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Asvalayana Rishi

Asvalayana Rishi was an authority on ritualistic practices and the propounder of one of the branches of Rig Vedic School called Asvalayana School.

Asvalayana Shakha was popular in the present day Maharashtra region but samhita and Brahmana texts are not available now.

According to some scholars, Asvalayana Rishi was the priest of King Janaka of Videha. He was considered to be the disciple of Shaunaka, as is inferred from the colophon of his text by way of respect to this guru: nama Shaunakaya.

Asvalayana is considered to a contemporary of Panini – the famous Grammarian of ancient Hindu world. Some India scholars like C. V. Vaidya have accepted his time to be the 1st century BC.

In Kaivalya Upanishad, he is considered to be the disciple of Paramesthin. According to Prasna Upanishad, there was enlightened scholar named Kausalya Asvalayana.

The important treatises attributed to Asvalayana are
  1. Asvalayana Srauta Sutra
  2. Asvalayana Grihya Sutra
Asvalayana Srauta Sutra is a text divided into twelve chapters. There is a commentary on the this by Gargya Narayana. Asvalayana’s Srauta Sutra deals with rules and regulations of major yajna (sacrifices) called Darshapuranamasa, Anvadhana, Punaradhana, Agrayana, Kamyesti, Chaturmasya, Pashu, Saturamani and Agnistoma.

This text refers to a few acharyas who come after Asvalayana. Some acharyas referred to are Alekana, Asmarathya, Kautsa, Ganagari, Gautama and Shaunaka.

Asvalayana Grihya Sutra deals with Samskara (sacraments), nitya karma (daily rites), vastu (architecture), upakarma (rites for beginning Vedic studies) and the method to prepare for war. There is a commentary of this by Narayana.

The Vedic seers referred to in the text are: Sumantu, Satarchina, Madhyama, Gritsamada, Vishwamitra, Vamadeva, Atri, Bharadwaja, Vasistha, Jaimini, Vaisampayana, Paila, Gargya, Gautama, Sakalya, Mandavya, Mandukeya, Kaushika, Sankhayana, Aitareya, Sakalya and Baskala.

Source - notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume II (IHRF) page 3