By Swami harshananda
Avabhṛtha literally means ‘that which is pushed down or sunk’.
Avabhṛtha is the final purificatory bath marking the end of Somayāga. This is an ‘iṣṭi,’ a rite needing four priests.
After a number of preliminary rites in the yāgaśālā (sacrificial shed), the yajamāna or sacrificer and his wife proceed to a flowing river or any reservoir, along with the priests, for the final bath. In this process they dispose of the utensils used in the sacrifice and other objects like the antelope skin and yoktra (cord of muñja grass worn by the wife). The utensils are smeared with the soma juice before disposal.
The rite takes place in water. Hence a handful of kuśa grass is thrown on the water serving as the āhavanīya fire for that purpose. A special sāman called avabhṛtha-sāman, is chanted during the rite. The word ‘avabhṛtha-snāna’ is used to indicate the ceremonial bath at the conclusion of any major religious rite like the consecration of a new temple.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore