By Swami Harshananda
Anuvākyā literally means ‘to say after’.
Performance of Vedic rites involves several complex processes. Appropriate Vedic hymns selected from the various sections of the Vedas (mostly from the Rgveda Samhitā) have to be chanted or sung at certain specified stages during these rites. Such hymns are categorized as follows :
The anuvākyā hymns, also called as puronuvākyā, are to be chanted by the hotṛ (priest reciting the ṛks) when the adhvaryu (priest following the Yajurveda) cuts the purodāśa (cakes for offering) into several parts. These hymns are actually invitations to the respective deities to accept the offerings allotted to them. Since the name of the particular deity appears in the first part of the hymn, the hymn itself is also called puronuvākyā (puras = first, in front).
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore