Implements of the shrauta ritual

ratha chakra: The spoked chariot. Typically made of audumbara wood. It is used in the AdhAna rite (deposition of the 3 fires) where the brahmA priest rolls it along from the gArhapatya to the dakShiNa and AhavanIya. In the vAjapeya rite (a 17 spoked-wheel) its pegged to the ground and rotated 3 times to the accompaniment of the vajinAM sAman.

araNI: Two blocks of wood from an ashvattha tree that serves as the surface for the generation of fire. 4X12X16 angulas typically.

The fire drill: It has 3 parts: 1) pramantha- a peg of wood cut out from the upper araNi that is drilled into the lower araNi to make fire. 2)The chatra the spindle with grooves around which the rope passes while drilling and holds the pramantha. 3) The ovilI- the T shaped handle fitted on top of the chatra and used for pressing into the block for friction.

rajju: the rope used to churn the fire drill against the lower araNi.

agnihotra sthAlI: A wide circular bowl with straight edges. The cow is milked into the sthAlI in the agnihotra. The rice or the gaveduka charu may be cooked in the sthAlI. It is only made by an Aryan by hand.

kUrcha: a fish shaped flat wooden bar an arm’s length. All ritual ladles are placed on the kUrcha when not deployed. If the kUrcha is not available they may be placed on darbha grass.

asida: an iron sickle used for cutting darbha grass.

sruch: a ladle with a long handle (about a bahu long) with a terminal cup and a down-ward directed beaker-like lip. A groove passes from the terminal cup to the tip of the lip. It has a stand at the rear end. Different kinds of sruch-s with different designs are used in different ritual applications. These are the juhU, dhruva, upabhR^ita and agnihotra havaNI. It is made of gold, silver or wood.

sruva: a special ladle with a terminal cup with diameter equal to the tip of a thumb. Liquid flammable oblations are offered with the sruva. It may be made of adumbara, parNa or khadira wood, gold, silver or the alloy kAmsya for abhichAra. Some sruvas have bi-septate terminal cup and are called the dvibila sruva-s.

darvi: A ladle about a bahu in length with a shallow circular cup at the tip. It is usually used for the svAhA oblations in the gR^ihya cycle and the sAkamedha offerings in the gArhapatya fire. It is made of khadira typically.

AkarSha phalaka: A special ladle whose handle is shaped like a composite bow. The cup is shaped like a cobra’s hood. It is used to offer tilas in the upAkarma rite. vAraNa or udumbara wood.

praNItA: a rectangular wooden vessel with a short handle about 4 angulas in length. The dimensions of the vessel are 3X4X6 angulas. Used to carry the ritual water. Made of nyagrodha wood or clay for abhichAra rites.

sakShIra praNItA: A praNItA like vessel with two compartments like the above vessel. The fore compartment is half the volume of the hind compartment. The front compartment is filled with milk and the hind with water in the chAturmAsya charu offering to the sons of deva rudra.

prokShaNI pAtraM: a vessel shaped like a lotus bud with a large groove leading to its narrow terminal lip. It is used to contain water for sprinkling in purificatory incantations.

sfya: a wooden sword of khadira wood. It is a bAhu in length and is used to score lines for geometric constructions on the sacrificial site. The adhvaryu holds it while reciting a praiSha or the apratirathaM. It is also held up as a sword in the stamba yajur haraNa rite.

shamyA: peg made of khadira wood shaped like the eponymous quarter pin of the chariot wheel. Is thrown to mark the next sacrificial spot in the sArasvata and yat satras. It is used for measurements in the construction of the altar. In the shukla yajurvedic tradition it is shaped like a flat oblong bar with a central slit. It is also struck on the dR^iShad or the grinding stone to signify the devas sounding their weapons to declare war on the asuras.

dhR^iShTi or upaveSha is a wooden staff a prAdesha in lenght, ending in a hand-shaped head. The hand-shaped head of the staff is used to push aside coals from the baking of the puroDAsha or stirring fires.

mekShaNa: a flat baking stick similar to the baking stick used to turn dosais. Used for stirring the odana when it is cooked and to take up odana for the offering to the ancestors.

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