The Vashishta Dharmashastra, Part 1

Translated by Georg Bühler


CHAPTER I. Scroll Up

1. Now, therefore, the desire to know the sacred law for their welfare (should arise) in (initiated) men. 1

2. He who knows and follows the (sacred law is called) a righteous man.

3. He becomes most worthy of praise in this world and after death gains heaven. 3

4. The sacred law has been settled by the revealed texts and by the tradition (of the sages).

5. On failure of (rules given in) these (two sources) the practice of the Sishtas (has) authority.

6. But he whose heart is free from desire (is called) a Sishta.

7. (Acts sanctioned by) the sacred law (are those) for which no (worldly) cause is perceptible. 7

8. The country of the Âryas (Âryâvarta) lies to the east of the region where (the river Sarasvatî) disappears, to the west of the Black-forest, to the north of the Pâripâtra (mountains), to the south of the Himâlaya. 8

9. (According to others it lies to the south of the Himâlaya) and to the north of the Vindhya range (being limited east and west by the two oceans). 9

10. Acts productive of spiritual merit, and customs which (are approved of) in that country, must be everywhere acknowledged (as authoritative);

11. But not different ones, (i.e. those) of (countries where) laws opposed (to those of Âryâvarta prevail). 11

12. Some (declare the country of the Âryas to be situated) between the (rivers) Gaṅgâ and Yamunâ. 12

13. Others (state as) an alternative, that spiritual pre-eminence (is found) as far as the black antelope grazes. 13

14. Now the Bhâllavins quote also (the following) verse in the Nidâna: 14

15. 'In the west the boundary-river, in the east 15 the region where the sun rises,--as far as the black antelope wanders (between these two limits), so far spiritual pre-eminence (is found).

16. 'Those religious acts which men, deeply versed in the knowledge of the three Vedas and acquainted with the sacred law, declare to be lawful, (are efficient) for purifying oneself and others.' 16

17. Manu has declared that the (peculiar) laws of countries, castes, and families (may be followed) in the absence of (rules of) the revealed texts. 17

18. Sinful men are, he who sleeps at sunrise or at sunset, he who has deformed nails or black teeth, he whose younger brother was married first, he who married before his elder brother, the husband of a younger sister married before the elder, the husband of an elder sister whose younger sister was married first, he who extinguishes the sacred fires, (and) he who forgets the Veda through neglect of the daily recitation. 18

19. They state that there are five mortal sins. (mahâpâtaka),

20. (Viz. violating) a Guru's bed, drinking (the spirituous liquor called) surâ, slaying a learned Brâhmana, stealing the gold of a Brâhmana, and associating with outcasts, 20

21. Either by (entering into) spiritual or matrimonial (connexion with them). 21

22. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'He who during a year associates with an outcast becomes (likewise) an outcast; not by sacrificing for him, by teaching him or by (forming) a matrimonial (alliance with him), but by using the same carriage or seat.' 22

23. A minor offence causing loss of caste (ûpapâtaka, is committed by him) who (after beginning an Agnihotra sacrifice) forsakes the sacred fires, and by him who offends a Guru, by an atheist, by him who takes his livelihood from atheists, and by him who sells the Soma (plant). 23

24. Three wives (are permitted) to a Brâhmana according to the order of the castes, two to a Kshatriya, one to a Vaisya and to a Sûdra. 24

25. Some declare (that twice-born men may marry) even a female of the Sûdra caste, like those (other wives), without (the recitation of) Vedic texts.

26. Let him not act thus. 26

27. For in consequence of such (a marriage) the degradation of the family certainly ensues, and after death the loss of heaven.

28. There are six marriage-rites, 28

29. (Viz.) that of Brahman (brâhma), that of the gods (daiva), that of the Rishis (ârsha), that of the Gandharvas (gândharva), that of the Kshatriyas (kshâtra), and that of men (mânusha).

30. If the father, pouring out a libation of water, gives his (daughter) to a suitor, that (is called) the Brahma-rite 30

31. If (the father) gives his daughter, decking her with ornaments, to an officiating priest, whilst a sacrifice is being performed, that is called the Daiva-rite. 31

32. And (if the father gives his daughter) for a cow and a bull, (that is called) the Ârsha-rite. 32

33. If a lover takes a loving female of equal caste, that (is called) the Gândharva-rite. 33

34. If they forcibly abduct (a damsel), destroying (her relatives) by strength (of arms), that (is called) the Kshâtra-rite. 34

35. If, after making a bargain (with the father, a 35 suitor) marries (a damsel) purchased for money, that (is called) the Mânusha-rite.

36. The purchase (of a wife) is mentioned in the following passage of the Veda, 'Therefore one hundred (cows) besides a chariot should be given to the father of the bride.' 36

37. (It is stated) in (the following passage of) the Kâturmâsyas, 'She (forsooth) who has been bought by her husband (commits sin, as) afterwards she unites herself with strangers.' 37

38. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'Lost learning comes back; when the family is lost all is lost. Even a horse becomes estimable on account of its pedigree; therefore men marry wives descended from an (unblemished) family.

39. The three (lower) castes shall live according to the teaching of the Brâhmana. 39

40. The Brâhmana shall declare their duties,

41. And the king shall govern them accordingly.

42. But a king who rules in accordance with the sacred law, may take the sixth part of the wealth (of his subjects), 42

43. Except from Brâhmanas. 43

44. It has been declared in the Veda, 'But he obtains the sixth part of (the merit which Brâhmanas gain by) sacrifices and charitable works.' 44

45. (It is further stated in the Veda), 'The Brâhmana makes the Veda rich; the Brâhmana saves from misfortune; therefore the Brâhmana shall not be made a source of subsistence. Soma is his king.' 45

46. Further (another passage says), 'After death bliss (awaits the king who does not oppress Brâhmanas).'


1. There are four castes (varna), Brâhmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sûdras. 1

2. Three castes, Brâhmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, (are called) twice-born.

3. Their first birth is from their mother; the second from the investiture with the sacred girdle. In that (second birth) the Sâvitrî is the mother, but the teacher is said to be the father. 3

4. They call the teacher father, because he gives instruction in the Veda. 4

5. They quote also (the following passage from the Veda) to the same (effect): 'Of two kinds, forsooth, is the virile energy of a man learned in the Vedas, that which (resides) above the navel and the other which below (the navel) descends down-wards. Through that which (resides) above the navel, his offspring is produced, when he initiates Brâhmanas, when he teaches them, when he causes them to offer oblations, when he makes them holy. By that which resides below the navel the children of his body are produced. Therefore they never say, to a Srotriya, who teaches the Veda, "Thud art destitute of offspring."' 5

6. Hârîta also quotes (the following verse): 'No religious rite can be performed by a (child) before he has been girt with the sacred girdle, since he is on a level with a Sûdra before his (new) birth from the Veda.' 6

7. (The above prohibition refers to all rites) except those connected with libations of water, (the exclamation) Svadhâ, and the manes. 7

8. Sacred learning approached a Brâhmana (and said to him), 'Preserve me, I am thy treasure, reveal me not to a scorner, nor to a wicked man, nor to one of uncontrolled passions: so (preserved) I shall become strong.' 8

9. 'Reveal me, O Brâhmana, as to the keeper of thy treasure, to him whom thou shalt know to be pure, attentive, intelligent, and chaste, who will not offend thee nor revile thee.'

10. '(That man) who fills his ears with truth, who frees him from pain and confers immortality upon him, (the pupil) shall consider as his father and mother; him he must never grieve nor revile.' 10

11. 'As those Brâhmanas who, after receiving instruction, do not honour their teacher by their speech, in their hearts or by their acts, will not be profitable to their teacher, even so that sacred learning (which they acquired) will not profit them.'

12. 'As fire consumes dry grass, even so the Veda, asked for, (but) not honoured, (destroys the enquirer). Let him not proclaim the Veda to that man, who does not show him honour according to his ability.'

13. The (lawful) occupations of a Brâhmana are six, 13

14. Studying the Veda, teaching, sacrificing for himself, sacrificing for. others, giving alms, and accepting gifts. 14

15. (The lawful occupations) of a Kshatriya are three,

16. Studying, sacrificing for himself, and bestowing gifts;

17. And his peculiar duty is to protect the people with his weapons; let him gain his livelihood thereby.

18. (The lawful occupations) of a Vaisya are the same (as those mentioned above, Sûtra 16),

19. Besides, agriculture, trading, tending cattle, and lending money at interest,

20. To serve those (superior castes) has been fixed as the means of livelihood for a Sûdra. 20

21. (Men of) all (castes) may wear their hair arranged according to the customs fixed (for their family), or allow it to hang down excepting the lock on the crown of the head. 21

22. Those who are unable to live by their own lawful occupation may adopt (that of) the next inferior (caste), 22

23. But never (that of a) higher (caste).

24. (A Brâhmana and a Kshatriya) who have re-sorted to a Vaisya's mode of living, and maintain themselves by trade (shall not sell) stones, salt, hempen (cloth), silk, linen (cloth), and skins, 24

25. Nor any kind of dyed cloth,

26. Nor prepared food, flowers, fruit, roots, per-fumes, substances (used for) flavouring (food); nor water, the juice extracted from plants; nor Soma, weapons, poison; nor flesh, nor milk, nor preparations from it, iron, tin, lac, and lead, 26

27. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'By (selling) flesh, lac, and salt a Brâhmana at once becomes an outcast; by selling milk he. becomes (equal to) a Sûdra after three days.' 27

28. Among tame animals those with uncloven hoofs, and those that have an abundance of hair, (must not be sold), nor any wild animals, (nor) birds, nor beasts that have tusks (or fangs).

29. Among the various kinds of grain they mention sesamum (as forbidden). 29

30. Now they quote also (the following verse): If he applies sesamum to any other purpose, but food, anointing, and charitable gifts, he will be born again as a worm and, together with his ancestors, be plunged into his own ordure.' 30

31. Or, at pleasure, they may sell (sesamum), if they themselves have produced it by tillage. 31

32. For that purpose he shall plough before breakfast with two bulls whose noses have not been pierced.

33. (If he ploughs) in the hot season, he shall water (his beasts even in the morning).

34. The plough is attended by strong males, provided with a useful share and with a handle (to be held) by the drinker of Soma; that raises (for him) a cow, a sheep, a stout damsel, and a swift horse for the chariot. 34

35. The plough is attended by strong males, i.e. is attended by strong men and bullocks, provided with a useful share--for its share is useful (because) with the share it raises, i.e. pierces deep--and provided with a handle for the drinker of Soma,--for Soma reaches him,--possessing a handle for him. That raises a cow, a sheep, goats, horses, mules, donkeys and camels, and a stout damsel, i.e. a beautiful, useful maiden in the flower of her youth.

36. For how could the plough raise (anything for him) if he did not sell grain?

37. Substances used for flavouring may be bartered for (other) substances of the same kind, be it for one more valuable or for one worth less. 37

38. But salt must never (be exchanged) for (other) substances-used for flavouring (food).

39. It is permitted to barter sesamum, rice, cooked food, learning, and slaves (each for its own kind and the one for the other).

40. A Brâhmana and a Kshatriya shall not lend (anything at interest acting like) usurers. 40

41. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'He who acquiring property cheap, gives it for a high price, is called a usurer and blamed among those who recite the Veda.'

42. '(Brahman) weighed in the scales the crime of killing a learned Brâhmana against (the crime of) usury; the slayer of the Brâhmana remained at the top, the usurer sank downwards.'

43. Or, at pleasure, they may lend to a person who entirely neglects his sacred duties, and is exceedingly wicked, 43

44. Gold (taking) double (its value on repayment, and) grain trebling (the original price). 44

45. (The case of) flavouring substances has been explained by (the rule regarding) grain,

46. As well as (the case of) flowers, roots, and fruit.

47. (They may lend) what is sold by weight, (taking) eight times (the original value on repayment). 47

48. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'Two in the hundred, three and four and five, as has teen declared in the Smriti, he may take as interest by the month according to the order of the castes.' 48

49. 'But the king's death shall stop the interest on money (lent);' 49

50. 'And after the coronation of (a new) king the capital grows again.'

51. 'Hear the interest for a money-lender declared by the words of Vasishtha, five mash's for twenty (kârshâpanas may be taken every month); thus the law is not violated.' 51


1. (Brâhmanas) who neither study nor teach the Veda nor keep sacred fires become equal to Sûdras; 1

2. And they quote a verse of Manu on this (subject), 'A twice-born man, who not having studied the Veda applies himself to other (and worldly study), soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Sûdra, and his descendants after him.' 2

3. '(A twice-born man) who does not know the 3 Veda (can)not be (called) a Brâhmana, nor he who lives by trade, nor he who (lives as) an actor, nor he who obeys a Sûdra's commands, nor (he who like) a thief (takes the property of others), nor he who makes his living by the practice of medicine.'

4. 'The king shall punish that village where Brâhmanas, unobservant of their sacred duties and ignorant of the Veda, subsist by begging; for it feeds robbers.'

5. 'Many thousands (of Brâhmanas) cannot form a (legal) assembly (for declaring the sacred law), if they have not fulfilled their sacred duties, are unacquainted with the Veda, and subsist only by the name of their caste.' 5

6. 'That sin which dunces, perplexed by ignorance and unacquainted with the sacred law, declare (to be duty) shall fall, increased a hundredfold, on those who propound it.' 6

7. 'What four or (even) three (Brâhmanas) who have completely studied the Vedas proclaim, that must be distinctly recognised as the sacred law, not (the decision) of a thousand fools.' 7

8. 'Offerings to the gods and to the manes must always be given to a Srotriya alone. For gifts bestowed on a man unacquainted with the Veda, reach neither the ancestors nor the gods.'

9. 'If a fool lives even in one's house and a (Brâhmana) deeply learned in the Veda lives at a great distance, the learned man shall receive the gift. The sin of neglecting (a Brâhmana is not incurred) in (the case of) a fool.' 9

10. 'The offence of neglecting a Brâhmana cannot be committed against a twice-born man who is ignorant of the Veda. For (in offering sacrifices) one does not pass by a brilliant fire and throw the oblations into ashes.' 10

11. An elephant made of wood, an antelope made of leather, and a Brâhmana ignorant of the Veda, those three have nothing but the name (of their kind). 11

12. 'Those kingdoms, where ignorant men eat the food of the learned, will be visited by drought; or (some other) great evil will befall (them).'

13. If anybody finds treasure (the owner of) which is not known, the king shall take it, giving one sixth to the finder. 13

14. If a Brâhmana who follows the six (lawful) occupations, finds it, the king shall not take it.

15. They declare that the slayer commits no crime by killing an assassin. 15

16. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'An incendiary, likewise a poisoner, one who holds a weapon in his hand (ready to kill), a robber, he who takes away land, and he who abducts (another man's) wife, these six are called assassins (âtatâyin).'

17. 'He may slay an assassin who comes with the intention of slaying, even though he knows the whole Veda together with the Upanishads; by that (act) he (does) not (incur the guilt of) the slayer of a Brâhmana.' 17

18. 'He who slays an assassin learned in the Veda and belonging to a noble family, does not incur by that act the guilt of the murderer of a learned Brâhmana.; (in) that (case) fury recoils upon fury.'

19. Persons who sanctify the company are, a Trinâkiketa, one who keeps five fires, a Trisuparna, one who (knows the texts required for) the four sacrifices (called Asvamedha, Purushamedha, Sarvamedha, and Pitrimedha), one who knows the Vâgasaneyi-sâkhâ of the White Yagur-veda, one who knows the six Angas, the son of a female married according to the Brâhma-rite, one who knows the first part of the Sâma-veda Samhitâ, one who sings the Gyeshthasâman, one who knows the Samhitâ and the Brâhmana, one who studies (the treatises on) the sacred law, one whose ancestors to the ninth degree, both 19 on the mother's and on the father's side, are distinctly known to have been Srotriyas, and learned men and Snâtakas.

20. (Four students of) the four Vedas, one who knows the Mîmâmsâ, one who knows the Aṅgas, a teacher of the sacred law, and three eminent men who are in three (different) orders, (compose) a (legal) assembly consisting at least of ten (members). 20

21. He who initiates (a pupil) and teaches him the whole Veda is called the teacher (âkârya). 21

22. But he who (teaches) a portion (of the Veda only is called) the sub-teacher (upâdhyâya);

23. So is he who (teaches) the Aṅgas of the Veda.

24. A Brâhmana and a Vaisya may take up arms in self-defence, and in (order to prevent) a confusion of the castes. 24

25. But that (trade of arms) is the constant (duty) of a Kshatriya, because he is appointed to protect (the people). 25

26. Having washed his feet and his hands up to 26 the wrist, and sitting with his face turned towards the east or towards the north, he shall thrice sip water out of the Tîrtha sacred to Brahman, (i.e.) the part of the hand above the root of the thumb, without uttering any sound;

27. He shall twice wipe (his mouth with the root of the thumb);.

28. He shall touch the cavities (of the head) with water;

29. He shall pour water on his head and on the left hand;

30. He shall not sip water while walking, standing., lying down or bending forward. 30

31. A Brâhmana (becomes pure) by (sipping) water, free from bubbles and foam, that reaches his heart,

32. But a Kshatriya by (sipping water) that reaches his throat,

33. A Vaisya by (sipping water) that wets his palate,

34. A woman and a Sûdra by merely touching water (with the lips).

35. Water (for sipping may) even (be taken) out of a hole in the ground, if it is fit to slake the thirst of cows. 35

36. (He shall not purify himself with water) which has been defiled with colours, perfumes, or flavouring substances, nor with such as is collected in unclean places. 36

37. Drops (of saliva) falling from the mouth, which do not touch a limb of the body, do not make (a man) impure. 37

38. If, after having sipped water, he sleeps, eats, sneezes, drinks, weeps or bathes, or puts on a dress, he must again sip water, 38

39. Likewise, if he touches (that part of) the lips on which no hair grows. 39

40. No defilement is caused by the hair of the moustache (entering the mouth). 40

41. If (remnants of food) adhere to the teeth, (they are pure) like the teeth, and he is purified by swallowing those which (become detached) in the mouth. 41

42. He is not defiled by the drops which fall on his feet, while somebody gives to others water for sipping; they are stated to be equally (clean) as the ground. 42

43. If, while occupied with eatables, he touches any impure substance, then he shall place that thing (which he holds in his hand) on the ground, sip water and afterwards again use it. 43

44. Let him sprinkle with water all objects (the purity of) which may be doubtful.

45. 'Both wild animals killed by dogs, and fruit thrown by birds (from the tree), what has been spoilt by children, and what has been handled by women,' 45

46. 'A vendible commodity tendered for sale and what is not dirtied by gnats and flies that have settled on it,' 46

47. 'Likewise water collected on the ground that quenches the thirst of cows,--enumerating all these things, the Lord of created beings has declared them to be pure.' 47

48. Anything defiled by unclean (substances) becomes pure when the stains and the smell have been removed by water and earth. 48

49. (Objects) made of metal must be scoured with ashes, those made of clay should be thoroughly heated by fire, those made of wood should be planed, and (cloth) made of thread should be washed. 49

50. Stones and gems (should be treated) like objects made of metal, 50

51. Conch-shells and pearl-shells like gems,

52. (Objects made of) bone like wood, 52

53. Ropes, chips (of bamboo), and leather become pure (if treated) like clothes, 53

54. (Objects) made of fruits, (if rubbed) with (a brush of) cow hair, 54

55. Linen cloth, (if smeared) with a paste of yellow mustard (and washed afterwards with water). 55

56. But land becomes pure, according to the degree of defilement, by sweeping (the defiled spot), by smearing it with cowdung, by scraping it, by sprinkling (water) or by heaping (pure earth) on (it). 56

57. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'Land is purified by these four methods, by digging, burning, scraping, being trodden on by cows, and fifthly by being smeared with cowdung.' 57

58. 'A woman is purified by her monthly discharge, a river by its current, brass by (being scoured with) ashes, and an earthen pot by another burning.' 58

59. 'But an earthen vessel which has been defiled by spirituous liquor, urine, ordure, phlegm, pus, tears, or blood cannot be purified even by another burning.'

60. 'The body is purified by water, the internal organ by truth, the soul by sacred learning and austerities, and the understanding by knowledge.'

61. Gold is purified by water alone, 61

62. Likewise silver,

63. Copper is cleansed by acids. 63

64. The Tîrtha sacred to the Gods lies at the root of the little finger, 64

65. That sacred to the Rishis in the middle of the fingers,

66. That sacred to Men at the tips of the fingers,

67. That sacred to Agni (fire) in the middle of the hand,

68. That sacred to the Manes between the forefinger and the thumb.

69. He shall honour (his food at) the evening and morning meals (saying), 'It pleases me,' 69

70. At meals in honour of the Manes (saying), I have dined well,' 70

71. At (a dinner given on the occasion of) rites procuring prosperity (saying), 'It is perfect: 71


1. The four castes are distinguished by their origin and by particular sacraments. 1

2. There is also the following passage of the Veda, 'The Brâhmana was his mouth, the Kshatriya formed his arms, the Vaisya his thighs; the Sûdra was born from his feet.' 2

3. It has been declared in (the following passage of) the Veda that (a Sûdra) shall not receive the sacraments, 'He created the Brâhmana with the Gâyatrî (metre), the Kshatriya with the Trishtubh, the Vaisya with the Gagatî, the Sûdra without any metre.'

4. Truthfulness, suppression of anger, liberality, abstention from injuring living beings, and the procreation of offspring (are duties common to) all (castes). 4

5. The Mânava (Sûtra states), 'Only when he worships the manes and the gods, or honours guests, he may certainly do injury to animals.' 5

6. 'On offering a Madhuparka (to a guest), at a sacrifice, and at the rites in honour of the manes, but on these occasions only may an animal be slain; that (rule) Manu proclaimed.' 6

7. 'Meat can never be obtained without injuring living beings, and to injure living beings does not procure heavenly bliss; therefore the (sages declare) the slaughter (of beasts) at a sacrifice not to be slaughter (in the ordinary sense of the word).' 7

8. 'Now he may also cook a full-grown ox or a full-grown he-goat for a Brâhmana or Kshatriya guest; in this manner they offer hospitality to such (a man).' 8

9. Libations of water (must be poured out) for all (deceased relatives) who completed the second year and (their death causes) impurity.

10. Some declare that (this rule applies also to children) that died after teething.

11. After having burnt the body (of the deceased, the relatives) enter the water without looking at (the place of cremation), 11

12. Facing the south, they shall pour out water with both hands on (those days of the period of impurity) which are marked by odd numbers. 12

13. The south, forsooth, is the region sacred to the manes.

14. After they have gone home, they shall sit during three days on mats, fasting. 14

15. If they are unable (to fast so long), they shall subsist on food bought in the market or given unasked. 15

16. It is ordered that impurity caused by a death shall last ten days in the case of Sapinda relations.

17. It has been declared in the Veda that Sapinda relationship extends to the seventh person (in the ascending or descending line). 17

18. It has been declared in the Veda that for married females it extends to the third person (in the ascending or descending line).

19. Others (than the blood-relations) shall perform (the obsequies) of married females, 19

20. (The rule regarding impurity) should be exactly the same on the birth of a child for those men who desire complete purity, 20

21. Or for the mother and the father (of the child alone); some (declare that it applies) to the 21 mother (only), because she is the immediate cause of that (event).

22. Now they quote also (the following verse): On the birth (of a child) the male does not become impure if he does not touch (the female); on that (occasion) the menstrual excretion must be known to be impure, and that is not found in males.'

23. If during (a period of impurity) another (death or birth) happens, (the relatives) shall be pure after (the expiration of) the remainder of that (first period); 23

24. (But) if one night (and day only of the first period of impurity) remain, (they shall be pure) after two (days and nights); 24

25. (If the second death or birth happens) on the morning (of the day on which the first period of impurity expires, they shall be purified) after three (days and nights). 25

26. A Brâhmana is freed from impurity (caused by a death or a birth) after ten days, 26

27. A Kshatriya after fifteen days,

28. A Vaisya after twenty days,

29. A Sûdra after a month. 29

30. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'But (a twice-born man) who has eaten (the food) of a Sûdra during impurity caused by a death or a birth, will suffer dreadful (punishment in) hell and be born again in the womb of an animal.'

31. 'A twice-born man who eats by appointment in the house of a stranger whose ten days of impurity, caused by a death, have not expired, after death will become a worm and feed on the ordure of that (man who fed him).'

32. It has been declared in the Veda, '(Such a sinner) becomes pure by reciting the Samhitâ of the Veda for twelve months or for twelve half-months while fasting.' 32

33. On the death of a child of less than two years or on a miscarriage, the impurity of the Sapindas lasts three (days and) nights. 33

34. Gautama (declares that on the former occasion they become) pure at once. 34

35. If (a person) dies in a foreign country and (his Sapindas) hear (of his death) after ten days (or a longer period), the impurity lasts for one (day and) night.

36. Gautama (declares that) if a person who has kindled the sacred fire dies on a journey, (his Sapindas shall) again celebrate his obsequies, (burning a dummy made of leaves or straw), and remain impure (during ten days) as if (they had actually buried) his corpse. 36

37. When he has touched a sacrificial post, a pyre, a burial-ground, a menstruating or a lately confined woman, impure men or (Kândâlas and so forth), he shall bathe, submerging both his body and his head. 37


1. A woman is not independent, the males are her masters. It has been declared in the Veda, 'A female who neither goes naked nor is temporarily unclean is paradise.' 1

2. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'Their fathers protect them in childhood, their husbands protect them in youth, and their sons protect them in age; a woman is never fit for independence.' 2

3. The penance (to be performed) by a (wife) for being unfaithful to her husband has been declared in the (section on) secret penances. 3

4. For month by month the menstrual excretion takes away her sins. 4

5. A woman in her courses is impure during three (days and) nights. 5

6. (During that period) she shall not apply collyrium to her eyes, nor anoint (her body), nor bathe in water; she shall sleep on the ground; she shall not sleep in the day-time, nor touch the fire, nor make a rope, nor clean her teeth, nor eat meat, nor look at the planets, nor smile, nor busy herself with (house-hold affairs), nor run; she shall drink out of a large vessel, or out of her joined hands, or out of a copper vessel. 6

7. For it has been declared in the Veda, 'When Indra had slain (Vritra) the three-headed son of Tvashtri, he was seized by Sin, and he considered himself to be tainted with exceedingly great guilt. All beings cried out against him (saying to him), 7 ' thou slayer of a learned Brâhmana! O thou slayer of a learned Brâhmana!' He ran to the women for protection (and said to them), 'Take upon yourselves the third part of this my guilt (caused by) the murder of a learned Brâhmana.' They answered, ''What shall we have (for doing thy wish)?' He replied, 'Choose a boon.' They said, 'Let us obtain offspring (if our husbands approach us) during the proper season, at pleasure let us dwell (with our husbands until (our children) are born.' He answered, 'So be it.' (Then) they took upon themselves (the third part of his guilt). That guilt of Brâhmana-murder appears every month as the menstrual flow. Therefore let him not eat the food of a woman in her courses; (for) such a one has put on the shape of the guilt of Brâhmana-murder.

8. (Those who recite the Veda) proclaim the following (rule): 'Collyrium and ointment must not be accepted from her; for that is the food of women. Therefore they feel a loathing for her (while she is) in that (condition, saying), "She shall not approach."' 8

9. 'Those (Brâhmanas in) whose (houses) menstruating women sit, those who keep no sacred fire, 9 and those in whose family there is no Srotriya; all these are equal to Sûdras.'


1. (To live according to) the rule of conduct is doubtlessly the highest duty of all men. He whose soul is defiled by vile conduct perishes in this world and in the next. 1

2. Neither austerities, nor (the study of) the Veda, nor (the performance of) the Agnihotra, nor lavish liberality can ever save him whose conduct is vile and who has strayed from this (path of duty).

3. The Vedas do not purify him who is deficient in good conduct, though he may have learnt them all together with the six Aṅgas; the sacred texts depart from such a man at death, even as birds, when full-fledged, leave their nest.

4. As the beauty of a wife causes no joy to a blind man, even so all the four Vedas together with the six Aṅgas and sacrifices give no happiness to him who is deficient in good conduct. 4

5. The sacred texts do not save from sin the deceitful man who behaves deceitfully. But that Veda, two syllables of which are studied in the right manner, purifies, just as the clouds (give beneficent rain) in the month of Isha. 5

6. A man of bad conduct is blamed among men, evils befal him constantly, he is afflicted with disease and short-lived. 6

7. Through good conduct man gains spiritual merit, through good conduct he gains wealth, through good conduct he obtains beauty, good conduct obviates the effect of evil marks. 7

8. A man who follows the rule of conduct established among the virtuous, who has faith and is free from envy, lives a hundred years, though he be destitute of all auspicious marks. 8

9. But a man who knows the sacred law shall perform in secret all acts connected with eating, the natural evacuations and dalliance with (his wife); business to be accomplished by speech or intellect, likewise austerities, wealth, and age, must be most carefully concealed.

10. And a man shall void both urine and fæces, facing the north, in the day-time, but at night he shall do it turning towards the south; for (if he acts) thus, his life will not be injured. 10

11: The intellect of that man perishes who voids urine against a fire, the sun, a cow, a Brâhmana, the moon, water, and the morning or evening twilights. 11

12. Let him not void urine in a river, nor on a path, nor on ashes, nor on cowdung, nor on a ploughed field, nor on one which has been sown, nor on a grass-plot, nor in the shade (of trees) that afford protection (to travellers). 12

13. Standing in the shade (of houses, clouds, and so forth), when it is quite dark, and when he fears for his life, a Brâhmana may void urine, by day and by night, in any position he pleases. 13

14. (Afterwards) he shall perform the necessary (purification) with water fetched for the purpose (from a tank or river, and with earth). 14

15. For a bath water not fetched for the purpose (may also be used). 15

16. (For the purpose of purification) a Brâhmana shall take earth that is mixed with gravel, from the bank (of a river).

17. Five kinds of earth must not be used, viz. such as is covered by water, such as lies in a temple, on an ant-hill, on a hillock thrown up by rats, and that which has been left by one who cleaned himself.

18. The organ (must be cleaned by) one (application of) earth, the (right) hand by three, but both (feet) by two, the anus by five, the one (i.e. the left hand) by ten, and both (hands and feet) by seven (applications of earth). 18

19. Such is the purification ordained for house-holders; it is double for students, treble for hermits, but quadruple for ascetics. 19

20. Eight mouthfuls are the meal of an ascetic, sixteen that of a hermit, but thirty-two that of a householder, and an unlimited quantity that of a student. 20

21. An Agnihotrin, a draught-ox, and a student, those three can do their work only if they eat (well); without eating (much), they cannot do it.

22. (The above rule regarding limited allowances of food holds good) in the case of penances, of self-imposed restraint, of sacrifices, of the recitation of the Veda, and of (the performance of other) sacred duties. 22

23. The qualities by which a (true) Brâhmana may be recognised are, the concentration of the mind, austerities, the subjugation of the senses, liberality, truthfulness, purity, sacred learning, compassion, worldly learning, intelligence, and the belief (in the existence of the deity and of a future life).

24. One may know that bearing grudges, envy, speaking untruths, speaking evil of Brâhmanas, backbiting, and cruelty are the characteristics of a Sûdra. 24

25. Those Brâhmanas can save (from evil) who are free from passion, and patient of austerities, whose ears have been filled with the texts of the Veda, who have subdued the organs of sensation and action, who have ceased to injure animated beings, and who close their hands when gifts are offered. 25

26. Some become worthy receptacles of gifts through sacred learning, and some through the practice of austerities. But that Brâhmana whose stomach does not contain the food of a Sûdra, is even the worthiest receptacle of all. 26

27. if a Brâhmana dies with the food of a Sûdra in his stomach, he will become a village pig (in his next life) or be born, in the family of that (Sûdra).

28. For though a (Brâhmana) whose body is nourished by the essence of a Sûdra's food may daily recite the Veda, though he may offer (an Agnihotra) or mutter (prayers, nevertheless) he will not find the path that leads upwards.

29. But if, after eating the food of a Sûdra, he has conjugal intercourse, his sons will belong to the giver of the food, and he shall not ascend to heaven.

30. They declare that he is worthy to receive gifts, who (daily) rises to recite the Veda, who is of good family, and perfectly free from, passion, who constantly offers. sacrifices in the three sacred fires, who fears sin, and knows much, who is beloved among the females (of his family), who is righteous, protects cows, and reduces himself by austerities.

31. Just as milk, sour milk, clarified butter, and honey poured. into an unburnt earthen vessel, perish, owing to the weakness of the vessel, and neither the vessel nor those liquids (remain),

32. Even so a man destitute of sacred learning, who accepts cows or gold, clothes, a horse, land, (or) sesamum, becomes ashes, as (if he were dry) wood. 32

33. He shall not make his joints or his nails crack, 33

34. Nor shall he make a vessel ring with his nails.

35. Let him not drink water out of his joined hands. 35

36. Let him not strike the water with his foot or his hand,

37. Nor (pour) water into (other) water.

38. Let him not gather fruit by throwing brickbats,

39. Nor by throwing another fruit at it.

40. He shall not become a hypocrite or deceitful. 40

41. Let him not learn a language spoken by barbarians.

42. Now they quote' also (the following verses): 'The opinion of the Sishtas is, that a man shall not be uselessly active, neither with his hands and his feet, nor with his eyes, nor with his tongues and his body.' 42

43. 'Those Brâhmanas, in whose families the study of the Veda and of its supplements is hereditary, and who are able to adduce proofs perceptible by the senses from the revealed texts, must be known to be Sishtas.' 43

44. 'He is a (true) Brâhmana regarding whom no one knows if he be good or bad, if he be ignorant or deeply learned, if he be of good or of bad conduct.'


1. There are four orders, 1

2. Viz. (that of) the student, (that of) the house-holder, (that of) the hermit, and (that of) the ascetic.

3. A man who has studied one, two, or three Vedas without violating the rules of studentship, may enter any of these (orders), whichsoever he pleases. 3

4. A (professed) student shall serve his teacher until death; 4

5. And in case the teacher dies, he shall serve the sacred fire. 5

6. For it has been declared in the Veda, 'The fire is thy teacher:' 6

7. (A student, whether professed or temporary), shall bridle his tongue; 7

8. He shall eat in the fourth, sixth, or eighth hour of the day. 8

9. He shall go out in order to beg. 9

10. He shall obey his teacher. 10

11. He either (may wear all his hair) tied in a knot or (keep merely) a lock on the crown of his head tied in a knot, (shaving the other parts of the head.) 11

12. If the teacher walks, he shall attend him walking after him; if the teacher is seated, standing; if the teacher lies down, seated. 12

13. He shall study after having been called (by the teacher, and not request the latter to begin the lesson). 13

14. Let him announce (to the teacher) all that he has received (when begging), and eat after permission (has been given to him). 14

15. Let him avoid to sleep on a cot, to clean his teeth, to wash (his body for pleasure), to apply collyrium (to his eyes),. to anoint (his body), and to wear shoes or a parasol. 15

16. (While reciting his prayers) he shall stand in the day-time and sit down at night. 16

17. Let him bathe three times a day. 17

Suggestions for Further Reading

Footnotes Scroll Up

1:1 1. The word 'now' serves, in this as in analogous cases, various purposes. It marks the beginning of the book, serves as an auspicious invocation (maṅgala), and indicates that something else, the initiation, must precede the study of the sacred law. 'Therefore' means 'because, after initiation, the neophyte is to be taught the prescribed rules regarding personal purification:--Krishnapandita. For the wording of the Sûtra compare the be-ginning of Gaimini's Mîmâmsâ-sûtras.

1:3-6. Gautama I, 1-4; XXVIII, 48.

1:7 The Sûtra contains a limitation of Sûtra 5. It indicates that the customs of the Sishtas, for which worldly motives are perceptible, have no authority, and are not to be followed. The principle enunciated is one inculcated by the Mîmâmsakas (P: M. S. p. 2 I, 3, 3-4). See also Âpastamba I, 1, 4, 5-10; I, 4, 12, 8; and Introduction, p. xxvii. Krishnapandita has misunderstood the Sûtra. He reads, against the MSS., agrihyamânakârano ’dharmah, 'unlawful acts are those for which no motive, i.e. no sacred source such as the Vedas, is perceptible.'

2:8 The region where the river Sarasvatî disappears is the Pattiâlâ district in the Pañgâb. The Pâripâtra mountains belong to the great Vindhya range, and are probably the hills in Mâlvâ. The position of the Kâlakavana or Black-forest is not accurately known. But it must probably be sought in Bihâr. All the MSS. as well as Krishnapandita read in this Sûtra prâgâdarsanât instead of prâgadarsanât, 'to the east of the region where the river Sarasvatî disappears.' This circumstance gains some importance by the fact that the Mahâbhâshya on Pânini II, 4, 10, quotes the same definition of the Âryâvarta, giving, however, instead of adarsanât prâgâdarsât, 'to the east of Âdarsa, i.e. the Âdarsa mountains.' It seems to me not improbable that our Sûtra, too, had originally prâgâdarsât, and that some Pandit who knew nothing about the Âdarsa hills, but remembered Manu II, as, and Baudhâyana I, 1, 25, where the word vinasanât, 'the disappearance of the Sarasvatî,' undoubtedly occurs, added the syllable na and forgot to correct the â, after prâg.

2:9 The translation follows Krishnapandita's commentary, which recommends itself on account of the analogous definition of Âryâvarta given by Manu II, 22.

2:11 My translation follows the text given by Krishnapandita and p. 3 B., and the explanation of the former, because it seems to me that the general sense which they give, is the correct one. I feel, however, not certain that the word. pratilomakadharmânâm, 'of those countries where opposite laws prevail,' is more than a care less correction. The majority of the MSS. read pratilomakakshadharmânah (kalpadharmânah), which by itself is difficult of explanation. But, as the text of the next Sûtra contains an apparently superfluous phrase, I fear, we shall have to admit that the text is here disfigured by corruptions, which with our present MSS. it is impossible to remove with certainty.

3:12 Krishnapandita reads this Sutra 'etad âryâvartam ityâkakshate gaṅgâyamunayor antaretyeke,' and takes it as one sentence, the subject of which is 'eke.' I feel no doubt that this explanation is utterly untenable, and that the first four words have nothing to do with this Sutra, the second part of which occurs also in the Baudhâyana Dharma-sûtra I, 1, 27. My opinion is that they originally belonged to Sûtra 11, though the state of the MSS. at my disposal does not allow me to say how Sûtra 11 has to be corrected. The general sense of Sûtra 12 is, however, perfectly certain.

3:13 Manu II, 23; Yâavalkya I, 2. It deserves to be noted that the black antelope (black-buck), Oryx cervicapra, selects for its home the well-cultivated, rich plains of India only, and is entirely wanting in the sandy, mountainous or forest districts, which are now, just as in ancient times, the portion of the aboriginal tribes.

3:14 Regarding the Bhâllavins, see Max Müller, History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp. 193, 364. Krishnapandita thinks that Nidâna means desanirnaya, 'the disquisition on the countries,' which is the title of a section which occurs in most modern compilations on law. But it will be safer to take it as the name of a Vedic work, identical with or similar to that quoted in Saunaka's Brihaddevatâ, Weber, Hist. Ind. Lit., p. 81.

3:15 Sindhur vidhâranî or vidharanî, as B. reads, cannot be p. 4 taken with Krishnapandita, as 'the ocean,' because in the latter sense sindhu is a masculine. It must be a boundary-river, probably the Sarasvatî. By sûryasyodana, 'the region where the sun rises,' the udayagiri or 'mountain of the east' may possibly be meant.

4:16 This verse, too, is marked as a quotation by the concluding word iti, though it is not necessary that it should be taken as a quotation from the Nidâna. Here, and in the sequel verses ending in iti are marked as quotations by hyphens.

4:17 Manu VII, 203; VIII, 41; Gautama XI, 20. Gâti,' castes,' which sometimes, and perhaps as appropriately, has been translated by 'tribes,' denotes in my opinion those numerous subdivisions of the four great varnas, which we now find all over India, and which can be shown to have existed for a very long time. Usually the word 'caste' is also applied to them.

4:18 Krishnapandita explains vîrahâ, 'he who extinguishes the sacred fires,' by 'the destroyer of his sons or of his spiritual clients' p. 5 (yagamâna); but the rules given below, XX, 11, and XXI, 27, in the section on penances, confirm the explanation given above.

5:20 Vishnu XXXV, 1-2. Guru means here the father, see below, XX, 15.

5:21 Vishnu XXXV, 3-5. Spiritual connexion, i.e. becoming the teacher or priest of an outcast, or his pupil or spiritual client (yagamâna).

5:22 Identical with Manu XI, 181. It must be understood that spiritual or matrimonial connexion with an outcast causes immediate degradation, as Vishnu states expressly.

5:23 Vishnu XXXVII, 6, 31; Gautama XXI, 11. Regarding the precise meaning of pratigahnuyât, 'offends,' see below, XXI, 27.

5:24-25. Manu III, 13; Yâavalkya I, 57; Pâraskara Grihya-sûtra I, 4, 8-11.

6:26-27. Manu III, 14-19.

6:28 Âpastamba II, 5, II, 17-20.

6:30 Vishnu XXIV, 19; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 1.

6:31 Vishnu XXIV, 20; Âsvalâyana Grihya.-sûtra I, 6, 2,

6:32 Vishnu XXIV, 21; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 3.

6:33 Vishnu XXIV, 23; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 5.

6:34 Vishnu XXIV, 25; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 8.

6:35 Vishnu XXIV, 24; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 6.

7:36 Sâṅkhâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 14; Pâraskara Grihya-sûtra I, 8, 18; Âpastamba II, 6, 13, 12. Though Vasishtha's quotation is less complete than Âpastamba's, still the following Sûtras show that he knew the conclusion of the passage, and does not take it as an authority for the sale of a daughter.

7:37 Krishnapandita makes a mistake by connecting the word 'kâturmâsyeshu' with the next Sûtra. He is right in saying that 'the Kâturmâsyas' is the name of a book. It is, however, not a separate work, but the kânda or section of a Vedic work treating of the Kâturmâsya sacrifices (see Max Müller, Hist. Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 355). The particular work from which our quotation has been taken, is either the Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ, or the Kâthaka. For, as Dr. von Schroeder informs me, Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ I, 10, 11 reads 'anritam vâ eshâ karoti yâ patyuh krîtâ satyathânyais karati,' and the title of the kânda is Kâturmâsyâni. Professor Weber, Ind. Stud. V, 407, has found the same words in the Kâturmâsya section of the Kâthaka XXXVI, 5. In the translation I have added the beginning of the passage which Vasishtha omits, according to the Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ.

7:39-41. Gautama XI, 25-27.

8:42 Vishnu III, 22-25. Though the ambiguous word dhana, 'wealth,' is used in the text, it seems not doubtful that Vasishtha alludes to the land-tax, which generally consists of one sixth of the produce.

8:43 Vishnu III, 26.

8:44 Vishnu III, 27--28. Pûrta, 'the merit gained by charitable works,' i.e. by planting trees, digging wells, and so forth. The words 'iti ha,' placed at the end of the Sûtra, indicate that it is a quotation, and that viâyate, 'it is declared in the Veda,' has to be understood from Sûtra 46. Gautama XI, 11, too, alleges that the rule is based on a Vedic passage.

8:45 Satapatha-brâhmana V, 4, 2, 3. Krishnapandita's division of the quotation into several Sûtras is unnecessary. His explanation of anâdya, which he takes to mean 'the first of all,' is wrong. He asserts that the Brâhmana is said 'to make the Veda rich,' because by sacrificing and so forth he fulfils its object and protects it. But the phrase is probably corrupt. If it is said that Soma is the king of the Brâhmanas, the object is to indicate that an earthly king is not their master, see Gautama XI, 1.

Footnotes Scroll Up

9:1-2. II. Vishnu II, 1-2; Manu X, 4.

9:3 Identical with Manu II, 169a, 170a, and Vishnu XXVIII, 37-38. The Sâvitrî or the verse addressed to Savitri is found Rig-veda III, 62, 10.

9:4 Gautama I, 10; Manu II, 171.

9:5 The reading tathâpyudâharanti, which several of my MSS. give, seems to me preferable to Krishnapandita's udâharati. Krishnapandita explains sâdhu karoti, 'makes them holy,' by adhyâtmam upadisati,' teaches them transcendental knowledge.'

10:6 Vishnu XXVIII, 40. Instead of Krishnapandita's 'yâvadvedo na gâyate,' 'yâvadvede na gâyate,' which occurs in several MSS. and in the parallel passages of Manu II, 172 and other Smritis, must be read.

10:7 Gautama II, 5. The rites referred to are the funeral rites.

10:8-9. Vishnu XXIX, 9-10, and introduction, p. xxiii; Nirukta II, 4.

10:10 Vishnu XXX, 47.

11:13 Krishnapandita wrongly connects the word brâhmanasya with the next Sûtra. For this and the next seven Sûtras, compare Vishnu II, 4-14.

11:14 Krishnapandita by mistake leaves out the word 'dânam.'

11:20 I read 'teshâm parikaryâ,' with the majority of the MSS., instead of Krishnapandita's 'teshâm ka parikaryâ.'

11:21 In illustration of this Sûtra Krishnapandita quotes a verse of Laugâkshi, which states that Brâhmanas belonging to the Vasishtha family wore the top-lock on the right side of the head, and the members of the Atri family allowed it to hang down on p. 12 both sides, while the Bhrigus shaved their heads, and the Âṅgirasas wore five locks (kûdâ) on the crown of the head. Cf. Max Müller, Hist. Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 53.

12:22 Vishnu II, 15.

12:24 For this and the following four Sûtras, see Gautama VII, 8-21.

12:26 Rasâh, 'substances used for flavouring,' i.e. 'molasses, sugar-cane, sugar, and the like.'--Krishnapandita. See also note on Gautama VII, 9.

12:27 Identical with Manu X, 92.

12:29 Vishnu LIV, 18; Âpastamba I, 7, 20, 13. Krishnapandita wrongly connects this Sûtra with the preceding one.

13:30 Manu X, 91.

13:31 Manu X, 90.

13:34gasaneyi-samhitâ XII, 71. The translation follows the explanation given in the next Sûtra as closely as possible, though the latter is without doubt erroneous. The purpose for which Vasishtha introduces it, is to show that a Vedic text permits agriculture to a Brâhmana who offers Soma-sacrifices.

14:37-39. Gautama VII, 16-21.

14:40 Manu X, 117. Krishnapandita reads with MS. B., vârdhushim na dadyâtâm, and explains it by vriddhim naiva prayogayetâm, 'they shall not take interest.' I read with the other MSS. vârdhushî, and translate that term by 'usurers.' Below, Sûtra 42, vârdhushi is used likewise in this its usual sense.

14:43 Manu X, 117.

14:44-47. Vishnu VI, 11-17; Colebrooke I, Dig. LXVI, where 'silver and gems' have been added after gold, and rasâh, 'flavouring substances,' been translated by 'fluids.' The translation differs also in other respects, because there the Sûtras stand by themselves, while here the nouns in Sûtras 44 and 47 are governed by the preceding dadyâtâm, 'they may lend.' They, i.e. a Brâhmana p. 15 and a Kshatriya. The rule, of course, refers to other castes also, and to those cases where no periodical interest is taken, but the loan returned in kind.

15:47 The Ratnâkara quoted by Colebrooke loc. cit. takes 'what is sold by weight' to be 'camphor and the like.' Krishnapandita thinks that 'clarified butter, honey, spirituous liquor, oil, molasses, and salt' are meant. But most of these substances fall under the term rasâh, 'flavouring substances.' The proper explanation of the words seems to be, 'any other substance not included among those mentioned previously, which is sold by weight.'

15:48 Vishnu VI, 2, and especially Manu VIII, 142. The lowest rate of interest is to be taken from the highest caste, and it becomes greater with decreasing respectability. According to Krishnapandita and the commentators on the parallel passage of Vishnu, Manu, and other Smritis, this rule applies only to loans for which no security is given--a statement which is doubtlessly correct.

15:49-50. Both the reading and the sense of this verse, which in some MSS. is wanting, are somewhat doubtful. I read with my best MSS.,

gâ to mritabhâvena dravyavriddhim vinâsayet |
punâ râgâbhishekena dravyamûlam ka vardhate ||

and consider that it gives a rule, ordering all money transactions to be stopped during the period which intervenes between the death of a king and the coronation of his successor. I am, however, unable to point out any parallel passages confirming this p. 16 view. Krishnapandita's text shows two important various readings, 'bhritibhâvena' and 'râgâbhîshikena,' which I think are merely conjectures, unsupported by the authority of MSS. He explains the verse as follows: 'The king shall destroy, i.e. himself not take, the interest on money by giving [it away] as a salary. But, after thus giving away interest received, he may increase his capital by [an extra tax imposed on] the cultivators, i.e. take from them the highest rate, consisting of one-fourth of the produce.'

16:51 Gautama XII, 29; Colebrooke I, Dig. XXIV. The rule given in this Sûtra refers, as Krishnapandita correctly states, to loans, for which security is given. The rate is 1¼ per cent for the month, or 15 per annum; see the note to Gautama loc. cit. Manu, VIII, 140, especially mentions that this rate is prescribed by Vasishtha.

Footnotes Scroll Up

16:1 III. I read Sûdrasadharmânah, 'equal to Sûdras,' instead of sûdrakarmânah, which occurs in MS. B. only. Krishnapandita explains the latter reading by sûdravatkarma yeshu te sûdravatteshvâkaranîyamityarthah, 'shall be treated like Sûdras.' But the verses quoted in the following Sûtras show that the former reading is the better one.

16:2 Identical with Manu II, 168.

16:3 This and the following nine verses are, as the word 'iti,' which the best MSS. give at the end of Sûra 12, quotations. p. 17 Anrik, 'who does not know the Veda,' means, literally, 'unacquainted with the Rig-veda.'

17:5 This verse, which is identical with Manu XII, 114, and the next two are intended to show that a Brâhmana who, neglects the study of the Veda, is unfit to decide points of the sacred law, which are not settled either by the Smriti or the Sruti, and become a member of a parishad or' Pañk.'

17:6 The verse contains a better version of Manu XII, 115.

17:7 Regarding the term Vedapâraga, see Gautama V, 20, note. Itareshâm, 'fools,' means literally, 'different from (those who have mastered the Vedas).'

18:9-10. Regarding the crime of 'neglecting a Brâhmana,' see Manu VIII, 392-393, where fines are prescribed for neglecting to invite to dinner worthy neighbours and Srotriyas.

18:10 A learned Brâhmana resembles a sacrificial fire, see e.g. below, XXX, 2-3; Âpastamba I, 1, 3, 44.

18:11 Manu II, 157. Krishnapandita and MS. B. give the ungrammatical construction which occurs in Manu and other Dharmasâstras, while the other MSS. read more correctly, 'yaska kâshthamayo h. yaska karmamayo m.' &c.

18:13-14. This rule agrees exactly with Gautama X, 45; see also Vishnu III, 56-61. The matter is introduced here in order to show the prerogative of a learned Brâhmana. Regarding the six lawful occupations, see-above, II, 13-14.

19:15 Vishnu V, 189-192. The connexion of this subject with the main topic consists therein that it furnishes an instance where learning does not protect a Brâhmana.

19:17 I read with the majority of the MSS., 'api vedântapâragam,' instead of 'vedântagam rane,' as Krishnapandita has.

19:19 For the explanations of the terms left untranslated, see the p. 20 note on Âpastamba II, 8, 17, 22; Gautama XV, 28; and the notes on Vishnu LXXXIII, 2-21. Regarding the meaning of Khandoga, 'one who knows the first part of the Sâma-veda Samhitâ,' see Weber, Hist. Ind. Lit., p. 63, note 59. 'One who knows the Samhitâ and the Brâhmana, i.e. of the Rig-veda.'--Krishnapandita. Regarding the various classes of Snâtakas, see Âpastamba I, 11, 30, 1-3.

20:20 Manu XII, 111. Krishnapandita reads kâturvidyas trikalpî ka, 'one who knows the four Vedas and one who knows three different Kalpa-sûtras.' My translation, follows the reading of the MSS., kâturvidyam vikalpî ka, which is corroborated by the parallel passage of Baudhâyana I, 1, 8, 'kâturvaidyam vikalpî ka.' The explanation of the latter word is derived from Govindasvâmin. 'Men who are in three orders, i.e. a student, a householder, and ascetic,' see Gautama XXVIII, 49.

20:21-23. Vishnu XXIX, 1-2.

20:24 Gautama VII, 25.

20:25 Vishnu II, 6.

20:26-34. Vishnu LXII, 1-9.

21:30 Krishnapandita is probably right in thinking that the word vâ, 'or,' inserted before 'bending forward,' is intended to forbid other improper acts, gestures or postures, which are reprehended in other Smritis.

21:35 Vishnu XXIII, 43; Manu V, 128.

21:36 'Collected in unclean places, e.g. in a burial-ground.'--Krishnapandita.

22:37 Gautama I, 41.

22:38 Gautama I, 37.

22:39 Âpastamba I, 5, 16, 10.

22:40 Âpastamba I, 5, 16, 11.

22:41 Gautama I, 38-40.

22:42 Manu V, 142.

22:43 Vishnu XXIII, 55. 'Occupied with eatables,' i.e. 'eating.'--Krishnapandita.

22:45 Vishnu XXIII, 50. This and the following two Sûtras are a quotation, as appears from the use of the particle iti at the end of Sûtra 47.

23:46 Manu V, 129.

23:47 Vishnu XXIII, 43

23:48 Gautama I, 42. For the explanation of the term amedhya, 'unclean substances,' see Manu V, 135, and the passage from Devala translated in Professor Jolly's note on Vishnu XXIII, 38.

23:49 Gautama I, 29; Vishnu XXIII, 26, 33, 27, 18.

23:50-51. Gautama I, 30.

23:52 Gautama I, 31 and note; Vishnu XXIII, 4.

23:53 Gautama I, 33.

23:54 Vishnu XXIII, 28. Cups and bottles made of the shell of the cocoa-nut or of the Bilva (Bel) fruit and of bottle-gourds are meant.

23:55 Vishnu XXIII, 22.

24:56 Vishnu XXIII, 56-57. Krishnapandita takes upakarana, 'heaping (pure earth) on (the defiled spot),' to mean 'lighting a fire on it' or 'digging it up.' The translation given above rests on the parallel passages of Gautama I, 32, and of Baudhâyana I, 5, 52, bhûmes tu sammârganaprokshanopalepanâvastaranopalekhanairyathâsthânam doshaviseshât prâyatyam, 'land becomes pure, according to the degree of the defilement, by sweeping the (defiled) spot, by sprinkling it, by smearing it with cowdung, by scattering (pure earth) on it, or by scraping it.' Bhûmi, 'land,' includes also the mud-floor of a house or of a verandah.

24:57 Some MSS. have instead of gharshât, 'by scraping,' varshât, 'by rain;' see also note on Gautama I, 32.

24:58 Vishnu XXII, 91. 59. Vishnu XXIII, 5. 60. Identical with Manu V, 109, and Vishnu XXII, 92.

24:61-62. Vishnu XXIII, 7. Krishnapandita points out that these p. 25 two rules and that given in the next Sûtra refer to cases in which gold, silver, and copper have not been stained by impure substances.

25:63 Vishnu XXIII, 25.

25:64-68. Vishnu LXII, I-4; Âpastamba II, 2, 3, II.

25:69 Vishnu LXVIII, 42. The Sûtra is also intended to prescribe that the number of the daily meals is two, only.

25:70 Manu III, 251.

25:71 The rites referred to are, according to Krishnapandita, marriages, feeding Brâhmanas, Nândîsrâddhas, and the like.

Footnotes Scroll Up

25:1 IV. Manu I, 87.

25:2 Rig-veda X, 90, 12.

26:4 Vishnu II, 17.

26:5 Mânavam, 'the Mânava (Sûtra),' means literally 'a work proclaimed by Manu' (manunâ proktam). It is probable that the work referred to by Vasishtha is the lost Dharma-sûtra of the Mânava Sâkhâ, which is a subdivision of the Maitrâyanîyas, and on which the famous metrical Mânava Dharmasâstra is based. The words of the Sûtra may either be a direct quotation or a summary of the opinion given in the Mânava-sûtra. I think the former supposition the more probable one, and believe that not only Sûtra 5, but also Sûtras 6-8 have been taken bodily from the ancient Dharma-sûtra. For Sûtra 6 agrees literally with a verse of the metrical Manusmriti, and at the end of Sûtra 8 several MSS. have the word iti, the characteristic mark that a quotation is finished, while the language of Sûtra 8 is more antiquated than Vasishtha's usual style. If my view is correct, it follows that the lost Mânava Dharma-sûtra consisted, like nearly all the known works of this class, partly of prose and partly of verse.

26:6 Identical with Manu V, 41; Vishnu LI, 64; and Sâṅkhâyana Grihya-sûtra II, 16, 1. I take pitridaivata, against Kullûka's and Krishnapandita's view, as a bahuvrîhi compound, and dissolve it by pitaro daivatam yasmimstat, literally 'such (a rite) where the manes are the deities,' The other explanation, '(rites) p. 27 to the manes or to the gods,' which is also grammatically correct, recommends itself less, because the rites to the gods are already included by the word yae, 'at a sacrifice.' As to the Madhuparka, see Âpastamba II, 4, 8, 8-9, and below XI, 1.

27:7 Manu V, 48, and Vishnu LI, 71, where, however, the conclusion of the verse has been altered to suit the ahimsâ-doctrines of the compilers of the metrical Smritis. The reason why slaughter at a sacrifice is not slaughter in the ordinary sense may be gathered from Vishnu LI, 61, 63.

27:8 Satapatha-brâhmana III, 4, I, 2; Yâavalkya I, 109. 9-10. Vishnu XIX, 7; Manu V, 58. Regarding the length of the period of impurity, see below, Sûtras 16, 26-29.

27:11 Vishnu XIX, 6.

27:12 Vishnu XIX, 7; Gautama XIV, 40. 'On those days of the period of impurity which are marked by odd numbers,' i.e. 'on the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth, as has been declared by Gautama.'--Krishnapandita.

28:14 Vishnu XIX, 16; Gautama XIV, 37.

28:15 Vishnu XIX, 14.

28:17 Vishnu XXII, 5.

28:19 Gautama XIV, 36; Pâraskara Grihya-sûtra III, xo, 42. Others than the blood-relations,' i.e. 'the husband and his relatives.' The MSS. have another Sûtra following this, which Krishnapandita leaves out. Tâska teshâm, 'and they (the married females shall perform the obsequies) of those (i.e. their husbands and his Sapindas).' It seems to me very probable that the passage is genuine, especially as Pâraskara, Grihya-sûtra III, 10, 43, has the same words.

28:20 Vishnu XXII, 1.

28:21 Gautama XIV, 15-16, The Sûtra ought to have been divided into two.

29:23 Vishnu XXII, 35.

29:24 Vishnu XXII, 36.

29:25 Vishnu. XXII, 37. Krishnapandita explains prabhâte, 'on the morning (of the day on which the first period of impurity expires),' in accordance with Nandapandita's explanation of Vishnu's text by 'during the last watch (of the last night of the period of impurity).' See also the slightly different explanation of the identical swords by Haradatta, Gautama XIV, 8.

29:26 Vishnu XXII, 1.

29:29 Vishnu XXII, 4.

30:32 Regarding the penance prescribed here, the so-called anasnatpârâyana, see below XX, 46, and Baudhâyana III, 9.

30:33 Vishnu XXII, 27-30.

30:34 Gautama XIV, 44, and introduction to Gautama, p. liii.

30:36 Introduction to Gautama, pp. liii and liv.

30:37 Vishnu XXII, 69. Krishnapandita and MS. B. read pûya, p. 31 'pus,' instead of yûpa, 'a sacrificial post.' The reading is, however, wrong, because the parallel passages of most Smritis enjoin that a man who has touched a sacrificial post shall bathe. The cause of the mistake is probably a mere clerical error. The MSS. repeat the last word of this chapter, apa ityapah. The reason is not, as Krishnapandita imagines, that the author wishes to indicate the necessity of bathing when one touches a person who has touched some impure thing or person. It is the universal practice of the ancient authors to repeat the last word of a chapter in order to mark its end, see eg. Gautama note on I, 61. If it is neglected in the earlier chapters of the Vâsishtha Dharma-sûtra, the badness of the MSS. is the cause.

Footnotes Scroll Up

31:1 V. Vishnu XXV, 12. The second clause ought to have been given as a separate Sûtra. 'A female who no longer goes naked,' i.e. one who has reached the age of puberty. Amritam, 'is paradise,' i.e. procures bliss in this life and heaven after death through her children.

31:2 Vishnu XXV, 13. Identical with Manu IX, 3.

31:3 'The penance which has been ordained in case a wife is unfaithful to her husband, i.e. goes to a lover and so forth, must be performed in secret, i.e. in solitary places.'--Krishnapandita. The explanation is clearly erroneous. Rahasyeshu cannot mean 'in secret' or 'in secret places.' It might refer either to a. work or works called Rahasyâni or to the rahasyâni prâyaskittâni. As p. 32 the next Sûtra contains a half-verse taken from the section on secret penances, XXVIII, 4, it is evident that Vasishtha here makes a cross-reference. Similar cross-references occur further on.

32:4avalkya I, 72, and below, XXVIII, 4.

32:5 Vishnu XXII, 72.

32:6 Taitt. Samh. II, 5, I, 6-7. I read with the majority of the MSS., grahânna nirîksheta instead of grihân na niriksheta, which latter phrase Krishnapandita renders by 'she shall not look out of the house.' My reading is confirmed by his quotation from the Smritimañgarî, where grahânâm nirîkshanam, 'looking at the planets, i.e. the sun, moon,' &c., is forbidden. 'A large vessel,' i.e. an earthen jar.--Krishnapandita.

32:7 Taitt. Sarah. II, 5, I, 2-5. The name 'slayer of a learned Brâhmana' is applied to Indra, because Vritra is said to have been deeply versed in the Vedas. Regarding the 'proper season of women,' see Manu III, 46-48. In the clause 'That guilt of Brâhmana-murder appears,' &c., I read âvir bhavati with the majority of the MSS. For the prohibition to accept food from a-ragasvalâ, see Vishnu LI, 16-17.

33:8 Taitt. Sarah. II, 5, 1, 6. I read the text of this Sûtra as follows: 'Tadâhuh--añganâbhyañganam evâsyâ na pratigrâhyam taddhi striyâ annam iti--tasmât tasyai ka tatra ka bîbhatsante meyam upâgâd iti.' The MSS. give the following readings in the second clause: tasmât tasmai ka (B. Bh. E. F,), tatra na (F.), medhamupâgâd (Bh. F.), medha upâgâd (E.), seyamupâgâd (B.) Krishnapandita follows as usually MS. B. His explanation of the whole Sûtra is erroneous. 'That is the food of women,' i.e. that is as necessary to women as their food, because to beautify themselves is one of their duties.

33:9 The meaning of the Sûtra is that a Brâhmanical beggar must not accept any alms from Brâhmanas whose wives are in their p. 34 courses, who keep no sacred fire, and do not attend to the duty of Veda-study. Regarding sinners of the latter two kinds, see also Âpastamba I, 6, 18, 32-33.

Footnotes Scroll Up

34:1 VI. Manu IV, 155. The word âkâra, which has been variously translated by 'conduct,' 'rule of conduct,' and 'good conduct,' includes the observance of all the various rules for every-day life, taught in the Smritis, and the performance of the prescribed ceremonies and rites.

34:4 I read with MSS. Bh. and E., shadaṅgâstvakhilâh sayaâh. The reading of MS. B., which: Krishnapandita adopts, shadaṅgâh sakhilâh means, 'together with the six Aṅgas, (and) the Khila (spurious) portions of the Veda.'

35:5 Isha is another name for Âsvina, the month September-October. Though the rainy season, properly so called, is over in September, still heavy rain falls in many parts of India, chiefly under the influence of the beginning north-east monsoon, and is particularly important for the Rabi or winter crops. I think, therefore, that it is not advisable to take, as Krishnapandita does, yathâ ishe ’bdâh both with the first and the second halves of the verse, and to translate, As the clouds (in general remain barren) in the month of Isha, even so the texts of the Veda do not save from evil the deceitful man who behaves deceitfully. But that Veda, two syllables of which have been studied in the right manner, sanctifies, just as the clouds in the month of Isha, (which shed a few drops of rain on the day of the Svâti conjunction, produce pearls)." 'In the right manner,' i, e, with the due observance of the rules of studentship.

35:6 Identical with Manu IV, 157.

35:7 Manu IV, 156. By the inauspicious marks' mentioned in this verse, and the 'auspicious marks' occurring in the next, the various lines on the hands and feet &c. are meant, the explanation of which forms the subject of the Sâmudrika Sâstra.

35:8 Identical with Manu IV, 158; Vishnu LXXI, 92.

36:10 Vishnu LX, 2. I read with the majority of the MSS., na rishyati.

36:11 Identical with Manu IV, 52.

36:12 Vishnu LX, 3-22.

36:13 Identical with Manu IV, 51.

36:14 Vishnu LX, 24.

36:15 I.e. one may bathe also in a tank or river.

37:18 Vishnu LX, 25.

37:19 Identical with Vishnu LX, 26, and Manu V, 137.

37:20-21. Identical with Âpastamba II, 5, 9, 13, and S. 21, with Sâṅkhâyana, Grihya-sûtra II, 16, 5.

37:22 'Penances (vrata), i.e. the Krikkhras and the rest; self-imposed restraint (niyama), i.e. eating certain food in accordance with a vow, and so forth, during a month or any other fixed period . . . . sacred duties (dharma), i.e. giving gifts and the like.'--Krishnapandita.

38:24 Krishnapandita connects brâhmanadûshanam, translated above by 'speaking evil of Brâhmanas,' with sûdralakshanam, and renders the two words thus, 'the characteristics of a Sûdra which degrade a Brâhmana.'

38:25 'Close their hands,' i.e. are reluctant to accept.

38:26 Krishnapandita takes kimkit, translated by 'some,' to mean 'somewhat,' 'to a certain degree,' i.e. neither very distinguished nor very despicable.

39:32 Manu IV, 188. Read in the text 'evam gâ vâ' instead of 'evam gâvo.'

39:33 Gautama IX, 51.

39:35 Gautama IX, 9.

39:40 Manu IV, 177.

40:42 Manu IV, 177; Gautama IX, 50-51.

40:43 Manu XII, 109.

Footnotes Scroll Up

40:1-2. VII. Gautama III, 2.

40:3 Gautama III, 1.

40:4 Vishnu XXVIII, 43.

40:5 Vishnu XXVIII, 46. I agree with Krishnapandita in thinking that the apparently purposeless particle 'and,' which is used in p. 41 this Sûtra, indicates Vasishtha's approval of the rules given in other Smritis, according to which the student, on the death of the teacher, shall serve the teacher's son, a fellow-student, or the teacher's wife, and the service of the sacred fire is the last resource only. See Vishnu XXVIII, 44-45; Gautama III, 7-8.

41:6 These words form part of one of the Mantras which the teacher recites at the initiation of the student; see e.g. Sâṅkhâyana Grihya-sûtra.

41:7 Gautama II, 13, 22.

41:8 According to Krishnapandita to a kâla, 'hour,' is the eighth part of a day.

41:9 Vishnu XXVIII, 9.

41:10 Vishnu XXVIII, 7.

41:11 Gautama I, 27; Vishnu XXVIII, 41.

41:12 Vishnu XXVIII, 18-22.

41:13 Vishnu XXVIII, 6.

41:14 Vishnu XXVIII, 10; Âpastamba I, 1, 3, 25.

42:15 Gautama II, 13.

42:16 Vishnu XXVIII, 2-3. The prayers intended are, the so walled Sandhyâs, which are recited at daybreak and in the evening.

42:17 Gautama II, 8. 'Three times a day,' i.e. morning, noon, and evening. Krishnapandita thinks that he shall perform three ablutions at midday.

Source: The Sacred Laws of the Âryas translated by Georg Bühler Part I: Âpastamba and Guatama (Sacred Books of the East, Volume 2.) [1879]. The text has been reproduced and reformatted from by Jayaram V for While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly, we do not guarantee or accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text.

Translate the Page

Search Hinduwebsite

Follow Us