[Advaita-l] Purushamedha postings (fwd)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Oct 8 01:20:50 CDT 2009

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: subhanu saxena

> Do refer to chapter 16 of Katyayana Shrauta Sutras where it mentions 
> that the human victim had to be either a Kshatriya or a Vaishya (if my 
> memory serves right). There is also an instruction to kill the victim 
> prior to the ritual. The above text does provide much info about the 
> Purushamedha.

>>The problem is that the 16th adhyaya doesn't describe the Purushamedha but
>>the agnichayana (building of the fire altar.)  However reading this
>>section,the mystery deepens.  Here are a few relevant excerpts from 16.1.



This may now be a dead topic but I couldn’t help noticing this thread in the
advaita-l archives, and thought you may be interested in a correction of the
above on puruṣamedha.

The relevant adhyāya for this is in KSS is 21.1 [itself referencing VS XXX.5
brahmaṇe brāhmaṇam...etc-interesting to see this “brāhmaṇa” portion in a
recenssion of yajurveda where supposedly only mantra and yajus have been
separated out in the samhita to make it “shukla”...].

The sutra is:

puruṣamedhas trayovimśati dīkṣo’tiṣṭhākāmasya [KSS 21.1.1],

puruṣamedha has 23 dīkṣa days for one who is desirous of surpassing

(ref S.B XIII.6.1.2 tasya trayovimshatir dīkṣāḥ)
The following sutra is then clear that the human “victims” are released:

kapiñjalādivat usṛjanti brāhmaṇādīn [KSS 21.1.12]

They are set free in the same manner as kapiñjala etc

 [ref KSS 20.6.9, aśvamedha section: kapiñjalādīn usṛjanti paryagnikṛtān,
they set free the animals beginning with kapinjala after fire is carried
round them (NB this itself refers to SB XIII 2.4.3 paryagnikṛtānevotsṛjanti
, referring to forest animals)]

KSS 21.1.12 refers of course to SB 6.2.12-13:

niyuktānpuruṣān brahmā dakṣiṇataḥ puruṣeṇa nārāyaṇenābhiṣṭauti 
sahasraśīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasrapādityetena ṣoḍaśarcena 
ṣoḍaśakalam vā idaṃ sarvaṃ sarvam puruṣamedhaḥ sarvasyāptyai 
sarvasyāvaruddhyā itthamasītthamasītyupastautyevainametanmahayatyevātho 
yathaiṣa tathainametadāha tatparyagnikṛtāḥ paśavo babhūvurasañjñaptāḥ

12. By means of the Purusha Nârâyana (litany), the Brahman priest (seated)
to the right (south) of them, praises the men bound (to the stakes) with
this sixteen-versed (hymn, Rig-v. X, 90, Vâg. S. XXXI, 1-16), 'The
thousand-headed Purusha, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed . . .;'--thus (he
does) for the obtainment and the securing of everything, for everything here
consists of sixteen parts, and the Purushamedha is everything: in thus
saying, 'So and so thou art, so and so thou art,' he praises and thereby
indeed magnifies him (Purusha); but he also thereby speaks of him, such as
he is. Now, the victims had had the fire carried round them, but they were
not yet slaughtered,--

atha hainam vāgabhyuvāda puruṣa mā santiṣṭhipo yadi saṃsthāpayiṣyasi 
puruṣa eva puruṣamatsyatīti tānparyagnikṛtānevodasṛjattaddevatyā 
āhutīrajuhottābhistā devatā aprīṇāttā enam prītā aprīṇantsarvaiḥ kāmaiḥ

13. Then a voice  said to him, 'Purusha, do not consummate (these human
victims ): if thou wert to consummate them, man (purusha) would eat man.'
Accordingly, as soon as fire had been carried round them, he set them free,
and offered oblations to the same divinities , and thereby gratified those
divinities, and, thus gratified, they, gratified him with all objects of

(from Eggeling’s translations)

Āpastamba śrauta sutram puruṣamedha chapter XX.24 echoes the same:

paryagnikṛtena udīcho nītvotsṛjya....having carried fire around them, having
taken them (the men) to the north, having set them free..... [ASS XX.24]

In the commentary on Taittirīya Brāhmanam III.iv.1 on puruṣamedha by 
Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara, he also mentions te cha paryagnikṛtā utsṛjanti, they are 
released once fire is carried around them. Regards Subhanu



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list