The Erra Epic – Tablet 1 - 03
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Erra Epic - Source: Foster’s (B.) Distant Days: myths, tales and poetry from Ancient Mesopotamia
"I am the smitter of wild beasts, battering ram against the mountain,
"I am the blaze in the reed thicket, the broad blade against the rushes,
"I am banner for the march, I blast like the wind, I thunder like the storm,
"Like the sun, I scan the circumference of the world,
"I am the wild ram striding forth in the steppe,
"I invade the range and take up my dwelling in the fold,
"All the gods are afraid of a fight, so the black-headed folk are contemptuous!
"As for me, since they did not fear my name, and I have disregarded Marduk’s command, so he may act according to his wishes
"I will make Marduk angry, stir him from his dwelling, and lay waste the people!"
The warrior Erra set out for Babylon, city of the king of the gods. He entered Esagila, palace of heaven and earth and stood before him.
He made ready to speak, saying to the king of the gods:
"Why has your precious image, symbol of your lordship, lost its brilliance?
"Your lordly diadem, which made the inner sanctum shine like the outside tower, why is it dimmed?"
The king of the gods (Marduk) made ready to speak, saying to Erra, these words,
"O warrior Erra, concerning that deed you said you would do,
"Once, long ago indeed I grew angry, indeed I left my dwelling and caused the deluge! "When I left my dwelling, the regulation of heaven and earth disintegrated:
"The shaking of heaven meant: the positions of the heavenly bodies changed, nor did I restore them,
"The quaking of netherworld meant: the yield of the furrow diminished, being thereafter difficult to exploit.
"The regulations of heaven and earth disintegrating meant: underground water diminished, high water receded. When I looked again, it was struggle to get enough.
"Productivity of living offspring declined, nor did I renew it,
"Such that were I a plowman, I could hold all seed in my hand.
"I built another house and settled therein
"As to my precious image, which had been struck by the deluge that its appearance was sullied,
"I commanded fire to make my features shine and cleanse my apparel.
"When it had shined my precious image and completed the task,
"I donned my lordly diadem and returned. "Haughty were my features, terrifying my glare!
"The survivors of the deluge saw what was done,
"Shall I raise my weapon and destroy the rest?
"I sent those craftsmen down to the depths, I ordered them not to come up,
"I removed the wood and gemstone and showed no one where,
"Now then, warrior Erra, as concerns that deed you said you would do,
"Where is the wood, flesh of the gods, suitable for the lord of the universe,
"The sacred tree, splendid stripling, perfect for lordship,
"Whose roots thrust down an hundred leagues through the waters of the vast ocean to the depths of hell,
"Whose crown brushed Anu’s heaven on high?
"Where is the clear gemstone that I reserved for [ ]?
"Where is Ninildum, great carpenter of my supreme divinity,
"Wielder of the glittering hatchet, who knows that tool,
"Who makes it shine like the day and puts it in subjection at my feet?
"Where is Kunig-banda, fashioner of god and man, whose hands are sacred?
"Where is Nin agal, wielder of the upper and lower millstone
"Who grinds up hard copper like hide and who forges tools?
"Where are the choice stones, created by the vast sea, to ornament my diadem?
"Where are the seven sages of the depths, those sacred fish, who, like Ea their lord, are perfect in sublime wisdom, the ones who cleansed my person? The warrior Erra heard him..... [ ] He made ready to speak, saying to noble Marduk, "[ craftsmen ],
"[ tree ],
"Clear gemstone [from] its place will I bring up."
When Marduk heard this, he made ready to speak, saying to the warrior Erra:
"(When) I rise from my dwelling, the regulation of heaven and earth will disintegrate, "The waters will rise and sweep over the land, "Bright day will turn to darkness, whirlwind will rise and the stars of heaven will be... "Ill winds will blow and the eyesight of living creatures will be darkened, "Demons will raise up and seize [ ], "They will .... the unarmed one who confronts them! "The gods of hell will rise up and smite down living creatures, "Who will keep them at bay till I gird on my weaponry once more?
When Erra heard this, he made himself ready to speak, saying to noble Marduk:
"O noble Marduk, while you enter the house, fire cleanses your apparel and you return to your palace, "For that time I will govern and keep strong the regulation of heaven and earth,
"I will go up to heaven and issue instructions to the Igigi gods,
"I will go down to the depths and keep the Anunna gods in order.
"I will despatch the wild demons to the netherworld,
"I will brandish my fierce weaponry against them,
"I will truss the wings of the ill wind like a bird’s.
"At that house you shall enter, O noble Marduk,
"I will station Anu and Enlil to the right and left, like bulls."
Noble Marduk heard him, the words which Erra spoke pleased him.