The Language of Yoga
The distinction between “Vedic Sanskrit,” which is anything but pure and precise, is different to the later, refined Classical Sanskrit, which itself has multiple layers. This is the reason why scholars can show how various sections of texts were likely composed and inserted later, as the language used is identifiably different.
If the reader is curious, here is some of the original “language of Yoga,” which one could apply some sort of intersectional critical deconstructionist literary theory.
Below are portions of three Vedic poems, the translations are provided by Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton. The first excerpt is taken from the eleventh poem of the second “book” of the Ṛgveda. It clearly shows the virtues extolled in getting drunk, excited, and tending to a clear culture of “toxic masculinity,” which anticipates accumulating wealth, power, and prestige through success in battle.
Drink and drink the soma, o Indra, our champion! Let the exhilarating soma-pressings exhilarate you. As they fill your cheeks, let them strengthen you.
When properly pressed among the Paura, (the soma) has helped Indra. 2,011.11
We inspired poets have abided by you, Indra. Serving according to the truth, we would gain insight. Seeking your help, we would create for ourselves a proclamation of your praise. On this very day, we would be those to be given wealth by you. 2,011.12
Indra, might we be those of yours who are accompanied by your help, since, seeking your help, we make your nourishment strong. Grant us the most explosive wealth in which we will delight, o god — that consisting of heroic men. 2,011.13
Grant us peaceful dwelling. Grant us alliance. Grant us a Marutian warrior band, o Indra. And they who jointly are finding exhilaration — (those) Winds drink the first offering. 2,011.14
Now let just those (soma juices) pursue you — those among whom (you) are becoming exhilarated. Steadfastly drink our soma to your satisfaction, Indra. (Be) near to us in battles, o surpassing one. You have strengthened heaven through lofty chants. 2,011.15
We would win! — we who by your help are overcoming all rivals, the Dasyus along with the Ārya. That was for us: that you made Viśvarūpa, son of Tvaṣṭar, submit to Trita, one of your circle of companions. 2,011.19
The twelfth poem of the third book reveals an ancient colonial expansionist delight in causing trauma through again getting Indra and Agni drunk so that they might destroy, through arson, essentially, 90 fortified encampments of the poet’s enemies. The Dāsas were an indigenous group that the Vedic Aryans conquered in their period of “smash and grab” settler-colonialism.
Indra and Agni! Come to the pressed soma, to the cloud worthy to be chosen, through our songs. Urged on by our insight, drink of this. 3,012.01
Indra and Agni! The sacrifice of the singer goes (to you two) jointly,being worthy of your attention. By this (insight), drink this pressed soma. 3,012.02
I choose Indra and Agni, the two who appear as sage poets with the spur of our sacrifice. So let those two satisfy themselves here with the soma. 3,012.03
I invoke the streaming smashers of obstacles, ever-conquering, never conquered Indra and Agni, best winners of victory’s prize. 3,012.04
The singers with their recitations, knowing the (poetic) devices, chant forth to you two. Indra and Agni, I choose your refreshments. 3,012.05
Indra and Agni! You shook the ninety fortifications, lorded over by Dāsas, at one time with a single act. 3,012.06
In the thirty-second poem from the first book, Indra’s “heroic deeds” are again extolled. These poems are all about hyping up Indra while filling him with liquor to get him to help destroy one’s enemies. Indra’s toxic masculinity is celebrated, though he assaults marginalized invalids who cannot defend themselves.
Now I shall proclaim the heroic deeds of Indra, those foremost deeds that the mace-wielder performed: He smashed the serpent. He bored out the waters. He split the bellies of the mountains. 1,032.01
He smashed the serpent resting on the mountain — for him Tvaṣṭar had fashioned the resounding [/sunlike] mace. Like bellowing milk-cows, streaming out, the waters went straight down to the sea. 1,032.02
Acting the bull, he chose for his own the soma. He drank of the pressed soma among the Trikadrukas [=the Maruts?]. The generous one took up his missile, the mace. He smashed him, the first-born of serpents. 1,032.03
When you, Indra, smashed the first-born of serpents and then beguiled the wiles of the wily ones, then, giving birth to the sun, the heaven, and the dawn, since that time you have surely never found a rival. 1,032.04
Indra smashed Vṛtra [/Obstacle] the very great obstacle, whose shoulders were spread apart, with his mace, his great weapon. Like logs hewn apart by an axe, the serpent would lie, embracing the earth [/soaking the earth (with his blood)]. 1,032.05
For, like a drunken non-warrior, he challenged the hard-pressing great hero whose is the silvery drink [=soma]. (Vṛtra) did not withstand the attack of his weapons. His mouth destroyed by the shattering blow, he whose rival was Indra was completely crushed. 1,032.06
Handless and footless, he gave battle to Indra. (Indra) smashed his mace upon his back. A steer who tried to be the measure of a bull, Vṛtra lay there, flung apart in many places. 1,032.07
*Delivering themselves to Manu, the waters go over him like a split reed — lying in that way. Those very ones whom Vṛtra in his greatness once surrounded — at their feet lay the serpent. 1,032.08
The strength of Vṛtra’s mother ebbed; Indra bore his weapon down upon her. The mother was above; the son below: Dānu lies like a milk-cow with her calf. 1,032.09