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. A householder shall take a wife (of) equal (caste), who has not belonged to another man and is younger (than himself).[1]

2. A marriage (may be contracted) between persons who have not the same Pravaras,[2]

3. (And) who are not related within six degrees on the father's side,[3]

4. Or on the side of the begetter,[4]

5. (Nor) within four degrees on the mothers side.[5]

6. (If the father) gives (his daughter) dressed (in two garments) and decked with ornaments to a person possessing (sacred) learning, of virtuous conduct, who has relatives and a (good) disposition, (that is a) Brāhma (wedding).[6]

7. At the Prājāpatya (wedding) the marriage formula is, 'Fulfil ye the law conjointly.'[7]

8. At the Ārsha (wedding the bridegroom) shall present a cow and a bull to him who has (authority over) the maiden.[8]

9. (If the bride) is given, decked with ornaments. to a priest at the altar, that is a Daiva wedding.[9]

10. The spontaneous union with a willing (maiden is called) a Gāndharva wedding.[10]

11. If those who have (authority over) a female are propitiated by money, (that is) an Āsura wedding.[11]

12. (If the bride) is taken by force, (that is) a Rākṣasa wedding.[12]

13. If (a man) embraces a female deprived of consciousness, (that is) a Paiśāca wedding.[13]

14. The first four (rites) are lawful;[14]

15. Some say, (the first) six.[15]

16. (Children) born in the regular order of wives of the next, second or third lower castes (become) Savarṇas, Ambaṣṭhas, Ugras, Niṣādas, Dauṣyantas or Pāraśavas.[16]

17. (Children born) in the inverted order (of wives of higher castes become) Sūtas, Māgadhas, Āyogavas, Kṣattṛs, Vaidehakas or Caṇḍālas.[17]

18. Some declare, that a woman of the Brāhmaṇa caste has born successively to (husbands of) the (four) castes, sons (who are) Brāhmaṇas, Sūtas, Māgadhas or Caṇḍālas;[18]

19. (And that) a woman of the Kṣatriya caste (has born) to the same, Mūrdhāvasiktas, Kṣatriyas, Dhīvaras, Pulkasas;

20. Further, a woman of the Vaiśya caste to the same, Bhṛjyakaṇṭhas, Māhiṣyas, Vaiśyas, and Vaidehas;

21. (And) a woman of the Śūdra caste to the same, Pāraśavas, Yavanas, Caraṇas, and Śūdras.

22. In the seventh (generation men obtain) a change of caste, either being raised to a higher one or being degraded to a lower one.[19]

23. The venerable teacher declares (that this happens) in the fifth (generation).[20]

24. And (the same rule applies) to those born (from parents of different classes that are) intermediate between (two of the castes originally) created (by Brahman).[21]

25. But those born in the inverse order (from fathers of a lower and mothers of a higher caste stand) outside (the pale of) the sacred law,[22]

26. As well as (those born in the regular order) from a female of the Śūdra caste.[23]

27. But he whom a Śūdra (begets) on a female of unequal caste shall be treated like an outcast.[24]

28. The last (named, the Kaṇḍāla), is the foulest.[25]

29. Virtuous sons (born of wives of equal caste) and wedded according to approved rites sanctify (their father's family).

30. (A son born of a wife married) according to the Ārsha rite (saves) three ancestors (from hell),[26]

31. (A son born of a wife married) according to the Daiva rite ten,[27]

32. (A son born of a wife married) according to the Prājāpatya rite, also ten.[28]

33. (But) the son of a wife married according to the Brāhma rite (saves) ten ancestors, ten descendants, and himself.[29]

Footnotes and references:


IV. Āpastamba II, 6, 13, 1; Manu III. 4, 12; Yājñ. I, 52.


Regarding the Pravaras, see Max Müller's History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature. p. 386. Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 15.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 16; Manu III, 5; Yājñ. I, 52.


This rule refers to the case where a husband has made over his wife to another man and the bridegroom stands in the relation of a son to the husband of his mother and to his natural father (dvipitā). See Yājñ. I, 68.


Yājñ. I, 53.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 17. 'Virtuous conduct (cāritra), i.e. the performance of the acts prescribed (in the Vedas and Smṛtis), . . . . good disposition (śīla), i.e. faith in the ordinances of the law.'--Haradatta.


Manu III, 30; Yājñ. I, 60.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11. 18.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 19.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 20.


Āpastamba II, 5, 12, 1.


Āpastamba II, 5, 1 2, 2.


Manu III, 34; Yājñ. I, 61.


Manu III, 24, 39.


Manu III, 23.


I.e. from a Brāhmaṇa and a Kṣatriyā springs a Savarṇa, from a Brāhmaṇa and a Vaiśyā a Niṣāda, from a Brāhmaṇa and a Śūdrā a Pāraśava, from a Kṣatriya and a Vaiśyā an Ambaṣṭha, and from a Kṣatriya and a Śūdrā a Dauṣyanta, from a Vaiśya and a Śūdrā an Ugra. Compare for this and the following five Sūtras Manu X, 6-18; Yājñ. I, 91-95.


I.e. from a Kṣatriya and a Brāhmaṇī springs a Sūta, from a Vaiśya and a Kṣatriya a Māgadha, from a Śūdra and a Vaiśyā an Āyogava, from a Vaiśya and a Brāhmaṇī a Kṣattṛ, from a Śūdra and a Kṣatriyā a Vaidehaka, from a Śūdra and a Brāhmaṇī a Kaṇḍāla.


The words 'Some declare' stand only at the end of Sūtra 21. But Haradatta rightly declares that they refer to all the four Sūtras. The proof for the correctness of his interpretation lies in the use of the form ajījanat, which refers to each of the Sūtras. The four Sūtras are, however, probably spurious, as Sūtra 28 refers back to Sūtra 17 by calling the Kaṇḍāla 'the last (named).'


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 10-11. 'That is as follows: If a Savarṇā female, born of the Kṣatriya wife of a Brāhmaṇa, is married to a Brāhmaṇa, and her female descendants down to the seventh likewise, then the offspring which that seventh female descendant bears to her Brāhmaṇa husband is equal in caste to a Brāhmaṇa. In like manner, if a Savarṇa male, the son of a Brāhmaṇa and of his Kṣatriya wife, again marries a Kṣatriya wife and his male descendants down to the seventh likewise, then the offspring of that seventh male descendant is equal in caste to a Kṣatriya. The same principle must be applied to the offspring of Kṣatriyas and wives of the Vaiśya caste as well as to Vaiśyas and wives of the Śūdra caste.'--Haradatta.


'(The venerable) teacher opines that the change of caste takes place in the fifth generation. They declare that the plural may be used to denote one teacher. This Sūtra refers to (cases of extraordinary merit acquired through) virtuous conduct and study of the Veda.'--Haradatta. It is clear that in this case Haradatta, too, has seen that the word ācāryāḥ has another force than the more common eke; see above, note to III, 36.


'That is as follows: If the daughter of a Savarṇa, born of a wife of the Ambaṣṭha caste, is married again to a Savarṇa, and her female descendants down to the seventh likewise, then the offspring of that seventh female descendant, begotten by a Savarṇa husband, is equal in caste to a Savarṇa.'--Haradatta. Regarding the birth of the four castes from Brahman, see Rig-veda X, 90, 12.


Manu X, 41, 67-68.


Manu X, 68.


'"Shall be treated like an outcast," i.e. one must avoid to look at him, &c., just as in the case of an outcast.'--Haradatta.


Manu X, p. 56.


Manu III, 38; Yājñ. I, 59.


Manu III, 38; Yājñ. I, 59.


Manu III, 38; Yājñ. I, 60.


Manu III, 37; Yājñ. I, 58.

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