To kAlI , tArA and sundarI

Fool like mine tries to praise you,
is it wonder or your grace ?
Courage of mine with words that are few
is nothing but my love for thee !

Standing on corpse shiva
Oh kAlI , mother of rAmakrishna
Dressed with garland of alphabets ,
I have devine vision of thee

Oh , blue complexion goddess tArA
Mother of vAmAkhepA
dancing in fearful shamshAna,
I have devine vision of thee

Oh queen of kAmeshwara sundarI
mother of ‘shankara
Sitting on the throne of panchapreta
I have devine vision of thee

My eyes glitters when I sing praise of thee ,
When thy devine grace will be on me .

Animesh’s blog

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agni and aTharvana

These passages contain one or more verses which allude to the episode of agni’s hiding, mostly found in hymns dedicated to agni which otherwise deal with other aspects of the god

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अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं

” He ( agni ) hides three times in three different places: first in the sea, then in the earth (in which he dissolves), then in the ocean. Agni’s presence is revealed or brought forth by three different means in each case. When he hides in the sea, the gods cannot find him, although they look for him. The fire then sees the sage aTharvana, and requests him to carry the oblations in his stead . Then the fire goes to some other place, but the fish betray him, and he curses them thus: “You shall be the food of creatures in your various modes of being”:  Then the fire again requests
aTharvana to carry the oblations for him. aTharvana tries to persuade him to resume his duties, but Agni refuses and abandons his body. He enters the earth, thereby producing various metals and precious stones out of different parts of his discarded body. There he remains fixed in the highest penance, but is again roused by the combined austerities of bhrgu, angirasa and other seers, and bursts into flames. Seeing the sages, he takes fright once more, and hides in the ocean, where he disappears. The whole world is afraid and turns to aTharvana for help. aTharvana sees the fire, and creates the worlds. Then he churns the great ocean and the fire reappears from the water, and henceforth always carries the oblations . aTharvana finds agni hiding in a lotus-leaf, thus being the only sage credited with finding the hidden agni. At times, aTharvana also seems to be a name of agni himself.”

Animesh’s blog

paippalAdIya sarpa suktaM

Stories involving the serpents are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu regions of Asia . In India, sarpas are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought.
At one time there were many prevalent different renditions of the serpent cult located in vedic India. The following is a sukta from paippalAda samhitA, which describes of serpent deities. Ritualistically the sukta is employed in sarpa-balI , nagAstra prayoga, nAgapAshA prayoga and combined with nIlarudra mantras for atharvanIya rUdraM. In the srauta yajurvedic context
this group of stanzas are
recited over the place where
a lotus leaf,a gold plate and a
golden figure of a man have been place over the hoofprint of a horse in a rite called rukmAdyupadhAna,near the start of the agnicayana procedures. In yajurvedic grihya sphere this mantras are employed in ashaleshA balI rite and shravanA karma .

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(normalized ekashruti version )

( पैप्पलाद ऋषि । सर्प । अनुष्टुप )

नमो ऽस्तु सर्पेभ्यो ये के च पृथिवीम् अनु ।
ये अन्तरिक्षे ये दिवि तेभ्यः सर्पेभ्यो नमः ॥

ये चामी रोचने दिवो यश् च सूर्यस्य रश्मिषु ।
येषाम् अप्सु सदस् कृतं तेभ्यः सर्पेभ्यो नमः ॥

या इषवो यातुधानानां ये वा वनस्पतीनाम् ।
ये वावटेषु शेरते तेभ्यः सर्पेभ्यो नमः ॥

( translation )
Homage be to the serpents,whichever ones[move]along the ground,those in the mid space,[and]those in the sky ,to those serpents,homage!

And those in the bright vault of the sky,and those in the rays of the sun,those whose seat is made in the water,to those serpents,homage!

To those who are the arrows of the sorcerers ,or to those of the trees,or to those which lie in holes in the ground,to those serpents,homage!

Animesh’s blog

kAthaka sandhyA prayoga ( version 2 )

The following sandhyA prayoga belongs to handwritten ritual manual of swAmI lakshman Joo ( srI lakshman rAina shivAcharya ) .In last post I have posted
kAthaka sandhyA prayoga of satIsara vidwAns and mentioned about some ashhudIs in mantras and a larger tantric influence on that prayoga .( like shApavimochana , gAyatrI mudrAs , meditation on shivA ) .The very following prayoga is purely vedic in nature and is roughly according to original kAThaka tradition.Unlike previous prayoga , the UpasThana mantras are given in full ( shivasamkalapaM , purUsha suktaM , shukrIya ) .This upasThana mantras are quite parallel to shukla yajurvedins .The prayoga is largely followed by the kashmIri followers of swAmI lakshman Joo .Although satIsara brAhmans follow there procedure.We may call it a another version having peculiarities due to difference in gurU or family tradition.

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Animesh’s blog

kAThaka snAna prayoga

SnAna is a very essential nitya karma that a twice born has to perform daily. Following is snAna prayoga of kAthaka shAkhA. The prayogam is taken from handwritten ritual manual of swamI lakshman joo ( srI lakshman rAinA shivAcharya ) .The manual have sandhyA prayoga , tarpana prayoga, nitya snAna prayoga , gurU gItA in handwriting of srI lakshman joo. Although mantras are from kAthaka samhitA and laugAkshI grihya sutraM but neither vedic swaras are marked nor recited with swaras. All mantras are chanted in EkashrutI mode.
snAna have 15 steps according to kAthakas.

1) hastaprakshAlanaM
( Washing the hands )

2) vAma pada prakshAlan

3) daksha pada prakshAlan
( washing of left and right feet , together these steps are called pAda prakshAlan )

4) gandhusha kritya
( cleaning of mouth trice by water )

5) mukha-sammArjana
( cleaning of face by water )

6) yagnyopavIta prakshAlanam
( cleaning of yagnyopavItam by discarding it from left shoulder and keeping in between the right and left thumbs .This practice is not allowed in other vedic shAkhAs , if they do this then they have to undergone punarupanayana. Only certain yajurvedic schools ( kaTha , charaka, taittirIya ,kAnva , vAjasaneya ) are allowed to perform such kind of cleaning of yagnyopavIta .hiranyakeshIya samskAra ratnamAla quotes devala as pramAna for this.
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7) punardhArana
( again wearing of yagnyopavIta on left shoulder )

8) shikhA mArjan
( cleaning of matted lock )

9) tushnIm AchmanaM

10) deha mArjana
( cleaning of upper body till navel )

11)prAnAyAma

12) snAnanagabhuta tarpan
( oblations to gods, manes , sages as a part of bathing )

13) avagAhanaM+snAna
( actual bathe )

14) upasthAnaM

15) vastra dhAranaM
( wearing of panchkacchaM )

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Animesh’s blog

charaka kaThas , kAnvas and atharvavedins of kAmarUpa desha

The earliest description of brAhman civilization in Eastern India ( kAmarUpa desha )   is tracedback in several purans ( kAlikA purAn , skanda purAn, kartoyA mahAtmaya ) and tantra granthas.( yoginI tantra , kAmakhya tantra , vArAhI tantra ). According to the tradition Lord ‘vAraha’ and goddess ‘bhumI’  had a son ‘ naraka'( bhAuma ). vAraha bhagavAn coronated  ‘ naraka’ for kingdom of kAmarUpa desha with prAgajyotishpura as capital. He was first to invite brAhmans to his kingdom i.e. Eastern India .Several brAhmans well versed in  vedas, tantras, puranas , shAstras, astrology and astronomy  were settled in kAmarUpa desha by him. By curse of sage vashisTha due to cause of  not honouring him, his kingdom got demolished. Although it’s kind of myth, yet ‘naraka-bhAuma’ have pseudo relation as founder ( mula purUsha ) with  bhAuma dynasty but no factual record of this. Afterward in copper inscriptions of  bhAuma dynasty /varman dynasty( descends of naraka- bhAuma  ) we find name,  gotra , shAkhA , pravara of these brAhmans who were settled in kAmarUpa desha. nidhanpur copper inscription by king bhAskara varma (600-650 CE ) was a renewal of  lost copper inscription of  land grant  (bhumI dAna) to 205 brAhmans by king bhutI varman ( 518-542 CE ) .From ‘nidhanpur copper’ inscription , we came to know that followers of five shAkhAs were settled in kAmarUpa desha namely .

1) Rigveda- brihavacha ( shAkal ) shAkhA

2) Shukla yajurveda-mAdhyandina shAkhA

3) krishna yajurveda –
1. taittirIya shAkhA (with Apastamba sutra)
2. charaka kaTha shAkhA

4) samaveda- chhAndoga shAkhA  ( kAuthuma )

The number of charaka kaThas was only six out of 205 brAhmans.That clearly show , kaThas were a minority shAkhA group. These seven brAhmans were

1) kushmAnda patra swAmIn ( 40/305 , vatsa gotra )
2) sAdhU swAmin
( 51/205 , pArasharya gotra  )
3) chandraprakAsha swAmIn
( 95/ 205 , samkrUtiyAyana gotra )
4) pramodasena swAmIn
( 120/205 , gargya gotra )
5) somasena swAmIn
(121/205 , gargya gotra )
6) ghoshsena swAmIn
(123/205 , gargya gotra )
7) Ishwara datta swAmIn
( 40/205 , vatsa gotra )

All these four gotras are mentioned in chAranIya pravarAdhyAya so no doubt they all were transmigrated  kaThas from kashmIra desha. .  Last three brAhman (except last ) mentioned were relatives or sagotras as there surname and gotras are identical.
All this land grants were made near the chandrapurI .And these brAhmans were settled in a colony called ‘ mayurshAmala .In the Agrahara mentioned above they lived for generations .When in course of time the original copper-plate was destroyed, the officers of the State proceeded to levy taxes on the lands. There upon the descendants of the grantees came to karanasuvarana and explained their case to jyesthabhadra, who was the officer-in-charge there.The new copperplate was issued by bhAsakara varmana  .
Interestingly not a single atharvavedin is mentioned in this inscription. Probably till 5th century not a single atharvavedin was present in
kAmarUpa desha .Later king bhAskara varma attempted to settled atharvavedins ( mostly nAgara brAhmans from guRjar desha , with paippalAda recension ) and kAnva shAkhAadhyAyins in  kAmarUpa desha . Later with the establishment of the bhAuma dynasty in Orissa many of the descendants of  the brAhmans to whom grants of land had been made, migrated there. ( that’s the reason why Utkala desha have preserved paippalAda and kAnva tradition ) Unfortunately the paippalAda and kAnva tradition got extinct in kAmarUpa desha but is preserved in utkala desha .

The’ neulpur grant ‘of subhakara deva ( about 7th century ) enlists names of  atharvavedins  in kAmarUpa desha, who were granted lands.

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The list of gotra and pravara of this  brAhmans matches with that of nAgara brAhmans.( courtesy of a treaties named as  nAgara pushpAnjalI ).
pAninI , gaurIsrvasa ,vasisTha, sAndilya , paippalAyana, paippalAda , parAsharya, darbhya are most frequent gotras ( generally all with 3 pravaras )
among atharvavedins .
In the copper plate grant of king valavarma  of kAmarUpa there is reference to a sectionof Brahmins belonging to the kAnva shAkhA with the surname dhara and of kapila gotra. Another grant was made by  king ratnapAla to kAnvashAkhins of parAshara gotra and bhAradwAja gotra.
Several other copper grant plates mentions of kAnvashAkhins of kAshyapa, vishwAmitra gotra.

Conclusion

Due to effort of various kings different shAkhA brAhmans were settled  in kAmarUpa as they were living form of vedic dharama ( murta rUpa ) .For establishment and advancement of any kingdom ( dharma rAjya )  this living encyclopedias were must , they were the torch bearers of vedic dharma who propagated vedic dharma in north east.
Better to end with words of periyvA” ….. So long as the Brahmin possessed sattva-guna (the quality of goodness and purity) and so long as he kept the Vedic tradition going and lived a simple life, others recognized his value for society. They regarded him with affection and respect and paced their trust in him. They realised that if society was not afflicted by famine and disease (as in the case today), it was because the sound of the Vedas pervaded everywhere and the performance of Vedic recites created a healthy atmosphere around and brought its own blessings.  ”

Bibliography

1) yogini  tantra
2) kamakhyatantra
3) Social History of kamarupa ( volume 3 ) , Nagendranatha basu
4) Nagara pushpanjali
5) Brahmanopatti martanda  , Harikrishna sharma ( bombay edition )

Animesh’s blog