Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": A SUMERO-AKADIAN PRAYER

TO EVERY GOD


This prayer is, in effect, a general prayer, asking any god for pardon for any transgression. The writer, in his suffering, admits that he may have broken some divine rule. But he does not know either what he has done or what god he has offended. Furthermore, he claims that the whole human race is ignorant of the divine will and thus is perpetually committing sin. The gods, therefore, should have mercy and remove his transgressions.

May the fury of my lord's heart be quieted toward me.

May the god who is not known be quieted toward me;

May the goddess who is not known be quieted toward me.

May the god whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me;

May the goddess whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me,

May the heart of my god be quieted toward me;

May the heart of my goddess be quieted toward me.

May my god and goddess be quieted toward me.

May the god who has become angry with me be quieted toward me,

May the goddess who has become angry with me be quieted toward me.

(lines I 1- 1 8 cannot be restored with certainty)

in ignorance I have eaten that forbidden by my god;

in ignorance I have set foot on that prohibited by my goddess.

0 Lord, my transgressions are many; great are my sins.

0 my god, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins.

my goddess, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins.

O god whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are many;

great are (my) sins,

O goddess whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are many;

great are (my) sins;

The transgression which I have committed, indeed I do not know;

The sin which I have done, indeed I do not know.

The forbidden thing which I have eaten, indeed I do not know;

The prohibited (place) on which I have set foot, indeed I do not know;

The lord in the anger of his heart looked at me;

The god in the rage of his heart confronted me;

When the goddess was angry with me, she made me become ill.

The god whom I know or do not know has oppressed me;

The goddess whom I know or do not know has placed suffering upon me.

Although I am constantly looking for help, no one takes me by the

hand;

When I weep they do not come to my side.

I utter laments, but no one hears me;

I am troubled; I am overwhelmed, I can not see.

O my god, merciful one, I address to thee the prayer, 'Ever incline to

me';

I kiss the feet of my goddess, I crawl before thee.

(lines 41-9 are mostly broken and cannot be restored with certainty)

How long, 0 my goddess, whom I know or do not know, eye thy hostile

heart will be quieted?

Man is dumb; he knows nothing;

Mankind, everyone that exists-what does he know?

Whether he is committing sin or doing good, he does not even know.

0 my lord, do not cast thy servant down;

He is plunged into the waters of a swamp, take him by the hand.

The sin which I have done, turn into goodness;

The transgression which I have committed, let the wind carry away;

My many misdeeds strip off like a garment.

0 my god, (my) transgressions are seven times seven; remove my

transgressions,

O my goddess, (my)transgressions are seven times seven; remove my

transgressions;

O god whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are seven times seven;

remove my transgressions;

O goddess whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are seven times

seven; remove my transgressions.

Remove my transgressions (and) I will sing thy praise.

May thy heart, like the heart of a real mother, be quieted toward me;

Like a real mother (and) a real father may it be quieted toward me.


Translation by Ferris J. Stephens, in Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Princeton, 1950), PP. 391-2; reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), Religions of the Ancient Near East, Library of Religion paperbook series (New York, 1955 X PP. 175-.7)

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