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The Grihya Sutras, Part 2 (SBE30), by Hermann Oldenberg, [1892], at

p. 308 p. 309



p. 310 p. 311


As Professor Oldenberg was unable to find any other texts connected with the Grihya-sûtras, I have tried to bring this volume to its proper size by adding a translation of Âpastamba's Yagña-Paribhâshâ-sûtras. These Sûtras give some general information about the performance of sacrifices, and may prove useful to the students both of the Srauta and the Grihya sacrifices. Paribhâshâ is defined as a general rule or definition applicable throughout a whole system, and more binding than any particular rule. How well this sense of paribhâshâ was understood in India, we may see from a passage in the Sisupâlavadha XVI, 80:

Paritah pramitâksharâpi sarvam
vishayam prâptavatî gatâ pratishthâm
na khalu pratihanyate kutaskit
paribhâsheva garîyasî yadâgñâ.

[paragraph continues] 'Whose (the king's) command, though brief, having reached the whole kingdom round about and obtained authority, is never defeated, being of the highest weight, like a Paribhâshâ.'

These Paribhâshâs are a very characteristic invention of ancient Indian authors, particularly during the Sûtra period. We find them as early as the Anukramanîs, and even at that early time they had been elaborated with many purely technical contrivances. Thus we are told in the Index to the Rig-veda that, as a general rule, if no deity is mentioned in the index of the hymns, Indra must be supposed to be the deity addressed; when no metre is mentioned, the metre must be understood to be the Trishtubh; at the beginning of each Mandala the hymns must be taken to be addressed to Agni, till we come to hymns distinctly addressed to Indra. Now it is clear that in this case these Paribhâshâs or general instructions must have been laid down

p. 312

before the whole work was carried out. The same applies to other Paribhâshâs, such as those of the metrical Sûtras, but I feel more doubtful as to the Paribhâshâs in the grammatical Sûtras of Pânini. To judge from the Paribhâshendusekhara, it would seem that the Paribhâshâ-sûtras to Pânini's grammar also had been settled before a single Sûtra of Pânini was composed, and yet it seems almost incredible that this gigantic web of Sûtras should have been woven on so complicated a warp. This question ought to be settled once for all, as it would throw considerable light on the workmanship of Pânini's Sûtras, and there is no one better qualified to settle it for us than the learned editor of the Paribhâshendusekhara. It is different with our Paribhâshâs. There is no necessity to suppose that they were worked out first, before the Sûtras were composed. They look more like useful generalisations than like indispensable preliminary instructions. They give us a general idea of the sacrifice, and inculcate rules that ought to be observed throughout. But I doubt whether they are as essential for enabling the priest to carry out the instructions of the Sûtras in performing a sacrifice as the grammatical paribhâshâs are in carrying out the grammatical rules of Pânini.

The Âpastamba-sûtras for which our Paribhâshâs are intended are said to have comprised thirty Prasnas (see Burnell, Catalogue, p. 19, and p. xxix in Professor Oldenberg's Introduction). Burnell mentions that sometimes two Prasnas, treating of the Paitrimedhika rites, were counted as the thirty-first and thirty-second of the whole work. Of these thirty Prasnas fifteen have been edited with Rudradatta's commentary by Professor Garbe in the Bibliotheca Indica, 1882-1885. Rudradatta's commentary does not seem to have extended beyond the fifteenth Prasna; some authorities, however, suppose that Haradatta, to whom commentaries on the later Prasnas are ascribed, was only another name for Rudradatta. According to Kaundappa's Prayogaratnamâlâ (see Burnell, Classified Index, I, p. 17 a), the Paribhâshâ-sûtras formed part of the twenty-fourth Prasna (katurvimse tatah prasne nyâyaprâvarahautrakam).

p. 313

[paragraph continues] Here Nyâya in the sense of method, way, plan, seems to stand for Paribhâshâ. Another name is Sâmânya-sûtra (see Burnell, Classified Index, p. 15 b, where it is mentioned as § 4 of Prasna XXIV). Kaundappâkârya himself, who is said to have been minister of Vîrabhûpati, the son of the famous king Bukka of Vigayanagara, begins his work with a paribhâshâ-parikkheda.

I published a German translation of these Sûtras with notes many years ago, in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 1855. I here give the same translation, but I have shortened the notes and compared the translation once more with the MSS.

The principal MSS. used are MS. I.O.L. 1676 b, 259, and 1127. MS. 1676 b, now 308, is described in Professor Eggeling's Catalogue of the Sanskrit MSS. in the Library of the India Office, vol. i, p. 58 b. It is written in Devanâgarî, contains thirty leaves, and is called at the end iti Srikapardinâ bhâshye uddhritasâram paribhâshâpatalam. MS. 259, now 309, contains twenty-seven leaves in Devanâgarî, and is called at the end iti Kapardisvâmi-bhâshye paribhâshâpatalam. MS. 1127, now 307, in Devanâgarî, is dated Samvat 1691, Sâka 1556, and contains on 220 leaves portions of Tâlavrindanivâsin's manual, the Âpastambasûtra-prayoga-vritti, and on pp. 75 a-116 a Kapardisvâmin's commentary on Âpastamba's Paribhâshâpatalam. Burnell mentions another copy of this work in his Classified Index, I, p. 17 b, and he states (Catalogue, p. 24) that, according to tradition, the author was a native of Southern India, called Andappillai, and that tâlavrinda or tâlavrinta is a translation of the Tamil panai-kkâtu, a very common name for villages among palmyra trees (panai = palmyra, kâtu = forest).

While preparing my new translation for the Press, I received a printed edition of the text and commentary published by Sri Satyavratasâmasramibhattâkârya in his valuable Journal, the Ushâ, beginning in the eighth fasciculus. He gives also a Bengali translation, and some commentaries in the same language, which have proved useful in certain difficult passages.

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