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


1. 1 Let him select the site for building his house—

2. On even ground, which is covered with grass, which cannot be destroyed (by inundations, &c.),

3. On which the waters flow off to the east or to the north,

4. On which plants grow which have no milky juice or thorns, and which are not acrid.

5. The earth should be white, if he is a Brâhmana,

6. Red, if he is a Kshatriya,

7. Black, if he is a Vaisya.

8. (The soil should be) compact, one-coloured, not dry, not salinous, not surrounded by sandy desert, not swampy.

9. (Soil) on which Darbha grass grows, (should be chosen) by one who is desirous of holy lustre,

10. (Soil covered) with big sorts of grass, by one who is desirous of strength,

11. (Soil covered) with tender grass, by one who is desirous of cattle.

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12. (The site of the house) should have the form of a brick,

13. Or it should have the form of a round island.

14. Or there should be natural holes (in the ground) in all directions.

15. On such (ground) one who is desirous of fame or strength, should build his house with its door to the east;

16. One who is desirous of children or of cattle, (should build it) with its door to the north;

17. One who is desirous of all (those things), (should build it) with its door to the south.

18. Let him not build it with its door to the west.

19. 19 And a back-door.

20. The house-door.

21. So that (he?) may not be exposed to looks (?).

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22. 22 'Let him avoid an Asvattha tree on the east-side (of his house), and a Plaksha on the south-side, a Nyagrodha on the west-side, and on the north-side an Udumbara.

23. 'One should say that an Asvattha brings (to the house) danger from fire; one should say that a Plaksha tree brings early death (to the inhabitants of the house), that a Nyagrodha brings oppression through (hostile) arms, that an Udumbara brings diseases of the eye.

24. 'The Asvattha is sacred to the sun, the Plaksha to Yama, the Nyagrodha is the tree that belongs to Varuna, the Udumbara, to Pragâpati.'

25. 25 He should place those (trees) in another place than their proper one,

26. 26 And should sacrifice to those same deities.

27. 27 Let him put wood on the fire in the middle of the house, and sacrifice a black cow,

28. Or a white goat,

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29. (The one or the other) together with milk-rice.

30. Or (only) milk-rice.

31. Having mingled together the fat (of the animal), Âgya, its flesh, and the milk-rice,

32. He should take eight portions (of that mixture) and should sacrifice (the following eight oblations):

33. The first (verse, accompanying the first oblation), is, 'Vâstoshpati!' (MB. II, 6, 1).

34. 34 (Then follow) the (three) verses of the Vâmadevya,

35. (And the three) Mahâvyâhritis.

36. 36 The last (oblation is offered with the formula), 'To Pragâpati (svâhâ).'

37. After he has sacrificed, he should offer ten Balis,

38. In the different directions (of the horizon), from left to right,

39. And in the intermediate points,

40. In due order, without a transposition.

41. (He should offer a Bali) in the east with (the formula), '(Adoration) to Indra!' in the intermediate direction—'To Vâyu!' in the south—'To Yama!' in the intermediate direction—'(Svadhâ) to the Fathers!' in the west—'(Adoration) to Varuna!' in the intermediate direction—'To Mahârâga!' in the north—'To Soma!' in the intermediate direction—'To Mahendra!' downwards—

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[paragraph continues] 'To Vâsuki!' upwards, in the sky (i.e. throwing the Bali into the air), with (the formula), 'Adoration to Brahman!'

42. To the east, upwards, and downwards this should be done constantly, day by day.

43. 43 (The whole ceremony is repeated) every year or at the two sacrifices of the first fruits.


120:1 7, 1 seq. Comp. Khâdira-Grihya IV, 2, 6 seq.

121:19 19-21. I have translated the words of these Sûtras without trying to express any meaning. According to the commentary the meaning is the following: 19. He should not build a house which has its door on the back-side, or which has one front-door and one back-door. 20. The house-door should not face the door of another house. 21. The house-door should be so constructed that the householder cannot be seen by Kândâlas, &c., when he is performing religious acts or when dining in his house. Or, if instead of samlokî the reading samloki is accepted, the Sûtra means: the house-door should be so constructed, that valuable objects, &c., which are in the house, cannot be seen by passers-by.—The commentary on Khâdira-Grihya IV, 2, 15 contains the remark: dvâradvayam (var. lectio, dvâram dvâram) parasparam rigu na syâd iti kekit. This seems to me to lead to the right understanding of these Sûtras. I think we ought to read and to divide in this way: (19) anudvâram ka. (20. 21) grihadvâram yathâ na samloki syât. 'And (let him construct) a back-door, so that it does not face the (chief) house-door.' The Khâdira MSS. have the readings, asallokî, asandraloke, samloka.

122:22 22-24. These are Slokas to which the commentary very appropriately, though not exactly in the sense in which it was originally set down, applies the dictum so frequently found in the Brâhmana texts: na hy ekasmâd aksharâd virâdhayanti. Dr. Knauer's attempts to restore correct Slokas are perhaps a little hazardous; he inserts in the third verse ka after plakshas, and in the second he changes the first brûyât into ka, whereby the second foot of the hemistich loses its regular shape , and receives instead of it the form .

122:25 He should remove an Asvattha tree from the east-side, &c.

122:26 He should sacrifice to the deities to whom the transplanted trees are sacred.

122:27 27 seq. Here begins the description of the vâstusamana, which extends to Sûtra 43. As to the animal sacrifice prescribed in this Sûtra, comp. Dr. Winternitz's essay, Einige Bemerkungen über das Bauopfer bei den Indern (Sitzungsbericht der Anthrop. Gesellschaft in Wien, 19 April, 1887), p. 8.

123:34 Comp. above, chap. 6, 7 note.

123:36 The commentary says: 'The last oblation should be offered with the formula, "To Pragâpati svâhâ!"' Probably we ought to correct the text, Pragâpata ity uttamâ, 'the last (verse) is, "Pragâpati!" (MB. II, 5, 8);' see above, IV, 6, 9; Khâdira-Grihya IV, 2, 20.

124:43 See above, III, 8, 9 seq.

Next: IV, 8