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 XXIV

1. A secret penance (must be performed) by him whose sin is not publicly known.[1]

2. He who desires to accept or has accepted (a gift) which ought not to be accepted, shall recite the four Ṛk-verses (IX, 58, 1-4), (beginning) Tarat sa mandī, (standing) in water.[2]

3. He who desires to eat forbidden food, shall scatter earth (on it).[3]

4. Some (declare, that) he who has connection with a woman during her courses becomes pure by bathing.[4]

5. Some (declare, that this rule holds good) in the case of (one's own) wives (only).[5]

6. The (secret) penance for killing a learned Brāhmaṇa (is as follows):, Living during ten days on milk (alone) or (on food fit for offerings), during a second (period of ten days) on clarified butter, and during a third (period of ten days) on water, partaking[6] of (such food) once only each day, in the morning, and keeping his garments constantly wet, he shall (daily) offer (eight) oblations, (representing) the hair, the nails, the skin, the flesh, the blood, the sinews, the bones, (and) the marrow. The end of each (Mantra) shall be, 'I offer in the mouth of the Atman (the Self), in the jaws of Death.'

7. Now another (penance for the murder of a Brāhmaṇa will be described):

8. The rule (as to eating and so forth), which has been declared (above, Sūtra 6, must be observed),

9. (And) he shall offer clarified butter, reciting (the sacred text Rig-veda I, 189, 2), 'O fire, do thou ferry over,' the Mahāvyāhṛtis, and the Kūṣmāṇḍas;[7]

10. Or, for the murder of a Brāhmaṇa, for drinking spirituous liquor, for stealing (gold), and for the violation of a Guru's bed, he may perform that (same vow), tire himself by repeatedly stopping his breath, and recite (the hymn seen by) Aghamarshaṇa. That is equal (in efficacy) to the final bath at a horse-sacrifice;[8]

11. Or, repeating the Gāyatrī a thousand times, he, forsooth, purifies himself;[9]

12. Or, thrice repeating (the hymn of) Aghamarshaṇa while immersed in water, he is freed from all sins.

Footnotes and references:


XXIV. Manu XI, 248; Yājñavalkya III, 301.


Manu XI, 254. 'He who has accepted or desires to accept, i.e. because no other course is possible, (a present) offered by a man that is blamable on account of the caste of the giver or on account of his deeds, or (a present) that in itself is blamable, e.g. the skin of a black-buck and the like . . . in water, i.e. according to some, standing in water that reaches to his navel according to others, entirely immersed in water.'--Haradatta.


Manu loc. cit. 'Forbidden food has been described above, XVII, 8, 9. If, being unable to act otherwise, he desires to eat that, he shall throw earth, i.e. a piece of earth, (into it) and then eat it.'--Haradatta.


Haradatta adds that he shall bathe, dressed in his garments.


Haradatta adds that another commentator reads ekestrīṣu, i.e. eke astrīṣu, and explains the Sūtra to mean, 'Some (declare the above rule to refer also) to a bestial crime.'


Yājñavalkya III, 303. According to Haradatta the complete Mantras are as follows: Lomānyātmano mukhe mṛtyorāsye juhomi svāhā, nakhānyā. m. m. ā. juhomi svāhā, &c. This secret penance is apparently a milder form of that prescribed Āpastamba I, 9, 25, 12.


The Mahāvyāhṛtis are, bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ. Regarding the Kūṣmāṇḍas, see above, XIX, 12.


Manu XI, 260-261; Yājñavalkya III, 302. The vow intended is that prescribed above, Sūtras 6, 8.


Āpastamba I, 9, 26, 14-I, 9, 27, 1. Haradatta remarks that the performer of the penance shall live on milk and stop his breath, repeatedly stopping his breath.

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