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The Minor Law Books (SBE33), by Julius Jolly, [1889], at

24. The Ordeal by Sacred Libation.

* 327. 327 Now I shall proclaim the excellent rule regarding the ordeal by sacred libation, as it has been laid down, for all seasons indiscriminately, by learned men.

* 328. 328 The consecrated water shall be given, early in the morning, to a virtuous man, who believes in God. He must have fasted and bathed, and wear his wet clothes.

* 329. The defendant should be made to drink three mouthfuls of water in which (an image of) the deity whom he holds sacred has been bathed and worshipped.

* 330. 330 If he should meet himself with any calamity

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within a week or a fortnight (after having undergone this ordeal), it shall be regarded as proof of his guilt.

* 331. If a great misfortune even should befall him after the lapse of a fortnight, he must not be harassed by any one, because the fixed period has elapsed.

* 332. 332 The drinking of consecrated water should be avoided in the case of great criminals, irreligious or ungrateful men, eunuchs, low rascals, unbelievers, Vrâtyas, and slaves.

333. 333 A righteous king, who administers the five ordeals to persons charged with a crime in the way which has been stated, acquires prosperity both in a future state and in this life.

* 334. The ordeal by water is destined for the hot season. The ordeal by poison (should be administered) in very cold weather. A Brahman should be tested by the balance, fire is reserved for the Kshatriya.

* 335. The ordeal by water should be administered to the Vaisya. Poison should be given to the Sidra. He must not give poison to the Brahman, nor should a Kshatriya take the (hot) iron.

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336. The (five) ordeals, ending with the sacred libation and beginning with the balance, should be administered in the case of heavy charges. One hundred and fifty (Panas) should be given (to the defendant) if he has been acquitted. One who has not been acquitted is liable to punishment.


116:327 327-333. Vishnu XIV; Yâgñavalkya II, 112, I13

327. The ordeal by sacred libation is performed by swallowing three mouthfuls of consecrated water in which an idol has been bathed. The defendant is declared innocent, if no misfortune befalls him within a certain period after this trial.

116:328 Immoral persons and infidels must not be subjected to this ordeal, because they are already deprived of the assistance of the gods in every case. A. Read pûrvâhne in the text.

116:330 If any misfortune should happen to him, through the act of the king or through fate, it shall be taken as proof of his guilt. A. Other legislators refer in particular to illness, fire, death p. 117 of a relation, or punishment inflicted by the king. Nor is every sort of disease to be considered as proof of guilt. It is obvious that the inclusion of a punishment inflicted by the king among the proofs of guilt tends to place the defendant at the mercy of the sovereign power.

117:332 All the various categories of persons that are mentioned here as unfit for the performance of this ordeal are so because they are already deprived of the assistance of the gods in every case. A. Vrâtyas, those who have not been invested with the thread.

117:333 The term 'persons charged with a crime' may denote both real offenders, whose offence has remained secret, and wrongly accused persons. A.

Next: 25. The Rice Ordeal