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Loni Oneil
The Grihya Sutras – Part 2
Post Date:
2017-10-21 10:40:13

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We begin our introductory remarks on the literature of the Grihya-sûtras with the attempt to collect the more important data which throw light on the development of the Grihya ritual during the oldest period of Hindu antiquity.

There are, as it seems, no direct traces of the Grihya ceremonies in the most ancient portion of Vedic literature. It is certain indeed that a number of the most important of those ceremonies are contemporaneous with or even earlier than the most ancient hymns of the Rig-veda, as far as their fundamental elements and character are concerned, whatever their precise arrangement may have been. However, in the literature of the oldest period they play no part. It was another portion of the ritual that attracted the attention of the poets to whom we owe the hymns to Agni, Indra, and the other deities of the Vedic Olympus, viz. the offerings of the Srauta-Ritual with their far superior pomp, or, to state the matter more precisely, among the offerings of the Srauta-Ritual the Soma offering. In the Soma offering centred the thought, the poetry, and we may almost say the life of the Vasishthas, of the Visvâmitras, &c., in whose families the poetry of the Rig-veda had its home. We may assume that the acts of the Grihya worship, being more limited in extent and simpler in their ritual construction than the great Soma offerings, were not yet at that time, so far as they existed at all, decked out with the reciting of the poetic texts, which we find later on connected with them, and which in the case of the Soma offering came early to be used. Probably they were celebrated in simple unadorned fashion;


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