adds to itself the intercalary month as 13th item.” On the (Brāhmaṇa) material concerning such lists, see Gonda (1984, 23, 78ff.), to which evidence I would like to add now also AVP. (ed. Griffiths 2009) 6,11,5d; 6,12,4b.


Cf. in detail Weber (1865, 321ff. and 1868, 78ff.).


Cf. Weber (1868, 89 with n. 1).


Van den Bosch (1985).


Transl. by Whitney and Lanman (1905, 1,269f.)


Sadovski (forthcoming,(b),(c)).


Relevant studies on Tanū-napāt- are e.g. Weber (1868, 88–95 ; van den Bosch (1985, 95ff., 169ff.); cf. also the literature in Oberlies (2012, 155, 256) showing the link between Tanū-napāt- and the Southern Fire of the classical Vedic ritual, Dakṣiṇāgni-, as “grandson of (Agni’s own) body.” As representation of the Southern Fire, Ved. Tanū-napāt- is connected with the idea of the Dakṣiṇāgni- (Jāta-vedas-) and the Āhavanīya- (Vaiśvā-nara-) fires as descendants-of-the-body of the Home Fire par excellence, the Gārhapatya, from which the substance for the second and the third fire is transferred (thus Agni being considered to beget his own offspring, son and grandson!).


Decisive recent diachronic studies are the ones by Oettinger (2009); Oberlies (2012, 55–58, 125f.), Proferes (2007); for some interesting details also Terrin (2012); most recently: cf. Edholm (2015; = M.A. thesis Univ. of Stockholm, cf. the relevant chapter in Edholm (Edholm 2017).


Cf. esp. Proferes (2007) and af Edholm (2015; 2017): “splendour” both as “brightness, lustre, luminosity” and as “pre-eminence, glory, majesty, beauty”


Detailed evidence and its analysis appears in Sadovski (forthcoming).


There is a very similar compositional situation in the Vedic R̥tuyāja- context: viz. in the main collection, the one of the RV-Khila, as well as in “longer” rituals whose structure is expandable like the one of the Avestan Yasna (as transmitted in the liturgical mss. and described by Cantera (2016b) and Kellens (2006; 2007; 2010; 2011; 2015); cf. Sadovski (forthcoming).


Most relevant historical studies with relevance for Indo-Iranian: Oldenberg (1967–1993, 1,41ff.) in his discussion with Hillebrandt (1899, 2,98ff.); Oberlies (2012, 74; 155f.; 400, n. 272).


His relation to the Fire is well perceivable e.g. in RV. 3,29,11.


See Sadovski (forthcoming).


Multilingualism, Lingua Franca and Lingua Sacra

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig

Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig

Part I: General Reflections

1 Empires and their Languages: Reflections on the History and the Linguistics of Lingua Franca and Lingua Sacra
Reinier Salverda

2 Dependent Languages
Jens Braarvig

Part II: Europe

3 Lehnübersetzung und Lehnbedeutung vs. Lehnwort: Zu den Entlehnungen aus dem Lateinischen und Französischen in das mittelalterliche Deutsch
Kurt Gärtner

4 Konrad of Megenberg: German Terminologies and Expressions as Created on Latin Models
Kathrin Chlench-Priber

5 What Language Does God Speak?
Florentina Badalanova Geller

6 Islamic Mystical Poetry and Alevi Rhapsodes From the Village of Sevar, Bulgaria
Florentina Badalanova Geller

7 Learning Arabic and Learned Bilingualism in Early Modern England: The Case of John Pell
Daniel Andersson

Part III: Ancient Near East

8 Sumerian in the Middle Assyrian Period
Klaus Wagensonner

9 The Concept of the Semitic Root in Akkadian Lexicography
Markham J. Geller

10 Multilingualism in the Elamite Kingdoms and the Achaemenid Empire
Jan Tavernier

11 Diplomatic Multilingualism in the Middle East, Past and Present: Multilingualism, Linguae Francae and the Global History of Religious and Scientific Concepts
Lutz Edzard

12 Some Observations on Multilingualism in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Alexandra von Lieven

Part IV: India and Central Asia

13 Indo-Iranian Sacred Texts and Sacrificial Practices: Structures of Common Heritage (Speech and Performance in the Veda and Avesta, III)
Velizar Sadovski

14 Aspects of Multilingualism in Turfan as Seen in Manichaean Texts
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst

Part V: China

15 Multilingualism and Lingua Franca in the Ancient Chinese World
William G. Boltz

16 The Imprint of Buddhist Sanskrit on Chinese and Tibetan: Some Lexical Ontologies and Translation Strategies in the Tang Dynasty
Jens Braarvig

17 Classical Chinese as Lingua Franca in East Asia in the First to Second Millennia CE: Focusing on the Linguistic Situation in Traditional Korea
Vladimir Tikhonov

Part VI: The Americas

18 Multilingualism and Lingua Francae of Indigenous Civilizations of America
Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo

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