black magic 1


Author : Pt Dharmdev Vidyamartand

The authors of the Vedic Age following copiously their western masters have not only entertained wrong concepts about all the four Vedas, but their treatment of the Atharvaveda is Worse as they see in some of its hymns dealing with medicinal herbs charm and magic.

The Atharvaveda, in reality, deals with medicine as evident from Gopath’s येSथर्वाणस्तद भेषजं तदमृतम तद ब्रह्म or Tandya Mahabrahman’s भेषजं वै देवानामथर्वाण: ( अर्थात ऋषिणा दृष्टा मंत्रा: ) भैषज्यायैवारिष्टयै|

l References made in Atharvaveda to medicinal herbs, masmerism, hypnotism incantation are entirely scientific.

lt is really a matter of great ragret that such wrong concepts should be entertained by these scholars about Atharvaveda which is also known as ब्रह्मवेद :-


(The use of this word “ब्रह्मवेद:” for Atharvaveda is justified by a number of hymns which, besides dealing with medicines also deal with the science of God and soul. There is no indication in it of any “charm” and “magic”.)

Western scholars like Bloomfield and Whitney misconstrued different “manis” (which are actually medicinal herbs) for charms, amulets or sorceries. Even while translating mantras dealing with medicinal herbs, coronation and family harmony, they gave misinterpretation and misleading meanings to show that there is magic and charm in Atharvavedas.

Bloomfield in particular, gave such misleading captions as “Charm against Jaundice” to his translation of Atharvaveda`s 5.22 in which the reference is made to the cure of Takman (fever) through medicinal herbs.

“Charm with the Apamarg, a plant against sorcery, demons and enemies ” is the caption given by him to another mantra from the Atharvaveda in which there is mention of treatment of barreneness among women through the use of “Apamarga”

In Atharvaveda’s hymn 4.8, there is a beautiful description of a coronation ceremony. But unfonunately, Bloomfield’s caption for the hymn containing this mantra, is “Charm pertaining to Royalty

The hymn 3.3O of the Atharvaveda refers to family harmony, unity and mutual obligations and duties of the members of a family. Quoted below are three mantras from this hymn with Bloomfield”s own translation :

bloomfield 1

(Unity of heart and unity of mind, freedom of hatred do I procure for you. Do ye take delight in one another as a cow in her new born calf.)

bloomfield 2

(The son shall be devoted to his father, be of the same mind with his mother, the wife shall speak honied, sweet words to her husband.)

bloomfield 3

(The brother shall not hate the brother and the sister not the sister. Harmonious, devoted to the same purpose speak ye words in kindly spirit.)

It is very shocking to find that Bloomfield has given the heading of this hymn as “Charm To Secure Harmony” knowing fully well that these hymns only stresses the importance of friendliness, harmony, mutual love, co-operation and sweetness of temper. etc. among the family members.

Following Bloomfield, the authors of the Vedic Age commenting on this hymn write: “Of the same type but much more elevated in tone is the of quoted and justly celebrated charm for securing concord.”

In the hymns 7- 12 of Atharvaveda, there is a clear reference to सभा and समिति (which are the equivalents of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of the Modem Age.) Given below are the first two mantras of this hymn with Bloomfield’s translation :

bloomfield 4

(May assembly and meeting, the two daughters of Prajapati, concurrently aid me! May he with whom I meet, co-operate With me! May I obey Father, speak agreeably to those assembled. We know thy name, O assembly, Mirth verily is thy name; may all those that sit assembled in thee, utter speech in harmony with me.”


Here the word “नरिष्टा” should mean benevolent to the people ( नृ + इष्टा ) or that which does not allow people to suffer) With this exception, it may be said the translation is not bad. What is disgusting is the title given to it by this western scholar : “Charm to procure influence in the assembly.”

The authors of the Vedic Age not only incorporated the blunders committed by such western scholar in this respect but went a step further and expressed ideas which are thoroughly absurd and misleading.

For instance, under the head “Medicinal Charms”, they write :

“Quite a number of medicinal charms are included in the Atharvaveda. The chief malady that was sought to be treated magically is the Takman. From the symptoms described it is almost certain that it was nothing but malarial fever. The plant kusha is maintained as potent in fighting Takman, but whether as medicine or as amulet is not quite clean”

This is indeed very misleading statement. Not only for fever alone but also for several other diseases like impotence, barrenness, leprosy, T.B. urinary troubles etc., the Vedas have suggested

treatment through administration of such medicinal herbs as Apamarga, Kushtaa Preshni, Parni, Soma, Darbh.

Even for fever, the cure suggested in the hymns 5-4 and 19-39 of the Atharva Veda, is through oral administration of “kustha “ and not its use in the form of amulets. One fails to understand how the authors of the Vedic Age misunderstood this point. A few mantras from these hymns, with their English translation by Bloomfield himself, will show how misleading is their interpretation :

ath 5.4.1

(Thou that art born upon the mountains; as the most potent of plants, come hither, O kushtha, destroyer of the Takman to drive out from here, the Takman (fever).

It is clear here that Kushtha has been described as वीरूधामबलवतम: which is translated by Bloomfield as “the most potent of plants”.

bloomfield 5

(Pain in the head, affliction in the eyes and ailment of the body, all that shall the Kushtha heal a divinely powerful medicine.)

The expression “powerful remedy” was enough to remove the doubt whether Kushtha was a medicinal herb or an amulet. But the authors of the “Vedic Age” deliberately entertained the doubt to confuse the readers.

In the hymn 19.39, the adjective विश्वभेषज has been used for this herb at least five times. This word has been rightly translated by Bloomfield as “Universal remedy”. In mantra 4 of this hymn, this herb has been described as उतमो अस्योषधीनाम  :-

bloomfield 6

“Thou art the most superior to the plants as a steer among the cattle, as the tiger among the beasts of prey. Verily no harm shall suffer this person here for whom I bespeak these mom and eve, aye the entire day.”

It is thus clear from the above that instead of any sorcery or amulet, the reference is only to treatment of fever by administration of medicinal herb called “Kushtha”.

In this connection we want to draw the attention of our readers to a very ridiculous comment by the authors of the Vedic Age:

“It is interesting to note that in one hymn (5.22) Takman has been asked to seize the Shudra and the Dasi or to go away to Mujavats or to the Valhikas further beyond and the last verse, the author says quite maliciously that he is sending Takman to the Gandharis, Angas and Magadhas like one sending a treasure to a person.”

The mantras which form the basis of the above comment are as follows :

hymn 5.22

lt is obvious that the whole confusion in these mantras has arisen from the misunderstanding of the words दासी, शुद्रा, गंधारी, मुजवान, मग्ध” in the above mantras.

The word “दासी”’ used in one of the above mantras, is in fact a herb called “काकजंघा“. दासी and काकजंघा are synonymous as evident from the following from राजनिघुनट्टू.


A lot of misunderstanding has been created by the authors of the “Vedic Age” by taking into account only the prevalent meaning of the words like dasa and shudra and ignoring their real meaning suitable in the context.

Just as the word dasi, so also the word shudra have been used in the above hymn for a medicinal herb-in this case for príyagulata प्रियंगुलता which is supposed to be good for curing fever.

vaidik shastra

About its power to cure fever, it is stated in Bhav Prakash Níghantu :

bhavprakash nighantu

After knowing the real meaning of the words dasi and sudra in this context, the meaning of the above quoted mantras will be as follows :

(O, disease, pervading the body like poisonous serpent and making the body lethargic, go away by the use of blossoming Desi herb.)

The sum and substance of this mantra is that the herb dasí also known as kakjanga wards off fever.

(O fever, which growest in the grassy and shady regions, go away by the use of sudra also known as priyangoo)

A repeated reference to different mantras in the Atharvaveda such as आंजन मणि(4.9),शंख मणि(4.9),वरण मणि(10.3), जांगिड मणि(2.4 ),पर्ण मणि (3.5 ), शतवार मणि  (19.36 ), etc. have led some scholars to think that there is charm or magic in the vedas. They misinterpret the Word मणि as a pearl only and feel that use of different pearls has been suggested in the AtharvaVeda for curing different diseases.

But the principal meaning of this word, as supported by Ayurvedic books, is a herb (destroyer of diseases). The word with three or four roots, has also other meanings.

According to the aphorism  सर्वधातुभ्य इन्  in the उपाधि कोष(4.118), the word मणि takes its existence from the root मणिशब्दे with इन् प्रत्यय. Thus the word मणि means a good orator or a leader :-


Other roots of मणि are मनु ज्ञाने, (दिवादि:) मन स्तम्बे, मनु अवबोधने ( तनादि ) which respectively mean a man of knowledge, one who deserts the enemies or the diseases, or one who imparts knowledge to others.

For instance, in the following mantra, it is said that through the help of Sraktya mani, an intelligent person, like a Risi, gains victory over all armies and destroys all enemies :

sraktya mani 1

The use of the word sraktya mani for an intelligent person also occurs in another mantra in the Atharva Veda :

sraktya mani 2

(You are full of action, you are able to fight back your enemies, you can attack your rival)

When this meaning does not fit in the context, it should be taken to mean some herb or the medicine.

We shall briefly discuss the word मणि used in the context of medicines.

आंजनमणि, for instance, stands for a tablet made of antimony which removes many diseases.

It is clearly stated in the following mantra of the Atharvaveda (4.95) that आंजनमणि gives strength to a patient and is the medicine for हरितरोग (kind of a fever) The use of the word भेषजं {indicates

that this subject has connection with the science of medicine and not magic.


About शंखमणि it is stated in the Atharvaveda :


(This conch shell, with a pearl, helps one recover from many diseases. May it help overcome the misery resulting from a sin or a disease.)

The word अंह: is generally used for sin but it also means disease as evident from the following etymology or derivation of this word as given in the Unadikosa.



Jangidmani has been used in the Atharvaveda mainly for Soma. Commenting on Atharvaveda’s 1.9.34 Sayanacharya writes :

In Atharva Veda Brihat Sarvanukra Maní there is a reference to the herb in the following words :

jangidmani 1

It has also been described as a medicine or a herb elsewhere in the same book :

jangidmani 2

As the words चन्द्र and सोम are synonymous, all the names denoting chandra also stand for Soma.

jangidmani 3

This is confirmed by such quotations as the following from शुश्रुत चिकित्सा स्थान :-

jangidmani 4

Thus we see that Jangadmani is the same medicinal herb as Soma about whose benefits it is stated in the 19th chapter of the same book :

jangidmani 5

The use of words like औषधि भेषज  and विश्व भेषज for this herb also gives indication of its great usefulness in curing many incurable diseases.


There is a reference to पर्णमणि in Atharvaveda’s 3.5. According to Satpath (6.5.l .1), Parna is another name for ‘ सोम (सोमो वै पर्ण: )  The relation between ‘सोम and पर्ण has been made clear in the following mantra from the same hymn :

parnmani 1

Jangdmani consists of tablets or globules of soma and Parnamani of only (soma) leave.

According to the first mantra of the same hymn, there is also reference to W: (water) andw (juice). Thus the Pamamani taken in the form of leaves, lengthens the life of a person and removes all diseases.

In eighth mantra of this hymn, the Parnamani is also called तनुपान (protector of the body and increaser of semen) :

parnmani 2

According to एष वै संवत्सरो य एष तपति(satpath),संवत्सर: means ‘sun° and, therefore, it has been suggested here by implication that “Parnamani’ should be taken to secure the splendor of the sun or its heat.

It is mentioned in the following mantra from the Atharva Veda (3.5.2) that regular use of Parnamani increases physical strength and makes a man very influential and wealthy :-

parnmani 3

In Susrat Chikitsa Shastra, it is said that one who regularly takes Parnamaní, increases his life and poison, burns and wounds do not cut short his life :

parnmani 4


In Atharva Veda (19.36.17), there is a reference to शतवार मणि  which is described as useful for killing all germs and giving splendor to the life :

shatwarmani 1

In the second mantra of the same hymn, it is said that it removes all small and big diseases :

shatwarmani 2

In the fifth mantra of this hymn, Rishabh ऋषभ as been given as a synonym for Satvar शतवार , a name which is mentioned in the books on Ayurveda also :-

shatwarmani 3

shatwarmani 4

In this very hymn, it is mentioned that rishabh or satvar mani cures such diseases as T.B. and also others connected with pregnancy. It is also good for giving strength to the reproductive organs.

In some hymns the words `रक्षांसि राक्षसो, गन्धर्व, अप्सरा do not stand for any ghost, “witch” etc. as generally misunderstood. They only denote different kinds of germs.

For instance, in the Kaushitak Brahmana, it is clearly written about रक्षांसि :-

shatwarmani 5

(The genns which sip blood of a person are called `रक्षांसि)

According to satpatha (10.53.20) अप्सरा: are those which live in rose plants etc :

shatwarmani 6

These almost invisible germs living in rose plants get into human body through the nose and cause many mental deseases. Says Satpath :

shatwarmani 7

(The insects, which fall for beautiful objects, and consume them, are called गन्धर्वा :

In the following mantra from Atharvavads, the word  पिशाचhas also been used for a deadly germ which eats away the flesh of a patient and causes wounds in his body :

shatwarmani 8

This usage of पिशाच’ for a deadly germ eating away the flesh of a person has also been supported by the derivation of the word given in शब्द कल्पदुम :

shatwarmani 9

Similar derivation of the word has also been given in vachaspatya brihadmídhana .

shatwarmani 10

Thus it can be said that `राक्षस, गन्धर्व, अप्सरा  etc are different varieties of gemis which can be killed through the persistent use of शतवार or ऋषभक मणि. They have no connection with the magic or charm.

VARAN MANI ( वरण मणि )

There is a description of वरणमणिin the Atharva veda’s hymn (10.3) In third mantra of this hymn the adjective used for varanmani  वरणमणि is visvabhaj विश्वभेषज: which means a medicine which removes all diseases :-

varanmani 1

In another mantra of the same hymn, it is described as वनस्पति a herb which is useful for many diseases:

varanmani 2

The word वनस्पति has also been used for वरणमणि in the mantra of this hymn :

varanmani 3

In the 11th mantra of the same hymn, there is an instruction to wear this herb in the form of an armour in combination with mica. It is believed that its touch with the human body is good for all cardiac diseases :-

varanmani 4

In the Ayurvedic books, this herb has been named as वरुण as evident from the Bhav Prakas Níghantu ( भावप्रकाश निघंटु) :

varanmani 5

In Níghantu Ratna (निघंटु रत्न) the herb, is considered effective in many diseases related to impurification of blood, urinary troubles.

It is believed that the use ofthis herb in the form of pills or its application on clothes is very useful.


The misunderstanding about the role of sorceries and incantation, as propounded in the Vedas, is also responsible for the belief entertained by some scholars that there is magic and charm in the Vedas. The truth is that both these things have use in Warfare and armament and have nothing to do with magic. Their use is Suggested mainly for defensive rather than offensive purposes.

Kritya is of two kinds. First अंगिरस:- which consists of explosive substances used to shatter the buildings and the second  is आसुरी which is made up of poisonous substances which are put in fire to destroy enemies :

kritya 1

According to Atharvaveda, the priests are asked to help the people to Ward off the ill effects of Krítya :

kritya 2

(May the priests do something to ward off the ill effects of violence by the enemies.)

At another place in Atharva Veda (21 .l8.5), a priest asserts :

kritya 3

(I ward off the evil effects of Krítya against cows or men.)

It is evident that it is on the basis of the Vedas that Kautalya Shastra laid down that the priests should impart full knowledge of Krítya and Abhichar to kings and their kinsmen :

kritya 4

Use of many Manis and herbs has been suggested in this connection. For instance in Atharva Veda (19. l 4.4) जांगिडमणि, सोम are stated as effective against Kritya :

kritya 5

This herb destroys the ill effects of kritya कृत्या and is useful in prolonging the life span of a person.

At another place in Atharva Veda (8.7. 1 0), herbs used against poinsonous substances, are also stated to be effective against sorceries (कृत्या) :-

kritya 6

It is made abundantly clear in Atharva Veda that if used against innocent persons, it brings about disastrous consequences and therefore, should never be used against them :

kritya 7

उन्मोचन(vomiting or purging) or प्रमोचन(countering the effects of poison by the intense use of ghee, honey etc is stated in the following mantra :

kritya 8

In  (Shusrut Kalpadum) (Chapter one Sloka 75-76) also the same remedy has been given to avert the ill effects of अभिचार :

kritya 9

There are many mantras in the Atharva Veda in which lie the seeds of modem therapy (including mesmerism) which is used to help patients in eliminating many mental and physical diseases. In the following mantra from Atharva Veda, a physician tells his patients about the healing power of his hand touch will cure him of the ailments :-

kritya 10

For curing mental diseases, the doctor first of all, tries to capture the heart  of the patient by repetition of the following mantras from Atharva Veda :

kritya 11

After gaining full control over the heart of the patient, the doctor suggests to him with full confidence that he would fully cure him of mental diseases like insanity, perplexity or confusion of mind :

kritya 12

To free a person from fever, etc., the doctor also suggests to the patients:

kritya 13

There are also mantras in the Vedas which are repeated with will and determination to remove sin, achieve success, overcome diseases, and to increase power.

For removing thought of sin :-

kritya 14

For achieving success: –

kritya 15

For overcoming diseases :

kritya 16

For increasing power :

kritya 17

It would however, be stupid to ‘suggest’ that any of the mantras relating to Kritya and Abhíchar have anything to do with charm or magic.

There is no charm or magic in such mantras.


  1. Yadnyasya chakshu: prabhuti:mukham ch vacha shrotran Manasa juhomi |
    Imam yadnyam vitatam vishwakarmanam deto yantu sumanasyamaana: ||

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