Upanayana Question

Jarrod Whitaker whitakjl at WFU.EDU
Tue Dec 20 01:28:02 UTC 2011

Dear Colleagues:
A Master's student of mine is working on the Sankhayana Grhya Sutra 
description of the Upanayana and Samavartana rites for his thesis. He 
has completed his translation of both rites and we are going through his 
translation and exegesis. Can anyone help with the meaning of the 
following three lines from II.2:

gaṇānāṃ tveti gaṇakāmān ||13||
To those who desire of a number [of followers/attendants] he says the 
verse “You of
multitudes…” (RV. II.23.1).

āgantā mā riṣaṇyateti yodhān ||14||
To warriors he says “Come here, do not suffer harm” (R.V. VIII.20.1).

mahāvyāhrtibhirvyādhitān ||15||
To the sick he says the great utterances (mahāvyāhrti).

We cannot figure out what these three lines are doing. They would 
structurally correspond to the three varna-s mentioned up to this point, 
but I am unsure of even this. But if this is so, then line 13 would 
refer to a brahmin, but what does gana mean here? A "following"? a 
"polity"? And why in 15 are vaisya called "sick" (vyaadhitaan) and why 
are the mahaavyaahr.ti-s spoken to them? Are these lines exceptions in 
the case of special initiates or par for the course for all initiates?

Oldenberg is not helpful and neither are the other sources we know of.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers and happy holidays



Jarrod L. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, South Asian Religions
Graduate Program Director

Wake Forest University
Department of Religion
P.O. Box 7212
Winston-Salem, NC  27109
whitakjl at wfu.edu
p 336.758.4162
f 336.758.4462

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