Saturday, June 6, 2020

Indic Past Series 5: Skanda, the progenitor of Vedic culture

The 5th part of the ‘Indic Past’ series focuses on the next part of Markandeya’s narration on Skanda’s life that brings to the fore the until-now-unrecognized fact that the first ever Vedic Homa was conducted by none other than Skanda. This was encapsulated in story form of Svaha approaching Skanda to conduct her marriage with Hutashana, the Agni Deva.

After pointing out the finer differences between Hutashana and Adbhuta, the video describes the union of Svaha with Hutashana which is nothing but the first ever Vedic Homa. With the help of a verse from Taittriya Brahmana on the meaning of Svaha and from Valmiki Ramayana on wife as the Atman of the husband, it is explained why the Homa was regarded as the marriage of Svaha with Hutashana (Agni).

‘Havyam’ and ‘Kavyam’ were the first Homas done by Skanda as per Markandeya. They were Ahavaniya and Garhapatya respectively. From the Tamil tradition of Skanda having taught Pranava mantra to Shiva it is deduced that Aum-Upasana transformed into Aupasana, the first Homa to be done twice every day following one’s marriage and throughout one’s life. Skanda had initiated this soon after his marriage with Devasena and with the intention of bringing peace in Nature by mutual help (Paraspara Bhava) of give and take between Devas and human beings. It is likely that Skanda had initiated Agnihotra too.

Of the three sons of Agni and Svaha outlined by Vayu Purana, Pavamana (Kavyam) and Suci (Havyam) were ‘born’ in Skanda’s times. Pavaka (Dakshinagni) was born later.

The present practice of singing Samans at the time of creating Agni for Kavyam using Arani sticks must have started at Skanda’s time, when the cool climate of Younger Drayas must have made making Agni a difficult and laborious task.

Similarly the taking over of the Ahavaniya rituals by Yajur Vedic Adhvaryu must have been there at Skanda’s time indicating the presence of Saman and Yujur verses even at that time.

In support of these views, it is pointed out that this society had continued from even before Skanda though the Homa culture started with Skanda. Four other Vedas were there at that time – which will be discussed in a future episode – personalities like Dhruva, the son of Uttanapada had existed before Skanda, in Cakshusha Manvantra (Little Manvantra) and the idea of 27 star zodiac had already existed before Skanda. There is every possibility that singing Samans and uttering Yajur mantras in worship could have existed then though those verses may no longer be in existence now.

Further proof of Skanda as progenitor of Vedic Homa is drawn from the Tamil Sangam text called Tirumurugatru-p-padai that describes the 6 faces of Skanda as representative of six works that Skanda was known for. Among the 6 works, the 3rd one represented by the middle face of Skanda is that of watching and guiding the Vedic Homa.

A comparison with this is drawn from Markandeya’s version on the middle face of Skanda as that of a goat, always watched by his mother Shakti. In this context of explaining why Skanda’s head was that of a goat, it is also made out why he came to have too many mothers – Ganga, Agni, Krittika, the six rishi patni-s and Svaha.

The goat face is also linked with Homa ritual – of Agni deva riding on a goat or a ram. Ultimately for the purposes of granting longevity and progeny, the Homa culture was started by Skanda who as Shanmukha is always watching over the proper performance of Homa through his middle face.

The final question is where the first Homa was done. The regions around Tiruchendur are discussed. Further fine tuning is done by picking out the places on the basis of Last Glacial refugial rice growth since 20k years ago, since rice is essential for Aupasana and Agnihotra.  

Triuchendur scores in this regard besides the regions of SE Asia. Rice growth is conspicuously absent in North West India where Sarasvati and Sindhu were flowing. The upper limit of this (rice) date is 9k BP found south of Gujarat where marine archaeological finds are available since 9k years ago, but this evidence is absent in Sarasvati and also Gangetic region. So the spread of the Vedic culture in these regions have happened since or after 9k years ago and not before. Further discussion on this will be in future episodes.


nomadic said...

Any mantra for the threat which our country is facing

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Let everyone chant
Sudharshana Moola Mantra:

Let me give here what comes down from generations.

Om Shreem Hreem Kleem
Shri Krishnaaya Govindaaya
Gopeejana vallabhaaya
Paraaya Parama Purushaaya Paramathmaney

Para Karma Manthra Yanthra Thantra oaushadha
Astra Shastraani Samhara Samhara
Mrithyor Mochaya Mochaya
Ayur vardhaya vardhaya
Shatror naashaya naashaya

Om Namo Bhagavathey Maha Sudarshanaaya
Deepthrey Jwaalaya Pareethaaya
Sarva dik shobhana haraaya
Hoompat Brahmaney
Param Jyothishey Namaha.

Sudharshanaaya vidmahey
Maha jwaalaayaya dheemahi
tanno chakra prachothayaat

Mrithyunjaya japam, Skanda shashti kavacham, Panchayuda stotram of Vishnu also good.

sudheer said...

mam, the more i read your articles and explanations. The more I get convinced that all we are talking is personalization of celestial stars.
Brahman -> eternity
Children of brahma, gods demigods are stars (Important ones may be immovable or least movable in the sky)
We know druva is son of uttanapada who is son of brahma. Uttanapada could be the polestar reference of the sun or milky way.
Agastya again is a star.
You are the expert in this. Can you please comment?

ANAND N said...

reading your blogs and writing is just amazing...thanks

ARK said...

Dear Madam

I would be stating the obvious if I call you the living legend. I had been reading your columns on various subjects & can only stand at a distance & admire your endless knowledge. If not anything, I would consider myself lucky if I am able to comprehend all that you are presenting to this world.

May Lord Skanda be with you blessing you in all your endeavours.

Anantha Ramakrishnan