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 126-150


They are optionally vikāras of the Aindrāgna.


Sometimes these two Sūtras are combined into one. The commentator, however, sees in the vā of aindrāgnavikārā vā a deeper meaning. Agnī-Shomau, he says, consists of four, Indrāgnī of three syllables. Therefore if the name of more than one deity consists of four syllables, it should be treated as a vikāra of the Agnīṣomīya, if of less than four syllables, as a vikāra of the Aindrāgna.



An exception must be made in the case of the gods of the prakṛti, as, for instance, the Aindra puroḍāśa, the Saumya caru.


The exception applies to cases where the offering in a vikṛti sacrifice is meant for the same principal deities as those of the prakṛti offering. For instance, in the Darśa-pūrṇamāsa Agni and Soma are the deities of the Agnīṣomīya, Indra and Agni of the Aindrāgna. If then in one of the secondary or vikṛti sacrifices there occurs an Aindra puroḍāśa, or a Saumya caru, then the Aindra puroḍāśa is treated as a vikāra of the Aindrāgna, the Saumya karu as a vikāra of the Agnīṣomīya. The Somendra caru also, as its principal deity is Soma, would follow the Agnīṣomīya, the Indrāsomīya puroḍāśa, as its principal deity is Indra, would follow the Aindrāgna.



If there is sameness both in the offering and in the deity, then the offering prevails.


If a caru for Prajāpati occurs in a vikṛti sacrifice, it would follow that, being offered to Prajāpati, it should be offered with murmuring, but, as it is a vegetable offering, it follows the norm of the puroḍāśa, though the puroḍāśa is intended for Agni.



If there is contradiction with regard to the substance and the preparation of an offering, the substance prevails.


A puroḍāśa may be made of vrīhi, rice, or of nīvāra, wild growing rice. The wild rice has to be pounded, but not the good rice. The preparation, however, has to yield in a vikṛti, the important point being the substance.



If there is contradiction with regard to the substance, the object prevails.


An example makes the meaning of this Sūtra quite clear. Generally the yūpa or sacrificial post for fastening sacrificial animals is made of Khadira wood. But if a post made of wood is not strong enough to hold the animal, then an iron post is to be used, the object being the fastening of the animal, while the material is of less consequence.



In a Prakṛti sacrifice there is no Ūha, modification of the mantras.


Certain mantras of the Veda have to be slightly altered, when their application varies. In the normal sacrifices, however, no such alteration takes place.



In a Vikṛti sacrifice modification takes place, according to the sense, but not in an arthavāda.


Some mantras remain the same in the Vikṛti as in the Prakṛti. Others have to be modified so as to be adapted to anything new that has to be. If, for instance, there is a Puroḍāśa for Agni in the Prakṛti, and in its place a Puroḍāśa for Sūrya in the Vikṛti, then we must place Sūrya instead of Agni in the dedicatory mantra.



When we hear words referring to something else, that is arthavāda.


Arthavāda is generally explained as anything occurring in the Brāhmaṇas which is not vidhi or command. Here, however, it refers to Mantras or passages recited at the sacrifice. We saw how such passages, if they referred to some part of the sacrifice, had to be modified under certain circumstances according to the sense. Here we are told that passages which do not refer to anything special in the sacrifice, are arthavāda and remain unmodified. All this is expressed by the words paravākyaśravaṇāt. Vākya stands for padāni, words, such as are used in the nivāpamantra, &c. Some of these words are called samavetārthāni, because they tell of something connected with the performance of the sacrifice, as, for instance, Agnaye juṣṭaṃ nirvapāmi, I offer what is acceptable to Agni; others are asamavetārthāni, as, for instance, Devasya tvā Savituḥ prasave. When such passages which are not connected with some sacrificial act occur (śravaṇāt), they naturally remain unaltered.



If what is prescribed is absent, a substitute is to be taken according to similarity.


Here we have no longer modification, but substitution (pratinidhi). In cases where anything special that has been prescribed is wanting, a substitute must be chosen, as similar as possible, and producing a similar effect.

According to Maṇḍana's Trikāṇḍa, the degrees of similarity are to be determined in the following order:

Kāryai rūpais tathā parṇaiḥ kṣīraiḥ puṣpaiḥ phalair api,
Gandhai rasaiḥ sadṛg grāhyam pūrvālābhe param param.

'What is similar by effect, by shape, by leaves, by milk, by flowers, and by fruit, By smell, or by taste is to be taken one after the other, if the former cannot be found.'



If there is nothing very like, something a little like may be substituted, only it must not be prohibited.


If in a caru of mudgas, kidney-beans, phaseolus mungo, these kidney-beans should fail, a substitute may be taken, but that substitute must not be māṣas, phaseolus radiatus, because these māṣas are expressly forbidden; for it is said, Ayajñiyā vai māṣāḥ, 'Māṣas are not fit for sacrifice.'



The substitute should take the nature of that for which it is substituted.


Taddharma, having the same qualities. If, for instance, nīvāra has been substituted for vrīhi, it should be treated as if it were vrīhi. The name vrīhi should remain, and should not be replaced by nīvāra, just as Soma, if replaced by pūtikā, is still called Soma. Thus, when in the course of a sacrifice vrīhi has once been replaced by nīvāra, and vrīhi can be procured afterwards, yet nīvāra is then to be retained to the end. If, however, the substituted nīvāra also come to an end, and afterwards both nīvāra and vrīhi are forthcoming, then vrīhi has the preference. If neither be forthcoming, then some substitute is to be taken that approaches nearest to the substitute, the nīvāra, not to the original vrīhi. Further, if a choice has been allowed between vrīhi, rice, and yava, barley, and vrīhi has been chosen, and afterwards, as substitute for vrīhi, nīvāra, then, if nīvāra come to an end, and in the absence of vrīhi, when a new supply of both nīvāra, and yava has been obtained, the yava is to be avoided, and the original substitute for vrīhi, the nīvāra, must be retained. In most of these cases, however, a certain penance also (prāyaścitta) is required.



If something is wanting in the measure, let him finish with the rest.


If it is said that a puroḍāśa should be as large as a horse's hoof, and there is not quite so much left, yet whatever is left should be used to finish the offering.



Substitution does not apply to the master, the altar-fire, the deity, the word, the act, and a prohibition.


The master is meant for the sacrificer himself and his wife. Their place cannot, of course, be taken by anybody else. The altar-fire is supposed to have a supernatural power, and cannot be replaced by any other fire. Nothing can take the place of the invoked deities, nor of the words used in the mantras addressed to them, nor can the sacrifice itself be replaced by any other act. Lastly, when it is said that māṣas, varakas, kodravas are not fit for sacrifice, or that a man ought not to sacrifice with what should not be eaten by Āryas, nothing else can be substituted for what is thus prohibited.



The Prakṛti stops from three causes, from a corollary, from a prohibition, and from loss of purpose.


A corollary (pratyāmnāna) occurs, when it is said, 'instead of Kuśa grass, let him make a barhis of reeds.' A prohibition (pratishedha) occurs, when it is said, 'he does not choose an Ārsheya.' Loss of purpose (arthalopa) occurs, when peṣaṇa, pounding, would refer to caru, a pulse, that cannot be pounded, while grains can be.



The Agniṣṭoma is the Prakṛti of the Ekāha sacrifices.


The Ekāha are sacrifices accomplished in one day.



The Dvādaśāha is the Prakṛti of the Ahargaṇas.


The Dvādaśāha lasts twelve days and is a Soma sacrifice. It is either an Ahīna or a Sattra. An Ahargaṇa is a series of daily and nightly sacrifices. Those which last from two nights to eleven nights are called Ahīna. Those which last from thirteen to one hundred nights or more are called Sattras.



The Gavāmayana is the Prakṛti of the Sāṃvatsarikas.


The Gavāmayana lasts three years, and it is the type of all Sāṃvatsarika sacrifices, whether they last one, two, three or more years. They all belong to the class of Sattras.



Of the Nikāyi sacrifices the first serves as Prakṛti.


Among the Nikāyi sacrifices, lit. those which consist of a number, all having the same name, but different rewards, the first is the prakṛti of the subsequent ones. The commentator calls them sādyaskra &c., and mentions as the first the Agniṣṭoma. See Sūtra CXLVI, and Weber, Ind. Stud. XIII, p. 218.



At the Agniṣṭoma there is the Uttara-vedi.


The commentator explains this by saying that at the Soma sacrifices, i.e. at the Agniṣṭoma, Ukthya, Ṣoḍaśin, and Atirātra, the fire is carried from the Āhavanīya to the Uttara-vedi, which is also called the Soma altar.



The fire is valid for the successive sacrifices.


This fire refers to the fire on the Uttara-vedi, mentioned in the preceding Sūtra, and the object of the Sūtra seems to be to include the act of lighting the fire on the Uttara-vedi in the Prakṛti, though properly speaking it does not form part of the Agniṣṭoma. But I cannot quite understand the argument of the commentator.



This does not apply to the Sādyaskras, the Vājapeya, the Ṣoḍaśin, and the Sārasvata Sattra.


With regard to the Ṣoḍaśin and its vikāra, the Vājapeya, the laying of the fire is not mentioned. In the case of the Sādyaskras, it becomes impossible, because they have to be quickly finished. In the case of the Sārasvata Sattra, there is the same difficulty on account of not remaining in the same place (anavasthāpān nāgniś cīyate).



A sacrificer wishes the object of his sacrifice at the beginning of the sacrifice.


Some MSS. read kāmayeta, 'he should wish,' but the commentator explains that such a command (vidhi) is unnecessary, because it is natural to form a wish (svataḥ siddhatvāt).



At the beginning of a special part of the sacrifice, one should wish the object of that part of the sacrifice.


The commentary, though objecting, and objecting rightly, to kāmayeta, 'he should wish,' in the preceding Sūtra, accepts kāmayeta as determining the present Sūtra, saying kāmayetety anuvartate. One should read yajñāṅgakāmam, not yajñakāmam, for the commentary explains it by yajñāṅgaphalasaṅkalpaḥ. Whether it was really intended that there should be a special wish for each part or subsidiary act of a sacrifice (yajñāṅga), is another question, but the commentator evidently thought so.

Kātyāyana, who treats the same subject (1, 2, 10 seq.), states that there should be this desire for a reward for certain sacrifices which are offered for a certain purpose, as, for instance, the Dvādaśāha, but that there are no such motives for other sacrifices, and parts of sacrifices. He mentions, first of all, a niyama, a precept for the sacrifice, such as 'Speak the truth.' Then a nimitta, a special cause, as when some accident has taken place that must be remedied, for instance, when the house has been burnt down, &c. Thirdly, the Agnihotra, the morning and evening Homa; fourthly, the Darśa-pūrṇamāsau; fifthly, the Dākṣāyaṇa, a vikṛti of the Darśa-pūrṇamāsau, the Āgrayaṇa; sixthly, the Nirūḍha-paśu, the animal sacrifice. All these have to be performed as a sacred duty, and without any view to special rewards. Thus we read in Vāsiṣṭha:

Avaśyam brāhmaṇo'gnīn ādadhīta, darśapūrṇamāsāgrayaṇeṣṭicāturmāsyapaśusomaiś ca yajeta, 'A Brāhmaṇa should without fail place his fires, and offer the Darśapūrṇamāsa, the Āgrayaṇeṣṭi, the Kāturmāsyas, the P a ś u, and the Soma sacrifices.'

Hārīta says: Pākayajñān yajen nityaṃ haviryajñāṃś ca nityaśaḥ, Somāṃś ca vidhipūrveṇa ya icched dharmam avyayam, 'Let a man offer the Pākayajñas always, always also the Haviryajñas, and the Soma sacrifices, according to rule, if he wishes for eternal merit.' The object of these sacrifices is aparimitaniḥśreyasarūpamokṣa, eternal happiness, and hence they have to be performed during life at certain seasons, without any special occasion (nimitta), and without any special object (kāma). According to most authorities, however, they have to be performed during thirty years only. After that the Agnihotra only has to be kept up. The proper seasons for these sacrifices are given by Manu, IV, 25-27:

A Brāhmaṇa shall always offer the Agnihotra at the beginning or at the end of the day and of the night, and the Darśa and Paurṇamāsa (iṣṭis) at the end of each half-month;

'When the old grain has been consumed the (Āgrayaṇa) Iṣṭi with new grain; at the end of the (three) seasons the (Cāturmāsya) sacrifices; at the solstices an animal (sacrifice); at the end of the year Soma offerings;

'A Brāhmaṇa, who keeps sacred fires, shall, if he desires to live long, not eat new grain or meat, without having offered the (Āgrayaṇa) Iṣṭi with new grain and an animal (sacrifice)[1].'

These Pākayajñas, Haviryajñas or iṣṭis, and Soma sacrifices are enumerated by Gautama[2], as follows:




(1) Aṣṭakā,

(1) Agnyādheyam,

(1) Agniṣṭomaḥ,

(2) Pārvaṇam,

(2) Agnihotram,

(2) Atyagniṣṭomaḥ,

(3) Śrāddham,

(3) Darśapūrṇamāsau,

(3) Ukthyaḥ,

(4) Śrāvaṇī,

(4) Cāturmāsyāni[3],

(4) Ṣoḍaśī[4],

(5) Āgrahāyaṇī,

(5) Āgrayaṇeṣṭiḥ,

(5) Vājapeyaḥ,

(6) Caitrī,

(6) Nirūḍhapaśubandhaḥ,

(6) Atirātraḥ,

(7) Āśvayujī.

(7) Sautrāmaṇī.

(7) Aptoryāmaḥ.

In a commentary on Dhūrtasvāmin's Āpastambasūtrabhāṣya (MS. E.I.H. 137) another list is given:




(1) Aupāsanahomaḥ,



(2) Vaiśvadevam,



(3) Pārvaṇam,



(4) Aṣṭakā,



(5) Māsiśrāddham,



(6) Sarpabaliḥ,



(7) Īśānabaliḥ.



This list is nearly the same as one given by Satyavrata Sāmāśrami in the Uṣā. He gives, however, another list, which is:




(1) Sāyaṃhomaḥ,



(2) Prātarhomaḥ,



(3) Sthālīpāka,



(4) Navayajñaḥ,



(5) Vaiśvadevam,



(6) Pitṛyajñaḥ,



(7) Aṣṭakā.



According to the substances offered, sacrifices are sometimes divided into vegetable and animal sacrifices. The vegetable substances are, taṇḍulāḥ, piṣṭāni, phalīkaraṇāḥ, puroḍāśaḥ, odanaḥ, yavāgūḥ, pṛthukāḥ, lājāḥ, dhānāḥ, and aktavaḥ. The animal substances are, payaḥ, dadhi, ājyam, āmikṣā, vājinam, vapā, tvacaḥ, māṃsam, lohitam, and paśurasaḥ.



If there are fewer Mantras and more (sacrificial) acts, then after dividing them into equal parts, let him perform the former with the former, the latter with the latter.


It happens, for instance, in certain iṣṭis that a pair of Yājyā and Anuvākyā mantras is given, but six acts. In that case one half of the mantras is used for one half of the acts, and the other half of the mantras for the other half of the acts.



If there are fewer acts and more Mantras, let him perform and act with one mantra, those which remain are optional, as the materials for the sacrificial post.

Footnotes and references:


See Manu, transl. by Bühler, S.B.E., XXV, who quotes to the same purpose Gaut. VIII, 19-20; Vās. XI, 46; Vi. LIX, 2-9; Baudh. II, 4, 23; Yājñ. I, 97, 124-125.


Kātyāyana, p. 34.


Vaiśvadevam parva, Varuṇapraghāsāḥ, sākamedhāḥ.


Agniṣṭoma, Ukthya, Atirātra, sometimes Ṣoḍaśin, are the original Soma sacrifices; Atyagniṣṭoma, Vājapeya, and Aptoryāma are later. See Weber, Ind. Stud. X, pp. 352, 391.

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