Śrautasutras

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Srautasutras, Zrautasutras, shrautasutras


Origin of Śrautasutras

It is quite difficult to understand the Vedas because of the archaic language and the esoteric rites described there, most of which are completely unfamiliar and unknown to us today. However, the six Vedāṅgas[1] help us to a great extent in unraveling their mystery and even guide us to perform these Vedic rites. Out of the six Vedāṅgas, the last one is called Kalpasutras. This has branched off into four fields, the first of which is the Śrautasutras.

Contents of Śrautasutras

The Śrautasutras are concerned mainly with the details connected with the performance of the Vedic sacrifices. A few of these may be listed as follows:

  • The yajamāna[2] and the ṛtviks[3]
  • Agnyādheya[4]
  • Details of the performance of some sacrifices like Darśapurṇmāsa, Somayāgas, Cāturmāsya sacrifices, Sattra-yāgas and so on
  • Agnicayana or preparing the platform for the sacrifices with bricks etc.

Śrautasutras in Vedas

All the four Vedas have their respetive Śrautasutras. They may be listed as follows:

Rgveda

  1. Āśvalāyana Śrautasutras
  2. Sāñkhāyana Śrautasutras
  3. Śukla Yajurveda
  4. Kātyāyana Śrautasutras
  5. Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda
  6. Āpastamba Śrautasutras
  7. Baudhāyana Śrautasutras
  8. Bharadvāja Śrautasutras
  9. Mānava śrautasutras
  10. Vaikhānasa śrautasutras

Sāmaveda

Ārseya Kalpasutras or Maśaka Kalpasutras containing the Śrautasutra part also.

  1. Drāhyayana Śrautasutras
  2. Jaiminiya Śrautasutras
  3. Lātyāyana Śrautasutras

Atharvaveda

  1. Vaitāna Śrautasutras

Conclusion

Without the help of these Śrautasutras, it would not have been possible to perform the various Vedic sacrifices.


References

  1. Vedāṅgas means subsidiary sciences of the Vedas.
  2. Yajamāna means sacrificer.
  3. Ṛtviks means priests.
  4. Agnyādheya means production of fire from the araṇis or wooden pieces for the sacrifice.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore