Pakayajnas (पाकयज्ञाः)

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Pakayajnas (Samskrit: पाकयज्ञाः) are a class of yajnas defined based on the offering of cooked items (पाकसाध्यो यज्ञः)[1] in the specific grhyaagni, at different times of the year and one some occasions (samskaras). Some of these yajnas are performed once while others are recurrent in the year. The Grhyasutras specifically deal with these yajnas which are the prescribed nityakarmas or obligatory activities of a grhastha. They are the yajnas for individual and his extended family. The technical term Pakayajna is used to refer to Grhyayajnas to distinguish them from the Shrauta yajnas.

These texts teach us some of the ancient ways in which our ancestors respected all aspects involved in our way of life; snakes were propitiated (Sarpabali), personified seasons and nakshatras, land that was tilled, the food grains, the ploughs (Sita Yajna), cattle, winds - all were offered back the prayers and ahutis for their role in human sustenance. Giving back to the nature has thus existed and persisted in our jivana vidhana, unfortunately nature and mother earth are being plundered indiscriminately with the loss of such values.

लक्षणम्॥ Definition

Pakayajna is defined as follows in Vachaspatya

चरुपाकेन कर्त्तव्ये यज्ञभेदे स च यज्ञः वृषोत्सर्गादिहोमः। carupākena karttavye yajñabhede sa ca yajñaḥ vr̥ṣotsargādihomaḥ। [1]

The class of yajnas performed using cooked (food) item such as "charu" and they are Vrshotsarga and other homas. Apastamba mentions the meaning of Pakayajna as follows[2]

पाकयज्ञशब्दार्थः । लौकिकानां पाकयज्ञशब्दः ॥ आपस्तम्बगृह्यसूत्र २.९ ॥ pākayajñaśabdārthaḥ । laukikānāṁ pākayajñaśabdaḥ ॥ āpastambagr̥hyasūtra 2.9 ॥

According the Haradatta's Anukulavrtti (अनुकूलावृत्ति) of the above Apastamba sutra

लोके भवा (लौकिकाः) लोकस्मृतिलक्षणा इत्यर्थः । लोकशब्देन शिष्टा उच्यन्ते । पाकयज्ञ इति विवाहादीनां संज्ञा विधीयते । पाकशब्दोऽल्पवचनः, यथाक्षिप्रं यजेत पाको देव (आप.गृ.२०१५) इति । पाकगुणको यज्ञः पाकयज्ञ इति निर्वचने आज्यहोमेषु संज्ञानस्यात् ।

loke bhavā (laukikāḥ) lokasmr̥tilakṣaṇā ityarthaḥ । lokaśabdena śiṣṭā ucyante । pākayajña iti vivāhādīnāṁ saṁjñā vidhīyate । pākaśabdo'lpavacanaḥ, yathākṣipraṁ yajeta pāko deva (āpa.gr̥.2015) iti । pākaguṇako yajñaḥ pākayajña iti nirvacane ājyahomeṣu saṁjñānasyāt ।

Laukika refers to one that pertains to Loka, which is defined by Smrtis. Loka shabda also refers to the Shista (a learned in Vedas and Vedangas). Pakayajna is a term that is applied during the wedding and other (samskaras). Paka also refers to the word Alpa (used in the sense of minor). By saying 'that yajna where cooked items are used' excludes the other Ajyahomas (where the offerings are of Ajya or ghee).

अल्पःप्रशस्तो वा यज्ञः ॥ Alpa and Prashasta Yajna

Pakayajnas are described as Alpa (अल्पः) as these are done on a smaller scale, as compared to the Shrautayajnas which involve a high degree of involvement of the society. These are individual scale yajnas performed in the privacy of one's home.

पाकः अल्पः बालकसाम्यात् प्रशस्तो वा यज्ञः । २ अल्पयज्ञे ३ प्रशस्तयज्ञे च यथाह “त्रयः पाकयज्ञः” आश्व० गृ० १ । १२ । पाकयज्ञाः अल्पयज्ञाः प्रशस्तयज्ञा वा ।...कथं प्रशस्तत्वम् उच्यते यस्मादेतेषु संस्कारा उच्यन्ते। [1]
pākaḥ alpaḥ bālakasāmyāt praśasto vā yajñaḥ । 2 alpayajñe 3 praśastayajñe ca yathāha "trayaḥ pākayajñaḥ" āśva0 gr̥0 1 । 12 । pākayajñāḥ alpayajñāḥ praśastayajñā vā ।...kathaṁ praśastatvam ucyate yasmādeteṣu saṁskārā ucyante।

They are termed Prashasta yajnas (प्रशस्तयज्ञः) because in them are described (are told) the samskaras.

References in Brahmanas

The term Pakayajna has been mentioned in Brahmana texts of the Vedas in a similar sense.[3] Aitareya and Shatapatha Brahmana mentions about Pakayajnas as follows

...पाकयज्ञा इळामेवानु ये केच पाकयज्ञास्ते सर्वेऽग्निष्टोममपियन्ति सायम्प्रातरग्निहोत्रं जुह्वति सायम्प्रातर्व्रतम्प्रयछन्ति स्वाहाकारेणाग्निहोत्रं जुह्वति...। (Aite. Brah. 3.40)[4]

...pākayajñā iḻāmevānu ye keca pākayajñāste sarve'gniṣṭomamapiyanti sāyamprātaragnihotraṁ juhvati sāyamprātarvratamprayachanti svāhākāreṇāgnihotraṁ juhvati...। (Aite. Brah. 3.40)

एतेन वै सर्वान्यज्ञान्प्रणयन्ति ये च पाकयज्ञा ये चेतरे तस्मादाह प्रणीर्यज्ञानामिति - १.४.२.[१०] (Sat. Brah. 1.4.2.10)[5]

etena vai sarvānyajñānpraṇayanti ye ca pākayajñā ye cetare tasmādāha praṇīryajñānāmiti - 1.4.2.[10]

पाकयज्ञोद्गम॥ Origin of Pakayajnas

Vaidika texts mention the connection of Manu and Ida (the daughter of Manu) with the Pakayajnas. Once Manu came to know that Devas and Asuras had performed Agnyadhana. To ascertain whether it was deposited at the proper time, Manu sent Ida (इडा or इळा) to them. Ida found that both parties had followed the wrong method, She said to Manu : "Your yajna (Agnyadhana) should not be as ineffectual as that of the Devas and Asuras. Therefore I myself shall deposit the Trividhagnis (the three Agnis which are to be set in the proper place) at the proper place." Manu agreed and began his yaga. As a result of it the Devas attained plenty and prosperity.[6]

Once when Ida was in the presence of Manu the Devas invited her openly and the Asuras invited her covertly. Since Ida accepted the invitation of the Devas, all creatures abandoned the Asuras and joined the party of Devas.

सर्वेण वै यज्ञेन देवाः सुवर्गं लोकम् आयन् पाकयज्ञेन मनुर् अश्राम्यत् सेडा मनुम् उपावर्तत तां देवासुरा व्यह्वयन्त...। (Tait. Samh. 1.7.1.3)[7]

sarveṇa vai yajñena devāḥ suvargaṁ lokam āyan pākayajñena manur aśrāmyat seḍā manum upāvartata tāṁ devāsurā vyahvayanta...। (Tait. Samh. 1.7.1.3)

Shatapatha Brahmana details another version of the anecdote. Manu desired to create beings after the earth was covered all over with water. He then performed Pakayajna by pouring ghee, curds and other offerings. From this rose Maitravaruna and later on Ida.

सोर्चंञ्छ्राम्यंश्चचार प्रजाकामः । तत्रापि पाकयज्ञेनेजे स घृतं दधिमस्त्वामिक्षामित्यप्सु जुहवांचकार ततः संवत्सरे योषित्सम्बभूव सा ह पिब्दमानेवोदेयाय तस्यै ह स्म घृतं पदे संतिष्ठते तया मित्रावरुणौ संजग्माते - १.८.१.[७] (Shat. Brah. 1.8.1.7)[8]

sorcaṁñchrāmyaṁścacāra prajākāmaḥ । tatrāpi pākayajñeneje sa ghr̥taṁ dadhimastvāmikṣāmityapsu juhavāṁcakāra tataḥ saṁvatsare yoṣitsambabhūva sā ha pibdamānevodeyāya tasyai ha sma ghr̥taṁ pade saṁtiṣṭhate tayā mitrāvaruṇau saṁjagmāte - 1.8.1.[7]

Thus one may infer that Manu was the first to conduct Pakayajnas with a desire to procreate. Thus these yajnas are performed without Ida whereas the Shrautayajnas are performed with her presence.

पाकयज्ञभेदाः ॥ Kinds of Pakayajnas

As for the list of pakayajnas, different sutras mention different pakayajnas. There are various versions about the number of Pakayajnas and their relationship with Panchamahayajnas, which are also mentioned separately in many grhyasutras. It should be noted that the terms are interchangeably used but the underlying commonality of the procedure is distinct. One may note that Agni is used in some instances to receive the offerings while in other cases it is not so, but the offering is cooked food either as meal to a guest or Brahmana or to the creatures as Baliharana.

त्रयः पाकयज्ञाः ॥ Three kinds

Ashvalayana Grhyasutras mentions three kinds of Pakayajnas, namely Huta (हुताः) which constitute a process of making offerings into the agni (ghryagni), Prahutah (प्रहुता) in which there are no offerings into the agni, and Brahmani-huta (ब्रह्मणिहुताः) which consist in feeding of Brahmanas.[3]

त्रयः पाकयज्ञाः २ हुता अग्नौ हूयमाना अनग्नौ प्रहुता ब्राह्मणभोजने ब्रह्मणिहुताः ३ trayaḥ pākayajñāḥ 2 hutā agnau hūyamānā anagnau prahutā brāhmaṇabhojane brahmaṇihutāḥ 3 (Ashv. Grhy. Sutr. 1.1.2-3)[9] (Ashv. Grhy. Sutr. 1.1.2-3)

चत्वारः पाकयज्ञाः ॥ Four kinds

Paraskara and Shankhayana, however, mention four kinds of Pakayajnas in a different context. They are Huta (हुतः), Ahuta (अहुत), Prahuta (प्रहुतः), Prashita (प्राशितः)

चत्वारः पाकयज्ञा हुतोऽहुतः प्रहुतः प्राशित इति १ catvāraḥ pākayajñā huto'hutaḥ prahutaḥ prāśita iti 1 (Para. Grhy. Sutr. 1.4.1)[10][11]

Paraskara explains Ahutada (Para. Grhy. Sutr. 2.15.3) are the Marutganas who are said to be the consumers or "eaters" of Ahuta or Bali offerings. To them instead of Ajya (Ghee) Bali is offered. Shankhayana explains the four kinds, Huta is that in which offering is made into the Agnihotra (here it is the grhyagni), Ahuta means an offering of Balis, Prahuta involves offerings to the Pitrs, Prashita is an offering into the agni after consumed by Brahmanas (food given to Brahmanas).[3]

हुतोऽग्निहोत्रहोमेनाहुतो बलिकर्मणा प्रहुतः पितृकर्मणा प्राशितो ब्राह्मणे हुतः ७ huto'gnihotrahomenāhuto balikarmaṇā prahutaḥ pitr̥karmaṇā prāśito brāhmaṇe hutaḥ 7 (Shan. Grhy. Sutr. 1.10.7)[11]

According to Manusmrti, Ahuta, Huta, Prahuta, Braahmya-huta and Prasita are also the names of the Panchamahayajnas.

अहुतं च हुतं चैव तथा प्रहुतं एव च । ब्राह्म्यं हुतं प्राशितं च पञ्चयज्ञान्प्रचक्षते ।। ३.७३।। जपोऽहुतो हुतो होमः प्रहुतो भौतिको बलिः । ब्राह्म्यं हुतं द्विजाग्र्यार्चा प्राशितं पितृतर्पणम् । । ३.७४ (Manu. Smrt. 3.73-74)[12]

ahutaṁ ca hutaṁ caiva tathā prahutaṁ eva ca । brāhmyaṁ hutaṁ prāśitaṁ ca pañcayajñānpracakṣate ।। 3.73।। japo'huto huto homaḥ prahuto bhautiko baliḥ । brāhmyaṁ hutaṁ dvijāgryārcā prāśitaṁ pitr̥tarpaṇam । । 3.74

The five 'great yajnas are called Ahutam, Hutam, Prahutam, Brahma-hutam, and Prashitam. Ahuta stands for the recitation of vedas, Huta for homa, Prahuta for the Bali offered to the bhutas (Baliharana), Brahmahuta for the respectful hospitality show to Brahmanas and uninvited guests. Prashita stands for tarpana offered to Pitrs.[13]

Similarities between Panchamahayajnas and Pakayajnas
Panchamahayajnas Activities involved Corresponding Pakayajnas
1 ब्रह्मयज्ञ: || Brahmayajna Japa/Svadhyaya of Vedic texts (जपो) अहुतम् ॥ Ahutam
2 देवयज्ञः || Devayajna Homa for the deities (होमः) हुतम् ॥ Hutam
3 भूतयज्ञ: || Bhutayajna Bali offered to creatures (भौतिको बलिः) प्रहुतः ॥ Prahuta
4 मनुष्ययज्ञ: || Manushyayajna Hospitality (द्विजाग्र्यार्चा) ब्राह्म्यं हुतं ॥ Brahmya-hutam
5 पितृयज्ञः || Pitryajna Offering to Ancestors (पितृतर्पणम्) प्राशितः ॥ Prashita

सप्त पाकयज्ञसंस्थाः ॥ Seven kinds

The Gopatha Brahmana mentions about the assemblage of seven Pakayajnas as below.

सायंप्रातर्होमौ स्थालीपाको नवश् च यः । बलिश् च पितृयज्ञश्चाष्टका सप्तमः पशुः ॥ इत्येते पाकयज्ञाः (Gopa. Brah. 1.5.23)[14]

Meaning: The Sayam-homa (evening homa), Pratarhoma (morning homa) sthalipaka, bali (vaishvedeva), pitruyajna, and ashtaka and the seventh pashu comprise the seven pakayajnas.

Some sutras mention them as Pakasamstha (an assemblage, a group) consisting of seven pakayajnas. These yajnas are equivalent in certain cases for example term Sarpabali given by Apastamba is similar to Pratyarohana and Aagrahayani given by other authors. So is the case of Ishanabali which is similar to Shulagava yajna given by Baudhayana.

Seven Kinds of Pakayajnas as given in Sutracharanas
Apastamba Baudhayana Gautama
Sutra तत्र च सप्त पाकयज्ञसंस्थाः

औपासनहोमो, वैश्वदेवं, पार्वण, मष्टका, मासिश्राद्धं, सर्पबलिं, रीशानबलिरिति । (Apas. Grh. Sutr. 1.1[2])

यथो एतद्धुतः प्रहुत आहुतश्शूलगवो बलिहरणं प्रत्यवरोहणमष्टकाहोम इति सप्त पाकयज्ञसंस्था इति ।१। (Baud. Grh. Sutr. 1.1.1)[15] अष्टका पार्वणः श्राद्धम् श्रावण्याग्रहायणीचैत्र्याश्वयुजीति सप्त पाकयज्ञसम्स्थाः ॥ (Gaut. Dhar. Sutr. 1.7.19)[16]
1 औपासनहोमः ॥ Aupanasa homa हुतः ॥ Huta अष्टका ॥ Ashtaka
2 वैश्वदेवम् ॥ Vaisvedeva प्रहुतः ॥ Prahuta पार्वणम् ॥ Paarvana
3 पार्वणम् ॥ Paarvana आहुतः ॥ Ahuta श्राद्धम् ॥ Shraddham
4 अष्टका ॥ Ashtaka शूलगवः ॥ Shulagava श्रावणी ॥ Shravani
5 मासिश्राद्धम् ॥ Masishraddham बलिहरणम् ॥ Baliharana आग्रहायणी ॥ Aagrahayani
6 सर्पबलिः ॥ Sarpabali प्रत्यवरोहण ॥ Pratyavarohana चैत्र्यी ॥ Chaitri
7 ईशानबलिः ॥ Ishanabali अष्टकाहोमः ॥ Ashtaka homa आश्वयुजी ॥ Asvayuji

Features of Pakayajnas

Pakayajnas are characterized by some typical features or aspects as follows.

  1. अथातः पाकयज्ञान्व्याख्यास्यामः (athātaḥ pākayajñānvyākhyāsyāmaḥ) ॥ Grhyasutras are the source of information for domestic yajnas
  2. गृह्येऽग्नौ सायंप्रातर्होमयो (gr̥hye'gnau sāyaṁprātarhomayo)॥ They involve the use of Grhyagni, a single fire in which the homas are performed early morning and at dusk (evening).
  3. पाकसाध्यो यज्ञः (pākasādhyo yajñaḥ)॥ Ahutis typically consist of cooked foods (Payasa, Charu etc) as the principal
  4. मन्त्रान्ते स्वाहाकारः (mantrānte svāhākāraḥ)॥ The ahutis are offered with a Svahakara after each mantra.
  5. स्वयं हौत्रम् (svayaṁ hautram)॥ Yajamana performs the pakayajnas himself along with his wife
  6. संस्कारा उच्यन्ते (saṁskārā ucyante)॥ In them are covered the Samskaras
  7. Mostly deities and in few instances the ancestors are offered ahutis in these yajnas.
  8. Some of yajnas are mentioned both in Grhya and Shrauta sutras such as Aagrayana and Shugalava.
Typical Features of Pakayajnas[17]
Pakayajnas Deities Frequency Time of Performance
1 औपासनहोमः ॥ Aupanasa homa Devatas Everyday Nityakarma starting from vivaha samskara, in the morning and at dusk
2 वैश्वदेवम् ॥ Vaisvedeva Devatas Twice everyday Morning and evening
3 पार्वणः ॥ Paarvana Shraddha for Ancestors Once a month On Parva day (Amavasya) the new-moon day of the month especially in Bhadrapada masa (September) (page 161)
4 Ashtaka (अष्टका ) Shraddha for Ancestors Once a year Ashtami tithi of Krishnapaksha of Moon (8th day of Dark fortnights) of Margashira, Paushya and Magha masas December to January) (Pages 132-133)
5 मासिश्राद्धम् ॥ Masishraddham Shraddha for Ancestors Once a month On Parva day (Amavasya) the new moon day of the month, in Aparahnna time i.e., afternoon (page 149)
6 सर्पबलिः ॥ Sarpabali Bali to snakes Once a year Purnima or Fullmoon day of Shravana masa (August) after sunset
7 ईशानबलिः ॥ Ishanabali Rudra Once a year Autumn or spring.

गृह्याग्निः ॥ Grhyaagni

Grhyaagni is the specific fire that is initiated at the time of vivaha samskara and it is obligatory to preserve it till the end of the life of the person or till he takes sanyasa ashrama. This agni is maintained in a circular kunda and is used to initiate the Shrauta agnis (the tretagni). Unlike the Shrautagnis which are divided into three, the Grhyagni is maintained as such and used for domestic karmas, hence it is termed as Ekagni. The Shrautagnis are never used for the domestic purposes.

The Grhyaagni - the grhya fire, and the associated karmas are found mentioned in the brahmanas.

...गृहान्पश्चाद्गृह्यस्याग्नेरुपविष्टायान्वातब्धाय ऋत्विगन्ततः कंसेन चतुर्गृहीतस्तिस्र...। ...gr̥hānpaścādgr̥hyasyāgnerupaviṣṭāyānvātabdhāya r̥tvigantataḥ kaṁsena caturgr̥hītastisra...। (Aita. Brah. 8.10)[18]

A few sutras mention the term Grhyagni in the procedure of morning and evening homas to be performed along with the wife, in grhyagni.

स यदेवान्त्यां समिधमभ्यादधाति जायाया वा पाणिं जिघृक्षन्जुहोति तमभिसंयच्छेत् २० स एवास्य गृह्योऽग्निर्भवति २१ (Gobh. Grhy. Sutr. 1.1.20-21)[18]

sa yadevāntyāṁ samidhamabhyādadhāti jāyāyā vā pāṇiṁ jighr̥kṣanjuhoti tamabhisaṁyacchet 20 sa evāsya gr̥hyo'gnirbhavati 21

Grhyagni is called variously in different texts as follows

  • औपासानाग्निः ॥ Aupasana agni (पाणिग्रहणादिरग्निस्तमौपासनमित्याचक्षते १ pāṇigrahaṇādiragnistamaupāsanamityācakṣate 1 Hira. Grhy. Sutr. 7.26.1) [19]
  • एकाग्निः ॥ Ekagni
  • आवसथ्याग्निः ॥ Aavasathyagni (आवसथ्याधानं दारकाले १ āvasathyādhānaṁ dārakāle 1 Para. Grhy. Sutr. 1.2.1)[10]
  • स्मार्ताग्निः ॥ Smarta agni
  • लौकिकाग्निः ॥ Laukikagni

The grhastha is supposed to perform nityakarmas such as Aupasana, twice a day, in the grhyagni, which is rite replacing the samidadhanam performed during Brahmacharyashrama. According to Hiranyakeshi Paraskara grhyasutras he is called Ahitagni. This same agni is used for all the later samskaras of the family, such as upanayana, vivaha and even shraddha. When the son gets married the father's vivaha agni is used to initiate the son's vivaha homa, thus it is preserved eternally, handed down to generations.

The grhyagni is set up primarily by a prospective grhastha at the time of his wedding (दारकाले) or at the time of division of the ancestral property, individually, by the sons (दायाद्यकाल). Upon the death of the father, in a joint family, the eldest of the brothers should set up the grhyagni. Usually it is kindled using the Agnyadhana procedure on an Amavasya or new moon day at an auspicious time.

The homa is performed uttering the "Svaha" to be constantly pronounced at the end of each mantra. Pakayajna is the name of that which is performed in Ekagni. Here the Rtvik is not to perform but oneself has to perform the morning and evening homa on his own.

स्वाहान्ता मन्त्रा होमेष १९ पाकयज्ञ इत्याख्या यः कश्चैकाग्नौ २० तत्रर्त्विग्ब्रह्मा सायंप्रातर्होमवर्जम् २१ स्वयं हौत्रम् २२ (Khad. Grhy. Sutr. 1.1.19-22)[20]

svāhāntā mantrā homeṣa 19 pākayajña ityākhyā yaḥ kaścaikāgnau 20 tatrartvigbrahmā sāyaṁprātarhomavarjam 21 svayaṁ hautram 22

Although there is little unanimity among the Grhyasutras regarding the names of deities to who the ahutis are given, the following deities are mentioned by most of the texts: Agni, Soma, Prajapati, Dhanvantari, Visvedevas, Agni Svishtakrit, Anumati, Brahman.[3]

Brief Description of Pakayajnas

There is overlapping and few are interrelated activities between the different Pakayajnas varying according to the grhyasutras. A few of the minor yajnas are briefly described here. Some others like Ashtaka, Vaishvadeva, Shraddha are rendered more elaborately.

श्रावणम् ॥ Shravana

Also called Shravana-karma (श्रवणाकर्म), Sarpabali (सर्पबलिः)

As this ceremony is performed in the month of Shravana, specifically on the Purnima day, it is called Shravana as per most Grhyasutras. This should not be confused with the Shravanam or Upakarma ceremony related to study of Vedas, though both are performed on the same day. This ceremony is performed keeping the snakes or serpents in view. One may easily understand that Shravana masa corresponding to the month of July - August is the rainy season, when the rain water runs into the holes of the ground, due to which many burrowing animals come up to the surface. Fear of snakes entering the houses and snake-bite is a natural fear instinct. Snakes are worshipped and our ancients have taught us to offer prayers and bali not only on that day to seek protection. Manava GS, explicitly mentions about the fear of snakes and propitiation of powerful snakes.

श्रावण्यां पौर्णमास्यामस्तमिते स्थालीपाकः ५ पार्वणवदाज्यभागान्ते स्थालीपाकाद्धुत्वाञ्जलिनोत्तरैः प्रतिमन्त्रं किशुकानि जुहोति ६ śrāvaṇyāṁ paurṇamāsyāmastamite sthālīpākaḥ 5 pārvaṇavadājyabhāgānte sthālīpākāddhutvāñjalinottaraiḥ pratimantraṁ kiśukāni juhoti 6 (Apas. Grhy. Sutr. 7.18.5-6)[2]

Apastamba GS states that on the fullmoon of the (month of) Sravana after sunset a sthalipaka is offered. At the end of offering Ajyabhaga in a manner similar to the Parvana yajna, with each mantra he offers, with joined hands, the Kimsuka flowers.

Baudhayana GS (3.10.2-6) states that Sarpabali should be performed every year, every season, or every ayana (six months) or every month, specifically in the rainy season under the Ashresha nakshatra. It gives a long list of deities which are to be propitiated on the occasion of the Sarpabali; some of the names include Dhritarashtra, Takshaka, Taarkshya, and Aahira.

Brief Procedure

Paraskara GS describes this ceremony in detail and the procedure is similar to that described other grhyasutras. The grhastha cooks a Sthalipaka and Purodasa cake (in one kapala) along with preparation of the fried grains and pounding them. He offers the pounded grains and performs the two Ajyabhagas with Svahakara and recitation of relevant mantras. The sthalipaka or cooked food is offered to Vishnu, Shravana nakshatra, the full moon of Shravana and the rainy season.

स्थालीपाकस्य जुहोति विष्णवे श्रवणाय श्रावण्यै पौर्णमास्यै वर्षाभ्यश्चेति ६ धानावन्तमिति धानानाम् ७ घृतान्सक्तून्सर्पेभ्यो जुहोति ८ sthālīpākasya juhoti viṣṇave śravaṇāya śrāvaṇyai paurṇamāsyai varṣābhyaśceti 6 dhānāvantamiti dhānānām 7 ghr̥tānsaktūnsarpebhyo juhoti 8 (Para. Grhy. Sutr. 2.14.6-8)[10]

He offers the ahutis of flour of the fried grains, filled with ghee, reciting the specified mantras with a Svahakara to sarpadhipati of terrestrial serpents under Agni (पार्थिवानां सर्पाणामधिपतये स्वाहा । pārthivānāṁ sarpāṇāmadhipataye svāhā ), sarpadhipati of aerial serpents under Vayu (अन्तरिक्षाणां । antarikṣāṇāṁ) and ultimately to the sarpadhipati of celestial serpents belonging to Surya (दिव्यानां सर्पाणामधिपतये । divyānāṁ sarpāṇāmadhipataye).[3]

The sthalipaka cooked ahutis or the purodasa are offered in either the Dakshinagni (the southern fire of the Tretagnis) in the case of an Ahitagni (one who maintains the Shrauta agnis) or in the Aupasanagni (grhyaagni) by an Anaahitagni. After consuming the remnant of the offerings, he silently first offers water and then Saktu (a cooked preparation) as bali, in a spot outside the house/room, to the snakes to ward them off. Then with the recitation of the mantras he should walk around the house, three times, covering the area with an uninterrupted stream of water. The residue of Saktu is stored in a secluded place. From that day, this offering of Saktu with a darvi (a yajna upakarana) as bali should be performed every day post his daily evening aupasana, till the time of the Prayavarohana. The he ascends the high couch or bedstead. The Asvalayana GS (2.1.14) adds that he should offer the Bali in the evening and morning till Pratyavarohana time with specific mantras. While the Hiranyakeshi GS also prescribes the offering of Kimshuka flowers to the serpents, the Apastamba GS in addition to it prescribes the offering of Aaragvadha wood along with Ushiira roots. [3]

प्रत्यवरोहणम् ॥ Prayavarohana

Also called Aagrahayani (आग्रहायणी), Aagrahayani-karma (आग्रहायणीकर्म)

Prayavarohana (प्रत्यवरोहणम्) which means to "descend again" is a rite which marks the ceremonial descent of the entire family from a high couch or cot, which was used from Sravana Purnima (fullmoon of Sravana maasa) due to increased presence of snakes at that time. It is also called Aagrahayani (आग्रहायणी) because it is performed on the Purnima day in the month of Margashira masa which is called as Agrahayana (अग्रहायणम्) masa.[17] Scholars explain that Aagrahayani is that Purnima day (full moon day) which falls in the beginning of the year. According to this version, in certain calendars Margashira masa also called as Agrahayana which was said to be the beginning of the year. Hence the festival that is celebrated on this day came to be known as Aagrahayani.[3]

Shankhayana GS states that during Aagrahayana masa, Pratyavarohana rite is conducted. Paraskara GS states Aagrahayani karma instead of using the term Pratyavarohana. Ashvalayana GS (2.3.1-2) state that the Pratyavarohana may be performed either in the fourteenth tithi of the bright half of Margashira masa or on the following day - on the full moon day. Prayavarohana, from prati and avarohana, signifies that the grhasthas descend from high bed-steads on which they began to sleep from the Shravana Purnima day on account of the danger of snakes (Shan. Grhy. Sutr. 4.15.22). After the performance of this ceremony they may not sleep on high bed-steads and may sleep on the ground. Some commentators of the grhyasutras regard Pratyavarohana as distinct from the Aagrahayani karma. But according to a majority, the activities of both these ceremonies are comparative and Pratyavarohana seems to form a part of the Aagrahayani karma.

Brief Procedure

Many versions exist with regard to the description of this ceremony. According to the Paraskara GS (3.2.2-16) the grhastha prepares and offers sthalipaka and Ajyabhagas in the same way as at the Shravana ceremony. Here the offering is made to Soma, Mrgashira nakshatra, the full moon of Margashira masa and the hemanta (cold) season. After partaking the remnants from the yajna the remainder of the Saktus (which was initially prepared in Shravana) are spread around the house along with the sprinkling of water with the lines "the bali offering is over".

आग्रहायण्यां प्रत्यवरोहेद् १ āgrahāyaṇyāṁ pratyavarohed 1 (Shan. Grhy. Sutr. 4.17.1)[11]

मार्गशीर्ष्यां पौर्णमास्यामाग्रहायणीकर्म १ mārgaśīrṣyāṁ paurṇamāsyāmāgrahāyaṇīkarma 1 (Para. Grhy. Sutr. 3.2.1)[10]

सर्पदेवजनेभ्यः स्वाहेति सायं प्रातर्बलिं हरेदा प्रत्यवरोहणात् १४ sarpadevajanebhyaḥ svāheti sāyaṁ prātarbaliṁ haredā pratyavarohaṇāt 14 (Ashv. Grhy. Sutr. 2.1.14)[9]

Further to the completion of the bali, the spreading of a Kusha grass and on it a new garment takes place. On this the master of the house and his family lie down in a specific manner, based on the seniority in age followed by his wife and subsequently each younger one lies to the left of the older person. These activities are the specific parts pertaining to this rite conducted by a Brahman thrice in total after which they should start sleeping on the ground for four months or as long as they desire. Aagrahayani in Gobhila grhyasutra has a few variations, the bali offering should be made in a fashion similar to that mentioned in Shravana. Additionally after the grhastha has made regular morning offering, he should procure Darbha grass, a Sami (tree) branch, a Badari branch with fruits, the Apaamarga plant, and Shirisha (names of plants and trees). The branches are used to stoke the grhyagni while circumambulating the house while the brahmans are pronouncing the auspicious blessings. Here the family sits in the specific order of descending age and they touch the grass and eventually lie down on the ground after the mantra recitations. Shankhayana GS mentions sweeping the floor with a Palasa branch before performing other rites. Ashvalayana GS (3.3.1-12) mentions that on the occasion of Pratyavarohana they should renovate, apply new coating on the walls, put up a new roof and level the floor of the house.[3]

फाल्गुनी ॥ Phalguni

Phalguni pakayajna is offered on the full-moon day of the month of Phaalguna. This yajna is mentioned in Manava and Katha Grhyasutras primarily. Both the Manava and Katha Grhyasutras lay down a procedure similar in many ways. On the full-moon day of Phaalguna the Apupas (cooked item made of grains) are offered to the deities Bhaga and Aryaman. Grains sacred to Indrani are ground and the flour is used to make figurine in pairs of as many animals as he owns. He then cooks and along with Ajya offers them as ahuti to Rudra or Ishana according to some. In the evening two Apupas are prepared for Indra and Agni. The Apupa offered to Indra is partaken by the inmates of the house. On the same day or on the following day sthalipaka is prepared and offered to Indrani.

फाल्गुन्यां पौर्णमास्यां पुरस्ताद्धानापूपाभ्यां भगं चार्यमणं च यजेत् १ सायमपूपाभ्यां प्रचरत्यग्नीन्द्राभ्याम् ३ (Mana. Grhy. Sutr. 2.10.1 and 3)[21]

phālgunyāṁ paurṇamāsyāṁ purastāddhānāpūpābhyāṁ bhagaṁ cāryamaṇaṁ ca yajet 1 sāyamapūpābhyāṁ pracaratyagnīndrābhyām 3

Katha GS mentions the same cooked preparation of Apupas but the deities offered to are Aryaman, Rudra, Aditi and Indrani with various mantras.[3]

चैत्र्यी ॥ Chaitri

The Chaitri, another annual yajna, is performed according to the Shankhyana grhyasutras, on the Purnima day of the month of Chaitra. This pakayajna is similar to Phalguni mentioned in the Katha grhyasutras in the procedure in the primary aspect of making figurines of the pairs of animals a grhastha has and offered in the grhyagni. Here again the deities are Indra, Rudra and Agni.[3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Vachaspatya (See explanation for word Pakayajna)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Apastamba Grhyasutras with Haradatta's Anukulavrtti and Sudarshana Suri's Tatparyadarshanam Tika (Full Text)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Gopal, Ram. (1959) India of Vedic Kalpasutras. Delhi : National Publishing House
  4. Aiteraya Brahmana (Panchika 3)
  5. Shatapatha Brahmana (Kanda 1 Adhyaya 4 Brahmana 2)
  6. Mani, Vettam. (1975). Puranic encyclopaedia : A comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Delhi:Motilal Banasidass. (Page 316)
  7. Taittriya Samhita (Kanda 1 Prapathaka 7 Anuvaka 1)
  8. Shatapatha Brahmana (Kanda 1 Adhyaya 8 Brahmana 1)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ashvalayana Grhyasutras (Full Text)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Paraskara Grhyasutras (Full Text)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Shankhayana Grhyasutras (Full Text)
  12. Manusmrti (Adhyaya 3)
  13. Pt. Manamathnath Dutt (1979) The Dharam shastra, Hindu Religious codes, Volume 5. New Delhi:Cosmo Publications. (Page 95)
  14. Gopatha Brahmana (Purvabhaga Prapathaka 5)
  15. Baudhayana Grhyasutras (Prashna 1)
  16. Gautama Dharmasutras (Full Text)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Sen, Chitrabhanu. (1978) A Dictionary of the Vedic Rituals. Based on the Srauta and Grhya Sutras. Delhi : Concept Publishing Company
  18. 18.0 18.1 Aitareya Brahmana (Panchika 8)
  19. Hiranyakeshi Grhyasutras (Full Text)
  20. Khadira Grhyasutras (Full Text)
  21. Manava Grhyasutras (Full Text)