The Agnistoma Somayaga in the Shukla Yajurveda

by Madan Haloi | 2018 | 109,416 words

This page relates ‘Part 2.1: Types of Somayaga (Introduction)’ 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 2.1: Types of Somayāga (Introduction)

It is well known that the Soma sacrifices are of three types viz.,

  1. Ekāha,
  2. Ahīna and
  3. Sattra.

But it is also found that the Soma sacrifices are first divided into two types viz.,

  1. Ekāha and
  2. Ahargaṇa.

Again the Ahargaṇa is divided into two viz.,

  1. Ahīna and
  2. Sattra[1].

An Ahargaṇa refers to a series of daily and nightly sacrifices[2].

On the other hand, the Yajñatattvaprakāśa states four types of Soma sacrifices and these are:

  1. Ekāha,
  2. Ahīna,
  3. Sādyaaskra and
  4. Sattra[3].

This classification seems to be based either on the number of days need to complete or on the number of days of Soma pressing.

Sādyaṣkra:

The Soma sacrifices which are performed only in one day are called Sādyaṣkra Somayāga.

As stated in the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra, here beginning with the rite Dīkṣā, all the rites are performed in one day

dīkṣādi sadyaḥ sarvaṃ kriyate/[4]

This ritual has been referred to as Sādyaṣkra as well as Sādyaḥkra by Kātyāyana, Baudhāyana calls it as Sadyskrī.[5] The Yajñatattvaprakāśa says it that the sacrifice is performed in one day and the day covers the rites from saṃkalpa to the rite Avabhṛtha.[6]

Ekāha:

The name itself discloses that this type of sacrifice consists of one principal day in which the principal rite is performed.[7] Here, it is to be understood that it has a particular day as its principal day and this day is the soma pressing day. It contains only one soma pressing day and hence, it is called Ekāha[8]. Thus, the Ekāha type of sacrifices has one principal day besides the Upaṣad and Dīkṣā days.From this view point, the Ekāha sacrifices may contain more than one day. The Agniṣṭoma sacrifice is an Ekāha rite simply because it has one soma pressing day.

Ahīna:

The Soma sacrifices which last from two to eleven days belong to the Ahīna type of sacrifices[9]. But, according to Kātyāyana, these sacrifices last from two to twelve days[10]. Moreover, he opines that if there is the use of the verb yajata then, it is to be understood as an Ahīna type of sacrifice[11]. As against this view Jaimini opines that if there is the use of the verb yajati and the rite has a number of sacrificers then it belongs to Ahīna type of sacrifices[12]. Like the Ekāha type of sacrifices, the Ahīna sacrifices are also named on the basis of the number of soma pressing days they have. These sacrifices can have two to twelve soma pressing days.[13]

Sattra:

The Soma sacrifices having more than twelve soma pressing days are known as Sattra type of Soma sacrifices[14]. This type of sacrifices last up to thousand years[15]. Kātyāyana is of the opinion that the rite where there is the use of the verb āsata or upayanti, it is to be understood as a Sattra. Thus, āsata or upayanti is the indicative term (linga) of the Sattra type of sacrifices[16]. It is also said that if there is the verb upāsīran or upeyuḥ in the vidhi text of a rite, that rite too is but Sattra[17]. The Sattra sacrifices are of two types viz., Rātrisattra and Ayanasattra. According to Kātyāyana, the Rātrisattras start with rituals performed for twelve nights and these continue upto forty nights[18]. On the other hand Cinnasvami counts the days of Rātrisattras from thirteen nights to hundred nights and the rest according to him are considered as Ayanasattras[19]. Again, Vidyadhar, in the Bhūmikā of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra, uses the name Kevalasattra in place of Ayanasattra and he counts the days of the Rātrisattras from thirteen nights.[20] The Rātrisattras can be performed only by the Brāhmins.They do not have any distinct person as yajamāna.[21]

Now, on the basis of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra, the names of the Sādyaṣkraḥ, Ekāha, Ahīna and Sattra sacrifices are presented here.

Sādyaṣkra:

Kātyāyana states the names of the sādyaṣkra also stated as Sādyaḥkra sacrifices in the context of the Ekāha sacrifices.

He states the names of six Sādyaṣkra sacrifices as follows—

  1. first Sādyaḥkrā,
  2. second Sādyaḥkra,
  3. Anukrī
  4. Viśvajicchilpa,
  5. Śyena and
  6. Ekatrika[22].

Ekāha:

The whole twenty second chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra is devoted to the Ekāha sacrifices.

The names of Ekāha Soma sacrifices are—

  1. Bhū,
  2. Jyoti,
  3. Gau,
  4. Āyu,
  5. Abhijit,
  6. Biśvajit,
  7. Sarvajit,
  8. Jyotiḥsāhasra,
  9. Viśvajyotiḥsāhasra,
  10. Sarvajyotiḥsāhasra,
  11. Trirātrasammitasāhasra,
  12. Four Vrātyastomas,
  13. Agniṣṭut,
  14. Īpsuyajña,
  15. Bṛhaspatisava,
  16. Iṣu,
  17. Sarvasvāra,
  18. Three Ekāhas known as Ṛtvigapohanīyas,
  19. Four Vācastomas,
  20. Six Pṛṣṭhyastomas viz., Trivṛt, Pañcadaśa, Saptadaśa, Ekaviṃśa, Triṇava and Trayastriṃśa.
  21. Saumika Cāturmāsya,
  22. The six sacrifices known as Pratikarmasoma belonging to the Ekāha Soma sacrifices viz., Agnyādheya, Punarādheya, Agnihotra, Darśapūrṇamāsa, Dākṣāyaṇa, Āgrayaṇa,
  23. Five sacrifices having saptadaśastoma viz., Upahavya, Ṛtapeya, Bahuhiraṇya and Dūṇāśa, Vaiśyastoma and Tīvrasut,
  24. The Dvanda sacrifices viz., Rāṭ and Virāṭ,
  25. Aupasadaḥ and Punastomaḥ,
  26. twoCatustomas,
  27. Udbhid and Balabhid,
  28. Two Apacitis known as Pakṣī and Jyoti,
  29. Two Agniṣṭomas related to the fire altar building and Dīkṣā,
  30. Ṛṣabha and Gosava,
  31. Marutstoma,
  32. Aindrāgnakulāya,
  33. Indrastoma,
  34. Aindrāgnyastoma,
  35. Two Vighana sacrifices,
  36. Sandaṃśa and Vajra.[23]

Ahīna:

As stated by Kātyāyana, the Ahīna sacrifices are–

  1. Dvyaha,
  2. Tryaha,
  3. Caturaha,
  4. Pañcāha,
  5. Ṣaḍaha,
  6. Saptāha or Saptarātra,
  7. Aṣṭāha,
  8. Navarātra or Navāha
  9. [ahīna,]
  10. Daśarātra,
  11. Ekādaśarātra and
  12. Dvādaśāha.[24]

In this context it may be noted that the Dvādaśāha bears a peculiar character as it belongs to both Sattra and Ahīna. All these names themselves are indicative of the number of soma pressing days contained in each of the rites.

Sattra:

The whole twenty fourth chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra is devoted to the Sattra type of sacrifices. It has been stated above that the Dvādaśāha sacrifice belongs to both Ahīna and Sattra type sacrifices.

The other Sattra sacrifices dealt with in the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra are as follows—

  1. Trayodaśarātra-sattra,
  2. Caturdaśarātra-sattra,
  3. Pañcadaśarātra-sattra,
  4. Ṣoḍaśarātra-sattra,
  5. Saptadaśarātra-sattra,
  6. Aṣṭādaśarātra-sattra,
  7. Ekonaviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  8. Viṃśatirātra-sattra,
  9. Ekaviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  10. Dvāviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  11. Trayoviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  12. Caturviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  13. Pañcaviṃśatirātra-sattra,
  14. Ṣadviṃśarātra-sattra,
  15. Saptaviṃśatirātra and
  16. Aṣṭaviṃśatirātra.

Thus, there are Ekonatriṃśadrātra, Triṃśadrātra, Ekatriṃśadrātra Sattras also. But, Kātyāyana does not mention these Sattras. Moreover, there are Dvātriṃśadrātra, Trayastriṃśadrātra, Catuḥtriṃśadrātra, Sattriṃśadrātra, Saptatriṃśadrātra, Aṣṭatriṃśadrātra, Catvāriṃśadrātra, Ekānnapañcāśadrātra, Śatarātra, Śatātirātra[25]. It is to be noted here that the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra does not state the Pañcatriṃśadrātrasattra and Uncatvāriṃśadrātrasattra.

There are also some sacrifices which last up to one year or onwards. The Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra states it that the Sattras which last up to one year or onwards are to be performed on the model of the Gavāmayana.[26]

As stated in the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra, the names of such Sattras are—

  1. Ādityānāmayana,
  2. Aṃgirasāmayana,
  3. Dṛtivātavatorayana,
  4. Kuṇḍapāyināmayana,
  5. Sarpa-sattra,
  6. Tāpaścita,
  7. Mahātāpaścita,
  8. Kṣullakatāpaścita,
  9. Sahasrasāvya,
  10. Triṣaṃvatsara,
  11. Prajāpati-sattra,
  12. Śākyānāmayanam,
  13. Sādhyānāmayanam,
  14. Viśvasṛjamayanam,
  15. Sārasvata-sattra,
  16. Dārṣadvata-sattra,
  17. Turāyaṇa,
  18. Saṃkramadvādaśāha,
  19. Nārāyaṇa.[27]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Introduction of Mohan Lal Sandal, Mohan Lal Sandal(ed.), Mīmāṃsāsūtras of Jaimini, Vol. 1, p. CXLIII.

[2]:

Ram Gopal, op.cit., p. 532

[3]:

Cinnasvamishastri,Pattabhiramashastri(ed.),op.cit., p. 48

[4]:

Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 22. 3. 26

[5]:

Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 22.3.25,2.9; BŚS., 18.20

[6]:

cf., ekasminneva dine saṃkalpaprabhṛtyavabhṛthāntamanusthānaṃ yasya sa sādyaskra ityucyate / Cinnasvamishastri, Pattabhiramashastri(ed.),op.cit., p.48

[7]:

cf., ekena hyahṇā yogādekāhatvam / P.V. Kane, op.cit., Vol. 2, Part.2, p. 1133, fn. 2530

[8]:

cf., ekasutyākaḥ kratava ekāhā ityucyante / Vidyadhar Sharma on Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 22.1.1

[9]:

cf., dvyādibhirahīnatvaṃ prāgdvādaśāhāt / as quoted by P.V.Kane, op.cit., Vol. 2, Part. 2, p. 1133, fn.2530

[10]:

cf., dvyahaprabhṛtayo dvādaśāhaparyantāḥ / Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 23. 1. 3

[11]:

cf., …yajata ityahīnasya / Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 12. 1. 6

[12]:

Mīmāṃsā Sutra , 10. 6.60

[13]:

Ram Gopal , op.cit., p. 556

[14]:

Ram Gopal , op.cit., p. 556

[15]:

cf., tadavadhikameva cāhasrasamvatsaraṃ satatakālayoganimittaṃ satratvam/ as quoted by P.V.Kane,op.cit.,Vol.2, Part.2, p. 1133, fn.2530

[16]:

cf., āsata upayantīti satralingam … / Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 12. 1. 6

[17]:

Introduction of Mohan Lal Sandal, Mohan Lal Sandal (ed.), op.cit.,Vol. 1, p. CXLIII.

[18]:

Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 24. 1. 1-2

[19]:

Cinnasvamishastri, Pattabhiramashastri(ed.), op.cit., p. 48

[20]:

cf., tatrāpi trayodaśarātraprabhṛtiśatarātraparyantaṃ rātrisatrāni tataḥ kevalasatrāni / Bhūmikā of Vidyadhar Sharma,Vidyadhar Sharma(ed),op.cit., pp. 45, 46

[21]:

Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra , 24.1.7

[22]:

Ibid., 22.2.9,10,17,19; 22.3.1, 24 respectively

[23]:

All these sacrifices are dealt with in the 22nd chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra.

[24]:

All these names are mentioned in the 23rd chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra.

[25]:

All these names are available in the 24th chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra.

[26]:

cf., saṃvatsaraprabhṛtīni gavāmayanaprakṛtīni tadguṇadarśanāt/ Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra ,24. 4.2.

[27]:

All these have been mentioned in the 24th chapter of the Kātyāyana Śrautasūtra.

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