Fire, Light, and Ingesting over Time

Laurie L. Patton

in Bringing the Gods to Mind

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240872
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930889 | DOI:
Fire, Light, and Ingesting over Time

Show Summary Details


This chapter reviews the ways in which viniyogas have created different kinds of associative worlds about eating in the Vedic literature. The food imagery of the Rig Veda becomes used in the Upanisads as representative of the emerging idea of a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. In both the Śrauta and Grhya worlds a new class of rites, called pākayajña, or “sacrifices of cooking,” emerge as ways of thinking about food. In the application of Rig Veda hymns 1.2 and 1.3, the communal process of consumption involving the full participation of the deities in the Śrauta world became a solitary eating. The next set of Rig Vedic hymns (10.1–5) links fire, eating, and the Sun. The hymn to the waters, Rig Veda 10.30, creates an elegant set of mutually referential metonymies. Rig Veda 10.88 is a hymn that celebrates both Soma and Agni. This hymn describes the Soma libation as undecaying and pleasant, offered to Agni, who touches the sky, and the gods supply Agni, the giver of happiness, with food.

Keywords: Vedic literature; Rig Veda; metonymy; Vedic hymns; ingestion; fire; Grhya Sutras

Chapter.  11643 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.