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 9, Khaṇḍa 24

1. He who has killed a Kṣatriya shall give a thousand cows (to Brāhmaṇas) for the expiation of his sin.[1]

2. (He shall give) a hundred cows for a Vaiśya,[2]

3. Ten for a Śūdra,[3]

4. And in every one (of these cases) one bull (must be given) in excess (of the number of cows) for the sake of expiation.

5. And if women of the (three castes mentioned have been slain) the same (composition must be paid).

6. He who has slain a man belonging to the two (first-mentioned castes) who has studied the Veda, or had been initiated for the performance of a Soma-sacrifice, becomes an Abhiśasta.[4]

7. And (he is called an Abhiśasta) who has slain a man belonging merely to the Brāhmaṇa caste (though he has not studied the Veda or been initiated for a Soma-sacrifice),

8. Likewise he who has destroyed an embryo of a (Brāhmaṇa, even though its sex be) undistinguishable,

9. Or a woman (of the Brāhmaṇa caste) during her courses.[5]

10. (Now follows) the penance for him (who is an Abhiśasta).

11. He (himself) shall erect a hut in the forest, restrain his speech, carry (on his stick) the skull (of the person slain) like a flag, and cover the space from his navel to his knees with a quarter of a piece of hempen cloth.[6]

12. The path for him when he goes to a village, is the space between the tracks (of the wheels).

13. And if he sees another (Ārya), he shall step out of the road (to the distance of two yards).

14. He shall go to the village, carrying a broken tray of metal of an inferior quality.

15. He may go to seven houses only, (crying,) 'Who will give alms to an Abhiśasta?'

16. That is (the way in which he must gain) his livelihood.

17. If he does not obtain anything (at the seven houses), he must fast.

18. And (whilst performing this penance) he must tend cows.

19. When they leave and enter the village, that is the second occasion (on which he may enter) the village.

20. After having performed (this penance) for twelve years, he must perform) the ceremony known (by custom), through which he is re-admitted into the society of the good.[7]

21. Or (after having performed the twelve years' penance), he may build a hut on the path of robbers, and live there, trying to take from them the cows of Brāhmaṇas. He is free (from his sin), when thrice he has been defeated by them, or when he has vanquished them.[8]

22. Or he is freed (from his sin), if (after the twelve years' penance) he bathes (with the priests) at the end of a horse-sacrifice.[9]

23. This very same (penance is ordained) for him who, when his duty and love of gain come into conflict, chooses the gain.[10]

24. If he has slain a Guru or a Brāhmaṇa, who has studied the Veda and finished the ceremonies of a Soma-sacrifice, he shall live according to this very same rule until his last breath.[11]

25. He cannot be purified in this life. But his sin is removed (after death).[12]

Footnotes and references:


24. Manu XI, 128; Yājñ. III, 266. Others explain the phrase vairayātanārtham, 'for the expiation of his sin,' thus: 'He, who is p. 79 slain by anybody, becomes, in dying, an enemy of his slayer (and thinks), "O that I might slay him in another life," for the removal of this enmity!'--Haradatta. I am strongly inclined to agree with the other commentator, and to translate vairayātanārtham, 'in order to remove the enmity.' I recognise in this fine a remnant of the law permitting compositions for murder which was in force in ancient Greece and among the Teutonic nations. With the explanation adopted by Haradatta, it is impossible to find a reasonable interpretation for prāyaścittirthaḥ, Sūtra 4. Haradatta, seduced by the parallel passage of Manu, takes it to be identical with vairayātanārtham. I propose to translate our Sūtra thus: 'He who has killed a Kṣatriya shall give a thousand cows (to the relations of the murdered man) in order to remove the enmity.' According to Baudhāyana I, 10. 19. 1 (compare Zeitschr. d. D. Morg. Ges., vol. 41, pp. 672-76; Festgruss an Roth, pp. 44-52), the cows are to be given to the king.


Manu XI, 130. Yājñ. III, 267.


Manu XI, 131. Yājñ. III, 267.


Manu XI, 87. Abhiśasta means literally 'accused, accursed,' and corresponds in Āpastamba's terminology to the mahāpātakin of Manu and Yājñavalkya, instead of which latter word Manu uses it occasionally, e.g. II, 185.


'Others interpret ātreyī, "during her courses," by "belonging to the race of Atri."'--Haradatta.


Others say that he may carry the skull of any corpse. This Sūtra is to be construed with Sūtra 14, Sūtras 12 and 13 being inserted parenthetically.--Haradatta. Manu XI, 72-78; Yājñ. III, 243.


'I.e. after having performed the penance, he shall take grass and offer it to a cow. If the cow approaches and confidingly eats, then one should know that he has performed the penance properly not otherwise.'--Haradatta. Manu XI, 195 and 196.


Manu XI, 81.--Thus Haradatta, better, 'when-thrice he has fought with them,' see the Pet. Dict. s. v. rādh.


Manu XI, 83; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 67.


'Or the Sūtra may have reference to unrighteous gain acquired by false testimony and the like.'--Haradatta.


'Guru means "the father and the rest."--Haradatta.


'His sin is removed after death. Hence the meaning is that his sons or other (relations) may perform the funeral ceremonies and the like. But others think that the first part of the Sūtra forbids this, and that the meaning of pratvāpattiḥ (can be p. 82 purified) is "connection by being received as a son or other relation."--Haradatta.

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