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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.

Among the various sacrifices two were conspicuous: the soma offering and the sacrifice of the horse.

The offering of the soma ( Agnistoma ) -- a nectar obtained by the pressing of some plants -- took place in the spring; the sacrifice lasted an entire day, and was a universal holiday for the people.

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.

In the later Avesta this drink, originally only a medium of cult, was formally deified, and identified with the divinity; nay even the very vessels used in the fabrication of this drink from the haoma branches were celebrated and adored in hymns of praise.

The symbol of Shiva is the phallus ( linga ); linga stones are indeed met throughout India (especially in the holy places) in extraordinary numbers.

The idea of this sacrifice was to provide the gods of light with another steed for their heavenly yoke.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.If the ancient Indian religion was essentially a religion of sacrifice, this religion of the ancient Persians may be described as a religion of observance.Inasmuch as, in the old Avesta, the sacred book of the Persians, the war between the good god Ormuzd and the Devil ends eschatologically with the complete victory of the good god, we may designate the earliest Parseeism as Monotheism.

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(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.