By Dr. Korada Subrahmanyam

  1. Introduction

The practical part of Vedic Mantras is dealt with by Kalpa. This Vedāṅga is considered as the two hands of Vedapuruṣa. Hands are very useful in different activities in Loka and Kalpa is similarly useful in the performance of Vedic rites. After Jyotiṣam it is Kalpa that is most sought after Vedāṅga by common people, although the term is neither understood nor employed by many. By performing different Karmas (rites), one would get cittaśuddhi (cleansing of mind) and it leads one to Mokṣa.

i. Derivation

                        कल्प्यते समर्थ्यते प्रयोगः अत्र इति कल्पः।

                        kalpyate samarthyate prayogaḥ atra iti kalpaḥ.

atra = in this Vedāṅga, prayogaḥ = the practical part, kalpyate / samarthyate = it is being illuminated, iti = therefore, kalpaḥ = it is called Kalpa.

A detailed account regarding the performance of different rites is being provided by this Vedāṅga and therefore it is called Kalpa. So the term conforms to meaning.

ii. Origin

The seeds of Kalpa, popularly known as Kalpasūtram, can be traced to Kṛṣṇayajurveda (Taittirīyāraṇyakam 1-123, 128, 130).


                        इति मन्त्राः। कल्पोऽत ऊर्ध्वम्। . . . संवत्सरमेतद् व्रतं चरेत्। द्वौ वा मासौ। . . . अरण्येऽधीयीत।

iti mantrāḥ. kalpo’ta ūrdhvam. . . . saṃvatsarametad vrataṃ caret. dvau vā māsau. . . . araṇye’dhīyīta.

iti mantrāḥ= till this point they are Mantras; ataḥ ūrdhvam = hereafter, kalpaḥ = Kalpaḥ, i.e. the practical part; caret = one should practice, etad vratam = this ascetic lifestyle called vratam, saṃvatsaram = for a full one year; dvau māsau vā = in case of inconvenience it can be for a full two months, adhīyīta = one should recite Veda, araṇye = in a forest.

Till this point they are mantras. Hereafter it is Kalpa. One should practice this vratam for a full one year and in case of any inconvenience it should be for a full two months.

iii. Development

Kalpasūtras can broadly be divided into two branches – Śrautasūtram and Gṛhyasūtram. The former exclusively deals with the performance of different Yāgas (Sacrifices) while the latter deals with different saṃskāras, such as vivāha (marriage), that are to be applied to each person.

Śulbasūtram, that deals with Geometry is considered as a subsidiary of Śrautasūtram as it is useful in effecting measurements of Yāgaśāla (cottage for Yāga) etc.

Dharmasūtram or Dharmaśāstram is a subsidiary of Gṛhyasūtram and it ordains as to what is Dharma and what is Adharma.

There are 1,130 śākhas (branches) of Veda – Ṛgveda – 21, Sāmaveda – 1000, Yajurveda – 100 and Atharvaveda – 9. At present only 12 śākhas are available. As a result the origin of all Sūtras of Kalpa is not available in Veda but since great Ṛṣis had authored these Sūtras with the help of Divyadṛṣṭi (clairvoyance) it is inferred that their sayings have got their roots in Veda. For Śrautasūtram the evidence is clearly available in Veda. For Gṛhyasūtram and Dharmasūtram, authored by sages, the Vidhivākyas (injunctive sentences) or the texts of itikartavyatā (procedure) are not available in the available Vedaśākhas. But since Śiṣṭas (those who follow the norms of Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa and are exemplary) have been practicing the Karmas, cited in Gṛhyasūtram and Dharmasūtram, since time immemorial and established an uninterrupted tradition, they are accepted as an authority and it is inferred that their origin was in Vedaśākhas that are lost.


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  1. Dichotomy of Vedic Literature

Veda can be divided into two main parts – the first called Mantrabrāhmaṇabhāga and the second Upaniṣadbhāga. The former deals with Dharma through Karma, i.e. performance of Yāga (Sacrifice) etc. whereas the latter deals with Brahma, i.e. Mokṣa and related matters. Pūrvamīmāṃsā or Mīmāṃsādarśana discusses the meaning of Vedic sentences with regard to the earlier part, i.e. Mantrabrāhmaṇabhāga of Veda. Uttaramīmāṃsā or Vedānta deals with the latter part of Veda, i.e. Upaniṣads in order to establish the path for Veda. While Pūrvamīmāṃsā takes care of the meaning of Mantrabrāhmaṇabhāga, Kalpa sets the stage for the practical part, i.e. how and where a Yāga is to be performed. Jyotiṣam, Śulbasūtram and Dharmaśāstram also play their role in the overall process of a Yāga.

Śruti means Veda whereas Smṛti means Dharmaśāstram.


  1. Yāgaḥ (Worship / Ritual)

Yajña, Yāga, Adhvara, Kratu etc. are synonyms. The literal meaning of Yāga is ‘worship’.

Unlike other synonyms, the term Yajña is used in the sense of Pañcamahāyajñas (five great Yajñas – Taittirīyāraṇyakam, 2-14), that are to be performed regularly –

i. Devayajñaḥ (Worship of Gods)

Offering a samit (firewood of certain trees) in the holy fire is Devayajña.

ii. Pitṛyajñaḥ (Worship of forefathers who are dead)

Offering water to father, father’s father and his father as well as to mother, her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law by name, Gotra and ‘svadhā’. This offering is only to those who passed away.

iii. Bhūtayajñaḥ (Worship of beings)

Offering Bali (food) to beings is called Bhūtabali.

iv. Manuṣyayajñaḥ (Worship of a Brāhmaṇa)

Offering food to one or more Brāhmaṇas is called Manuṣyayajña.

v. Brahmayajñaḥ (Worship of Veda)

Recitation of at least a single Ṛk or Yajus or Sāma is called Brahmayajña. Vedāṅgas are added as they are part and parcel of Veda.

While deriving the word ‘patnī ‘ (wife), Pāṇini rules that wife of a person who performs Pañcayajñas only is fit to be called ‘patnī ‘ (‘patyurno yajñasaṃyoge’ Pāṇinisūtram 4-1-33). Elsewhere the usage of the word is following semblance.

vi. Definition of Yāga

According to Mīmāṃsakas Yāga has got two forms – Dravyam (material used in Yāga) and Devatā (the God to whom the oblation is offered). On the other hand, Śrautasūtram (Kātyāyana) adds ‘tyāga’ (dropping the material in holy fire while reciting Mantra) to Dravyam and Devatā. If, while invoking a God, some material is dropped in holy fire it is called Homa.


  1. कर्मणां त्रैविध्यम् (Karmaṇāṃ traividhyam – three types of karma)

Generally, Karmas can be put under three headings –

i. Nityakarma (regular rite)

Sandhyāvandanam (the salute during dawn and dusk), Agnihotram (worship of Fire-god), Svādhyāya (recitation of Veda and Vedāṅgas), Pañcamahāyajñas etc. are called Nityakarmas.

ii. Naimittikakarma (rite occasioned by an event)

Ābdīkam (yearly death ceremony), Gṛhapraveśa (house-warming ceremony) etc. are called Naimittikakarma.

iii. Kāmyakarma (rite with a desire in mind)

Vivāha (marriage) is meant for children, Putrakāmeṣṭi is meant for children. Satyanārayaṇavratam is meant for overall prosperity. Such rites are called Kāmyakarma.

There is prāyaścittam (penance), which is performed after committing something wrong.


  1. Śrautasūtram

     All the four Vedas, viz. Ṛgveda, Sāmaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda have got separate and in some cases more than one Śrautasūtram authored by Ṛṣis like Āśvalāyana, Baudhāyana, Āpastamba, Kātyāyana, Jaimini etc. Some of the main terms used in Śrautasūtram are given below:-

  1. Pāribhāṣikapadāni (terminology)

    1. Yajamānaḥ - The person who performs the Yāga is called Yajamānaḥ.

    2. Ṛtvijaḥ (ṛtviks or priests) - There will be chiefly four priests in a Yāga – the one who recites Ṛgveda is called Hotā, for Sāmaveda it is Udgātā, for Yajurveda it is Adhvaryu and for all the three Vedas and Atharvaveda it is Brahmā (makes corrections). The Somayāga requires more Ṛtviks –

      (Atharvaveda) –              1. Brahman (also in Agnyādheya, Darśapūrṇamāsa, Paśubandha)

      1. Brahmaṇācchamsin

      2. Āgnīdhra or Agnīdh (also in Agnyādheya, Darśapūrṇamāsa, Paśubandha)

      3. Potā

      (Ṛgveda) –                    5. Hotā (also in Agnyādheya, Darśapūrṇamāsa, Paśubandha)

      1. Maitrāvaruṇa (also in Paśubandha)

      2. Acchāvāka

      3. Grāvastut

        (Sāmaveda) –                9. Udgātā

      1. Prastotā

      2. Pratihartā

      3. Subrahmaṇya

      (Yajurveda)-                 13. Adhvaryu (also in Agnyādheya, Darśapūrṇamāsa, Paśubandha)

      1. Pratiprasthātā

      2. Neṣṭā

      3. Unnatā
        There is an optional priest –

      4. Sadasya (Baudhāyana only says this)

    3. Tretāgnayaḥ (the three kinds of fires) –

      . Gārhapatyāgniḥ – Right from the day of marriage the Gṛhapati or householder (husband) would continue to preserve the Gārhapatyāgni. It may be noted that according to Vedic tradition both Pati (husband) and Patnī (wife), combinedly called Dampatī / Jampatī / Jāyāpatī, have got the same right. The idea is expressed

      by a norm - dampatyoḥ sahādhikārāṭ (sixth Adhyāya of Pūrvamīmāṃsā). In other words, neither is superior / inferior to the other in terms of Dharma, Artha and Kāma. This fire is located near the western end of the ritual enclosure called vihāra.

      . Dakṣiṇāgniḥ – This fire is brought from Gārhapatya and located on the southern

      side (dakṣiṇā) of the vihāra.

      . Āhavanīyāgni – This is the fire wherein offerings are made and it is located near the eastern end of the vihāra. This is also brought from Gārhapatya.

      'Anvāhāryapacanam' is a synonym of Āhavanīyam. Āhitāgni is one who maintains

      at least Gārhapatyāgni

    4. Types of Yajñas – There are twenty one types of Yajñas (commentary of Sudarśanācārya on Āpastambagṛhyasūtram, 1-1)

      . Seven Pākayajñas – i. Aupāsanahoma, ii. Vaiśvadevam, iii. Pārvaṇam, iv.

      Aṣṭaka, v. Māsiśrāddham, vi. Sarpabaliḥ, vii. Īśānabaliḥ

      . Seven Haviryajñasaṃsthāḥ - i. Agnihotram, ii. Darśapūrṇamāsau, iii.

      Āgrayaṇam, iv. Cāturmāsyani, v. Nirūḍhapaśubandhaḥ, vi. Sautrāmaṇiḥ, vii. Piṇḍapitṛyajñādayo darvīhomāḥ

      . Seven Somasaṃsthāḥ – i. Agniṣṭomaḥ, ii. Atyagniṣṭomaḥ, iii. Ukthyaḥ, iv.

      Ṣoḍaśī, v. Vājapeyaḥ, vi. Atirātraḥ, vii. Āptoryāmaḥ

    5. Agnicayanam – This is an Aṅga (part) of Somayāga. A Vedi (altar) of five layers is built with bricks while reciting mantras and the same activity is called Agnicayanam.

    6. Pratipattikarma (Mīmāṃsāsūtram of Jaimini 11-3-43, 44, 45. Śābarabhāṣyam 11-3- 34, Satapathabrāhmaṇam 12-3-5-2). There are ten instruments called Yajñāyudhāni or Yajñapātrāṇi. The Yajamāna of a Yajña has to preserve the Yajñāyudhas and these, at the end, are to be placed on the pyre along with the body of the Yajamāna. This activity is called Pratipatti.

    7. Sruk – An instrument used to drop ghee (clarified butter) in the fire. Following the wood it is made of, Sruk is divided into three – Juhū, Upabhṛt and Dhruvā.

    8. Sruvaḥ – The instrument meant for collecting ghee from the pot.

    9. Sphyaḥ – a wooden sword

    10. Grahaḥ – A wooden goblet used for Soma libation

    11. Pūrṇāhutiḥ – Offering a full-Sruk of ghee

    12. Vedaḥ – A bundle of Darbha grass (vedam kṛtvā vedim karoti)

    13. Ghaṭaḥ – An earthen pot with a big mouth

    14. Kumbhaḥ – An earthen pot with a small mouth

    15. Tūparaḥ – An animal without horns

    16. Upavītam – In all Daivakāryas (rites related to God) the Yajñopavītam (sacred thread) should be under the right hand and this is called Upavītam (Taittirīyāraṇyakam 2-1).

    17. Prācīnāvītam – The Yajñopavītam should be under the left hand during Pitṛkarma (rites related to fathers, such as death ceremony) and it is called Prācīnāvītam.

    18. Saṃvītam – Also called 'Nivītam'. The Yajñopavītam should hang from the neck during Mānuṣakarma (activities related to human beings, such as while using toilets, sleeping, having sex etc.)

    19. Agnimathanam (churning for Agni, i.e. producing fire) – Agni is produced through friction by using two specific dry wooden pieces.

    20. Subrahmaṇyā – Name of a Nigada (a mantra) in Taittirīyāraṇyakam (1-58).

  1. शुल्बसूत्रम् (Śulbasūtra – Geometry)

‘Śulbam’ means a rope (or thread). During ancient times a rope was being used for measuring, drawing circles, squares etc. So this discipline, which is meant for measurements of Yāgaśāla (cottage for Yāga) etc. is Śulbasūtram. The terminology employed in this work is available in Vedas to a large extent. Satyāṣāḍha – Mānava – Maitrāyaṇīya – Vārāha – Vādhūla – Kātyāyana – Baudhāyana – Āpastamba Śulbasūtras are available and they belong to different Vedas.


                        रज्जुमुभयतः पाशां कृत्वा मध्ये लक्षणं करोति लेखाम् आलिख्य(Baudhāyanaśulbasūtram 1-22)

              rajjumubhayataḥ pāśāṃ kṛtvā madhye lakṣaṇaṃ karoti lekhām ālikhya

rajjum = the rope, ubhayataḥ pāśāṃ kṛtvā = making a pāśa by bringing both ends to a point, ālikhya = having drawn, lekhām = a straight line, karoti = should put, lakṣaṇam = a mark in the form of a dot, madhye = in the middle


If a straight line is to be divided into two equal parts then one has to take a rope of the same size, fold it, in such a way so that both the ends meet at the same point, and put a dot in the middle after holding the ropes tightly. Now with the help of the marked rope one should put a dot on the line. Thus the line is divided into two equal parts. Āpastambaśulbasūtram (1-13) also rules the same –


                        प्रमाणमात्रीं रज्जुमुभयतः पाशां करोति।

                        pramāṇamātrīṃ rajjumubhayataḥ pāśāṃ karoti.


  1. Gṛhyasūtram (Principles of Gṛhyakarmas)

The term ‘gṛha’ is used in the sense of a house as well as wife. The Agni (fire) caused by both of them is also called ‘gṛhyam’. So, the activities performed in a house, with wife, in Agni altar are called Gṛhyakarma. The Sūtras dealing with such activities are Gṛhyasūtram. There are different Gṛhyasūtras for different Vedas, authored by Āpastamba, Baudhāyana, Āśvalāyana, Satyāṣāḍha, Kātyāyana, Manu, Kaṭha, Jaimini etc.

Saṃskāras (ceremonies for cleansing the mind) – Saṃskāra is a term that is pregnant with meaning and therefore better to adapt the term rather than try for a rendering.


                        संस्क्रियते ज्ञानयोग्यताम् आपाद्यते चित्तम् अनेन इति संस्कारः।

                        saṃskriyate jñānayogyatām āpādyate cittam anena iti saṃskāraḥ.

anena = by performing this, cittam = mind, saṃskriyate = is refined or cleansed, jñānayogyatām = eligibility to have jñānam, āpādyate = is gotten, iti = therefore, saṃskāraḥ = it is saṃskāra.

By performing the enjoined ceremonies the mind is made eligible to have jñānam (that leads to Mokṣa). Therefore they are called Saṃskāras.

Bhṛgumaharṣi, in Manusmṛti clearly says that the very purpose of the Saṃskāras is attaining Mokṣa –


                        स्वाध्यायेन व्रतैर्होमैः त्रैविद्येनेज्यया सुतैः।

                       महायज्ञैश्च यज्ञैश्च ब्राह्मीयं क्रियते तनुः ॥ (२-२८)

                        svādhyāyena vratairhomaiḥ traividyenejyayā sutaiḥ ।

                        mahāyajñaiśca yajñaiśca brāhmīyaṃ kriyate tanuḥ॥

svādhyāyena = by reciting Veda regularly (brahmayajña), vrataiḥ = by leading ascetic life for some period, homaiḥ = offering oblations in fire, traividyena = by a vrata called Travidya, ijyayā = by deva-ṛṣi-pitṛ-tarpaṇa, sutaiḥ = by children (i.e. marriage), mahāyajñaiḥ ca = by deva-pitṛ-bhūta-manuṣya-brahmayajñas, yajñaiḥ ca = also by yajñas,tanuḥ = the ātmā embedded in the body, kriyate = made, brāhmīyaṃ= eligible to get Mokṣa,

By Svādhyāya, different vratas, Homas, Vedavratas, Devarṣipitṛtarpaṇa, Vivāha, Mahāyajñas and Yajñas, the Ātmā, embedded in the body, would become eligible to attain Mokṣa. In other words, by the Saṃskāras, one would get ‘vividiṣā’ (a desire to know Brahman) and finally Mokṣa.


Gautamasmṛti (1-8-23, 24, 25) enumerates eight Ātmaguṇas and asserts that even if one has undergone all the Saṃskāras, it is not possible to attain Mokṣa in case he does not possess the eight Ātmaguṇas –


                        अथ अष्टावात्मगुणाः

              atha aṣṭāvātmaguṇāḥ

atha= after enumerating forty Saṃskāras, aṣṭau = eight, ātmaguṇāḥ = virtues called Ātmaguṇas are being listed.

After enumerating forty Saṃskāras eight Ātmaguṇas are being listed.


दया सर्वभूतेषु क्षान्तिः अनसूया शौचम् अनायासः मङ्गलम् अकार्पण्यम् अस्पृहा इति।

dayā sarvabhūteṣu kṣāntiḥ anasūyā śaucam anāyāsaḥ maṅgalam akārpaṇyam aspṛhā iti.

  1. dayā sarvabhūteṣu = compassion towards all beings
  2. kṣāntiḥ = patience, i.e. although hurt or harmed not reacting through mind, body and speech
  3. anasūyā = not envious against those who have Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa
  4. śaucam = having four kinds of śaucam or purity – of wealth, mind, speech and body
  5. anāyāsaḥ = any activity, even if it is Dharma, if it causes pain should be given up
  6. maṅgalam = anything that is auspicious should be done and inauspicious should be resisted and this is called maṅgalam
  7. akārpaṇyam = even during the time of difficulty one should not go begging
  8. aspṛhā = dissatisfaction in the affairs and lust for others’ wealth

iti = these are called Ātmaguṇāḥ


Sympathy, patience, not being envious, purity, desisting from difficult tasks, indulging in things that are auspicious, not begging in difficult times and not longing for others’ wealth – these are called Ātmaguṇas.


यस्यैते चत्वारिंशत्संस्काराः न च अष्टौ आत्मगुणाः न स ब्रह्मणः सायुज्यं सालोक्यं गच्छति।

yasyaite catvāriṃśatsaṃskārāḥ na ca aṣṭau ātmaguṇāḥ na sa brahmaṇaḥ sāyujyaṃ sālokyaṃ gacchati.

yasya= to which person, ete catvāriṃśatsaṃskārāḥ = there are all these forty Saṃskāras, na ca aṣṭau ātmaguṇāḥ = but not the eight Ātmaguṇāḥ, saḥ = that person, na gacchati = does not get, sāyujyaṃ = either union, sālokyaṃ = or living, brahmaṇaḥ = with Brahman.


The Ātmaguṇāḥ are so important that a person, although has got all the forty Saṃskāras but does not have the Ātmaguṇas can get neither living in the world of Brahman nor union with Brahman.


यस्य तु खलु संस्काराणामेकदेशः अपि अष्टौ आत्मगुणाः अथ स ब्रह्मणः सायुज्यं सालोक्यं च गच्छति।

yasya tu khalu saṃskārāṇāmekadeśaḥ api aṣṭau ātmaguṇāḥ atha sa brahmaṇaḥ sāyujyaṃ sālokyaṃ ca gacchati.

tu = but, yasya khalu = to which person, as is wellknown, saṃskārāṇāmekadeśaḥ api = has got only a part of the forty Saṃskāras, aṣṭau ātmaguṇāḥ = and all the eight Ātmaguṇas, atha = certainly, saḥ = that person, gacchati = would get, sāyujyaṃsālokyaṃ= union and living, brahmaṇaḥ = with Brahma.


On the other hand, the one who has got only some of the Saṃskāras but all the Ātmaguṇas would certainly get union and living with Brahman.


  1. षोडश संस्काराः (Sixteen Saṃskāras)

Although forty Saṃskāras are said by Gautama and some other Gṛhyasūtram prescribes fourteen or twenty five, sixteen Saṃskāras are accepted commonly by Śiṣṭas (those who strictly follow the Vaidikadharma) –

  1. Garbhādhānam (the rite of impregnation)
  2. Puṃsavanam (the rite for a male child)
  3. Sīmantam (the rite for cleansing the womb)
  4. Jātakarma (the rite performed as soon as one is born in order to obviate the impurity due to consumption of water in mother’s womb)
  5. Nāmakaraṇam (the rite for naming a child)
  6. Annaprāśanam (the rite of feeding a child)
  7. Cūḍākarma (the rite of firming crest, also called Caula)
  8. Upanayanam (the rite to become ‘dvija’, i.e. second birth, to be eligible to learn Veda)
  9. Prājāpatyam (it is a Vedavratam)
  10. Saumyam (it is a Vedavratam)
  11. Āgneyam (it is a Vedavratam)
  12. Vaiśvadevam (it is a Vedavratam)
  13. Godānam (donating a cow)
  14. Samāvartanam (leaving the Gurukulam at the end of learning to get married)
  15. Vivāhaḥ (marriage)
  16. Aparakarma (a rite that follows death)


  1. धर्मसूत्रम्(Dharmasūtram)
  1. Origin of Dharma

वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम्।

                        आचारश्चैव साधूनाम् आत्मनस्तुष्टिरेव च॥(Manusmṛti 2-6)

                        vedo’khilo dharmamūlaṃ smṛtiśīle ca tadvidām.

                        ācāraścaiva sādhūnām ātmanastuṣṭireva ca..

dharmamūlam = the roots of Dharma lies in,akhilavedaḥ = the complete Veda,tadvidām smṛtiśīle ca = the ‘Smṛti’ and conduct of those who know Veda,sādhūnām ācāraḥ ca eva = the behaviour of noble people, ātmanaḥ tuṣṭiḥ eva ca = self-satisfaction.


The roots of Dharma are there in complete Veda, the Dharmaśāstras and conduct of those who know Veda, the good behaviour of noble people and finally in the case of doubt / confusion, the self-satisfaction.

  1. धर्मलक्षणम्(Signs of Dharma)

In Manusmṛti ten signs of Dharma are enumerated –


                        धृतिः क्षमा दमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः।

                       धीर्विद्या सत्यमक्रोधः दशकं धर्मलक्षणम् ॥(6-92)

                       dhṛtiḥ kṣamā damo’steyaṃ śaucamindriyanigrahaḥ ।

            dhīrvidyā satyamakrodhaḥ daśakaṃ dharmalakṣaṇam॥

dhṛtiḥ = happiness, kṣamā = patience, damaḥ = control on mind, asteyam = not stealing, śaucam = purity, indriyanigrahaḥ = control of sense-organs, dhīḥ = intelligence, vidyā = knowledge, satyam = truth, akrodhaḥ = and not having anger, daśakam = this group of ten, dharmalakṣaṇam = is sign of Dharma.

Happiness, patience, control on mind, not stealing, purity, control on sense-organs, intellect, knowledge, truth, not having anger – this group of ten is the sign of Dharma.


  1. दण्डः (punishment by king / ruler)

The ruler of a kingdom should be careful while offering punishment says Bhṛgu in Manusmṛti (8-128) –


                        अदण्ड्यान् दण्डयन् राजा दण्ड्यांश्चैवाप्यदण्डयन्।

                       अयशो महदाप्नोति नरकं चाधिगच्छति ॥

              adaṇḍyān daṇḍayan rājā daṇḍyāṃścaivāpyadaṇḍayan।

                        ayaśo mahadāpnoti narakaṃ cādhigacchati॥

rājā= the king / ruler, daṇḍayan= punishing, adaṇḍyān = those not to be punished, api ca = and, adaṇḍayan = not punishing, daṇḍyān = those to be punished, āpnoti = gets mahatayaśaḥ = great unpopularity, adhigacchatica= also goes to, narakam = hell.


The ruler, by punishing those not guilty and not punishing the guilty becomes unpopular and also goes to hell.


  1. स्त्रीरक्षणम्(Protection of ladies)

Manusmṛti (9-3) ordains that a lady deserves protection throughout –


                        पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने।

                       रक्षन्ति स्थाविरे पुत्राः न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यमर्हति ॥

              pitā rakṣati kaumāre bhartā rakṣati yauvane।

                        rakṣanti sthāvire putrāḥ na strī svātantryamarhati ॥

pitā = father, rakṣati = protects (the girl), kaumāre = during the age of 1-15 years, bhartā = husband, rakṣati = protects, yauvane = during youth, i.e. 16-50,putrāḥ= sons and daughters, rakṣanti = protect, sthāvire = during old age, i.e. 50+ (therefore) strī = a lady, svātantryam = the state of being alone, naarhati = does not deserve.

During childhood it is father who protects the girl, during youth it is husband and during old age it is the children. Thus a lady, throughout her life, has to be protected and should not be left alone.


  1. स्त्रीपूजा(Worship of ladies)

             Bhṛgumaharṣi asserts (3-56) that one should always respect ladies and it would lead to prosperity –


                        यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः।

                       यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः॥

              yatra nāryastu pūjyante ramante tatra devatāḥ।

              yatraitāstu na pūjyante sarvāstatrāphalāḥ kriyāḥ॥

yatra tu = in which house, nāryaḥ = the ladies, pūjyante = are being worshipped, tatra = in that house, devatāḥ = the Gods, ramante = feel enjoyment. yatra tu = but in which house, etāḥ = these ladies, na pūjyante = are not being worshipped, tatra = in that house, sarvāḥkriyāḥ = all the auspicious deeds are, aphalāḥ = a waste.


Gods would feel enjoyment in a house wherein ladies are worshipped and all the auspicious deeds would be a waste in a house wherein ladies are not worshipped.



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  2. Baudhāyana-Śratua-Śūtra, ed. by W. Calamel, Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1904-1923.
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  5. Āpastambaśulbasūtram, Saṃskṛtagranthamālā – 73, Mysore University, Mysore, 1931.
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  7. Manusmṛti, Chowkhamba, Delhi, 1987.
  8. Smṛtisandarbhaḥ, Gurumandal Prakasan, Calcutta, 1952.
  9. Āpastambagṛhyasūtram, Svadharmaprakāśinī Publications, Hyderabad, 2006.