Sraddha Rules How Face,Sit,Perform Homa,For Whom How Many Apasthamba Sutra

Free Will or Determinism?

I have written on the Basic Samskaras,forty duties,to be performed by three varnas,Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya .

I have written on individual Samskaras,Garbhadhana,Pumsavana,Punyahavaasana,Namakarana and many more.

I have also described details for Sraddha,the Oblations to be performed for ancestors.

These rules,being Smritis,have variations in practice.

Those who are in Dakshina Para,south of Vindhyas follow the rules set by Sage Apasthamba.

Even in the south,there are people who follow other Sutras.

This is due to the Vedas Shaka assigned to them.

The Sakas one has to follow can be found in the Abhivadan Mantra,that is ‘Abhivaadaye….aham asmibho’

There seems to be some doubts on basic procedures to be followed in performing Sraddha.

The authority is the Smriti on these issues.

On How

  1. To sit,
  2. Which direction to face at various point of time during Sraddha,
  3. Light fire for homa,
  4. How many ahutis,
  5. For whom…

These are all set out by Sage Apasthamba in Apasthamba Gruhya Sutra.

Those who follow Apasthamba sutra are to follow this.

I am providing the procedure from Apasthamba Gruhya Sutra.

Praśna 1, Section 1

1. Now (follow) the ceremonies (the knowledge of) which is derived from practice (and not from the Śruti).

2. They should be performed during the northern course of the sun, on days of the first fortnight (of the month), on auspicious days,

3. With the sacrificial cord suspended over (the sacrificer’s) left shoulder.

4. (The rites should be performed) from left to right.

5. The beginning should be made on the east side or on the north side,

6. And also the end.

7. Ceremonies belonging to the Fathers (are performed) in the second fortnight (of the month),

8. With the sacrificial cord suspended over the right shoulder,

9. From right to left,

10. Ending in the south.

11. Ceremonies occasioned by special occurrences (are performed) according as their occasions demand.

12. Having set the fire in a blaze, he strews eastward-pointed Darbha grass around it,

13. Or eastward-pointed and northward-pointed (grass);

14. Southward-pointed at sacrifices to the Fathers,

15. Or southward-pointed and eastward-pointed.

16. To the north of the fire he strews Darbha grass and (on that) he places the vessels (required for sacrifice) upside-down, two by two, if referring to ceremonies directed to the gods,

17. All at once, if to men,

18. One by one, if to the Fathers.

19.The preparation of the (blades used as) ‘purifiers,’ the measure of their length, the preparation of the Prokṣaṇī water, and the sprinkling of the vessels are the same here as at the sacrifices of the new and full moon, (but are performed) in silence.

20.To the west of the fire he pours water into a vessel over which he has laid (two grass blades called) purifiers, purifies (the water) three times with two northward-pointed purifiers, holds it on a level with his nose and mouth, places it to the north of the fire on Darbha grass, and covers it with Darbha grass.

21. On the south side he causes a Brāhmaṇa to sit down on Darbha grass.

22. He melts the Ājya, pours it, to the west of the fire, into the Ājya-pot, over which he has laid two purifiers, draws coals (out of the sacrificial fire) towards the mirth, puts (the Ājya) on them, throws light on it by means of a burning (grass-blade), throws two Darbha points into it, moves a firebrand round it three times, takes it from the fire towards the north, sweeps the coals back (into the fire), purifies (the Ājya) three times with two northward-pointed purifiers, moving them backward and forward, and throws the purifiers into the fire.

Praśna 1, Section 2

1. He warms at the fire the implement with which he sacrifices, wipes it off with Darbha blades, warms it again, sprinkles it (with water), puts it down, touches the Darbha blades with water, and throws them into the fire.

2.As paridhis (or pieces of wood laid round the fire) yoke-pins are used at the marriage, the Upanayana, the Samāvartana, the parting of the (wife’s) hair, the tonsure of the child’s hair, the cutting of the beard, and at expiatory ceremonies.

3. He sprinkles water round the fire, on the south side from west to east with (the words), ‘Aditi, give thy consent!’ on the west side from south to north with ‘Anumati, give thy consent!’ on the north side from west to east with ‘Sarasvatī [sic], give thy consent!’ all around with ‘God Sāvitrī, give thy impulse!’

4. At ceremonies belonging to the Fathers (water is sprinkled) only all round (the fire), silently.

5. Having put a piece of wood on the fire, he offers the two Āghāra oblations as at the sacrifices of the new and full moon, silently.

6. Then he offers the two Ājyabhāga oblations, over the easterly part of the northerly part (of the fire) with (the words), ‘To Agni Svāhā!’ over the easterly part of the southerly part (another oblation) exactly like the preceding one, with (the words), ‘To Soma Svāhā!’

7. Having offered the chief oblations (belonging to each sacrifice) according to prescription, he adds the following oblations, viz. the Jaya, Abhyātāna, Rāṣṭrabhṛt oblations, the oblation to Prajāpati, the Vyāhṛtis one by one, the oblation to (Agni) Sviṣṭakṛt with (the following formula), ‘What I have done too much in this ceremony, or what I have done here too little, all that may Agni Sviṣṭakṛt, he who knows, make well sacrificed and well offered. Svāhā!’

8. The sprinkling (of water) round (the fire is repeated) as above; the Mantras are altered so as to say, ‘Thou hast given thy consent,’ ‘Thou hast given thy impulse.’

9. The designation ‘Pākayajña’ is used of ceremonies connected with worldly life.

10.There the ritual based on the Brāhmaṇa (holds good),


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