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The Asuri-Kalpa: A Witchcraft Practice of the Atharva-Veda

The Asuri-Kalpa: A Witchcraft Practice of the Atharva-Veda
by H.W. Magoun

The ritual literature of the A tharva-Veda, like that of the other Vedas, has attached to itself certain parieistas, or supplements. Of these, the thirty-fifth, according to the best accessible MS, is the A surl-K alpa, an abhicara, or witchcraft practice, containing rites to be used in connection with the asurl-plant. The question as to what this plant was will be discussed below. The use of the word kalpa for such a text is explained by a passage in the A tharvaniya-P addhati, which states, on the authority of Uparvarsa, that in addition to the five AV. kalpas Ka u9 i ka, Vaitana, Naksatra, anti, and A figirasa which are called prwz inspired, there are certain other kalpas which are to be considered as smrti handed down by tradition. Three MSS have been consulted in preparing this paper. Two of them are copies of the parigistas of the AV.; the third is a commentary to the A surl-K alpa. All three are loans to Dr. Bloomfield from the British Government in India. Just here I may say that I am greatly indebted toD r. Bloomfield for the use of these MSS, for the encouragement and assistance which he has given me, and for his kindness in looking over my work. The MSS are as follows: Ay large sheets of light yellow paper, bound in book form, written lengthwise in a large clear hand and with considerable care. It is a modern copy. jB, narrow sheets of light blue paper, bound in book form, written lengthwise, text fuller in places than the preceding, but in a poor hand and with numerous errors. It must be a very recent copy. Both of these MSS are numbered 23. H(S choliast), much older than either of the preceding, single sheets of light brown paper grown dark at the edges, written lengthwise as the other MSS, but in a very poor, though large, A mlmansa (purva-) teacher. See Life andE ssay sof II. T. Colelirooke, Vol. II, pp. 319-49. =C f. J. A. O. S. XI 377, Blo
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)

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