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 XXI

1. The murderer of a Brāhmaṇa, he who drinks spirituous liquor, the violator of a Guru's bed, he who has connection with the female relatives of his mother and of his father (within six degrees) or with sisters and their female offspring, he who steals (the gold of a Brāhmaṇa), an atheist, he who constantly repeats blamable acts, he who does not cast off persons guilty of a crime causing loss of caste, and he who forsakes blameless (relatives), become outcasts,[1]

2. Likewise those who instigate others to acts causing loss of caste,[2]

3. And he who for a (whole) year associates with outcasts.[3]

4. To be an outcast means to be deprived of the right to follow the lawful occupations of twice-born men,

5. And to be deprived after death of the rewards of meritorious deeds.

6. Some call (this condition) hell.

7. Manu (declares, that) the first three (crimes, named above) cannot be expiated.[4]

8. Some (declare, that a man) does not become an outcast (by having connection) with female (relatives), except (when he violates) a Guru's bed.[5]

9. A woman becomes an outcast by procuring abortion, by connection with a (man of) lower (caste) and (the like heinous crimes).[6]

10. Giving false evidence, calumnies which will reach (the ears of) the king, an untrue accusation brought against a Guru (are acts) equal to mortal sins (mahāpātaka).[7]

11. (The guilt of a) minor offence (upapātaka) rests on those who (have been declared to) defile the company (at a funeral dinner and have been named above) before the bald man, on killers of kine, those who forget the Veda, those who pronounce Vedic texts for the (last-mentioned sinners), students[8] who break the vow of chastity, and those who allow the time for the initiation to pass.

12. An officiating priest must be forsaken, if he is ignorant (of the rules of the sacrifice), a teacher, if he does not impart instruction, and (both) if they commit crimes causing loss of caste.[9]

13. He who forsakes (them) under any other circumstances, becomes an outcast.

14. Some declare, that he, also, who receives (a person who has unjustly forsaken his priest or teacher, becomes an outcast).

15. The mother and the father must not be treated improperly under any circumstances.[10]

16. But (the sons) shall not take their property.[11]

17. By accusing a Brāhmaṇa of a crime (the accuser commits) a sin equal (to that of the accused).[12]

18. If (the accused is) innocent, (the accuser's guilt is) twice (as great as that of the crime which he imputed to the other).[13]

19. And he who, though able to rescue a weak man from injury, (does) not (do it, incurs as much guilt as he who injures the other).

20. He who in anger raises (his hand or a weapon)[14] against a Brāhmaṇa, will be banished from heaven for a hundred years.

21. If he strikes, (he will lose heaven) for a thousand (years).

22. If blood flows, (he will lose heaven) for a number of years equal to (that of the particles of) dust which the spilt (blood) binds together.[15]

Footnotes and references:


XXI. Āpastamba I, 7, 21, 7-9, 11; I, 9, 24, 6-9; Manu XI, 35; Yājñavalkya III, 227. Guru, i.e. a father or spiritual teacher. The term yonisambandha, 'sisters and their female offspring,' seems to be used here in a sense different from that which it has III, 3; XIV, 20; and XIX, 20. it may possibly include also daughters-in-law.


Āpastamba II, 11, 29, 1.


Manu IX, 181; Yājñavalkya III, 261.


Āpastamba I, 9, 24, 24-25; I, 9, 25, 1-3; Manu. XI, 90-92, 104-105. The 'penances' prescribed are equal to a sentence of death.


Āpastamba I, 7, 21, 10.


Yājñavalkya III, 298. 'On account of the word "and," by slaying a Brāhmaṇa and similar crimes also. Another (commentator) says, "A woman who serves the slayer of a learned Brāhmaṇa, or a man of lower caste, i.e. becomes his wife, loses her caste. On account of the word 'and' the same happens in case she kills a Brāhmaṇa or commits a similarly heinous crime. The slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, is mentioned in order to include (all) outcasts."'--Haradatta.


Manu XI, 56-57; Yājñavalkya III, 228-229.


Manu XI, 60-67; Yājñavalkya III, 234-242; Āpastamba, I, 7, 21, 12-17, 19. The persons who defile the company are enumerated above, XV, 16-18.


Āpastamba I, 2, 4, 26; I, 2, 7, 26; I, 2, 8, 27. Haradatta asserts that, as the desertion of sinners has been prescribed above, XX, 1, the expression patanīyasevāyām must here mean 'if they associate with outcasts.' The former rule refers, however, to blood relations only, and our Sūtra may be intended to extend it to spiritual, relations.


Āpastamba I, 10, 28, 9-10. The meaning is that parents, though they have become outcasts, must be provided with the necessaries of life.


Haradatta adds that their property goes to the king.


Āpastamba I, 7, 21, 20,


Yājñavalkya III, 285.


-21. Manu X1, 207; Yājñavalkya III, 293. According to p. 283 Haradatta the word asvargyam, 'will be banished from or lose heaven,' may either mean that a hundred years' residence in heaven will be deducted from the rewards for his meritorious deeds, or that he will reside in hell for the period specified.


Manu XI, 208; Yājñavalkya III, 293.

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