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Agnichayana

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The rituals are basically related to body. These have nothing to do for the benefit of mind (?).The Vedic ritual is the oldest surviving ritual of mankind, it is not primitive but sophisticated and is the product of a long development.

 

Seventeen  priests are required for performing the ‘Agni’. The course of time is 12 days. Summary of different rituals given in the table below:

 

Day

Event

Day 1

Naandeemukham to Saalaapravesham, Deekshahassu

Day 2

Collection of Pravargyam items

Day 3

Yoopam Kollal

Day 4 - Day 9

Pravargyam and Upaasath.

 

Upto Day 8 -Construction of Altar ( Syena Chitthi)

Day 10- Day 11 until Day 12

Suthy Suthyam days and finally Yajnapuchham

 

A detailed description is given below

 

First day

 

The Yajamana and his priests enter into the ritual enclosure carrying three sacred fires in pots. The ‘Ukha pot’, the main ritual vessel is prepared from clay. An animal sacrifice (In 1975 it was symbolically) is performed for Vayu. The five chief priests (adhvaryu, brahman, hota, udgata, and sadasya) are officially selected. Fire is produced by friction. An isti is performed and is followed by the consecration of (diksa) of the Yajamana (a turban is tied around his head, he is protected by a golden breast plate, he is given a staff and he closes his fists and deprived of speaking (except for recitations), from bathing etc. The Yajamana picks up the Ukha pot, which is filled with fire, and takes three steps with it.

 

Second day

 

The mahavira pot, main ritual vessel of the pravargya, is prepared from clay.

 

Third day

 

A sacrificial pole is made. To the east of the old enclosure , in which the three altars have already been made, the measurements of the mahavedi and of the bird-shaped offering altar are laid out.

 

Fourth day

 

The new domestic altar replaces the old offering altar one. The adhvaryu consecrates each brick. The fire from Ukha pot is added to the installed fire An introductory isti is performed .The ‘purchased’ Soma  stalks are measured , transport in Somacart on the bullock skin. King soma is installed on a throne and an isti is performed in honor of him .Except Yajamana and chanters, sprinkle Soma. The Indra , god’s etc is invited to attend the forth -coming Soma pressing . The first pavargya and Upasad are performed. The seeds are sown in the plowed ground and  buried several items like tortoise, the Ukha pot, The hiranmaya Purusha etc...The construction of bird shaped altar started with a stone at the center. All bricks  are consecrated by adhvryu. The Pravargya and Upsad  performed.

 

Fifth day to Seventh day

 

After the morning pravargya and Upasa , the second, third, fourth layer of the altar is laid on respective days. The evening  Pravargya and Upsad  follows.

 

Eighth day

 

After the morning Pravargya and Upasad ,the fifth layer is laid with svayamatranna in the center. The Yajamana wishes the bricks to turn into cows. Offerings are made to Rudra. The udgata chants around the bird, and a man pours continuous stream of water around the bird, three times. The evening  Pravargya and Upsad  follows.

 

Ninth  day

 

After the morning and evening Pravargya and Upasad , The implements used in the pravargya are putdown on the new altar in the shape of a man .The agni from new domestic altar is installed on the new offering altar. Long continuos oblation of  ghee is made followed by other oblation and offerings. The hall of recitation is made .The animal sacrifice is performed.

 

Tenth to Twelfth day

 

The ceremonies from tenth day will continue throughout out the next two days and nights. The tenth day is known as sutya. Pressing of soma begins after the hota’s morning recital and Soma oblations are offered. Some priests including Yajamana crawl in snake like procession  on to altar for offering. In the north of altar the three chant bahispavamana-stothra. Numerous rites are performed simultaneously .Fires are installed in hearths in the recital hall also. Eleven animals are sacrificed( 1975 ,only  symbolic).Except Acchavaka Soma juice in the sadas. and  hota recites sastra recitation. .Like this four Soma sequence are performed. Soma offering is made into the offering fire.

 

During the pressing on  the mid day, gravastut recites Rgveda verses with blind folded cloth in which Soma was wrapped. .The Yajamana is anointed .

 

The remaining 14 Soma sequences continue through eleventh day ,night  upto the dawn of twelfth day. On the twelfth day unnetha priest make two Soma offering for Indra Ancestral  rites are performed. The Yajamana and Yajamanapathni take avabhratha bath followed by a concluding isti is performed and final goat is sacrificed (1975 ,only symbolic). The Yajamana installs three fires on his home after returning to the home .He perform morning and evening Agnihothra for the rest of his life!

 

 

 

 

 

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