Georg Bühler.

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

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General Rules i

Four Castes "... 9

Lawful Occupations . . . , . . . .n
Duty of Studying the Veda . . . . , 1 7

Definitions . . . . . . . .. 19

Purification . .21

Origin of Castes .25

Impurity ..... ^ .... 27

Women .......... 31

Rule of Conduct , . . . ... 34

Studentship . . . . . .';,.'. -40

Householder 42

Hermit ". 45

Ascetic ., . 46

Guests 49

Sraddhas , . .51

Sacrifices 56

initiation . , 57

Sn&taka .......... 59

Study of the Veda 63

Saluting 67

Lawful and Forbidden Food . . . . . .69

Adoption 75

Excommunication 77

Legal Procedure -79


Inheritance . . .84

Mixed Castes . . . 93

Duties of a King ... .... 96

Penances . . . . .102

Secret Penances 124

Gifts . . 136


Sources of the Law . 143

Different Customs . . 146

Studentship 149

Snataka 158

Waterpot ... . . . . . . . 160

Purification . .164

Lawful Livelihood . . 175

Impurity . . . . ..... . . 177

Inheritance . . . ; . .. . .178

Impurity 180

Forbidden Food . . . . . . . . . . 184

Sacri6ces . . . . . . . . . .186

Castes . 196

The King . 199

Criminal Law . . 201

Witnesses ......... 202

Marriage . . . . . . . . . 205

Veda-Study . .208

Penances . . . . 211

Inheritance 224

Women . . . . . . . . .231

Householder 237

Snataka . . . . . . . . .238

The Twilight Devotions . . . . . . 245

Bathing ........ 249

Tarpawa ...... 252

Mahaya^las . 2 5^



The Four Orders

. 258

The Offering to the Vital Airs .

. 262

Eating . . .

. 264


. 266

The Procreation of Sons

. 271

Ascetic . . . . . . .


Ways of Living for Householders . . . .

. 284

Hermits .. . .

. 291

Penances for a Student .


Aghamarshawa . . .

. 296

Prasntiyavaka . . . . . . .

. 297


. 300

^Tandrayawa . . . . .


Anaj-natparayana . . . . . . .


Penances . . . . ...

. 3 10

Secret Penances

. 320

Rites securing Success

. 322

Pari.rish/a on Adoption . . . . -','-.




Additions and Corrections . . . .


Transliteration of Oriental Alphabets adopted for the Trans-
lations of the Sacred Books of the East . . -357




THE Vasish//&a Dharma-rastra is, like that of Gautama,
the last remnant of the Sutras of a Vedic school, which, as
far as our knowledge goes at present, has perished, together
with the greater part of its writings. We owe the preserva-
tion of its Dharma-sutra probably to the special law schools
of India, which, attracted as it would seem by its title and
the legend connecting it with VasishMa Maitravaruwi, one of
the most famous Rtshis of the Rig-veda and a redoubtable
champion of Brahmanism, made it one of their standard
authorities. The early existence of a legend according to
which the Vasish///;a Dharma-sutra was considered either
to be a work composed by the fitshi Vasish///a, or at least
to contain the sum of his teaching on the duty of man, is
indicated by several passages of the work itself. For the
Dharma-sutra names Vasish/^/a, or appeals to his authority
on no less than three occasions. First, we find a rule on
lawful interest, which is emphatically ascribed to Vasish/^a 1 .
* Learn the interest for a money lender,' the Sutra says,
' declared by the word of Vasish^a ; five mashas (may be
taken) for twenty (karshapawas every month).' Again, at the
end of a long string of rules 2 which contain the observances
to be kept by sinners who undergo Krtfckfaa. penances, Va-
sish///a's name is brought forward as the authority for them,
and the last words are, 'Thus speaks the divine Vasish//*a.'
Finally, the concluding Sutra of the whole work 3 gives

1 Vaaishf'Aa Dharmasastra II, 51.

a VlM<sh/!Aa Dharmasastra XXIV, 5.

s Vasish/Aa Dharma-saatra XXX, n. Similar invocations of teachers at the
end of Sutras occur frequently, c. g. Asvalayaaa .SYauta-sutia XII, 15, 14; Rig-
vidhana V, 3, 4; Yaska, Nirukta, Roth, p. 216.


expression to the devotion felt by the author for the fitshi,
'Adoration to Vasish/^a, 6atayatu, the son of Mitra and
Varuwa and of Urva^l.' The epithets used in this last pas-
sage conclusively show that the Vasish/V&a after whom the
Dharma-sutra is named, is the individual who, according to
the Brahmanical tradition, is the Rtshi of a large portion of
the seventh MaWala of the Rig-veda and the progenitor of
the Vdsish///a clan of Brahmans, and who in some hymns
of the Rig-veda appears as the purohita or domestic priest
of king Sudas and the rival of VLyvamitra, and in other
Suktas as a half mythical being. For the verses Rig-veda
VII, 33, 11-14 trace the origin of this Vasish/^a to the two
sons of Aditi, Mitra and Varua, and to the Apsaras Urva^i,
and contain the outline of the curious, but disgusting story
of his marvellous birth, which Sayawa narrates more cir-
cumstantially in the commentary on verse u. Moreover,
the word Satayatu, which in the Dharma-sutra is used as an
epithet of Vasish/^a, occurs Rig-veda VII, 18, ai in close
connexion with the Rishi's name. Saya^a explains it in
his commentary on the latter passage as ' the destroyer of
many demons,' or, ' he whom many demons seek to destroy,'
and takes it as an epithet of the sage Parlyara, who is named
together with Vasish/^a. It would, however, seem that, if
the verse is construed on strictly philological principles,
neither Sayawa's interpretation, nor that suggested by the
Dharma-sutra can be accepted, and that .Satayatu has to
be takeri as a proper name 1 . But, however that may be, it
is not doubtful that we may safely infer from the expressions
used in the last sentence of the Dharma-sutra, that the
Vasish/^a to whom the invocation is addressed and the
composition of the work is ascribed, either immediately or
through the medium of pupils, is the individual named in
the Rig-veda. The connexion of the Dharma-sutra with
one of the ^/shis of the Rig-veda which is thus established,
possesses a particular interest and importance, because it
corroborates the statement of Govindasvamin, the commen-
tator of Baudhayana, that the Institutes of Vasish.V/a were

1 See Petersburg Dictionary, s. v. satayatu.


originally studied by and authoritative for the Bahvr/as,
the 7v?z'gvedins alone, and afterwards became an authority
for all Brahmans l . In the introduction to Gautama it has
been shown that a similar assertion which Govinda makes
with regard to the Gautama Dharma-sutra can be corrobo-
rated by a considerable amount of external and internal
evidence. It has been pointed out that not only the fact
that the spiritual pedigrees of the .-Oandoga schools enu-
merate several Gautamas, but also the partiality for texts
of the Sama-veda, which the Institutes of Gautama show
on several occasions, strongly support the tradition that
the Gautamiya Dharmajastra originally was the exclusive
property of a school of Samavedins. In the case of the
Vasish/X/a Dharmajastra indications of the latter kind are,
if not entirely wanting, at least very faint. The number of
Vedic passages quoted is, no doubt, large ; but few among
them belong to the class of Mantras which are recited
during the performance of grihya. rites, and must be taken
from the particular recension of the Veda to which the per-
former belongs. Besides, the texts of this description which
actually occur, do not bear the mark of a particular Veda or
.Sakha. The numerous texts, on the other hand, which are
quoted in support or explanation of the rules, are taken im-
partially from all the three ancient Vedas. For this reason it
would be dangerous to use the references to a dozen Rika,s
in chapters XVII and XXVI, as well as to the legend of
.Suna^sepa, which is told only in works belonging to the Rig-

1 See Sacred Books of the East, vol. ii, p. xlix, note 3. As GovindasviminY
statements possess a considerable importance, I give here the whole com-
mentary on Baudhlyana I, i, 2, 6, according to my two MSS., C.I. and C.T. :

c. i. ; qwJi c. T.]

C. I.;

C. T. J



veda, as a proof that the Vasish///a Dharma^astra is the work
of a jRzgvedin. Under these circumstances the three pas-
sages, mentioning Vasish/^a's name, and especially the last
which identifies him with the Rtshi of the Rig-veda, have a
particularly great importance, as they are the only pieces of
internal evidence which can be brought forward in favour
of Govindasvamin's valuable statement. But the latter is,
even without any further corroboration, credible enough,
because no reason is apparent why Govinda should have
invented such a story, and because his assertion fully
agrees with the well-established facts known about the
other existing Dharma-sutras, which all were composed
not for the benefit of the Aryans in general, but in order
to regulate the conduct of particular sections of the Brah-
manical community.

There is, however, one point in Govindasvamin's state-
ment which requires further elucidation. He says that the
Barrvrz'/as, i.e. the Rigved'ms in general, formerly studied
the Vasish///a Dharma^astra. It might, therefore, be in-
ferred that the work possessed equal authority among the
A^valayanlyas, the 5ankhayaniyas, the MaWukayanas, and
all the other schools of the Rig-veda, and that it belonged
to the most ancient heirlooms of its adherents. That is,
however, improbable for several reasons. For, first, neither
the A^valayaniyas nor the -Sankhayaniyas of the present
day study or attach any special importance to the Vasish-
Ma Dharma^astra. Secondly, if the Vasish//*a Dharma-
jastra had ever been the common authority on Dharma in
all the different schools of the Rig-veda, it would be neces-
sary to ascribe to it an antiquity which it clearly does not
possess. All Sutras were originally composed for a single
school only. Where we find that the same Sutra is adopted
by several Ka.ra.uas, as is the case with the Dhaf ma-sutra,
which both the Apastambiyas and the Hairawyake^as study,
and with the ^fayana-sutra, which the Bharadvafas and the
Hairawyake^as have in common, it is evident that the later
school did not care to compose a treatise of its own on
a certain subject, but preferred to take over the composi-
tion of an earlier teacher. If, now, a Sutra on a certain


subject were acknowledged by all the schools of one Veda,
it would follow that it must belong to the most ancient
books of that Veda, and must have been adopted succes-
sively by all its later schools. In such a case the Sutra
must certainly show signs of its great antiquity. But if
we look for the latter in the Vasish//fca Dharma-sutra, the
trouble will be in vain. Though that work contains" a
good deal that is archaic, yet, as will be shown presently,
its numerous quotations from Vedic writings and older
Dharma-sutras clearly prove that it does not belong to
the oldest productions of its class, but takes even among
the still existing Institutes of the Sacred Law only a
secondary rank. Under these circumstances the correct
interpretation of Govindasvamin's words will be, that ac-
cording to the Brahmanical tradition, known to him, some
school of J?2gvedins, the name of which he did not know,
or did not care to give, originally possessed the V&sish/^a
Dharma.rastra as its exclusive property, and that the work
later, through the action of the special law schools, acquired
general authority for all Brahmans. It is a pity that no
authentic information regarding the name of that school
of ./?/gvedins has been handed down. But, considering the
fact that Vedic schools are frequently named after Vedic
J?*shis, it seems not improbable that it was called after the
Vasish/^a whose authority the Dharma-sutra invokes, and
that we may assume the former existence of a Velsish//*a
school, a Sutra-ara#a, of the Rig-veda l , founded perhaps
by a teacher of the Vasish/^a gotra. This conjecture,
which, it must be confessed, is not supported by any cor-
roborative evidence from the Brihmanical tradition, will
explain why the title-pages of this and of the first part
speak, of a school of Vasish//fca.

The position of the VasishMa Dharma-sutra in Vedic
literature can be defined, to a certain extent, by an analysis

1 A school of VasishMas, belonging to the S&ma-veda, certainly existed in
ancient times. I have formerly put forward a. conjecture that the Vfisish/Aa
Dharmasastra might belong to that school (Digest of Hindu Law Cases, p. xxii,
first edition). But Govindasvamin's explicit statement makes it evident that
it has to be abandoned.


of its numerous quotations from the Sa/whitds, Brdhmawas,
and the older Sutras. By this means it will become
evident that the work belongs to a period when the chief
schools of the three ancient Vedas had been formed and
some of the still existing Dharma-sutras had been composed.
Faint indications will be found which make it probable
that the home of the school to which it belonged, lay in
the northern half of India, north of the Narmada and of the
Vindhyas. As regards the quotations from the Sruti, the
revealed texts of the Hindus, they are chiefly taken from
the Rig-veda and from three recensions of the Ya^-ur-veda.
Passages from the Rig-veda-sawhitd are quoted IV, 21 ;
XVII, 3-4 ; and XXVI, 5-7. With respect to the quota-
tions in the latter chapter it must, however, be noted that
its genuineness is, as will be shown in the sequel, not above
suspicion. A Brahma#a of the Rig-veda seems to be
referred to in XVII, 2, 32, 35. But the extracts, given
there, agree only in part with the text of the Aitareya, and
it is probable that they are taken from some lost composi-
tion of the same class. A curious Sutra, II, 35, shows a
great resemblance to the explanations of Vedic passages
given by Yaska in the Nirukta 1 . The passage points
either to a connexion of the author with the school of the
Nairuktas or, at least, to an acquaintance with its princi-
ples. Among the schools of the Ya^ur-veda, that of the
Ka/y&as is twice referred to by name, XII, 29 ; XXX, 5.
But Professor Weber, who kindly looked for the quotations
in the Berlin MS. of the Kanaka, has not been able to find
them. A third passage, I, 37, said to be taken from the
ATclturmasyas, i.e. the portion of a Sawhiti which treats of
the ^Titurmasya sacrifices, actually occurs in the Kanaka.
But, as it is likewise found in the -/Taturmasya-kawdfo, of the
Maitrayawiyas, it must remain uncertain from which of the
two recensions of the Black Ya^ur-veda it has been quoted.
The chapter on the duties of women, vers. 6-8, contains a

1 This resemblance has not escaped Kn'shwapaHrfita, who says in his com-
mentary, ri<t>3i*iti{<4i iatM <lfa II Wlfj'rtWmif< U 'sw *1*1 fa f^5~


long quotation which, in spite of some small discrepancies,
seems to have been taken from the Taittiriya-jsa/hit4 of
the Black Ya^"ur-veda. Passages of the Taittiriya Arawyaka
are quoted or referred to X, 35 and XXIII, 23, The
White Ya^ur-veda is mentioned several times as the Va^a-
saneyi-j-akha or the Vi^asaneyaka. The former expression
occurs III, 19 and XXIII, 13. The quotations, marked
as taken from the Va^asaneyaka, XII, 31, XIV, 46 are
found in the >Satapatha-brahmaa, and another passage
of the same work is quoted I, 45, without a specification of
the source. A very clear proof that the author of the
Dharma-sutra knew the Va^asaneyi-sawhita is furnished
by the Mantra, given II, 34. The text, quoted there,
occurs in three different 6"akhas, that of the Va^-asaneyins,
that of the Taittiriyas and the Atharva-veda, and in each
shows a few variae lectiones. Its wording in the Vl^asaneyi-
sa;hita literally agrees with the version, given in the
Sutra. The Sama-veda is referred to III, 19, and par^
ticular Samans are mentioned in the borrowed chapter
XXII, 9. A passage from the Nidana, probably a work on
Stomas and metres, which belonged to the Bhallavins, an
ancient school of Samavedins, occurs 1, 14-16. An Upani-
shad, connected with the Atharva-veda, the Atharvajiras, is
mentioned in the borrowed chapter XXII, 9, and the
existence of the Atharva-veda is pre-supposed, also, by ' the
vows called 5iras/ which are alluded to in the suspicious
chapter XXVI, n, and are said to be peculiar to the
Atharvavedins *. The chapters, which are undoubtedly
genuine, contain no allusion to the fourth Veda.

As regards the older works on Dharma, the author of the
Institutes of Vasish/#a certainly knew a-n,d used a treatise,
attributed to Yama, the Dharma-sutras of Manu, Harita
and Gautama, and perhaps that of Baudhiyana. With
respect to two verses, which, as the Sutra says, were pro-
claimed by Pra^apati, XIV, 24, 30, it is somewhat doubtful,
if it is meant that they have been taken from a work,
attributed to Pra^pati, or that they are merely utterances,
supposed to have been made by that deity for the benefit

1 See Baudhayana Dhanna-sfltra II, 8, 14, a, note.

CM] b


of mankind. The latter view seems, however, the more
likely one, as it is customary in the Snm'tis to ascribe the
revelation of social institutions, ceremonies, and penances to
Pra^apati, who, in the older works, occupies much the same
position as Brahma 1 , the creator, in the later religious systems.
It is not impossible that some of the references to Yama,
e. g. XI, 20, have to be explained in the same manner.
But other passages, attributed to Yama, e.g. XVIII, 13-16,
seem to have been taken from a work which was considered
the production of the Dharmara^a. Of course, none of the
Yamasnwitis, which exist in the present day, can be meant.
The quotations from Manu are numerous 1 . They have
all been taken from a book attributed to a Manu, and
possess a very high interest for the history of the present
metrical Manusmrzti. For the prose passage from the
Mdnava, given IV, 5, furnishes the proof that the author of
the Vasish/7/a Dharma^astra quotes from a Dharma-sutra
attributed to a Manu, while other quotations show that the
MUnava Dharma-sutra contained, also, verses, some of which,
e. g. XIX, 37, were Trish/ubhs, and that a large proportion
of these verses has been embodied in Bhngu's version of
the Mr.nusmrz'ti. Fifteen years ago 2 I first called attention
to Vasish//&a's prose quotation from the Manava, and
pointed out that, if the MSS. of the Vasish//za Dharma-
jastra were to be trusted, a small piece of the lost Manava
Dharma-sutra, on which the present Manusmn'ti is based,
had been found. The incorrectness and the defective state of
the materials which I then had at my disposal did not allow
me to go further. Since that time several, comparatively
speaking, good MSS. of the Institutes of Vasish//za and
many inferior ones have been found, and all, at least all
those which I have examined, give the quotation in prose
exactly in the same form. The fact that Vasish/^a gives,
in IV, 5, a prose quotation from Manu may, therefore, be
considered as certain 3 . Moreover several of the best MSS.

1 They occur Vasishtta Dharmasastra 1, 17; III, 2 ; IV, 5-8; XI, 23 ; XII,
16; XIII. 16; XIX, 3?; XX, 18; XXIII, 43; XXVI, 8.
3 Digest of Hindu Law Cases, p. xxxi, note, first edition.
1 Such, I suppose, will be the opinion of all European scholars. Those Hindus


show, by adding the particle ' id ' at the end of Sutra 8,
that the quotation from the Manava is not finished with
Sutra 5, but includes the two verses given in Sutras 6 and
7 and the second prose passage in Sutra 8. Among the
verses the first is found entire in the metrical Manusmn'ti,
and the second has likewise a representative in that work,
though its concluding portion has been altered in such a
manner that the permission to slaughter animals at sacri-
fices has been converted into an absolute prohibition to
take animal life. Sutra 8, which again is in prose, has no
counterpart in the metrical Manusmrzti, as might be ex-
pected from its allowing 'a full-grown ox' or ' a full-grown
he-goat' to be killed in honour of a distinguished Brah-
ma;/a or Kshatriya guest. A closely corresponding passage
is found in the 6"atapatha-brahmaa, and a verse expressing
the same opinion in the Ya^avalkya Smrttl, the versifica-
tion of a Dharma-sutra of the White Ya^ur-veda. As
the last part of the quotation resembles the text of the
Brahmawa and its language is very archaic, it is quite
possible that, though belonging to the passage from the
Manava-sutra, it contains a Vedic text, taken from some
hitherto unknown Brahmawa which Manu adduced in
support of his opinion. On this supposition the arrange-
ment of the whole quotation would be as follows. Sutra 5
would give the original rule of the author of the Manava
in an aphoristic form ; Sutras 6-7 would repeat the same
opinion in verse, the latter being probably .Slokas current
among the Brahmanical community ; and Sutra 8 would
give the Vedic authority for the preceding sentences. This
arrangement would be in strict conformity vvitH the plan
usually followed by the authors of Dharma-sutras. But
whether Sutra 8 contains a second original aphorism of the
Manava Dharma-sutra or a Vedic passage, it seems in-
disputable that the author of the Vasish/^a Dharma-sutra
knew a treatise attributed to a teacher called Manu, which,
like all other Dharma-sutras, was partly written in apho-

who allow their religious convictions to get the better of their reason, will
perhaps prefer Krtshnapam/ita's ingenious, but unsound explanation of the
words iti manavam, by iti manumatam, ' such is the opinion of Manu.'

b 2


ristic prose and partly in verse. The passage furnishes,
therefore, the proof for Professor Max Miiller's conjecture
that our metrical Manusmr/ti, like all the older works of
the same class, is based on the Dharma-sutra of a Vedic
Sutra-Tarawa. In connexion with this subject it may be men-
tioned that the Institutes of Vasish/^a contain, besides the
above-mentioned passages, no less than thirty-nine verses 1 ,

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