Vāsiṣṭha

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The Dharmasūtra of Vasiṣṭha forms an independent treatise and has no relationship with the Kalpasutra. The chapters of this text are divided in a way that resemble the practice of later Smritis.[1] This Dharmasūtra has a unique characteristic, it cites the opinions of Manu at many places. This led scholars like Bühler among others to form a hypothesis that there must have been a Dharmasūtra of Manu.[2]

Authorship and Dates[edit]

Vasiṣṭha is the name of a ṛsis or sage related to the Ṛgveda.[3] This Dharmasūtra is later than that of Gautama and Baudhayana.[4] Kane dates it approximately between 300 to 100 BC.[5]

Commentaries[edit]

There is no ancient commentary on this Dharmasūtra and it is due to this reason that it does not have a strong manuscript tradition and therefore its passages are very corrupt. The only commentaries written on this text belong to the 19th and 20th centuries which are of little value.[1]

Organization and Contents[edit]

Some of the topics discussed in this Dharmasūtra are rules of four castes, lawful occupations, duty of studying the Veda, purification, origin of castes, impurity, women, rule of conduct, studentship, householder, hermit, ascetic, guests, sacrifices, initiation, study of the Veda, saluting, lawful and forbidden food, adoption, excommunication, legal procedure, inheritance, mixed castes, duties of a King, penances, secret penances, and gifts.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasūtras: The Law Codes of Ancient India, (Oxford World Classics, 1999), p 244
  2. ^ Robert Lingat, The Classical Law of India, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1993), p. 24
  3. ^ Robert Lingat, The Classical Law of India, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1993), p.23
  4. ^ Robert Lingat, The Classical Law of India, (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1993), p.24
  5. ^ Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasūtras: The Law Codes of Ancient India, (Oxford World Classics, 1999), p.xxxi
  6. ^ Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasūtras: The Law Codes of Ancient India, (Oxford World Classics, 1999), p 244-246