By Swami Harshananda
Rtavya literally means ‘related to the ṛtus'.
This is a technical term used to indicate the twelve mantras of the Ṛgveda.
Ṛtus as per Śastras
Rtu means a season. The twelve months of the year are divided into six ṛtus:
- Vasanta - spring
- Grīṣma - summer
- Varṣa - rainy season
- Śarad - autumn
- Hemanta - fall
- Śiśira - winter
Performance of Ṛtuyājahoma
Each of these ṛtus or seasons has an abhimānī-devatā or a presiding deity. A homa or a sacrifice called Rtuyājahoma is performed with the help of the above mentioned twelve mantras to please these deities and attain heaven or other objects like strength, fame, wealth and so on. Other gods like Indra, Aśvins and Draviṇodā are also requested in these mantras to drink the soma juice that is offered and give the sacrificer good health and also a long life.
- Ṛgveda 2.36 and 37
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore