Agnihotram An insight
In reply to Janaka’s question as to how Agnihotram is performed, Yajnavalkya says seeing me lifting the Ahavaniya agni from the Garhapatya all the gods who were about to retire with the sun return. Then having washed the vessels and laying them down and milking the agnihotri (the cow) I looking at the gods who watch me gratify them. To this Janaka says you have come to very close to the answer but you know not Ahutis (oblations) departure passage destination gratification return and the rejuvenator of prosperity (i.e.) the world and instructs Yajnavalkya thus These two ahutis being offered rise up they enter the Antariksa (region between the adobe of gods and the earth) they make the Antariksa itself as the Ahavaniya (one of the three consecrated fires into which Agnihotram Ahutis are offered) Vayu (air) the samit (sacrificial twig) and maricayah (the rays of the sun) itself as the pure Ahuti thus they gratify the Antariksa world from there they rise above.
They enter the Divam (above of gods) they make the Diwam itself the Ahavaniya aditya (sun) the samit and candrama (moon) itself the pure Ahuti thus they gratify the Diwam from there they return.
They enter the prthivi (the earth) they make this prthivi itself the Ahavaniya Agni (fire) the samit and Osadhih (plants) itself the pure Ahuti thus they gratify this prthivi from these they rise above.
They enter the Purusa (man) they make his mouth itself the Ahavaniya tongue the samit and the food itself the pure Ahuti thus they gratify the Purusa the one who knowing thus eats his Agnihotram is deemed to be performed they rise from him.
They enter the Stri (women) they make her Upastham (genital) as the Ahavaniya Dharaka (loins) the samit and Reats (semen) itself the pure Ahuti thus they gratify the Stri the one who knowing thus copulates his Agnihotram is deemed to be performed.
The son who is born from the Loka (the world) the Pratyuttayi (the rejuvenator of prosperity).
Hey Yajnavalka This is agnihotrm. There is nothing more than this.
A few words.
This piled up Agni is indeed the Prajapati. Prajapati beseeched Agni to unite him with the Prana: as quid-pro-quo Prajapati said, “I will stand named after you”; Agni put Prajapati together (with Prana): so even while being Prajapati he is called Agni.
The five bodies of this Prajapati wore out - hair, skin, flesh, bone and marrow; they are these five citis (layers of piled bricks); piling of the five citis is what is putting Prajapati together with those five bodies; as there is piling, they are called citis.
The Prajapati is the Samvatsara (year); the five bodies which wore out are the Rtus (seasons), five are the Rtus: five are these citis; piling of the five citis unite Prajapati with the Rtus indeed.
The Samvatsara Prajapati is this Vayu (the wind), the cleanser; his five bodies, the Rtus which wore out are verily the Disas (directions); five are the Disas; five are the citis; piling of the five citis unite Prajapati with the Disas.
The Agni (Ahavaniya) which is placed over the citis is the Aditya: he (Prajapati) only is this Agni that is piled up; thus the Agni united the Prajapati.
Taking this form of Syena, the Pranas became the Prajapati; taking this form of Syena, Prajapati created the Gods; taking this form of Syena the Gods became immortal; Agnicayanam is performed to become the very Prajapati.
(Satapatha Brahmanam - VI. 1.2. 13 - 19,36)
Why the bird?
Prajapati desired to go to Swarga. Man, horse, bull, sheep and goat-all these animals are verily Prajapati, By taking these forms He was not able to reach Swarga. He saw him to be in the form of a bird. He appeared as the bird and assumed the form of Agni - the altar. He desired to fly upwards without propelling the central part with the wings and without spreading the wings. He could not fly. He then took off by propelling the central part with the wings and spreading the wings. Therefore even these days birds are able to fly only when they bring the base of the wings close to the central part and extend the wing tips.
(Of the Vajasaneyins)
The days and nights which are the parts of Prajapati, of the form of Samvatsara (year), got dismembered; they became the bricks. By piling together these bricks the dismembered parts get reinstated in Prajapati.
A total of 11,195 bricks (11,170 baked and 25 non-baked) are piled up. 395 of these are laid up by uttering Yajus mantras and are called Yajusmatis. The rest 10800 are called Lokamprna bricks.
The number of bricks piled up corresponds to the number of parts of the Samvatsara. 360 Yajusmatis represent the 360 days in a year; of the balance 36 [35 Yajusmatis plus Purisa (loose soil) ], 24 represent the equal number of fortnights in a year; the balance 12 represent the 12 months in a year. These very 12 months when taken two together represent the six seasons. 10800 Lokamprnas represent the equal number of Muhurtas (360 x 30) in a year. In addition to this 360 Parispts (tiny pebbles) are also piled up to represent the 360 nights in a year. Thus all the parts of the Samvatsara (year ) - days, nights, for nights months seasons and muhurtas get reinstated as the Samvatsara Prajapati by assembling together the Yajusmatis the Lokamprnas and the Parisrits.
Ten are the Agnis which are piled up - eight Dhisniyas, Ahavaniyas and Garhapatya: therefore, Agni is called the Virat; ten syllables constitute Virat (chandas); all these are said to be but one, all these are the forms of Agni.
The one who performs the Agnicayana by knowing the reinstatement of Prajapati in this manner and also the one meditates thus, he becomes one with the Samvatsara Prajapati who has taken the form of the citi and attains all, in entirety.
Istaka (brick) – Derivation
Prajapati thought - ‘I shall search out the self of mine (five animals) which was thrown into water’. He searched it out; He collected the water into which the watery ontent of the body of the (five) animals had settled; He also collected the soil into which the bones, flesh etc of the animals had settled. After collecting the water and the soil he made the Istaka (brick) out of them. Therefore these two - the soil and the water became the brick.
He thought - ‘If I sanctify the self of mine which is in the form of the brick without baking it, then I shall become a mortal, nay a corpse, nay the one not devoid of sin; I shall bake it’; He baked it; He made that immortal; therefore the bricks are baked in fire and are immortal. Since He desired the brick after performance of the animal sacrifice (Istwa), the brick i, railed Istaka.
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