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 XVI

1. The annual (term for studying the Veda) begins on the full moon of the month Srāvaṇa (July-August); or let him perform the Upākarman on[1] (the full moon of) Bhādrapada (August-September) and study the Vedic texts,

2. During four months and a half, or during five months, or as long as the sun moves towards the South.[2]

3. Let him remain chaste, let him not shave, nor eat flesh (during that period);[3]

4. Or (this) restrictive rule may (be observed) during two months.

5. He shall not recite the Veda, if the wind whirls up the dust in the day-time,[4]

6. Nor if it is audible at night,

7. Nor if the sound of a Vāṇa, of a large or a small drum, the noise of a chariot, and the wail of a person in pain (are heard),[5]

8. Nor if the barking of many dogs and jackals, or the braying of many donkeys (is heard),

9. Nor if (the sky appears flaming) red, a rainbow (is seen), or hoar-frost (lies on the ground),[6]

10. Nor if clouds rise out of season.[7]

11. (Let him not study) when he feels the necessity to void urine or excrements,[8]

12. Nor at midnight, in the twilight, and (while standing) in the water,[9]

13. Nor while rain falls.[10]

14. Some (declare, that the recitation of the Veda must be interrupted only) when (the rain) is dripping from the edge of the roof.

15. (Nor shall he study) when the teachers (of the gods and Āsuras, i.e. the planets Jupiter and Venus) are surrounded by a halo,[11]

16. Nor (when this happens) to the two (great) lights (the sun and the moon),[12]

17. (Nor) while he is in fear, riding in a carriage or on beasts of burden, or lying down, nor while his feet are raised,[13]

18. (Nor) in a burial-ground, at the extremity of a village, on a high-road, nor during impurity,[14]

19. Nor while a foul smell (is perceptible), while a corpse or a Kaṇḍāla (is) in (the village), nor in the neighbourhood of a Śūdra,[15]

20. Nor while (he suffers from) sour eructations.[16]

21. The Ṛj-veda and the Yajur-veda (shall not be studied) while the sound of the Sāmans (is heard).[17]

22. The fall of a thunderbolt, an earthquake, an eclipse, and (the fall of) meteors (are reasons for discontinuing the reading of the Veda) until the same time (next day),[18]

23. Likewise when it thunders and rains and[19] when lightning (flashes out of season) after the fires have become visible (in the twilight).

24. (If these phenomena appear) during the (rainy) season, (the reading must be interrupted) for a day (or a night),[20]

25. And if lightning (is observed) during the night, (the recitation of the Veda shall be interrupted) until the third watch.[21]

26. If (lightning) flashes during the third part of the day or later, (the Veda must not be read) during the entire (following night).

27. (According to the opinion) of some, a fiery meteor (has the same effect) as lightning,

28. Likewise thunder (which is heard) during the last part of the day,

29. (Or) also in the twilight.

30. (If thunder is heard) before midnight, (the study of the Veda must be interrupted) during the whole night.[22]

31. (If it is heard) during the (early part of the) day, (the interruption must continue) as long as the sun shines,

32. Likewise if the king of the country has died.

33. If one (pupil) has gone on a journey (and) another (stays) with (the teacher, the study of the Veda shall be interrupted until the absentee returns).[23]

34. When an attack (is made on the village), or a fire (breaks out), when one Veda has been completed, after (an attack of) vomiting, when he has partaken of a funeral repast or of a dinner on the occasion of a sacrifice offered to men, (the study of the Veda shall be interrupted) for a day and a night,[24]

35. Likewise on the day of the new moon.

36. (On the latter occasion it may also be interrupted) for two days.[25]

37. (The Veda shall not be studied for a day and a night) on the full moon days of the months Kārttika, Phālguṇa, and Āṣāḍha.[26]

38. On the three Aṣṭakās (the Veda shall not be studied) for three (days and) nights.[27]

39. Some (declare, that the rule applies) to the last Aṣṭakā (only).

40. (On the occasion of) the annual (Upākarman and Utsarga the reading shall be interrupted) on the day (of the ceremony) and those preceding and following it.[28]

41. All (teachers declare, that the reading shall be interrupted for three days) when rain, thunder, and lightning (are observed) simultaneously,[29]

42. When the rain is very heavy, (the reading shall be interrupted as long as it lasts).[30]

43. On a festive day (the reading shall be stopped) after the (morning) meal,[31]

44. And he who has begun to study (after the Upākarman shall not read) at night for four Muhūrtas.[32]

45. Some (declare, that the recitation of the Veda is) always (forbidden) in a town.[33]

46. While he is impure (he shall) not even (recite the Veda) mentally.[34]

47. (The study) of those who offer a funeral sacrifice (must be interrupted) until the same time next day,[35]

48. Even if uncooked grain is offered at the funeral sacrifice.

49. And (those rules regarding the stoppage of the reading must be observed), which they teach in the several schools.[36]

Footnotes and references:


XVI. Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 1. The Upākarman is the ceremony which is annually performed at the beginning of the course of study, and it is obligatory on householders also; see Āpastamba II, 2, 5, 1. Chandāṃsi, 'the Vedic texts,' i.e. the Mantras and Brāhmaṇas. The Aṅgas may be studied out of term; see Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 3 note.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 2-3.


This Sūtra and the following one refer to a teacher or to a householder who again goes through the Veda; see Āpastamba, II, 2, 55 15, 16.


-6. Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 8.


-8. Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 19. A Vāṇa is stated to be a kind of lute, or harp, with a hundred strings.


Āpastamba I, 31 11, 25, 31.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 31.


Manu IV, 109.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 15, 17; Manu IV, 109.


Manu IV, 103.


'Another (commentator says): "Pariveṣaṇa, being surrounded by a halo, means bringing food" . . . (The Sūtra means, therefore), He shall not study while his teacher eats.'--Haradatta.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 31.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 27; I, 3, 11, 12; Manu IV, 112: Yājñavalkya I, 150.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 4, 6; I, 3, 10, 2, 4; I, 3, 11, 9.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 24; I, 3, 9, 6, 14-15.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 25.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 19.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 30.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 29; Manu IV, 29.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 22. The above translation follows the reading of my MSS., which differ very much from Professor Stenzler's edition. According to them the commentary on the latter part of Sūtra 23 and on Sūtra 24 runs as follows: . . . pratyekam ālālikā anadhyāyahetavaḥ | apartāv idam | ṛtāv āha ||


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 21.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 23.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 11. Haradatta adds that others enjoin a stoppage of the Veda-study from the hour of the departure until the same hour on the following day, while another commentator gives the following explanation: 'All, indeed, the teacher and the rest, shall, on that day, not even recite the Veda in order to remember it.'


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 25; I, 3, 10, 22, 28-30; I, 3, 11, 6, 30; Manu IV, 118. Haradatta is in doubt whether 'a sacrifice offered in honour of men' means a Saṃskāra, or a sacrifice to gods, like Kumāra, who formerly were men; see Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 3.


Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 28.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 1.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 2. Regarding the meaning of the word Aṣṭakā, see above, VIII, 18 note.


Āpastamba I, 3, 10, 2.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 27.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 28.


Haradatta explains 'a festive day' to mean the day of the initiation and the like, but see Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 20.


Haradatta explains this Sūtra as equivalent to Āpastamba I, 3, 9, 1. He adds that another commentator reads prādhītasya ca as a separate Sūtra, interpreting it to mean, 'And a person who has performed the Upākarman (shall not study after dinner),' and refers the words 'at night for four Muhūrtas' to the prohibition to read on the evening of the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month.


Manu IV, 116.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 25.


Āpastamba, ibidem.


Āpastamba I, 3, 11, 38.

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