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Purodasa In Hinduism

In Hinduism, Purodasa is a sacrificial oblation of ground rice offered in kapalas or vessels. Purodasa comes from puras, meaning ‘in front of’, ‘in the presence of’. The word ‘dasa’ is not explained, but the dictionary gives it several meanings, a ritual oblation of ground rice offered in kapalas or vessels (potsherds); an oblation in general; an oblation of ghee with cakes of ground meal; a kind of sacrificial ladle; leaving of an oblation (ahuti); soma juice; and prayers recited while offering oblation. The first interpretation is the most popular and acceptable.

Sacrifices in Vedic times were of three types – nitya (normal and compulsory), naimittika (occasional), and kamya (desired). The other division is according to the offerings in sacrifices. Thus, in pakayajna, household food is offered. In haviryajnas, special oblations are offered. Then there are somayajnas in which soma juice, pure or mixed with something, is the main offering.

In haviryajnas and somayajnas, purodasa is a principal and important oblation. It is made of ground rice, lumped by adding water, and baked in kapalas or potsherds. These potsherds vary according to the time of baking. In Soma yajna, on the extraction day, an eight-potsherd purodasa should be used for morning extraction, an eleven-potsherd should be baked for noon-extraction, and a twelve-potsherd should be used or the evening extraction. Some authorities have objected to this variation and argue that all should be eleven potsherds.

Taittiriya Samhita gives details about the rice flour. Unhusked rice should be measured, and then husked. Then it should be pounded, and ground. Then it is taken in a wide dish and turned into a lump by adding water. The lump should be spread on a potsherd and baked. This cake is offered to deities. One who offers purodasa and soma rasa to Indra is saved from sins by Indra, it is said.