Srautakosa (Encyclopedia of Vedic Sacrificial Ritual Sanskrit and English) (In Eight Volumes)(An Old Book)


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From Volume I

Based on the Srautasutra belonging to the various Vedic Schools
The seven Havis-sacrifices together with the relevant Optional and Expiatory Rites and the Pitrmedha.


The Two Sections of the Srautakosa

A detailed statement regarding the scheme of the Srautakosa is embodied in the Preface to the Sanskrit Section, which is reproduced also in the present English Section. It will be seen from that statement that the English Section constitutes a necessary complement to the Sanskrit Section and that the two Sections together complete the Srautakosa. The Sanskrit Section comprises portions from the Samhitas, Brahmanas, and Aranyakas, relating to the various details of the Vedic sacrifices, which latter are arranged according to a specific plan. It also gives, under corresponding topics, the relevant portions from the, Baudhayana Srautasutra; The English Section closely follows the order of the treatment Of the Vedic sacrificial ritual adopted in the Sanskrit Section. •It first? Gives the literal translation in English of the Baudhayana Srautasutra as rearranged under various topics in the Sanskrit Section. The translation of each such portion from the BaudhSS relating to a sacrificial rite or a T group of rites is followed by the English translation of the portions from other Srautasutras relating to the corresponding rites or groups of rites. For reasons mentioned elsewhere, the Sanskrit originals of these portions from the Sutras (other than the BaudhSS) have not been included in the Sanskrit Section. While giving their English translation in the present Section, the following procedure has been adopted :

(i) After the BaudhSS, the other Srautasutras are treated in the following order: Bharadvaja, Apastamba, Satyasadha, Vaikhanasa, Manava, Varaha, Katyayana, Asvalayana, Sankhyayana, Latyayana, Drahyayana, Jaiminiya and Vaitana. Certain Grhya and other Sutras have also been taken into account wherever necessary.

(ii) Such portions from a particular Sutra, as agree with the corresponding portions from the BaudhSS _or any of the preceding Sutras, have not been translated. The aim has always been to draw attention to the points of divergence in respect of a sacrificial rite or a part of it to be found in different Sutras. The portions from the Srautasutras thus omitted in the translation have, however, been indicated by means of the sign (-). T Where there is complete identity between a particular Sutra on the one hand and the BaudhSS or any other preceding Sutra on the other, the sign (E) is used; where there is partial identity, the sign ( é ) is used. Though; there- fore, the Sutras other than the BaudhSS have not been translated in their entirety, it is quite possible, on account of the devices mentioned above, to reconstruct their whole ritual.

The English Section of the Srautakosa thus aims. at reproducing, in a systematic manner, all that the Srautasutras have to say about a particular ritual or a part of it. And the Sanskrit Section and the English Section together present, partly in Sanskrit and partly in English, the entire Vedic material pertaining to the various aspects of the complex sacrificial ritual, and thereby enable one to form a comparative estimate of the evolution of that ritual in the different Vedic schools.

The Vedic Ritual

It is proposed to include, in the last Volume of the Srautakosa, a fairly detailed essay on the various aspects of the theory and practice of Vedic sacrifice. A few general, observations may, however, be made at this stage. According to the ancient Purva Mimamsa tradition, the Veda is essentially kriyartha; that is to say, its main purpose is to lay down injunctions relating to the performance of sacrifice. The nature of sacrifice —which is, indeed, the only true Dharma—can, therefore, be adequately realised only through these Vedic injunctions. The Veda is claimed to be apauruseya. No human agency is believed to have been responsible for its creation. Naturally enough, sacrifice, which is supposed to be the principal subject-matter of the Veda, is also believed to be apauruseya. One cannot accordingly speak of the institution of sacrifice as having been devised by any human agency. Verily, it is as immemorial as the Veda itself. Traditionally, the study of the Veda is obligatory on all persons belonging to the first three social orders. So too is the performance of sacrifice which is enjoined by the Veda.

An important feature of the Vedic sacrificial ritual is that it is believed to aim at both the emancipation of the individual as well as the progress _of the society. Sacrifice not only conduces to the spiritual enlightenment and improvement of the sacrificer and the officiating priests, but it also proves to be a powerful means of promoting social solidarity and progress. In the history of the Vedic Aryans, there was a time when sacrifice had become the very centre of the social and cultural life of the entire community. 'It had, indeed, very significantly influenced almost every field of activity of the Vedic people. Naturally enough, therefore, the Vedic ritual constituted the main theme of a major portion of the Vedic literature. Though, according to the scriptures, only persons belonging to certain specific social orders were entitled to perform a sacrifice, so far as its actual performance was concerned, people belonging to all strata of the society were involved in it, in one way or another. Every responsible constituent of the Vedic community, accordingly, took a personal interest in the performance of a sacrifice-a fact which went a long way in promoting a kind of communal solidarity. The importance of Vedic sacrifice as a significant social force in the cultural history of ancient India can, therefore, be hardly overestimated. It may be further pointed out that it was the Vedic sacrificial ritual which had, in a sense, created the necessary background for the evolution of the philosophy of the Upanisads. A study of the institution of Vedic sacrifice is, therefore, very essential for a proper understanding and estimate of Vedic literature, religion and philosophy, and culture.

It is, however, not only from the point of view of the cultural history of ancient India that the study of Vedic ritual is important. Its study is important also from the larger anthropological point of view. For, the e ideology underlying the Vedic sacrifice marks a distinct stage in the evolution ‘of human thought as a whole.

Literature on Vedic Ritual

The literary basis of the Vedic ritual is, obviously, the Veda. The Veda comprises the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanisads. The Upanisads, which form the concluding portion of the Veda (Vedanta), are, however, not directly related to ritual practices. After the Veda proper are to be mentioned, in the present context, the Srautasutras, which deal with the Vedic sacrifice in a systematic and detailed manner, strictly following the Samhitas and the Brahmanas including the Aranyakas. It is, therefore, customary to regard the Srautasutras as a component part of the Vedic literature, though they do not claim to be apauruseya.

A close study of the Vedic literature shows that the literary tradition of several Vedic schools has been lost in course of time. Nevertheless, the tradition of the Vedic ritual practices as such has been preserved, through the centuries, in a fairly complete form. The credit for this must in the main belong to the Srautasutras and the various works on Purva Mimamsa which had been produced from time to time.

There had also been produced practical manuals on ritual, called Prayogas, for the use of the priests officiating at different sacrifices. These manuals normally related themselves to specific Vedic schools. And the fact that, in a single Vedic school, there sometimes existed different traditions of ritual practices, as represented in these Prayogas, speaks for the wide sway which the institution of sacrifice generally held over the life of the people. Practical manuals like the Prayogas must certainly have been indispensable for the officiating priests, and they must have been written from very early times. There is, indeed, a view that some sort of Prayogas must have been in vogue even before the compilation of the Srautasutras proper.‘ On the other hand, it has been suggested that "the performance of sacrifices was taught as a practical art, and that the theoretic instruction supplied by the Brahmanas was conveyed orally in connection with such practical performances. That the latter was the case is sufficiently evident from the constant occurrence in the Brahmanas of demonstrative pronouns and particles_ of a ‘deictic’ force." “It is, however, difficult to believe that the knowledge of the ritual practices had been transmitted from the time of the Brahmanas to that of the Srautasutras only through oral tradition. The Srautasutras themselves seem to presuppose the existence of some written manuals. Like the Brahmanas, the Srautasutras also often use demonstrative pronouns.’ The reason for this must be traced to the normal practice of the earlier manuals which, even while committing the ritual practices to writing, presupposed the instructions of a theoretical character being given orally. Again, the Srautasutras, many times, prescribe suitable grammatical modifications (uha) in respect of certain yajus. In view of the difference between the spoken language and the scriptural language in the time of the Sutras, such complicated modifications could not have come down merely through oral tradition.

The Prayogas are at present available mostly in manuscript form. Very few Srauta Prayogas have been printed so far. The Prayogas are, no doubt, considerably helpful in the matter of the understanding of the Srautasutras; but they have to be used with some reservation. For, they often tend to effect modifications in the original rites, partly under the influence of other Vedic schools and partly on account of the chanced circumstances. A comparative study of the different Prayogas in relation to the corresponding Srautasutras, on the one hand, and the other Prayogas belonging to the same school, on the other, is an important but a vast subject, which demands independent treatment.

From Volume II


We have great pleasure in presenting to the public the second Part of the English Section of Srautakosa, Vol. I. It is highly gratifying for us that the First Part, which was published in 1958, has been unanimously received by scholars with approbation‘. While expressing our sincere thanks to all of them for their kind words of appreciation and encouragement, we would like to take this opportunity to consider certain suggestions made by some of them in the course of their reviews and private communications.

In the English Section, Part I, verses or yajus occurring in a Sutra- text have not been translated. The reasons for this have already been given r in the Preface to that Part (p. 12). It was, however, suggested by one of` the reviewers that the translation of the entire verse or yajus•(irrespective of whether it was quoted in full or merely indicated by pratika in the Sutra- text) should have been given at each occurrence of that verse or yajus; for, such a translation, it was claimed, might throw some useful light on the true nature and significance of the rite with which that verse or yajus was connected. Without examining, at this stage, the validity of this claim in detail, we may say that, after careful consideration of the point, we thought it fit not to change our policy in this regard in this second Part of the first Volume. This decision was, no doubt, prompted, to a large extent, by practical considerations. To give the translation of entire verses or yajus would have meant considerable increase in the size of the Volume. It would have been necessary to repeat in full the translation of a particular verse or yajus as many times as that verse or yajus might occur in the different Sutra-texts. This would have further added to the size of the Volume. Moreover, as pointed out in the Preface of the first Part, translations of most of these verses and e yajus are now more or less easily available. There was another, perhaps more substantial, reason why the practice of reproducing only the pratikas of the mantras was continued. It was felt that a comparison of the rituals as given in the different Sutra- texts would be much facilitated by referring to the original verse or yajus rather than to its translation.

It was suggested by another reviewer that at least such verses and yajus, as are not traceable to any of the Samhitas or other Vedic texts but are known only from the.Sr2tras, should have been translated. This point had already occurred to us; but we did not accept it for two main reasons. Firstly, we thought that it would look a little odd if only some mantras were translated while a far larger number of them were represented through pratikas.

Secondly, the mantras occurring only in the Sutras often presented defective text and naturally involved many exegetical problems. We thought that the discussion of these problems, without which a translation was neither possible nor desirable, would not be quite apropos.

In the first Part, while giving; the translation of the various topically rearranged portions from the Baudhayana Srautasutra, the references to the original sutras relating to a particular topic as also to the sutras in the Dvaidha, the Karmanta, and the Prayascitta portions relevant to that topic were all given together at the beginning of that topic. It was suggested by one of the reviewers that the references to the different portions of the Sutra- texts should be given separately at the proper places so that the under- standing of the different portions of the Sutra-text might be facilitated. This suggestion has been accepted, and, accordingly, in this Part, the references to the different portions of the Baudhayana Srautasutra are given both at the beginning of a topic and also where the translations of the different portions begin.

The plan of this second Part otherwise closely follows that of the first. The pagination and the numbering of the chapters in this Part are in continuation of the first Part. The second Part accordingly begins with p. 539 and Chapter VII.

From Volume III

Based on the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Baudhayanasrautasutra) Agnistoma with Pravargya


We have great pleasure in presenting to the world of scholars the First Part of the Sanskrit Section of the Second Volume of the Srautakosa. It may be recalled that the project of the Srautakosa is scheduled to consist of four Volumes in all. Volumes I-III, each comprising a Sanskrit Section and an English Section, will describe in detail the entire Vedic ritual partly through original texts and partly through English translations, while Volume IV will contain Mantra-register, glossary of technical terms, and charts and diagrams of the various sacrificial Viharas and implements. The Sanskrit Section and Part 1 of the English Section of the First Volume of the Srautakosa were published in 1958, and Part 2 of the English Section of that Volume was published by the end of 1962.

I now this First Part of the Sanskrit Section of Volume II of the Srautakosa is being brought out after an interval of over seven years. This delay, which is sincerely regretted, has been caused by many factors over which we hardly had any control. As a matter of fact, according to our plan, the whole of the Sanskrit Section of Volume II was to appear in a single book. It was, however, decided to divide the Section into two Parts, and first publish its First Part which deals with the Agnistoma. And this for two reasons 2 firstly, if the entire Sanskrit Section were to be published in a single book, that book would be too bulky; and, secondly-and this is perhaps more pertinent-the publication of the entire Section would have meant further delay since the subject-matter to be dealt with in the latter Part of the Section, namely, the six out of the seven Soma—sacrifices and the Ekahas which are characterized as the modified forms of Agnistoma, is found to be far too complicated and time—consuming.

In the preparation of the present Part of the Sanskrit Section of Volume II of the Srautakosa we have generally adopted the same pattern as in connection with the Sanskrit Section- of Volume I. This Part gives the Mantra- and Brahmana-portions from •all the available Vedic texts, arranged under different topics, as also the relevant portions from the Baudhayana Srautasutra. As before, the mantras have been reproduced without accents. The sacrifice dealt with in this Part is the Agnistoma—-the basic Soma—sacrif1ce——together with the Ekadasini and the Prayascittas, and the entire subject-matter has been presented in 3.81 significant sections. V It may be noted that, whereas the rituals described in the Sanskrit Section of Volume I were mainly based on two Vedas, namely, the Yajurveda and the Rgveda, those described in the present Part are based on three Vedas, namely, the Yajurveda, the Rgveda and the Samaveda. As for the Sanskrit Section of Volume I, so too for this Part, the Atharvaveda has been taken into account wherever necessary.

The duties of the Adhvaryu and his assistants are usually to be carried out in accordance with the Yajurveda, those of the Hotr and his assistants in accordance with the Rgveda, and those of the Udgatr and his assistants in accordance with the Samaveda. In some cases the Brahman and his assistants perform their duties according to the Atharvaveda. However, most of the rites in the Agnistoma——and for that matter of a any Soma-sacrifice—mainly involve the duties of the Adhvaryus, the Udgatrs, and the Hotrs, and are there- fore dealt with under separate sections relating to these latter. The duties of the Brahman have not been assigned separate sections.

In their L’Agnistoma’ Caland and Henry have described the ritual of the Agnistoma under a number of heads. These have, no doubt, been duly taken into account, but we think that our arrangement of the different sections is more convenient and appropriate.

As in the earlier volume, black type has been used for the Mantra- portion and a thinner one for the Brahmana—portion. Mantras or Mantra- like passages such as Praises etc, occurring within the Brahmana—portion, have been printed in black. Though the Brahmana belonging to a particular Veda generally confines itself to the treatment of the duties of the officiating priests connected with that Veda, it sometimes incidentally deals with the duties of the other groups of priests also. In such cases, portion, from the Vedic text, in which a particular subject —•is treated as a principal subject, is recorded first and that from the text, in which that subject is only incidentally dealt with, is reproduced later. For example, when the Taittiriya texts, whose principal theme is the Adhvaryava, incidentally deal with the Hautra, those Hautra portions from the Taittiriya texts are recorded only after the relevant Hautra portions from the Aitareya and the Sankhayana Brahman; s. As a rule, the Mantras are given first, and are then followed by the relevant Brahmana- portions. Sometimes it happens—and this, particularly in respect of the Taittiriya recession——that the Mantras to be reproduced in a particular section are scattered at two or more different places in the Taittiriya Samhita, and are also found in the Taittiriya Brahmana. Similar is the case with regard to the Brahmana—portions. In such cases, the Mantra and the Brahmana portions are reproduced intermixedly, generally in accordance with the order of the ritual. However, the Mantras always precede the relevant Brahmana portion.

The employment of Mantra from any Samhita is primarily governed by the relevant Brahmana—portion. When the Brahmana is not quite clear about the extent of any Mantra to be employed, one has naturally to `depend upon the Srautasutra belonging to that Vedic recension. When, however, there are more such Srautasutras than one, the problem becomes complicated. In such gases, it is natural and reasonable to honour the authority of the oldest of the Srauta sutras belonging to that recension. So far as the Taittiriya recension is concerned, we have followed the lead of the Baudhayana Srauta sutra in the matter of dividing the mantras from one another. The Taittiriya Brahmana has its own system of punctuation. It has been generally followed, except in the case of the Hautra-portion where a pause has been shown only at the end of a verse—half, and not at the end of a quarter-verse.] As in Volume I, here too the end of a Mantra is indicated by two vertical strokes.

With a view to reducing the bulk of the Volume, identical Mantra-portions have been shown simply b pratikas. Thus when a Mantra from the Maitrayani, the Kathaka, etc., is exactly indentical with that from the Taittiriya text which proceeds, it is indicated only by pratika. This practice was adopted also in Volume I. The manner of citing references as adopted in Volume I was that, in the case of the of the Rgveda and the Atharvaveda, the reference was given at the end of each Mantra, while in the case of the Yajurveda – Krsna and Sukla – it was given in an abbreviated form at the beginning. Only a minor change has been made in the present Part, namely, that the reference to a Mantra from the Sukla Yajurveda – Madhyandina and Kanva – has been given at the end of that Mantra as in the case of Mantras from the Rgveda and the Atharvaveda.

From Volume IV

The Other Six Forms of the Soma-sacrifice – also containing the Agnistoma Expiation-Rites


It is with a sense of modest fulfillment that I take up the pen to write this brief preface. For, with the publication of this Third Part of the English Section of the Second Volume of the Srautakosa, the great research project, which the Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala had initiated nearly forty years ago, is, to a large extent, now being brought to completion. I am particularly happy that I could include in this Part the Agnistoma Expiation- Rites which should have actually found place in Part II of the English Section of Volume II.

On this occasion, I remember with respectful gratitude all persons who had been associated with this project in one way or another through all these years.

In the preparation of this Part, I have, as usual, derived invaluable help from my long lime colleague Professor C. G. Kashikar, who is now rightly recognized as one of the leading exponents of the literature and practice of Vedic Ritual. However, our special relationship forbids any formal thanksgiving.

Thanks are due to the staff of the Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala for their ready cooperation.

From Volume V

Encyclopedia of Vedic Sacrificial Ritual comprising the two complementary Sections, namely, the Sanskrit Section and the English Section.


The English Section of the second volume of the Srautakosa differs from the English Section of the first volume in one very significant respect. % In the English Section of the first volume, the translation of the Baudh5yana-Srauta- sutra—as rearranged in the Sanskrit Section under various topics-was given in full and this was followed by the English translation of only such extracts from the corresponding portions of the other Srautasutras as showed some divergence in the details of the procedure of the relevant sacrificial rite or of a part of it. But this practice often proved to be inconvenient and also inadequate. It has, therefore, been decided henceforth to give under each topic the English translation of the entire pertinent portions from all the Smutasi2tms— the order of the Srautasutras adopted in the English Section of the first volume being retained. It may, however, be added that, even in the present English Section, the old practice has been followed at a few places in connection with the Latyayana-and the Drahyayana-Srautasutras.

The second volume of the Srautasutra deals with only one—and perhaps the most important-sacrifice, namely, the Agnistoma. As in the case of the first volume, the English Section, complementary to the Sanskrit Section of this volume, will also be published in two parts. The present first part covers sixty topics. THQ remaining topics, the conspectus, and the other ancillaries will be included in the second part.

The English Section of the first volume, it was felt, was rather loaded with words printed in italics. An attempt has now been made to avoid this as far as possible. Some other typographical changes also have been introduced for the sake of the facility of reading and comprehension. These can be easily detected.

For the nature and scope of the Srautasutra and other details of methodology and presentation, reference is invited to the prefaces to the two parts of the English Section of the first volume.

I have to acknowledge with gratitude the constant help which I have received in the preparation of this Section from my friend and colleague, Dr. C. G. Kashikar. He carefully went through the first draft of my work and made many useful suggestions. I must, however, hasten to add that the responsibility for the final presentation rests entirely with me. Another colleague on whom I have relied is Dr. V. V. Bhide. Dr. T. N. Dharmadhikari of the Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala bore a large share of the burden in the matter of the printing of the present part of the English Section. I sincerely thank him for his assistance.

From Volume VI

English Section (Based on the Srautasutras belonging to the various Vedic Schools) Part II – The Agnistoma (continued) and The Ekadasini.


This second part of the English Section of the second volume of the Srautakosa completes the treatment of the Agnistoma and the Ekadasini as presented in the various Srautasutras. However, much to my chagrin, it has not been possible to include in this part the expiatory rites relating to these sacrifices.

As pointed out in the Preface to the first part, in the English Section of the second volume of the Srautakosa, the English translation of the entire relevant portions from all the Srautasutras has been given under each topic.

The debt of gratitude which I owe to my friend and colleague, Dr. C. G. KASHIKAR, for the constant help which I have received from him in the preparation of this Section defies adequate acknowledgement. He carefully went through the first draft of my translation and made many useful suggestions. However, the responsibility for the final presentation is entirely mine.

I have also to thank my young colleagues at the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Poona, for the Index. This Index covers both the parts of the English Section of the second volume. The BORI —Press deserves credit for the careful and expeditious printing of this part.

From Volume VII

(Based on the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Baudhayanasrautasutra) The seven Havis-sacrifices together with the relevant Optional and Expiatory Rites and the Pitrmedha.

From Volume VIII

The seven Soma-sacrifices, subsequent to the Agnistoma


The Second Part of the Srautakosa Vol. II (Sanskrit) is now being published The First Part was published in 1970. There are of course reasons which are responsible for the delay in publishing this Part. I may be allowed to explain the facts so far as my position as the Editor of the present Part is concerned.

I retired from the services of the Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala in October 1967 when the First Part of the Srautakosa Volume II (Sanskrit) was still under print. Even after my retirement, I looked through the proofs, wrote the preface and thus completed the Part. The Part was published on July 18th, 1970. I was indeed sorry to leave the Srautakosa project midway. After my retirement from the Mandala, Part I and II of Srautakosa Volume II (English) were edited by Dr. R. N. Dandekar and were published respectively in 1973 and 1982. I rendered to Dr. Dandekar whatever help he asked for, as he himself has mentioned in his prefatory Words. With these two parts the English rendering of the srautasutra - portions dealing with the Agnistoma and arranged topic wise was made available to scholars.

In order that the Sanskrit version of the Srautakosa may take a step forward, the authorities of the Mandala approached me in 1985 and asked me to prepare at least one more Part of Volume II, There was the Sastracudamani scheme brought into operation by the Central Education Ministry under which a retired teacher or Pandit could do teaching or research work in association with an institution of learning. The appointment was initially for two years and could be extended by one year. The scheme was in operation at the Mandala. In consideration of my long association with the Mandala and the Srautakosa project, I agreed to edit Part II of Srautakosa Volume II (Sanskrit) under that scheme. I had to work singly; the help of my former colleague at the Srautakosa project Dr. V. V. Bhide was no more available to me since he had unfortunately passed away in 1985. I commenced the editorial work in October 1986 and finished it in September 1989. The scheme of the present Part prepared by me was approved by the Advisory Committee.

The present Part deals with the six Somasamsthas subsequent to the Agnistoma which formed Part I. According to the original plan, the Srautakosa Volume II was to comprise the seven S0ma—sacrifices, the Ekahas and the Rajasuya. So even with this Part II, the originally planned Volume II (Sanskrit) has not become complete.

So far as the Mantra—Brahmana portions are concerned, the present Part II mainly follows the plan of Part I of Volume II. The Mantra; and Brahmana—portions in Part I Agnistoma which are collected from the various texts mentioned in the prefaces to Volumes I and II (Sanskrit) and arranged topic wise have been spread over 181 sections. Many of these pertain to the Adhvaryava together with Brahmanas and Yajamana; others deal with the Hautra and Audgatra. The Agnistoma serves as the norm for the six Soma-sacrifices treated in this Part and also for any Soma sacrifice-Ekaha, Ahina or Sutra. The second of the Soma sacrifices with which the present Part commences, namely, Atyagnistomo is not treated in the Brahmanas even though it is mentioned in some of them. It is treated by the authors of the Srautasutras. The 181 sections of Agnistoma have therefore been taken as the basis for the description of each of the subsequent sacrifices. Each of these sacrifices involves the offering of