anuvākyā

(‘to say after’)

Performance of Vedic rites involves several complex processes. Appropriate Vedic hymns selected from the various sections of the Vedas (mostly from the Ṛgveda Saṁhitā) have to be chanted or sung at certain specified stages during these rites. Such hymns are categorized as yājyā, anuvākyā, śastra and so on.

The anuvākyā hymns—also called puronuvākyā—are to be chanted by the hotṛ (priest reciting the ṛks) when the adhvaryu (priest following the Yajurveda) cuts the puroḍāśa (cakes for offering) into several parts. They are actually invitations to the respective deities to accept the offerings allotted to them. Since the name of the particular deity appears in the first part of the hymn, the hymn itself is also called puronuvākyā (puras = first, in front). For instance, Ṛgveda 8.44.12 and 1.91.11 are used as anuvākyās.

See also YĀJYĀ and ŚASTRA.