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Trita – Vedic Deity – Vedic Seer

Trita is an obscure Vedic deity or a Vedic seer. The deity sometimes appears in Samhitas to have served as a scapegoat, because guilt could be shifted or transferred to him.

Yaska has given the etymology of the term to denote seer – tirnatamo medhaya …trita iti trayo babhuvuh (Nirkuta IV.6), which means Trita was most eminent in wisdom; or the word may have been intended to denote number, ekata, dvita and trita – thus the three were originated.

In Rig Veda I.105), the story of Trita, a devotee of Indra, is narrated as follows – The cruel sons of the she-wolf, having cast Trita into a well, carried off all the cows from there. Brihad Devata (VI.147) records that the divine seer Trita saw seven hymns addressed to Agni (Rig Veda X. 1-7)

But in Vedas, Trita is depicted as god of lightening, the third or aerial form of fire. Trita is almost identical in character with Indra. Western scholars describe him in various forms, based on the Vedas, as a Water and Wind God; a deity of bright sky; a god of the storm, older than Indra; a Moon God; a god of the sea and of the waters, etc. As an obscure Vedic deity, Trita is mentioned in forty places of Rig Veda. He is associated with Indra, identified with Agni, and several times praised with soma and Maruta.

Indra is strengthened by the soma-pressing Trita. Trita seems to be conceived as bringing the Maruta on his vehicle (Rig Veda I.105). Brihaspati heard him and released him from his distress. Soma is purified by Trita (Rig Veda III.34.4), who occupies the secret place near the two pressing stones of Trita.

Trita is also described as son of Agni and born from waters. In Puranas, Trita is treated as a son of Sage Gautama, and he had two brothers called Ekata and Dvita.

Trita is one of the three gods probably connected with the three months of rain, the last month having been assigned to Aptya Trita or Traitana, who poured copious rains during that month. He is an early god of rain, also known as Tritos in Greek. The name Tritana occurs only in Rig Veda (1-158.5). The equivalent of Vedic Traitana is Thraetona in Zend Avesta, wherein he is described as Ajihanta, like Indra, who is called Ahihanta (the killer of the serpent or Ahivritra) in Rig Veda.

This god of rain is the son of Aptah (water), who enjoys a subordinate position to Indra who calls him to take up his father’s weapons to kill the three-headed monster, Vritra.