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 XIX

1. The law of castes and of orders has been declared.[1]

2. Now, indeed, man (in) this (world) is polluted by a vile action, such as sacrificing for men unworthy to offer a sacrifice, eating forbidden food, speaking what ought not to be spoken, neglecting what is prescribed, practising what is forbidden.[2]

3. They are in doubt if he shall perform a penance for such (a deed) or if he shall not do it.[3]

4. (Some) declare, that he shall not do it,

5. Because the deed does not peṛṣ.[4]

6. The most excellent (opinion is), that he shall perform (a penance).[5]

7. For it is declared in the Veda, that he who has offered a Punastoma (may) again come to (partake of) the libations of Soma,[6]

8. Likewise he who has offered a Vrātyastoma.[7]

9. (The Veda says) further: 'He who offers a horse-sacrifice, conquers all sin, he destroys the guilt of the murder of a Brāhmaṇa;[8]

10. Moreover: 'He shall make an Abhiśasta perform an Agniṣṭut sacrifice.'[9]

11. Reciting the Veda, austerity, a sacrifice, fasting, giving gifts are the means for expiating such a (blamable act).[10]

12. The purificatory (texts are), the Upaniṣads, the Vedāntas, the Saṃhitā-text of all the Vedas, the (Anuvākas called) Madhu, the (hymn of)[11] Aghamarshaṇa, the Atharvaśiras, the (Anuvākas called the) Rudras, the Puruṣa-hymn, the two Sāmans (called) Rājana and Rauhiṇeya, the Bṛhat (Sāman) and the Rathantara, the Puruṣagati (Sāman), the Mahānāmnīs, the Mahāvairāja (Sāman), the Mahādivākīrtya (Sāman), any of the Jyeṣṭha Sāmans, the Bahiṣpavamāna (Sāman), the Kūṣmāṇḍas, the Pāvamānīs, and the Sāvitrī.

13. To live on milk alone, to eat vegetables only, to eat fruits only, (to live on) barley-gruel prepared of a handful of grain, to eat gold, to eat clarified butter, and to drink Soma (are modes of living) which purify.[12]

14. All mountains, all rivers, holy lakes, places of pilgrimage, the dwellings of Ṛṣis, cow-pens, and temples of the gods (are) places (which destroy sin).[13]

15. Continence, speaking the truth, bathing morning, noon, and evening, standing in wet clothes, sleeping on the ground, and fasting (are the various kinds of) austerity.[14]

16. Gold, a cow, a dress, a horse, land, sesamum, clarified butter, and food are the gifts (which destroy sin).

17. A year, six months, four (months), three (months), two (months), one (month), twenty-four days, twelve days, six days, three days, a day and a night are the periods (for penances).

18. These (acts) may be optionally performed when no (particular penance) has been prescribed,[15]

19. (Viz.) for great sins difficult (penances), and for trivial faults easy ones.

20. The Kṛcchra and the Aticr.ikchra, (as well as) the Cāndrāyaṇa, are penances for all (offences).[16]

Footnotes and references:


XIX. Haradatta, thinks that the object of this Sūtra is to assert that in the following chapter the laws given above for castes and orders must be kept in mind. Thus penances like offering a Punastoma are not intended for Śūdras, who have no business with Vedic rites, but other penances are. He also states that another commentator believes that the Sūtra is meant to indicate that the following rules refer not merely to those men who belong to castes and orders, but to the Pratilomas also, who have been declared to stand outside the pale of the sacred law. Haradatta's opinion appears to be preferable.


'Ayam puruṣaḥ, "man (in) this (world)," indicates the universal soul which is dwelling in the body. Yāpya, "vile," i.e. despicable (kutsita).'--Haradatta.


'They, i.e. the theologians (brahmavādinaḥ).'--Haradatta.


I.e. the guilt (adharma) contracted by the deed is not effaced before it has produced its result in the shape of punishment in hell and in other births, see also Manu X1, 45.


'Apara, "most excellent," means that which nothing surpasses, i.e. the settled doctrine.'--Haradatta.


The Punastoma is one of the Śrauta-sacrifices belonging to the class called Ekāha. Regarding its efficacy, see also Lāṭyāyana Śrauta-sūtra IX, 4, 5.


The Vrātyastoma is another Ekāha-sacrifice. Regarding its efficacy, see Yājñavalkya I, 38; Lāṭyāyana Śrautra-sūtra VIII 6, 29.


Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa XIII, 3, 1, 1.


The Agniṣṭut is an Ekāha-sacrifice. Regarding its efficacy, see Manu XI, 75.


Manu XI, 46, 228; Āpastamba I, 9, 26, 12-I, 9, 27, 11.


'Those parts of the Āraṇyakas which are not (Upaniṣads) are called Vedāntas. In all the Vedas (chandas), i.e. in all Sākhās (pravacana), the Saṃhitā-text, not the Pada-text, nor the Krama-text. Another commentator says, "One Saṃhitā is to be made p. 276 with all the metres, i.e. the Gāyatrī and the rest, and to be recited according to the manner of the Prātaranuvāka."'--Haradatta. According to the same authority, the Madhus are found Taittirīya Āraṇyaka X, 38, the hymn of Aghamarshaṇa Rig-veda X, 190, the Rudras Taittirīya-Saṃhitā IV, 5, 1-11, and in the corresponding eleven chapters of all other Yajus-sākhās, the Puruṣasūkta Rig-veda X, 90, the Kūṣmāṇḍas Taittirīya Āraṇyaka X, 3-5, the Pāvamānīs Rig-veda IX, while by Atharvaśiras the Upaniṣad, known by that name, is meant. As regards the Sāmans mentioned in the Sūtra it suffices to refer to Professor Benfey's Index, Ind. Stud. III, 199, and to Dr. Burnell's Index of the Ārsheya-brāhmaṇa.


According to Haradatta the word iti, which appears in the text at the end of the enumeration, is intended to include other similar kinds of food, as 'the five products of the cow.' Eating gold means eating small particles of gold which have been thrown into clarified butter and the like.


The word iti used in the text is, according to Haradatta, again to be taken in the sense of 'and so forth.' The translation of paṛṣkanda, 'a temple,' not paṛṣkandha, as Professor Stenzler p. 277 reads, is based on Haradatta's explanation. Etymologically it seems to mean 'a place for circumambulation,' and to denote the platform on which the temples usually stand, and which is used for the Pradakṣiṇa ceremony.


The word iti in the text is explained as in the preceding Sūtras.


These (acts), i.e. the recitation of the Veda and so forth, which have been enumerated above, Sūtras 11-16.


Regarding these penances, see chapters XXVI and XXVII. Haradatta again takes the word iti, which occurs in the text, to include other difficult penances.

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