Excerpt from The A suri -Kalpa: A Witchcraft Practice of the Atharva-Veda, With an Introduction, Translation and Commentary
The ritual literature of the Atharva-Veda, like that of the other Vedas, has attached to itself certain paricistas, or supplements. Of these, the thirty-fifth, according to the best accessible MS, is the Asuri-Kalpa, an abhicara, or witchcraft practice, containing rites to be used in connection with the asuri-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 Atharvaniya-Paddhati, which states, on the authority of Uparvarsa, that in addition to the five AV. kalpas - Kaucika, Vaitana, Naksatra, Canti, and Angirasa - which are called cruli '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 paricistas of the AV.; the third is a commentary to the Asuri-Kalpa. All three are loans to Dr. Bloomfield from the British Government in India. Just here I may say that I am greatly indebted to Dr. 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:
A, 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.
B, 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.
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