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Parasara Smriti

Parasara Smriti is a book on dharma in 592 verses by Sage Parashara. Parasara Smriti, in its present form, is a recast of an older text. It has several verses identical with those in Manusmriti, and therefore it can be assigned some period between the 1st and 5th century CE.

Garuda Purana summarizes the contents of Parasara Smriti, which indicate its authority and antiquity. Kautilya refers to Parasara, which indicates that the latter must have written something on politics and state administration.

The following are in brief the contents of Parasara Smriti –

Parasara preaches the secret of dharma to the sages; six daily duties; the chores of a householder; agriculture; punishment for an unfaithful wife; reward for a chaste widow; expiation for killing various beasts and birds and for killing cows and oxen unwittingly; expiation for drinking wine; and expiation for deadly sins like theft of gold.

The unique features of this work are; it does not inveigh against the practice of Sati, does cite Manu but sometimes the citations do not correspond to the original; it does refer to several Rig Vedic mantras but two of them are not found therein. Parasara appears to have been a very practical and liberal man. He exhorts his readers to take care of themselves during travel, invasions, and calamities; recommends the waiving of rules regarding purity in difficult times and adherence to the strict rules of dharma when it is convenient.