1

PRINCIPLES OF YAJNA-VIDHI
Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao

Chapter I
THE VEDIC BACKGROUND
The term 'Veda' in the traditional understanding, does not refer only to the three (or four) books generally called Vedas (trayi-Veda, viz. Rig, Yajus and Såman, to which Atharva is added), but to a hoary tradition that is at once continuous and ubiquitous in India. This Tradition was and is transmitted through the medium of the Sanskrit Language and was the sole franchise of the Brahmins. This tradition has been more effectively presented to the people through the medium of folk ballads and legends, which combine history with mythology. Hence the ancient dictum that Vedic wisdom must be interpreted through the medium of folk history/myth and the Epics (itihåsa-purå±åbhyåm vedam samupab®hmayet') Manu and the other authorities on Dharma (individual as well as social), hold that good conduct should be based not only on the Vedic injunctions, but on the conduct of the respected elders in the community (çi߆åcåra) as well. The Veda is the wisdom which provides the background for Dharma — the way of life. It is important to recognise that when we speak of the Vedic foundation of Indian culture, it is this ancient and persistent holistic tradition that is referred to. This tradition, which is oral and very much germane to the lives of the people in India, goes back to a period prior to the composition of the actual texts known as the Vedas, and is also much wider in scope than the texts themselves.

Definition of "Veda"
The word 'Veda' (cognate with 'video' in Latin, 'Vede' in old Slavic and 'Wessen' in German) is derived variously from the roots, 'vid' meaning 'to know', and 'vidl®' - 'to obtain'. The obtainment referred to is the pursuit and fulfilment of the three values in life, righteousness (dharma), material well-being (artha) and enjoyment of sensual pleasures (kåma), together known as the 'trivarga' or the three objectives of human aspiration (purußårtha). To this group of three was later added 'Liberation' (Mokßa), which in effect was the other polarity of the group of three, and hence was described as 'apa-varga' ("outside the group").

Definition of "Dharma"
Dharma (from the root dh®, which means 'to support', 'to prop up') is the individual and collective conduct that is regarded by common consensus as ideal and imperative. It provides direction to our actions, framework for the values we must adopt and nurture, and goals to be achieved within the limits set by the society. This is what is meant by the Pûrva-Mimåmsa definition of dharma as 'codanålakßa±ortha'; and by the explanation that it contributes to social welfare as well as Liberation ('yatobhyudaya-nihçreyasa-siddhi¿).

2 The celebrated ancient authority on Vedic studies, Kumårila Bha††a, holds that Dharma is the proper objective of the Vedic tradition and not the purport of the Vedic books. tasmåddharma ityeva çåstra vißayo na vedårtha iti (Çåstra-dîpika of Pårthasårathi) And Prabhåkara-miçra, another authority, claims that Dharma is what the Vedic texts are about dharma-çabdaç ca vedårha-parah' (B®hati-®ju-vimalå of Çålikanåtha) Thus the Vedic tradition aims at instructing the people about the proper conduct (dharma)

Mimåmsa
The Vedic texts do not contain direct or explicit instructions concerning Dharma or the aims of human life (purußårthas). Mimåmsa or Hermeneutics (the science of exegesis) is an attempt to interpret the textual tradition of the Vedas in the light of the more fundamental oral Vedic tradition. In its search for action-prompting (codana) in favour of Dharma in the Vedic books, whether in the nature of 'promptings' (vidhi, as 'kriya-pravartaka-våkya' — statements which prompt to action) or in the form of 'mandates' (niyoga), it was found expedient and necessary to enlarge the scope of the hymnal collections of the textual tradition (Saµhita) to include instructions and prescriptions for the performance of religious actions (viz. the Bråhma±a texts). According to the Mimåmsa the Vedic texts can be divided into two major categories known as;(1) Mantra. The Pûrva-Mimåmsa-Sûtra (2, 1, 38) does not attempt to provide a formal definition of what the 'mantra' portion of the Veda is, but accepts whatever is by common consent included in the Vedic lore as 'mantra'; (2) Bråhma±as. These are all those texts which do not contain mantras. Their subject matter is classified as vidhi - injunctions, and artha-våda - explanations. There is also another distinction the Mimåmsakas make between 'purußårtha' (general human objectives) and 'kratvårtha' (injunctions about the sacrificial ritual). Kratvårtha is more limited in scope and pertains solely to the performance of a sacrificial act. The expression 'Purußårtha' is explained in the Pûrva-Mimåmsa-sûtra (4,1,2) as referring to all the needs and goals of an individual that may be realised by the performance of appropriate rituals and sacrifices. Yajûr Veda provides the practical, specific and ritualistic application (viniyoga) for a large number of mantras in the Rigvedic collection. The claim that the Veda comprehends both the Mantra and the Bråhma±a is especially justified in the case of Yajûr Veda. which is devoted almost exclusively to sacrifices and rituals ('yajûr yajanåt).

3

Rta — The Universal Law
The 'mahåyåna' or 'Great' Vedic tradition — the oral Vedic tradition as wisdom and way of life, was thus accommodated within the 'hînayåna' or 'lesser' tradition of the Mantras and Bråhma±as. The ideology of '®ta' which dominated the greater tradition was now presented as yajña in the lesser tradition. Rta (cognate with Greek 'arti', Latin 'artus', and German 'Recht' and the English 'right') signifies the eternal and immutable, universal and existential order and law, which needs to be reflected in each individual life as well as in the community. Sin is defined as violation of '®ta' (enas, an®ta, durita). Rta is the underlying foundation of life, for leading a life in conformity with '®ta' would be the way to overcome suffering and rebirth. The '®ta' as the 'right' way of life was accomplished by yajña. The yajña was the way to purify not only the individual but the environement as well, it includes prayers and purifications, consecrations and empowerment. The yajña as the '®ta' in action was a human responsibility: it was meant to unfold the spiritual potential in the human being and also to secure wealth and welfare. The Rig Veda speaks of the 'path of ®ta' ('®tasya pantha¿', 7, 66, 3) which we must tread. It also distinguishes between the ideal and perfect world where '®ta' is firmly established and which we must aspire for ('sadanam ®tasya', 4,21, 3) and the actual and imperfect world in which we live and which is characterised by the absence of '®ta' ('an®tasya bhureh', 7, 60~ 5). The movement from the real world to the ideal is spoken of as the 'path of ®ta', ie. the path facilitating the realisation of '®ta'. Rig Veda suggests that one of the most valuable components of this path is the praising of the gods and goddesses that represent and illustrate '®ta'. The Yajûr Veda however, substituted rituals and sacrifices for the praises, because actual performance was deemed more meritorious than mere verbal formulations or mental constructions. Even in the early stages of our civilisation, Vedic tradition (the Mahåyåna) was approached by some in terms of the way of life that ensures wealth and welfare (karma) and by others in terms of the wisdom that liberates (jñåna). During the medieval period, the textual Vedic tradition (the Hînayåna) was looked upon as either prescribing ritualistic conduct (karma-kå±¥a) or the liberating wisdom (jñåna-kå±¥a). This dual approach to the textual Vedic tradition appears to have been crystallised during the days of Saºkara- (about the 7th Century). And subsequently there was a clear-cut parting of the ways; those who advocated the ritualistic portion of the Vedas (viz. the Mimåmsakas) preferred the Bråhma±a portions of the textual tradition, while those who stressed the wisdom concerning Brahman as the final objective of the texts (viz. the Vedåntins) chose to rely on the Upanißads. The Bråhma±a-texts projected the karma-kå±¥a, and the Upanißads the Brahma-kå±¥a (otherwise called jñåna-kå±¥a). The well-known Vedic commentator, Såyana, illustrates the medieval outlook which espoused the cause of ritualistic action. He not only redefined the Veda but altered also the priorities. In his prologue to Taittiriya-Saµhita-bhåßya, he wrote that:—

whose special equipment is Yajûr Veda. He is described as the leader ('adhvarasya netå iti tat-påryårtha-hi). despite the important role that is assigned to him. He is able . is to sing. The foremost among the priests. because it teaches the means of securing what we desire and escaping from what we do not desire. He is called adhvaryu. during the sacrifice his function is to invoke (hence the name 'hot®' from the root meaning 'to call'. it is curious that Såyana even goes further and compares Yajûr Veda in his Kå±va-Saµhita-bhåßya (upakrama±ikå). This importance is derived from the Veda that he specialises. 'to invite') the gods for the sacrifice by reciting the mantras from Rig Veda (puronuvåkya) and to recite other hymns from the same Veda while oblations for the invoked gods are being offered in the fire (yåjyå). who is directly and intimately concerned with the sacrificial ritual. Brahma is the fourth priest who is the master of ceremonies. sampådayati ity adhvaryu¿'). The hot® is the priest who is proficient in Rig Veda. His effort was directed towards emphasising the karma-kå±¥a and towards presenting ritualistic conduct as the theme of the Veda. He. Yajûr-Veda is all important. with their attendants. he must be proficient in all the three Vedas or according to some authorities he must be a specialist in Atharva-Veda. and the four priests are distinguished by their specialisation. therefore. neither recites the hymns like the hot® and the udgåt®. because he accomplishes the sacrifice in all its details with precision and correctly ('adhvaram yunakti. has taken 1701 mantras from Rig Veda. He looked upon Rig Veda as only the text from which the hot®-priest selected the hymns that he had to recite during the course of a sacrifice. and the purpose served by the Veda is knowledge concerning such means. and who only supervises and guides when occasion demands. Such being the case. who look at the three Vedas only in terms of the hymns to be recited in several sequences of the ritual by different priests. And Yajûr Veda served this purpose excellently. the 'Maitråya±îya-Saµhita' of K®ß±aYajûr Veda. Såyana had therefore to reject the claims of priority for the Rig Veda. For him. The book had no more relevance for Såyana! He did not even recognise the fact that Yajûr Veda contained a large number of hymns borrowed from Rig Veda. however. udgåt®. Yajûr-Veda. another priest. A sacrificial ritual will have four major priests called '®tvijas'. viz. is the adhvaryu. But the framework thus provided for the Veda obviously does not suit the nature and content of Rig Veda (the mantra portion). Såyana however speaks for the ritualists (yåjñikas). as the first in rank among the priests.4 The book known as the Veda tells us the means of securing what we desire and of avoiding (or getting rid of) what is undesirable. Indeed. Såyana further undertook to prepare his first Vedic commentary on Yajûr Veda (Taittiriya-Saµhita) and not on Rig Veda. But the priest who actually offers the oblations and attends to all the particulars of the ritual is the adhvaryu. which has 2144 mantras. nor offers oblations in the fire like the adhvaryu. Similarly. and that it was therefore only second in importance to Rig Veda. But he does not go near the fire or offer oblations himself. This is precisely what the Veda is about. to the canvas or wall and the other two Vedas (Rig and Såma) to the paintings mounted on that canvas or wall.

They therefore set out to expatiate on the different aspects of Vedic knowledge in so far as they pertain to sacrifices. and Yajûr Veda is important because the actual officiant in the sacrifice. available only in fragments). 2. because the Bråhma±a portions are not mixed up with the mantra portion) and 'k®ß±a' ('dark' in the sense of mantra being mixed up with the Bråhma±a sections). This is a case of reciprocal dependence (anyonyåçraya). (in 7 sections. The division known as Kalpa is so called because it seeks to justify the performance of sacrificial rites mentioned in the Vedas. '®ta' was now interpreted in terms of yajña. tat-sådhana viçeßo vå iti ®k-çabda-vyutpatteh'). and has Çatapatha-Bråhma±a as its supplement. The sûtras of Apastamba and Bodhåyana are illustrations of the Kalpa literature. Along with this shift of emphasis. . Agni߆oma. 1. but to accomplish the sacrifice in all its details ('yajñasya måtram svarûpam vimimîte viçeßena nißpådayati'). Jyotißa is devoted to astronomical calculations for determining the most suitable and propitious time for initiation (dîkßa) and the performance of sacrifices. Råjasûya. elaborately dealing with sacrificial matter). Açva-medha and Purußa-medha. ('arcyate praçasyate anaya deva-viçeßa¿ kriyaviçeßa¿. Yajur Veda-Saµhita has survived principally in two forms: 'çukla' ('pure'. 3).because of his knowledge of Yajûr Veda. 2. In the sacrificial context. Sautråma±i. The Vedic sacrifices are prescribed to be performed at specific periods. major and minor. all dealing with sacrifices). The Vedåºgas The six great divisions of Vedic study (Vedåºgas) are based on the understanding that the Vedas are meant for the performance of sacrifices. The forty sections of this Saµhita deal elaborately with sacrifices like Darça-paur±a-måsa. The last section is the famous îçåvåsya-upanißad. Katha (5 kå±¥as dealing mostly with matters of sacrificial interest) and Kapish†hala (6 a߆akas. Maitråya±îya (4 kå±¥as. or of the specific means of those ritualistic acts. They presume that the Vedas are meant to prescribe the best conduct. which is therefore described as a saµhitopanißad. The K®ß±a Yajur Veda has four recensions — Taittiriya. 3. uses it. called '®ks' are merely eulogies or adorations of the deities or of particular acts. adhvaryu. and Rig Veda is only of auxiliary interest. the adhvaryu in a sacrifice is important because he is the custodian of Yajûr Veda which is the book of sacrifice. the hymns of the Rig-Veda. Indeed. According to Såyana. Yajûr Veda which gives elaborate accounts of several sacrifices. is of course of primary significance. and that the yajña is the best of all conducts (Aitareya-Bråhma±a.5 not only to determine the exact nature of the sacrifice that is to be performed. çîkßa is the science of pronunciation of letters and intonations. Çukla-Yajur Veda-Saµhita is now extant in two recensions: 'Kå±va' and 'Mådhyandina'. the idea of 'yajña' became more important than that of ®ta. and therefore whoever knows this science of determining the proper time may be said to know the yajña itself. 3. Våjapeya.

It is an expedient invented by the gods themselves for projecting all things and beings in the world. Among other synonymous expressions which emphasise the aspect of offering are sava. . the beings of light — devå¿) who were first created performed a sacrifice (through their will and contemplation) and worshipped the sacrifice itself (viz. And it is not merely a rite. the first principles of life were formed ('tåni dharmåni prathamånyåsan). and transforms his psycho-physical form into a vehicle of divinity. They offered the Supreme Person himself as an oblation and thus performed the first of the sacrifices ('yat purußena havißa deva yajñam atanvata'). and out of this primordial sacrifice. i߆i. CHAPTER II Terms Yajña . presentation. an initiation. makha. Viß±u in the form of yajña). and is rich in symbolic associations. The word 'yajña' has a wider and more profound connotation than the word 'yåga' which came to mean nothing more than a sacrificial rite where offerings are made ('ijyate havir dîyate atra'). Vyåkara±a is the study of grammar which becomes indirectly relevant. the employment of improper words constitutes a breach of propriety. prayer. 6. it is also an attitude. and havana. the celebrated Purußa-sûkta) that the gods (viz. The sacrifice was for them an instrument as well as their objective (yajñena yajñam ayajanta devah'). oblation. 90. It suggests the role of divinity not only in human affairs but in the very creation of the world. praise.Symbol & Rite The expression 'yajña' is derived from the root 'yaja' and has several closely related meanings:— adoration. and expressions emphasising invocation of the gods ('ijyante devata atra') include åhava. worship.6 4. hiµsåkarma). The Symbolism We read in Rig-Veda (10. and merits expiatory rites known as Sårasvate߆i. consecration and sacrifice. the word 'adhvara' means a sacrifice. 5. 'Yajña' is a word which evokes many images. an instrument and an act. Chhandas are the rules of prosody and hymnal compositions and are not directly concerned with sacrifices. It is a sacred 'rite' inherent in all creation. and natural to man. Nirukta deals with etymological derivation of Vedic words. It is synonymous with another word 'yåga'. a device. savana and homa. It involves the whole being of the person who is engaged in the act. offering. 16. because during the occasion of a sacrifice. where violence is avoided (a-dhvara. and adopted by human beings for securing their wealth and welfare. a resolve.

creating a model of himself. Agni߆oma from the joint between the jaws and the ears. This is how Prajåpati became the yajña. Go-medha and all the abhicårika (infernal) rites from the hooves of the feet.23) explaining the significance of yajña. As soon as Siva tore the body of Varåha. Jyoti߆oma emerged from the joint between the eyebrows and the snout. Purußa-medha and all other sacrifices which involve violence from the foot-joints. and yajña-ketu from the hoof. and from the heart of Varåha issued forth the yajña ('h®tpadmåd yajña eva ca'). Brahma the Creator produced the fire . the ladle known as sruk from the snout. the gigantic body of the divine rescuer had to be disposed of. The concept of sacrifice is based upon self-sacrifice. and Prajåpati. Mahå-medha. and there Viß±u cut the body into pieces by his discus. Maye߆i. another variety of ladle known as sruva from the nostrils. We have in the same text another account (3. pleased with their devotion offered himself as a sacrifice to them. which describes the creation of the world from the body of Viß±u as Yajña-varåha (the primeval boar symbolising sacrifice). the penis got converted into the fire-pit (ku±¥a). Pråyaçcitta-yajña from the joints in the penis region.9. it is born again. cutting it into pieces. Våjapeya and the Graha-yajñas — from the hind parts. and this is yajña. Viß±u. Parame߆i and all other annual and occasional yajñas from the tail-joint. the Puro¥åça-cake from the brain. three associates of Varåha were also killed: Suv®tta. but the various vessels and implements. articles of oblation and structural details were also produced from the dismembered carcass of Varåha. V®ddha߆oma and Brha߆oma from the root of the tongue. Dåna-çråddha and Såvitriyajña from the joints in the area of the heart. Atiråtra from under the tongue. the back of Varåha changed into the shed for the performance of sacrifice (yajñålaya). the sacrificial stake (yûpa) from the tusks. and create again during the subsequent sequence. Açvamedha. the creator. the kuça-grass from the hair. After the earth was recovered from the depths of the waters by Varåha incarnation of Viß±u. — they (the priests) kill during the sequence of crushing (abhiçava). Prågvaµsa from the neck region. but for purposes of more effective re-generation. In all. Çiva assumed the form of Çarabha and undertook to strike at it. Ka±aka and Ghora. From the joints of the organs of the body. Sarpa-satra. Yajña emerged from the body of the Bhû-varåha. Råkßasa-satra. While it is being destroyed. Siva and others with all their attendants. Karßu from the two eyes. carried the body (which had fallen into the waters) into the sky. giving oneself up. Paunarbhava߆oma from the spot where the snout meets the lips. the five great yajñas of the householder (pañca-mahå-yajña) from the neck-joint. Råjasûya.were thus produced. The story continues to narrate that on the same occasion. There is a story in Kålika-Purå±a (chapter 30).7 Çatapatha-Bråhma±a (11:1:8:3) has a related imagery. and so on. the gods Brahma. Not only the different yajñas. one thousand and eight yajñas. The middle portion of the animal's body became the sacrificial altar (vedi). separate yajñas flashed forth. Prati߆arga-yajña. the gods offered sacrifice to secure the favour of Prajåpati. Vråtya߆oma from the meeting place between the eyes and eyebrows.4. Kåriça.

tiߧanti samasta devatås tatra'). with these faggots. 20). 22). as a result of which the radiance and might of Varåha began to be withdrawn in slow measure. After the Goddess Earth (Bhûdevî) was recovered from the clutches of the demons of the waters. It assumes the form of a rite which is highly symbolic. The entire earth was the sacrificial altar. the heavens as the second faggot. . 2. Further. 18. Viß±u engaged himself in deep contemplation. he dismembered his own body into fragments by his own discus. yajña is itself regarded as a god in Yajur Veda (16. 13. thus causing untold harm to all creation. that all things in the world are founded upon yajña. This account of how Varåha's body was transformed into a yajña ('yajña-varåhasya çarîram yajñatåm agåt') has been introduced by the claim that all the gods abide in yajña.1. While yajña is described as a method of worshipping the gods. the puro¥åça offerings are the hooves of the mules. as a result of which act of primal sacrifice the other sacrifices which human beings perform came into being. it causes health. the four directions are the mules yoked to it. voice is the hood of the chariot. toil and austerity he sustains the worlds (9. happiness and wealth. 3. girdle. Atharva-Veda. and the directions were the boundary stickss ('urvîr åsan paridhayo vedir bhûmir akalpayat'. it eliminates all sins and purifies the performer of the yajña. 1). Viß±u the preserver the fire called Gårhapatyågni from Ka±aka's body. It also describes the yajña which was created by Prajåpati or the creator ('prajåpatir yajñam atanuta'. and as the source for all things in the universe. and where the three fires are tended. An important detail of the legend is that the sacrifice was an act of self-immolation on the part of Viß±u. Viß±u thereupon resolved to give up this incarnation ('varåham kåyam tyaktum icchåmi'). speaks of yajña as the chariot of the gods (deva-ratha). 41) as the first to come into existence and as continuing for all time ('sa yajña prathamo bhuto bhavyo ajåyata'. the seasons are the reins that regulate the mules. the mid-region is the body of the chariot. Viß±u had thus to prevail over one of his own incarnations and invite Siva the destroyer to smite his own body (as Varåha incarnation). and the inter-spaces are the grooms that go with the chariot (8 9. vigour and agility by sanctifying the food that he eats and the water that he drinks (ibid. Ancient texts pertaining to Vedic culture contain several such suggestive legends and a variety of imagery. 5. and that it is by yajña that the firmament is borne and the people are preserved. 13. The yajña that the human beings are required to perform is the re-enactment of the cosmic creation and regeneration by self-sacrifice and dismemberment of ones own constitution. for instance. 4). all the gods abide ('yatra trayam etat nityam. 1. and the mid-regions as the third.8 known as Dakßinågni from the body of Suv®tta. and Siva the destroyer the fire åhavanîyågni from the body of Ghora.31). The priest who sacrifices must think of the earth itself as the first faggot that is put into the fire. it bestows on him strength. the sky and the earth are the side-wings. These three fires fill the entire universe (etais tribhi¿ jagat vyåptam). who is the creator as well as the preserver. 55). Varåha in his beastly nature began enjoying her. all the worlds come out of them (trimûlam sakalam jagat). As a preparation for winding up the Varåha incarnation.

and may he minister unto the needs of all the luminous beings. and worship of Agni. where ritualistic cleaning. 3. digging and other details of construction are carried out. 7. 'devan yakshi manushat purvah').deva) but he is himself the sacrificer (hota) (RV. It is consecrated ground. even as the rim pervades the wheel ('nemis cakram iva'). In the sacrificial rite. He is indeed the purifier and knower of all things.5. and thereby longevity. Agni pervades all the acts performed by the priests. energy. 21).3). .14. He is invoked by the human sacrificers to be a sacrificer himself even prior to themselves (ibid. and he is hidden in the earth. health and divinity become accomplished.3. He was brought from the high heavens to the earth. the four types of priests (®tviks) themselves represent Agni. We read in Rig-Veda (2. Agni is all-pervading and ever present. attending to each and every creature. The body of the yajña (yajña-çarîra) is brought into being by the role of the adhvaryu-priest during the rite. the ancient god. where Agni is compared to the rim of the wheel (nemi) which surrounds the wheel. There is an interesting narration in RigVeda (2.1. 95. The very first mantra in Rig-Veda is in adoration of Agni. invocation. who is described as 'the god of the sacrifice' ('yajñasya devam') and as one who readily secures the welfare of all of us ('puro-hitam'). vitality and other benefits flow out (Yajur-VedaSaµhita 9. The relevance of Agni is based on the assumption of his being the leader of all the gods ('agnir vai devånåm mukham'). he has three forms.4) and the first divinity to arrive in sacrifices ('agram yajñeßu pra±îyate'). hence the saying that Agni is all the gods ('agnis sarva devatå¿'). Agni knows them all. even as the rim pervades the wheel". as åditya (the Sun) in the heavenly firmament and as vidyutagni (lightning) in the midregion. All the gods come to the place of sacrifice only in the form of Agni. he is the inner controller of all things. All types of yajña involve the installation.9 The yajña is where all the gods reside. the pleasure-grove of Soma and the place of rest for Varuna. He invokes all the gods (hota). The altar on which the sacrifice is conducted is known as the 'vedi'. "Whatever the offerings are made in this sacrifice. the fire god who is lauded in Rig-Veda in a large number of hymns and whose cult has had an unbroken continuity till our own day. the fore-runner ('agranir bhavati'. he is firmly founded upon the earth (as the sacrificial altar). This is what the K®ß±a-Yajur Veda Saµhita proclaims. and indeed he becomes the visible god when the sacred fire (yåjakågni) is set up on the sacrificial platform (vedi). Nirukta. 'trîni jånå pari-bhußaty asya'): as ba¥avånala in the centre of the earth. When the yajña-vedi is well established.1) Well kindled is the sacred fire. and he pervades fully all the priestly acts. 3. It is the nave of the earth. everything becomes well established: wealth. Agni is not only the god for whom the sacrifice is meant (yajñasya.1. according to Rig-Veda (1. welfare. the pavilion in which the yajña is conducted represents the empire of Indra and the golden throne of Agni. and whatever the praises that are recited.1).

'yonir yad agnir agneh').16.10 It is therefore that Agni is identified with yajña.8. Ara±is The fire for the sacrificial purpose is always produced by churning the fire sticks (ara±i) from trees like çami and açvattha. çami and åmra (mango) Some medicinal herbs (oßadhi) are also used.1) Thus the three fires. In the sacrificial rites three hearths are generally set apart. which is kindled from the gårhapatya-fire. (avasatha) is known as pañcågni. 1. representing human beings on earth.140. Taittiriya-Bråhma±a (1. which are employed in agni-hotra. palåça. Aitareya-Bråhma±a. it is said that the Agni kindles the Agni (Rig-Veda. the yajña is also described as Agni himself (cf.1). the person who tends two additional fires — sabhya .12.1).6. ibid). and the third one (in the south) for the dakßinågni. cf. and the dakßinågni — half-moon shaped (ardha-chandra. 'agninågnis samiddhyate').1) declares that the three fires are the three worlds ('ime va ete lokå agnaya¿'). represent the earthly Agni (p®thivi).1. ÇatapathaBråhma±a 2.fire is symbolic of the sun (sûrya) in the astral plane where gods reside ('etad vai devånåm åyatanam yad åhavanîyam' Taittiriya-Saµhita. . (Taittiriya Bråhma±a.9. The person who maintains the three fires is called Vaitånika.fire (according to Sankhayåna-sûtra). If the yajña is referred to as the birth-place of Agni ('yonim agnaye'.2).l. Rig Veda. The åhavanîya. Samidhas — Faggots Among the trees that are permitted for the purpose of providing faggots (samidha) for maintaining the fire are khadira. 1.1 ) For the ara±is the açvattha which has grown on a çami-tree is considered the best. for 'when man dies he departs from here to the realm of the Våyu' (Çatapatha-Bråhma±a.8. nygrodha. In the sacrifice.12.7. or of the form of the bow. which is symbolically enacted in kindling the åhavanîyafire from the gårhapatya-fire. the first one (in the west) for the gårhapatya-fire which is established by the friction of the fire-sticks from the açvattha or çami trees: the second one (in the east) for the åhavaniya-fire. Sûrya (the Agni in the celestial regions — dyau¿) and Våyu (the Agni in the mid-region — antarikßa) or Moon (as the light of the manes. the åvahanîya — square. it also represents the wind-god (Våyu — cosmic life force). The dakßinågni represents the manes (pit®) and elementals who dwell in the mid-region ('anvåhårya-pachana¿ pit®±åm'. 1.4. The gårhapatya-fire (the household fire) is regarded as the foremost (pûrovarti). which is also kindled from the gårhapatya. açvattha.2. 14. 1.placed in an assembly or sabha (only in the case of a kßatriya) and åvasathya placed in a rest-house. According to the prescription of the çulbasûtra . dhanuråk®ti) or of the shape of a winnow-basket (çûrpa).6. the ku±¥a for the gårhapatya-fire must be circular in shape.1.

Among the approved articles that may be offered to the fire are milk (kßîra). Offerings Yajña as a rite is defined as offering oblations in the name of gods ('devatoddeçena havis-tyaga¿') while specific mantras are being recited (samantraka-dravya-tyåga). The female-male symbolism in the birth of Agni is suggested by the names (cf.5) provide detailed accounts of the ceremonial purifications (saµskåras) that are necessary for producing the fire from the ara±is and the mantras that must be recited while churning.11 Texts like Aitareya-Bråhma±a (3. against the enemies) (cf. 19. Jaiminiya-sûtra (4. and churned by using a rope (rasanå). sacrifices are sometimes divided into vegetable and animal sacrifices. curds (sarpi). also K®ß±a-Yajur Veda-Saµhita. vigour. barley or pulse (caru). According to the substances offered. boiled rice. vapa or fat of paçu). One ara±i is placed above the other.2. The sequence of establishing the sacred fire is known as 'agnyådhåna' or 'agnyådheya'). The important sequence in a yajña is the offering of oblations into the fire ('havi¿-prakßepåtmaka vyåpåra¿) as indicated by injunctions like agnihotraµ juhoti. chapter 5. In a sequence in the ritual paçu-yåga. strength. when it is called amikßa. power of endurance. good eyesight and intelligence. or into a liquid state then it is called 'våjina'. the puro¥åça known as paçu-puro¥åça is offered. which gives details of the Agni-mathana rite). The offering of milk and milk products into the fire are said to bestow on the sacrificer lustre. Vegetable Substances Animal Substances ta±¥ûla¿ paya¿ raw rice milk pi߆åni dadhi flour yoghurt phalîkara±å¿ åjyam husk Ghee (goat’s) puro¥åça¿ Gh®tam cakes Ghee (cow’s) odana¿ åmikßå cooked rice curd yavågû¿ vapå rice gruel omentum p®thukå¿ rice boild and pressed tvaca¿ skin låjå¿ måµsam popped rice flesh dhånå¿ lohitam parched barley blood aktava¿ våjinam whey . the transformation of milk called våjina is used ('vajibhyo vajinam iti). while the offering of soma is calculated to produce vigour. and products of an animal sacrificed (eg. When curds are added to hot milk it changes to a solid state. K®ß±a-yajur-veda-saµhita. The lower ara±i (ådhåra-ara±i) is called Urvaçî and the stick which is on top (uttara-ara±i) is called Purûravas (Indra). the juice from the crushed soma shoots and twigs (soma-rasa)..9 and 7. cakes made of rice or wheat flour (puro¥åsa).30) In rituals like cåturmåsya. clarified butter (åjya).27) explains that it is an act which is of the nature of giving up of articles for the sake of pleasing the gods (devatoddeçyaka-dravya-tyåga-rûpakriyå'). agility of the sense-organs and violent temper (krodha.

the offerings or the havis. the god for whom the sacrifice is meant. giving way to the domestic sacrifices which were much simpler. Such public sacrifices became in due course less popular and fell into desuetude. 1. and as the monarch (råja). being little more than a simple fire-sacrifice (Agni-hotra). the juice of which is one of the principle things offered in many yajñas is a creeper (valli). and  prakßepa (the prescribed spot or particular fire where the offerings are delivered). . another intoxicating drink called sura is used. It is also described as the 'dew of the dawn ' ('Soma moves at the head of the dawns'). The Five Great Sacrifices There are five daily 'great' sacrifices (pañca-mahå-yajña) prescribed for a householder. viz. Preparation of soma during the sacrifice is an elaborate ritual. 3. pitr-yajña (libations for the manes). deva-yajña (fire-ritual). All sacrifices have three aspects:  uddeça (intention or direction). the remainder is drunk by the priests. the precise identity of which is uncertain. first by the hotri and then by the others. which is said to inspire the sages to compose hymns and provide stimulation generally. leafless (nißpatra). It is usual for puro¥åça cakes and caru to be offered as oblation along with soma. It is an hallucinogen. and about how it was brought to earth. viz. it was a source of vigour. and the ceremonial sacrifice of an animal (paçvålambhana). it is usually taken to be Sarcostemma viminale or intermedium. It as a twisting semi-shrub with a series of leafless shoots which contain an acidulous milky juice. In some sacrifices. This is followed by the ceremonial bringing of soma to the yåga-çåla (soma-pra±ayana). It is usual for most sacrifices to involve the offering as oblation and subsequent partaking by the priests of the puro¥åça cakes (puro¥åça-bhakßa±a) and soma-juice (soma-påna). The sequence begins with the initial act of procuring the soma-creepers from the vendors who bring it from mountains and forests — known as soma-vikraya±a. milky (kßîri±î) fleshy on surface (måµsula) and sour to taste. The juice is then extracted from the plant with elaborate rituals and chants and then offered into the sacred fire. Indra is said to have drunk it during his fight with V®tra.12 Soma Soma. brahma-yajña (studying and teaching the Scriptures). health and strength. and its Vedic description is that it is dark in colour (syåmalåbha). The Vedas contain legends about the celestial origin of soma. 2. which provides youth.  tyåga (what is given up). in contradistinction to the terrestrial moon. But the Vedic references regard it as a god in its own right. It symbolises the nectar in the moon (celestial moon.

Further the expression 'yajeta' is an injunction (vidhi). it prompts the person to engage himself in the yajña-activity (chodana. Manu himself (4.2 and 6) there is a detailed account of the various benefits that result from the performance of a sacrifice (yajñena kalpantåm). happiness (çarma). (Garu¥a-purå±a. Among such benefits are abundance of food (våja). bliss). and the sacrificial ritual of the Vedic times survived in the form of a 'homa' or 'havan' that the householder performed as a part of the daily deva-yajña.'never-before') that is acquired through the performance of the yajña. 115) The concept of yajña was widened in scope. 'heaven' (svargam eva bhavyatayå vidhir upådatte). Bha††a-Kumårila's commentary — Tup-†îkå (6.1. wealth (prasava). 22) has felt that the performance even of the five 'yajñas' meant for the householder are not easily performed. 21 'ayur yajñena kalpatam'). The 'heaven' (svarga) is something that must be 'actualised' (sådhya). longevity (dirghåyu). Chap. Very few of the elaborate and expensive sacrifices prescribed in Yajur Veda were performed even in the medieval period. mental application (dhiti).13 4. and sound sleep (sukham çayanam). In the injunction darçapûr±amåsåbhyåµ svargakåmo yajeta the expression 'one must offer sacrifices' (yajeta) is meant to convey the sense of actualising something (yajate tyatra åkhyåtena bhåvanå abhidhîyate). bodily vigour (ojas). friendship (anamitram). - CHAPTER III Yajña: Principles and Varieties The Purpose of Yajña In K®ß±a-Yajur Veda-Saµhita (chapter 18. health (anåmaya). manußya-yajña (honouring the guests and visitors). light of knowledge (jyoti). hence his plea that one must carry them out according to one's ability. by means of the unprecedented meritorious potency (apûrva . bhûta-yajña (feeding animals and birds) and 5. 21. It . efficiency in work (prayati).1. The ostensible goal of the yajña is the attainment of 'svarga' (heavens. and fewer still are performed in our day. And the word 'svarga' signifies supreme happiness.1) explains that svarga is that which an individual likes most ardently —('ekasya prîti¿ svarga-çabda-våcyå'). prerayati) in order to obtain the goal. The sacrificer prays that his life may become fulfilled by the sacrifice that he performs (ibid 9. fearlessness (abhaya). instead of giving them up altogether.

14 does not. but only in another life as a result of meritorious potency (apûrva) acquired by yajñas performed in this life: The proper recitation of the selected mantras from Rig-Veda. acchåvåka and gråvastut. and in this sense alone. hired. 2. But their decision on all major and minor details are supreme and unquestioned. they are in this sense. uninterrupted. however. refer to the things that cause happiness or liking (prîtimaddravya) but to beatitude itself. adhvaryu. The adhvaryu is the chief priest who is directly responsible for the conduct of the sacrifice ('adhvaram yunakti'). (Manu. The Officiating Priests Specialists of the three (and later four) Vedic Saµhitas function as officiating priests. unalloyed beatitude is not to be had in this life. Yajur-Veda and Såma-Veda. called ®tviks because they propitiate the gods ceremonially (®tau yajati) and are experts in setting up the sacred-fire (agnyådheya) and in the conduct of other forms of sacrifice. The hot® (the "invoker") who chants hymns (called Çatras) from the Rig-Vedic Saµhitas suitable to the occasion (like pråtar-anuvåka. so that the ritual progresses in the prescribed manner.143) The priests who are engaged to conduct the sacrifice on behalf of the yajamåna are paid in cash or kind (dakßina) at the end. He belongs to the Yajur Veda and attends to all details of the sacrifice. 5. He has three assistant priests known as maitra-varu±a. although each one of them has his traditionbound role to play and co-operates with others.). These priests are required only to recite the necessary mantras. 2. 3. adhvaryu. He prompts the hot® and the udgåt® to recite or chant their portions by means of the praiça mantras. They act independently. The four classes of priests (®tviks): 1. they do not offer oblations into the fire themselves. There can be no sacrifice without the singing of Såma hymns ('ayajño vå eßa yo-asåma'). and the correct acts done exactly as prescribed in the Bråhma±a texts without the slightest lapse or deviation are of greatest importance in the actualisation of the goals of a sacrifice. His assistants are known as prati-prasthåt®. yåjyå-puronuvåkya etc. The conduct of a sacrifice is compared in Rig-Veda (2. The udgåt® (the priest who raises his voice and sings) is a specialist in SåmaVeda. He is the priest who actually offers oblations in the fire. which should accompany the acts of the chief priest. whose function is to chant the Såman hymns (called Stotras) during the sacrifice when gods have to be invoked. And this supreme. and they are chosen by the person who sponsors the sacrifice (yajamåna). ne߆® and unnet®. 4) to the natural growth of tree with branches appearing one after another according to a pre-ordained order ('vaya ivånurohate'). when called upon to do so by the chief priest. .

he performs the sacrifice mentally. and must be able to recite or sing the hymns clearly and correctly. the number of priests who officiate.5. The fourth priest is known as Brahmå. Yajñas are divided into two categories. before he recites the mantra beginning with 'asau-månußah'. agnirme hotå'dityo me'dhvaryuçcandramå me bråhmå parjanyo ma udgåtå || Types of Yajñas The yajña is of many kinds. He is helped by three other priests. They must neither be youngsters nor very old. and çrauta-yajñas. the caste and status of the yajamåna. agnît (or agnîdra whose job is to tend the sacrificial fire and keep them continually burning). and his role is as the master of ceremonies. The yajamåna should mentally chant a hymn in which the hot® is identified with Agni (Fire god). the type of oblations offered and the deities who are invoked and propitiated. His responsibility is to see that no commissions. He corrects the mistakes whenever they are made and suggests the rites of expiation (pråyaçcitta) immediately. Some (eg. yoghurt and ghee).15 His assistants are prastot®. 4.1. They must be free from physical defects and diseases. their voice must be pleasant and vigorous. they must be experts in their respective Vedas.5. .1 'Bråhma±ån årsheyån ®tvijo v®±îta'). the complexity of the rituals. the g®hya-yajñas (also called påka-yajñas). the duration. omissions or errors occur in the chanting (mantra) or in the performance of rituals (tantra). Çatapatha-Bråhma±a 11. prati-hart® and subrahma±ya.8) hold that he must be well versed in all the three Vedas. While the others perform the sacrifice in actuality. and as soon as they arrive they are honoured with madhuparka (a mixture of honey. the udgåt® with Parjanya (Rain god) and the brahmå with Candrama Moon god). Further. Four or sixteen such ®tviks are selected. depending upon the varieties of details like the purpose for which it is done. Åpastamba lays down that pious Bråhma±as who are descendants of respected sages and who are knowledgeable with regard to the sacrifice must be chosen (çrauta-sûtra. 10. pot® (who attends to the errors and to their absolution) and Bråhma±åcchaµsi (who takes care of the sacrificial vessels & implements). Others view him as a specialist in Atharva-Veda. the adhvaryu with åditya (Sun god). Rtvig-vara±a The selection of the priests for the sacrifice (rtvig-vara±a) is itself an important preliminary sequence. and ensure that everything is done correctly. And the yajamåna in the soma-yåga sends a messenger (called soma-pravåka) to bring them to the place of sacrifice. Authorities are not unanimous about the function of this priest.

10) mention a߆aka. måsi-çråddha. barley or wheat (caru). the faggots of selected trees (samidha) etc. which is: . caitrî and açvayuji as the seven saµsthås (or kinds) of this yajña. ågrahåya±î. however.8. without employing the invocations and eulogies of gods (known as yåjya—puronuvåkya) Çrauta-yajñas The Çrauta-yajñas are of two major kinds: havir-yajñas and soma-yajñas In havir-yajñas the oblations are clarified butter (åjya). The darvi-homas are minor varieties where the offerings are made with mantras ending with 'svåhå'. pårvana. According to Apastamba-Paribhåßa-sûtra the varieties of g®hya-yajñas are. sarpabali and îçåna-bali. aupåsana-homa. a߆aka. another list.16 G®hya-yajñas These are quite simple and involve oblations of boiled caru offered into the household fire (g®hyågni).. These påkayajñas. çråvani. Haviryajñas or Gautama as follows: g®hya yajñas påka-samsthas 1 A߆aka 2 Pårvanam 3 çråddham 4 çråva±î 5 ågrahåya±î 6 Caitrî 7 Açvayujî i߆is. 1. pårvana. Other texts (like Gautama-Dharma-sûtra. which is also drunk later by the yajamåna and the ®tviks. and Soma sacrifices are enumerated by çrauta yajñas Havir-yajña-saµsthas Soma-samsthas: Agnyådheyam Agni߆oma¿ Agnihotram Atyagni߆oma¿ darça-pûr±amåsau Ukthya¿ Cåtur-måsyåni ßo¥açî ågrayane߆ih Våjapeya¿ Nirû¥a-paçu-bandha¿ Atiråtra¿ Sautråma±i Aptoryåma¿ In a commentary on Dhûrtasvåmin's Apastamba sûtra bhåßya another list is given: g®hya yajñas påka-yajñas Aupåsana-homa¿ Vaiçva-devam Pårvanam A߆akå Måsi-çråddham Sarpabali¿ îçånabali¿ çrauta yajñas Havir-yajñas Soma-yajñas Agni-hotram Agni߆omah darça-pûr±amåsau Atyagni߆omah ågraya±am Ukthyah Cåtumasyåni ßo¥açî Nirû¥a-paçu-bandha¿ Våjapeya¿ Sautråma±î Atiråtra¿ Pi±¥a-pitri-yajña¿ Aptoryåma¿ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 This list is nearly the same as one given by Satyavrata Såmåçrami in the Ushaså He gives. In the soma-yajñas the oblation is the soma-juice. vaiçvadeva. boiled preparations of rice. måsi-çråddha.

With agni߆oma as the prototype. when the agni߆oma-Såma is chanted. våjapeya. leaving the other details to be borrowed from the prak®ti-yåga on the principle of extended application (atideça). If. . Nava-yajña¿ Vaiçva-devam Pitri-yajña¿ A߆akå Havi¿-saµsthås Agnyådheyam Agni-hotram darça Paur±amåsau ågraya±a cåtur-måsyåni paçu-bandha¿ çrauta yajñas Soma-saµsthås Agni߆oma¿ Atyagni߆oma¿ Ukthya¿ ßo¥açî Våjapeya¿ Atiråtra¿ Aptoryåma¿ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Primary (prak®ti) and Secondary (vik®ti) yågas Another method of classifying sacrifices is to divide them into primary (prak®tiyåga) and secondary (vik®ti-yåga). The last Såma gives the sacrifice its name. for instance. Among them atyagni߆oma. Såya±a's prologue (upakrama±ika) for his Kå±va-Saµhita-bhåßya defines the prak®tiyåga as that for which the texts provide injunctions regarding all the aspects and sequences. is the 'primary 'or 'model' sacrifice for all soma-yågas. Some other sacrifices which are well-known are açva-medha. at noon (madhyåndina-savana) with the four prastha-Stotras and the arbha-pavamåna-stator and in the evening (trtîya-savana). In this sacrifice the udgåt® and his three associate priests sing in all twelve 'Stotras' (viz. the hot® and his three associates recite a Çastra-mantra (viz. we have ukthya. And when another stotra-mantra is added to the ukthya. brhaspati-sava. however. sarvatomukha.The 'prototype' or 'model' sacrifices in each of the groups mentioned above. with the chanting of the bahißpavamåna-stotra.17 g®hya yajñas påka-saµsthås Såyaµ-homa¿ Pråtar-homa¿ Sthålî-påka. known as Ukthya. keeping in mind the entirety of the sacrifice. In the derived variety only the special aºgas (viçeßåºgas) for specific rituals are mentioned. våjapeya and åptoryåma have not been performed for a long time. the sacrifice which is also a 'derived one' will be known as 'ßo¥asî' (ie. Thus a total of twelve Stotras will be chanted during the three savanas. The oblations are offered three times: morning (pråtas-savana). Agni߆oma. abhijit and åºgirasa. All the aºgas of a sacrifice are here clearly described. thus totalling twenty-eight (according to the Aitareya recension. råja-sûya. these sixteen stotra-Çåstras will be supplemented with an additional twelve stotra-Çåstras. mahå-vrata. the Såman chants). It is an 'ekåha' (lasting for one day). pau±¥arîka. atyagni-߆oma. atiråtra and åptoryåma as 'derived' or alternate forms (vik®ti). the total would be thirty) The sacrifice is called 'atiråtra' because the rituals are continued throughout the night. ßo¥açi. in addition to the above twelve three uktha-Stotras (as also the Çastra. having sixteen stator-Çastras) In another 'derived' sacrifice called 'ati-råtra'.mantras) are chanted the sacrifice becomes a 'derived one' (vik®ti). the ®ks). after each Strotra singing. gives rise to derived and elaborated or adapted forms.

åhavanîya and dakßina) with one faggot from açvattha or palåça tree) each. and the officiating priests are ceremonially selected (®tvig-vara±a).18 Royal Sacrifices There are sacrifices which only the ruling princes (råjanyas or kßatriyas) may perform. milk. The last mentioned sacrifice is permitted for Bråhma±as also. Then follow the 'prayågas' as part of the main ritual. Description of Yajñas (from çukla yajur veda) Darça-pûr±amåsa — Chapters 1 and 2: The Darça-pûr±amåsa is the prototype for all 'i߆is' (brief and simple sacrifices) and where the oblations offered are puro¥åça-cakes. Oblations of clarified butter (åjya-homa) are offered to Agni and Soma separately. açva-medha — performed by an emperor to attain absolution of his sins and achieve sovereignty. In between these two oblations. an upåµsu-yåga is performed. Agni and Soma are the divinities principally worshipped (Agni-çomiya) and the new-moon and full-moon days are prescribed for this ritual.  råja-sûya — performed by the ruler to assert his superiority in the realm. The main ritual consists of offering puro¥åça cakes (rice-powder or wheat-flour boiled in milk and baked as cakes on clay saucers called kapålas). and then to Agni and Soma together (eleven kapålas). face and the arm-pits shaved in the morning and has a ceremonial bath. The Darça-pûr±amåsa begins on the previous day when 'agnyådhåna' (setting up of the sacred fire) is conducted by feeding the three sacred fires (gårhapatya. The ritual proper begins with agnihotra in the morning. first to Agni (eight kapålas). .  purußa-medha — involving symbolic human sacrifice (there is no evidence that actual human sacrifice was ever performed as a part of Vedic sacrifices.)  aindra-mahåbhisheka — for obtaining special energy and extraordinary qualities and  våjapeya — which is meant to confer upon the performer superior strength and divinity. He spends that night in the sacrificial hall (yåga-çåla). At noon (on the previous day) he approaches the three sacred fires and undertakes the vows (vrata-graha±a). where mantras for Agni-ßomiya are chanted inaudibly and offerings of clarified butter are made. and who gives away in gift all his accumulated wealth. tending the fire.  sarva-medha — performed by one who is the sole monarch or eka-rå†. curds and butter. The man who is the sacrificer (yajamåna) has his head.

varu±a-praghåsa 3. The soma-creepers. The juice that comes out is stored in a large wooden vessel (dro±a-kalaça).Kårttika) Rudra-tryambaka on the 5th pûr±imå after såka-medha Indra (phålgu±a) Soma-yåga — Chapters 4 to 8 § Chap 4. § Chap. and fixing of the sacrificial stake (yûpa) § Chap. çunå-sîrîya Time — the Full-Moon of the spring season (vasanta. are brought to the sacrificial hall (somapra±ayana) and placed upon the tawny bull's hide that is spread out (adhiçavanacarma). Preparation of the altar for the sacred fire (vedi). which is one of the soma-yajñas and which is performed for the sake of several benefits including longevity. The entire ritual begins with the establishment of the sacred fire in the sacrificial hall (agnyådhåna) and concludes with the final oblations (pûr±åhuti). this is regarded as the prototype (prak®ti) for all somasacrifices. and the drinking of soma by the yajamåna and the officiating priests. 7. noon. and strained in a piece of cloth (¥åça. health. Våjapeya — Chapter 9 The Våjapeya (or vijaya-pasa). in which the sacrificer (yajamåna) must win. Parva 1.caitra) Principle Deva Maruts the rainy season (varsha . vaiçvadeva (prak®t) 2. although Bråhma±as also may perform it. 8. obtained by buying them ceremoniously (soma-vikraya±a). § Chap. and efficiency of sense-organs. Deals with the vessesl known as the upåµsu-graha etc. This is prescribed for a prince or kßatriya who aspires to be ruler.åsåßa) Varuna the winter season (çarat . The creepers are also inserted between the two wooden planks (adhiçavanaphalaka) and crushed. which includes three savanas (morning. Consecration of the stake (yûpa-saµskåra) and the extraction of the soma-juice (somåbhiçava) by crushing the soma shoots and twigs placed upon a flat stone (d®ßat) by using a round stone (upala). 6. Describes the third savana and the offering of the soma-juice as oblation (soma-yajña). and evening) and the chanting of twelve stotra-çastras (Såman chants and Riks). is a feature of this sacrifice. Deals with the fire ritual known as agnihotra. § Chap. 5. A chariot-race. çåka-medha 4. Cåturmåsya Yajñå — Chapter 3 The cåturmåsya is a four monthly sacrifice of the i߆i type having four 'parvas' or 'sections'. ceremonial reception (atithya). It belongs to the ahina variety of sacrifices (duration of which are two to twelve days).pavitra).19 The remainder of the puro¥åça-cakes is put into the fire in a sequence called svi߆ik®t and anuyåja as the homa for three divinities follows. There is also a .

and the Açvins and Sarasvati are said to have cured him through this rite. minsiter of gambling (akßåvåpa). and the officiating priests and the representatives of the people sprinkle water. tax collector (bhåga-dugha). Chapter 16 gives an account of çatarudnya-homa. An important detail in this sacrifice is a game of dice between the king and the chief priest (adhvaryu) . Råjasûya — Chapter 10 The Råjasûya is one of the more important among the sacrifices prescribed for a kßatriya and is also an 'ahina' sacrifice. Indra (who is called Sutråma because he protects all beings well) once became sick by an excessive ingestion of the soma-juice. the queen (mahishî) court-minstrel and secretary (sûta).20 prescription that seventeen 'animals' should be offered to the god Prajåpati on the occasion. The king who aspires to be an unrivalled emperor in all the realm (eka-rat or sarvabhauma) is advised to undertake this sacrifice. During the ceremony. The king who has lost his kingdom. but it requires an elaborate preparation taking a year. the king is identified with Prajåpati. treasurer (saµgråhit®). Sarasvati and the Açvins are invoked. the king sits upon the tiger-skin seat spread upon a throne made of udumbara wood. or a person who desires wealth of cattle. adviser (purohita). the kßatriya who aspires to be king. minister for towns or villages (gråma±i). These are regarded as the persons who make the king (råjak®t). The important deities here are Rudra and Vaiçvånara besides Agni. butter. One of the features of this sacrifice is the drinking of the intoxicating liquor called sura in a copper vessel by the sacrificer (yajamåna). clarified butter and so on over the king in order to consecrate him. . chamberlain (kßattri). and after a sequence of offerings known as 'ratna-havis'. including the architectural details of building the sacrificial platforms (chitis) with bricks and the mystical significance of several kinds of platforms (like syena-chit in the form of a flying hawk with 10800 bricks). Açva-Medha — Chapters 21-25 This is a ritual lasting only for three days. eleven officers of the state are formally invested with the title of 'jewels' (ratni±ah): commander in chief of the army (senåni). Sautråma±i — Chapters 19 and 20: This is principally an expiatory rite (prayaschitta-karma) in which Indra. Agni-Cayana — Chapters 11-18 Agni-cayana is the setting up of the sacred fires. During the liturgy. and is performed by rulers who desire to assert their sovereignty. and chapter 18 prescribes the vasordhåra-mantras. minister for the environment (govikart®) and minister of communications (palagala). and one who is unable to perform the soma-yåga may undertake this ritual.

It is classed as an apûrva. and milk is boiled in it. The first day of the yåga is devoted to agni߆oma. an examination of the list of 184 persons who are prescribed to be sacrificed (upalamba or alambhana) indicates that it is mystical in character and highly symbolic. blind and deaf-mutes. prostitutes. and it contains the famous Içåvåsya- Dîkßa — Consecration Whatever the sacrifice. A . the sacrificer resolving to live as a hermit. This milk is then offered as oblation to the Açvins. veenaplayers. and spends the rest of his life in a forest retreat. and the next chapter contains a eulogy of the purußa (purußa-sûkta) . is heated upon the sacrificial fire. Prajåpati is identified with Purußa. the significance of which is altogether uncertain. non-sacrificial in theme. Chapter 40 is Upanißad. flautists. He moves out of his home in the town. Although the title suggests straight forward human sacrifice. murderers. The military guard give battle to anyone who block the horse's wandering and it is only after the horse's uninterrupted and victorious return that the sacrifice may begin. and the third day to the final and purificatory bath (avabh®tha-snåna) The sacrifice of the horse and the offering its fat (or marrow) as oblation are important parts. Pit®-Medha — Chapter 35 Pravargya — Chapters 36-39 This ceremony consists of an earthen vessel. great importance is attached to the preparation period of purity and discipline on the part of the sacrificer and the officiating priests. This is symbolically carried out in a sequence where the milk-pot is decorated and represented as a human head at the end of the sacrifice. The list of the persons to be 'sacrificed' includes Bråhma±as. the second day to the açva-medha proper. In this ritual. There is no record or tradition that the sacrifice was ever actually performed anywhere or at any time. actors. Sarva-Medha — Chapters 32-34 This sacrifice is concluded by gifting away of all that one possesses to the officiating priests. Purußa-Medha — Chapters 26-31 This is a mysterious sacrifice. heroes. and bald-men. singers. thieves. The ceremony is said to provide the performer with a divine body that will enable him to enter the heavens.21 A horse symbolising the ruler's might and valour is set free to wander followed by the royal entourage. It may be purely symbolic since it is to be noted that the purußa-medha is not mentioned in the K®ß±a-Yajur-Veda-Saµhita corpus. merchants. representing the sun (sûrya).

When moving about in the sacrificial hall. all the chants and physical acts that are involved must really be transformed into thoughts and resolves. he is restrained from himself performing rituals like vaiçvadeva. and carries the ceremonial staff in hand (da±¥a) and wears a girdle of mañja-grass (mauñji) . the day the soma creeper is procured. As a dîkßita. The dîkßita must not talk with people unconnected with the liturgy. and his previous identity lapses for the time being. however. except when he answers calls of nature. He may.22 person acquires the right to be a sacrificer (yajamåna) only after he is duly consecrated by a ritual known as dikßaniye߆i. and it is only after this ritual that the person is designated as a dîkßita. He must not answer the calls of nature during daytime. The couple eat this after mid-day and after mid-night. and the night prior to the soma-oblation. And there is a regulation that milk for the dîkßita is heated on the gårhapatya hearth. . 11) emphasises that yajña is essentially a mental act. They should also abstain from sexual activities and avoid all talk. some fruits or curds or a little rice boiled in milk are allowed. For squatting he must always use the deer. for all speech and action are founded on mind.hearth. and the dîkßita must remain silent till he can see the stars in the sky. while milk for the wife must be heated on the dakßinagni-hearth. nor greet anyone. but he may get them done by others. baliharana and darça-pûr±a-måse߆i. his teeth must not be shown. gentle and precise. he must lie down on the ground on his right side. to the south of åhavaniya. and have no dealings whatsoever with the outside world until the sacrifice is completed. bless others when they request to be blessed. No one may address him by his name. Two cows are allotted by the chief priest to provide them with milk: and the dîkßita and his wife must subsist only on this milk. consecration symbolises new birth. he must take care not to turn his back to the sacrificial fire. His wife participates in this undertaking and also gets consecrated. After the consecration the yajamåna and his wife have to reside in the sacrificial pavilion. The ritual of consecration takes place at noon. He must refrain from bowing to any person (elder or teacher) during the days of the sacrifice. Aitareya-Bråhma±a (11. When laughing he must cover his mouth. During the nights that he is allowed to sleep. He must always carry the ritual staff (da±¥a). He must touch no person.skin (k®ß±åjina). This ritual consists of offering six oblations of clarified butter (audgrahana) and eleven kapålas of caru (or cooked rice mixed with clarified butter). even a king. They must keep awake three nights: the day of consecration. There are other regulations for them during the days of the sacrifice. If milk is not sufficient. The ritual of consecration is an elaborate one. His mind must be full of thoughts of the sacrifice. and no outsider must see them taking food. and his speech must be truthful. and with his head to the east.

however. Texts prescribe the number of kapålas for each god: Varu±a. Different gods are presented with puro¥åça. the yajña ran faster. and consequently brahma (the priestly functions or spiritual sovereignty) and kßatra (the temporal sovereignty) came into being. the yajña fled from them. (Owing to some reason). and ground. But the bråhma pursuing it was successful: it reached the yajña and prevented its further flight. Kapåla — ('havir-adhiçraya±årthåni') Small thin clay saucers round in shape on which the puro¥åça cakes are baked for offering. khadira. While making oblations. Puro¥åça is prepared by taking four fist-fulls of paddy which are cleaned in a wicker basket (nirvåpa). but also prescribe the forms and functions of the furniture. looked at the 'weapons' that the brahma carried. husked. is eligible for .). The baked puro¥åça is stored in a container called 'î¥a'. Most of them are wooden. and the kßatra had to return without catching up with the yajña. carrying the priestly weapons and obtained the yajña. utensils.Bråhma±a (34. and other articles that are used in the sacrifice. Taittiriya-Saµhita (1.2 and 3) enumerates ten yajñåyudhas. for example. and recognised them as its own 'weapons'. The kapåla is placed on the fire. Yajña. armours. 'the weapons used in yajña'). The priests thereupon counselled them to put aside their weapons of warfare and approach the yajña as priests with its own 'weapons' (viz. vessels. When the kßatra pursued the yajña with its weapons of warfare. the yajñåyudha) The princelings accordingly cast aside their weapons of warfare and assumed the form of priests. There is a story in Aitareya.8. uduµbara etc. And the weapons of kßatra (or the princes) were horses. and the trees from which wood may be had to make them are also specified (palåça. and the puro¥åça is baked. it consented to stay with the bråhma. arrows and bows. clarified butter (åjya) is poured on the cakes. Now what were the weapons of bråhma (or the priests) ? The utensils and implements used in the yajña. These vessels or utensils and implements are collectively called 'yajñåyudha' (lit. but they pursued the yajña. implements.23 CHAPTER IV Yajñåyudha . with their own weapons. chariots. it is then pounded (avaghåta). and explains that all yajña is accomplished by them: 1.Implements of Sacrifice The Bråhma±a texts not only specify the mantras that must be recited and precisely indicate the acts that must be performed in the several sequences. being scared. it is mixed with water and laid flat on the kapåla in the shape of a tortoise (viz circular in shape). 1) that explains — In the beginning Prajåpati created yajña.6. The princelings approached the priests and desired also to possess yajña for their own benefit. This is how the yajña has settled down with the priestly class.-offerings separately on kapålas.

it is a large stone slab (pa††ah) on which are placed the somacreepers. It is made of khadira (Acacia catechu). used for pounding the grains or crushing soma shoots. The text says that it can be of a desired or convenient length (icchha-pramå±a). or any other sacred tree. udumbara (Ficus glomerata). 5. or cane (ve±u). It is prescribed to be three aratnis in length and one mu߆i (fist) in breadth and has an iron plate at its base. Its prescribed size is also variously given: 24. long-stalked grass (kuça. to be crushed or ground (peça±årtha) with the help of upala. The material out of which this must be made is variously given as reeds (içîka). Musala The pestle made of khadira or palåça. and for the mortar (ulûkhala) and pestle (musala) for pounding grain to be placed on. it is used for crushing or grinding the soma-creeper. Viß±u three. Its length and other particulars are not given. Arundo tibialis (na¥a). it is four-cornered. 7. 4. Çûrpa Flat winnowing basket square in shape with two corners on one side rounded off. Agni eight. In Agni-chåyana. A wooden mortar. But they are regarded as Soma's 'weapons' and used during 'somåbhishava±a' ritual. 2. and also for pounding the grains for the puro¥åça-cakes. for holding the grains. 3. It also figures during the consecration (dîkßå) of the sacrificer in soma-yåga. våra±a (Crataeva roxburghii).24 one kapåla. It is cylindrical with a bowl-like depression (bila or nimnam) at the top. and Agna-çomiya (Agni and Soma together) also eleven. the Açvins two kapålas. . mango-leaves (åmra-patra). 20 or 18 angulas. Agna-vaiß±ava (Agni and Viß±u together) eleven. These two are used in the soma-rituals. used for pounding (or husking) the grains or the soma shoots placed in the ulûkhala. but it is usual for an ulûkhala to be knee-high. it is a smaller mill-stone resting on the d®ßad. 6. Ulûkhala — (avaghåtasya ådhåra-bhûtam). K®ß±åjina The black antelope's hide used for the sacrificer to sit upon. Upala Also called adri. Poa cynosuroides). This is used for cleaning the grains before they are ground and powdered. it is narrow in the middle (madhya-saºgrahîta). D®ßad Also called gråva. placed on the d®ßad.

Those used principally in the somabhiçavana sequence are not used in pravargya. . shaped like a mace measuring a båhu or thirty-six aºgulas It is a measuring device. for marking the lines in the sacrificial ground and for stirring the boiled oblations. digging the earth (khanana). k®ß±åjina. The form of a utensil was not only suited to the function it was designed for. A wooden peg or.sutra manuals provide all the information on these particulars. sakha-pavitra. tongs (çapha). abhidhani and dohana-påtra are instances of vessels called sannayyapåtras.25 8. removing the upper layer of mud. Ladles. viz. pitchers (kalaça). and is a cubit long (1 aratni = 24 aºgulas). a variety of containers (graha). hoes (abhri). there are many other utensils and implements which are used in a sacrifice. cups (camasa). for instance. milk-pails (pinvana). Therefore. no separate altar is constructed. bowls. It is a variety of sruk. the natural ground is used as altar. Çamyå (gadayå sad®çî båhu-parimita). cups and containers have different forms. bowls (sthåli). planks (phalaka). Here the sphya is used for removing the surface soil (uddhanana). The Bråhma±a texts and the Srauta. Kumbhi. sickles (asida). 9. viz. fans (dhavitri). d®çad-upala and so on are called puro¥åça-påtras because they are associated with the making or storing the puro¥åça-cakes. in this case there is a vertical slit in the çamyå (or a hollow depression called 'garta'). For instance ulûkhala. Sphya (cchedanådi-k®t) A wooden sword used for cutting the darbha-grass to the required size. the functional significance of an implement used becomes important. according to the primary nature of the rituals in which they are employed.bårhaspatye߆i). carts (çaka†as) and stools or chairs (åsandi). used along with sphya (which is used to mark the lines) (sphyena antar-likhati). In varieties of the sacrifice Råjasuya (like maitra. associated with procuring and keeping milk and curds (dadhi-payo-rupasannayya). and marking the area of the altar (parilekhana). it would also be artistic. The yajñåyudha vary according to the sacrifice. — different kinds of ladles (sruc). stick or staff. Besides these ten. mûsala. It is one båhu (36 aºgulas) in length. hammers (vighana). Agnihotra-Hava±î: A large wooden ladle used for making oblations into the fire. Sometimes the classification of yajña-articles is made on the basis of what they are intended to Contain or carry. It is made of khadira wood (Acacia catechu) or våra±a (Crataeva roxburghii) 10. which are specifically mentioned as yajñayudhas. and is prescribed to be made in vaikaºka†a (Flacourta sapida) wood. but was in accordance with some mystical symbolism of ritualistic significance. It is made of khadira wood (Acacia catechu).

17. The actual device has a long slender drain from the bowl to the beak (the implement being a vyåyama or 96 aºgulas in length). 36 aºgulas) in length. sometimes. made of a sacrificial wood. upabh®t of açvattha (Ficus religiosa). made of udumbara wood (Ficus glomerata) and a båhu (viz. Rauhi±a-hava±î is another variety of sruk. used for offering oblations supported by upabh®t. The juhû is made of par±a (Butea frondosa) wood.26 Ladles The most common ladles used in yajña are sruk and sruva. 17. with a small bowl carved out at one end. Sruk is a long ladle. while the rear part should be the bottom portion (facing the root of the tree). the tail portion of the ladle (or handle) will be in the form of crow's tail (våyasa-puchha). two bowls are provided. but that the rear portion should accommodate a camasa (bowl).8 'santatam vasordhåråm juhoti').54) prescribes that its front half should be in the form of a sruk (ladle). The Sruk represents the female principle or Prak®ti. In the pravargya ritual. sruk is to be made of çami wood (Prosopis spicigera). It is made of khadira wood (Acacia catechu) or of par±a wood (Butea frondosa). It is an aratni (24 aºgulas) in length. for elegance and for ensuring steady supply: the rear bowl being larger than the one in front. Baudhåyana-çrauta-sûtra (10. and along with dhruva. Sruva Sruva is a smaller ladle used for offering liquids. and agnihotra-havani used in agnihotra. Sruk There are several variant forms of 'sruk' like juhû. It has a bowl or depression (pußkara) on top of it at one end with a beak (Shaped like elephant's lips or swan's beak) for the liquid to be poured out (prasecana). or alternately in gold. There is a regulation that the front part of the ladle should be the top portion of the wood. Vasordhårå A variety of ladle (which means 'the flow of wealth') used in Agni-chåyana and is meant for continuous and uninterrupted offering of melted clarified butter (åjya) into the fire for a specific duration (represented by the chanting of the mantras). prachara±î of palåça (parna) and agnihotra-havani in vikaºka†a. prachara±î used in offering oblations in soma-yåga. an aratni (24 aºgulas) or a pradeça (12 aºgulas) in length. In magical rites it may be made in gold. Two of them are used in the pravargya ritual to offer the rauhi±a-puro¥åça. and the bowl (pußkara) is a small one. silver or copper. it is prescribed to be made of udumbara (Ficus glomerata). The offering symbolises the unbroken . The purpose is to have a steady stream of ghee (Apastamba-çrauta-sûtra. The sruva represents purußa or the male principle. a båhu (36 aºgulas). its diameter being not more than the tip of the thumb of the sacrificer's hand. According to Åpastamba. dhruva of vikaºka†a (Flacourtia sapida).

A vessel similar in shape (oblong. used for consecrating (prokßa±am. is employed to take soma juice out of drona kalasa for . It is made of nyagrodha (Ficus indica). While making puro¥åças. It is made of varana wood (Crataeva voxburghii). Pra±îta The Pra±îta is a wooden vessel in which consecrated water is kept. and according to some it must be 20 aºgulas long and broad. It holds the holy water. The vessel is 12 aºgulas long. — aspertion) the articles and the oblations. It may alternately be shaped like a boat (naukåkara). it can be of any shape but only made of clay. the depth of the depression in the middle is six aºgulas. eight aºgulas long and broad. It is also called pi߆odvapani. 24 aºgulas) long. The vessel is square in shape. others say that its size must be 24 aºgulas long and broad (aratni-måtra). it is a trough (dro±a). Prokßa±î The Prokßa±î is the vessel made in våra±a wood (Crataeva voxburghii) or vikankata (Flacourtia sapida). and with a handle. According to Sayana. If it is a wooden vessel. and with a long handle.27 stream of prosperity by returning the åjya to Agni. Dro±a-Kalaça This is a large vessel made of strong and hard wood like våra±a or vikankata for storing the soma-juice. square or circular in shape. Pi߆a-påtri The flour for making puro¥åça-cakes for oblation is stored in pi߆a-påtri. it has a handle. and through Agni to the devata intended. a container made of våra±a wood (Crataeva voxburghii) or in clay. 12 aºgulas) long and broad. Pariplu (or udanchana) A small wooden bowl (laghu-påtra) shaped like a sruk (but without a handle) ('yathåsruk ada±¥a'). Into the water are dropped the darbha blades (Saccharum cylindricum) to make the water holy. water from this vessel is mixed with the flour. varana (Crataeva roxburghii) or vikankata (Flacourtia sapida) wood. with a circular depression to hold the dough. one aratni (viz. with a handle (da±¥a-yuta). It is used for keeping the materials for oblations. rauhitaka (Andersonia). and has a depression shaped like a lotus-leaf (padma-patråkrti) or lotus-bud (kamalåmukulåkrti). the bowl is three aºgulas deep. however. More usually it is rectaºgular in shape. Puro¥åça-påtri The baked puro¥åça-cakes are kept in this vessel which is square is shape. and four aºgulas high. The vessel is also meant to store soma-juice. pradeça (viz. and holds about half a prastha of water. but corners rounded off and narrow in the middle) is î¥a-påtra.

This is placed on the dro±a-kalaça and Soma-juice is poured into it. antaryåmagraha. The participants after whom the ten chamasas are known are: hot®. and it is also known as a gharma (hot clay pot ) used for boiling milk. udgåt®. Agnihotra-sthåli which holds the fresh milk (godohana) is prescribed to be made by the hand of the sacrificer or one of the officiating priests.. symbolised by the three Vedic metres: gåyatrî. nesht®. the astral world and the transcendental realm (bhu¿. they resemble the form of a hour-glass. rauhitaka (Andersonia). maitra-varu±a-graha. Dadhi. is used in pravargya ritual. brahma. açvina-graha. ukthya-graha and åditya-graha. Bråhma±åcchamsi. bhuva¿ and suva¿). 8. a pair of tongs (çapha) are used for lifting it from the fire and placing it upon another vessel upayamani by name (or çaphopayamana) This implement is meant to be a support for çapha. They are generally square in shape and have handles. or våra±a (Craeteva roxburghii). yajamåna. It is a fringed strainer. Camasas These are the soma-offering cups which are cared for by a special priest known as camasådhvaryu. a span high. The cups are made in udumbara wood (Ficus glomerata). 'traya' ime lokå¿ chhandobhi¿ karoti'). charu-sthåli. likewise there are p®ßad-åjyasthåli.aºgulas long) with a fairly large depression ('mahå-pußkaram srucam') to hold the base of the mahåvîrå This is made of udumbara wood (Ficus glomerata). agnîdhra and sadasya. acchåvåka. åjya-sthåli is for holding the ghee. Ten of these cups are mentioned. çukra-graha.22. Their shapes differ so that the cup meant for the priest is easily identified. The mahåvîrå is a cauldron a span high (pradeça-måtra). Mahåvîrå This vessel is described as 'the head of a sacrifice' (makhasya çira¿'). it is difficult to handle it with bare hands. manthi-graha. Their names are: upåµsu-graha. but generally. prasastr. dhruvasthåli and ågraya±a-sthåli. made from a piece of cotton cloth to which in the centre is attached or woven a round piece of woollen cloth. . Daçåpavitra The device to strain the soma-juice. but narrow in the middle.28 purposes of oblation ('dro±a-kalaçåt soma-graha±a-yogya ) And the soma-juice that is stored in dro±a-kalaça is already strained and ready for offering and drinking. and is a long ladle (one bahu or 36.3. It looks like three pots placed one above the other: being symbolic of the three worlds — the earth. Grahas The nine wooden cups which contain the soma-juice are made in various shapes. Because it is a boiler. the strained soma-juice collects in the dro±a-kalaça. Sthåli Various kinds of clay bowls. one for each of the priests who offer soma-juice as oblation. nyagrodha (Ficus indica). tri߆ubh and jagati (Taittiriya-ara±yaka. aindra-våyava-graha. aµçu and adabhya-grahas are four-cornered. pot®.

5. (cf Asvalåyana-çrauta-sûtra 2.16-17). viz. Rig. 1. they are long in shape and meant only to hold the mahavira vessel ('mahåvîrå-graha±årtha) Ara±is The fire that is used in the sacrifice must be produced by friction of sticks of the açvattha tree (Ficus religiosa) which has grown in close association with the çami tree (Prosopis spicigera or Mimosa suma). The kindling of fire is thus an act of procreation.15). Miscellaneous Implements Upaveça The sacrificial fire is stoked by a wooden (udumbara or palasa branch) stick. the philosophical concept as well as the actual creeper. åsandi A high throne upon which the Soma creepers are stacked in the yåga-çåla after purchase (soma-vikraya). Both these trees are invested with great spiritual significance. the two ara±i's are known by the names of the celestial nymph Urvåçi and her hero-lover Pururavas. or by a simple apparatus such as the fire-drill. the symbolism is of the two births of Agni. the stick-and-groove method). who is 'dvi-janma' ('born twice'). while the upper one is male. play an important role in yajña.1. It consists of a stick of bamboo (venu) or udumbara (Ficus glomerata) to which is fastened a piece of black antelope's hide. by rubbing one stick over another. the lord of the celestial beings and is seated upon a wooden throne .31. Soma.11. the earthly ruler imitates Indra. All references are to two ara±i's which are described as the two mothers of Agni.7. The lower ara±i signifies the female aspect. This is represented in the two ara±is (Rig-Veda. çaphau) are also made of udumbara wood and are shaped like claws ('saµdarçåkårau'). The tree called ara±ika (Premna spinosa) is also mentioned as suitable for this purpose. The fire may be produced by friction or contrition.9 and 8. Dhåvitra The sacred fire is fanned by the dhåvitras each of the three priests in gharmaoblation using one. 12 aºgulas) or one aratni (24 aºgulas) long. and the head of which is shaped like an extended palm (haståk®ti) It is called upaveça or dhr߆i. one pradeça (viz. çami especially is regarded as the 'mother of fire' (agni-garbha). 2). who is 'dvimåtr' ("having two mothers". Soma is regarded as 'råja' — the monarch and is thus installed upon the throne. During the coronation ritual. one 'lower' (called adharara±i) and the other 'upper' (uttarara±i). The expression 'ara±i' suggests the process of producing fire by 'turning round' (or by 'fitting one stick into another'.60. In the soma-yåga context.3.3. one in the heavens and the other on earth.29 Çapha The tongs (two of them.Veda.

and on this are kept the mahåvîrå pots. But the kûrca used in a sacrificial ritual is a small elongated plate made of kuça-grass or from våra±a wood (Crataeva roxburghii). made of wood or prepared out of wheat flour called 'caçåla'. palåça (Butea frondosa). 36 aºgulas) in length and made in the shape of a tortoise (kurma). bilva wood (Aegle marmelos). the four legs of the seat as high as the sacrificer's navel ('nabhi-daghnah pådåni) and the portion above being an aratni (viz. It is either made of sacrificial wood or metal. known as samrå¥-åsandi. pinvana asida vighana-mudgara abhiçava±a-phalaka milk-pails knife for darbha-cutting the hammers soma-pressing boards . The base of the yupa is one aratni in height and is buried underground. 24 aºgulas) high (aratni-matrani çirßåni'). The yûpa represents the Axis Mundi or centre of the universe. The yûpa is so called because the sacrificial animal is fastened to it ('yuyate yujyate asmin iti'). The height of the yûpa varies according to the yajña. udumbara wood (Ficus glomerata) or kramuka wood (Areca faubel). açvattha wood (Ficus religiosa). a båhu (viz. It is kept on the western side of the åhavanîya hearth. — 17 aratnis in vajapeya. The seat is prepared by muñja-grass ropes (mauñji-rajju. is placed to the east or north of råjåsandi. Kûrca "Kûrca" strictly means a bunch of kuça-grass (Poa cynosuroides). Saccharum sara). The åsandi used for the soma-creepers is thus called råjåsandi. this part may also be equipped with an iron ring ('yûpa-mûle nihita loha-valayam') called yûpa-ka†aka.30 called åsandi and is duly consecrated. Mekßa±a This is a rice-stirring spatula also used for offering oblations to the manes. It is placed at the southern side of the åhavanîya ku±¥a. The yûpa may either be cylindrical in shape ('vartulam çobhana¿') or square or it may be octagonal. nine to 21 aratnis in agni߆oma and 9 aratnis in paçu-bandha. It is a pillar carved out of khadira wood (Acacia catechu). the upayamani ladle and other articles. It is made of udumbara wood (ficus glomerata). One top of the yûpa is a detachable mount ('v®ßa-maulika¿'). A slightly taller åsandi. and the sacrificial ladles (sruca) when not used are placed upon it. or dolphin (makara). It is covered by black antelope's skin (k®ß±åjina). the yûpa (sacrificial stake) is used. Yûpa In sacrifices where animals are killed.

3.Br. kim tu ka߆hadikam rukshayati").31 APPENDIX 4 RV R.~. 2. agnirmukham prathamam devanam. Gopatha-Bråhma±a Nir. Sayana. the fuel sticks) ablaze (aºgam svakiyam sariram. being placed in the eastern sacrificial pot known as garhapatya. Br. "na snehayati. Tai. a Dha.. 1. (iii) one who elf part by part (aºgam nayat. Taittiriya-Bråhma±a Go. Mudgala Sy. burns up the faggots (sthula߆iva) (Nir). Rig Veda YV Yajur Veda Ai. samnamamanah) by setting his own limbs (viz.D Brhaddevata Sk. ~ii) leader of the sacrifice yajñeshu praniyate). aganam.1. and the first to be lit. Dhatu-patha Pan.3. Rig veda-Saµhita and by adding excerpts from the various commentaries that are available. nayati ka߆ha-dahe havishpake ca prerayati). and (iv) one who befriends not (aknopayati. Skanda-svamin Vm Venkatamadhava Mud. . Ananda-tirtha Rt. Panini At. while others would prefer philosophical or symbolic approaches: FIRST MANDALA AG ~ he name o~ a god (Sy). viz. Nirukta Br. abiding in the terrestrial realm (prthivi sthana). Br. Br.4. Aitareya-Bråhma±a Tai. Raghavendra-tirtha An illustration of how the Rgvedic hymns (mantra portion) were interpreted to provide justification for the sacrificial context (Bråhma±a portion) is given below by choosing the very first hymn in R. and ~i) leader of the denizens of heaven (devanam senanih agranih deva-senam s\/svayam nayati) (Ai. Sayana may be seen to support the sacrificial approach.

avanala'. however. also Br. 5. Br. 'ga' and 'ni' (dhatu-trayad agni-sabda-nishpattih): 'a' sug9ests~going irl" (eti. (Nir 7.9 cf. D. ~ga~ (transformed 'ka'. apam-napclt. The gods of the first realm are Agni. and the gods of the third realm are Dyauh.. Vishnu and Aditya.21) signifies ~ones own limb" (aºgam). 3. in the midregion as lightning. 29.32 The interpretation provided by the ancient glossator Sakapu~!i (Rathitara) derives the word from the three letters 'a'. 22. Surya. Soma. samaveda adityat'. "leading~ (nayati). Ai.(prefatory ch. is the most important. 1-2). He it was that kindled the first sacrificial fire (RV. Marut. Varuna. as Vayu is of Yajurveda and Surya of Sama-Veda (trayo veda ajayanta: rgveda agnerajayata. 1. He has three sources. in the waters of the ocean as bad. Dha. D. accordings to this interpretation means that which goes to the place of sacrifice and leads (viz. Vayu (Indra) and Surya (Nir.37).. stimulates) the faggo~s to burn themselves and cook the offerings (yajr~labhumim gatva svakiyam aºgam nayati ka߆hadahe havishpake cha prerayatjtj samudayarthah) (Nir. The representative divinities are: Agni for the terrestrial realm. and 'ni' ('nito nina prapane'. Vayu. Of them Agni. Brhaspati etc. who is praised in as many aS 200 suktas.) There is a tripartite division of gods according to the three realmS which comprehend the universe: the terrestrial firmament (prthivi). and because he conducts .) The three divinities are actually one god discharging three different functions. He is the patron-deity of Rg Veda. Conventionally. 'akto'nju vyaktim rakshana-kanti-gatishu~ Dha. Parjanya and Apah. 1.5. and there is no priest superior to him. three distinct gods are recognized Agni.). from ~in gatau'. and in the heavenly firmament as the Sun (RV. suryo divlti vijr-leyas tisra eveha devatah. as his influence spans all three realms.4). Dha. yajurvedo vayoh.3). Savitr. Pushan. Br. Rudra. Prthvi.5) connotes "carrying".15. He is the one who is present in the sacrificial fire: most ancient and ever young. agnir asminn athendrastu madhyato vayureva cha.32). Vayu or Indra for the mid-region and Surya for the heavens (agnih prthvTsthano vayur-vendro vantarikshasthanah suryo dyusthanah.6. the gods of the second realm are Indra. Asvins. Mitra. 91) explains that Agni is so called because he is conducted from its source (near the arani) to the Uttara-vedi (in accordance with the agnyanayana rite).95. the mid-region (antariksha) and the shining vault above (dyauh) . Agni. 24.

Nir. Purohita (viz.. protects the performer of sacrifices (king etc. and also 'begging' (adhyeshana. son of Tva߆!-prajapati.10).98. 'santi-pau߆ikaih karmbhir yo rajanam apadbhyas trayate sa purohitah tat-sthanlya'). 3. northern platform (Vm. The sage who has intuited the hymn begs of Agni the favours to bestow which he is most competent. Dha. ~q ~ . he is but one. hence 'yachami). The ritualistic interpretation takes the expression to mean the fire that has been placed in the. the master-ofceremonies.) from evil and ills through pacificatory and nourishing rites. Agni is therefore described as one equipped with such prasies. 2. 'Visvarupa' signifies the divinity that assumes all forms. as their high priest (ibid. 'One who places himself in front' ('purah enam dadhati'. The human priest being in front.1). and Agni discharges this role (Sk. But it must be noted that in the Vedic context i!a represents 'speech' (Vak) or the goddess of speech. The root 'id signifies 'praising'.4.13 that the goddess of speech followed Agni of the terrestrial region in the form of lla or praise ('agnim evanugata). viz. PUROHITA. Halayudha).5.7). and that although these are two distinct functions. as Brhaspati was of the gods and Chandamarka of the demons (Tai. advisor and director.r ~ ul°l ~lqi ~ r~R~I ~. Alternatively.. 6.r ~ purohitam .D. 24. 2. 'worshipping'(puja) (Nir.'placed foremost') is the high priest. We read in Br. having been placed on the eastern . uttara-vedyam'). ida stutau. 'puro' nihitam. it refers to the fire that assumes the 'ahavaniya' (invocatory) form.15).. The employment of '!a' instead of 'da' was in accordance with the tradition of the Bahvrchas. 7. ! ILE (viz Ide. 'iditi' dhatoh stutyartham prasiddham'). The function of the high priest is to accomplish the desires of the person who seeks his aid. The expression 'i!a' is there explained as the form designed by the sages.12 on RV 10.33 the performer of the sacrifice to the expected goal.) The gods had Visvarupa. Even so Agni accomplishes the expectations of the performer of the sacrifice (Sy. Sam. and it is a synonym for Agni.7 ida stutih. praises which facilitate growth.

He takes 'purohitam' to go with 'yajnasYa' so that it means ~the high priest of the performer of sacrifice. yajhasva devam YAJNA.65. 'one who illumines~ (dipayati). Yajna in the sense of sacrifice in the context is taken by Sk to signify the performer of sacrifice ('yajnadhikrtasya' "yajno vai jayamanah" 1.14). yajha is regarded as a wheel that has two courses: speech and mind: by the three Vedas viz. Further. Thus Sk takes the word along with ~yajr-lasya' and describes Agni as 'one who inspires the performance of sacrifices and also confers the rewards thereof to the gods and humans who perform sacrifices'. Worship. q~ ~rsq ~ ~ol ~ ~rq~l ~q ~ . Various references to yajna in RV suggest that it is the word for cosmic unity.35 'ayam yaji. 10. the Lord.28). one course is sanctified. 1. by the fourth veda (viz. The gods created yajr~a as the support and sustenance for earth and the heavenly vault (RV. I~ is the foundation for rta (cosmic order.4 and 3.. sacrificial ritual (ijyate havir diyate') in later literature.34 side of the sacrificial platform ('yajhasya purva-bhage ahavaniyarupenavasthitam'. praise (yaja pujayam) in early Vedic literature. EtYn~°lOgically.qrr ~ q ~ ~ Ai. 5. tadayattatvat ). the Atharva-veda) the other course is sanctified through mind. or at the very beginning 'agni-sabdoyam agra evabhipujyatayam'.). devotion.g.33. (apadam apahantaram'). 'agni' is related to 'agra' (foremost). (cf. it is the navel of the universe ~TV. Thus.7). speech.84.9 1. also 'yaja deva-puja-saºgati-karana-daneshu').ga-netrtvam').55. is in the nature of prior benefit (aseshasya purvam eva hitam prabhum') and is therefore described as 'purohita'. 'one who bestows gifts~ (danarthe).o bhuvanasya nabhih'). DEVA 'One who shines' (divyati). Br. 43. for the sacrifice indeed depends on him. ('yajnasya dataram dipayitaram va yajno hi devebhyo manushyebhyasca agnir dadati. Mud. takes the word to mean 'one who is to be adored foremost. and hence At. he. e.64. Being foremost' or 'at the head' is explained as signifying leadership in prompting the organs and limbs of all of us ('agryatvan agranetrtvam aºgar. The fire . RV l.

He is ceiebrated as the priest of the gods ('devanam ya߆a~ VIT)). however. Vm. hota. 6. sacred custom. 'rutau rtau yashtaram'. udgata and brahma. Br. Ai. The human priest officiating as the hota' (one of the four chief priestS) is in fact in imitation of. shining one (dyotanad).g. SK. RV 1.) Agni is called sage or priest (agneh rshibhedah. 3. resident of the shining region above (dyusthanadva) The sense of bestowal of gifts (dana) became obsolete in later Sanskrit. provides a comprehensive explanation for the word deva. Br.2) q~q ~ The expression rta is taken to mean sacrifice in the above interpretation Actually. divine truth (satya) and the conduct emanating from. adh~Jaryu.14. 1. Sy and Mud. according to Nir. Usually four of them are counted.2 'rtsya putaye).145. or revealing. 17. He is the primordial 'hota' ('ayam hota prathamah' RV. associated with the four vedas respectively: RgVeda. takes the word in the sense of Idenizen of the heavenly realm' (dyusthanam).137. however.59~. agree in giving this interpretatjon to the word 'deva'.9. this ciivine . 7. And because he is associated with RV he is designated as the 'hota ('agnir vai devanam hota. fixed or settled la~. Samaveda and Atharvaveda. meaning illumination. The expression 'deva' has different significances. 3. taking it along with 'yajr~lasya': Agni is the divinity that confers the benefits of the sacrifice on the performer.5 also rtachiddhi satyam). and the priest officiating in this yajna is called rtvij (from 'yaj') (one who officiates in rituals from time to time.g. At. SK). the word 'rta' is used in the early Vedic literature in the sense of cosmic order.4).35 known as 'ahavaniya' was placed in the eastern quarter. 3.82). 'agnir daivyo hota'. or empowered by. Sk. Yajna is related to this rta or cosmic reality (e. Yajurveda. dependent upon. the same fire is again addressed as 'deva' ('yajr-~asya etat tu devam ity anena sambaddhyate').2. YV. illuminor (dipanad).15: bestower of gifts (danad). Go. and adorable lustre (~dyotanad vijayat kantya) RTVIJAM HOTARAM The rtvik is the name of the priest involved in the sacrificial context ('rtau yajatlti' Pan. and was therefore called 'purohita'. RV. victory. truth (e.

hotr-namakah). Sy.~ from Nir. yad!chaiva hotram kriyate. Although Agni abides in the terrestrial region. and Sy. ~ramayatj harshayati iti'). on AV.36 hota.3.84) means one who invokes or invites (the gods) (hvayati. 7. The expression hotr (from 'hu' '~to call~ I'to invite~. Br. and according to this view the expression is derived from 'juhoti' meaning "to offer oblation". interprets the word 'hota' symbolically as meaning one who offers oblations in the form of sensory objects into the fires of the sense-organs ('indriyagnishu charthanam yaddhota. "to sacrifice" (juhoter hota ity aurnanabhah'). he becomes a denizen of the heavenly region (hence deva.Br. (Pan. 7. 'dyusthana') when he carries the offered oblations to the gods ('yadyapl agnih prthvisthanah. Aurnanabha. on the evidence of Nir. 'ramate cha' Unadi 3. with the 't!n' suffix. 'devanam ahvataram'. He derives the word from two roots: movement and delight ('gatya ratya cha devakhyam hot!-samstham vi~eshatah').. 715 'datrtamam') . also employed to suggest what is best in the class ('sva-jati-sre߆hah'~ Medini) is usually used in the sense of jewels and pearls which are precious. The view of an ancient glossator.24): ~r~q~q ~ ~ q~ rq ~ u ~ rclr~r~l and in Ai. Rg Veda and the hotapriest is evidenced by what we read in Go. cf also At. (2. ~rvting-niyamakatvena yajnanam rtvijam sada'). accordingly provides this meaning also: 'agnes cha hotrtvam homadhikaranatvena dra߆avyam'. Sk.) Dhatama signifies best among the bestowers' (from dha ~ tama. tathapi devan prati havir vahanat dyusthano bhavati'. literally meaning whatever pleases or delights (from 'ram'.gvidena hota karoti) in his comm. idadhatir da~larthah dhananam atis'ayena dataram Sk. quotes (R. ratnadhatamam: 'Ratna'. Sy.15 'hvataram').14. 7 15 (ramaniya-nan-~ dhananama). Sy. Wealth in the context is taken as the rewards for the performance of sacrifices ('yaga-phala-rupanam ratnanam'. is cited in Nir. More generally however it means wealth ('ratnam iti dhana-nama Sk. The close association between Agni.) from Nir. Sk. viz.) At. Agni ('tad adhikrtas tu manusho hota hautr3m karma karoti'.

explains the co~Tnpound 'ratna-dhatama' as the most superior among the nourish~rs of delight ('rati-dharakottamatvat sa ratnadhatama iritah ' Furtller he points out that liberation from sorrow and ignorance is the most desirable delight and that Agni as God Vishnu is one who can bestow it on us ('atroktagunanam Harau niravadilikatvam tadadhi߆hane agnau yatha yogyam atra adhyatmam sarvatra mokslla sadhako yah kascit sattvika yajamano jneyah') .37 Agni is here described as the divinitv who bestows in profusion the jewels (or wealth) characteristically c.) bestowal here Suggesting also protection and nourishment ('dharayitaram poshyitara~Tn Mud. Taking ratna' in its etymological sense of pleasing' or delighting ~ At.btained as the reward for the performance of sacrifice ('yaga-phala-rupanam ratnanam atisayena dharayitaram Sy.).

viz. For instance ulukhala.38 The yajña being a ritual. commissions. drshad-upala and so on are called puro¥åça-påtras because they are associated with the making or storing the puro¥åça-cakes. omissions. abhidhani and dohana-påtra are instances of vessels called sannayya. associated with procuring and keeping milk and curds (dadhi-payorupa-sannayya). Sometimes the classification of yajña-articles is made on the basis of what they are intended to Contain or carry. Kumbhi. sakha-pavitra. all the details thereof are taken very seriously.påtras. . and deviations are not tolerated and there is an insistence that any irregularity must immediately be corrected. musala. krshnajina.

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