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Darsapurnamasa – Two Vedic Rituals

Darsapurnamasa is a compound of two words darsha and purnamasa. The Darsha and Purnamasa, two vedic rituals, are considered to be ishtis (the quintessence of all rituals). The others are more or less the modifications of these rituals. Hence a place of honor is assigned to them in most of the texts of Yajur Veda. Both rituals are performed to attain any particular desired result. In all other rituals, the rules and regulations governing these rituals are followed.

Darsapurnamasa has to be performed throughout one’s life or till one becomes old and is unable to perform the rites. This is performed by the yajamana (performer) and his wife. Four priests: the Hotr, the Adhvaryu, the Agnindra and Brahma, help in the performance of the sacrifice and the mantras from Yajurveda and Rig Veda are employed.

These two sacrifices belong to the group of naimittikas (occasional rites). These yajnas may have undergone many gradual changes. The changes are evident from the differences in the rules found in the different texts of the Samhitas, Brahmanas and Srauta Sutras.

A person who has consecrated the Vedic fires (i.e. who has performed Agni-adhana ceremony) and performs evening and morning twilight fire offerings (agnihotra) regularly, has to offer two sacrifices on the first day immediately after the full moon day and the new moon day.

The first called Purnamasa ishti and the second Darsha ishit, through the latter occupies the first place in the Sanskrit compound formation. (This is because of the rule that words with less number f syllables should be placed first.)

In both the rituals, each normally separated by a fortnight from the other, three main deities are worshiped. Agni with rice cake and Indra with milk and Vishnu is worshipped with rice cakes.

Consecration of Vedic fires can proceed from these sacrifices (ishtis) and such a consecration is called ishti puvaka adhana.
Source – 
  • History of Dharmasastra (1941) – P V Kane – Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pune).
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume III page 311 - IHRF