By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Putrakamesti, PutrakAmeSTi, Putrakaameshti
Putrakāmeṣṭi literally means ‘a Vedic sacrifice to be performed by one desiring for a son’.
The desire for a worthy son is a natural phenomenon in all the societies of the world, especially in ancient society. Understanding this, the ṛṣis of yore had prescribed a particular Vedic sacrifice called ‘Putrakāmeṣṭi’ or ‘Putreṣṭi’ for the fulfillment of this desire. King Daśaratha is said to have performed it on the advice of the sage Rṣyaśṛṅga.
The king performed the Aśvamedha-yāga first, to purify himself and then only the Putrakāmeṣṭi. The Rāmāyana says that the mantras were taken from the Atharvaśiras. The Āśvalāyana Śrautasutras also describes it. However, it is very difficult to get the details of it.
- Rāmāyaṇa, Bālakānda 15
- Bālakānda 15.2 and 3
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore