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 XXII

1. Now, indeed, man (in) this (world) speaks an untruth, or sacrifices for men unworthy to offer a sacrifice, or accepts what ought not to be accepted, or eats forbidden food, or practises what ought not to be practised.[1]

2. They are in doubt if he shall perform a penance for such (a deed), or if he shall not do it.

3. (Some) declare that he shall not do it,

4. Because the deed does not peṛṣ.

5. (The correct view is, that) he shall perform (a penance), because it is enjoined in the revealed texts,[2]

6. 'He who offers a horse-sacrifice conquers all sin, he destroys the guilt of the murder of a Brāhmaṇa.'

7. (Moreover), 'Let an Abhiśasta offer a Gosava or an Agniṣṭut-sacrifice,'

8. Reciting the Veda, austerity, a sacrifice, fasting, giving gifts are the means for expiating such a (blamable act).

9. (The purificatory texts are) the Upaniṣads, the Vedāntas, the Saṃhitā-text of all the Vedas, the (Anuvākas called) Madhu, the (hymn of) Aghamarshaṇa,[3] the Atharvaśiras, the (Anuvākas called) Rudras, the Puruṣa-hymn, the two Sāmans called Rājaṇa and Rauhiṇeya, the Kūṣmāṇḍas, the Pāvamānīs, and the Sāvitrī,

10. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'He who performs once in each season the offerings to Vaiśvānara and Vratapati and the Pavitreṣṭi sanctifies ten ancestors.'[4]

11. To live on milk alone, as if one were fasting, to eat fruit only, (to live on) barley gruel prepared of a handful of grain, to eat gold, to drink Soma (are modes of subsistence which) purify.[5]

12. All mountains, all rivers, holy lakes, places of pilgrimage, the dwellings of Ṛṣis, cowpens, and temples of the gods (are) places (which destroy sin).

13. A year, a month, twenty-four days, twelve days, six days, three days, a day and a night are the periods (for penances).

14. These (acts) may be optionally performed when no (particular penance) has been prescribed,

15. (Viz.) for great sins difficult (penances), and for trivial faults easy ones.

16. The Kṛcchra and the Atikṛcchra (as well as) the Cāndrāyaṇa are penances for all (offences).

Footnotes and references:


XXII. As this chapter is almost identical with and probably copied from Baudhāyana III, 10, and Gautama XIX, the division of the Sūtras has not been made in accordance with Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita's commentary, but agrees with that of the chapter in Gautama's Dharmaśāstra. The notes to the translation of the p. 116 latter work must be consulted for the explanation of the more difficult passages.


-7. The text appears here to be corrupt. After Sūtra 5, Baudhāyana III, 10, 6 (Gautama XIX, 7), Punaḥ stomena yajeta punaḥ savanamāyāntīti vijñāyate,' It is declared in the Veda, "Let him offer a Punaḥstoma-sacrifice, (those who offer it) again come to partake of (the libations of) Soma,"' has been left out. This omission caused the insertion of the words tasmācchrutinidarśanāt [darśanāt, Bh. F.], ('because it is enjoined in the revealed texts,') at the end of Sutra 5. The proof that the sixth Sūtra of Baudhāyana has been accidentally omitted is furnished by the fact That several MSS. of Vasiṣṭha read iti ca after yo ’śvamedhena yajate (Vas. XXII, 6). This ca has no meaning, except if another Vedic passage preceded Sutra. 6. In order to escape this difficulty, Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita writes yo ’śvamedhena yajata iti, and begins the next Sūtra with iti ca, which he explains by 'moreover.'


Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita gives before 'Vedāntas' another word vedādayaḥ, which he explains by 'the Vedas, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas.'


Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita takes the last word daśapūruṣam to mean ten ancestors and ten descendants.


'As if one were fasting,' i.e. in small quantities.--Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita.

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