by C. G. Kashikar | 1964 | 166,530 words

The English translation of the Bharadvaja-Srauta-Sutra, representing some of the oldest texts on Hindu rituals and rites of passages, dating to at least the 1st millennium BCE. The term Srautasutra refers to a class of Sanskrit Sutra literature dealing with ceremonies based on the Brahmana divisions of the Veda (Sruti). They include Vedic rituals r...

Praśna 2, Kaṇḍikā 2

1-4. The Adhvaryu should carry the stambayajus for the fourth time without reciting any formula, and trace the altar by means of the wooden sword. With the formula, “Let the Vasus grasp thee with the Gāyatrī metre,”[1] (he should trace it) towards the south; with the formula, “Let the Rudras grasp thee with the Triṣṭubh metre”[1] towards the west: with the formula, “Let the Adityas grasp thee with the Jagatī metre,”[1] towards the north.

5. All acts pertaining to the altar are to be done by means of the wooden sword.

6. Then he should give out a call with the verse, “O men, do you come and prepare this altar occupied by the Vasus, the Rudras and the Adityas at the height of the heaven, on the navel of the earth, so that this sacrificer may not be injured.[2] Do you come (to prepare) the altar which is acceptable to the gods and which is on the lap of Aditi. All gods have accepted this (altar). May abundance of wealth enter the sacrificer.”

7. Then he should scrape out the upper layer of it and throw the earth, so scraped out, on the rubbish-heap.

8. With the formula, “On the impulse of god Savitṛ, wise men perform the rite,”[3] he should dig it out two fingers deep or three fingers or four fingers or as deep as the furrow, or as deep as the rut made by a chariot, or as deep as the white part of the heel.[4]

9. He should cut out the roots.

10. He should dig up until he meets with the hard portion.

11. He should raise the two shoulders of the altar towards the east on both sides of the Āhavanīya fire-place, and raise the two buttocks towards the west on both the sides of the Gārhapatya fire-place.

12. He should make it contracted in the middle, sloping towards the north-east, narrower towards the east and broader towards the west, elevated towards the south and full of earth.

13. He should throw on the rubbish-heap the earth which is in excess.

14. He should cut by means of the wooden sword, not by means of a nail, the grass or root which remains behind.

Footnotes and references:


Taittirīya-brāhmaṇa III. 7.7.13,14.


Taittirīya-saṃhitā I.I.9.3.


Āpastamba-śrauta-sūtra II.2.7 mentions two more optional depths, namely, thirteen aṅgulas and a span.

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