Apastamba Dharma-sutra

by Āpastamba | 1879 | 60,011 words

The Dharmasutra of Āpastamba forms a part of the larger Kalpasūtra of Āpastamba. It contains thirty praśnas, which literally means ‘questions’ or books. The subjects of this Dharmasūtra are well organized and preserved in good condition. These praśanas consist of the Śrautasūtra followed by Mantrapāṭha which is used in domestic rites and is a colle...

Praśna I, Paṭala 3, Khaṇḍa 9

1. After having performed the Upākarma for studying the Veda on the full moon of the month' Srāvaṇa (July-August), he shall for one month not study in the evening.[1]

2. On the full moon of the month of Pauṣa (December-January), or under the constellation Rohini, he shall leave off reading the Veda.[2]

3. Some declare, (that he shall study) for four months and a half.[3]

4. He shall avoid to Study the Veda on a high-road.[4]

5. Or he may study it (on a high-road), after having smeared (a space) with cowdung.

6. He shall never study in a burial-ground nor anywhere near it within the throw of a Samyā.[5]

7. If a village has been built over (a burial ground) or its surface has been cultivated as a field, the recitation of the Veda (in such a place) is not prohibited.

8. But if that place is known to have been a burial-ground he shall not study (there).[6]

9. A Śūdra and an outcast are (included by the term) burial-ground, (and the rule given, Sūtra 6, applies to them).[7]

10. Some declare, that (one ought to avoid only, to study) in the same house (where they dwell).

11. But if (a student and) a Śūdra woman merely look at each other, the recitation of the Veda must be interrupted,

12. Likewise, if (a student and) a woman, who has had connexion with a man of a lower caste, (look at each other).

13. If he, who is about to study the Veda, wishes to talk to a woman during her courses, he shall first speak to a Brāhmaṇa and then to her, then again speak to a Brāhmaṇa, and afterwards study. Thereby the children (of that woman) will be blessed.[8]

14. (He shall not study in a village) in which a corpse lies;[9]

15. Nor in such a one where Kāndālas live.

16. He shall not study whilst corpses are being carried to the boundary of the village,

17. Nor in a forest, if (a corpse or Cāṇḍāla) is within sight.

18. And if outcasts have entered the village, he shall not study on that day,[10]

19. Nor if good men (have come).[11]

20. If it thunders in the evening, (he shall not study) during the night.[12]

21. If lightning is seen (in the evening, he shall not study during that night), until he has slept.

22. If lightning is seen about the break of dawn, or at the time when he may distinguish at the distance of a Samyā-throw, whether (a cow) is black or red, be shall not study during that day, nor in the following evening.

24. If it thunders in the second part of the third watch of the night, (he shall not study during the following day or evening).

24. Some (declare, that this rule holds good, if it thunders), after the first half of the night has passed.

25. (Nor shall he study) whilst the cows are prevented from leaving (the village on account of thieves and the like),

26. Nor (on the imprisonment of criminals) whilst they are being executed.

27. He shall not study whilst he rides on beasts (of burden).[13]

28. At the new moon, (he shall not study) for two days and two nights.[14]

Footnotes and references:


9. The Upākarma is the ceremony which is performed every year at the beginning of the course of study. It is in fact the solemn opening of the Brahmanic term. 'Because Āpastamba uses the word evening (i.e. first part of the night) it is not sinful to study later in the night.'--Haradatta. Manu IV, 95; Yājñ. I, 142, 143; Weber, Ind. Stud. X. 130 and 134.


The term lasts therefore for five months; (i.e. latter half of, Srāvaṇa, Bhārapada, Āśvina, Kārttika, Mārgasīrṣa, and the first half of Pauṣa.) The Rohinī-day of Pauṣa is meant.


'According to this latter opinion the Upākarma should be performed on the full moon of Bhādrapada, as has been taught in another work (Manu IV, 95); the (time of the) Utsargana, (the solemn closing of the term) should be advanced; and after the Utsargana has been performed, one may study the Veda during the light nights of each month until the full moon of Srāvaṇa, in order to fix in one's mind the part learned already; and in the dark fortnight of each month one may study the Vedāṅgas, i.e. grammar and the rest (Manu IV, 98). On the full moon of Srāvaṇa the Upākarma should be performed once more, and that part of the Veda should be studied which has not yet been learned.'--Haradatta.


Nigarnāh, 'high-roads,' are squares and the like.--Haradatta.


The Samyā is either the pin in the bullock's yoke or the round stick, about a foot and a half in length, which is used for the preparation of the Vedi. Manu IV, 116; Yājñ. I, 148.


'Nor anywhere near it within the throw of a Samyi.' This must be understood from. Sūtra 6.


Yājñ. I, 148.


The last part of the Sūtra may also be interpreted: 'Thus she will be blessed with children.'--Haradatta.


Manu IV, 108; Yājñ. I, 148.


Haradatta explains Bāhya, 'outcasts,' by 'robbers, such as Ugras and Niṣādas.' But, I think, it means simply such outcasts as live in the forest or outside the village in the Vādī, like the Dhers, Mahārs, Māngs of the present day. Most of these tribes however, are or were given to thieving. See Kullūka on Manu X, 2 9, and the Petersburg Dict. s. v.


Yājñ. I, 150.


Manu IV, 106; Yājñ. I, 145. This rule refers to the rainy season. (For thunder) at other (seasons) he orders below a longer (cessation).'--Haradatta.


Manu IV, 120; Yājñ. I, 151.


'"For two days," i.e. on the day of the new moon and the preceding one, the fourteenth of the half month.'--Haradatta. Manu IV, 113; Yājñ. I, 146.

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