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. (To salute) every day on meeting (by) an embrace of the feet,[1]

2. And (particularly) on return from a journey,

3. (Is prescribed in the case) of parents, of their blood relations, of elder (brothers), of persons venerable[2] on account, of their learning, and of the Gurus of the latter.

4. On meeting (several persons, to whom such a salutation is due), together, the most venerable (must be saluted first).[3]

5. On meeting persons who understand (the rule of returning salutes) one shall salute (them) pronouncing one's name, and (saving) 'I N. N. (ho! salute thee).'[4]

6. Some (declare that) there is no restrictive rule for salutations between man and wife.[5]

7. (The feet of) other female (relations) than the mother, a paternal uncle's wife and (elder) sisters (need) not (be embraced, nor need they be saluted) except on return from a journey.[6]

8. The feet of wives of brothers and of the mother-in-law (need) not be embraced (on any occasion).

9. But (on the arrival of an) officiating priest, a father-in-law, paternal and maternal uncles who are younger (than oneself), one must rise; they need not be saluted (as prescribed above, Sūtra 5).[7]

10. In like manner (any) other aged fellow-citizen, even a Śūdra of eighty years and more, (must be honoured) by one young enough to be his son,[8]

11. (And) an Ārya, though (he be) younger, by a Śūdra;[9]

12. And he shall avoid (to pronounce) the name of that (person who is worthy of a salutation).[10]

13. And an official who (is) not (able to) recite (the Veda shall avoid to pronounce the name) of the king.

14. A contemporary who is born on the same day (shall be addressed with the terms) bhoḥ or bhavan (your honour),[11]

15. (Likewise) a fellow-citizen who is ten years older (than oneself),[12]

16. (Also) an artist who is five years (older),[13]

17. And a Śrotriya belonging to one's own Vedic school who is three years older,[14]

18. (Further), Brāhmaṇas destitute of learning and those who follow the occupations of Kṣatriyas or Vaiśyas,[15]

19. And (a contemporary) who has performed the Dīkṣaṇīyeṣṭi of a Soma-sacrifice before he buys (the Soma).

20. Wealth, relations, occupation, birth, learning, and age must be honoured; (but) each later named[16] (quality) is more important (than the preceding ones).

21. But sacred learning is more important than all (other good qualities),[17]

22. Because that is the root of the sacred law,

23. And because the Veda (expressly declares it).[18]

24. Way must be made for a man seated in a carriage, for one who is in his tenth (decade), for one requiring consideration, for a woman, for a Snātaka, and for a king.[19]

25. But a king (must make way) for a Śrotriya.[20]

Footnotes and references:


VI. Āpastamba I, 4, 14, 7-9; I, 2, 5, 18; I, 2, 8, 17-18.


'Their blood relations, i.e. paternal and maternal uncles and the rest; elders, i.e. elder brothers; persons venerable on account of their learning, i.e. the teacher who has initiated him (ācārya), the teacher who has instructed him (upādhyāya), and the rest.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 2, 6, 29; 1, 2, 8, 19. 'on meeting his mother and other persons whose feet must be embraced, he shall first embrace the highest, i.e. the most excellent, afterwards the others. Who the most excellent is has been declared above, II, 50-51.


Āpastamba I, 2, 5, 12-15. Professor Stenzler reads ajñasamavāye, while my copies and their commentary show that jñasamavāye has to be read. Besides, it seems impossible to make any sense out of the former reading without assuming that the construction is strongly elliptical. 'On meeting, i.e. on corning together with him who knows the rule of returning a salute, he shall utter, i.e. loudly pronounce his name, i.e. the name which he has received on the tenth day (after his birth), and which is to be employed in saluting, and speak the word "I" as well as the word "this." They declare that instead of the word "this," which here is explicitly prescribed, the word "I am" must be used. Some salute thus, "I Haradatta by name" others, "I Haradattaśarman;" and the common usage is to say, "I Haradattaśarman by name." Thus the salutation must be made. Salutation means saluting. The affix ac is added to causatives and the rest. With reference to this matter the rule for returning salutes has been described by Manu II, 126. . . . As (in the above Sūtra) the expression "on meeting persons knowing" is used, those who are unacquainted with the manner of returning a salute must not be saluted in this manner. How is it then to be done? It is described by Manu III, 123.'--Haradatta.


'As Gautama says, "Some declare," the restrictive rule must, in his opinion, be followed.'--Haradatta.


Manu II, 132; Āpastamba I, 4, 14, 6, 9.


Āpastamba I, 4, 14, 11.


'Old (pūrva), i.e. of greater age. . A Śūdra even, who answers this description, must be honoured by rising, not, however, be saluted by one young enough to be his son, i.e. by a Brāhmaṇa who is very much younger. The Śūdra is mentioned as an instance of a man of inferior caste. Hence a Śūdra must (under these circumstances) be honoured by rising, not be saluted by men of the three higher castes, a Vaiśya by those of the two higher castes, and a Kṣatriya by a Brāhmaṇa.'--Haradatta.


'An Ārya, i.e. a man of the three twice-born castes, though he be inferior, i.e. younger, must be honoured by rising, not be saluted by a Śūdra. The Śūdra is mentioned in order to give an instance of (a man of) inferior caste.'--Haradatta.


'An inferior shall avoid to take his name, i.e. that of a superior.'--Haradatta.


Haradatta says that samānehani, 'on the same day,' means 'in the same year.' He is probably right in thinking that the expression must not be interpreted too strictly. But his assertion that ahaḥ means also 'year' cannot be proved by his quotation from the Nighaṇṭuka, abde saṃvatsaram aharjaram.


'A person aged by ten years, i.e. at least ten years older, who lives in the same town as oneself, is to be addressed as bhoḥ, bhavan, though he may be deficient in good qualities.'--Haradatta.


'The words "years older" must be understood. He who lives by the fine arts (kalā), i.e. the knowledge of music, painting leaf-cutting, and the like, and is at least five years older than oneself, must be addressed as bhoḥ or bhavan.'--Haradatta.


Haradatta notes that Āpastamba I, 4, 14, 13 gives a somewhat different rule.


Haradatta adds that a person destitute of learning, be he ever so old, may still be treated as an equal, and addressed as bhoḥ, bhavan, by a more learned man,


Manu II, 136. 'As wealth and the rest cannot be directly honoured, the persons possessing them are to be honoured . . . . . Respect (māna) means honour shown by saluting and the like.'--Haradatta.


Manu II, 154.


Haradatta says that a passage to this effect occurs in the Chāndogya-brāhmaṇa. He also refers to Manu II, 151.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 5, 7-9. 'A person requiring consideration, i.e. one afflicted by disease. A woman, i.e. a bride or a pregnant woman. A Snātaka, i.e. a person who has bathed after completing his studies and after having kept the vow of studentship.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba II, 5, 11, 6.

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