By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Mahavrata, MahAvrata, Mahaavrata
Mahāvrata literally means ‘the great observance’.
This is a rite that is performed on the penultimate day of the Gavāmayana sacrifice. In this rite a cup of soma juice is offered with the chanting of the mahāvrata-sāman. It is one of the well-known mantras of the Sāmaveda. An animal is sacrificed for the deity Prajāpati.
Some of the interesting sidelights of this mahāvrata rite are:
- Playing on the Vāṇa or a harp by a brāhmaṇa
- The udgātṛ priest sitting on a chair of the udumbara wood
- The hotṛ priest sitting on a preṅkhā or swing
- Wordy duel between a brāhmaṇa and a śudra as a part of the ritual
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore