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 XXVI

1. If, untired, he performs three suppressions of his breath according to the rule, the sins which he committed during a day and a night are instantly destroyed.[1]

2. Seated during the evening prayer, he removes by (three) suppressions of his breath all guilt which[2] he incurred during the day by deeds, thoughts, or speeches.

3. But standing during the morning prayer, he removes by (three) suppressions of his breath all guilt which he incurred during the night by deeds, thoughts, or speeches.

4. But sixteen suppressions of breath, accompanied by (the recitation of) the Vyāhṛtis and the syllable Om, repeated daily, purify after a month even the slayer of a learned Brāhmaṇa.[3]

5. Even a drinker of spirituous liquor becomes pure, if he mutters the (hymn seen) by Kutsa, 'Apa naḥ sosucad agham,' and (the hymn seen) by Vasiṣṭha (which begins with the word) 'Prati,' the Māhitra (hymn), and the Śuddhavatīs.[4]

6. Even he who has stolen gold becomes instantly free from guilt, if he once mutters (the hymn beginning with the words) 'Asya vāmasya' and the Śivasaṃkalpa.[5]

7. The violator of a Guru's bed is freed (from sin) if he repeatedly recites the (hymn beginning) 'Havish pāntam ajaram' and that (beginning) 'Na tam aṃhaḥ' and mutters the hymn addressed to Puruṣa.[6]

8. Or plunging into water he may thrice mutter the Aghamarshaṇa. Manu has declared that the (effect is the) same as if he had gone to bathe at a horse-sacrifice.[7]

9. An offering consisting of muttered prayers is ten times more efficacious than a sacrifice at which animals are killed; a (prayer) which is inaudible (to others) surpasses it a hundred times, and the mental (recitation of sacred texts) one thousand times.[8]

10. The four Pākayajñas and those sacrifices which are enjoined by the rules of the Veda are all together not equal in value to the sixteenth part of a sacrifice consisting of muttered prayers.[9]

11. But, undoubtedly, a Brāhmaṇa reaches the highest goal by muttering prayers only; whether he perform other (rites) or neglect them, he is called a Brāhmaṇa who befriends all creatures (maitra).[10]

12. The sins of those who are intent on muttering prayers, of those who offer burnt-oblations, of those who are given to meditation, of those who reside in sacred places, and of those who have bathed after performing the vows called Śiras, do not remain.[11]

13. As a fire, fanned by wind, burns brighter, and (as its flame grows) through offerings (of butter), even so a Brāhmaṇa who is daily engaged in muttering sacred texts shines with a brilliant lustre.

14. The destruction of those who fulfil the duty of daily study, who constantly restrain themselves, who mutter prayers and offer sacrifices has never been known (to happen).[12]

15. Let him who is desirous of purification repeat, though he be charged with all sins, the divine (Gāyatrī), at the most one thousand times, or one hundred times as a medium (penance), or at least ten times (for trivial faults).

16. A Kṣatriya shall pass through misfortunes which have befallen him by the strength of his arms, a Vaiśya and Śūdra by their wealth, the highest among twice-born men by muttered prayers and burnt-oblations.

17. As horses (are useless) without a chariot, as chariots (are useless) without horses, even so austerity (is useless) to him who is destitute of sacred learning, and sacred learning to him who practises no austerities.

18. As food mixed with honey, or honey mixed with food, even so are austerities and learning, joined together, a powerful medicine.

19. No guilt taints a Brāhmaṇa who possesses learning, practises austerities, and daily mutters sacred texts, though he may constantly commit sinful acts.

Footnotes and references:


XXVI. The verb dhārayet, 'performs,' seems to be used in order to indicate that, according to the Yogaśāstra, three Prāṇāyāmas make one Dhāraṇā; see Yājñavalkya III, 201.


-3. Regarding the position at the Sandhyā prayers, see also above.


Identical with Manu XI, 249; see also Viṣṇu LV, 2.


Identical with Manu XI, 250. The Vedic texts mentioned are Rig-veda I, 97, 1; VII, 80 X, 185; VIII, 84., 7-9.


Manu LI, 251. The Vedic texts alluded to are Rig-veda I, 164; and an Upaniṣad.


Identical with Manu XI, 252. The Vedic texts mentioned are Rig-veda X, 88; X, 126; X,,90.


Manu XI, 260--261; Viṣṇu LV, 7.


Manu II, 85; Viṣṇu LV, 19. The term ārambhayajña, translated by 'an offering at which animals are slain,' is taken by Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita to mean pāthayajña, 'an offering consisting of Vedic mantras recited aloud.' The word may be taken in several ways, but the various reading vidhiyajña in Manu's verse induces me to adopt the translation given above.


Identical with Manu II, 86, and Viṣṇu LV, 20. Regarding the four Pākayajñas, see Professor Jolly's note on Viṣṇu. In my opinion the four classes of rites huta, ahuta, prahuta, and prāśita are meant.


Identical with Manu II, 87.


'After performing the vows (called) Śiras,' i.e. those which are known in the Upaniṣads, which are called agnidhāraṇa and so forth, and whose head (śiras) consists in the worship of the teacher: Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita. Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad III, 2, 10.


Manu IV, 146.

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