by Hermann Oldenberg | 1892 | 37,649 words

Hiranyakeshin (Hiranyakeshi) was the founder of a ritual and scholastic tradition belonging to the Taittiriya branch of the Black Yajurveda. Alternative titles: Hiraṇyakeśin-gṛhya-sūtra (हिरण्यकेशिन्-गृह्य-सूत्र), Hiranyakeshin, Hiraṇyakeśī (हिरण्यकेशी), Hiranyakeshi, Hiranyakesin, Grhya, Hiraṇyakeśīgṛhyasūtra (हिरण्यकेशीगृह्यसूत्र), Hiranyakesigr...

Praśna I, Paṭala 1, Section 1

1. We shall explain the Upanayana (i.e. the initiation of the student).

2.[1] Let him initiate a Brāhmaṇa at the age of seven years,

3. A Rājanya, of eleven, a Vaiśya, of twelve.

4.[2] A Brāhmaṇa in the spring, a Rājanya in the summer, a Vaiśya in the autumn.

5. In the time of the increasing moon, under an auspicious constellation, preferably (under a constellation) the name of which is masculine,

6.[3] He should serve food to an even number of Brāhmaṇas and should cause them to say, 'An auspicious day! Hail! Good luck!'—

7. (Then he) should have the boy satiated, should have his hair shaven, and after (the boy) has bathed and has been decked with ornaments—

8. He should dress him in a (new) garment which has not yet been washed.

9.[4] In a place inclined towards the east, (or) inclined towards the north, (or) inclined towards northeast, or in an even (place), he raises (the surface on which he intends to sacrifice), sprinkles it with water,

10. Kindles fire by attrition, or fetches common (worldly) fire, puts the fire down, and puts wood on the fire.

11.[5] He strews eastward-pointed Darbha grass round the fire;

12. Or (the grass which is strewn) to the west and to the east (of the fire), may be northward-pointed.

13.[6] He (arranges the Darbha blades so as to) lay the southern (blades) uppermost, the northern ones below, if their points are turned (partly) towards the east and (partly) towards the north.

14.[7] Having strewn Darbha grass, to the south of the fire, in the place destined for the Brahman,

15.[8] Having with the two (verses), 'I take (the fire) to myself,' and, 'The fire which (has entered)'—taken possession of the fire,

16.[9] And having, to the north of the fire, spread out Darbha grass, he prepares the (following) objects, according as they are required (for the ceremony which he is going to perform):

17.[10] A stone, a (new) garment which has not yet been washed, a skin (of an antelope, or a spotted deer, &c.), a threefold-twisted girdle of Muñja grass if he is a Brāhmaṇa (who shall be initiated), a bowstring for a Rājanya, a woollen thread for a Vaiśya, a staff of Bilva or of Palāśa wood for a Brāhmaṇa, of Nyagrodha wood for a Rājanya, of Udumbara wood for a Vaiśya.

18.[11] He binds together the fuel, twenty-one pieces of wood, or as many as there are oblations to be made.

19. Together with that fuel he ties up the (three) branches of wood which are to be laid round the fire, (which should have the shape of) pegs.

20.[12] (He gets ready, besides, the spoon called) Darvī, a bunch of grass, the Ājya pot, the pot for the Praṇīta water, and whatever (else) is required;

21. All (those objects) together, or (one after the other) as it happens.

22.[13] At that time the Brahman suspends the sacrificial cord over his left shoulder, sips water, passes by the fire, on its west side, to the south side, throws away a grass blade from the Brahman's seat, touches water, and sits down with his face turned towards the fire.

23.[14] He takes as 'purifiers' two straight Darbha blades with unbroken points of one span's length, cuts them off with something else than his nail, wipes them with water, pours water into a vessel over which he has laid the purifiers, fills (that vessel) up to near the brim, purifies (the water) three times with the two Darbha strainers, holding their points to the north, places (the water) on Darbha grass on the north side of the fire, and covers it with Darbha grass.

24.[15] Having consecrated the Prokṣaṇī water by means of the purifiers as before, having placed the vessels upright, and having untied the fuel, he sprinkles (the sacrificial vessels) three times with the whole (Prokṣaṇī water).

25.[16] Having warmed the Darvī spoon (over the fire), having wiped it, and warmed it again, he puts it down.

26. Having besprinkled (with water) the Darbha grass with which the fuel was tied together, he throws it into the fire.

27.[17] He melts the Ājya, pours the Ājya into the Ājya pot over which he has laid the purifiers, takes some coals (from the fire) towards the north, puts (the Ājya) on these (coals), throws light (on the

Ājya by means of burning Darbha blades), throws two young Darbha shoots into it, moves a fire-brand round it three times, takes it (from the coals) towards the north, pushes the coals back (into the fire), purifies the Ājya three times with the two purifiers, holding their points towards the north, (drawing them through the Ājya from west to east and) taking them back (to the west each time), throws the two purifiers into the fire,

Footnotes and references:


1, 2. The statement commonly given in the Gṛhya-sūtras and Dharma-sūtras is, that the initiation of a Brāhmaṇa shall take place in his eighth year, though there are differences of opinion whether in the eighth year after conception, or after birth (Āśvalāyana-Gṛhya I, 19, 1. 2). Mātṛdatta states that the rule given here in the Gṛhya-sūtra refers to the seventh year after birth. In the Dharma-sūtra (comp. Āpastamba I, 1, 18) it is stated that the initiation of a Brāhmaṇa shall take place in the eighth year after his conception. Comp. the remarks of Professor Bidder, S.B.E., vol. ii, p. xxiii.


Āpastamba I, 1, 18.


Comp. Āpastamba I, 13, 8 with Bühler's note.


Pāraskara I, 1, 2; 4, 3; Āśvalāyana I, 3, 1, &c.


Āśvalāyana l.l.; Śāṅkhāyana I, 8, 1, &c.


Gobhila I, 7, 14.


Gobhila I, 6, 13; Pāraskara I, 1, 2, &c.


Taittirīya Saṃhitā V, 9, 1. Comp. also the parallel passages, Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa VII, 3, 2, 17; Kātyāyana-Śraut. XVII, 3, 27.


Gobhila I, 7, 1.


Śāṅkhāyana II, 1, 15 seqq., &c. As to the stone, comp. below, I, 1, 4, 13.


Comp. Āśvalāyana I, 10, 3, and the passages quoted in the note (vol. xxix, p. 173).


Regarding the bunch of grass, see below, I, 2, 6, 9.


Gobhila I, 6, 14 seq. Comp. the passages quoted in the note.


Gobhila I, 7, 21 seq.; Śāṅkhāyana I, 8, 14 seq. The water mentioned in this Sūtra is the Praṇīta water.


Regarding the Prokṣaṇī water, see Śāṅkhāyana I, 8, 25 note. The word which I have translated by 'vessels' is bilavanti, which literally means 'the things which have brims.' Probably this expression here has some technical connotation unknown to me. Mātṛdatta simply says, bilavanti pātrāṇi.—'As before' means, 'as stated with regard to the Praṇīta water.'


Pāraskara I, 1, 3.


Śāṅkhāyana I, 8, 18 seq.

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