Apastamba Yajna-paribhasa-sutras

by Hermann Oldenberg | 1892 | 12,023 words

These Sutras give some general information about the performance of sacrifices, and may prove useful to the students both of the Shrauta and the Grihya sacrifices. Paribhasha is defined as a general rule or definition applicable throughout a whole system, and more binding than any particular rule. Alternative titles: Āpastamba-yajña-paribhāṣā-sūtr...



As Professor Oldenberg was unable to find any other texts connected with the Gṛhya-sūtras, I have tried to bring this volume to its proper size by adding a translation of Āpastamba's Yajña-Paribhāṣā-sūtras. These Sūtras give some general information about the performance of sacrifices, and may prove useful to the students both of the Śrauta and the Gṛhya sacrifices. Paribhāṣā is defined as a general rule or definition applicable throughout a whole system, and more binding than any particular rule. How well this sense of paribhāṣā was understood in India, we may see from a passage in the Śiśupālavadha XVI, 80:

Paritaḥ pramitākṣarāpi sarvaṃ
viṣayam prāptavatī gatā pratiṣṭhām
na khalu pratihanyate kutaścit
paribhāṣeva garīyasī yadājñā.

'Whose (the king's) command, though brief, having reached the whole kingdom round about and obtained authority, is never defeated, being of the highest weight, like a Paribhāṣā.'

These Paribhāṣās are a very characteristic invention of ancient Indian authors, particularly during the Sūtra period. We find them as early as the Anukramaṇīs, and even at that early time they had been elaborated with many purely technical contrivances. Thus we are told in the Index to the Ṛg-veda that, as a general rule, if no deity is mentioned in the index of the hymns, Indra must be supposed to be the deity addressed; when no metre is mentioned, the metre must be understood to be the Tṛṣṭubh; at the beginning of each Maṇḍala the hymns must be taken to be addressed to Agni, till we come to hymns distinctly addressed to Indra. Now it is clear that in this case these Paribhāṣās or general instructions must have been laid down before the whole work was carried out. The same applies to other Paribhāṣās, such as those of the metrical Sūtras, but I feel more doubtful as to the Paribhāṣās in the grammatical Sūtras of Pāṇini. To judge from the Paribhāṣenduśekhara, it would seem that the Paribhāṣā-sūtras to Pāṇini's grammar also had been settled before a single Sūtra of Pāṇini was composed, and yet it seems almost incredible that this gigantic web of Sūtras should have been woven on so complicated a warp. This question ought to be settled once for all, as it would throw considerable light on the workmanship of Pāṇini's Sūtras, and there is no one better qualified to settle it for us than the learned editor of the Paribhāṣenduśekhara. It is different with our Paribhāṣās. There is no necessity to suppose that they were worked out first, before the Sūtras were composed. They look more like useful generalisations than like indispensable preliminary instructions. They give us a general idea of the sacrifice, and inculcate rules that ought to be observed throughout. But I doubt whether they are as essential for enabling the priest to carry out the instructions of the Sūtras in performing a sacrifice as the grammatical paribhāṣās are in carrying out the grammatical rules of Pāṇini.

The Āpastamba-sūtras for which our Paribhāṣās are intended are said to have comprised thirty Praśnas (see Burnell, Catalogue, p. 19, and p. xxix in Professor Oldenberg's Introduction). Burnell mentions that sometimes two Praśnas, treating of the Paitṛmedhika rites, were counted as the thirty-first and thirty-second of the whole work. Of these thirty Praśnas fifteen have been edited with Rudradatta's commentary by Professor Garbe in the Bibliotheca Indica, 1882-1885. Rudradatta's commentary does not seem to have extended beyond the fifteenth Praśna; some authorities, however, suppose that Haradatta, to whom commentaries on the later Praśnas are ascribed, was only another name for Rudradatta. According to Caunḍappa's Prayogaratnamālā (see Burnell, Classified Index, I, p. 17 a), the Paribhāṣā-sūtras formed part of the twenty-fourth Praśna (caturviṃśe tataḥ praśne nyāyaprāvarahautrakam).

Here Nyāya in the sense of method, way, plan, seems to stand for Paribhāṣā. Another name is Sāmānya-sūtra (see Burnell, Classified Index, p. 15 b, where it is mentioned as § 4 of Praśna XXIV). Kauṇḍappācārya himself, who is said to have been minister of Vīrabhūpati, the son of the famous king Bukka of Vijayanagara, begins his work with a paribhāṣā-pariccheda.

I published a German translation of these Sūtras with notes many years ago, in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1855. I here give the same translation, but I have shortened the notes and compared the translation once more with the MSS.

The principal MSS. used are MS. I.O.L. 1676 b, 259, and 1127. MS. 1676 b, now 308, is described in Professor Eggeling's Catalogue of the Sanskrit MSS. in the Library of the India Office, vol. i, p. 58 b. It is written in Devanāgarī, contains thirty leaves, and is called at the end iti Śrikapardinā bhāṣye uddhṛtasāram paribhāṣāpaṭalam. MS. 259, now 309, contains twenty-seven leaves in Devanāgarī, and is called at the end iti Kapardisvāmi-bhāṣye paribhāṣāpaṭalam. MS. 1127, now 307, in Devanāgarī, is dated Samvat 1691, Śāka 1556, and contains on 220 leaves portions of Tālavṛndanivāsin's manual, the Āpastambasūtra-prayoga-vṛtti, and on pp. 75 a-116 a Kapardisvāmin's commentary on Āpastamba's Paribhāṣāpaṭalam. Burnell mentions another copy of this work in his Classified Index, I, p. 17 b, and he states (Catalogue, p. 24) that, according to tradition, the author was a native of Southern India, called Aṇḍappiḷḷai, and that tālavṛnda or tālavṛnta is a translation of the Tamil panai-kkāṭu, a very common name for villages among palmyra trees (panai = palmyra, kāṭu = forest).

While preparing my new translation for the Press, I received a printed edition of the text and commentary published by Śri Satyavratasāmaśramibhaṭṭācārya in his valuable Journal, the Uṣā, beginning in the eighth fasciculus. He gives also a Bengali translation, and some commentaries in the same language, which have proved useful in certain difficult passages.

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