The Agni Purana

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

This page describes Mode of initial consecration of an image (adhivasana) which is chapter 96 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 96 - Mode of initial consecration of an image (adhivāsana)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The Lord said:

1. After having bathed and performed the two daily (worships), the preceptor should enter the sacrificial shed with the argha offering in his hand and accompanied by the brahmins who are the protectors of the idols.

2. The doors (of the sacrificial shed) (known as the doors) of peace should be worshipped duly as before and also the wardergods (located) in the branches (of the sacrificial trees) by the (performance of) circumambulation.

3. (The warder-gods) Nandi and Mahākāla (should be worshipped) at the east, Bhṛgṅgi and Vināyaka at the south, Vṛṣabha and Skanda at the west, (the warder) goddess and Caṇḍa at the north (of the sacrificial shed).

4-5. Then the preceptor should worship two pitchers each at the base of the branches (of the sacrificial trees)—praśānta (tranquil) and śiśira (cool), parjanya (rain-cloud) and aśoka (griefless), sañjīvana (reviving) and amṛta (ambrosia), dhanada (bestower of wealth) and śrīprada (bestower of prosperity) one after another with (the repetition of) their names ending in the fourth case preceded by (the syllable) Oṃ and ending with ‘obeisance’.

6-7. The worlds, planets, warder gods and rivers, two in each one of them, three suns, two Vedas, (goddess) Lakṣmī and (lord) Gaṇapati are the gods who stay in the sacrificial shed at each one of the doors for warding impediments and guarding the sacrifice.

8. The thunder-bolt, spear, club, sword, noose, banner, mace, trident, disc and lotus should be duly worshipped in the banner with the mantras Oṃ hrīṃ phaṭ obeisance. Oṃ hrūṃ phaṭ to the spear at the door, hrūṃ phaṭ obeisance.

9-10. The eight presiding deities of the banner such as Kumuda, Kumudākṣa, Puṇḍarīka, Vāmana, Śaṅkukarṇa, Sarvanetra, Sumukha and Supratiṣṭhita should be worshipped in the east etc. with (the offering of) oblation to all beings and with the mantras oṃ kauṃ obeisance to Kumuda etc.

11-12. In the same manner the eight guardian deities Hetuka, Tripuraghna, Śakti, Yamajihva, Kāla, Karālin, Ekāṅghri and Bhīma should be worshipped in the (different) directions with offerings, flowers and incense. (The preceptor) should contemplate them as satisfied.

13. The five fundamental principles earth etc. should be worshipped in kakṣītṛṇa (a kind of fragrant grass), bamboos, pillars and other things in order with the mantras sadyojāta[1] etc.

14. The preceptor should look at the sacrificial shed as permeated by the essence of (god) Sadāśiva, hallowed by his presence and endowed with the banners and spears in the form of fundamental principles.

15. After having warded off the divine ethereal and earthly obstacles as (laid down) before, (the preceptor) should enter (the shed) through the western door and look at the other remaining doors.

16. After having walked around (reverentially) and seated on the southern side of the altar and remaining facing the north, one should perform the purification of elements as before.

17. Then the internal sacrifice, the purification of the mantras and the materials, and the worship of one’s own self (should be done). The five things got from a cow (should be applied) as before.

18. Then the sacrificial pitcher should be placed therein along with the receptacle, especially for the principle of Śiva and the three fundamental principles (soul, body and matter) in order.

19. The preceptor should locate by means of his psychic force, the supreme principle of Śiva a long with the presiding deities Rudra, Nārāyaṇa and Brahmā in his body from the forehead and trunk to the foot.

20. Oṃ, haṃ, hāṃ, The images of the god and their presiding deities should be located therein as before (and contemplate himself) as covered by the essence of Śiva along with his constituent members and forearm of Śiva on his head.

21. (The preceptor) should then contemplate the effulgence (of Śiva) (which has permeated his body and) which has entered the cavity of the brain as coming out dispelling darkness and illuminating the inter-space between directions.

22. Having decked himself with flowers, garlands and cloth along with the custodians of deities (the preceptor) should contemplate as “I am Śiva” and draw out the sword of knowledge.

23. The sacrificial shed should be purified with the fourfold rites of purification. After having scattered the kuśa all around, they should again be gathered.

24. After having seated the guardian deity of the ground etc. in the big pitcher (vardhanī) as before, (the preceptor) should worship them. The pitcher sacred to god Śiva and the weapons and the vardhanī (pitcher) should be worshipped in the fixed seat.

25. Then the guardian deities of the worlds along with their weapons and vehicles should be worshipped in order in the pitchers situated at the different directions as laid down.

26. (The preceptor) should contemplate (god) Indra as having a golden complexion, thousand eyes, wearing the crown, and wielding the thunderbolt.

27. (God) Saptārcis (Fire god) (should be contemplated) as holding a rosary, kamaṇḍalu (a small water pitcher), and a spear in the hand, red (in complexion), engulfed by garland of flames and as riding the goat.

28. (God) Yama (god of death) should be remembered as riding a buffalo, carrying a club in his hand and of the form of destructive fire and (lord) Nirṛti as riding an ass, carrying a sword in the hand and having red eyes.

29. (The preceptor) should then meditate (lord) Varuṇa as seated on a crocodile and having white complexion holding a noose of serpent in his hand and (lord) Vāyu (wind god) as riding an antelope and having blue complexion and Kubera (god of wealth) as seated on a sheep.

30. (Lord) Īśa (Śiva), the trident-bearer should be contemplated (as seated) on a bull, (god) Ananta, the disc-bearer (as seated) on a tortoise, and (lord) Brahmā, the four-faced and four-armed as riding a gander.

31. (Lord) Dharma (god of virtue) and others should be worshipped in the pitchers located at the base of the pillars at the corners. Some also worship (the gods) Ananta and others in the pitchers placed at the corners of different directions.

32. The injunction of (lord) Śiva should be made to be heard. The pitcher placed behind one’s own selfshould be gently turned around. Then as before the pitcher should be firmly put first and then the pitcher vardhanī.

33. After having worshipped (lord) Śiva (seated in) a firm seat and (again in) a firm seat for the sake of weapons, (the preceptor) should as before touch with the udbhavamudrā (posture made with the fingers denoting generation).

34. “O lord of the universe you protect this sacrifice of thy own self out of compassion for the devotee”. After having addressed these words, (the preceptor) should place the sword in the pitcher.

35. After having worshipped the lord in the pitcher or on the ground or in the shed relating to initiation and establishment, (the preceptor) should go in front of the fire-receptacle.

36. The custodians of images who are seated in front of the centre of the pit should purify the respective pits as directed by the preceptor.

37. The reciters (of mantras) should recite (the mantras) as many times (as laid down). Others (should recite the saṃhitā mantra. The brahmins, well-versed in their respective branches should read the appeasing mantras.

38. A follower of the Ṛgveda should recite the hymns śrīsūkta, pāvamānī, maitraka and vṛṣākapi on the east.

39. A follower of Sāmaveda should recite the hymns—devavrata, bhāruṇḍa, jyeṣṭha and rathantara on the south.

40. A follower of Yajurveda should recite the hymns rudra, puruṣasūkta, ślokādhyāya especially and the brāhmaṇas in the west.

41. An Atharvavedin should repeat the hynns—nīlarudra, sūkṣmāsūkṣma and the atharvaśīrṣa in the north.

42. After having ignited the (sacrificial) fire, the preceptor should fill the eastern part of each one of the pit from the east in order.

43. Incense, lamps and sacrificial porridge should be offered to them. Then the fire should be offered. After having worshipped Śiva as before, offering unto fire should be made (accompanied by the chanting of) mantra.

44. After having made the oblation for making the place and time of the sacrifice as auspicious and to ward off omens portending evil, the knower of mantras should offer the final oblation which brings forth good.

45. After having prepared the sacrificial porridge as before, it should be offered to each one of the pit. Then the yajamānas (persons at whose instance a ceremony is performed) should go to the bathing shed well-adorned.

46. (The image of) the god should be placed on the auspicious seat and covered with the essence of the mantra after gently stroking it. After having worshipped, it should be bathed with mud and herbal waters.

47. The image should be bathed in between with the urine of a cow and cow-dung, sacred as and perfumed water with (the recitation of the mantra of) the weapon ending with (the syllable) phaṭ.

48. The preceptor, after having purified the casual principles, should cover (the image) with a yellow coloured cloth (sanctified) by the repetition of the dharma (mantra) in the company of the protectors of the image.

49-51. After having worshipped (the image) with white flowers it should be carried to the sacrificial platform at the north. After having laid (the image) on a seat placed over the bed, the preceptor should mark (on the image) with lines of saffron-smeared strings and mark (the position of) the eyes with a golden stick. The collyrium should be put on (the eyelids) and then the sculptor should carve out the eyes with an implement at the spot as laid down in the technical works.

52. The eyes should be carved into a spot just at half of one third or half of one fourth or half of half the length, for accomplishing all desires and it is auspicious.

53. Taking one-fourth part of the length of the liṅga and having divided it into three parts, one such part should always be the breadth of the body.

54. In the liṅga of a cubit length, the cavity of the eyes should be a ninth part of one eighth of a yava (measure) both in depth and breadth.

55. In the liṅga of one and a half cubit length, the sockets of the eyes would measure an eighth part of a yava (measure) more (than that of the preceding). In that (the liṅga) of a cubit length (the cavity of the eyes) would be eight yava (measure) in depth and breadth.

56. In all the liṅgas of Śambhu (lord Śiva) where the length would increase by the pāda (measure), the measures of the cavities of the eyes would also correspondingly increase by a yava (measure).

57. The lines (on the top of the liṅga) would also increase by three parts both in depth and breadth. In all the cases the top of the liṅga would be narrow and tapering.

58-59. The region of the eyes should be divided into eight parts and the lower part of the head into two. The two lower parts (of the region of the eyes) should be left out. The remaining six parts should be carved into three lines taken round and joined at the back (of the emblem). The line at the top should be made to measure ayava (measure) in the case of (a liṅga) made of gem as well as of gold.

60. The form and characteristic features of these are that the radiance of those made of gem is spotless. (The emblem) should be endowed with the eyesight by carving the above mark (into the part indicated above).

61. After having worshipped the lines bringing out the characteristic features of the emblem with ghee and honey with (the repetition of) the mṛtyuñjayamantra[2] in order to remove the defects due to the sculptor, the liṅga should then be worshipped after having bathed it with mud and other things. After having gratified the sculptor, a cow should be given to the preceptor.

62-64. After having worshipped the liṅga with incense and other things, married women should sing (in praise of the lord). After having touched the (liṅga) on the left and right with the string or with the kuśa, and rubbing with rocana (pigment), the women should be sent away after giving gifts of molasses, salt and brains.

65-67. The preceptor along with the custodians of idols should bathe (the liṅga) with mud, cow-dung, cow’s urine, ashes and water with the (recitation of) hṛdayamantra or praṇava. Then (it should be bathed) with the five things got from a cow preceded by (bathing with) the five sweet things. After the smearing (of decoctions) of herbs (it should be bathed) with all herbal waters. (Then it should be bathed) with waters mixed with white flowers, fruits, gold, gems, horn and barley. Then (it should be bathed) with thousand pourings of divine herbal waters.

68. Subsequently, the liṅga should be bathed with sacred waters, waters of (river) Ganges, waters mixed with sandal and from the pitcher representing milky ocean and that pitcher of water sacred to lord Śiva.

69-71. Rubbing and besmearing should be done with fragrant sandal and other things. After having worshipped (the liṅga) with flowers with the recitation of brahma (mantra) and with red garments with (the mantras of) armour and after having shown a red flower preceded by the offer of protective mark, the liṅga should be worshipped with the mantra of puruṣa, after having appeased it with jets of ghee, water, milk, kuśa, other articles of worship and praises. After having rinsed the mouth with (the mantra of) the heart (the preceptor) should say, “O lord! May you rise up!”

72. Then the lord should quickly be led to the shed along with the articles (of worship) in a divine chariot and placed in the bed (made ready) at the western door (of the shed).

73. At the western door itself a pedestal should be placed on an auspicious seat permeated with the goddesses beginning with Śakti and ending with Mati. The brahmaśilā should also be bestowed therein.

74-75. The sacrificial pitcher in which the psychic sleep had been induced should be converted into the fixed seat. After having placed it in the north-east corner of the shed and offered waters for washing with (the mantra of) the heart, the liṅga should be lifted (from the bed) and deposited on the seat with the head turned towards the east and obeisance to Dharma (god of virtue) and others (should be done) with (the mantra of) creation.

76. Incense should be offered. After having worshipped the liṅga, garments and household articles should be offered with (the mantra of) the heart befitting one’s capacity.

77-78. A vessel filled with ghee and honey should be placed near the foot as unguent. The officiating priest who is present therein should locate the thirty-six principles beginning with energy and ending with the earth along with their respective presiding deities and divide (the above body) into three parts with garlands of flowers.

79-83. After having located the fundamental principles beginning with the principle of illusion and ending with that of the absolute energy, together with the principles of soul, knowledge and pure bliss, in the order in which they were created, in the different parts of the body such as the square, octagon or circle and the presiding deities of the above three principles such as the gods Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva having been projected into each of the above said divisions and also the different embodiments of gods such as the earth, fire, the person for whom the sacrifice is done, sun, water, air, moon, sun, sky together with their respective deities such as Śarva, Paśupati, Ugra, Rudra, Bhava, Maheśvara, Mahādeva and Bhīma and these letters respectively sacred to them such as la, va, śa, ṣa, ca, ya, sa and ha should be located therein. The praṇava of three parts or the mantra of the heart or some other principal mantra (are also located).

84-85. (The preceptor) who knows the mantra should locate five deities of (the five fundamental principles earth, water, lustre, wind and ether along with their five presiding deities, and Brahmā, Dharaṇīdhara, Rudra, Īśa and Sadāśiva in the order of creation in the case of a sacrifice having five fire-pits.

86. (The principles of) non-action, and other things, and their presiding deities Ajāta and others or the three principles should be located as the cause of pervading in the case of a seeker of release (from bondage).

87. Gods known as Vidyeśas (lords of learning) should be meditated upon in the case of one’s own soul being pure and the Lokanāyakas (lords of the world) in the case of one’s own and being impure and also the protectors of images, enjoyers and lords of the mantras.

88. (The fundamental principles numbering) twenty-five[3], eight[4], five[5] and three[6] and their lords such as Indra and others (should be worshipped) in order as follows:

Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to the principle of energy etc. Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to the presiding deity of the principle of energy etc. Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to the image of kṣmā (earth). Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to (lord) Śiva, presiding deity of the image of earth etc. Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to the image of pṛthivī (earth). Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to Brahmā, the presiding deity of the image etc. Oṃ hāṃ obeisance to (lord) Rudra, the presiding deity of the principle of Śiva (auspiciousness) etc.

89-91. (The preceptor) should recite (the above mantras) from the region of the navel, spreading like the sounds of bell, rejecting the causes such as Brahmā and others and meditate on the mantra resting in (the lotus of) twelve petals and which is different from the mind and which resembles the sentiment of bliss obtained. Having collected filaments from the twelve (petalled lotuses) (lord Śiva), who pervades (everything) and is devoid of kalās, should be contemplated upon as shining resplendent with thirtyeight kalās, effulgent with thousand rays, consisting of all energies and accompanied by the attendant gods; (he) should be then projected in the liṅga.

92. The jīvanyāsa[7] in the liṅga will be accomplished in this manner. It yields all fruits. The location in the pedestal etc. will be described now.

93-94. After having been washed and besmeared with sandal paste etc., the pedestal should be covered by a good cloth. Then the stone set ready just like the liṅga and placed at the north of the liṅga should be endowed with the five gems in its aperture resembling the female organ of generation and should be worshipped as laid down.

95. The (pedestal) stone which has been bathed again should be deposited at the foot of the liṅga. So also the bull and (others such as the goddess of) energy should be located after doing the rites of bathing etc. (to them).

96-97. It should be done being preceded by the praṇava (syllable oṃ) and (followed by) any one of (the mystic letters) huṃ, puṃ and hrīṃ. The pedestal stone which is of the form of the base and which is endowed with the energy of action (should be worshipped) with sacred ashes, darbha and sesamum. Then the three outer walls should be set up. The guardian deities with their weapons should be worshipped outside for the sake of protection.

Oṃ hūṃ, hrāṃ obeisance to the energy of action. Oṃ hūṃ, hrāṃ, haḥ oblation to Mahāgaurī, the consort of Rudra—this (being performed) on the pedestal. Oṃ, hāṃ obeisance to the energy of support. Oṃ, hāṃ obeisance to the bull.

98-101. The (female deities) Dhārikā, Dīptimatī, Ugrā Jyotsnā, Balotkaṭā, Dhātrī and Vidhātrī or the five goddesses Vāmā, Jyeṣṭhā, Kriyā, Jñāna, Vedhā or the three Kriyā, Jñāna and Icchā should be located as before. So also the female goddesses should be located in the benefic forms of gods. The five energies Tamī, Mohā, Kṣamī, Niṣṭhā, Mṛtyu, Māyā, or Bhava Jvara, Mahāmoha, Ghora, Tritayajvara or the three presiding female deities Kriyā, Jñāna and Bādhā should be located in the three indomitable principles of soul etc.

102. Even in this case the pedestal (should be worshipped) in the Brahmā—part (of the liṅga) in the order. All routines should be performed as before with (the goddess) Gaurī and others.

103-105. Having located in this manner, (the preceptor) should go near the (fire) pit and invoke (lord) Maheśvara at the centre of the pit and on the borders, the goddess of action in the other border and the sound (oṃ) at the lip. Then the union of the occult psychic force with the sacrificial pitcher, the ground, fire and (lord) Īśa (should be brought about).

106-107. The preceptor should contemplate his psychic energy resembling the fire of a lotus rejected upwards by the rising wind, entering by the path of the sun, emerging out and again entering by the path of void. In this manner mutual union with (the psychic forces of) the protectors of guardians should be brought about everywhere.

108. After having worshipped the energy (known as) Dhārikā (ability to hold), duly the fundamental principles along with their presiding deities, and the images (of gods) along with their presiding deities with ghee etc. and offered oblation duly in the fire-pit in their presence with the saṃhitā mantras, oblation should again be made hundred or thousand or five hundred times (concluding) with the final oblation.

109. Similarly, the guardians of deities should also satisfy the fundamental principles along with their presiding deities,.and the images (of gods) along with their presiding deities and offer oblation.

110-111. After having satisfied the (goddess of) energy with Brahma mantras befitting one’s capacity and time and sprinkled the waters of the pitcher with the ends of the kuśa and touched the base of the liṅga, one should repeat (the mantras) as many times as (the number of) oblations. The presence of the god should be accomplished by (repeating) the mantra of the heart. The act of covering (the image) should be done by (repeating) the mantra of the armour.

112-113. After having performed (the rites) thus for the purification of (the parts of the liṅga presided over by) the gods Brahmā to Viṣṇu, (the preceptor) should complete the oblation and repetition of the mantras as many times (as mentioned above). The middle and tip of the liṅga should be touched with the middle and tip of the kuśa. The mode of achieving the union is described now:

Oṃ, hāṃ, haṃ, oṃ, oṃ, oṃ, eṃ, oṃ, bhūṃ, bhūṃ obeisance to the image outside.

Oṃ, hāṃ, vāṃ, oṃ, oṃ, oṃ, ṣāṃ, oṃ, bhūṃ, bhūṃ, vāṃ obeisance to the image of fire-god.

114. Similarly, the images of the yajamāna and others should be contemplated (in the liṅga). So also in the case of the five manifestations of the god, union must be brought about with (the repetition of the mantra of) the heart etc.

115. It should be known that (the union) in the case of the three fundamental principles (soul, knowledge and bliss) with the liṅga, pedestal and bull is brought about by the principal (mantra) or with their own fundamental (letters) completely and without any omission.

116-19. Hundred oblations should be made for the purification of the different parts (of the liṅga) and hundred and eight (oblations) with the mantra of (lord) Śiva for the removal of any deficiency (in performing the sacrifice). After having made oblation, whatever act has been done that should be uttered in the ear of (lord) Śiva: “This act has been completed by me by your grace! O lord! Oṃ, obeisance to lord Rudra! Obeisance to (lord) Rudradeva! Whether this act is complete as laid down or incomplete, you complete it by your power and accept it. Then the learned (preceptor) should locate in the liṅga and the act in the pedestal of the image.

120-121. The energy of the form of support should be located in the Brahmā (part of the) stone. The (rite of) adhivāsana (staying together) should extend over seven nights or five nights or three nights or a single night or be done immediately. The sacrifice performed without (the performance of) adhivāsana does not yield any benefit even if performed.

122. Hundreds of oblations should be offered everyday with the respective mantras. Worship of the pitcher of (lord) Śiva and offering to the quarters should be conveyed.

123. The adhivāsa is so called because the disciple stays with the preceptor practising vows. It is said to be the attitude till the end of the stay.

Footnotes and references:


Sadyo jātam prapadyāni, Vāmadevāya namo jyesthāya namaḥ, tatpuruṣāya Vidmahe, aghorebhyo, the ghorebhyaḥ and īsānaḥ sarvavidyānām.


Addressed to lord Śiva praying for deliverance from death. Tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭivardhanam urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt.


The avyakta, mahat, ahaṅkāra, pañcabhūtas, pañcatanmātrās, pañcakarmendriyas, pañcajñānendriyas, manas and yajamāna.


The five elements, sun, moon and yajamāna.


The five elements.


The three qualities sattva, rajas and tamas.


The projection of vital energy.

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