Prior to the performance of a Vedic yāga (yaga ; a holy fire-ritual) called ‘Upasat’, the Somalatā (the creeper named Soma, sacred to the Vedic rituals) is sprinkled with water in order to keep it alive. This act is called the āpyāyana (apyayana; gesture of greeting) of Soma. This act is performed for three days, in the morning and the evening.
The later Purāṇas (Purana; Mythological Scriptures), too, remember this procedure of keeping the Somalatā alive, though the sense of greeting and refreshing-act is manifested in such a way that the meaning of Soma has been taken as ‘Candra’ (Chandra; the Moon) —
eṣā sūryasya vīryeṇa somasyāpyāitā tanuḥ.
Much later, the term āpyāyana has been confused into the sense of greeting and invitation, kuśala praśna (kusala prasna; customary asking of one’s well-being) and expressing goodwill for a good fortune. It is said, ‘I wish to blessed with the benevolence of Pitṛloka so that my tapasyā (tapasya; ascetic practice)develops’ –
pitṛprasādādicceyaṁ tapa āpyāyanṁ punaḥ.
Here , in Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), the term āpyāyana has been used in the sense of development, or in the sense of ‘pleasing’ or ‘satisfying’. As in Manusaṁhitā (Manusamhita) it is said that one should first please Agni, Soma, and Yamadeva with āpyāyana and the offering of havi (the sacred ghee), and then only holy water should be offered to the souls of forefathers. In Matsyapurāṇa (Matsyapurana), the words of Manu have been reiterated three times. in the very final śloka 9sloka; verse), the āpyāyana performed during śrāddha(sraddha; rites dedicated to the deceased) is also used in the sense of pleasing.