The precious haoma , the drink of immortality, not only conduced in the case of mankind to eternal life, but was likewise a drink for the gods themselves.
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.(Latin sacrificium; Italian sacrificio; French sacrifice .) This term is identical with the English offering (Latin offerre ) and the German Opfer; the latter is derived, not from offerre, but from operari (Old High German opfâron; Middle High German opperu, opparôn ), and thus means "to do zealously, to serve God, to offer sacrifice" (cf.Kluge "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache", Strassburg, 1899, p. By sacrifice in the real sense is universally understood the offering of a sense-perceptible gift to the Deity as an outward manifestation of our veneration for Him and with the object of attaining communion with Him. As the meaning and importance of sacrifice cannot be established by a priori methods, every admissible theory of sacrifice must shape itself in accordance with the sacrificial systems of the pagan nations, and especially with those of the revealed religions, Judaism and Christianity.The triple pressing of the soma , performed at certain intervals during the day, alternated with the offering of sacrificial cakes, libations of milk, and the sacrifice of eleven he-goats to various gods.The gods (especially Indra) were eager for the intoxicating soma drink: "As the ox bellows after the rain, so does Indra desire the soma ." The sacrifice of the horse ( açvamedha ), executed at the command of the king and participated in by the whole people, required a whole year's preparation.