1. Now, therefore, we will declare the acts productive of merit which form part of the customs of daily life, as they have been settled by the agreement (of those who know the law). 1
2. The authority (for these duties) is the agreement of those who know the law, 2
3. And (the authorities for the latter are) the Vedas alone.
4. (There are) four castes--Brâhmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sûdras.
5. Amongst these, each preceding (caste) is superior by birth to the one following.
6. (For all these), excepting Sûdras and those who have committed bad actions, (are ordained) the initiation, the study of the Veda, and the kindling of 6
the sacred fire; and (their) works are productive of rewards (in this world and the next).
7. To serve the other (three) castes (is ordained) for the Sûdra. 7
8. The higher the caste (which he serves) the greater is the merit.
9. The initiation is the consecration in accordance with the texts of the Veda, of a male who is desirous of (and can make use of) sacred knowledge. 9
10. A Brâhmana declares that the Gâyatrî is learnt for the sake of all the (three) Vedas. 10
11. (Coming) out of darkness, he indeed enters darkness, whom a man unlearned in the Vedas, initiates, and (so does he) who, without being learned in the Vedas, (performs the rite of initiation.) That has been declared in a Brâhmana.
12. As performer of this rite of initiation he shall seek to obtain a man in whose family sacred learning is hereditary, who himself possesses it, and who is devout (in following the law).
13. And under him the sacred science must be 13
studied until the end, provided (the teacher) does not fall off from the ordinances of the law.
14. He from whom (the pupil) gathers (âkinoti) (the knowledge of) his religious duties (dharmân) (is called) the Âkârya (teacher). 14
15. Him he should never offend. 15
16. For he causes him (the pupil) to be born (a second time) by (imparting to him) sacred learning. 16
17. This (second) birth is the best. 17
18. The father and the mother produce the body only. 18
19. Let him initiate a Brâhmana in spring, a Kshatriya in summer, a Vaisya in autumn, a Brâhmana in the eighth year after conception, a Kshatriya in the eleventh year after conception, (and) a Vaisya in the twelfth after conception. 19
20. Now (follows the enumeration of the years
to be chosen) for the fulfilment of some (particular) wish,
21. (Let him initiate) a person desirous of excellence in sacred learning in his seventh year, 21
22. A person desirous of long life in his eighth year, 22
23. A person desirous of manly vigour in his ninth year,
24. A person desirous of food in his tenth year,
25. A person desirous of strength in his eleventh year,
26. A person desirous of cattle in his twelfth year.
27. There is no dereliction (of duty, if the initiation takes place), in the case of a Brâhmana before the completion of the sixteenth year, in the case of a Kshatriya before the completion of the twenty-second year, in the case of a Vaisya before the completion of the twenty-fourth year. (Let him be initiated at such an age) that he may be able to perform the duties, which we shall declare below. 27
28. If the proper time for the initiation has passed, he shall observe for the space of two months 28
the duties of a student, as observed by those who are studying the three Vedas.
29. After that he may be initiated.
30. After that he shall bathe (daily) for one year. 30
31. After that he may be instructed.
32. He, whose father and grandfather have not been initiated, (and his two ancestors) are called 'slayers of the Brahman.' 32
33. Intercourse, eating, and intermarriage with them should be avoided. 33
34. If they wish it (they may perform the following) expiation;
35. In the same manner as for the first neglect (of the initiation, a penance of) two months (was) prescribed, so (they shall do penance for) one year. 35
36. Afterwards they may be initiated, and then they must bathe (daily),
1:1 1. Samaya, 'agreement, decision,' is threefold. It includes injunction, restriction, and prohibition.
Dharma, 'acts productive of merit, I usually translated by 'duty or law,' is more accurately explained as an act which produces the quality of the soul called apûrva, the cause of heavenly bliss and of final liberation.
1:2 Manu II, 6, 12 Yâgñ. I, 7; Gautama I, 1.
1:6 Manu II, 35.
2:7 Manu 1, 91, VIII, 410; and IX, 334; Yâgñ. I, 120.
2:9 The use of the masculine in the text excludes women. For though women may have occasion to use such texts as 'O fire, of the dwelling' &c. at the Agnihotra, still it is specially ordained that they shall be taught this and similar verses only just before the rite is to be performed.
2:10 The object of the Sûtra is to remove a doubt whether the ceremony of initiation ought to be repeated for each Veda, in case a man desires to study more than one Veda. This repetition is declared to be unnecessary, except, as the commentator adds, in the case of the Atharva-veda, for which, according to a passage of a Brâhmana, a fresh initiation is necessary. The latter rule is given in the Vaitâna-sûtra I, 1, 5.
2:13 Haradatta: 'But this (latter rule regarding the taking of p. 3 another teacher) does not hold good for those who have begun to study, solemnly, binding themselves, to their teacher. How so? As he (the pupil) shall consider a person who initiates and instructs him his Âkarya, and a pupil who has been once initiated cannot be initiated again, how can another man instruct him? For this reason it must be understood that the study begun with one teacher may not be completed with another, if the first die.' Compare also Haradatta on I, 2, 7, 26, and the rule given I, 1, 4, 26. In our times also pupils, who have bound themselves to a teacher by paying their respects to him and presenting a cocoa-nut, in order to learn from him a particular branch of science, must not study the same branch of science under any other teacher.
3:14 Manu II, 69; Yâgñ. I, 15.
3:15 Manu II, 144.
3:16 Manu II, 146-148.
3:17 'Because it procures heavenly bliss and final liberation.'--Haradatta.
3:18 Manu II, 147.
3:19 Yâgñ. I, 14; Manu II, 36; Âsvakâyana Gri. Sû. I, 19, 1, 4: Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 20 seq.
4:21 Manu II, 37.
4:22-26. Âsv. Gri. Sû. I, 19, 5, 7; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 21.
4:27 The meaning of the Sûtra is, that the initiation shall be performed as soon as the child is able to begin the study of the Veda. If it is so far developed at eight years, the ceremony must then be performed; and if it be then neglected, or, if it be neglected at any time when the capacity for learning exists, expiation prescribed in the following Sûtras must be performed. The age of sixteen in the case of Brâhmanas is the latest term up to which the ceremony may be deferred, in case of incapacity for study only. After the lapse of the sixteenth year, the expiation becomes also necessary. Manu II, 38; Yâgñ. I, 37.
4:28 The meaning is, he shall keep all the restrictions imposed upon a student, as chastity, &c, but that he shall not perform the fire-worship or service to a teacher, nor study. Manu II, 39; XI. 192, Yâgñ. I, 38; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 101.
5:30 'If he is strong, he shall bathe three times a day--morning, midday, and evening.'--Haradatta.
5:32 Brahman, apparently, here means 'Veda,' and those who neglect its study may be called metaphorically 'slayers of the Veda.'
5:33 Manu II, 40; Âsv. Gri. Sû. I, 19, 8, 9; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 21.
5:35 Compare above, I, 1, 1, 28.