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Many Vedic Yagnas (fire-rituals) would last for months or even years, so it was customary to take breaks at regular intervals, and during those breaks a story would often be recited. In fact, it was during a 12-year Sarpa Yagna (ritual to kill snakes) that Arjuna's great-grandson Janamejaya heard the story of the Mahabharata from Vyasa's disciple Vaishampayana. But I'm interested in the stories told during another kind of Yagna. In the Ashwamedha Yagna or horse-ritual, a horse was allowed to roam free for one year. In the meantime, priests would conduct the procedures of the Yagna, and they would take a scheduled break known as the Pariplava every 10 days, during which stories were told.

Now the Purva Mimamsa school tried to argue that these stories are nine other than thee stories found in the Upanishads, and thus that the Upanishad's teachings should be dismissed as meaningless utterances redired during the Pariplava. But in Adhyaya 4 Pada 1 of the Brahma Sutras, Vyasa refutes the notion that the Upanishads are recited during the Pariplava break, on the grounds that the The Shatapatha Brahmana of the Yajur Veda specifies exactly what stories should be told during the Pariplava, or it at least mentions who the main character is in each story:

'King Manu Vaivasvata,' he says;--'his people are Men' ...

'King Yama Vaivasvata,' he (the Hotri) says, 'his people are the Fathers' ...

'King Varuna Âditya,' he says; 'his people are the Gandharvas' ...

'King Soma Vaishnava,' he says; 'his people are the Apsaras' ...

'King Arbuda Kâdraveya,' he says; 'his people are the Snakes' ...

'King Kubera Vaisravana,' he says; 'his people are the Rakshas' ...

'King Asita Dhânva,' he says; 'his people are the Asura' ...

'King Matsya Sâmmada,' he says; 'his people are the water-dwellers' ...

'King Târkshya Vaipasyata,' he says; 'his people are the Birds' ...

'King Dharma Indra,' he says; 'his people are the Gods'

My question is, what exactly are these stories? Most of these names are familiar, like Vaivasvata Manu (i.e. the present Manu), Yama god of death, Varuna the ocean god, Chandra (AKA Soma) the moon good, Arbuda the Naga, Kubera god of wealth, etc. But what is the specific story about each of these gods that is supposed to be recited?

Does anyone know if these stories are contained in some scripture, perhaps in the Shatapatha Brahmana itself?

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    Awesome question. Any idea who Matsya Sammada & Asita Dhanva were? Also why is Tarkshya or Garud mentioned as Vaipasyata? – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Apr 20 '18 at 8:58
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal Matsya Sammada is the fish king that the Rishi Saubhari encountered in this chapter of the Vishnu Purana: sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp094.htm I'm not sure about Asita Dhanva or the meaning of Vaipasyata. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 20 '18 at 15:22

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