Soma in Vedic Mythology and Ritual (study)

by Anjana Chakraborty | 2017 | 51,491 words

This thesis is called: A study of the evolution of Soma in vedic mythology and ritual. It represents a thorough discussion on the characteristics of Vedic Gods, Soma and Vedic rituals. As the ritual plays a very important role in Rigveda it is only natural that Soma, the plant, the juice of which is so much used in the ritual is deified as one of ...

Chapter 3(h) - Carrying forth the Vasativari waters

The vasativari waters are carried round for protection and for repelling evil spirits. These waters were to be employed next day in extracting the Soma juice. There is a difference of opinion as to whether these waters were brought before or after the Subrahmanyacall. It is important to mention here that the rite of Subrahmanyacall employed by the Vaitana Shrauta Sutra in the Upasadaishti not in relation to carrying the Vasativari waters. The vasativari waters being carried all around by the Adhvaryu are consecrated by the Brahma with the mantrapurnam nari prabhara...’[1]. Then the waters are placed near the Agnidriya fire consecrated by two mantras viz. ‘ima apahprabharami[2] and ‘amuryah...’[3]. The yajamana resides near these waters in the Agnidhriyashala. The priest stay at night in the shala with the yajamana while the wife of the yajamana keeps awakened in the pravamsashala[4]. It is corroborated by the Vaitana Shrauta Sutra also as the mention is made of the priests being awakened the other night who touch the waters near the Shalamukhiya fire[5].

After that the Brahma offers oblations in the Agnidhriya fire with yujnatanu mantra beginning with havirrupavah.....up to vaishvanarognishtomah[6], before proceeding with the principal Soma ritual. According to the commentator the yajnatanu offerings are thirty three in number and are of different kinds. After these offerings; the Brahma takes his seat, after having gone along the south of the Agnidhriya fire and to the west of the Ahavaniya fire in the south. The Vait. Shr. Su gives a special rite which can be considered as part of Abhicara, a special of the Atharvaveda. In the competition of rituals, when two rival yajamanas perform Agnishtoma at the same time, the Brahma offers ajya oblations in the Agnidhriya fire with four mantras at a time for a single oblations from Atharvaveda[7], before the prataranuvaka[8], when the Hota takes his seat to perform the pratarnuvaka, the Brahma offers the oblations of ajya with the mantra ‘yadasmriti...’[9] and then offers the preliminary oblations (purastad homa) for the morning pressing (pratah savana)[10]. While the prataranuvaka is being recited by the Hota priest, the Brahma mutters four hymns[11] beginning with ‘patam na indrapusana’. This view of the Vaitana Shrauta Sutra. is contrary to the Shrauta tradition because the other Shrauta Sutras hold the view that while the prataranuvaka is being recited the Brahma sits silently.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Atharva Veda 3.12. 8

[2]:

Atharva Veda 3. 12. 9

[3]:

Atharva Veda 1. 4. 2

[5]:

Vaitana Sutra. 16. 4

[6]:

Vaitana Sutra. 16. 5

[7]:

Atharva Veda 5. 26

[8]:

Vaitana Sutra. 16. 6

[9]:

Vaitana Sutra. 16. 8

[10]:

Atharva Veda 6. 3-6

[11]:

Apastamba Shrauta Sutra. 14.9.3;

Ashvalayana Shrauta Sutra. 1.12.19

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