Dharmashastra, aka: Dharma-shastra, Dharmaśāstra, Dharmaśāstrā; 8 Definition(s)


Dharmashastra means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Dharmaśāstra and Dharmaśāstrā can be transliterated into English as Dharmasastra or Dharmashastra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Dharmashastra (religious law)

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Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र, “sociology”) refers to one of the nine divisions of the Paurūṣeya classification of Śāstra knowledge; all part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Dharmashastra in Purana glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

Dharmaśāstrā (धर्मशास्त्रा).—A Vidyā; Law books to be learnt by a Prince;1 known to Sūta;2 learnt by Kṛṣṇa and Rāma;3 refer to three tanus, Prājāpatyā, Raudrā and Vaiṣṇavī;4 said to be Purātana or ancient.5

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 53. 6; 215. 24; 220. 2; 225. 2 and 4. Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 6. 27.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 1. 6.
  • 3) Ib. X. 45. 34.
  • 4) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 33. 31; 35. 88; III. 3. 88; 19. 23.
  • 5) Vāyu-purāṇa 61. 78; 66. 109; 83. 53.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

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Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र).—The importance of ethics and ethical values (nītiśāstra) is highlighted in epics and philosophical texts like, Upaniṣads, Rāmāyaṇa, Darśana-śāstras and Dharma-śāstras. In the dharmaśāstras, emphasis is on the social ethics. In these texts the inter-personal and social relations are placed in an ethical framework for guidance. In these texts the ethical problems are discussed in an indirect manner.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Indian Ethics: Individual and Social
Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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Dharmaśāstra is a genre of Sanskrit texts and refers to the śāstra, or Indic branch of learning, pertaining to Hindu dharma, religious and legal duty. The voluminous textual corpus of Dharmaśāstra is primarily a product of the Brāhmaṇical tradition in India and represents the elaborate scholastic system of an expert tradition. Because of its sophisticated jurisprudence, Dharmaśāstra was taken by early British colonial administrators to be the law of the land for Hindus in India.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र):—They are of two categories, the Sūtras and the Smṛtis. The Sūtras, as their name indicates, are in the form of aphorisms and the Smṛtis are in metrical form. If śruti is what is directly revealed to the Ṛṣis, the Smṛti is what is recollected by them and recorded afterwards. The Dharmaśāstras give the code of conduct applicable to each section of society and to the whole society in common. All that is contained in the Dharmaśāstras is said to be taken from the Vedas which teach fundamental ethical truths and they claim to teach nothing new. If there is any explicit contradiction between what is laid down in the Vedas and what is taught in the Dharmaśāstras, the former are to be followed in preference to thelatter, as they are absolutely and universally true

Source: Institute of Sri Ramchandra Consciousness: A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Literature

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र).—n (S) The code or body of Hindu law; the laws and institutes of manu &c. 2 A code of laws gen. 3 The science, system, or law of piety and religion.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र).—n The code or body of Hindu law.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

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Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र).—a code of laws, jurisprudence; न धर्मशास्त्रं पठतीति कारणम् (na dharmaśāstraṃ paṭhatīti kāraṇam) H.1.17; Y.1.5. [मनुर्यमो वसिष्ठोऽत्रिः दक्षो विष्णुस्तथाङ्गिराः । उशना वाक्पतिर्व्यास आपस्तम्बोऽ थ गौतमः ॥ कात्यायनो नारदश्च याज्ञवल्क्यः पराशरः । संवर्तश्चैव शङ्खश्च हारीतो लिखितस्तथा ॥ एतैर्यानि प्रणीतानि धर्मशास्त्राणि वै पुरा । तान्येवातिप्रमाणानि न हन्तव्यानि हेतुभिः (manuryamo vasiṣṭho'triḥ dakṣo viṣṇustathāṅgirāḥ | uśanā vākpatirvyāsa āpastambo' tha gautamaḥ || kātyāyano nāradaśca yājñavalkyaḥ parāśaraḥ | saṃvartaścaiva śaṅkhaśca hārīto likhitastathā || etairyāni praṇītāni dharmaśāstrāṇi vai purā | tānyevātipramāṇāni na hantavyāni hetubhiḥ) ||]

Derivable forms: dharmaśāstram (धर्मशास्त्रम्).

Dharmaśāstra is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms dharma and śāstra (शास्त्र). See also (synonyms): dharmaśāsana.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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