About the Book
This book,' Layout for Different Sacrifices according to Different Sulbasutras' is a companion volume of the earlier published book 'Layout and construction of Citis according to Baudhayanam, Manava and Apastamba Sulbasstras, by the same author.
The book gives in detail layout of fire-places, vedis, pavilions, etc., required for different sacrifices namely Darsapurnamasau, Caturmasya, Nirudha Pasubandha, Soma, Soma with a citi, and Sautramani, according to four Acaryas, Baudhayana, Manva, Apastamba and Katyayana, a number of detailed dimensioned figures explaining the text are included. References to relevant quotes are given for each statement made regarding layouts.
About the Author
Dr. R.P. Kulkarni is a civil engineer by profession He was awarded Ph. D. in Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, he is an ardent student of Indian Silpasastra and studied sulbasutras as these give information of giving layout of citis, pavilions, vedis, etc. for different sacrifices. The basic knowledge of geometry is also given in these sulbasutras. His following books on this subject are published:
i. Cara Sulbasutre - Translation in Marathi of Sulbsutras by Baudhayana, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana.
ii. Geometry according to Sulbasutra - Derivations of different geometrical theoroms, formulae, etc., given in the sulbasutras, by different scholars as well as his own contribution, are presented.
iii. Layout and Construction of Citis according to Baudhayana, Manava, and Apastamba Sulbasutras - The present volume is companion of this volume.
Sulbasutras which are one of the chapters of
Srautasutras, give information about methods of giving
layout of pavilions, vedis, fire-places, etc., that are required
for different kinds of sacrifices. They include knowledge
of the basic geometry essential for understanding the
principles behind the procedures of giving layout. To give
a layout of any structure, from a hut to a five-star hotel,
requires knowledge of surveying. But surveying is
essentially an engineer's job and hence I undertook the
study of sulbasntras as part of my study of the History of
Indian Engineering and Technology. When I came across
these sulbasutras I was very favourably impressed. The
methods of giving layout for different sacrifices,
recommended by acaryas are so accurate and flawless, that
even now one has to follow these methods. I have,
therefore, studied these sulbasntras, although I do not claim
scholarship either in the Sanskrit language or the geometry.
These sulbasntras, in addition, give information of giving
layout and construction of citis of different shapes. I have
written a book,' 'Layout and Construction of Citis
according to Baudhayana, Manava and Apastamba
Sulbasutras'. The present book is its companion volume.
These two books together cover almost all the aspects of
giving layout and construction of different appertainances
of various sacrifices according to the four eminent ancient
acaryas, Baudhayana, Manava, Apastamba and Katyayana,
Chronologically, Baudhayana is said to be the earliest
of these acaryas, But the information of geometry and
different methods of layout given by him could not be
surpassed by the later acaryas. His thorough knowledge of
the principles of geometry and the accumen in its
application for giving layout as well as the scientific
presentation, are admirable and praiseworthy.
On the basis of the information of layout for different
sacrifices as recommended by different acaryas, I have
prepared drawings, names of these sacrifices being
Darsapurnamasau, Caturmasya, Nirudha Pasubandha,
Soma, Soma with a citi, and Sautramani, In order to check
my interpretations of these sulbasntras, I have shown these
drawings to Prof. C.G. Kashikar, an authority on Vedas
and particularly on Srautasutras. He very kindly spared his
valuable time to go through these drawings, one by one,
and approved them. I am very much grateful to him. I am
thankful to the Ministry of Human resources and
Development, New Delhi, as it has recommended this book
to the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya
Pratishthanam, Ujjain, for the publication of this book. I
wish to thank Shri M.C. Jain, Consultant (ACD), Maharshi
Sandipani Rashtriya Vadavidya Pratishthanam, for
undertaking, with zest, the task of getting the approval of
the Project Committe of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya
Vedavidya Pratishthanam, Ujjain and then getting it
printed and published.
The Antiquity of Srauta Sacrifices
The fundamental conceptions of sacrifice go back to
Indo-European antiquities though the traces are rather
faint. But it is quite clear that the cult of the sacrifice had
been much developed in the Indo-Iranian period. There is
a very striking resemblance between the Vedic Agnistoma
and the Homa ceremony of the Parsis. There are numerous
words indicative of the cult of the sacrifice both in the
Vedic language and in the ancient Parsi religious books.
For example, words like atharvan, ahuti, uktha, barhis,
mantra, yajna, soma, savana, stoma, hotr do also occur in
the ancient Parsi religious scriptures.
The Srauta sutras contain a very detailed, meticulously
accurate and vivid description of the several sacrifices that
were performed in ancient times. These works were
manuals compiled for the practical purpose of giving
directions to those who are engaged in such sacrifices. They
are based on ancient Brahmana texts, which they quote at
every step, many individual sutras being couched in the
very language of the Brahmanas, and on actual practice
and only bring together what was in vogue.
For a reader who may not have any idea of Srauta
sacrifices, a brief sketch of only those sacrifices of which
layouts are described is given below.
The New-moon and the Full-moon sacrifices is the
pattern or archtype (prakrti) of all other istis (which are
called vikrtis or modifications). Darsa means 'the day on
which the moon is seen only by the sun and by no one
else'. It is 'the day when the sun and the moon dwell or
are together'. Paurnamasi is 'the tithi on which the sun and
the moon are at the greatest distance from each other'.
Four priests, the adhvaryu, brahma, hotr and agnidhra are
employed for this isti, An isti means a sacrifice in which
the sacrificer employs four priests.
The Caturmasyas are four, viz. Vaisvadeva,
Varunapraghasa, Sakamedha and Sunasiriya. Each of these
is called a parvan (part or joint) of the Carurmasyas. They
are called Caturmasyas because each of them takes place
after four months. They are performed respectively on the
Full-moon days of Phalguna (or Caitra), of Asadha, Kartika
and on the fifth full moon day from the day on which the
Sakamedha is performed (i.e. on Phalguni) or two or three
days before it. They indicate the advent of three seasons,
viz. vasanta (spring), varsa (rain) and hemanta (autumn).
If the Vaisvadeva-parvan is performed on Caitra
Full-moon, then the Varunapraghasas and Sakamedhas will
be performed on Sravana and Margasirsa Full-moon days
respectively. The S.P. Br. gives a fanciful etymology of the
word Varunapraghasa. Yavas (barley grains) belong to
Varuna and as these are eaten (from ghas to eat) in this
rite it is called Varunapraghasa. Two altars (vedis) have
to be prepared to the east of the ahavaniya in line towards
the east, one south of the other. The northern altar is in
charge of the adhvaryu and the southern one in charge of
his assistant, the pratiprasthatr. For this sacrifice five
priests are required; the adhvaryu, brahma, hotr, agnidhra
The Sakamedha literally means 'kindling along with
or at the same as' (sakam edha). The name is probably
given because the first offering in it is a cake on eight
potsherds offered to Agni Anikvat with the rising sun. In
the Sunasiriya the special offerings are a cake on twelve
potsherds to Sunasirau (Vayu and Aditya or to Indra
Sunasira), an oblation of fresh warm milk (not heated)
direct from the cow to Vayu, a cake on one potsherd to
Surya. There is no uttaravedi in this rite.
The Animal Sacrifice
This is an independent sacrifice and it is also
performed in Soma sacrifice as a constituent part. The
independent sacrifice is called nirudhapasubandha (offering
of an eviscered animal) and the subordinate ones are called
saurnika. The independent animal sacrifice is to be
performed every six months or every year by the ahitagni
throughout his life. If done once, in a year it was to be
performed in the rainy season (i.e. in Sravana or
Bhadrapada) on New-moon or Full-moon day or if done
six monthly then at the beginning of the southern and the
northern passages of the sun (daksinayana and uttarayana).
In this sacrifice there is a sixth priest called Maitravaruna
(or Prasastr) in addition to the five required in the
Brahma Sutras (81)
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