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 VIII

1. A king and a Brāhmaṇa, deeply versed in the Vedas, these two, uphold the moral order in the world.[1]

2. On them depends the existence of the fourfold human race, of internally conscious beings, of those which move on feet and on wings, and of those which creep,[2]

3. (As well as) the protection of offspring, the prevention of the confusion (of the castes and) the sacred law.[3]

4. He is (called) deeply versed in the Vedas,[4]

5. Who is acquainted with the (ways of the) world, the Vedas (and their) Aṅgas (auxiliary sciences),

6. Who is skilled in disputations (and), in (reciting) legends and the Purāṇa,

7. Who looks to these (alone), and lives according to these,

8. Who has been sanctified by the forty sacraments (saṃskāra),[5]

9. Who is constantly engaged in the three occupations (prescribed for all twice-born men),[6]

10. Or in the six (occupations prescribed specially for a Brāhmaṇa),[7]

11. (And) who is well versed in the duties of[8] daily life settled by the agreement (of those who know the law).

12. (Such a Brāhmaṇa) must be allowed by the king immunity from (the following) six (kinds of opprobrious treatment):[9]

13. (I.e.) he must not be subjected to corporal punishment, he must not be imprisoned, he must not be fined, he must not be exiled, he must not be reviled, nor be excluded.

14. The Garbhādhāna (or ceremony to cause conception), the Puṃsavana (or ceremony to cause the birth of a male child), the Sīmantonnayana (or arranging the parting of the pregnant wife's hair), the Jātakarman (or ceremony on the birth of the child), the ceremony of naming the child, the first feeding, the Caula (or tonsure of the head of the child), the initiation,[10]

15. The four vows (undertaken) for the study of the Veda,[11]

16. The bath (on completion of the studentship),[12] the taking of a help-mate for the fulfilment of the religious duties, the performance of the five sacrifices to gods, manes, men, goblins, and Brahman,

17. And (the performance) of the following (sacrifices):

18. The seven kinds of Pākayajñas (or small sacrifices),viz. the Aṣṭakā, the Pārvaṇa Sthālīpāka, offered on the new and full moon days), the funeral oblations, the Srāvaṇī, the Āgrahāyaṇī, the Caitrī, and the Āsvayujī;[13]

19. The seven kinds of Haviryajñas, viz. the Agnyādheya, the Agnihotra, the Darśapaurṇamāsas, the Āgrayaṇa, the Cāturmāsyas, the Nirūḍhapaśubandha, and the Sautrāmaṇī;[14]

20. The seven kinds of Soma-sacrifices, viz. the Agniṣṭoma, the Atyagniṣṭoma, the Ukthya, the Ṣoḍaśin, the Atirātra, and the Aptoryāma;

21. These are the forty sacraments.

22. Now (follow) the eight good qualities of the soul,[15]

23. (Viz.) compassion on all creatures, forbearance, freedom from anger, purity, quietism, auspiciousness, freedom from avarice, and freedom from covetousness.[16]

24. He who is sanctified by these forty sacraments, but whose soul is destitute of the eight good qualities, will not be united with Brahman, nor does he reach his heaven.

25. But he, forsooth, who is sanctified by a few only of these forty sacraments, and whose soul is endowed with the eight excellent qualities, will be united with Brahman, and will dwell in his heaven.

Footnotes and references:


VIII. Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa V, 4, 4, 5; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 29. Haradatta explains vrata, ' moral order,' by karmāṇi, 'the rites and occupations,' and loka, 'world,' by rāṣṭra, 'kingdom.' Ultimately my translation and his explanation come to the same thing. He adds that the king upholds order by punishing, and a learned Brāhmaṇa by teaching. Regarding the excellence of these two, see also Manu IV, 135.


'Internally conscious beings, i.e. trees and the like, which are immovable, but grow and decay. For such possess internal consciousness only, no corresponding external faculty of acting. . . . The existence of these, i.e. of men and the rest, depends upon, i.e. is subordinate to the king and to a Brāhmaṇa deeply versed in the Vedas. How is that? As regards the Brāhmaṇa, an offering which has been properly thrown into the fire reaches the sun; from the sun comes rain; from rain food is produced and thereon live the creatures. By this reasoning he is shown to p. 215 be the cause of their existence. But the king is (also) the cause of their existence; for he punishes robbers and the like.'--Haradatta.


Haradatta takes prasūtirakṣaṇam, 'the protection of their offspring,' as a copulative compound, and explains it by their prosperity (abhivṛddhi) and their protection.' But a samāhāradvandva is here out of place.


Macnaghten, Mitākṣarā I, 2, 27. 'By the word loka, "the world," are intended the laws of countries and the like, which may be learnt from the practice of the world.'--Haradatta. Regarding the Aṅgas, see Āpastamba II, 4, 8, 10.


Regarding the forty sacraments, see below, Sūtras 14-20.


Regarding the three occupations, common to all twice-born men, see below, X, 1.


See below, X, 2.


The Sāmayācārika or Smārta duties are those taught in the Dharma-sūtras and Smṛtis, see Āpastamba I, 1, 1, 1, and Max 'Müller's History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 101.


See Weber, Ind. Stud. X, V, 60, 66; Macnaghten, Mitākṣarā I, 2, 27.


Regarding the Saṃskāras mentioned in this Sūtra, see Āśvalāyana Gṛhya-sūtra I, 13-23; Śāṅkhāyana Gṛhya-sūtra I, 19-II, 5; Pāraskara Gṛhya-sūtra I, 13-11, 2.


The four vows, as Haradatta states, are, according to Āśvalāyana, the Mahānāmnīvrata, the Mahāvrata, the Upaniṣad-vrata, and the Godāna; see Āśvalāyana Śrauta-sūtra VIII, 14, where the first three are described in detail, and Gṛhya-sūtra I, 22, 3, with the commentary thereon. Other Gṛhya-sūtras give more and different names, see H. Oldenberg, Śāṅkhāyana Gṛhya-sūtra II, 11-12 (S. B. E., vol. xxix), and Gobhila Gṛhya-sūtra III, 1, 28-III, 2, 62.


Haradatta explains snāna, 'the bath,' by samāvartana, 'the ceremony on completion of the studentship.' Regarding the five sacrifices, usually called the great sacrifices, see above, VII, 9 seq.


The various Pākayajñas, named here, are fully described by Āśvalāyana Gṛhya-sūtra II, 1, 1-11, 10, 8; Gobhila III, 10 seq.; Pāraskara III, 3 seq. See also Max Müller, History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 203. The Aṣṭakas are sacrifices offered on the eighth day of the dark halves of the winter months, and of those of the dewy season, i.e. Kārttika, Mārgaśiras, Pauṣa, and Māgha. The Srāvaṇī is offered on the full moon day of the month of Srāvaṇa, the Āgrahāyaṇī on the fourteenth, or on the full moon day of Mārgaśiras, the Caitrī on the full moon day of the Caitra, and the Āsvayujī on the full moon day of the month Āśvayuja or Āśvina.


-20. The Haviryajñas and Soma-sacrifices are described in the Brāhmaṇas and Śrauta-sūtras. Havis denotes any kind of food used for oblations, such as clarified butter, milk, rice meat, &c.


Āpastamba I, 8, 23, 6.


Haradatta explains maṅgalya, 'auspiciousness,' to mean always doing what is praised (by good men) and avoiding what is blamed by them.' Anāyāsa, 'quietism,' means, according to him, avoiding to undertake that which causes pain to oneself, even though it be a duty.'

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