Pratinidhi

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By Swami Harshananda

pratinidhi (‘one who represents another’)

In general, the word means a person who can act on behalf of someone else; or a substitute in a rite.

The Purvamīmāmsā system, while dealing with Vedic sacrifices, is very definite that a pratinidhi or substitute is not allowed with regard to the devatā

(deity), the five Vedic fires, the particular mantra to be chanted on a particular occasion, certain specially prescribed rites as also the svāmin (the sacrificer).

The Atrismrti (verses 50 and 51) permits a person to perform Gaṅgāsnāna (bath in the river Gaṅgā) vicariously by requesting another who is actually going on a pilgrimage, in case he himself is unable to do so due to old-age, disease or any other valid reason. This second person has to do it by immersing a doll made of kuśa grass in the river with appropriate mantras. This doll then becomes a ‘pratinidhi’ of the first person who is unable to perform the pilgrimage.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

pratinidhi (‘one who represents another’) In general, the word means a person who can act on behalf of someone else; or a substitute in a rite. The Purvamīmāiṅsā system, while dealing with Vedic sacrifices, is very definite that a pratinidhi or substitute is not allowed with regard to the devatā (deity), the five Vedic fires, the particular mantra to be chanted on a particular occasion, certain specially prescribed rites as also the svāmin (the sacrificer). The Atrismrti (verses 50 and 51) permits a person to perform Gaṅgāsnāna (bath in the river Gañgā) vicariously by requesting another who is actually going on a pilgrimage, in case he himself is unable to do so due to old-age, disease or any other valid reason. This second person has to do it by immersing a doll made of kuśa grass in the river with appropriate mantras. This doll then becomes a ‘prati¬nidhi’ of the first person who is unable to perform the pilgrimage.