From the Jacket
The discovery of ire is a very important event in the human civilisation. In ancient times however, it was difficult to create ire. This gave rise to the idea of maintaing the ire all the time and also to fire-worship. Thus, the fire-worship is very common in most of the religions in the world.
In Ancient Indian also, the ancestral fire or the marriage-ire was always kept alive in the house. For that purpose it was ritually given the morning and it was ritually given the morning and evening offerings. This was the part of the grhya, 'domestic' ritual and the fire also was called grahya
Then modeled on the elaborate Darsapurnamasesti, 'the ort-nightly offerings' in the Srauta fire, the rite of Sthalipaka, 'the ort-nightly offerings' in the grhya domestic' fire was designed and observed.
This book is an attempt to document the ritual performance of Sthalipaka with the photographs of the actual performance which took place in Pune. It has one hundred and ten photographs showing the important gradual ritual steps in together with the detailed explanation of the rites being performed. It also provides the edited original Sanskrit text, its Roman transcription and also the English translation.
About the Author
Musashi Tachikawa: Professor Emeritus, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan (Ph. D., Harward University; D. Litt. Nagoya University) formerly taught at Nagoya University (1970-92), then worked as a Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan (1992-2003) and now is a Professor in Aichi Gakuin University, Japan. His publications include The Structure of the World of Udayana's Realism (Reidel, 1980), a Hindu Worship Service in Sixteen Steps, Sodasa-upacara-puja (Bulletin of the National Museum of Ethnology, 8:1 , An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nagarjuna (Motilal Banarsidass, 1997), Indian Fire ritual (Motilal Banarsidass, 2001) and A Ngor Mandala Collection (together with Lokesh Chandra and S. Watanabe).
Madhavi Kolhatkar : (Ph. D., University of Poona) Assistant Editor in the Sanskrit Dictionary Department, Deccan College, Pune. She has published over city articles on a variety of themes bearing notably on Vedic ritual, religion, Japanese culture and Sanskrit literature and has authored book titled Sura: The Liquor and the Vedic Sacrifice (D. K. Printworld, 1999), Indian ire Ritual (Motilal Banarsidass, 2001); and has edited, in collaboration, Madhuvidya-Dr. M. A. Mehendale Felicitation Volume (L. D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, 2001) Samvijnanam (Select article of Dr. T. N. Dharma-dhikari) (Pune, 2006)
It was the idea of Musashi Tachikawa to present to the world of scholars the visual perspective of Ancient Indian Vedic Domestic Fire-ritual. In 1980, Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar introduced him to Late Ganeshashastri Shende who kindly allowed the ritual of Sayamhoma 'the daily domestic evening offering' and Sthalipaka 'the fortnightly domestic fire-offering' to be photographed in detail. In 1994 Madhavi Kolhatkar joined the project. It was then decided that the photos of Shalipaka would be annotated, the manual of the rite would be edited, transliterated and translated; and whenever necessary, the photos from the album of the Sayamhoma would be inserted.
Whenever we faced any difficulty, the kindness of Late Mr. Lakshman Shastri Shende always made himself available and provided us an insight into the intricacies of the text and the performance of the rite.
The project could pick up speed when an invitation was extended to Madhavi Kolhatkar by the authorities of the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan, which provided complete academic freedom to pursue the end.
When the first draft was ready Dr. P. C. Sahoo willingly and thoroughly went through it and made valuable suggestions.
Pro. G. U. Thite was kind enough to take the pains of going through the manuscript, write the foreword and also to introduce to an efficient publisher Mr. Jain, who brought out this monograph very fast and in very good form.
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude towards all of them.
In the Vedic Grhya (domestic) ritual the Sthalipaka ritual plays an important role. The word Sthalipaka literally menas "cooking (rice) in a pot". This act of cooking and consequent offering rice is to be performed by every householder (grhasthaha) of the three first divisions in the Vedic society on every new and full-moon day. This rite is to some extent very much similar to the new and full moon sacrifices which are of the Srauta type and are to be performed by every Ahitagni (one who has established Srauta fires). In the present book Prof. M. Tachikawa and Dr. M. Kolhatkar have taken up the ritual of Sthalipaka for a detailed study.
The book begins with a detailed introduction dealing with the Vedic ritual in general and Sthalipaka ritual in particular. Then there is the text of Sthalipakaprayoga in Devanagari and Roman scripts. This is followed by an English translation of the text. Then there are 110 photographs showing all the details in the performance of the Sthalipaka. The performer here is the late Ganeshshastri Shende who used to stay on the Laxmi Road, Pune and used to perform numerous domestic rituals. The photographs are arranged in accordance with the sequence of several rites forming a part of the Sthalipaka ritual. There is a detailed description of the action being done in each photograph.
The studies on Vedic ritual received a new dimension in the last part of the twentieth century. With the help of modern technology it was possible to record audio-visually all the details in a particular Vedic sacrifice-whether Srauta or domestic. These recordings can definitely help a student to understand the Vedic ritual better than the simple texts or translation of the text (s).
In this context we may remember that M. Haug had seen some Vedic ritual in 19th century and accordingly he was able to describe it or English reading scholars. On the contrary scholar like Caland mastered the subject of Vedic ritual only with the help of original texts without ever seeing it. Now after about a century, we notice that numerous vicissitudes have taken place in the history of Vedic rituals as well as that of the studies of Vedic ritual. One point seems to be very clear. There is increasing interest now in the performances as well as the study of Vedic rituals. I am, therefore, very confident that the students of Vedic ritual will definitely welcome this book whole-heartedly. So congratulations and best wishes to the authors of this book.
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