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1. Now, therefore, the desire to know the sacred law for their welfare (should arise) in (initiated) men. 1

2. He who knows and follows the (sacred law is called) a righteous man.

3. He becomes most worthy of praise in this world and after death gains heaven. 3

4. The sacred law has been settled by the revealed texts and by the tradition (of the sages).

5. On failure of (rules given in) these (two sources) the practice of the Sishtas (has) authority.

6. But he whose heart is free from desire (is called) a Sishta.

7. (Acts sanctioned by) the sacred law (are those) for which no (worldly) cause is perceptible. 7

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8. The country of the Âryas (Âryâvarta) lies to the east of the region where (the river Sarasvatî) disappears, to the west of the Black-forest, to the north of the Pâripâtra (mountains), to the south of the Himâlaya. 8

9. (According to others it lies to the south of the Himâlaya) and to the north of the Vindhya range (being limited east and west by the two oceans). 9

10. Acts productive of spiritual merit, and customs which (are approved of) in that country, must be everywhere acknowledged (as authoritative);

11. But not different ones, (i.e. those) of (countries where) laws opposed (to those of Âryâvarta prevail). 11

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12. Some (declare the country of the Âryas to be situated) between the (rivers) Gaṅgâ and Yamunâ. 12

13. Others (state as) an alternative, that spiritual pre-eminence (is found) as far as the black antelope grazes. 13

14. Now the Bhâllavins quote also (the following) verse in the Nidâna: 14

15. 'In the west the boundary-river, in the east 15

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the region where the sun rises,--as far as the black antelope wanders (between these two limits), so far spiritual pre-eminence (is found).

16. 'Those religious acts which men, deeply versed in the knowledge of the three Vedas and acquainted with the sacred law, declare to be lawful, (are efficient) for purifying oneself and others.' 16

17. Manu has declared that the (peculiar) laws of countries, castes, and families (may be followed) in the absence of (rules of) the revealed texts. 17

18. Sinful men are, he who sleeps at sunrise or at sunset, he who has deformed nails or black teeth, he whose younger brother was married first, he who married before his elder brother, the husband of a younger sister married before the elder, the husband of an elder sister whose younger sister was married first, he who extinguishes the sacred fires, (and) he who forgets the Veda through neglect of the daily recitation. 18

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19. They state that there are five mortal sins. (mahâpâtaka),

20. (Viz. violating) a Guru's bed, drinking (the spirituous liquor called) surâ, slaying a learned Brâhmana, stealing the gold of a Brâhmana, and associating with outcasts, 20

21. Either by (entering into) spiritual or matrimonial (connexion with them). 21

22. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'He who during a year associates with an outcast becomes (likewise) an outcast; not by sacrificing for him, by teaching him or by (forming) a matrimonial (alliance with him), but by using the same carriage or seat.' 22

23. A minor offence causing loss of caste (ûpapâtaka, is committed by him) who (after beginning an Agnihotra sacrifice) forsakes the sacred fires, and by him who offends a Guru, by an atheist, by him who takes his livelihood from atheists, and by him who sells the Soma (plant). 23

24. Three wives (are permitted) to a Brâhmana according to the order of the castes, two to a Kshatriya, one to a Vaisya and to a Sûdra. 24

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25. Some declare (that twice-born men may marry) even a female of the Sûdra caste, like those (other wives), without (the recitation of) Vedic texts.

26. Let him not act thus. 26

27. For in consequence of such (a marriage) the degradation of the family certainly ensues, and after death the loss of heaven.

28. There are six marriage-rites, 28

29. (Viz.) that of Brahman (brâhma), that of the gods (daiva), that of the Rishis (ârsha), that of the Gandharvas (gândharva), that of the Kshatriyas (kshâtra), and that of men (mânusha).

30. If the father, pouring out a libation of water, gives his (daughter) to a suitor, that (is called) the Brahma-rite 30

31. If (the father) gives his daughter, decking her with ornaments, to an officiating priest, whilst a sacrifice is being performed, that is called the Daiva-rite. 31

32. And (if the father gives his daughter) for a cow and a bull, (that is called) the Ârsha-rite. 32

33. If a lover takes a loving female of equal caste, that (is called) the Gândharva-rite. 33

34. If they forcibly abduct (a damsel), destroying (her relatives) by strength (of arms), that (is called) the Kshâtra-rite. 34

35. If, after making a bargain (with the father, a 35

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suitor) marries (a damsel) purchased for money, that (is called) the Mânusha-rite.

36. The purchase (of a wife) is mentioned in the following passage of the Veda, 'Therefore one hundred (cows) besides a chariot should be given to the father of the bride.' 36

37. (It is stated) in (the following passage of) the Kâturmâsyas, 'She (forsooth) who has been bought by her husband (commits sin, as) afterwards she unites herself with strangers.' 37

38. Now they quote also (the following verse): 'Lost learning comes back; when the family is lost all is lost. Even a horse becomes estimable on account of its pedigree; therefore men marry wives descended from an (unblemished) family.

39. The three (lower) castes shall live according to the teaching of the Brâhmana. 39

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40. The Brâhmana shall declare their duties,

41. And the king shall govern them accordingly.

42. But a king who rules in accordance with the sacred law, may take the sixth part of the wealth (of his subjects), 42

43. Except from Brâhmanas. 43

44. It has been declared in the Veda, 'But he obtains the sixth part of (the merit which Brâhmanas gain by) sacrifices and charitable works.' 44

45. (It is further stated in the Veda), 'The Brâhmana makes the Veda rich; the Brâhmana saves from misfortune; therefore the Brâhmana shall not be made a source of subsistence. Soma is his king.' 45

46. Further (another passage says), 'After death bliss (awaits the king who does not oppress Brâhmanas).'


1:1 1. The word 'now' serves, in this as in analogous cases, various purposes. It marks the beginning of the book, serves as an auspicious invocation (maṅgala), and indicates that something else, the initiation, must precede the study of the sacred law. 'Therefore' means 'because, after initiation, the neophyte is to be taught the prescribed rules regarding personal purification:--Krishnapandita. For the wording of the Sûtra compare the be-ginning of Gaimini's Mîmâmsâ-sûtras.

1:3-6. Gautama I, 1-4; XXVIII, 48.

1:7 The Sûtra contains a limitation of Sûtra 5. It indicates that the customs of the Sishtas, for which worldly motives are perceptible, have no authority, and are not to be followed. The principle enunciated is one inculcated by the Mîmâmsakas (P: M. S. p. 2 I, 3, 3-4). See also Âpastamba I, 1, 4, 5-10; I, 4, 12, 8; and Introduction, p. xxvii. Krishnapandita has misunderstood the Sûtra. He reads, against the MSS., agrihyamânakârano ’dharmah, 'unlawful acts are those for which no motive, i.e. no sacred source such as the Vedas, is perceptible.'

2:8 The region where the river Sarasvatî disappears is the Pattiâlâ district in the Pañgâb. The Pâripâtra mountains belong to the great Vindhya range, and are probably the hills in Mâlvâ. The position of the Kâlakavana or Black-forest is not accurately known. But it must probably be sought in Bihâr. All the MSS. as well as Krishnapandita read in this Sûtra prâgâdarsanât instead of prâgadarsanât, 'to the east of the region where the river Sarasvatî disappears.' This circumstance gains some importance by the fact that the Mahâbhâshya on Pânini II, 4, 10, quotes the same definition of the Âryâvarta, giving, however, instead of adarsanât prâgâdarsât, 'to the east of Âdarsa, i.e. the Âdarsa mountains.' It seems to me not improbable that our Sûtra, too, had originally prâgâdarsât, and that some Pandit who knew nothing about the Âdarsa hills, but remembered Manu II, as, and Baudhâyana I, 1, 25, where the word vinasanât, 'the disappearance of the Sarasvatî,' undoubtedly occurs, added the syllable na and forgot to correct the â, after prâg.

2:9 The translation follows Krishnapandita's commentary, which recommends itself on account of the analogous definition of Âryâvarta given by Manu II, 22.

2:11 My translation follows the text given by Krishnapandita and p. 3 B., and the explanation of the former, because it seems to me that the general sense which they give, is the correct one. I feel, however, not certain that the word. pratilomakadharmânâm, 'of those countries where opposite laws prevail,' is more than a care less correction. The majority of the MSS. read pratilomakakshadharmânah (kalpadharmânah), which by itself is difficult of explanation. But, as the text of the next Sûtra contains an apparently superfluous phrase, I fear, we shall have to admit that the text is here disfigured by corruptions, which with our present MSS. it is impossible to remove with certainty.

3:12 Krishnapandita reads this Sutra 'etad âryâvartam ityâkakshate gaṅgâyamunayor antaretyeke,' and takes it as one sentence, the subject of which is 'eke.' I feel no doubt that this explanation is utterly untenable, and that the first four words have nothing to do with this Sutra, the second part of which occurs also in the Baudhâyana Dharma-sûtra I, 1, 27. My opinion is that they originally belonged to Sûtra 11, though the state of the MSS. at my disposal does not allow me to say how Sûtra 11 has to be corrected. The general sense of Sûtra 12 is, however, perfectly certain.

3:13 Manu II, 23; Yâgñavalkya I, 2. It deserves to be noted that the black antelope (black-buck), Oryx cervicapra, selects for its home the well-cultivated, rich plains of India only, and is entirely wanting in the sandy, mountainous or forest districts, which are now, just as in ancient times, the portion of the aboriginal tribes.

3:14 Regarding the Bhâllavins, see Max Müller, History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, pp. 193, 364. Krishnapandita thinks that Nidâna means desanirnaya, 'the disquisition on the countries,' which is the title of a section which occurs in most modern compilations on law. But it will be safer to take it as the name of a Vedic work, identical with or similar to that quoted in Saunaka's Brihaddevatâ, Weber, Hist. Ind. Lit., p. 81.

3:15 Sindhur vidhâranî or vidharanî, as B. reads, cannot be p. 4 taken with Krishnapandita, as 'the ocean,' because in the latter sense sindhu is a masculine. It must be a boundary-river, probably the Sarasvatî. By sûryasyodana, 'the region where the sun rises,' the udayagiri or 'mountain of the east' may possibly be meant.

4:16 This verse, too, is marked as a quotation by the concluding word iti, though it is not necessary that it should be taken as a quotation from the Nidâna. Here, and in the sequel verses ending in iti are marked as quotations by hyphens.

4:17 Manu VII, 203; VIII, 41; Gautama XI, 20. Gâti,' castes,' which sometimes, and perhaps as appropriately, has been translated by 'tribes,' denotes in my opinion those numerous subdivisions of the four great varnas, which we now find all over India, and which can be shown to have existed for a very long time. Usually the word 'caste' is also applied to them.

4:18 Krishnapandita explains vîrahâ, 'he who extinguishes the sacred fires,' by 'the destroyer of his sons or of his spiritual clients' p. 5 (yagamâna); but the rules given below, XX, 11, and XXI, 27, in the section on penances, confirm the explanation given above.

5:20 Vishnu XXXV, 1-2. Guru means here the father, see below, XX, 15.

5:21 Vishnu XXXV, 3-5. Spiritual connexion, i.e. becoming the teacher or priest of an outcast, or his pupil or spiritual client (yagamâna).

5:22 Identical with Manu XI, 181. It must be understood that spiritual or matrimonial connexion with an outcast causes immediate degradation, as Vishnu states expressly.

5:23 Vishnu XXXVII, 6, 31; Gautama XXI, 11. Regarding the precise meaning of pratigahnuyât, 'offends,' see below, XXI, 27.

5:24-25. Manu III, 13; Yâgñavalkya I, 57; Pâraskara Grihya-sûtra I, 4, 8-11.

6:26-27. Manu III, 14-19.

6:28 Âpastamba II, 5, II, 17-20.

6:30 Vishnu XXIV, 19; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 1.

6:31 Vishnu XXIV, 20; Âsvalâyana Grihya.-sûtra I, 6, 2,

6:32 Vishnu XXIV, 21; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 3.

6:33 Vishnu XXIV, 23; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 5.

6:34 Vishnu XXIV, 25; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 8.

6:35 Vishnu XXIV, 24; Âsvalâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 6, 6.

7:36 Sâṅkhâyana Grihya-sûtra I, 14; Pâraskara Grihya-sûtra I, 8, 18; Âpastamba II, 6, 13, 12. Though Vasishtha's quotation is less complete than Âpastamba's, still the following Sûtras show that he knew the conclusion of the passage, and does not take it as an authority for the sale of a daughter.

7:37 Krishnapandita makes a mistake by connecting the word 'kâturmâsyeshu' with the next Sûtra. He is right in saying that 'the Kâturmâsyas' is the name of a book. It is, however, not a separate work, but the kânda or section of a Vedic work treating of the Kâturmâsya sacrifices (see Max Müller, Hist. Anc. Sansk. Lit., p. 355). The particular work from which our quotation has been taken, is either the Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ, or the Kâthaka. For, as Dr. von Schroeder informs me, Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ I, 10, 11 reads 'anritam vâ eshâ karoti yâ patyuh krîtâ satyathânyais karati,' and the title of the kânda is Kâturmâsyâni. Professor Weber, Ind. Stud. V, 407, has found the same words in the Kâturmâsya section of the Kâthaka XXXVI, 5. In the translation I have added the beginning of the passage which Vasishtha omits, according to the Maitrâyânîya Samhitâ.

7:39-41. Gautama XI, 25-27.

8:42 Vishnu III, 22-25. Though the ambiguous word dhana, 'wealth,' is used in the text, it seems not doubtful that Vasishtha alludes to the land-tax, which generally consists of one sixth of the produce.

8:43 Vishnu III, 26.

8:44 Vishnu III, 27--28. Pûrta, 'the merit gained by charitable works,' i.e. by planting trees, digging wells, and so forth. The words 'iti ha,' placed at the end of the Sûtra, indicate that it is a quotation, and that vigñâyate, 'it is declared in the Veda,' has to be understood from Sûtra 46. Gautama XI, 11, too, alleges that the rule is based on a Vedic passage.

8:45 Satapatha-brâhmana V, 4, 2, 3. Krishnapandita's division of the quotation into several Sûtras is unnecessary. His explanation of anâdya, which he takes to mean 'the first of all,' is wrong. He asserts that the Brâhmana is said 'to make the Veda rich,' because by sacrificing and so forth he fulfils its object and protects it. But the phrase is probably corrupt. If it is said that Soma is the king of the Brâhmanas, the object is to indicate that an earthly king is not their master, see Gautama XI, 1.

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