Snataka Dharma (स्नातकधर्मः)

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Snataka Dharma (Samskrit: स्नातकधर्मः) broadly refers to the responsibilities assigned and code of conduct prescribed for a Snataka (स्नातकः ॥ a graduate), that is, those who have completed their education in the brahmacharyashrama (graduates) and who are awaiting their entrance into the responsibilities of the Grhasthashrama.

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Snataka refers to a student who has had the ritual abulation or samavartana snana (समावर्तनस्नानम्) after the completion of his study at the gurukula. The Indian tradition lays equal emphasis on both the rights and duties of a person through the different stages of his life. This is encoded in the form of the Varnashrama Dharma in the various Smrti texts. Manusmrti elaborates in detail about the code of conduct for a Snataka. His personal as well as social responsibilities have been enlisted therein.

स्नातकधर्माः ॥ Duties of a Snataka

The duties prescribed for a Snataka - one who is in a phase of transition from the brahmacharyashrama to the Grhasthashrama are,

  1. उपजीविका ॥ Livelihood
  2. वेदाध्ययनम् ॥ Study of the Vedas
  3. यज्ञकर्माणि ॥ Performing Yajnas
  4. भिक्षा ॥ Begging for Alms

उपजीविका ॥ Livelihood

One of the main duties awaiting a Snataka as he enters the grhasthashrama is to sustain his family. A Snataka who is a brahmana may subsist by anyone of the following modes of subsistence.

  • It is said that a brahmana may subsist by Rta, Amrta , Mrta, Pramrta or by Satya and Anrta. But never by Shvavrtti. (Manu Smrt. 4.4)
  • Rta refers to the gleaning of corn; Amrta is that which is obtained unasked; Mrta refers to begging and agriculture is called as Pramrta. Trading is considered Satyanrta (as it comprises of both truth and falsehood) and one may subsist even by that. However, one should avoid slavery as it is called Shvavrtti (dog's way of living). (Manu Smrti 4.5 and 4.6).[1]

ऋतामृताभ्यां जीवेत्तु मृतेन प्रमृतेन वा । सत्यानृताभ्यां अपि वा न श्ववृत्त्या कदा चन || ४.४ ||

ऋतं उञ्छशिलं ज्ञेयं अमृतं स्यादयाचितम् । मृतं तु याचितं भैक्षं प्रमृतं कर्षणं स्मृतम् || ४.५ ||

सत्यानृतं तु वाणिज्यं तेन चैवापि जीव्यते । सेवा श्ववृत्तिराख्याता तस्मात्तां परिवर्जयेत् || ४.६ ||[2]

r̥tāmr̥tābhyāṁ jīvettu mr̥tena pramr̥tena vā । satyānr̥tābhyāṁ api vā na śvavr̥ttyā kadā cana || 4.4 ||

r̥taṁ uñchaśilaṁ jñeyaṁ amr̥taṁ syādayācitam । mr̥taṁ tu yācitaṁ bhaikṣaṁ pramr̥taṁ karṣaṇaṁ smr̥tam || 4.5 ||

satyānr̥taṁ tu vāṇijyaṁ tena caivāpi jīvyate । sevā śvavr̥ttirākhyātā tasmāttāṁ parivarjayet || 4.6 ||

The Manusmrti especially implores a Brahmana who is a Snataka, to subsist by one of the above-mentioned modes of livelihood and discharge the duties for securing heavenly bliss, long life, and fame. (Manu Smrt. 4.13).[1]

अतोऽन्यतमया वृत्त्या जीवंस्तु स्नातको द्विजः । स्वर्गायुष्ययशस्यानि व्रताणीमानि धारयेत् || ४.१३ ||[2]

ato'nyatamayā vr̥ttyā jīvaṁstu snātako dvijaḥ । svargāyuṣyayaśasyāni vratāṇīmāni dhārayet || 4.13 ||

However, the means of livelihood are subject to certain standards of discipline like,

  1. Not accumulating excessive wealth.
  2. Not taking undue advantage of family name.
  3. Following fair means of trade, etc.

This is elaborated further under the topic of Upajivika Niyamas (उपजीविकानियमाः).

वेदाध्ययनम् ॥ Study of the Vedas

Vedadhyayana is considered the primary duty of an individual. It is said,

वेदम् एवाभ्यसेन्नित्यं यथाकाम् अतन्द्रितः । तं ह्यस्याहुः परं धर्मम् उपधर्मोऽन्य उच्यते || ४.१४७ ||[2]

vedaṁ evābhyasennityaṁ yathākālaṁ atandritaḥ । taṁ hyasyāhuḥ paraṁ dharmaṁ upadharmo'nya ucyate || 4.147 ||

Meaning: A Dvija (brahmana) should carefully recite the Vedas everyday. For, this is the prime duty; all other duties are called secondary. (Manu Smrt. 4.147).[1]

Hence Manusmrti says,

  • One should clip one's hair, nails, and beard; wear white garments and stay pure. One should always be engaged in studying the Veda and take steps towards one's welfare. (Manu Smrt. 4.35).[1]

क्ल्प्तकेशनखश्मश्रुर्दान्तः शुक्लाम्बरः शुचिः । स्वाध्याये चैव युक्तः स्यान्नित्यं आत्महितेषु च || ४.३५ ||[2]

klptakeśanakhaśmaśrurdāntaḥ śuklāmbaraḥ śuciḥ । svādhyāye caiva yuktaḥ syānnityaṁ ātmahiteṣu ca || 4.35 ||

  • It advices one to avoid all those activities that impede the study of the Veda; for, the fruit of a brahmana's life lies in staying focused on the study of the Veda at all costs. (Manu Smrt. 4.17).[1]

सर्वान्परित्यजेदर्थान्स्वाध्यायस्य विरोधिनः । यथा तथाध्यापयंस्तु सा ह्यस्य कृतकृत्यता || ४.१७ ||[2]

sarvānparityajedarthānsvādhyāyasya virodhinaḥ । yathā tathādhyāpayaṁstu sā hyasya kr̥takr̥tyatā || 4.17 ||

  • One should daily study the Agamas that sharpen one's intellect and the various shastras. For, their knowledge endows the complete understanding of the beneficial and the detrimental. (Manu Smrti. 4.19).[1] For, as one goes on studying a science, so does he go on understanding, and then his knowledge shines forth. (Manu Smrt. 4.20).[3]

बुद्धिवृद्धिकराण्याशु धन्यानि च हितानि च । नित्यं शास्त्राण्यवेक्षेत निगमांश्चैव वैदिकान् || ४.१९ । 

यथा यथा हि पुरुषः शास्त्रं समधिगच्छति । तथा तथा विजानाति विज्ञानं चास्य रोचते || ४.२० ||[2]

buddhivr̥ddhikarāṇyāśu dhanyāni ca hitāni ca । nityaṁ śāstrāṇyavekṣeta nigamāṁścaiva vaidikān || 4.19 । 

yathā yathā hi puruṣaḥ śāstraṁ samadhigacchati । tathā tathā vijānāti vijñānaṁ cāsya rocate || 4.20 ||

According to Manusmrti, by studying the Vedas diligently, observing the rules of purity, doing japa and having love towards all created beings, one gains the memory of his former births. And one who, recollecting his former births, continues to study the Veda, gains endless bliss by the continual study of the Veda. (Manu Smrt. 4.148 and 149).[1]

वेदाभ्यासेन सततं शौचेन तपसैव च । अद्रोहेण च भूतानां जातिं स्मरति पौर्विकीम् || ४.१४८ ||

पौर्विकीं संस्मरन्जातिं ब्रह्मैवाभ्यस्यते पुनः । ब्रह्माभ्यासेन चाजस्रं अनन्तं सुखं अश्नुते || ४.१४९ ||[2]

vedābhyāsena satataṁ śaucena tapasaiva ca । adroheṇa ca bhūtānāṁ jātiṁ smarati paurvikīm || 4.148 ||

paurvikīṁ saṁsmaranjātiṁ brahmaivābhyasyate punaḥ । brahmābhyāsena cājasraṁ anantaṁ sukhaṁ aśnute || 4.149 ||

Inspite of such importance attached to vedic studies on a daily basis, the text also mentions instances when this stringent rule is relaxed. This situation of exception is known as Anadhyayana (अनध्ययनम्), the time when one is exempted from vedic studies.

यज्ञकर्माणि ॥ Performing Yajnas

  • A Snataka brahmana should not neglect Vedic studies, the performance of yajnas, Bhuta-bali, honouring guests and offerings to the forefathers to the best of his abilities. (Manu Smrt. 4.21).[1]

ऋषियज्ञं देवयज्ञं भूतयज्ञं च सर्वदा । नृयज्ञं पितृयज्ञं च यथाशक्ति न हापयेत् || ४.२१ ||[2]

r̥ṣiyajñaṁ devayajñaṁ bhūtayajñaṁ ca sarvadā । nr̥yajñaṁ pitr̥yajñaṁ ca yathāśakti na hāpayet || 4.21 ||

  • Those who know the ordinances for yajnika rites, do not offer these five great yajnas. Rather, they consider their senses as Agni and offer the oblations within thereby making a provision to control the external factors. Many knowledgeable people merge their speech in breadth and their breath in speech. (Manu Smrt. 4.22 and 23).[1]

एतानेके महायज्ञान्यज्ञशास्त्रविदो जनाः । अनीहमानाः सततं इन्द्रियेष्वेव जुह्वति || ४.२२ ||

वाच्येके जुह्वति प्राणं प्राणे वाचं च सर्वदा । वाचि प्राणे च पश्यन्तो यज्ञनिर्वृत्तिं अक्षयाम् || ४.२३ ||[2]

etāneke mahāyajñānyajñaśāstravido janāḥ । anīhamānāḥ satataṁ indriyeṣveva juhvati || 4.22 ||

vācyeke juhvati prāṇaṁ prāṇe vācaṁ ca sarvadā । vāci prāṇe ca paśyanto yajñanirvr̥ttiṁ akṣayām || 4.23 ||

  • Some others perform all the Yajnas as Jnana Yajnas (through knowledge alone). For, knowledge is at the root of all yajnas. (Manu Smrt. 4.24).[1]

ज्ञानेनैवापरे विप्रा यजन्त्येतैर्मखैः सदा । ज्ञानमूलां क्रियां एषां पश्यन्तो ज्ञानचक्षुषा || ४.२४ ||[2]

jñānenaivāpare viprā yajantyetairmakhaiḥ sadā । jñānamūlāṁ kriyāṁ eṣāṁ paśyanto jñānacakṣuṣā || 4.24 ||

  • One should always offer Agnihotra at dawn and dusk, the Darsha yajna during New moon day and Paurnamasa (Ishtis) on Full moon day. (Manu Smrt. 4.25).[1]

अग्निहोत्रं च जुहुयादाद्यन्ते द्युनिशोः सदा । दर्शेन चार्धमासान्ते पौर्णामासेन चैव हि || ४.२५ ||[2]

agnihotraṁ ca juhuyādādyante dyuniśoḥ sadā । darśena cārdhamāsānte paurṇāmāsena caiva hi || 4.25 ||

  • A Dvija (Brahmana) should always offer on the Parva-days as well as on regular days, oblations to Savitru and Shanti homa; and on the Ashtakas and Anvashtakas, one should worship the forefathers. (Manu Smrt. 4.150).[1]

सावित्राञ् शान्तिहोमांश्च कुर्यात्पर्वसु नित्यशः । पितॄंश्चैवाष्टकास्वर्चेन्नित्यं अन्वष्टकासु च || ४.१५० ||[2]

sāvitrāñ śāntihomāṁśca kuryātparvasu nityaśaḥ । pitr̥̄ṁścaivāṣṭakāsvarcennityaṁ anvaṣṭakāsu ca || 4.150 ||

भिक्षा ॥ Begging for Alms

  • A Snataka Grhastha who is pining for food, may wish for wealth from a Raja, the Yajamana (यजमानः) of a yajna, and a student, but never from those who have abandoned the path of Dharma. This is the prescribed rule in the Dharma shastras. (Manu Smrt. 4.33).[1]

राजतो धनम् अन्विच्छेत्संसीदन्स्नातकः क्षुधा । याज्यान्तेवासिनोर्वापि न त्वन्यत इति स्थितिः || ४.३३ ||[2]

rājato dhanaṁ anvicchetsaṁsīdansnātakaḥ kṣudhā । yājyāntevāsinorvāpi na tvanyata iti sthitiḥ || 4.33 ||

  • A Snataka brahmana should never be troubled by any kind of hunger. Nor should one wear old or dirty clothes, even if one does not possess wealth. (Manu Smrt. 4.34).[1]

न सीदेत्स्नातको विप्रः क्षुधा शक्तः कथं चन । न जीर्णमलवद्वासा भवेच्च विभवे सति || ४.३४ ||[2]

na sīdetsnātako vipraḥ kṣudhā śaktaḥ kathaṁ cana । na jīrṇamalavadvāsā bhavecca vibhave sati || 4.34 ||

  • A Raja is declared to be equal to a butcher running a hundred thousand slaughter-houses; therefore it is dangerous to accept his donation. In fact, one who accepts donations from a greedy and non-righteous Raja, is declared to attain the following twenty-one hells: Therefore, learned people, those knowledgeable about the Veda, scholars and brahmanas, with the desire to obtain bliss after death, do not accept donations from a Raja. (Manu Smrt. 4.86, 87 and 91).[1]

दश सूणासहस्राणि यो वाहयति सौनिकः । तेन तुल्यः स्मृतो राजा घोरस्तस्य प्रतिग्रहः || ४.८६ ||

यो राज्ञः प्रतिगृह्णाति लुब्धस्योच्छास्त्रवर्तिनः । स पर्यायेण यातीमान्नरकानेकविंशतिम् || ४.८७ ||

एतद्विदन्तो विद्वांसो ब्राह्मणा ब्रह्मवादिनः । न राज्ञः प्रतिगृह्णन्ति प्रेत्य श्रेयोऽभिकाङ्क्षिणः || ४.९१ ||[2]

daśa sūṇāsahasrāṇi yo vāhayati saunikaḥ । tena tulyaḥ smr̥to rājā ghorastasya pratigrahaḥ || 4.86 ||

yo rājñaḥ pratigr̥hṇāti lubdhasyocchāstravartinaḥ । sa paryāyeṇa yātīmānnarakānekaviṁśatim || 4.87 ||

etadvidanto vidvāṁso brāhmaṇā brahmavādinaḥ । na rājñaḥ pratigr̥hṇanti pretya śreyo'bhikāṅkṣiṇaḥ || 4.91 ||

स्नातकगुणोपदेशः ॥ Snataka Guna Upadesha

Manusmrti enforces adherence to certain qualities in the life of a Snataka living by the prescribed responsibilities mentioned above and enumerates certain guidelines for the same. The qualities include,

  • अप्रसक्तिः ॥ Non-attachment
  • अहिंसा ॥ Non-violence
  • सत्यवादित्वम् ॥ Righteousness, truthfulness
  • आत्माश्रयः ॥ Self-reliance
  • औदार्यता ॥ Generosity[2]

विधिताचाराः ॥ Prescribed Code of Conduct

The general advice to any Snataka regarding his code of conduct is,

वयसः कर्मणोऽर्थस्य श्रुतस्याभिजनस्य च । वेषवाग्बुद्धिसारूप्यं आचरन्विचरेदिह || ४.१८ ||

श्रुतिस्मृत्युदितं सम्यङ्निबद्धं स्वेषु कर्मसु । धर्ममूलं निषेवेत सदाचारं अतन्द्रितः || ४.१५५ ||

आचाराल्लभते ह्यायुराचारादीप्सिताः प्रजाः । आचाराद्धनं अक्षय्यं आचारो हन्त्यलक्षणम् || ४.१५६ ||[2]

vayasaḥ karmaṇo'rthasya śrutasyābhijanasya ca । veṣavāgbuddhisārūpyaṁ ācaranvicarediha || 4.18 ||

śrutismr̥tyuditaṁ samyaṅnibaddhaṁ sveṣu karmasu । dharmamūlaṁ niṣeveta sadācāraṁ atandritaḥ || 4.155 ||

ācārāllabhate hyāyurācārādīpsitāḥ prajāḥ । ācārāddhanaṁ akṣayyaṁ ācāro hantyalakṣaṇam || 4.156 ||

Meaning: One should wander about in this world, keeping one's dress, speech and thoughts in conformity with his age, occupation, wealth, learning and family. (Manu Smrt. 4.18).[3] A grhastha should untiringly, follow the code of conduct like reading the Vedas, observing Vratas, Nitya karma and follow good conduct which is the base of Dharma as prescribed by the Shruti and Smrti texts (Manu Smrt. 4.155).[1] By Right Conduct one attains longevity; by Right Conduct one obtains desirable children; by Right Conduct one obtains inexhaustible wealth; and Right Conduct destroys everything inauspicious. According to Manusmrti, even though devoid of all auspicious marks, the one who follows Right Conduct, has faith and is free from jealousy, lives for a hundred years. While, the one of evil conduct becomes deprecated among men; is constantly suffering pain, sick and short-lived. (Manu Smrt. 4.156, 158 and 157).[3]

सर्वलक्षणहीनोऽपि यः सदाचारवान्नरः । श्रद्दधानोऽनसूयश्च शतं वर्षाणि जीवति || ४.१५८ ||

दुराचारो हि पुरुषो लोके भवति निन्दितः । दुःखभागी च सततं व्याधितोऽल्पायुरेव च || ४.१५७ ||[2]

sarvalakṣaṇahīno'pi yaḥ sadācāravānnaraḥ । śraddadhāno'nasūyaśca śataṁ varṣāṇi jīvati || 4.158 ||

durācāro hi puruṣo loke bhavati ninditaḥ । duḥkhabhāgī ca satataṁ vyādhito'lpāyureva ca || 4.157 ||

Hence it is said, one should not be fickle with his hands and feet, nor fickle with his eyes, nor crooked, nor fickle with his speech, nor harm others by deed or thought. (Manu Smrt. 4.177).[3] One should follow the path taken by the forefathers. By doing thus, one saves oneself from the destruction caused by adharma (Manu Smrt. 4.178).[1] One should not pay attention to one's enemy, or to his enemy’s friend, or to an unrighteous person, or to a thief, or to the lady of another person. For in this world, there is nothing so detrimental to a person’s longevity as paying attention to the wife of another person. (Manu Smrt. 4.133 and 134).[3]

न पाणिपादचपलो न नेत्रचपलोऽनृजुः । न स्याद्वाक्चपलश्चैव न परद्रोहकर्मधीः || ४.१७७ ||

येनास्य पितरो याता येन याताः पितामहाः । तेन यायात्सतां मार्गं तेन गच्छन्न रिष्यति || ४.१७८ ||

वैरिणं नोपसेवेत सहायं चैव वैरिणः । अधार्मिकं तस्करं च परस्यैव च योषितम् । । ४.१३३ । ।

न हीदृशं अनायुष्यं लोके किं चन विद्यते । यादृशं पुरुषस्येह परदारोपसेवनम् । । ४.१३४ । ।[2]

na pāṇipādacapalo na netracapalo'nr̥juḥ । na syādvākcapalaścaiva na paradrohakarmadhīḥ || 4.177 ||

yenāsya pitaro yātā yena yātāḥ pitāmahāḥ । tena yāyātsatāṁ mārgaṁ tena gacchanna riṣyati || 4.178 ||

vairiṇaṁ nopaseveta sahāyaṁ caiva vairiṇaḥ । adhārmikaṁ taskaraṁ ca parasyaiva ca yoṣitam । । 4.133 । ।

na hīdr̥śaṁ anāyuṣyaṁ loke kiṁ cana vidyate । yādr̥śaṁ puruṣasyeha paradāropasevanam । । 4.134 । ।

Not only this, Manusmrti also emphasizes on the general code of conduct for mankind living as a society. This is elaborated under the topic Acharana Dharma (आचरणधर्मः)

सदाचारफलम् || Fruits of Good Conduct

Manusmrti also also enumerates the fruits of observing the prescribed code of conduct in life. It says,

  • The one who follows good conduct, does chanting and yajnas, who has control over his indriyas obtains bliss in this world and the other world. (Manu Smrt. (4.145 and 146).[1]

मङ्गलाचारयुक्तानां नित्यं च प्रयतात्मनाम् । जपतां जुह्वतां चैव विनिपातो न विद्यते || ४.१४६ ||[2]

maṅgalācārayuktānāṁ nityaṁ ca prayatātmanām । japatāṁ juhvatāṁ caiva vinipāto na vidyate || 4.146 ||

  • One who acts resolutely, is gentle and tolerant, who does not associate with persons of cruel disposition, and who does no injury to others, shall win heaven by self-control and liberality, if one sticks to this practice. (Manu Smrt. 4.246).[3]

दृढकारी मृदुर्दान्तः क्रूराचारैरसंवसन् । अहिंस्रो दमदानाभ्यां जयेत्स्वर्गं तथाव्रतः || ४.२४६ ||[2]

dr̥ḍhakārī mr̥durdāntaḥ krūrācārairasaṁvasan ।ahiṁsro damadānābhyāṁ jayetsvargaṁ tathāvrataḥ || 4.246 ||

  • And a Brahmana who, being learned in the lore of the Vedas, conducts himself in this manner and nullifies his sins, will be exalted in the brahmaloka. (Manu Smrt. 4.260).[1]

अनेन विप्रो वृत्तेन वर्तयन्वेदशास्त्रवित् । व्यपेतकल्मषो नित्यं ब्रह्मलोके महीयते || ४.२६० ||[2]

anena vipro vr̥ttena vartayanvedaśāstravit । vyapetakalmaṣo nityaṁ brahmaloke mahīyate || 4.260 ||

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Pt. Girija Prasad Dvivedi (1917), The Manusmriti, Lucknow: Naval Kishore Press.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 4.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ganganath Jha (1920-39), Manusmrti (Vol.4), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited.