The Scriptural writings of the Hindus are divided, mainly, into two classes Sryti (or what is heard) and Smrti (or what is remembered). According to the belief of the Hindus, Smrti also is of divine origin; the difference between it and the Veda consists in the fact that in the Hindu System of Law the sense is recorded either in the divine words or other equivalent expressions.
Under the series of Smrtis (or Code of law) collectively known as Dharma-sastra, Parasara Smrti or Parasasa Dharma-sastra occupies an unique place. This (code) is holy, auspicious, life-prolonging, and heaven awarding. It imparts fame, knowledge, opulence and good fortune.
It contains twelve chapters containing five hundred and ninty nine verses in total.
The first three chapters belong to the Acara portion of the smrti in which the hermit describes about the rules of conduct, duties of Brahmana and other castes, definition of a true Atithi (guest).
Chapters 4 to 12 are devoted to the Prayascitta portion of the smrti in which there is brief description about various penances such as penance for mixing with low castes, peanance for being bitten by various animals and insects, penance for killing birds and beasts, expiation of murder and other sins and purifications such as purification of vessels and utensils and finally about various penitential rites.
The present translation of Parasara-smrti by M.N. Dutt is an authentic English Translation. The editor of the present book has further enhanced the English Translation by replacing older usage of English words with the corresponding modern words. He has done a good labour to put Sanskrit text and English Translation side by side for the benefit of readers. Further, he has corrected various diacritical notations that were incorrectly used in the earlier edition. Also the text has been corrected at appropriate places for a better edition of Parasara-smrti.
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