[Advaita-l] Purusamedha

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 11:46:58 CDT 2009

On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 5:58 AM, BV Giri <research at devavision.org> wrote:
>>As for the story of Sunasepha, it also shows this theme.  His greedy
>>father sells him as the sacrificial victim for 100 cows.  When he is bound
>>to the yupa the Rshis, Vishvamitra, Vasishtha, Jamadagni, and Ayasya who
>>are the hotrs, decline to actually sacrifice him.  It is the father in
>>return for more cows who offers to do the deed.  This is portrayed as
>>shocking and Sunasepha ends up adopted by Vishvamitra (i.e. he renounces
>>his birth family.)
> But if one reads the various accounts of the Sunasepha story, it seems
> pretty clear that Purusamedha involved the actual sacrifice of a human.
> After all, it if were merely symbolic, why would Rajarishi Harishchandra
> need to substitute his own son Rohita with Sunasepha? What would be the
> necessity?
> Also. why would Sunasepha's brahmin father want to literally sacrifice his
> son in the first place if the Purusamedha was simply meant to be symbolic?
> One would expect a Vedika brahmana to know whether or not the sacrifice was
> symbolic or not ­ however, the old man is more than willing to kill his own
> son.

You have to differentiate between the puruShamedha - the shrauta
ritual, versus any random thing which may have been practiced by
people. In fact even now some such case pops up in the news, once in a

The puruShamedha requires not 1 person, but literally more than a
hundred. There may have been many so called tantrik rituals performing
these sacrifices. Does this story talk about the rest of the people
also? If not let's admit that this story is not about puruShamedha the
shrauta ritual.


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