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...

Chapter III

1. Some (declare, that) he (who has studied the Veda) may make his choice (which) among the orders (he is going to enter).[1]

2. (The four orders are, that of) the student, (that of) the householder, (that of) the ascetic (bhikṣu), (and that of) the hermit in the woods (vaikhānasa).[2]

3. The householder is the source of these, because the others do not produce offspring.[3]

4. Among them a (professed) student (must follow the rules) given (in the preceding chapters).[4]

5. He shall remain obedient to his teacher until (his) end.[5]

6. In (the time) remaining after (he has attended to) the business of his Guru, he shall recite (the Veda).[6]

7. If the Guru dies, he shall serve his son,

8. (Or) if there is no (son of the teacher), an older fellow-student, or the fire.

9. He who lives thus, gains the heaven of Brahman, and (of him it is said that) he has subdued his organs (of sense and action).

10. And these (restrictions imposed on students Must also be observed by men) of other (orders, provided they are) not opposed (to their particular duties).[7]

11. An ascetic shall not possess (any) store.[8]

12. (He must be) chaste,

13. He must not change his residence during the rainy season.[9]

14. He shall enter a village (only) in order to beg.

15. He shall beg late (after people have finished their meals), without returning (twice),[10]

16. Abandoning (all) desire (for sweet food).

17. He shall restrain his speech, his eyes, (and) his actions.

18. He shall wear a cloth to cover his nakedness.

19. Some (declare, that he shall wear) an old rag, after having washed it.[11]

20. He shall not take parts of plants and trees, except such as have become detached (spontaneously).[12]

21. Out of season he shall not dwell a second night in (the same) village.[13]

22. He may either shave or wear a lock on the crown of the head.

23. He shall avoid the destruction of seeds.[14]

24. (He shall be) indifferent towards (all) creatures, (whether they do him) an injury or a kindness.

25. He shall not undertake (anything for his temporal or spiritual welfare).

26. A hermit (shall live) in the forest subsisting on roots and fruits, practising austerities.[15]

27. Kindling the fire according to the (rule of the) Śrāmanaka (Sūtra, he shall offer oblations in the morning and evening).[16]

28. He shall eat wild-growing (vegetables only).

29. He shall worship gods, manes, men, goblins, and Ṛṣis.[17]

30. He shall receive hospitably (men of) all (castes) except those (with whom intercourse is) forbidden.

31. He may even use the flesh of animals killed by carnivorous beasts.[18]

32. He shall not step on ploughed (land),

33. And he shall not enter a village.

34. He shall wear (his hair in) braids, and dress in (garments made of) bark and skins.[19]

35. He shall not eat anything that has been hoarded for more than a year.[20]

36. But the venerable teacher (prescribes) one order only, because the order of householders is explicitly prescribed (in the Vedas).[21]

Footnotes and references:


III. Other Smṛtikāras maintain that a Brāhmaṇa must pass through all the four orders. Compare Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 5; Manu VI, 34-38; and the long discussion on the comparative excellence of the orders of householders and of ascetics. Āpastamba II, 9, 2 3, 3-II, 9, 2 4, 14.


'Though the order of studentship has already been described above, still in the following chapter the rules for a professed (naiṣṭhika) student will be given (and it had therefore again to be mentioned). Bhikṣu has generally been translated by ascetic (sannyāsin). Vaikhānasa, literally, he who lives according to the rule promulgated by Vikhanas, means hermit. For that (sage) has chiefly taught that order. In all other Śāstras (the order of) hermits is the third, and (the order of) ascetics the fourth. Here a different arrangement is adopted. The reason of the displacement of the hermit is that the author considers the first-named three orders preferable. Hence if a man chooses to pass through all four, the sequence is that prescribed in other Śāstras.'--Haradatta. In making these statements the commentator has apparently forgotten that Āpastamba (II, 9, 21, 1) agrees exactly with Gautama. It is, however, very probable that Haradatta has given correctly the reason why the hermit is placed last by our author and by Āpastamba.


Manu VI, 87.


Āpastamba I, 1, 4, 29.


Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 6.


According to Haradatta the term Guru here includes the father. But see the next Sūtra, where Guru can only mean the teacher.


Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 3-4. My MSS. have uttareṣām, 'of the later named,' instead of itareṣām, 'of the other' (orders), both in the Sūtra and in subsequent quotations of the same.


Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 8-10; Manu VI, 41-43; Colebrooke, Mitākṣarā II, 8, 7.


This rule shows that the Vasso of the Bauddhas and Jainas is also derived from a Brahmanical source; see also Baudhāyana 11, 6, 11, 20.


Manu VI, 55-56.


Āpastamba II, 9, 2 1, 11.


He shall not appropriate, i.e. take parts of these, i.e. fruits, leaves, and the like, which have not been detached, i.e. have not fallen off. But he may take what has become detached spontaneously.'--Haradatta.


Out of season, i.e. except in the rainy season, during which, according to Sūtra 13, an ascetic must not wander about.


'He shall avoid, i.e. neither himself nor by the agency of others cause the destruction, i.e. the pounding by means of a pestle or the like, of seeds, i.e. raw rice and the like. Hence he shall accept as alms cooked food only, not rice and the like.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba II, 9, 21, 18-II, 9, 23, 2. 'Austerities (tapas) means emaciating his body.'--Haradatta.


'He shall offer oblations in the morning and evening,' (these words), though not expressed, are understood.


i.e. he shall perform the five Mahāyajñas, just like a householder, only using wild-growing fruits, roots, &c., for the oblations.


'They declare, that baiṣka means the flesh of an animal, slain by a tiger or the like. He may use even that. The word "even" implies blame. Hence this is a rule for times of distress, and it must be understood that such food is to be eaten only on failure of roots and fruits and the like.'--Haradatta. The commentator adds that the flesh of forbidden animals must be avoided.


According to Haradatta the lower garment shall be made of kira, which he again explains as cloth made of Kuśa grass and the like, and the upper of a skin.


Haradatta reads atisaṃvatsaram, not atisāṃvatsaram, as in p. 196 Professor Stenzler's edition, though he notices the latter reading. Manu VI, 15


'The duties of a householder, the Agnihotra, and the like, are frequently prescribed and praised in all Vedas, Dharmaśāstras, and Itihāsas. As, therefore, the order of householders is explicitly prescribed, this alone is the order (obligatory on all men). But the other orders are prescribed only for those unfit for the (duties of a householder). That is the opinion of many teachers.'--Haradatta. Haradatta's explanation of ācāryāḥ, which he takes to mean 'many teachers,' seems to me inadmissible. Eke, 'some (teachers)', is used in that sense, and ācāryāḥ cannot possibly be a synonymous term. Further on (IV, 23) Haradatta himself admits that by ācāryāḥ one teacher is meant. It must be translated 'the venerable teacher,' because the Hindus are very fond of the use of the pluralis majestatis. I have no doubt that Gautama means his own teacher, whom, of course, etiquette forbids him to name. See also R. Garbe, Uebersetzung des Vaitāna-sūtra, I, 3.

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