Atideśa literally means ‘extension or transference’.
‘Atideśa,’ is the principle of extending or transferring the details of a particular rite to other similar rites. It is often resorted to in Vedic sacrifices. Generally the model (or archetype) sacrifice which contains all the details is known as ‘prakṛti’ and the derived (or ectype) sacrifice is known as ‘vikṛti.’ For instance, 'Tṣu' is a vikṛti sacrifice and many of its details are adopted from its prakṛti, the Syena.
Atideśa can be provided by two ways mentioned below:
- ‘Vacana’ (Vedic text) - When a Vedic text clearly states that the details of the particular sacrifice are to be filled from another already described, the atideśa is by vacana.
- ‘Nāma’ (name) - When two rites have similar names, the details of one have to be derived from the other. For instance,
the rite Māsāgnihotra (prescribed as part of Kuṇḍapāyināmayana, another rite) and the more common Agnihotra have similar names. Hence those of the details of Māsāgnihotra which are not mentioned, or, taken for granted, should be adopted by atideśa from the latter.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore