From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Every society has its own rules to regulate the lives of its members at the personal and at the social levels. As the society evolves in its civilization and culture, these rules also undergo change often.

Evolution of yajñas and yāgas[1] gradually needed the involvement of more and more people including those from the lower varṇas or castes. In return for their valuable services, some of them like the rathakāras and niṣādas, had to be accorded certain privileges.

In course of time, the rathakāras[2] and the niṣādasthapati[3] were given the privilege of undergoing the sacrament of upanayāna and keeping the Vedic fires in which they could offer oblations. They were permitted to perform Raudraiṣṭi, Agnihotra and the Darśapurṇamāsa sacrifices.[4]


  1. Yāgas means Vedic sacrifices.
  2. Rathakāras means the ‘makers of chariots,’ the carpenters.
  3. Niṣādasthapati means the chieftain of the niṣādas.
  4. Satyāsādha Kalpasutras 3.1
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore