[q] Seeking information on "hiraNyagarbha" ceremony

Michael Rabe mrabe at ARTIC.EDU
Fri Jan 29 05:04:47 EST 1999

At Thu, 28 Jan 1999 19:58:55, Sreenivas Paruchuri wrote:

>But, recently I heard that it was performed even before; i.e. during Chola
>period also. I am looking for earlier; pre-naayaka, references if any....
>I am more interested in Sastra-ic references (providing base/legitimation)
>to this ceremony. Dr. Drodzowicz provided one so far.

According to Ron Inden in his _Reconstructions_ of the Rashtrakuta Imperial
formation, as performed by that dynasty's founder Dantidurga in the 8th
century: cf. Inden, Ronald _Imagining India_ (Oxford: Basil Blackwell,
1990), p. 247:

_A successor of Dantidurga, Amoghavarsha I (814-c.878), describes his
ancester as the king 'by whom the lesser kings beginning with the Gurjara
lord were made into gatekeepers (pratihAra) when the Great Gift called the
Golden Embryo was celebrated at UjjayinI by princes.'_ n. 28
___________[still quoting]
n.28 _My translation of v. 9:  hiraNyagarbham rAjanyairujjayanyAM
yadAsitaM/ pratihARkritaM yena gurjayarezAdirAjakam// (Sanjam Plates, in
D.R.Bandarkar (1925-6). R.G. Bhandarkar (1928:63) ignored the Hiraynagarbha
and simple said: 'At Ujjayni he gave large quantities of gold and jewels in

I believe Inden has written about this ceremony elsewhere*--he certainly
likes to talk about it--and a major sastric source for him is the
_Visnudharmottara Purana_.

* Possibly here: Inden, R. "Ritual, Authority and Cyclic Time in Hindu
Kingship," in Kingship and Authority in South Asia,  John F. Richards, ed.
South Asian Studies  Publications, no. 3. Madison: University of Wisconsin,

It's been years, but for what it's worth [without checking], I don't think
the Pallavas claimed to have performed this ceremony [azvamedhas and
rAjasUyas, yes]

Michael Rabe
SAIC, SXU, Chicago

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