From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Pāriplava literally means ‘that which is repeated again and again’.

Significance of Aśvamedha Sacrifice[edit]

In ancient times, especially for the kings and the emperors, performance of the Vedic sacrifices was rather the rule than an exception. Powerful kings and emperors thought of performing the Aśvamedha sacrifice as a matters of prestige to establish their supremacy over other rulers. As a part of this sacrifice, a duly selected horse was let off to roam about as per his will for a period of one year after which it would be brought back. Kings or rulers of the lands where the horse roamed about, were either to accept the sovereignty of the performer of the sacrifice and pay some ransom or fight with the army accompanying the horse.

Pāriplava Definition[edit]

During this one year period, the king who is in yajñadīkṣā[1] has to perform an iṣṭi[2] to Savitṛ[3] three times a day. After the last offering in the evening he has to sit and listen to some ancient legends recited by the hotṛ priest in the presence of other priests. These recitations have a general name called ‘pāriplava’.

Significance of Pāriplava[edit]

A pāriplava lasts for ten days. It is repeated 36 times in one year. What exactly should be the legends to be recited on each day is prescribed in the Śautasutra works. The itihāsas and the purāṇas are to be recited on the 8th and the 9th nights. The whole idea seems to be that the mind of the yajamāna[4] should be kept on a high plane as much as possible.


  1. Yajñadīkṣā means taking vows as per the rules of the sacrifice.
  2. Isti means a simple sacrifice.
  3. Savitṛ means the Sun.
  4. Yajamāna means the sacrificer.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore