The Agni Purana

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

This page describes Mode of performing the purificatory initiation (samskara-diksha) which is chapter 82 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 82 - Mode of performing the purificatory initiation (saṃskāra-dīkṣā)

The Lord said:

1. “O Ṣaṇmukha (six-faced one)[1]! Listen to me! I shall describe the mode of performing the purificatory initiation [i.e., saṃskāra-dīkṣā]. The great god Śiva situated in the heart and in the fire should be invoked.

2. Having worshipped those two (God Śiva situated in the heart and the sacrificial fire) and having appeased them with the hṛd mantra, one should offer five oblations in their presence with the same mantra.

3. That babe (of fire) should be struck with a flower consecrated by (the mantra of) the weapon with (the repetition of) the hṛd (mantra). One should contemplate the starry-like effulgent form therein.

4. Having placed the syllable hum in it by exhalation of breath and having drawn it by means of saṃhāriṇī (mudrā) (formation with fingers representing gathering), it should be placed in the heart by the inhalation of breath.

5. Then (the above-mentioned essence of fire) should be cast in the generative organ of goddess Viigīśvarī (goddess of speech) with the mudrā known as udbhava[2] and the repetition of hṛd mantra.

Oṃ hāṃ, hīṃ, hāṃ obeisance to the soul.

6. Oblation should be offered in the smokeless sacrificial fire fully ablaze (with the above mantra) for the fulfilment of desires. Oblation made in undeveloped and smoky fire does not get the desire fulfilled.

7. A fire which is pleasing, circling upwards and sweet-smelling is commended. So also is the fire which touches the ground and which emits sparks in the contrary direction.

8. Having offered oblations in this way, the impurities of the disciple should be destroyed by doing the sin-consuming oblation or it may be burnt with the syllables of Śiva.

9-10. Five hundred oblations should be made with the principal mantra and vauṣaṭ etc. in one-tenth of proportion for the sake of getting the characteristics of a twice-born (for the -disciple) and to permeate him with the essence of Lord Rudra (Śiva) as well as for the purification of the food etc. and for the (rites of) garbhādhāna, sīmanta, and nāmakaraṇa.[3]

11. The garbhādhāna is spoken as that which elevates the soul of the disciple by breaking the bonds and making him gain the son-ship of Lord Rudra (Śiva).

12. The puṃsavana is considered as the manifestation of independant attributes of the soul in the initiated. The dawn of knowledge by means of discrimination in the disciple clouded by illusion is the sīmantavardhana (growth of sīmanta).

13. One’s birth is considered to be the evolution out of the principle of absolute bliss etc. The wakening (of consciousness) is by means of the principle of supreme bliss in the initiated which has become equal to the Supreme Being in the spiritual perfection.

14. (Then the preceptor) should carry into the lotus of his heart his own soul resembling a spark of fire by (exhibiting) the saṃhāra mudrā (formation with the fingers denoting gathering).

15. Then the principal mantra should be uttered along with the retention of breath and the union of God Śiva and his own soul should be brought about in his heart.

16-17. (Then the preceptor) well-versed in the procedure (relating to the performance of sacrifices) should carry his pure consciousness to the region of Śiva from the sacrificial performances which are the cause of Brahmā (and others) by means of exhalation of breath and collect it by showing the udbhava mudrā (formation with fingers denoting generation) and (repeating) the mantra of the heart and exhaling the breath he should locate it in the petals of lotus of the heart of the disciple.

18. The preceptor should duly propitiate Lord Śiva and the fire-god. The disciple (should be made) to bow down to the self (preceptor). (He) should then make the disciple hear conventions.

19. One should not blaspheme scriptures or God. One should not leap across the materials of worship. One must propitiate Lord Śiva, the fire-god and the preceptor as long as one is alive.

20. One has to impart these instructions to children, old people, women, people addicted to pleasures, and sick people according to their capacity (to preserve them) and in entirety to those who can practise them.

21-22. After having consecrated in a vessel the symbols of discipline—tuft, ashes, staff and loin cloth in order with the īśāna, hṛd and saṃhitā mantras ending with (the syllable) svāhā (oblation) as before, (the preceptor) should show them to the presiding deity of sacrificial site after having quickly cast in the fire the residual offering.

23. Having kept them for a while under the pitcher for the sake of protection, the preceptor should give them to the person who takes the vow after having obtained permission of Lord Śiva.

24. Thus in this special spiritual initiation a child especially becomes fit to have a scriptural knowledge about the fire and oblation unto the fire.

Footnotes and references:


Son of the divine pair Śiva and Pārvatī.


Posture of finger indicating evolution.


See Ch. 75 Verses 13-17.

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