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The sacred laws of the Aryas : as taught in the schools of Apastamba, Gautama, Vasishtha and Baudhayana online

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Avaras, the men of his own times, with the holiness of the
ancient sages, who, owing to the greatness of their ' lustre,'
were able to commit various forbidden acts without dimin-
ishing their spiritual merit l . These utterances prove that
Apastamba considered himself a child of the Kali Yuga,
the age of sin, during which, according to Hindu notions,
no /tlzshis can be born. If, therefore, in spite of this
explicit disclaimer, the Sawhita and the Brahmawa of the
Black Ya^ur-veda are sometimes called Apastamba or
Apastambiya, i.e. belonging to Apastamba, the meaning
of this expression can only be, that they were and are
studied and handed down by the school of Apastamba, not
that its founder was their author, or, as the Hindus would
say, saw them.

The fact that Apastamba confined his activity to the
composition of Sutras is highly important for the deter-
mination of the period to which he belonged. It clearly
shows that in his time the tertiary or Sutra period of the
Ya^ur-veda had begun. Whether we assume, with Pro-
fessor Max Miiller, that the Sutra period was one and the
same for all the four Vedas, and fix its limits with him

1 Dharma-sfitra II, 6, 13, i-io; II, 10, 37, 4.


between 600-200 B.C., or whether we believe, as I am
inclined to do, that the date of the Sutra period differed
for each Veda, still the incontestable conclusion is that
the origin of the Apastambiya school cannot be placed
in the early times of the Vedic period, and probably falls in
the last six or seven centuries before the beginning of the
Christian era.

The correctness of the traditional statement that Apa-
stamba is younger than Baudhayana may be made very
probable by the following considerations. First, Bau-
dhayana's and Apastamba's works on Dharma have a
considerable number of Sutras in common. Thus in the
chapter on Penances not less than seven consecutive Sutras,
prescribing the manner in which outcasts are to live and to
obtain readmission into the Brahmanical community for
their children, occur in both treatises 1 . Besides this passage,
there are a number of single Sutras 2 which agree literally.
Taken by itself this agreement does not prove much, as it
may be explained in various ways. It may show either
that Baudhayana is older than Apastamba, and that the
latter borrowed from the former, or that the reverse was
the case. It may also indicate that both authors drew
from one common source. But if it is taken together with
two other facts, it gains a considerable importance. First,
Apastamba holds in several cases doctrines which are of
a later origin than those held by Baudhayana. With
respect to this point the puritan opinions which Apastamba
puts forward regarding the substitutes for legitimate sons
and regarding the appointment of widows (niyoga), and
his restriction of the number of marriage-rites, may be
adduced as examples. Like many other ancient teachers,
Baudhayana permits childless Aryans to satisfy their
craving for representatives bearing their name, and to allay
their fears of falling after death into the regions of torment
through a failure of the funeral oblations, by the affiliation

1 Baucih. Dh. II, i, 2, i8-23 = Ap. Dh. I, 10, 29, 8-14.
* E.g. Ap. Dh. I, r, 2, 30; I, 2, 6, 8-9; I, 5, 15, 8 correspond respectively
to Baudh. Dh. I, 2, 3, 39-40 ; I, 2, 3, 38 , I, 2, 3, 29.



of eleven kinds of substitutes for a legitimate son. Illegiti-
mate sons, the illegitimate sons of wives, the legitimate
and illegitimate offspring of daughters, and the children of
relatives, or even of strangers who may be solemnly adopted,
or received as members of the family without any ceremony,
or be acquired by purchase, are all allowed to take the
place and the rights of legitimate sons l . Apastamba
declares his dissent from this doctrine. He allows legiti-
mate sons alone to inherit their father's estate and to follow
the occupations of his caste, and he explicitly forbids the
sale and gift of children 2 .

In like manner he protests against the custom of making
over childless widows to brothers-in-law or other near
relatives in order to obtain sons who are to offer the funeral
oblations to the deceased husband's manes, while Baudha-
yana has as yet no scruple on the subject 3 . Finally, he
omits from his list of the marriage-rites the Paija^a vivaha,
where the bride is obtained by fraud 4 ; though it is re-
luctantly admitted by Baudhayana and other ancient
teachers. There can be no doubt that the law which
placed the regular continuance of the funeral oblations
above all other considerations, and which allowed, in order
to secure this object, even a violation of the sanctity of the
marriage-tie and other breaches of the principles of morality,
belongs to an older order of ideas than the stricter views
of Apastamba. It is true that, according to Baudhayana's
own statement 6 , before his time an ancient sage named
Aupa^anghani, who is also mentioned in the .Satapatha-
brahmawa, had opposed the old practice of taking sub-
stitutes for a legitimate son. It is also very probable that
for a long time the opinions of the Brahmawa teachers,
who lived in different parts of India and belonged to
different schools, may have been divided on this subject.
Still it seems very improbable that of two authors who
both belong to the same Veda and to the same school, the

1 Baudh. Dh. II, 2, 3, 17 seqq. a Ap. Dh. II, 5, 13, 1-2, u.

' Ap. Db. II, 10, 27, 2-7. * Ap. Dh. II, 5, n and 12.

Baudh. Dh. II, a, 3, 33.


earlier one should hold the later doctrine, and the later
one the earlier opinion. The contrary appears the more
probable assumption. The same remarks apply to the
cases of the Niyoga and of the Paud/a marriage l .

The second fact, which bears on the question how the
identity of so many Sutras in the two Dharma-sutras is
to be explained, affords a still stronger proof of Apa-
stamba's posteriority to Baudhayana. For on several
occasions, it appears, Apastamba controverts opinions
which Baudhayana holds, or which may be defended with
the help of the latter's Sutras. The clearest case of this
kind occurs in the chapter on Inheritance, where the
treatment of the eldest son on the division of the estate by
the father is discussed. There Apastamba gives it as his
own opinion that the father should make an equal division
of his property ' after having gladdened the eldest son by
some (choice portion of his) wealth,' i. e. after making him
a present which should have some value, but should not
be so valuable as to materially affect the equality of the
shares 2 . Further on he notices the opinions of other
teachers on this subject, and states that the practice advo-
cated by some, of allowing the eldest alone to inherit, as
well as the custom prevailing in some countries, of allotting
to the eldest all the father's gold, or the black cows, or the
black iron and grain, is not in accordance with the pre-
cepts of the Vedas. In order to prove the latter assertion
he quotes a passage of the Taittiriya Sawhita, in which it
is declared that ' Manu divided his wealth among his sons/
and no difference in the treatment of the eldest son is pre-
scribed. He adds that a second passage occurs in the
same Veda, which declares that ' they distinguish the eldest
son by (a larger portion of) the heritage,' and which thus
apparently countenances the partiality for the first-born.
But this second passage, he contends, appealing to the

1 For another case, the rules, referring to the composition for homicide,
regarding which Apastamba holds later views than Baudhaynna, sec the Fest-
gruss an R. von Roth, pp. 47-48.

1 Ap. Dh. II, 6, 13, 13, and II, <5, 14, I.


opinion of the Mim;#sists, is, like many similar ones,
merely a statement of a fact which has not the authority
of an injunction l . If we now turn to Baudhayana, we
find that he allows of three different methods for the
distribution of the paternal estate. According to him,
either an equal share may be given to each son, or the
eldest may receive the best part of the wealth, or, also,
a preferential share of one tenth of the whole property.
He further alleges that the cows, horses, goats, and sheep
respectively go to the eldest sons of Brahmaas, Kshatriyas,
VaLsyas and vSudras. As authority for the equal division
he gives the first of the two Vedic passages quoted above ;
and for the doctrine that the eldest is to receive the best
part of the estate, he quotes the second passage which
Apastamba considers to be without the force of an injunc-
tion 2 . The fact that the two authors' opinions clash is
manifest, and the manner in which Apastamba tries to
show that the second Vedic passage possesses no authority,
clearly indicates that before his time it had been held to
contain an injunction. As no other author of a Dharma-
sutra but Baudhayana is known to have quoted it, the con-
clusion is that Apastamba's remarks are directed against
him. If Apastamba does not mention Baudhdyana by
name, the reason probably is that 1n olden times, just as in
the present day, the Brahmanical etiquette forbad a direct
opposition against doctrines propounded by an older teacher
who belongs to the same spiritual family ( as

A similar case occurs in the chapter on Studentship 3 ,
where Apastamba, again appealing to the Mima/wsists,
combats the doctrine that pupils may eat forbidden food,
such as honey, meat, and pungent condiments, if it is given
to them as leavings by their teacher. Baudhayana gives
no explicit rule on this point, but the wording of his
Sutras is not opposed to the doctrine and practice, to
which Apastamba objects. Baudhayana says that students

1 Ap. Dh. II, 6, 14, 6-13. Baudh. Dh. II, 2, 3, 2-7.

' Ap. Dh.I, i, 4 ,5-/.


shall avoid honey, meat, pungent condiments, &c. ; he
further enjoins that pupils are to obey their teachers
except when ordered to commit crimes which cause loss
of caste (pataniya) ; and he finally directs them to eat the
fragments of food given to them by their teachers. As
the eating of honey and other forbidden substances is not
a crime causing loss of caste, it is possible that Baudha-
yana himself may have considered it the duty of a pupil
to eat any kind of food given by the teacher, even honey
and meat. At all events the practice and doctrine which
Apastamba blames, may have been defended by the
wording of Baudhayana's rules 1 .

The three points which have been just discussed, viz.
the identity of a number of Sutras in the works of the two
authors, the fact that Apastamba advocates on some points
more refined or puritan opinions, and, especially, that he
labours to controvert doctrines contained in Baudhayana's
Sutras, give a powerful support to. the traditional state-
ment that he is younger than that teacher. It is, however,
difficult to say how great the distance between the two
really is. Mahadeva, as stated above, places between them
only Bharadva^a, the author of a set of Sutras, which as
yet have not been completely recovered. But it seems
to me not likely that the latter was his immediate pre-
decessor in the vidyava#wa or spiritual family to which
both belonged. For it cannot be expected that two
successive heads of the school should each have composed
a Sutra and thus founded a new branch-school. It is

1 Cases, in which Apastamba's Gr*hya-sutra appears to refer to, or to
controvert, Baudhayana's Gr*hya-sutra, have been collected by Dr. Winternitz,
op. cit., p. 8. Dr. Burnell, Tanjore Catalogue, p. 34, too, considers Baudhayana
to be older than Apastamba, because his style is so ranch simpler. With this
remark may be compared Dr. \Vinternitz's very true assertion that Baudhayana's
style resembles sometimes, especially in the discussion of disputed points, that
of the Brahmawas. On the other hand, Dr. R. G. Bha</arkar, Second Report
on the Search for Sanskrit MSS., p. 34, believes Baudhayana to be later than
Apastamba and Bharadva^a, because he teaches other developments of sacrificial
rites, unknown to the other two Sutrakaras. This may be true, but it must not
be forgotten that every portion of Baudhayana's Sutras, which has been
subjected to a critical enquiry, has turned out to be muck interpolated and
enlarged by later hands.


more probable that Baudhayana and Bhdradva^a, as well
as the latter and Apastamba, were separated by several
intervening generations of teachers, who contented them-
selves with explaining the works of their predecessors.
The distance in years between the first and the last of
the three Sutrakaras must, therefore, I think, be measured
rather by centuries than by decades l .

As regards the priority of Apastamba to the school of
Satyasha<a?//a Hiravyake.rin, there can be no doubt about
the correctness of this statement. For either Hirawyake^in
himself, or, at least, his immediate successors have appro-
priated Apastamba's Dharma-sutra and have inserted it
with slight modifications in their own collection. The
alterations consist chiefly in some not very important
additions, and in the substitution of more intelligible and
more modern expressions for difficult and antiquated
words 2 . But they do not extend so far as to make the
language of the Dharma-sutra fully agree with that of
the other sections of the collection, especially with the
Grzhya-sutra. Numerous discrepancies between these two
parts are observable. Thus we read in the Hirawyakeji

1 The subjoined pedigree of the Sutrakaras of the Black Ya^nir-veda will
perhaps make the above remarks and my interpretation of the statements of
Mahadeva and the other authorities mentioned above more intelligible :
Kha^/ika, taught the Taittirtya recension of the Black Ya.fur-veda.

(Successors of KhiWika, number unknown, down to)
Baudhayana, Pravaj&anakarta, i. e. ist Sutrakara, and founder of Baudha-

(Successors of Baudhayana down to fellow-pupil of Bharadva'jf a, number unknown.)

(Successors of Baudhayana after the schism down to the present day.)
Bharadva^a, and Sutrakara, and founder of Bharadva^a-jfearawa.

(Successors of Bharadvaf a down to fellow-pupil of Apastamba, number unknown.)
(Successors after the schism down to the present day.)

Apastamba, 3rd Sutrakara, and founder of A pastamba-/htraa,

(Successors of Apastamba down to fellow-pupil of SatyasharfAa Hirawyakeiin, number

(Successors of Apastamba down to the present day.)

Satyftshfc/Aa Hirattyak&rin, 4 th Sutrakara, and founder of Hirawyakeji-

(Successors of Satyasharftia Hirawyakejin down to the present day.)
After the schism of Satyasha^Aa Hirawyake^in the pedigree has not been con-
tinned, though Mahadeva asserts that several other Sutrakaras arose. But to
A-ork it out further would be useless.

3 See Appendix II to Part I of my second edition of Apastamba's Dharma-
sutra, p. 117 seqq.


Gr/hya-sutra that a Brahmawa must, ordinarily, be initiated
in his seventh year, while the rule of the Dharma-sutra,
which is identical with Ap. Dh. I, i, i, 18, prescribes that
the ceremony shall take place in the eighth year after
conception. The commentators, Matmlatta on the Grthya.-
sGtra and Mahadeva on the Dharma-sutra, both state that
the rule of the Grzhya-sutra refers to the seventh year
after birth, and, therefore, in substance agrees with the
Dharma-sutra. They are no doubt right. But the differ-
ence in the wording shows that the two sections do not
belong to the same author. The same inference may be
drawn from the fact that the Hirayake^i Grzhya-sutra,
which is much longer than Apastamba's, includes a con-
siderable amount of matter which refers to the sacred law,
and which is repeated in the Dharma-sutra. According to
a statement which I have heard from several learned Brah-
mawas, the followers of Hira;/yake.nn, when pronouncing
the sawkalpa or solemn pledge to perform a ceremony,
declare themselves to be members of the Hirawyakeji
school that forms a subdivision of Apastamba's (apastam-
bantargatahirawyak&yLyakhadhyayi . . . aham). But I have
not been able to find these words in the books treating of
the ritual of the Hirayake.rins, such as the Mahejabha//!.
If this assertion could be further corroborated, it would be
an additional strong proof of the priority of Apastamba,
which, however, even without it may be accepted as a fact l .
The distance in time between the two teachers is probably
not so great as that between Apastamba and Baudhayana,
as Mahadeva mentions no intermediate Sutrakara between
them. Still it is probably not less than 100 or 150 years.

The results of the r.bove investigation which show that
the origin of the Apastamba school fails in the middle
of the Sutra period of the Black Ya^ur-veda, and that
its Sutras belong to the later, though not to the latest
products of Vedic literature, are fully confirmed by an

1 Compare also Dr. Winternitz's remarks on the dependence of the Grihya-
sfitra of the Hirawyakejins on Apastamba's, op. cit., p. 6 seqq., and the second
edition of the Ap. Dh., Part I, p. xi.


examination of the quotations from and references to Vedic
and other books contained in Apastamba's Sutras, and
especially in the Dharma-sutra. We find that all the four
Vedas are quoted or referred to. The three old ones, the
ftik, Ya^s, and Saman, are mentioned both separately
and collectively by the name trayi vidya, i.e. threefold
sacred science, and the fourth is called not Atharvangirasa^,
as is done in most ancient Sutras, but Atharva-veda l . The
quotations from the Rik and Saman arc not very numerous.
But a passage from the ninth MaWala of the former, which
is referred to Dh. I, i, 3, 2, is of some extent, and shows
that the recension which Apastamba knew, did not differ
from that which still exists. As Apastamba was an ad-
herent of the Black Ya^oir-veda, he quotes it, especially in
the .Srauta-sutra, very frequently, and he adduces not only
texts from the Mantra-sawhita, but also from the Taittirlya-
brahmawa and Ara/zyaka. The most important quotations
from the latter work occur Dh. II, 2, 3, i6-II, 2, 4, 9, where
all the Mantras to be recited during the performance of
the Bali-offerings are enumerated. Their order agrees
exactly with that in which they stand in the sixty-seventh
Anuvaka of the tenth Prapa///aka of the recension of the
Arawyaka which is current among the Andhra Brahmawas 2 .
This last point is of considerable importance, both for the
history of the text of that book and, as we shall see further
on, for the history of the Apastambiya school.

The White Ya^ur-veda, too, is quoted frequently in the
vSrauta-sutra and once in the section on Dharma by the
title Va^asaneyaka, while twice its Brahmaa, the Va^a-
saneyi-brahmawa, is cited. The longer one of the two
passages, taken from the latter work, Dh. I, 4, 12, 3, does,
however, not fully agree with the published text of the
Madhyandina recension. Its wording possesses just suf-
ficient resemblance to allow us to identify the passage
which Apastamba meant, but differs from the .Satapatha-

1 A p. Dh. II, n, 29, 12.

a The Taittiriya Arawyaka exists in three recensions, the Kaw/a/a, Dravu/a,
and the Andhra, the first of which has been commented on by Sayawa.


brahmawa in many details l . The cause of these discrepancies
remains doubtful for the present 2 . As regards the Atharva-
veda, Apastamba gives, besides the reference mentioned
above and a second to the Ahgirasa-pavitra 3 , an abstract
of a long passage from Atharva-veda XV, 10-13, regarding
the treatment of a Vratya, i.e. a learned mendicant
Brahma#a, who really deserves the title of an atithi, or
guest 4 . It is true that Apastamba, in the passage referred
to, does not say that his rule is based on the Atharva-
veda. He merely says that a Brahmawa is his authority.
But it seems, nevertheless, certain that by the expression
a Brahmawa, the Brahma//a-like fifteenth book of the
Atharva-veda is meant, as the sentences to be addressed
by the host to his guest agree literally with those which
the Atharva-veda prescribes for the reception of a Vratya.
Haradatta too, in his commentary, expresses the same
opinion. Actual quotations from the Atharva-veda are not
frequent in Vedic literature, and the fact that Apastamba's
Dharma-sutra contains one, is, therefore, of some interest.

Besides these Vedic texts 5 , Apastamba mentions, also,
the Ahgas or auxiliary works, and enumerates six classes,
viz. treatises on the ritual of the sacrifices, on grammar,
astronomy, etymology, recitation of the Veda, and metrics 6 .
The number is the same as that which is considered the
correct one in our days 7 .

As the Dharma-sutra names no less than nine teachers
in connection with various topics of the sacred law, and
frequently appeals to the opinion of some (eke), it follows
that a great many such auxiliary treatises must have
existed in Apastamba's time. The A&iryas mentioned
are Eka, Kava, Kava, Kuika, Kutsa, Kautsa, Push-

1 Compare on this point Professor Eggeling's remarks in Sacred Books of
the East, vol. xii, p. xxxix seqq.

See the passage from the .^arattavyuhabhashya given below, ver. 10.

Ap. Dh. I, 2, 2, 2. * Ap. Dh. II, 3, 7, 12-17.

Some more are quoted in the .Srauta-sfitra, see Professor Gaibe in the
Gurupiyakaumudi, p. 33 scqq.

Ap. Dh. II, 4, 8, 10.

See also Max Mliller, Hist. Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 1 1 1.


karasadi. Varshyayawi, JSVetaketu, and Harita 1 , Some of
these persons, like Harita and Kava, are known to have
composed Sutras on the sacred law, and fragments or
modified versions of their works are still in existence,
while Kawva, Kautsa, Pushkarasadi or Paushkarasadi, as
the grammatically correct form of the name is, and
Varshyayawi are quoted in the Nirukta, the Prati-rakhyas,
and the Varttikas on P#ini as authorities on phonetics,
etymology, and grammar 2 . Kava, finally, is considered
the author of the still existing Kalpa-sutras of the Kawva
school connected with the White Ya^ur-veda. It seems
not improbable that most of these teachers were authors of
complete sets of Ahgas. Their position in Vedic literature,
however, except as far as Kava, Harita, and .SVetaketu are
concerned, is difficult to define, and the occurrence of their
names throws less light on the antiquity of the Apas-
tambiya school than might be expected. Regarding
Harita it must, however, be noticed that he is one of the
oldest authors of Sutras, that he was an adherent of the
Maitrayamya vSakha 3 , and that he is quoted by Baudhayana,
Apastamba's predecessor. The bearing of the occurrence
of .SVetaketu's name will be discussed below.

Of even greater interest than the names of the teachers
are the indications which Apastamba gives, that he knew
two of the philosophical schools which still exist in India,
viz. the Purva or Karma Mimawsa and the Vedanta. As
regards the former, he mentions it by its ancient name,
Nyaya, which in later times and at present is usually
applied to the doctrine of Gautama Akshapada. In two
passages 4 he settles contested points on the authority of
those who know the Nyaya, i. e. the Purva M!ma;sa, and

1 Ap. Dh. 1,6, 19, 3-8; I, 10, 28, 1-2; 1,4, 13,10; 1,6, 18,2; 1,6, 19, 12;

I, 10, 28, 5, 16; I, 10, 29, 12-16.
a Max Mtiller, loc. cit., p. 142.

3 A Dharma-sfitra, ascribed to this teacher, has been recovered of late, by
Mr. Vaman Shastrf Islampnrkar. Though it is an ancient work, it does not
contain Apastamba's quotations, see Grundriss d. Indo-Ar. Phil, und Altertumsk.,

II, 8, 8.

4 Ap. Dh. II, 4, 8, 13; II,6,i 4 , 13.


in several other cases he adopts a line of reasoning which
fully agrees with that followed in Gaimini's Mimawsa-sutras.
Thus the arguments l , that ' a revealed text has greater
weight than a custom from which a revealed text may be
inferred,' and that ' no text can be inferred from a custom
for which a worldly motive is apparent,' exactly correspond
with the teaching of Gaimini's Mimawsa-sutras I, 3, 3-4.
The wording of the passages in the two works does not
agree so closely that the one could be called a quotation
of the other. But it is evident, that if Apastamba did not
know the Mima;/zsa-sutras of Gaimini, he must have pos-
sessed some other very similar work. As to the Vedanta,
Apastamba does not mention the name of the school.
But Kha<^as 22, 23 of the first Pa/ala of the Dharma-sutra
unmistakably contain the chief tenets of the Vedantists, and

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