A 12-day ritual is about to come to a grand, majestic end in a little village in Kerala as we speak. Athirathram, or Atiratra Agnicayana, a 3000-year-old (some say 4000) Vedic ritual to cleanse the earth and ring in global peace is reaching its culmination in Panjal, a sleepy hamlet home to Namboodiri Brahmins in Trichur, Kerala, the sect that earns the right to perform this ritual by birth.
Modern day Hinduism has its spiritual origins in the Vedic religion; this particular ritual is said to be the oldest and perhaps the greatest of all Vedic rituals that still continue to be performed today. A bird-shaped altar is built with 10,800 bricks for the ritual, which is an offering to Agni or the God of Fire. As you'd know, the number 108 has special significance in Hindu faith. This ritual, never witnessed by outsiders till 1956, caught the attention of a Sanskrit professor/philosopher of European origin, Frits Staal, who is credited with bringing global awareness to Athirathram, whichRead More »from Athirathram – The oldest Vedic ritual