brahmodya

(‘that which stimulates [a knowledge of] Brahman’)

During the ancient days performance of the Vedic sacrifices was widely prevalent. Though the sacrifices took a lot of time to do them meticulously, intervals and free time would also be there. These had to be utilised in a way useful to the people involved, especially the priests. One such programme that served this purpose well was the ‘brahmodya,’ a theological dialogue, where questions and riddles were propounded and answered. This helped the priests and others to enrich their knowledge in the company of persons endowed with better knowledge and greater experience. A sample of the same, which occurs in the Aśvamedha sacrifice may be given here: pṛcchāmi paramantaḥ pṛthivyāḥ, .....iyaṁ vediḥ paro antaḥ, ‘I ask you the furthest limit of the earth.....’ ‘This vedi is the furthest limit.’ (Ṛgveda 1.164.34,35)