The text is notable for its broad minded and liberal views on women and all social classes. Next the teacher's conduct towards his pupil. Loving him like a son and totally devoted to him, the teacher should impart knowledge to him, without holding anything back, with respect to any of the Laws. Except in emergency, moreover, he should not employ a pupil, for purposes to the detriment of the pupil's studies. Each of the three founded a Vedic school, and each of their schools produced a collection of literature within the Krishna Yajurveda tradition, one that included separate Kalpasutra compilations.
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Bac kground. Apastamba muni was a great Sutrakaara who compiled the Apastamba Kalpasutra. His wife was the pativrata Aksasutraa and his son was Karki. He is said to have lived somewhere in the Godavari valley of Andhra.
Although the origin might be in reference to another Pauranic Apastamba, it is also attributed to the sutrakaara as well. Tradition holds that Apastamba, along with Baudhayana muni, was one of the two early Dharmashastra writers from Andhra. This has been adumbrated by both traditional and foreign academic sources.
Interestingly enough, per Apastamba himself, the tradition asserts that Rishis are not born in the Kali Age, though individuals may often display some of their characteristics. It demonstrates the importance of referring back to the Purvacharyas, as Apastamba does by example. It further cements his connection to the present age. The current academic paradigm dates him to BCE, though he is likely much older.
Dharmasutras originated from Grihyasutras , which are the second class of text the other being Srautasutras that stem from a category known as Kalpasutras meaning thread on rituals, whether daily nithya or special naimittika. While Srauta deals with sacrificial rites, and Grihyasutras deal with domestic rites.
Dharmasutras are more general and societal in nature. Much has been written about the Dharmashastra and its auteurs by the Western Academe. Nevertheless, the best starting point to understanding a civilization is through the internal logic respected by its native scholars. In the case of the four main Dharmasutras Vasishta, Gautama, Baudhayana, and Apastamba , such considerations matter particularly for chronology as it has become fashionable to say Apastamba preceded Maharishi Vasishta the Saptarishi who featured in the Ramayana —a notion that would send even traditional Dharmic schoolchildren into peals of laughter.
In fact the order is reversed, with Sage Vasishta being the eldest and Apastamba the most recent and most preferred for the Kali Yuga the present Age. This aligns with the finding that Baudhayana muni was the son of Maharishi Kanva from the fourth paada of the Dvapara Yuga.
The Sulbasutras are treatises on geometry as required for Vedic rites and requirements such as the construction of fire-altars, etc. Apastamba himself belonged to the Krishna Black Yajurveda , and expounded upon the intricacies of these altars.
The result is even though the focus was on Dharma and Yagna, quite a bit of Mathematics was compiled as well. But to understand the place of these, one must examine the Kalpasutra corpus as a whole.
Apastamba is seen as one of the authorities who emphasised the notion of Yuga Dharma vs Sanatana Dharma. What is notable about his Dharmasutra is the specification of the importance of accepted custom samay-acarika. He also asserted the role of women as upholders of dharma. He therefore specifies the importance of children learning much lore and custom from Women.
Apastamba also protected the rights of women by forbidding their abandonment by husbands. He also specified that a wife may use the family wealth on her own while her husband was away unremarkable for our time perhaps, but certainly far ahead of what is thought of as the traditional view.
This provided the epistemological basis for custom among righteous people stemming from the Vedas as well. There were also commentaries written on his work, by the scholar Haradatta, and of course, Kumarila Bhatta and Adi Sankaracharya. In tandem with his work on Dharma are his ancillary achievements in Mathematics and Engineering. Correspondingly, although the motivating drive for his Sulba Sutra was to provide guidance for construction of fire altars, there were a number of Mathematical, Astronomical, and even Engineering externalities as well.
His key accomplishments have been quickly summarised above, though are best discussed in a Series of articles on Sulba. Akrodho-aharsho-arosho-alobho-amoho-adambho-adrohah satyavachanam-anatyaasho-apaishunam-anasooyaa samvibhaagas-tyaaga aarjavam maardavam shamo dhamah sarva-bhoothair-avirodho yoga aaryam-aanrshamsam thushtir ithi sarva-ashramaanam samaya-padhaani thaany anuthishtan-vidhinaa sarvagaami bhavathi 1.
By practicing them according to the rules, a man attains the Supreme Being. But this is unfair. This denotes the importance of people not only avoiding tunnel-vision about their own lifestyle and seeking to impose it or hold it above others, but to recognise the need for balance and respect for the individual work of all members of society.
Some colonial and neo-colonial scholars have either downplayed the existence of formal law in Ancient India or have said that Dharma replaced law. But neither is correct. Right conduct controls the greater one. Law is the common minimum or floor for society while Dharma in its highest form is the ceiling we must aspire toward.
Apastamba is also notable for writing that after learning Vedic knowledge, those initiated in the Vedas can then understand final knowledge possessed by women and Sudras.
The meaning here is that once Vedic knowledge is mastered, the value and divinity of everyday knowledge possessed by uninitiates is then understood as well. Although the rights to Vedic ritual and ritual recitation belong to Brahmanas, the dvija initiate classes include Kshatriyas and Vaisyas as well.
In fact, while one phrase is read as prohibiting initiation to sudras, the same sloka prohibits initiation to criminals of any caste. Further, some have argued that the correct interpretation of the sloka due to a contested word change actually means that meritorious Sudras with good guna may be initiated as well. Finally, for those concerned about casteism, here is what Apastamba wrote, and incidentally, it would be something echoed by Annamacharya thousands of years later:.
Seeing all beings in himself , a wise man thinks about it and is not perplexed. Bac kground Apastamba muni was a great Sutrakaara who compiled the Apastamba Kalpasutra. Achievements The Apastamba Kalpa sutra consists of 30 prasnas. It also has a key section that has important ramifications: Paribhashas general rules of interpretation for the Kalpasutras The Apastamba Grihya-sutras are contained in the 26th and 27th books.
The 28th and 29th together make up the Apastamba Dharmasutra which is sub-divided into 8 patalas and 23 parts. The 30th prasna is focused on Sulba Sutra. He is also credited with the Apastamba-brahmana, Apastambopanisad, Apastamba-prayoga, Apastambaapara-sutra , and Apastamba-smriti The Apastamba-smriti consists of slokas Apastamba is seen as one of the authorities who emphasised the notion of Yuga Dharma vs Sanatana Dharma.
Legacy [4,] Akrodho-aharsho-arosho-alobho-amoho-adambho-adrohah satyavachanam-anatyaasho-apaishunam-anasooyaa samvibhaagas-tyaaga aarjavam maardavam shamo dhamah sarva-bhoothair-avirodho yoga aaryam-aanrshamsam thushtir ithi sarva-ashramaanam samaya-padhaani thaany anuthishtan-vidhinaa sarvagaami bhavathi 1.
Finally, for those concerned about casteism, here is what Apastamba wrote, and incidentally, it would be something echoed by Annamacharya thousands of years later: Atmanan-pasyan-sarva-bhootaani na mohyacchinthayankavih Aatmaanam chaiva sarvatra yah pashyetsa vai brahmaa naakaprushte viraajathi 1. A Brahmin who sees himself in all beings, likewise, shines forth in the vault of heaven. Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World. Vol 2. New Delhi: Concept Publ.
Motilal Banarsidass. The Sacred Laws. Oxford: Clarendon Press. The Sulba Sutras. New Delhi. Indian National Science Academy.
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