By Swami Harshananda
Idhma literally means ‘that which is lighted’.
In the Vedic sacrifices sticks of certain trees and plants are used as fuel. They are called ‘idhma’. Usually the palāśa and the khadira wood is used. The number of sticks used is 21, out of which 15 are put into the fire with the Sāmidheni verses which are normally chanted while kindling the fire. The other sticks are used for lining the border and other purposes.
- Scientific name of palāśa is Butea frondosa.
- Scientific name of khadira is Acacia cateclu.
- Sāmidheni verses are the eleven verses from the Ṛgveda recited by the hotā priest; for e.g., Ṛgveda 3.27.1, 6.16.10-12 and so on.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore