Talk:Pakayajna

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jammalamadaka Srinivas

Sometimes transliterated as: Paakayajna, Pakayagna, Paakayagna



There are around four hundred yajnas or sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas. Of these, most of the yajnas are instructed to fulfill specific wishes such as children, wealth, physical strength, victory, rain etc. These are called as 'Kāmya Karmas'. For instance, putrakāmeṣṭi in the Rāmāyaṇa is the sacrifice performed to beget a son. These type of sacrifices come under the optional category.

Then there are rites that are obligatory on one’s part to attain chittaśuddhi. They come under the category of "nitya-karma", but the word "nitya" here does not denote "daily". In the category of nitya-karma there are 21 sacrifices. There is no compulsion with regard to the rest of the 400. But the 21, included in the forty eight saṅskāras, must be performed at least once in a lifetime. These are divided into groups of seven pākayajnas, seven haviryajnas and seven somyajnas.

Marriage is conducted with offerings made in the fire Aupasana, which must be performed every day, is commenced in this fire and it must be preserved throughout one's life. The seven pākayajnas, rites like upanayana and śrāddha must be conducted in the aupasana fire. All the rites in which the aupasana fire is used pertain to an individual and his family are "gṛhyakarmas". The seven pākayajnas also belong to this category. They are related exclusively to the family and are not very elaborate. Grhyasutras deal with such rites. They belong to the Smritis and are called "Smarta-karmas". The aupasana fire[1] is divided into two in a ceremony called "agniyādhāna". One part is called "gṛhyagni" or "smārtāgni" which is meant for rites to be performed at home. The second part is śrautāgni and meant for śrauta rites. These two sacred fires must be preserved throughout.

On every Prathama[2], a pākayajna has to be performed in the gṛhyagni. This rite is called sthālīpāka. "Sthālī" is the pot in which rice is cooked and it must be placed on the aupasana fire and the rice called "caru" cooked in it must be offered in the same fire.


According to Gautama dharmasutra:

Aṣṭakā pārvaṇaḥ śrāddhaṃ śrāvaṇyāgrahāyaṇī chaitrāśvayujīti sapta pākayajnasaṃsthāḥ[3]

Types of Pākayajnas

The seven pākayajnas are:

  1. Aṣṭaka
  2. Pārvaṇa
  3. Śrāddha
  4. Śrāvaṇī
  5. Āgrahāyaṇī
  6. Chaitrī
  7. Āśviyujinī

Aṣṭaka

Aṣṭaka is a sthālīpāka among the seven pākayajnasaṃsthās. This rite is performed on the 9th day after the full moon in the month of māgha[4]. But the actual rite begins on the previous day evening and ends an the next day, making it a rite that is performed three days.

Pārvaṇa

Pārvaṇa sthālīpāka is among seven pākayajnasaṃsthās mentioned by Gautama[5]. The sthālīpāka which is performed on a 'parva'[6] is called pārvaṇa sthālīpāka. In this context the auspicious day means -days of full moon and new moon. When a person is married and returns to his house after marriage he with the help of newly wed bride to sacrifice a portion of cooked food. The wife husks the grains of which that sthālīpāka is prepared. She cooks the portion, sprinkles ājya[7] on it, takes it from the fire. Then he sacrifices to the deities of the vedic darśa-pūrṇamāsa and then to agni sviṣṭakṛt. With the remnants of the cooked food he feeds a learned brāhmaṇa and makes present of a bull to that brāhmaṇa. From that time the householder constantly sacrifices on the days of full moon and of the new moon a similar portion of cooked food sacred to Agni.

Śrāddha

Śrāvaṇī

Śrāvaṇī is a sthālīpāka that is performed on the full moon day of the month Śravaṇa, whether the moon be in conjunction with the constellation of Śravaṇa or not. Along with this sthālīpāka a rite called 'sarpabali' is also performed. Bali or offerings to serpents are made through this rite. The dangers from snakes must have intensified in the rainy season when serpents sought shelter in human habitations. Therefore the rite of offering a bali to was performed on the full moon day of Ṣrāvaṇa.

Āgrahāyaṇī

he full moon day of Mārgaśīrṣa is called Āgrahāyaṇī. Sthālīpāka which is performed on that day also bears the same name.

Chaitrī

Chaitrī is a sthālīpāka that is performed on the full moon day of the month of Chaitra. On the full moon day of Chaitra the house is cleaned and decorated. The husband and wife deck themselves in new garments and with flowers etc. After two āghāras[8] are made inthe fire and rice is cooked in a vessel for the deities, offerings are made of clarified butter, with specific mantras and having offered oblations of boiled rice mixed with ghee to Madhu, Mādhava, Śukra, Śuci, Nabhas, Nabhasya, Īśa, Ūrja, Sahas Sahasya, Tapas, Tapasya, to the deities of Ṛtu, to herbs, to the lords of herbs, to Śrī[9], to the lord of Śrī, to Viṣṇu. After having served the chitrya food to the brāhmaṇas, he should himself eat in the company of his sapiṇḍas.

Āśviyujinī

Āśviyujinī is one among the seven pākayajnasaṃsthās mentioned by Gautama[10], which is performed on the full moon day of the month Āśviyuja. Āśvalāyana gṛhya sūtra[11] describes the rite as follows: on the full day of Āśviyuja the Āśviyuji rite is performed. Having adorned the house, having bathed and put on clean garments, the should prepare a portion of cooked food and offer to Paśupati. He should sacrifice with his joined hands a mixture of milk and clarified butter uttering this phrase - "Ūnaṃ me pūryatāṃ pūrṇaṃ me mopasadat pṛṣātakāya svāhā" - which means that "may what is deficient in me be made complete or full, may what is complete not deteriorate in me".


References

  1. It is ignited at the time of marriage by the groom's father.
  2. It is the first day of the lunar fortnight.
  3. Gautama Dharma Sutras - 8-19, page no.74, Chaukhamba Samskrit Samthan, Varanasi
  4. It is also called as māgha-kṛṣṇa-aṣṭamī
  5. Gautama Dharma Sutras - 8-19, page no.74, Chaukhamba Samskrit Samthan, Varanasi
  6. It is an auspicious day.
  7. It is called as sacred ghee.
  8. āghāra means a specific way of sacrifice of ghee to the deities. Sacrificing ghee from the north-west corner of the homakunḍa to the south-east corner and the same from south-west corner to the north-east corner of the homakunḍa
  9. It is the goddess of wealth.
  10. Gautama Dharma Sutras - 8-19, page no.74, Chaukhamba Samskrit Samthan, Varanasi
  11. Āśvayujyāmāśvayujaī karma| niveśamalaṃkṛtya snātā.............svāheti|| Āśvalāyana gṛhya sūtra II 2.1-3