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Dharmasastra

Dharmasastra

Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र) 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 Brahmanical 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.Ever since, Dharmaśāstra has been linked with Hindu law, despite the fact that its contents deal as much or more with religious life as with law. In fact, a separation of religion and law within Dharmaśāstra is artificial and has been repeatedly questioned.Dharmaśāstra is important within the Hindu tradition—first, as a source of religious law describing the life of an ideal householder and, second, as symbol of the summation of Hindu knowledge about religion, law, ethics, etc.