The Agni Purana

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

This page describes Preliminary consecration of an image (adhivasana) which is chapter 59 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 59 - Preliminary consecration of an image (adhivāsana)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The Lord said:

1-4. The act of causing the presence of God Hari is said tobe the adhivāsana (preliminary consecration). Having contemplated on the self as the omniscient, all-pervasive and supreme spirit and having united one’s self-conceited conscious energy with (the syllable) oṃ and after having drawn it out and identifying one’s own self with the all-pervasive lord, (the priest) should unite the earth with the wind, illuminate it with the fire particle (mentally), draw the fire with the wind (particle) and lead the wind into the ethereal space. The wiseman should draw in the same order (the other gross elements) after having made them the receptacles of subtle principles along with the gross principles, the supreme being and the secondary forms such as the sādhyas[1].

5. The ethereal space should be drawn into the mind (principle), the mind (in its turn) should be (drawn) into (the principle of) ego, (the principle) of ego in the (principle of) mahat (first principle). The mahat should be led into the avyākṛta (unmanifest).

6-7. The unmanifest (is led) into the absolute knowledge known as Vāsudeva. Being desirous to create he, the Lord of sound by means of the unmanifest brought into being Saṅkarṣaṇa (the principle) known as touch. He created Pradyumna the form of splendour by agitating the illusion.

8. He created Aniruddha, (consisting of) taste only and Brahmā of the form of smell. That Aniruddha, the Brahmā created water at first.

9. He also laid the golden egg (of the five principles) in that (water). Impregnated with consciousness (this generated) a peculiar force within.

10. The breath united with life force is spoken as existence. The inner being also known as the vyāhṛti[2] is a spiritual entity amidst the five winds (prāṇāḥ [=prāṇa]).

11. Then intellect came into being associated with the prāṇa and with eight-fold modifications. Egoism was born then and the mind came out from it.

12. Then the five (abstract) things were born possessing determination. They are known as sound, touch, sight, taste and smell.

13. The sense-organs possessing consciousness were brought about by these. The skin, ear, nose, eyes, tongue are the senseorgans.

14. The feet, anus, arms, speech (mouth) and the genitals are the five organs of action. Listen (I shall describe) the five elements.

15. The ether, wind, light, water and earth (are the five elements). The gross body is composed of these elements and becomes the support for all.

16. (I shall presently) describe the mystic syllables signifying these and for being (mentally) placed on (the different parts of) the body. The letter ma which is the symbol of the inner self should be located to co-extend with (the body of) the deity.

17. The letter bha which is the emblem of life should be lodged in the differentiating individuality of the god. The letter ba which represents the intellect should be located in the region of the heart.

18. The letter pha representing the sense of ego should also be located there itself. The letter pa representing the mind should be located in the mental resolve.

I 9. The letter na which is a symbol of the principle of sound should be placed on the forehead. The letter dha which is the symbol of sense of touch should be placed in the region of the face (of image).

20. The letter da denoting the gradations should be placed in the region of the heart. The letter tha symbolising the sense of taste should be placed in the region of pelvis.

21. The letter ta signifying the sense of smell should be located on the shanks. After having located the letter ṇa in the ears, the letter ḍha should be located on the skin.

22. The letter ḍa should be located in the two eyes, the letter ṭha in the tongue, the letter ṭa in the nose and the letter ña in the speech.

23. Having placed the letter jha representing the hands in. the hands, a wise man should place the letter ja in the feet, cha in the anus and ca in the genitals.

24. The letter ṅa symbolising the principle of earth should be placed on the feet. The letter gha (should be placed) in the pelvis. (The letter) ga representing the principle of lustre should. be placed in the heart.

25. The letter kha which represents the principle of wind should be placed in the nose. The letter ka signifying the principle of ether should be assigned to the forehead by the wise.

26-27. The letter ya denoting lord Sun having been placed in the lotus of the heart, the letter sa possessing sixteen digits should be placed in the seventy-two thousand (rays) emanating from the (lotus) heart. The priest fully initiated in the mystic syllables should contemplate on the point (bindu) representing the region of fire in the middle of it.

28. The excellent letter ha along with the syllable oṃ (praṇava) should be placed there. Oṃ, āṃ, salutations to the parameṣtyātman.[3] Āṃ, salutations to puruṣātman[4].

29. Oṃ, Vāṃ, salutations to the eternal being! Nāṃ, salutations to the soul of the universe! Oṃ, vāṃ, salutations to the soul of all beings! Thus the five forms of energies have been described.

30. The first one (of the above five syllables) should be used for the place, the second one for the seat, the third one for the bed, and the fourth one for the drink.

31. The fifth one is used at every worship. These (five mystic syllables) are known as the five upaniṣads. The syllable huṃ should be placed in the middle after having contemplated on Hari, composed of mystic syllables.

32. Whichever form of the deity is being installed one should assign the particular principal mystic syllable of that form afterwards. The principal syllable of Vāsudeva is Oṃ, salutations to Lord Vāsudeva!

33. (The different forms of the god) should be (mentally) assigned to (the different parts of the body such as) the head, nose, forehead, face, neck, heart, arms, shanks and feet in order. (The manifestation known as) Keśava should be assigned to the head (of the image).

34. Nārāyaṇa should be assigned to the face, Madhava to the neck, Govinda to the arms, (and) Viṣṇu to the heart.

35. Madhusūdana should be assigned to the hinder part, Vāmana to the belly, Trivikrama to the hip (and) Śrīdhara to the shank.

36. Hṛṣīkeśa (should be assigned) on the right side, Padmanābha on the ankle, Dāmodara on the feet.

(This is assignment) in the six limbs commencing with the heart.

37-39. O most virtuous one! This is general mode of assignment of Viṣṇu. In the alternative, the installation of which form of the deity has been begun, one should infuse life into the image with the principal mystic syllable of that form. The first letter of the name of any form of a deity should be used along with the twelve vowels and assigned to the different parts of image such as the heart. O Lord of celestials! the principal mystic syllable should consist of ten syllables.

40. The principles should be placed in the body in the same order as they are found in the god. Lord Viṣṇu should be worshipped with perfumes etc., in the diagram of a lotus inscribed in a circle.

41. One should contemplate on the seat as before together with the limbs and cover. Then one should imagine an auspicious disc over that as having twelve radii.

42. The circle (should be imagined) as having three concentric naves and two outer circles and filled with the vowels. The wise man should then place the prakṛti (the nature, the source of the material world) and other principles.

43-44. The sun god should again be worshipped at the tips of the spokes in the twelve-fold way[5] and the moon possessing three-fold armies and sixteen phases should be contemplated therein. The excellent worshipper should contemplate on a lotus flower of twelve petals.

45. The effulgent energy of the supreme being should be contemplated and worshipped in the centre (of the lotus flower) by the priest. Having located (Lord) Hari in that image, one should worship him as well as the celestials.

46. Keśava and others should be worshipped well with twelve mystic letters[6] with perfumes, flowers etc. and with their attendants and enclosures in due order.

47-48. The twice-born should worship the guardian deities of quarters and others in the circular diagram of twelve radii. The image should then be worshipped with perfumes and flowers and with the puruṣasūkta.[7] The pedestal should be worshipped with the śrīsūkta.[8] The sacrificial fire relating to Viṣṇu. should be kindled in the prescribed manner.

49. Having made oblation unto the fire with the sacred syllables the wise priest should sanctify waters and consecrate the image (by sprinkling waters). Then he should kindle fire.

50. The wise priest should kindle fire in the pit on the-south with the mystic syllable agniṃ hutaṃ[9] and in the pit on the east with the syllable agnim agnim[10].

51. In the fire pit on the north, the fire should be kindled with the mystic syllable agnim agniṃ havīmabhiḥ[11] and the sacred syllable to be used to kindle fire in general is tvam agnehyagnirucyase.[12]

52. One should place one thousand and eight twigs of the palāśa tree in each one of the fire pits and offer grains with vedic hymns.

53. Clarified butter and sesamum (should be offered to fire) with the vyāhṛtis (Oṃ bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ) and ghee with the principal mantra. One should perform the appeasing oblation with the three sweet things.[13]

54. One should then touch the feet, navel, heart and forehead with (the utterance of) twelve mystic syllables (of the god). After having offered ghee, curd and milk, the head of the image should again be touched.

55. After having touched the head, navel, and feet, (the priest) should make four rivers Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Godāvarī and Sarasvatī present there by pronouncing their names.

56. (The rivers) should be dried up by (the recitation of the viṣṇugāyatrī[14] and the sacrificial gruel should be boiled with (the recitation of) the gāyatrī. One should offer oblation, offer the victim and feed the twice-borns afterwards.

57. For the satisfaction of the singer of sāmans one should give gold and cows to the spiritual preceptor. Having made offerings to the guardian deities of the quarters, one should spend night in vigil. By singing the praise of the brahman one gets fruits of the consecration rite.

Footnotes and references:


They are refined secondary forms. See MW. p. 1202a.


The mystic syllables bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, suvaḥ.


The word Parameṣṭin denotes the supreme being or one of the forms of Trinity.


This means a supreme being.


Consisting of twelve names of Sun.


Oṃ namo bhagavate vādevāya.


ṚV. 10. 90.


ṚVkh. 5.87.1a.


Could not be identified.


Cf. ṚV. 1.12.2a.


Cf. ṚV. 1.12.2a.


Could not be identified.


Sugar, honey and clarified butter.


nārāyaṇaya vidmahe vāsudevāya dhīmahi tanno viṣṇuḥ Pracodayāt.

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