HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Smriti and Kalpasutra>"

Word

Smriti and Kalpasutra

Sanskrit

In General

There are around 50 texts like Manusmriti which takes the name Smriti as suffix, these texts and the Kalpasutra for each sakha of Veda sets the rules for Dharma and hence sometimes considered as the Hindu Dharmic law text. Smriti gives more importance to legal and administrative content and Kalpa give importance to governance of good qualities and habits. These two classes of literature are called Hindu Law text because they are in the form of instructions and injunctions. Hindu Law texts concentrate on every aspect of practical life as sacramental belief, practices, customs, and duties as against the philosophical part dealt by Vedas. They deal with jurisprudence and the prevailing Law of the land.

Kalpa contains Saura sutra, Griha sutra, Dharma sutra. Dharma Sutra or Samyakarika is the temporal duty and this form the fourth part of Kalpasutra which require special reference while talk about Hindu Law. Dharma Sutras are closely connected with the Grhya Sutras and they were perhaps written in continuation with them. The later describe the domestic rites the householder was required to perform in his individual capacity, where as the former were concerned with rules and regulations about the conduct of man as the members of Hindu community and do not involve rituals of any kind.

The Dharmasastras deal with Varnas (casts) and the Ashramas (stages of life). It is under the Ashrama Dharma that the rules of Upanayana and Vivaha are given exhaustively. They also contain rules about Samavartana, Upakarma, the Anadhyayas, Asaucha, the Sraddhas and the Madhuparkas. Dharma Sutra takes up the social aspect of the Samskaras that were simply suggested in the Grhya Sutras. The division of property and such were also discussed in Dharma sutras but not to the extent the Smriti does.

There are around 50 Smriti literatures to deal with dharma. Manusmriti is the most popular among this, though it is not the oldest. All of them have legal and administrative content like those in Manusmriti. They contain punishment for the wrong. The instructions are reformative and not based on vengeance or hatred. All the areas like personal law, property divisions, criminal law, social customs, trade practices, rights and duties of King, governance of a country, etc were given due importance in these texts.

Veda

The Smriti and Kalpa Sutra are not independent literature but were written in accordance with the spirit of Vedas and other philosophical texts

Purana

Some parts of Smriti and dharmasutra are copied exactly or told in a reformed way in most of the Purans.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana