By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Agnisoma-pranayana, AgnISoma-praNayana, Agnishoma-pranayana
Of all the Vedic sacrifices, Somayāga is, perhaps, one of the most complicated sacrifices. A separate altar called mahāvedi is erected for the conduct of the Soma group of sacrifices. Since the yajamāna already has a vihāra, the fire for the new sacrifices has to be carried from the vihāra to the mahāvedi. This is done as a part of the whole ritual.
The activity of aking out the agni (fire) from the old āhavaniya and the soma stalks from which soma juice is to be extracted in the vihāra for the Somayāga in a ceremonial procession is called ‘agnīṣoma- praṇayana.’ This is done on the day prior to the sutyā (day of extraction of soma juice). The adhvaryu carries the fire on clay, the yajamāna and his patnī (wife) along with their sons and grandsons follows him, one behind the other, in a long procession. Soma stalks and all the vessels needed in the sacrifice are brought in a cart and deposited in their respective places. The fire is deposited and kindled in its pit by the āgnīdhra priest.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore