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 VII

1. The rule for (times of) distress (is) that a Brāhmaṇa may study under a teacher who is not a Brāhmaṇa.[1]

2. (A student is bound) to walk behind and to obey (his non-Brahmanical teacher).[2]

3. (But), when (the course of study) has been finished, the Brāhmaṇa (pupil is more) venerable (than his teacher).[3]

4. (In times of distress it is permissible) to offer[4] sacrifices for (men of) all (castes), to teach (them), and to accept (presents from them).

5. Each preceding (mode of living is) preferable (to those named later).[5]

6. On failure of the (occupations lawful for a Brāhmaṇa) he may live by the occupations of a Kṣatriya.[6]

7. On failure of those, he may live by the occupations of a Vaiśya.[7]

8. (Goods) that may not be sold by a (Brāhmaṇa are),

9. Perfumes, substances (used for) flavouring (food), prepared food, sesamum, hempen and linen cloth, skins,[8]

10. Garments dyed red or washed,[9]

11. Milk and preparations from it,[10]

12. Roots, fruits, flowers, medicines, honey, flesh, grass, water, poison,

13. Nor animals for slaughter,

14. Nor, under any circumstances, human beings, heifers, female calves, cows big with young.[11]

15. Some (declare, that the traffic in) land, rice, barley, goats, sheep, horses, bulls, milch-cows, and draught-oxen (is) likewise (forbidden).[12]

16. But (it is permissible) to barter,[13]

17. One kind of substances used for flavouring others,

18. And animals (for animals).

19. Salt and prepared food (must) not (be bartered),[14]

20. Nor sesamum.

21. But for present use an equal (quantity of) uncooked (food may be exchanged) for cooked (food).

22. But if no (other course is) possible (a Brāhmaṇa) may support himself in any way except by (following the occupations) of a Śūdra.[15]

23. Some (permit) even this in case his life is in danger.

24. But to mix with that (caste) and forbidden food must be avoided (even in times of distress).[16]

25. If his life is threatened, even a Brāhmaṇa may use arms.[17]

26. (In times of distress) a Kṣatriya (may follow) the occupations of a Vaiśya.[18]

Footnotes and references:


VII. Āpastamba II, 2, 4, 25.


Āpastamba II, 2, 4. 26.


Āpastamba II, 2, 4, 27.


Haradatta quotes Manu X, 103 in support of the above explanation, and adds that another commentator interprets the p. 212 Sūtra to mean, that in times of distress men of all castes may support themselves by sacrificing for others, teaching, and the acceptance of gifts, though in ordinary times these modes of living are reserved for Brāhmaṇas.


The use of the masculine in the text, 'pūrvaḥ pūrvo guruḥ,' may, I think, be explained by the fact that the compound in the preceding Sūtra ends with a noun of the masculine gender.


Manu X, 81; Yājñ. III, 35.


Āpastamba I, 7, 20, 11.


Āpastamba I, 7, 20, 12-13. 'Substances used for flavouring (rasa), i.e. oil, sugar, clarified butter, salt, and the like.'--Haradatta. From Sūtra 19 it is clear that 'rasa' does not simply mean 'liquids.'


My MSS. read nirṇikte for nikte, and nirṇiktam is explained by 'washed by a washerman or the like person.' It is possible to translate Professor Stenzler's reading in accordance with Manu X, 87, 'pairs of (i.e. upper and lower) garments dyed red.'


'Preparations from it, i.e. sour milk and the like.'--Haradatta.


Under any circumstances (nityam, literally "always") means even when they are not sold for slaughter. Another (commentator) says, that, as the expression "under any circumstances" is used here, the prohibition regarding the above-mentioned things, i.e. sesamum and the like, does not hold good under all circumstances, and that hence self-grown sesamum and other grain may be sold, see Manu X, 90.'--Haradatta.


Manu X, 88. Haradatta explains 'land' by 'houses.'


-21. Āpastamba I, 7, 20, 14-15.


'The sale of salt and prepared food has been forbidden by Sūtra 9, but their barter has been permitted (by Sūtra 17).'--Haradatta.


Regarding the Śūdra's occupations, see below, X 57-60.


'Restriction (niyama), i.e. avoiding. That Brāhmaṇa p. 214 even who lives the life of a Śūdra must not mix with that Śūdra caste, i.e. he must not sit among Śūdras and so forth.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 10, 29, 7; Manu VIII, 348.


Haradatta adds, that in accordance with the principle exemplified by the rule of this Sūtra a Vaiśya may follow in times of distress the occupations of a Śūdra.

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