What are the similarities and differences between Purushamedha Yagna and Sarvamedha Yagna?

I am interested in answers that directly quote the relevant verses from the Vedas.


1 Answer 1


PurushMedha Yajna is described in this chapter of Shatapatha Brahmana of YajurVeda and Sarvamedha Yajna is described in this chapter. As per Shatapatha Brahmana both PurushMedha and SarvaMedha can give capacity of encompassing all beings of universe.

As described in same chapter of Shatapatha Brahamana, Narayana did PurushaMedha Yajna and encompassed all beings:

Purusha Nârâyana desired, 'Would that I overpassed all beings! would that I alone were everything here (this universe)!' He beheld this five-days’ sacrificial performance, the Purushamedha, and took it , and performed offering therewith; and having performed offering therewith, he overpassed all beings, and became everything here. And, verily, he who, knowing this, performs the Purushamedha, or who even knows this, overpasses all beings, and becomes everything here.

PurushaMedha is five days sacrifice and significance of each days is described in same chapter:

  1. Now this Purushamedha is a five-days’ sacrificial performance-- the sacrifice is fivefold, the victim is fivefold, and five seasons are a year: whatsoever of five kinds there is, either concerning the deity or the self (body), all that he thereby obtains.

While SarvaMedha refers to giving one's self in the Yajna and projecting oneself as Lord of all and encompassing all beings as all beings are his self. Lord Brahma did SarvaMedha Yajna and encompassed all beings as described in same chapter:

  1. Brahman Svayambhu (the self-existent, n.) was performing austerities 3. He said this much,- 'Verily, there is no perpetuity in austerities; well, then, I will offer up mine own self in the creatures, and the creatures in mine own self.' And, accordingly, by offering up his own self in the creatures, and the creatures in his own self, he compassed the supremacy, the sovereignty, and the lordship over all creatures; and in like manner does the Sacrificer, by thus offering all sacrificial essences in the Sarvamedha, compass all beings, and supremacy, sovereignty, and lordship.

SarvaMedha is a 10 days sacrifice and significance of each day is described in same chapter:

  1. Now this Sarvamedha is a ten-days’ (Soma-) sacrifice, for the sake of his gaining and winning every kind of food, for the Virâg consists of ten syllables, and the Virâg is all food. At this (sacrifice) he builds the greatest possible fire-altar, for this--to wit, the Sarvamedha--is supreme amongst all sacrificial performances: by means of the supreme (sacrifice) he thus causes him (the Sacrificer) to attain supremacy.

Also in the sixth day of SarvaMedha, PurushaMedha is also done:

  1. The sixth day is a central Paurushamedhika one: at this (sacrifice) he seizes men meet for sacrifice, for the sake of his gaining the sacrificial essence of man.
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    Can even normal jivas like us perform Purushamedha and Sarvamedha Yajnas? If yes, do we encompass the whole universe like Narayana and Brahma? By encompassing mean, do we become Narayana and Brahma?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 16:17
  • @TheDestroyer if I am not mistaken, the sage Jahnu was performing the Sarvamedha Yagya when Ganga decided to flood his Ashram. This would imply even normal humans can do it. Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 11:13

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