Gautama Dharmasūtra

by Gautama | 1879 | 41,849 words

The topics in this Dharmasūtra are devoted to the student, the order of a person's life (āśramas), the householder, occupations of the four classes, the king, impurity, ancestral offerings, women and marriage, property, inheritance and penances. Gautama's Dharmasūtra is believed to be the oldest of the four Hindu Dharmasastras, It survives as an i...

1. Before initiation (a child) may follow its inclinations in behaviour, speech, and eating. (It shall) not partake of offerings. (It shall remain) chaste. It may void urine and fæces according to its convenience.[1]

2. No rule of (purification by) sipping water is prescribed for it. But (the stains of impure substances) shall be removed by wiping, by washing, or by sprinkling water.[2]

3. (Other persons) cannot be defiled by the touch of such (a child).

4. But one must not employ a (child) to perform oblations in the fire or Bali-offerings;[3]

5. Nor must one make it recite Vedic texts, except in pronouncing Svadhā.[4]

6. The restrictive rules, (which will be enumerated hereafter, must be obeyed) after initiation,

7. And (for a student the duty of) chastity, which has been prescribed (above for a child is likewise obligatory),[5]

8. (Also) to offer (daily) sacred fuel in the fire, and to beg, to speak the truth, (and) to bathe (daily).[6]

9. Some (declare, that the duty) to bathe (exists) after (the performance of) the Godāna (only).[7]

10. And the morning and evening devotions (Sandhyā must be performed) outside (the village).[8]

11. Silent he shall stand during the former, and sit during the latter, from (the time when one) light (is still visible) until (the other) light (appears).[9]

12. He shall not look at the sun.[10]

13. He shall avoid honey, meat, perfumes, garlands, sleep in the day-time, ointments, collyrium, a carriage, shoes, a parasol, love, anger, covetousness, perplexity, garrulity, playing musical instruments, bathing (for pleasure), cleaning the teeth, elation, dancing, singing, calumny, (and) terror,[11]

14. (And) in the presence of his Gurus, covering his throat, crossing his legs, leaning (against a wall or the like, and) stretching out his feet,[12]

15. (As well as) spitting, laughing, yawning, cracking the joints of the fingers,[13]

16. To gaze at and to touch women, if there is danger of a breach of chastity,[14]

17. Gambling, low service, to take things not offered, to injure animate beings,[15]

18. To pronounce the names of the teacher, of the (teacher's) sons and wives, and of a person who has performed the Dīkṣaṇīyeṣṭi of a Soma-sacrifice,[16]

19. To make bitter speeches.[17]

20. A Brāhmaṇa (shall) always (abstain from) spirituous liquor.[18]

21. (A student) shall occupy a seat and a couch lower (than those of his teacher), shall rise before (him) and retire to rest after (him).[19]

22. He shall keep his tongue, his arms, and his stomach in subjection.[20]

23. (If it is absolutely necessary to pronounce),[21] his teacher's name and family-name, he ought to indicate it by (using) a synonymous term.

24. (He must speak) in the same (respectful) manner of a man who is (generally) revered and of his betters.

25. (If the teacher speaks to him), he shall answer after having risen from his couch or seat (in case he was lying down or sitting).[22]

26. At the command (of his teacher) he shall approach, though the (teacher) may not be visible.[23]

27. And if he sees his teacher standing or sitting in a lower place or to the leeward or to the windward, he shall rise (and change his position).[24]

28. If (his teacher) is walking, he shall walk after him, informing him of the work (which he is going to do and) telling (him what he has done).[25]

29. He shall study after having been called (by the teacher, and not request the latter to begin the lesson).[26]

30. He shall be intent on (doing) what is pleasing and serviceable (to the teacher).[27]

31. And (he shall behave) towards (the teacher's) wives and sons just as (towards the teacher),[28]

32. But not eat their leavings, attend them while bathing, assist them at their toilet, wash their feet, shampoo them nor embrace their feet.

33. On returning from a journey he shall embrace the feet of the wives of his teacher.

34. Some declare, that (a pupil) who has attained his majority is not (to act thus) towards young (wives of his teacher).[29]

35. Alms may be accepted from men, of all castes, excepting Abhiśastas and outcasts.[30]

36. (In begging) the word 'Lady' must be pronounced in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end (of the request), according to the order of the castes.[31]

37. (He may beg in the houses) of the teacher, of blood relations, (or) of Gurus, and in his own, if he obtains no (alms) elsewhere.[32]

38. Among these he shall avoid each preceding one (more carefully than those named later).[33]

39. Having announced to the teacher (what he has received) and having received his permission, the (student) may eat (the collected food).[34]

40. If (the teacher) is not present, (he shall seek the permission to eat) from his (teacher's) wives or sons, from fellow-students or virtuous (strangers).[35]

41. Having placed water by his side, (he shall eat) in silence, contented, (and) without greed.[36]

42. (As a rule) a pupil shall not be punished corporally.[37]

43. If no (other course) is possible, (he may be corrected) with a thin rope or a thin cane.[38]

44. If (the teacher) strikes him with any other (instrument), he shall be punished by the king.

45. He shall remain a student for twelve years in order (to study) one (recension of the Veda),[39]

46. Or, if (he studies) all (the Vedas) twelve years for each,

47. Or during (as long a period as he requires for) learning (them).

48. On completion of the instruction the teacher must be offered a fee.[40]

49. After (the pupil) has paid (that) and has been dismissed, he may, at his pleasure, bathe (as is customary on completion of the studentship).[41]

50. The teacher is chief among all Gurus.[42]

51. Some (say) that the mother (holds that place).

Footnotes and references:


II. In concluding the explanation of this Sūtra, Haradatta states that its last clause is intended to give an instance of the freedom of behaviour permitted to a child. In his opinion Gautama indicates thereby that a person who, before initiation, drinks spirituous liquor, commits murder or other mortal sins, becomes an outcast, and is liable to perform the penances prescribed for initiated sinners. In support of this view be quotes a passage, taken from an unnamed Smṛti, according to which the parents or other relatives of children between five and eleven years are to perform penances vicariously for the latter, while children between eleven and fifteen years are declared to be liable to half the penances prescribed for initiated adults. Hence he infers that though the above text of Gautama speaks of uninitiated persons in general, its provisions really apply to children under five years of age only. Though it would seem that some of Gautama's rules refer to half-grown persons rather than to infants or very young boys, it is impossible to assume that Gautama meant to give full licence of behaviour, speech, and eating to Brāhmaṇas who were not p. 186 initiated before their sixteenth year, or to Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas up to the age of twenty and twenty-two. It seems more likely that, as Haradatta thinks, his rules are meant in the first instance for infants and very young children only, and that he intended the special cases of half-grown or nearly grown up boys to be dealt with according to the custom of the family or of the country.


Haradatta points out that the Sūtra does not forbid uninitiated persons to sip water, but that it merely denies the applicability of the rules (kalpa) given above, I, 36. Uninitiated persons may, therefore, sip water in the manner practised by women and Śūdras.


Āpastamba II, 6, 15, 18; Manu XI, 36.


'The expression " pronouncing Svadhā" includes by implication the performance of all funeral rites.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 1, 2, 26.


Āpastamba I, 1, 4, 14-17; I, 1, 3, 25; I, 2, 28-30; Manu II, 176.


Regarding the sacrament called Godāna, see Gobhila Gṛhya-sūtra I, 9, 26.


Āpastamba I, 11, 30, 8.


'From (the time when one) light (is still visible,' &c.), i.e. in the morning from the time when the stars are still visible until the sun rises, and in the evening from the time when the sun still stands above the horizon until the stars appear. Haradatta observes p. 188 that, as Manu II, 102 prescribes the recitation of the Gāyatrī during the morning and evening devotions, either his or Gautama's rule may be followed. He adds that another commentator refers the injunction to keep silence to conversations on worldly matters only. He himself has adopted this view in his commentary on Āpastamba I, 11, 30, 8.


Āpastamba I, 11, 31, 18.


Āpastamba I, 1, 2, 23-28; I, 1, 3, 11-14, 20-24; I, 2, 7, 5.


Āpastamba I, 2, 6, 3, 14, 17-18. The term Guru includes, besides the teacher, the parents and other venerable persons.


Āpastamba I, 2, 7, 6-7; II, 2, 5, 9. Haradatta observes that this Sūtra again contains a general rule, and does not merely refer to the presence of Gurus.


Āpastamba I, 2, 7, 3, 8-10.


Āpastamba. I, 1, 3, 12. '"Low service," i.e. service by wiping off urine, fæces, and the like. . . . That is not even to be performed for the teacher. Or the expression may mean that he shall not serve a teacher deficient in learning and virtue. The same opinion is expressed by Āpastamba I, 1, x,11.'--Haradatta.


Manu II, 199.


Āpastamba I, 2, 7, 24.


'A Brāhmaṇa shall avoid it always, i.e. even as a householder; Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas need do it only as long as they are students. But in their case, too, they forbid the use of, liquor distilled from bruised rice, under all circumstances.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 1, 2, 21; I, 1, 4, 22, 28.


Āpastamba I, 1, 3, 13. 'Keeping his arms in subjection means that he shall not (without a cause) break clods of earth and the like. Keeping his stomach in subjection, i.e. eating with moderation.'--Haradatta.


'He shall indicate it by another synonymous word, p. 189 e.g. instead of saying, "Haradatta (given by Hara)," he shall say, the venerable Bhavarāta (given by Bhava)."'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 2, 6, 5-7.


He must not think that, as the teacher cannot see him, he need not obey the summons.


Āpastamba I, 2, 6, 15, 23.


'Work (karma) means performance. The meaning is that the pupil shall announce to his teacher the performance of all he is going to do. But what is useful for the teacher, as fetching water and the like, be shall inform him of the performance of that, i.e. knowing himself (without being told) that such work is necessary at a particular time (and acting on this knowledge). Any other explanation of this Sūtra does not please me.'--Haradatta. See also Āpastamba I, 2, 6, 8. My MSS. divide this Sūtra into two, beginning the second with 'Informing' &c. Haradatta's final remark, quoted above, seems to indicate that the division was intended by him.


Āpastamba I, 2, 5, 26.


Āpastamba I, 1, 4, 23.


Āpastamba I, 2, 7, 27, 30; Manu II, 207-212.


'One who has attained his majority, i.e. one who has completed his sixteenth year and is (already) a youth.'--Haradatta.


Haradatta explains abhiśasta by upapātakin, 'one who has committed a minor offence,' apparently forgetting Āpastamba I, 7, 21, 7. See also Āpastamba I, 1, 3, 25.


Āpastamba I, 1, 3, 28-30, where the formulas have been given in the notes. Haradatta remarks that the Jaimini Gṛhya-sūtra forbids the lengthening or drawling pronunciation of the syllables kṣāṃ and hi in begging. Baudhāyana I, 2, 3, 16 likewise forbids it. In the text read varṇānupūrvyeṇa.


Manu II, 184. It is just possible that the translation ought to be 'in the houses of his teacher's blood relations,' instead of 'in the houses of his teacher (and) of blood relations.'


The meaning of the Sūtra is, that if a student does not obtain anything from strangers, he shall first go to his own family, next to the houses of Gurus, i.e. paternal and maternal uncles and other venerable relatives, then to his other blood relations, i.e. Sapiṇḍas, and in case of extreme necessity only apply to the teacher's wife.


Āpastamba I, 1, 3, 31-32.


Āpastamba I, 1, 3, 33-34.


Manu II, 53-54.


Āpastamba I, 2, 8, 29; Macnaghten, Mitākṣarā IV, 1, 9.


Manu VIII, 299.


-47. Āpastamba I, 1, 2, 12-16.


Āpastamba I, 2, 7, 19.


Āpastamba I, 2, 8, 30.


Manu II, 225-237.

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