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Vaitana Srauta Sutra

Vaitana Srauta Sutra, also known as simply as Vaitana Sutra, is the only Srauta text of Atharva Veda. The text is said to belong to Saunaka recension. Written by an anonymous author, this text is later to Kaushika Sutra and cites Kaushika Sutra (Vaitana Sutra. 10.19; 11.4; 28.7 and more).

The term Vitana is derived from vi+tan “to expand.” According to Somaditya (on Vaitana Sutra I.1 garhapatyahavaiyadakashinagninam vitatih vitanam), the term refers to the three sacred fires and means “belonging to the sacred fires.” Thus Vaitana Sutra can be interpreted to mean a “Srauta Sutra text (connected with rites) performed with three sacred fires.”

The text was first edited by R.Garbe (London 1878); the same scholar translated the text into German (Strassburg, 18780. W. Caland brought out a German translation of the text – Das Vaitanasutra des Atharvaveda (Amsterdam, 1910). S.N.Ghosal has translated the text into English, which appeared in Indian Historical Quarterly; Vol. 34, Vol 35, and Vol 36. Vishva Bandhu has edited the text with Somaditya’s Akshepanuvidhi (Hoshiarpur, 1967). Vishva Bandu’s edition consists of eight adhyayas which contain three kandikas and the kandas are further divided into sutras, the number of sutras varying from kandika to kandika.

According to tradition, Vaitana Srauta Sutra and Kaushika Sutra belong to the five kalpas, the other three beings Nakshatra, Shanti and Angirasakalpa.

The contents of Vaitana Srauta Sutra are:

  • Paribasha
  • Darshapuranamasas
  • Agnyadheya
  • Agnihotra
  • Armbhaniyesti
  • Punaradheya
  • Agrayanesti
  • Chaturmasyas
  • Pashubandha
  • Agnistoma
  • Ukthya
  • Sodasin
  • Atirata
  • Vajapeya
  • Aptoryama
  • Agnicayana
  • Sautramani
  • Gavamayana
  • Rajasuya
  • Ashvamedha
  • Purushamedha
  • Sarvamedha
  • Ekahas and Ahinas
  • Kamya Yagnas.

Vaitana Sutra is based on the 20th kanda of Saunaka recension. The citations from kandas I-XIX were not borrowed directly from Samhitas. The majority of the hymns and individual mantras in anumantrana from Vaitana Sutra XIX.6 onwards in the description of Agnistoma are from the 20th kanda of Saunaka recension. The assumption is made that the 20th  kanda of Saunaka recension and Vaitana Sutra were compiled either at the same time as Sutras, or Sutras were compiled somewhat later than the 20th kanda. The other names of the text found in the colophons are Vaitanakalpa or Atharvanasutra or Atharvasutra.




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