paitṛka-mantras (‘sacred formulae associated with the pitṛs or manes’) 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. The fourteen mantras of the Rgveda (10.15.1-14) used in such rites are called ‘paitṛka-mantras’. 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. These mantras are recited during the funeral rites performed in the śmaśāna (cremation ground). 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. It is interesting to note that in these mantras the pitṛs are categorised into three groups: uttama (the best), madhyama (middling) and adhama (the lowest).