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...

Sūtras 51-75


It is the same with numbers.


If we read that, as in the case of fees to be given to priests, two, seven, eleven, twelve, twenty-one, sixty, or a hundred, this means that either one or the other, not that all should be given at the same time.



But accumulation is meant in the buying (of Soma), in the redemption, and in initiation.


When it is said that Soma is bought for a goat, gold, &c., that it is re-bought from the priests by means of a fee, or that at the time of the Dīkṣā, the purification and initiation of a sacrificer, clothes, gold, grain, &c., should be given, these are cases not of aut-aut but of et-et.

The Soma-plant, which is supposed to be bought from northern barbarians, is botanically described in an Āyur-vedic extract, quoted in the Dhūrtasvāmi-bhāṣyaṭīkā (MS. E.I.H. 531, p. 3b), as

śyāmālāmlā ca niṣpatrā kṣīriṇī tvaci māṃsalā, śleshmalā vamanī vallī somākhyā chāgabhojanam. 'The creeper called Soma is dark, sour, without leaves, milky, fleshy on the surface, producing phlegm and vomiting, food for goats.'

This passage, quoted from some Āyur-vedic text, is still the only one which gives an approximative description of the Soma-plant. Dr. Hooker says that the predicates 'sour and milky' point to Sarcostemma, but the question is not decided yet. For further information see George Watt, The Soma Plant, an extract from the third volume of the Dictionary of Economic Products of India, and Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, pp. 14 seq.



If one has performed an offering to Rudra, to the Rākṣasas, to Nirṛti, or to the Pitṛs, if one has cut or broken or thrown away anything, or rubbed oneself, &c., one should touch water.


The touching of water is for the sake of purification. Nirasana is left out in some MSS. The ca, inserted after abhimarśanāni, is explained, as usual, as including other acts also, corresponding to our etc.



All priestly performances take place on the northern side of the Vihāra.


Uttarata-upacāraḥ has to be taken as a compound. Vihāra is explained as vihriyantegnayaḥ pātrāṇi ca yasmin deśe, i.e. the sacrificial ground. Upacāra is explained as adhvaryvādīnāṃ saṃcaraḥ, and this saṃcara, according to Kātyāyana I, 3, 42, is the path between the Cātvāla and Utkara, the Utkara being on the west, the praṇītās on the east of the Vihāra. Kātyāyana I, 8, 26, expresses the same rule by uttarata-upacāro yajñaḥ, the vihāra being the place where the yajña takes place.



The priest should never turn away from the fire, i.e. should never turn his back on the altar.



Nor from the Vihāra.



Sacrificial utensils should be turned inside, the performers being outside.


The meaning is that the priest should carry such things is spoons, vessels, &c., holding them towards the altar. The sacrificer and his wife should likewise be on the inside of the priest, and the priests should take precedence sideways according to their rank.



After a sacrificial object has been hallowed by a Mantra, the priest should not toss it about.



Sacrificial acts intended for the gods, should be performed by the priest towards the east or towards the north, after he has placed the Brahmanic cord over the left and under the right arm (yajñopavītin), and turning towards the right.



Sacrificial acts intended for the Fathers should be performed by the priest towards the south, after he has placed the Brahmanic cord over the right and under the left arm (prācīnāvītin), and turning towards the left.



Ropes which have to be joined, should be joined by the priest from left to right, after having tied them from right to left.



Ropes which are not joined (single ropes), should be tied by the priest from left to right.


The exact process here intended is not quite clear. The ropes seem to have been made of vegetable fibres. See Katy. I, 3,15-17.



Let a man sacrifice with the Amāvāsyā sacrifice at the time of the Amāvāsyā, new moon.


Amā-vāsyā is the dwelling together, i.e. the conjunction, of sun and moon, an astronomical expression which was adopted in the common language of the people at a very early time. It does not occur, however, in the Ṛg-veda. In our Sūtra amāvāsyā is used in the sense both of new moon and new-moon sacrifice.



And let a man sacrifice with the Paurṇamāsyā sacrifice at the time of the Paurṇamāsī, full moon, thus it is said.


Here the full moon is called paurṇamāsī, the sacrifice paurṇamāsyā. Satyavrata joins the two Sūtras in one, and leaves out yajeteti, which may have belonged to the commentary.



Let a man observe that full-moon day as a day of abstinence on which the moon comes out full before.


The full moon (paurṇamāsī) is really the very moment on which the moon is full and therefore begins to decrease. That moment on which sun and moon are, as the Hindus said, at the greatest distance from each other, is called the parva-sandhi, the juncture of the two phases of the moon. Thus the name of paurṇamāsī belongs to the last day of the one and to the first day (pratipad) of the other phase, and both days might be called paurṇamāsī. If therefore the moon is full on the afternoon, the evening, or the twilight of one day, that day should be observed as a fast-day, and the next day should be the day of sacrifice.

The meaning of purastād, which I have translated by before, is doubtful. One commentator says it has no object, and should be dropped, purastād ity etat padam asmin sūtra idānīm anvayaṃ na labhate prayojanābhāvāt. Purastād, before, may, however, mean before the second day, on which the real sacrifice takes place, and the commentator mentions purastāt-paurṇamāsī as a name of the caturdaśī-yuktā, i.e. the full moon beginning on the fourteenth day. The same kind of full moon is also called Anumati, Pūrvā-paurṇamāsī, and Sandhyā-paurṇamāsī, while that which takes place on the pratipad, the first day of the lunar phase, is called Rākā, Uttarā-paurṇamāsī, Astamitoditā, and Śvaḥpūritā.

Corresponding to these two kinds of Paurṇamāsī there are also two kinds of Amāvāsyā. That which falls on the fourteenth day is called Pūrvā-amāvāsyā, or Sinīvālī, the ἕνη καὶ νέα; that which falls on the pratipad, the first day of the new phase, is called Kuhū, Uttarā-amāvāsyā. Śvoyuktā. See also Ait.-Brāhm. II, 4; Nir. XI, 31-32.



Or the day when one says, To-morrow it will be full.


In that case the day before should be observed as a day of abstinence. The real full moon would then take place in the fore-noon, pūrvāhṇe, of the next day. Abstinence, upavāsa, consists in abstaining from meat and from maithuna, in shaving beard and head, cutting the nails, and, what seems a curious provision, in speaking the truth. See Kāty.-Śrauta-sūtras II, I, 8-12.



The Vājasaneyins mention a third, the Kharvikā full moon.


Kharva means small. If one divides the night into twelve parts, and if in a portion of the twelfth part the greatest distance of sun and moon takes place, then the full moon is called kharvikā, also kṣīṇā. Or, if on the sixteenth day, the full moon takes place before noon, that also is called kharvikā paurṇamāsī. In that case abstinence or fasting takes place on the sixteenth day (tasyāṃ ṣoḍaśehany upavāsaḥ). Both paurṇamāsīs are also called sadyaskālā.



Let a man observe that new-moon day (amāvāsyā) as a day of abstinence, on which the moon is not seen.


This Sūtra has to be connected with Sūtra LXV. The abstinence takes place on the day, if the actual new moon, the nearest approach of sun and moon, falls on the afternoon, at night, or at twilight. And this new moon, the junction of the fifteenth day and the pratipad, is called Kuhū. We should read amāvāsyām.



Or the day when one says, To-morrow they will not see it.


In that case, when the real new moon takes place in the fore-noon, abstinence is observed on the day before, and the new moon is called Sinīvālī. Satyavrata reads śvo yukta iti vā instead of śvo na draṣṭāra iti vā. Draṣṭāraḥ should be explained as īkṣitāraḥ, 'they will not see it.' There is much difference of opinion on this subject among different Śākhās, Sūtrakāras, and their commentators; see Taitt. Saṃh. III, 4, 9; Weber, Ind. Stud., V, p. 228.



The principal acts (pradhāna), prescribed in one (typical) performance, follow the same special rules (vidhāna).


This Sūtra is variously explained: Satyavrata's commentary, which I have followed in the translation, explains pradhānāni as āgneyādīni, i.e. the chief parts of such a sacrifice as the Darśa-pūrṇamāsa; vidhānāni as aṅgāni. Kapardisvāmin's commentary also explains vidhānāni as the aṅgāni of a pradhānam; pradhānam as pūrṇamāsa, &c. It would therefore mean that such ceremonies as the āgneya (aṣṭa-kapāla), āgnīṣomīya (ekādaśa-kapāla), and upāṃśu, which form the pradhānas of the Darśapūrṇamāsa, retain throughout the same vidhānas or aṅgas as prescribed in one Prakaraṇa, viz. the Darśapūrṇamāsa. The Aṅgas or members are all the things used for sacrificial purposes, milk, butter, grains, animals, &c.



The special rules are limited by (the purpose of) the (typical) performance (prakaraṇa).


Here the rules (vidhis) are again the Aṅgas, which belong to a sacrifice, as the members belong to the body.



If no special instruction is given (in the Śruti), the acts are general.



If a special instruction is given, they are restricted.


Nirdeśa is explained as viśeṣa-śruti, and the meaning is supposed to be that unless such a special rule is given, the Aṅgas of all the Pradhāna acts remain the same, as, for instance, the Paryagnikaraṇa, the Prayājas, &c. Special instructions are when it is said: payasā maitravaruṇaṃ srīṇāti, sruveṇa puroḍāśam anakti, he cooks the Maitravaruṇa with milk, he anoints the Puroḍāśa with the spoon, &c.



The Aṣṭā-kapāla for Agni, the Ekādaśa-kapāla for Agnī-Shomau, and the Upāṃśuyāga (the muttered offering of butter), form the principal acts at the Paurṇamāsī, the full moon.


The Aṣṭā-kapāla is the cake baked in eight cups, the Ekādaśa-kapāla that baked in eleven cups, and respectively destined for Agni and Soma. What is meant are the sacrificial acts for which these cakes are used.



The other Homas are Aṅga.

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