By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Purnapatra, PurNapAtra, Purnapaatra
Purṇapātra literally means ‘a vessel which is full’.
In Vedic sacrifices like Darśapurṇa-māsa, it refers to a vessel, full of water, from which the priest adhvaryu pours water into the joined hands of the wife of the yajamāna or the sacrificer who is holding the yoktra in them. A mantra from the Taittiriya Samhitā has to be chanted at that time.
At the end of a homa, performed as per the tantras, a purṇapātra has to be gifted. This is called ‘purṇa-pātradāna’. It consists of keeping in a plate all the ingredients needed for a full meal like uncooked rice, gram, ghee, oil, salt, fruits and sweets along with a coin as dakṣiṇā or cash-gift and give it to a brāhmaṇa after the homa. As a substitute for such a purṇapātra, one can offer a vessel of sufficient quantity of rice enough for a single meal, some fruits and a coin. Before giving it away, it has to be sanctified with appropriate mantras.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore