Shrauta Shastra or śrauta sūtra 1) Refers to scriptures or teachings that are in agreement with the Vedas. 2) A specific group of texts of the Kalpa Vedanga, and part of the essential study for Vedic priests. The Shrauta Shastras offer explanation of the yagna rituals.
- Asvalāyana Śrautasûtra
- Sankhayana Śrautasûtra
- Lātyāyana Śrautasûtra
- Drāhyāyana Śrautasûtra
- Jaiminiya Śrautasûtra
- Baudhāyana Śrautasûtra
- Vādhūla Śrautasûtra
- Mānava Śrautasûtra
- Bharadvāja Śrautasûtra
- Āpastamba Śrautasûtra
- Hiraṅyakeśi Śrautasûtra
- Vārāha Śrautasûtra
- Vaikhānasa Śrautasûtra
- Kātyāyana Śrautasûtra
- Vaitāna Śrautasûtra
The Shrauta tradition places more emphasis on the performance of rituals rather than having a set of beliefs. The practices of the Shrauta tradition mainly consist of yajnas. The yajnas are divided into two categories, nitya-karma and kaamya karma. Nitya-karma refers to those yajnas that have to be performed daily or as per occasion. Kaamya-karma refers to those yajnas performed with a particular purpose, such as wishing for rain, cattle, overlordship or for a son (e.g. Putrakameshti).
The Vedas describe 400 Yajnas. A (late) subset of them are the Pancha Mahayajnas (Five Great Yajnas, see Taittiriya Aranyaka 2.10):
- Devayajña consists of offering āhutis to devas
- Pitṛyajña consists of offering libations to ancestors or pitṛs
- Bhūtayajña consists of offering bali or food to certain spirits
- Manuṣyayajña consists of feeding guests
- Brahmayajña consists of daily repetition of reciting the Vedas.
The Shrauta rituals continue to be practiced by Brahmins from all over India. The Aupasana is performed in many houses. However the Shrauta tradition emphasises the Vedic form of the Agnihotra, New and Full Moon sacrifices and a few more complex rituals, including the Agnistoma (Soma) sacrifice.
Prominent Shrauti scholars and communities
- Nambudiri Brahmins in Kerala maintain Shrauta traditions
- The center of Shrauta tradition is Varanasi, where there are more than 50 Veda Patashalas. The Saryupareen Brahmins a division of Kanyakubja Brahmins are the most prominent of the Shrauta Brahmins. Their surnames like Trivedi, Chaturvedi, Bajpai indicate their proficiency in the Shrauta rituals.
- Pune, Maharashtra. There are a number of Veda Patasalas here.
- Pandit Satyavrata Samashrami, Sanskrit research scholar and Professor, Calcutta University who first translated the Sama Veda into English in 1874.
- The other prominent Shrautis include reside in Mattur, Sringeri, Holenarsipur and other places in Karnataka
- The village Sengalipuram in Tamil Nadu is also famous for producing great Shrauti scholars like Sengalipuram Anantarama Dikhshitar
- Warangal and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh have produced many Shrauti scholars
- Puri in Odisha is a major centre for great Shrauti scholars
Some recent major Shrauta Yajnas:
- Atiraatra- in Kerala
- Agnistoma- in Kerala
- Nakshratreshti- in Karnataka
- Arunaketuka Yaaga- in Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh