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The Grihya Sutras, Part 1 (SBE29), by Hermann Oldenberg, [1886], at

p. 58


1. In the eighth year after the conception let him initiate a Brâhmana,

2. With an antelope-skin,

p. 59

3. Or in the tenth year after the conception.

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

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

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

7. Until the twenty-second for a Kshatriya,

8. Until the twenty-fourth for a Vaisya.

9. After that (time has passed), they become patitasâvitrîka (men who have lost their right of learning the Sâvitrî).

p. 60

10. Let them not initiate such men,

11. Nor teach them,

12. Nor perform sacrifices for them,

13. Nor have intercourse with them.

14 14. 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 Brâhmana (shall be) made of Muñga grass,

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

17. That of a Vaisya a woollen thread.

18. The staff of a Brâhmana (shall be) made of Palâsa or of Bilva wood,

19. That of a Kshatriya of Nyagrodha wood,

20. That of a Vaisya of Udumbara wood.

21 21. That of the Brâhmana shall reach the tip of the nose,

22. That of the Kshatriya the forehead,

23. That of the Vaisya 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.

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

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

28 28. (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 30. ['The firm, powerful eye of Mitra, glorious splendour, strong and prosperous, a chaste, flowing vesture, this skin I put on, a valiant (man).']


58:1 1, 1. With regard to the standing terminology of the Upanayana, or the initiation of the student, we may observe that upa-nî does not mean, as, for instance, Professor Stenzler seems to understand it, 'to introduce a student to his teacher.' Thus Pâraskara's Sûtra II, 2, 1, ashtâvarsham brâhmanam upanayet, &c., is translated by that distinguished scholar, 'Den achtjährigen Brâhmana soll er (beim Lehrer) einführen,' &c. (comp. also Âsvalâyana-Grihya I, 19, 1). The texts clearly point to another translation of upa-nî, for they show that the person that introduces the student (upanayati or upanayate; the middle is used very frequently, for instance, Satapatha Brâhmana XI, 5, 4, 1; Sâṅkh. 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 brahmakarya, or introduces him with himself, and the student enters upon (upaiti) the brahmakarya, or enters with (upaiti) the teacher; he who has thus entered upon studentship, is consequently designated as upeta (Sâṅkh. IV, 8, 1; Pâraskara III, 10, 10), and for the initiation, which is usually called up an ay an a, occasionally also the word upâyana is used (see the Mânava-Grihya I, 22, quoted by Professor Jolly in his article, Das Dharma-sûtra des Vishnu, p. 79). The following passages may be quoted here as supporting our opinion on this terminology. At Satapatha Brâhmana XI, 5, 3, 13 Saukeya says to Uddâlaka Âruni, 'I will enter (as a student) with the reverend One' (upâyâni bhagavantam); and Âruni replies, 'Come, enter (with me)!' (ehy upehi), 'and he initiated him' (tam hopaninye). Ibid. XI, 5, 4, 16 it is stated that according to some a teacher who has initiated a Brâhmana as a student (brâhmanam brahmakaryam upanîya) should abstain from sexual intercourse, for a student who enters upon studentship (yo brahmakaryam 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 Saukeya and Âruni. As Saukeya there says, upâyâni bhagavantam, we frequently read in the Pâli books expressions like this, upemi Buddham saranam dhammañ kâpi anuttaram, &c. (Dhammap. Atthakathâ, p. 97, ed. Fausböll), and as Âruni replies, ehy upehi, Buddha says to those who wish to be ordained, ehi bhikkhu, svâkkhâto dhammo, kara brahmakariyam, &c. (Mahâvagga I, 6, 32, &c.; S.B.E., vol. xiii, p. 74, note).

The counting of the years not from the birth but from the conception occurs both in the Brahmanical and in the Buddhist ordinances, comp. H. O., Buddha, sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde, p. 354, note 1. Several Grihya texts (for instance, Âsv. I, 19, 1. 2) admit both ways of counting the years. The number of years given for the Upanayana of persons of the three castes (Brâhmanas 8-16, Kshatriyas 11-22, Vaisyas 12-24) is evidently derived from the number of syllables of the three metres which are so very frequently stated to correspond to the three castes, to the three gods or categories of gods (Agni, Indra, Visve devâs) &c., viz. the Gâyatrî, the Trishtubh, and the Gagatî. This is a very curious example, showing how in India phantastical speculations like those regarding the mystical qualities of the metres, were strong enough to influence the customs and institutions of real life.

59:9 9 seq. All these are standing expressions recurring nearly identically in most of the Grihya and Dharma-sûtras. In the rule contained in Sûtra 13 a number of the parallel texts have vivaheyuh or vivâhayeyuh, others have vyavahareyuh. Comp. Vasishtha XI, 75; Indische Studien, vol. x, p. 21.

60:14 This Sûtra should rather be divided into two, as indicated in the translation. As to the mekhalâ (girdle) comp. below, chap. 2, 1.

60:21 There is no doubt that prânasammito (which Nârâyana explains thus, 'prâna 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, ghrânasammito; the Sâmbavya MS. has ghrânântiko brâhmanasya. Comp. Gautama I, 26, &c. The parallel texts agree in assigning the longer staff to the higher, not as Sâṅkhâyana does, to the lower caste.

61:26 After the introductory remarks given in the preceding Sûtras the ritual itself of the Upanayana is now described.

61:28 Nârâyana: hutvâ’nâdesaparibhâshâtah (see above, I, 12, 13) purastâtsamgñakam hutvâ agnim sthâpitâgnim (see above, I, 5, 2) gaghanena . . . tishthatah.

61:30 This Sûtra is wanting in most of the MSS. (see the note, p. 48 of the German edition). It contains the Mantra with which the Agina (the hide mentioned in Sûtras 2, 4, 5 of this chapter) is put on. Nârâyana gives the Mantra which he says is taken from the Mâdhyandina-Grihya (in the Pâraskara-Grihya 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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