The Agni Purana

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

This page describes Five divisions of installation which is chapter 56 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 56 - Five divisions of installation

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The Lord said:

1. I shall now describe the five divisions of an installation. The image is the embodiment of the supreme being, the real principle, the pedestal is the symbol of nature or the Goddess Lakṣmi. The installation is the union of the two.

2-3. Hence, the installation is done by men who desire to have their wishes fulfilled. The officiating priest (has to arrange) sheds (measuring) eight, sixteen or twenty (cubits) in front of the temple for bathing, the pitchers, and things required for the sacrifice by extending the side lines of the adytum.

4. The auspicious sacrificial platform should be made ready with one third (or) half (of the above space). It should be decked with pitchers big and small and canopies etc.

5. All the materials (to be used in the rite) should be cleansed with pañcagavya (the five things extracted from a cow). The priest should adorn (himself with ornaments). Having contemplated his own self as (lord) Viṣṇu, he should begin worship.

6. The expert idol-worshippers should be established in front of each pit (intended for the rite). (They should be endowed) with rings, bracelets and other things.

7. Logs of the pippala, udumbara, vaṭa trees (should be planted) at the doorways of the place for the sake of arches. The place may be quadrangular, semi-circular, circular or lotusshaped.

8. Log of the fig tree should adorn the east, of the subhadra the south, of the sukarma and suhotra the northern and western doorways respectively.

9. The pitchers having young sprouts of mango trees should be placed five cubits apart at the toot of each one of the supporting columns of the arches and be worshipped with the sacred syllables syonā pṛthivī[1].

10. The sudarśana (disc of Viṣṇu) should be placed at the top. A wise man has to make the banner five cubits long.

11-12. It should be made sixteen fingers broad. O excellent among the celestials! the height should be seventeen cubits in the alternative. The pit should be duly reddish, flame-coloured,. black, white, yellow, deep red, white and (again) white.

13-15. The presiding deities of the banners (hoisted) in the (quarters) east etc., such as Kumuda, Kumudākṣa, Puṇḍarīka, Vāmana, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Sarvanetra, Sumukha and Supratiṣṭhita, who are endowed with countless (divine) qualities should. be worshipped. One hundred and eight pitchers resembling the ripe bimba fruit (in colour), not having black spots and having been filled with water and gold and having pieces of cloth around their necks should be placed outside the arches.

16. Pitchers should be placed at the east and other directions. Four pitchers should be placed at the corners of the sacrificial altar with the sacred syllable ājighra.

17. After having invoked Indra and others in the pitchers. in the east etc. one should worship (Indra). O Indra, the lord of celestials, the wielder of thunderbolt, seated on the elephant you come.

18. (You) protect the eastern door in the company of celestials. May salutations be to you. After having worshipped (Indra) with the sacred syllable trātāram indra[1], the wise man should invoke him.

19. O Agni! endowed with a trident, seated on a goat and possessing strength (you) come and accept my worship. You protect the south-east in the company of celestials. Salutations to you.

20-21. One should worship Agni with the sacred syllable agnir mūrddhā[2]. Salutations to Agni. O Yama! seated on the buffalo, wielding the mace, and possessing great strength. (you) come. You protect the southern gate. O Yama! salutations to you. Yama should be propitiated with the sacred syllable vaivasvataṃ saṅgamanam.[3]

22-24. O Nairṛta! carrying a sword accompanied by an army and riding an animal, (you) come. Here is the offering and water for washing the feet. You guard the south-western direction. Men should worship with the sacred syllable eṣa te nirṛte[4] and with offerings. O Varuṇa! riding the crocodile, holding the noose and possessing great strength (you) come and protect the western doorway. Salutations to you. The preceptor should worship with (the sacred syllable) uruṃ hi rājā varuṇam and offerings.

25-27. O Vāyu! endowed with strength, holding the banner, together with a vehicle you come. You guard the north-western direction in the company of celestials and Maruts (groups of celestial gods). Salutations to you. He should be worshipped with (the sacred syllables) vāta[5] etc. or with ‘Oṃ! Salutations to Vāyu’. O Soma! you come with strength, wielding the mace and riding the vehicle. You protect the northern gate along with Kubera. Salutations to you. One should worship with (the sacred syllable) somaṃ rājānam or Salutations to Soma’.

28-30. O Īsāna! (you) come along! possesser of strength, riding the bull. You guard the north-eastern direction of the ritual pavilion. Salutations to you. He should be worshipped with (the sacred syllable). īśānamasya[6] or ‘Salutations to Īsāna’. O Brahman! (you) come. Seated on a swan! Carrying the sacrificial vessel and ladle! You defend the direction above the sacrificial place, O unborn! Salutations to you. (One) should worship with (the sacred syllable) hiraṇyagarbha or ‘salutations to Brahman’.

31. O Ananta! you come. Endowed with the disc! Seated on the tortoise! Lord of the gaṇas. You protect the bottom (of the sacrificial place). O Lord Ananta! Salutations to you. One should worship with (the sacred syllable) ‘Salutations to serpent’ or ‘Salutations to Ananta’.

Footnotes and references:


ṚV. 1.22.15.


ṚV. 6.47.11.


ṚV. 8.44.16.


ṚV. 10.14.1.


VS. 9.35.


ṚV. 10.186.1.


ṚV. 7.32.22.

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