Showing posts with label Dharmashastra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dharmashastra. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Dharmashastra?

A broad word for the study of dharma (religious duty), whether it refers to the actual scriptures (Dharma Shastras), treatises on religious obligation, or the enormous commentary-like literature on these texts in general. 

Despite the fact that the Dharma Shastras are thought to have been composed between the second century B.C.E. 

and the early centuries of the common period, this literature was written until current times. 

The literature included in-depth analysis of legal issues such as crime and punishment, civil law, contracts, and evidence standards. 

It also dealt with issues of social order. 

(“Dharma Treatises”) This term refers to a certain corpus of Sanskrit writings in their most specific meaning. 

These works were specifically intended to provide instructions for society's structure and proper human conduct within that civilization. 

The Dharma Shastras (aphorisms on religious duty) were composed shortly after the Dharma Sutras (aphorisms on religious duty) and are obviously fashioned after them, although with a few key differences. 

The Dharma Shastras are written in simple poetry, but the Dharma Sutras are written in prose. 

The Dharma Shastras were written in a language that is similar to ancient Sanskrit, and the authors attempted to make their books as plain and understandable as possible. 

The Dharma Shastras cover the same ground as the Dharma Sutras in terms of substance, but they lay a greater focus on figuring out the practical issues of social life, notably the king's obligations and powers. 

The last distinction is their relationship to older Vedic literature. 

Along with the Shrauta Sutras (prescriptions for Vedic ceremonies) and the Grhya Sutras, the Dharma Sutras were intended as the last piece of a Kalpa Sutra (full manual of religious practice) (prescriptions for domestic rites). 

Each Kalpa Sutra was linked to one of the Vedas (the earliest holy Hindu books) and hence became the "family property" of the brahmins (priests) who were connected to that Veda. 

As a result, each Dharma Sutra was connected with a certain set of brahmins and served largely as a guide for their conduct. 

The Dharma Shastras, on the other hand, professed to set out norms for all members of society. 

They are unconcerned with rituals and have no ties to any specific Vedic school, instead professing to set down universal truths. 

The surviving Dharma Shastras are all assigned to mythological sages—Manu, Yajnavalkya, and Narada—while the Dharma Sutras are given human authorship in line with this focus. 

Thus, the Dharma Shastras establish dharma (dharmashastra) as a discipline separate from older Vedic literature and applied to society as a whole. 

A five-volume compilation by Pandurang Vaman Kane (trans. ), A History of Dharmasastra, 1968, has the most comprehensive list of all these texts. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.