Ashvamedham (was Re: [Advaita-l] A lost Vedic ritual is brought alive)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Thu Nov 3 12:20:58 CST 2005

On 11/3/05, Abhishek RK <rkabhi at> wrote:
> Namaste,
> On 11/3/05, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rama.balasubramanian at>
> wrote:
> >
> > Shankara also points out in the very first brAhmaNa of the
> > bR^ihadaaraNyaka (called the ashvamedha braahmaNa) that the effects of
> > this sacrifice can be obtained by proper meditation alone. The inner
> > principle of the ashvamedha yajna is beautifully explained in this
> > upanishad. I suggest you look that up and also shankaras commentary on
> > it.
>  I had thought that meditation substituted for the rite itself imposes very
> strict rules on the yajamana. I had read in the shrouta list that the
> aupasana agni can be "transferred" into one's body (as opposed into a samit)
> but this requires brahmacarya etc to be followed. Also in the shankara
> digvijaya we read Sureshwaracarya "transferring" his agnihotra "internally"
> before taking up sannyasa. My point is: this meditative performance of
> certain karmas is much tougher and probably not recommended for beginners.

I also mentioned that this logic cannot be used for obligatory karmas
like agnihotra. The general rule is that the knowledge of the deeper
meaning of the karma (see for example what the horse is described as
in the ashvamedha braahmaNa) and recitation of the mantras are
sufficient to get the same benefit as performing the karma. But the
particular rule is that it is not so for the obligatory karmas. For a
higher level of saadhakas mere meditation of the non-obligatory karmas
is sufficient. It all depends on the mental maturity. See the brahma
suutras in the third adhyaaaya, part 4 and shankaras commentary on

Meditations usually have no particular rules like the ahitaagni. That
doesn't mean anything because no one can do meditation properly unless
he follows yama, niyama, and a host of other stringent practices. So
of course there are "rules" even for these meditations. And of course,
it's difficult to control the mind and meditate. But that does not
mean one shouldn't try. Any one can try to meditate, but whether they
are successful depends on many things than just merely sitting in some

> > Coming back to the taittiriiya yajur veda, the prashna 7 (called
> > acchidra suuktam) , 8 and 9 (ashvamedha prashnam) are typically
> > chanted on ekaadashii and the taittiriiya upanishhads (last four
> > prashnas of the aaraNyakam) are chanted the following day. The
> > tradition is that it cleanses sins and purifies the mind.
> >
> > Rama
>  Thank you for this information. Presently I am learning the second
> prapaathka of the first ashtaka. I assume prasna is same as prapaathaka?
>  Regards,
> Abhishek

prapaaThaka and prashna are usually used to denote the same thing. In
some old grantha texts I have seen prapaaThaka being used instead of
prashna in the samhitaa, but not the braahmaNa or aaraNyaka. I am
curious, can you give the details of the book which you use for the


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