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. Let him cast off a father who assassinates a king, who sacrifices for Śūdras, who sacrifices for[1] his own sake (accepting) money from Śūdras, who divulges the Veda (to persons not authorised to study it), who kills a learned Brāhmaṇa, who dwells with men of the lowest castes, or (cohabits) with a female of one of the lowest castes.

2. Having assembled the (sinner's) spiritual Gurus and the relatives by marriage, (the sons and other kinsmen) shall perform (for him) all the funeral rites, the first of which is the libation of water,[2]

3. And (afterwards) they shall overturn his water-vessel (in the following manner):

4. A slave or a hired servant shall fetch an impure vessel from a dust-heap, fill it (with water taken) from the pot of a female slave and, his face turned towards the south upset it with his foot, pronouncing (the sinner's) name (and saying): 'I deprive N. N. of water.'

5. All (the kinsmen) shall touch him (the slave) passing their sacrificial cords over the right shoulder and under the left arm, and untying the locks on their heads.

6. The spiritual Gurus and the relatives by marriage shall look on.

7. Having bathed, they (all shall) enter the village.

8. He who afterwards unintentionally speaks to[3] the (outcast sinner) shall stand. during one night, reciting the Sāvitrī.

9. If he intentionally (converses with the outcast, he must perform the same penance) for three nights.

10. But if an (outcast sinner) is purified by (performing) a penance, (his kinsmen) shall, after he has become pure, fill a golden vessel (with water) from a very holy lake or a river, and make him bathe in water (taken) from that (vessel).[4]

11. Then they shall give him that vessel and he, after taking it, shall mutter (the following Mantras): 'Cleansed is the sky, cleansed is the earth, cleansed and auspicious is the middle sphere; I here take that which is brilliant.'[5]

12. Let him offer clarified butter, (reciting) these Yajus formulas, the Pāvamānīs, the Taratsamandīs, and the Kūṣmāṇḍas.

13. Let him present gold or a cow to a Brāhmaṇa,

14. And to his teacher.

15. But he, whose penance lasts for his (whole) lifetime, will be purified after death.[6]

16. Let (his kinsmen) perform for him all the funeral rites, the first of which is the libation of water.

17. This same (ceremony of bathing in) water[7] consecrated for the sake of purification (must be performed) in the case of all minor offences (upapātakas).

Footnotes and references:


XX. Haradatta remarks that the father is mentioned here, in order to indicate that other less venerable relatives must certainly p. 278 also be abandoned. He also states that bhrūṇahan, 'he who slays a learned Brāhmaṇa,' includes sinners who have committed other mortal sins (mahāpātaka), see XXI, 1.


Manu XI, 183-185; Yājñavalkya III, 295. The spiritual Gurus, i.e. the teacher who initiated him (ācārya) and those who instructed him in the Veda (upādhyāya).


Manu XI, 185.


Manu XI, 187-188; Yājñavalkya III, 296.


As appears from Gobhila Gṛhya-sūtra III, 4, 16, the noun to be understood is apām añjaliḥ, 'a handful of water.'


Haradatta refers the term Pāvamānīs here to Taittirīya-brāhmaṇa I, 4, 8. The Taratsamandīs are found Rig veda IX, 58.


'"Water (consecrated) for the sake of purification" means p. 280 water consecrated by the formulas, "Cleansed is the earth," &c.'--Haradatta.

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