Difference between revisions of "Paitṛka-mantras"

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paitṛka-mantras (‘sacred formulae associated with the pitṛs or manes’)
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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
During the times of the Rgveda persons who died here were believed to go to the pitṛloka (world of manes) and live there in subtle bodies. They were propitiated through certain rites (now well-known as śrāddha) wherein oblations were offered for them into a duly conse¬crated fire.
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The fourteen mantras of the Rgveda (10.15.1-14) used in such rites are called ‘paitṛka-mantras’.
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Paitṛka-mantras literally means ‘sacred formula associated with the pitṛs or manes’.
The ṛṣi or sage of this group of mantras is Saṅkha-Yāmāyana. The pitṛs (manes) are the devatās or deities. Triṣṭup and Jagatī are the metres used.
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These mantras are recited during the funeral rites performed in the śmaśāna (cremation ground).
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==Origin of Paitṛka-mantras==
The first seven mantras are prayers to the pitṛs for accepting the offerings and protecting the performer. The eighth one is addressed to Yama, the god of death, to accept the offerings given to him. The next two (and 12th to 14th) are an invitation to Agni, the god of fire and a prayer to him.
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During the times of the [[Ṛgveda]] persons who died here were believed to go to the [[pitṛloka]]<ref>[[Pitṛloka]] means the world of manes.</ref> and live there in subtle bodies. They were propitiated through certain rites, now well-known as [[Śrāddha|śrāddha]], wherein oblations were offered for them into a duly consecrated fire. The fourteen mantras of the [[Rgveda]]<ref>[[Rgveda]] 10.15.1-14</ref> used in such rites are called ‘paitṛka-mantras’.
It is interesting to note that in these mantras the pitṛs are categorised into three groups: uttama (the best),
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madhyama (middling) and adhama (the lowest).
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==Parameters of Paitṛka-mantras==
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The ṛṣi or sage of this group of mantras is Saṅkha-Yāmāyana. The pitṛs<ref>Pitṛs means manes.</ref> are the [[devatās]] or [[deities]]. Triṣṭup and [[Jagatī]] are the meters used. These mantras are recited during the funeral rites performed in the śmaśāna.<ref>Śmaśāna means [[cremation]] ground.</ref>
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==Classification of Paitṛka-mantras==
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The first seven mantras are the prayers to the pitṛs for accepting the offerings and protecting the performer. The eighth one is addressed to [[Yama]], the god of death, to accept the offerings given to him. The next two are an invitation to [[Agni]], the god of fire and a prayer to him. It is interesting to note that in these mantras are categorized into three groups:
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# Uttama - the best
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# [[Madhyama]] - middling
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# Adhama - the lowest
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
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* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram [[Krishna]] Math, Bangalore
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[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]

Latest revision as of 20:13, 17 December 2016

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Paitrka-mantras, PaitRka-mantras, Paitrrika-mantras


Paitṛka-mantras literally means ‘sacred formula associated with the pitṛs or manes’.

Origin of Paitṛka-mantras

During the times of the Ṛgveda persons who died here were believed to go to the pitṛloka[1] and live there in subtle bodies. They were propitiated through certain rites, now well-known as śrāddha, wherein oblations were offered for them into a duly consecrated fire. The fourteen mantras of the Rgveda[2] used in such rites are called ‘paitṛka-mantras’.

Parameters of Paitṛka-mantras

The ṛṣi or sage of this group of mantras is Saṅkha-Yāmāyana. The pitṛs[3] are the devatās or deities. Triṣṭup and Jagatī are the meters used. These mantras are recited during the funeral rites performed in the śmaśāna.[4]

Classification of Paitṛka-mantras

The first seven mantras are the prayers to the pitṛs for accepting the offerings and protecting the performer. The eighth one is addressed to Yama, the god of death, to accept the offerings given to him. The next two are an invitation to Agni, the god of fire and a prayer to him. It is interesting to note that in these mantras are categorized into three groups:

  1. Uttama - the best
  2. Madhyama - middling
  3. Adhama - the lowest


References

  1. Pitṛloka means the world of manes.
  2. Rgveda 10.15.1-14
  3. Pitṛs means manes.
  4. Śmaśāna means cremation ground.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore