“Sacred Herb” in Vedic Ceremonies

Cakṣuṣa’s wife Ākūti gave him a son named [Cāksuṣa] Manu. This illustrates that humanity (manu) has desire (ākūti) in their eyes (cakṣu). They covet everything they see.

Manu’s Empress, Naḍvalā delivered Manu twelve sons, representing twelve facets of the ceremonies that fulfill humanity’s desires like a flowing river (naḍvalā).

She named her first son after the result of these ceremonies: Puru (many blessings). She named the rest of her children after the ceremonial aspects crucial for bringing about these blessings.

Her second and third sons she named Kutsa and Trita. Kutsa (sacred herb) is mixed with Trita (water) to prepare the most important part of Vedic ceremonies: the sacred beverage soma. Soma is offered to the gods in expensive goblets, along with great wealth. Thus her fourth child was named Dyumna (wealth).

The conduct of a religious ceremony cannot be shallow or facetious. The empress therefore named her next three sons after the three qualities essential to the performers of religious ceremonies: Satyavān (truthful), Ṛta (lawful), Vrata (dedicated).

She named her next two children after the all important beginning and endings of the ceremonies: Agniṣṭoma (praises for the invocation of fire) and Atīrātra (concluding dedication). Both of these must be done with great care and intellect, so she named her next child Pradyumna (intelligence).

She named her final two children after the most basic, fundamental elements of the ceremony, the birch wood (Śibi) and kindling (Ulmuka).

— Translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.13.15-16

By Vraja Kishor dās [VrajaKishor.com]

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