The Daily Evening and Morning Offering - Agnihotra according to the Brahmanas

The Daily Evening and Morning Offering - Agnihotra according to the Brahmanas

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Author: H W Bodewitz
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 211
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120819519


After P.E. Dumont (Baltimore 1939) had presented a survey of the description of the Agnihotra ritual as found in the ritualistic sutras, this book offers a systematic treatment of the esoteric interpretations of this ritual as found in the Vedic prose texts.

The Agnihotra formed the starting-point for several important doctrines which were further developed in later texts. Apart from its ritualistic relevance it is therefore also of great importance for the early history of ideas in India.

The systematic arrangement of the sections translated here increases our knowledge about the network of parallel Vedic texts, their borrowings and relative chronology.





Myths on the origin of the rite

The creation of Agni; the origin of the exclamation svaha, Prajapati rubs his forehead and produces an oblation to Agni

The agnihotra is a reduced primeval sacrifice of thousand years performed by Prajapati

The agnihotra instituted by the gods by way of exchange between heaven and earth

Transference of the agnihotra by the gods to the human beings.

The primeval agnihotra and creation.

The connection of Surya (and Vayu) with the Agnihotra. The origin of the milk oblation.

The milk oblation is the seed of the sun (or the sun itself)

The agnihotra is offered to Surya

Participation of Aditya (sun) and Vayu (wind) in Agni’s oblation (agnihotra)

The right time for the performance of the agnihotra

The ingredient of the oblation (milk)

Systematic treatment of the ritual

The milking of the agnihotra cow

Transference of the fire from the garhapatya to the ahavaniya and other preparatory actions

The milk is put on the fire and cooked

Water is poured on the hot milk

The pot is removed from the fire and the milk is ladled out

The settings-down I

The priest moves from the garhapatya to the ahavanya

The setting-down II

The function of the samidh (kindling-stick)

The offering I: The first libation

The offering II: The state of the fire and the method of offering.

The offering III: The second libation. The stumbling-block in the agnihotra ritual.

The settings-down III. Looking back at the garhaptya and other actions between the two librations

The views of the Praiyamedhas on the offering

The agnihotra is connected with other gods and powers
Through actions after the offering(vaisvadeva)

Actions after the offering which do not belong to the vaisvadeva

Should there be sacrificed in firs other than the ahavaniya?

The sacrificer (yajamana) and the performer of the agnihotra

The ksatriya and the agnihotra

Only the brahmin may consume the remains of the oblation.

Should the brahmin perform the rite himself or should someone else?

Should a sacrificer without a wife perform the agnihotra?

The agnihotra has only one officiant

The keeping silent during the rite

Why the agnihotra has no fast (upavasa)

The agnihotra is relation and equalization with other sacrifices

Substitution of the oblation, the fire or other ritual elements

Symbolical agnihotras

Interpretations of the agnihotra

The sun is offered into the fire, the fire into the sun

Procreation and the agnihotra

The agnihotra and deliverance from evil and sin

Liberation from death by the agnihotra

The agnihotra produces life (or immortality) in yonder world and in this world

Reintegration of the dispersed sun by the performance of the agnihotra

The agnihotra avoids being eaten in return and other reversals in yonder world (story of Bhrgu)

The daily food taken twice a day forms the remains of the agnihotra sacrifice

Offering the two daily agnihotras means giving men to the gods as daksinas and conversely

The agnihotra provides food

The agnihotra is a vajra

Agnihotra, agnyadhana and cremation

The agnihotra perfomed after the agnyadhana (during twelve days)

The vaisvadeva of the agnihotra milk

The tarpana in the agnihotra

The brahmodyas and the agnihotra

Appendix: The agnihotra in the grhya ritual


General Index

Index of Sanskrit terms

Index of Sanskrit Text-Places