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 XXVIII

1. A woman is not defiled by a lover, nor a Brāhmaṇa by Vedic rites, nor water by urine and ordure, nor fire by consuming (impure substances).[1]

2-3. A wife, (though) tainted by sin, whether she be quarrelsome, or have left the house, or have suffered criminal force, or have fallen into the hands of thieves, must not be abandoned; to forsake her is not prescribed (by the sacred law). Let him wait for the time of her courses; by her temporary uncleanness she becomes pure.[2]

4. Women (possess) an unequalled means of purification; they never become (entirely) foul. For month by month their temporary uncleanness removes their sins.[3]

5. Women belong first to three gods, Soma (the moon), the Gandharva, and Fire, and come afterwards into the possession of men; according to the law they cannot be contaminated.[4]

6. Soma gave them cleanliness, the Gandharva their melodious voice, and Fire purity of all (limbs); therefore women are free from stains.[5]

7. Those versed in the sacred law state that there are three acts (only) which make women outcasts, (viz.) the murder of the husband, slaying a learned Brāhmaṇa, and the destruction of the fruit of their womb.[6]

8. A calf is pure when the milk flows, a bird when it causes fruit to fall, women during dalliance, and a dog when he catches a deer.[7]

9. Pure is the mouth of a goat and of a horse, pure is the back of a cow, pure are the feet of a Brāhmaṇa, but women are pure in all (limbs)[8]

10. I will now declare the purificatory texts (which are found) in each Veda; by muttering them or reciting them at a burnt-oblation (men) are doubtlessly cleansed (from sin).[9]

11. (They are) the Aghamarshaṇa, the Devakṛta, the Śuddhavatīs, the Taratsamas, the Cūṣmāṇḍas, the Pāvamānīs, and the Durgāsāvitri;

12. The Atīṣaṅgas, the Padastobhas, and the Sāmans (called) Vyāhṛti, the Bhāruṇḍa Sāmans, the Gāyatra (Sāman), and the Raivata;[10]

13. The Puruṣavrata and the Bhāsa, and likewise the Devavrata (Sāmans), the Abliṅga, the Bārhaspatya, the hymn addressed to Vāc, likewise the Ṛcas (called) Madhu;[11]

14. The Śatarudriya, the Atharvaśiras, the Trisuparṇa, the Mahāvrata, the Gosūkta, and the Aśvasūkta, and the two Sāmans (called) Suddhāśuddhīya.[12]

15. The three (Sāmans called) Ājyadohas, the Rathantara, the Agnervrata, the Vāmadevya, and the Bṛhat, being muttered, purify (all) living beings. (He who sings them) may obtain the recollection of former existences, if he desires it.

16. Gold is the firstborn of Fire, through Viṣṇu exists the earth, and the cows are children of the Sun; he who bestows as gifts gold, a cow, and land will obtain rewards without end for them.

17. A cow, a horse, gold, (and) land, bestowed on an unlearned Brāhmaṇa who neglects his sacred duties, prevent the giver (from attaining heaven).[13]

18-19. (If he presents), on the full moon of the month of Vaiśākha, (to) seven or five Brāhmaṇas, black or white sesamum grains (mixed) with honey, (saying), 'May the king of justice (Yama) rejoice!' or (expressing) some other (wish) which he may have in his mind, the guilt which he has incurred during his (whole) life will instantly vanish.

20. But hear (now) the reward of the merit acquired by that man who gives the skin of a black antelope, to which the hoofs are (still) attached and the navel of which is adorned with gold, covering it with sesamum grains.[14]

21. 'Without doubt he has bestowed (through that gift) the four-faced earth, together with its caves filled with gold, and together with its mountains, groves, and forests.'[15]

22. He who, placing on the skin of a black antelope, sesamum, gold, honey, and butter, gives it to a Brāhmaṇa, overcomes all sin.'

Footnotes and references:


XXVIII. 'Is not defiled by a lover,' i.e. does not become irrevocably an outcast, but may be restored to her position after p. 133 performing a penance, provided her lover was a man of equal caste.--Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita.


-3. For the last clause compare Yājñavalkya I, 72.


See above, V, 3-4.


Pāraskara Gṛhya-sūtra I, 4, 16


Yājñavalkya I, 71.


Yājñavalkya I, 72.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 49.


Viṣṇu XXIII, 40.


-15, Viṣṇu LVI, and preface, p. xviii. The explanation of the various terms used will be found in the notes to Professor Jolly's translation of Viṣṇu.


MSS. and Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita, Abhiṣaṅgāḥ. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita and MS. B. bhāradaṇḍāni; E. bhāḍāni; Bh. and F. omit vv. 12 and 13 a.


Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita and B. artvigam; Bh. E. F. as above. The Bhāsa begins, according to Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita, agne vratapate.


Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita and B. indraśuddhe; Bh. E. F. śuddhaṃśuddhena.


Manu IV, 190, 193-194. Kṛṣṇapaṇḍita and MSS. B. and E. read uparudanti dātāraṃ, MSS. Bh. and F. uparundanti. I change the latter reading to uparundhanti. 18-19. Viṣṇu XC, 10.


-22. Viṣṇu LXXXVII, 8-10, and Professor Jolly's preface, p. xviii.


'The four-faced earth,' i.e. the earth which is surrounded by the four oceans.

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