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 XIV

1. Now, therefore, we will declare what may be eaten and what may not be eaten.

2. Food given by a physician, a hunter, a woman of bad character, a mace-bearer, a thief, an Abhiśasta, a eunuch, (or) an outcast must not be eaten,[1]

3. (Nor that given) by a miser, one who has performed the initiatory ceremony of a Śrauta-sacrifice, a prisoner, a sick person, a seller of the Soma-plant, a carpenter, a washerman, a dealer in spirituous liquor, a spy, a usurer, (or) a cobbler,[2]

4. Nor (that given) by a Śūdra,[3]

5. Nor (that given) by one who lives by his weapons,[4]

6. Nor (that given) by the (kept) paramour of a[5] married woman, or by a husband who allows a paramour (to his wife),

7. Nor (that given) by an incendiary,

8. Nor (that given) by (a ruler) who does not slay those worthy of capital punishment,

9. Nor (food) offered publicly with these words, 'Who is willing to eat?'[6]

10. Nor food given by a multitude of givers, or by harlots, and so forth.[7]

11. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'The gods do not eat (the offerings) of a man who keeps dogs, nor of him whose (only) wife is of the Śūdra caste, nor of him who lives in subjection to his wife, nor of (a husband) who (permits) a paramour (of his wife to reside) in his house.'[8]

12. He may accept (the following presents even) from such (people, viz.) firewood, water, fodder, Kuśa grass, parched grain, (food) given without asking, a vehicle, (shelter in) the house, small fish, millet, a garland, perfumes, honey, and meat.[9]

13. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'For the sake of a Guru, when he desires to save his wife (and family from starvation), when he wishes to honour the gods or guests, he may accept (presents) from anybody; but let him not satisfy his (own hunger) with such (gifts).'[10]

14. Food given by a hunter who uses the bow must not be rejected.

15. For it is declared in the Veda, 'At a sacrificial session (sattra), which lasted one thousand years, Agastya went out to hunt. He had sacrificial cakes prepared with the meat of beasts and fowls good (to eat).'[11]

16. With reference to this (subject) they quote also some verses proclaimed by Prajāpati, 'Prajāpati (the Lord of created beings) has declared that food freely offered and brought (by the giver himself) may be eaten, though (the giver) be a sinful man, provided the gift has not been asked for beforehand.'[12]

17. Food offered by a man who has faith must certainly be eaten, even though (the giver) be a thief, but not that given by (a Brāhmaṇa) who sacrifices for many and who initiates many.'

18. 'The manes do not eat during fifteen years (the food) of that man who disdains a (freely offered gift), nor does the fire carry his offerings (to the gods).'[13]

19. 'But alms, though offered without asking, must not be accepted from a physician, from a hunter, from a surgeon or a (very) wicked man, from a eunuch, and from a faithless wife.'[14]

20. Fragments of food left by other persons than the teacher must not be eaten,[15]

21. Nor remnants of one's own (meal) and food touched by leavings,

22. Nor (food) defiled by contact with a garment, hair, or insects.[16]

23. But at pleasure he may use (such food) after taking out the hair and the insects, sprinkling it with water, dropping ashes on it, and (after it has been declared) fit for use by the word (of a Brāhmaṇa).[17]

24. With reference to this (subject) they quote also some verses proclaimed by Prajāpati, The gods created for Brāhmaṇas three means of purifying (defiled substances), viz. ignorance (of defilement), sprinkling (them) with water, and commending (them) by word of mouth.'[18]

25. Let him not throw away that food which, at a procession with images of the gods, at weddings, and at sacrifices, is touched by crows or dogs.'

26. After the (defiled) portion has been removed, the remainder shall be purified, liquids by straining them, but solid food by sprinkling it with water.'[19]

27. 'What has been touched by the mouth of a cat is even pure.'

28. (Cooked food which has become) stale (by being kept), what is naturally bad, what has been placed once only in the dish, what has been cooked more than once, raw (food), and (food) insufficiently cooked (must not be eaten).[20]

29. But at pleasure he may use (such food) after pouring over it sour milk or clarified butter.[21]

30. With reference to this (subject) they quote also some verses proclaimed by Prajāpati, 'A Brāhmaṇa shall not eat clarified butter or oil which drips from the nails (of the giver). Yama has declared such (food to be) impure; (to eat it is as sinful) as to partake of cow's flesh.'

31. 'But fatty substances, salt, and condiments proffered with the hand do not benefit the giver, and he who partakes of them will eat sin.'

32. 'Let him give, therefore, such substances placed on a leaf or on grass, but never with his hands or in an iron vessel.'

33. For eating garlic, onions, mushrooms, turnips, Śleshmāntaka, exudations from trees, the red sap flowing from incisions (in trees or plants), food pecked at by crows or worried by dogs, or the leavings of a Śūdra, an Atikṛcchra (penance must be performed).[22]

34. (Let him not drink) the milk of a cow that is in heat, nor of one whose calf has died,[23]

35. Nor that which cows, buffalo-cows, and goats give during the first ten days (after giving birth to young ones),[24]

36. Nor water collected at the bottom of a boat.

37. Let him avoid wheat-cakes, (fried) grain, porridge, barley-meal, pulse-cakes, oil, rice boiled in milk, and vegetables that have turned sour (by standing),[25]

38. Likewise other kinds of (sour) food prepared with milk and barley-flour.

39. Among five-toed animals, the porcupine, the hedgehog, the hare, the tortoise, and the iguana may be eaten,[26]

40. Among (domestic) animals those having teeth in one jaw only, excepting camels.[27]

41. And among fishes, the long-nosed crocodile, the Gavaya, the porpoise, the alligator, and the crab (must not be eaten),[28]

42. Nor those which are misshaped or have heads like snakes,

43. Nor the bos Gaurus, the Gayal, and the Śarabha,[29]

44. Nor those that have not been (specially mentioned (as fit for food),[30]

45. Nor milch-cows, draught-oxen, and animals whose milk teeth have not dropped out.[31]

46. It is declared in the Vājasaneyaka, that (the flesh of) milch-cows and oxen is fit for offerings.[32]

47. But regarding the rhinoceros and the wild boar they make conflicting statements.

48. And among birds, those who seek their food by scratching with their feet, the web-footed ones, the Kalaviṅka, the water-hen, the flamingo, the[33] Brahmaṇī duck, the Bhāsa, the crow, the blue pigeon, the osprey, the Cātaka, the dove, the crane, the black partridge, the grey heron, the vulture, the falcon, the white egret, the ibis, the cormorant, the peewit, the flying-fox, those flying about at night, the woodpecker, the sparrow, the Railātaka, the green pigeon, the wagtail, the village-cock, the parrot, the starling, the cuckoo, those feeding on flesh, and those living about villages (must not be eaten).

Footnotes and references:


XIV. Viṣṇu LI, 7, 10-11. Daṇḍika, 'a mace-bearer,' may mean 'a police officer' or 'a messenger.' I read with MSS. Bh. and F. shaṇḍha, 'a eunuch,' instead of śaṭha, 'a rogue,' the reading of the other MSS. and of Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita.


Viṣṇu LI, 8-9, 12, 19; Gautama XVII, 17. I write sūcaka, 'a spy,' instead of sūcika, 'a tailor,' according to the other Smṛtis, e.g. Viṣṇu LI, 12; Āpastamba I, 6, 18, 30


Āpastamba I, 6, 18, 13.


Āpastamba I, 6, 18, 19.


Viṣṇu LI, 16; Gautama XVII, 18. I read with the majority p. 70 of the MSS. yaścopapatiṃ [pattiṃ F.] manyate, instead of B.'s and Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita's yaścopari manyate.


Āpastamba I, 6, 18, 17.


Viṣṇu LI, 7. 'And so forth (iti), i.e. by cruel men and the like.'--Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita.


Viṣṇu LI, 15.


Gautama XVII, 3; Viṣṇu LVII, 10.


Viṣṇu LVII, 13; Manu IV, 251.


Manu V, 22-23. I connect vijñāyate with this Sūtra, instead of with the preceding one, as Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita does.


Viṣṇu LVII, 11; Mann IV, 248; Āpastamba I, 6, 19, 14.


Viṣṇu LVII, 12; Manu IV, 249; Āpastamba I, 6, 19, 14.


Āpastamba I. 6, 19, 15.


Viṣṇu XXVIII. 11.


Āpastamba I, 5, 16, 28; Gautama XVII, 9.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 38; Yājñavalkya I, 189.


Yājñavalkya I, 191.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 30. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita thinks that plāvanena, 'by straining them (through a cloth),' may also mean 'by heating them on the fire.'


Gautama XVII, 13, and note, 15-16.


Manu V, 24.


Viṣṇu LI, 34, 36; Gautama XVII, 32-33. Regarding the Atikṛcchra penance, see below, XXIV, 1.


Viṣṇu LI, 40. For other explanations of the term sandhinī, 'a cow that is in heat,' see Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 23; Viṣṇu LI, 40.


Viṣṇu LI, 39. The Sūtra implies that the milk of other animals must not be drunk under any circumstances.


-38. Viṣṇu LI, 35, 42.


Gautama XVII, 27. Haradatta on Āpastamba and Gautama explain śvāvidh, 'the porcupine,' to be a kind of boar, and śalyaka, 'the hedgehog,' to be 'the porcupine.'


Viṣṇu LI, 30; Manu V, 18.


-42. Gautama XVII, 36; Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 38-39.


Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 29.


Manu V, 11, 17.


Gautama XVII, 30-31.


Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 31.


Gautama XVII, 34-35; Viṣṇu LI, 28-31. I read māndhāla, 'the flying fox,' while Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita gives māghāra, a p. 75 reading which he cannot explain. The MSS. read as follows: B. E. māghāra, Bh. F. mādhāṃ, I. O. 913 (ṭiṭṭibh)āndha (naktaṃ). Haradatta on Āpastamba I, 5, 17, 33' explains plava, 'the water-hen,' to be a kind of heron, called also śakaṭabila.

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