Yupa Post in Sangam Tamil Literature and Rig Veda (Post No.4942)

Yupa post in Gold Coins of Gupta Emperors



Date: 23 April 2018


Time uploaded in London –  16-51 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 4942


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.






Yupa Post in Sangam Tamil Literature and Rig Veda (Post No.4942)
The Yupa was a high wooden post erected eastward of the Supreme Fire altar, with much ceremony, immediately after the transfer of the sacred fire and the offerings had been accomplished. It’s object was to hold the living victims bound upon it for sacrifice. It was itself an object of adoration, being anointed with sacred ghee, the melted butter.

It had three prongs or forks RV 1-24-13,being more or less like a trident. It was made of various woods, according to the object of the sacrifice. In the Rajasuya ,it was made of Khadira wood I.e. Catechu acacia, a forest tree, a native to India most valuable especially for its medicinal qualities.

Pandya Coin with Yupa post

Yupa in Sangam Tamil Literature

The Rig Vedic Sanskrit word YUPA is used in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature without any change i.e. same Sanskrit word Yupa is used. In some other places it is called sacrifice post in Tamil (Velvi Nedunthunam).

Yupa is found in

purananuru vereses 15, 224

Perumpaanatruppadai- line 315

pathitrupathu 67-10


Velvi (sacrifie) occurs in at least 15 places. Kanchi Paramacharya (1894-1994), Shankaracharya of Kamakoti Peetam at Kancheepuram said the pure Tamil word Velvi in 2000 old literature shows that it is very familiar with the Tamils and part of their life.


Tamils were great fire worshippers. They did several Yagas (fire sacrifices)


Moreover the world famous Sanskrit poet Kalidasa in his Raguvamsa, written in the first century or second century BCE (see my research paper on his date) introduce Pandya King as the one who is always seen choked with Avabruda Snanam (bath during Fire Sacrifices).

Pal Yagasala Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi, a Pandya king,  performed several Yagas and his country was full of Yupa Pillars. With his name Peruvazuthi, a coin with a horse,  is discovered. This confirms that he did Asvamedha Yajnam. Kalidasa, in his Raguvamsa, talks about Agastya and Pandya and mentioned Avabrutha Snana, which is performed during big Yajnas. Another Choza king, Perunarkilli, performed Rajasuya Yajna. Karikar Choza, the greatest of the Choza kings, did yaga with eagle shaped Yaga Kunda (altar) according to Tamil literature


Nettimaiyar, one of the oldest poets of Sangam period, wonders ,“Oh! Pandya! please tell me whether the number of Yupa posts you installed more? Or the number of enemies you defeated more? Or the praises by the poets more?” (Pura.15)
Verse 224 praised the greatest of the Chola kings Karikalan for installing the tall Yupa post in the midst of eagle shaped Yaga Kunda.

Mulavarman, a fourth century king did a Yagna and installed seven Yupa posts to commemorate it in Borneo island of Indonesia. It was discovered in an area covered by very thick forests. Varman is a surname of Pallava Kings of Tamil Nadu.

All the Gupta emperors and most of the Satavahanas did great Fire sacrifices including Asvamedha Yajna.

Dr Martin Haug says that the name Yupa contains a pun on the Sanskrit word Yuva, a youth. The Aitareya Brahmana 2-1 however derive s it from yoyuupYan, they debarred, and relates a curious legend of the gods attempting to bar mankind from the knowledge of the sacrifice by its means.
There are other speculations as to the root of the word, Sat.Br 3-6-4.
It is probable that the term youth was used in reference to it’s decorations with ribbons corresponding to the then style of youthful dress.

No one was killed, No animal was killed

Sayana,the ancient Hindu commentator, observes here, that although at a sacrifice men and animals were bound to the Yupa post, yet both men and beasts were set free immediately after the fire had been carried round them. Everybody accepts Sayana’s commentary.

It is elsewhere said that after recitation of Purusha suukta RV 10-90, in which mystic immolation of Prajapati, the creator himself. Is described and after fire had been carried around them they were to be released , and an offering of melted butter made in their stead.
The reference s quoted are Sat.br 13-6-2-1
Van.Sam. 30
Taitr.Bra. 3-1-4
Kat.srauta sutra 21-1-1

In any sacrifice the consent of the victim is essential. Animals were theoretically supposed to be consenting parties to their own immolation.


Many texts might be quoted on the point, but the following two will suffice:

The animal when carried to the altar, saw death before it. Not wishing to go to the gods, the gods said to it, ‘Come we will bring you to heaven. Then the animal consented (Ait.Br.Vol 2, p.86)

Accordingly, the animals resigned themselves, and became favourably disposed to the slaughtering (Sat.Br.3-7-3-5)


It is also said that the animals will faint as soon as the mantras are said.

Yupa post close up picture

Interesting Story from Mahabharata

The point is further illustrated by a story in the fourteenth book of the Mahabharata. Krishna and Arjuna, disguised as Brahmins, telling Raja Mewaradwaja that a tiger had carried away the son of Krishna, and could only be appeased by being given half the body of the Raja’s (King’s) son; the king immediately agreed to sacrifice himself and directed his wife and son to cut him into two. But Krishna saw a tear in the victim’s left eye. He stopped the sacrifice, as the offering was an unwilling one.

So we can summarise

1.that no animal or man can be sacrificed without consent

2.the victims who were tied to the post were released as soon as the fire was carried around them. So the animal or human sacrifice was only symbolic.

3.We hear the story of first intended human sacrifice—the story of Sunashepa- happenedduring the 28 the king of Solar dynasty, Ikshvaku being the first king. So before Harischandra there was none or after Harischandra none was taken to sacrifice. That means it was only symbolic, because even Sunashepa was ‘rescued’ by Visvamitra.

Yupa is found in

RV 5-2-7 ( of Sunashepa); 1-51-14

AV 9-6-22; 12-1-38;13-1-47

Tait.sam 6-3-4; 7-2-1

Vaja. am.19-17



Yupa post | Tamil and Vedas


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Ancient name of the river is Parusni. There is a similar sounding word Hariyupia – in the Rig Veda. Few scholars identify it with Harappa of Indus Valley Civilization. Rig Veda describes it a as a Vedic city with Yupa posts of golden colours!! Rig Vedic Index by A B Keith and A A Macdonell gives the following information:.


Fire altar Mystery in Sangam Literature

mystery solved | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/tag/mystery-solved/ – Translate this page

2 Aug 2016 – –source: A Dictionary of Vedic Rituals. Tamil Mystery solved! My comments: There is a verse in Sangam Tamil literature (Akananuru verse 361) where a simile about a tortoise is not explained by any one Tamil commentator correctly. After reading the above passage of placing a live tortoise on a layer, we …





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