Author: H W Bodewitz
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
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
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
Index of Sanskrit terms
Index of Sanskrit Text-Places