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Asvalayana Grihya Sutra – Brief Idea

Asvalayana Grihya Sutra is a knowledge text that lays down the procedure to be followed in household rituals. These procedures are particularly meant for the followers of Asvalayana, belonging to the Sakala recension of Rig Veda.

Kalpa Sutras are the auxiliary texts of Vedas that help the followers perform the rituals explained in Vedas. Asvalayana Grihya Sutra is a part of Asvalayana Kalpasutra, the other important texts being Srauta Sutras. While the Srauta Sutras deal with rituals to be performed in consecrated fires, Grihya Sutra deals with the domestic rituals.

Asvalayana Grihya Sutra deals with the domestic rituals. This text is presented in four chapters. In the first chapter, the marriage ritual is explained in detail followed by other samskaras – such as pumsavana and others. Upanayana (taking the boy to the teacher) is explained in detail in this chapter.

The second chapter of Asvalayana Grihya Sutra begins with the ritual sravana karma followed by various shraddha ceremonies. These are ceremonies in which manes are propitiated with oblations. In this chapter many details of vastu shastra (town planning and house construction) namely, examination of the land selected for house construction, building materials, orientations are given.

The third chapter of Asvalayana Grihya Sutra deals with the rituals connected with funerals and obsequies. Some of the paka yagas (minor rituals conducted in the household fire) are also explained in this chapter.

Asvalayana Grihya Sutra concludes with salutations to Shaunaka, the great preceptor in Rig Veda lineage. A supplementary collection of sutras in four chapters, also exists for these Grihya Sutras. This supplementary collection is considered authentic and part of the text. The followers of Avalayana strictly follow the rituals and rules enunciated therein even today. These supplementary sutras give more details of those rituals already laid down in the man Grihya Sutras.