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. Now (follow the rules regarding) funeral oblations (Śrāddha).[1]

2. He shall offer (them) to the Manes on the day of the new moon,[2]

3. Or in the dark half (of the month) after the fourth (lunar day),[3]

4. Or on any day (of the dark half) according to (the results he may) desire;[4]

5. Or if (particularly appropriate) materials or (particularly holy) Brāhmaṇas are at hand, or (the sacrificer is) near a (particularly sacred) place, no restriction as to time (need be observed):[5]

6. Let him select as good food as he can afford, and have it prepared as well as possible.

7. He shall feed an uneven number (of Brāhmaṇas), at least nine,[6]

8. Or as many as he is able (to entertain).[7]

9. (Let him feed such as are) Śrotriyas and[8] endowed with eloquence and beauty, of a (suitable) age, and of a virtuous disposition.

10. It is preferable to give (food at a Śrāddha) to young (men in the prime of life).

11. Some (declare, that the age of the guests shall be) proportionate to (that of) the Manes.[9]

12. And he shall not try to contract a friendship by an (invitation to a Śrāddha).[10]

13. On failure of sons (the deceased person's) Sapiṇḍas, the Sapiṇḍas of his mother, or his pupils shall offer (the funeral oblations),

14. On failure of these an officiating priest or the teacher.

15. The Manes are satisfied for a month by gifts of sesamum, Māṣa-beans, rice, barley, and water,[11]

For (three) years by fish and the flesh of common deer, spotted deer, hares, turtles, boars, and sheep,

For twelve years by cow's milk and messes made of milk,

For a very long time by the flesh of (the crane called) Vārdhrīnasa, by Ocyrnurn sanctum (sacred Basil), and by the flesh of goats, (especially) of a red (he-goat), and of a rhinoceros, (if these dishes are) mixed with honey.

16. Let him not feed a thief, a eunuch, an outcast, an atheist, a person who lives like an atheist,[12] the destroyer of the sacred fire; (the husband of) a younger sister married before the elder, the husband of an elder sister whose youngest sister was married first, a person who sacrifices for women or for a multitude of men, a man who tends goats, who has given up the fire-worship, who drinks spirituous liquor, whose conduct is blamable, who is a false witness, who lives as a door-keeper;

17. Who lives with another man's wife, and the (husband) who allows that (must not be invited);[13]

18. (Nor shall he feed) a man who eats the food of a person born from adulterous intercourse, a seller of Soma, an incendiary, a poisoner, a man who during studentship has broken the vow of chastity, Who is the servant of a guild, who has intercourse with females who must not be touched, who delights in doing hurt, a younger brother married before the elder brother, an elder brother married after his younger brother, an elder brother whose[14] junior has kindled the sacred fire first, a younger brother who has done that, a person who despairs of himself, a bald man, a man who has deformed nails, or black teeth, who suffers from white leprosy, the son of a twice-married woman, a gambler, a man who neglects the recitation (of the sacred texts), a servant of the king, any one who uses false weights and measures, whose only wife is a Śūdra female, who neglects the daily study, who suffers from spotted leprosy, a usurer, a person who lives by trade or handicrafts, by the use of the bow, by playing musical instruments, or, by beating time, by dancing, and by singing;

19. Nor, (sons) who have enforced a division of the family estate against the wish of their father.[15]

20. Some (allow) pupils and kinsmen (to be invited).[16]

21. Let him feed upwards of three (or) one (guest) endowed with (particularly) excellent qualities.[17]

22. If he enters the bed of a Śūdra female immediately after partaking of a funeral repast, his ancestors will lie for a month in her ordure.[18]

23. Therefore he shall remain chaste on that day.

24. If (a funeral offering) is looked at by dogs, Caṇḍālas, or outcasts, it is blemished.[19]

25. Therefore he shall offer it in an enclosed (place),

26. Or he shall scatter grains of sesamum over it,

27. Or a man who sanctifies the company shall remove the blemish.

28. Persons who sanctify the company are, any one who knows the six Aṅgas, who sings the Jyeṣṭha-sāmans, who knows the three texts regarding the Nāciketa-fire, who knows the text which contains thrice the word Madhu, who knows the text which thrice contains the word Suparṇa, who keeps five fires, a Snātaka, any one who knows the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas, who knows the sacred law, and in whose family the study and teaching of the Veda are hereditary.[20]

29. (The same rule applies) to sacrifices offered to gods and men.[21]

30. Some (forbid the invitation of) bald men and the rest to a funeral repast only.

Footnotes and references:


XV. 'The word "now" indicates that a new topic begins.'--Haradatta. The rules now following refer in the first instance to the Pārvaṇa or monthly Śrāddha, but most of them serve also as general rules for all the numerous varieties of funeral sacrifices.


Manu III, 122; Yājñavalkya I, 217.


Āpastamba II, 7, 16, 6.


Āpastamba II, 7, 16, 6-2 2.


Some of the most famous among the places where the performance of a Śrāddha is particularly efficacious and meritorious are Gayā in Bihār, Pushkara or Pokhar near Agmīr, the Kurukṣetra near Dehli, Nāsika on the Godāvarī. Pilgrims or persons passing through such places may and must perform a Śrāddha on any day of the month.


Yājñavalkya I, 227.


See also below, Sūtra 21.


Āpastamba II, 7, 17, 4. Haradatta explains vāk, 'eloquence,' by 'ability to speak Sanskrit,' rūpa, 'beauty,' by 'the proper number of limbs,' and vayaḥsampanna, 'of (suitable) age,' by 'not too young.'


I.e. in honour of the father a young man is to be invited, in honour of the grandfather an old man, and in honour of the great-grandfather a very old man.


Āpastamba II. 7, 17, 4, 8; Manu III, 140.


Āpastamba II, 7, 16, 23-11, 7, 17, 3; 11, 8, 18, 13.


Āpastamba II, 7, 17, 21. 'A destroyer of the sacred fire (vīrahan), i.e. one who extinguishes intentionally the (domestic) fire p. 257 out of hatred against his wife, and for the like reasons.'--Haradatta. He also remarks that some read agredidhishu instead of agredidhiṣū, and he proposes to explain the former, on the authority of Vyāghra and of the Naighaṇṭukas, as 'a Brāhmaṇa whose wife has been wedded before to another man.'


My MSS. make two Sūtras out of Professor Stenzler's one, and read upapatiḥ | yasya ca saḥ. The sense remains the same, but the latter version of the text is, I think, the correct one.


Haradatta says that kuṇḍāsin may also mean 'he who eats out of a vessel called kuṇḍa,' as the people have in some countries the habit of preparing their food and afterwards eating out of the kuṇḍa. Haradatta explains tyaktātman, 'one who despairs of himself,' by 'one who has made an attempt on his own life, and has tried to hang himself, and the like.' He remarks that some explain durvāla, 'a bald man,' by nirveṣṭitaśepha. He who neglects the recitation of the sacred texts, i.e. of those texts which, like the Gāyatrī, ought to be recited.


Below, XXVIII, 2, it will be prescribed that the division of the family estate may take place during the lifetime of the father with his consent. From this Sūtra it would appear that sons could enforce a division of the ancestral estate against his will, as Yājñavalkya also allows (see Colebrooke, Mitākṣarā I, 6, 5-11), and that this practice, though legal, was held to be contra bonos mores.


Āpastamba II, 7, 17, 5-6.


According to Haradatta, this Sūtra is intended as a modification of Sūtra 8.


Manu III, 250. 23. Manu III, 188.


Āpastamba II, 7, 17, 20.


Āpastamba II, 7, 17, 22.


-30. Manu III, 132-137, 148-149.

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