AtharvavedIya tArkShya yAga
We had earlier seen the mantra deployments relating to the vedokta Ashu-tArkShya vidhi. We shall now consider another tArkShya vidhi practiced by the knowers of the atharvaNa shruti. The day before the rite a pandal is put up and and decorated with flowers and flags with pictures of eagles. The ground is flattened and scents are dispersed into the air. In the eastern side of the pandal a circle with a lotus figure inscribed within it is drawn with white powder. It is then decorated with colored powders. In the night before the ritual (around the midnight hour), the ritualist offers bali in baskets at the four cardinal points around the pandal. The bali might comprise of meat, fish, beer or semicircular bhakShaNa-s (colloquially termed kara~Njika) and is offered to the four dreadful vinAyaka-s mentioned in the AV tradition and vainateya. He then lights four ghee lamps, one beside each bali.
The rite begins at the abhijit hour on the bright aShTaka day. An image of the fierce garuDa is installed in the center of the white circle with the mantra:
tyam U Shu vAjinaM devajUtaM sahovAnaM tarutAraM rathAnAm |
ariShTanemiM pR^itanAjim AshuM svastaye tArkShyam ihA huvema || (AVS 7.85.1c)
An abhiSheka of the image of garuDa is performed with the mantra:
imA ApaH pra bharAmy ayakShmA yakShma nAshanIH |
gR^ihAn upa pra sIdAmy amR^itena sahAgninA || (AVS 3.12.9)
Then the ritualist offers sandal paste, flowers, incense, camphor, lamps of ghee, vaTaka-s flavored with pepper with a hole in the middle and burns guggulu. The ritualist and his people then do a pradakShiNa of the image followed by complete namaskAra-s. Then either in front of the image of garuDa or to its south he makes a square sthaNDila and starts a fire and offers ghee while reciting :
kravyAdam agniM pra hiNomi dUram yamarAj~no gaChatu ripravAhaH |
ihAyam itaro jAtavedA devo devebhyo havyaM vahatu prajAnan || (AVS 12.2.8)
yo agnau rudro yo apsv antar ya oShadhIr vIrudha Avivesha |
ya imAvishvA bhuvanAni chAkL^ipe tasmai rudrAya namo astv agnaye || (AVS 7.87.1)
sa rudro vasuvanir vasudeye namovAke vaShaTkAro.anu saMhitaH || (AVS_13,4.26a)
Then he joins his palms and does a namaskAra to the fire.
Then he begins making oblations of ghee with the following mantra-s by uttering OM vainateyAya svAhA || idam na mama || (at the end of each R^ik and before the svAhAkAra mantra he utters the formula OM svasti nas tArkShyoM ||) :
suparNas tvA garutmAn viSha prathamam Avayat |
nAmImado nArUrupa utAsmA abhavaH pituH ||(AVS 4.6.3)
The good-winged garutmAn first of all, O Poison, swallowed you;
You could not question him or intoxicate him; you became food [for him].
divyaM suparNaM payasaM bR^ihantam apAM garbhaM vR^iShabham oShadhInAm |
abhIpato vR^iShTyA tarpayantam A no goShThe rayiShThAM sthApayAti ||(AVS 7.39.1)
The great strong celestial eagle, the source of the waters, the lord of the herbs,
may he install in our cattle-shed, with wealth and please him with the shower of rains.
ati dhanvAny aty apas tatarda shyeno nR^ichakShA avasAna darshaH |
taran vishvAny avarA rajaMsIndreNa sakhyA shiva A jagamyAt ||(AVS 7.41.1)
Observing men, and looking at the dwelling, the raptor has traversed over the fields and waters;
May he, with indra for a friend, auspicious, traversing all the atmospheric realms, come here [to the ritual].
shyeno nR^ichakShA divyaH suparNaH sahasrapAch Chatayonir vayodhAH |
sa no ni yaChAd vasu yat parAbhR^itam asmAkam astu pitR^iShu svadhAvat || (AVS 7.41.2)
The raptor, observing men, the celestial eagle of great strength, with a thousand talons and hundred abodes;
He shall give us the wealth that was taken away from us; may he partake of the svadhA offerings with the ancestors.
ut ketunA bR^ihatA deva Agann apAvR^ik tamo.abhi jyotir ashrait |
divyaH suparNaH sa vIro vy akhyad aditeH putro bhuvanAni vishvA ||(AVS 13.2.9)
With the great banner has the god ascended, dispelling darkness and spreading light.
The celestial eagle, the hero, the son of aditi, has looked upon on all the worlds.
He might offer as many rounds of oblations as required with the above mantra-s.
Thereafter he makes a final triad of ghee oblations with the below R^ik-s using the formula OM ariShTanemyai svAhA || + idam na mama:
svastyayanaM tArkShyam ariShTanemiM mahad bhUtaM vAyasam devatAnAm |
asuraghnam indra sakhaM samatsu bR^ihad yasho nAvam iva Aruhema || (RvKh 2.4.1)
aMho mucham A~NgirasaM gayaM cha svasty AtreyaM manasA cha tArkShyam |
prayata pANish sharaNaM prapadye svasti saMbAdheShv abhayan no astu || (RvKh 2.4.2)
svasti na indro vR^iddhashravAH svasti naH pUShA vishvavedAH |
svasti nas tArkShyo ariShTanemiH svasti no bR^ihaspatir dadhAtu || (RV 1.089.06)
He then makes a single combined ghee oblation to the deva savitR^i and garuDa with below mantra (using OM savitre svAhA garutmate svAhA ||+ idaM na mama):
pashchedam anyad abhavad yajatram amartyasya bhuvanasya bhUnA |
suparNo a~Nga savitur garutmAn pUrvo jAtaH sa u asyAnu dharma || (RV 10.149.03)
[Thereafter, that other world of the worship-worthy realm of the immortal gods came into being; savitA’s eagle-bodied garutmAn was indeed the first born one who constantly upheld his dharma.]
He then brings the fire ritual to a conclusion with the recitation of agastya:
agne naya supathA rAye asmAn vishvAni deva vayunAni vidvAn |
yuyodhy asmaj juhurANam eno bhUyiShThAM te namauktiM vidhema || (RV 1.189.01)
Then water is consecrated in a large pitcher with the AV sUkta-s beginning with OM Apo hi ShThA… and ending with shaM na Apo dhanvanyAH … Thereafter the ritualist bathes idol of garuDa, with that water even as women sing songs alluding to the heroic deeds of garuDa and play on their musical instruments. This lustration is concluded with a beating of drums and blowing of trumpets and conchs.
Thereafter the ritualist offers tarpaNa with water, milk, curds, ghee and fruit juices using the below R^ik-s followed by: OM garutmantam tarpayAmi ||
manojavA ayamAna AyasIm atarat puram |
divaM suparNo gatvAya somaM vajriNa Abharat || (RV 8.100.08)
With the speed of thought, swooping into the metal fort he flew on;
The eagle flew to heaven and brought soma to the wielder of the vajra.
vainateya somaM piba somaM pibatu vR^itrahA |
somaM dhanasya somino mahyaM dadAtu sominaH || (RvKh 2.6.21)
O vainateya drink soma ! O slayer of vR^itra drink soma!
The soma drinkers drinking soma grant the wealth; the soma drinkers grant greatness.
nAke suparNam upapaptivAMsaM giro venAnAm akR^ipanta pUrvIH |
shishuM rihanti matayaH panipnataM hiraNyayaM shakunaM kShAmaNi sthAm || (RV 9.085.11)
The eager ones with their chants seek the eagle who had soared to the heavens.
The mantra-s gently caress the chick worthy of praise, the golden bird has stationed himself on the earth.
shAkmanA shAko aruNaH suparNa A yo mahaH shUraH sanAd anILaH |
yach chiketa satyam it tan na moghaM vasu spArham uta jetota dAtA || (RV 10.055.06)
Powerful in his strength is the glowing eagle, great hero, the ancient one who never roosts;
That which he knows is the truth and never unsuccessful; he indeed and wins and gives the much desired wealth.
yaM suparNaH parAvataH shyenasya putra Abharat |
shatachakraM yo .ahyo vartaniH || (RV 10.144.04)
What from afar, the eagle, child of the raptor (here implying savitA), has brought
[is] that around which a hundred chakra-s revolve along with the snake.
Thereafter he takes some of the remaining water from the pitcher and sprinkles it upon the votaries seeking relief from illness caused by abhichAra, toxins and troubles while reciting the following mantra:
taM vAM rathaM vayam adyA huvema stomair ashvinA suvitAya navyam |
ariShTanemim pari dyAm iyAnaM vidyAm eShaM vR^ijanaM jIradAnum || (RV 1.180.10)
That your new chariot, with mantra recitations we invoke today, O ashvin-s, for our wellbeing,
He who circles around heaven with unassailable wings, may we discover strengthening medicines in great abundance.
Then he sprinkles his own and the gathered participants’ weapons with the incantation for the destruction of his enemies:
ye rathino ye arathA asAdA ye cha sAdinaH |
sarvAn adantu tAn hatAn gR^idhrAH shyenAH patatriNaH || (AVS 11.10.24)
Chariot-riders, warriors without chariots, infantry men and cavalrymen,
All these, slain, let the vultures, eagles, and raptors devour them.
He ties an amulet with the following incantation:
garuDa pakSha nipAtena bhUmim gachCha mahA yashAH |
garuDasya jAta mAtreNa trayo lokAH prakampitAH || (RvKh 2.1.3)
The snakes of great fame, struck by the wings of garuDa flee beneath the ground,
Even as garuDa was born the three worlds quaked.
The ritualist then looks at the sky. If he see a raptor circling then his rite has had complete success. At the conclusion of the ritual the poor and disabled are fed.