1. Religion & Spirituality
The Laws of Manu
Full Text of Buhler's Translation


The Laws of Manu, c. 1500 BCE
Translated by G. Buhler
Source: Indian History Sourcebook

1. Having dwelt with a teacher during the fourth part of (a man's) life, a Brahmana shall live during the second quarter (of his existence) in his house, after he has wedded a wife.

2. A Brahmana must seek a means of subsistence which either causes no, or at least little pain (to others), and live (by that) except in times of distress.

3. For the purpose of gaining bare subsistence, let him accumulate property by (following those) irreproachable occupations (which are prescribed for) his (caste), without (unduly) fatiguing his body.

4. He may subsist by Rita (truth), and Amrita (ambrosia), or by Mrita (death) and by Pramrita (what causes many deaths); or even by (the mode) called Satyanrita (a mixture of truth and falsehood), but never by Svavritti (a dog's mode of life).

5. By Rita shall be understood the gleaning of corn; by Amrita, what is given unasked; by Mrita, food obtained by begging and agriculture is declared to be Pramrita.

6. But trade and (money-lending) are Satyanrita, even by that one may subsist. Service is called Svavritti; therefore one should avoid it.

7. He may either possess enough to fill a granary, or a store filling a grain-jar; or he may collect what suffices for three days, or make no provision for the morrow.

8. Moreover, among these four Brahmana householders, each later-(named) must be considered more distinguished, and through his virtue to have conquered the world more completely.

9. One of these follows six occupations, another subsists by three, one by two, but the fourth lives by the Brahmasattra.

10. He who maintains himself by picking up grains and ears of corn, must be always intent on (the performance of) the Agnihotra, and constantly offer those Ishtis only, which are prescribed for the days of the conjunction and opposition (of the moon), and for the solstices.

11. Let him never, for the sake of subsistence, follow the ways of the world; let him live the pure, straightforward, honest life of a Brahmana.

12. He who desires happiness must strive after a perfectly contented disposition and control himself; for happiness has contentment for its root, the root of unhappiness is the contrary (disposition).

13. A Brahmana, who is a Snataka and subsists by one of the (above-mentioned) modes of life, must discharge the (following) duties which secure heavenly bliss, long life, and fame.

14. Let him, untired, perform daily the rites prescribed for him in the Veda; for he who performs those according to his ability, attains to the highest state.

15. Whether he be rich or even in distress, let him not seek wealth through pursuits to which men cleave, nor by forbidden occupations, nor (let him accept presents) from any (giver whosoever he may be).

16. Let him not, out of desire (for enjoyments), attach himself to any sensual pleasures, and let him carefully obviate an excessive attachment to them, by (reflecting on their worthlessness in) his heart.

17. Let him avoid all (means of acquiring) wealth which impede the study of the Veda; (let him maintain himself) anyhow, but study, because that (devotion to the Veda-study secures) the realisation of his aims.

18. Let him walk here (on earth), bringing his dress, speech, and thoughts to a conformity with his age, his occupation, his wealth, his sacred learning, and his race.

19. Let him daily pore over those Institutes of science which soon give increase of wisdom, those which teach the acquisition of wealth, those which are beneficial (for other worldly concerns), and likewise over the Nigamas which explain the Veda.

20. For the more a man completely studies the Institutes of science, the more he fully understands (them), and his great learning shines brightly.

21. Let him never, if he is able (to perform them), neglect the sacrifices to the sages, to the gods, to the Bhutas, to men, and to the manes.

22. Some men who know the ordinances for sacrificial rites, always offer these great sacrifices in their organs (of sensation), without any (external) effort.

23. Knowing that the (performance of the) sacrifice in their speech and their breath yields imperishable (rewards), some always offer their breath in their speech, and their speech in their breath.

24. Other Brahmanas, seeing with the eye of knowledge that the performance of those rites has knowledge for its root, always perform them through knowledge alone.

25. A Brahmana shall always offer the Agnihotra at the beginning or at the end of the day and of the night, and the Darsa and Paurnamasa (Ishtis) at the end of each half-month,

26. When the old grain has been consumed the (Agrayana) Ishti with new grain, at the end of the (three) seasons the (Katurmasya-) sacrifices, at the solstices an animal (sacrifice), at the end of the year Soma-offerings.

27. A Brahmana, who keeps sacred fires, shall, if he desires to live long, not eat new grain or meat, without having offered the (Agrayana) Ishti with new grain and an animal-(sacrifice).

28. For his fires, not being worshipped by offerings of new grain and of an animal, seek to devour his vital spirits, (because they are) greedy for new grain and flesh.

29. No guest must stay in his house without being honoured, according to his ability, with a seat, food, a couch, water, or roots and fruits.

30. Let him not honour, even by a greeting, heretics, men who follow forbidden occupations, men who live like cats, rogues, logicians, (arguing against the Veda,) and those who live like herons.

31. Those who have become Snatakas after studying the Veda, or after completing their vows, (and) householders, who are Srotriyas, one must worship by (gifts of food) sacred to gods and manes, but one must avoid those who are different.

32. A householder must give (as much food) as he is able (to spare) to those who do not cook for themselves, and to all beings one must distribute (food) without detriment (to one's own interest).

33. A Snataka who pines with hunger, may beg wealth of a king, of one for whom he sacrifices, and of a pupil, but not of others; that is a settled rule.

34. A Snataka who is able (to procure food) shall never waste himself with hunger, nor shall he wear old or dirty clothes, if he possesses property.

35. Keeping his hair, nails, and beard clipped, subduing his passions by austerities, wearing white garments and (keeping himself) pure, he shall be always engaged in studying the Veda and (such acts as are) conducive to his welfare.

36. He shall carry a staff of bamboo, a pot full of water, a sacred string, a bundle of Kusa grass, and (wear) two bright golden ear-rings.

37. Let him never look at the sun, when he sets or rises, is eclipsed or reflected in water, or stands in the middle of the sky.

38. Let him not step over a rope to which a calf is tied, let him not run when it rains, and let him not look at his own image in water; that is a settled rule.

39. Let him pass by (a mound of) earth, a cow, an idol, a Brahmana, clarified butter, honey, a crossway, and well-known trees, turning his right hand towards them.

40. Let him, though mad with desire, not approach his wife when her courses appear; nor let him sleep with her in the same bed.

41. For the wisdom, the energy, the strength, the sight, and the vitality of a man who approaches a woman covered with menstrual excretions, utterly perish.

42. If he avoids her, while she is in that condition, his wisdom, energy, strength, sight, and vitality will increase.

43. Let him not eat in the company of his wife, nor look at her, while she eats, sneezes, yawns, or sits at her ease.

44. A Brahmana who desires energy must not look at (a woman) who applies collyrium to her eyes, has anointed or uncovered herself or brings forth (a child).

45. Let him not eat, dressed with one garment only; let him not bathe naked; let him not void urine on a road, on ashes, or in a cow-pen,

46. Nor on ploughed land, in water, on an altar of bricks, on a mountain, on the ruins of a temple, nor ever on an ant-hill,

47. Nor in holes inhabited by living creatures, nor while he walks or stands, nor on reaching the bank of a river, nor on the top of a mountain.

48. Let him never void faeces or urine, facing the wind, or a fire, or looking towards a Brahmana, the sun, water, or cows.

49. He may ease himself, having covered (the ground) with sticks, clods, leaves, grass, and the like, restraining his speech, (keeping himself) pure, wrapping up his body, and covering his head.

50. Let him void faeces and urine, in the daytime turning to the north, at night turning towards the south, during the two twilights in the same (position) as by day.

51. In the shade or in darkness a Brahmana may, both by day and at night, do it, assuming any position he pleases; likewise when his life is in danger.

52. The intellect of (a man) who voids urine against a fire, the sun, the moon, in water, against a Brahmana, a cow, or the wind, perishes.

53. Let him not blow a fire with his mouth; let him not look at a naked woman; let him not throw any impure substance into the fire, and let him not warm his feet at it.

54. Let him not place (fire) under (a bed or the like); nor step over it, nor place it (when he sleeps) at the foot-(end of his bed); let him not torment living creatures.

55. Let him not eat, nor travel, nor sleep during the twilight; let him not scratch the ground; let him not take off his garland.

56. Let him not throw urine or faeces into the water, nor saliva, nor (clothes) defiled by impure substances, nor any other (impurity), nor blood, nor poisonous things.

57. Let him not sleep alone in a deserted dwelling; let him not wake (a superior) who is sleeping; let him not converse with a menstruating woman; nor let him go to a sacrifice, if he is not chosen (to be officiating priest).

58. Let him keep his right arm uncovered in a place where a sacred fire is kept, in a cow-pen, in the presence of Brahmanas, during the private recitation of the Veda, and at meals.

59. Let him not interrupt a cow who is suckling (her calf), nor tell anybody of it. A wise man, if he sees a rainbow in the sky, must not point it out to anybody.

60. Let him not dwell in a village where the sacred law is not obeyed, nor (stay) long where diseases are endemic; let him not go alone on a journey, nor reside long on a mountain.

61. Let him not dwell in a country where the rulers are Sudras, nor in one which is surrounded by unrighteous men, nor in one which has become subject to heretics, nor in one swarming with men of the lowest castes.

62. Let him not eat anything from which the oil has been extracted; let him not be a glutton; let him not eat very early (in the morning), nor very late (in the evening), nor (take any food) in the evening, if he has eaten (his fill) in the morning.

63. Let him not exert himself without a purpose; let him not drink water out of his joined palms; let him not eat food (placed) in his lap; let him not show (idle) curiosity.

64. Let him not dance, nor sing, nor play musical instruments, nor slap (his limbs), nor grind his teeth, nor let him make uncouth noises, though he be in a passion.

65. Let him never wash his feet in a vessel of white brass; let him not eat out of a broken (earthen) dish, nor out of one that (to judge) from its appearance (is) defiled.

66. Let him not use shoes, garments, a sacred string, ornaments, a garland, or a water-vessel which have been used by others.

67. Let him not travel with untrained beasts of burden, nor with (animals) that are tormented by hunger or disease, or whose horns, eyes, and hoofs have been injured, or whose tails have been disfigured.

68. Let him always travel with (beasts) which are well broken in, swift, endowed with lucky marks, and perfect in colour and form, without urging them much with the goad.

69. The morning sun, the smoke rising from a (burning) corpse, and a broken seat must be avoided. Let him not clip his nails or hair, and not tear his nails with his teeth.

70. Let him not crush earth or clods, nor tear off grass with his nails; let him not do anything that is useless or will have disagreeable results in the future.

71. A man who crushes clods, tears off grass, or bites his nails, goes soon to perdition, likewise an informer and he who neglects (the rules of) purification.

72. Let him not wrangle; let him not wear a garland over (his hair). To ride on the back of cows (or of oxen) is anyhow a blamable act.

73. Let him not enter a walled village or house except by the gate, and by night let him keep at a long distance from the roots of trees.

74. Let him never play with dice, nor himself take off his shoes; let him not eat, lying on a bed, nor what has been placed in his hand or on a seat.

75. Let him not eat after sunset any (food) containing sesamum grains; let him never sleep naked, nor go anywhere unpurified (after meals).

76. Let him eat while his feet are (yet) wet (from the ablution), but let him not go to bed with wet feet. He who eats while his feet are (still) wet, will attain long life.

77. Let him never enter a place, difficult of access, which is impervious to his eye; let him not look at urine or ordure, nor cross a river (swimming) with his arms.

78. Let him not step on hair, ashes, bones, potsherds, cotton-seed or chaff, if he desires long life.

79. Let him not stay together with outcasts, nor with Kandalas, nor with Pukkasas, nor with fools, nor with overbearing men, nor with low-caste men, nor with Antyavasayins.

80. Let him not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance.

81. For he who explains the sacred law (to a Sudra) or dictates to him a penance, will sink together with that (man) into the hell (called) Asamvrita.

82. Let him not scratch his head with both hands joined; let him not touch it while he is impure, nor bathe without (submerging) it.

83. Let him avoid (in anger) to lay hold of (his own or other men's) hair, or to strike (himself or others) on the head. When he has bathed (submerging) his head, he shall not touch any of his limbs with oil.

84. Let him not accept presents from a king who is not descended from the Kshatriya race, nor from butchers, oil-manufacturers, and publicans, nor from those who subsist by the gain of prostitutes.

85. One oil-press is as (bad) as ten slaughter-houses, one tavern as (bad as) ten oil-presses, one brothel as (bad as) ten taverns, one king as (bad as) ten brothels.

86. A king is declared to be equal (in wickedness) to a butcher who keeps a hundred thousand slaughter-houses; to accept presents from him is a terrible (crime).

87. He who accepts presents from an avaricious king who acts contrary to the Institutes (of the sacred law), will go in succession to the following twenty-one hells:

88. Tamisra, Andhatamisra, Maharaurava, Raurava, the Kalasutra hell, Mahanaraka,

89. Samgivana, Mahaviki, Tapana, Sampratapana, Samghata, Sakakola, Kudmala, Putimrittika,

90. Lohasanku, Rigisha, Pathin, the (flaming) river, Salmala, Asipatravana, and Lohakaraka.

91. Learned Brahmanas, who know that, who study the Veda and desire bliss after death, do not accept presents from a king.

92. Let him wake in the muhurta, sacred to Brahman, and think of (the acquisition of) spiritual merit and wealth, of the bodily fatigue arising therefrom, and of the true meaning of the Veda.

93. When he has risen, has relieved the necessities of nature and carefully purified himself, let him stand during the morning twilight, muttering for a long time (the Gayatri), and at the proper time (he must similarly perform) the evening (devotion).

94. By prolonging the twilight devotions, the sages obtained long life, wisdom, honour, fame, and excellence in Vedic knowledge.

95. Having performed the Upakarman according to the prescribed rule on (the full moon of the month) Sravana, or on that of Praushthapada (Bhadrapada), a Brahmana shall diligently study the Vedas during four months and a half.

96. When the Pushya-day (of the month Pausha), or the first day of the bright half of Magha has come, a Brahmana shall perform in the forenoon the Utsargana of the Vedas.

97. Having performed the Utsarga outside (the village), as the Institutes (of the sacred law) prescribe, he shall stop reading during two days and the intervening night, or during that day (of the Utsarga) and (the following) night.

98. Afterwards he shall diligently recite the Vedas during the bright (halves of the months), and duly study all the Angas of the Vedas during the dark fortnights.

99. Let him not recite (the texts) indistinctly, nor in the presence of Sudras; nor let him, if in the latter part of the night he is tired with reciting the Veda, go again to sleep.

100. According to the rule declared above, let him recite the daily (portion of the) Mantras, and a zealous Brahmana, (who is) not in distress, (shall study) the Brahmana and the Mantrasamhita.

101. Let him who studies always avoid (reading) on the following occasions when the Veda-study is forbidden, and (let) him who teaches pupils according to the prescribed rule (do it likewise).

102. Those who know the (rules of) recitation declare that in the rainy season the Veda-study must be stopped on these two (occasions), when the wind is audible at night, and when it whirls up the dust in the day-time.

103. Manu has stated, that when lightning, thunder, and rain (are observed together), or when large fiery meteors fall on all sides, the recitation must be interrupted until the same hour (on the next day, counting from the occurrence of the event).

104. When one perceives these (phenomena) all together (in the twilight), after the sacred fires have been made to blaze (for the performance of the Agnihotra), then one must know the recitation of the Veda to be forbidden, and also when clouds appear out of season.

105. On (the occasion of) a preternatural sound from the sky, (of) an earthquake, and when the lights of heaven are surrounded by a halo, let him know that (the Veda-study must be) stopped until the same hour (on the next day), even if (these phenomena happen) in the (rainy) season.

106. But when lightning and the roar of thunder (are observed) after the sacred fires have been made to blaze, the stoppage shall last as long as the light (of the sun or of the stars is visible); if the remaining (above-named phenomenon, rain, occurs, the reading shall cease), both in the day-time and at night.

107. For those who wish to acquire exceedingiy great merit, a continual interruption of the Veda-study (is prescribed) in villages and in towns, and (the Veda-study must) always (cease) when any kind of foul smell (is perceptible).

108. In a village where a corpse lies, in the presence of a (man who lives as unrighteously as a) Sudra, while (the sound of) weeping (is heard), and in a crowd of men the (recitation of the Veda must be) stopped.

109. In water, during the middle part of the night, while he voids excrements, or is impure, and after he has partaken of a funeral dinner, a man must not even think in his heart (of the sacred texts).

110. A learned Brahmana shall not recite the Veda during three days, when he has accepted an invitation to a (funeral rite) in honour of one ancestor (ekoddishta), or when the king has become impure through a birth or death in his family (sutaka), or when Rahu by an eclipse makes the moon impure.

111. As long as the smell and the stains of the (food given) in honour of one ancestor remain on the body of a learned Brahmana, so long he must not recite the Veda.

112. While lying on a bed, while his feet are raised (on a bench), while he sits on his hams with a cloth tied round his knees, let him not study, nor when he has eaten meat or food given by a person impure on account of a birth or a death,

113. Nor during a fog, nor while the sound of arrows is audible, nor during both the twilights, nor on the new-moon day, nor on the fourteenth and the eighth (days of each half-month), nor on the full-moon day.

114. The new-moon day destroys the teacher, the fourteenth (day) the pupil, the eighth and the full-moon days (destroy all remembrance of) the Veda; let him therefore avoid (reading on) those (days).

115. A Brahmana shall not recite (the Veda) during a dust-storm, nor while the sky is preternaturally red, nor while jackals howl, nor while the barking of dogs, the braying of donkeys, or the grunting of camels (is heard), nor while (he is seated) in a company.

116. Let him not study near a burial-ground, nor near a village, nor in a cow-pen, nor dressed in a garment which he wore during conjugal intercourse, nor after receiving a present at a funeral sacrifice.

117. Be it an animal or a thing inanimate, whatever be the (gift) at a Sraddha, let him not, having just accepted it, recite the Veda; for the hand of a Brahmana is his mouth.

118. When the village has been beset by robbers, and when an alarm has been raised by fire, let him know that (the Veda-study must be) interrupted until the same hour (on the next day), and on (the occurrence of) all portents.

119. On (the occasion of) the Upakarman and (of) the Vedotsarga an omission (of the Veda-study) for three days has been prescribed, but on the Ashtakas and on the last nights of the seasons for a day and a night.

120. Let him not recite the Veda on horseback, nor on a tree, nor on an elephant, nor in a boat (or ship), nor on a donkey, nor on camel, nor standing on barren ground, nor riding in a carriage,

121. Nor during a verbal altercation, nor during a mutual assault, nor in a camp, nor during a battle, nor when he has just eaten, nor during an indigestion, nor after vomiting, nor with sour eructations,

122. Nor without receiving permission from a guest (who stays in his house), nor while the wind blows vehemently, nor while blood flows from his body, nor when he is wounded by a weapon.

123. Let him never recite the Rig-veda or the Yagur-veda while the Saman (melodies) are heard; (let him stop all Veda-study for a day and a night) after finishing a Veda or after reciting an Aranyaka.

124. The Rig-veda is declared to be sacred to the gods, the Yagur-veda sacred to men, and the Sama-veda sacred to the manes; hence the sound of the latter is impure (as it were).

125. Knowing this, the learned daily repeat first in due order the essence of the three (Vedas) and afterwards the (text of the) Veda.

126. Know that (the Veda-study must be) interrupted for a day and a night, when cattle, a frog, a cat, a dog, a snake, an ichneumon, or a rat pass between (the teacher and his pupil).

127. Let a twice-born man always carefully interrupt the Veda-study on two (occasions, viz.) when the place where he recites is impure, and when he himself is unpurified.

128. A twice-born man who is a Snataka shall remain chaste on the new-moon day, on the eighth (lunar day of each half-month), on the full-moon day, and on the fourteenth, even (if they fall) in the period (proper for conjugal intercourse).

129. Let him not bathe (immediately) after a meal, nor when he is sick, nor in the middle of the night, nor frequently dressed in all his garments, nor in a pool which he does not perfectly know.

130. Let him not intentionally step on the shadow of (images of) the gods, of a Guru, of a king, of a Snataka, of his teacher, of a reddish-brown animal, or of one who has been initiated to the performance of a Srauta sacrifice (Dikshita).

131. At midday and at midnight, after partaking of meat at a funeral dinner, and in the two twilights let him not stay long on a cross-road.

132. Let him not step intentionally on things used for cleansing the body, on water used for a bath, on urine or ordure, on blood, on mucus, and on anything spat out or vomited.

133. Let him not show particular attention to an enemy, to the friend of an enemy, to a wicked man, to a thief, or to the wife of another man.

134. For in this world there is nothing so detrimental to long life as criminal conversation with another man's wife.

135. Let him who desires prosperity, indeed, never despise a Kshatriya, a snake, and a learned Brahmana, be they ever so feeble.

136. Because these three, when treated with disrespect, may utterly destroy him; hence a wise man must never despise them.

137. Let him not despise himself on account of former failures; until death let him seek fortune, nor despair of gaining it.

138. Let him say what is true, let him say what is pleasing, let him utter no disagreeable truth, and let him utter no agreeable falsehood; that is the eternal law.

139. (What is) well, let him call well, or let him say 'well' only; let him not engage in a useless enmity or dispute with anybody.

140. Let him not journey too early in the morning, nor too late in the evening, nor just during the midday (heat), nor with an unknown (companion), nor alone, nor with Sudras.

141. Let him not insult those who have redundant limbs or are deficient in limbs, nor those destitute of knowledge, nor very aged men, nor those who have no beauty or wealth, nor those who are of low birth.

142. A Brahmana who is impure must not touch with his hand a cow, a Brahmana, or fire; nor, being in good health, let him look at the luminaries in the sky, while he is impure.

143. If he has touched these, while impure, let him always sprinkle with his hand water on the organs of sensation, all his limbs, and the navel.

144. Except when sick he must not touch the cavities (of the body) without a reason, and he must avoid (to touch) the hair on the secret (parts).

145. Let him eagerly follow the (customs which are) auspicious and the rule of good conduct, be careful of purity, and control all his organs, let him mutter (prayers) and, untired, daily offer oblations in the fire.

146. No calamity happens to those who eagerly follow auspicious customs and the rule of good conduct, to those who are always careful of purity, and to those who mutter (sacred texts) and offer burnt-oblations.

147. Let him, without tiring, daily mutter the Veda at the proper time; for they declare that to be one's highest duty; (all) other (observances) are called secondary duties.

148. By daily reciting the Veda, by (the observance of the rules of) purification, by (practising) austerities, and by doing no injury to created beings, one (obtains the faculty of) remembering former births.

149. He who, recollecting his former existences, again recites the Veda, gains endless bliss by the continual study of the Veda.

150. Let him always offer on the Parva-days oblations to Savitri and such as avert evil omens, and on the Ashtakas and Anvashtakas let him constantly worship the manes.

151. Far from his dwelling let him remove urine (and ordure), far (let him remove) the water used for washing his feet, and far the remnants of food and the water from his bath.

152. Early in the morning only let him void faeces, decorate (his body), bathe, clean his teeth, apply collyrium to his eyes, and worship the gods.

153. But on the Parva-days let him go to visit the (images of the) gods, and virtuous Brahmanas, and the ruler (of the country), for the sake of protection, as well as his Gurus.

154. Let him reverentially salute venerable men (who visit him), give them his own seat, let him sit near them with joined hands and, when they leave, (accompany them), walking behind them.

155. Let him, untired, follow the conduct of virtuous men, connected with his occupations, which has been fully declared in the revealed texts and in the sacred tradition (Smriti) and is the root of the sacred law.

156. Through virtuous conduct he obtains long life, through virtuous conduct desirable offspring, through virtuous conduct imperishable wealth; virtuous conduct destroys (the effect of) inauspicious marks.

157. For a man of bad conduct is blamed among people, constantly suffers misfortunes, is afflicted with diseases, and short-lived.

158. A man who follows the conduct of the virtuous, has faith and is free from envy, lives a hundred years, though he be entirely destitute of auspicious marks.

159. Let him carefully avoid all undertakings (the success of) which depends on others; but let him eagerly pursue that (the accomplishment of) which depends on himself.

160. Everything that depends on others (gives) pain, everything that depends on oneself (gives) pleasure; know that this is the short definition of pleasure and pain.

161. When the performance of an act gladdens his heart, let him perform it with diligence; but let him avoid the opposite.

162. Let him never offend the teacher who initiated him, nor him who explained the Veda, nor his father and mother, nor (any other) Guru, nor cows, nor Brahmanas, nor any men performing austerities.

163. Let him avoid atheism, cavilling at the Vedas, contempt of the gods, hatred, want of modesty, pride, anger, and harshness.

164. Let him, when angry, not raise a stick against another man, nor strike (anybody) except a son or a pupil; those two he may beat in order to correct them.

165. A twice-born man who has merely threatened a Brahmana with the intention of (doing him) a corporal injury, will wander about for a hundred years in the Tamisra hell.

166. Having intentionally struck him in anger, even with a blade of grass, he will be born during twenty-one existences in the wombs (of such beings where men are born in punishment of their) sins.

167. A man who in his folly caused blood to flow from the body of a Brahmana who does not attack him, will suffer after death exceedingly great pain.

168. As many particles of dust as the blood takes up from the ground, during so many years the spiller of the blood will be devoured by other (animals) in the next world.

169. A wise man should therefore never threaten a Brahmana, nor strike him even with a blade of grass, nor cause his blood to flow.

170. Neither a man who (lives) unrighteously, nor he who (acquires) wealth (by telling) falsehoods, nor he who always delights in doing injury, ever attain happiness in this world.

171. Let him, though suffering in consequence of his righteousness, never turn his heart to unrighteousness; for he will see the speedy overthrow of unrighteous, wicked men.

172. Unrighteousness, practised in this world, does not at once produce its fruit, like a cow; but, advancing slowly, it cuts off the roots of him who committed it.

173. If (the punishment falls) not on (the offender) himself, (it falls) on his sons, if not on the sons, (at least) on his grandsons; but an iniquity (once) committed, never fails to produce fruit to him who wrought it.

174. He prospers for a while through unrighteousness, then he gains great good fortune, next he conquers his enemies, but (at last) he perishes (branch and) root.

175. Let him always delight in truthfulness, (obedience to) the sacred law, conduct worthy of an Aryan, and purity; let him chastise his pupils according to the sacred law; let him keep his speech, his arms, and his belly under control.

176. Let him avoid (the acquisition of) wealth and (the gratification of his) desires, if they are opposed to the sacred law, and even lawful acts which may cause pain in the future or are offensive to men.

177. Let him not be uselessly active with his hands and feet, or with his eyes, nor crooked (in his ways), nor talk idly, nor injure others by deeds or even think of it.

178. Let him walk in that path of holy men which his fathers and his grandfathers followed; while he walks in that, he will not suffer harm.

179. With an officiating or a domestic priest, with a teacher, with a maternal uncle, a guest and a dependant, with infants, aged and sick men, with learned men, with his paternal relatives, connexions by marriage and maternal relatives,

180. With his father and his mother, with female relatives, with a brother, with his son and his wife, with his daughter and with his slaves, let him not have quarrels.

181. If he avoids quarrels with these persons, he will be freed from all sins, and by suppressing (all) such (quarrels) a householder conquers all the following worlds.

182. The teacher is the lord of the world of Brahman, the father has power over the world of the Lord of created beings (Pragapati), a guest rules over the world of Indra, and the priests over the world of the gods.

183. The female relatives (have power) over the world of the Apsarases, the maternal relatives over that of the Visve Devas, the connexions by marriage over that of the waters, the mother and the maternal uncle over the earth.

184. Infants, aged, poor and sick men must be considered as rulers of the middle sphere, the eldest brother as equal to one's father, one's wife and one's son as one's own body,

185. One's slaves as one's shadow, one's daughter as the highest object of tenderness; hence if one is offended by (any one of) these, one must bear it without resentment.

186. Though (by his learning and sanctity) he may be entitled to accept presents, let him not attach himself (too much) to that (habit); for through his accepting (many) presents the divine light in him is soon extinguished.

187. Without a full knowledge of the rules, prescribed by the sacred law for the acceptance of presents, a wise man should not take anything, even though he may pine with hunger.

188. But an ignorant (man) who accepts gold, land, a horse, a cow, food, a dress, sesamum-grains, (or) clarified butter, is reduced to ashes like (a piece of) wood.

189. Gold and food destroy his longevity, land and a cow his body, a horse his eye (sight), a garment his skin, clarified butter his energy, sesamum-grains his offspring.

190. A Brahmana who neither performs austerities nor studies the Veda, yet delights in accepting gifts, sinks with the (donor into hell), just as (he who attempts to cross over in) a boat made of stone (is submerged) in the water.

191. Hence an ignorant (man) should be afraid of accepting any presents; for by reason of a very small (gift) even a fool sinks (into hell) as a cow into a morass.

192. (A man) who knows the law should not offer even water to a Brahmana who acts like a cat, nor to a Brahmana who acts like a heron, nor to one who is unacquainted with the Veda.

193. For property, though earned in accordance with prescribed rules, which is given to these three (persons), causes in the next world misery both to the giver and to the recipient.

194. As he who (attempts to) cross water in a boat of stone sinks (to the bottom), even so an ignorant donor and an ignorant donee sink low.

195. (A man) who, ever covetous, displays the flag of virtue, (who is) a hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, intent on doing injury, (and) a detractor (from the merits) of all men, one must know to be one who acts like a cat.

196. That Brahmana, who with downcast look, of a cruel disposition, is solely intent on attaining his own ends, dishonest and falsely gentle, is one who acts like a heron.

197. Those Brahmanas who act like herons, and those who display the characteristics of cats, fall in consequence of that wicked mode of acting into (the hell called) Andhatamisra.

198. When he has committed a sin, let him not perform a penance under the pretence (that the act is intended to gain) spiritual merit, (thus) hiding his sin under (the pretext of) a vow and deceiving women and Sudras.

199. Such Brahmanas are reprehended after death and in this (life) by those who expound the Veda, and a vow, performed under a false pretence, goes to the Rakshasas.

200. He who, without being a student, gains his livelihood by (wearing) the dress of a student, takes upon himself the guilt of (all) students and is born again in the womb of an animal.

201. Let him never bathe in tanks belonging to other men; if he bathes (in such a one), he is tainted by a portion of the guilt of him who made the tank.

202. He who uses without permission a carriage, a bed, a seat, a well, a garden or a house belonging to an (other man), takes upon himself one fourth of (the owner's) guilt.

203. Let him always bathe in rivers, in ponds, dug by the gods (themselves), in lakes, and in waterholes or springs.

204. A wise man should constantly discharge the paramount duties (called yama), but not always the minor ones (called niyama); for he who does not discharge the former, while he obeys the latter alone, becomes an outcast.

205. A Brahmana must never eat (a dinner given) at a sacrifice that is offered by one who is not a Srotriya, by one who sacrifices for a multitude of men, by a woman, or by a eunuch.

206. When those persons offer sacrificial viands in the fire, it is unlucky for holy (men) it displeases the gods; let him therefore avoid it.

207. Let him never eat (food given) by intoxicated, angry, or sick (men), nor that in which hair or insects are found, nor what has been touched intentionally with the foot,

208. Nor that at which the slayer of a learned Brahmana has looked, nor that which has been touched by a menstruating woman, nor that which has been pecked at by birds or touched by a dog,

209. Nor food at which a cow has smelt, nor particularly that which has been offered by an invitation to all comers, nor that (given) by a multitude or by harlots, nor that which is declared to be had by a learned (man),

210. Nor the food (given) by a thief, a musician, a carpenter, a usurer, one who has been initiated (for the performance of a Srauta sacrifice), a miser, one bound with fetters,

211. By one accused of a mortal sin (Abhisasta), a hermaphrodite, an unchaste woman, or a hypocrite, nor (any sweet thing) that has turned sour, nor what has been kept a whole night, nor (the food) of a Sudra, nor the leavings (of another man),

212. Nor (the food given) by a physician, a hunter, a cruel man, one who eats the fragments (of another's meal), nor the food of an Ugra, nor that prepared for a woman in childbed, nor that (given at a dinner) where (a guest rises) prematurely (and) sips water, nor that (given by a woman) whose ten days of impurity have not elapsed,

213. Nor (food) given without due respect, nor (that which contains) meat eaten for no sacred purpose, nor (that given) by a female who has no male (relatives), nor the food of an enemy, nor that (given) by the lord of a town, nor that (given) by outcasts, nor that on which anybody has sneezed;

214. Nor the food (given) by an informer, by one who habitually tells falsehoods, or by one who sells (the rewards for) sacrifices, nor the food (given) by an actor, a tailor, or an ungrateful (man),

215. By a blacksmith, a Nishada, a stage-player, a goldsmith, a basket-maker, or a dealer in weapons,

216. By trainers of hunting dogs, publicans, a washerman, a dyer, a pitiless (man), and a man in whose house (lives) a paramour (of his wife),

217. Nor (the food given) by those who knowingly bear with paramours (of their wives), and by those who in all matters are ruled by women, nor food (given by men) whose ten days of impurity on account of a death have not passed, nor that which is unpalatable.

218. The food of a king impairs his vigour, the food of a Sudra his excellence in sacred learning, the food of a goldsmith his longevity, that of a leather-cutter his fame;

219. The food of an artisan destroys his offspring, that of a washerman his (bodily) strength; the food of a multitude and of harlots excludes him from (the higher) worlds.

220. The food of a physician (is as vile as) pus, that of an unchaste woman (equal to) semen, that of a usurer (as vile as) ordure, and that of a dealer in weapons (as bad as) dirt.

221. The food of those other persons who have been successively enumerated as such whose food must not be eaten, the wise declare (to be as impure as) skin, bones, and hair.

222. If he has unwittingly eaten the food of one of those, (he must) fast for three days; if he has eaten it intentionally, or (has swallowed) semen, ordure, or urine, he must perform a Krikkhra penance.

223. A Brahmana who knows (the law) must not eat cooked food (given) by a Sudra who performs no Sraddhas; but, on failure of (other) means of subsistence, he may accept raw (grain), sufficient for one night (and day).

224. The gods, having considered (the respective merits) of a niggardly Srotriya and of a liberal usurer, declared the food of both to be equal (in quality).

225. The Lord of created beings (Pragapati) came and spake to them, 'Do not make that equal, which is unequal. The food of that liberal (usurer) is purified by faith; (that of the) of the) other (man) is defiled by a want of faith.'

226. Let him, without tiring, always offer sacrifices and perform works of charity with faith; for offerings and charitable works made with faith and with lawfully-earned money, (procure) endless rewards.

227. Let him always practise, according to his ability, with a cheerful heart, the duty of liberality, both by sacrifices and by charitable works, if he finds a worthy recipient (for his gifts.)

228. If he is asked, let him always give something, be it ever so little, without grudging; for a worthy recipient will (perhaps) be found who saves him from all (guilt).

229. A giver of water obtains the satisfaction (of his hunger and thirst), a giver of food imperishable happiness, a giver of sesamum desirable offspring, a giver of a lamp a most excellent eyesight.

230. A giver of land obtains land, a giver of gold long life, a giver of a house most excellent mansions, a giver of silver (rupya) exquisite beauty (rupa),

231. A giver of a garment a place in the world of the moon, a giver of a horse (asva) a place in the world of the Asvins, a giver of a draught-ox great good fortune, a giver of a cow the world of the sun;

232. A giver of a carriage or of a bed a wife, a giver of protection supreme dominion, a giver of grain eternal bliss, a giver of the Veda (brahman) union with Brahman;

233. The gift of the Veda surpasses all other gifts, water, food, cows, land, clothes, sesamum, gold, and clarified butter.

234. For whatever purpose (a man) bestows any gift, for that same purpose he receives (in his next birth) with due honour its (reward).

235. Both he who respectfully receives (a gift), and he who respectfully bestows it, go to heaven; in the contrary case (they both fall) into hell.

236. Let him not be proud of his austerities; let him not utter a falsehood after he has offered a sacrifice; let him not speak ill of Brahmanas, though he be tormented (by them); when he has bestowed (a gift), let him not boast of it.

237. By falsehood a sacrifice becomes vain, by self-complacency (the reward for) austerities is lost, longevity by speaking evil of Brahmanas, and (the reward of) a gift by boasting.

238. Giving no pain to any creature, let him slowly accumulate spiritual merit, for the sake (of acquiring) a companion to the next world, just as the white ant (gradually raises its) hill.

239. For in the next world neither father, nor mother, nor wife, nor sons, nor relations stay to be his companions; spiritual merit alone remains (with him).

240. Single is each being born; single it dies; single it enjoys (the reward of its) virtue; single (it suffers the punishment of its) sin.

241. Leaving the dead body on the ground like a log of wood, or a clod of earth, the relatives depart with averted faces; but spiritual merit follows the (soul).

242. Let him therefore always slowly accumulate spiritual merit, in order (that it may be his) companion (after death); for with merit as his companion he will traverse a gloom difficult to traverse.

243. (That companion) speedily conducts the man who is devoted to duty and effaces his sins by austerities, to the next world, radiant and clothed with an ethereal body.

244. Let him, who desires to raise his race, ever form connexions with the most excellent (men), and shun all low ones.

245. A Brahmana who always connects himself with the most excellent (ones), and shuns all inferior ones, (himself) becomes most distinguished; by an opposite conduct he becomes a Sudra.

246. He who is persevering, gentle, (and) patient, shuns the company of men of cruel conduct, and does no injury (to living creatures), gains, if he constantly lives in that manner, by controlling his organs and by liberality, heavenly bliss.

247. He may accept from any (man), fuel, water, roots, fruit, food offered without asking, and honey, likewise a gift (which consists in) a promise of protection.

248. The Lord of created beings (Pragapati) has declared that alms freely offered and brought (by the giver himself) may be accepted even from a sinful man, provided (the gift) had not been (asked for or) promised beforehand.

249. During fifteen years the manes do not eat (the food) of that man who disdains a (freely-offered gift), nor does the fire carry his offerings (to the gods).

250. A couch, a house, Kusa grass, perfumes, water, flowers, jewels, sour milk, grain, fish, sweet milk, meat, and vegetables let him not reject, (if they are voluntarily offered.)

251. He who desires to relieve his Gurus and those whom he is bound to maintain, or wishes to honour the gods and guests, may accept (gifts) from anybody; but he must not satisfy his (own hunger) with such (presents).

252. But if his Gurus are dead, or if he lives separate from them in (another) house, let him, when he seeks a subsistence, accept (presents) from good men alone.

253. His labourer in tillage, a friend of his family, his cow-herd, his slave, and his barber are, among Sudras, those whose food he may eat, likewise (a poor man) who offers himself (to be his slave).

254. As his character is, as the work is which he desires to perform, and as the manner is in which he means to serve, even so (a voluntary slave) must offer himself.

255. He who describes himself to virtuous (men), in a manner contrary to truth, is the most sinful (wretch) in this world; he is a thief who makes away with his own self.

256. All things (have their nature) determined by speech; speech is their root, and from speech they proceed; but he who is dishonest with respect to speech, is dishonest in everything.

257. When he has paid, according to the law, his debts to the great sages, to the manes, and to the gods, let him make over everything to his son and dwell (in his house), not caring for any worldly concerns.

258. Alone let him constantly meditate in solitude on that which is salutary for his soul; for he who meditates in solitude attains supreme bliss.

259. Thus have been declared the means by which a Brahmana householder must always subsist, and the summary of the ordinances for a Snataka, which cause an increase of holiness and are praiseworthy.

260. A Brahmana who, being learned in the lore of the Vedas, conducts himself in this manner and daily destroys his sins, will be exalted in Brahman's world.


Source: This text is reproduced from the Internet Indian History Sourcebook

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