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p. 143



1. The sacred law is taught in each Veda. 1

2. We will explain (it) in accordance with that.

3. (The sacred law), taught in the Tradition (Smriti, stands) second. 3

4. The practice of the Sishtas (stands) third. 4

5. Sishtas, forsooth, (are those) who are free from envy, free from pride, contented with a store of grain sufficient for ten days, free from covetousness, and free from hypocrisy, arrogance, greed, perplexity, and anger. 5

6. '(Those are called) Sishtas who, in accordance with the sacred law, have studied the Veda together 6

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with its appendages, know how to draw inferences from that, (and) are able to adduce proofs perceptible by the senses from the revealed texts.'

7. On failure of them, an assembly consisting at least of ten members (shall decide disputed points of law).

8. Now they quote also (the following verses): 'Four men, who each know one of the four Vedas, a Mîmâmsaka, one who knows the Aṅgas, one who recites (the works on) the sacred law, and three Brâhmanas belonging to (three different) orders, (constitute) an assembly consisting, at least, of ten members.' 8

9. 'There may be five, or there may be three, or there may be one blameless man, who decides (questions regarding) the sacred law. But a thousand fools (can)not (do it).' 9

10. 'As an elephant made of wood, as an antelope made of leather, such is an unlearned Brâhmana: those three having nothing but the name (of their kind).' 10

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11. 'That sin which dunces, perplexed by ignorance and unacquainted with the sacred law, declare (to be duty), falls, increased a hundredfold, on those who propound it.' 11

12. 'Narrow and difficult to find is the path of the sacred law, towards which many gates lead. Hence, if there is a doubt, it must not be propounded by one man (only), however learned he may be.' 12

13. 'What Brâhmanas, riding in the chariot of the law (and) wielding the sword of the Veda, propound even in jest, that is declared to be the highest law.'

14. 'As wind and sun will make water, collected on a stone, disappear, even so the sin that (cleaves) to an offender completely vanishes like water.' 14

15. 'He who knows the sacred law shall fix the penances with discernment, taking into consideration the constitution, the strength, the knowledge, and the age (of the offender), as well as the time and the deed.' 15

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16. Many thousands (of Brâhmanas) cannot form a (legal) assembly (for declaring the sacred law), if they have not fulfilled their sacred duties, are unacquainted with the Veda, and subsist only by the name of their caste.' 16


143:1 I. Vasishtha I, 4. Each Veda, i.e. each sâkhâ or redaction of the Veda.--Govinda.

143:3 Vasishtha I, 4. Govinda takes smriti, 'the tradition,' in the sense of works (grantha) explaining the recollections of the Rishis, and is no doubt right in doing so.

143:4 Vasishtha I, 5. The explanation of âgama by 'practice' rests on the authority of Govinda and the parallel passages where sîla and âkâra, 'conduct,' are used.

143:5 Âpastamba I, 7, 20, 8; Gautama XXVIII, 48. Kumbhidhânya, translated according to Govinda by 'contented with a store of grain sufficient for ten days,' means, according to others, 'contented with a store of grain sufficient for six days or for a year.'

143:6 Vasishtha VI, 43. Govinda omits the word 'iti,' given by the p. 144 MSS. after the verse, whereby it is marked as a quotation. 'The appendages,' i.e. the Itihâsas and Purânas.--Govinda.

144:8 Vasishtha III, 20. Govinda, quoting Gautama XXVIII, 49, says that Vânaprasthas cannot serve as members of Parishads, because they live in the forest. He also notices a different reading, not found in my MSS. 'Âsramasthâs trayo mukhyâh.' He asserts that thereby professed students are intended, because professed students are declared to be particularly holy in the Dharmaskandha-brâhmana.

144:9 Vasishtha III, 7. Itare, translated by 'fools,' means literally, those different from the persons enumerated in the preceding verse.' Govinda remarks that according to Sûtra 12 one learned Brâhmana must be taken only in cases of the most pressing necessity.

144:10 Vasishtha III, 11.

145:11 Vasishtha III, 6.

145:12 The 'gates' of the sacred law are the Vedas, the Smritis, and the practice of the Sishtas. They are many, because the redactions of the Vedas and Smritis are numerous and the practices vary in different countries.

145:14 I.e. provided the offender performs the penance imposed by learned and virtuous Brâhmanas. Pranâsayet, 'will make disappear,' is ungrammatical, as the subject stands in the dual. Grammatical accuracy has probably been sacrificed to the exigencies of the metre.

145:15 Vasishtha XIX, 9. Sarîram, literally 'the body,' means here the constitution, which may be bilious, 'windy,' and so forth. Âyuh, literally 'life' or 'long life,' has been translated by 'knowledge,' in accordance with Govinda's explanation gñânam. As the word vayah, 'age,' also occurs in this verse, it is clear that âyuh cannot have its usual meaning.

146:16 Vasishtha III, 5. The two copies of the commentary omit this Sûtra, though it is quoted in the explanation of Sûtra 9. The best MSS. repeat the last words of the Sûtra in order to show that the Kandikâ ends here. The same practice is observed, though not quite regularly, in the sequel.

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