Early Vedic Tradition: Ecstatic Visions and the Fire Sacrifice



1.    Visionary and Sacrificial Dimensions

a.     Visionary: Rishis – “seers.” And soma.  Seeing beyond ordinary appearances.  Direct hearing (ri) of the ultimate truth and forces of the universe

b.    Sacrificial: Vedic Sacrifice

                                      i.     Acts and worship in the sacrifice have hidden ties with cosmic realities.

                                    ii.     The priest, by manipulating these tokens, can bring about desired effects in the outer world.  Priest knows secret correspondences between symbols in ritual and cosmic powers to which they refer.

2.    The growing centrality of the Fire Sacrifice – movement from emphasis on relations with the gods to ritual actions based on universal principles of order

a.     Initially: Sacrifice as link to gods, ensuring their divine influence over the order of the universe

b.    Gradually: Decreasing emphasis in the sacrifice on the gods and increasing emphasis on efficacy of the ritual itself in securing cosmic order, based on the correspondences between the cosmos and the sacrifice