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 5, Khaṇḍa 17

1. A Śūdra touches him, (then he shall leave off eating).[1]

2. Nor shall he eat sitting in the same row with unworthy people.[2]

3. Nor shall he eat (sitting in the same row with persons) amongst whom one, whilst they eat, rises and gives his leavings to his pupils or sips water;[3]

4. Nor (shall he eat) where they give him food, reviling him.[4]

5. Nor (shall he eat) what has been smelt at by men or other (beings, as cats).[5]

6. He shall not eat in a ship,

7. Nor on a wooden platform.

8. He may eat sitting on ground which has been purified (by the application of cowdung and the like).

9. (If he eats) out of an earthen vessel, he shall eat out of one that has not been used (for cooking).

10. (If he can get) a used vessel (only, he shall eat from it), after having heated it thoroughly.

11. A vessel made of metal becomes pure by being scoured with ashes and the like.[6]

12. A wooden vessel becomes pure by being scraped.[7]

13. At a sacrifice (the vessels must be cleaned) according to the precepts of the Veda.

14. He shall not eat food which has been bought or obtained ready-prepared in the market.

15. Nor (shall he eat) flavoured food (bought in the market) excepting raw meat, honey, and salt.

16. Oil and clarified butter (bought in the market) he may use, after having sprinkled them with water.[8]

17. Prepared food which has stood for a night, must neither be eaten nor drunk.[9]

18. Nor (should prepared food) that has turned sour (be used in any way).[10]

19. (The preceding two rules do) not (hold good in regard to) the juice of sugar-cane, roasted rice-grains, porridge prepared with whey, roasted yava, gruel, vegetables, meat, flour, milk and preparations from it, roots and fruits of herbs and trees.[11]

20. (Substances which have turned) sour without being mixed with anything else (are to be avoided).[12]

21. All intoxicating drinks are forbidden.

22. Likewise sheep's milk,[13]

23. Likewise the milk of camels, of does, of animals that give milk while big with young, of those that bear twins, and of (one-hoofed animals),[14]

24. Likewise the milk of a cow (buffalo-cow or she-goat) during the (first) ten days (after their giving birth to young ones),[15]

25. Likewise (food mixed) with herbs which serve for preparing intoxicating liquors,

26. (Likewise) red garlic, onions, and leeks,[16]

27. Likewise anything else which (those who are learned in the law) forbid.[17]

28. Mushrooms ought not to be eaten; that has been declared in a Brāhmaṇa;[18]

29. (Nor the meat) of one-hoofed animals, of camels, of the Gayal, of village pigs, of Śarabhas, and of cattle.[19]

30. (But the meat) of milch-cows and oxen may be eaten.

31. The Vājasaneyaka declares 'bull's flesh is fit for offerings.'

32. Amongst birds that scratch with their feet for, food, the (tame) cock (must not be eaten).[20]

33. Amongst birds that feed thrusting forward their beak, the (heron, called) Plava (or Sakaṭabila, must not be eaten).[21]

34. Carnivorous (birds are forbidden),[22]

35. Likewise the swan, the Bhāsa, the Brāhmaṇī duck, and the falcon.[23]

36. Common cranes and Sāras-cranes (are not to[24] be eaten) with the exception of the leather-nosed Lakṣmaṇa.

37. Five-toed animals (ought not to be eaten) with the exception of the iguana, the tortoise, the porcupine, the hedgehog, the rhinoceros, the hare, and the Pūtikhasha.[25]

38. Amongst fishes, the Ceta ought not to be eaten,

39. Nor the snake-headed fish, nor the alligator, nor those which live on flesh only, nor those which are misshaped (like) mermen.[26]

Footnotes and references:


17. 'Some say, that this Sūtra indicates that the touch of a Śūdra does not defile at any other time but at dinner, whilst others hold that a Śūdra's touch defiles always, and that the Sūtra is intended to indicate an excess of impurity, if it happens at dinnertime.'--Haradatta.


'Unworthy people are those who are neither of good family, nor possess learning and virtue.'--Haradatta.


According to Haradatta a person who misbehaves thus, is called 'a dinner-thorn.' This point of etiquette is strictly observed in our days also. Manu IV, 2 12.


Manu IV, 212; Yājñ. I, 167.


'As the text has avaghrāta, "smelt at," it does not matter if they smell the food from a distance.'--Haradatta.


'It must be understood from other Smṛtis, that brass is to be cleaned with ashes, copper with acids, silver with cowdung, and gold with water.'--Haradatta. Manu V, I 14.


Manu V, 115.


'Having sprinkled them with water and purified them by boiling; or, according to others, mixing them with so much water as will not spoil them.'--Haradatta.


The Sanskrit has two terms for 'eating;' the first 'khād' p. 63 applies to hard substances, the second 'ad' to soft substances. Manu I, V, 211; Yājñ. I, 16 7.


Manu IV, 211; V, 9; Yājñ. I, 167.


Manu V, 10, 24 and 25.


According to Haradatta, Āpastamba returns once more to the question about sour food, in order to teach that dishes prepared with curds and other sour substances may be eaten.


Manu V, 8; Yājñ. I, 170.


Manu V, 8, 9; Yājñ. I 170. 'Sandhinī, translated by "females that give milk while big with young," means, according to others, "female animals that give milk once a day."--Haradatta.


Manu V, 8.


Manu V, 5; Yājñ. I, 176.


Haradatta observes that Āpastamba, finding the list of forbidden vegetables too long, refers his pupils to the advice of the Śiṣṭas. The force of this Sūtra is exactly the same as that of I, 3, 11, 38.


Yājñ. I, 171.


The camel, Gayal, and Śarabha are mentioned as 'forbidden animals,' Śatapatha-br. I, 2, 1, 8; Aitareya-br. II, 1, 8; see also Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 62; Manu V, 11, 18; Yājñ. I, 172, 176.


Yājñ. I, 176.


Manu V, 12. Yājñ. I, 172.


Manu V, 11; Yājñ. I, 172.


Yājñ. I, 172.


Manu V, 12; Yājñ. I, 172. Other commentators take the whole Sūtra as one compound, and explain it as an exception to Sūtra 34. In that case the translation runs thus: ('Carnivorous birds are forbidden) except the Kruñca, Krauñca, Vārdhrāṇasa, p. 65 and Lakṣmaṇa.'--Haradatta. This translation is objectionable, because both the Kruñca, now called Kulam or Kūñc, and the Krauñca, the red-crested crane, now called Sāras (Cyrus), feed on grain. Kruñcakrauñca is a Vedic dual and stands for kruñcakrauñcā or kruñcakrauñcau.


Manu V, 18; Yājñ. I, 77. Pūtikhasha is, according to Haradatta, an animal resembling a hare, and found in the Himālayas.


Haradatta closes this chapter on flesh-eating by quoting Manu V, 56, which declares flesh-eating, drinking spirituous liquor, and promiscuous intercourse to be allowable, but the abstinence therefrom of greater merit. He states that the whole chapter must be understood in this sense.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: