Mistakes in carrying out Vedic sacrifices

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen tlk at MATH.KU.DK
Sat Aug 28 17:29:39 UTC 1999

Dear Indology members,

> From the Puranas we know the story of how Tvasta performed a
sacrifice after Indra had killed his son Visvarupa.  The purpose of
the sacrifice was to create an enemy of Indra.  However, due a
mistake in the prononciation of a mantra the sacrifice had a
different effect.

I am curious about other stories from the Vedas or puranas
concerning sacrifices that "went wrong" - particularly if the fault
was due to a mistake in the construction of the altar (wrong
dimensions, wrong area, etc.) or in the orientation of the altar.

I am aware of one story from the Mahabharata (Adi, LXI, 9ff) where
a king, desiring to perform a sacrifice, employs priests to measure
the measure the arena of the sacrifice and construct the altar.
However, these priests could not really get it together and finally
the errors in the construction was detected by a mason who was
knowledgeable in the science of architecture (vastu-vidya).

If anyone knows of references to such stories I would be happy to

Thank you very much.

Toke Lindegaard Knudsen

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