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...
1. Now (follow the rules regarding) legal proceedings.
2. Let the king (or) his minister transact the business on the bench.
3. When two (parties) have a dispute, let him not be partial to one of them.
4. Let him reason properly regarding an offence; finally the offence (will become evident thereby).
5. He who properly reasons regarding an offence, in accordance with the sum of the science of the first two castes, is equitable towards all created beings.
6. And let him protect what has been gained;
7. (Likewise) the property of infants (of the) royal (race).
8. (Likewise the property) of persons unfit to transact legal business (minors, widows, and so forth).
9. But if (a minor) comes of age, his property must be made over to him.
10. 'It is declared in the Smṛti that there are three kinds of proof which give a title to (property, viz.) documents, witnesses, and possession; (thereby) an owner may recover property which formerly belonged to him (but was lost).'
11. From fields through which (there is a right of) road (a space sufficient for the road) must be set apart, likewise a space for turning (a cart).
12. Near new-built houses (and) other things (of the same description there shall be) a passage three feet broad.
13. In a dispute about a house or a field, reliance (may be placed on the depositions of) neighbours.
14. If the statements of the neighbours disagree, documents (may be taken as) proof.
15. If conflicting documents are produced, reliance (may be placed) on (the statements of) aged (inhabitants) of the village or town, and on (those of) guilds and corporations (of artisans or traders).
16. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'Property inherited from a father, a thing bought, a pledge, property given to a wife after marriage by her husband's family, a gift, property obtained for performing a sacrifice, the property of reunited coparceners, and wages as the eighth.'
17. Whatever belonging to these (eight kinds of property) has been enjoyed (by another person) for ten years continuously (is lost to the owner).
18. They quote also (a verse) on the other side: 'A pledge, a boundary, and the property of minor's, an (open) deposit, a sealed deposit, women, the property of a king, (and) the wealth of a Śrotriya are not lost by being enjoyed (by others).'
19. Property entirely given up (by its owner) goes to the king.
20. If it be otherwise, the king with his ministers and the citizens shall administer it.
22. But a king will not be exalted if he lives surrounded by servants (who are greedy) like vultures.
23. Let him live surrounded by servants (who are keen-eyed) like vultures, let him not be a vulture surrounded by vultures.
24. For through his servants blemishes become manifest (in his kingdom),
25. (Such as) theft, robbery, oppression, and (so forth).
26. Therefore let him question his servants before-hand.
27. Now (follow the rules regarding) witnesses:
28. Śrotriyas, men of unblemished form, of good character, men who are holy and love truth (are fit to be) witnesses,
29. Or (men of) any (caste may give evidence) regarding (men of) any (other caste).
30. Let him make women witnesses regarding women; for twice-born men twice-born men of the same caste (shall be witnesses), and good Śūdras for Śūdras, and men of low birth for low-caste men.
31. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'A son need not pay money due by a surety, any-thing idly promised, money due for losses at play or for spirituous liquor, nor what remains unpaid of a fine or a toll.'
33. 'Naked and shorn, tormented with hunger and thirst, and deprived of sight shall the man who gives false evidence go with a potsherd to beg food at the door of his enemy.'
34. 'He kills five by false testimony regarding a maiden; he kills ten by false testimony regarding kine; he kills a hundred by false evidence regarding a horse, and a thousand by false evidence regarding a man.'
35. (Men) may speak an untruth at the time of marriage, during dalliance, when their lives are in danger or the loss of their whole property is imminent, and for the sake of a Brāhmaṇa; they declare that an untruth spoken in these five cases does not make (the speaker) an outcast.
36. Those who give partial evidence in a judicial proceeding for the sake of a relative or for money, deprive the ancestors of their spiritual family and those of their natural family of their place in heaven.
Footnotes and references:
XVI. Viṣṇu III, 72-73. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita gives a second explanation of the Sūtra, which also appears admissible, 'Let the king transact the business on the bench, taking counsel (with learned Brāhmaṇas as assessors);' see Viṣṇu III, 72.
Translated as above the Sūtra is nearly equivalent to Gautama p. 79 XI, 5. But the phrase 'when two parties have a dispute' may also indicate, as Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita suggests, that the king or judge shall not promote litigation, see Gautama XIII, 27. As Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita states, the Sūtra may, however, mean also, 'when one case is being argued, let him not begin another (without finishing the first);' see Manu VIII, 43. Owing to the particular nature of the Sūtra style and the inclination of the Brāhmanical mind to double-entendres, I do not think it improbable that the author may have intended, both in this and in the preceding Sūtras, that his words should be interpreted in two ways.
Gautama XI, 23-24. I divide the words of the text, as follows, 'yathāsanam (i.e. yathā-āsanam) aparādhohī; antena aparādhaḥ,' and interpolate syāt at the end of the first clause.
Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita wrongly divides this Sūtra into two, and wrongly adopts the reading of MSS. B. and E., consequently he obtains a sense only by the most astonishing tricks of interpretation. I read with MSS. Bh. and F., yathāsanam aparādhohyādyavarṇayor vidyāntataḥ, to which the reading of I. O. 913 ādyavarṇayor vidhānataḥ points also. The meaning of the expression, 'according to the sum of the science of the first two castes,' I take to be according to the rules of sacred learning and of the mīmāṃsā, which is peculiar to the Brāhmaṇas and of logic (ānvīkṣikī) and polity (daṇḍanīti), which are peculiar to or at least recommended to the particular attention of the Kṣatriyas.
I read with MSS. Bh. and F., saṃpannaṃ ca rakṣayet. I consider this Sūtra to contain an admonition addressed to the king for himself; see Manu VII, 99. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita and B. read sapattraṃ ca rakṣayet, 'Let him protect that which is attested by writings,' i, e. the donations of former kings, attested by writings; see Viṣṇu III, 83.
Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita thinks that the rule refers to the property of p. 80 the infant children of a hostile king who has been conquered and slain. It is, however, not improbable that it has a wider sense, and exhorts the king to look after the property of the children of his predecessor and of deceased feudal barons.
-9. Gautama X, 48; Viṣṇu III, 65.
Yājñavalkya II, 22.
Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita quotes in illustration of this Sūtra the following passage of Śaṅkha and Likhita: 'In a field through which (there is a right of) road, (space) for the road must be set apart, and on the king's high-road a space sufficient for turning a chariot.'
Arthāntareshu, 'near other things (of the same description),' means, according to Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita, 'near pleasure-gardens and the like: No doubt, buildings of all kinds, fenced or walled gardens, and so forth are meant. I read tripādamātram.
Manu VIII, 258, 262; Yājñavalkya II, 150, 152, 154.
Manu VIII, 259.
In translating anvādheya by 'property given to a wife by her husband or his family after marriage,' I have followed Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita's explanation. It may, however, mean also 'a deposit to be delivered to a third person' (anvāhita or anvādhi). Pratigraha, 'a gift,' is elsewhere explained as 'property promised, but not actually given.'
Yājñavalkya II, 24; see also Viṣṇu V, 187; Manu VIII, 148.
Identical with Manu VIII, 149; Yājñavalkya II, 25.
Manu VIII, 30.
'If it be otherwise,' i.e. if the owner gave his property up temporarily only, e.g. went on a journey or a pilgrimage, leaving it without anybody to take care of.
Viṣṇu VIII, 8; Yājñavalkya II, 68; Manu VIII, 62-63.
Yājñavalkya II, 69.
Manu VIII, 68.
Viṣṇu VI, 41; Manu VIII, 159; Yājñavalkya II, 47.
Identical with Manu VIII, 93.
Identical with Manu VIII, 98. Regarding the explanation of the words 'he kills,' see Manu VIII, 97, and Haradatta on Gautama XIII, 14.
Gautama XXIII, 29. Between this and the preceding Sūtras the MSS. as well as Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita insert another one, which is so corrupt that I am unable to translate it. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita's explanation is opposed to all rules of interpretation, and not worth giving.
This verse, too, is corrupt, though the general sense is not doubtful. I read svajanasyārthe yadi vārthahetoḥ pakṣāśrayeṇaiva vadanti kāryam--te śabdavaṃśasya kulasya pūrvān svargasthitāṃstānapi pātayanti. 'The ancestors of their spiritual family,' i.e. the teacher, the teacher's teacher, and so forth.