bali बलि

Definition: Occurs several times in the Rigveda and often later in the sense of tribute to a king or offering to a god. Zimmer thinks that the offerings were in both cases voluntary. He compares the notices of the Germans in Tacitus, where the kings of the tribes are said to receive gifts in kind as presents, but not a regular tribute. There seems to be no ground what­ever for this view. No doubt in origin the prerogatives of monarchy were due to voluntary action on the part of the tribesmen, but that the Vedic peoples, who were essentially a body of conquering invaders, were in this state is most improbable, and the attitude of the Vedic Indian to his gods was at least as compatible with tribute as with voluntary gifts. Zimmer admits that in the case of hostile tribes tribute must be meant even in the Rigveda. See also Rājan.


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