The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Narration about the purificatory rites which is chapter 32 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 32 - Narration about the purificatory rites

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Agni said:

I. An intelligent man has to do forty-eight purificatory rites[1] among the initiatory rites for attaining liberation. You hear them, by which one may become a celestial.

2. One has to perform garbhādhāna as soon as the conception takes place, then the puṃsavana[2] rite, the simantonnayana[3], the jātakarma[4], and the naming ceremony.

3. (One has to perform the rites of) giving food (to the new born child), then the tonsure, and the brahmacarya (the life of celibacy practised by a boy while studying the Vedas). (One has to perform) the four (rites)—the vaiṣṇavī, pārthī, bhautikī and śrautī[5], and making a gift of cows, entering the life of a householder after completing one’s vedic studies.

4-7. The seven kinds of Pākayajñas[6] are aṣṭakā, pārvaṇaśrāddha, śrāvaṇī, āgrayaṇī, caitrī and āśvayujī. The Haviryajñas[7] are seven. (You) hear them. (They) are (agni) ādhāna, agnihotra, darśapūrṇamāsa, cāturmāsya, paśubandha, and sautrāmaṇi. (You) hear the seven kinds of Somasaṃsthās[8] agniṣṭoma the excellent sacrifice atyagniṣṭoma, uktha, ṣoḍaśī, vājapeya, atirātra and aptoryāma. These are of thousand kinds.

8-9. They are hiraṇyāṅghri, hiraṇyākṣa, hiraṇyamitra, hiraṇyapāṇi, hemākṣa, hemāṅga, hemasūtraka, hiraṇyāsya, hiraṇyāṅga, hemajihva, and hiraṇyavat. The aśvamedha is the excellent among them. Now you hear the eight virtues.

10-11. They are—compassion towards all beings, forbearance, sincerity, purity, ease, wishing the welfare of all, liberality and freedom from avarice. A hundred oblations are to be offered with the basic mystic syllable. The same procedure is to be followed in the initiation (ceremony) related to Saura, Śakti (the female deity) and Viṣṇu.

12. Being purified by these purificatory rites, one may get enjoyment, release (from bondage). Such a man becoming free from diseases remains like a god. By the recitation (of the names of god), by offering oblations and by worship and meditation on the deity one gets his cherished desire.

Footnotes and references:


The purificatory rites are referred to as twelve. See Manu 2.27.


The rite performed after the conception of a child to ensure the birth of a son.


The rite of parting the hair performed on the fourth, sixth and eighth month of pregnancy.


The rite performed soon after the birth of a child.


These are special rites performed as a mark of respect to the four sages who are like the guardian deities for the different kāṇḍas of the Vedas.


This is a simple or domestic sacrifice. The text has omitted the sthālīpāka and names only six.


Sacrifices in which oblations of clarified butter are offered.


Sacrifices in which soma is pressed for oblation.

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