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Dharmaśāstra (Skt., dharma, ‘law’ + śāstra, ‘teaching’). Any of a class of Sanskrit texts concerned with rules of conduct and law. Dharmaśāstras tend to be longer and more systematically organized than dharmasūtras, and treat some topics neglected in the dharmasūtras, such as vratas (religious vows); utsarga and pratiṣṭhā (dedication of public utilities, shrines, and temples); kāla (auspicious times); and tīrtha (pilgrimages to sacred places).

Of the more than 2,000 surviving dharmaśāstras, the most influential is certainly the Manusmṛti or Laws of Manu (see DHARMA). The Yājñavalkyasmṛti has had an indirect influence upon modern Indian law via the commentary of Vijñāneśvara.

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