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 II, Paṭala 5, Khaṇḍa 11

1. In the cases of (men of) other castes, the king, after having examined their actions, may punish them even by death.

2. And the king shall not punish on suspicion.

3. But having carefully investigated (the case) by means of questions (addressed to witnesses) and even of ordeals, the king may proceed to punish.[1]

4. A king who acts thus, gains both (this and the next) world.

5. The road belongs to the king except if he meets a Brāhmaṇa.[2]

6. But if he meets a Brāhmaṇa, the road belongs to the latter.[3]

7. All must make way for a (laden) vehicle, for a person who carries a burden, for a sick man, for a woman and others (such as old men and infants).

8. And (way must be made), by the other castes, for those men who are superior by caste.

9. For their own welfare all men must make way for fools, outcasts, drunkards, and madmen.

10. In successive births men of the lower castes are born in the next higher one, if they have fulfilled their duties.[4]

11. In successive births men of the higher castes are born in the next lower one, if they neglect their duties.

12. If he has a wife who (is willing and able) to perform (her share of) the religious duties and who bears sons, he shall not take a second.[5]

13. If a wife is deficient in one of these two (qualities), he shall take another, (but) before he kindles the fires (of the Agnihotra).[6]

14. For a wife who assists at the kindling of the fires, becomes connected with those religious rites of which that (fire-kindling) forms a part.[7]

15. He shall not give his daughter to a man belonging to the same family (Gotra),[8]

16. Nor to one related (within six degrees) on the mother's or (the father's) side.[9]

17. At the wedding called Brāhma, he shall give away (his daughter) for bearing children and performing the rites that must be performed together (by a husband and his wife), after having enquired regarding (the bridegroom's) family, character, learning, and health, and after having given (to the bride) ornaments according to his power.[10]

18. At the wedding called Ārsha, the bridegroom shall present to the father of the bride a bull and a cow.[11]

19. At the wedding called Daiva, (the father) shall give her to an officiating priest, who is performing a Śrauta-sacrifice.[12]

20. If a maiden and a lover unite themselves through love, that is called the Gāndharva-rite.[13]

Footnotes and references:


11. See also below, II, 11, 29, 6.


Manu II, 139; Yājñ. I, 117. According to Haradatta this Sūtra is given, though the precedence among the various castes has been already settled, in order to show that common Kṣatriyas must make way for an anointed king.


Manu II, 138; Yājñ. I, 117.


Manu X, 64, 65; Yājñ. 1, 96.


Manu IX, 95; Yājñ. I, 76.


Manu IX, 80, 81; Yājñ. I, 73.


A wife who assists at the kindling of the fires for any sacrificial rite, becomes connected with that rite like any priest, and in that rite no other woman can take her place. Hence in the case of an Agnihotra, which lasts during the performer's lifetime, or at least as long as be is a householder, the performer cannot take another principal wife after be once has begun his sacrifice. If the wife of an Agnihotrin dies, he must marry again, and also kindle his fires afresh. Manu V, 167, 168; Yājñ. I 80.


The term Gotra corresponds to the Latin Gens. It may be of two kinds, Vaidika for Brāhmaṇas and Laukika, 'worldly', for men of other castes. In the first case it denotes 'persons descended from the same Ṛṣi;' in the second, 'persons distinguished by the same family name, or known to be descended from the same ancestor.' In our days Brāhmaṇas also have Laukika Gotras, which form subdivisions of the very large Vedic Gotras. Regarding the Vaidika Gotras, see Max Müller's History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp. 379-390, and particularly p. 387. Manu III, 5; Yājñ. I, 33; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 75 seq.


The term yonisambandha, 'related (within six degrees),' corresponds to the more common Sapiṇḍa of Manu, Yājñavalkya, and others; see the definitions given below, II, 6, 15, 2. In Āpastamba's terminology Sapiṇḍa has probably a more restricted sense. It seems very doubtful whether Haradatta's explanation of ka, translated by 'or,' is correct, and whether his interpolation of 'the father's' ought to be admitted. Probably Sūtra 15 refers to the father's side, and Sūtra 16 to the mother's side.


Manu III, 27; Yājñ. I, 58.


Manu III, 29; Yājñ. I, 59.


Manu III, 28; Yājñ. I, 59.


Manu III, 32; Yājñ. I, 61.