(Last Updated on : 16/03/2011)
Dharma Sutras were one of the most noteworthy developments of early Hinduism
. They established the social and ritual norms and laid down the basis of civil law. These were composed by a sage who belonged to a particular Vedic School. These treatises cover a wide range of topics that include rules for the devotion to gods, for purification and expiatory rites. It had lectures on cosmology and eschatology as well civil, criminal and family laws. It also includes dietary regulations and responsibilities of the Kings. These established the rules for the proper behaviour of Aryan community.
It had also set down precise ordinances in regards to four ashrams. These are composed in prose. The oldest Dharma sutra seems to have been composed by Apastamba which is followed by the dharma sutras of Gautama, Baudhayana and Vasistha. Later Dharma sutras also include those authored by Kasyapa and Brihaspati. These are laws regarding interpersonal relations and the relationship between people and the state. The practical rules of caste and human beings in their social, economic, and religious relations have also been mentioned.
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