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Articles: Vrsakapi by Dr S.Srikanta Sastri


Bharatiya Vidya, Vol X, 1949 (K.M.Munshi Diamond Jubilee Commemoration Indological Volume II)

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Vedic Rishi

King Ambareesha observing the Dwadashi Vrata

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Ambarisha Vedic Rishi





      Vedic exegetics will always prove to be a source of futile controversies if divorced from the ritual context. The several attempts to distinguish between the earlier and later phases of vedic composition and ritual by an approach to the Vedic suktas or deities from a purely philological, anthropological or astronomical view-point, have not yielded results commensurate with the ingenuity and effort expended on them. Therefore the Vrsakapi hymn must be explained with reference to the ideas implied in the Dvadasha, of which rite it forms a vital part.


The Silpas(1) or embellishments form a part of the evening rites on the sixth day of Dvadasha and represent symbolically the creation of a new body (atman) of the Yajamana. In accordance with physical process of procreation, we are told that the shilpas are to be identified thus: Nabhanedistham(2) is the semen, as it refers to the semen of Prajapati which was poured out when Prajapati had illicit intercourse with his daughter. Narasamsam(3)  (contained in the Nabhanedistha) is Speech. The Valakhilyas are the Breaths. The Sukirti(4) hymn is the womb. Vrsakapi(5) is the completed body before birth, as it is in the Pankti metre which represents five parts of the body-hair, skin, flesh, bones and marrow. It is recited with a peculiar nyunkha representing food. After delivery, the new born Yajamana is endowed with a footing in this world by the Evayamarut which is addressed to the Maruts who represent waters and water is


1 Nabhanedistham Narasamsam, Valakhiyas, Sukriti, Vrsakapi, Evayamarut, Kuntapa Narasamsi, Raibhi, Pariksiti, Disamkpti, Janakalpa, Indra Gatha, Aitasa pralapa, Pravahlika, Ajijnasenya, Pratiradha Ativada, Devanitham, Bhutecchad, Ahanasya, Dadhikravan, Pavamanya and Indra Brhaspati. Ai. Br. VI – 5 (Haug).

2  Rg  X – 61-5    

3. Rg. X – 62      

4. Rg. X – 131

5. Rg. X – 86     6. Rg. V – 87

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