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 25

1. He who has had connection with a Guru's wife shall cut off his organ together with the testicles, take them into his joined hands and walk towards the south without stopping, until he falls down dead.[1]

2. Or he may die embracing a heated metal image of a woman.[2]

3. A drinker of spirituous liquor shall drink exceedingly hot liquor so that he dies.[3]

4. A thief shall go to the king with flying hair, carrying a club on his shoulder, and tell him his deed. He (the king) shall give him a blow with that (club). If the thief dies, his sin is expiated.[4]

5. If he is forgiven (by the king), the guilt falls upon him who forgives him,[5]

6. Or he may throw himself into the fire, or perform repeatedly severe austerities,[6]

7. Or he may kill himself by diminishing daily his portion of food,

8. Or he may perform Kṛcchra penances (uninterruptedly) for one year.[7]

9. Now they quote also (the following verse):[8]

10. Those who have committed a theft (of gold), drunk spirituous liquor, or had connection with a Guru's wife, but not those who have slain a Brāhmaṇa, shall eat every fourth meal-time a little food, bathe at the times of the three libations (morning, noon, and evening), passing the day standing and the night sitting. After the lapse of three years they throw off their guilt.

11. (A man of any caste) excepting the first, who has slain a man of the first caste, shall go on a battle-field and place himself (between the two hostile armies). There they shall kill him (and thereby he becomes pure).[9]

12. Or such a sinner may tear from his body and make the priest offer as a burnt-offering his hair, skin, flesh, and the rest, and then throw himself into the fire.[10]

13. If a crow, a chameleon, a peacock, a Brāhmaṇī duck, a swan, the vulture called Bhāsa, a frog, an ichneumon, a musk-rat, or a dog has been killed, then the same penance as for a Śūdra must be performed.[11]

Footnotes and references:


25. Haradatta's explanation of a 'Guru's wife' by 'mother' rests on a comparison of similar passages from other Smṛtis, where a different 'penance' is prescribed for incestuous intercourse with other near relations. Manu XI, 105; Yājñ. III, 259.


Manu XI, 104; Yājñ. III, 259.


Manu XI, 91, 92; Yājñ. III, 253.


I.e. who has stolen the gold of a Brāhmaṇa. Manu VIII, 314, 316; XI, 99-101; Yājñ. III, 257.


Manu VIII, 317.


Manu XI, 102.


According to Haradatta this Sūtra refers to all kinds of sins and it must be understood that the Kṛcchra penances must be heavy for great crimes, and lighter for smaller faults; see also below, I, 9, 27, 7 and 8.


Haradatta states that the verse is taken from a Purāṇa.


Manu XI, 74; Yājñ. III, 248.


The Mantras given in the commentary, and a parallel passage of Vasiṣṭha XX, 25-26, show that this terrible penance is not altogether a mere theory of Āpastamba. Yājñ. III, 247.


'According to some, the penance must be performed if all these animals together have been slain; according to others, if only one of them has been killed.'--Haradatta. Manu XI, 132, 136 Yājñ. III, 270-272.