Tag Archives: Hindu ritual

The Kaumāra cycle in the Skandapurāṇa’s Śaṃkara-saṃhitā

Many khaṇḍa-s, māhātmya-s and saṃhitā-s attach themselves to the sprawling “Mega-Skandapurāṇa”. We use this term to distinguish it from the “Ur-Skandapurāṇa”, which was first published by Bhaṭṭārāi in the late 1980s and is now known to survive as three related … Continue reading

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Alkaios’ hymn to the Dioskouroi: Hindu parallels

In this note we shall see how even a short “sūkta” of the yavana Alkaios to the Dioskouroi (individually named Kastor and Polydeukes), the Greek cognates of the Aśvin-s, offers several parallels to the Hindu tradition in the Veda. In … Continue reading

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Some notes on the Indo-European aspects of the Anatolian tradition

Prolegomenon This section is primarily for students of the old religion who approach it from the Indo-Aryan direction and tend to be less aware of the West Asian material. The Anatolian branch of “Indo-European” (in quotes because this appellation becomes … Continue reading

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Indo-European expansions and iconography: revisiting the anthropomorphic stelae

Was there an early Indo-European iconography? The anthropomorphic stelae There is no linguistic evidence for the presence of iconic or temple worship among the early Indo-Europeans. However, after their migrations, when they settled in the lands of sedentary peoples, they … Continue reading

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A note on Śrī, Viṣṇu and śṛṅgāra

yaḥ pūrvyāya vedhase navīyase sumaj-jānaye viṣṇave dadāśati । yo jātam asya mahato mahi bravat sed u śravobhir yujyaṃ cid abhy asat ॥ RV 1.156.2 Whoever repeatedly performs rituals to the wise one to the ancient and the new one, Viṣṇu, … Continue reading

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On the rise of the mātṛkā-s and the goddess Cāmuṇḍā

The roots of the mātṛkā-s in the śruti and the Kaumāra tradition The standard list of 7/8 goddesses known as the mātṛkā-s is a hallmark feature of the classical religion: Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Kaumārī, Vaiṣṇavī, Vārāhī, Indrāṇī, Cāmuṇḍā, sometimes with the … Continue reading

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Sneha, snowstorms, the sun and the moon in enigmatic ṛk-s

That the Indo-European homeland was a cold place with snow is evidenced by widespread survival of two hon-homologous words for snow. Recently, a discussion on one of these words, sparked by some linguist, landed on my timeline on Twitter. From … Continue reading

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The strange case of the Āpastamba sprite

This is the second of the two stories that arose from incidents during the visit of Yaśaśravas, Somakhya’s cousin. With the autumnal vacations, Somakhya was having a good time with his visiting cousin, giving him lectures on the theory and … Continue reading

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Agni as the divine commander in the Veda and the Purāṇa

With the Sākamedha-parvan with the oblations to Agni Anīkavat having just passed, we present a brief note on Agni as the general of the deva army. Agni is presented as the commander of the deva-s in the brāhmaṇa literature. For … Continue reading

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Twin Āditya-s, twin Rudra-s

This note originated as an intended appendix to the article on Rudra and the Aśvin-s we published earlier. The first offshoot from that work, which we published separately, explored the links between Rudra, Viṣṇu and the Aśvin-s in the śrauta … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: Varuṇāvasiṣṇavam, Agnāvasiṣṇavam and the vyahṛti-s

Like the clouds lifting after the monsoonal deluge to unveil the short-lived comforts of early autumn, the metaphorical pall over the nation cast by the engineer’s virus was lifting. Somakhya and Lootika were at the former’s parents’ house, relieved that … Continue reading

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A great statistician, and biographical, numerical musings on ancient game

Recently my friend brought it to my attention that C. Radhakrishna Rao had scored a century. Born in 1920 CE to Doraswamy Nayadu and A. Laxmikanthamma from the Andhra country, he is one of the great mathematical thinkers and statisticians … Continue reading

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The phantoms of the bone-pipe

As Vidrum was leafing through some recent case studies to gather the literature for his own production, he received a call from his chauffeur. He had fetched Vidrum’s new car. Vidrum went out to take a look at it. As … Continue reading

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Notes on miscellaneous brāhmaṇa passages from the Yajurveda

The upasthāna ritual is performed to let the sacrificial fire remain in residence after the primary oblations are complete. In the triple-fire śrauta rite this is done at the āhavanīya altar with several incantations specified in the saṃhitā-s of the … Continue reading

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The roots of Vaiṣṇavam: a view from the numerology of Vedic texts

While glorified with a 1000 names in the famous stotra of the early Sātvata tradition of the Mahābharata, in the texts of an even earlier period the god primarily went under that name Viṣṇu. Indeed, even the litany of the … Continue reading

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Matters of religion-3

Lootika seeing Somakhya contemplating something remarked: “That great clash of men is upon us, where, as the śruti says, our flag will be mingled with that of the enemy in close combat.” Somakhya: “It’s almost as if your mind is … Continue reading

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Indo-Iranica: epic ruminations

PDF version of article Prologue We first began our observations on the shared motifs in Indo-Iranian traditions when we were around 8 years of age after our mother introduced us to the Iranian epic, the Šahnāme. Over the years we … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: the Vāyavīyaṃ Kaubera-vratam

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 … Continue reading

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Śiva-gaṇa-s and Andhakāsura-vadha in the Vāmana-purāṇa

On Twitter, one of our acquaintances going by the name @GhorAngirasa had a discussion on the significance of the number 66 in śaiva tradition. That reminded us of an unfinished article where we had noted this number in the context … Continue reading

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A note on āmreḍita-s in the Ṛgveda and issues of word distribution

sa darśataśrīr atithir gṛhe-gṛhe vane-vane śiśriye takvavīr iva । janaṃ-janaṃ janyo nāti manyate viśa ā kṣeti viśyo viśaṃ-viśam ॥ RV 10.91.2 by Aruṇa Vaitahavya He, with visible auspiciousness, a guest in house after house, in forest after forest lurking like … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: “he becomes Naravāhanadatta”

Somakhya’s mother (SM) and Lootika’s mother (LM) ran into each other during their visit to the shrine of Rudra beside the river on a Monday evening. They sat at the platform below the vast aśvattha tree beside the subsidiary Viṣṇu … Continue reading

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Matters of religion: discussion on vāyavya offerings

Somakhya and Lootika had revived the private one day rite in the manner of their ancestors as had been ordained by the youthful sage Śunaḥśepa Ājigarti. They were resting at the corner of their fire-room in the interval between the … Continue reading

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An astronomical interpretation of the anaḍvān sūkta

This may be seen as a continuation of this note: Anatomy and heavens in the boomorphic universe. The anaḍvān sūkta is an enigmatic sūkta from the Atharvaveda which falls in the same class as other sūkta-s which describe a “boomorphic” … Continue reading

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The ponderous tale of the tombstones

“Since you are recording the diverse Vaidruma-s would you record the tombstone variation? While other matters like the sloths of South America, the megalithic culture of India, cave paintings, or even WW2 might be more interesting to the occasional reader … Continue reading

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The indrajAla-sUktaM and the atharvan military ritual

An atharvan military ritual for kShatriya-s headed to war involves deployment of AV-vulgate 8.8 or its cognate AV-P 16.29. The ritual is specified by the kaushika sUtra 16.9-20 and some details are provided by the atharvan commentators dArila and keshava. … Continue reading

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The mayAbheda sUkta: a discursion

In the great pravargya ritual the mAhAvIra pot containing the milk of a cow and a goat, i.e. the gharma offering, is intensely heated until it starts glowing. When the pot starts glowing the hotar looks at it starts reciting … Continue reading

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Some notes on the shaiva temple celebrations and an excursus on the fishing, diving and hunting festivals of rudra

An integral aspect of the life of the post-Vedic Hindu community was participation in the temple celebrations. It was considered highly beneficial in the tAntrika tradition, both to the individual and the community, and helps explain the basic premises of … Continue reading

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Macranthropy and the saMbandha-s between microcosm and macrocosm

May we first invoke indra that he might drive away the obstructions to the study: vajraM yash chakre suhanAya dasyave hirImasho hirImAn | arutahanur adbhutaM na rajaH || The thunderbolt, which he of golden mane and golden frame bore down … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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