The bus came to halt at the underground stop. Vrishchika of pretty tresses got off the bus and walked up the stairs to reach the over-bridge. She reached the middle of the bridge and stood there looking out expectantly at the road. It was a remarkably clear day and she could see the yonder horizon where the azure heights of father Dyaus met his lover mother Pṛthivī clad in the verdant vesture of the distant woods. Vrishchika passed into a reverie at that sight and remained oblivious to the throng of people who criss-crossed the bridge in either direction. Suddenly, an ugly man sidled up beside her and before she could react to his presence he said: “Ma’am do you visit the Hindu temple at Śukramārga?” Vrishchika: “On rare occasions.” The man responded: “We need wealthy patrons like you to visit the temple more often and make donations. Please do so devī”. So saying he handed a pamphlet to her. Vrishchika wondered: “A soothsayer at the temple of the Vāyu-born vānara had once told my family that I would be the wealthiest of all my sisters. But I’m hardly in that state now. Yet, why does he even think I’m wealthy?” She snapped out of that train of thought and waved the ugly man away saying “śubham astu! It is far way from my place but I’ll try.”
She continued to look out at the road and not seeing what she wanted to see, she turned to the pamphlet. It was crowded with temple events. There was a Rudra-pūjā for the 13th pradoṣa and a Viṣṇu-pūjā for the ekādaśī. There was another event for Vināyaka, for which there was a call for people to join in a mass-recitation of the Gaṇeśopaniṣat. Yet another corner mentioned a Vaṭakini-mahotsava for the fierce ape. Then there was some announcements of secular events. A professor of Indian origin, who was popular with the people at the local chapter of the “right-wing debate club”, with a penchant for peddling false etymologies and outrageous counter-factual theories was giving a lecture series covering issues such as the autochthonous origin of Aryans, reading Vedic mantra-s in the Harappan inscriptions, and situating the Mahābhārata at earlier than 5000 years in India. Vrishchika said to herself: “I’m sure the puruṣa would find this buffoon quite amusing where it not for the pernicious consequences it has on our people.” Then there was a call for people to attend classes for language acquisition or learning the recitation of five sūkta-s from the Kṛṣṇa-yajurveda. She noticed that the latter was organized by a bābā-crazed young lady who had been her patient.
Just as her eyes wandered to the next item on the pamphlet the corner of her vision lit up with the sight of a bus halting on the road below and Indrasena saunter out of it. Upon meeting midway at the bridge the two walked ahead to towards the station to board the train for a long ride back home. Vrishchika: “Dear Ātreya, when I was waiting on the bridge, I received this temple pamphlet from a man who, if my vague recollection is correct, evidently supplements his income by playing a horoscopist and palm-reader at the temple on Śukramārga. What is interesting is that just as I caught sight of you I was reading this little announcement here.” Saying so she handed it over to Indrasena. Even as he was looking at it she articulated it: “It looks as though this banker Atigupta Sādhu is commissioning the consecration of an image of the Yakṣarāṭ in the northern niche of the temple on the ekadaśī of next month. It reminded me that you have yet to impart to me the rahasya of the ekadaśī-vrata that you had mentioned long ago in your hometown.” Indrasena: “That’s quite remarkable. There is actually more than what meets the eye here. Indeed, it was in my mind too that I convey the vidyā to you, O daughter of an Aṅgiras, for after all I’d need a dīkṣita-patnī when I impart it to the ācārya who will be doing that sthāpanā.”
Vrishchika: “That’s interesting. So you were aware of this?”
Indrasena: “Yes Alini. There is a long story here that I’ve not had the chance to tell you.”
Vrishchika: “I’m now very curious to hear it all.”
Indrasena: “Atigupta Sādhu was the student of a charismatic mantravādinī from the regions of Mahākāla. He had received a magic square of Rājarāja from her and consequently his wealth greatly expanded as befits a V3. He wanted to install an image of Dhanada at the temple at Śukramārga. He employed none other than the initial teacher of mine the vaṅgasiṃha, for whom there is no “tataḥ kim?” after “dhanaṃ meru-tulyam” and he was almost half an Uesugi Kenshin of the prācya-s. But, as I’ve told you before, he only possessed incomplete vidyā-s. Thus, his sthāpanā failed like that of Skanda by the marāṭhā chief Raghunātharāu and the image was damaged when lightning struck the temple. The V3 was distraught and went to his teacher back in Mālava. She happened have studied some śāstra-siddhānta under Lootika. She then consulted your sister, who not wanting to give out my identity publicly told her that if Vitteśa were to be pleased with the said V3 he would find the right V1 who will solve his samasyā. The vaṇij went around for a while until he circuitously got introduced to me by Somakhya. I told the V3 that I could not be a sthāpakācārya at a temple but I could impart a key vrata to the vaiṣṇava sthāpaka at the temple who would then achieve success with the endeavor upon performing the vrata. This, my pretty girl, is the whole story. The vrata is none other than the one of the ekādaśī that I’ll expound to you once we are home.”
Back home, taking in the good night air and the dark canopy of the nakṣatra-s, Indrasena expounded to his wife the rahasya-s of the Vāyavīyaṃ Kaubera-vratam: “Dear Gautamī, first you must know why it is called the Vāyavīyaṃ Kaubera-vratam and why the ekādaśī is considered the day of the yakṣa lord. In this regard the following has been narrated by the brāhmaṇa Mahātapās to king Prajāpāla in the Varāhapurāṇa:
śṛṇu cānyāṃ vasupater utpattiṃ pāpanāśinīm|
yathā vāyu-śarīrastho dhanadaḥ sambabhūva ha ||
ādyaṃ śarīraṃ yat tasmin vāyur antaḥsthito ‘bhavat |
prayojanān mūrtimattvam ātiṣṭhat kṣetra-devatā ||
tatra mūrtasya vāyos tu utpattiḥ kīrtitā mayā |
tāṃ śṛṇuṣva mahābhāga kathyamānāṃ mayā +anagha ||
brahmaṇaḥ sṛṣṭi-kāmasya mukhād vāyur viniryayau |
pracaṇḍa-śarkarā-varṣī taṃ brahmā pratyaṣedhayat ||
mūrto bhavasva śāntaś ca tenokto mūrtimān-bhavat |
sarveṣām eva devānāṃ yad vittaṃ phalam eva ca |
tat sarvaṃ pāhi yenoktaṃ tasmād dhanapatir bhavān ||
tasya brahmā dadau tuṣṭas tithim ekādaśīṃ prabhuḥ |
tasyāṃ anagni-pakvāśī yo bhaven niyataṃ śuciḥ |
tasyāpi dhanado devas tuṣtaḥ sarvaṃ prayacchati ||
eṣā dhanapater mūrtiḥ sarva-kilbiṣa-nāśanī |
ya etāṃ śṛṇuyād bhaktyā puruṣaḥ paṭhate ‘pi vā |
sarva-kāmān avāpnoti svarga-lokañ ca gacchati ||
The sage Mahātapas narrated this legend to king Prajāpāla:
Now, listen to that other sin-destroying tale of the origin of the lord of wealth, regarding how the wealth-giver arose from the body of the god Vāyu. Within what was the primordial body, Vāyu came into being situated in its interior. For the purpose of assuming a discrete form the deity of the regions [Vāyu] emerged forth. Now, the origin of that form of Vāyu will be made known by me. O sinless and most fortunate you ought listen that narrated by me. Due to the god Brahmā’s creative desire Vāyu issued forth from his face. [He emerged] with a tremendous shower of grit/gravel. Brahmā restrained him by saying: “You should take on a pacific discrete form.” He took the form as stated by Brahmā. [Brahmā said]: “all this wealth of the gods, whatever they produce, you must indeed protect it”. Thus, due to what was said by Brahmā he became Dhanapati. The pleased lord Brahmā gave the ekādaśī [as his] lunar day. On that day, if one with discipline purifies himself and only eats food which is not cooked by fire, then the god Dhanada is pleased and gives him everything. This form of Dhanapati destroys all that is ill. If one verily listens to this narrative with devotion or the person recites it, then he attains all desires and goes to the heavenly realm.
Now, Vrishchika tell me what you think of this narrative?”
V: “I believe it had its roots in the ancient Indo-Iranian system of the supreme Vāyu, with a Prājāpatya overlay atop that. Indeed Kubera and Vāyu simultaneously figure as mighty deities in the backdrop of the Rāmāyaṇa and to some extent also in the Mahābhārata. Hence, their connection does not seem unexpected. Moreover, along with the other deity of the same class, Rudra, the three of them adorn the northern face of the dik-maṇḍala — NE-N-NW. The primordial body referred to in this narrative is verily the puruṣa of the śruti. There indeed it has been said ‘prāṇād vāyur ajāyata |‘ and Vāyu was seen as the breath within the puruṣa. In this myth we see an allusion the the role of Vāyu in the creative process. It is amply clear from the śruti that in the old system focused on Vāyu he was conceived as playing a central role in this process. Indeed, in the mantra to Vāyu-Vāta we hear:
‘ātmā devānām bhuvanasya garbho
yathā-vaśaṃ carati deva eṣaḥ |
ghoṣā id asya śṛṇvire na rūpaṃ
tasmai vātāya haviṣā vidhema ||’
The breath of the gods, the germ of the universe,
this god wanders as he wishes.
Only his sounds are heard, not [seen is] his form.
For him, for Vāta, we would do honor with our oblation.
We see here that the deity is presented as the germ of the universe (reflective of the creative process) and his formlessness which is alluded to in the myth you narrated is also a central element of this mantra. Tellingly, the very first mantra of the sūkta captures aspects of his storminess mentioned in this myth as he emerged from the face of Brahmā with a shower of grit.:
‘vātasya nu mahimānaṃ rathasya
rujann eti stanayann asya ghoṣaḥ |
divispṛg yāty aruṇāni kṛṇvann
uto eti pṛthivyā reṇum asyan ||’
Now for the greatness of Vāta and his chariot:
smashing he proceeds; thundering is his noise.
Touching heaven as he drives, making things red,
also blowing up dust from the earth he goes.
Thus, I would conclude that at the foundation of the Varāha-purāṇa narrative are clear motifs coming from the old Vāyu-centric system such as those expressed in the sūkta I just mentioned.”
I.s: “That is good, Vrishichika. It touches on something which will come up again as I expound the ritual itself. One may also note the this idea of the Vāyu within the primordial body might have been behind another somewhat mysterious name of the god — Mātariśvan — he who grows within the mother or womb. Thus, it is likely that what was meant in this name was Vāyu filling up the interior of the ‘primordial womb’. His emergence from the mouth of the protogonic deity is something that evidently had a deep history: While in the Puruṣa-sūkta it is Indra and Agni who emerge from the Puruṣa’s mouth, we have a bauddha text the Avalokiteśvara-guṇa-karaṇḍavyūha where the nāstika-s have appropriated the mythologem of the puruṣa for their invention, the Avalokiteśvara. In that text we hear of the various gods emerging from the different organs of the macranthropic Avalokiteśvara and Vāyu is specifically mentioned as emerging from his mouth. This suggests the existence of an old āstika source with such an imagery from which this concept was borrowed by the bauddhas.
Now further, while in the Varāha-purāṇa myth the motifs acquired from the Vāyu-focused system may have been placed in a Prājāpatya context typical of the earlier paurāṇika narratives, we must not miss the fact that right from the beginning Vāyu had an intimate connection with the protogonic deity with roots likely going back to the para-Vedic systems of the Indo-Iranian period with evolutes lasting until much latter on both the Indian and Iranian sides. This is already apparent in the prājāpatya portions of the late śruti. In the Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa we hear: ‘sa eṣa vāyuḥ prajapatiḥ |‘ (This Vāyu is Prajāpati). It is further expounded in the Kauśītaki-brāhmaṇa that the manifest form of Prajāpati is Vāyu: ‘prajāpateḥ pratyaksaṃ rupaṃ yad vāyur iti|‘. The Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa goes on to even present Prajāpati as a composite of himself and Vāyu: ‘ardhaṃ ha prajāpater vayuḥ | ardham prajapatiḥ | Regarding this intimate connection between the two deities, I could point to a rather late survival of this idea in the Garuḍa-purāṇa (mokṣa-kāṇḍa) in a rather pristine form albeit lodged within a larger, quite unwholesome Vaiṣṇava section, which tries to establish the superiority of Viṣṇu over the other gods:
‘annābhimānaṃ brahma cāhur murāriṃ
jīvābhimānaṃ vāyum āhur mahāntaḥ |
na śakto ‘sau brahma-devo vivastuṃ
vāyuṃ vinā saṃsṛtāv eva nityam ||
na taṃ vinā mātariśvā ca vastum
anyonyam āptiḥ kālato nyūnatā ca |
yadā mahat-tattvani yāmako bhūd
brahmāṇḍānta-sthūla-sṛṣṭau mahātmā ||
tadā vāyur nāśakadvai mahātmā
bāhye sṛṣṭau kālabhedena cāsti |’
The great sages have declared that Brahmā and Murāri (Viṣṇu) are the nutritive principle, [whereas] Vāyu is the metabolic principle. Verily, this god Brahma does not have ever the ability to emit the universe without Vāyu. Without him (Brahmā) Mātariśvan (Vāyu) does not have place to dwell. (O great soul), their relative strengths and wants depends on the course of time. When [Brahmā] restrained of the principles [evolving from] mahat in the [primordial] world-egg from manifesting as material creation Vāyu could not set it motion. The evolution of the manifest universe [by Vāyu] happens only with passage of time.
Thus, Alini, in this system Vāyu and Brahmā are close and almost equal partners in the manifestation of the material universe. Indeed, it appears that these ideas were preserved by a group of late-surviving Vāyu-focused thinkers who later converted to the Vaiṣṇava-mata in southern India. This becomes apparent from a discussion occurring earlier in this section of the Garuḍa-purāṇa wherein the votaries are asked to set up an image of Vāyu and worship it. However, it is then clarified that Vāyu is merely a symbol of Viṣṇu and that Vāyu should only be offered the ucchiṣṭa of Viṣṇu. Notably, it warns votaries who offer fresh flowers, sandalwood and incense to Vāyu and says that they would eternally suffer unless they meditate on Viṣṇu as an expiation. The last statement clinches their Vāyu-focality prior to their conversion. Their unconverted versions still exist, albeit in a degenerate form, in the Lāṭa country — a point we will revisit in the context of the paramparā of our ritual.”
V: “Ah! Having sat in on a discussion Lootika and Somakhya once had, I do see the parallels to the comparable Iranic systems. In the Zoroastrian stream of the Iranic tradition, despite all the demonization of the ancestral deva-s, Vāyu still retains his primacy. In the yasht of Rama Hvastra even Ahura Mazdāh worships Vāyu to aid him in creation by countering Angra Mainyu. In the para-Zoroastrian system of Zurvān (Avestan: Zrva, cognate of Sanskrit sarva) he comes as an integral partner of the great time deity Zurvān who has a fundamentally protogonic character. Thus, Zurvān, associated with time and Vāyu associated with space are the heart of the genesis of this Iranic system. The integral association of Zurvān and Vāyu is already seen in the Zoroastrian Avesta where they are invoked together and are supplied with the epithet ‘deregho khvadhāta (dīrgha-svadhātṛ in our tongue)’. i.e. those who have long-standing law of their own. That Zurvān was an old deity with his own system is seen from the occurrence of his name close to the Avestan form in the Nuzi documents from Iraq dating to around 3200-3400 years ago where we find some of the earliest attestations of the Iranians in archaeology. This association is also recorded by Eudemus of Rhodes, the student of Aristotle, who notes that the Iranians regard Time (Zurvān) and Space (Vāyu) as the foundational principles of the universe. That he was referring to the para-Zoroastrian Zurvān worshipers becomes apparent from a comparable system presented in Zurvānistic Iranic traditions preserved by the Zoroastrians in their Denkart, where Zurvan as time is the generative principle and Vāyu provides the space for the entities that come into being due to Zurvan. There, Vāyu is also the one who conveys the good things bestowed by Zurvān to men — this perhaps captures a bit of his nature as the messenger, which we see in his Mātariśvan form in our tradition. Thus, his association with the Iranic protogonic deities, be he Ahura Mazdāh or Zrva, in the generative process is indeed a parallel to his association with Brahmā in our tradition.”
I.s: “As we move from Vāyu, who was specifically hymned by your ancestor Vāmadeva, to Kubera, we again find these parallels between Indo-Aryan and Iranian tradition as illuminating their association. Clearly in our tradition Vāyu-Vāta has both a benign and malignant nature. In the mantra you mentioned he is described as `’rujan’ i.e. smashing. This nature is clearly brought out in his earthly epic manifestations, the ape Hanūmat and the Pāṇḍava Bhīma. On the other hand, as you correctly mentioned, in the Iranic tradition Vāyu conveys the good things of Zurvan to men. This is his benign aspect which comes up in the second such Vāta-sūkta in the RV:
vāta ā vātu bheṣajaṃ śambhu mayobhu no hṛde |
pra ṇa āyūṃṣi tāriṣat ||
uta vāta pitāsi na uta bhrātota naḥ sakhā |
sa no jīvātave kṛdhi ||
yad ado vāta te gṛhe ‘mṛtasya nidhir hitaḥ |
tato no dehi jīvase ||’
May Vāta blow towards us a medicine, which is auspicious and conferring weal to our heart. May he lengthen our lives.
O Vāta, you are father to us, and brother, and also a friend to us. Make us live long.
O Vāta, what wealth of ambrosia has been placed yonder in your house, give us of that for us to live.
Here, we see that the benign aspect of Vāyu is emphasized with him being a bearer of medicines (note a similar role played by Hanūmat in the Rāmāyaṇa), fellowship and the ambrosia. Importantly, note the amṛtasya nidhiḥ, which becomes important for the connection with the Mahārāja. On the Iranian side Vāyu again is invoked for benign gifts such as protection from yātudhāna-s, a long life, offspring, and by women for a good husband. On the other-hand, he is also the fierce ‘pitiless Vāyu’, the bone-breaker (Astovidhātu) who slays the man (the bone-crushing facet is well represented in the earthly emanations of our Vāyu, Hanūmat and Bhīma, who more generally also have a certain malignant side to them, which, O Gautami, your ancestors are said to have faced in the case of the former). Thus, in later Iranic tradition we hear of two Vāyu-s, the Vāy i veh the good Vāyu and the Vāy i vattar, the evil Vāyu, who in the Iranic text known as the greater Bundahishn is explicitly termed Astovidhātu who causes death.
Thus, even in our origin myth of Kubera, the two facets of Vāyu are clearly laid out. He originally emerges in what is evidently his malefic form showering gravel/grit and then assumes a benefic form which becomes Kubera. Notably, Kubera, like Vāyu in the RV mantra, also holds the nidhi of amṛta, which is described as the honey of Jambhala, known to the V1s who have mastered the Kaubera lore, in the Mahābhārata.”
V: “Dear Ātreya, may be in the regard I should add that this benign form of Vāyu, which becomes Vaiśravaṇa might relate to the magical concealment power of the yakṣa-s, tirodhā that is alluded to multiple times in the śruti. On one hand it connects Kubera with the primordial goddess Virāj. The Puruṣa hymn, echoing the cyclic generation of the primordial god Dākṣa and goddess Aditi from each other, states that the goddess Virāj arose from the Puruṣa and that conversely the Puruṣa arose from Virāj. The Atharvāṅgirasa-śruti adds that Kubera was a calf of this goddess Virāj in the form of Tirodhā which conferred the concealment (tirodhā) capacity on his folk (i.e. the yakṣa-s). This is again mentioned and worshipped in his ritual in the Taittirīya-śruti. In the AV it is said that he who knows this thing about Kubera causes his pāpaman to vanish, whereas in the TA it makes his enemies disappear, like the prācya Uesugi Kenshin experienced with his devotions. This again reflects the beneficent nature of this deity whose origin is from the primordial being. Perhaps the tirodhā power, which the Taittirīyaka-s describe as coming from the waters represents, the benefic clouds brought by Vāyu as opposed to the destructive sand storm.
Finally, before we go to the ritual, O Atri, I would like to to ask you if you can think of any parallels to the connection between Vāyu and Vaiśravaṇa which might exist in the Iranian world?”
I.s.: “Firstly, O Āṅgirasī, it is pleasing to see that you have thoroughly acquired the śrauta-siddhānta of Puṇyajaneśa. Regarding your question — I am aware of no direct cognate of Kubera in the early Iranic world. However, we may note the following: interestingly, even in the Avesta the benign Vāyu is described as being associated with gold, a characteristic of the Yakṣarāṭ. Subsequently, among the non-Zoroastrian and para-Zoroastrian Iranics of the Kuṣāṇa empire it appears that the personification of royal power, Avestan Khvarena (Kuṣāṇa: Pharro), came to identified with Vaiśravaṇa. This is not surprising given both their association with royal power. This led to syncretic depictions in the Kuṣaṇa age that appear to have eventually reached the eastern steppes whose new masters were the Turkic and Mongolic people. This greatly influenced the development of the Kubera-like deity Kut-Tengri among the Uighurs and other central Asian Turks.”
V: “Now, O Atricandra, expound to me details of the ritual — the observances, actions and the mantra-s.”
I.s: “Sure. The vrata, as has been specified, should be done on an ekādaśī, either in the afternoon or in the evening. After having had a bath the ritualists should observe purity and abstain from sexual activity for the entire day. They should eat air-dried fruits and nuts. They should abstain from consuming milk products but they may drink fresh fruit juices. In old Bhārata the ideal spot for the ritual was said to be under an aśvattha or a vaṭa tree but these days such spots are difficult to come by.
First the ritualists should offer tarpaṇa to the key teachers of the lineage: the founder was a sage of the Vaikhānasa clan. That knowledge then passed on to the queen Vāsavadattā. Her son the renowned Naravāhanadatta was next. His minister Gomukha was next. These were the teachers of the lore at Kauśāmbī. Then the lore was taught at the holy city of Mathurā, where all the great dharma-s were expounded by the mantra-vit-s. As you know both Somakhya and I trace our lineages to gharāṃnāya-s of that holy city. There it was taught in the center known as the Yakṣa-guhā, which is today Maholi near the Mathurā city. Here the teachers were Gomitraka and Kunika. From there the tradition moved to Gopagiri (modern Gwalior), where it was taught by your old clansmen, the Gotama Rudradāsa and his son Śivatrāta. From them it was transmitted to Śivanemi, Śivabhadra and Kubhaka.” From there it was transmitted along the Candravati river (modern West Banas) to the V1 Maṇibhadra who lived in Vāyvagrahāra (a little hamlet near modern Banaskantha) in the Lāṭānarta country. He transmitted it to his students Kuberadatta and Yakṣamitra who lived at Vāyuvaṭa (modern Vayad). All these V1s were special worshipers of Vāyu at his prāsāda-s that were once prominent in the region and the rite we perform takes its form in their teachings.
V: “It is indeed rather remarkable that even today we have nearly forgotten remnants of the old cult at these key cultic centers, like the Vāyu temples in Lāṭa and the Vitteśa near a step-well in their vicinity, or the images of Nalakūbara at Gopagiri and the fragment of the old Yakṣarāṭ-prāsāda at Kauśāmbī.”
I.s: “If the Yakṣa is good to us, may be some day we shall visit those cultic centers to revive our connection. To continue, the ritualist then salutes his teachers: ‘oṃ gurubhyo namaḥ |‘. The spot of the rite should be to the north of the trunk of the said tree for indeed the northern line is where Vāyu, Vitteśa and Bhava, all deities of the rite, are stationed. The ritualist begins by uttering the yajuṣ:
iṣé tvorjé tvā vāyávaḥ sthopāyávaḥ stha devó vaḥ savitā́ prā́rpayatu śréṣṭhatamāya kármaṇe |
For vigor you; for nourishment you; the Vāyu-s abide, the approachers abide. Let the god Savitṛ set you in motion for the most excellent ritual.
Vrishchika, here you may note the multiplicity of the Vāyu-s reminiscent of the Aeolian plurality seen among our yavana cousins. Then he stands up and recites the following ṛk-s:
stóma-trayastriṁśe bhúvanasya patni vívasvad vāte abhí no gṛṇāhi |
ghṛtávatī savitar ā́dhipatyaiḥ páyasvatī rántir ā́śā no astu ||
dhruvā́ diśā́ṃ viṣṇupatny ághorāsyéśānā sáhaso yā́ manótā |
bṛhaspátir mātaríśvotá vāyúḥ saṃdhuvānā́ vā́tā abhí no gṛṇantu ||
viṣṭambhó divó dharúṇaḥ pṛthivyā́ asyéśānā jágato víṣṇupatnī |
viśvávyacā iṣáyantī súbhūtiḥ śivā́ no astv áditir upásthe ||
O you of the 33-fold stoma, lady of the world, with winds set in motion by Vivāsvān, may you be gracious to us.
Rich in ghee, O Savitṛ, through your overlordship, may the generous space be rich in milk for us.
Firm among the quarters, wife of Viṣṇu, the benign [lady], the strong queen of all, the desirable one;
Bṛhaspati, Matariśvan, Vāyu, the Vāta-s blowing in unison, may all be gracious to us.
Stabilizer of the sky, supporter of the earth, ruling this world, wife of Viṣṇu.
Encompassing all space, invigorating all, prosperous, may the goddess Aditi be auspicious to us in her lap.
He then marks out a square area on the ground with the side equal to his full arm’s length and sweeps it clean. Within it he marks out another square region with a side equal to his span. He does this with the sphya (the wooden sword) while chanting the formula:
ástabhnād dyā́m ṛṣabhó antárikṣam ámimīta varimā́ṇam pṛthivyā́ ā́sīdad viśvā bhúvanāni samrā́ḍ víśvet tā́ni váruṇasya vratā́ni ||
The bull has stabilized the sky [and] the atmosphere; he has measured the circumference of the earth; he has set him in all worlds as the emperor. All these are Varuṇa’s laws.
He then digs out a cuboidal excavation corresponding to the central smaller square. While doing so he recites the yajuṣ:
víṣṇoḥ krámo ‘si víṣṇoḥ krāntám asi víṣṇor víkrāntam asi | námo mātré pṛthivyái mā́hán mātáram pṛthivī́m̐ him̐siṣam mā́ | mā́ṃ mātā́ pṛthivī́ him̐sīt ||
You are the stepping of Viṣṇu; you are the step of Viṣṇu; you are the stride of Viṣṇu. Salutation to mother Earth; may I not harm mother Earth; may mother Earth not harm me.
The he fills the sruc with ghee using the the sruva and pours out the ghee into excavation uttering the yajuṣ:
vāyáve tvā váruṇāya tvā nírṛtyai tvā rudrā́ya tvā svāhā | vā́yo vī́hi stokā́nām ||
For you Vāyu; for you Varuṇa; for you Nirṛti; for you Rudra, hail! O Vāyu, taste the drops!
He then fills the sruc again with milk pours it into the excavation uttering the incantation:
vásur vásupatir híkam ási| kṣatrā́ṇāṃ kṣatrápatir asi | áti divás pāhi | vaiśravaṇāya svāhā||
You are indeed rich, the lord of riches. You are the the king of the kings. From the heavenly realm protect us. To Vaiśravaṇa hail.”
Indrasena then brought out a bronze image of a chameleon and showed it to Vrishchika and explained further: “The ritualist should have such a bronze image of a chameleon, which as you know is the special animal of the Yakṣapati. Alternatively, he may have a metal plate with the image of a chameleon etched on it. He deposits it in the excavation for the rite and may reuse it over and over, each time he performs the rite. He takes up the image reciting the following incantation:
iyaṃ varṇagodhā vaiśravaṇa-rūpā bahuvarṇikā | tirodhā ‘si | hiraṇyavaktro ‘si vaiśravaṇo ‘si | kṣatraṃ kṣatraṃ vaiśravaṇaḥ | mahārājāya svāhā ||
This chameleon of many colors is the form of Vaiśravaṇa. You are the camouflaged one. You are the golden-cheeked one; you are Vaiśravaṇa. Kingly power, kingly power [is that of] Vaiśravaṇa. Hail to the great king!
He then deposits the chameleon in the excavation and with the last mantra of the above he pours out ghee from the sruva on to image. He then covers up the image by filling the excavation. To the north of the square he sets up a platform with a silk cloth on it. On that he should place an ornate bronze jar with a lid. He should thereafter invoke Vāyu and his wife Śivā in the jar and offers them water for arghya and pādya and incense with the following incantation of Mārkaṇḍeya:
vāyum āvāhayiṣyāmi sarvagaṃ dīptatejasam |
deva vāyo tvam abhy ehi sarva-bhūta-jagat-priya |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke Vāyu of blazing splendor, who can go anywhere. O Vāyu, dear to all beings and the world, you must come here. Please accept this arghya, pādya (water for washing the feet) and incense.
śivām āvāhayiṣyāmi vāyoḥ patnīṃ prabhāvatīm |
śive ‘bhy ehi mahābhāge varade kāmarūpiṇī |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke Śivā of great luster, the lady of Vāyu. O highly distinguished goddess Śivā, who can assume any form, the boon-giver, come here. Please accept…
He then places an image of Kubera inside the jar. The image should ideally be fashioned generally following the teaching in this regard of the Bhārgava Mārkaṇḍeya to Vajra, the great-grandson of Kṛṣṇa, the king of Indraprastha: The image of the wealth-giver Kubera should be painted dark green, i.e., the color of a lotus-leaf. He should be shown as being borne by a naras yakṣa. He should have all kinds of golden ornaments with necklaces resting on his belly. He should be shown wearing a beautiful cloak. He should have four hands and one of his eyes should be yellow. He must have two fangs in his mouth, and a mustache and beard on his face. His head is adorned with a jeweled crown. On his left lap, his wife, the beautiful, boon-giving goddess Ṛddhi should be comfortably seated. She should be shown with two hands. One of them should be shown hugging the Mahārāja and the other should display a jewel-pot. In one of his left hands he should be shown holding a jeweled vessel and a gold-spitting mongoose in the other. In his two right hands Kubera should be shown with a mace and a śakti missile. Beside him there should be his dhvaja with the lion-emblem. A palanquin should be shown near his feet and his treasure-chests should be shown beside him in the form of a conch and a lotus filled with treasures.
If he cannot obtain such an image, any other image that is properly made might be used. However, he must use the above teaching of Mārkaṇḍeya for the dhyāna of the great Yakṣa because if he does so he obtains wealth. Mārkaṇḍeya gives the following symbolism for the image: The lord should be seen as the embodiment of all arthaśāstra-s. It is only by the institutes of arthaśāstra-s does any endeavor of a living-being exist, as was taught by Cāṇakya who devised the overthrow of the barbarous Macedonians. Kubera’s śakti weapon stands for royal power and his gadā represents daṇḍa-nīti. Goddess Ṛddhi represents a full worldly life. The jeweled vessel in her hand is the receptacle of good qualities. The kingdom over which the Yakṣapati rules is the body itself. The lotus and the conch are the reservoirs of all treasures in nature from which wealth perpetually flows. His lion flag is desire. Hence, he is known as Kāmeśvara in the Yajurveda. His two fangs are the reward and the punishment that he metes out. He who mediates thus has Kubera dwell in him.
Having placed the image of the Rājarāja in the jar he invokes him and his retinue and offers them worship with the following incantations:
yākṣān āvāhayiṣyāmi dhānādhyakṣa-samanvitān |
āyāntu varadā yakṣās trailokya-viditā mama |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the yakṣa-s together with the lord of wealth. Let the yakṣa-s renowned in the 3 worlds come to me giving boons. Please accept this arghya, pādya (water for washing the feet) and incense.
bhadrām āvāhayiṣyāmi dhanādhipati-sundarīṃ |
ehi ṛddhi mahādevi varade kāma-rūpiṇī |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the lucky one, the beautiful lady of the lord of wealth. Come, O great boon-giving goddess Ṛddhi of much desired form. Please accept…
aham āvāhayiṣyāmi tvām eva nalakūbaram |
samabhy ehi mahābhāga dhanadasya+ātmasaṃbhava |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall verily invoke you O Nalakūbara. May you, O fortunate one born of Dhanada, come here. Please accept…
aham āvāhayiṣyāmi śibikāṃ paramāyatām |
śibike tvam ihā ‘bhy ehi sarva-sattva-sukhaṅkari |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the wide palanquin of Kubera. O palanquin who generates all good and pleasures may you come here. Please accept…
naram āvāhayiṣyāmi narādhipati-vāhanam |
nara śīghraṃ tvam ‘bhy ehi tathā nṛpatināyaka |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the Naras yakṣa who is the vehicle of the king [Kubera]. O Naras may you quickly come here, you have the king as your lord [Kubera]. Please accept…
śaṅkham āvāhayiṣyāmi nidhi-pravaram uttamam |
śīghraṃ śaṅkha tvam abhy ehi dhānādhipati-vallabha |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the conch, the foremost of excellent treasures. May you, O conch, quickly come here, the one dear to the lord of wealth. Please accept…
padmam āvāhayiṣyāmi nidhi-pravaram uttamam |
padmaṃ śīghraṃ tvam abhy ehi mahāvibhava-kāraka |
idam arghyaṃ ca pādyaṃ ca dhūpo’yaṃ pratigṛhyatām ||
I shall invoke the lotus, the foremost of excellent treasures. May you, O lotus, quickly come here producing great prosperity. Please accept…
Then he offers flowers, honey and bhakṣaṇa-s to the image of Kubera with the famous incantation from the Taittirīya-āraṇyaka:
rājādhirājāya prasahyasāhine | namo vayam vaiśravaṇāya kurmahe | sa me kāmān kāmakāmāya mahyam | kāmeśvaro vaiśravaṇo dadātu |
kuberāya vaiśravaṇāya | mahārājāya namaḥ ||
He should thereafter make the triple-arghya offerings as ordained by the gāyatrī-s of Vaikhānasa-s:
rāja-rājāya vidmahe dhanādhyakṣāya dhīmahi | tan no rājā pracodayāt ||
rudra-sakhāya vidmahe vaiśravaṇāya dhīmahi | tan naḥ kuberaḥ pracodayāt ||
yakṣeśvarāya vidmahe gadā-hastāya dhīmahi | tan no yakṣaḥ pracodayāt ||
Then he offers bali to Dhaneśa and Nalakūbara meditating upon them traversing the heavens in the Puṣpaka space-station made by the god Tvaṣtṛ which is alluded to in the mantra. This is as per the Aruṇa-ketuka-vidhi with the incantations:
adbhayas tirodhā’jāyata | tava vaiśravaṇas sadā | tirodhehi sapatnān naḥ | ye apo ‘śnanti kecana | tvāṣṭrīṃ māyāṃ vaiśravaṇaḥ | ratham̐ sahasra-vandhuram | puruś-cakram̐ sahasrāśvam | āsthāyāyāhi no balim | yasmai bhūtāni balim āvahanti | dhanañ-gāvo-hasti-hiraṇyam-aśvān | asāma sumatau yajniyasya | śriyam bibhrato ‘nnamukhīṃ virājam | sudarśane ca krauñce ca | maināge ca mahāgirau | śata-dvāṭṭāragamantā | sam̐hāryan nagaraṃ tava | iti mantrāḥ | kalpo’ta ūrdhvam | yadi balim̐ haret | hiraṇyanābhaye vitudaye kauberāyāyam baliḥ | sarvabhūtadhipataye nama iti | atha balim̐ hṛtvopatiṣṭheta | kṣatraṃ kṣatraṃ vaiśravaṇaḥ | brāhmaṇā vayam̐ smaḥ | namaste astu mā mā him̐sīḥ ||
After that he makes bali offerings to the rakṣa-s, yakṣa-s and yakṣī-s in the entourage of Kubera with:
miśra-vāsasaḥ kauberakā rakṣo-rājena preṣitāḥ |
grāmam̐ sa-jānayo gacchantīchanto paridākṛtān ||
Wearing mixed clothes the agents of Kubera, directed by the king of the rakṣa-s together with the [yakṣī] consorts go as they please to the villages granting protection.
There after he sets up a sthaṇḍila in the square he has marked out. He strews darbha grass with the shoots facing north. He installs the fire therein from his aupāsana or āhavanīya altar or kindles it afresh. He recites this ṛk:
vaiśvānaraṃ kavayo yajñiyāso ‘gniṃ devā ajanayann ajuryam |
nakṣatram pratnam aminac cariṣṇu yakṣasyādhyakṣaṃ taviṣam bṛhantam ||
The gods, the poets of the ritual, generated the unaging Agni Vaiśvānara,
the primordial star, wandering but not violating [the natural law], the mighty and great lord of the yakṣa.
He makes an oblation of ghee with: agnaye vaiśvānarāya svāhā | idam agnaye vaiśvānarāya na mama |
If he is a purohita performing it on behalf of a yajamāna other than himself, like at the temple it would be done with the V3, then the yajamāna must recite the tyāga-mantra ‘idam…na mama‘ as the oblation is offered. Then he recites:
dhātā́ rātíḥ savitédáṃ juṣantām prajā́patir nidhipátir no agníḥ |
tváṣṭā víṣṇuḥ prajáyā saṁrarāṇó yájamānāya dráviṇaṃ dadhātu ||
May Dhatṛ the giver, may Savitṛ, rejoice in this [oblation], Prajāpati, the lord of treasures, and Agni, for us; may Tvaṣtṛ and Viṣṇu generously give wealth with offspring to the ritualist.
He makes an oblation of ghee with: devebhyaḥ svāhā | idam devebhyo na mama |
He then prepares for the core oblations of the yajña by deploying the nigada recitation as in the vaidika rite calling upon the god Agni who is of the brāhmaṇa-s and the Bhārata-s to bring the gods of the rite for receiving the oblations:
oṃ agne mahām̐ asi brāhmaṇa bhārata | deveddho manviddha ghṛtāhavanaḥ praṇīr yajñānāṃ rathīr adhvarāṇām atūrto hotā tūrṇir havyavāṭ | tvaṃ paribhūr asy ā vaha devān yajamānāya || vāyuṃ niyutvantam ā vaha | kuberaṃ vaiśravaṇam ā vaha | rudram paśupatim ā vaha | devām̐ ājyapām̐ ā vaha ||
He then offers in the northern side of the sthaṇḍila with the sruva:
prajāpatye svāhā | idam prajāpatye na mama ||
He utters the call ‘astu śrau3ṣaṭ |‘ and starts filling he sruc and as he does so he recites:
tava vāyav ṛtaspate tvaṣṭur jāmātar adbhuta |
avāṃsy ā vṛṇīmaho3m ||
Vāyu, lord of the natural law, of wondrous form, Tvaṣṭṛ’s son-in-law, your protection we choose.
Then he recites:
pra vāyum acchā bṛhatī manīṣā
bṛhadrayiṃ viśvavāraṃ rathaprām |
dyutadyāmā niyutaḥ patyamānaḥ
kaviḥ kavim iyakṣasi prayajyo3m ||
vau3ṣaṭ | idaṃ vāyave niyutvate na mama ||
[Our] great meditation (goes) forth to Vāyu; with great wealth and all that is excellent, he fills his chariot; on the brilliant path, master of horse-teams, you the poet seeks to reach the poet [i.e. the hymn-composing vipra], you who are worshiped at the forefront of the ritual.
At the vauṣaṭ call he makes the oblation and then utters the tyāga-mantra. He makes the oblation facing whichever direction the wind blows at the time he is reciting the this mantra. He utters the call ‘astu śrau3ṣaṭ |‘ and starts filling he sruc and as he does so he recites:
rāyas poṣāyāyuṣā tvā nidhīśo bhrātṛvyāṇāṃ mahasāṃ cādhipatyo3m |
[I invoke you] for riches and prosperity with a long life. The lord of wealth [is worshiped] for taking over the glory of our rivals and for overlordship.
This peculiarly-formed mantra is that of the old Jambhala-vit Vaikhānasa, the master of divine rituals. Then he recites:
dūre pūrṇena vasati dūra ūnena hīyate |
mahad yakṣaṃ bhuvanasya madhye
tasmai baliṃ rāṣṭrabhṛto bharanto3m ||
vau3ṣaṭ | idaṃ kuberāya vaiśravaṇāya na mama ||
In fullness he dwells in the distance, is left behind in distance on diminishing;
A mighty Yakṣa is in the center of the universe:
to him the rulers of the tributary rulers bring tribute.
At the vauṣaṭ call he makes the oblation and then utters the tyāga-mantra. I should mention that this is the mysterious mantra is of the Bhṛgu-s by knowing which one becomes the complete Jambhala-vit. It was taught to me by Somakhya on a dark new moon night as we were wandering in a beautiful mountainous region. This completed my learning of the tradition and conferred on me the ability to perform this ritual. The thing which dwells in distance in full and then diminishes is an allusion to the moon. This disappearance of the moon is in turn indicative of tirodhā, the famed concealing power of the Yakṣa. He then utters the call ‘astu śrau3ṣaṭ |‘, starts filling he sruc and as he does so he recites:
kad rudrāya pracetase mīḷhuṣṭamāya tavyase |
vocema śantamaṃ hṛdo3m ||
What might we say to Rudra, the wise, the most generous and mighty one; what might we say that is most pleasing to his heart?
upa te stomān paśupā ivākaraṃ
rāsvā pitar marutāṃ sumnam asme |
bhadrā hi te sumatir mṛḷayattamā
‘thā vayam ava it te vṛṇīmaho3m ||
vau3ṣaṭ | idaṃ rudrāya paśupataye na mama ||
Like a cowherd, I have driven these praises close to you.
Grant your favor to us, father of the Marut-s,
for your benevolence is auspicious, most merciful.
It is indeed your aid that we choose. [translation after Geldner]
At the vauṣaṭ call he makes the oblation, then utters the tyāga-mantra and then touches water.
Then with the sruva he utters the following mantra-s and makes an offering of ghee at each svāhā followed by the tyāga-mantra ‘idaṃ na mama’:
indraḥ svāhā | marutaḥ svāhā | sarva-nidhido ratna-dhātumān svāhā | tirodhā bhūḥ svāhā | tirodhā bhuvaḥ svāhā | tirodhā svaḥ svāhā | tirodhā bhūr-bhuvaḥ-svaḥ svāhā | kāmeśvarāya svāhā | kuberāya svāhā | dhanyāya svāhā | vaiśravaṇāya svāhā | yakṣa-rājāya svāhā ||
He then initiates the expiatory sviṣṭakṛt-yāga by reciting the mantra of my ancestor Vasuśruta Ātreya:
oṃ juṣṭo damūnā atithir duroṇa
imaṃ no yajñam upa yāhi vidvān |
viśvā agne abhiyujo vihatyā
śatrūyatām ā bharā bhojanāno3m ||
As the satisfied lord of the house and the guest in the home,
journey to this our yajña, the learned god,
Having demolished all assaults, O Agni,
bring here the sustenance of our enemies.
He utters the call ‘astu śrau3ṣaṭ |‘ and fills the sruc. He then recites:
agniṃ sviṣṭakṛtam ayāḍ vāyor niyutvataḥ priyā dhāmāny ayāṭ kuberasya vaiśravaṇasya priyā dhāmāny ayāḍ rudrasya paśupateḥ priyā dhāmāny ayāḍ devānām ājyapānāṃ priyā dhāmāni yakṣad agner hotuḥ priyā dhāmāni yakṣat svaṃ mahimānam āyajatāmejyā iṣaḥ kṛṇotu so adhvarā jātavedā juṣtām̐ havir mārjālyo mṛjyate sve damūnāḥ kavi-praśasto atithiḥ śivo naḥ | sahasra-śṛṅgo vṛṣabhas tad ojā viśvām̐ agne sahasā prāsy anyān vau3ṣaṭ ||
At the vauṣaṭ call he makes the offering from the sruc and utters: ‘idam agnaye sviṣṭakṛte na mama|‘ The terminal mantra of the sviṣṭakṛt-yāga is also composed by my ancestors Budha Ātreya and Gaviṣṭhira Ātreya:
Fit to be kindled, he is kindled in his own (house) as master of the
house, praised by poets, our auspicious guest.
A thousand-horned bull having its virility,
O Agni, in might you excel all others.
Then he offers a homa to the Vināyaka-s, Skanda, and other anuyāyin-s of Rudra which include the Yakṣapati himself so that the yajamāna-s rite might be successful and he and his family not be harmed. He utters the tyāga-mantra ‘idaṃ na mama’ after each svāhā call:
Om̐ śālakaṭaṅkaṭāya vināyakāya svāhā | kuṣmāṇḍarājaputrāya vināyakāya svāhā | usmitāya vināyakāya svāhā | devayajanāya vināyakāya svāhā | vimukhāya svāhā | śyenāya svāhā | bakāya svāhā | yajñāya svāhā | kalahāya svāhā | bhīrave svāhā | yajñavikṣepiṇe svāhā | kulaṅgāpamārāya svāhā | yūpakeśyai svāhā | sūkarakroḍyai svāhā | umāyai haimavatyai svāhā | jambhakāya svāhā | vīrūpākṣāya svāhā | lohitākṣāya svāhā | vaiśravaṇāya svāhā | mahārājāya svāhā | mahāsenāya svāhā | kumārāya svāhā | viśākhāya svāhā | śākhāya svāhā | nejameṣāya svāhā | ṣaṣṭhyai svāhā | rudrāya mahādevāya svāhā ||
He then touches water. Thereafter he takes up some grain and throws it in the south-west direction for the rakṣa-s uttering: ‘rakṣasām bhago ‘si |‘ Then he touches water again and takes up the darbha grass and casts it into the fire reciting:
Om̐ sáṃ barhír aṅktām̐ havíṣā ghṛténa sám ādityáir vásubhiḥ sáṃ marúdbhiḥ sám índro viśvádevebhir aṅktāṃ divyáṃ nábho gacchatu yát svā́hā || idaṃ divyāya nabhase na mama | rudrāya paśupatye svāhā | idaṃ rudrāya paśupataye na mama||
Auspicious [is] the grass smeared with offerings and ghee. Let Indra together with the Āditya-s, the Vasu-s, Marut-s, and the Viśvedeva-s go (having been honored). Let svāhā-offerings rise to the heavenly ether.
Then he recites the following to conclude the yajña with the recitation of Agastya:
agne naya supathā rāye asmān
viśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |
yuyodhy asmaj juhurāṇam eno
bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama-uktiṃ vidhema ||
O Agni, lead us to wealth by an easy path:
you know all the rituals, O god.
Keep us from ritual transgression.
May we offer you the greatest reverence.
He finally recites the śānti-mantra-s: ‘tac chamyor…‘ and ‘namo vāce yā coditā…‘ He then goes to the jar with the image of Kubera and utters the formulae: ‘vāyuḥ suprītaḥ suprasanno yathā sthānaṃ tiṣṭhatu | vaiśravaṇo rājā suprītaḥ suprasanno yathā sthānaṃ tiṣṭhatu |‘ He and his family drink some of the honey offered to the yakṣa and he distributes the bhakṣaṇa-s to the beholders of the ritual. He gives a toothbrush, sandals and umbrella along with a hefty ritual fee if he is a yajāmāna who has employed a purohita to do the rite for him.”
V: “I must remark that the final homa has a set of rather remarkable deities. Perhaps we are seeing the worship of Vārāhī for the first time in Sūkarakroḍī. I also wonder if Yūpakeśī is some early version of Cāmuṇḍā. Beyond that I’m most inspired by this account of the rite and feel that I have become a Jambhala-jñā”