Thousands throng Athirathram venue on third day

via PNS | Thrissur published on April 6, 2011

About 10,000 Veda enthusiasts gathered on Wednesday at the Yagasala at Panjal village in Kerala’s Thrissur district to witness the events on the third day of Athirathram, a 4,000-year-old Vedic ritual. The Athirathram Yaga had started on Monday and would conclude on April 15, the auspicious Vishu day, with the dedication of the Yagasala to Nature by setting it afire.

According to Varthathe Trust based at Ottapalam, Palakkad, organizers of the Yaga, Athirathram is the world’s oldest surviving ritual and the most complex as per Vedic hierarchy. It is being performed to spread the message of peace, harmony and being one with Nature, it says. Panjal had hosted an Athirathram in 1975, which had attracted scholars from several parts of the world.

The Yaga rituals on Wednesday started with Vishnukramanam, wearing of a gold coin threaded in a piece of coir around the neck of the Yajamana, the head of the Yaga. After wearing deer skin (Krishnajana), the Yajamana recited over 50 do’s and don’ts for the third day.

As per these, the Ritwiks (Brahmin priests) and Parikarmis (associates) taking part in the Yaga could not sleep during the day, think anything negative, mock anybody, eat anything unnecessary, cut nails or hair or rub oil on their bodies.

A sacrificial pole was made by cutting a tree and it was installed at the Yagashala. Mantras were chanted for protection of the five Pranas present in the tree and also to prevent the secreted gum from the tree to not rob it of its Satwa qualities and for non-disturbance of any living entity or inhabitant of the tree.

The day ended with Vratha Doham which included milking of the cow and boiling the milk and Vratha Paanam (consumption of the boiled milk). Vratham is the milk for the consumption of the Yajamana and his wife (Yajamana Patni). Puthilathu Ramanujan Somayajippadu, who had headed a Soma Yaga in 2003, is Yajamana at Athirathram 2011 and Dhanya Pathanadi is Yajamana Patni.

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