Baudhayana Dharmasutra

by Georg Bühler | 1882 | 56,962 words

The prashnas of the Dharmasutra of Baudhayana consist of the Srautasutra and other ritual treatises, the Sulvasutra which deals with vedic geometry, and the Grihyasutra which deals with domestic rituals. The Dharmasutra of Baudhayana like that of Apastamba also forms a part of the larger Kalpasutra. Likewise, it is composed of prashnas which liter...

Praśna I, Adhyāya 5, Kaṇḍikā 10

1. 'A drop of water which is allowed to fall (on the ground) purifies a bull's hide of land, whether (the land) has been (previously) swept or not, provided no impure substance is visible on it.'[1]

2. Food which is cooked out of sight must be illuminated (with fire) and be sprinkled with water,[2]

3. Likewise eatables bought in the market.[3]

4. For the Veda (declares), 'For the gods who are (easily) disgusted and desirous of purity do not enjoy the offerings made by a man destitute of faith.'

5. After reflecting (for a, long time on the respective value of) the (food) of a pure man destitute of faith and of an impure person who has faith, the gods declared both to be equal. But the Lord of created beings said to them, 'That is not equal, it is unequal. The food of a man destitute of faith is worthless, that which is purified by faith is preferable.'

6. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'Want of faith is the greatest sin; for faith is the highest austerity. Therefore the gods do not eat offerings given without faith.'

7. 'A foolish man does not reach heaven, though he may offer (sacrifices) or give (gifts).'

8. 'He is called a foolish man whose conduct is blemished by doubts, and who, clinging to his own fancies, transgresses (the rules of) the Śāstras, because he opposes the fulfilment of the sacred law.'[4]

9. But pot-herbs, flowers, fruit, roots, and annual plants (must be) sprinkled (with water).[5]

10. Having placed dry grass, wood of trees unfit for sacrifices or a clod of earth (on the ground), let him void faeces or urine, turning his face during the day towards the north and at night towards the south and wrapping up his head.[6]

11. (After voiding) urine he shall clean (the organ once) with earth and water,[7]

12. The hand three times.

13. In like manner (he shall clean himself with earth and water after voiding) faeces.[8]

14. The number (of the applications of both is) thrice three for both feet and the hand.

15. After an effusion of semen (he shall purify himself) in the same manner as after voiding urine.[9]

16. He shall wash himself, after he has untied or put on the cloth round his loins,[10]

17. Or he may touch moist grass, cowdung, or earth.[11]

18. While he is engaged in (the performance of) religious rites, he shall avoid to touch (the part of his body) below the navel.[12]

19. The Veda (declares), 'A man's (body) is pure above the navel, it is impure below the navel.'[13]

20. Śūdras living in the service of Āryans shall trim (their hair and nails) every month; their mode[14] of sipping water (shall be) the same as that of Āryans.

21. A Vaiśya may live by usury.[15]

22. But (a sum of) twenty-five (kārṣāpaṇas shall bear an interest) of five māṣas (per mensem).[16]

23. Now they quote also (the following verses) 'He who, acquiring property cheap, employs (it so that it yields) a higher price, is called a usurer, and blamed in all (treatises on) the sacred law.' '(Brahman) weighed in the scales the crime of killing a learned Brāhmaṇa against (the crime of) usury; the slayer of the Brāhmaṇa remained at the top, the usurer sank downwards.'[17]

24. 'Let him treat Brāhmaṇas who tend cattle, those who live by trade, (and) those who are artisans, actors (and bards), servants or usurers, like Śūdras.'[18]

25. But men of the first two castes may, at their pleasure, lend (money at interest) to one who neglects his sacred duties, to a miser, to an atheist, or to a very wicked man.[19]

26. Through the neglect of sacrifices, of (lawful) marriages, of the study of the Veda, and of (learned) Brāhmaṇas, (noble) families (even) are degraded.[20]

27. The offence of neglecting a Brāhmaṇa cannot be committed against a fool who is unacquainted[21] with the Veda. For (in offering sacrifices) one does not pass by a brilliant fire and throw the oblations into ashes.

28. Families which are deficient in (the knowledge of) the Veda, are degraded by (keeping) cows, horses and vehicles, by agriculture and by serving the king.[22]

29. But even poor families which are rich in (the knowledge of) the Veda obtain rank among the (noble) families and gain great fame.

30. The (study of) the Veda impedes (the pursuit of) agriculture, (the pursuit of) agriculture impedes (the study of) the Veda. He who is able (to do it), may attend to both; but he who is unable (to attend to both), shall give up agriculture.

31. A fat, bellowing, raging humped bull, who does not restrain himself, who hurts living creatures and speaks according to his pleasure, forsooth, does not reach the (abode of) the gods; (but) those who are small like atoms, (being) emaciated (by austerities and fasts), go thither.

32. If, erring, in his youth he commits at any time good or evil acts of any kind, (they will all remain without result). (For) if in his later age he lives righteously, he will obtain (the reward of) that (virtuous conduct) alone, not (the punishments of his former) crimes.

33. Let him always be sorrowing in his heart, when he thinks of his sins, (let him) practise austerities and be careful; thus he will be freed from sin.

34. 'Where drops of water touch the feet of a[23] man who offers water for sipping to others, no defilement is caused by them. They are equally (pure) as (water) collected on the ground.'

Footnotes and references:


10. Regarding the term 'a bull's hide' of land, see Viṣṇu V, 181-183, XCII, 4.


Āpastamba II, 2, 3, 9. 'Out of sight,' i.e. not before the eyes of him who eats it.'--Govinda. It would, however, seem that this rule refers to food prepared by Śūdras, without the super-visions of Āryans. For Āpastamba's Sūtra, which contains the same word, parokṣam, 'out of sight,' certainly has reference to that case only, and there is no reason why food prepared by Brahman cooks should be purified before it is eaten.


Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 19. The eatables here intended are, according to Govinda, Lāḍus and other sweet-meats which are frequently bought ready made.


Dharmatantra, translated 'the fulfilment of the sacred law,' is explained in the commentary by dharmasya tantram anuṣṭhānam, by 'the performance of the sacred duties.' It may also mean 'the doctrine of or the treatises on the sacred law.' The Śāstras are the Vedas and the whole body of the sacred literature.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 15.


Vasiṣṭha, VI, 10.


-12. Vasiṣṭha VI, 14, 18. According to Govinda one application of water suffices for the left hand and two for both together.


-14. Vasiṣṭha VI, 18. Govinda reads in Sūtra 14, against the authority of all the MSS., pāyoḥ, 'for the anus,' instead of pādayoḥ, 'for both feet.'


Āpastamba I, 5, 15, 23.


Āpastamba I, 5, 16, 14.


Āpastamba I, 5, 16, 15.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 51.


Taittirīya Saṃhitā VI, 1, 3, 4.


Āpastamba II, 1, 2, 4-5. The above translation follows Govinda's explanation. But āryādhiṣṭhitāḥ, 'living in the service of Āryans,' may also mean 'superintended by Āryans,' and the rule be taken to refer to the special case of Śūdra cooks, as in the parallel passage of Āpastamba.


Vasiṣṭha II, 19.


Vasiṣṭha II, 51.


Vasiṣṭha II, 41-42.


Vasiṣṭha III, 3.


Vasiṣṭha II, 43. M. reads na dadyātām, shall not lend.' According to Govinda, 'a very wicked man' is equivalent to 'a Śūdra.'


Manu III, 63. Govinda says that this Sūtra is introduced in connexion with the expression, 'one who neglects his sacred duties,' which occurs in Sūtra 25.


Vasiṣṭha III, 9 note, 10. This Sūtra is added in explanation of the term 'the offence of neglecting a Brāhmaṇa.'


-29. Manu III, 64, 66.


Vasiṣṭha III, 42.

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