What things are forbidden in the Sanatan Dharma

Dharma Shastra

Dharma Shastra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र dharmaśāstra n.) is the title of a textbook (Shastra) on law (Dharma) and right conduct. It is an authoritative work on Dharma. The best known text from the area of ​​Dharmashastra is the "Law Book of Manu" or Manava Dharmashastra. So Dharmashastra is a legal text or code of law.

This term encompasses the whole body of Hindu laws, but is mainly used for the laws of Manu, Yajnavalkya and other sages who first wrote down the Smriti or the "memories" they obtained from a divine source. These works are generally divided into three parts: (1) Achara, the rules of conduct and practice; (2) Vyavahara, the judiciary; (3) Prayashchitta, repentance.

It is said of the inspired legislators that they number 18 and that the names of 42 years old ancient authorities are mentioned. Manu and Yajnavalkya stand separately in the first place of these authors. After them come the other 18 wise men who are considered to be the great authorities over the law. The works ascribed to them have still been preserved, either in full or in part, or in an abbreviated form: (1) Atri; (2) Vishnu; (3) Harita; (4) ushanas; (5) angirasa; (6) yama; (7) apastamba; (8) Samvarta; (9) katyayana; (10) brihaspati; (11) Parashara; (12) Vyasa; (13) and (14) Shankha and Likhita, whose joint treatises are very rarely cited; (15) Daksha; (16) Gotama; (17) Shatatapa; (18) Vasishtha.

But other modes that are cited more frequently than those just cited are Narada, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kashyapa, Vishvamitra, and Baudhayana. Other names that are also encountered are Pulastya, Gargya, Paithinasi, Sumantu, Lokakshi, Kuthumi and Dhaumya. The writing of some legislators has appeared in various forms and is given the surnames Vriddha, "old", Brihat "great"; and Laghu described as "light or small".

A general collection of the Smritis or Dharmashastras has appeared in print in Calcutta. It is called Dharmashastra Samgraha and was written by Jivananda.

Dharma Shastra धर्मशास्त्र dharmaśāstra pronunciation

Here you can hear how the Sanskrit word Dharma Shastra, धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra is pronounced:

Sukadev on Dharma Shastra

Transcription of a lecture video (2014) by Sukadev on Dharma Shastra

Dharma Shastra is a textbook or a pamphlet about Dharma, about righteousness, about the cosmic order, about the cosmic laws. Dharma Shastra, in the narrower sense, are the Smritis, the law books of Manu and Yajnavalkya. But there are more Dharma Shastras about what to do. The treatise of the Bhagavadgita is also one of the Dharma Shastras or the treatise from Bhishma to Yudhisthira in the Mahabharata, when Bhishma was on his death bed and Yudhisthira passed on the foundations of a righteous life.

So Dharma Shastra are the scriptures that care for a righteous life in Dharmakshetra, in the field of Dharma. It is about how spirituality is lived in everyday life, in professional life, in family life, in dealing with other people. So these are the Dharma Shastras. Dharma Shastras must also be adapted to the customs of the time. The principles of ethics, the Yamas and the Niyamas, always remain the same, but how they are actually lived is different in every age.

Just one example: In the time of the Mahabharata it was entirely in accordance with Dharma that a man could have several wives, a woman could have several husbands, and several men and women could live together in one marriage. That was quite common back then. But other things that were forbidden then are allowed again today. The principles of Ahimsa, Satya, Aparigraha, Asteya are always the same. How they develop is a little different.

Therefore, when you look at old Dharma Shastras, you always have to look how it is to live in this day and age. And so all spiritual teachers try to teach Dharma again and again. The Buddhists therefore also speak of Dharmachakra, the wheel of Dharma. The essence always remains the same, concrete life is then different. Dharma Shastras are alsi the scriptures about Dharma, about righteous living in everyday life. Dharma Shastra are also the scriptures that speak about karma and how the actions affect future lives.

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Indian writings

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