इदं वै तन्मधु दध्यङ्ङाथर्वणोऽश्विभ्यामुवाच । तदेतद् ऋषिः पश्यन्नवोचत् ।
तद्वां नरा सनये दंस उग्रमाविस्कृणोमि तन्यतुर्न वृष्टिम् ।
दध्यङ् ह यन्मध्वाथर्वणो वामश्वस्य शीर्ष्णा प्र यदीमुवाच ॥ इति ॥ १६ ॥
idaṃ vai tanmadhu dadhyaṅṅātharvaṇo’śvibhyāmuvāca | tadetad ṛṣiḥ paśyannavocat |
tadvāṃ narā sanaye daṃsa ugramāviskṛṇomi tanyaturna vṛṣṭim |
dadhyaṅ ha yanmadhvātharvaṇo vāmaśvasya śīrṣṇā pra yadīmuvāca || iti || 16 ||
16. This is that meditation on things mutually helpful which Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught the Aśvins. Perceiving this the Ṛṣi (Mantra) said, ‘O Aśvins in human form, that terrible deed called Daṃsa which you did out of greed, I will disclose as a cloud does rain—(how you learnt) the meditation on things mutually helpful which Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught you through a horse’s head.’
We have said that the story given here is for the sake of eulogy. What is that story? It is as follows: This refers to what has just been dealt with, for it is present to the mind. The particle ‘vai’ is a reminder. It reminds us of the story narrated elsewhere (Ś. XIV. 1. i., iv.) in a different context, which is suggested by the word that.
That meditation on things mutually helpful which was only hinted at, but not clearly expressed, in the section dealing with the rite called Pravargya, is described in this section in the words, ‘This earth,’ etc. (II. v. i). How was it hinted at there?—
‘Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught these Aśvins the section dealing with the meditation on things mutually helpful; it was a favourite subject with them; therefore he came to them (wishing to teach them) thus’ (Ś. XIV. 1. iv. 13):
“Indra has told me that he will behead me the moment I teach it to anybody; therefore I am afraid of him. If he does not behead me, then I will accept you as my disciples.”
They said, “We will protect you from him.” “How will you protect me?”
“When you will accept us as’your disciples, we shall cut off your head, remove it elsewhere and preserve it. Then bringing a horse’s head we shall fix it on you; you will teach us through that. As you do so, Indra will cut off that head of yours, then we shall bring your own head and replace it on you.”
“All right,” said the Brāhmaṇa, and accepted the Aśvins as his disciples. When he did so, they cut off his head and kept it by elsewhere; then bringing a horse’s head they fixed it on him; through that he taught them. As he was teaching them, Indra cut off that head. Then the Aśvins brought his own head and replaced it on him’ (Ś. XIV. 1. i. 22-24).
On that occasion, however, only that portion of the meditation on things mutually helpful was taught which forms part of the rite called Pravargya, but not the secret portion known as Self-knowledge. The story that was recited there is here mentioned for the sake of eulogy. This is that meditation on things mutually helpful ‘which Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught the Aśvins through this device.
Perceiving this deed the Ṛṣi or Mantra said: O Aśvins in human form, that terrible deed, etc. ‘That’ qualifies the remote Daṃsa, which is the name of the deed. What kind of deed was it? ‘Terrible.’ Why was it done? Out of greed. People do terrible deeds in the world tempted by greed; these Aśvins too appear to have done exactly like that. What you have done in secret, I will disclose. Like what? As a cloud does rain. In the Vedas the particle ‘na’ used after a word denotes comparison, not negation, as in the expression, ‘Aśvam na,’ (like a horse). ‘I will disclose your terrible deed as a cloud indicates rain through rumbling noise etc.’—this is the construction.
Objection: How can these two Mantras be in praise of the Aśvins? They rather condemn them.
Reply: There is nothing wrong in it; these are eulogistic, not condemnatory. Because in spite of doing such a despicable deed they passed off absolutely scatheless; nor did they suffer anything in the unseen realm. Therefore these two Mantras are eulogistic. People sometimes rightly construe blame as praise, and likewise it is common knowledge that praise may be blame in disguise.
The secret meditation on things mutually helpful, known as Self-knowledge, which Dadhyac, versed in the Atharva-Veda, taught you through a horse’s head. ‘Ha’ and ‘im’ are expletives.