Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ashvamedha yajna (cont’d) - Guest post by R.Ramanathan.

This is the 3rd in the series of articles on Yajna by Mr R. Ramanathan. The previous posts can be read here:-

The Ashvamedha yajna(Cont…)

During the course of performance of the sacrifice, the shruti says that due to certain acts, the performer is bound to loose certain things. For example in Taittriya Brahmana 3rd Ashtaka, 9th Prashna, 5th Anuvaka, the performer would lose his luster and brahmvarchas Luster attained due to the tapas of Vedic study). So as an expiation for this is the utterance of the famous riddle hymn, by both the Hota (the Rig Vedic priest) and the Brahma (The superintending priest). It is in the form of a ritual question and answer session.  It goes something like this

·         "Who is called poorvachitti?:-  The rain falling is called poorva chitti"

·         "What is the cure for snow or chillness? :- Heat is the cure"

·         "Who is born after death? :- The moon"

·         "Who moves in the sky alone? :- The sun"

·         "What is the navel of the world?:- The yajna "

Then comes the famous ritual dialog between the 3 queens and the priests (which one differs between authorities). This dialog is actually sexual in content. Here the sacrificed horse is considered a bestower of virility and fertility. The dialog runs something like "ohh Amba, Ambika, Ambalika!!! No one can lead me to the horse. The horse is sleeping with a lady from kaampila ……".  This is to evoke sexual feelings for getting progeny.  After this discussion among the 4 people, a prayaschitta mantra is uttered and they purify themselves. The shruti says that if this is not done the vital airs would leave the body.

Then there are various offerings for Brahma hatya dosha. As per the the shruti this oblation for Brahma hatti was seen by the sage Mundiba Audanya. Then there are offerings to Mrityu, Rudra, Pushan.

One more interesting feature here is the playing of the Veena by both Kshatriya and a Brahmin player during some preliminary ceremonies. This is done during an Ishti performance for Savitri. During the Savitra ishti the Brahmin veena player is asked to sing about famous Brahmins saying "such and such a sacrifice he offered" and so on. Also the Taittriya Brahmana says a Brahmin should not seek wealth and only sacrificial works. 

Also after the horse is released for roaming the, Dhriti offering is done during which a Kshatriya veena player is called on to sing about some famous king saying "He fought so and so war". The shruti says that Yuddha (war ) is an important part of Raja dharma. So in essence the Shruti says that a Brahmin should not seek wealth and should concentrate on vedic sacrificial works. Also a Kshatriya cannot avoid fighting dharmic wars. This is what is told to Arjuna by Krishna in the Geetha.

Period of performance

The sacrifice is started in the Indian spring season in the March/April time frame and goes on for one year.

Lists of kings who performed them with their priests and the gifts they gave

The Shatapatha Brahmana of the Shukla Yajur veda gives a list of kings and priests who performed the sacrifice, with a particular form of hymns (sthomams). The most known among all the names is Janamajeya, son of Parikshit of Bhagavata fame. His priest Saunaka performed it for him and he became free of Brahma hatthi.  Some of the other kings are 

·         Srutasena Parikshita sons of Parikshit probably.

·         Hairanyanabha para of k-Kausalya. 

·         Purukutsa another descendant of the Ikshavaku dynasty

·     Maruta Âvikshita king of Ayogava. The SB says that the maruts became the guardsmen, agni his chamberlain and the vishwa devahs his ministers, after he performed this.

·         Kraivya, king of Panchala desha

·         Dhvasan Dvaitavana, king of  Matsya desha

·         Bharata Dauhshanti. The son of king Dushyanta. From where the name Bharata arouse. Also is mentioned here that Bharata was conceived by Shakuntala.

·         Satânîka Sâtrâgita performed the Govinata (form of Asvamedha), after taking away the horse of the Kâsya (king); and since that time the Kâsis do not keep up the (sacrificial) fires.

The list is not exhaustive. This gives an idea of how important the Ashvamedha was for the Kshatriya rulers of ancient Bharat. The gifts they gave to their priests for these sacrifices are beyond the pale of common men and not listed here as they are too big to write. They involve thousand hundred steeds, cows, unimaginable quantity of precious stone and gold, armies etc. The wealth so obtained as a dakshina from the sacrifice was used by Brahmins to continue their sacrificial works and not for material accumulation of wealth. The range of gifts also show how wealthy the kings were in ancient Bharat.


Skandan said...

Respected Madam,

Something outside this topic, as the Gujarath election is coming and the whole media is publishing anti-modi stories everyday, we would like to know your views on Modi's prospects of winiing gujarath and also a possible candidate for PM. As i am a regular reader of u r blog, i know you compared his horoscope earlier with rahul baba. with the changed circumstances, where does he stand.

sincere pranams

jayasree said...

Dear Mr Skandan,

Modi will win the Gujarat elections. But he will not be projected as the PM candidate when the time comes. Those who have strong horoscopic chances for the PM's chair in the near future are Salman Kurshid (!), Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Mamata Banerjee :(

This is deduced from a methodology where only the planetary positions (in the absence of reliable time of birth) of the horoscopes of two dozen aspiring probables were analysed in relation to Indian natal chart - on the premise that the PM would have his destiny intertwined with India's destiny. I will post that analysis in Feb in my scribd and leave the link in this page.

Some of the salient deductions are that dynasty rule will end in Delhi. From other dynastic families, Supriya Sule and Stalin will replace their respective fathers. Scindia Jr will not be as popular as his father. Vasundhara Raje has some political future. Jagan Reddy will be a short time celebrity. Mulayam and Nitish Kumar will not realize their dream of PM's chair. So too Subramaniyan Swamy.

Watch out Arun Jaitley. He is likely to emerge as consensus candidate of the opposition. Even if he is ignored in the next elections, he has a role to play in India's destiny in future.

All this is being said on the basis of a methodology I deduced after analysing the horoscopes of all past PMs and their relation to Indian Independence chart. This is only test method based on some rationale of astrological tenets.

Skandan said...

Thank you very much for the reply Madam. We will wait for your detailed analysis. May God Bless you.