Dharma Sutra

Definition - What does Dharma Sutra mean?

A dharma sutra is a book or scripture that forms the initial foundation of Hindu law, containing regulations regarding government, castes, relationships among people, economic actions, diet and religious affairs. There were many texts considered a dharma sutra, but only four survived into modern times.

Yogapedia explains Dharma Sutra

From Sanskrit, dharma means "right way of living" or "righteousness," and sutra means "sacred thread" or "code." As such, dharma sutra may be translated as "righteousness thread" or "righteousness discourse."

Dharma sutras emerged from the traditions of the Vedas and were a guideline, or prescription, to live rightly in Hindu society. They also discuss ethical standards and the four stages of life, called ashramas, that a person is expected to experience.

Dharma sutras were written in prose with the intent they could be memorized and shared through storytelling traditions. However, throughout time, they were eventually written in verse form, which is called Dharmasastra.

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