Brihat Samhita

by N. Chidambaram Iyer | 1884 | 135,584 words | ISBN-13: 9788171104215

This page describes lustration ceremony (nirajanavidhi) which is the forty-fourth Chapter of the English translation of the Brihat-samhita. This work, written by Varahamihira in the 6th century, is classified as jyotisha literature, also known as Indian astronomy. It contains however, also content regarding astrology, palmistry, agriculture, gardening, perfumes, medicines and various other encyclopedic topics.

Chapter 44 - Lustration Ceremony (nīrājanavidhi)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. When the Lord Nārāyaṇa opens His eyes, viz. the Sun and the Moon, with the eye-lashes of the clouds (i.e. when He wakes up from His Yoganidrā or Yogic slumber), the purificatory ceremony, called Nīrājana (or Lustration), should be performed for the horses, elephants and warriors.

2. The purificatory ceremony named lustration should be performed on the 8th, 12th or 15th day of the bright half of the lunar month Kārttika or Āśvina.

3. In the north-east of the town on an auspicious ground a triumphal arch of excellent timber, measuring 16 cubits in height and ten cubits in width, should be erected.

4. It is also necessary to have a holy house (meant for propitiatory rites), made of the branches of the Śāla tree, Indian fig tree or the Arjuna tree, fully strewn with Kuśa grass and having a door adorned with the figures of fishes, flags and discuses made of bamboo.

5. With a string dipped in saffron paste, marking nuts, rice, costus and white mustard seeds should be tied to the neck of the horses brought into the holy house for the sake of their prosperity.

6. A propitiatory ceremony should be performed in the holy house for the horses for seven days with the Vedic hymns addressed to the Sun-God, Varuṇa, Viśvedevas, Brahman, Indra and Viṣṇu.

7. The horses that have been worshipped thus ought not to be addressed harshly or beaten. On the other hand, their fears and misgivings ought to be dispelled through the holy sounds of the Puṇyāha hymns, conchs, musical instruments and songs.

8. When the 8th day dawns, a hermitage covered with the holy grass and tree barks should be constructed to the south of the arch and facing the north. In the front part of this hermitage sacred fire should be installed on sacrificial altar.

9-11. Sandalwood, costus, madder, yellow orpiment, red arsenic, Priyaṅgu, Vacā (orris root), Dantī, Guricha, Moruṅga (or antimony?), turmeric, Suvarṇapuṣpī, Agnimantha (Premua spinosa), Girikarṇikā (Clitoria), Pūrṇakośā, Kaṭurohiṇī, Trāyamāṇā, Sahadevī, Nāgapuṣpa, Kapikacchu (Cowitch), Śatāvarī and Somarājī—all these sacrificial materials should be put into full pots, and the same collected materials should be offered properly to the Deities as Bali (food) along with eatables of various kinds, consisting mostly of honey, milk porridge and barley preparations.

12. The sacrificial twigs required are of Khadira, Palāśa, Indian fig tree, Kāśmarī and Aśvattha (holy fig tree). One who wishes for prosperity should use the sacrificial ladle made of gold or silver.

13. The king who is possessed of royal power and majesty and is accompanied by a veterinary surgeon and an astrologer, should take his seat on a tiger-skin facing the east in front of the sacred fire.

14. Whatever symptoms of the altar, priest and fire have been given in my work on Yātrā (Journey) in connection with the sacrifices to the planets and Indra’s Banner, should be carefully noted and applied to this ceremony as well.

15-16. A horse possessing laudable features and an excellent elephant, after being consecrated, bathed and honoured with new white cloths, perfumes, garlands and incense, should be brought slowly with coaxing words under the arch of the hermitage, with the quarters resounding with the noise of musical instruments, conchs and Puṇyāha hymns.

17. If the horse thus led by the king should stand with its left leg lifted from the ground, the king would easily triumph over his enemies.

18. If the horse should get frightened, the king would suffer miseries; the effects described for various other indications connected with elephants and horses in the work on Yoga Yātrā apply equally to the Lustration of arms.

19. The priests shall give to the horse to eat a rice ball, touching the same; if the horse should either smell or eat the ball, the king will triumph in fight and will suffer defeat if otherwise.

20. The priest shall dip a twig of the glomerous fig tree into the water-jars and rub it over the bodies of the horses, chanting the Śāntika and Pauṣṭika mantras; he shall similarly rub the twig over the army, the elephants and the king himself.

21. Besides, for the prosperity of the country, the priest, after performing Homa by means of the abhicāra mantras, shall, with the spear, stab in the breast a figure of the enemy made of earth.

22. The priest shall then touch with his fingers the bit of the bridle and put it in the horse’s mouth. The king, after purification by Lustration, shall get on the back of the horses and attended by his army, shall proceed towards the north and other directions for purposes of conquest.

23-26. The king cheered by gentle winds, rendered odorous by contact with the juice of rutting elephants; pleased with the music of the drum and conch-shell; bright as the rising summer-sun from the numerous sparkling gems of his crown; resembling mount Meru with its swans moving hither and thither and carrying with them the fragrant breeze. The king, adorned with his crown, ear-rings and armlets bedecked with gems and diamonds of myriad hues, would resemble Indra’s Bow (rainbow) in lustre, being irradiated with the rays of innumerable gems. The king would be attended by horses that appear to soar aloft in the sky, by elephants that with their tread seem to cleave the earth and by soldiers resembling a host of the Devas after successful battle, and then himself, like Indra, shall march on horseback for purposes of conquest.

27. Or, adorned with jewels set with diamonds and pearls, with white garlands, turban, sandal paste and clothes; with the white umbrella spread over his head and mounted on the back of a huge black elephant, thus resembling the bright Venus with the moon near it and over the dark clouds, he shall march for conquest.

28. The king who marches for conquest attended by foot soldiers, cavalry and elephants, all in high spirits and with numerous bright weapons of war, striking terror into the heart of the enemy, shall eassily conquer the earth.

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