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A proverb says: "The sacrificer hunts Indra like game, and holds him fast as the fowler does the bird ; the god is a wheel which the singer understands how to turn." The gods derive their whole might and power from the sacrifice as the condition of their existence, so that the Brahmins are indispensable for their continued existence.However, that the gods were not entirely indifferent to man, but gave him their assistance, is proved among other things by the serious expiatory character which was not quite eliminated from the Vedic sacrifices.
Then the sacrificial efficacy passed from them to the horse. They accepted the horse, but the sacrificial efficacy went to the steer, sheep, goat, and finally to rice and barley: Thus for the instructed a sacrificial cake made of rice and barley is of the same value as these [five] animals" (cf.
The Hindu temples are usual artistic and magnificent edifices with numerous courts, chapels, and halls, in which representations of gods and idols are exposed. Although the Hindu religion centres in its idolatry sacrifice has not been completely evicted from its old place.
The symbol of Shiva is the phallus ( linga ); linga stones are indeed met throughout India (especially in the holy places) in extraordinary numbers.
The offering of the soma ( Agnistoma ) -- a nectar obtained by the pressing of some plants -- took place in the spring; the sacrifice lasted an entire day, and was a universal holiday for the people.
The triple pressing of the soma , performed at certain intervals during the day, alternated with the offering of sacrificial cakes, libations of milk, and the sacrifice of eleven he-goats to various gods.
We shall consider successively: (1) Among the Indians The Vedism of the ancient Indies was, to an extent never elsewhere attained, a sacrificial religion connected with the deities Agni and Soma.