The Agnistoma Somayaga in the Shukla Yajurveda

by Madan Haloi | 2018 | 109,416 words

This page relates ‘Part 2.7: The Soma Sacrifice’ of the study on the Agnistoma Somayaga as described in the Shukla Yajurveda (dealing with Vedic Rituals). The Agnistoma sacrifice (lit. “praise of Agni”) connects god with men and is performed in the spring season. It is the model of all the Soma sacrifices and forms a large and complicated ceremony preceded by four preliminary ritualistic days. This thesis deals with all the details involved in the Agnistoma sacrifice.

[Full title: Types of Sacrifices in General (7): Soma]

Out of the four types of sacrifices dealt with here, the Soma sacrifice is the last. This type of sacrifice is a combination of Iṣṭi, Paśu and Soma sacrifices. Though it includes various sacrifices, yet in this ritual, the oblation of soma juice of the soma creeper has predominance.

Hence, the sacrifice is known as Soma sacrifice—

atra bahūnāmiṣṭipaśunāṃ satyapyanuṣṭhāne teṣāmaṅgatvāt somadravya-kayāgasyaiva prādhānyāt somayāga iti vyavahāraḥ/[1]

In Somayāga, all the sixteen priests are necessary. Some adds the seventeenth priest called Sadasya in addition to the sixteen priests. Animal sacrifice plays a vital role in Soma sacrifice. In Soma type sacrifice, there are one, three, four, twelve or unlimited number of Dīkṣās. Soma sacrifice is of different types viz., Ekāha, Ahīna and Sattra etc . Like the other sacrifices, Soma sacrifice also can be performed as obligatory and wish yeilding. If it is performed as obligatory in every spring season, an āhitāgni with his wife should perform it. If he breaks his regularity of performance then he has to face disaster i.e., pratvavāya.[2] The Agniṣṭoma sacrifice which is said to be model of all Soma sacrifices has been dealt with in detail in the fourth chapter of this thesis.

Footnotes and references:


Cinnasvamishastri, Pattabhiramashastri(ed.),op.cit., p.49


so’yaṃ somayāgo nityaḥ prativasantaṃ traivarṇikena āhitāgninā… sapatnīkena avasyānuṣṭheyaḥ/ akaraṇe pratyavāyobhavati/ Upodghāta of Pattabhiramashastri, Mandanmishra(chief ed.) & Pattabhiramashastri (ed.), op. cit., Part.2, p.7

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