[Advaita-l] ’atiraatram' - a Vedic ritual coming up in Kerala

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Mon Apr 18 11:30:31 CDT 2011

Dear Ramakrishna,
Namaste.  Nice to see those photos of Atiratram.  It was really wonderful
to see one of the major kratus. 
But i see that none of the ritwiks are having Shikha and Krishnajinam.  
Even the Yajamana of the Atiratra doesn't have Shikha, Krishnajinam.  The first & foremost
thing in Shodasi Yaga or such type of Yagas is that the Yajamana has to undergo 
"sirOmuNDana" and should have a Shikha.  
The yajamana with sirOmuNDana is said to be of rudra-rupa and hence He is extolled
in satarudriya as "vyuptakEsAya cha".  
Moreover, the smriti says "agni chiHnaM shikhA karma" ie., the shikha (tuft of hair) 
that a brahmin sports with is the symbolic representation of Agni and hence such a 
brahmin (having shikha) is called "AgnEya" (AgnEyO vai brAHmaNaH).  Agni is the Pratyaksha Devata of a Brahmin and hence with Agni Upasana, He has to maintenance of shikha (agnirdEvo dvijAtInAM).   
That is why, when a yati removes his shikha, he doesn't touch the Agni. He is said to be
Even for the upAsakas who are performing mantra anushtana, shikha is said to be extremely important for the nyAsa purpose (shikhAyai vaShaT).
When such a great importance is given to shikha, kriShnAjInaM & sirOmuNDanaM in
shodasi / atirAtra ritual, none of the ritwiks including yajamAna is seen with shikha,
krishnajina & siromunDana.
This is just my observation.  No offence meant.

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