The Agnistoma Somayaga in the Shukla Yajurveda

by Madan Haloi | 2018 | 109,416 words

This page relates ‘Part 1.2: The common peculiarities of the Samsthas’ 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.

Part 1.2: The common peculiarities of the Saṃsthās

The common peculiarities of the Saṃsthās are use of stotra, śastra, stoma, animal offering, soma offering etc. Almost all the Saṃsthās are named in accordance with the name of a particular stotra which marks the end of that saṃsthā. It should be mentioned here the meanings of the words stotra, śastra, and stoma.The word stotra generally means praise which is done by singing the Ṛks bythe Sāmavedic priests viz., Udgātṛ, Prastotṛ and Pratihartṛ.[1] The singing of more than one verse in a particular tune i.e., sāman makes a stotra which is usually made up of a triplet (tṛca)or a pragātha which is artificially made up by interlinking the Pādas of two verses thereby obtaining a triplet.[2] In the Soma sacrifices, the Stotras along with the Śastras are used in three Savanas of the pressing day. While the Śastras comprising of Ṛks are recited by the Ṛgvedic priests,the Stotrasi.e., Sāmans are sung in various Vedic melodies by the Sāmavedic priests to glorify the deities of the sacrifices.[3] Having completed the chanting of the Stotras in ritual, the Śastras are recited.[4] In Soma sacrifice, before making the soma libations, the recitation of the śastra is made compulsory. By the stotra and śastra, same deity is worshipped.[5] In a saṃsthā the number of Stotras should be same as the number of Śastras.

It has already been stated that the Stotras are made of ṛk verses and the Stomas refer to the style of singing the Stotras.

Generally a stoma is made up of a number of Stotras and accordingly Stomas are nine in number such as—

  1. trivṛt,
  2. pañcadaśa,
  3. saptadaśa,
  4. ekaviṃśa,
  5. triṇava,
  6. trayastriṃśa,
  7. caturviṃśa,
  8. catuḥcatvāriṃśa, and
  9. aṣṭacatvāriṃśa.

These numbers are obtained through the repetitions of the verses which make up the basic triplet meant for singing asāman.[6] It is well known that a sāman contains three verses which have together called a tṛca and thus a stoma contains a number of Tṛcas. For example, the trivṛt stoma which is the first of the Stomas, contains three Tṛcas i.e., nine Ṛks[7] and these nine verses are made from a single tṛca by arranging it into three stages (Paryāyas).In each paryāya, one of the three Ṛks is repeated three times.[8] Thus, each paryāya contains three Ṛks thereby obtaining nine verses for making up the trivṛtstoma.[9] Again, from these nine verses, the pañcadaśastoma is made. Here, each paryāya has one tṛca. In the first paryāya, the first verse is repeated three times and the second and the third are sung once each. In the second paryāya, the second verse is repeated three times and each of the rest is sung only once. In the third paryāya, the first and the second verses are repeated once each and the last verse is repeated three times and thus, the pañcadaśastoma is made. This is called pañcapañcini viṣṭuti.[10] The word viṣṭuti refers to the order of repetition of the verses of the Stomas.[11] Or one may repeat the second and third verses of the third paryāya three times and the first only one time. In this case, the three verses of the second paryāya are repeated only one time and in the first paryāya, the first verse is repeated three times, the rest are sung only one time each and it is another kind of viṣṭuti known as aparā.[12] In the saptadaśastoma, in the first paryāya,the first verse is repeated thrice, the rest are sung only one time. In the second paryāya, the middle verse is repeated thrice and in the third paryāya the second and third verses are repeated thrice and the rest is only one time.[13] In this way the number of verses needed to make up a stoma is obtained by repeating the verses by following the instructions laid down in the Sāmavedic texts. For counting the number of singing the verses, the chanters of the Stotras throw the Kuśās in order to keep the count of the number of repetitions of the verses. The word kuśā refers to here piece of wood of udumbara.[14]

As stated in the Tāṇḍyamahābrāhmaṇa, the trivṛtstoma has three Viṣṭutis viz.,

  1. udyatī,
  2. parivartinī and
  3. kulāyini.

The pañcadaśa has three Viṣṭutis viz., pañcapañcinī, aparā and udyatī. The saptadaśa has seven Viṣṭutis viz., daśasaptā which has two varities viz., saptasthitā and aparā. Again aparā has two varieties and then udyatī and bhastrā. The ekaviṃśastoma has four Viṣṭutis viz., saptasaptinī, udyatī, pratistuti and surmyā. The triṇavastoma refers to twenty seven verses and it has two Viṣṭutis viz., pratiṣṭhitā and udyatī. The trayastriṃśastoma has five Viṣṭutis viz., samatryaṃśa, nedīyassaṃkramā, udyatī, pratyavarohiṇī and anyā. The chaturviṃśa has only one viṣṭuti and this is pratiṣṭhitā.The catuscatvāriṃśastoma has three Viṣṭutis viz., pratiṣṭhitā, nirmmadhyā and tṛtīyā. The aṣṭacatvāriṃśastoma has two Viṣṭutis viz., prathamā and nedīyaḥsaṃkrama.[15]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

cf., udgātṛprastotṛpratihartrākhyaistribhirṛtvigbhiḥ sāmaviśiṣṭābhirṛgbhiḥ kriyamāṇastutiviśeṣaḥ stotrapadābhidheyaḥ/ Introduction (Purastānnivedanaṃ kincit)of Cinnaswāmī Śāstrī, A. Cinnaswāmī Śāstrī & Paṇḍita Paṭṭābhirāma Śāstrī (edts.), Tāṇḍyamahābrāhmaṇa, Vol. 2, p. 2.

[2]:

Chitrabhanu Sen, op.cit,p.86

[3]:

cf., …pratigītaṃ mantrasādhyaṃ stotram apratigītamantrasādhyaṃśastramiti tayorviveka iti ca tatrokte pratigītamantrasādhye stavane guṇakathane ca/ śastraśabde pratigītamantre iti yaduktaṃ tat apragītamantre ityeva bodhyam /, Shri Taranathtarkavacaspati Bhattacarya (compiled), Vācaspatyam, Vol. 6, p.5342

[4]:

cf., stutamanu śaṃsati / Tāṇḍya Mahābrāhmaṇa , 9.8.10; cf., stotramagreśastrāt / ᾹŚvŚS., 5.10.1

[5]:

cf., evaṃ stotre samāpite yaddevatākaṃ stotraṃ taddevatākaṃ śastraṃ hotāśaṃsati /, Bhūmikā of Vidyadhar Sharma, Vidyadhar Sharma (ed.), op.cit., P.1, p.45

[6]:

Introduction (Purastānnivedanaṃ kincit) of Cinnaswāmī Śāstrī, A. Cinnaswāmī Śāstrī & Paṇḍita Paṭṭābhirāma Śāstrī (eds.) , Vol. 2, p. 2.

[7]:

cf., navasaṃkhyāko yaḥ samudāyaḥ etadeva trivṛtaḥ ṛṃnavakātmakasya trivṛtstomasya āyatanaṃ … / Sāyaṇa on Tāṇḍya Mahābrāhmaṇa , 10. 1. 1.

[8]:

cf., iyaṃ ca trivṛdādisaṃkhyā vāratryamāvṛttābhistisṛbhirṛgbhissampādanīyā / Cinnasvamishastri, Pattabhiramashastri(ed.), op.cit., p. 79.

[9]:

cf., … trivṛtstomasya haikasmin paryyāye tisra ṛco bhavanti / Sāyaṇa on Tāṇḍya Mahābrāhmaṇa , 2.5.3

[10]:

Tāṇḍya Mahābrāhmaṇa , 2.4.1.

[11]:

Chitrabhanu Sen, op.cit.,p.107

[12]:

Tāṇḍya Mahābrāhmaṇa , 2.5.1

[13]:

Ibid., 2.7.1

[14]:

cf., gaganakāle ca gananārthaṃ kuśānikṣepaḥ kāryaḥ / …ekaikasyāmāvṛttau, ekaikaśo bhūmau nikṣipet / tīkṣṇāgraḥ pradeśamātraḥ udumbaravṛkṣīyaḥ ekatra taṣṭo laghukāyaḥ kāṣṭhaviśeṣo’tra kuśāśabdenocyate/, Cinnasvamishastri, Pattabhiramashastri(ed.),op.cit., p.80

[15]:

All these names have been stated in the second and third chapters of the Tāṇḍyamahābrāhmaṇa.

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