You are here

Consecration, Page 108.

The ceremonies that attended the consecration of a king (Abhikshepa lit. Sprinkling over) are fully described in Goldstücker's Dictionary, from which the following extract is made: "The type of the inauguration ceremony as practised at the Epic period may probably be recognized in the history of the inauguration of Ráma, as told in the Rámáyana, and in that of the inauguration of Yudhishthira, as told in the Mahábháratha. Neither ceremony is described in these poems with the full detail which is given of the vaidik rite in the Aitareya-Bráhmanam; but the allusion that Ráma was inaugurated by Vasishtha and the other Bráhmanas in the same manner as Indra by the Vasus … and the observation which is made in some passages that a certain rite of the inauguration was performed 'according to the sacred rule' … admit of the conclusion that the ceremony was supposed to have taken place in conformity with the vaidik injunction.… As the inauguration of Ráma was intended and the necessary preparations for it were made when his father Dasaratha was still alive, but as the ceremony itself, through the intrigues of his step-mother Kaikeyí, did not take place then, but fourteen years later, after the death of Dasaratha, an account of the preparatory ceremonies is given in the Ayodhyákánda (Book II) as well as in the Yuddha-Kánda (Book VI.) of the Rámáyana, but an account of the complete ceremony in the latter book alone. According to the Ayodhyákánda, on the day preceding the intended inauguration Ráma and his wife Sítá held a fast, and in the night they performed this preliminary rite: Ráma having made his ablutions, approached the idol of Náráyana, took a cup of clarified butter, as the religious law prescribes, made a libation of it into the kindled fire, and drank the remainder while wishing what was agreeable to his heart. Then, with his mind fixed on the divinity he lay, silent and composed, together with Sítá, on a bed of Kusa-grass, which was spread before the altar of Vishnu, until the last watch of the night, when he awoke and ordered the palace to be prepared for the solemnity. At day-break reminded of the time by the voices of the bards, he performed the usual morning devotion and praised the divinity. In the meantime the town Ayodhyá had assumed a festive appearance and the inauguration implements had been arranged … golden water-jars, an ornamented throne-seat, a chariot covered with a splendid tiger-skin, water taken from the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna, as well as from other sacred rivers, tanks, wells, lakes, and from all oceans, honey, curd, clarified butter, fried grain, Kusa-grass, flowers, milk; besides, eight beautiful damsels, and a splendid furious elephant, golden and silver jars, filled with water, covered with Udumbara branches and various lotus flowers, besides a white jewelled chourie, a white splendid parasol, a white bull, a white horse, all manner of musical instruments and bards.… In the preceding chapter … there are mentioned two white chouries instead of one, and all kinds of seeds, perfumes and jewels, a scimitar, a bow, a litter, a golden vase, and a blazing fire, and amongst the living implements of the pageant, instead of the bards, gaudy courtesans, and besides the eight damsels, professors of divinity, Bráhmanas, cows and pure kinds of wild beasts and birds, the chiefs of town and country-people and the citizens with their train."