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Vaikhanasa Sutra

Vaikhanasa sutra is a sutra related to Krishna Yajur Veda. According to Srinivasa Dikshit, the commentator of this text, it was also known as Aukheya Sutra. According to traditional belief, Sage Vaikhanasa, the founder of this sutra, is an incarnation of Brahma. The Vaikhanasa are devout worshipers of Bhagavan Vishnu. Narayana finds mention very often in their sutra.

Vaikhanas Srautasutra lays down that the performer should fix his thoughts on Narayana during certain acts (Narayanam dhyayan – I.4, I.14, III.1) and, being absorbed in Narayana (Narayana parayanah), should sit silently (XII.10). During the churning of fire, the yajamana should think himself as the mantra, and the fire as Lord Vishnu (… aranim-manthamatmanam Vishnum janyamagnim…I.10). Whilst stepping on the cart, the performer should think of himself as Vishnu (saktamabhimantrya…Vishnumatmanam dhyayan… IV.4). In the intervals of the yajna the yajamana should, in order to cover them up, fix his thoughts on Vishnu as the lord of yajna (yajnesham Vishnumaham dhyayita…XVII.6).

Vaikhanasa Sutra contains twenty one prashnas (chapters).

Prashna I is devoted to agnyadheya and punaradheya. Prashna II describes agnihotrain detail; III to VII elaborate different aspects of darshapurnamasa-ishti; VII and IX deal with Agrayana and Chaturmasya yajna; X describes nirudha-pasubandha; and XI caraka-srautramani and ayudhas of ritual. Prashna XII-XVI describe Agnistoma and Pravargya rites, and XVII exclusively elaborates Utkhya, Sodasi, Atiratra, Aptoryama and Vajapeya. Prashnas XVII and XIX describe agnicayana. Prashna XX deals with prayatscitas (atonements) related to is ishti and the last chapter also explains prayaschittas.

Vaikhanas Srautasutra has relatively little original matter, and the author has drawn largely on the works of his predecessors such as Baudhayana, Apastamba and Hiranyakesin. W. Caland has critically edited this sutra with great care.