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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vrsotsarga, VRsotsarga, Vrrisotsarga

Vṛsotsarga literally means ‘letting loose a bull’.

The scriptures prescribe a number of religious rites and observances to be performed for the benefit of the soul of a dead person especially during the first two weeks after his death. One such is the vṛsotsarga or the letting loose of a bull on the eleventh day along with a heifer.

Both the animals have to be bathed, adorned and branded with a discus and a trident. After uttering a prescribed mantra both of them are driven away in the southern direction, the direction of Yama.[1] This act is supposed to free the dead person from the preta or the disembodied state, enabling him to cross the ocean of mortality. The ceremony is called mahāpātras is completed by a feast to eleven brāhmaṇas.


  1. He is the god of death.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore