Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


1. They who have lost a Guru by death, or are afflicted by other misfortune, should perform on the new-moon day an expiatory ceremony.

2. Before sunrise they should carry their fire

p. 247

together with its ashes and with its receptacle to the south with the half-verse, 'I send far away the flesh-devouring Agni' (Rig-veda X, 16, 9).

3. Having thrown that (fire) down at a place where four roads meet or somewhere else, they walk round it three times, turning their left sides towards it, beating their left thighs with their left hands.

4. They then should return home without looking back, bathe in water, have their hair, their beards the hair of their bodies, and their nails cut, and furnish themselves with new jars, pots, vessels for rinsing the mouth, wreathed with garlands of Samî flowers, with fuel of Samî wood, with two pieces of Samî wood for kindling fire, and with branches to be laid round the fire, with bull's dung and a bull's hide, fresh butter, a stone, and as many bunches of Kusa grass as there are young women (in the house).

5. At the time of the Agni(-hotra) he should kindle fire with the hemistich, 'Here may this other Gâtavedas' (Rig-veda X, 16, 9).

p. 248

6. Keeping that (fire) burning, they sit till the silence of the night, repeating the tales of the aged, and getting stories of auspicious contents, Itihâsas and Purânas, told to them.

7. When all sounds have ceased, or when (the others) have gone to the house or the resting-place, (the performer of the ceremony) should pour out an uninterrupted stream of water, beginning at the south side of the door, with (the verse), 'Spinning the thread follow the light of the aerial space' (Rig-veda X, 53, 6), (going round the house), ending at the north side of the door.

8. Having then given its place to the fire, and having spread to the west of it a bull's hide with the neck to the east, with the hair outside, he should cause the people belonging to the house to step on that (hide) with (the verse), 'Arise to long life, choosing old age' (Rig-veda X, 18, 6).

9. With (the verse), 'This I lay round the living' (Rig-veda X, 18, 4), he should lay branches round (the fire).

10 10. After having with (the words), 'A mountain (i.e. a stone) they shall place between themselves and death,' placed a stone to the north of the fire, and having sacrificed with the four (verses), 'Go hence, O death, on another way' (Rig-veda X, 18, 1-4),

p. 249

verse by verse, he should look at his people with (the verse), 'As the days follow each other' (ibid. 5).

11. The young women (belonging to the house) should, with each hand separately, with their thumbs and fourth fingers, with young Darbha blades, salve their eyes with fresh butter, and throw (the Darbha blades) away, turning their faces away.

12. (The performer of the ceremony) should look at them, while they are salving themselves, with (the verse), 'These women, being no widows, having noble husbands' (Rig-veda X, 18, 7).

13. With (the verse), 'Carrying stones, (the river) streams forward; take hold of each other' (Rig-veda X, 53, 8)—the performer (of the ceremony) first should touch the stone.

14. After that, stationing himself to the northeast, while (the others) go round with the fire, with bull's dung, and with an uninterrupted stream of water, repeating the three verses, 'O waters, ye are wholesome' (Rig-veda X, 9, i seqq.), he should murmur the verse, 'These have led round the cow' (Rig-veda X, 155, 5).

15. A tawny-coloured bull should he lead round—thus they say.

16. They then sit down at a place where they intend to tarry, having put on garments that have not yet been washed.

17. (There) they sit, avoiding to sleep, till sunrise.

18 18. After sunrise, having murmured the hymns sacred to the sun and the auspicious hymns, having

p. 250

prepared food, having made oblations with (the hymn), 'May he drive evil away from us with his shine' (Rig-veda I, 97), verse by verse, having given to the Brâhmanas to eat, he should cause (them) to pronounce auspicious words.

19. A cow, a cup of metal, and a garment that has not yet been washed, constitute the sacrificial fee.


246:2 6, 2. According to Nârâyana the fire means here not the sacred domestic fire, but a common kitchen fire. I doubt whether the p. 247 commentator is right. The ceremonies described in the following Sûtras seem to point rather to a renewal of the sacred Grihya fire, the old one having proved unlucky to the sacrificer. In the same way, in the Srauta ritual, a sacrificer who, after having performed the Âdhâna, has bad luck, performs the Punarâdheya.

247:3 Comp. Kâtyâyana-Srauta-sûtra V, 10, r5.

247:5 The text has agnivelâyâm, which Nârâyana explains by agnihotraviharanakâle aparâhne. He states that the fire should be produced by attrition of two new kindling woods (arani), mentioned in Sûtra 4. The fire thus kindled is to be used, he says, as a kitchen-fire. Herein he seems to me to have misunderstood the meaning of the ceremony; see the note on Sûtra 2. The hemistich quoted in this Sûtra (which is the second half of the same verse of which the first half is prescribed in Sûtra 2) clearly points to the sacred quality of the fire in question; it runs thus, 'Here may this other Gâtavedas carry the offerings to the gods, the knowing one.'

248:7 The person who pours out the water is, as Nârâyana says, the kartri, i.e. the performer of the whole ceremony. The word cannot be translated, as Prof. Stenzler does, der Bestatter, no funeral ceremonies being here treated of.

248:8 See above, I, 8, 9. Here Nârâyana sees that the fire is the sacred one. He says, athasabdosmin kâlegnyantaram aupâsanam upasamâdadhyâd iti gñâpanârtham.

248:10 The words, 'A mountain,' &c., stand at the end of the verse quoted in Sûtra 9.

249:18 See above, II, 3, 13.

Next: IV, 7