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


1. After the Âgrahâyanî (full moon follow) the three Ashtakâs.

2. (The Ashtakâ is) sacred to Indra, to the Visve devâs, to Pragâpati, and to the Fathers.

3. (The oblations are made) with cakes, flesh, and vegetables, according to the order (of the three Ashtakâs).

4. The first Ashtakâ (is celebrated) on the eighth day of the fortnight.

5. Having cooked a mess of sacrificial food and having sacrificed the two Âgya portions, he sacrifices Âgya oblations with (the texts):

(a a) 'Thirty sisters go to the appointed place,

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putting on the same badge. They spread out the seasons, the knowing sages; having the metres in their midst they walk around, the brilliant ones. Svâhâ!

(b) 'The shining one clothes herself with clouds, with the ways of the sun, the divine night: manifold animals which are born, look about in this mother's lap. Svâhâ!

(c) 'The Ekâshtakâ, devoting herself to austerities, has given birth to a child, to the majesty of Indra. Through him the gods have conquered the hostile tribes; he became the killer of the Asuras through his (divine) powers. Svâhâ!

(d d) 'You have made me who am not the younger (sister), the younger; speaking the truth I desire this: may I be in his (i.e. the sacrificer's?) favour, as you are; may none of you supplant the other in her work.

(e) 'In my favour dwelt the omniscient one; he has found a firm standing; he has got a footing. May I be in his (i.e. the sacrificer's?) favour, as you are; may none of you supplant the other in her work.

(f f) 'On the five dawns follows the fivefold milking; on the cow with the five names, the rive seasons. The five regions (of the sky) are established

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through the fifteenfold (Stoma); with one common face (they look over) the one world. Svâhâ!

(g) 'She who shone forth as the first, is the child of truth. One (of them) bears the majesty of the waters; one wanders in the courses of the sun; one (in those) of the heat; Savitri shall govern one. Svâhâ!

(h) 'She who shone forth as the first has become a cow in Yama's realm. Give us milk, thou who art rich in milk, year by year. Svâhâ!

(i i) 'She, the owner of bright bulls, has come to us with clouds and with light, she who has all shapes, the motley one, whose banner is fire. Carrying on the common work, leading us to old age, come to us thou who art exempt from old age, Ushas! Svâhâ!

(k) 'The consort of the seasons, the first one has come to us, the leader of days, the producer of offspring. Being one, thou shinest manifold, Ushas. Being free from old age, thou leadest to old age everything else. Svâhâ!'

6. He makes offerings of the mess of cooked food with (the verses):

'May the earth be peaceful, the air friendly to us;

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may the heavens give us bliss and safety. May the points (of the horizon), the intermediate points, the upper points give us bliss, and may day and night create long life for us. Svâhâ!

'May the waters, the rays protect us from all sides; may the creator, may the ocean turn away evil. The present and the future, may all be safe for me. Protected by Brahman, may I be well guarded. Svâhâ!

'May all Âdityas and the divine Vasus, may the Rudras and Maruts be our protectors. May Pragâpati, the highest lord, bestow on us vigour, offspring, immortality, long life. Svâhâ!'

7. And with (the formula), 'To the Ashtakâ Svâhâ!'

8. The middle Ashtakâ (is celebrated) with (the sacrifice of) a cow.

9. He sacrifices the omentum of that (cow) with (the verse), 'Carry the omentum, O Gâtavedas, to the fathers' (Vâg. Samh. XXXV, 20).

10. On the day following each (Ashtakâ), the Anvashtakâ day, (he brings a sacrifice) with the left ribs and the left thigh, in an enclosure, according to (the ritual of) the Pindapitriyagña.

11. Also to the female (ancestors he makes Pinda offerings) and pours (for them) strong liquor and water oblations into pits, and (offers) collyrium, salves, and garlands.

12. (He may also make oblations), if he likes, to the teacher and to the pupils who have no children.

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13 13. And in the middle of the rainy season (there is) a fourth Ashtakâ on which vegetables are offered.


341:14 The verse occurs, with a few differences, in the Kânva Sâkhâ of the Vâg. Samhitâ, II, 7, 5.

341:1 3, 1. On the Ashtakâs, celebrated on the eighth days of the three dark fortnights following after the Âgrahâyanî full moon, see Sâṅkhâyana III, 12 seqq.; Âsvalâyana II, 4; Gobhila III, 10.

341:2 As there are four deities named, I think it probable that they are referred to all Ashtakâs indiscriminately; comp. Âsvalâyana II, 4, 12. Thus in the Mantras prescribed for the first Ashtakâ (Sûtras 5 and 6), Indra, the Visve devâs, and Pragâpati are named; to the Fathers belongs the Anvashtakya ceremony.

341:3 With regard to the order of these substances the Grihya texts differ.

341:5 Comp. Taitt. Samhitâ IV, 3, 11; Atharva-veda III, 10.

341:a (a) The thirty sisters seem to be the days of the month. As to p. 342 madhyekhandas, comp. Taitt. Samh. loc. cit. § 1: khandasvatî ushasâ pepisâne; § 2: katushtomo abhavad yâ turîyâ yagñasya pakshâv rishayo bhavantî, gâyatrîm trishtubham gagatîm anushtubham brihad arkam yuñgânâh suvar âbharann idam.

342:d (d) Probably one Ashtakâ addresses the others, her sisters, as Gayarâma explains this verse.

342:f (f) The explanation by which the 'fivefold milking' is referred to what is called in Taitt. Brâhmana II, 2, 9, 'the milkings of Pragâpati,' seems to me more than doubtful, for 'the milkings p. 342 of Pragâpati' are only four: viz. the dark night, the moonlight, the twilight, and the day.

343:i (i) Sukra-rishabhâ cannot be translated, as Professor Stenzler does, 'die schönste unter den Lichtern' (Mâdhava: sukreshu nakshatrâdishu sreshthâ), for this meaning of rishabhâ occurs only in later texts. The word is a Bahuvrîhi compound, as the Petersburg Dictionary explains it.

343:6 In the first verse I have omitted vyasnavai, which impedes the construction and violates the metre. The word has found its way into the text, no doubt, in consequence of the phrase dîrgham âyur vyasnavai occurring in chap. 2, 2. In the second verse p. 344 akritad is corrupt. I have translated abhayam; comp. Âsvalâyana II, 4, 14. In the third verse I have left out mayi, as Professor Stenzler has done in his translation.

345:13 I have stated in the note on Sâṅkhâyana III, 13, 1 my reasons for believing that the true reading of this Sûtra is not madhyâvarshe (in the middle of the rainy season), but mâghyavarshe (the festival celebrated during the rainy season under the Nakshatra Maghâs). There are no express rules given with regard to the third Ashtakâ, but I think we should understand this Sûtra as involving a statement on that Ashtakâ: (The third Ashtakâ) and the fourth, on the Mâghyavarsha day, are Sâkâshtakâs (Ashtakâs on which vegetables are offered). Sâṅkhâyana (Grihya III, 13, 1) declares that the ritual of the fourth Ashtakâ is identical with that of the second.

Next: III, 4