A Vedic proverb runs: "Sacrifice is the navel of the world".Originally regarded as a feast for the gods, before whom food-offerings (cakes, milk, butter, meat, and the soma drink) were set on the holy grass before the altar, sacrifice gradually became a magical agency for influencing the gods, such as might be expressed in the formula, "Do ut des", or in the Vedic proverb: "Here is the butter; where are thy gifts?2 Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes, I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it, The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex, Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
Strictly speaking however, this offering does not become a sacrifice until a real change has been effected in the visible gift (e.g. Pure Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Protestantism here call for no attention, as they have no real sacrifice; apart from these there is and has been no developed religion which has not accepted sacrifice as an essential portion of its cult.
We shall consider successively: (1) Among the Indians The Vedism of the ancient Indies was, to an extent never elsewhere attained, a sacrificial religion connected with the deities Agni and Soma.
In their hands the sacrificial ceremonial, developed to the extremest detail, became an irresistible power over the gods.
A proverb says: "The sacrificer hunts Indra like game, and holds him fast as the fowler does the bird ; the god is a wheel which the singer understands how to turn." The gods derive their whole might and power from the sacrifice as the condition of their existence, so that the Brahmins are indispensable for their continued existence.