Vasistha Dharmasutra

by Georg Bühler | 1882 | 44,713 words

The Dharmasutra of Vasistha forms an independent treatise and has no relationship with the Kalpasutra. The chapters of this text are divided in a way that resemble the practice of later Smritis. This Dharmasutra has a unique characteristic, it cites the opinions of Manu at many places. This led scholars like Bühler among others to form a hypothesis...

Chapter VIII

1. (A student who desires to become) a house-holder shall bathe, free from anger and elation, with the permission of his teacher, and take for a wife a young female of his own caste, who does neither belong to the same Gotra nor has the same Pravara, who has not had intercourse (with another man),[1]

2. Who is not related within four degrees on the mother's side, nor within six degrees on the father s side.[2]

3. Let him kindle the nuptial fire.[3]

4. Let him not turn away a guest who comes in the evening.[4]

5. (A guest) shall not dwell in his house without receiving food.[5]

6. If a Brāhmaṇa who has come for shelter to the house of a (householder) receives no food, on departure he will take with him all the spiritual merit of that (churlish host).[6]

7. But a Brāhmaṇa who stays for one night only is called a guest. For (the etymological import of the word) atithi (a guest) is 'he who stays for a short while only.'[7]

8. A Brāhmaṇa who lives in the same village (with his host) and a visitor on business, or pleasure (are) not (called guests. But a guest), whether he arrives at the moment (of dinner) or at an inopportune time, must not stay in the house of a (householder) without receiving food.[8]

9. (A householder) who has faith, is free from covetousness, and (possesses wealth) sufficient for (performing) the Agnyādheya-sacrifice, must become an Agnihotrin.[9]

10. He (who possesses wealth) sufficient for (the expenses of) a Soma, sacrifice shall not abstain from offering it.[10]

11. (A householder) shall be industrious in reciting the Veda, offering sacrifices, begetting children, and (performing his other duties).[11]

12. Let him honour visitors (who come) to his house by rising to meet them, by (offering them) seats, by speaking to them kindly and extolling their virtues,[12]

13. And all creatures by (giving them) food according to his ability.[13]

14. A householder alone performs sacrifices, a householder alone performs austerities, and (therefore) the order of householders is the most distinguished among the four.[14]

15. As all rivers, both great and small, find a resting-place in the ocean, even so men of all orders find protection with householders.[15]

16. As all creatures exist through the protection afforded by their mothers, even so all mendicants subsist through the protection afforded by householders.

17. A Brāhmaṇa who always carries water (in his gourd), who always wears the sacred thread, who daily recites the Veda, who avoids the food of outcasts, who approaches (his wife) in the proper season, and offers sacrifices in accordance with the[16] rules (of the Veda, after death) never falls from Brahman's heaven.

Footnotes and references:


VIII. Viṣṇu XXIV, 9; Gautama IV, 1-2. Regarding the bath at the end of the studentship, see Viṣṇu XXVIII, 42, and Professor Jolly's note.


Viṣṇu XXLV, 10.; Gautama. IV, 2.


Viṣṇu LIX, 1, and Professor Jolly's note. The fire intended is the gṛhya or smārta, the sacred household fire, which according o this Sūtra must be kindled on the occasion of the marriage ceremony, while other Smṛtis permit of its being lighted on the division of the paternal estate.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 28-29.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 30.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 33.


Identical with Viṣṇu LXVII, 34; Manu III, 102.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 35; Manu III, 105.


Viṣṇu LIX, 2. The Agnihotra which is here 'intended is, of course, the Śrauta Agnihotra, to be performed with three fires. The Agnyādheya is one of the Haviryajñas with which the Śrautāgnihotrin has to begin his rites.


Viṣṇu LIX, 8.


I agree with Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita that the word 'and' used in this enumeration serves the purpose of calling to mind that there are other minor duties. The three named specially are the so-called 'three debts;' see below, XI, 48.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 45 Gautama V, 38-41.


Viṣṇu LXVII, 26.


-17. Viṣṇu LIX, 27-30; Manu VI, 89.


Identical with Manu VI, 90.


'Who always carries water (in his gourd)' (nityodakī) may also be translated, 'who always keeps water (in his house);' see Āpastamba II, 1, 1, 15. 'Who always wears the sacred thread' p. 45 may also mean 'who always wears his upper in the manner required at a sacrifice,' i.e. passes it over the left and under the right arm.

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