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Why deities are called asuras in rig-veda why it became a symbol of demons in post-rigvedic period?

7 He, strong of wing, hath lightened up the regions, deep-quivering Asura, the gentle Leader. Where now is Sūrya, where is one to tell us to what celestial sphere his ray hath wandered?

— rigveda:book1:HYMN XXXV

source:— http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01035.htm

4 As with a bolt, Bṛhaspati, fiercely flaming, pierce thou Vṛkadvaras’, the Asura's, heroes. Even as in time of old with might thou slewest, so slay even now our enemy, O Indra.

— Rig-Veda:Book 2: HYMN XXX

source:— http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv02030.htm

Is there a story behind that? from brahmanas and aranyaks or from anywhere else. I have read a wikipedia article but still wants other answers.

UPDATE

I found that the word asura is used for gods even in saamveda too.

XII Indra

  1. O Indra, thou art far-renowned, impetuous Lord of power and might. Alone, the never-conquered guardian of mankind, thou smitest down resistless foes.

  2. As such we seek thee now, O Asura, the most wise, craving thy bounty as our share Thy sheltering defence is like an ample cloak. So may thy favours reach to us.

—samaveda:part1:book6:chapterII:XII

source:— http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sv.htm

but that is not connected to evil:—

हिरण्यहस्तोअसुरःसुनीथः सुमृळीकः स्ववाँ यात्वर्वाङ् ।अपसेधन्रक्षसो यातुधानानस्थाद्देवः प्रतिदोषं गृणानः ॥१०॥

May he, gold-handed Asura, kind leader, come hither to us with his help and favour.Driving off Raksasas and Yatudhanas, [he] the god is present, praised inhymns at evening.

– Translated by Ralph Griffith

— Rigveda 1.35.10

  • mainly in puranic literature ,,, – Rakesh Joshi Jan 23 '18 at 0:18
  • In Samudra Manthana, the goddess Varunai, the goddess of sura, came out. The gods readily accepted her and thus they came to be known as Suras. But the demons rejected Varunai and were therefore known as Asuras... - Agni Purana – YDS Jan 23 '18 at 5:03
  • @Rakesh joshi means vedas,aranyakas,brahmanas and principal upnishads don't give an answer to this right? ;) – Fierce lord Jan 23 '18 at 9:12
  • @Fiercelord it Maybe possible. But mainly in puranas asura is referred as demons. – Rakesh Joshi Jan 23 '18 at 9:16
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    @Suresh Ramaswamy Reall friend i will not talk about why indo-iranians are not older than what we call indo-aryans if you wish then comment. :) – Fierce lord Jan 25 '18 at 6:59
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The word Asura can have many meanings. Primary being this - A-Sura or not Sura".

In this sense, the word is used in the Yajur Veda (here KYV denotes the Krishna Yajur Veda) too. Where the word is simply meaning a demon who is always an enemy of the Gods.

DevAsurA eshu lokesh vaspardanta sa etam vishnurvAmanapashyattam swAyei devatAyA Ahalabhata tato vai sa imA .....||

Once there was a conflict between the Devas and the Asuras regarding some Vishya ( lokeshu vijaya bhuteshu i.e for gaining supremacy over the worlds). Vishnu then had seen VAmana or "short in stature" animals. THose (i.e such short statured animals) are then offered to Vishnu. Thereafter Vishnu won over the three worlds. Thus, whoever (who's having conflicts regarding their possesions like house, lands etc) person, who offers such short animals to Vishnu can similarly attain Vishnu-hood and win over the three worlds....


KYV 2nd KAnda, 1st PrapAthaka, 3rd AnuvAka.

SAyanAchArya says on this AnuvAka-

"Tritiya anuvAke jayAdihetun pashunanvidhitsannAdau lokatraya jaya hetum pasum vidhAtum prastauti..."

OR

In this 3rd anuvAka, description of animals that are to be offered for winning over the three worlds, are described...

Similarly, see the following Mantra:

PrajApatir devAsurAnasrijata tadanu yajno hasrijyata yajyam chandAmsi te vishvancha vyakrAmanat ......

During some ancient time in the past (PurAkAla), PrajApati did create the DevAs and the Asuras and thereafter created Yajna (sacrifice). And, as an allied part of Yajna, he created the Chandas too...


KYV 3rd KAnda, 3rd PrapAthaka, 7th AnuvAka.

And, for this AnuvAka, SAyana says:

Atha Saptame somangatvenAha shrAvayetyAdayo mantrA vidhiyate

OR

In this 7th AnuvAka, Mantras like "AshrAvan..", are stated, as part of SomA-Yajna.

So, "Asura" as meaning a "demon", is used in the Vedas as well and not just in the ItihAsa-PurAnas

  • after a long time but, I think it's not completly correct and i asked for rigveda and samaveda as above till yajurveda the meaning was reverted in question too rigveda i mentioned. so its not correct because it is mot based either on rigveda and samaveda. Indra the king of gods is called asura in rigveda and samaveda. – Fierce lord Jan 26 '18 at 8:13
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    @Fiercelord I have the whole Krishna Yajurveda book, and i'm quoting from it.. so it is true that asura as a demon is mentioned in KYV at least.. whether it's not found at all in RV or not, i can not tell for sure.. because i have not read the whole RV yet..Anyways may update it later.. – Rickross Jan 26 '18 at 8:48
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The word asura is used in rigveda and samaveda as an meaning,"lord" or some kind of praise as if it was a bad it was used for vritra too in rigveda but the word deva represents the original special designation for devas and adeva or only asura remaining for daityas.

The story from chandogya upnishad which i already gave in previous answer when merged with wikipedia gave rise to it. So, the gods were those who got the true knowledge and where the asuras went with their bad philosphy became ungodly and thus having their previous designation while their brothers devas brcome deva (godly).

ये देवा सो दिव्येकादश स्थ पृथिव्यामध्येकादश स्थ । अप्सुक्षितो महिनैकादश स्थ ते देवासो यज्ञमिमं जुषध्वम् ॥११॥

O ye eleven gods whose home is heaven, O ye eleven who make earth your dwelling, Ye who with might, eleven, live in waters, accept this sacrifice, O gods, with pleasure.

– Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith —  Rigveda 1.139.11

The story discribes it:— As we know Indra spent 101 years with Prajapati uderstanding the self whereas the demon king from the first time getting an answer as the body is the self got away but indra came again and again to Prajapati after getting an answer and spend 101 years with Prajapati learning self and that's why gods are all prevalent.

CHANDOGYA UPNISHAD BOOK:VIII

SEVENTH KHANDA

  1. Prajapati said: 'The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.'
  2. The Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) both heard these words, and said : 'Well, let us search for that Self by which, if one has searched it out, all worlds and all desires are obtained.' Thus saying Indra went from the Devas, Virokana from the Asuras, and both, without having communicated with each other, approached Prajapati, holding fuel in their hands, as is the custom for pupils approaching their master.
  3. They dwelt there as pupils for thirty-two years. Then Prajapati asked them: 'For what purpose have you both dwelt here?' They replied: 'A saying of yours is being repeated, viz. "the Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires." Now we both have dwelt here because we wish for that Self.' Prajapati said to them: 'The person that is seen in the eye, that is the Self. This is what I have said. This is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman.' They asked: 'Sir, he who is perceived in the water, and he who is perceived in a mirror, who is he?' He replied: 'He himself indeed is seen in all these .'

EIGHTH KHANDA.

  1. 'Look at your Self in pan of water, and whatever you do not understand of your Self, come and tell me.' They looked in the water- pan. Then Prajapati said to them: 'What do you see?' They said: 'We both see the self thus altogether, a picture even to the very hairs and nails.'
  2. Prajapati said to them: 'After you have adorned yourselves, have put on your best clothes and cleaned yourselves, look again into the water-pan. They, after having adorned themselves, having put on their best clothes and cleaned themselves, looked into the water-pan. Prajapati said: 'What do you see?'
  3. They said: 'Just as we are, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean, thus we are both there, Sir, well adorned, with our best clothes and clean.' Prajapati said: 'That is the Self, this is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman.' Then both went away satisfied in their hearts. 4. And Prajapati, looking after them, said: 'They both go away without having perceived and without having known the Self, and whoever of these two, whether Devas or Asuras, will follow this doctrine (upanishad), will perish.' Now Virokana, satisfied in his heart, went to the Asuras and preached that doctrine to them, that the self (the body) alone is to be worshipped, that the self (the body) alone is to be served, and that he who worships the self and serves the self, gains both worlds, this and the next. 5. Therefore they call even now a man who does not give alms here, who has no faith, and offers no sacrifices, an Asura, for this is the doctrine (upanishad) of the Asuras. They deck out the body of the dead with perfumes, flowers, and fine raiment by way of ornament, and think they will thus conquer that world.

NINTH KHANDA

1. But Indra, before he had returned to the Devas, saw this difficulty. As this self (the shadow in the water) is well adorned, when the body is well adorned, well dressed, when the body is well dressed, well cleaned, if the body is well cleaned, that self will also be blind, if the body is blind, lame, if the body is lame, crippled, if the body is crippled, and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this (doctrine). 2. Taking fuel in his hand he came again as a pupil to Prajapati. Prajapati said to him: 'Maghavat (Indra), as you went away with Virokana, satisfied in your heart, for what purpose did you come back?' He said : 'Sir, as this self (the shadow) is well adorned, when the body is well adorned, well dressed, when the body is well dressed, well cleaned, if the body is well cleaned, that self will also be blind, if the body is blind, lame, if the body is lame, crippled, if the body is crippled, and will perish in fact as soon as the body perishes. Therefore I see no good in this (doctrine).' 3. 'So it is indeed, Maghavat,' replied Prajapati; 'but I shall explain him (the true Self) further to you. Live with me another thirty-two years.' He lived with him another thirty-two years, and then Pragapati said:

TENTH KHANDA

  1. 'He who moves about happy in dreams, he is the Self, this is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman.' Then Indra went away satisfied in his heart. But before he had returned to the Devas, he saw this difficulty. Although it is true that that self is not blind, even if the body is blind, nor lame, if the body is lame, though it is true that that self is not rendered faulty by the faults of it (the body),
  2. Nor struck when it (the body) is struck, nor lamed when it is lamed, yet it is as if they struck him (the self) in dreams, as if they chased him'. He becomes even conscious, as it were, of pain, and sheds tears. Therefore I see no good in this.
  3. Taking fuel in his hands, he went again as a pupil to Prajapati. Prajapati said to him: 'Maghavat, as you went away satisfied in your heart, for what purpose did you come back?' He said: 'Sir, although it is true that that self is not blind even if the body is blind, nor lame, if the body is lame, though it is true that that self is not rendered faulty by the faults of it (the body),
  4. Nor struck when it (the body) is struck, nor lamed when it is lamed, yet it is as if they struck him (the self) in dreams, as if they chased him. He becomes even conscious, as it were, of pain, and sheds tears. Therefore I see no good in this.' 'So it is indeed, Maghavat,' replied Prajapati; 'but I shall explain him (the true Self) further to you. Live with me another thirty-two years.' He lived with him another thirty-two years. Then Prajapati said:

ELEVENTH KHANDA

  1. 'When a man being asleep, reposing, and at perfect rest', sees no dreams, that is the Self, this is the immortal, the fearless, this is Brahman.' Then Indra went away satisfied.in his heart. But before he had returned to the Devas, he saw this difficulty. In truth he thus does not know himself (his self) that he is I, nor does he know anything that exists. He is gone to utter annihilation. I see no good in this.
  2. Taking fuel in his hand he went again as a pupil to Prajapati. Prajapati said to him: 'Maghavat, as you went away satisfied in your heart, for what purpose did you come back?' He said: 'Sir, in that way he does not know himself (his self ) that he is I, nor does he know anything that exists. He is gone to utter annihilation. I see no good in this.'
  3. 'So it is indeed, Maghavat,' replied Prajapati 'but I shall explain him (the true Self) further to you, and nothing more than this . Live here otherfive years. 'He lived there other five years. This made in all one hundred and one years, and therefore it is said that Indra Maghavat lived one hundred and one years as a pupil with Prajapati. Prajapati said to him:

TWELFTH KHANDA

  1. 'Maghavat, this body is mortal and always held by death. It is the abode of that Self which is immortal and without body. When in the body (by thinking this body is I and I am this body) the Self is held by pleasure and pain. So long as he is in the body, he cannot get free from pleasure and pain. But when he is free of the body (when he knows himself different from the body), then neither pleasure nor pain touches him'.
  2. 'The wind is without body, the cloud, lightning, and thunder are without body (without hands, feet, &c.) Now as these, arising from this heavenly ether (space), appear in their own form, as soon as they have approached the highest light,
  3. 'Thus does that serene being, arising from this body, appear in its own form, as soon as it has approached the highest light (the knowledge of Self) . He (in that state) is the highest person (uttama purusha). He moves about there laughing (or eating), playing, and rejoicing (in his mind), be it with women, carriages, or relatives, never minding that body into which he was born. 'Like as a horse attached to a cart, so is the spirit (prana, pragnatman) attached to this body.
  4. 'Now where the sight has entered into the void (the open space, the black pupil of the eye), there is the person of the eye, the eye itself is the instrument of seeing. He who knows, let me smell this, he is the Self, the nose is the instrument of smelling. He who knows, let me say this, he is the Self, the tongue is the instrument of saying. He who knows, let me hear this, he is the Self, the ear is the instrument of hearing.
  5. 'He who knows, let me think this, he is the Self, the mind is his divine eye . He, the Self, seeing these pleasures (which to others are hidden like a buried treasure of gold) through his divine eye, i. e. the mind, rejoices. 'The Devas who are in the world of Brahman meditate on that Self (as taught by Prajapati to Indra, and by Indra to the Devas). Therefore all worlds belong to them, and all desires. He who knows that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.' Thus said Prajapati, yea, thus said Prajapati.

link:—http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/upanishads/chandogya.asp

This is just my thinking you can believe in what you have got up with.

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