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Full text of "The Asuri-Kalpa: a witchcraft practice of the Atharva-Veda"

THE EISENHOWER LIBRARY 



3 1151 02538 4748 



THE ASURi-KALPA 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE 



ATHARVA-VEDA, 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, AND 
COMMENTARY. 



A DISSERTATION 

PRESENTED TO THE BOARD OF UNIVERSITY STUDIES OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS 
UNIVERSITY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY. 



By H. W. MAGOUN. 



1889. 



BALTIMORE: 

Press of Isaac Friedenwald, 

32 S. Paca St. 



THfe ASURI-KALPA 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE 



ATHARVA-VEDA, 



WITH AN INTRODUCTION, TRANSLATION, AND 
COMMENTARY. 



A DISSERTATION 

PRESENTED TO THE BOARD OF UNIVERSITY STUDIES OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS 
UNIVERSITY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY. 



By H. W. MAGOUN. 
1889. 



BALTIMORE : 

Press of Isaac Friedenwald, 

32 S. Paca St. 



DEDICATED 

TO 

PROFESSOR MAURICE BLOOMFIELD 

OF THE 

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY 

WITH THE 

SINCERE REGARD AND GRATITUDE OF 

THE AUTHOR. 



THE ASURI-KALPA; A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF 
THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 

I.— INTRODUCTION. 

The ritual literature of the Atharva-Veda, like that of the other 
Vedas, has attached to itself certain parifistas, or supplements. 
Of these, the thirty-fifth, according to the best accessible MS, is 
the Asurl-Kalpa, an abhicara, or witchcraft practice, con- 
taining rites to be used in connection with the asurl-plant. The 
question as to what this plant was will be discussed below. The 
use of the word kalpa for such a text is explained by a passage in 
the Atharvanlya-Paddhati, which states, on the authority 
of Uparvarsa,' that in addition to the five AV. kalpas — K a u 9 i k a, 
Vaitana, Naksatra, ^anti, and A n g i r a s a — which are called 
prz^/z ' inspired,' there are certain other kalpas which are to be 
considered as smrti ' handed down by tradition.' ^ 

Three MSS have been consulted in preparing this paper. Two 
of them are copies ofjhe parifistas of the AV. ; the third is a 
commentary to the Asuri-Kalpa. All three are loans to Dr. 
Bloomfield from the British Government in India, Just here I 
may say that I am greatly indebted to Dr. Bloomfield for the use 
of these MSS, for the encouragement and assistance which he has 
given me, and for his kindness in looking over my work. The 
MSS are as follows : 

A, large sheecs of light yellow paper, bound in book form, 
written lengthwise in a large clear hand and with considerable 
care. It is a modern copy. 

JB, narrow sheets of light blue paper, bound in book form, 
written lengthwise, text fuller in places than the preceding, but in 
a poor hand and with numerous errors. It must be a very recent 
copy. Both of these MSS are numbered 23. 

H (Scholiast), much older than either of the preceding, single 
sheets of light brown paper grown dark at the edges, written 
lengthwise as the other MSS, but in a very poor, though large, 

'A mimansa (purva-) teacher. See Life and Essays of H. T. 
Colebrooke, Vol. II, pp. 319-49. 

2Cf. J. A. O.S. XI 377, Bloomfield, On the Position of the Vaitana- 
Sutra in the Literature of the Atharva-Veda. 



2 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

hand. It contains three sections or chapters, IP art fivst (ScXxos 
ib-6a') contains all the practices in brief form, and occupies about 
one-fourth of the MS. Part second (folios Sa'-jb") treats only of 
the e.xternals of the principal rite, and occupies scarcely one-tenth 
of the MS. JPart third is an elaborate commentary on what has 
preceded ; but in its present condition deals with only about two- 
thirds of the practices, since the MS lacks some folios at the close.' 
This MS is numbered 120; but is also marked p (^pattrdni) 18; 
sam. {saihvat) 1880-81 ; and, on the last folio, written across the 
end on the margin, S47- From the appearance of the MS it might 
be as old as one hundred and fifty years; and since sam. 1880-8/ 
probably has reference to Kielhorn's Report,' the MS may be as 
old as it looks. It contains about 200 ^lokas. 

At the beginning of part third it names Mahadeva as the 
speaker,' who introduces his commentary (see p. 11, note 19) by 
saying : ' It [the mantra] is not to be uttered (performed) with- 
out teachers ; by the precept of a teacher this magic power (suc- 
cess) [comes into being]. Accordingly in a single final commen- 
tary the Asurl-[rite] should succeed,' — 

vhid gurun akariavyam gJirtivdkyena siddhtdam ^ (cod. sldhi-'), 
ekdntiniatikdmadhye (cod. ekdnte-) sddhayeta tad dsiiri. 2. 

Mahadeva^ is spoken of as the seer of the divine asurl-text,* 
and as becomes a rsi he speaks of the Gayatri, Tristubh, and 
Anustubh metres {gdyatrHnstuba7msh(pchandah'), after which he 
proceeds to give full instructions concerning the rites. 

^JPavt first seems to be in fact a version of the pari? is t a, fuller than 
the text and differing from it in some passages, but still essentially the same. 
The chief points of difference have been noted as readings of S. They have 
been put into gloka form where the MS seemed to warrant it. Readings 
horn j)(irfs second and third are so marked. 

' See p. 5, foot-note i. The MS is catalogued on p. 58. 

'The parigistas as a whole are in the form of dialogues. Cf. Weber, 
History of Indian Literature, p. 153. 

*The conjectural reading siddh'idam requires a regular fern, noun to be 
regarded as neu. ; but for this text it may be allowable, since the MS departs 
widely in places from all rules of grammar, and also treats siddhi as a neu. in 
other passages. 

The comma and period (, and .) have been used in all Sanskrit passages as 
the simplest means of transliterating the two Sanskrit marks of punctuation 
(I and II). 

* An epithet of Rudra or ^iva, also of Visnu and the name of various persons. 
It is an appropriate title, " Great-Lord," for the teacher of such a text, 

*asya ^rydsurimantrasya (cod. friastd-) mahadeva rsiJl, 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 3 

Apart from its subject-matter S possesses no little interest, 
because it contains abundant evidence of the character of the 
people having to do with its gtes. It is exceedingly corrupt, as 
a few examples may suffice to show. The common writing for 
sapta is satpa ; for dsurl, asiiri ; for silksma, suksma ; for ciirna, 
curna, Qic: jukiyat 3X\djilhiydta are used ior juhuydt ; ?nryaie 
for mriyaie, etc. : rdayam is found for hrdayam ; bhimantritefia 
for abhi- (beginning of a sentence) ; karaye for -yet ; titha for 
tithir, etc.: little or no attention is paid to samdhi: the confu- 
sion of sibilants,' s for q and vice versa, is exceedingly common : 
and other curious freaks in spelling occur, notably the use of cy 
for c {cyurna for curna, and muncyati for muficati), which is of 
some interest from a phonetic standpoint, and the writing of the 
word vagika7-tukdma in eight different ways, while using it but 
twelve times, with a mistake of some kind in every single instance.^ 
The errors are doubtless due in part to later copyists ; but, from 
the present state of corruption, it may be safe to infer that the 
original MS was bad at the start ; for it seems hardly possible that 
the scribes should be guilty of all the errors which it contains, even 
if the present MS is the result of several successive transcriptions. 
The nature of the mistakes stamps the writer at once as an igno- 
rant and perhaps degraded person. It is about such a document 
as might be expected to be written in English by some Voodoo 
doctor among the blacks of the South. Numerous repetitions 
serve to light up otherwise hopeless passages, and when the brief 
outlines of the parijista are combined with the commentary 
the whole practice becomes clear. No two of the MSS exactly 
agree in the order in which the different forms of the rite are 
treated, and J5 has a passage not found in either A or S. Fortu- 
nately the parifista is mostly written in glokas, which is of 
great service in determining the true reading.^ In style the 
parigista is somewhat like the sutras, being terse and tech- 
nical in its forms of expression, and consisting mostly of what may 

'Cf. Proc. a. O. S., May, 1886. Introduction to the Study of the 
Old-Indian Sibilants; by Prof. Bloomfield and Dr. Edward H. Spieker. 

^It may be said in addition that there is hardly a sentence in the entire MS 
in which there are not mistakes in the case-forms, the most common being the 
use of a stem-form for an ace. 

^ In the text, where a MS reading is of no importance, it has been thought 
best to omit it; so, in the quotations from S the MS reading has been omitted 
where the emendation is obvious, where the same mistake is repeated several 
times, and, in a few instances, where MS evidence warrants the change; on 
the other hand, where it has been thought best to do so, the passage has been 
quoted verbatim. 



4 THE ASURI-KALPA. 

be called rules ; the commentary is, of course, more like an ordi- 
nary text. 

In this paper the attempt has been made not only to present a 
correct version of the pari gista, so far as the material at hand 
would allow, but also to reproduce to some extent the scholiast by 
citing, mostly from the first division, such passages, with the text, 
as bear on the same part of the rite, and by incorporating into the 
commentary accompanying the translation such other passages as 
throw light upon those already cited, or give an idea of additional 
matters not treated of in the text at all. In this way most of the 
salient points of ^ have been preserved without, at the same time, 
copying its tiresome minuteness of detail and unending repeti- 
tions — not that the commentary is of so much importance in itself, 
for, as has been shown, it represents the work of a person of little 
intelligence apparently, certainly of small acquirements ; but that 
the picture of the whole might be as complete as possible. The 
practice of witchcraft forms a dark chapter in the history of man- 
kind, and anything that throws light upon the attitude of mind in 
which its devotees have practiced their curious rites is not to be 
despised. The "meditations" oi S may not be without their sug- 
gestions to those who care to read between the lines, and the whole 
practice is a curious bit of evidence of the power of superstition 
over the human mind. 

While the Asurl-Kalpa has proved a rich field for emendation, 
and has afforded some opportunity for conjecture, it has not been 
altogether unfruitful in new material, as the following list will show. 

SIMPLE STEMS. 

Denominative Verb: pidaya.Xo grind up, make into meal. 

Nouns (members of compounds} : nadika [;ia.j//], destruction. 
ravi,^ a tree or plant of some kind, .jar// (not in a comp.), a col- 
lection of six. sruca (?) [.yrz^^],. sacrifice-ladle. 

Adjectives: pretaka \_preta\ belonging to a dead [man]. 
Possibly 0) jigdi!ia, desiring to conquer. 

Particles : klrm, ksdiim, and fr/m." 

Analogical Vocative: duhite \diihitar\ O daughter. 

New Meanings or Uses: .y/^rfffz^ar/ (compound stem), asur I 
(plant and probably also goddess). So lak.pnl, apparently and 
possibly Qri. caturtham (?), fourthly (as adverb). 

' See page 25, foot-note 4. 

' Evidently from Qri 'beauty, welfare.' These words are used as part of a 
muttered spell, and have, therefore, no particular meaning. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 5 
COMPOUND STEMS. 

Nouns: aprajaiva, childlessness, utkarana, overcoming (?). 

Adjectives: daksinakarnika, having its point (ear) to the 
south, devija, goddess-born, raktavdsasa, having a reddish 
garment, v agyag; a, snhdn^d. VossWAy pratyd7}tukha,i2iC\ng. 

Neuters as Adverbs: </z?za/r«>'a?w, at the three parts of the 
day (A. M., M., and P. M.) dindstakam, at the eight parts 
(watches) of the day. Possibly (?) saptdhayiam, at the seventh dawn. 

COMPOUNDS OF A MORE GENERAL CHARACTER. 

apardjaya, invincibleness. karmakdrikd (fern, of adj. -rakd), 
deed-performer, ndgendra, a plant, probably Betel, vaglkarhi- 
kdma, the desire to render submissive. Possibly also surati, a 
plant of some kind. 

A few words have as yet baffled all attempts at a solution. They 
will be mentioned as they occur. 

That the Asurl-Kalpa must at one time have occupied a posi- 
tion of some importance appears from the fact that it is mentioned, 
according to Weber, Ind. Stud. XIII 415, under the name 
Asurlyah Kalpah in the Mahabhasya IV i, 19, Vartti- 
kam f. 19b. In this connection it may be added that the conjec- 
ture offered by Professor Bloomfield (J. A. O. S. XI 378) : ''pafi- 
cakalpali is probably not to be understood (with Weber, Ind. Stud. 
XIII 455) as one studying five different kalpas, i. e. grduta-siltras, 
but means an Atharvavedin who is familiar with these five kalpas," 
i. e. the five belonging to the AV., has recently been confirmed 
by the discovery, made by the same scholar, of the word pafica- 
kalpi {siem -hi) used in the colophon of a Kaug. MS* to mean 
the writer of a Kau?. MS. In cown^cXionyNXth. pancakalpali, says 
Weber (loc. cit.), the Mahabhas ya (Vartt. 3f. 67a) mentions 
the words kdlpasiltrali, pdrdgarakalpikali, and mdtrkalpikali. 
This last word Weber does not attempt to define, but says 
of it : " Letzleres Wort ist in der vorliegenden Beziehung unklar." 
In the Kaugika-Sutra, 8, 24, is mentioned a gana of hymns 
(AV. II 2, VI III, and VIII 6) under the tide mdirndmdni, the 
object of which is the preventing or removing of evil; and 
Atharva-Parigis ta^ 34, 4, mentions the same gana with the 

' No. 86. Report on the Search for Sanskrit MSS in the Bom- 
bay Presidency, 1880-81, by F. Kielhorn. 

'^A. No. 32, S No. 34. The latter numbering makes the Asuri-Kalpa No. 
37 ; for each MS gives between it and the G a n a m a 1 a two other p a r i ? i s t a s — 



6 THE ASURI-KALFA. 

addition of AV. IV 20, under the same name.' It also adds, /// 
7ndtrgiincihr As kdlpastltrali means one familiar with the K al pa- 
Sat ras, and Piirdgaraka/pikah seems to have been used of a per- 
son who had studied the Parag ara-Kalpa,Mt is safe to infer 
that the word mdirkalpikali meant one who was familiar with or 
made use of the M atr-Kalpa, and such a text may yet be 
found. If it ever appears, Professor Bloomfield conjectures that 
it will prove to be a ritual for the use of a priest in connection with 
this M a t r o^ a n a. The presence of these words in t-he M a h a- 
b h a s y a, which contains many Atharvanic words not found 
elsewhere, cited as they are without explanation, goes to show 
that they were all well understood by the people of Patafijali's 
time, and therefore referred to rites and practices so familiar to the 
Hindoos that the mere name was sufficient to make the reader 
understand the author's meaning. As they are all Atharvanic, 
and the word Asuri-Kalpah is also Atharvanic, jhere can be 
no doubt that the Asurl-Kalpah and the Asurlyah 
K a 1 p a h are essentially the same, though the text may have 
suffered some changes at the hands of later authorities on the 
uses of a s u r r, and it is evident that the p a r i 5 i s t a must have 
had considerable currency among those who made use of Atharvan 
rites. Additional evidence of the familiarity of the Hindoos with 
such practices is to be found in the Laws of Manu (XI 63^ 
where the practice of witchcraft {abhicdrd) and of magic with 
roots lyvnilakarviari) is mentioned in a list of secondary crimes 
{upapdtaka). This reference also makes clear the fact that such 
practices are old ; for they must have been well established when 
the Manava-Dharma^astra took its present shape, and go 
back, therefore, in all probability, some hundreds of years before 
our era. On the other hand, it must be said that the MSS bear 
marks of a late origin. S mentions the Hindoo trinity {bralmia- 
vhmihard), contains the Buddhistical word hevara, uses the gen. 
for the loc. and ins., etc.; and all the MSS contain forms (trans- 
fers to the a-declension, etc.) due to analogy and not cited in any 
of the dictionaries, besides exhibiting in the subject-matter certain 

the Mahabhiseka and the A nuloma-K alpa. S does not number the 
latter or the Asurl-Ka Ipa, but has after the Mahabhiseka what is 
evidently a corruption for JJ. The Peters. Lex., with A, makes the Anulo- 
m a-K alpa No. 34. The numbering of S has been taken to correspond to Dr. 
Bloomfield's edition of the Kau9. 

iCf. Weber, Omina et Portenta, pp. 350-53- 

' Not '\n A. ox S \ but see Bloomfield, Kaug. S, 24, note 5. 

3Cf. Weber, Ind. Stud. XIII 445. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. / 

tendencies which are recognized as modern. They are mentioned 
below. 

The word dsurl'xs the fern, of an adj. from asura " spirit, demon," 
and therefore means primarily, " belonging to, or having to do 
with, spirits or demons." Under the form dsuri, the Peters. 
Lex. gives the meaning, schwarzer Senf, Sinapis ramosa 
Roxb.^ From the evidence of the MSS, dsuri must be a plant 
with a pungent leaf, and must bear fruit {phald) and flowers ; 
moreover, a religious meditation (dhydna) of S, which can hardly 
refer to anything else, speaks of the " bright four-sided granter of 
wishes"; then of the same as "reddish," "blue-colored," "having 
a sword in the hand," "having a hook in the hand," " having a ' red- 
stone' in the hand," etc. All these expressions are based upon 
characteristics of the plant, as will appear below. In describing 
the oblation the pari^ista says: ' The wise man should make 
meal of rajika' (rdjikdm pMayed budhali), while S in the same 
passage speaks of a s u r l as made into meal. The word rdjikd., in 
fact, occurs in H only in part third, never in connection with 
dsuri, and always where the latter might be expected. The same 
is true of the word rdjasarsapa, for example, — 

vidhdne parvavat karmapratimdm rdjasarsapdiJi, 
purvavat kdrayen nydsam, chedayet piirvavad apt. 

' In [his] preparation, as before, [one should cause] an image 
for the rite [to be made] with black mustard seeds. As in the 
former case, he should cause the [limb]-placing ceremony to be 
performed ; he should cause [the image] to be chopped also as 
before.' The word rdjikd, which was left untranslated above, is 
the common name for the Black Mustard of India. This plant has 
bright yellow flowers, and bears small dark seeds contained in a 
pod which is tipped by a long, straight, flattened, and seedless 
beak.'^ In all members of the Mustard Family, the pungency 
pervades the entire plant.^ There can be no doubt that this was 
the plant actually used, and it is plain that the ignorant and 
superstitious devotee saw a goddess in the plant itself,^ and found, 

' Wm. Roxburg, Flora Indie a, Semapore, 1832. 

-Hooker, Flora of British India, I 157. The Black Mustard of 
Europe, which is closely related, is described as having smooth erect pods 
which are somewhat four-sided and tipped with a sword-shaped style. They 
contain small dark brown or nearly black seeds. The Black Mustard of the 
U. S. is similar. 

^Gray, Introduction to Structural and Systematic Botany, 
and Vegetable Physiology. 1873, p. 389 f. 

•* Cf. the frequent similar personifications of the AV. 



8 THE ASUKI-KALFA. 

perhaps, in the effect of the seeds upon his palate an evidence of 
her supernatural power.' The " red-stone " (j-udhird) mentioned 
above, and defined by the dictionaries as a certain red stone, not 
a ruby, here plainly means the seeds in the pod of the asurl- 
plant, while the pod itself is probably the "sword," and possibly 
also the " hook." 

The chief object to be attained was the subduing of another to 
one's will, or the destruction of an enemy. The use of the hymns 
of the AV. for the latter purpose is sanctioned by the Laws of 
Manu (XI 33) : 'With the thought 'one should utter (perform) 
the hymns of the Atharva-Veda,' [let him be] without hesitation ; 
the ' word ' is the Brahman's weapon, you know, with it the twice- 
born should smite [his] enemies,' — 

gruiir atharvdiigirasili kiirydd ity avicdrayan, 

vdk gastraih vdi brdhnianasya iena hanydd arm dvijdh. jj. 

The other practice, as has been stated, is pronounced criminal by 
the same authority. The rite itself is briefly as follows : after 
certain introductory ceremonies, the person grinds up mustard 
into meal, with which he makes an image representing the person 
whom he desires to overcome or destroy. Having muttered cer- 
tain spells to give efficiency to the rite, he chops up the image, 
anoints it with ghee (melted butter), curds, or some similar sub- 
stance, and finally burns it in a " sacred-fire-pot." The idea that 
an image thus destroyed accomplishes the destruction of the 
person represented, or at least does him serious harm, still survives 
i n India, and it can be duplicated in almost any country in which 
witchcraft has been practiced. The Samavidhana-Brahmana 
contains a similar practice, in which an image of dough is roasted 
so as to cause the moisture to exude, and it is then cut to pieces 
and eaten by the sorcerer. An image of wax has been largely 
used in various countries, the life of the enemy represented having 
been supposed to waste away as the wax gradually melted over 
a slow fire. This process was known to the Greeks, to the 
Romans, to the Germans, and even to the Chaldeans." A vari- 

' This may also account for the name, since at the time when these practices 
originated the Hindoos were both very superstitious and extremely unscientific 
in all matters pertaining to natural phenomena, and they would, therefore, 
quite naturally assign the pungency of the plant to some spirit or demon. 

^Cf.Theocr. Idyll II 28, Hon Epod. XVII 76 ; Grimm, Deutsche Mythol- 
ogie, 1047 ff. ; Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, p. 5, foot-note i, and p. 63; 
Burnell, Samavidhana-Brahmana, Vol. I, Introd. p. xxv, and see p. 26, 
foot-note I, end. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 9 

ation of the same performance is to fill the image with pins, attach 
a hated name to it, and set it away to melt or dry up according to 
the material used. This is said to be still practiced in some parts 
of America, England and the Continent.' It is reported ^that a 
practice of this kind, i. e. the making of an effigy to be used for 
his destruction by means of sorcery, was tried on Henry VI of 
England ; and early in the present century a similar trick was 
used against the Nizam of the Deccan.^ Among the Indians of 
our own country, the Ojibway sorcerers were supposed to be able 
to transfer a disease from one person to another by a somewhat 
similar process. They were accustomed to make, for the patient 
who paid them, a small wooden image representing his enemy ; 
then, piercing the heart of this image, they put in small powders, 
and pretended by this means, with the help of certain incantations, 
to accomplish the desired end.' The fact that an image has been 
so universally used in witchcraft practices is no more remarkable 
than the fact that all nations have made use of images to repre- 
sent their gods in religious worship, and the two things may both 
be referred to some law of the human mind by which similar 
conditions produce similar results. There is no discoverable con- 
nection between the Ojibway's wooden image and the Hindoo's 
effigy of dough other than the mere fact that each is the outcome 
of a desire to injure, and nature teaches them both to think of 
what is practically the same expedient. 

The minor practices of the Asurl-Kalpa, which are designed 
either to work harm to an enemy or good to the practitioner, will 
be found in their turn below. They seem to indicate a desire on 
the part of the author to furnish a short cut to power and to some 
of the more important blessings which were supposed to be gained 
by the sacrifices prescribed by the Brahmanas; indeed, the 
practices of the Asurl-Kalpa, as a whole, seem to show a dispo- 
sition to supplant certain religious forms by simpler magical rites, 
while endeavoring at the same time to obtain powers for harm 
which religious practices either left in the hands of the educated 
Brahmans or did not bestow at all. It must be added, however, 
that the belief in the efficacy of repetition, so conspicuous in the 
modern " prayer-mills " of Thibet, is here plainly to be seen. In 
the Asurl-Kalpa, as in all other Indian witchcraft practices, 
there is, of course, an underlying stratum of skepticism ; but the 

' Conway, Demonology and Devil-Lore, Vol. I, p. 272. 

2 Lyall, Asiatic Studies, p. 88. 

^ Dorman, Origin of Primitive Superstitions, p. 361. 



10 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

great power of the priests is tacitly recognized by the care 
enjoined upon one who undertakes to subdue a Brahman. The 
practices for obtaining blessings are confined to the latter part of 
the pari fist a,' and, from their general character, seem like an 
extension of the original practices, perhaps for the purpose of 
giving additional currency or respectability to the whole; they 
may possibly be regarded as a further indication that the Asurl- 
K a 1 p a, however ancient its main practices may be, is, in its present 
shape, comparatively modern. 

At the present time in America, the interest felt in witchcraft is 
shown by our surprisingly large and growing literature on the 
subject.^ In India the interest felt is of a different nature, but it 
is none the less strong. To the Hindoo the subject is a living one, 
and while the native literature referring to magic and superstition 
has always been great, at present, especially in the vernacular 
dialects, it is enormous, and forms the favorite reading of the 
people.^ So great is its hold upon the natives that Lyall says of 
it :* " It is probable that in no other time or country has witch- 
craft ever been so comfortably practiced as it is now in India under 
British rule" ;' again, " in India everyone believes in witchcraft as 
a fact"; and just below, " In every village of Central India they 
keep a hereditary servant whose profession it is to ward off 
impending hailstorms by incantations, by consulting the motion of 
water in certain pots, and by dancing about with a sword." 
Beside this may be placed the statement of Conway,* that there 
are 84,000 charms to produce evil made use of in Ceylon at the 
present time. In so far as it throws light on the past history of 
such practices, the work on the Asurl-Kalpa may not have 
been in vain. 

'Both MSS recognize a division of the practices into groups — A. into two, 
as shown by the figures (/ and 2), and JB apparently into three ; for it has a two 
{2) where A has one (/), and what may be a one (/) in the passage which it 
alone contains. It lacks the number at the end. The divisions of A have 
been marked in Roman numerals, since it has been thought best to number 
the 9 1 okas, although the MSS do not do so. The practices of the second 
division are all of the same general nature. 

-See Poole's Index, third edition, iS32, under the headings Witch- 
craft, Demonology, Magic, etc. 

•^ Burnell, Sam a vidh ana-Brahman a, I, p. xxv. 

* Asiatic Studies, 1882, p. 96. 

^"Of course the witch is punished when he takes to poisoning or pure 
swindling " (1 o c. c i t.) 

'Demonology and Devil-Lore, I 274. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. II 



II.— TEXT, CRITICAL NOTES, AND EXTRACTS FROM THE 
SCHOLIAST. 

om namo rudrdya>, oi'n kahcke kaUckapaitre' subhaga dsuri 
rakte^ rakiavdsase*, atharvanasya dichite' 'ghore ^ghorakarmakd- 
rike\ amukam hana' hana daha daha paca paca mantha^ mantha 
idvad daha tdvat paca ydvan me vaqam dnayaW svdhd.^" gayyd- 
vasthitdyds'^ tdvaf^ japed ydvat svapiti, prasthitdyd" gatwi daha 
daha svdhd svdha, upavistdyd bhagam^* daha daha svdhd svdhd, 
sttptdyd^^ mano daha daha svdhd svdhd svdhd svdhd, prabuddhdyd 
hrdayam daha daha svdhd svdhd svdhd svdhd svdhd.^^ 

athdta dsiirlkalpam^'' zcpadeksydmo^^ 'tharvanali, 
ndsyds iithir^^ na naksatram nopavdso vidhiyate. i. 

ghriddisarvadravyesv'^'' dsurf^ gatajdpitd, 

I. A and S omit these three words. S begins griganegdya 
7iamali. — 2. MSS ( all three) regularly patra. — 3. H and S omit. — 
4. So MSS (all three), fern, from transition stem in -a. — 5. So MSS 
(all three), analog, voc, as if from stem in -d. In all cases where 
an a- is elided it is written in the MSS.— 6. H -karike, S -kdrake; 
but in one passage (p. 23) -kdrinl. —7. Ji hana, A hana 2. — 
8. A omits. — 9. MSS -naya. — 10. 8 amukasya matii'n daha 
daha, iipavMasya subhagam (cod. gii-^ daha daha, snptasya ma7io 
daha daha, prabuddhasya hrdayam daha daha hana hajia paca 
paca paca (cod. pra-') matha matha idvad daha daha ydvan me 
vagam dydti hrlm hmii phat svdhd, iti mulat7iantrah. S also 
calls it atharvanama7itrali. — 11. Agisyd-. — 12. ]S -tdydli etdv-. — 
13. B prachit'dydpagatim. — 14. JS magam.—iS- B omits, A 
svaptdya. — 16. H part third devadaitasya [' Of a certain one,' 
technical use] viaiim daha daha, upaviddyd bhagam daha daha, 
snptdyd mano (cod. 7nard) daha daha, prabuddhdyd hrdayatn 
(cod. rda-') daha daha paca hana matha (cod. ra atha) idvad daha 
ydva7i me (cod. -vakie') vaga7n dnayo (cod. -ya') hum phat svdhd. — 
17. B dsurprh. — 18. B -degdd atharvanali, S vydkhdsyd77iali. — 
i<^. B na iasyds tithi niiratrafii. H part tJlM'd 

grlmdhdde (^-mahadeva) uvdca, 
grnu vatsa m.ahdmantra7n dszirividhi7n tiitamat/i, 
na ca titha {-ihir) na \ca'\ jiaksatram na mdsdu7iydiva (!) (j7idsd7iy 

ev'a 9) vdsare, 
na sthdnam 7iakia {-tef) tu kdpi na vevfa (!) (vet a ?) ca vidhl- 

yaie. i. 



■20. A ghrtddidravyasarvesv. — 2 1 . The mantra 7idsyds, etc, 



12 THE ASCKI-KALPA. 

pattrddyavayavaQ^ cdsya jig^a^ cdnupdyini, 
hantukdmo hi ^atnihf ca vagikariutif ca bhiipatln. 2. 

astir tglak^napmdjy am* juhuydd dkrtim budhah, 
arkdidhasdgnim" prajvdlya cittvdstrendkrtim tu'^ tdm. j. 

pdddgrato ' sfasakasram jichicydd yasya vaqy'' asdu, 
ghrtdktayd str'i vaginf pdldgdgndu dvijoiiamalf . 4. 

gjcddktayd kmtriyds^" iu vdigyds hi dadhhnigrayd^\ 
giidrds iu lavanamigrdi^"^ rdjikdm pidayed btidhali. 5. 

d saptahdl^^ sarva eta dsiirihojnato vagdli, 
kahddilena trisamdhyam kulocchedam karoti hi. 6. 

gimdm^^ hi lomabhili^^ sdrdhavi apasmdri h'ibhir difidih, 

I. Ayatrd-, S patrd-. — 2. A.jikdisd, IB Jigdisdgamhigdmi7ii. 
— 3. A. -kurvang ca. S atha rdjd, vactkarhikdviali ; but else- 
where rdjavaglkarhikdmah. Cf. part third, rdmdvagikaranakd- 
viali and gatrughdtanakdmali. — 4. J5 dsurJm. S dsuryd siipi^tayd 
(cod. szirsipista-) prahkrtim krtvdrkasamidbhir agnim (cod. 
-iddhili agnl') p7-ajvdlya dakmiapaddrabhya [or -pddend-^ (cod. 
-pddd-) gash'ena ciitvd (cod. always cihtva) ghrtdktdth juhuydt 
108 astotiaragatahome7ia vagi (cod. vagi vargi). [Sc. rdjd bhavah.'] 
— 5. A arkedhand-, jB arke-. — 6. A mi. — 7. A vatyasdii. — 8. H 
dstirisupi^taprakrhm krtvd vdniapddendkramya gastrena cittvd 
ghrtdktdm juhuydt 108 saptdhe siddhili (cod. sidhi). — 9. S 
pa,ldgasa7nidbhir agnim (cod. -idhili agni\ similarly below) /)r«;- 
vdlydsurmi (cod. -ri\ so regularly) ^//r/^/Mr^/i tnadha (J) {tnadhu- 
sahitdm ?) juhuydt 108 homena gatyahevdj-a (-z'a?-^??) vagam 
diiayati. — 10. S khadirasamidbhir agnim prajvdlydsurlm yyiadhu- 
sahitdm (cod. madha-) 108 hoviena saptdhe va (!) (vagi) bhavati. 
— II. li viadhiimigrayd. S ndujnbarasamidbhir . . . dadhyaktdm 
(cod. dardhoktdm). — 12. B viigritdm. [Sc. pratikdydili1'\ S 
2idu77ibarasamidbhir . . . Iavana77iigrdm krtvd trisamdhydm (-am~) 
juhuydt 108. For an enemy, S dsurm katukatdildktdm , limba- 
kdsfe agni (!) (jiimbakdstendg7tim') prajvdlya ho7nayo (^-yet) 108 
homena satpdhdima (!) {saptdhanam?) \_ov -dhe'] 77iriyate ripuli. 
— 13. B sa77idhat. — 14. S gvetakha7'aro77id (!) asuri (!) ekikrtya 
{-ro77mdstiri77i eki- or -rot7idsurim cdikl- ?) yasya ndh7i7ndm (!) 
(ndm7id}) juhuydd akasmdd apasnid7'du {-rel) gildyate (!) 
{guhyate ?). — 15. B (not in A or S) gu7id77i tu lo77iabhi {-bhir) air a 
patraihrlipya (!) {pattram lipya}) rlingam (!) (Jingam'i') vd rdja- 
sarmpdili sa77idlipydtu (-ya tu ?) bhilpayet (!) (dhil- ?), 

gdureregram {-rdgram ?) tato dadydTt mriyate sdva {say'vah ?) 

samgayah, 
abhaksabhak^^og cdrogyam sarvarogaprayojana77i. 
samjildtd {-tdh '^) pindapdtdu {-pdtikd}) japdt pdpd bhava7iti hi, 
ekddagdnujaptavyam kulochedak^ato (^-cchedali ksa- ?) bhavet. i. (?) 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 1 3 

nivrttil}} ksjraviadhvdjydir'^ lavanena hi sajvarl? 7. 

arkdidhaTisamidagjidu* tu^ karoW sphotasambhavain, 
iesdm upagamam'' vidydt suregvarya^ ghrtena ca. 8. 

arkaksirdktaydrkagndv aksinl sphotayed^ dvisah, 
gatdsunidiisam tasydiva nirnidlyam citibhasma^^ ca. g. 

esdm curnena samsprsto hdsyagilo^^ 'bhijdyate, 
ajdksirdktayd horndt^"^ tasya viokso^^ vidhiyate. 10. 

tagaram kusthani'^ 7ndnsi ca iasydh pattrdni cdiva hi, 
etdili glaksndis hi saihsprstah^^ prsthatah paridhdvaii. 11. 

tasydli phaldni viilldni surabhihasthnedasd,^^ 
suksmataddravyasamspargdd^'' anudhdvaty aceiasali.^^ 12. 

vdigyasddhane homydg gurndi {Jwmayec ckarndili ?) suratibhili (?) 

krtd77i, 
cahispathe hi glidrasya padmhiyotkarane yahi (yd-?). 
likhUvd ndma samgrhya kardgrdngulhjditam {-pidi- ?), 
giralipiddjvarali galam vwtatili svastyasamgatih \_svastyasamgahh.'] 
vaipddyd {kal- ?) vd prayoktavyd vrdhmanddicahisfaye {brd-), 
evai'n sampaty abhicdrag \ca'\ cahirndm api dargitali. 

I. yiSSnivrtih. S juhuydt pranmd7iaya7te (}.) {pratydtiayanel') 
ksirdktdm krtvd hovia {-mam ?) 108 tatah sthito bhavah. — 2. IS 
giranaghdjydir. — 3. S dsurim lavanamigrdm juhuydt 108 saptdhe 
jvareria prathdnayane {}.) {pratyd-) ksirdktdm juhuydt 108 para- 
svastho bhavati.—:^. B arghedhdsa-, A arkehdha-. S dsurmim- 
bapatirdni 108 (cod. -niva-). — 5. B omits. — 6. A kai'ovisphota-, 
B karute purzisa sphofa-. S hutvd sa visphotakdir grhyate. — 7. 
A upasa-. — Z. S prathdnayana (pratyd-') dsiirlm krtvd 108 svasio 
bhavati. — 9. B -tamye. S dsurim arkakslrdktdm krtvd . . . homayed 
yad asya ndnmdm (!) {ndmnd ?) grhndii iasydksi sphotayati. For 
cure, S dsurim ksjrdktdni jiihuydt 108. — 10. S dsurim citdbhasma 
tnahdmahsam pretakai'n nirmdlyam ekjkrtya 108. — ir. S mantri- 
tena camnena {cilrn-) yasya spiindti (!) {sprgatit') sa unmatto 
bhavati, — 12. B hometa. — 13. S dsurim ajdksirdktdm krtvd svastho 
bhavati. In S the order is " Eye-twitching," " Epilepsy," " Fever," 
" Loss of sense," " Boils." — 14. A kusfa, B nagaram kustha. — 
1^. S abhima7itritena yasya spilgati {spr-') sa prsthato 'nucaro 
bhavati. — 16. A surarbhir ha-. — 17. A silksmetat dra-,B st'iktam 
tadra-.— iS. >Si has, — 
uglram tagaram kmtham zisrdm othasitghdthaih Q.) {'^'^■^') pag- 

caka (pa/lcakam), 
dsuripuspasamyuktam siiksmacilrnam tu kdrayet 108, (cod. -yet, 

tendcatdbhi loS) 
abhimantritena (cod. mantrl-') yasya gati (sprgati) gavago (savagd) 

bhavati (bhavet). 14. 



14 



THE ASURI-KALPA. 



achidrapattrdny asita nqirali' sarmpds iaihd, 
etacciirndt piirvaphalam- eidig cdivdparajaya¥. 13. I. 
ktisumdni vianahgild priyangictagardni* ca, 
gajendramadasamyukta))t kiih hirvdnas tv akimkaram". 14. 
ydg ca' striyo 'bhigachaniitd vaqah pddakpinalf , 
sapuspdrif tdiii samdddydnjanam ndgakeqara'w>\ 15. 
anendktdbhydni''' aksjbhydm yam''' pagyet sa ca kimkarah, 
anjanam tagaram kiistham''' devljam kddham eva ca. 16. 
mdhsl ca sarvabJultdndm sdicbhdgyasya hi kdranani"', 
tatsaviidhdm lakmhomdn nidhdnam pagyate viahaV''. 17. 
sarpir\_dadhi'^'\madhvakfapaitrdndm vrddhapuirf sahasratali, 
rdjyam tu labhate vaqyam tatpattratrisahasraiah'*. 18. 

I. B uclram. — 2. B puts 5 1 ok as 13-18 directly after the pas- 
sage which it alone contains.— 3. A yuvatphala ghate cdi-. S has 
instead, — 

dsuriptisipapaiirdni pmpdni ca phaldni ca, 
ndgend'raphalasamyuktam silksmacurnam he kdrayet 108, 
abliimantritena yana (yasya) sprgati sa vago bhavati {-vet). 15. 

— 4. B mrjyamyti ta-. S has, — 
manaligild priyangug ca iagaram ndgakegaram, 
dstcnphalasaihy7iktam silk^maciirnam tu kdrayet 108 [a^tagatdni'], 
abhimantrite7iaya(yasya)sprh {sprgati) savagobhavati{-vet). 16. 

— 5. B gajciidrdsa saih-.—6. A akrdvaram. — 7. Ayasyd.—S. A 
-lepanali, B pdramdalepaldt.—(^. B pwhf^pdndmtsa-. — 10. MSS 
-kesara7n.—ii. B anjanetdktdm.—\2. B yam yam pagyet sa 
kimkarah. S abhimantritena cakamv aujayitvd yam nirjksayaii 
sa vago bhavati.— \^. B omits, A hista.— \^. S has instead,— 
dsuryangapaucakendtmd7iam dhfipayet, 
yasydgagahdham (!) {yo 'sya gandham ?) tighrati {ji-) sa vagyo 

bhavati. 18. 
It also reverses the order of the two following statements. — 15. 
S has,— 

dadhimadhughrtdkidm htdvdsurlm juMiydt, 
?nahdnidhd7iani labhate dagasahasrdni, 
gatdytir vdi purtisd {-sah). 20. 

— 16. Omit on account of metre? S dstirim madhughrtdktdm 
hutvd . . . labhate putram. 19.— il- A vrdvapannm.—i^. B tatpa- 
tratridhdnam . . . -i'r/^fl'/za^ra/i^A, repeating from floka 17 last 
pad a to 18 end inclusive. It then has sdrdham . . . acetasali 
(9loka 7 end of first pa da to ^loka 12 end inclusive), after 
which it continues with ^loka 19 {siivarna-). S has, — 
rdjydrthaih madlnighridktdm juhuydd dsurllakqmlm, 
sa rdjyam labhate. 21. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. I 5 

stcvarnasahasraprdptis^ tatpattrdndm tu laksaiah, 
sahasrajapdc^ ca iadvad udake ksirabhaksmah. zp. 

vdripilrne Hha kalaqe^ paldqipallavdn ksipei*, 

sndndd alaksmyd^ mucyeta sdicvarnakalage" pi hi'. 20. 

vindyakebhyali sndnato ddurbhdgydc cdiva durbhagdf , 
prsthatag cdnudhdvaiiti samsprshV tidakena tu. 21. 

ugiram tagaram kustham^" mustd^^ taipattrasarsapdh, 
curnendbhihitas^^ iiirnam igvaro pi vago bhavet. 22. 

iulast bhilmadd devi cfirnasprstas^^ tathd vagi, 
rdjabhaye^^ suregvarl mdrjandd^^ dhdrandt tathd. 2j. 

na^^ sydd asyddbhzdaih kiih civ}'' 7ia kmdropadravas^^ tathd, 
7idndigvaryam^^ ndprajatvam"^" yasya devy dsuri grhe, 24. 

yasya devydstiri grhe'^\ II. 

iiy dsurikalpali santdptalf"^ . 

I. A. svarnasahasrasydptis tu tatpuspdndni. S suvaryidtha7n 
dsuriphaldiii dagasahasram hutvd S7ivarnasahasram labhate. — 
2. JB sahaja-. S payobhaksy dsuryudake praksindTii (!) {daksi- ?) 
ditydmukho (!) {pratyd- ?) bhiitvd dagasahasram japet. — 3. A. 
-lage lokegl-. — 4. IB -vara ksapet. S dsurjpallavdir astagdtoti- 
viantritani (!) {astottaragatdbhi77ta7itritam ?) saihpilrnam krtvd 
atTTia ij) {krtvdtmdTiamT) sndpayeta {-yed}) 77ta(l) {dtmd7iam}') 
dhiipayet. — 5. jB -ksml. S ataks?7zlih muiicyati (!) (mtiflcati), 
vi7idye kopasvarga {kopasargam'i) 77iuiicati. — 6. A -phalage. — 7. 
J5 -pi va. — 8. A -gd7i. S durbhagd subhagd bhavet. — 9. MSS 
samsprda. — 10. A krdam, J5 kusUwi. — 11. JB 77iastdrdsndtatpatra-. 
— 12. B -bhihatas. — 13. jB -stasas. — 14, A -bhaya. — 15. jB 77iarj- 
ja7idt, vd7'a7ids tathd. S has instead, cya7'tutha (!) {caturthaiW^.) 
jva7'ddibhutd7i adagatdTii japeta 77idrjaye77a (!) (^-Tiena}) p7'aksi7ia 
(-inaTJi?) mticyati (-/^?). — 16. JB 7ia ca tasyadbhu-. — 17. A -ci 
7ia. — 18. S has instead, dstWipistaih gatavd7-dhn (!) {^-raml) pari- 
jaspya (^-apyd) girasi dhdpayeta grhito 7nucati {-cyate ?), dudagrhl- 
td7idm dsurim ho77iayet jo8 tato Tnucyati (^-te) ksipram. — 19. S 
-7ilgva-. — 20. B -pramatay'n. S has instead, atha 77ta7itra7h p7'a- 
kdgayati lokdndm hitakdTTtyayd, dsuri7na7it7'ali saihpiirriavi l_-7id) 
astu i^stu). — 21. MSS grhe iti. — 22. A -tali. S5- 



i6 



THE ASURI-KALPA. 



III.— TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY. 

Orii, obeisance to Rudra : om, O pungent one, thou of the pungent 
leaf, blessed asuri, reddish one, thou of the reddish garment, O 
daughter of atharvan, non-terrific one, non-terrific wonder- 
worker (deed-performer), 'so-and-so' smite, smite, burn, burn, 
cook, cook, crush, crush, so long burn, so long cook, until thou 
hast brought [him] into my power : Svaha.' 

This is the so-called fundamental formula {pnillamantra). Pre- 
ceding it S gives, somewhat at length, a preparation rite {purag- 
caranavidhi), in which a triangular fire-pot is prescribed for use 
in reverencing the goddess. Part third gives a diagram of it 
which is here duplicated. It appears that the altar-mouth was so 




placed that one angle pointed to the south ; for the diagram has 
pa {or parvd " east," u for udlci " north," de probably for dak&ina 
" south," and a figure one (7) which may easily bq a corruption for 
pr^ pratici " west." Cf. ( part first) purusahastapramdne (cod. 
-nam) trikmiakunde ' vediyonisahitam saliva (cod. satvd) dak^ina- 

' ' Good-offering, good oblation.' Used at the end of invocations very much 
as we use Amen. 

■■^ The equilateral triangle has been a favorite figure in mysticism as well as 
in magic. See description of the pentacle in Dictionnaire Infernal, 
Sixidme Edition, 1863, p. 518. Cf. also Cornelius Agrippa, Vol. I, p. 196 ff., 
De undenario & duodenario cum duplici duodenarii Cabalis- 
tica & Orphic a; also I 226 ff., Ue Geometricis figuris atque Cor- 
poribus quavirtutein magia pollean t, & quae quibus dementis 
conveniant, atquecoelio. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 1/ 

karnike devfni (cod. -vi) piljayei.^ ' Having reclined (sat down), 
one should worship the goddess in a three-cornered fire-pot of the 
size of a man's hand, with an altar-mouth having [its] point (ear) 
to the south.' The preparation-rite includes an oblation of ghee 
and -sugar {^hrtagarkardhoma), garlands of the red, sweet-smelling 
oleander (^raktakaravlrapmpamdla), an ornament (mark) of red 
sandal-wood {raktacmidanatilakcC), the partaking of a brahma- 
carya-oblation {brahmacaryahavispdnam bhakivd, cod, bhaktd'), and 
a lying on the ground (bhamigayana).^ S, part second, adds, 
daksindbhimukho nityam ' facing the south constantly,' kanibald- 
sayiam ' sitting on a woolen blanket,' ^ raktavastraparidhdyiam 
(cod- tram pari-') 'putting on a red garment,' and raktagandhd- 
nulepanam 'anointing with red sandal-wood powder.'* S, part 
third, says also, sarvatra prdndydmddisu ' in all cases in the 
holding of the breath in worship, etc' 

The address to the A s u r I-goddess, beginning the " fundamental 
formula," occurs in S several times, mostly in part third, with 
slight variations in form. In one instance it has as one of its 
introductory phrases, netratraydya namali " obeisance to ' Three- 
eyes,' " and then continues, om hrim katuke, etc. Under the title 
japamantrali " whisper- spell," it appears in the form, om kllm 
hrfih grirh ksdum k^dum grim hrim kllm om, kahipattre subhaga 

^Part second says of it : trikonakaravuyonisahitam karavuhastamdtram tu 
kundarh karyam, onisahita (!) (yonisahitam ? hardly oni-) ayata (athato ?) brdhmana- 
daknnavmkhaveslne l^>, {-vdsijiiT) homa {-mayet}) karavukundanu (}) agna (!) {-de 
tv agnim ?) daksinakaravtim param {-rd ?) sidhi [siddhih). 'A fire-pot must be 
made having a triangular — altar-mouth of the size of a — hand moreover ; 
thereupon (?) one should offer an oblation (?) in the — fire-pot with an altar- 
mouth having a situation towards the south suitable for worship (?) [having 
kindled] a fire moreover with a — to the south. The greatest magic (success) 
[results].' The word karavu occurs nowhere else and is not at present trans- 
latable. 

- Cf. part second bhojanam havispdnam ekasuktam (!) {-bhuktam ?) hhilmi- 
gayanam brahmacaryam ; also part third jitendriyaJi (cod. ja) pujayed dsurim 
dev'im (cod. -ri devi). 

^For explanation see Durga Puja (durgdpujd) by Pratapachandra 
Ghosha {pratapachandra ghosd), note 19, p. xxix. 

*It heads the preparation-rite with the words atha padgdtimantra {-ah), and 
ends it by saying iti damkathitam {-ali\ mantrant {-ah). The first seems to 
mean, ' The going to the feet [of Rudra] text' {pad for pad). The second is a 
puzzle ; but it probably contains some similar idea referring to the propitiation 
of the god. 



1 8 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

dsuri raktavdsase 'iharvanasya duhitc 'ghore 'ghore svdhd, om 
kliih krlm grim k.^dmh k^dum grim hr'm klim orii.^ 

Following the ma la mantra, S gives a 'limb-placing cere- 
mony ' (aTigaJiydsa), consisting of" obeisance " paid to the fingers 
in pairs, and to the two palms and backs of the hands. "The 
object of such a ceremony is said to be the mental assignment of 
various parts of the body to certain divinities, with accompanying 
gestures and prayers.^ In the present case, the end in view seems 
to have been the propitiation of Rudra.^ Next in order comes a 
meditation {dhydncC), in which the protection of Durga is invoked, 
and mention is made of some of her characteristics, among them 
the possession of 90,000,000 bodily forms {dtcrgd navakotimiirti- 
sahiid'). 

In the case of a woman lying on a couch, as long as she sleeps, 
one should mutter : ' Of her arisen the going burn, burn : svaha, 
svaha ; of her seated the bhaga (pudenda) burn, burn : svaha, 
svaha; of her asleep the mind burn, burn: svaha, svaha, 
svaha, svaha; of her awake the heartburn, burn: svaha, 
svaha, svaha, svaha, svaha.'* 

1. So then we will teach the Asuri-Kalpa of the Atharva-Veda 
(atharvan). For her not a 'lunar-day,' nor a 'lunar-mansion,' 
nor the kindling of a holy fire is decreed. * 

2. Over all material consisting of ghee, etc., the asurl*' is 
caused to be muttered' one hundred times, And [let there be] a 

1 For other lists of particles somewhat similar in nature, cf. Durga Puja, 
pp. 36 end f. and 61 end. It has been thought best to keep the anusvara 
throughout; the MS uses the anunasika sign, possibly to indicate a pro- 
longation of the vowels by nasalization. 

'See Durga Puja, p. 30 flf., and note 21, p. xxxi f. 

' Cf. part third, tatra kardhgultnydsah, evam rudayddi (ritdrdydddii) nydsa 
evara niantraih {-a7i) samaih {sdma ?) jtydsam {roh) kartavyam {-ah) sadhakottanidi 
[sadhakottamdili). ' Then the finger-placing ceremony; thus to Rudra in the 
beginning the nyasa, thus the mantra, the saman ; the nyasa is to be per- 
formed with the highest magical [rites].' 

* S, part first, does not contain this formula. 

5'The highest asuri-ordinance.' Cf. p. II, foot-note 19, where a fuller but 
not altogether clear form of the mantra is given. 

^ Probably the mantra just given, possibly the mula-mantra. 

■"Cf. Laws of Manu, II 85, where the statement is made that muttering 
[the syllable om, the words dhttr, bhuvah, and svar, and the Savitri re (RV. 
Ill 62, 10)] is ten times better than a regular sacrifice; if they are muttered so 
low that they cannot be understood, they avail one hundred times more than 
a regular sacrifice ; and, if they are recited mentally, one thousand times more. 
This is possibly the starting point of the notion that muttered words and par- 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. I9 

portion of this' consisting of leaves, etc [Let there 

be] one, surely, who desires to smite [his] enemies and to render 
submissive kings. 

Owing to the uncertainty of the text,^ it has been thought best 
to omit the translation of one pad a, though a provisional reading 
has been adopted. H has nothing corresponding to it, but reads : 
atha gri dsurimahtram {qrydstirlmantrani) md atharvdna rsih 
imdtharvdnarsir) asuridevatd (dsurl-') hrim bijam (^m) asuri- 
Qakti {dsurl-) nastikachandah {-7idd) mama gatrziksayam {-yo) 
mdrane mohane vasikarane (vagi-) stambhane {stambh-') vini- 
yogah, 'Then me possessing the divine asurl-m antra [let] the 
seer of the Atharva-ritual, [let] the asurl-divinity [help?]: 

tides possess a peculiar and mysterious power which even the gods cannot 
escape, and by which the person understanding how to use them can control 
divine as well as human agencies and accomplish what he wills. At the 
present time in India, the Brahmans consider it a sacrilege to utter the word 
oih (pronounced aum as representing the trinity) aloud, and they also still 
attach wonderful powers to it. Cf. the oih mani padme hum of the Buddhists. 

S regularly gives the number of oblations as one hundred and eight, and a 
mantra is as regularly said to be pronounced with the oblation. One hun- 
dred images are mentioned by S,part second — sarmpatdilahomah (cod. pars-) 
pratimagatah 108 — but the number 108 follows immediately, as elsewhere. 
^ The asuri-plant. 

2 The reading of ^ is impossible as it stands, and that of ^ presents diffi- 
culties which can hardly be overlooked. The word jigdisa could scarcely be 
anything but a secondary adjective derivative from jigtsa, meaning " he who 
desires to conquer" (here fern.), while gamtu or dgamtu might be a 3d, sing., 
root-aor., imv. or the stem of the inf. used in a compound. It is difficult to 
see why a woman should be specified as the one desiring to conquer, and even 
if it were plain the rest would remain unsatisfactory. The root-aor. of the 
\fgam is confined to the Vedas, Brahmanas, and Sutras (Whitney, Roots, 
Verb-Forms, etc.) and may justly be suspected here, though the MSS seem 
to use some Vedic words, for example, homa (probably for homarti), the i^yu (p. 
98, foot-note), and indha [A., gloka 8). The infinitive stem also, as part of a 
compound, does not here make satisfactory sense, though the form is unobjec- 
tionable. The three lines taken together evidently serve as a sort of intro- 
duction to the practice, and taking the reading given in the text (as emended 
from the better MS), the whole may perhaps be rendered freely: 

'The asurl-[mantra] is caused to be muttered one hundred times 
over all sorts of materials,. such as ghee, etc.; [There is to be] both a por- 
tion of the [asuri] consisting of leaves, etc., and [there is to be] a desire 
to conquer without [ordinary ?] means (by magic ?) ; For [there is] one 
who both wishes to smite [his] enemies and to render submissive kings.' 
While this is not altogether satisfactory from a Sanskrit standpoint, it is 
the best that can be done at present. 



20 THE ASURI-KALPA. 

hrlm. [There is] the core of the mantra (seed) possessing the 
might of fisurl, the desire to destroy, the destruction of my 
enemy ; in the slaying, in the stupefying, in the making submis- 
sive, in the fixing like a post [this is] the practice.' 

Following this statement S has a " contemplation'" {dhydnd), 
in which the person should meditate {dhydyef) on the bright four- 
sided granter of wishes (j^ukldih caturblmjdm " varaddm'), having 
a hook in the hand l^ankvgahastdni) , adorned with all ornaments 
(^sarvdlamkdrabhil^J(dm), se2ii&d in the padmasana-position^ on 
a serpent {ndgopari padmdsanopaviddifi), and having a gracious 
countenance {prasa7inavada7id?n). The MS then has. Hi vag'ika- 
rane, ' Thus [readeth it] in the making submissive.' Secondly, 
in the fixing like a'post {stavibhane) the person is to meditate on 
the reddish, four-sided, fearless wish-granter {kapildm caturbhujdm 
abhayavaraddm), with sword in hand (khangarahastdni), having 
as an ornament a half-moon crest(?) {candrdrdhamdulbiepathydnii ."^ 
cod. cahddrdhamdulineprdiix), etc. And thirdly, in the slaying 
or magical incantation for that purpose (mdrane), he should medi- 
tate on the blue-colored, four-sided, fearless wish-granter (jilla- 
varndm, etc.), having a " red-stone " in the hand (rtcdhira-), 
seated on a dead-man {mrta^ndnusopaviddni), wearing a m u n d a- 
garland {^minddmdlddhardm), etc. The meditation contains 
several vocatives addressed to the goddess, for example, k^ame ' 
" gracious one," ndgayajrwpavitini "thou that hast a snake for 
sacred cord," and so on. The corresponding reflection of >S, 
part third, written in glokas, begins ; ' This is the time-triad 
meditation. [There is the meditation] pertaining to passion and 
also [that] pertaining to goodness and [that] pertaining to spiritual 
darkness ; thereupon the highest, accompanied by all sacred rites, 
divine, hard to be attained accomplishment by magic [takes 

place],' — 

atha kdlatrayam dhydnam. 

rdjasam sdtvlkl (!) {sdttvikam) cdiva tdmasam ca tatali paratn, 
sarvakarmasamdyuktam sddhanam devadurlabham. i. 

' For a similar dhyana, see Durga Puja, p. 34 f. 

- This word is used as an epithet of Visnu in tlie sense of having " four 
arms." 

3 A posture in religious meditation. The person sits with his thighs crossed, 
one hand resting on the left thigh, the other held with the thumb upon his 
heart, while his eyes are directed to the tip of his nose. 

■* Candrdrd ham dull is an epithet of ^iva. 

* An epithet of Durga. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 21 

The three parts of this meditation treat mostly of the adorn- 
ment and characteristics of a goddess. The first following the 
passage just cited begins : 'At dawn [one should meditate on 
the goddess'] shining with reddish apparel, adorned with 
gufija^ and vidula(?)," — 

prdtd (cod. prdtarakta-) raktdmbardbhdsdm gufijdvidumabhiisi- 
tdm (!) {-avidula- ?). 

It continues with similar expressions, and the third 9loka reads : 
' The one having three eyes and having four mouths, illustrious 
with the murmuring proceeding from the reading of the Veda, 
Possessed of staves and a disk,* carrying a sacrifice-spoon^ and 
ladle, a beautiful one,' — 

trinetrdiii ca cahirvaktrdm vedadhvanivirdjiidm, 
dandekmnandaldiyuktdm (!) {dandikdniandaldir yuktdthl:') guvali- 
grucadhardm (!) {sruvasruca- ?)" cubhdm. j. 

It ends with the words zVz rdj'asam, ' Thus [readeth] the [medita- 
tion] pertaining to passion.' The second begins: 'At midday 
[one should meditate on] the goddess wearing white apparel, 
moreover always gracious. Having put on a white garment, carry- 
ing a white serpent,^ Decked with garlands of malati^ along 
with white sandal-wood ointment, etc.. Having an appearance like 
[that of] the fruit of the ghatri,' made beautiful with a string of 
pearls in the nose,' — 

' This meditation contains no verb ; but from the meditation in S, part 
first, it is evident that dhydyet is to be supplied. The devlnh is expressed in 
the next division. 

^Abrus precatorius. 

^Calamus rotangor Calamusfasciculatus. 

* The disk is mentioned again just below in another section of the medita- 
tion. There is a general tendency noticeable in both divisions of S to repeat 
certain ideas in the three parts of the meditation. 

? The constant use of these two implements together makes it probable that 
this is the meaning of the passage, which is very corrupt. 

« Transition stem in -a from srtu, though, possibly bad writing ht sruva. 
The sruc is a large spoon or ladle, made usually of palaQa- or khadira- 
wood, and is used for pouring ghee on a sacrificial fire ; the sruva is a small 
spoon used for skimming the fat from the pot into the sruc. The reading 
suvahsruca- may be suspected here. 

'There are several plants called kaflcukin, and it may possibly be one of 
these. 

sjasminum grandiflorum. 

'Emblicmyrobolan. 



22 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

Qukldmbaradhardm devi (!) (-vim) madhydhne tii sadd givani (!) 

(-vdm'), 
qubhravastraparidhdnam (-ndni) gretakahcukidhdrini (!) {gveta- 

kanczikidhdrinim ?). 5. 

qubhracandanakpadyam mdlai'imdldmanditdm {-pddyamdl- ?), 
ghdtriphalasamdkdrdm ndsdtyiduktikaQobhitdm. 6. 

To these expressions may be added triQiilacandrdhidhardm (cod. 
-hidhard) ' bearing a trident and a white serpent,' and gvetavrsa- 
bhasamsthitdm ' standing by a white bull.' It ends with the words : 
Hi tdmasam ' Thus [readeth] the [meditation] pertaining to spiri- 
tual darkness.' The third division is substantially as follows : ' In 
the afternoon moreover [he should meditate on] the goddess made 
beautiful with a black ornament, Having put on a black garment, 
decorated with an ornament (mark) of kasturl (musk?), 
Adorned with three eyes in a streak of black antimony [applied 
to the lashes as a collyrium], Sitting down along with a bird, 
made illustrious with a conch-shell and a discus,* Possessed of a 
blue lotus,^ decked with garlands of holy basil,^ Thus at even- 
ing the goddess* Laksmi, in a black color, obeisance! one 
praises' (?), — 

apardhne (cod. -dnhe) tu sd (!) idm ?) devi (!) {-vlni) krqndlamkdra- 

gobhitdm, 
krmapataparidhdnam (-dni) kastiirililakdhkitdm (!) {kastiiritila- 

kdfljitdm ?). 

kr^nakajjalarekhdydm locanatrayabhmUdm , ^ 
vihahge (jhangena) samdsindm (-dsindHi) cankhacakravirdji- 
idm. i"." 

^ a. Qaflkhacakmgadddhara 'holding a conch-shell, a discus, and a mace'; 
an epithet of Visn.u. 

*Nymphaea caerulea. 

^Ocymum sanctum. 

* Possibly the reading should be rdnidm devim ' the beautiful goddess ' ; but 
there is reason to believe that it should be ranidm. Preceding the " Time- 
triad meditation," there is a brief asurl-meditation of a similar nature, intro- 
duced by the words dsuridhydnain dddu ca vdididhydnam (vedi- ?) ' The asuri- 
meditation and in the beginning the altar-meditation,' in which ^rl and 
LaksmT are both mentioned (cod. fr/f ca te laksmi), and the meditation of 8, 
part first, referring to Durga also mentions Laksmi. The tendency of the 
MS to repeat has been mentioned. . 

^ trilocani \% an epithet of Durga; trilocana, of ^iva. It is probable that 
the netratraya used in a form of the miilamant ra (p. 17) refers to the latter. 

*The numbering of the MS has been followed. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VE DA. 23 

nilotpalasamayuktdm tulaslmdldm anditdm , 

eva {-vam ?) sdya {-yam ?) ramd {-mam ?) devi {-vim) krsnavarne 
namo {-mail ?) stute. 2. 

The next passage is almost hopelessly corrupt. It contains 
enough syllables for more than three jlokas, has the figure four 
{4) at the end, and seems to emphasize some of the items already 
mentioned/ It concludes with the words: ity adi {-ddv"^) dsuri- 
irikdladhydnam ' Thus in the beginning [of the rite (?) readeth] 
the asurl time-triad meditation.' Further references to the 
goddess follow, among them, mahddevi {-devyT) aghorttkarma- 
kdrinV {-nil') " great goddess non-terrific deed-performer." The 
whole ends as follows : 'And also [thou who dost grant] much 
compassion [and] who dost bestow many a success. The medita- 
tion of Brahma, Visnu and (^iva, deliver the three worlds, O 
mother.^ Thus precisely [readeth] the supreme meditation. O 
asuri, supreme mistress, [Thou art] the giver of success to the 
magical [rites] producing enjoyment and deliverance. Thus in 
the beginning [readeth it] in the asurl-meditation,' — 

aneka {-kam ?) cdiva kdrunydm {-yam ?) anekasiddhiddyini, {-z?h 

dd--^), 
brahmavimuharadhydyiam trdhi irdilokyam ambike. 3. 

ity eva paramadhydnam dsuri paramegvari, 
sddhakdndm siddhiddtd bhuktimuktiphalapradd. 4. 

ity ddi {dddv ?) dsuridhydne. 

The significance of these references to the goddess asurl will be 
discussed below. It appears from the references to the three 
parts of the day that the oblations were made at the periods 
named, and the three parts of the meditation, in the order given, 
were used with them, i. e. the one referring to rajas was used in 
the morning, that referring to tamas at noon, and the one refer- 

' The passage begins with the words : sdttvikam puvdnhe, which should 
probably be emended to iti sdtivikam. purvdhne ; for the conclusion to the 
third part of the meditation is lacking in the MS, and the words madhydhne 
and apardhne follow in the two succeeding lines. The reference to the 
trisamdhyam becomes clear only on the supposition that sdttvikam ends 
the third division, and that the rest of the passage is supplementary to the 
whole. 

* The passage is too corrupt to determine whether the words should be voc. 
or ace; but they are probably voc. Cf. the passage cited just below, also p. 
II, foot-note 6. 

3 Commonly used of ParvatI, wife of Qiva, i. e. Durga. 



24 THE ASURI-KALPA. 

ring to sattva in the afternoon.' The number of oblations has 
been mentioned above, and it will be again considered below in 
another connection. 

3. The wise man should offer as an oblation a mixture of ghee 
and fine asurl-meal [in the form of] an image, Having kindled a 
fire of arka-wood fuel, having chopped the image, moreover, with a 
weapon. 

4. He [becomes] submissive before whose feet [a person] offers 
eight thousand oblations. A woman [is made] submissive by [an 
image of asurl-meal] anointed with ghee: Brahmans in a fire of 
palaga-wood: 

5. Ksatriyas, moreover, by [an image] anointed with sugar : but 
Vai9yas by [one] mixed with curds : Cudras, furthermore, by 
[those]^ mixed with salt : the wise man should make meal of 
black mustard. 

6. As a result of an oblation of asurl [extending] up to the 
seventh day,^ all these [are made] submissive. 

The practice in full' seems to have been as follows : The 
wizard first ground asuri' into meal, with which he made an 
image, symbolizing the person whom he desired to overcome." 
He used kindlings (samidhs)^ of arka-wood for Rajas and 

' It is to be observed that the correspcmding meditation in S, 'part first, is 
also divided into three minor reflections. No time is mentioned with the 
divisions in that place ; but it is probable that the same rule was observed as 
that laid down in part third. It also appears from the former, that each 
reflection was regarded as instrumental in accomplishing some particular part 
of the complete process of subjugation or destruction. 

- The change to the plu. masc. seems at the first glance to be for the sake of 
the metre ; but since ^udras lavanajni^rayd makes even a better p ada than the 
one in the text, it may be inferred that a different word was purposely 
implied in the case of ^udras. As a matter of fact the word most appropriate 
to them is masc. Cf. (jloka 5 and foot-note. 

*Cf. p. 12, notes 8, 10, and 12 end ; also p. 13, note 3, and p. 27. 

*See (J 1 okas 3, 4, and 5, and foot-notes. 

8 Probably the leaves as well as the seeds. See translation of gloka 2. 

^ a. part third (beginning of the rite used to subdue a Brahman), ///rz/a- 
brahmatimdm {parvabrahmapratimdmT) krtvd 'having made the former image 
of a Brahman,' i. e. as before. 

'The samidhs used in offering oblation were small sticks of wood about a 
span (9 in.) long and about as thick as a man's thumb. Cf. Colebrooke, 
Asiatic Researches, VII 233. The usual number is seven; but the 
Grhyasamgraha-Parigista of Gobhilaputra gives nine and their names 
(1*28 f.),- 

ity etah samidho nava, 

viQlrnd vidald hrasvd vakrd stilld kvQd dvidhd, 28- 
krmidastd ca dirghd ca varjanlyah prayatnatah. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 25 

women, p a 1 a 9 a-wood for Brahmans, k h a d i r a-wood for Ksatriyas, 
udumbara-wood for Vaigyas and ^udras, and nimba*-wood 
for foes. Having chopped up the image with a sword, he finally 
offered it as an oblation, adding ghee for a king or woman, ghee 
[and honey ^ ?] for a Brahman, sugar for princes, curds for third 
caste persons, salt for fourth caste persons, and pungent mustard 
oil for foes.^ It is to be observed that in the case of a king the 
person was to advance with the right foot; in that of a woman, 
with the left. This is doubtless to be put with the similar Hindoo 
notion that the throbbing of the right eye or arm is lucky for a 
man and unlucky for a woman, while with the left eye or arm the 
case is reversed. • 

/Sf, part third, while much fuller in its details than the other 
two sections, adds little of importance or interest. A few points 
in which it differs from them may be mentioned, for example, in 
the rite used for ensnaring a king it has ravikddhena prajvdlya 
' having kindled [a fire] with a stick of ra vi^-wood ' ; it also pre- 

Dr. Bloomfield, in his edition, thus translates : " dies sind die neun samidhs 
(Zundholzer). Ein zerbrochenes, ein gespaltenes, eins das kiirzer (als eine 
Spanne) ist, ein krummes, eins das dicker (als ein Daumen) ist, eins das zwei 
Zweige hat, ein von Wiirmern zerfressenes, und eins das langer (als eine 
Spanne) ist, sind nach Kraften zu vermeiden." The most complete description 
of them, however, is to be found in the grhya-sutras. 

' In the order named these trees are the Calotropis gigantea, the Bute a 
frondosa, the Acacia catechu, the Ficus glomerata, and theAzadi- 
rachta indica. Some idea of the Hindoo view in regard to these woods 
maybe obtained from the Ait areya-Br ah man a, II i. The Erection of the 
Sacrifice-post {yupa) ; and their appropriateness may be inferred from the 
Laws of Manu, II 45, where it is stated that the Brahman's staff should be 
of vilva- (^gle marmelos) or palaga-wood; the Ksatriya's, of vat a- 
(Ficus indica) or khadira-wood ; and the Vaigya's, of pilu- (Carey a 
arbora or Salvadora persica) or udumbara-wood. ^udras are not 
d vij as " twice-born," and so do not come under the rule. For nimba, 'part 
tllird uses picumanda, which is only another name for the same wood, and 
verifies the emendation (p. 12, foot-note 12 end). 

^See p. 12,. foot-note 9. 

3 The use of an image is treated of in the Introduction above. Kaug. Su., 
adhyaya 6, contains further material of a similar sort. See Kauc. 35,28; 
17, 54; and 49, 22. 

■» Bohtlingk, Lex. V, 172, cites r a vi as the Calotropis gigantea 
which makes it identical with a r k a. In this sense it seems to have been 
known heretofore to the lexicographers only. 

This article was in type before I had access to the index to Bohtlingk's 
lexicon, which also contains the word aparajaya and perhaps others. 
It has not been in my power to carefully consult that work for all the new 
or doubtful words in these MSS. 



26 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

scribes in this connection the " whisper-spell " (p. 17 above): in 
that for ensnaring a woman ' it has the heading rdmdvaglkarana- 
kamah and refers to the two fundamental formulas ^ {jnulaman- 
iraii) : under the ensnaring of a Brahman it prescribes white 
sandal-wood, a white wreath, and a white garment with other 
ornaments {fvetacandanasamyuktam gvetamdld- . . . fvetavastra- 
saynanvitani) ; the oblation must also be performed with especial 
care (^prayatnena homayef) and in preparing it use is made of balls of 
Guggula ' gum {gtigguldir gutikdh — cod. guguldi giifikd — krtvd'), 
black mustard seeds (rdjasar^apdlf), leaves of the betel-plant 
{ndgavallidaldir Jmidili), and other vegetable products, such as 
fruits and flowers;^ finally, under the subjugation of a C^udra, it 
mentions also the C and alas. A few passages from the same 
division may be cited with reference to the number of oblations 
and the time for performing them. In the rite used against 
women: 'Afterward the muttering is to be performed, moreover, 
one hundred and eight times by (of) men,' — 

pafcdj japam tu kartavyam adottaragatam nrndm. 

' Having muttered the fundamental formula in the mouth and 
[having performed] one hundred and eight [rites], The girl wastes 
away in (of) her middle [parts] ; thereupon the girl is likely to 
become submissive,' — 

mfila^nantre (^-trani) mukhe japtvddottaragatdni ca, 
dasyate madyd?idm yosd tato yom bhaved vagd. 

' Under this heading four different uses are given with considerable minute- 
ness of detail. The words employed to designate a woman are, rdma 
" beautiful woman," ^issa " girl, young woman," and (once only) stri " woman, 
wife." The words used to signify her subjection are, va^gd "obedient" 
(second use), vaQl " submissive " (third use), and va^yagd " subdued " (fourth use). 
(This last word is also used of a Vaigya and of a ^iidra.) In the first use 
where stri occurs, it is difficult to say what the word is. It appears that the 
practice was used in some instances as a philter, and there is even reason to 
believe that this may have been its most common use. Cf. Virg. Ec. VIII 
64 ff. ; Hor. Sat. I, VIII 23 ff., and Epod. V ; Lucian Dial. Mer. IV 4 and 5 ; 
Ovid Met. VII 224 ff., and Heroid. VI 91 ; and see (jlokas 14 and 15, and p. 
8, foot-note 2. 

'•^ It will be remembered that two formulas were given for a woman. Under 
the preliminary rites in 'part third the plu. is used {miilamantrdiQ ca). 

^ Bdellium or the exudation of the Amyris agallochum. 

•• From the statements here made, and another passage (p. 12, foot-note 9) 
which says that by oblation ' a certain high number consisting of hundreds ' 
i^^ityahevara) leads a Brahman to one's will, it may be inferred that the eight 
thousand oblations of the text (p. 12) have special reference to Brahmans. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 27 

In the rite for a Vaijya : ' Having done this (kindled the fire 
and performed the other preliminary rites), at the three periods of 
the day, he should burn the prepared asurl [made into an 
image]. With one hundred and eight [rites] so long should he 
perform the muttering at the three periods [morning, noon, and 
afternoon],' — 

evai'n dinatraymii krtvddhydktdm {jaktdin ?) dsurim dahet, 
adottaragatdis tdvat trikdlamjapam dcaret. j. 

' One should perform with pains the muttering during one month 
uninterruptedly,' — 

japam kurydt prayatnena mdsmn ekam nirantaram. 

Under this heading also (first §loka) the dark fortnight, i. e. from 
full to new moon {krmapakse) is specified as a time for performing 
the rite. In respect to a Ksatriya, it is said that he should be 
subdued in the course of twelve days {dvddagdir vdsardili). 
Finally, regarding a foe, it says : 'At the eight periods (watches) 
of the day having done honor with the mantra he goes against 
[his] foe ; On the seventh day the completion of the foe-slaying 
becomes fixed,' — 

param pratyeti manirena pajayitvd dindstakam, 

saptdhe ripughdtasya nidhaiiam bhavati dhruvam (cod. dhrvam). j. 

Most of the references agree in fixing the completion of the 
ensnaring on the seventh day. One hundred and eight oblations 
performed in six days amounts to just eighteen per day, and these 
performed at the trisafndhyam would make six in the morning, 
six at noon, and the same in the afternoon, which was evidently 
the plan followed as a rule. 

With pungent mustard oil [in the oblation]' at the three periods 
of the day, surely one makes a split in the family. 
7. With the hairs of a dog,'' moreover, [a person is] afflicted with 

' It is probable that asuri was to be used in this and all of the following 
prescriptions, though it is omitted in many of them. 

'^ The passage which is found only in JB at this point is very corrupt, yields 
no connected sense, and contains nothing of importance. It is probably an 
interpolation. Its general meaning seems to be about as follows : 

' Having then, moreover, smeared a leaf with the hairs of a dog, or 
having well smeared with mustard seeds (!) he should fumigate the li liga 
(perfume it with incense). 

He should then give a measure (?) of white mustard drink : all doubt 
vanishes (dies). And there is health in eating and in fasting: [it is] the 
practice in all diseases. 



28 THE ASUKI-KALPA. 

epilepsy during three days.' The stopping [of this is brought about] 
by milk, honey, and ghee [in the oblation]. [By performing the 
rite] with salt, however, he [becomes] afflicted with fever.'- 

8. In a fire of arka^-wood samidhs, furthermore, one estab- 
lishes a source of boils. Of these he should understand the cure 
(stopping) with the help ofsuregvarl and with ghee. 

The word surefvarl, which occurs in one other passage below 
(p. 33), is thus defined by the Peters. Lex.: Bez. der Durga 
. . . derLakshml . . . derRadha...derhimmlischen 
Ganga. It here means evidently asuri'' (probably both plant 
and divinity). The use of this word for dsuri, combined with the 
fact that various words found in the asurl-meditation (p. 20 f.) 
are or may be used of Durga, makes a strong presumptive argu- 
ment that asuri was regarded as a form of Durga. surefvarl, 
however, may be used of LaksmI, who is spoken of in the same 
connection, and who appears again below. It will also be observed 

Surely the well known ones who live by alms (?) [Brahmans] become 
bad as a result of muttering. It is to be muttered eleven times in succes- 
sion. The split in the family may become destroyed (he is likely to 
become injured by a split in the family ?) 

In the subjugation of a third caste person he should offer as an oblation 
(?) [an image] made with powdered suratis(?)(surabhis "nutmegs"?). 
In the overcoming (doing up) of a C u d r a, moreover, let [the person] go (?) 
with a lotus-plant {padmini) to a place where four ways meet. 

Having written the name, having seized [it] pressed by the finger (?), 
[there arises] headache, fever, [and] colic. Disagreement is a non- 
meeting with prosperity, a non-meeting with prosperity. 

Or the adya of the kalpa (?) [is] to be used in a quaternion of 
Brahmans, etc.: thus in their coming together, the magic practice of the 
four even is made manifest.' 
The word ddyd is a puzzle. It is an epithet of Durga, but can hardly be 
used in that sense here. If for ddya (neu.), it may possibly refer to the mu la- 
mantra as the beginning of the kalpa. It does not seem likely that the MS 
reading valpddyd is a new word. 

The scenting the linga with incense may possibly be a love-charm. Cf., 
however, Herod. I 198, oaaKiq ^' av /mx^V yvvaml rij ku.vTov avtjp B«,3i'/wi'Wf, 
TTepl dvfi'iTjfia Karayi^ouevov l!^£i, iripudi de rj yvvf] tuvto Tzodei. 

^S 'Having tied up (made one) the asuri [in the form of an image?] 
with a hair from a white ass, he with whose name he may make oblation is 
suddenly afflicted with (hidden in ?) epilepsy.' 

^ asuri and milk are used in making the one hundred and eight oblations 
for his restoration to health. 

^ jS has simply asuri and nimba leaves. 

* S 'Having made asuri, loS, he becomes well (in his own condition).' 
ghrtdktdm is probably omitted. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 29 

that a large part of the dhy anas consists of " stolen thunder," ' 
a fact not to be wondered at, since the people who used these 
rites were hardly capable of originating any ideas themselves, and 
would naturally borrow any that might seem suitable. In the 
same way they would refer to deities, especially evil ones, who 
might be regarded as likely to give success. A mixture of direct 
reference to asurl, and allusions to these other divinities, is there- 
fore to be expected, and clear conceptions are hardly to be looked 
for, since confusion of the two sets of ideas is almost inevitable 
with an untrained mind, and it is to be seriously doubted whether 
those who practiced the rites had any really definite idea as to the 
exact meaning of their ' prayers.' The confusion of divinities 
would probably only make the spell appear all the more potent 
because of the mystery ^ which it created ; for the mysterious is 
an essential element of all magic. 

9. In a fire of arka-wooci, with [asurij anointed with arka- 
plant and milk, [a person] may cause the two eyes of [hisj foe to 
twitch (burst). 

H adds a clause which is not altogether clear. The Vgrabh 
regularly takes the ace, and emending to ndma, the meaning is, 
' When he mentions his name.' If emended to the ins.,^ which 
seems more likely from the MS reading, the use must be a tech- 
nical one in some such sense as : ' When he grasps [the image] 
along with the name,' i. e. having the name attached to it.^ 

^ Cf. references to the Durga Puja, foot-notes, pp. 18 and 20. 

^ That the capacity of the Hindoo mind for the mysterious is not small can be 
seen from a stanza in the RV. (X 54, 3), in which Indra appears as the begetter 
of his own parents : 

kd u mi te mahimdnah samasydsmdt piirva fsayd 'ntam dpuTi, 
ydn mdtdram capitdrarh ca sdkdm djanayathds tanvaJi svaydh. J. 
Grassmann thus translates : " Gabje es Sanger, welchevoruns lebten, die deiner 
ganzen Grosse Ziel erreichten ? Der du zugleich den Vater und die Mutter 
aus deinem eignen Leibe dir erzeugt hast." After this, some obscurity in the 
thought and a slight confusion of divinities may be pardonable in such a 
document as the Asurl-Kalpa, in which the object in view is not so much 
the sense as the use of potent words and particles to accomplish a result by 
magic. 

^Cf. p. 12, foot-note 14, which favors the emendation. 

■*Cf. pp. 9 and 27, foot-note 2. Part tllird begins the practice with 
the words : atha netrandganam, ravikd»the krte home ' Then the eye-destruction. 
Oblation having been made on a stick of ravi-wood.' It prescribes asurl 
arka-plant, and salt in the oblation, and says : 'And the seventh day having 
arrived (been obtained) he becomes deprived of his eye,' — 

saptame vdsare prdpte QcakmhinaQ (!) caksurkl-) cajdyate. J. 



30 THE ASURI'-KALPA. 

The flesh of a dead man, his remauis of course, and ashes from a 
funeral pile.' 

10. He who [is] touched with the meal [made] of these becomes 
possessed of a ridiculous character.'^ Deliverance from this is pro- 
duced as a result of an oblation with [asurl] anointed with goat's 
milk. 

11. Tagara, kustha, and maiisl^ plants and also certainly 
leaves of this [asurlj : He who [is] touched with these [ground] 
fine, moreover, runs about behind [one's] back.* 

12. Fruits and roots of this [asurl] with the fragrant fat of an 
elephant. From contact with fine material of these^ [a person] 
runs after those devoid of sense. 

It adds: 'Then the cure (causing to cease). Having made an oblation of 
asuri anointed (?) with cow's milk, with fires of ravi-wood as a result of his 
own oblation (niahd) he becomes well (goes to the being in his own condition) ; 
the eye-disease should disappear (become vanished),' — 

atlia Qantdu {-tiliT). 
godugdhendsuriptiipta (!) {-rim liptdml) hutvd ravihutdf;andth, 
svamahdt svasthatdra ydti netrartm mllitd bhavet. 

Part first has 'asurl anointed with milk.' The similarity of the means 
used in producing and curing the evils is noteworthy as an evidence of the 
popular notion in India that he who can cure disease must also be able to pro- 
duce it and vice versa. 

^S ' Having united asuri, ashes from a funeral pile [and] human flesh, the 
remains of a dead [man].' Part third adds fine chopped meat, the hair of 
a Candala, and some other things not yet clear {ullakamaydih), — 
dsurim ca citdbhasnia janah pi^itam samyute, 
cdnddlakeQnsamyuktam ullakamaydih saha {sahitam), 
mrtanirmdlyasarhyuktam sadir (-im ?) ekatra kdrayet. 2. 
{Mdi is probably a fem. derivative from cad in the sense of " sixness," a collec- 
tion of six. The person unites the six items mentioned.) It puts this rite 
under those to be employed against an enemy, ending the whole with the 
words : id Qatruksayavivaranatn ' Thus [readeth] the detailed account of the 
destruction of an enemy.' 

-S ' out of his senses.' It adds that the mantra is to be pronounced over 
the meal. 

"TagaraisTabernaemontanacaronaria, also a powder made from 
it; ku.stha is a plant used for the cure of takman (fever?), the Costos 
speciosus or arabicus; man's I may be jatamansi (Nardostachys 
jatamansi), kakkoli, or mansacchanda. The MSS seem to require a 
plant called kusthamahsT. No such plant is mentioned elsewhere so far as 
known. The omission of the anusvara is easily explained, and it appears in 
<; 1 o k a 22. S reads, nagara ktista te iipatnl mdnsi. 

* jS 'becomes a servant (attendant) behind [his] back.' 

5 jS mentions five plants besides asu ri-flowers : tagara, kustha, uglra 
(fragrant root of And ropogon muricatus), usra (Anthericum tube- 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 3 1 

13. Uninjured leaves [of asurl] the dark ugira-root, likewise 
mustard seeds. From the meal of these the former result ' [is pro- 
duced] and also by these invincibleness [is obtained] .^ 

According to A this marks the close of the first division of the 
practices, all of which thus far have been for the purpose of pro- 
ducing ill, curing the same, or getting the mastery of some one^ 
In all of them the materials have been ground into meal, to be 
used either in making an image of the intended victim or to be 
applied to him in person. Those that follow have already been 
discussed above. 

14. Flowers [ofasurl?], realgar, and millet and tagara plants, 
With the juice from the temples of a huge rutting elephant, ^ 



15. And the women who approach [become] submissive to (ser- 
vants of) the one anointing their feet. Having taken this [asurl] 
in bloom, anjana,^ [and] nagake?ar a-plant. 

rosum), and some other plant which is not clear. The tgh may possibly 
stand for //^ (p. 13, foot-note 18), in which case an emendation to/Zm^a (Jasmi- 
num auriculatum) might be suspected. A correct pada can then easily 
be made, though there is no MS authority for it, by omitting the doubtful word 
othasi: usramjhdtdm tu paVUakam. It prescribes the mantra, and says, ' He 
whom he touches becomes submissive.' 

' Probably the running after those devoid of sense. 

^(Ssays, ' He should make into fine meal, moreover, asuri-flowersand leaves, 
and flowers and fruits, along with fruit of the nagendra (betel?). He 
becomessubmissive whom he touches with [this meal] consecrated by mantras 
muttered over it.' The use of the mantra, or muttered spell, seems to be an 
essential element in all these practices. 

3 The reading -medasa- ' fat (of a huge elephant),' may be suspected here 
possibly, though the evident nature of the compound favors the MS reading. 

*The two MS readings of this pada are neither of them entirely satisfac- 
tory. The MSS agree save in the two middle syllables of the last two feet. 
S gives no help. It reads : ' He should make into fine meal, moreover, realgar, 
and millet, tagara [and] nagakegara (Mesua roxburghii) plants, along 
with asurl- fruit. [He should mutter the spell] one hundred and eight [times] 
(one hundred and eight [mantras should he mutter]?). He whom he touches 
with [this meal] consecrated by the mantra muttered over it becomessub- 
missive.' From the connection it appears that the pada must refer to or con- 
tain instructions for the person using the philter, ^'s reading would mean 
then : 

' [Let him be] preparing [the mixture], however, {kim . . . ttt) without 
help (in the manner [of one] having no servant).' 

The idea may possibly be that the power of the charm would be impaired 
or diverted if another had anything to do with it. The akrdvaram of A seems 
to mean ' not acting the suitor,' or something similar. Cf. p. 14, foot-note 6. 

5 An eye salve or ointment made from Amomum xanthorrhiza or antimony, 
used as a cosmetic. 



32 THE ASURI-K'ALPA. 

i6. He whom' [a person] looks at with [his] eyes anointed with 
this [compound becomes his] servant. Anjana, tagara, kustha- 
and devlja kastha^ precisely, 

17. And mail si plants [are] a cause of good fortune, moreover, 
to all creatures. From an oblation of one hundred thousand of the 
s a m i d h s of this [a s u r l] great treasure is beheld.^ 

18. From one thousand leaves [of asurl] anointed with ghee, 
curds* (?), and honey [in the oblation, a person becomes] possessed 
of grown-up sons. One obtains, moreover, a submissive kingdom 
from three thousand leaves of this, [asurl, offered as an oblation]. 

S says, ' For the sake of a kingdom one should make an obla- 
tion of asurllaksmi anointed with honey and ghee, he obtains 
the kingdom.' LaksmI is used as a name for several propitious 
plants, evidently by a sort of personification, and its use here as 
an extension of the name for black mustard is significant because 
it is also used in the asurl meditations above. 

19. The obtaining of one thousand gold pieces [comes] from one 
hundred thousand leaves ^ of this [asurl, offered as an oblation], 
And likewise one thousand mutterings of him who partakes of milk 
over water.*^ 

20. Then in a vessel filled with water let him strew palagl twigs.'' 
He is likely to be freed from ill-luck « as a result of an ablution, in a 
golden vessel, however. 

'^ ' whoever he looks at,' a better reading in some respects ; but /S supports 
A.. It also adds the usual muttering of spells over the salve. 

-Probably ka s t ha-d aru (Pinus deodora), called also deva-daru. 
Here called "goddess-born." S has a different statement: 'He should per- 
fume himself with the smoke of five parts of asurl [flowers, leaves, etc.], he 
who smells the scent of it becomes submissive.' 

3 ,S>' Having offered an oblation of asurl anointed with curds, honey, and 
ghee, he should make an oblation ; he obtains great treasure, ten thousand 
[oblations should he make]. A man [will reach] the age of one hundred years 
you know [if he does this].' 

■* S and the metre both favor the omission of this word. 

5 5' ten thousand asurl fruits, having offered as an oblatior>.' 

«(S ' Having partaken of milk over asurl and water [and] having taken a 
position facing the south (?), he should mutter ten thousand times.' 

'A species of climbing plant, called pattravalli, par n avail i, and 
palagika. S 'With asuri twigs having made full [a vessel] consecrated 
bv one hundred and eight spells muttered over it, he should bathe himself, he 
should perfume himself (?) with incense.' 

* S ' He sets aside ill-luck ; in good breeding he puts away the disposition 
to (onset of) anger.' (?) The reading vindge kopa- is suspiciously like vindya- 
kebhyah ; but other similar cases occur. 



A WITCHCRAFT PRACTICE OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA. 33 

21. [A person is likely to be released], as a result of an ablution, 
from obstacles and also from unfortunate ill-luck. And touched by 
the water, moreover, they run about behind [them].' 

22. Ugira, tagara, kustha, musta,- mustard seeds, and 
leaves of this [asuri]. When quickly touched with meal [made of 
these] even a lord should become submissive. 

23. Tula si, bhumada, [and?] devl.^ Touched with the 
meal [made of these ?] likewise [a person becomes] submissive. 
In case of fear of a Raja, [let] suregvarl be used. From purifi- 
cation with it, likewise the carrying [it with one].'* 

24. No portentous occurrence is likely to be his, likewise no small 
misfortune. [He is] neither devoid of power nor destitute of children 
in whose house the divine asuri is, in whose house the divine 
asurl is.^ 

Thus endeth the Asuri-Kalpa. 

' S 'An ill-favored woman should become well-favored.' The ill-luck seems 
to be especially a husband's dislike, and the last clause may mean, therefore, 
that the husbands become very attentive. 

-A species of grass (Cyperus rotundus). (S omits. 

2 This line is not clear: tula si is the Holy Basil ; devi maybe one of 
several plants, Sanseviera roxburghiana, Medicago esculent a, 
Trigonella corniculata, etc.; and bhumada "earth giver," maybe 
a plant or simply an epithet of one. If a plant, it is probably asuri (cf. 
varadd used in the meditations). Two other meanings are possible : ' Holy 
basil, the earth-giving goddess,' and ' Holy basil [and] the earth-giving god- 
dess [asuri].' S has a different statement : ' Fourthly, with respect to [evils] 
such as (consisting of) fever, etc., one should mutter [the spell] one hundred 
and eight times. By means of a purification, destruction is averted.' For 
prakshm, cf. Peters. L,tx., praksiTiam idam devadattasya " Dies ist der Ort wo D. 
umgekommen ist." It might be rendered '• Here the death (destruction) of D. 
[took place].' 

■* S has, ' Having muttered [the spell] one hundred times (?) he should put 
asuri-mealon his head. He who has been seized is released. For those 
who have been overpowered by sin (?) he should make an oblation of asuri 
one hundred and eight times; thereupon [the person] is at once released.' 

'" In place of this statement S has : ' Thereupon he causes the text to become 
clear by the good-will of men. Let the asuri text be completed.' It adds 
the usual ending : 

' The A s u r I-K a 1 p a [is] concluded.' 



LIFE. 

Herbert William Magoun was born Feb. 17, 1856, at Bath, 
Maine. In 1871 he entered the high school at Worcester, Mass., 
where he remained about two years and three months, completing 
the third year's work under private instruction at Bath, Maine. 
The last year of preparation for college was spent at Grinnell, 
Iowa, in the academy connected with Iowa College. He gradu- 
ated from that institution in 1879, and during the following year 
acted as assistant in the Oskaloosa High School near Grinnell. 
At the close of the year he went east and accepted a position as 
principal of a grammar school at Bath, Maine, from which he was 
called, after one year's service, to Grinnell as a tutor at his alma 
mater. After remaining there three years, he resigned this position 
to go to the Johns Hopkins University ; but was induced to remain 
a year with a Hartford insurance company for which he had done 
some work during the summer of 1884. In the fall of 1885 he 
entered the university, taking Greek as his major study and Latin 
and Sanskrit as minors, In Jan., 1887, he made Sanskrit his major 
course and soon after took a scholarship in that study. The 
following year he was appointed Fellow in Sanskrit and also 
taught the beginner's class in that language. For the year 1888-9 
he acted as director of the Johns Hopkins University gymnasium 
during the absence of the director in Europe, and gave instruction 
in Swedish gymnastics ; but he also continued his Sanskrit studies 
and gave instruction in the Nala, Hitopadefa, and Rig- Veda.