by Hermann Oldenberg | 1886 | 37,785 words

The Grihya-sutra ascribed to Shankhayana, which has been edited and translated into German in the XVth volume of the "Indische Studien", is based on the first of the four Vedas, the Rig-veda in the Bashkala recension, and among the Brahmana texts, on the Kaushitaka. Alternative titles: Śāṅkhāyana-gṛhya-sūtra (शाङ्खायन-गृह्य-सूत्र), Shank...

Adhyāya II, Khaṇḍa 1

1[1]. In the eighth year after the conception let him initiate a Brāhmaṇa,

2. With an antelope-skin,

3. Or in the tenth year after the conception.

4. In the eleventh year after the conception a Kṣatriya with the skin of a spotted deer,

5. In the twelfth year after the conception a Vaiśya with a cow-hide.

6. Until the sixteenth year the time has not passed for a Brāhmaṇa,

7. Until the twenty-second for a Kṣatriya,

8. Until the twenty-fourth for a Vaiśya.

9[2]. After that (time has passed), they become patitasāvitrīka (men who have lost their right of learning the Sāvitrī).

10. Let them not initiate such men,

11. Nor teach them,

12. Nor perform sacrifices for them,

13. Nor have intercourse with them.

14[3]. Or (let them initiate students of) all (castes) wearing a (new) garment that has not yet been washed.

And wearing a girdle.

15. The girdle of a Brāhmaṇa (shall be) made of Muñja grass,

16. That of a Kṣatriya (shall be) a bowstring,

17. That of a Vaiśya a woollen thread.

18. The staff of a Brāhmaṇa (shall be) made of Palāśa or of Bilva wood,

19. That of a Kṣatriya of Nyagrodha wood,

20. That of a Vaiśya of Udumbara wood.

21[4]. That of the Brāhmaṇa shall reach the tip of the nose,

22. That of the Kṣatriya the forehead,

23. That of the Vaiśya the hair.

24. Or all (sorts of staffs are to be used) by (men of) all (castes).

25. Whatsoever (the student) wears at his initiation, is at the disposal of the teacher.

26[5]. Having had him shaved all round (his head) he should initiate him.

27. After (the student) has washed and adorned himself,

28[6]. (And) after (the teacher) has sacrificed, both station themselves behind the fire, the teacher with his face turned to the east, the other with his face to the west.

29. Let him initiate him standing while (the other also) stands.

30[7]. ['The firm, powerful eye of Mitra, glorious splendour, strong and prosperous, a chaste, flowing vesture, this skin I put on, a valiant (man).']

Footnotes and references:


1, 1. With regard to the standing terminology of the Upanayana, or the initiation of the student, we may observe that upa-nī does not mean, as, for instance, Professor Stenzler seems to understand it, 'to introduce a student to his teacher.' Thus Pāraskara's Sūtra II, 2, 1, aṣṭāvarṣaṃ brāhmaṇam upanayet, &c., is translated by that distinguished scholar, 'Den achtjährigen Brāhmaṇa soll er (beim Lehrer) einführen,' &c. (comp. also Āśvalāyana-Gṛhya I, 19, 1). The texts clearly point to another translation of upa-nī, for they show that the person that introduces the student (upanayati or upanayate; the middle is used very frequently, for instance, Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa XI, 5, 4, 1; Śāṅkh. II, I, 25) is not the father or a relation of the youth who could be supposed to lead him to the teacher, but the teacher himself; he introduces (upanayati) him to the brahmacarya, or introduces him with himself, and the student enters upon (upaiti) the brahmacarya, or enters with (upaiti) the teacher; he who has thus entered upon studentship, is consequently designated as upeta (Śāṅkh. IV, 8, 1; Pāraskara III, 10, 10), and for the initiation, which is usually called up an ay an a, occasionally also the word upāyana is used (see the Mānava-Gṛhya I, 22, quoted by Professor Jolly in his article, Das Dharma-sūtra des Viṣṇu, p. 79). The following passages may be quoted here as supporting our opinion on this terminology. At Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa XI, 5, 3, 13 Śauceya says to Uddālaka Āruṇi, 'I will enter (as a student) with the reverend One' (upāyāni bhagavantam); and Āruṇi replies, 'Come, enter (with me)!' (ehy upehi), 'and he initiated him' (taṃ hopaninye). Ibid. XI, 5, 4, 16 it is stated that according to some a teacher who has initiated a Brāhmaṇa as a student (brāhmaṇaṃ brahmacaryam upanīya) should abstain from sexual intercourse, for a student who enters upon studentship (yo brahmacaryam upaiti) becomes, as it were, a garbha, &c. Finally we may add that the Buddhist terminology regarding the entering into the order or upon a life of righteousness is clearly connected with that followed, for instance, in the dialogue between p. 59 Śauceya and Āruṇi. As Śauceya there says, upāyāni bhagavantam, we frequently read in the Pāli books expressions like this, upemi Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ dhammañ cāpi anuttaraṃ, &c. (Dhammap. Aṭṭhakathā, p. 97, ed. Fausböll), and as Āruṇi replies, ehy upehi, Buddha says to those who wish to be ordained, ehi bhikkhu, svākkhāto dhammo, cara brahmacariyaṃ, &c. (Mahāvagga I, 6, 32, &c.; S.B.E., vol. xiii, p. 74, note).


9 seq. All these are standing expressions recurring nearly identically in most of the Gṛhya and Dharma-sūtras. In the rule contained in Sūtra 13 a number of the parallel texts have vivaheyuḥ or vivāhayeyuḥ, others have vyavahareyuḥ. Comp. Vasiṣṭha XI, 75; Indische Studien, vol. x, p. 21.


This Sūtra should rather be divided into two, as indicated in the translation. As to the mekhalā (girdle) comp. below, chap. 2, 1.


There is no doubt that prāṇasammito (which Nārāyaṇa explains thus, 'prāṇa is the wind [or breath]; [the staff should] reach to the place where the wind leaves the body, i.e. to the tip of the nose') should either be corrected into, or explained as, ghrāṇasammito; the Śāmbavya MS. has ghrāṇāntiko brāhmaṇasya. Comp. Gautama I, 26, &c. The parallel texts agree in assigning the longer staff to the higher, not as Śāṅkhāyana does, to the lower caste.


After the introductory remarks given in the preceding Sūtras the ritual itself of the Upanayana is now described.


Nārāyaṇa: hutvā’nādeśaparibhāṣātaḥ (see above, I, 12, 13) purastātsaṃjñakaṃ hutvā agniṃ sthāpitāgniṃ (see above, I, 5, 2) jaghanena . . . tiṣṭhataḥ.


This Sūtra is wanting in most of the MSS. (see the note, p. 48 of the German edition). It contains the Mantra with which the Ajina (the hide mentioned in Sūtras 2, 4, 5 of this chapter) is put on. Nārāyaṇa gives the Mantra which he says is taken from the Mādhyandina-Gṛhya (in the Pāraskara-Gṛhya it is not found), after chap. 2, 3, and he states that the corresponding act to which it belongs has its place after the rites concerning the girdle (chap. 2, 1) and the sacrificial cord (2, 3).

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