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


1. He chooses priests (for officiating at a sacrifice) with neither deficient nor superfluous limbs, 'who on

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the mother's and on the father's side (&c.),' as it has been said above.

2. Let him choose young men as officiating priests: thus (declare) some (teachers).

3. He chooses first the Brahman, then the Hotri, then the Adhvaryu, then the Udgâtri.

4. Or all who officiate at the Ahîna sacrifices and at those lasting one day.

5. The Kaushîtakinas prescribe the Sadasya as the seventeenth, saying, 'He is the looker-on at the performances.'

6. This has been said in the two Rikas, 'He whom the officiating priests, performing (the sacrifice) in many ways' (Rig-veda VIII, 58, I. 2).

7. He chooses the Hotri first.

8. With (the formula), 'Agni is my Hotri; he is my Hotri; I choose thee N.N. as my Hotri' (he chooses) the Hotri.

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9. With (the formula), 'Kandramas (the moon) is my Brahman; he is my Brahman; I choose thee N.N. as my Brahman' (he chooses) the Brahman.

10. With (the formula), 'Âditya (the sun) is my Adhvaryu; (he is my Adhvaryu, &c.)'—the Adhvaryu.

11. With (the formula), 'Parganya is my Udgâtri; (he is my Udgâtri, &c.)'—the Udgâtri.

12 12. With (the formula), 'The waters are my reciters of what belongs to the Hotrakas'—the Hotrakas.

13 13-14. With (the formula), 'The rays are my Kamasâdhvaryus'—the Kamasâdhvaryus.

14. With (the formula), 'The ether is my Sadasya'—the Sadasya.

15. He whom he has chosen should murmur, 'A great thing thou hast told me; splendour thou hast told me; fortune thou hast told me; glory thou hast told me; praise thou hast told me; success thou hast told me; enjoyment thou hast told me; satiating thou hast told me; everything thou hast told me.'

16. Having murmured (this formula), the Hotri declares his assent (in the words), 'Agni is thy Hotri; he is thy Hotri; thy human Hotri am I.'

17. 'Kandramas (the moon) is thy Brahman; he is thy Brahman (&c.)'—thus the Brahman.

18. In the same way the others according to the prescriptions (given above).

19 19. And if (the priest who accepts the invitation)

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is going to perform the sacrifice (for the inviting person, he should add), 'May that bless me; may that enter upon me; may I thereby enjoy (bliss).'

20 20. The functions of an officiating priest are not to be exercised, if abandoned (by another priest), or at an Ahîna sacrifice with small sacrificial fee, or for a person that is sick, or suffering, or affected with consumption, or decried among the people in his village, or of despised extraction: for such persons (the functions of a Ritvig should not be exercised).

21 21. He (who is chosen as a Ritvig) should ask the Somapravâka, 'What sacrifice is it? Who are

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the priests officiating? What is the fee for the sacrifice?'

22. If (all the conditions) are favourable, he should accept.

23. Let (the officiating priests) eat no flesh nor have intercourse with a wife until the completion of the sacrifice.

24. 'By this prayer, O Agni, increase' (Rig-veda I, 31, 18)—with (this verse) let him offer (at the end of the sacrifice) an oblation of Âgya in (his own) Dakshinâgni, and go away where he likes;

25. In the same way one who has not set up the (Srauta) fires, in his (sacred) domestic fire with this Rik, 'Forgive us, O Agni, this sin' (Rig-veda I, 31, 16).


193:1 23, 1. Comp. Srauta-sûtra IX, 3, 20; Grihya-sûtra I, 5, 1.

194:4 The Ahîna sacrifices are those which last more than one day, but not more than twelve days. (Indische Studien, IX, 373; X, 355.) The priests officiating at such sacrifices are the sixteen stated in the Srauta-sûtra IV, 1, 6. 7. Those besides the sixteen, though they are chosen (saty api varane) for taking part in the sacred performances, have not the rank of ritvigas (officiating priests); such are the Sadasya, the Samitri, and the Kamasâdhvaryavah (schol. Srautas. loc. cit.). See Max Müller's History of A. S. L., pp. 450, 469 seq. As to the Sadasya, however, there was some difference of opinion (see the next Sûtra).

194:5 On the office of the Sadasya, see Indische Studien, X, 136, 144.

194:6 The two Rikas quoted here belong to the tenth among the Vâlakhilya hymns, a hymn omitted in many of the Rig-veda MSS. They give no special confirmation to the rules stated in our text, but contain only a general allusion to the unity of the sacrifice, which the various priests perform in many various ways.

194:7 'If the four (chief) priests have to be chosen, the choosing of the Brâhmana stands first in order (see above, Sûtra 3); if all (the sixteen), then the choosing of the Hotri stands first in order.' Nârâyana.

195:12 The twelve priests of the sixteen (see § 4 note) who do not stand at the head of one of the four categories. Those at the head are enumerated in the Sutras

195:13-14 13, 14. See above, § 4 note.

195:19 Priests who only perform the Agnyâdheya for a person, are, according to Nârâyana's note on this Sûtra, not considered as p. 196 performing a sacrifice for him; consequently the formula given here is only to be used by priests who are elected for a Soma sacrifice. Stenzler translates, 'So spricht er, wenn er das Opfer durch sie vollziehen lassen will.' But this would be yakshyamânah, not yâgayishyan.

196:20 The tradition takes nîkadakshinasya as in apposition to ahînasya, and I have translated accordingly. But I cannot help thinking that the two words should be separated, so that we should have to translate, 'or at an Ahîna, or for a person that gives small sacrificial fee.' Thus the Brâhmana quoted by Âpastamba (see the commentary on the Pañkavimsa Brâhmana, vol. i, p. 6, ed. Bibl. Indica) gives the following questions which the Ritvig to be chosen should ask, 'Is it no Ahîna sacrifice? Is the Ritvig office not abandoned by others? Is the sacrificial fee plentiful?' It is a very singular fact, that on the one hand the assistance of a number of Ritvigas was unanimously declared necessary for the performance of an Ahîna sacrifice, while on the other hand it was considered objectionable, at least among some of the Vedic schools, to officiate at such a sacrifice. See Weber's Indische Studien, X, 150, 151.

On anudesyabhisasta Nârâyana says, sadesinâbhisastasyaivam eke. anye tu srâddhe pratishiddhasyety âhuh. It seems to me that anudesya (or rather ânudesya?) in Sâṅkhâyana-Sraut. V, 1, 10 (Indische Studien, X, 147) means the same, though the commentary on that Sûtra ascribes a different meaning to that word.

196:21 The Somapravâka is the messenger who invites the priests on behalf of the sacrificer to officiate at his intended Soma sacrifice. Comp. Indische Studien, IX, 308.

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