[Advaita-l] Purusamedha

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 21 04:33:41 CDT 2009

Dear friends,
Just a thought. Sometimes for political or some grave social reasons  a captive has to be executed as he is a danger to the kingdom or the society as the crime is such that it calls for death penalty. But if that person is sacrificed to God the person may not die with an animosity as the person might think that he will have to die anyway but what can be the better way of dying than going to the God. This way, at the last moment of his life, that person will think of God  and will get deliverence too. This could thus be a way of Loka-sangraha, even in the death penalty. This is just a thought and if you think fit to reply please do.
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Mon, 9/21/09, Satish Arigela <satisharigela at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Satish Arigela <satisharigela at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Purusamedha
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Cc: "BV Giri" <research at devavision.org>
Date: Monday, September 21, 2009, 1:58 AM

>The difference is as Ramakrishnan mentioned, we have literary and
archeological >evidence for the historical performance of those yajnas
involving real slayings while we >do not for the purushamedha.

Ok. I wonder if this is because the practice was abandoned even in ancient(like 2000 yrs) times?

>I do not see any evidence for this.  From the ritualistic point of view, the purushamedha is >not related to the ashvamedha

Is the similarity of the names just a coincidence then? Just wondering why is it called puruSha-medha instead of puruSha yajna or by some other suffix? Maybe there are other examples where two different shrauta rites had similar names but from a ritualistic  viewpoint they are quite different?

>I direct you to the word Anayat which means "brought near" or
"collected." does this >necessarily imply the sacrificial victims were
killed?  Or were they just bound?  It is too >ambiguous to say

Agreed about the ambiguity if only looking at this passage..but see below

> Also why assume the ayuta was composed of his >enemies?
> By contrast the purushamedha as per the descriptions in the Brahmanas
is about >"becoming all" in a metaphysical as well as a physical sense. 
It is about lordship through >diffusion of power not concentration of

Also a quote by the same acquaintance in a different context:

"Another notable shrauta oblation made to revatI was in the human sacrifice – the puruShamedha
ritual. In the ashvamedha before the horse is sent off to wander for an
year an oblation is performed to pUShan pathikR^it to protect the
horse. In the puruShamedha,
in place of this pUShan ritual, one is performed to the 3 devI-s,
anumatI, revatI and aditi. This is recorded in both R^igvedic and
atharvavedic tradition (shA~NkhAyana shrauta 16.10.11; vaitAna shrauta
sUtra 37.10.20)."

Based on this I tend to think that it was practiced in very ancient times but the ritual involving human sacrifice was abandoned so long back.


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