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Ekagni Kanda – Single Fire Maintained By Householders In Hindu Religion

The Ekagni Kanda, also known as the Mantrapatha, is a significant section within the Apastamba Kalpasutras, belonging to the Krishna Yajurveda. This ancient Hindu text is part of the Vedangas, which are auxiliary works associated with the Vedas. The Vedangas serve as guides for understanding and correctly performing the rituals outlined in the Vedas.

The term "Ekagnikanda" is derived from the practice it primarily focuses on—the maintenance of a single fire (eka + agni) by an average householder. Specifically, it refers to the garhapatya fire or the grihyagni, which is a sacred fire used in various domestic rituals.

Haradatta Mishra, in his commentary from the 11th century CE, provides valuable insights into Ekagni Kanda. His commentary adds depth and clarity to the understanding of the rites and rituals detailed in this section.

The Ekagnikanda consists of two chapters. The first chapter contains 131 mantras distributed across 18 khandas or sections, while the second chapter comprises 356 mantras in 22 khandas. The topics covered in Ekagni Kanda predominantly fall within the realm of dharmashastras, dealing with ethical and moral principles.

The rituals discussed in Ekagnikanda include various samskaras or sacraments, such as vivaha (marriage), upanayana (sacred thread ceremony), samavartana (graduation from the guru-kula), rites related to pregnancy and childbirth, construction of a new house, offering cooked food from the first agricultural crop, shraddhas (obsequial rites), different forms of japa (repetition of sacred mantras), and various religious ceremonies aimed at countering life's adversities. Additionally, the text covers rituals intended to fulfill specific desires and minor rites.

Overall, Ekagnikanda serves as a comprehensive guide for householders, offering detailed instructions on a wide range of rituals and ceremonies integral to the Hindu way of life, providing a valuable resource for understanding and practicing the ancient Vedic traditions.