The Sacred Laws of the Âryas: As Taught in the Schools of Âpastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana

The Sacred Laws of the Âryas: As Taught in the Schools of Âpastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana

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The Sacred Laws of the Âryas: As Taught in the Schools of Âpastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana

The Sacred Laws of the Âryas: As Taught in the Schools of Âpastamba, Gautama, Vâsishtha, and Baudhâyana

Read FREE!

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For all students of Sanskrit philology and Indian history Âpastamba’s aphorisms on the sacred law of the Âryan Hindus possess a special interest beyond that attaching to other works of the same class. Their discovery enabled Professor Max Müller, forty-seven years ago, to dispose finally of the Brahmanical legend according to which Hindu society was supposed to be governed by the codes of ancient sages, compiled for the express purpose of tying down each individual to his station, and of strictly regulating even the smallest acts of his daily life . It enabled

Max Müller, History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 133 seq. The following letter, addressed to the late W. H. Morley, and published by him in his Digest of Indian Cases, 1850, may be of interest as connected with the first discovery of the Âpastamba-sûtras :—

9, Park Place, Oxford, July 29, 1849.

MY DEAR MORLEY,—I have been looking again at the law literature, in order to write you a note on the sources of Manu. I have treated the subject fully in my introduction to the Veda, where I have given an outline of the different periods of Vaidik literature, and analysed the peculiarities in the style and language of each class of Vaidik works. What I consider to be the sources of the Mânava-dharma-sâstra, the so-called Laws of Manu, are the Sûtras. These are works which presuppose the development of the prose literature of the Brâhmanas (like the Aitareya-brâhmana, Taittirîya-brâhmana, &c.) These Brâhmanas, again, presuppose, not only the existence, but the collection and arrangement of the old hymns of the four Samhitâs. The Sûtras are therefore later than both these classes of Vaidik works, but they must be considered as belonging to the Vaidik period of literature, not only on account of their intimate connection with Vaidik subjects, but also because they still exhibit the irregularities of the old Vaidik language. They form indeed the last branch of Vaidik literature; and it will perhaps be possible to fix some of these works chronologically, as they are contemporary with the first spreading of Buddhism in India.

Again, in the whole of Vaidik literature there is no work written (like the Mânava-dharma-sâstra) in the regular epic Sloka, and the continuous employment of this metre is a characteristic mark of post-Vaidik writings.

One of the principal classes of Sûtras is known by the name of Kalpa-sûtras,

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