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Paithinasi – One Of Earliest Law Givers In Hinduism

One of the earliest law givers in Hinduism was a sage named Paithinasi. While the Vedas and the Upanishads provide a broad overview of philosophy and ethics, they do not delve into the everyday routines or social conduct of individuals within their society.

Later writers took on this task, contributing to the evolution of a body of literature now recognized as dharmashastras. Among the earliest works in the genre of dharmasutras is that of Paithinasi. Although his original work has not been recovered, fragments of it have been gleaned from other writings that quote him.

Paithinasi likely adhered to the Atharva Veda. Some of the topics for which he is quoted include the permissibility of marriage within the gotra, provided it is beyond the third degree on the mother's side and beyond the fifth degree on the father's side. He also touched upon the idea of a wife's service to her husband as the greatest austerity, discussed the practice of sati (the immolation of a wife on her husband's funeral pyre), addressed the inheritance of property from a sonless man after his death, and outlined exceptions to the observance of ashaucha (ceremonial impurity) during certain times such as marriage, famine, or pilgrimage.

Unfortunately, the period in which Paithinasi lived is not known with any degree of precision.