(Last Updated on : 22-06-2013)
Rites in Atharva Veda
follow the traditions similar to those of the Yajur Veda
and Rig Veda
. Atharva Veda contains an assimilation of multiple hymns, verses and chants or 'Mantras
', which are essential for performing the rituals associated to Atharva Veda. The rites and rituals of Atharva Veda are termed as 'Atharva Rites and Mantras'. Magical spells and charms, including those chanted for successful fertility and childbirth, romance and treating numerous ailments of man form the main rituals of Atharva Veda. Atharva Veda differs from Rig Veda, Yajur Veda and Sama Veda
in the sense it mainly emphasizes on the recitation of mantras for the achievement of worldly goals whereas the other Vedas
concentrate on 'Yagya' and devotion to gods.
Types of Rites in Atharva Veda
of Agni Purana
has said that a man, by performing a Homa
ceremony with the Mantras running as 'Shantatyam Ganam' realises God's peace in life, while libations of clarified butter cast with the Mantra, running as 'Bhaisajyam Ganam', etc., bring about a recovery from all persistent and lingering diseases.
In Atharva Veda, 'srauta
' or sacred rituals does not play the key role. Instead, its rituals consist of various kinds of spells, Mantras and hymns appropriate for the regular daily activities of mankind. The incantations used in this Veda are capable of healing several maladies of humans, removing evils or devilish influence, fulfilling desires and wishes, performing black magic, eliminating the impact of curses and many more. It has been said that a man by pouring libations on the sacrificial fire with the verses known as the 'Trisaptiyam Ganam', becomes purged off all sins. Similarly libations of clarified butter offered into the sacrificial fire with the verses known as the 'Abhaya Ganam', should be deemed as a safeguard against the advent of all evils and dangers.
Homas of Atharva Veda
Agni Purana states that a man, by undertaking a Homa with the verses known as the 'Ayushya Ganam' (life-prolonging Mantras), enjoys an immunity from a premature death, while a Homa performed by repeating the verses known as the 'Svastyanam Ganam', a man is sure to enjoy a blissful peace in all departments of life. Similarly it has been said that a man by duly performing a Homa ceremony with the same Mantra, is sure to suffer no defeat in life.
A Homa ceremony performed by repeating the Mantras beginning as 'Kama Me Vaji', etc. brings good luck to ladies for whose benefit the same is undertaken. Libations poured on the fire with the Mantra running as 'Tubhyam Javiman', etc. as well as a repetition of the Mantra beginning as 'Agne Gobhinna', etc enlarges one's mind and sharpens one's intellect. A man becomes the owner of an immoveable estate by performing a Homa ceremony and repeating the Mantras running as 'Dhruvam Dhruvena', etc.
A Homa performed with the Mantras running as 'Suparnastu', etc grants immunity from snake bites, while libations poured on the sacrificial fire with the verses beginning as 'Indrena Dattam' (given by the Lord Indra
), etc., should be deemed as possessed of the virtue of removing all barriers or obstacles standing in one's way.
Mantras of Atharva Veda
It has been mentioned in the Purana that a man, by repeating the Mantras running as 'Shreyascha', etc., is sure to succeed in his practice of Yoga
, while a mental recitation of the same Mantra, tends to produce the same result. Defects incidental to one's choosing a bad or a forbidden site for his dwelling-house, are remedied by a Homa, and performed by repeating the set of verses known as the 'Vastospatya Ganam'. A man, by casting libations of clarified butter in the sacrificial fire with the set of Atharva verses known as the 'Roudra Ganam', is sure to make good all defects and shortcomings on his part in life.
A repetition of the Mantras beginning as 'Alaktajiva', etc., ensures a prosperous agriculture. A man seeking to improve his social status or fortune, should constantly repeat in his mind the Mantras running as 'Ahante Bhagna', etc. while a person any way incarcerated would be liberated or set at large by repeating the Mantras, beginning as 'Ye Me Pasha,' etc.(the fetters that bind me). A man by repeating the Mantras, running as 'Sapatvaham', etc and by pouring libations of clarified butter on the fire with the same Mantras, is sure to bring about an utter annihilation of his enemies, while a repetition of the Mantras running as 'Tamuttamam', etc. is sure to increase one's fame and to give a better turn to one's fortune.
A repetition, of the Mantra, running as 'Ayante Yoni' etc., (this is thy womb) is sure to impregnate a woman. Similarly a recitation of the Mantra, running as 'Shiva Shivabhi', etc, brightens the prospect of the repeater. A recitation of the Mantra, beginning as 'May Vrihaspati' protect us (Vrihas-patir No Patu) is the greatest peace-giving rite known, while a repetition of the Mantra, running as 'Munchami Tveti', acts as a safe-guard against all premature death. The man, who recites the Mantras known as the 'Atharva Shiras', is sure to become absolved of all sins.
If one repeats the Mantra 'Yastvam Mrityu', on the occasion of casting libations of clarified butter into the fire, is sure to arrest the death of a person laid up with a fatal disease.
Hymns of Atharva Veda
Atharva Veda includes 'rohita
' hymns which say that the king's power is as victorious as the sun. 'Paippalada Samhita' of the Atharva Veda comprises hymns which are significant for the royal consecration ceremony. Certain hymns of Atharva Veda are a reflection of the sorcery popular in Indo-European traditions. Speculative hymn are also present in the Atharva Veda which are sung for curing diseases like leprosy
, jaundice, fevers
, dropsy, heart ailments
, abnormal bleeding during menstruation, hereditary diseases and many more physical and psychological disorders.
The Purana narrates that the manifestations of divine energy respectively known as the Goddess Vaishnavi
, etc, as well as the peace-giving rites respectively undertaken in their honour, and known as the 'Vaishnavi Shanti', the 'Aindri Shanti', the 'Roudri Shanti', the 'Brahmi
Shanti', the 'Vayavya Shanti', the 'Varuni Shanti', the 'Kouveri Shanti', the 'Bhargavi Shanti', the 'Prajapatya Shanti', the 'Tvasta Shanti', the 'Koumari Shanti', and the peace-giving rites done in honour of the fire
-god ('Vanhi Devata'), the god of wind ('Marut-Gana'), as well as those known as the 'Gindhari Shanti', the 'Nairitiki Shanti', the 'Yamya Shanti' , the 'Parthivi Shanti' and the 'Angirasi Shanti', grant all sort of boons to the performer.