[Advaita-l] pAni agni - A rigvedic practice

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 13 23:31:12 CDT 2015

Bhaskar YR wrote:

> In Rigveda AshvalAyana, the existing practice is that they don't do
> any hOma kArya during the shraddha because of the belief that they
> have the agni in palm hence they will do only pANi hOma.  Sri Ananda
> Hudli prabhuji said that since the right hand of a brAhmaNa has agni
> in the normal case he will do the pANi hOma.  I again asked him the
> clarification whether 'agni in hand' is applicable to every brAhmaNa
> or only rigvedi brAhmaNa??  And whether pANi homa practice is observed
> only in shrAddhAdi karma or in all vaidika karma??  Since I have
> attended somany Rigveda prayOga as well as a ritvik (sva-shAkha is
> yajurveda, Apasthambha) I saw this practice only in shrAddha karma.
> In all other vaidika shanti and samskAra karma-s rigvedi-s would do
> agni pratishtApana with the formalities of AshvalAyana agnimukha
> prayOga and name the agni differently for different purposes.  For
> example during choula hOma (during upanayana) the agni is called
> 'sabhya', 'samuddhava' for upanayana pradhAna hOma.  Likewise, for
> samAvartana, vivAha vihita hOma-s we do the pratishtApana of agni with
> different names.
> My questions is why this pAni hOma practice existing in only shrAddha
> karma  and need more detail on this pAni agni.

AshvalAyana gRhya sUtra, citing a brAhmaNa text, says in the context of

GS_4.7/22: agni.mukhā.vai.devāḥ.pāṇi.mukhāḥ.pitara.iti.ha.br

The mouth of gods is verily agni, (whereas) the mouth of pitRs is the
(right) palm (of a brAhmaNa). Thus says the brAhmaNa.
This is the basis for the pANi homa of the Rgvedins. This pANi homa is to
be done in the right palm of the pitRbrAhmaNa. Further, if more than one
brAhmaNa is invited to sit in the shrAddha as a pitR brAhmaNa (which is
rare these days) the pANi homa must be performed in the right palm of every
such pitRbrAhmaNa, not just one of them. For example, if there are three
pitRbrAhmaNas sitting as pitR, pitAmaha, and prapitAmaha, then pANi homa
must be done in the right palm of each of the those three brAhmaNas.

Regarding the question, why homa in agni is done for other karmas, such as
garbhAdhAna, puMsavana, sImantonnayana, jAtakarma, etc., these homas are
addressed to devatAs. For example, in the anvAdhAna for garbhAdhAna, it is
clearly stated, "pradhAnaM prajApatiM charuNA ekavAraM, viShNuM ShaDvAraM,


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