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yajamāna


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(lit. ‘sacrificing on his own behalf’)

The patron or sponsor of the Brahmanical śrauta sacrifice (yajña), usually referred to as the ‘sacrificer’. The minimum qualification for a yajamāna is birth into one of the three higher varṇas, to have received upanayana, to be married (the yajamāna and his wife act as a ritual unit), and to have set up the gṛhyāgni (‘domestic fire’), from which he installs the three (or five) fires necessary for his ritual life as an āhitāgni. For a fee (dakṣinā), the brahmin priests perform the sacrifice on the yajamāna's behalf; it is the latter, conceptually both the sacrificer and the sacrifice, to whom the results, or ‘fruits’ of the ritual (good things in this world and the next) accrue. Once the sacred fires have been installed, the yajamāna has an obligation to carry out the sequence of śrauta rites for the rest of his life (unless he becomes a saṃnyāsin, or infirm), culminating in the sacrifice of himself, i.e. his cremation. See also yajña.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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