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Text On Soma Ritual Methods – Jaiminiya Srauta Sutra

Jaiminiya Srauta Sutra belonging to Sama Veda describes soma rituals in twenty six sections. Srauta means pertaining to Sruti (Veda). Among the books of Kalpa Vedanga (one of the six auxiliary disciplines connected with Veda), Srauta Sutra gives a systematic description of Vedic fire rituals (Srajuta Yagnas).

Unlike Shodhasa samskara (in house rituals) described in Grihyasutras, Srauta rituals are performed outside the house in tretagni (three fires0 – Garhapatya, dakshina, and ahavaniya.

The seven soma rituals are agnistoma, atyagnistoma, uktha, sodasi, vajapeya, atiratra and aptoryama. The most important among these rites is agnistoma (jyotistoma), which is the prakriti (archetype) containing all details relating to the rituals.

Agnistoma is a protracted devotional rite extending over several days. Performed in spring, it forms an essential part of jyotistoma. Hence the text describes this topic in detail first. The details related to the bringing of soma plant and its pressing for the extraction of soma juice for the offerings. The other rites in the group are known as modifications of the archetype. These rites do not have all the details relating to the performance of rites, taking from the archetype, agnistoma.

It may be remembered that the Vedic word soma bears a triple meaning – adhibhautika (material), adhidaivika (cosmic or divine) and adhyatmika (pertaining to self).

Soma plant juice is adhibhautika soma, moon or lunar divine light is adhidaivika soma and serene mental state is adhyatmika soma. The text Jaiminiya Srauta Sutra has a commentary by Bhavatrata, son of Matradatta. It was completed by his nephew and son-in-law, Jayanta.