collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘ashvamedha’

taittiriya samhita and horse anatomy

Indeed the taittiriya in describing the hayamedha verily lays out a
dissection of the horse so it is unlikely to be making up anatomical
details. In fact I have often marvelled at the observations of some
rather subtle organs suggesting that our guys must have definitely had
a good knowledge of the horse’s real anatomy even if they chose to
mention aspects of only relevant from the stand point of the ritual.
Yet note the following mantra quoted from the taittiriya sMhita
refering to offering of the ribs of the sacrifice, and let me know if
you find anything particularly untoward in it:

agne pakshtiH sarasvatyai nipakshati somasya tR^itIya .apAM
chaturthyoshhadhInAM pa~nchmI saMvatsarasya shhashhThi marutAgaM
saptamI bR^ihaspaterashTamI mitrasya navamI varuNasya
dashamIndrasyaikAdashI vishveshhAM devAnAM dvAdashI dyAvApR^ithivyo
parshvaM yamasya pATuraH || TS 5.7.21

Similarly TS 5.7.22 provides a similar formula the offering of the
ribs other half of the horse.

As far as I can count the ribs offered in TS 5.7.21 are to 1 agni, 2
sarasvati, 3 soma, 4 waters, 5 medicinal herbs, 6 the year, 7 maruts,
8 bR^ihaspati 9 mitra 10 varuNa 11 indra 12 vishve devAH 13 dyaus and
pR^ithivi. On the otherside the ribs are offered to vAyu, sarasvAn,
moon, stars, savitA, rudra, snakes, aryamA, tvashTA, dhAtA, indrANi,
Adityas, dyaus and pR^ithivi. In both cases the associated vertebra
are offered to yama.

So from this would any of you all infer that there were only 13 ribs a
side on the ashvamedha horse? What happened to the remain ribs of the
horse? So one may conclude that for ritual rather than anatomical
reasons the text may be silent on some details.

Note this verse:
sUryAchandramasau vR^ikyAbhAgaM shyAma shabalau matsnAbhyAM ( inTS
5.7.19) note how they notice the adrenals and the medulla and the
cortex of the kidney. So they were not missing anatomy out of

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