The set of manuscripts that has been principally utilised in preparing the present edition of the Laugaksigrhyasutras of the Kathaka School of the Krsna Yajurvedins, was purchased over a decade of years ago by Mr. J.C. Chatterji, B.A. (Cantab), Vidyavaridhi, late Superintendent of the Research Department. Edition of them could not be taken up early, as the manuscripts were almost all untrustworthy and as the Department had many other works to handle immediately. The manuscripts used herein are detailed below:
MS.A.- Belongs to the Departmental Library. Contains 135 leaves of the old type local paper of different colours, having a rectangular painting on the borders, representing an old system of decorating the Kashmirian MSs., not in vogue at present. The first three leaves are missing. The fourth and the fifth as also the last six are mutilated. Leaf 135 is a restoration. Character Devanagari. Restorations are in Sarada character. Lines in the pages vary from 19to 23. Size 10”x 8”. Has a country binding. Dateless. Aged about 70 years. Complete but incorrect. It ends:-
MS.B.- Belongs to the late Pandit Sahaja Bhatta of Srinagar. Condition fresh. Incomplete towards the end. Incorrect. Bears no date. Contains 135 leaves. Lines per page 27to 31. Written on local paper. Character Sarada. Size 6”x8”. Begins:-
A bruptly ends with:-
Here and now I take the opportunity to thankfully acknowledge the help of Mr. R.L. Kanjilal, M.A., Vedantatirtha etc., Senior Professor of Sanskrit, Sri Pratap College Srinagar, who favoured me with the loan of his transcript of the Devapala and to record my appreciation of the hard and intelligent work of, and the scholarly suggestions given ungrudgingly and with pleasure by, Mahesvara Rajanaka and Raghunatha Zadoo, Pandits of the Department.
The Grhya-sutras, or the ceremonial formulas, compiled by Laugaksi for the benefit of the followers of the Kathaka school of the Black Yajurveda, which were once in wide currency among the Brahmins of Kashmir and around which sprang up a vast literature in Sanskrit and which even till today govern the life of a twice- born from before his conception to the time he joins the manes, are preserved, after escaping various ravages both human and natural, in the three ancient works. These are:-
(i) Vivarana of the Laugaksigrhyasutras by Adityadarsana.
(ii) Pancaika, or Paddhati, of the same by Brahmanabala, son of Madhavadhvaryu.
(iii) Bhasya of Devapala on the Sutras and the mantras connected with them.
Among the works referred to above, the earliest is that of Adityadarsana. It is a brief gloss of the Laugaksigrhyasutras and not that of the Pancika. He expressly mentions in his Vivarana that he undertakes the writing of a gloss on the Grhyasutras. Pancika is later than Vivarana and is, in my opinion, not a commentary but a manual, pure and simple, giving rules and regulations regarding rites and ceremonies of the followers of the Kathaka school. The name Pancika, as applied to the work in question, denotes nothing but a detailed treatise. As such, it supplements the information obtainable from the Laugaksigrhyasutras with additional instructions from the pertinent quotations from other Grhya-sutras of the Krsna Yajurveda and even goes for help to the Smrtis, Puranas and what not. One would, if he were told to look upon the Pancika as a commentary, feel at a loss to understand what necessity Adityadarsna felt for writing a Vivarana which is a mere gloss when there was the Pancika already in use for the Grhya-sutras of Laugaksi and how the Pancika could refer to its own glossator.
The name of the father of Adityadarsana was Veda Darsana. He (Adityadarsana) was a pupil to Madhavarata. As he happens to directly refer to the customs and rites of the Kashmirian Brahmins not infrequently, it is reasonable to hazard that Adityadarsana was a Kashmirian both by birth and actual residence. His date of birth cannot be far removed from the middle of the Mohamedan period of the Kashmir history as his depiction of the sad tale of the contemporary Kashmirian priests cannot otherwise be acceptable. For, we know from the following quotations from the Srikanthacarita of Mankha Kavi (c.1300 A.D.) and the Stuti-kusumanjali of Pandita Jagaddhara Bhatta (c. 1500 A.D.) that even in the day of these writers the land of Kashmir could boast of a number of Vedic scholars and experts in the Purva-mimamsa school.
“Sri Trailokya who was, at it were, the second Kumarila Bhatta, expert in subtle reasoning and yet well- versed in the art of poetry.”
“Laksmi Deva who, by virtue of the right performance of the Vedic rituals, made the recitation and knowledge of the Vedas fruitful.”
“Gauradhara, whose clear exposition of the Yajurveda called Vedavilasa, displays his wonderful and world-famous knowledge of the Scriptures.
The pancikakara, Brahmanabala, does not refer to Devapala and, therefore, it is probable that he might have lived before him. Assertion of the name of the author of the Pancika is based on the manuscript evidence given by Dr. Caland in his edition of the Kathaka-sutras, The manuscript of the Departmental Library is entirely silent as to the name of the author. On comparison I have found that the Paddhati of Brahmanabala is identical with the Pancika. Therefore, I also attribute the authorship of the Pancika to Brahmanabala.
As I have had my attention confined chiefly to the Bhasya of Devapala, such as is available in my manuscript of the said work, and as he says nothing with regard to the Adhyaya division of the Sutras, I could not give the division into Adhyayas of the Sutras indicated by Brahmanabala. Devapala relates only this much that Laugaksi composed a work in the Sutra form of which the first thirty-nine Adhyayas dealt with the Vaitanika or the Srauta ceremonies and the rest with the Grhya.
The works that I could lay my hands upon do not furnish any direct clue as to the division of the Sutras by giving a colophon at the end of each Kandika or chapter. It is specially so with regard to the Bhasya of Devapala. The MSs. of the Vivarana and the Pancika give the chapter numbering here and there. By following the method of the Pancika, that invariably gives at the beginning of its manual of each ceremony all the Sutras in extenso governing that ceremony, and that of Devapala who comments upon Mantras used in each chapter at its end, the way is found out to determine the Kandika division of the Sutras. Devapala refers to the name of the chapter by the word Kandika more than once.
The Bhasya of Devapala owes its origin to the need that the author felt for giving in one place, for the facility of the reader, an interpretation both of the Sutras and of the Mantras of which the application was required by the former. Although the MS. In my possession of his work, on account of various mistakes, presents him in very bad colours, yet an impartial study reveals that he was better acquainted with the Vedic literature and had more material at his disposal for doing the task, than other known Vedic commentators. While discussing the formation of the word Krcchra he quotes a Sutra from the Carayanisutras, a grammatical work belonging to the class of Pratisakhyas, which are not extant now. He makes use of aphorisms from the Purvamimamsa, showing forth thereby his wide familiarity with that school of the Indian philosophy. He criticizes here and there the interpretations of the Sutras by his predecessors, referring to Adityadarsana by name and others by the words ‘Kecit’ and ‘anye’.
One of the colophons of the Bhasya indicates that Devapala was a native of Jullundhar (either because of his own birth or because of the birth of his forefathers) and lived at the time of composing the present Bhasya in Jayapura. His father was called Haripala and his grandfather Bhatta Upendra. While recording the tradition preserved in his family in connection with the Sacred Thread Ceremony he tells that Haripala was proficient in the Vedas.
Devapala, we learn from the Laugaksigrhyasutra-Bhasya, compose also a commentary on the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali and a hymn is praise of Visnu. These both are yet unavailable.
The Laugaksigrhyasutras under edition are known by different names, i.e. Kathakagrhyasutras. Caraka-grhya-sutras, Carayaniya-grhya-sutras, It is so because the school of the Black Yajurveda to which the sutras relate also bears the name of Katha, Caraka and Carayaniya. There was, it seems practically no difference between the readings, coming as they did from the same teacher, or the Black Yajurveda prevalent among these minor branches of the Caraka school founded by the pupils of the teacher Vaisampayana alias Caraka, born in Alambi, one of the eastern countries of India. It is also on account of this close affinity of these minor branches that Panini refers in the singular number to Katha and Caraka.
It is a very sad thing indeed not to find the Sutras in isolation from the expository texts. It, therefore, defies the attempt even of the most vigilant reader at distinguishing between each sutra and its commentary. Quotations also, as often as not, run into the portions of the commentary in such an inextricable manner that it is difficult to say where the former ends and the latter begins. It is with the help of numerous reference books now available on the Vedic literature that I could rectify mistakes in the quotations by tracing them to their sources.
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