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 XXV

1. I will completely explain the purification of those whose guilt has not been made public, both from great crimes and for minor offences.

2. A penance prescribed in (the section on) secret (penances) is for an Agnihotrin, an aged and a learned man, who have subdued their senses; but other men (must perform the expiations) described above.

3. Those constantly engaged in suppressing their breath, reciting purificatory texts, giving gifts, making burnt-oblations, and muttering (sacred texts) will, undoubtedly, be freed from (the guilt of) crimes causing loss of caste.

4. Seated with Kuśa grass in his hands, let him repeatedly suppress his breath, and again and again recite purificatory texts, the Vyāhṛtis, the syllable Om, and the daily portion of the Veda[1]

5. Always intent on the practice of Yoga, let him again and again suppress his breath. Up to the ends of his hair and up to the ends of his nails let him perform highest austerity.[2]

6. Through the obstruction (of the expiration) air is generated, through air fire is produced, then through heat water is formed; hence he is internally purified by (these) three.

7. Neither through severe austerities, nor through the daily recitation of the Veda, nor through offering sacrifices can the twice-born reach that condition which they attain by the practice of Yoga.

8. Through the practice of Yoga (true) knowledge is obtained, Yoga is the sum of the sacred law, the practice of Yoga is the highest and eternal austerity; therefore let him always be absorbed in the practice of Yoga.

9. For him who is constantly engaged in (reciting the syllable) Om, the seven Vyāhṛtis, and the three-footed Gāyatrī no danger exists anywhere.[3]

10. The Vedas likewise begin with the syllable Om, and they end with the syllable Om, the syllable Om is the sum of all speech; therefore let him repeat it constantly.[4]

11. The most excellent (portion of the) Veda, which consists of one syllable, is declared to be the best purificatory text.

12. If the guilt of all sins did fall on one man, to repeat the Gāyatrī ten thousand times (would be) an efficient means of purification.

13. If, suppressing his breath, he thrice recites the Gāyatrī together with the Vyāhṛtis together with the syllable Om and with the (text called) Śiras, that is called one suppression of breath.[5]

Footnotes and references:


XXV. Read prāṇāyāmān in the text.


The MSS. read at the end of this verse, tapas tapyatam uttamam, while Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita gives tapas tapyāt to uttamam. The correct reading is probably tapas tapyatu uttamam.


I read with the MSS. bhayaṃ for bhave.


Manu II, 74.


Identical with Viṣṇu LV, 9. Regarding the text called Śiras, see above, XXI, 6.

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