[INDOLOGY] Sacrificial Tortoise?

Herman Tull hermantull at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 21:24:47 UTC 2013

Well-known is the SB's description of the placing of a tortoise in the
first layer of the agnicayana (Eggeling's translation): "He then puts down
a (living) tortoise (kUrmaH);--the tortoise means life sap: it is life-sap
(blood) he thus bestows on Agni..." (the explanation continues on for about
ten sections -- SB ff.)

Herman Tull

On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:04 PM, George Hart <glhart at berkeley.edu> wrote:

> Akanāṉūṟu 361 (probably dating to the first 2 centuries CE) mentions a
> sacrifice in which a tortoise is placed in a fiery sacrificial pit
> (tittiyam) for the gods "whose flowers do not fade" to eat.  This is also
> referred to 5 or 6 centuries later in the Cīvakacintāmaṇi (2878).  I have
> never heard of such a ritual and am wondering whether it is mentioned in
> Sanskrit.  The poem uses the image quite beautifully: a man separated from
> his beloved as he crosses the wilderness to get wealth addresses his heart,
> telling it that it must not think of her and must not be like the tortoise
> in the sacrificial pit longing for its cool, shadowed pond.  George Hart
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*Herman Tull
Princeton, NJ *

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