The Grihya Sutras: Rules of Vedic Domestic Ceremonies (Set of Two Volumes)


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The Grihya-sutra ascribed to Sankhayana, which has been edited and translated into German by myself in the XVth volume of the Indische Studien, is based on the first of the four Vedas, the Rig-veda in the Bashkala recension, and among the Brahmana texts, on the Kaushitaka. Its reputed author, whom we ordinarily find called by his family name, Sankhayana, had the proper name Suyagna. This we may infer from the lists of Vedic teachers given in different Grihya texts where they describe the Tarpasa ceremony. Though in these lists the order of names varies very much, yet the two names Suyagita and Sankhayana are constantly placed side by side, so that this fact alone would render it probable that they belonged to the same person. Thus we read in the Sankhayana-Grihya IV, 10 = VI, I :

Kaholam Kaushitakim, Mahakaushitakise, Suyagnam Sankhayanam, Asvalayanam, Aitareyam, Mahaitareyam. Here we have grouped together the two Brahmana authors (with the fictitious doubles, the great Kaushitaki, the great Aitareya) and the two corresponding Sutra authors belonging to the two chief branches of the Rigveda literature; first comes one Brahmana author (for Kahola Kaushitaki is one person) with the Sutra author connected with him, then the second Sutra author and the corresponding Brahmana teacher.

In the Sambavya-Grihya (Indische Studien, XV, 154) the corresponding passage runs thus:

Gargya- Gautarna- Sakalya- Babhravya- Mandattavya [sic} Mandukeyah Suyagna- Samkhyayana- Gatukar- nyeyah [sic] Paimga [sic]- Sambavy' -Aitareyah.

The same Grihya still more explicitly bears witness to the name of Suyagna Sankhayana, by adding at the end of the list from which these names are quoted the following words: Suyagna Sakhayanas [sic] tri [pya] tu, i. e. ' May Suyagna Sankhayana satiate himself (with the water offering).'

In the Asvalayana-Grihya III, 4, we read: Kaholam Kaushitakam Mahakaushitakam Paingyam Mahapaingyam Suyagnam Sailkhayanam Aitareyam Mahaitareyam.

We may also quote here a Karika given by Narayana in his great commentary on the Sankhayana-Grihya (I, I, 10):

Atraranipradanam yad adhvaryuh kurute kvakit matam tan na Suyagnasya, mathitam so 'tra nekkhati.

It would perhaps be hazardous to claim for the author of this Karika the authority of an independent witness, for very likely he may have derived his knowledge from the lists of teachers which we have quoted before. But at all events the concordance of the three Grihya texts furnishes a proof which, I think, cannot be set aside by another testimony which we must mention now. At the end of the Kaushitaki-Aranyaka (Adhyaya 15) we find a Vamsa or list of the teachers by whom the knowledge contained in that Aranyaka is supposed to have been handed- down. The opening words of this list run thus:

‘Om! Now follows the Vamsa. Adoration to the Brahman! Adoration to the teachers! We have learnt (this text) from Gunakhya Sankhayana, Gunakhya Sankhayana from Kahola Kaushitaki, Kahola Kaushitaki from Uddalaka Aruni, &c.'

It is a very natural supposition that the author of this list intended to begin with the name of the Doctor eponymus, if we may say so, of the Sutras of his school, and then to proceed to name the Doctor eponymus of the Brahmanas, and after him the more ancient teachers and sages. But whether the author of this passage really supposed this Gunakhya Sankhayana to be the author of the Sankhayana-sutras, or not, we shall be justified in following rather the unanimous statements of the texts previously quoted, and in accepting in accordance with them, as the full name of our Sutrakara, die name Suyagna Sankhayana.

The Grihya-sutra which has been here translated presupposes, as all Grihya-sutras do, the existence of the Srauta-sutra, with which it is intimately connected and which is referred to in the Grihya in several instances.

Here the question arises whether the Grihya-sutra was composed by the same author to whom the authorship of the Srauta-sutra belongs, so that the two texts form together, and would, in the conception of their author, be intended to form, one great body of Sutras, or, on the other hand, whether the Grihya-sutra is a later addition to the Srauta-sutra. On this question I have ventured, in the preface to my German edition of Sankhayana, to offer a few remarks which, however, I feel bound to say do not seem to myself quite decisive. I there pointed out that the Grihya- sutra contains a few aphorisms which we should rather expect would have found their place in the Srauta-sutra, if the two texts were composed by the same author and on a common plan. But, apart from the possibility that in a work of such considerable extent as that collection of Sutras would be, such trifling incongruences or irregularities might very easily escape the attention even of a very careful author, there is still another objection that may be urged against the inference drawn by me from such passages. It can be shown that the Grihya texts which we possess are based to some extent on one common original, from which they have taken verbatim, or nearly verbatim, a certain number of aphorisms. Thus if we were to suppose that Sankhayana, or whosoever the author of this Grihya-sutra may have been, found the aphorisms on which I once based my argument, in that original text, this would explain the occurrence of those passages In a portion of the great body of Sutras different from that in which we should expect to meet them. Now several of the passages in question recur identically in other Grihya texts, so that we may infer indeed that they are taken from that lost original, and we have no means to judge whether the other similar passages are not taken from it also. I believe, therefore, that the opinion which I once pronounced regarding the relation in which the two Sutra texts stand to each other, cannot be vindicated, and that it is better to leave that question unanswered until perhaps further discoveries throw a new light on it.




Introduction 3
Translation 12
Introduction 153
Translation 159
Introduction 263
Translation 269
Introduction 371
Translation 374
Transliteration of Orient Alphabets adopted for the Translations of the Sacred Books of the East 437



We begin our introductory remarks on the Iiterature of the Grihya-sutras with the attempt to collect the more important data which throw light on the development of the Grihya ritual during the oldest period of Hindu antiquity.

There are, as it seems, no direct traces of the Grihya ceremonies in the most ancient portion of Vedic literature. It is certain indeed that a number of the most important of those ceremonies are contemporaneous with or even earlier than the most ancient hymns of the Rig-veda, as far as their fundamental elements and character are concerned, whatever their precise arrangement may have been. However,

Item Code: NAM242
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 2007
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: Vol.1: 9788120801301  |  Vol.2: 9788120801318
Language: English
Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Pages: 862
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.3 kg